This week…VOTE

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.


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)

‘Pit-to-pier’ firm appeals Jefferson County’s Shoreline Master Plan- PDN

The Peninsula Daily News reports today that the Thorndyke Resources Project will take a legal challenge on the Shoreline Master Plan to the Growth Management Board. Given what the PDN reports, it seems unlikely to be successful, but hope springs eternal with these folks, and they apparently have the money to hire the lawyers to challenge it. 

Read the whole story here:



Jefferson County – Michelle McConnell leaves for Ecology

Michelle McConnell, who has been a stalwart at the Jefferson County Dept. of Community Development for many years, has chosen to leave and work for the Department of Ecology. Michelle has had the extremely hard job of shepherding the Shoreline Master Program through over the last 8 years. She has always been a steady hand and been a sea of calm in the midst of turbulent public meetings over the SMP. We will miss her guidance on these issues. No word on a replacement yet. Best of luck to Michelle in future endeavors.

I’m pleased to announce I have accepted a new job and will be leaving DCD the week of April 7; my new position will be as a Shoreline Planner with WA Department of Ecology.

I have learned a lot during my eight years with the County and it has been both challenging and rewarding to have served as Project Manager for major, multi-year projects including the Shoreline Master Program Update and Watershed Stewardship Resource Center/SquareONE.  I’m proud of the many positive contributions I’ve made to the never-ending, fast-paced and varied work of DCD.

Thanks to all the good folks I’ve met and worked with along the way!

Best wishes,


Jefferson County Commissioner John Austin decides against third run for seat – PDN and others

Jefferson County Commissioner John Austin has decided not to run for a third 4 year term. I have appreciated his strong stand on environmental issues over the last years, and will miss him on the Commission Board. He has been a very solid vote for environmental protection, health care for all county residents, and a man willing to deliberate over a position.  Politics is about trying to make everyone feel like they are being considered, and some in this county have not felt that way over the last few years, but that wasn’t for a lack of trying by John. Good luck John in all your future travels. I thank you for your friendship and consultations.

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.

WSU Master Goat Farmer Program offered in Jefferson County in January

WSU Jefferson County Extension offers the Master Goat Farmer Program on Marrowstone  Island from January 17-19th , 2014. The 3-day advanced course, offered by WSU since 1988,provides goat farmers/owners in-depth training of goat production topics including nutrition, pasture management, health and disease, lactation, mastitis, reproduction, housing, breed  selection, and food safety.

Course presenters include Susan Kerr, WSU Northwest Regional Livestock and Dairy Extension Specialist; Gary Fredericks, WSU Cowlitz Extension County Director, and Lorrie Conway. Course participants will experience hands-on and classroom presentations, along with a field trip to neighboring goat dairy, Mystery Bay Farm. Participants will also receive a CD of educational publications related to goat care and management.

The Master Goat Farmer Program will be held at WSU Twin Vista Ranch on Marrowstone Island on Friday, Saturday and Sunday January 17th , 18th and 19th

Class size is limited. Cost is $60 per person, plus $30 for additional family members. To register, visit

For more information: Susan Kerr at or 360-848-6151 or Kellie Henwood at (360) 379-5610 ext. 201.

New shoreline restoration project in Jefferson County – NW

It was a blustery day when Jefferson MRC members, Northwest Straits Commission and Northwest Straits Foundation staff, and others recently toured the site of beach restoration planned at Fort Townsend State Park. The MRC is partnering with Washington State Parks and the Foundation to restore shoreline that has been dramatically altered by rip rap, decommissioned military wharves, and related construction. Spawning herring and surf smelt have been documented close by.

The project design is now out for bid; work will restore forage fish habitat and improve access to the beach for kayakers and other visitors.

Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners Adopts SMP

The Board of County Commissioners took formal action to adopt the new Shoreline Master Program with supporting documents by unanimous vote this morning, December 16, 2013. Staff is preparing to forward the updated SMP to Ecology for final adoption and anticipates the new program will be in effect by mid-January 2014. Final documents will be posted online when available.

We thank all the County Commissioners for their diligent and determined work to bring a high standard to the environmental protection of our shores. Many dozens of people have worked for over 8 years on this project. It’s the belief of this writer that they have done the best job they could, given the contentious issues, and now to move on stronger protections of this fragile shore.

As to the issue of net pen aquaculture in Jefferson County, it is this writer’s belief that there should be a significant independent scientific study done, perhaps by the Sea Grant folks at the UW who just completed the 6 year geoduck study, to explore the effects of the net pen industry on benthic layers beneath the pens, as well as possible wider effects due to disease and sea lice.  Since DOE relies on science, and the science hasn’t been updated since the 1980′s (at best), it is time to revisit this. There is much water under the bridge on this issue since those days. As we wait for this science to be documented, there should be a moratorium on new net pens in Puget Sound and the greater Salish Sea (i.e. Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca). All existing pens should be allowed to continue to exist (if financially viable) but no new ones should be added until we understand whether this is hurting the efforts to re-establish wild salmon or not. We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bring back wild fish. We have no idea of whether sea lice and disease vectors in the pens are harming salmon, rock fish and other species in serious decline.

