Tulalip Tribes stewardship recognized by the Harvard Project

Albert Moses. Photo by Ross Fenton.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Harvard Project’s Honoring Nations program has announced the selection of 18 semifinalists for the 2018 Honoring Nations awards. Among those selections are a variety of outstanding programs exemplifying self-governance and resource management, which includes the Tulalip Tribes ongoing demonstration of sovereignty through stewardship. 

Honoring Nations identifies, celebrates and shares excellence in Native American tribal governance. At the heart of Honoring Nations are the principles that tribes themselves hold the key to generating social, political, and economic prosperity and that self-governance plays a crucial role in building and sustaining strong, healthy tribal nations

Since 1999, Honoring Nations has endeavored to spotlight successful governmental programs across Indian Country. This year’s applications included nearly 70 outstanding tribal programs representing 51 tribes. Of these, 18 were selected as semifinalists. These programs have demonstrated incredible impact in their communities, evidenced by their effectiveness, significance to sovereignty, cultural relevance, transferability, and sustainability – the criteria by which Honoring Nations assesses applicant programs.*

“Each year we are blessed with the gifts of Indigenous peoples’ resilience and perseverance reflected in their response to the challenges our people and nations face. They rise to the same levels as our forefathers did in their time to define the inheritance of the next generation,” stated Regis Pecos, Chairman of the Honoring Nations Board of Governors. “We are proud to share their wisdom and their vision.”

swədaʔx̌ali: Sovereignty through Stewardship”

Tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest have long-standing relationships to ancestral lands now managed by federal land management agencies. Generally speaking, during the centuries before colonial expansion, Indigenous peoples were profoundly connected with their natural surroundings. These cultures approached the natural world with an attitude of reverence and stewardship rather than dominion. In recent years, federal and state governments have increasingly recognized tribal rights to cultural resources on public lands and to participate in their management.

In the summer of 2009, three Tulalip staff accompanied the Skykomish District Ranger to a remote high elevation area of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS). This 1,280-acre area located 5,000 feet up in the mountainous highlands is now referred to as swədaʔx̌ali, a Coast Salish Lushootseed word for ‘Place of Mountain Huckleberries’.

“Over the last seven years, since the area’s formal designation, Tulalip has guided the management of this special area based on tribal values and ecological knowledge, and in direct support of the treaty, cultural, spiritual, subsistence and educational needs of our membership and our future generations,” explained Libby Nelson, Senior Environmental Policy Analyst for Tulalip’s Treaty Rights Office. “For example, rather than allowing continued encroachment of conifers that would eventually shade out huckleberries and other associated plants, Tulalip staff will remove many of them to stall natural succession in certain areas at swədaʔx̌ali. This will allow us to maintain productive berry fields and other cultural plants of importance, and enhance habitat for wildife that forage in open meadows.

“The swədaʔx̌ali co-management area did not happen easily or overnight,” continued Libby. “Instead, it was the result of a committed and sustained effort initiated by Tulalip to get the attention of our federal trustee, the U.S. Forest Service. Dialogue over three years culminated in the signing of the first tribal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in 2007. As our relationship with the Forest Service grew under our MOA, so too did the breadth of projects undertaken.” 

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 Tulalip Mountain Camp began in 2015, providing an annual weeklong, overnight natural resources and culture camp for middle-school tribal youth at σωəδαʔξ̌αλι This outdoor program seeks to connect youth to nature in a remote setting, teach them about their ancestral lands in the mountains, and engage directly with elders and our natural resources staff in huckleberry enhancement. This camp program has had a very positive impact on youth participants, as measured by camper surveys, feedback from families, and the significant number of return campers each year.  

This initiative at swədaʔx̌ali is not only relevant to Tulalip culture, but is designed specifically to help sustain it. Continuation of tribal lifeways is dependent on having the resources that support these lifeways, access to them, and opportunities to transfer tribal knowledge and traditions to our youth. The 1,280-acre mountain area that constitutes σωəδαʔξ̌αλι, offers not only a diversity of habitats, plants and animals, but also remoteness, solitude and a relatively pristine environment needed for many cultural activities.

