State invites comments on fishing, hunting, rec programs and policies 

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking input from citizens on it’s policies and procedures. They also want thoughts on what could be improved. You can go to the Department’s web site directly here to fill out a form to give them input.

Washington’s Wild Future
A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife

Since I joined WDFW in January 2015, I have been asking people, “If you could tell the director of Fish and Wildlife one thing, what would you say?” Well now is the time for people all across the state to do just that. I want to hear about what we are doing right, where we need to improve, and where we should focus our efforts and our funding over the next five to 10 to 20 years.

This opportunity is part of our new multi-year initiative, Washington’s Wild Future: A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife.

We are embarking on this effort to strengthen the department’s relationships with communities, increase support for conservation and outdoor recreation, and help ensure WDFW programs and services meet the public’s needs.

The comments and proposals we receive will help determine priorities for conserving and managing Washington’s fish and wildlife in the coming years.

We will summarize the comments and suggestions from the public, as well as input from outdoor organizations and the department’s advisory groups, later this year (2015). That information will be used to help identify potential changes in WDFW’s operations and services, and to develop future policy, budget and fee proposals.

We face major management challenges over the next several years, and for us to be successful we need the public’s support and assistance. That’s what this initiative is all about – listening and working with you to build a stronger and more effective Fish and Wildlife.

Public Meetings

Six regional public forums are scheduled for September and October. Each meeting will begin with a brief presentation from WDFW about the importance of fish and wildlife management to Washington’s quality of life and the economies of local communities throughout the state. Participants will then be invited to talk with representatives of the department’s Fish, Wildlife, Enforcement, Licensing, and Habitat programs, as well as Unsworth and his immediate staff.

The meetings are scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at the following dates and locations:

  • Sept. 10 – Selah Civic Center, 216 1st St., Selah.
  • Sept. 30 – Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.
  • Oct. 6 – WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek.
  • Oct. 8 – Saint Martin’s University, Norman Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey.
  • Oct. 14 – Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver.
  • Oct. 20 – Port of Chelan County Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee.

We want to hear from you!

A few random thoughts about reporting and environmental science – Chris Dunagan

Chris shares his thoughts on 35 years of environmental reporting. I know that he has been an inspiration to my work on this blog since I started it in 2007.

Christopher Dunagan, who retired from daily reporting at the Kitsap Sun and now blogs, wrote of his 35 years of reporting: … “I grew up believing that science was a particular set of facts that explained the workings of nature. For the longest time, I failed to see that the most important thing about science was formulating the right questions about things we don’t know….While there is much work to do, we’re at a point where we can expect Puget Sound residents to limit their damage to the ecosystem and become part of the restoration effort.” (Watching Our Water Ways)

New Jefferson County Republican Leader Rages Against the Environmental “Machine” – PT Leader

Just picked up the Port Townsend Leader today, and read the interview with Gene Farr, the new head of the Republican Party for Jefferson County. Beyond asking why anyone would want such a job, which the Leader did, Farr was allowed a lot of ink to rant against the environmental machine, which he claims is destroying the county. He also took off after the United Nations on the Agenda 21, which is a typical conspiracy theory floated by some of Fox News folks. Gene went on to denounced climate change and environmental protection while he was at it.

It’s really sort of sad where the Republican Party has ended up. More and more they seem like the Goldwater lunatic fringe of the 60s, rather than the party that ran this State in the late 60s through 70s.  It was a Republican Governor,Dan Evans, who worked collaboratively with the the voters of King County to  get Metro off the ground in it’s efforts to clean up Lake Washington. It was Republican Dan Evans who formed the first Department of Ecology at the State level in the US.  Republican Secretary of State Ralph Munro, out on his boat on the Sound, witnessed first hand an Orca capture for the likes of a show much like the one documented in the recent movie “Blackfish”. Ralph was so upset by what he saw that he came back, called his friend Republican Slade Gordon and Governor Evans and pushed to outlaw the practice, thus beginning the long protection of these beautiful animals we share here in the  Salish Sea. It was Republican Richard Nixon who, at popular request, and the urging of the Ash Council, supported the notion of the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and named William Ruckelshaus, a Republican, to run it. Mr. Ruckelshaus has lived in the Seattle area since the 80s, and has been very much involved in helping with the Northwest Straits Initiative, and the founding of the Puget Sound Partnership. He’s still considered a pillar in the environmental community. Closer to home, there are Republicans in Clallam County that I’ve met that are moderate folks who are willing to admit that there are environmental problems worth solving collaboratively, and reasonably come to the table to work on them. They may not agree with Democratic points of view, they might be at odds with some in the environmental community there, but they seem less polarized about it than some I’ve met.

