Puget Sound Partnership E-Clips, Feb. 11, 2017: 'Massive' sewage spill closes Bainbridge, North Kitsap beaches; Urban sprawl forcing Pacific Northwest songbirds to 'divorce'; Farmed geoduck's sustainability rating takes a hit

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February 11, 2017

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Featured News

'Massive' sewage spill closes Bainbridge, North Kitsap beaches (Kitsap Sun)
A massive sewage spill in Seattle on Thursday morning has prompted a no-contact advisory along the entire east shore of Bainbridge Island and a portion of North Kitsap. The Kitsap Public Health District is advising people to avoid contact with water from Jefferson Point near Indianola to Restoration Point on Bainbridge’s south end. The closure area includes Port Madison Bay and Miller Bay. Untreated sewage began flowing from a wastewater plant’s outfall near Seattle’s Discovery Park at about 2 a.m., according to a King County news release. “Equipment failure” was cited as the cause of the spill. King County is operating the plant on “emergency bypass mode,” which allows sewage to discharge into Puget Sound to avoid flooding the  plant.
To read more >

See also:
‘Millions of gallons’ of wastewater dumping into Puget Sound after heavy rainfall (Seattle Times)
'Emergency' at Seattle wastewater plant dumping raw sewage into Puget Sound (King 5 News)
Seattle sewage spill topped 150 million gallons (Kitsap Sun)

Wastewater-treatment plant close to fully functional after mass discharge in Sound (Seattle Times)
A wastewater-treatment plant that malfunctioned amid downpours Thursday — causing millions of gallons of raw sewage and untreated stormwater to be dumped into Puget Sound — is back operating and close to fully functional again, a King County spokesman said Friday afternoon.... In all, about 260 million gallons of untreated discharge — a mix of about 85 percent to 90 percent stormwater and 10 percent to 15 percent raw sewage — poured into the Sound, Williams said. Up to another 200 million gallons of raw sewage and stormwater was diverted to other area plants for treatment.
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Unexpected pollution forces closure of Samish Bay shellfish harvesting (Skagit Valley Herald)
Pollution in the Samish River spiked this week, leading to the closure of shellfish harvesting in Samish Bay on Wednesday evening. Skagit County Water Quality Analyst Rick Haley said the increase in fecal coliform bacteria in the water was unexpected and unusual, because there was little rainfall prior to the most recent testing.
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Another sewage spill reported in Bremerton (Kitsap Sun)
The waters off Bremerton have been hit with a fourth sewage spill in less than three weeks. A 23,000-gallon mixture of sewage and stormwater spilled Monday morning from a Bremerton wastewater facility into the Port Washington Narrows. The Kitsap Public Health District issued a no-contact advisory for the narrows and Sinclair Inlet through Sunday. Signs warning people to avoid contact with the water were posted at Lions Park and other public beaches. The narrows was fouled three other times late last month.
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E-Clip Topics