“We view our MOA and our work at swədaʔx̌ali as a strategic and dynamic government-to-government collaboration, with benefits directly proportional to the time and resources we invest in it,” reflected Libby. “The swədaʔx̌ali co-stewardship area most benefits Tulalip by providing an area for treaty gathering of high elevation resources, and for huckleberries in particular. It’s a place for our membership to connect to their ancestral mountain lands in a quiet, pristine, private setting, that is accessible to elders.”

The Harvard Project selected Tulalip’s ongoing stewardship of swədaʔx̌ali as a semifinalist for the 2018 Honoring Nations awards. As such, Tulalip’s commitment to stewardship is an active exercise in self-determination and implementing effective solutions to common governmental challenges in the areas of environmental research and resource management.

“Every day, tribal nations are solving complex issues in meaningful and effective way,” stated Director of Honoring Nations, Megan Hill. “Their work is inspiring, and holds examples for other governments, Native and non-native, to learn from.”

*Source: Honoring Nations press release, 3/28/2018

Yes on I-1631

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

On a sunny autumn afternoon, a gathering was held outside of the Western States Petroleum Association building in Lacey, Washington on October 17. Many participants arrived wearing cedar hats and headbands and carrying traditional hand drums, as tribal members journeyed from around the state to show support of Initiative Measure No. 1631, an effort to charge pollution fees to large greenhouse gas emitters and conserve our natural resources for generations to come. As more and more participants arrived, they began to make signs to wave at local commuters who were taking a shortcut through an I-5 overpass. A number of small drum circles began to form and prayers were shared while they waited in anticipation for the I-1631 rally guest speakers to take the floor, including former Standing Rock Chairman, Dave Archambault and Quinault Indian Nation President, Fawn Sharp. 

“Today we are here to raise awareness and to rally support around I-1631 right in front of the Western States Petroleum Association,” passionately expressed President Sharp. “They have sunk over twenty-two million dollars into their campaign to stop us but we are resilient, we are strong and we want to amplify our voice. We are confident that through our prayers and through the rich legacy of leadership throughout the ages, from the beginning of time to the end of time, we are going to be victorious on election day.”

As this year’s General Election date of November 6 draws nearer, it’s important to understand what I-1631 is and why it’s important for Northwest tribes. The initiative is a climate policy that imposes a fee on organizations that burn or sell fossil fuels, that includes motor vehicle fuel, natural gas and electricity. The measure is expected to generate over two-billion dollars within five fiscal years, beginning on January 1, 2020, and is set at fifteen dollars per metric ton of carbon content, or the carbon dioxide equivalent released from burning fossil fuels. This will increase by two dollars each year until 2035, putting the state on target to reach its 2035 and 2050 greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The monies generated from the carbon fee are prioritized as follows: 70% of carbon fees will go toward a new clean-energy infrastructure for Washington, utilizing clean, renewable energy, providing public transportation that uses cleaner fuels as well efficiency upgrades to homes and businesses to help save money on utilities; 25% of funds from the measure will go toward clean water and healthy forests, ensuring our forests are well taken care of and can protect the air quality, clean-up polluted lakes and rivers, increase the amount of drinking water and ensure cleaner water for salmon; and the remaining 5% will be invested into the local communities, preparing for any future problems that may arise due to climate change. 

Fawn Sharp, Quinault Indian Nation President

“I-1631 is a specific climate policy tribes’ gathered over the last year and a half,” says Fawn. “Quinault has been working on this initiative for well over two years and we’ve been working on climate policy for about twelve years. It was very clear to us that we’re not going to achieve climate policy in Olympia, it’s not going to happen in Washington D.C., but we were also confident that the average citizen understands the role of tribes as leaders. 

If you look to Lummi at Cherry Point or Quinault fighting crude oil in Grays Harbor, the average citizen understands our treaties are the last line of defense to keep corporations out and from continuing to exploit our natural environment. We pulled all those resources together, the brain trust of Indian Country, our scientists, our lawyers, our tribal leaders and we adopted thirteen basic principles of climate policy that we knew were the minimum standards for us to effectively combat climate change.”  

As the rally continued, tribal and community leaders from Tulalip, Quinault, Puyallup, Nisqually, Squaxin and several other sovereign nations shared their traditional songs as well as words of encouragement that got the crowd of over one-hundred I-1631 supporters hyped. Young Tulalip and Tsleil-Waututh Indigenous Activist, Cedar George-Parker, spoke to the youth about the importance of their voice and Earth-Feather Sovereign talked about MMIW (Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women), continuing to bring much needed awareness to the epidemic that is claiming the lives of our Native women. Dave Archambault journeyed from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to show his support of the initiative.

