Puget Sound Partnership E-Clips, March 26, 2017: Environmentalists warn about Trump’s Puget Sound budget cuts; Fish habitat protection program stirs controversy

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March 26, 2017

Featured News

Environmentalists warn about Trump’s Puget Sound budget cuts (Peninsula Daily News | Associated Press)
State officials, environmental advocates and others are warning of dire environmental and economic consequences if President Donald Trump’s cuts to Puget Sound and other environmental programs go through as proposed.
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See also:
Big Trump cuts will gut EPA's "core mission" -- letter from 37 senators  (SeattlePI.com)
Advocates call on lawmakers to resist environmental cuts in Trump budget  (Seattle Times)
Activists ask state to fund Puget Sound clean-up cuts  (KING)
Former EPA Head Says Regulatory System Could Stand Reform, But Not Elimination (KNKX)
Former regional EPA administrator alarmed by proposed federal cuts for Puget Sound (KIRO 7 News)
Gov. Inslee, Oregon governor vow to fight Trump environmental proposals (Seattle Times)
Trump's Budget Would Cut Money for the People Who Look for Cow Shit in Your Clams (The Stranger | The Slog)
Back to the Dirty Old Future (Huffington Post)

Trump adviser: No more EPA-funded attacks on farmers (Capital Press)
President Trump’s top agricultural adviser says the new administration won’t tolerate federal support for advocacy campaigns like What’s Upstream. Ray Starling, special assistant to the president for agriculture, trade and food assistance, outlined the White House’s farm policy priorities in a speech March 21 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “This administration will not allow the EPA to give taxpayer dollars to activist groups who then turn around and put up billboards that attack our farmers and ranchers,” said Starling, a former general counsel for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
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Here's Why the Environmental Protection Agency Was Created (Time)
The Cuyahoga River burst into flames, while the Potomac stunk from the hundreds of millions of gallons of waste added to its waters every single day. As the Environmental Protection Agency becomes the subject of focus for major cuts under President Trump's proposed budget — and as the U.N. marks World Water Day on Wednesday — it's worth looking back at the moment in time when the EPA was first created, and why Richard Nixon saw a need for the agency to exist. Dirty water was only one ingredient.
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E-Clip Topics