Protect and Restore Habitat

Urban Sprawl Forcing Pacific Northwest Songbirds To 'Divorce' (KUOW)
Urban development is encroaching on forests and impacting the love lives of some songbirds in the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific wren is having a tough time staying faithful -- at least in Seattle. That’s because a housing boom is taking over the wren’s habitat: the thick forest understory.... Marzluff said development is forcing the wren and other song bird species to move. And when that wren moves, it also abandons its mate. Marzluff’s decade-long study, funded by UW and the National Science Foundation, looks at six species in landscapes undergoing various levels of development.
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Protecting Marine Protected Areas (Pacific Standard Magazine)
Unlike protected lands, marine protected areas can’t be staked with signposts — and, without clear boundaries, mariners can easily drift into areas where they don’t belong. But there might be a technological fix for that dilemma.
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Tribe to use federal money for estuary restoration (Stanwood Camano News)
Plans are in the works to improve the Zis-a-ba estuary, 88 acres of wetlands south of Stanwood. The Stillaguamish Tribe intends to restore the estuary, with help from a $511,496 National Coastal Wetlands grant through the United States Fish & Wildlife Service....The project is designed to restore tidal and river influence by removing most of the current levee and building a setback levee to protect surrounding property owners.
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$35 million for B.C. Parks not enough after years of cuts, says conservationist (CBC News)
The provincial government is investing $35 million to "strengthen conservation" in B.C. over the next three years. Part of the funds will go towards 25 more full-time park rangers, adding to their current roster of seven full-time year-round rangers. It also includes a new B.C. Parks Foundation and programs to protect the environment. For some, the funding is too little, too late.
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Editorial: Pact on timber sale could protect Wallace Falls State Park (Everett Herald | Opinion)
A compromise pitched by Snohomish County officials may end nearly a decade of disagreement and discussions over a timber sale near Wallace Falls State Park.... For nearly 10 years, the state Department of Natural Resources, which manages state land east of the state park, has planned to auction 187 acres of second-growth timber, referred to as the Singletary sale. The sale, however, has pitted two legitimate needs against each other.
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Trees, shrubs planted along Puyallup River for forest restoration project (Tacoma News Tribune)
Around 1,400 trees and shrubs were planted along the Puyallup River in January by a team from the Department of Ecology's Puget Sound Corps in an effort to improve and maintain Sumner’s urban forests. Benefits of the planting project range from improving water quality along the river, replenishing native vegetation and natural habitats and removing invasive plant species.... A subprogram of the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC), the Puget Sound Corps crew was provided by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR)’s Urban and Community Forest Program. 
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State Board of Natural Resources rejects Wallace Falls timber deal (Everett Herald)
A state board on Tuesday turned down a compromise that would have set aside part of a timber harvest to protect trails and scenery near Wallace Falls State Park, leaving local elected leaders and trail advocates disheartened. The Board of Natural Resources voted 4-2 to oppose a request from Snohomish County. As a result, the whole 187 acres of second-growth forest known as the Singletary sale could go to auction within the next month or so.
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Don't Call It Wheat: An Environmentally Friendly Grain Takes Root (NPR | KUOW)
Colin Curwen-McAdams opens the door to his greenhouse in Mt. Vernon, Wash., and a rush of warm air pours out. "Basically, it's summer all year long here," he jokes. Curwen-McAdams, a PhD student at Washington State University, and WSU professor Steven Jones have developed a new species: a cross between wheat and its wild cousin, wheat grass. They call it Salish Blue. ... Normal wheat dies every year, and farmers have to till the soil and plant new seeds. Not only does that mean more work, but the process also causes erosion, which makes farmland less healthy and can carry sediment and agricultural chemicals into nearby waters.
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Bill would clarify solid waste disposal rules for ag (Capital Press)
Western lawmakers have proposed an amendment to the federal Solid Waste Disposal Act to help farmers understand which manure management rules they’re supposed to follow. HR 848, the Farm Regulatory Certainty Act, would reaffirm and clarify Congress’ intention regarding manure management under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, also known as the Solid Waste Disposal Act. ... Manure runoff has been a concern in Skagit, Whatcom and Yakima counties in Washington state.
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Trump’s attack on environmental regs could cause havoc (Crosscut | High Country News)
With the stroke of his pen, President Donald Trump this week unleashed the biggest assault ever made by a president on the government regulations that protect Americans and nature. In an executive order, he mandated that two existing regulations be eliminated for every new regulation issued. And he dictated that the costs of any new rule be offset by savings from the regulations that are repealed.
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Want to fix infrastructure? Start with National Parks (Crosscut | Opinion)
As President Donald Trump works to make good on his pledge to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure, here’s a great place he can start: fixing America’s national parks. Preserving and maintaining these American treasures is something all of us, across party lines, can agree should be a top priority. As a veteran who served 20 years in the U.S. military and who now spends much of my free time in many gorgeous national parks near my Pacific Northwest home, I hope the president and Congress will step up and fund crucial deferred maintenance now.
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$3.5B Massey bridge gets environmental nod from B.C. government (CBC News)
The British Columbia government has granted an environmental assessment certificate for the 10-lane, $3.5-billion bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel over the Fraser River. The approval comes with 33 conditions that are legally binding requirements that the Transportation Ministry must meet.
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Bills aim to beef up oil transportation safety (Everett Herald | Associated Press)
With more crude oil expected to move through Washington state, Democratic lawmakers want to toughen rules around oil transportation and raise more money for spill prevention and response efforts. Companion bills in the House and Senate aim to reduce the risk of oil spills with provisions that target oil carried by vessels, pipelines and trains. Supporters say the legislation is needed to address the growing risks of oil shipped through state waters.
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Lawmakers Propose Updates To Oil Safety In Washington State (NW News Network)
Lawmakers in Olympia heard a set of bills Monday, that would enhance regulations around oil transportation by rail, water, and pipeline. One retired refinery worker from Anacortes, Steve Garey, said he and others in the business understand why adequate prevention measures are so vital. “We know how bad it can get with these substances, and we know how quickly it can get bad,” Garey said. “It is irresponsible not to take reasonable steps to ensure protection for the special environment that is so central to the soul of the Pacific Northwest.”
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Developers withdraw coal terminal applications, ending project (Bellingham Herald)
Developers of the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point have withdrawn its permit applications, essentially closing the book on the project. Pacific International Terminals sent a letter Tuesday to Whatcom County officials announcing it was stopping the environmental impact statement process and is withdrawing its applications for the Gateway Pacific Terminal.
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Train exec rails against Ecology oil spill rule (Capital Press)
A small railroad that makes about $4,000 a year hauling soybean oil and mineral oil will have to spend several times that amount to meet the Washington Department of Ecology’s rule on preparing for oil spills, a railroad executive told legislators this week. The soybean oil goes to feed cattle and the mineral oil goes to orchards as a pesticide, Central Washington Railroad Chief Operating Officer Tim Kelly told the House Environment Committee on Feb. 6. Ecology’s new rule treats those oils the same as crude oil transported across state lines by BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.
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Species and Food Web

