Event: Film on “Oil and Our Marine Waters” July 11 PA

Olympic Climate Action is sponsoring “Oil and Our Marine Waters”, an evening of education and an invitation to action regarding the burgeoning transport of oil in local marine waters, on Friday, July 11 at 7 pm in the Port Angeles City Council chambers, 321 E. 5th St.

Clallam County Commissioner Mike Doherty will speak about proposed increases in oil tanker traffic and the associated risks to our communities and resources, and what our community can do to minimize these risks.

OCA will screen the film The Big Fix, a 2012 documentary and Cannes film festival official selection, exploring the worst oil spill in U.S. history—the BP Deepwater Horizon—its causes, consequences, and cover-ups.
This event is part of a continent-wide week of protest of oil transport commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic oil-train disaster which killed 47 people in Quebec.

As our region works to cut our fossil-fuel consumption, oil companies are proposing huge shipments of toxic oil-shale and tar-sands fuel from Alberta and the American Rockies, for export through west coast ports. These proposed cargoes would emit far more carbon than all the mitigation to be achieved in the entire country by improved automobile mileage standards and power plant regulations. And their transport by rail, pipeline, and ship poses risks to all communities en route, which are being asked to shoulder the risk while the profit goes to the oil companies, whose history and modus operandi are explored in detail in The Big Fix.

If all the proposed new oil port facilities in the Salish Sea region are constructed, the increase in tankers passing the Olympic Peninsula would inevitably increase the risk of spills due to rough seas, equipment failure, and human error. A large spill would cause major harm to local communities, particularly in the case of Tar Sands oil, a heavy oil that sinks in marine waters and therefore cannot be cleaned up in any practical way. Much of the increased tanker traffic will bunker (i.e., take on fuel) in Port Angeles Harbor, risking spills that could be particularly devastating to the heart of the Peninsula’s largest community—a community that is about to spend millions of dollars to clean up this harbor from past damage and is spending even more restoring salmon habitat.

By passing its risks and costs on to the American people while pocketing the profits, the oil industry keeps oil prices artificially low and thus suppresses the development of clean energy in order to extract as much profit as it can from the ground. A recent report by Exxon explains that although oil is connected with substantial climate risks, the company nevertheless expects to extract all the oil in its reserves. But if the planet is to stay below 2°C of warming, which scientists believe is necessary to avoid catastrophic risks for life on earth, 4/5 of the known reserves of fossil fuel will have to stay in the ground.

Olympic Climate Action advocates ending direct and hidden subsidies to fossil-fuel companies and kick-starting the inevitable transition to clean energy. A recent Stanford University-based study shows how the country could go fossil-fuel-free by 2050 and help the economy at the same time.

Olympic Climate Action (olyclimate.org) is a group of local citizens working for a safe, prosperous, sustainable future for residents of the Olympic Peninsula by raising awareness of the challenges “climate chaos” poses for our community and of options for mitigation and action.

New environmental short videos by John Williams

Kitsap based filmmaker John Williams has added a group of his latest short films to the Pacific NW Environmental Video channel on Vimeo. Check out his work, especially if you have young children.

http://vimeo.com/channels/salishseavideos

Fishing for Crab Pots – PT Leader

As the Chairman of the  Jefferson County Marine Resource Committee, which is funded by the NW Straits Foundation, that also funded this derelict gear effort, I’m very happy that NWS has been able to get this done in Port Townsend Bay. Thanks to the Port Townsend Leader for a very well done article.

http://www.ptleader.com/news/fishing-for-crab-pots/article_285e3f54-0168-11e4-a7ef-001a4bcf6878.html

Obama Signs Northwest Lawmaker’s Bill For Toxic Algae Research – Earthfix

Toxic Algae blooms affect many of our lakes here on the Peninsula. Now some money has been put towards finding the cause and maybe a fix. Thanks to by-partisan support in Congress and a willingness by the President to sign it into law. These days nothing is taken for granted.

