Water Year 2017, which began on Oct. 1, got off to a rip-roaring
start this month in terms of rainfall, and now records are falling
for October rainfall totals across the Kitsap Peninsula.
As shown in the three charts on this page, the graph started
climbing steeply above the lines shown — including the green lines,
which denote the highest annual precipitation recorded for the past
25 to 33 years.
So far this month, 19.5 inches of rain have fallen at Holly,
which has averaged about 7 inches in October for the past 24 years.
As you can see in the annual rainfall map at the bottom of this
page, Holly lies in the rain zone on the Kitsap Peninsula — the
area with the greatest amount of rainfall in most years. With four
days left in the month, Holly has about an inch to go to break the
record of 20.5 inches going back to 1991.
More than three years after first proposed, “critical habitat”
has been designated for Puget Sound steelhead, a prized fish whose
population has declined drastically in the Puget Sound region.
The new designation, announced last week, is the first time that
critical habitat has ever been designated on the east side of the
Steelhead were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species
Act in 2007, and this critical habitat designation is required
under federal law to protect habitats — in this case streams — that
are considered essential to the recovery of the species.
Under the law, any federal actions that could affect critical
habitat becomes subject to careful review to avoid degradation of
the habitat. In most areas, this high-level review would apply to
alteration of streams, wetlands or estuaries, or any construction
covered by federal grants or permits — such as transportation
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has
designated many Puget Sound streams as critical habitat for one or
more listed species — such as Puget Sound chinook, Hood Canal
summer chum or bull trout. But this is the first time the agency
has provided federal protection for streams on the eastern side of
the Kitsap Peninsula.
Interestingly, the marine shoreline all around the peninsula has
been designated as critical habitat for chinook. Although the
numerous streams are considered too small to support chinook
spawning, the shorelines are critically important for juvenile
chinook, which must find places to feed, grow and escape predators
on their migration to the ocean.
The designation of East Kitsap as critical habitat for steelhead
could bring increased scientific scrutiny to this area along with
possible funding for the restoration of habitat, as I outlined in a
Kitsap Sun story when the habitat was first proposed in 2013. See
Kitsap Sun, Jan. 14, 2013, and
Water Ways, March 15, 2013.
Even though steelhead were listed as threatened eight years ago,
knowledge remains sparse about the number of steelhead coming back
to the Kitsap Peninsula or the habitat needs of the fish, local
biologists tell me. Steelhead are stealthy fish, not easily found
in the streams, although some information is being revealed by a
handful of fish traps used by researchers to measure steelhead
Steelhead can still be found in Kitsap streams, but in numbers
far below what old-timers talk about. Many Kitsap streams have
become “flashy,” meaning that streamflows rise and fall suddenly
with the rains, because so much of the landscape has been paved or
otherwise hardened. Those conditions limit the habitat, especially
for fish like steelhead and coho, which make their way far upstream
in Kitsap’s numerous little creeks. One difference between the two
species is that coho die after spawning, while steelhead often head
back to the ocean to spawn again on their next journey.
As for the designation of critical habitat, the Suquamish Tribe
was able to convince NOAA Fisheries to maintain closer jurisdiction
over 90 miles of steelhead streams on the Kitsap Peninsula where
they were originally proposed for exclusion from the designated
In all, more than 2,000 miles of streams throughout the Puget
Sound region were finally designated as critical habitat, but more
than 1,500 miles of stream escaped the formal designation. That’s
because the habitat was said to be protected in other ways or
because the cost of protecting the habitat outweighed the
The Lake Washington watershed was excluded under the
cost-benefit rationale, but most of the excluded streams are on
private and state forestlands managed under approved habitat
conservation plans, which protect a variety of species. About 28
miles of streams on military bases were excluded because they fall
under “integrated natural resource management plans.” About 70
miles of streams on tribal lands were excluded out of respect for
tribal sovereignty and the role of the tribes in conservation.
While many of the forestlands on the Kitsap Peninsula come under
existing habitat conservations plans, the Suquamish Tribe argued
that even greater oversight is needed. Streams subject to the HCP
are not clearly delineated, nor are areas that would not be
regulated by HCPs, the tribe argued. Kitsap County is undergoing
urbanization, and these forests are threatened with conversion to
residential and commercial development, the tribe said. NOAA
Fisheries accepted the tribe’s point of view.
