Looking back on recent news about water issues

The “common cold” is not what it used to be — or maybe I’m not what I used to be. Does anybody think our viruses today are more hostile?

In any case, a bout with some kind of respiratory bug has knocked me back about five days. I would call it the flu, except that I didn’t have much of a fever.

So now I find myself with a backlog of news stories that I had planned to discuss with you all. Since time doesn’t stop, there will be more stories tomorrow and the day after that.

So I’ll mention some of the interesting stories from the past week and offer you a chance to comment on any of these things. If something provokes your interest or concern, I’ll be happy to moderate or join the conversation.

Fuel spill at PSNS (Thursday)

Last Thursday, 500 gallons of jet fuel spilled from the USS Abraham Lincoln. Fortunately, the ship had been preboomed, so the spill was contained and did not spread out across the harbor.

I covered the first news story on this spill, and I still have some questions, but I haven’t been back to work long enough to get them answered. For example, I have always been told that you shouldn’t preboom highly volatile liquids, such as gasoline and kerosene, for fear they could catch fire. Has something changed about this idea? (I know one boom was already in place, which is now a standard Navy precaution. But they added another.)

Salmon migration (Sunday)

Sunday’s Kitsap Sun featured my annual story encouraging people to go out and watch chum salmon migrating upstream. As usual, the package included a map of local streams (interactive map for online viewers) and tips for watching the fish without disturbing them.

Wherever you live, you may be interested to know how the runs are shaping up, which I covered in a general way. Chum are doing quite well, but not like the records of the recent past. Pinks were amazing. Coho are coming in large, but their abundance varies by location.

Ueland gravel operation (Monday)

Reporter Derek Sheppard filled in well for me on a story I have been following for a couple of years. I’m talking about the public hearing to decide whether a gravel mine, rock quarry and possible concrete batch plant should be built west of Kitsap Lake. There are a lot of issues involved, including traffic on Northlake Way and water quality and quantity going into Chico Creek. The hearing was continued to Dec. 10, so there will be more discussion.

Gravel zoning in Jefferson County (Tuesday)

The Washington State Court of Appeals agreed that the Jefferson County commissioners acted properly in zoning 690 acres in East Jefferson as a “mineral resources land overlay.” Here’s a question: I had understood that the zoning was a prerequisite to the proposed pit-to-pier project, whether or not the zoning stood by itself. But the appeals court ruling states, “(the) future project is not dependent on the proposed action.” If someone would clarify for me, that would be great.

Brown pelican removed from endangered list (today)

I’m not sure how many people check the “Water, Water Everywhere” list at the top of this blog for stories, research and government actions, but I link to a lot of stuff there that I don’t have time to address in detail. Such was the case today with the nationwide de-listing of the brown pelican. Go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release as well as an L.A. Times story.

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