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/water/article/obama-signs-northwest-lawmakers-bill-for-toxic-alg/

A Northwest lawmaker’s battle against toxic algae blooms won the support of President Barack Obama Monday, when he signed into law a bill aimed at controlling such outbreaks. Oregon congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson co-sponsored the bill, which authorizes $82 million dollars for new research meant to control toxic algae blooms nationwide…. Northwest waters have been hit by a number of these outbreaks in recent years. Toxic algae has contaminated Washington’s Puget Sound and several lakes in Oregon, including Fern Ridge and Lost Creek reservoirs. David Steves reports. (EarthFix)

Washington population grows to nearly 7 million – Seattle Times

Not good news for getting us a better environment. More pressure than ever.

The state says Washington’s population grew by almost 100,000 last year to nearly 7 million.  Nick Provenza reports. (Seattle Times)

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2014/06/washington-population-grows-to-nearly-7-million/

When the stars go out all along the coast – Crosscut

Another update on the mysterious and very destructive sea star wasting disease. Apparently there is a scientific paper out soon that might start to answer some of the questions on what and why.

Sea stars, the original “keystone species,” are melting into mush even on local shores where they previously seemed safe, leaving scientists puzzled… and worried.

http://crosscut.com/2014/06/30/puget-sound/120763/when-stars-go-out-all-along-coast/

 

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Wild Olympics Gets Starring Role in National TV Program on PBS

“This American Land” Spotlights Area and Advocates, Releases Video of Segment Online

QUILCENE, Wash. (June 24, 2014) Washington’s Wild Olympics and the local effort to safeguard its clean water and old growth forests are highlighted in an upcoming episode of the television series This American Land, which airs nationwide on PBS stations. The segment features interviews with a number of Olympic Peninsula community members working to permanently protect ancient forests and salmon streams on Olympic National Forest as wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers.

“This American Land” has posted the entire Wild Olympics segment for viewing/sharing HERE.

In the piece, Port Townsend City Councilor Michelle Sandoval explains that people are drawn to the Peninsula for the recreational opportunities and stunning scenery, and stay because of the clean water and high quality of life. Bill Taylor of Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton describes the importance of this clean water to his Hood Canal oyster beds, calling it the “lifeblood” of his industry. John Lockwood, owner of Pygmy Boats in Port Townsend, says that small manufacturers like him depend on the area’s incredible recreation opportunities to stay afloat. Port Townsend Fish biologist, and director of Northwest Watershed Institute, Dr. Peter Bahls explains how Olympic Peninsula salmon runs are still recovering from a hundred years of overfishing and heavy timber harvesting on the national forest. And retired logger Fred Rakevich of Elma says though he’s traveled all over, the ancient forests and free-flowing rivers of the Wild Olympics remain “something we need to protect and cherish.”

Connie Gallant of Quilcene, chair of the Wild Olympics Campaign, who also appears in the program, says, “We are delighted that This American Land has included our beautiful piece of the world in its series. The many local voices featured showcase the broad local support for safeguarding this stunning landscape. They come from different backgrounds and interests and use our public land in various ways, but they find common ground in the desire to permanently protect our ancient forests and salmon streams just as they are as a legacy to future generations.”

“Our mission is to bring our viewers the kind of serious yet entertaining conservation journalism that broadens their knowledge of critical issues with stories that they won’t see anywhere else,” says This American Land executive producer Gary Strieker. “Each segment focuses on unique and little-known places that deserve protection.”

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) have introduced legislation to permanently protect more than 126,000 acres of ancient and mature forests on Olympic National Forest as wilderness, and 19 Olympic Peninsula rivers and major tributaries as Wild and Scenic. The bill is aimed at permanently safeguarding critical salmon habitat, outdoor recreation and sources of clean drinking water for local communities. Backed by over 450 sportsmen organizations, local elected officials, business owners, conservation & outdoor recreation groups, and members of the faith community, the measure was crafted with considerable local stakeholder involvement over several years.