In practice, the listing of Kitsap forests as critical habitat
won’t have much effect, since forestland owners are already subject
to state rules that are highly protective of stream habitat, said
Adrian Miller, policy and environment manager for Pope Resources,
the largest forestland owner in Kitsap County. Besides, Adrian told
me, federal oversight only kicks in when there is a federal action
— such as a new road or stream alteration, and these are rare on
For Puget Sound, most areas designated as critical habitat are
considered “occupied” by fish at this time. One exception is the
Elwha River, where steelhead have been moving into areas not
occupied by anadromous fish since the Elwha Dam was built in 1910.
Since removal of the Elwha Dam and the Glines Canyon Dam upstream,
biologists have not fully documented the full extent of the habitat
used by steelhead.
Since much of the upstream habitat is within Olympic National
Park, I’m not sure the habitat needs special protection under the
Endangered Species Act. But it is nice to know that steelhead
habitat in the Elwha is protected at the highest level and just
waiting for steelhead to arrive.
Two weeks ago, five conservation groups filed a lawsuit against
NOAA Fisheries for not completing the recovery plan within a
reasonable time. See Wild Fish Conservancy
news release, which includes a link to the legal documents.
Despite concerns about drought in much of Washington state,
Kitsap County came through the water year (ending Sept. 30) with
precipitation just about normal.
As you can see from the graphs on this page, precipitation in
2015 (blue line) fairly well tracked the average (pink line). The
previous water year (orange line) was more concerning, although
both 2014 and 2015 water years ended in fairly decent shape.
Areas in North Kitsap ended the year somewhat above average. In
Hansville, the annual total was 34.3 inches, compared to an average
of 30.2 inches. In Central and South Kitsap, many areas were
slightly below normal. In Holly, the annual rainfall was 69.4
inches, compared to an average of 76.6 inches.
The Kitsap Peninsula largely relies on groundwater for its water
supplies, and we have gotten enough rains to keep the aquifers in
fairly decent shape, according to Mark Morgan of Kitsap Public
“Aquifers experienced their typical summer drawdown, driven more
by demand than by drought, but (it was) nothing exceptional,” Mark
said in a summary of the water year.
Concerns about drought in other parts of the state were largely
based on a lack of snowpack coming out of last winter.
Meanwhile, flows in many streams hit low-flow conditions a month
earlier than normal this past summer, but some maintained their
typical flow, Mark said. Adequate streamflows are critical for coho
salmon, which spend a year in freshwater, as well as for year-round
residents, such as trout.
The forecast for the winter is based on strong El Nino
conditions (see map below), which means that sea surface
temperatures off the coast of South America will be significantly
higher than usual — up to 3.4 degrees F (2 degrees C). Above-normal
temperatures are expected across the western U.S. as well as the
northern tier states and Eastern Seaboard, with the greatest chance
of above-normal temperatures in the Pacific Northwest.
Below-average temperatures are expected in New Mexico and West
Texas. For details, see the prediction maps at the bottom of this
page or check out NOAA’s
Climate Prediction Center.
While much of the country will benefit from greater rainfall,
below normal precipitation is expected for the Northwest and areas
in the Eastern Great Lakes, New York and northern New England.
Climatologists predict with 95 percent certainty that the El
Nino will continue through the winter in the Northern Hemisphere
before gradually weakening in the spring.
After leaving the staff of the Kitsap Sun, I was profoundly
thrilled and honored this year to have my environmental reporting
career recognized by two organizations that I greatly respect.
The two awards got me to thinking about the role that
environmental reporters can play in bridging the gap between
scientists studying the Puget Sound ecosystem and residents wishing
to protect this beloved place.
Conservancy, which plays a central role in acquiring and
protecting vital ecosystems on the Kitsap Peninsula, chose to honor
me with its Conservationist of the Year Award. The award is
especially humbling, because I see myself as a storyteller, not a
conservationist. But I was reminded that stories can help bring
people together to accomplish great things. One major project that
involves GPC and its many partners is the Kitsap Forest and Bay
Project, a major land-acquisition effort in North Kitsap.
When I attended GPC’s annual fund-raising dinner in April, it
felt like some sort of reunion. People I had known for years from
all sorts of organizations and agencies came up to shake my hand.
Some I knew very well. For nearly everyone, I could look back over
more than 35 years of reporting and recall their connection to one
or more environmental stories. It was a bit overwhelming.
The second award, from the SeaDoc Society, was equally
satisfying, since it recognized my work across the Puget Sound
region. The Octopus Award acknowledges groups and individuals
outside SeaDoc who have advanced the organization’s goal of
protecting the health of marine wildlife.
