From the Sund Rock area of Hood Canal.
Strange behavior for sea otters. Hopefully it does not portend a serious problem, but just a wonderful natural occurrence.
The calls poured in. To the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, to the National Parks Service and to the Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary. Have you seen all those sea otters? What visitors were spying off the Pacific Ocean coastline, a raft of hundreds upon hundreds of sea otters, was unusual in both scope and location. “They just look like a dark brown carpet when they are going up and down on the swell,” said Steve Jeffries, a research scientist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Mammal Investigations unit. Michael Carman reports. (Peninsula Daily News)
This proposal has been in the discussion phase for a couple of years now. We discussed it in the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee back in 2014 I believe. It was clear then, and is clear now, that if they are going to do this, it should be in more than one stage, with exemptions for working commercial vessels that cannot retrofit for the new rules. I have to say that I agree with the critics that are quoted in the story. What those of us involved with the preliminary rules found back then, was that a number of tug boats, have never had an ability to have a holding tank, because they were built in an era where it wasn’t required, and they filled the hold with engine. There is no way to retrofit some of these working boats. As you can see from the reaction of commercial interests in this article, the issue has not magically gone away. That Ms. Bellon has chosen to ignore this feedback and simply given them 5 years to comply or have to buy a new tug is not going to solve the problem. It leads to the kind of anger against agencies like DOE, run under this Democratic governor. It can be fuel for the fire of the Republicans which is not needed in this election year. Ms. Bellon needs to come to the table with an exemption status for the small number of commercial vessels, perhaps establishing a 20 year exemption, what would allow the natural cycle of vessel replacement to happen.The small amount of treated human waste from these commercial vessels pale in comparison with the fecal runoff of the roads, which carries away pet waste by the ton every time it rains. I don’t see DOE getting all upset and banning cities from expanding until they fix their storm sewer systems. We know that it would not be politically acceptable. I highly recommend that if you are involved in any kind of organization or NGO that is involved in Puget Sound protection, that you write Ms Bellon, and call your legislators, and tell them and her that we need to have the commercial interests on board with this proposal before inacting it. As to the recreational boaters, getting them to go to pump out stations is a good idea, but DOE better fund an expansion of those stations. There are not enough around the Sound.
Boaters and vessel operators would not be able to release sewage, treated or untreated, into Puget Sound under a proposal by Washington state regulators. The Department of Ecology said Thursday it and other state agencies petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to designate the waters of Puget Sound a “no discharge zone” to improve water quality and protect shellfish beds and swimming beaches from harmful bacteria. If approved, the zone would cover waters from near Sequim to south Puget Sound to the Canadian border, and includes Lake Washington and Lake Union. There are dozens of no-discharge zones in the country, but this would be the first in the Pacific Northwest. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)
An interesting race is shaping up for Lands Commissioner. The good news is that no matter which of the Democrats win, if they do win, they all are standing for change in DNR. It’s been an organization with a very wide charter, that needs revamping to continue to work effectively in an era of dwindling resources, global warming that is helping to fuel massive wildfires beyond the ability of DNR to manage, and a misguided charter to cut trees to fund our schools. The best thing that could happen, but won’t , is to revamp our state tax system to alleviate the need for DNR to have to cut trees to fund schools.
This fall’s race for Washington’s commissioner of public lands—an office that oversees the state’s largest firefighting force and 5.6 million acres of land—is hotly contested since no incumbent is on the ballot. Commissioner Peter Goldmark will not seek reelection to the quietly influential office. As the head of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, the commissioner is responsible for healthy public aquatic lands, forests, parks and more. The department leases land to provide critical school construction money, and its firefighting efforts are a key line of defense against destructive summertime wildfires, too. The department has a big influence on fishing, timber and agriculture—three classic Washington industries threatened by drought, wildfires and ocean acidification that could be worsened by climate change. So far, Democrats make up the bulk of the hopefuls to replace Goldmark. Walter Orenstein reports. (Cascadia Weekly)
The Quinault weight in to stop the insanity of the FDA allowing more modified genetically engineered fish into our waters. What this is about, is a bureaucracy thousands of miles away, deciding that it is ok to grow these fish in waters alongside native species. What possibly could go wrong? Let’s start with sea lice and a breeding ground for virus’s. Just like north of us in B.C.
A Native American tribe in Washington state has joined a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s approval of an Atlantic salmon genetically modified to grow faster. The Quinault Indian Nation on Friday joined the lawsuit that 11 other fishing and environmental groups filed against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and others in late March. The lawsuit alleges the FDA didn’t fully analyze potential environmental effects before approving the faster-growing salmon for human consumption in November. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)
Amazing. Second sighting of a Fin whale since 1930.
The Pacific Whale Watch Association confirmed the sighting of a Fin whale in the Puget Sound on July 15, the second sighting of this endangered species in US waters since 1930. The crew of the Chilkat Express spotted the whale a few miles northeast of Dungeness Spit, taking photographs and video of the massive creature. Captain Mark Malleson documented the sighting of a Fin whale on July 9, and immediately rushed to the aquatic scene to confirm it was the same animal when he was alerted of a sighting by the Chilkat crew. The adult Fin whale is estimated to be between 60 and 70 feet in length and weighing 70 tons. The animal the Chilkat crew spotted is not only endangered, but the second largest animal on earth behind the blue whale. Alexis Daugherty reports. (KING)
Port Hadlock workshop on July 28 focuses on responding to oil spills in Admiralty Inlet
Community can help shape a response plan to protect inlet’s waters
PORT HADLOCK – Anyone interested in helping develop a response plan that will protect Admiralty Inlet if a major oil spill happens can take part in a workshop this month in Port Hadlock.
The Washington Department of Ecology is hosting the workshop, and will have staff available to discuss the impact of oil spills and the effectiveness of response efforts throughout the state.
The workshop is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 28, at the Jefferson County Library, 620 Cedar Ave., Port Hadlock. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide local insight and comments on the draft plan.
Ecology and its partners develop geographic response plans (GRPs) to increase spill-response readiness and reduce damage to sensitive resources after a spill occurs.
A GRP identifies sensitive areas on or near the water, and then recommends strategies and tactics that can be used during the early hours of a spill to protect those resources. The plan shows sites where containment boom can be placed on the water to help collect and contain oil. It also ensures timely notifications to resource managers so they can take action to protect the resources under their control.
Citizens, tribal representatives, local government officials, county emergency managers, port operators, and other stakeholders are encouraged to attend. Anyone interested in learning about planning efforts by state and federal agencies preparing for oil spills should attend.