The Wild Olympics segment will air as part of the fourth season of This American Land, which will begin broadcasting in the Seattle area in August.http://www.thisamericanland.org

Derelict crab pot removal underway in Port Townsend Bay

BELLINGHAM – Northwest Straits Foundation is saving Dungeness crab from ghost fishing with the removal this month of 280 derelict crab pots from Port Townsend Bay. The derelict crab pots were identified during a survey last month and are located throughout eleven square kilometers of Port Townsend Bay.

 

The project began on June 3 with the removal of 32 derelict crab pots and is schedule to be completed by July 3, opening day of recreational crabbing season. Removal operations will resume June 10 and are being coordinated by the Foundation’s Derelict Fishing Gear program field operations manager, Natural Resources Consultants. Operations are staged from the F/V Bet-Sea. A break in removal operations will occur during the Tribal crabbing window. The project is funded by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and crab endorsement fees that recreational crabbers pay through their annual fishing license.

 

Derelict crab pots are a significant threat to species, habitats and to the livelihoods that depend on healthy fisheries in Puget Sound. Northwest Straits Foundation estimates that over 12,000 crab pots are lost each year in Puget Sound. One derelict pot kills an average of 21 Dungeness crab per year while it continues to fish. The annual death toll on Dungeness crab of the pots lost each year is at least 178,000. This is estimated to cost $744,000 in harvestable crab and represents about 4.5% of the most recent commercial harvest in Puget Sound. Costs to the recreational fishery and lost revenue for marine-related businesses are significant.

 

The biological impacts of derelict pots are also significant. Dungeness crab is an important prey species as larvae and as juveniles and can account for up to 60% of the food in the diet of juvenile Chinook salmon. Adult crabs are important predators and scavengers, as well prey species for larger marine animals. And derelict crab pots can impact up to 35 square feet of habitat around the pot, depending on site conditions.

 

Crabber can take precautions to minimize crab pot loss. Crab pots often become derelict when the buoy line is clipped by a passing vessel or when pots are deployed in water that is too deep for the length of the line on the pot. Sometimes pots are lost because they are moved by tides or currents and are swept into deeper areas. Pots are frequently found in vessel traffic lanes and boaters out after dark have a challenging time seeing crab pot buoys.

####

About the Northwest Straits Foundation and the Derelict Fishing Gear Removal Program

The Northwest Straits Foundation is the non-profit partner of the Northwest Straits Initiative, a collaborative model for marine conservation with a vision of diverse communities working together to restore a thriving marine ecosystem in the Northwest Straits of the Salish Sea. The Foundation works in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and seven local Marine Resources Committees(MRCs) of the Northwest Straits whose members represent the diverse stakeholders of their communities, and who identify and implement local marine conservation and restoration projects in their communities.

 

The Foundation’s internationally recognized Derelict Fishing Gear Removal Program has been working collaboratively since 2002 with its funders and partners to rid Puget Sound of harm from derelict fishing gear. As of May 2014, Northwest Straits Foundation has removed over 3,400 derelict crab pots and over 4,700 derelict fishing nets from Puget Sound, documenting impacts to Dungeness crab and over 250 other Puget Sound species. In doing so we have restored more than 670 acres of important marine habitat.

 

Environment Washington Pushing To Close Loopholes In Clean Water Act – KPLU

As it relates to the fact that we have pulp mills here.

Industrial polluters dumped more than two million pounds of toxic chemicals into Washington’s waterways in 2012, according to a new report from Environment Washington. The group says tightening federal law could help curb the problem.  The group used data reported to the Environmental Protection Agency by the polluters themselves. Among the findings: the Lower Chehalis River watershed southwest of Olympia received the second highest volume in the nation of toxins that affect reproductive health. That’s due primarily to chemicals dumped by paper mills, says Anusha Narayanan, a field associate with Environment Washington. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

http://kplu.org/post/environment-washington-pushing-close-loopholes-clean-water-act

Studying the impermanence of bluffs – Sequim Gazette

Good short article on bluff erosion, research being done on it, and one person’s consequences from living within the county’s approved setback, which was not based on science.

http://www.sequimgazette.com/news/263672371.html

Event-Friday 6/20: Olympic Peninsula Surfriders Annual

This Friday night Surfriders will be having their annual ISD event at Harbinger Winery from 6:30-10. Live music, great food, refreshments, and a raffle full of good scores such as a surfboard and snowboard. A family friendly event with a $20 entry, $10 for students with student ID card.

