Pacific Northwest Tribes unite to protect and defend salmon

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The life and legacy of Billy Frank Jr. was honored on March 19, as a dynamic group of tribal leaders and state representatives assembled for the Billy Frank Jr. Pacific Salmon Summit, held at the Orca Ballroom in the Tulalip Resort Casino. The goal was to continue the teachings of a fearless leader and historic visionary, while igniting others to carry the torch to advance and strengthen policies to protect and defend salmon and salmon habitat.

Billy Frank Jr., who died four years ago in May, committed his life to protecting his Nisqually people’s traditional way of life and to protecting the endangered salmon whose survival is the focus of tribal life. Beginning with his first arrest as a teenager in 1945 for “illegal” fishing on his beloved Nisqually River, he became a leader of a civil disobedience movement that insisted on the treaty rights (the right to fish in “usual and accustomed places”) guaranteed to Washington tribes more than a century before.

His activism ultimately led to the Supreme Court’s landmark Boldt Decision in 1974, affirming Native American treaty fishing rights. The Boldt Decision held that the government’s promise to secure the fisheries for the tribes was central to the treaty-making process, and allocates 50 percent of the annual catch to treaty tribes.

Pacific salmon have long played an essential role in the cultures and lives of the Indigenous People of the Pacific Northwest. Today, salmon and their precious habitat are in a critical state because of unchecked commercial fishing, waterway contamination, habitat destruction, net-pen farming, and road culverts that restrict fish habitat.

In order to ensure future generations can continue to practice their traditional ways of life, existing efforts to protect the salmon must be enhanced and strengthened. That is why the Billy Frank Jr. Pacific Salmon Summit was the perfect opportunity for tribal leaders, fishery managers, policy makers, state representatives, scientists, and the public to come together and discuss strategies for protecting salmon for the future.

The Pacific Salmon Summit opened with traditional drumming and prayers by the Tulalip Canoe Family. As the welcome song echoed through the Orca Ballroom, students from Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary proudly displayed their banner created from hundreds of salmon cutouts they created during Billy Frank Jr. spirit week.

Speaking beneath a conference banner bearing Billy Frank Jr.’s portrait and the slogan, “The Truth Will Lead Us,” Quinault Indian Nation President, Fawn Sharp, gave the summit’s keynote address.

“I saw Billy as a historic visionary. He had this ability to go back to treaty time and had an incredible understanding of what those words meant,” Fawn said. “As a visionary, he understood the many challenges facing humanity, facing our generation. Billy would want people to come together to have a real discussion and understand the current state of the salmon.

“You’re going to find this is the beginning,” she continued. “Because the salmon is – as Billy said so many times – the true measure of our health and our life. And who’s paying attention to that? We are.”

A most diverse gathering, the summit brought together a broad range of people to share information and exchange ideas about how to continue to restore and protect salmon. Together, participants in the inaugural Billy Frank Jr. Pacific Salmon Summit identified and developed an advocacy strategy to strengthen protection policies for salmon and salmon habitat.

“We freely step up and we take on the battle to protect our salmon because the salmon is our culture,” explained Tulalip tribal member, Glen Gobin, who was the summit’s master of ceremonies. “We hold events like this to keep people vitalized, to keep that passion alive, and most importantly to keep our future alive. The future is for each and every resident in Washington State. We have to pull together and take ownership of what that means; it’s not somebody else’s responsibility, it’s each and every one of our own responsibility to take control of our future. We need to heal this environment and protect our salmon so that our children and great-grandchildren have a future.”

The summit wrapped up with a call to action to challenge the status quo, and to create meaningful partnerships with co-managers who will work as diligently and responsibly to protect the salmon as tribal programs do. A work group was formed to develop proposed actions and investigate conflicts and failings in reaching recovery objectives. Their common goals include increased use of hatcheries and more aggressive salmon habitat restoration.

There was also a joint declaration with representatives of several Pacific Northwest tribes and First Nations from Canada calling for a shutdown of Atlantic salmon net-pen farming all along the West Coast. Like Billy Frank Jr. said, “It is going to take all of us working together to turn the tide for the Salmon.”

The summit was sponsored by the Tulalip, Lummi, Puyallup, Squaxin Island, Snoqualmie and Nisqually tribes and organized by Salmon Defense, a nonprofit salmon recovery group founded by the late Billy Frank Jr.