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Protect and Restore Habitat

Fish Habitat Protection Program Stirs Controversy (Investigate West)
Washington state’s hamstrung program for protecting fish habitat is overdue for a makeover. Facing potential budget cuts, lawsuits, and threats of more endangered fish species, the agency that runs the program is hoping 2017 will be be the year it gets stronger enforcement authority. Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Hydraulic Project Approval  program, often referred to by its acronym HPA, issues permits statewide for private, as well as government, building projects that might harm fish habitat. Established in 1943, it’s one of the state’s oldest regulatory permits, and one of its most underfunded and difficult to enforce.
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Oregon DEQ Prepares For Big Staff Cuts Under Trump (KUOW)
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality expects to lose more than 30 people in the agency’s core programs protecting air and water quality because of President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency budget, according to an internal DEQ memo. If the preliminary numbers hold true, those cuts would further weaken an agency already struggling with staff and funding shortages.
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Hunters And Anglers Cross Political Lines To Fight For Public Lands (OPB | EarthFix)
Hunters, fishermen and environmental activists: it’s not often these groups are mentioned in the same breath. But recently they’re finding themselves standing shoulder to shoulder over the issue of public lands.  Despite having an avid hunter in Ryan Zinke leading up the Interior Department, which oversees the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, there’s a sense that calls to sell off or transfer public lands are gaining traction.  Sportsmen and women consider hunting and fishing in these wild places to be their right – one that earlier generations led by President Theodore Roosevelt fought to secure more than a century ago. 
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OUTDOORS: Turbulent times call for direct action on environment (Peninsula Daily News | Column)
LOST AMID THE hue and cry in the other Washington, some stark facts are emerging for those concerned about the environment. Don’t worry, I’m not about to get into a political discussion in this column. But many environmental protections and restoration projects are at risk nationwide, including the cleanup of Puget Sound.... And a couple of opportunities exist to do something good for water quality and the elimination of marine debris right here on the North Olympic Peninsula. Streamkeepers, Clallam County’s watershed citizen science program, is looking for help collecting water samples in the Port Angeles area as part of the city’s efforts to find and remediate sources of pollution.
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Seattle's Gas Works Park About To Undergo Toxic Cleanup  (KUOW)
Kite flyers, picnickers, and Ultimate players treasure Seattle’s Gas Works Park, whose famous towers and pipes were once part of a coal gasification plant on the shore of Lake Union that lit up early Seattleites’ homes. But beneath the grass lies a more insidious legacy of the park’s industrial past: toxic waste. “Just offshore, the sediments are contaminated by oily substances that have oozed from the land into the lake,” says Ching-Pi Wang, with the Department of Ecology. And that’s not all: Benzene, arsenic, lead, and other substances pollute the soil, groundwater, and lake sediment. 
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Who Should Pay for Tacoma’s Last Big Clean-Up? (Sightline)
There’s a modern-day monster lurking under Tacoma’s industrial lands. Mixed in with the groundwater is a stew of pollution from a shuttered chemical plant: PCBs—toxic chemicals the EPA banned in 1979—and volatile organic chemicals so alkaline that the pollution is actually stronger than drain cleaner and can dissolve rocks into jelly. The core plume of toxic chemicals under the Tacoma tideflats is as tall as the Seahawks stadium and more than four times as big in area—and it may be inching its way toward the waters of Puget Sound. The cleanup for Occidental Chemical, or OxyChem as it’s known, is the last big remediation in Tacoma, a city that is undergoing a remarkable rebirth and transformation from its sometimes noxious past. But the company responsible may get away with a half-hearted treatment.
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Cleanup, business expansion on tap for Fairhaven waterfront (Bellingham Herald)
Plans are moving forward on a major waterfront cleanup project that has the added benefit of creating opportunities for a longtime business. The Port of Bellingham awarded a $12.5 million contract to IMCO General Construction to dredge and make infrastructure improvements around the Fairhaven Shipyard property near the Bellingham Cruise Terminal on Harris Avenue. The project has several parts and will take two years to complete because cleanup and construction work will stop at different times of the year in order to protect marine life in the area, including salmon, said Brian Gouran, director of environmental programs for the port.
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Officials hope sand cap layer works as project restoration option at Ediz Hook (Peninsula Daily News)
Officials are preparing to apply a 6-inch layer of sand to an inside portion of Ediz Hook to test whether a sand cap could be a potential restoration solution. Commissioners of the Port of Port Angeles, one of five members of the Western Port Angeles Harbor Group, approved the port’s portion of the costs for the project — up to $77,000 — on Tuesday.
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Learning to create small habitats in Kitsap, Thurston, Pierce counties (Kitsap Sun | Watching Our Water Ways)