Enviros lose challenge to log sale in Murrelet habitat

It was a sleepy Friday afternoon in Judge Harper’s courtroom in Port Townsend. Folks wanted to finish up the day, and get on with their weekend. Looking out the large windows of the 1890 era courthouse  that frame the Olympics to the west, it seemed a long way from the major issues of our time. Far to the west, US hopes for a western style middle east were unraveling. But closer to home, west on the coast of Jefferson County, an ongoing court battle is playing out to save what little habitat remains for a bird that is battling for real survival, the Marbled Murrelet. And this courtroom was right now, ground zero.

The Murrelet nests in old growth, huge trees that can sustain it’s eggs in the crotch of a branch high up off the forest floor, since the bird doesn’t actually build a nest. As the big trees vanished (less than 1% remain of the original old forest), the bird is an indicator of the health of the forest. Audubon and other environmental groups sued the federal government in the 90s to protect the last habitat of the Murrelet. They won, and a large scale plan was put in place to work with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to protect and preserve the remaining forests where the bird lived. That last part was very important, as the state wants to cut anything that isn’t directly a location of bird nests, or their immediate buffer zones. In 1997, the DNR received a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) from the USFWS, which required them to complete a Long Term Conservation Strategy (LTCS) by 2007 at the latest. That plan has never been completed, and is currently scheduled for adoption in 2016. In 2008, the DNR issued the so-called Science Report, on conservation of the Marbled Murrelet on State-managed lands. It called for large management areas centered on multiple nest sites called MMMAs in the OESF and SW Washington. This DNR Science Report has never been accepted or implemented by the agency, but remains the best available science.

The environmental community wants to protect these large areas around the nests, to ensure breeding pairs have habitat. The issue at hand in the courtroom had to do with one of these MMMAs in the Goodman Creek drainage, five small units totaling 230 acres. The units themselves don’t mean a lot in causing the loss of the whole species. They are not old growth and have no nests, but they do pose a risk to adjacent nesting Murrelets, because, if logged, of hosting an invasion by crows and jays which eat Murrelet eggs and baby birds.

The fate of the Murrelet is tied to the State’s desire to cut all the remaining old growth outside the national parks, in a sustainable way.  DNR wants to do that because the State’s founders, thinking that they could never cut all the timber, used the timber sales to fund the State’s schools. Now, with our rural areas still reeling from the Wall St. induced financial crisis, the pressure on our state agencies and politicians to give up habitat for jobs and tree sales is hard to fight.

But a group of conservation minded folks were in court, mostly over the age of 50, sitting on the right side of the courtroom. They represent the birds, as the State will not allow the birds to simply be the issue. The environmental people have to claim that their ability to view the bird is the reason for the lawsuit asking for an injunction for the cutting of the trees. It’s a fundamental problem with our legal system that the loss of a species cannot be argued directly, but only as a zoo like viewing that will be taken away by their loss. The environmentalists  were dressed in jeans and shirts, except for the older dignified woman who has been one of the leaders of the battle, Marcie Goldie.

On the other side of the courtroom, it was all the black suits and new haircuts of the lawyers for the logging companies and the Department of Natural Resources. A small army of them were attending the trial. To them, the issue was, well, clear cut. The State had reclassified the timber, and sold it at auction. The environmental folks,they claimed had multiple opportunities to challenge the rulings, and now, at the 11th hour, were asking the judge to issue an injunction stopping the harvest, even for a short time. However, the environmentalists saw it somewhat differently.  They had formally requested changes at least three times, but not used multiple opportunities to legally challenge the rulings, and now, at the 11th hour, were asking the judge to issue an injunction stopping the logging, for a short time, until their legal challenge could be heard in court.