State agency seeks funds to ramp up efforts to battle aquatic invasive species (The Olympian)
Bad news is knocking at the door and Washington is behind the curve on dealing with aquatic invasive species. State officials say there’s an urgency to get up to speed after the alarming developments in Montana last year….Northwest states could boast of being invasive mussel-free — until last year. State Department of Fish and Wildlife officials are promoting legislation this year to get more money for protection. An additional $1.3 million per year would come from increased commercial boating fees and the state general fund.
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B.C.'s invasive species warriors tackle turtles, knotweed, climate change and critics (CBC News)
Invasive species experts have gathered in Richmond to strategize strikes against everything from Japanese knotweed to American bullfrogs with the only weapon that works — cooperation. The Invasive Species Council of B.C. (ISCBC) works to stop foreign plants and animals from taking over ecosystems in the province. With increased trade and travel and warmer winters, organizers say they face more challenges than ever controlling destructive invaders. The biggest tool in their arsenal is cooperation.
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Tiny invasive mud snail teaches big science lesson on Capitol Lake field trip (The Olympian)
Although smaller than a grain of rice, just one New Zealand mud snail can wreak havoc on an entire body of water, as seen with Capitol Lake in Olympia.... The 260-acre Capitol Lake has been closed to boating and recreational activities to prevent the spread of the resilient mud snails. Anyone who comes in contact with the water must undergo a decontamination process, such as washing boots with hot water or chemicals.
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Farmed geoduck's sustainability rating takes a hit (Kitsap Sun)
Geoduck farming’s increasing use of plastic gear cost it a top-spot rating from Seafood Watch, a consumer guide popular with environmentally minded eaters. Washington’s farmed geoduck was downgraded from the guide’s “best choice” rating to the mid-range “good alternative” designation after an assessment late last year of aquaculture practices in Puget Sound. The fast-growing industry’s use of plastic gear, including beach-embedded grow tubes and protective netting, has sparked “increasing concerns” about debris and plastic particles in the marine environment, according to Seafood Watch’s 115-page assessment.
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Warm ocean water triggered vast seabird die-off, experts say (Seattle Times)
A year after tens of thousands of common murres, an abundant North Pacific seabird, starved and washed ashore on beaches from California to Alaska, researchers have pinned the cause to unusually warm ocean temperatures that affected the tiny fish they eat. Elevated temperatures in seawater affected wildlife in a pair of major marine ecosystems along the West Coast and Canada, said John Piatt, a research wildlife biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. Common murres are an indicator of the regions’ health.
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Gull deaths still a mystery, but cause probably not harmful to humans (Tacoma News Tribune)
Despite a battery of tests, little progress has been made in discovering the cause of a January gull die-off in Tacoma. Whatever killed or sickened as many as 50 gulls hasn’t been found, but it mostly likely poses no risk to human health, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday. The agency said more tests are underway.
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Trump administration delays listing bumblebee as endangered (Seattle Times | Associated Press)
The Trump administration on Thursday delayed what would be the first endangered designation for a bee species in the continental U.S., one day before it was to take effect..... The rusty patched bumblebee has disappeared from about 90 percent of its range in the past 20 years. Scientists say disease, pesticide exposure, habitat loss and climate change are among possible causes. It’s among a number of bee species that have suffered steep population declines — along with monarch butterflies, another key pollinator.
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Water Quality