Coastal Businesses, Citizens Testify Against Offshore Drilling in WA on Day of BOEM Public Meeting

 

Hundreds speak out to protect Washington businesses, beaches

Source: Resource Media Seattle

OLYMPIA—Today, Washington elected officials, business, fishing, tourism and conservation interests voiced their opposition to a Trump administration proposal that would open up 90 percent of the nation’s coastline—including Washington’s—to oil and gas drilling for the first time since 1984, despite decades of bipartisan coastal protection. The Department of Interior issued the 2019-2024 Draft Proposed Program on Jan. 4, for new offshore drilling activities in federal U.S. waters, 3 to 200 miles offshore. The proposed program would threaten Washington’s fishing, tourism and recreation economy, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. The March 5 “People’s Hearing” was organized in the room adjacent to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s public meeting, because the BOEM did not allow public testimony, only written comments.

The National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program proposal has been met by fierce opposition by local, state, and federal leaders in almost every coastal state. In Washington, this includes Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, and members of the congressional delegation. There have not been any new leases in federal waters since 1984.

Coastal business owners and citizens pointed to the long-term impacts from the oil spills of Exxon Valdez, Deepwater Horizon and the 1988 Nestucca spill at the mouth of Grays Harbor, on fisheries and businesses. The group urged a pivot to a clean energy economy that protects Washington’s coastal communities, and our valuable marine and other natural resources.NOAA data from 2015 states that they respond to 100 oil spills in U.S. waters every year. In December, however, the Trump administration announced it will roll back federal safety rules created following the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

 

Kyle Deerkop, Pacific Seafoods:  “Pacific Seafood is built on the mission of delivering the healthiest and most sustainable protein on the planet. To do this, the company employs 2,500-3,500 people on the West Coast and across the country. Drilling off of Washington or any of the other West Coast states would put the livelihood of our employees and the natural resources at risk.”

Contact:  kdeerkop@pacseafood.com, 971-373-3344

 

Johannes Ariens, owner, Loge Camps, Westport, and Surfrider Foundation: “As a hotel owner and surfer on the Washington coast, the idea of offshore drilling this close to home is terrifying. People come from around the world to enjoy world-class recreation on our beaches. Our jobs depend on a clean and thriving coast to survive. I saw what happened to tourism and recreation businesses in the Gulf after their oil spill. We can’t have that happen to us here.”

Contact: chair@seattle.surfrider.org, 206-799-3298

 

Crystal Dingler, Mayor of Ocean Shores: “Nearly 5 million people visited Ocean Shores in 2017. Our beach town’s economy is 100% dependent on tourism, recreation, and fishing, and we will do everything we can to protect our jobs and beautiful beaches from being put at risk from an oil spill. We’ve gone through that before, and have vowed to fight this offshore drilling plan tooth and nail.”

Ocean Shores was the first city in Washington to pass a resolution against the Trump proposal.

Contact: cdingler@osgov.com, 360-581-5386

 

Jess Helsley, executive director, Coast Salmon Foundation, Aberdeen:  “Salmon are arguably the most iconic species of the Pacific Northwest. The Coast Salmon Foundation and partners across the state are fighting to rebuild their populations, but it is an uphill battle. Many populations cannot survive any additional major threat in their waters. We cannot allow the risky business of offshore drilling off our coast. A spill in these waters would devastate our coastal ecosystems, communities, jobs, and our cultural way of life.”

Contact:  jess@coastsalmonpartnership.org, 208-413-1120

 

Rebecca Ponzio, Stand Up To Oil campaign:  “Washington has said loud and clear, we won’t be the doormat for the fossil fuel industry. Drilling off our shores is a needless give-away to dirty energy companies at a time when we should be investing in our transition to a clean energy economy.”

