Tag Archives: Shorelines

Citizens’ Police Academy 9: Harbormaster, marine patrol, K-9, graduation

This is the ninth and final entry in a column about reporter Ethan Fowler’s participation in the Bainbridge Island Police Department’s Citizens’ Police Academy.

Keeping the waters surrounding Bainbridge Island safe is something Bainbridge Harbormaster Tami Allen and Bainbridge police officer/marine patrol officer Ben Silas continually focus on.

Allen, who will reach her 15th anniversary as the island’s harbormaster in July, said the Bainbridge Harbor Management Plan was started in 1999. It covers safety and navigation, water quality, anchorage and mooring, public access, maritime commerce and derelict vessel prevention.

Allen said she keeps tabs on 53 miles of water, which include four deep water bays. She said there’s more than 550 buoys around the island and that all of them require permits. She noted it took five years to log all of the buoys.

She said she’s always looking for volunteers for the Summer Dock Host program, where people greet boaters as they step off their boats and answer questions for them. Allen said one day last summer featured visitors who spoke 14 different languages.

She said she gets a lot of help with her job from volunteer harbor stewards, residents who live along the shoreline and call her when they see anything worthy of her attention.

Silas, who started working the same day 15 years ago as his future wife Carla for the BIPD, pilots the department’s 35-foot, state-of-the-art police boat. He said the boat was funded through a $640,000 Homeland Security grant in 2008 and has the ability to load a SWAT team on a Washington State Ferry.

When he first joined the force, Silas said he had no interest in boats but he has since grown to “really love it.” He said his jurisdiction extends halfway between Bainbridge and the nearest piece of land, however he has law enforcement powers for the whole state since Silas said there’s fewer resources for the water.

He said he goes riding around the island at least once a month and more frequently during the busy boating season.

For the final week of the two-month Citizens’ Police Academy, the group of about a dozen people gathered for a potluck dinner at the Queen City Yacht Club. The celebratory evening was highlighted by Officer Dale Johnson demonstrating the skills of his retired K-9 partner Rusty, who delighted a lot of the children of the academy participants.

Rusty was able to successfully find hidden money that had drug scents on them. During his career, the chocolate lab mix was used in 214 searches with 547 finds of controlled substances and or drug paraphernalia. He also assisted in 181 arrests.

Bainbridge Police Chief Matthew Hamner said he hopes to have another K-9 officer in the near future.

I truly enjoyed participating in the Citizens’ Police Academy and learned a new appreciation for police officers and greater understanding of the challenges they face. I was particularly impressed by how much Bainbridge officers treated academy participants like they were family. I will also miss the amazing treats that Officer Carla Silas, who organized the academy and scheduled the speakers, created weekly for us.

I highly recommend everyone in the community to try to find time to participate in a future Citizens’ Police Academy, which are generally offered yearly in the spring.

New dock planned for Hidden Cove Park


Spring seems to be park project planning season.

The park board approved concept plans for a playground at Schel Chelb Park last week. It also held a public hearing for a project to replace the dock at Hidden Cove Park and make small improvements to the uplands. Comments can be sent to Perry Barrett – perry@biparks.org – through May 28.

The public dock on Port Madison is getting a little long in the tooth, to put it lightly. Popular with kayakers, dog walkers and bored teens, the dock has become rickety and rotted in places. The float also grounds out regularly at low tide, a no-no in the eyes of state permitting agencies.

Here’s a rough synopsis of the two options the district is considering: Continue reading

Shoreline Master Program comment period extended

The city is giving residents more time to review and respond to proposed changes to the Shoreline Master Program, a hot-button set of policies that guide shoreline development.

Read the city’s announcement below.

The first of three opportunities to comment on the shoreline citizen workgroup draft policy amendments has been extended to Tuesday, April 26, 2011.

Draft amendments to the Goals and Policies of the City of Bainbridge Island’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) are posted on the Shoreline Master Program Update project webpage for public review and comment.