Clear-cutting in MMMAs signals a major change in the way DNR is treating Murrelets and is working with the environmental community. Generally speaking, when a timber sale appeal is filed, the cloud of litigation prevents BNR (the auction side of DNR) from auctioning the sale.  So, they’ll hold it, wait for litigation to pass, and then put it up for auction or rescind it. This time, this did not happen. While the environmental appeal was in place, BNR went ahead with the auction and Interfor bought it.  Based on previous legal precedents, this was definitely a point of law. The environmental lawyers felt that should have been sufficient for Harper to have waited a couple of weeks or ruled in their favor. 

Although the injunction filed was, indeed, to stop the logging from happening starting on Saturday, the appeal on this case had been in place for several months, but DNR/BNR chose to ignore it and went ahead with the sale – leaving the environmental community  no choice but to file the injunction.

What is also at stake here is that a well-respected process under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) that the DNR has had in place for many years, since 1979, that allowed the environmental community to work to get it’s input through on the agency sales and cuts like these, and not been forced to spend huge amounts of time in court (for both sides).

As stated by the lawyers for the environmental groups:

This emergency injunction is necessary because of DNR’s rare decision to approve and auction-off these two timber sales while they are on appeal and before the Court has had the opportunity to rule on their legality.  In the past, Washington State DNR has shown respect and deference to both the legal system and citizens by postponing any timber ales that are under  legal challenge until the appeals have been finally resolved.  This is the second time DNR has tried to log forests in disregard to marbled murrelets; in July of 2013, the Honorable Bruce Heller of the King County Superior Court ruled against DNR in a case that bears many similarities.  DNR’s appeal of that ruling was withdrawn.

This process has  been summarily thrown out the window by the agency run by the man whom was funded by the environmental community, Commissioner Peter Goldmark. He found heavy backing in Democratic Jefferson County on his two runs for Commissioner of Public Lands, due to his support of environmental issues. Now, the question is being asked by many in the community, “What’s happening to Goldmark?”

Commissioner Goldmark was criticized by an article in the New York Times, just after the Oso landslide, because the environmental community had known, as had DNR that the Oso slope was a disaster waiting to happen. Rather than admit that, Goldmark had railed against ‘tree huggers’ who he claimed were rushing to judgement against his agency. This was out of character for a man who had used his position to champion environmental issues.

Over this last year, there has also been the “McCleary Decision” which has forced the State to come up with billions of dollars to properly fund long neglected schools. That decision came from this very courtroom (correction on 6/19, this case, while from a family in Jefferson County was originally filed in Seattle) and rippled up to the Supreme Court, where it still is being implemented, as recently as this week, as the Court debates issuing a contempt of court ruling against the State legislature for not submitting a plan the Court required.

The unspoken issue behind all this is that local mills cannot afford logs from private land owners, who are sending logs overseas by selling them to the multinationals. This situation is the result of a federal law that prohibits the export of timber logged on public land.   So the pressure builds for DNR to just get these sales done for the money.

The Environmental community now finds itself behind the eight ball, because the normal process DNR had implemented with them, has been clearly thwarted with this sale. It marks a turning point. The enviro lawyers had to scramble, since they were assuming DNR would do their normal work of negotiating this issue with them. The very process that DNR had normally followed, one that avoided unnecessary lawsuits, now was being argued by the DNR lawyers, to have been wrong, essentially saying  that DNR wanted the enviro lawyers to sue earlier and cost the State more in legal fees, rather than negotiate a way out of their concerns.