SeaDoc’s director and chief scientist, Dr. Joe Gaydos, a
veterinarian, has a rare ability. He not only conducts research
with a precision required to advance science, but he also
communicates general scientific knowledge in ways we can all
understand. I cannot count the times I’ve asked Joe to help me put
some ecological issue into perspective.
Joe teamed up recently with author Audrey DeLella Benedict to
write an informative and entertaining book about the inland
waterway that extends from Olympia, Wash., to Campbell River, B.C.,
including Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia. The title is
“The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest.”
Unlike my experience at the GPC dinner, I knew only a handful of
people at SeaDoc’s annual fund-raising auction on Orcas Island two
weeks ago. I was able to become acquainted with many wonderful
people who seemed interested in all aspects of the Puget Sound
ecosystem. I was SeaDoc’s guest for the entire weekend, which
turned into a much-needed mini-vacation. It was the first time I’ve
been able to get away this year.
For whatever success I’ve had in my career, I owe a debt to all
the scientists willing to give their time to help me understand
their research. Science is a journey of discovery, and I’ve been
privileged to hitchhike with all sorts of researchers on their way
to understanding how the world works.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the teaching of science
and the need to encourage future researchers. Although I have a
degree in biochemistry, I’ve never worked as a scientist — unless
you count the year I toiled as a lab assistant growing tomato
plants. It was a research project designed to figure out how the
plants protect themselves from damaging insects.
I grew up believing that science was a particular set of facts
that explained the workings of nature. For the longest time, I
failed to see that the most important thing about science was
formulating the right questions about things we don’t know. Science
teachers should, of course, convey what is known, but I believe
they should also lead their students to the edge of the unknown,
revealing some of the questions that scientists are attempting to
answer right now.
That is what much of my reporting on Puget Sound has been about.
We’ve known for years that the health of the waterway is in
decline. It has been rewarding to help people understand why things
have been going wrong and what can be done to reverse the downward
trends. While there is much work to do, we’re at a point where we
can expect Puget Sound residents to limit their damage to the
ecosystem and become part of the restoration effort.
Finally, I have some advice for science reporters and scientists
alike. I feel like I’ve been lucky to be able to connect well with
researchers, though I’ve heard it said that the relationship
between reporters and scientists can be rough at times.
I’ve known reporters who are more interested in getting a scoop
than in learning, more interested in getting to some perceived
conclusion than in understanding the whys and hows. I’ve also known
scientists who are convinced that their research is too complex for
reporters to grasp, not to mention write about accurately.
For myself, it has always worked to follow my curiosity wherever
it takes me. Gathering far more information than I need for today’s
story, I find that this wandering gives me a better understanding
of the big picture while identifying future stories. Thanks to
those who have tolerated my detailed questioning.
Scientists also can take steps to make sure they are well
understood. Spell out key points for reporters, go over the
essential elements more than once, and even put information in
writing if a reporter seems to need some extra help.
When this kind of collaboration is successful, the result is a
story that captures the imagination, provides accurate information
and sometimes even changes the way people see the world.
UPDATE: April 24, 2015
Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of
Washington, says in his
blog that it is too early to be predicting severe drought in
Western Washington this summer because of possible late-spring
“I believe the media and some local politicians have gotten a
bit too worried about our ‘drought.’ We have NOT had a
precipitation drought at all….we are in a snow drought due to warm
temperatures. The situation is unique and I suspect we will weather
this summer far better than expected.”
The word seems to be getting around about the record-low
snowpack in the mountains, which could create a shortage of
drinking water and even lead to problems for salmon swimming
upstream. Read about Gov. Jay Inslee’s expanded drought emergency, issued
today, as well as the last
update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Kitsap Peninsula and the islands of Puget Sound are in their own
worlds, fairly insulated from what is happening in the higher
elevations. In these lower elevations, the key to water supplies is
rainfall, not snow, and the outlook for the year is normal so
As you can see from the charts on this page (click to enlarge),
this year’s rainfall has been tracking closely the long-term
average. If the rains are light and steady, much of the water will
soak into the ground and recharge the aquifers where most area
residents get their water. The aquifer levels tend to rise and fall
over multiple years, depending on the rainfall.
Casad Dam on the Union River, which supplies a majority of
Bremerton’s water, filled in January, well ahead of schedule, said
Kathleen Cahall, water resources manager for the city. The dam is
scheduled for a normal drawdown, and Kathleen said she does not
expect any water shortage.
“We filled the reservoir fairly early this year,” she said. “We
are looking pretty good for the summer.”