Upcoming WSU Extension Class for Beginning Farmers- Sign up now

Upcoming farm course offers overview of production and marketing options


Do you farm and need some help improving your bottom line? Do you dream of farming, and aren’t sure where to begin?  The “Sustainable Small Acreage Farming and Ranching” course offered through a joint effort between WSU Jefferson and Clallam County Extensions provides beginning and expanding farmers with planning and decision-making tools, production skills, and support necessary to develop or improve their sustainable small farm or ranch.


Course presenters include successful local producers and university specialists with expertise in direct marketing, value-added processing, production planning, and more.  Course participants will have a chance to participate in field visits to see different operations and processing options up close.  They also qualify for college or continuing education credit.


Sustainable Farming and Ranching runs weekly on Wednesday nights from January 22nd thru March 19th, 6:00pm-9:00pm at the Gardiner Community Center in Gardiner, including 3 intensive Saturday field trips to various farms throughout both counties. The class is part of the Cultivating SuccessTM Program, a collaboration of Washington State University’s Small Farms Team, University of Idaho Extension and the non-profit Rural Roots. Support comes from the USDA Risk Management Agency and the Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program. 


Class size is limited. Cost for the nine-week course is $250 per farm or family. Paid pre-registration is required.  Register online at or contact Kellie Henwood at WSU Jefferson County Extension at 360-379-5610 ext. 201.

Jefferson County SMP to finally be adopted! Dec 16th

No really! After local adoption, the County will then forward the new Shoreline Master Program (SMP)  to Ecology for final adoption and anticipates the new program will be in effect by mid-January 2014.

From Michelle McConnell of the Department of Community Development:

Monday, December 16, 2013

City of Port Townsend’s Cotton Building

(former Police station)

607 Water Street – downtown

See the Board’s agenda (to be posted on Friday) for final estimated time (likely ~ 10:30am). The meeting is open to the public – please note this is not a public hearing.

This has been a long and collaborative project for our community and your involvement has been important – whether you just tuned-in or have been following this for years, whether just tracking progress via web & email updates, submitting comments, attending the many public hearings and outreach events, or participating in the extensive advisory committees and Planning Commission process.  The result is an updated Shoreline Master Program that is robust and flexible, rooted in current science, reflective of local values, and better able to address the diversity of our approximate 500 miles of lake, river, and saltwater shorelines under SMP jurisdiction.  The SMP gives us all a much-improved toolbox for allowing appropriate waterfront development in balance with our fragile natural resources:  Let’s Do More With Our Shores:  Protect – Use – Develop – Restore!

Peninsula salmon projects get $4.5 million – PDN

Lots of good projects that are going to give jobs to folks here on the Peninsula, and help restore salmon habitat. The work is far from being completed, but it’s good to see these projects and land purchases get funded. Tying this together with the work described by Earth Economics over the weekend on this site, it’s worth it to note that there is value in these ecosystem renewal projects. Slowing the rivers by putting in log jams, for example, do not just provide scientifically proven habitat for salmon (especially young salmon migrating downstream), but they also aide in flood protection among other benefits. Flood plain protection is a value that lowers the cost to repairing damage from floods over multiple decades.

The state has awarded $4.5 million in grants for new salmon restoration projects on the North Olympic Peninsula. ….

Rob Ollikainen reports.

There’s quite a bit more to the story at:


Support local journalism, subscribe to the Peninsula Daily News.

Creosote-tainted pilings, docks to be removed in Jefferson County – PDN

Stock image from DNR.

The good work continues to reverse the long held practice of putting toxic pilings, that remain so for decades, into the Sound and greater Salish Sea. It took over a hundred years for these to be put in, it will take a long time to get them all out. But you work one project at a time.  Another example of how our Marine Resource Committee works together with the State of Washington to move us towards a better environment.  It also helps pay for temporary jobs, to do those tasks.

The state will begin removing hundreds of toxic, creosote-treated pilings in East Jefferson County.  Beginning Nov. 4 and continuing into next year, the state Department of Natural Resources will take out pilings and several thousand square feet of overwater structures at seven sites from Port Townsend Channel southward to Point Whitney in Hood Canal in the $588,000 project. Most of the removal sites provide habitat for forage fish and migrating juvenile salmon that feed on them, DNR said. Creosote, containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), was used historically to prevent wood decay and insect infestations.

Read the whole story at the Peninsula Daily News.