Contact:  rebecca@wecprotects.org, 206-240-0493

 

Washington coastal communities power an economy dependent on the ocean. Tourism, recreation and fishing jobs are all dependent on a healthy coast:

  • In 2014, commercial (non-tribal) fisheries landed a total of 129 million pounds into Washington’s coastal ports with an ex-vessel value of $93 million.
  • Annual recreational fishing on Washington’s coast averaged 47,000 trips on charter vessels and another 98,000 trips on private vessels between 2003 and 2014. In 2014, trip-related expenditures for coastal recreational fishing generated over $30 million in coastal spending, supported 325 jobs in coastal counties, and contributed $17 million in labor income.
  • Shellfish aquaculture in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties provides an estimated 572 direct jobs, supports 847 total jobs, and generates $50 million in total labor income in the coastal region alone.
  • Washington residents took an estimated 4.1 million trips to Washington’s Pacific Coast in 2014, with nearly 60 percent indicating their primary purpose was for recreation. These trips generated an estimated $481 million in expenditures.
  • Recreational razor clamming generates between 275,000 and 460,000 digger trips each season and provides between $25 million and $40 million in tourist-related income to coastal communities in Washington.

 

While the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is not allowing public testimony at the meeting, it is accepting public comments on the Draft Proposed Program online during a 60-day comment period ending on March 9. Today’s meeting was the only public meeting to be held in Washington to gather additional input for this stage of the plan. After the comments are received and environmental reviews conducted, the Proposed Program will be released, triggering another comment period. The Final Proposed Program is expected by 2019. The current draft proposed plan includes one lease sale off Washington and Oregon.

The livestream of the press conference can be viewed via Stand Up To Oil’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StandUpToOil/  (this link will be archived).

The People’s Hearing, held in conjunction with the BOEM Open House, was organized by members of the Stand Up To Oil coalition, including the Surfrider Foundation, Washington Environmental Council, Sierra Club, Citizens for a Clean Harbor, and 350.org.

Snohomish County provides free Household Hazardous Waste disposal in Everett

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average U.S. household generates more than twenty pounds of household hazardous waste (HHW) each year for an estimated total of 530,000 tons nationally. HHW items include products for your car, such as anti-freeze, motor oil and brake fluid as well as products around the house, like fluorescent light bulbs, paint, cleaning products and pesticides. These items are often accompanied by warning labels that read caution flammable, poison or corrosive. Improper disposal of these items, like pouring excess paint, oil or chemicals down the drain, in the trash or off the side of the road, are leading to serious concerns for Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants.

“For environmental pollution prevention purposes, trying to control storm water pollutants or toxins in the environment is paramount to folks who are interested in protecting salmon,” states Tulalip Planning Code Enforcement Officer, David Nellis. “It’s very important that we are working to prevent toxins like paint, spent fuels and these types of things from entering storm water runoff. When it rains, it hits paint that was spilled on the ground and the paint rushes off and gets into the creek and then flows downstream and salmon eggs get that covered on them. It’s either causing damage to the salmon eggs by affecting their DNA or killing them.”

At the turn of the 21st century, the EPA conducted a study which showed that pharmaceuticals and personal health care products (PPCP) in bodies of water were becoming an ‘emerging concern’ for fish. Overtime, the PPCPs bio-accumulate in the fish’s tissue, which can lead to endocrine system disruption causing reproductive and behavioral problems for the fish. Though that particular study did not focus on HHW like motor oil and paint thinner, it did show that the chemicals eventually work their way back up the food chain and now pose a problem for people.

“You can only eat an x amount of salmon and tuna now because of mercury; we have mercury in our light bulbs,” David explains. “These are called PBTs, or persistent bio-accumulative toxins, that the EPA tries to keep out of the environment. Some of them are in paints, light bulbs, and pesticides – a lot of these things we spray outdoors or spill accidentally. When they get into a body of water, they get into our body by getting into the bodies of the things we eat. And when that accumulates it can cause problems.

“The EPA states if you’re pregnant, you should only eat one meal of tuna a month,” he continues. “Because the level of mercury, it can interfere with the central nervous system development in children ranging from learning disabilities, to severe neurological damage to death being the worst case. What have we done? This is healthy food. We should be able to eat fish every day. All these things are impacted by things we put in the environment. Every salmon egg that dies is a salmon that won’t be smoking on the grill and providing food for ceremonies. Every one we can save, by not allowing pollution in the environment, will benefit our society. So, how can we make it better? By recycling and disposing these harmful products in a safe and proper way.”

The Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Station is located at 434 McDougall Avenue, off Broadway in Everett.