October, the first month of the water year, was unusually wet,
Kathleen said. December precipitation also was high. The other
months were fairly normal for precipitation.
Precipitation in the Puget Sound region is expected to be below
average for June, July and August, according to models by the
NOAA’s Climate Prediction
Center. Interestingly, large portions of the Central and
Southwest U.S., Alaska and Florida can expect above-average
precipitation. See U.S. map.
Streams on the Kitsap Peninsula are fed by surface water flows
and shallow aquifers. At the moment, most of the streamflows are
near their historical average. That’s not the case for the larger
rivers in the Northwest, which rush out of the mountains. Most are
well below their normal flows, as shown by the map with the
Low streamflows usually mean higher temperatures and stress for
salmon. Low flows also can affect fish passage in some stretches of
the rivers while also reducing spawning areas.
While things look fairly good on the Kitsap Peninsula now,
things can change quickly. We have different vulnerabilities than
elsewhere. Climate-change models predict that rains will grow more
intense in the future without changing annual precipitation very
much. That means more of the water will run off the land and less
will soak in, potentially reducing aquifer levels over time.
Managing those underground water supplies will become more and more
The recent rains have done the job; the streams have risen; and
chum salmon are moving swiftly into Chico Creek — and probably
other streams on the Kitsap Peninsula.
I stopped by Chico Salmon Viewing Park today and observed chum
in all portions of the stream and moving upstream at the bridge on
Chico Way. The park, where volunteers have made significant
improvements, is adjacent to Kitsap Golf and Country Club. Park
officials say it is OK to walk around the chain-link fence and
enter the park, but please stay on the trails once you are
I also noticed a large number of salmon at the mouth of Chico
Creek, milling around the culvert under Highway 3. The old culvert
on Kittyhawk Drive has been torn out, so it is no longer an
obstacle. The stream channel has been reconfigured to look and
function like a natural stream. See
Kitsap Sun, Aug. 26.
At least a dozen anglers were fishing out beyond the mouth of
the stream, where they should be. Fishers and other observers are
asked to stay on the trail, be careful not to trample recent
plantings, and stay out of the stream channel. No fishing is
allowed upstream of the high-tide mark down on the beach.
I recently wrote about how killer whales of the Salish Sea have
begun to follow the chum salmon into Central and South Puget Sound.
Chum are a primary prey species for the orcas, after chinook runs
Kitsap Sun, Oct. 20.
I have to admit that I still get excited when I see energetic
salmon finding their way upstream, swimming around rocks and logs,
rushing through shallow riffles and hanging out in deep pools. If
you visit the major salmon streams, such as Chico Creek, over the
next week or two, you’ll avoid the smell of rotting salmon that
generally comes later. As for me, I like to watch the salmon during
all portions of the run.
For a map of accessible salmon-viewing locations with videos
that describe each spot, go to Kitsap
Peninsula Salmon Watching. While there, check out the tips for
If anyone gets a decent photo of salmon in the streams, please
send it to my email
address and I’ll post it on this blog. I tried to get photos
today, but I didn’t have enough light.
If you’d like to learn about salmon from fisheries biologists,
consider attending this year’s Kitsap Salmon Tours on Saturday,
Nov. 8, at four locations:
Cowling Creek Center, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 20345 Miller Bay
Poulsbo Fish Park, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Lindvig Way in Poulsbo,
www.city of poulsbo.com/parks/parks_events.htm.
Chico Salmon Viewing Park, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., adjacent to
Kitsap Golf and Country Club, www.ext100.wsu.edu/kitsap.
Mountaineers Rhododendron Preserve, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with
walking tours at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.,
This year’s return of chum salmon to Hood Canal remains on track
to break the record, coming in with four times as many fish as
predicted earlier this year.
Last week, I reported that the total run size for Hood Canal
fall chum appeared to be about 1.4 million fish, according to
computer models. See
Kitsap Sun, Oct. 30 (subscription). The modern-day record is
1.18 million, set in 2003. If conditions hold, this year’s run will
easily exceed that.
The large Hood Canal run also is expected to provide an economic
boost of some $5 million to $6 million for commercial fishers, not
including fish processors and stores that sell the fish.
The forecast models are based largely on commercial harvests.
Data collected since I wrote the story only tend to confirm the
record-breaking run, according to salmon managers. Final estimates
won’t be compiled until the end of the season.
