Biotoxin infesting part of Hood Canal usually free of it – PDN

Warning for those of you going out to do some shellfish gathering.

…. The Department of Health found high levels of the marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning in Hood Canal early this summer, leading the state to close several beaches in Jefferson and Mason counties to shellfish harvest, many for the first time. Aria Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun)

See also: More shellfish harvest closures in effect in Clallam County; shut areas stretch from Cape Flattery to Jefferson line (Peninsula Daily News)

Poacher draws 5 1/2 years in prison after investigation by WDFW Police

There has been a number of people wondering about who were poaching  these oysters.

SEATTLE – The former owner of a shellfish company based in Jefferson County was sentenced today to 5½ years in prison after a poaching investigation by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) proved he and his employees had stolen millions of oysters and clams off Washington beaches.

Rodney Allan Clark, 50, former owner of G&R Quality Seafood in Quilcene, pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court to 17 counts of trafficking in stolen property and one count of reckless endangerment for selling shellfish to the public without a state health certification.

Clark was also ordered to return to court next month for a hearing to determine restitution for the shellfish he and his employees stole from beaches in Jefferson and Kitsap counties.

Eight of Clark’s former employees, some of whom cooperated with the investigation, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fishing violations in previous court appearances and received a combination of fines and jail time.

Clark’s sentencing marked the end of a high-profile case that was delayed for nearly a year after the former convict jumped bail in 2013 and fled the state. He was finally extradited from Hawaii under a warrant signed by Gov. Jay Inslee the following year.

Court records describe how a tip from a shellfish inspector for the Washington Department of Health prompted WDFW to open its investigation of G&R Quality Seafood in April 2009.

According to the health inspector, a shellfish buyer reported buying thousands of Clark’s oysters, which made some of his customers in Yakima and the Tri-Cities sick.

For the next 11 months, WDFW detectives developed a case on Clark and his employees, documenting their activities as they illegally harvested shellfish at night on isolated beaches in Jefferson and Kitsap counties. The detectives also monitored the movement of the stolen shellfish to King County, where Clark and his employees sold it at a profit to restaurants, fish markets, and seafood wholesalers.

WDFW Police Chief Steve Crown estimates that Clark and his employees illegally harvested more than $2 million worth of oysters and clams from publicly and privately owned beaches, but said the true value of the stolen shellfish may never be known.

“These poachers stripped entire beaches of oysters and clams, and recklessly sold uncertified shellfish for public consumption,” Crown said. “This was a crime against the people and the natural resources of our state, and we made it a priority to get their ringleader off the street and shut his operation down.”

In March 2010, the WDFW Police seized thousands of documents detailing the operations of G&R Quality Seafood after obtaining a warrant to search Clark’s office in Quilcene and other properties. Several other agencies participated in those raids, including the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Based on WDFW’s investigation, Clark was charged in King County Superior Court in December 2011, but was released on bail pending trial. In December 2013, he failed to appear for a pretrial court date, leading to an interstate search that led first to Alaska, then to Hawaii.

Clark, who previously served a prison sentence for drug offenses in Montana, was eventually arrested in Hawaii and extradited to Washington state under a warrant issued last year by Gov. Inslee.

“We’d like to thank all the agencies that helped us bring Rodney Allan Clark to justice, particularly the King County Prosecutor’s Office,” Crown said. “If the prosecutor hadn’t agreed to pursue this case, Rodney Clark would probably still be out on the oyster beds, plundering the state’s natural resources.”

Grants will support ‘shore friendly’ landowner projects in Puget Sound – WDFW

Good news from the State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Based on the good outcomes of similar workshops a few years ago, the Northwest Straits Foundation, which helps support the work of the Jefferson and Clallam County Marine Resource Committees, has been chosen as one of the recipients of a grant. The grant will allow us to hold workshops and offer technical training on state of the art information for reducing hard-armoring of shorelines. This money will be used in the counties affected. It's a great example of using the State to fund the activities but keeping them  by and for the people who know the priorities at the local level. An example of what this is all about can be found by watching this short video we did two years ago for Jefferson County. There is a very good example of soft shore armoring in it. Done by folks over on Dungeness Bay.
OLYMPIA - Five proposals to provide incentives for shoreline landowners in Puget Sound to manage their property in a "shore friendly" way will receive funding through the Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Grant Program at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The grant program, jointly managed by WDFW and the Washington Department of Natural Resources, will distribute $1.6 million provided by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support actions outlined in the state’s Action Agenda for Puget Sound.