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes about Sarah Bruemmer, a habitat steward coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, who teaches people "how to turn small outdoor spaces — or large ones, if available — into functioning habitats. She coordinates a training program that addresses issues from soils, gardening and invasive plants to birds, butterflies and water quality."
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Bill could make it easier to find sites for new schools in rural Washington (Spokesman-Review)
Growing school districts that need new buildings would have an easier time building in nearby rural areas under a bill moving through the Legislature.... But critics told the committee the bill would allow districts to expand into rural areas that aren’t equipped to handle the growth in traffic or services, and population growth would follow the schools. Part of the bill is directed at ongoing disputes in Pierce County, where Sanders and other residents said the growth management area – where state law allows bigger growth – already is adequate to handle school expansions. They say counties and cities just need to do a better job of communicating to districts about new developments so they could build in those neighborhoods.
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Woodinville, neighbors try to block sale of Wellington Hills (Everett Herald)
Tranquil green hills surrounded by trees give no hint of the rancorous politics or the expensive legal fight over this patch of ground. Venture out to Wellington Hills at most any time of day and you’re likely to find people out for a stroll, often with dogs in tow. It’s been this way since Snohomish County bought the semi-rural property next door to Woodinville in 2012. It was intended to fulfill a promise of a regional park to make up for some of the impacts of King County’s nearby Brightwater sewage treatment plant. ... In a twist, the neighbors and the city are now suing to stop the county from selling the land. The Northshore School District wants to buy the property as a possible school site to handle its burgeoning student population. If the deal goes through, some neighbors fear they could lose the character of the entire community.
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Learning to create small habitats in Kitsap, Thurston, Pierce counties (Kitsap Sun | Watching Our Water Ways blog)
Marianne Jackson, a personal trainer and yoga teacher, lives in a fairly typical residential neighborhood in Des Moines, about halfway between Seattle and Tacoma. Marianne has been interested in gardening for years. Recently, however, she decided to up her game by creating a backyard wildlife habitat. That’s when Sarah Bruemmer, a habitat steward coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, entered Marianne’s life. Sarah knows how to turn small outdoor spaces — or large ones, if available — into functioning habitats. She coordinates a training program that addresses issues from soils, gardening and invasive plants to birds, butterflies and water quality.
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The town will require recycled paper bags, but should the county? (Journal of the San Juan Islands)
San Juan County council banned single-use plastic bags last October, but a new proposed amendment to that ordinance may now mandate recycled paper bags. “This is a plastic bag ban, not a required recycled paper bag (use),” said Councilman Rick Hughes of one proposed amendment at the March 6 county council meeting.
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Project to test forest management techniques in Olympic Experimental State Forest (Peninsula Daily News)
Researchers are preparing for a large-scale forest management experiment in the Olympic Experimental State Forest with hopes of benefiting the environment, economy and surrounding communities. It’s a first-of-its-kind experiment for the state and could influence forest management across the Pacific Northwest, said Bernard Bormann, director of the Olympic Resource Center and a lead for the project. The study, a joint Department of Natural Resources and University of Washington effort called the “Large-Scale Integrated-Management Experiment,” will compare four management strategies across 16 watersheds in the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF).
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EPA faults study on expanding Growler jets at Whidbey, seeks on-the-ground noise monitoring (Seattle Times)
The Environmental Protection Agency rates as “insufficient” a draft study of the impacts of adding up to 36 additional aircraft to the EA-18G Growler fleet at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. The EPA wants more information about what the expansion would do to the environment and local communities, and recommends a monitoring program to measure the noise effects of the Growler jets. The findings were conveyed to the Navy in a letter sent earlier this month from R. David Allnut, an EPA official in Seattle.
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We need to do more to clean Puget Sound | Being Frank (Auburn Reporter | Column, Lorraine Loomis)
The health of Puget Sound is getting some much-needed help from efforts to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and a proposed new law that would prohibit sewage discharge from boats. Polluted stormwater runoff from urban areas is the number one source of pollution entering Puget Sound. When it rains, pollutants such as brake-pad dust, oil and other toxics are washed from our roadways into the sound.
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Whatcom Council approves second 6-month ban on crude oil exports (Bellingham Herald)
The fight over allowing new shipments of unrefined fossil fuels to go through Cherry Point again went before the Whatcom County Council, which approved another six-month moratorium. The council temporarily banned applications for new or expanded facilities for shipping unrefined fossil fuels out of Cherry Point by a vote of 6-1, after more than two hours of public input Tuesday night. The majority of people who went before the Council pushed for the new moratorium.
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Whatcom County extends moratorium on crude oil exports (MyNorthwest.com | Associated Press)