What’s dripping from your car? Find out for free (Everett Herald | Street Smarts blog)
There’s a mysterious wet patch underneath your car. If you’re like many folks, your first thought is oil leak. If you know a little something about cars, maybe you add coolant to the list of possibilities. (If you’re like me, you simply shrug.) Engine oil and coolant (anti-freeze) are the top offenders when it comes to leaks from vehicles. But the actual list of potential sources of leaks is much longer.
To read more >> 

City hoping for ‘iconic’ bridge as part of major Totem Lake investments (Kirkland Reporter)
The City of Kirkland is hoping to build an iconic bridge to connect two pieces of the Cross Kirkland Corridor, and city staff is, apparently, dreaming big. The connection would bridge the intersection at NE 124th Street and Totem Lake Boulevard, among the busiest intersections in the city.... It’s one of several pieces in major investment in infrastructure around the former Totem Lake Malls site. The city improved stormwater facilities and developed an old rail line, and plans to redevelop the land around Totem Lake itself into a park.
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Draft law set for Carlsborg sewer project (Peninsula Daily News)
Clallam County officials have rolled out a draft ordinance for the $10.18 million Carlsborg sewer project that includes an additional $8 monthly business charge as they stay on track for an April 1 completion date. Commissioners nurse hopes that more residents and businesses will sign up over the next several weeks.... Sequim-area Commissioner Mark Ozias, the commissioners’ chairman, said Tuesday he is confident that the project, designed to eliminate all new Carlsborg-area septic systems after April 1, will be “substantially complete” by that date.
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What’s Upstream planned nearly $200,000 blitz to regulate farmers (Capital Press)
What’s Upstream organizers planned to spend nearly $200,000 in federal funds during and after the 2016 legislative session on a “robust” campaign to regulate Washington farmers, according to Environmental Protection Agency records. It’s unclear how much money was actually spent. The media blitz was scheduled to last six months, but faltered after three. Congressional anger over EPA’s financial support for the anti-agriculture campaign scuttled some elements of the project.
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Lummi clammers, dairy farmers clean bacteria-polluted bay (Tacoma News Tribune)
For more than two years now, Lummi Nation has been unable to reliably open its prime clam beds on its reservation for harvest because of bacterial pollution in Portage Bay near Bellingham. Now in an unusual leap of faith, tribal leaders and seven family dairy-farm operators in Whatcom County are launching a collaborative effort to clean up the bay.... The goal is also to join together to advocate for clean water in the Nooksack River Basin to a wider community, including across the border in Canada, where exploding growth is suspected to be contributing to pollution. The goal is to bring more signatories to the agreement to address all sources of contamination.
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Water Quantity