“For me, [I-1631] means the things that happened at Standing Rock lives on,” he says. “The effort that was put forth to protect Unci Maka, Mother Earth, wasn’t lost just because that one battle didn’t work out the way we wanted it to. The policy that fails us is consultation and 1631 is a way to address that and a way to assure that tribes have complicit consent when a project threatens their homelands or threatens their environment, threatens mankind or humanity. When tribes speak up, we will be heard and that’s transcends from Standing Rock and that’s what today means to me.”

I-1631 does in fact have a provision for the tribes of Washington state that requires any state agency to consult with tribes on any decisions that could directly affect the tribes, their land or their usual and accustomed fishing grounds. Projects that are funded or begin on tribal land without prior consultation will be forced to end upon request of the tribe. Keeping the tribe’s sovereignty at heart was the First American Project comprised of several tribal leaders and El Centro de la Raza, a Latino based organization that promotes unity amongst all races. 

“The First American Project was originally founded when tribes organized to take out Slade Gordon and elect senator Maria Cantwell,” explains Fawn. “When it came time to organize for I-1631 we thought it would be a natural fit to revive something that worked so well for tribes in the past. We wanted not only to create space for tribal nations but also our partners like El Centro de la Raza who helped us during the fishing wars. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to join our communities that have worked effectively in the past. We view I-1631 as the first issue we are going to take up. We understand that there are many issues of our generation like immigration that we can partner with El Centro because I think tribal nations have something to say about immigration and separating children from families.”

Theresa Sheldon, Tulalip tribal member and First American Project Board member

Tulalip tribal member and First American Project Board Member, Theresa Sheldon, took up emcee duties during the rally. She is also the project’s Campaign Chairwomen and has been tasked with informing and educating Native Peoples on why the initiative is important.

“It’s important for us because we’re the first ones who feel it,” Theresa states. “Native Peoples are like the canary birds in the coalmines, we’re the first ones to show signs of it not being safe. We’re already seeing that; we’re seeing that in gathering our cedar, gathering our huckleberries, we’re seeing the change in the seasons happen and the change in our plants. Sea level rise is already impacting our nations, look at Taholah, Queets and Hoh who have to relocate. They’re the first ones on the ocean so it’s already impacting them. Tulalip Tribes just did our climate change flood levels and in fifty years we’re looking at a lot of different areas of our reservation that potentially could be under water. That’s scary to think about, that will be during my lifetime so I’ll probably see that.

“It’s also important for Natives because carbon is what warms our water,” she continues. “Carbon pollution warms our Puget Sound and our rivers and that’s what’s impacting our fish. That results in not being able to have our fish, crab, our traditional foods. And once it’s gone, there’s no coming back. All the studies have shown that we’re the ones who can make the change, this generation has to make monumental changes. It has to be radical, it has to be fierce and intense changes, it can’t be to just stop using straws.”

Studies show that climate change is real and is currently happening at an alarming rate. If we continue to emit pollution into the environment, scientists predict that in a hundred years the world will frequently experience deadly, extreme heatwaves for days at a time. And if you think about it, one-hundred years isn’t that far away and the heatwaves are going to be something your great-great-grandchildren will have to live through. As Theresa pointed out, tribal lifeways are already being threatened by climate change, namely the Quinault Indian Nation’s villages of Taholah and Queets. 

“This is important as Quinault tribal leader because we are right now facing an emergency situation where I’m having to relocate two of our villages to higher ground, the villages of Taholah and Queets,” says Fawn. “In my tenure as President of the Quinault Nation, I’ve seen it first hand, it’s created an unreal sense of urgency for me and we’re going to continue to fight this until we achieve those policies that we know are minimally necessary for us to defend ourselves and advance our future.”

If voters pass I-1631, the initiative will create over 40,000 jobs in the clean energy field, developing and maintaining renewable energy resources such as wind turbines. A number of big name supporters including Bill Gates and Pearl Jam recently expressed that they are in favor of the measure. And organizations such as Microsoft, Expedia, Union of Concerned Scientists and the American Lung Association are funding the initiative.