Snohomish County provides free disposal of HHW products for their residents at the Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Station in Everett. The station accepts a variety of HHW products and is located at 3434 McDougall Avenue, off Broadway, a block adjacent to the Brown Bear Car Wash. The station collects and separates HHW to be recycled, consolidated and disposed of safely. They will also accept hazardous waste from small businesses that qualify as a small quantity generator, by appointment and for a fee.

“We take household items,” explains Ginger Swint, Moderate Risk Waste Specialist at the HHW Drop-Off Station. “Unwanted cleaners, pesticides, automotive, florescent lamps, and all batteries including car batteries. We don’t take sharps, radioactives, explosives, ammunition or empty containers. All the fluorescent [bulbs] are taken down to Seattle where they capture the mercury and phosphate, and the glass and everything else is recycled. I think this station is essential because it keeps [HHW] out of the waterways and away from children. It gives us an opportunity as a community to dispose of it properly instead of throwing it in the garbage.”

“They do chemical manipulation and restore it, reuse it in another product or dispose of it entirely in a way that doesn’t negatively affect our health and resources,” says David. “We can take some these spent fuels like for boat engines, you put additives in it and after a year it’s not good anymore, it kind of turns into lacquer. You can take all this stuff and take it to the household hazardous waste disposal site and give it to them. If you’re a private home owner they’ll take it for free and that gets it out of our waste streams. You’re essentially taking this massive pile of stuff that’s causing our demise – the demise of salmon, shellfish and poisoning people, and making it a little less than before. It’s more consolidated and compact. If we can try to remove some of these from the environment, then we can curb some of these man made problems.”

The Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Station is open Wednesday through Saturday between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. To view a complete list of what the drop-off station accepts and does not accept please visit www.SnoCo.org

Inslee, Ferguson, Tribes, Coastal Businesses Speak Out Against Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan

Attorney General Bob Ferguson pledges lawsuit if plan includes Washington state

Source: Resource Media Seattle

OLYMPIA—Today, coastal and statewide elected officials, tribal and fishing industry representatives, and conservation advocates spoke in united opposition to a new federal proposal that would open Washington’s coast to oil and gas drilling for the first time in 50 years. On Jan. 4 of this year, the Trump administration released its 2019-2024 draft plan which would open up 90 percent of the nation’s coastline—including Washington’s—to oil and gas drilling.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson sent a letter today to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, opposing President Donald Trump’s proposal to allow oil and gas drilling off Washington’s coast and asking that Washington be exempted. If Washington is not removed from the plan, Ferguson warned Zinke he will file a lawsuit.

The Governor, the Attorney General, representatives from the Quinault Indian Nation, the Makah Tribe, the president of the Washington Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association, the mayor of Ocean Shores and the Commissioner of Public Lands spoke about Washington’s commitment to protecting a fishing, tourism and recreation economy worth millions of dollars from the threat of pollution and oil spills. They pointed to the long-term impacts from the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon disasters on fisheries and businesses. NOAA data from 2015 states that they respond to 100 oil spills in U.S. waters every year. In December, however, the Trump administration announced it will roll back federal safety rules created following the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Jay Inslee, Governor:

“This plan threatens the health, safety and economic prosperity of our beautiful coastal communities. That’s why we are committed to doing everything in our power to make sure that Washington’s waters remain protected from offshore drilling.”

In his letter, Attorney General Bob Ferguson writes:

“On January 9, 2018, Secretary Zinke announced that he had granted an exemption to Florida, sparing that state from the risks and burdens of drilling and exploration off its shores. Every reason identified by the Secretary in announcing his decision also applies to Washington. Were the Department to grant one state an exemption without an identified process and established criteria, it would contravene the regulatory framework and processes that states rely on for fair and lawful treatment. Thus, I ask that Washington receive the same exemption as Florida, and that no drilling or exploration be considered or take place off our coast.