The chum run in Central and South Puget Sound also are looking
very good. The latest data suggest that the run could reach
700,000, or nearly twice the preseason estimate and well above
Meanwhile, the large chum runs are attracting Puget Sound’s
orcas to the waters off Bainbridge Island and Seattle, as chinook
runs decline in the San Juan Islands and elsewhere. As I described
in a story on Sunday, it has been an odd year for the whales, which
may have spent most of the summer chasing chinook off the coast of
Kitsap Sun, Nov. 2 (subscription).
The large chum run also promises to provide some great viewing
opportunities for people to watch the salmon migration in their
local streams. I would direct you to the interactive salmon-viewing
map that Amy Phan and I completely revamped last year for the
Kitsap Sun’s website. The map includes videos describing salmon
streams across the Kitsap Peninsula.
Speaking of salmon-watching, everyone is invited to Saturday’s
Kitsap Salmon Tours, an annual event in which biologists talk about
the amazing salmon and their spawning rituals. One can choose to
visit one or both of the locations in Central Kitsap. For details,
check out the Kitsap
Public Utility District’s Website.
One of the locations, now named Chico Salmon Park, is undergoing
a major facelift, thanks to more than 100 hours of volunteer labor
over the past two weekends — not to mention earlier work going back
to the beginning of the year. See the Kitsap County
news release issued today.
Volunteers working on the park deserve a lot of credit for
removing blackberry vines, Scotchbroom and weeds from this
overgrown area. This property, which has Chico Creek running
through it, is going to be a wonderful park someday after native
trees and plants become established. (See
Kitsap Sun, Feb. 2, 2013)
The little streams and tributaries on the Kitsap Peninsula and
elsewhere in Puget Sound are destined for special attention under a
proposal to designate critical habitat for Puget Sound steelhead.
See my story in
today’s Kitsap Sun.
When it comes to endangered and threatened species, most of the
attention has been given to Puget Sound chinook, which migrate to
the larger rivers and often spawn in mainstem waters and larger
As a reporter, I’ve also paid attention through the years to
Hood Canal summer chum, which come into the streams along Hood
Canal in the late summer and early fall. They generally spawn in
the lower part of the streams, because water has not yet arrived to
fill upstream tributaries.
Steelhead are an entirely different kind of fish, coming into
our local streams in the winter months and swimming upstream as far
as they can go. Steelhead may not die after spawning, so they can
repeatedly return to spawn again and again.
With adequate rains, there is almost no place on the Kitsap
Peninsula where steelhead cannot go. In that respect, they are
similar to coho salmon, a fall spawner that remains on the
borderline for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Many
biologists tell me that protections for steelhead will go a long
way to protecting our depressed coho runs as well.
What is needed more than anything is more research on the
ecological values of the smaller streams on the Kitsap Peninsula
and South Sound region. Where have steelhead been found
historically, and what can we do to improve the habitat for
On the positive side, it is often easier to fix the smaller
streams. Culverts can be replaced, side channels created and
streamside vegetation planted, all at less cost than on our major
On the other hand, given our tight state and federal budgets, we
are not likely to see more money for salmon and steelhead
restoration. We’ll probably have to spread the existing dollars
further. In fact, I’ve been told that some people in chinook
territory have tried to slow down the steelhead-recovery effort,
because it will mean less money for chinook recovery. And they may
have been successful.
Puget Sound steelhead were listed as “threatened” nearly five
years ago. The Endangered Species Act calls for designating
critical habitat within one year of the listing, but NOAA concluded
that the designation was “not determinable” at that time. Now, more
information is available, the agency says.
Elsewhere, five populations of West Coast steelhead were listed
as “threatened” in August 1997, and four others were listed in
March 1998. Critical habitat for all nine listed species of
steelhead was proposed in February 1999 and completed a year later.
(Their status was later reconsidered, which led to the official
listing date actually coming after designation of critical
habitat.) As a result of a lawsuit, the court scheduled the
deadlines for those steelhead.
Biologists are now working on a recovery plan for Puget Sound
steelhead in consultation with local governments throughout the
region. The ESA does not provide a firm deadline for approving a
recovery plan, although federal agencies attempt to get them done
within a few years after listing.
If you’ve been going to the movies on the Kitsap Peninsula and
you arrive before the previews for upcoming films, you’ve probably
watched a promotional clip about reducing pollution from cars.
The promo, at right, was produced by Seattle Public Utilities,
and its use was granted to the West Sound Stormwater Outreach Group
free of charge. The educational group, which promotes clean-water
efforts, is made up of Kitsap County and its four cities plus Gig
Harbor and Port Townsend.