WA house takes ‘step one’ on rural well prohibition (Capital Press)
Tribes and environmentalists asked lawmakers Tuesday to leave intact a state Supreme Court decision that a Washington Farm Bureau lobbyist said has made building rural homes “way too hard.”... The hearing showed bipartisan support for easing the burden placed by the court on individual landowners, though legislators are divided on how far to go in revising the Hirst decision. House Bill 1885 would essentially undo the ruling, restoring the state’s policy of routinely allowing wells that draw up to 5,000 gallons a day. House Bill 1918 would phase-in the ruling, giving landowners who already have invested in building and septic permits time to build. 
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Hirst-triggered water bills come before House Ag committee (Columbia Basin Herald)
Two competing bills designed to solve issues created by the Hirst decision came before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. House Bill 1918, sponsored by Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell and House Bill 1885 sponsored by Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland are both designed to allow counties to use Department of Ecology information, but they differ on mitigation.
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Craig Avenue water main break shuts off water for about 120 homes in Port Angeles (Peninsula Daily News)
More than 120 homes in Port Angeles are without water after a water main broke early Wednesday morning. Crews were dispatched to the 20-inch water main break at the 1200 block of Craig Avenue at 3:34 a.m. and the city has no estimates for when it will be repaired, said Craig Fulton, city public works director.... The concrete line that broke is likely one of the oldest water mains in the city, he said. It was installed in 1961 to replace the wood stave transmission line that was installed in the 1930s. The water main was previously used to pull water from Morris Creek, but is now used to pull water from the Elwha River.
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Capitol Lake may flood Friday in downtown Olympia (The Olympian)
State and city crews are preparing sandbags for possible flooding Friday at Capitol Lake in downtown Olympia. The Department of Enterprise Services issued a warning of potential flooding between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. near the state-owned lake, including Heritage Park. The lake is located at the mouth of the Deschutes River, which received its own flood warning Thursday from the National Weather Service. Department spokesperson Linda Kent confirmed that the lake came within 1 foot of flooding Friday morning.
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Climate Change

Climate Change Causes Fundamental Shifts in the Chemistry of Mountain Soil (Pacific Standard Magazine)
A warming climate will fundamentally change the chemistry of mountain soils by shifting the balance of nutrients, visibly disrupting fragile, high-elevation ecosystems of grasses, flowers and trees within decades.Most of the world’s mountain regions are warming twice as fast as the global average, speeding up microbial activity. As a result, the ratio of two key nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, is shifting fast, according to University of Vermont researcher Nathan Sanders, one of an international team that studied soil chemistry in seven mountain regions around the world over the course of a growing season.
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Legislator proposes tougher carbon emissions bill (Everett Herald)
A bill setting tougher goals for carbon emission reductions in Washington cleared a House panel this week with little debate and a handful of additions pushed by Republicans. Legislation approved by the House Environment Committee on Thursday calls for emission levels in 2050 to be 80 percent less than levels in 1990, a target nearly twice as stringent as existing law but in line with standards in California and several other states.
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Climate Change Denier Testifies for 40 Minutes Before State Senate Environment Committee (Seattle Weekly)
A prominent climate change denier today provided an unusually lengthy testimony before a Washington Senate committee at the invitation of Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale....In his statements, Tony Heller, an independent scientist who also blogs under the name Steve Goddard and tweets as @SteveSGoddard, claimed that several employees of two federal agencies deliberately gave wrong data to the majority of the world’s scientists who have concluded that climate change is real. ...Normally, people get two to three minutes to testify before they are cut off. A panel of a few experts can get 30 minutes on some occasions. Heller was allotted 40 minutes.
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See also:
State senator invites climate-change denier to brief committee while he’s away (Bellingham Herald)