On the other side of the coin, Western States Petroleum has dug deep into their pockets and raised over twenty-five million dollars to run a slew of misleading TV ads against I-1631 claiming that the fee is ‘unfair’ to big oil. The opposition also wants you to believe that a large amount of companies are exempt from the fee, which is true to a degree if they are referring to coal burning factories or power plants that have been legally bound to close no later than 2025. 

A real concern for undecided voters is that the cost of gasoline, electricity and natural gas is expected to rise as a result of the companies’ obligation to pay the carbon fee. However, funds raised from the fee will actually help Washingtonians transition into more of a clean energy lifestyle by utilizing renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power, so we’re not dependent on companies who are harming the environment.  

“The power of our tribal communities is so remarkable and I firmly believe that when we come together, no matter what the issue, we’re unstoppable,” expresses Fawn. “When you look at this last year, we were victorious on the culverts case, we were victorious on eleven different treaty conflicts with the state of Washington. At any time, anyone or anything tries to attack us and we come together, we’re quite successful. 

“We envision a clean, healthy future. A prosperous future where renewable energy, new technologies and new economies are going to be developed and you’re going to see an explosion of growth in Indian Country. The one thing I would like to tell the voters is to get out there and vote. If you’re not registered, register [by October 29] and make sure your voice counts on November 6.”

For more information, please visit www.YesOn1631.org

Protecting our Salish Sea, the salmon and the southern resident orcas

Jessica Janes helps clean up the coast.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip news

The traditional Tulalip story, the Seal Hunting Brothers told by Martha Lamont, is the story of two young Tulalip men who lived at Priest Point. The brothers would travel the Salish Sea hunting for seals, salmon and shellfish for the entire community. The brothers prepared and delivered plates of fresh seafood to the elders as well as to their sister and her family, informing their sister to save some food for her husband, who was a carver and often away from home. The sister, however, disregarded her brother’s advice and distributed her husband’s share amongst herself and her children.

When the carver returned home, there was no food in sight. He asked his wife if her brothers dropped off any food for the family while he was away, to which she replied no. Upset at this news, the carver constructed a lifelike seal carved from cedar and enchanted the structure with magic to trick the brothers. They took the bait. The brothers harpooned the cedar seal statue while on a hunt and were pulled deep into the ocean only to wash ashore days later, miles away from home. Realizing what their brother-in-law did, they began their long journey home where they were presumed to be dead.

Upon their return to Tulalip, the brothers shared their story with their family and decided because of the complexities of the situation, they should live away from the tribe. They chose to begin a new life upon the waters that long provided food for their community, the Salish Sea, and became killer whales. Their descendants are said to be the southern resident orcas that still frequent the Salish Sea waters searching for Chinook salmon.

Similar stories of the brothers are shared within Indigenous communities all along the waterways of the Salish Sea, comprised of the waters now known as the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound and Strait of Georgia. As the story goes, the brothers chose to stay close to home and often provided seafood to the Coast Salish peoples in times of famine.  The story teaches many important values of the Northwest tribes as well as explains our strong connection with the orca, who is often honored within the culture through stories and artwork.

The southern resident orcas are intelligent, sociable mammals who share a lot of the same values and traditions of the Coast Salish people. For instance, the southern resident orcas are known to perform ceremonial practices during social gatherings when all three pods, J, K and L, meet up, which is known as a superpod. The most recent superpod was held last week in the waters near Vancouver Island where footage of the gathering was caught by the locals and tourists of Victoria, British Columbia. The orcas also travel with the same pod for their entire life, relying on each other’s strengths within a multi-generational family, much like many Native communities.

Another similar interest we share with the orcas is our love for salmon. The importance of salmon to Coast Salish people has been well documented over the years and is integral to each tribe’s way of life. The tribes of Washington State were guaranteed fishing rights when signing the treaties with the United States Government in exchange for land. Since the Fish Wars, the Boldt Decision, and even up until today, tribes exercising that right have been met with a number of challenges.