“Reducing the amount of hard-armored shoreline is critical to Puget Sound recovery,” said Patricia Jatczak, grant program manager. “Shore-friendly techniques that avoid the use of bulkheads, seawalls and other types of hard armor can protect property with minimal interference to important natural processes that create and maintain aquatic habitat.”

The grant proposals are designed to examine how incentives can be used to motivate residential landowners to remove unnecessary armor or install soft shore protection if needed, Jatczak said. Those incentives may include onsite technical assistance, help with permit costs and workshops for landowners.

The five applicants selected to receive funding were:


  • Northwest Straits Foundation – $312,117: This project will be implemented in San Juan, Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Island, Jefferson, and Clallam counties, and focuses on providing technical assistance to residential landowners to avoid or replace shoreline armor with soft shore protection.
  • Kitsap County – $365,854: Kitsap County will use the grant to offer financial incentives and a streamlined permit process for bulkhead removal, as well as technical assistance and erosion assessments.
  • Mason Conservation District – $315,155: This project will be implemented in Mason County, and will provide resources such as workshops, information about shoreline processes, and technical assistance to encourage the removal of bulkheads, install soft shore protection if needed and improve stewardship of the nearshore.
  • Island County – $290,399: This project focuses on the preservation of Island County’s unarmored shoreline, and will provide streamlined permitting and financial assistance for shoreline residents who choose soft-shore alternatives.
  • San Juan County – $348,170: The goal of this project is to protect San Juan County’s unarmored shoreline by providing information and assistance to landowners and shift the cultural norm toward natural shorelines.


Since 2010, the state grant program has received more than $18 million in funding from the EPA to support the state’s Puget Sound Action Agenda. The funding has supported about 60 projects including those designed to restore marine habitat, support citizen science at the state’s protected aquatic areas, and engage citizens in preparing and responding to oil spills.

The program also developed the Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines, which provide guidance on using soft shore techniques.


Seeking applications for Jefferson County Conservation Futures Committee

Jefferson County Conservation Futures Program. Citizen Oversight Committee Vacancies: District #1, District #3 and Interest

The Conservation Futures Citizen Oversight Committee members make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners on the selection and funding of open space projects utilizing the Conservation Futures Fund. The Board of County Commissioners seeks representation on the committee from each commissioner district and a broad spectrum of interests. There are currently vacancies for citizens to represent District #1, District #3 and an “Interest” on the committee. Examples of interests include parks and recreation, user groups, agriculture, forestry, conservation organizations and real estate. Other interests not listed here may also be represented. The committee meets approximately six times per year, with the majority of activities usually scheduled in April. Interested individuals should submit a letter or email to the Office of the Board of County Commissioners, P.O. Box 1220, Port Townsend, WA 98368 or no later than 4:30 p.m. Friday, November 28, 2014. These are non-paid positions. For more information, contact Tami Pokorny, Jefferson County Environmental Health Dept. at Ph: (360) 379-4498 or email View the Conservation Futures Program Web site at Click on “Conservation Futures”.

Tami Pokorny

Jefferson County Water Quality

Ph: 360.379.4498

For war games next year, Navy wants to post trucks with electromagnetic radiation equipment on West End – PDN

So this is the rest of the story, which was originally posted in the Forks Forum and reposted here. The Forks Forum article read like a conspiracy theory report, with mentions of a tiny notice in one location in Forks and no contact with local newspapers, elected officials or anyone else. I almost didn’t pass it along because I didn’t have time to verify it independently.

Without any debate from our elected officials in the last three years, we have allowed the Navy to continue to turn our forests, waters  and airspace into a training ground for their war games. Since the Forest Service has decided that there is no health hazard (a bureaucrat decided this on the public’s behalf  without consulting scientists apparently), the Navy has not been asked to do a public Environmental Impact statement.  For those hiking, mushroom collecting, fishing, and hunting in the woods, you may never even know you are possibly being given large doses of electromagnetic radiation. We have endangered species like the Marbled Murrlett, and the Spotted Owl along with eagles out there in those woods as well. All you can hope is that the Navy actually sees you before they blast you. It would be great to see one of our elected officials step in and demand an EIS on this, rather than rely on the good graces of the military, which operates much of what they do in total secret. Without it, we have no idea of what kind of risks this poses. It’s the kind of thing that is much better suited to a treeless, remote Alaskan island in the Aleutians than a working forest.