“If, on the other hand, the Department of Interior seeks to put Washington’s coastal communities at risk, my office will initiate litigation against the Department to protect our coast.” Contact: brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov, (360) 753-2727

Gina James, Quinault Indian Nation Business Councilmember: “The Quinault Indian Nation vehemently opposes offshore drilling off the Washington Coast. The QIN signatories of ‘The Treaty of Olympia’ were guaranteed the right to ‘take fish’ at all ‘usual and accustomed grounds and stations.’ The impact from a potential oil spill infringes on this right and will not only harm the Quinault and local economies, but the beautiful coastal environments, the aquatic sea life, and our ability to harvest our traditional foods.” Contact:  gjames@quinault.org, 360-590-0821

Larry Thevik, President, WA Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association: “One major oil spill can be devastating: contaminating coastlines, killing fish and wildlife, destroying livelihoods and disrupting communities. This is a risk we do not want to take, we do not need to take, and we must not take.” Contact:  thevik_rouse@yahoo.com, 360-581-3910

Chad Bowechop, manager, Makah Tribe Office of Marine Affairs:  “The Makah Tribe works to ensure the sustainability of tribal resources in perpetuity to maintain our cultural identity. Since the sustainability of these resources is wholly dependent on a healthy ecosystem, the Makah have a sovereign interest and authority to address any human activity or environmental phenomena that may directly or indirectly affect the Pacific Northwest ecosystems.” Contact: chad.bowechop@makah.com, 360- 640-0295

Crystal Dingler, Mayor of Ocean Shores:  “Our Washington coast, and the entire coast of our country, is a beautiful and productive but, fragile environment that needs our voice to be loud and clear: No offshore gas and oil exploration or drilling.”

Ocean Shores was the first city in Washington to pass a resolution against the Trump proposal. Contact:  cdingler@osgov.com, 360-581-5386

Johannes Ariens, Loge Camps, Westport, and Surfrider Foundation: “As a surfer, business owner and employer on the Washington coast the idea of offshore drilling this close to home is terrifying. My peers and I have thriving businesses that employ thousands of people, we are suppliers of some of the world’s greatest seafood, hosts to travelers who come from around the globe to enjoy our world-class recreational opportunities, and we depend on a clean and thriving coast to survive. A spill such as that in the Gulf would decimate us all and have economic impacts that reach far beyond our coastline.” Contact:  chair@seattle.surfrider.org, 206-799-3298 

Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands:  “Washington State did not ask for offshore drilling and we do not want offshore drilling. Offshore oil and gas drilling is dirty and dangerous and will further endanger our state’s aquatic resources that are already struggling with ocean acidification and warming waters.” Contact:  Carlo Davis, carlo.davis@dnr.wa.gov, 360-999-9165

Washington coastal communities power an economy dependent on the ocean. Tourism, recreation and fishing jobs are all dependent on a healthy coast:

  • In 2014, commercial (non-tribal) fisheries landed a total of 129 million pounds into Washington’s coastal ports with an ex-vessel value of $93 million.
  • Annual recreational fishing effort on Washington’s coast averaged 47,000 trips on charter vessels and another 98,000 trips on private vessels between 2003 and 2014. In 2014, trip-related expenditures for coastal recreational fishing generated over $30 million in coastal spending, supported 325 jobs in coastal counties, and contributed $17 million in labor income.
  • Shellfish aquaculture in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties provides an estimated 572 direct jobs, supports 847 total jobs, and generates $50 million in total labor income in the coastal region alone.
  • Washington residents took an estimated 4.1 million trips to Washington’s Pacific Coast in 2014, with nearly 60 percent indicating their primary purpose was for recreation. These trips generated an estimated $481 million in expenditures.
  • Recreational razor clamming generates between 275,000 and 460,000 digger trips each season and provides between $25 million and $40 million in tourist-related income to coastal communities in Washington.

BOEM’s Washington state public meeting has been postponed until further notice after their venue in Tacoma, the Landmark Convention Center, cancelled the room rental for Feb. 5. BOEM is accepting public comments on the 2019-2024 drilling proposal online through March 9. After the comments are received and environmental reviews conducted, the Proposed Program will be released, triggering another comment period. The Final Proposed Program is expected by 2019. The current plan includes six lease sales off California and one off Oregon and Washington.