Over recent years, the salmon population has seen a dramatic decline. A number of manmade dams and blocked culverts are preventing salmon from swimming upstream during spawning season and less salmon are returning each year. In fact, many tribes opted not to fish this season in hopes more salmon will spawn and increase salmon population. Pollution remains another constant concern for aquatic life in the Salish Sea with chemicals and waste pouring into the waters from storm water runoff and local ferries traveling the straits. The lack of salmon has caused tribes to stray from their traditional diets and therefore more tribal members are faced with health concerns.

The same can be said about the southern resident orcas. The lack of salmon and polluted waterways caused some serious health concerns for the whales including reproduction. The orcas are crying out for help. This past summer’s heartbreaking story about southern resident orca, Tahlequah (J35), carrying her dead newborn calf for seventeen days on a ‘tour of grief’ caused tears across the entire nation. And the recent proclamation of Scarlet’s (J50) death is further evidence that we need to take immediate action.

In the sixties and seventies, a third of the southern resident population were hunted at a young age and held captive at marine life amusement parks like SeaWorld. Orcas often live well past their eighties, but unfortunately all but one of the orcas captured have died at a young age. Tokitae, the last remaining poached orca, resides at the Miami Seaquarium and the Lummi tribe has been fighting for years to return the whale to the Salish Sea.

As a result of starvation, theme park poachings and pollution, the southern resident orcas were placed on the endangered species list in 2005 after a significant drop in population of nearly twenty orcas over the course of a decade. Since then, the number of orcas has been steadily declining. With the passing of Scarlet, only seventy-four orcas remain.

Because of the recent news, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee established a southern resident orca task force whose main focus is orca protection and recovery. Members of the task force include representatives from Washington state, a handful of tribes and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The passing of both J35’s calf and J50 is opening up an important conversation about respecting Mother Earth and taking care of the environment. More and more citizens are participating at rallies in support of the salmon and orca such as the Festival of the Steh-Chass in Olympia and the Salmon Celebration in Seattle. The most recent effort united over thirty communities throughout Washington state and British Columbia.

September 15 marked International Coastal Cleanup day, where seaside communities participated in clearing their local beaches of any trash or harmful products. Communities of the Salish Sea, along with a number of non-profits like 350 and the Orca Network, banned together to tailor International Coastal Cleanup day to the Pacific Northwest communities by organizing Salish Sea Day of Action, which provides information and resources about the state of the Salish Sea, the southern resident orcas and the salmon habitat at the cleanup events.

Citizens of Tacoma, Port Townsend, Edmonds, Shoreline, Bellingham, Lopez Island and Mount Vernon, as well as Victoria and Vancouver, gathered in their respective hometowns to clean the beaches, offer prayer, honor and thank the water for its plentiful resources on the rainy Saturday morning.

“Today is a day of action for the Salish Sea and we wanted to join in,” says Amanda Colbert of the Orca Network at the Action for Orcas event in Mount Vernon. “It’s also International Costal Cleanup so there are quite a few events all up and down the coast with multiple organizations. Orca Network decided we wanted to be a part of this because, as you know, any trash, pesticides and chemicals that wind up in any of our rivers eventually leads to the ocean. I’ve run a beach cleanup once out here before and I just thought that this would be another wonderful opportunity to jump in and get the community on board.”

The Orca Network event attracted many participants and the sands of the Bayview State Park in Mount Vernon were trash free in no time. During the cleanup, attendees passionately spoke of protecting the environment and the southern resident orcas.

Ryan Rickerts, volunteer.

“The oceans are definitely in trouble,” says Ryan Rickerts of Bellingham. “Most of the planet is covered by water, it’s our source of everything. Coming here today is a way for me to connect and give back a little bit. The orcas are in real big trouble, so I wanted to be around likeminded people that care about the ocean, the orcas and wanted to do something to help. Hopefully we keep this up; good energy is building. With the orcas that have been dying, hopefully that creates a sense of urgency for people to get together. The Swinomish hosted the orca task force meeting a couple weeks ago and I think it’s good for people to come together to keep talking about it and try to find solutions. We have to take action and it helps to have conversations and get everybody at the same table because it’s going to take everyone.”

Tulalip tribal member and Water Protector, Kayah George, hosted a prayer service the day following Salish Sea Day of Action where she shared spiritual and cultural teachings about the water during Sunday worship at the Woodland Park Presbyterian Church.