For about $5,000, the consortium was able to get the promo into
all the major theaters except for Bremerton’s new downtown theater,
which wasn’t open when the deal was made.
“The neat thing about this is that we are trying to reach out to
a younger audience, 18- to 24-year-olds, who tend to go to the
movie theaters, and they tend to get there early,” said Liz
Satterthwaite, education and outreach coordinator for Kitsap
It’s an age group that can play a critical role in the battle
against pollution, but it’s a group that’s not easy to reach, she
said. Television commercials are expensive, and most people don’t
like ads on their cellphones or pop-ups on websites.
Being somewhat entertaining and offering a positive spin to the
problem, movie theaters seemed like a great place to show the
Other stormwater-education groups in the Puget Sound region may
be approaching local theaters to show this clip in the future.
Other recent efforts by the West Sound stormwater group include
an online ad on the Kitsap Sun’s website and graphics on Kitsap
County street sweepers and trucks likely to be seen on the streets.
Some of these messages on wheels say things like “Sweeping for a
healthy sound.” Others display the Water Pollution Hotline for
reporting pollution problems, (360) 337-5777.
Kitsap County also is experimenting with a community newsletter
about Puget Sound and local issues. They are being sent to homes in
a targeted area, first Manchester, then Kingston. The next is
planned for North Dyes Inlet, including Silverdale and surrounding
Surveys have shown that people are becoming more aware of
stormwater pollution and the steps they can take to reduce the
amount of dirty water getting into our waterways.
Feel free to add your thoughts on this blog entry, or jump to
the comment section of the cinema ad itself.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council has taken a major step in
the protection of unregulated forage fish with a resolution calling
for increased studies and possible fishing restrictions. The
“It is the Council’s intent to recognize the importance of
forage fish to the marine ecosystem off our coast, and to provide
adequate protection for forage fish. We declare that our objective
is to prohibit the development of new directed fisheries on forage
species that are not currently managed by our Council, or the
States, until we have an adequate opportunity to assess the science
relating to the fishery and any potential impacts to our existing
fisheries and communities.”
“While killer whales and salmon dominate the public spotlight,
researchers are focusing increasing attention near the bottom of
the food web and on the physical processes that support all life in
The story focuses on studies related to forage fish and
hydrogeological processes along the shorelines of the Kitsap
Peninsula, but it ties into everything we know about Puget
One project, led by U.S. Geological Survey researcher Theresa
“Marty” Liedtke, is studying the extent to which sand lance and
surf smelt depend on eelgrass beds. The project is part of the
agency’s investigation called “Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound
(CHIPS). Check out the CHIPS website for further
The other study, by geologist Wendy Gerstel of Qwg Applied
Geology, is part of a larger grant project dealing with shoreline
processes funded by the federal Environmental Protection
Wendy has been studying sources of sediment that feed the
beaches in Kitsap County. She is preparing to use what she has
found to make recommendations about potential shoreline-restoration
Her project and related issues will be discussed tomorrow at a
workshop called “Kitsap’s Shorelines and Restoration Opportunities:
A Landowner Workshop.”
Participants will learn about beach processes and shoreline
ecology and hear from researchers studying shoreline erosion and
sediment sources along Kitsap County shorelines. The workshop is
scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at President’s Hall at the Kitsap
County Fairgrounds, and everyone is invited.
Another development involving sand lance, surf smelt and other
“unmanaged” forage fish is a proposal for the Pacific Fishery
Management Council to initiate a process that could eventually lead
to fisheries regulations.
Protecting all forage fish seems to be a goal of many
environmental organizations, as one can see in the public comments
PFMC’s agenda (Item G.1) for Saturday’s meeting in San Mateo,
Steve Marx of the Pew Environment Group wrote a
12-page letter in support of managing for protection:
“To date the Council has received over 19,000 individual pieces
of correspondence from engaged members of the public, urging it to
take action to protect forage species for the sake of a healthy
ecosystem, sustainable fisheries and vibrant coastal
“Over 110 licensed commercial fishermen and women on the West
Coast have written to the Council, urging it to prevent new
fisheries from developing on forage species until adequate science
is available. Additionally, a diverse list of both commercial and
recreational fishing organizations have advocated for the
Council to implement needed forage protections, including a
reversal on the burden of proof for new forage fisheries.
“The regional fishery management council process encourages
public participation, and we hope that this strong show of public
support for protecting unmanaged
forage species is helpful as the Council continues its deliberation
on how best to proceed.”