Tag Archives: Watching Our Water Ways

Change for the new year: new home for this blog

Today is moving day for my blog.

For the past 12 years, I have been writing “Watching Our Water Ways” for the Kitsap Sun. The focus has been primarily on Puget Sound issues, with special attention paid to local matters in and around Kitsap County. My blog posts are frequently published in the newspaper’s printed edition.

As many of you know, I retired as the Sun’s full-time environmental reporter back in 2014. The following year, I started writing in-depth stories about Puget Sound for the organization Puget Sound Institute, which is affiliated with the University of Washington. They call me the “senior writer” in that half-time position.

As of today, my blog is moving to the Puget Sound Institute’s website, which also publishes my in-depth stories in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound. I encourage subscribers to “Watching Our Water Ways” to subscribe to the new blog, which will have a slightly different name, “Our Water Ways.” The signup is simple: just go to the new launch page for “Our Water Ways” and click on the subscription prompt. My first blog post there is “Welcome to ‘Our Water Ways,’ a blog about Puget Sound and all things water-related.”

One reason for the change is to bring my blog to the website where most of my work is now being published. I frequently spend several weeks on a story, interviewing top scientists and policymakers and reading their latest reports before beginning my writing. The new blog will allow more frequent coverage of what I’m learning along the way, including inside stories from researchers, political leaders, environmental advocates and so on.

One of my retirement goals was to keep working while slowing the pace over time. At first, I was writing three or four blog posts a week, in addition to my half-time job for PSI. I’ve slowed that pace already and expect to be writing one or two posts a week in the new location. I plan to retire the weekly “Amusing Monday” feature, but I will continue to report on humorous and creative issues in the Puget Sound region.

My focus will shift somewhat more to Puget Sound as a whole, meaning you may read less detailed coverage of Kitsap County per se. But Kitsap will remain in my writing, because I know this area better than most and I truly believe that the work going on in here represents some of the best efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound. Thanks to my ongoing relationship with Kitsap Sun reporters and editors, I will continue to share things that I hear about.

It would take too long for me to list the key players fighting for a healthy environment in our county, but I would like to point out that local leaders are tackling major issues of environmental protection and restoration: salmon and sea life, water quality, streams and shorelines, and forest ecology. Some folks in Kitsap are working hard to reduce the toxic chemicals and bacterial pollution going into our waterways by improving the management of stormwater, sewage and water supplies.

I’ve always said that the western side of Puget Sound, including Hood Canal, is perhaps the best place in the world to work as an environmental reporter. (Check out the profile that former Seattle Times reporters Eric Sorensen wrote about me in Washington State Magazine in 2012.) The support I have received from the Kitsap Sun — including editor David Nelson and local news editor Kim Rubenstein, as well as fellow reporters and other staffers — have made the job a pleasure, whether I was working as a full-time employee or as a blogger and part-time freelancer.

I hope current email subscribers to this blog will sign up for the new one, and maybe I can attract some new blog subscribers along the way. For those who use Twitter, I will continue to post new items under @waterwatching.

As far as I can tell, my 12 years of blogs on “Watching Our Water Ways” will remain as a resource, and I’m proud to see that the blog pops up frequently on internet searches related to environmental issues.

As always, I look forward to comments and suggestions as I move forward with the new blog (email: dunagc@uw.edu), and thank you for reading.

Climate Sense: I have a question about this blog, plus Senate debate video

I would like to ask a question about this blog before pivoting to the debate over the Green New Deal.

Item 1: The future of this “Climate Sense” feature

It’s the end of March and the end of the first quarter of 2019. I thought this would be a good time to assess the success or failure of my weekly list of stories related to climate change.

The intent of “Climate Sense,” as I mentioned at the start of the year, is simply to share some of the important research, political developments, fascinating viewpoints or inspiring opinions that I come across during my reading.

So is anybody reading these blog posts? And, more to the point, is anybody getting any value from them?

Continue reading

Email notifications for blog posts are back following disruption

Some of you may have noticed that you were no longer receiving email notifications of posts to the blog “Watching Our Water Ways.” Somehow, around the middle of October, this function just disappeared. I’ve been trying to get it back, and now, thanks to some behind-the-scenes work, email notification of new blog posts is back in operation.

I’ll concede that some people probably never noticed the lapse, and others might have been happy to avoid the email. But I’m pleased that many people continued to read the blog and offer their comments. This email function, along with RSS, allows people to quickly see a topic and decide if they would like to continue reading.

If you want to sign up for email notifications, simply type your email and zipcode into the box in the right column under the recent comments.

As always, my primary goal is to focus on issues related to Puget Sound, but I’m open to conversations about anything water-related. Each Monday, I try to feature something a little off-beat, humorous, artful or amazing.

I’m always open to comments and suggestions. If you have a moment, please let me know if you think this blog is worthwhile, and let me know what kind of topics you would like to me to write about.