“What concerns me about what’s happening in the Coast Salish Sea is the same thing that has been concerning my people for hundreds of years,” Kayah passionately expressed in a video leading up to Salish Sea Day of Action and her prayer service. “It is the disrespect. The utter and complete lack of respect for our brothers and sisters in the sea and for the sea itself. It’s not seen as a living thing; they see it as something that’s disposable.”

The number of supporters at the Salish Sea Day of Action events shows that people are beginning to listen to the calls for help by the beautiful coastal killer whales. And through a combined effort, we can all make a difference in protecting the orcas by restoring the salmon habitat, and that begins with the removal of dams, culvert repairs and environmental awareness.

“There are plenty of ways that people can start,” shares Amanda. “A lot of it is being focused on what you buy at the grocery stores. There are cleaner, greener products out there that are biodegradable. We have to move away from single use products. A lot of what was picked up here today was plastic wrappers, straws and cups that are only used once. So it’s helpful anytime anybody can pick up a water bottle or a green bag. If you don’t want to give up straws, there are companies making reusable metal or BPA-free plastic straws. What we treat our lawns with also has a huge impact. We get a lot of rain here so a lot of things end up in the storm drains. I’m thankful for all the volunteers that came out today and for the opportunity to reach and talk to people about our southern residents and what they’re going through.”

To stay up to date on the southern resident orcas, please visit www.OrcaNetwork.org or check out the Department of Ecology at www.ecology.wa.gov to find out more about the Orca Task Force, Salish Sea spills and cleanups, salmon recovery and upcoming meetings and events.

Festival of the Steh-Chass Celebrates Salmon Protection and Restoration

Native American rapper Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas headlined the Festival.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Pre-colonization, the Port of Olympia was once a plentiful estuary that was occupied by the Steh-Chass people on Squaxin Island territory. Salmon swam in abundance through the inlet and there was no shortage of wildlife in the estuary, providing food for the Steh-Chass community comprised of a number of tribal members from Squaxin Island, Nisqually, Chehalis and Suquamish. The Salish Sea waters freely flowed from the Puget Sound through the estuary along the Deshutes River, ensuring nourishment for the people. 

As time passed, the area eventually became the home to Washington State’s capital and in the 1950’s, the state built a dam on 5th Ave. The dam separated the lake from the Puget Sound, creating a reservoir used to reflect the Washington State capital building on its surface. The once bountiful estuary is now a decorative body of water known as Capital Lake where currently no native wildlife reside. Not to mention that nearly every spawning season since its construction, the dam has been home to a number of seals who pick off salmon attempting to swim upstream. 

Billy Frank Jr. was a strong advocate for the removal of the dam. Salmon Defense, a non-profit established by the twenty Northwest Washington tribes, continues his vision today, years after his passing. And for nearly three decades, the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT) has been fighting the same fight, actively working to reconnect the reservoir back to Puget Sound and restore the estuary. 

Over Labor Day weekend, Salmon Defense and DERT teamed up, along with the Tulalip, Puyallup, Nisqually and Squaxin Island tribes, to host a festival celebrating Indigenous culture while honoring local tribes and the water in the name of salmon recovery and estuary restoration. 

The first annual Festival of the Steh-Chass was held September 1, at Heritage Park in Olympia overlooking Capital Lake. The weather was sunny and clear and a stage was setup at the center of the park where the Washington State Capital was visible in its background. The start of the festival, however, began at the 5th Ave dam as tribal members and Olympia community members welcomed the canoe families of Squaxin Island, who pulled into the Port in traditional cedar canoes. The crowd then followed the canoe family as they sang the traditional songs of their people while walking through Heritage Park.  

“What we wanted to do with this festival is create a space for Indian people to gather, talk, sing and celebrate Indian people and reawaken the Indigenous spirit of this area,” says Salmon Defense Director and Willie Frank III’s wife, Peggen Frank. “The Salmon Defense has been wanting to do something to raise awareness for the salmon, for the crucial state we’re in. The salmon are collapsing and it’s really scary. For me, as a tribal person, the reason why I’m fighting for the salmon is not only because of what [Billy Frank Jr.] taught me – and that’s when salmon are healthy, we’re healthy and without clean water we won’t survive – but the coastal people have a beautiful culture and the salmon are a vital piece of that culture. 

