DNR signs historic easement agreement with Navy

This is huge. The key takeaway, “The practical effect of the agreement will be to preclude new, nearshore commercial or industrial construction along the areas of the Hood Canal and neighboring waterways where the Navy operates for the next 55 years.”

More analysis will be forthcoming.

NEWS RELEASE

July 7, 2014
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC LANDS PETER GOLDMARK SIGNS CONSERVATION EASEMENT WITH U.S. NAVY
Easements On State-Owned Aquatic Lands In Hood Canal To Buffer Navy Operations

OLYMPIA – Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark has signed a conservation easement with the United States Navy that will conserve and protect more than 4,800 acres of Hood Canal aquatic lands.

“This agreement will buffer important military operating areas in Hood Canal and ensure the long-term stability of the Navy’s presence at Naval Base Kitsap, which will sustain the jobs that depend on the Navy’s continued presence in the region,” said Commissioner Goldmark, the statewide elected official who administers the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “This agreement will also provide new protections for sensitive marine ecosystems and safeguard public access to Hood Canal.”

“The Navy is pleased to have reached an agreement to purchase a restrictive easement over DNR-owned bedlands in the Hood Canal because this transaction allows us to protect these ranges and military operating areas for the next 55 years,” said Naval Base Kitsap Commanding Officer Capt. Tom Zwolfer. “These ranges and military operating areas are crucial for military readiness and national defense. This transaction represents a substantial step toward readiness sustainment for the Navy.”

The easement will not permit new construction by the Navy, nor will it affect public access, privately owned lands, recreational uses, or aquaculture or geoduck harvest. The practical effect of the agreement will be to preclude new, nearshore commercial or industrial construction along the areas of the Hood Canal and neighboring waterways where the Navy operates for the next 55 years.

As steward of more than 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, DNR ensures that the people of Washington benefit from the use of aquatic lands while also ensuring environmental protection of the state’s aquatic resources.
Environmental Leaders Praise Historic Agreement
Since 2012, DNR and the Navy have been engaged in a collaborative partnership with environmental non-profits including The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) to conserve vital aquatic and upland habitat along Hood Canal. Though this specific easement is executed exclusively between the Navy and DNR, its completion is complementary to the many projects successfully completed in partnership with TNC and TPL.
“With this action, we are changing the future for Hood Canal,” said Mike Stevens, Washington state Director for TNC. “Commissioner Goldmark and the Navy have shown profound foresight and historic leadership by preventing destructive development across a huge swath of Puget Sound bedlands. Orcas, oysters, and people should all rejoice.”
“This is a win-win-win for Hood Canal’s natural resources, its traditional economy, and the Navy’s vital mission delivery,” said Paul Kundtz, Washington State Director of The Trust for Public Land. “We congratulate Commissioner Goldmark, the team at the Department of Natural Resources, and the US Navy on another significant success in our ongoing efforts to conserve the Hood Canal.”
“I’m sure I speak for all members of the Hood Canal Coalition when I say that we are delighted that Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark and the United States Navy have been able to conclude this historic agreement to protect Hood Canal,” said John Fabian, a retired Air Force Colonel and NASA astronaut who leads the 600-member Hood Canal Coalition.
Media Contact: Matthew Randazzo, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of Public Lands, 360-902-1099, matthew.randazzo@dnr.wa.gov

As dams fall, rapid changes on Elwha River – Houston Chronicle

Good short article about changes on the Elwha.

http://www.chron.com/news/science/article/As-dams-fall-rapid-changes-on-Elwha-River-5601507.php

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/

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