So DNR has signaled with this small afternoon session in a sleepy courtroom on the upper right hand side of the Olympic Peninsula, that they no longer see themselves as a partner with the groups that have worked with them to create a manageable way to avoid excessive costs and protect the habitat of the birds.  While legally the logs were to be harvested the next day,  Saturday June 14th, the argument that the lawyers for the logging companies made seemed to be a stretch in understanding. While the market for the logs is strong right now, the likelihood that these logs will just end up sitting in a pile with all the others down in Port Angeles harbor  or in the mill yard waiting for shipment out of the US is high. Anyone driving around the Olympic Peninsula lately will see huge numbers of fresh clear cuts and full logging trucks almost every few miles it seems.

Judge Harper ruled that the harvest could continue, though he seemed frustrated. He didn’t understand why the enviros had waited so long to sue. It was inappropriate to argue that the suits hadn’t happened because DNR was changing the ground-rules,  which itself had been somewhat  outside the normal legal framework and been implemented to avoid this very situation. The suit was very complicated, and the speed that the decision dictated at this last minute appeal, along with the complexity of rules that were needed to understand the nuances of the laws, confounded Judge Harper’s wanting to really understand all the issues. In the end, he simply felt forced to follow the legal guidelines that the DNR and logging lawyers fell back on, which is understandable. While DNR has “won” this round, the kind of game they intend to play in the future appears to have been signaled, and now it’s up to the environmental community to force the stalemate ground game that brought DNR to compromise with them in the first place. While the 80+ jobs that the logging company claimed are likely working this week, it means it will be harder to keep the logging going if DNR is going to force the environmental community to tie them up in court sooner to get anything done.

What does seem to be happening is that the Legislature, DNR and the Governor have decided that DNR will harvest it’s way out of the McCleary Decision, and that the Peninsula will be the scape goat.

 

 

 

 

Judge permits timber harvest that environmentalists claim threatens marbled murrelet in Clallam and Jefferson counties – PDN

I’ll have a longer op-ed piece on this later today or tomorrow.

A Jefferson County judge has rejected a request for a temporary injunction against a state-approved harvest of 234 acres of timber on the West End adjacent to habitat of the threatened marbled murrelet…. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140615/NEWS/306159962/judge-permits-timber-harvest-that-environmentalists-claim-threatens

Endangered butterfly seems to like Clallam the best in quest for survival – PDN

Interesting news about a local beauty and why it helps to clear invasive species like Scotch Broom from your nearby open spaces.

An endangered butterfly is holding its own in Clallam County, where seven of 11 known clusters of the Taylor’s checkerspot still exist….Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

 http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140615/NEWS/306159980/endangered-butterfly-seems-to-like-clallam-the-best-in-quest-for

States worry about Coast Guard’s new power push – AP/Seattle Times

This is really bad. This could force us to abandon tug escorts in Puget Sound. We have appreciated the Coast Guard’s support of oil spill prevention rules, but often their attitude has been very demeaning of local activists who see regional concerns that the CG tends to downplay or ignore.  If you are concerned, please write our local Federal Senate and House members to support their efforts to overturn this power play.

 New rules proposed by the U.S. Coast Guard might dilute states’ power to prevent and prepare for oil spills — for instance, by overriding Washington’s requirement that tugboat escorts accompany supertankers into Puget Sound. The controversy is prompted by a Coast Guard effort to assert federal authority over maritime issues. State officials in Washington, California and New York have asked the Coast Guard to withdraw rules it proposed in December. They say the rules would limit the states’ role in protecting citizens from vessel accidents and pollution. Phuong Le reports.(Associated Press)

Read the whole story here:

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2023854457_coastguardstatesxml.html

MV Salish ferry now equipped with device to gather Admiralty Inlet data – PDN

The state ferries system has attached a device to the hull of the MV Salish on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route to provide data on low-oxygen water and ocean acidification from Admiralty Inlet….  Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140616/NEWS/306169994/mv-salish-ferry-now-equipped-with-device-to-gather-admiralty-inlet

Fishing boats become salmon labs in Puget Sound – KING 5

More than 40 scientists in U.S. and Canadian waters are catching batches of young salmon to find out why they can be so healthy in the rivers but begin to die off in Puget Sound. Studies show some species die at a rate of 80 percent from the time they leave their native river and get through the Sound to The Pacific Ocean. There are similar concerns all the way through the northern Strait of Georgia, which, when combined with Puget Sound, forms the Salish Sea. Gary Chittim reports. (KING)

http://www.king5.com/news/local/Fishing-boats-become-salmon-labs-263111881.html

Starfish Wasting Disease – Update

Laura James reports sea star die-offs in Hood Canal.