“The tribes are so powerful here because of their treaty rights,” she continues. “That’s how Salmon Defense was created from the Northwest Washington treaty tribes to litigate, advocate and educate on behalf of Pacific Northwest salmon. When they put the dam in and created this pond, they destroyed two-hundred and fifty acres of salmon habitat. If we remove the dam and are able to start the restoration process, we’ll have both Coho and Chinook salmon. Those are the two main species that our resident orcas eat. If we’re not able to create, protect and enforce policies that save salmon, that enhance salmon restoration, that support tribal treaty rights, we’re not going to be able to save the orca.”

Information booths were stationed along the park’s walkway from organizations such as Northwest Treaty Tribes, Salmon Defense and DERT. Children got to enter the belly of a giant salmon, named Finn the Fish, and learn about the watershed habitat through traditional art that was painted on the inside of the fish. 

“We came out today because anytime there’s an opportunity to join forces in protecting our water, I think it is absolutely our responsibility,” says Tulalip Tribal member, Theresa Sheldon. “I think it’s amazing to bring our young people together; we have to get our youth more involved because our youth’s voices are so powerful. When they’re fighting and protecting the Mother Earth and doing this justice for the environment, that will transcend boundaries and crosses over any politics and gets to the root core of who we are as Indigenous People.”

As the day progressed a number of talented Native American singers and artists took the stage, including Suquamish singer and WaterIsLife activist, Calina Lawrence, as well as singing trio, Thunderbirds Raised Her, who are a group of young sisters from Lummi. The crowd was moved by both acts as they sang about important issues in Native America like protecting the water and growing up on a reservation. The songs were in contemporary R&B fashion while incorporating elements such as hand drums and their traditional language into the music. Several other Native performers kept the crowd entertained throughout the day including Seattle hip hop artist Momentum X and the Indigenous Sisters Resistance group, as well as a fashion show by Indigenous Designer Abriel Johnny.

The festival’s headliner did not disappoint. Event goers rushed the stage as Native American rapper and advocate, Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas, began to perform an array of the hip hop group’s hits that had the crowd dancing. 

About halfway through his set, Taboo asked the sound crew to cut the music so he could talk to the people about protecting our natural resources. He explained that he was so moved by the NODAPL movement that he postponed recording a new project and tour dates with the Black Eyed Peas to ‘go to Standing Rock to be with my people’, after receiving full support from bandmates. Taboo also spoke about the resiliency of Indigenous people before performing his MTV Video Music Award Nominee song, Stand Up/Stand N Rock.

Following Taboo, Willie Frank III took to the stage to close out the Festival of the Steh-Chass. 

“As we talked about all day today, the message is to make this lake flow into our Puget sound, make it an estuary again and bring the salmon back to Capital Lake,” he passionately expressed. “It’s so good to see all these youth out here taking part in this, they are truly our next generation, they are our future. Our elders are the most important piece of our culture and now we have the youth coming up, and we’re going to educate them. We’re going to do what we need to do to protect our salmon, to protect our natural resources.

“The salmon defense was an idea from my late father, Billy Frank Jr., and it’s been four years since he’s passed. I know he’s looking down on us with a big smile shouting, ‘get rid of the damn dam!’ My hands go up to everybody who help put this together, it’s been a great day. We’re still here and we’re not going anywhere.” 

Mission Beach Water Quality Mid-Summer 2018 Report

By Valerie Streeter, Tulalip Tirbes Natural Resources Dept.

For the past three years, WSU Beach Watchers volunteers have monitored the quality of water at Mission Beach each week during the summer months. Every Tuesday, you will see them dipping bottles into the water or monitoring the temperature and salinity. The volunteers drive the water samples up to the Tulalip Water Quality Lab, where Harvey Eastman analyzes the water samples for bacteria levels. The beach has been sampled nine (9) times this summer.

So far, this year has the lowest bacteria levels in the water when compared to 2016 and 2017. These levels are 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 the last two years. The green line shows the bacteria threshold limit (103 mpn/100mL) and the other line is the average amount of bacteria in the water at Mission Beach (not above 7 mpn/100mL for 2018). If bacterial levels are above the threshold limit, there are more chances for skin infections or gastrointestinal illness from too much pollution.


Water Samples are collected from three locations on Mission Beach and the bacteria results are averaged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)