The draft contains policy recommendations produced by citizen groups as part of the City’s update to the Shoreline Master Program. The SMP guides shoreline development under the state Shoreline Management Act, and state law requires that the city update the management program by the end of 2011. The recommendations are a product of a unique citizen involvement process, designed to engage interested community organizations and citizens in three topic-based workgroups and a task force consisting of representative the workgroups.

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Conference puts the spotlight on Bainbridge’s shorelines

Jay Manning, chief of staff for Gov. Chris Gregoire, will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 Bainbridge Environmental Conference on Sunday.

Manning, a Kitsap County native, previously served as director of the Washington Department of Ecology.

Focused on a shoreline theme, the conference will also will feature Ron Thom, a shoreline expert and co-author of the “Bainbridge Island Nearshore Assessment” used for shoreline planning. Thom works for Battelle’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Panel discussions will focus on the “Science of Shorelines,” led by Jim Brennan of Washington Sea Grant, and “Shoreline Master Program,” led by Barbara Nightingale of the Washington Department of Ecology.

The conference will be from 1 to 5:45 p.m. at IslandWood, 4450 Blakely Ave. NE. The conference fee is $25. An optional supper ($25) will follow the conference.

For registration and information, call (206) 842-1216 or go to www.bi-landtrust.org.

City needs volunteers for shoreline advisory groups

The city’s looking for volunteers to serve on advisory groups for the update of the Shoreline Management Plan. Read the city’s press release below.


Ryan Ericson, Shoreline Planner
City of Bainbridge Island
(206) 780-3719

City Seeks Volunteers for Shoreline Advisory Groups

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, July 13, 2010 – The City this week published a call for citizens interested in participating in advisory work groups for the update of the Shoreline Master Program (SMP), currently underway. The SMP guides shoreline development under Washington’s Shoreline Management Act. The process is scheduled to continue over the next 18 months.

“As we update our program to protect critical marine resources while also fostering sustainable uses on our shorelines, we want to make sure that we are hearing the voices of all concerned,” said Ryan Ericson, the City’s Shoreline Planner. “Our goal is to pull citizens together through these advisory work groups to explore critical issues, foster the exchange of concerns and ideas, and, we hope, identify some creative and innovative policy approaches.”

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City warming up for big shoreline plan update

The city held a meeting on Tuesday to begin the public participation component of the upcoming Shoreline Master Plan update.

About 90 island residents attended the meeting, according to a city press release.

The SMP update has piqued the interest of many waterfront landowners. The update could lead to tougher regulations for near-shore development.

Using a state grant, the city hired planning consultants AHBL to assist in developing the public participation process. The firm’s staff helped direct the meeting and will evaluate the public input in the coming weeks.

The city will begin discussing shoreline policy issues later in the process.

The city’s SMP is a combination of planning strategies and regulations that guide shoreline development.

State law requires that the city update its SMP by December 2011.

Residents can contribute ideas about the SMP’s public participation process before Mar. 16 through a survey posted on the city’s website, by mail (Shoreline Master Program Update, Planning and Community Development, City Hall, 280 Madison Ave. N., Bainbridge Island, 98110) or e-mail (pcd@ci.bainbridge-isl.wa.us).

Good news, bad news for Bainbridge beaches

The good news is that a south island beach plagued with high levels of fecal bacteria recently received a clean bill of health from state regulators.

The bad news is that two other beaches had their status downgraded, marking the south and north-end stretches of shoreline as prohibited for shellfish harvesting.

The solution for the newly-clean two-mile beach was fairly simple: a handful of waterfront residents fixed their septic systems after health and city officials notified them of the problem.

Even though the downgraded beaches are also likely suffering from bad septics, local health officials are scrounging for enough money to investigate and inform residents of the necessary fixes.

Click here for my full story.

UPDATED: City loses key shoreline planner

City shoreline planner Peter Namtvedt Best has resigned just as the city prepares for the daunting task of updating its shoreline master plan.