$40M infusion for BC green cars program (Vancouver Sun)
The government of British Columbia is investing $40 million into its Clean Energy Vehicle Program to help the public make the transition from gas-guzzling vehicles to electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett says the funds will be distributed over the next three years and will offer continued purchase incentives of up to $5,000 for battery electric vehicles and $6,000 for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. When the incentives from the SCRAP-IT program are added, the government says that purchasers could save up to $11,000 on a new electric vehicle.
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Spotted in Washington: conservatives supporting climate action (Christian Science Monitor)
President Trump and the Republican-led Congress aren't showing much interest in climate change, but idea of a carbon tax is still percolating – and conservatives who back it symbolize a green wing of the GOP that may be growing.
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Fighting Fossil Fuels at the Local Level (Sightline)
As the Trump Administration looks to favor the fossil fuel industry with federal policy, state and local authority, especially the power of regulating land use, will likely play an increasingly important role in protecting regions like the Northwest from the risks of coal, oil, and gas. Indeed, threatened by a tsunami of energy export projects, a number of cities and counties in the Northwest are defending themselves from new energy export projects by reforming their land use and development codes. It’s a strategy that has paid dividends for the Thin Green Line, Cascadia’s resistance to ill-conceived fossil fuel export schemes, which is likely to be increasingly important in the next few years.
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Editorial: Expand use of renewable energy by utilities (Everett Herald | Opinion)
Ten years ago, Washington state voters, recognizing the imperative need to address climate change and cleaner air, passed Initiative 937, which requires the state’s electrical utilities to use renewable resources for a portion of the electricity they provide to their customers. Many utilities, public and private, balked. But since passage those utilities have been able to meet the initiative’s requirements. The portion of renewable energy that utilities provide has increased incrementally.
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Human Quality of Life

Port Angeles City Council slams cut in fishing; says limited halibut season hurts economy (Peninsula Daily News)
The Port Angeles City Council has joined the chorus of business and fishing interests who object to this year’s limited halibut fishing season as hurting the economy and compromising sport fishers’ safety. The 7-0 vote supported a resolution for a longer season than the one planned for 2017.... The city council vote came after a public comment session during which more than a half-dozen fishing enthusiasts urged the council to take action. “Fish and Wildlife must think first of citizens and less about commercial interests,” Ralph Burba said. “Let the people fish,” he said to applause in council chambers.
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Long ban lifted on Hood Canal squid fishing (Kitsap Sun)
Squid jiggers, welcome back to Hood Canal. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has lifted a 13-year ban on squid fishing in the canal — the only part of Puget Sound where recreational squid harvests were restricted. The closure in 2004 might have been an overly cautious response to a long bout of low dissolved oxygen levels.
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Sport fishing industry in peril in Pacific Northwest (The Olympian | Guest Opinion)
More than any other time in history, the sport fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest is in need of help. The meltdown began in 2015 when our region saw some of the highest temperatures and lowest rainfall amount ever recorded.... Now, in 2017, we are working in a climate of uncertainty; we are unsure that the North of Falcon Process will work this year; rumors swirl that the governor’s office may replace sport fishing representatives on the commission, and we are uncertain if Washington will hold true to the Columbia River Reforms. In the midst of all this job-killing uncertainty, WDFW is proposing a record increase in the cost of fishing licenses we sell.
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Fire leaves Port of Everett marina dock without power (Everett Herald)
An electrical fire has left a dock at the Port of Everett’s marina without power since late January. It is expected to be another two weeks until power is restored, said Lisa Lefeber, Port spokeswoman. In the meantime, a handful of people living aboard boats moored at the marina have had to move to other berths where they can plug in.
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Port of Port Townsend approves moorage rate hike (Peninsula Daily News)
Port of Port Townsend commissioners voted unanimously to implement moorage rate hikes this spring to help pay for a long list of capital projects. The three commissioners approved the rate hikes Wednesday and plan to implement the new rates starting April 1. Rates will increase by 10 percent to 16 percent, varying upon the size of the boat. Boat owners moored in Boat Haven, Point Hudson and Herb Beck marinas will see anywhere from a $27 to $43 increase per month — up to $61 per month for larger vessels.
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$85 million Foss Waterway retirement development canceled (Tacoma News Tribune)
The backer of an $85 million retirement community on the Thea Foss Waterway has withdrawn its proposal.... Transforming Age had proposed an upscale retirement community for people aged 55 and older, on a nearly 1-acre parcel, called sites 8 and 9, south of the Murray Morgan bridge.
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Team to plan trail maintenance in Morning Star conservation area (Everett Herald)
A team has formed to start drafting a trails plan for the state’s largest natural resources conservation area. The state Department of Natural Resources is working on a plan for maintaining, updating and possibly expanding trails in the Morning Star Natural Resources Conservation Area. The plan would guide trail work for the next 10 to 15 years. Trails to Gothic Basin, Ashland Lakes and the Walt Bailey area are among those affected.
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County set to adopt new flood maps after 30 years (Tacoma News Tribune)
If your eyes glaze over at the words “flood insurance,” rub them hard and pay attention, unless you’d rather toss $1,000 or so into the nearest burn barrel. Tuesday, Pierce County Council members are expected to close the book on a 30-year saga: an update of the county’s flood zone maps, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The ordinance passed out of a council subcommittee last week with a unanimous vote.
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People and Puget Sound