The livestream of the press conference can be viewed via TVW: https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2018021102 (this link will be archived)

Inslee, Tribes, Coastal Businesses Speak Out Against Offshore Drilling in WA

Hundreds to gather in Tacoma to protect coastal businesses and beaches
from Trump-proposed drilling
 
TACOMA—On Feb. 5, hundreds of Washingtonians will travel to Tacoma to voice their opposition to a federal proposal that would open up 90 percent of the nation’s coastline—including Washington’s—to oil and gas drilling. The proposal, issued by the Department of Interior in January, threatens a fishing, tourism and recreation economy worth millions of dollars. The Feb. 5 events will unite Washington’s business, fishing, tribal, tourism and conservation interests with elected leaders including Gov. Jay Inslee.
WHAT:            Press conference, citizens forum and rally at the Bureau of Ocean Energy                   Management (BOEM) hearing
 
WHEN:            Monday, Feb. 5, 2018
                        1-2 p.m. Press conference, Gothic Room (see below)
                        2-8 p.m. Citizen’s forum (testimony from members of the public)
                        5:30 p.m. Outdoor rally in front of building
                        3-7 p.m. BOEM public hearing (written testimony only)
 
WHERE:          Gothic Room in the Landmark Catering and Convention Center
 
WHO:             
Speakers:       Jay Inslee, Governor
                        Gina James, Quinault Indian Nation Business Councilmember
                        Larry Thevik, President, WA Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association       
                       Chad Bowechop, manager, Makah Tribe Office of Marine Affairs
                        Crystal Dingler, Mayor of Ocean Shores
                        Johannes Ariens, LOGE Camp and Motel, Westport
                        Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands
                        Bob Ferguson, Attorney General (at Citizens Forum, approx. 3 p.m.)
 
VISUALS:         In addition to speakers, crowds (large group wearing blue t-shirts), art installations with mock oil rigs, haz-mat outfitted people mopping up fake oil spill, banners
 
Background: On January 4, 2018, the Trump administration released the 2019-2024 draft plan to drill for oil and gas in U.S. waters. Washington officials immediately voiced their opposition, joining coastal leaders from both parties around the country in urging the Department of the Interior to protect their economies and communities. The Pacific Coast has been closed to new drilling for over 3 decades, with the last federal lease sales taking place in 1984. Commercial, tribal, and sport fishing, tourism and recreation businesses are threatened by the prospect of increased risks of an oil spill.
 
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is accepting public comments on the draft plan through March 9, and will hold a single public hearing in each state to gather additional input. The plan will undergo two more rounds of revisions and review before it is finalized.

Quil Ceda Village Implements Retail Bag Ordinance

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Quil Ceda Village (QCV) is taking a huge step in protecting the environment by prohibiting the use of plastic carryout bags in all of the businesses located within the city. Effective January 1, 2018, grocery and retail stores as well as restaurants will convert from plastic to paper, in an effort to go green. QCV is home to several large companies including Walmart, Home Depot, Cabela’s and the Seattle Premium Outlets, not to mention the Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip Bingo, Quil Ceda Creek Casino and numerous eateries. With so many businesses that utilize plastic bags, you might think a huge change like banning them entirely would ruffle a few feathers. However, the ordinance has appeared to garner more praise than protest and is in the midst of smooth transition, thanks to long-term planning.

Learning of the terrible impact plastic bags have on the environment, the QCV team had a  brainstorming session with the Tulalip Board of Directors on ways the newly established city can be more environmentally friendly and conscious. As many know, plastic is a non-recyclable material that takes hundreds of years to break down into micro-plastics, which often travel to the ocean causing further pollution. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the average American household accrues over 1,500 plastic bags annually and recycle less than one percent of those bags. Currently the ocean is littered with plastic bags and plastic toxins that are killing over 100,000 marine animals every year.

Several department managers at the Seattle Premium Outlets described the ordinance as ‘wonderful’ and ‘great’ while a Disney employee called it ‘inspiring’, stating that guests from nearby counties want their cities to follow in QCV’s footsteps. Over fifty percent of the one-hundred and thirty stores at the outlets already switched to reusable and recyclable bags before the ordinance was even announced, including Disney who sells reusable totes that feature their famous, loveable characters. Stores that were still offering plastic bags are phasing out their inventory during the holidays. A few stores such as Nike and Hot Topic are electing to switch to reusable, biodegradable bags that are in compliance with the ordinance, while other stores such as Pro Image Sports chose to stop offering bags completely.

