Mission Beach Water Monitoring – Summer 2016

mission beach water


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

With the assistance of WSU Beach Watchers volunteers, the quality of water at Mission Beach is being monitored weekly. So far this summer, the water has been sampled seven times. Samples are analyzed at the Tulalip Water Quality Lab.

From Valerie Streeter, Stormwater Planner in Tulalip Natural Resources:

“This year is the first time Tulalip Natural Resources with WSU Beach Watcher Volunteers have monitored the water at Mission Beach for safe swimming conditions so we weren’t sure what we would find. It’s great to see that beach water is clean so far! The weekly water monitoring will continue until August 30.”

The results show that bacteria levels in the water are below the threshold limit for swimming, which means that the water is clean. The graph below shows the average result from the three beach sampling stations. The red line shows the bacteria threshold limit and the blue line is the water quality data.


mission beach graphic water


With the good news of Mission Beach having clean water with safe swimming conditions, be sure you make a trip before summer is over.

Can you stand the heat?

Tulalip Bay Fire Department runs house fire drill


Tulalip Bay Frie Chief Teri Dodge uses an infrared sensor to measure the temperature of the burning room.Photo: Andrew Gobin/ Tulalip News
Tulalip Bay Frie Chief Teri Dodge uses an infrared sensor to measure the temperature of the burning room.
Photo: Andrew Gobin/ Tulalip News

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

TULALIP – A ceiling of dense smoke hung inches above our heads as Tulalip Bay Firefighters and I crouched in the burning house. Removing my glove to snap a photo from the inside, I instantly felt the intense heat that filled the room around us. Crawling towards the burning room, my hand began to burn from the heat, forcing me to put my glove back on. Sensors measured the heat in the room where the flames were to be above 600­o Fahrenheit, so Tulalip Bay Fire Chief Teri Dodge splashed the flames with the fire hose. Even through protective bunker gear I could feel the heat from the blast of steam that shot out from the doorway of the room. My air tank was out so I had to get outside.

The Tulalip Bay Fire Department burned a house slated for demolition on June 14 on Mission Beach Road, across from the cemetery. They let me join them for the drill for an exclusive look at what they do, fitting me in bunker gear (firefighter boots, pants, coat, helmet, etc.) complete with an air-pack so I could safely be in the house to observe them in action.

What good is any drill without pizza? We enjoyed a lunch of four different kinds of pizza after the first round of drills were finished. Then on to the second drill, flashovers.

Fireman Eric Brewick punches out portions of the wall for ventilation.Photo: Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News
Fireman Eric Berwick punches out portions of the wall for ventilation.
Photo: Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

I didn’t understand the term, but it sounded exciting. Once more I geared up to go in, though I could only stay in for one round due to safety concerns. There we were, crouched down. A second room was set on fire during lunch and had grown to a good size blaze. I couldn’t get any pictures, having to keep all of my protective gear on. Site commander Tom Cohee was my guide for this round, taking the time to explain what firefighters look for in a fire. Going in we had to crawl. The temperature in the smoke above us was upwards of 200o, much hotter than the 110o on the ground where we were. A firefighter would spray water at the ceiling, and depending on how much came down, they could gauge the temperature of the air above. As things heated up, another ceiling spray, and a cloud of steam surged downward, making visibility so low I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.

They didn’t spray again for a few minutes, letting the gasses and flames build for the flashover. Cohee explained that flashover is when the air above, which is filled with gasses from things burning, gets so hot that they catch fire and flash, allowing flames to extend out of the burning room, the length of the house ceiling. No sooner had he explained than a flame whipped across the ceiling, rolling down the back wall I was leaning on. A few ceiling sprays cooled the air enough to contain the flashover. I exited with the team. I was heating up in all the gear, but I didn’t realize how hot it actually was in the house. Once outside, I removed my gloves and grabbed my helmet. That was a mistake. I couldn’t touch it any more than I could touch a skillet.

I have a new appreciation for the work firefighters do.

“We train this way because we have to,” said Chief Dodge. “In a real fire, we can’t choose or control the situation we walk into. So here, we have to practice multiple scenarios. Even though it’s practice, these drills are as dangerous as a real house fire.”

Tulalip Bay Fire Department is committed to the Tulalip community. In addition to responding to emergency calls, they can be found handing out fire safety information and tips at different events, like the health fair at the Tulalip Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic. If you see them out in the community, be sure to say hi.