New lands commissioner has a lot on her plate (Everett Herald)
Hilary Franz became the state’s new commissioner of Public Lands last month after earning that title in the November election. The management of much of the state’s natural resources rests with her department.... The decisions of the commissioner heavily affect rural communities and the surrounding environment. Franz is aware of this duality.
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Orca Relief announces new executive director (Journal of the San Juan Islands)
Orca Relief Citizens Alliance is pleased to announce the appointment of Scott West as its new executive director. Past Executive Director Bruce Stedman has stepped down after 20 years of service and a relocation to the East Coast. West’s prior work with the Environmental Protection Agency and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be an asset to Orca Relief as it continues to seek support of its petition for the Whale Protection Zone Proposition and work toward the full recovery of Puget Sound’s Southern resident killer whales. 
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New ferry director young and passionate (Kitsap Sun)
There's a new generation leading Washington's ferries. Forty-year-old Amy Scarton became director Feb. 1, bumping interim boss Elizabeth Kosa back to her No. 2 staff chief position. Kosa, 38, didn't mind. "I was extremely excited about Amy," Kosa said of the replacement for Lynne Griffith, who retired at the end of January at age 67. "She brings new depth and knowledge to the ferry system. She's multimodal and highly capable with government."
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Trump EPA official juggles two jobs in two Washingtons, and it hasn’t gone well (Washington Post)
Doug Ericksen is trying to hold down two jobs in two different Washingtons. And it’s not going terribly well. Ericksen was an early backer of Donald Trump who shares the president’s skepticism of environmental regulations and climate change. In January, he was rewarded with a job in Washington D.C., running communications and helping to reshape the Environmental Protection Agency.... But Ericksen has pretty much been missing in action for the first month of the legislature’s 105- day session.
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Residents look to recall senator on Trump transition team (Bellingham Herald | Kitsap Sun)
A group of Whatcom County residents have started an effort to recall a state senator currently serving on President Donald Trump's transition team. The Bellingham Herald reports that some residents say Sen. Doug Ericksen can't do his job at home while he's serving as communications director for the Environmental Protection Agency during the presidential transition.
To read more >> 

Washington's Benton Staying At EPA As Senior White House Adviser (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
Former Washington state Sen. Don Benton will be staying on at the Environmental Protection Agency as the agency’s senior White House adviser. The EPA’s acting administrator, Catherine McCabe, announced the news in a video message to employees this week.
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How is the Puget Sound ecosystem doing?

The 2015 State of the Sound reports on the current state of the ecosystem and the status of regional recovery actions. Learn more at www.psp.wa.gov/sos.

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