There are a few exceptions to the plastic ban, including plastic bags used for produce and meat at grocery stores as well as to-go bags for restaurants, though Quil Ceda Administrative Director, Nina Reece, stated that the majority of the restaurants are switching to paper. Shoppers are encouraged to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) once the new year begins as some stores may charge a bag fee. The Tulalip Resort Casino moved away from the usage of plastic bags a few years ago and offers their T Spa, Salal Floral and gift shop guests paper bags. Similar to the outlets, Cabela’s and Walmart are using the remainder of their plastic bags until the ordinance goes into effect and have their paper and reusable bags set and ready to go. The ordinance originally had a tentative start date last spring and in preparation for that date, Home Depot was the first company in QCV to successfully switch entirely from plastic to paper.

Any businesses that violate the ordinance can be fined for each plastic bag handed out, up to a maximum of $250 per day. The ordinance aims to improve, sustain and protect the environment from plastic pollution and is an inspiring decision by the Tulalip Tribes and the city of Quil Ceda Village. For more information, please contact Quil Ceda Village at (360) 716-5000.

Mission Beach Water Monitoring, Summer 2017

By Valerie Streeter, Tuallip Tribes Natural Resources Dept.

This summer, WSU Beach Watchers volunteers are monitoring the quality of water at Mission Beach each week until August 29. Harvey Eastman at the Tulalip Water Quality Lab analyzes the water samples. So far, the beach has been sampled eight (8) times.

The results show that bacteria levels in the water are low, well below the threshold limit for swimming, which means that the water is clean! The graphs below show the average result from the three beach sampling stations for this year as well as last year. The red line shows the bacteria threshold limit and the blue line is the amount of bacteria in the water at Mission Beach. If bacterial levels are above the threshold limit, there are more chances for skin infections or gastrointestinal illness from too much pollution.

* No samples were taken on July 4.

Approximate locations of sampling stations on Mission Beach


Adapting to Change: Tulalip Community Addresses Climate Change

Community members share their top five climate change concerns,.Natural Resources will utilize and refer to this data while developing the adaptation plan throughout the next six months.

 

“We’re going to be developing strategies to preserve tribal customs and culture first and foremost.”

– Colin Wahl,Tulalip Natural Resources Environmental Scientist

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Countless studies have shown that since the 1900’s, the Earth’s heat has increased by about 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit. That is at an alarming rate considering that leading up to the Industrial Revolution, the planets heat only increased by about nine degrees over the span of 5,000 years.  Due to the burning of fossil fuels, excessive carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere over the last century. Carbon dioxide is produced by humans, animals and plants; but also by human activity such as generating electricity and using gasoline for vehicles.

Carbon dioxide traps radiated heat from the sun, at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the planet’s temperature to increase. The more heat that is trapped, the warmer the planet becomes. If the Earth’s population continues to burn fossil fuels at its current rate, over the next century, future generations will face extreme weather including draughts, floods and storms. Recent studies claim that in the year 2100, heat waves will last up to twenty days and will result in many deaths around the entire world.

Climate change is inevitable, however, many environmentalists believe the process can be slowed by means of conserving energy, utilizing other forms of transportation and recycling. The Tulalip Tribes are among the many tribal nations, environmentalists and scientists studying the cause and effect of climate change and how it will affect future generations.

Tulalip’s Natural Resource Department recently held a community dinner at the Tulalip Administration Building to discuss climate change and how it will impact Tulalip and its surrounding areas.

“It is a great honor to be here to start talking about climate change,” said Tulalip Vice Chairwoman, Teri Gobin. “We are beginning to look at what we can do to help better the environment. I really want to see us building green, utilizing solar power and really ramping up our recycling efforts and the reuse of materials. There’s a lot of things that we’re talking about, in regards to climate change, and we need to start taking those steps in the right direction.”

The community dinner included presentations by Tulalip Natural Resources Environmental Scientist, Colin Wahl, as well as guest speaker Clarita Lefthand-Begay of the Navajo Nation, who is an Environmental Professor at the University of Washington.

Colin’s presentation provided a brief overview of climate change, explaining ocean acidification, sea level rise and how global warming will impact salmon runs in the future.