Jefferson County SMP – Latest Update

Status of Final Adoption – From the Jefferson County Department of Community Development

After much consideration and additional public input, the Board and Ecology have agreed on proposed provisions to regulate finfish aquaculture. Ecology’s September approval concludes the County’s formal response to the State’s required and recommended changes. Staff is working to prepare the final SMP document and it’s adopting ordinance and a resolution for the supplemental technical documents. The Board is anticipated to take formal action to adopt the new SMP with supporting documents in mid-November. The County will then submit the new SMP to Ecology for final adoption and anticipates the new program will be in effect by mid-December 2013.

Job Announcement – Jefferson County Conservation District

Job Announcement

Jefferson Co. Conservation District

205 W. Patison St., Port Hadlock WA 98339

Phone 360-385-4105 email: Website

Salary: $21 – $23/Hour DOE Deadline: October 15, 2013, 4:00 pm

Permanent, ¾ to Full-time with benefits

Jefferson Co. Conservation District announces a position opening for District Manager/Technician in their Port Hadlock, Washington office. This is a 3/4 to full-time position with benefits. The Manager/Technician administers District operations and provides technical assistance to landowners, community groups and agencies for voluntary, incentive based options that support working landscapes while protecting and enhancing our natural resources. The programs are geared towards landowners who reside within the boundaries of the Jefferson Co. Conservation District. The District Manager/Technician is responsible for overall management of the Conservation District, supervision of district employees and providing technical assistance to district clients. The District Manager/Technician assists the Board of Supervisors with the coordination, management and administration of conservation programs throughout the Jefferson Co. Conservation District.


A bachelor’s degree in natural resources, environmental planning/science, sustainable development, agriculture/forestry/agronomy, public administration/management/leadership, or any closely related field, and a minimum of three years of supervisory and program management experience is required. Additional qualifying experience may substitute year-for-year for the education requirement. The applicant must have a demonstrated ability to manage multiple, diverse issues and a proven commitment to land stewardship on private lands. Candidates with proficiency in MS Office (Excel, Access, Publisher, etc.) and GIS are encouraged to apply. Candidates with a natural resources and agriculture background strongly preferred.


§ Assist the Board of Supervisors with the coordination, management and administration of conservation programs throughout the Jefferson Co. Conservation District

§ Develop and maintain strong working relationships with landowners, other districts and local, state, tribal and federal agencies, and elected officials.

§ Coordinate and provide technical assistance to District clients.

§ Represent the Board, as directed, at local and regional meetings that may affect the Board and/or District programs.

§ Coordinate monthly Board meetings (including proper recording of official meeting minutes) and keep the Board informed of actions taken, trends in conservation and issues of interest to the Board.

§ Serve as liaison for the Board of Supervisors and coordinate closely with the Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD), the Washington State Conservation Commission (WSCC) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

§ Continue to develop and maintain the District’s Operational Policy & Procedures Manual with input from staff and approval by the Board.

The measure of success is the proactive delivery of services to private landowners and the general public in a professional, efficient and productive manner leading to the conservation of local natural resources consistent with the mission and goals of the District. The successful candidate must be able to work productively with a diverse community of landowners including farmers, forest landowners, community organizations, tribes, and government agencies. The position reports directly to the Board of Supervisors. A full job description is available from the District website .

To apply for this position:

Applicants must provide a cover letter, completed application form (available from the conservation district office or website), a resume, and three professional references. Applications must be received at the Jefferson Co. Conservation District office on or before 4:00 pm, October 15, 2013, in hard copy and/or electronic format.

For more information contact the District office at 360-385-4105..

An application can be downloaded from the website or picked up at the District office.

Please submit the packet to:

Jefferson Co. Conservation District

205 W. Patison St.

Port Hadlock WA 98339

Or via email to

2013 Jefferson WSU Extension Beach Watchers Training – April

2013 Jefferson WSU Extension Beach Watchers Training

April 2-30th, Tuesdays and Thursday from 9 am – 4 pm
Cupola House, 280 Jefferson St., Port Townsend, WA 98268

Beach Watcher Training 2013Poster revised

Learn more about our local shorelines, wetlands, forest and nearshore restoration, coastal geology and marine resources in a fast-paced, 9-session course organized by Jefferson WSU Extension. Learn from local and regional experts in the classroom and in the field, then apply and share that knowledge by volunteering for stewardship, research or education projects with us or one of our many partners (Jefferson Marine Resource committee, PT Marine Science Center, Jefferson Land Trust, WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife, and others). Increase your appreciation for this place we call home and join other enthusiastic s in the community to protect and steward our special places. Register by March 26th. An application and more information can be found at or contact Cheryl Lowe at or 360-379-5610 x 230.

