Photo of the Day – Red Dendronotid: Point Hudson

Here’s another wonderful shot by Bruce Kerwin at the jetty of Point Hudson. Friend and marine educator Libby Palmer send me additional info: “Red Dendronotid is the name of one particular type of nudibranch (another word not usually familiar to most folks).  Nudibranchs (meaning naked gills) are marine animals related to snails but have shells only in their very early planktonic stages.  They’re often called sea slugs but are so attractive and brilliantly colored that it seems unfair to use that name. The Northwest is especially rich in colorful nudibranchs; about 50 species are commonly seen here.”  

Red Dendronotid: Point Hudson, WA

Red Dendronotid: Point Hudson, WA

Photo of the Day – Painted Anemone at Point Hudson

Beautiful shot by Bainbridge Island based diver Bruce Kerwin. As the Port of Port Townsend considers how to replace the decaying jetty at Point Hudson, the dive community wants care taken to protect the wonderful underwater creatures that are just below our boats as we slip out of the harbor. I’ll be featuring Bruce’s great work over the next month, and the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee is looking into sponsoring a talk by Bruce as well as an update from the Port on the jetty replacement.

Photo by Bruce Kerwin

Photo by Bruce Kerwin

Hood Canal council names winners of environmental awards – Watching Our Waterways

Awards and recognition for citizens getting together to fix environmental problems in their area of Hood Canal. Congratulations people. You are doing good work!

Beards Cove Community Organization and Newberry Hill Heritage Park Stewards are this year’s winners of the Hood Canal Environmental Achievement Awards. The awards, sponsored by the Hood Canal Coordinating Council, recognize people and groups that have taken actions and fostered relationships to improve the health of the Hood Canal environment. Chris Dunagan writes. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Gear, not geoducks, impacts ecosystem if farming increases – UW Today

Worth noting. The controversy over the conversion of natural shoreline to industrial aquaculture because of the current high prices being commanded in the Far East, is given new ammunition by a study done by the UW. This study should be read with the earlier 7 year study by Washington Sea Grant, that showed that impacts to the nearshore were reversible. That does not mean that they were non-existant. The biggest concern many people have is that entire bays are being converted to what amounts to a commercial farm, with near shore habitats being converted from natural to endless seas of tens of thousands of plastic pipe, which is used to protect the immature geoducks from predators. Harvests are done at low tide, meaning that in the winter, a homeowner may find themselves being kept awake by the compressors that are used to blow air to get to the ducks. With the value of the near shore properties and a lack of transparency by many real estate agents, it often comes as a very unpleasant surprise to new home owners. Once converted to aquaculture, the shorelines will never be allowed to return to a natural state, unless the market collapses permanently. And the state of Washington bureaucrats are really not interested in stopping this growth, being very much supportive of commercial aquaculture over natural shores. They believe that the carrying capacity of the Sound is able to handle it, but they have made these decisions with little science to back it in the past. With all these new studies, it’s now up to citizens in the various locales to raise these issues as policy decisions rather than trying to stop the new farms based on environmental concerns alone. Balancing this is the fact that the Tribes are entitled do aquaculture based on historical treaty rights, and aquaculture is one of the core protected activities of our state constitution, because the founding fathers recognized food production over all other concerns. As usual, there is no simple answer here.

The equipment used to farm geoducks, including PVC pipes and nets, might have a greater impact on the Puget Sound food web than the addition of the clams themselves. That’s one of the findings of the first major scientific study to examine the broad, long-term ecosystem effects of geoduck aquaculture in Puget Sound, published last week in the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea’s Journal of Marine Science. Michelle Ma reports. (UW Today)

Though these results show that Puget Sound can generally support more geoduck aquaculture, if effectively managed, the model can’t drill down to specific inlets or bays and predict how organisms would react at a finer scale to increased farming, researchers said. Further studies are needed to determine the potential impact of more aquaculture activities on specific areas of the Sound, they added.

Port Townsend Election thoughts

Ballots arrived yesterday. Some thoughts for those of you needing them.

Advisory Votes: Maintain all of them.

We pay our legislators to do the work to pass laws (or not). I am not willing to second guess any of the ballot measures. They all look like the kind of thing that we expect our legislators to do. I am not in favor of having 2/3rds of the legislature have to approve taxes. A simple majority is fine with me. And to expect the voters to approve all tax bills directly is patiently an absurd idea.

Port of Port Townsend – Either candidate, Diana Talley or Steve Tucker.

This may seem like a copout ,but the Port race pits two excellent candidates. The issue before voters appears to me to be about policy issues rather than environmental ones. As stated in this morning’s Port Townsend Leader, and a good review point, the Commissioners are elected to set rates and Port Policies, along with hiring (and firing) the executive director (currently Larry Crockett) to implement those policies.  Both candidates have very different  views in terms of their approaches to Port policies. As far as environmental issues are concerned however, they are very similar. I have worked with Steve Tucker on the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee, and found him very effective and concerned about helping implement environmentally sensitive issues of concern for the Committee (it’s members include a wide variety of interests, from aquaculture, tribes, environmental organizations, sports fishers and others). Diana Talley is a well liked long time resident and owner of a highly regarded business that is located in the Port. Her support of environmental issues has been demonstrated over many decades, and is not at question. There is very vocal opposition to many Port policies implemented during Steve’s time on the Port, and decisions that have been made regarding fees, boat ramp construction choices, and other issues.  Diana is running in opposition to some of those policies and says that she will be more critical of choices decided by the Port moving forward. If you are a boater or other user of the Port facilities, and are concerned about the Port policies then you should do more digging to understand the contentious nature of this race. But no matter which candidate wins, support of environmental protections will continue.