“Salmon is one of the major issues of climate change we’re concerned about,” explained Colin. “As Patti [Gobin] said, the Tulalips are fish people and the tribal culture really relies on fishing and maintaining the salmon populations. We’re going to have to maintain our protection and restoration strategies in the future, but we might have to adjust some of those strategies to consider how climate change impacts salmon. Some of these strategies might include things like protecting cold water habitat in streams and rivers as well as generally trying to slow the progression of climate change through policies that actually decrease carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.”

Colin stated that due to the impacts from sea level rise, various areas of the reservation will experience beach loss. Areas that will be affected include Tulalip Bay, Hermosa Beach, Priest Point and the Qwuloolt Estuary. Colin used charts to compare and contrast the areas today and the same area eighty years in the future. He also explained that the Natural Resources Department is in the early stages of developing a Climate Change Adaption Plan which will take approximately six months to complete before the implementation process begins.

“We’re going to be developing strategies to preserve tribal customs and culture first and foremost,” Colin stated. “We’re also developing strategies to protect tribal property and infrastructure. We’re working with all the different departments within the administration, including Planning in particular, they’ll be an essential element throughout the process. We also need to protect and restore treaty resources, or continue to do so, so that the Tribe’s customs and culture can extend into the future.

“Historically, Indigenous cultures are very resilient in the Puget Sound area,” he continued. “The ancestors of the Tulalip Tribes, like the salmon, have adapted to the changing environments for thousands of years. This is a little more difficult now, because in the past the people could follow the species wherever they went. Since treaty times, the tribes are tied to place, tied to a reservation, tied to these legally defined boundaries. So, there might be issues with species shifts where there’s more salmon up north compared to south.”

Clarita spoke with the community before leading an open forum discussion. During her presentation she spoke in detail about the dangers of climate change, stating that by the year 2100, the earth will regularly experience extreme heat waves, air pollution as well as water and food borne illnesses. She also states that the food of future generations including shellfish, fish, meat, fresh fruits and vegetables will all be negatively affected by climate change. Clarita explained that the populations most affected by climate change will be elders, children, pregnant women, individuals with compromised immune systems as well as poverty-stricken families.

The climate change dinner concluded with an open discussion for the community to voice their concerns regarding the impacts of climate change. Clarita and the Natural Resources team wrote documented the many concerns. Following the discussion, the participants were given five post-it stickers, each a different color, and asked to rate their top five concerns. Natural Resources will utilize and refer to this data while developing the adaptation plan throughout the next six months.

We need to do more to clean Puget Sound

 


By Lorraine Loomis, Chair Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

 

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.

The poison soup can be lethal to salmon throughout their life cycle. Returning adult salmon can die in as little as 15 minutes after exposure to polluted stormwater runoff.

The good news is that most pollutants can be removed from the water by pre-treating it through a natural filtration system.

That’s why we congratulate the city of Seattle for its efforts to increase the use of natural rain gardens and biofiltration systems, or bioswales. You can watch KING-5 TV’s story about the project here: go.nwifc.org/1rk

Two bioswales are at work on Capitol Hill where polluted stormwater runoff pours into Lake Union and ultimately Puget Sound. The swales are situated in two block-long planting strips between sidewalks and curbs. Soil and plants inside the swales help trap about one-third of pollutants so they don’t wind up in the water.

These efforts should be expanded across the region. When added to other actions like increased street sweeping by local governments, they can be an inexpensive and effective part of the solution to the problem.

Salmon managers are working too hard and fishermen are sacrificing too much to get salmon back home only to see them die from polluted stormwater runoff.

We also applaud the state Department of Ecology for its work to establish Puget Sound as a no-discharge zone.

There are more than 150,000 recreational boats and more than 3,500 commercial vessels in the Puget Sound region. Most already have holding tanks for sewage, but until recent years there weren’t enough pump-out stations available to make the no-discharge zone possible.

Under current regulations, boats can dump partially treated sewage anywhere in the sound. Raw sewage can be flushed from boats at least three miles from shore.

The no-discharge zone would protect an area of more than 2,300 square miles and include lakes Washington and Union. Surprisingly, it’s the first no-discharge zone established in Washington although there are more than 90 in 26 other states.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to make a determination on the zone later this year.

The benefits to our health and the health of everything that lives in the sound are clear. It only takes a little sewage contamination to close a shellfish bed or make people sick.

We are encouraged by these efforts to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and prevent boat sewage from being dumped into Puget Sound. We need more like them.