The point of this,is that the keys to success of the Republican Party are not to rant and rail against what many people understand to be positive steps towards protecting our air, water and shorelines. These decisions are difficult, and many of us have volunteered hundreds if not thousands of hours to help formulate regulations that are workable to most. And more importantly, have been found to be legal when challenged to our State Supreme Court. The Shoreline Master Program, the Critical Areas Ordinance and other regulations by the State, which we are allowed to participate in rather than be handed down to us to implement, are legal documents based on rules and regulations that are developed in meetings all over this State. It’s not a cabal, you get invited to them, and can ask to be included. There were distinctly Republican supporters at the meetings I attended, so this wasn’t done in a vacuum. The voters of this county have returned the commissioners who put forward those regulations to office. Something is in alignment I’d venture.

We look forward to Mr Farr putting away his conspiracy theory books, turning off the TV and actually rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in the processes he is so adamantly opposed to. By participation, he is more likely to come face to face with his neighbors, and understand that we are all working to make this a better place. We’re willing to debate different points of view, but to paint us as villains  is just counterproductive. He might just succeed in getting his agenda better integrated into the whole. The history of his party shows that they have been leaders before, and we are anxiously awaiting them to become so again.

Event:”Ocean acidification in WA State” June 15th in Port Townsend

“Ocean acidification in WA State: An exploration of its chemical, biological, and societal impacts”
PTMSC presents this lecture by NOAA Research Ecologist Shallin Busch. Busch helped develop NOAA’s Northwest Center state-of-the-art lab for studying the impacts of ocean acidification, hypoxia, and temperature change on coastal marine organisms. She conducts experiments on economically and ecologically important species and uses this research to explore potential impacts of ocean acidification on entire food webs and fisheries. In 2012, Busch served as a member of the WA State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. The lecture is this Saturday, June 15th at 4pm in the Fort Worden State Park JFK Building.  No park pass necessary (note: PTMSC is paying in advance so audience doesn’t have to buy a pass, but if you already have one, please bring and display it on your dash). Admission is $7 adults/$5 adult members/$3 youth/$2 youth members

June 8th is World Oceans Day

While this is sponsored by NOAA, the UN and many other agencies, it is oddly not celebrated here in the Salish Sea. Only a couple of minor events are happening, according to their event calendar. Given the huge amount of work being done here, maybe next year we can see a greater uptake in public awareness on this event.

Want to do something to celebrate? Here’s a short list.

  • Take a child to the Port Townsend Marine Science Center
  • Take a child to the Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles.
  • Go to any beach with a bag and collect garbage. You’ll find some.

Heck, Kilmer launch new caucus to support Puget Sound priorities

It’s gratifying to see that newly elected Derek Kilmer (who represents the Peninsula in the House), has stepped up and is attempting to take on the mantle of serious oversight on Puget Sound issues. Given the recent findings that sediment in the Central Sound has been getting more polluted rather than less, it’s time to aggressively change the game plan. Having met with Representative Kilmer at length not long ago, it was my impression that he is a ‘wonk’ very able to understand the complexities of issues. We will find out how much ability he has to deliver solutions, especially in a deeply divided and uncompromising House in WA DC.
Press Release from the Puget Sound Partnership
Reps. Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer stepped up as Puget Sound protectors yesterday by announcing that they are co-founding the Congressional Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, devoted exclusively to promoting Puget Sound cleanup efforts. For the immediate future, the caucus work will focus on promoting the three recovery priorities, as identified in the Puget Sound Action Agenda: preventing pollution from urban stormwater runoff, protecting and restoring habitat, and restoring and re-opening shellfish beds. Reps. Jim McDermott, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene have signed up as charter members. We appreciate the leadership and support these Members of Congress are providing for addressing the region’s highest priorities to restore and protect the Sound.
Kilmer’s news release:
Heck’s news release:

Snowpack for Olympics is great going into summer

The snowpack depth in the Olympic Peninsula as we head into summer is excellent. On May 1st, the last month until next November  that the snowpack is measured, showed that we were 103% of normal for  the year. This is still below last years snowpack but dramatically above the snowpack experienced in 2005, when the pack was only at 25% of normal. In 2006, the Makah Tribe ran very low on water supplies in their reservoirs  All measurements for the Cascades are also above normal. This is in contrast with drought conditions continuing across approx 60% of the country and especially  the southwest and central Rockies. Severe to execptionally severe drought (the highest level measured), continues to plague key farming areas from California to the Central Plains. Costs last year to farming were estimated to be between $50 and 200 B, which is higher than the estimated damage of Hurricane Sandy, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting

Given concerns about global warming, the understanding is that many areas will continue to experience wild weather swings,  storms with increased strength (as Oklahoma hurricanes  and Hurricane Sandy have shown recently, along with historic flooding in Texas) and prolongued drought. The drought of last year was epic, on a scale of the Dustbowl of the Great Depression. This year is expected to be close if not worse.

In the Northwest, we seem to be beneficiares of a pocket of ‘good’ weather. As global temperatures continure to rise, with little sign of a downturn in the trend (the trend is variable, as are most trends).


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