WDFW seeks applicants for Skagit Wildlife Area Island Unit Advisory Group
MILL CREEK – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking members to serve on an advisory group to provide input on a potential habitat restoration project on the Skagit Wildlife Area Island Unit.
The Island Unit, accessible only by boat, covers approximately 268 acres on two islands in a tidally-influenced reach of the South Fork Skagit River within the Skagit River delta. WDFW owns and manages the Island Unit as part of the 17,000-acre Skagit Wildlife Area.
WDFW is considering a habitat restoration project on the Island Unit, and will assess several options that range from no restoration to restoring all 268 acres. WDFW will evaluate options based on state requirements and policies, as well as community values and public input.
The Island Unit Advisory Group will provide feedback to WDFW as they conduct an alternatives analysis, which is a planning tool used to evaluate a range of choices relative to a set of common criteria. WDFW values diverse opinions and is seeking a broad range of representatives to serve on the advisory group, including those interested in waterfowl hunting, outdoor recreation, agriculture, conservation, and salmon recovery.
Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Aug. 19, 2019. For questions or more information, contact Seth Ballhorn at Seth.Ballhorn@dfw.wa.gov or 360-791-4987.
WDFW manages approximately 1 million acres of land and over 600 water access sites across the state that provide fish and wildlife habitat, as well as fishing, hunting, wildlife-viewing, and other outdoor activities for thousands of Washingtonians and visitors every year.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlifeis the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.
Conservation Report, June 2019
By Tim Mann
Washington State Legislative Session: With 25 chapters and 35,000 members, Audubon Washington is well positioned to rally support for legislation and agency action relevant to its conservation mission. Last month’s Skagit Flyer deadline preceded the legislature’s April 28th finish, so here’s a look at the outcome for bills especially important to Audubon. Happily, as Audubon Washington’s Government Relations Director Adam Maxwell said, this was the best Washington State legislative session ever for climate legislation. Nine related bills passed including Audubon’s top priority, the 100% clean energy standard. Under this bill’s provisions, in a series of steps all fossil-fuel produced electricity used in Washington will be phased out by 2045. All but 20% of our state’s electricity is already fossil-free, and we now join the small group of states that have taken this important step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Also passed were bills improving the efficiency of new buildings and appliances. Failing to pass but with a chance next year was reduction of emissions related to transportation. That sector accounts for over 40% of greenhouse gases here. Though the partial ban on single-use plastic bags did not pass, the prognosis is fairly good for next session.
Among state agencies the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is the lead for recovering rare, threatened, and endangered species and managing thousands of acres of wildlife habitat. This agency has experienced cuts from declining sales of hunting and fishing licenses, the mainstay of its budget revenue. Supporting full funding of WDFW’s budget request was another session priority for Audubon. The smaller increase the agency received will only slow the decline in staff and services. Audubon Washington participates in the state-appointed committee, to devise a more sustainable funding strategy for WDFW and other agencies with conservation missions.
You’ll recall the all-out effort last year to come up with a plan for ensuring the survival of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Task force recommendations boiled down to four bills, all of which passed the legislature in some form, along with a substantial percentage of the Governor’s funding request for implementation. Taken together, these bills cover key aspects of what is needed to restore Puget Sound, the U.S. portion of the Salish Sea, ranging from reducing toxic pollution to speeding salmon recovery and better protecting against oil spills. This is all good for marine birds too, so many of which winter here and depend on the same food chain that ultimately feeds orcas.
Skagit Audubon sent a second comment letter to Skagit County Planning & Development Services on the proposed quarry near Marblemount. This large operation, with potential duration of a century, would yield dense stone for repairing large jetties at the mouth of the Columbia River and elsewhere. Not mentioned in the project application and reports is the possibility that the rock, Shuksan greenschist, contains the asbestos mineral actinolike, raising the question of health effects to people and wildlife from the generated dust. Audubon’s comments raise this and other issues and join many individuals and organizations in calling for a thorough environmental impact statement on the proposed project.
Skagit Audubon also joined many other groups signing a letter to British Columbia’s
Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources expressing concern over a potential large copper and gold mine near the Skagit River’s headwaters. If developed, this mining claim surrounded by Manning and Skagit Valley Provincial Parks could easily send toxic pollution down the Skagit. Read more about this and other issues on the Skagit Audubon website: https://skagitaudubon.org/conservation/notes.
JUST SAY NO TO PEBBLE MINE by Mary Sinker
JUST SAY NO TO PEBBLE MINE and the public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement has been extended to June 29, 2019. This open-pit mine, proposed for the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska, is an environmental, cultural and economic catastrophe waiting to happen. Four migratory flyways overlap here with birds coming from Africa, Asia, the Central Pacific and the Americas. Bristol Bay is home to 27 globally significant Important Bird Areas and one of the world’s greatest concentrations of seabird colonies. Bristol Bay holds the world’s largest commercial sockeye salmon fishery with 40% of the US catch coming from Bristol Bay. The fishery generates $1.5 Billion in annual revenue and tens of thousands of jobs depend upon this pristine wilderness and pure clean water. The proposed mine would destroy critical Sockeye spawning and Coho rearing habitat in one of Alaska’s most active earthquake zones. TAKE ACTION and learn more at www.savebristolbay.org or ak.audubon.org/take-action.