Best, who joined the city in 2001, turned in his resignation late last week. He will continue on a part-time basis until mid-September.

“This is a big loss to me and the department,” Planning Director Kathy Cook said. “We’re working on a transition plan now because he was working on so many big projects. We want to keep him on a part-time basis as long as we can.”

Best said he’s leaving the city to be a stay-at-home dad for his twin toddlers.

“It’s with a lot of mixed emotions that I’m leaving, and I have a lot of hope and pride for the projects I’m working on, but my kids will only be this age once,” he said, noting that he might be open to returning once his children are older.

Best’s position is an important one for a city that boasts 53 miles of shoreline.

He lead shoreline research, reviewed shoreline permits and was successful in obtaining shoreline restoration grants worth millions of dollars.

As founder and coordinator of the city’s Shoreline Stewardship Program, Best led a corps of volunteers and professionals on hands-on conservation and environmental education projects. The program’s 2005 salmon study startled marine biologists with data that debunked old notions about regional salmon migrations and revealed that some federal and state protections were falling short for the most sensitive salmon species.
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A wave of shoreline regulation news

Lots of news on island shoreline protections at the tail end of last week.

The prospect of new development restrictions along waterfront properties brought out the largest crowd I’ve ever seen at City Hall (and I’ve been covering City Hall for over four years) last Wednesday.

Based on the applause during public testimony, the room (and the throng spilling out the door) was pretty evenly divided between waterfront property owners opposed to the new regs and residents (some of whom also live on the water) who want tougher shoreline habitat and water quality protections. That’s the crowd pictured above.

Read my story on that event here.

A day later, on Thursday, the state Supreme Court issued a decision that, in island marine habitat specialist Jim Brennan words, “sent a shock wave across Puget Sound.” The ruling effectively halted the city’s update of its shoreline regs, and may delay their implementation until 2011. Environmentalists booed. Many waterfront property owners cheered.

Read my story on the court’s ruling impact on Bainbridge here.

And for even more on the ruling’s wider implications, check out this story.

Island earns first red tide closure of the year

Bainbridge Island earned the county’s first red tide closure of the year.

The eastern side of Bainbridge Island has been closed to the harvest of all clams, mussels and oysters following the discovery of high levels of a dangerous toxin.

It is the first full “red tide” closure in Kitsap County this year, although the entire eastern side of the county remains closed to the harvest of butter clams, according to Jim Zimny of the Kitsap County Health District.

Paralytic shellfish poison is a toxin produced by a species of plankton. The toxin tends to concentrate in the tissues of shellfish. Mussels collected in Eagle Harbor on Monday showed concentrations of 152 micrograms per 100 grams of shellfish tissue, Zimny said. Beaches are closed when the toxin level exceeds 80 micrograms.

When consumed at high levels, the toxin can affect the nerves and breathing and may be life-threatening. Symptoms usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet. Anyone with symptoms should seek medical help.

The toxin cannot be seen and must be detected with laboratory tests.

The new closure area is from Point Monroe to South Beach Road, including all the bays and harbors in the area. The closure does not apply to crabs, but crabs should be cleaned before cooking and the “crab butter” discarded.

For information, call the health district at (800) 2BE-WELL or go to www.kitsapcountyhealth.com

Sewer contamination may cost city millions to fix


The city’s got a tough choice on its hands.

By order of the state, the city must invest millions of dollars to redirect a Winslow sewer outfall away from Wing Point’s shellfish beds or pay tens of thousands a year in compensation.

City engineers are scrambling. The City Council will soon be debating. But either way, city coffers will be draining.

See my story below.

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Waterfront Park’s future


The city’s hosting an open house on Tuesday to gather input on a few designs proposed for Waterfront Park.

None of the sketches were available today for a sneak-peek, but you can check out the design firm’s website to get an idea of the work they’ve done in the past.

Read my story below…

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