Draft EIS released for Tesoro refinery project (Skagit Valley Herald)
Skagit County on Thursday released a draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, for a proposed project at the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery. The project, called the Tesoro Anacortes Clean Products Upgrade Project, would have no significant environmental impacts that would require mitigation, according to the draft EIS. The project would enable the refinery to produce 15,000 barrels of xylene per day and sell it as a product separate from its fuel products. It would also reduce the amount of sulfur in fuel products processed at the refinery and capture emissions from marine vessels at the refinery dock.
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Researchers Test Hotter, Faster And Cleaner Way To Fight Oil Spills (NPR)
On a cold and windy day off the coast of Alabama, a team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts gathers, conducting the first test outside a laboratory for a potential new solution to a challenging problem: cleaning oil spills from water. The invention, the Flame Refluxer, is "very simple," says Ali Rangwala, a professor of fire protection engineering: Imagine a giant Brillo pad of copper wool sandwiched between layers of copper screen, with springy copper coils attached to the top. "The coils collect the heat from the flame and they transmit it through the copper blanket," Rangwala explains. The goal is to make a hotter, faster and more complete burn that leaves less pollution.
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Species and Food Web

Bad breath: Study find array of bacteria when orcas exhale (Kitsap Sun|AP)
When the mighty orca breaks to the surface and exhales, the whale sprays an array of bacteria and fungi in its his breath, scientists said, some good, and some bad such as salmonella. The findings in a new study raises concerns about the potential role of infectious diseases as another major stress factor for the struggling population of endangered Puget Sound orcas. Those orcas' breath samples revealed microbes capable of causing diseases. Some were resistant to multiple antibiotics frequently used by people and animals, suggesting human waste contaminating the marine environment, according to a study published online Friday in the journal Scientific Reports.
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See also:
Respiratory Microbiome of Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales and Microbiota of Surrounding Sea Surface Microlayer in the Eastern North Pacific (Nature)

Orca whales return to Puget Sound, just in time for start of spring (KIRO 7 News)
Orca whales have officially returned to Puget Sound waters. On the second day of spring, KIRO 7’s Chopper spotted a group of orca whales, swimming above and below the water.
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Fish evolve quickly to take advantage of marine protected areas: UBC study (Vancouver Sun)
Fish can quickly evolve to get more benefit from the protection offered by marine protected areas, according to research from the University of B.C. Variation in the natural range of large fish species means that some fish will spend much of their lives in or near areas protected from fishing, while others will range farther and face capture. Because they are less likely to be harvested, less mobile fish are more likely to survive and pass that trait on to their offspring.
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Wild Salmon Allies: Tribes and Others Resist FDA Approval of GE Salmon (Green Acre Radio)
Wild salmon, an ecological keystone species in the Northwest, have played a central role in tribal life for generations. The quiet approval of genetically engineered salmon by the Food and Drug Administration doesn't sit well with tribes and fishing communities across the nation, who are rallying behind a lawsuit against the FDA which is making its way through the courts. In the Pacific Northwest, Coast Salish tribes and community allies held a wild-salmon cook out to bring attention to the issue, which they say is about food sovereignty and honoring of treaty rights.
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Northwest Tribes Say Salmon Recovery Is Requirement Based On Treaty Rights (KLCC)
The state of the salmon population in Idaho’s Snake River was the topic of a passionate discussion during a conference hosted by members of Idaho’s Nez Perce Indian tribe over the weekend. The Northwest used to be home to some of the world’s largest salmon runs.
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Soapy clams raise concerns for island ecosytems (Islands Sounder)
Clams dug from beaches in Fisherman Bay on Lopez Island and Fishing Bay in Eastsound have accumulated as much as one milligram per kilogram of the common household detergent, sodium lauryl sulfate. SLS and the closely related compound sodium laureth sulfate comprise about half of the detergent manufactured and sold in the United States. They have been replaced in some body care products because of irritation to skin, eyes and mucous membranes, but still dominate laundry and dish soaps.
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Water Quality

Council, environmentalists seek answers in West Point sewage plant meltdown (MyNorthwest.com)
Hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage and stormwater poured into Puget Sound while the plant was decimated by floodwaters and raw sewage. And what’s nothing short of an environmental crisis continues as plant managers work to repair the damaged facility and get it back online. “It’s a catastrophic failure. It’s been releasing raw wastewater into Puget Sound and that’s something we’ve been working decades to prevent. And so this is something that is clearly unprecedented,” said Mindy Roberts, Puget Sound Director for the Washington Environmental Council.
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See also:
Seattle plant failure dumps millions of gallons of sewage (MyNorthwest.com | Associated Press)
Seattle plant failure dumps millions of gallons of sewage (ABC News)
Cleaning up the mess King County officials hold meeting on West Point restoration (Queen Anne & Magnolia News)
Opinion: Business innovation needed to prevent future wastewater treatment system failures (Puget Sound Business Journal)