Public Hospital  – Kees Kolff and Paul Stafford.

People won’t care much about the environment if they are sick and without health care. The current two incumbents are far too supportive of the current administration of the hospital, which seems to be building a legacy of huge construction projects for a tiny rural hospital. Are these needed? Could other choices that put us less at risk for debt repayment be made?  Was there any real debate about Mr. Glenn’s choices of expansion? No. This hospital charges far more than other hospitals, I know because I priced minor treatments for myself and ended up going to Seattle to get them done. The cost here was almost double that of Seattle. And it was not easy to get a price to begin with. Because of that, I’m very much in favor of shaking up this cozy group, and putting some people who will seriously challenge the status quo of the hospital management. Kees is a perfect person to put in that role, and I believe that Paul will support that kind of change as well.

City Council of Port Townsend

I’m not familiar with any of these candidates and their debate on the radio left me with a feeling that no one  really understood what was needed on the City Council. So many bad financial decisions were made in the last decade that put the city in a difficult position to get out of financially, then and now. I wish whoever wins good luck.But I’m not willing to endorse any of them. They seem very inexperienced and their answers left more questions than answers in my mind. For example, the notion of supporting expansion of tiny houses inside the City limits raises far more questions about density, noise, taxes, etc. To simply say we need to do this without putting forward explanations as to what are the pros and cons is not something I support. I love tiny houses, but expanding density expands traffic, and infrastructure needs. This seems like needing a great deal more thought before deciding to implement.

Navy Final EIS contains numerous flaws-West Coast Action Alliance

In my email today. There are steps you can take to continue the opposition to this unnecessary and likely illegal expansion of Navy training over our quiet corner of the country. Illegal because the Navy itself, in a joint memorandum with the Forest Service back in the 70s, established that they cannot use FS land if there is an alternative available. The FS and Navy continues to ignore this fundamental legally binding document and allow the expansion of the use of Navy planes over the edge of the Olympic National Park and it’s ecology of quiet. The upshot is that it is likely to cause the Navy and FS substantial taxpayer funded monies to fight this expansion against the taxpayers funding it! You can do something. Read on.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We would like to bring your attention to the publication of a new Navy document: the Final EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) for Northwest Training and Testing (  While impacts from the Growler jets, the Electronic Warfare Range, and the Northwest Training and Testing are all functionally connected, they have been separated into multiple documents covering an area from Northern California to Alaska.

The latest EIS is unlawful and fatally flawed for a number of significant reasons, listed briefly below. These are explained in detail in a Joint Memorandum by the West Coast Action Alliance and the Olympic Forest Coalition. It was sent to senior Navy officials in Washington DC and the Pacific Northwest, selected federal and state legislators and County Commissions in Northern California, Oregon and Washington, plus city councils on the north Olympic Peninsula, and a variety of other organizations and individuals. Supporting materials can be found on the WCAA web site at:

Reasonable concerns by the public have long been ignored, and this controversy intensifies by the day. For example, Congressman Derek Kilmer requested several months ago that the Navy undertake a “neutral” sound study on the effects of jet noise over Olympic National Park, under the auspices of the Federal Interagency Committee on Aviation Noise (FICAN). But the Navy ignored his request and reconstituted an old study using data that applied to Prowler jets, which are no longer being flown and are less powerful and less noisy than Growlers. They inserted that old study in the new EIS and claimed “no significant impacts” on the soundscapes of Olympic National Park.

The reasons we believe the latest EIS is unlawful and fatally flawed are:

  • Failure to provide reasonable notice to the public
  • Failure to provide adequate comment process 
  • Failure to address functionally connected activities and their cumulative impacts
  • Failure to adequately consider impacts to Olympic National Park’s World Heritage designation 
  • Failure to wait until completion of Final EIS and Record of Decision before initiating actions 

We believe that the government should follow federal law and policy, and that it is neither unpatriotic nor unreasonable for citizens to ask them to do so.

What can you do?

  1. Read the joint memorandum and its attached letter from UNESCO on the WCAA web site;
  2. Write letters to your elected representatives; a list is here:
  3. Write letters to the editors of local papers;
  4. Finally, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Olympic Peninsula Protection Fund. Monies will be used for advocacy, outreach, and legal defense. You can use PayPal here ( or write a check to: Olympic Forest Coalition, PO Box 461, Quilcene, WA 98376.

The West Coast Action Alliance invites you to respond to this email or submit comments. However, on the advice of counsel, we cannot commit to preparing responses or answering questions in this forum.

Thank you for your time.


The West Coast Action Alliance and the Olympic Forest Coalition

Trudeau victory means uncertain future for pipeline projects – CBC

The first of many good news articles for the north coast of British Columbia, but with concerns still alive about tanker traffic increases in the Straits and Salish Sea, especially around the San Juans. This battle is not over yet, but at least a favorable government to ending it is now coming to power.

The Liberal victory in yesterday’s federal election appears to be the nail in the coffin for one West Coast pipeline project, but the future of another remains unclear. Incoming-prime minister Justin Trudeau is on record saying he would kill the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal, which would carry crude oil from the Alberta oilsands to a tanker terminal on the North Coast of B.C. near Prince Rupert…. That leaves the proposed expansion of the existing Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs from Alberta to Port Metro Vancouver on the South Coast of B.C. While Trudeau has promised to formalize the non-binding moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s North Coast passed by MP’s in 2010 — that ban applies specifically to the North Coast. And that leaves leave the door open for Kinder Morgan, which is seeking approval from the NEB to twin the 50-year-old pipeline, tripling its capacity, and increasing the tanker traffic in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet on the South Coast. Mike Laanela reports. (CBC)


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