Andrew Gobin: 360- 716-4188; agobin@tulalipnews.com

Gray whales are arriving and you see them on trips from Everett

Gray whales have two blow holes atop their heads.
Gray whales have two blow holes atop their heads.

By Mike Benbow, The Herald

An estimated 22,000 gray whales will swim past Washington’s coastline during the next few weeks as they migrate thousands of miles to rich feeding grounds near Alaska.

A dozen or more of the giant creatures are expected to spend a few months in Puget Sound as they bulk up for the trip.

The whales don’t eat while spending the winter in their breeding grounds in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula or in the Gulf of California, so fuel stops are needed as they travel 5,000 to 6,500 miles to the Bering and Chukchi seas in the Arctic.

The Pacific Whale Watching Association calls it the longest migration of any mammal on Earth, with the whales traveling at about five knots and averaging 75 miles a day on the trip.

There have been a couple sightings of whales in the Sound already this year, so whale-watching season has officially begun.

Island Adventures Whale Watching, which offers three-hour trips from the Port of Everett, begins operations on Saturday and will continue until May 18.

California gray whales are sizable creatures, reaching an estimated 45 feet in length and weighing as much as 40 tons. They can live for decades.

Olympia-based Cascadia Research has been studying the small but growing group of grays in Puget Sound since 1990. It has identified whales that visit the Sound every year, feeding in shallow tide flats around Everett and Whidbey and Camano islands for sand shrimp. In addition to the regulars, there are also usually a few transients.

The resident whales regularly visit Mission Beach on the Tulalip Tribes Reservation, rolling in the shallows during high tide to stir up the beach and using their baleen plates to separate the shrimp from the water and sand.

They can eat about a ton of shrimp a day, according to the institute.

Michael Harris of the whale-watching association said the population of gray whales is growing, which could be good news for local whale watchers.

“We’re fortunate that we get about a dozen gray whales who hang out each spring for long periods of time feeding on ghost shrimp — what we call ‘residents’— but from the sound of things, we should be getting a lot of migratory whales in here, too. And maybe some hungry orcas following them in,” he said in a news release.

He added that researchers in California are reporting bigger than usual numbers of gray whales in this year’s migration.


Watch the whales

Island Adventures: Boards at 10:30 a.m. from the Everett Marina near Anthony’s Homeport Restaurant, 1726 W. Marine View Drive.

First trip is Saturday. The boat leaves at 11 a.m. Trips will continue through May 18. In addition to whales, customers frequently see harbor seals, sea lions, porpoises, eagles and osprey.

Tickets are $69 for adults; $59 for seniors 65 and older, military, groups of 10 or more, students with ID and AAA discounts; $49 for kids 3 to 12; children 2 and under are free.

Go to www.island-adventures.com or call 800-465-4604. Reservations are suggested.

Cascadia Research: Learn more about California gray whales at www.cascadiaresearch.org.

Orca Network: Check for local whale sightings at www.orcanetwork.org


What should it look like?

Tribal officials need your help planning tribal parks

By Niki Cleary, TulalipNews

As the houses and debris were slowly cleared away, tribal members began returning to Mission Beach, one of few open, accessible beaches on the Tulalip reservation. Although the homes are gone, the bulkheads remain, leaving room for an exciting opportunity: A tribal park.

Grassy areas, handicap accessibility from the road to the beach, interpretive signs that play Lushootseed place names at the touch of a button and, of course, nice restrooms. These are just some of the ideas tossed around at the public meeting that Housing staff hosted to gather input from tribal members about what they’d like to see in a ‘Mission Beach Park.’

The meeting was a brainstorming session with no limits, and while a water slide (that twirls and loops and then dips underground before shooting you into the water) might not make it into the final plan, many of the ideas will

“This is a great opportunity for tribal members,” said Public Works Executive Director Gus Taylor. “There are so many tribal members who go down there right now.”

Mission Beach’s accessibility has also sparked the creation of a Parks Committee.

“The Parks Committee formed last month,” explained Patti Gobin who works on Special projects for Tulalip. She pointed out that the return of Mission Beach to tribal members is only the latest and most visible reason that parks planning is needed.