My issue with all this, is that while well meaning, many of the soldiers working in our bases around here are not from here. And their commanders apparently don’t train them on how these issues affect us. They have no local knowledge of the people who sail, work the forests, or otherwise live here. We see that all the time in the way we are treated when the Coast Guard stops us sailing around the Bay because they need to practice their boarding techniques, treating us as criminals or possible terrorists. We are the ones who pay their salaries. They serve to protect us. We may be doing nothing more than sailing around an area that they are practicing in, and we become their targets for the day. We also see it in the lack of concern that the Navy shows by flying jets at all hours of the day and night. And now we see it here, where military personnel apparently decided there was no reason to really notify anyone about a major war games project in our woods. As an example, on the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee, we have a standing open position for the Navy, a key player in the shorelines and waters of our county. Despite repeated attempts over the years to get them to participate, by sending even one low level PR person to the meetings, they have never felt it necessary to even show up. It just shows a lack of interest in engaging the public, except when they are forced to. This wargames story is another sad example of that.

FORKS — The Navy wants to allow three camper-sized trucks with electromagnetic radiation equipment to conduct war exercises with military aircraft from 15 sites in Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor counties.

The locations — 12 in Olympic National Forest and three on state Department of Natural Resources land — would be part of the Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range and would involve aircraft from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Read the rest of the story here: (and support local journalism by subscribing to the PDN!)

Company seeking ‘pit-pier’ project sues state, Navy over new Hood Canal conservation easement

Here it comes, the lawsuit. This is likely to take a long time to move through the courts, maybe a decade.

Hood Canal Sand and Gravel, the company seeking the long-planned “pit to pier” gravel operation, has filed suit in Jefferson County Superior Court in an effort to block a state and federal plan to block development along the Hood Canal coastline.  Joe Smillie reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

 See also: Deadline looms for comments on the pit-to-pier impact statement Christopher Dunagan reports. (Kitsap Sun)

This week…VOTE

Have you sent in your ballot? Time to get it done! And help a neighbor remember too!

The primaries are on. For Jefferson County, there is a bit of confusion as the Republicans have vanished and “independents” are now the label that they are taking.  But let’s look at some of the races.

US. House of Representatives.  Derek Kilmer 

Derek has done an admirable job of navigating the House of Representatives, which are currently controlled by a radically anti-environmental group of Republicans who insist on trying to overturn key legislation, or open more locales to mining, fracking and the like.

The League of Conservation Voters has a good overview of his voting record here.

Derek has teamed up with Republicans to create a bi-partisan Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, to continue to fight for funding to promote Sound cleanup.

Vote backgrounds

While I applaud the idea of the Green Party coming to the field with Doug Milholland, I would not recommend voting out a successful and proven Congressman with an unproven candidate, no matter what his promises might be. If the current position was filled by an anti-environmental legislator, then I would be seriously considering Mr. Milholland’s candidacy. I attempted to get an interview with Mr. Milholland but apparently we were unable to connect in the last two weeks.


State of Washington House of Representatives.  Steve Tharinger and Kevin Van De Wege

Both these candidates have proven themselves to support environmental law and policy. I have met them over the years, and witnessed them working. I fully support their return to office over any of the possible other candidates.

Jefferson County Commissioner District 3 – Kathleen Kler. 

Ms. Kler is the hand picked replacement for a very supportive environmentally oriented Commissioner, John Austin. While I have only interviewed two of the other candidates, their lack of depth and experience in environmental issues, and their focus on jobs over all other issues, leaves me coming back to the fact that Ms. Kler has worked closely on a number of issues throughout the County as documented on her  web page:

She is endorsed by the Jefferson County Democrats, which also means that she has proven herself adept at working with large diverse groups. With the County Critical Areas Ordinance up for revision during the next term, it’s important to have  a clear environmental supporter on the Commissioners, along with the current two.

Public Utility District #2       Ken Collins

I think it’s time to swap out Mr. McMillan  after the disaster of the switch over to the PUD. Low income people have had their power cut during winter, billing was poorly executed, and support of environmentally friendly power generation is put on the back burner. A lack of sensitivity to the customer permeates the current PUD, and  Mr. Collins brings experience dealing with other power and energy companies, and also a commitment to help serve low income population, which comprises a large percentage of the county.



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