Nov 5: Jefferson County Dept. of Community Development Public Meeting

Jeff County DCD Director Carl Smith Discusses Departmental Improvement
Nov. 5, 7:30pm
Quimper Grange
1219 Corona Street (End of Sheridan)

On Monday, November 5, Quimper Grange will host a talk by Jefferson County Department of Community Development Director Carl Smith, who will discuss the ongoing improvement program in the Department of Community Development (building & development permits). Smith will address the need for changes in the department with an overview of the DCD including staff, budget and recent years of permitting activity. He will also cover the process, elements and results of the improvement efforts. Attendees will learn how and why DCD is working toward providing improved service, the ways in which DCD will track performance over time and inform the community, and the preliminary signs of the improvement.

Carl Smith’s background includes more than 20 years experience as a land use planner, including more than ten years of senior management experience directing community development departments for local governments in Alaska and Washington State.

He was most recently the Lands Manager for a Native village corporation and also served as Planning Director for Bristol Bay Borough, Alaska. He previously held a management position with the Port of Tacoma, and before that, directed planning and permitting for the cities of Fife, Woodinville, and Mountlake Terrace. Smith holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Planning, a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Science, a certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners, is a LEED Accredited Professional, and holds numerous other professional certifications. Because of his affection for the area, he has owned 5 acres of property in Quilcene since the late 1990s where he built a house in 2006 and now resides.

The program starts at 7:30 pm and is preceded by a potluck dessert/fingerfood social half-hour from 7pm to 7:30pm. Suggested donation: $5-$10. For further information contact: Charlotte Goldman at 385-3455

An open letter to our State Representatives and Senator – Regarding the Jefferson County SMP

Over the last six years, dozens of individuals have worked on updating the Shoreline Master Program, as required by the State Department of Ecology. I was a member of the group of citizens who volunteered hundreds of hours of my time to help craft it.

The document was approved by the County Planners and also approved by the Planning Committee and the unanimous approval of the County Commissioners.

There was one issue that was a sticking point, in that the County chose to ban Net Pen Aquaculture in county waters. To be clear, there are no net pens currently in Jefferson County, and the last ones were removed decades ago, because they were failures.

The Department of Ecology allowed the banning of net pens in Whatcom County’s SMP.

Now, the DOE is saying that we cannot ban net pens in Jefferson County.

There is good scientific evidence that net pens negatively impact native salmon, by becoming a ‘vector’ for infections and infestations of parasites, such as sea lice. If you want to know more, simply listen to this audio podcast I recorded last month when Dr. Lawrence Dill came to Port Angeles. The link to his slides and video of him presenting is listed to the left of this column.

Our banning of net pens can be looked on as temporary, as future updates to the SMP, can reverse this if science is shown to be able to properly manage the threat. Also, there is new technology that could see net pens put near the shore, or “upland” and not be directly in the water. We all look forward to that technology being proven workable.

The State of Washington, and our Federal Government, is spending hundreds of millions of dollars over decades to protect and restore the native salmon to our waters. It seems totally out of step that the Department of Ecology, that is chartered with defending our environment, should essentially tell our local officials, after all this work, that if we do not approve the SMP with net pens allowed, that they will withdraw our work and rewrite the SMP themselves as they see fit.

This seems to be the kind of behavior we would expect if officials had some kind of stake in the outcome. It is not indicative of the organization or the man who is chartered with protecting our environment. I am sure that’s not the case, but this is an election year. And appearances are everything.

That said, I am calling for the removal by the Governor of Mr.Ted Sturdevant, the Ecology Director. His actions have gone against the years of work of informed citizen volunteers, against the work done by elected county officials of Jefferson County and against the ecology of the Sound that he is chartered with protecting.

I hope you join me and phone or email your support of this letter to the Governor’s office, and our elected officials, Representative Van De Wege, Representative Tharinger and Senator Hargrove. Their contacts are found to the left side of this page, under Governmental Sites, near the bottom of the list. Linda Barnfather is currently handling both Tharinger and Van De Wege administrative assistant duties, so one email or call to her will handle both of them

Commissioners may reluctantly approve fish farming

Our elected officials are being told to approve it ‘or else’. The outright threat of throwing out the hard work of this county over 6 years by the Department of Ecology is just outrageous. If you want to do something about it, make a call to the governors’ office for the replacement of Mr. Sturdevant at the State Department of Ecology.

Jefferson County commissioners will consider approval today of a letter to the state Department of Ecology that reluctantly agrees to permitting net pen aquaculture under conditional use permits. The three commissioners will discuss, and possibly approve, the letter proposed by county staff during today’s 1:30 p.m. county manager briefing session in commissioners’ chambers at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Fish farming is the last sticking point in state approval of the county’s update of its shoreline master program.

Irondale Beach Park cleanup to begin in southern portion – PDN

Fencing will go up this week at the southern part of Irondale Beach Park as the state prepares to clean up pollution left by a smelter that closed nearly a century ago

…more at


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