These bugs could help Seattle's poop spill. But they're hibernating (KUOW)
Workers continue their efforts to get the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle up and running. The plant was crippled by a flood last month and it continues to spew solid waste into the Puget Sound every day. And restoring the plant's full treatment capacity relies on its tiniest workers – bugs: microorganisms that kill harmful bacteria and help in the treatment process. But there's a problem: These tiny little bugs are hibernating.
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Esquimalt, Songhees First Nations to reap millions for backing CRD sewage plan (Times Colonist)
Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations will receive millions of dollars for their support of the Capital Regional District’s sewage-treatment project. The “support agreements” negotiated with each nation provide for everything from paid liaison positions and guarantees of employment for band members to costs of re-interment of any ancestral remains discovered during construction. They also include money to operate a food truck and provide culinary arts training, and cash to supply water and sewage services to reserve housing. The largest payment is for Rock Bay land controlled by the two First Nations. The CRD will spend $600,000 annually for four years to lease the land, which will be used as a preparation area for the sewage project.
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Plants providing limited wastewater treatment add to risk for orcas (Seattle Times)
Pity the poor orcas. They’re already stressed from pollution, noise from vessel traffic and lack of food because of declining salmon runs. And now scientists, in the first study of its kind, have identified a fourth risk factor: pathogens that could hurt the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population — possibly from human sewage.
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$50,000 fine, two years of probation for Tacoma truck wash owner who dumped chemicals into sewer (Tacoma News Tribune)
The owner of a Tacoma truck washing company will pay $50,000 and spend two years on probation for dumping hazardous materials into the city’s water system, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office said Monday. Company owner Ryan Lewis pleaded guilty March 9 to gross misdemeanors for polluting water and illegally discharging hazardous chemicals, according to a news release from the attorney general’s office. He also pleaded guilty on behalf of his company, Cleaner Pressure Washing, to the same charges, along with a felony charge of defrauding a public utility.
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White Rock gets millions to remove arsenic, manganese from water (Vancouver Sun)
White Rock has received the largest grant in its history to deal with elevated levels of arsenic and manganese in the city water supply. The money, almost $11.8 million, was announced Friday as part of a spending blitz by the federal and provincial governments aimed at water and waste water infrastructure projects in B.C. White Rock received $7.1 million from the federal government and $4.7 million from the province. Though details of the treatment plan have not been finalized, treating the city’s water is expected to cost $14.2 million, meaning White Rock will pick up $2.4 million.
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New Health Department office provides resources to Key Peninsula community (Tacoma News Tribune)
The office will primarily provide resources and information on permitting, including septic systems and building, and information on water quality and water systems, at the request of community members, DiBiase said.... This water quality monitoring is to help keep groundwater clear for local commercial shellfish companies and so the Puget Sound waters stay clean and safe for recreation.
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Students get behind-the-scenes look at their water supply (Skagit Valley Herald)
Each day when thousands of Skagit County residents brush their teeth or fill a glass with water, where that water comes from isn’t typically on their minds. Skagit Public Utility District staff hoped to change that Wednesday for a group of students from Jefferson Elementary School in Mount Vernon who were touring the watershed and treatment plant that together provide drinkable water for much of the county. “When I started this type of work I knew my water came out of the tap,” Skagit PUD Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Jamie LeBlanc said. “I didn’t know about all the people behind the scenes making sure it’s safe to drink.”
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Fight the attempt to kill the Clean Water Rule (Kitsap Sun | Guest Opinion)
In his February address to Congress, President Donald Trump promised clean water for all Americans. Why, then, is his administration intent on dismantling protections that cover a third of the nation’s drinking water? Trump has directed the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rescind or revise the Clean Water Rule. Doing so would eliminate protections for small streams and millions of acres of wetlands.
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Water Quantity

Senate’s ‘use it or lose it’ water bill heads to House (Capital Press)
The House next week may take up a bill to ensure conservation doesn’t erode agricultural water rights. Senate Bill 5010 would allow irrigation districts and farmers to retain their full water rights, even if they cut back on use for an extended period. The bill’s prime sponsor, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Judy Warnick, said farmers should be encouraged to save water, without fear of having to relinquish a portion of their water rights.
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Climate Change

Film from former Port Townsend resident deals with Salish Sea, climate change (Peninsula Daily News)
Former Port Townsend resident Ian Hinkle hopes his film “Reaching Blue” stirs discussion on climate change… The film, which Hinkle co-directed with Andy Robertson, focuses on changes happening in the Salish Sea due to climate change…. It was shown for the first time on the North Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend on Friday. About 225 people turned out to see the 45-minute film at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship sanctuary in Port Townsend, according to Kees Kolff, chair of the fellowship’s Green Sanctuary committee.
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See also:
Climate change film features Salish Sea, US-Canada border (SeattlePI.com)

Climate change the hot topic in Olympia on Saturday (The Olympian)
Downtown Olympia became a hub for climate change conversation Saturday, with more than 100 people from throughout Washington gathering for the South Sound Climate Action Convention. “I think that you’re all here for the same reason I’m here,” said Paul Elwood, event organizer. “And that’s that we need help.” Climate change is too big for an individual to solve, he said, so it’s important for people to collaborate.
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Human Health and Quality of Life