Sund rock stars https://www.facebook.com/diverLAuRA/media_set?set=a.10154410435430438.1073741967.760835437&type=1

Meanwhile, Scientists Close In On The Cause Of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/flora-and-fauna/article/unprecedented-epidemic-in-the-oceans-iconic-sea-st/
Drew Harvell peers into the nooks and crannies along the rocky shoreline of Eastsound on Orcas Island. Purple and orange starfish clutch the rocks, as if hanging on for dear life…. Scientists have been working for months to find out what’s causing the massive die-off and now Harvell and others have evidence that an infectious disease caused by a bacteria or virus, may be at the root of the problem. The disease, they say, could be compounded by warming waters, which put the sea stars under stress, making them more vulnerable to the pathogen… While scientists are reluctant to assign blame to climate change, Harvell explained that as oceans warm, outbreaks like this are more likely to occur. Katie Campbell and Ashley Ahearn report. (EarthFix)

West Coast groundfish certified as sustainable – Bellingham Herald

It appears to be a political compromise to the commercial fishing industry. It’s considered by some a necessary evil, even though the many of these stocks are actually not yet at levels that some scientists feel is sustainable. While California and Oregon are ahead of Washington on protection of habitat for rockfish and other groundfish, there is still huge pressure by the commercial fisheries to label the species sustainable. The positive side is that this will allow a greater co-management of the catch, but likely the numbers will decline.  We’ll have to follow up over the years and see if they are actually doing what they claim they are going to do. 

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/06/03/3678286/west-coast-groundfish-certified.html

More than a decade after overfishing led to the collapse of the one of the West Coast’s most valuable fisheries, it has been certified as sustainable. The international Marine Stewardship Council announced Tuesday in Portland, Oregon, it has certified that 13 bottom-dwelling species collectively known as groundfish are harvested in an environmentally sustainable way. That applies to species sold as red snapper, Dover sole and lingcod. In a 400-page report, the council said federal regulations are in place to protect habitat, hold fishermen responsible and set harvest quotas based on scientific data. The action led the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watchlist to move six West Coast rockfish species from “Avoid” status, to “Good Alternative.” Jeff Barnard reports. (Associated Press)

In Washington state, Victoria sewage hits the fan – Times Colonist and King TV

Our Governor reaches out to BC and asks for their help to bring Victoria up to modern specs of sewage outflow.  Come on Victoria, get your act together or stop pretending you care about the environment. I was just up there and they are so proud of their environmental protections. This is one glaring hole in the tapestry.

http://www.king5.com/news/local/In-Washington-State-Victoria-sewage-hits-the-fan–262800061.html
Washington Governor Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine sent a strongly worded letter to Canadian authorities over a yet to be stemmed flow of raw sewage into Puget Sound waters. “As the Governor of the state of Washington and the Executive of King County, we are very concerned by the lack of progress in treating wastewater and protecting the health and habitat of  Puget Sound,”  they said in the letter sent to British Columbia Premier Christy Clark. The letter comes in response to an announcement last week that a deal for a new sewage treatment plant to be built to serve the rapidly growing Victoria area had fallen apart. That announcement comes 20 years after Canadian officials first announced plans to build a facility. Gary Chittim reports. (KING)

See also: Washington governor urges action on capital region sewage plan http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/washington-governor-urges-action-on-capital-region-sewage-plan-1.1125746Lindsay Kines and Bill Cleverley report. (Times Colonist)

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