SKAGIT AUDUBON EDUCATION PROGRAM
Skagit Audubon has received a $2,000.00 grant from the Skagit Community Foundation for education activities. This is the 4th year the Foundation has awarded this grant. The funds will be directed to increasing our collection of bird mounts (like this Northern Pygmy Owl), replica skulls, other teaching tools and children’s activities. Skagit Audubon thanks the Skagit Community Foundation for their support of our educational program.
LEQUE ISLAND ESTUARY RESTORATION PROJECT UPDATE
This update is full of information on the next phase of construction likely scheduled to begin in July and run through October. Major aspects include:
Remove dike in its entirety to connect tidal waters and fish from Port Susan, Skagit Bay and old channel of the Stillaguamish River
Remove Eide Road
Construct new 0.7 mile long wave protection berm to protect the City of Stanwood
Construct new parking area near Hwy. 532 that connects to the new berm
Build trail for pedestrian access on top of the new berm
Build new short trail leading to channel connecting Davis Slough for non-motorized boats
Excavate additional channels and lower areas on the site
Are seabirds in the southern Salish Sea increasing or decreasing in numbers? Which species are changing their range? Help us find out. The Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) is a community and citizen science project managed by Seattle Audubon that empowers volunteer birdwatchers to gather valuable data on wintering seabird populations across the southern Salish Sea.
You can contribute to this vital seabird science by joining the thirteenth season of this exciting project. We are now recruiting enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers to help us monitor the status of our local wintering seabirds. Training on survey methodology will be provided at a location near you in September and early October. Volunteers should ideally be able to identify Puget Sound’s seabird species and be available on the first Saturday of each month, October through April, to conduct a 30-minute survey. But, if determining between Lesser and Greater Scaup is a challenge, we’ll team you up with more knowledgeable surveyors. To help us determine each volunteer’s seabird identification skills, visit www.seabirdsurvey.com to take our quick, fun Seabird ID quiz.
HOST REGION: Southwest Chapters (Vancouver, Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor, Tahoma, Black Hills) WHEN: September 27-29, 2019 WHERE: Vancouver Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, WA 98661 REGISTRATION: $40/person THEME: 100% Audubon
Inspired by our recent victory in passing the 100% Clean Energy legislation, we have been reflecting on all we can accomplish when we – as an Audubon community – are 100% committed. By combining forces, all our initiatives are stronger, and with a mentality of 100% we remove the barriers that keep us from thinking big in what we can accomplish together.
In this year’s ACOW, we will focus on big initiatives that could impact 100% of Audubon chapters. Key speakers include the director of Audubon’s new Migratory Birds Initiative and the leader of the Campus Chapter Program. We will take time to celebrate recent achievements, in the legislature (e.g., 100% Clean Energy) and across the landscape (e.g., completion of the Sagebrush Songbird Survey in Eastern Washington.) And we will honor longtime Audubon leader Helen Engle, who exemplified what it means to be 100% in for the birds.
During this weekend, we’ll reserve time to share our work, learn from each other, identify opportunities to collaborate, and network with Auduboners from across the state.
ACOW will start on Friday afternoon with education and conservation committee meetings, followed by pizza and an evening speaker. We will meet all day Saturday and conclude with field trips on Sunday to see cranes and other special birds in the region.
Please save the weekend on your calendars now, and watch the website for more information as it becomes available. See you in Vancouver!
-Teri Anderson Teresa S. Anderson Chapter Network Manager 206.652.2444 x108
Audubon Washington 5902 Lake Washington Blvd S Seattle, WA 98118 wa.audubon.org
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND INJURED OR ORPHANED BIRDS OR WILDLIFE
CALL WOLF HOLLOW WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTER 360.378.5000 (24/7)
Wolf Hollow serves all of San Juan and Skagit Counties and northern Whidbey Island
The Education Committee needs volunteers to help with a number of adult presentations coming up in the next several months. These Power Point presentations are scheduled at libraries and private organizations/clubs in the area. If you can help give part of a presentation (already written), that would be great; or, you can assist with the computer and help answer questions from the audience. If you can lend a hand, please contact Sheila at firstname.lastname@example.org
Skagit Audubon Society holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month except for the months of July and August. We meet at 7:00 pm at Padilla Bay Interpretive Center(Google map), 10441 Bayview-Edison Rd. Mount Vernon. Meetings are open to all.
The board of directors meets at the same location at 7:00 pm on the first Tuesday of each month, except for the months of July and August.