“In the past we never called them parks, they’ve just been gathering areas,” she said. “We’re growing so fast and we’re starting to have more open spaces for our people to gather and enjoy. We need some criteria for those areas to make sure they stay clean, safe and sustainable for our people. We’re going to create a parks ordinance that will set those criteria with sensitivity to our culture and traditional ways. In hundreds of years we, the tribe, will still be here. We want to make sure our open space and parks will be here for generations to come.”

The Parks Committee is still in its infancy. Right  now it is composed of staff from the different tribal departments (Natural Resources, Community Development, Public Works, Administrative Services and Cultural Resources) that are currently managing the common spaces on the reservation.

Unfortunately, the Parks Committee isn’t just an optimistic endeavor to construct parks, it’s also a reaction to some of the negative activities that are taking place in the tribe’s recreational areas. Since the Mission Beach home removal, several people have reported groups of both tribal and non-tribal members under the influence and verbally abusive on the beach, graffiti has sprung up along the old bulkheads and some of the bulkhead has been burned away.

“We need to be proactive in monitoring and providing maintenance for these areas,” said Patti. Ultimately that means a Parks Department. “That will require budget to pay for staff, and we’ll have to decide, what will be the criteria for those jobs? Will it include park rangers?

“This isn’t just for Mission Beach,” Patti went on. “We have gathering areas at Totem Beach, Hermosa, Spee-Bi-Dah, Tulare, and off reservation too, at Lopez Island, Baby Island, and Hat Island. Those are just the areas I can think of off the top of my head. Eventually a parks department would also be responsible for the connectivity and maintenance of walking trails throughout the reservation.”

Patti and her team are hoping to have a first draft of the Parks Ordinance submitted for Board of Directors Review by January 2014, but, she said, Mission Beach won’t wait that long.

Because Mission Beach is designated as lease property, it currently falls under the authority of the Tulalip Housing Department, although once a parks department is created and staffed, Mission Beach will revert to parks. Housing is currently requesting input from tribal members about what they’d like to see in the future.

“Right now we’re unsure when the next meeting will be,” said Anita Taylor of Housing. “We’re presenting the ideas from our first meeting to the board, then we’ll have another community meeting, hopefully in July.”

In the meantime, a sign outlining general park rules will be going up at the parking lot and on the beach, and tribal staff will continue to maintain garbage cans with the expectation that if you pack it in, you pack it out. For other concerns or to submit your input to the park plan, contact Housing staff.

“If you have an emergency, of course call 911,” said Anita. “But if you have any other issues, want to report graffiti, find needles or paraphernalia on the beach, contact myself (360-716-4449, ataylor@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov), or Malory Simpson (360-716-4454, msimpson@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov) and we’ll arrange to have staff take care of it as soon as possible.”

The following images from Brian Way of WHPacific, illustrate some of the proposals for Mission Beach. These include pathways, viewpoints, restrooms, fire pits and a rinse station.

Path by the beach
Path by the beach




Fire rings
Fire rings
rinse station
rinse station



Gray whale sighted near Mission Beach

Watch for whales

Source: HeraldNet

A gray whale has been sighted near Mission Beach at Tulalip, about a month before the first of a group of migratory whales usually shows up.

Kathie Roon, who lives at the beach, said she saw a whale offshore Monday morning while walking her dog. Roon saw several spouts and the fluke come out of the water, she said.

Gray whales visit Possession Sound and Port Susan on their annual trip from Mexico to Alaska, usually between March and May, experts say. Normally about a dozen stop over, according to John Calambokidis of Olympia-based Cascadia Research. About six of them are the same whales every year and about six are different, as identified by photos, he said.

Mansion in Mukilteo recalled: The history of Mukilteo’s first mansion is the topic for a meeting of the Mukilteo Historical Society on Thursday.

The home’s current owner, Alan Zugel, is to talk about his house at the meeting, scheduled for 7:15 p.m. in the Fowler Room at the Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave. The house was built in the early 1900s for the manager of the Crown Lumber Co., according to the historical group.

The meeting is open to the public and refreshments are planned.

Alpacas on display: The Alpaca Association of Western Washington plans to hold their second annual Valentine’s weekend Herdsire Review from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, 14405 179th Ave SE, Monroe. Some of the best alpaca herdsires available for breeding in Western Washington will be on display for local alpaca farms to observe and schedule breeding dates for their females.

This year’s event has expanded to include an Alpaca Pen Sale and Fiber Market so that the public can see and buy alpaca products as well as alpacas. Admission is free. For more information, go to www.alpacawa.org or call 206-510-0434.