As Trump Slashes EPA, Worry Over the Fate of an Agency Doing Similar Work (ProPublica)
It has little name recognition, a budget less than 10 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s, and is part of a government institute embraced by both of the nation’s major political parties. Still, those concerned about the future of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences are wary of what’s to come.
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B.C. oyster industry reeling after more than 300 consumers fall ill (Vancouver Sun)
The federal government has closed oyster farming at seven diverse locations in southern B.C. waters, and several other commercial growers have voluntarily stopped selling amidst the worst norovirus outbreak to ever hit the industry. To date, a total of 304 illnesses have been reported in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario from eating raw or undercooked oysters from the West Coast, said Darlene Winterburn, executive director of the Comox-based B.C. Shellfish Growers’ Association.
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Illness traced back to Samish Bay oysters (Skagit Valley Herald)
Part of Samish Bay is closed to commercial shellfish harvesting because of multiple reports of an oyster-related illness traced back to the area. According to the state Department of Health, the agency received several reports of shellfish consumers in King County having norovirus-like symptoms after eating oysters the weekend of March 10.... The Samish River and Samish Bay have ongoing problems with fecal coliform bacteria getting into the water, primarily from septic systems and livestock in the largely rural watershed.
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Fishy labels?: Ottawa considering steps to provide more detail on seafood labels (CBC News)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it is looking at ways to improve labelling for seafood after a report by environmentalists gave current rules a grade of F due to a lack of consumer information. The report released Thursday by the Seachoice group, which includes the David Suzuki Foundation and the Ecology Action Centre, says that under existing rules Canadians often aren't receiving the same information as Europeans or Americans. The coalition is advocating for Canada to begin including more details on labels, including where the fish was caught, how it was caught and, in addition to the common name, a scientific name that helps consumers identify more precisely just what they're about to eat.
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Trump's Hiring Freeze Could Be Felt By Recreation Seekers On Public Lands (Northwest Public Radio)
More and more people are using publicly owned lands for recreation. Public agencies are struggling to keep up with the demand for rangers, trail maintenance – even the need to restock toilet paper in outhouses. The problem could get worse under President Trump’s hiring freeze.
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Chimacum being tested in area waters (Kitsap Sun)
Though the Chimacum might be spotted this week cruising Puget Sound, the new ferry is a couple of months away from joining the Bremerton route. Builder Vigor Shipyards put the third of its four 144-car ferries through the paces Wednesday during a spin around Vashon Island.
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Feiro Marine Life Center, planned waterfront facility to share campus (Peninsula Daily News)
The Port Angeles Waterfront Center’s performing arts facility and Feiro Marine Life Center will create a shared campus on the same downtown Port Angeles Harbor property, officials from both organizations predicted. Feiro Executive Director Melissa Williams and Waterfront Center board Chairman Brooke Taylor said Wednesday they expect Feiro’s lease to occupy part of 1.6 acres of Waterfront Center property at long-vacant First and Oak streets to be signed by April 30. Williams and Taylor said it could be five to six years before the property is fully developed, although Taylor said the Waterfront Center, expected to also include a conference facility, could be completed sooner than Feiro.
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Other News of Interest

Celebrating 50 years of clean air (Skagit Valley Herald)
Before the state established laws to protect air quality, smoke and ash billowed from industrial facilities, including some in Skagit County. The Northwest Clean Air Agency, which enforces air quality regulations in Skagit, Whatcom and Island counties, is celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the state's Clean Air Act.
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How Oregon's infrastructure report card compares to the West in 10 critical areas (OregonLive.com)
When it comes to shoring up critical roads, bridges and water systems, the United States has plenty of work to do. Last week, the American Society of Civil Engineers released its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, which gave the country an overall grade of D+. The report card, which is issued every four years, breaks down what needs to be done state by state, taking a deep look at everything from dams to drinking water. The report follows a recent survey by U.S. News and World Report, which ranked Oregon and Washington as the top two states when it comes to infrastructure, with California lagging in the lower middle of the rankings.
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Vancouver law firm seeks legal grounding of unwritten Indigenous laws (CBC News)
A Vancouver law firm is trying to give unwritten Indigenous laws more legal sway. The project, spearheaded by West Coast Environmental Law, rewrites traditional and often forgotten ancestral laws into modern legal terms. Maxine Matilpi, the project's lead, says the goal is to give First Nations greater voice in legal decisions that affect their communities.
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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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