Here are some of the Water Ways headlines (with links) from the past six weeks that you might have missed:

About Water Ways blog: new thoughts for a new year

As we enter the new year, I’d like to thank all of you who read this blog and especially those who have contributed with comments, suggestions and knowledge.

As I was looking back over the last year’s entries on Water Ways, I realized that we stayed pretty serious throughout the year — with occasional exceptions, such as “Amusing Monday.” While I don’t subscribe to formal New Year’s resolutions, I’d like to make sure we don’t get too bogged down in heavy issues in the year ahead.

Of course, I’ll continue to explore serious water-related issues, but I would like to add some shorter, lighter touches along the way. And I’d like you to think of this blog when you encounter any water-related subjects. Maybe you’ll hear a piece of music or see some artwork that could be shared online. Maybe you’ll see or take a great photograph you’d like to share. Maybe it will be a special quote, poem or joke. Send it to me via e-mail at cdunagan@kitsapsun.com. I’ll add a new entry with credit to you, unless you choose to remain anonymous.

I enjoy writing this blog, and I hope more of you will find a way to join the conversation in the coming year. If you can’t comment online, even with a pseudonym, feel free to write me directly. I take all comments to heart.

Let me also take a moment to remind you that you can receive an e-mail each time a new blog entry is posted by putting your e-mail address into the e-mail notification form in the right column. Similarly, you can sign up for the RSS feed. If you follow me on Twitter, you will find links to many of the blog entries as well as interesting news items that I find in the online world.

If you are interested in a particular item and would like to follow all the related comments, you can sign up for an e-mail notice at the bottom of any comments section. You will get an e-mail each time a new comment is posted for that item alone.

Thanks again for reading, and I hope everyone has a great 2011.

Journalism awards: A chance to offer thanks

I would like to extend my congratulations to all the winners of the Northwest Excellence in Journalism Contest. I’d like to say thanks for the award given to Watching Our Water Ways. And, while I’m at it, I’d like to chronicle a statistically rare event that occurred Saturday night for the Kitsap Sun.

This competition is considered an important contest for most news organizations in our region. In some years, it is the only contest I enter.

Those who submit reporting projects are informed that they have won something — but winners are not told whether they are getting a first-, second- or third-place award until winners are announced at a banquet. This year, the banquet was Saturday night at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue.

It’s always a bit of a crapshoot, which allows me to make a statistical calculation. Of course, it’s an honor to win at any level, because somewhere around 2,000 entries in various categories are not recognized at all. But one can never be sure what will happen. One year, an entry that won a Pulitzer Prize for the Seattle Times came in third in the SPJ regional contest.

So here’s the deal. On Saturday night, four front-line journalists for the Kitsap Sun attended the banquet, and all four walked away with first-place awards. That’s Angela Dice, Chris Henry, Nathan Joyce and myself. (Check Sunday’s Kitsap Sun for details.) As I calculate the odds, the chance of that happening is one in 81, based on equal odds of getting any of the awards.

Three of the Sun’s awards went to people who did not attend: Josh Farley received a first place award, Adam Kispert received a second-place, and a team of folks won a third-place. If Josh would have attended the dinner without knowing that he had won, the odds would have been one in 243.

Speaking of the dinner, I would like to express appreciation to our editors for going and supporting us. That’s Editor David Nelson, local news editor Kim Rubenstein, and assistant news editor Vince Dice. In past years, editors have not always found the time.

As I write about these statistics, I realize it seems that I may be giving this honor less weight than it deserves. In truth, I can’t remember Sun staff getting this many first-place awards in one year, so it is a rare accomplishment.

As for myself, I am pleased that this blog was officially recognized with an SPJ Award for “Best Site — Specialized Subject.” I am proud to be in the company of Doug Ramsey (second place), who writes a wonderful blog on Jazz called Rifftides, and a team from Idaho Public Television (third place), that maintains an informative website and blog called D4K — Dialog for Kids.

But I have to say that I am also honored by the favorable comments and support I receive from you — the readers of this blog — whether they come via the blog itself, e-mails, or in person. So this is a chance for me to pause and tip my hat to everyone who subscribes to or reads Water Ways, offers comments or helps me with ideas.

Reminder about the lists, and a Twitter question

This is a quick note to remind readers that I maintain four linkable lists that focus on news, research findings, government actions and upcoming events, all related to water. You can access these lists by clicking on your choice under “Water, Water Everywhere” above (next to my picture).

I try to choose only items of general interest, although I take into account that readers of this blog don’t shy away from technical issues. Lately, some of the research findings have been especially interesting, and you may want to browse the research list. Just so you know, I take these items from a variety of sources — including Science Daily, which does an excellent job of keeping up with a wide variety of research.

By the way, I’m thinking about using a Twitter account that would post regular entries from “Watching Our Water Ways” along with additions to “Water, Water Everywhere.” In other words, it would be another way for readers to reach this blog, but it might not add new information, at least at the outset. Would anyone be interested in following WaterWatching if I fire up the Twitter account?