An advisory council to provide a coastal perspective on Washington’s ocean policies is now official under state law.
Under Senate Bill 5603, the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council will be written into state statute. The council was created by the Department of Ecology in 2011 as a group comprised of representatives from coastal industries. The bill will allow the governor to appoint representatives to advocate for the best interests of coastal communities and industries.
“Washington’s ocean policies have the biggest impact on coastal communities. The creation of the advisory council gave those communities a voice,” said Senator Brian Hatfield of Raymond. “The passage of this bill gives the council a little more clout and ensures that the opinions of fishermen and shellfish growers, hotel and bed and breakfast owners and port and shipping interests will help shape the future of Washington’s coastline.”
The creation of the statute would bring more than a dozen representatives of coastal industries together to work with representatives from the governor’s office and state agencies. Together they could make recommendations on state, local and tribal policies dealing with coastal waters issues, including resource management, fisheries, shellfish aquaculture and ocean energy.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish and Wildlife Service will hold four informational meetings on the development of a long-term Marbled Murrelet Conservation Strategy in Western Washington. This includes a meeting in South Bend.
Once completed and adopted, the strategy will become an amendment to DNR’s State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan.
At the meetings, staff will give brief presentations to introduce the planning process and present three conceptual alternatives. The agencies will also present a “No Action” concept, which represents what would happen if a long-term marbled murrelet conservation strategy is not developed.
DNR will gather input on the current proposal and the scope of environmental review.
These meetings represent the second phase of a public scoping process that will help guide the development of a strategy. Phase One scoping took place in 2012 and included public meetings and a comment period.
Participants should submit their Phase Two written comments by July 1.
Date: June 19
Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Pacific County Courthouse
300 Memorial Drive, South Bend, WA 98586
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have closed the Grays Harbor marine area to Halibut fishing until further notice.
Marine Area 2 covers both Westport and OceanShores,
The Pacific halibut quota for the primary season was expected to be reached by the end of Sunday.
Recreational halibut fishing remains open in Puget Sound and along the lower coast.
Lake Sylvia is set to close on June 7th for a kids-only fishing event.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said that the lake will be reopen on June 8, 2013.
Fish will be planted in the lake for the event the night before. Organizers raised money to raise and stock trout into the lake. 350 kids are expected to participate in this one day event.
Lake Sylvia is open year-round with the exception of this closure.
The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office will be working with the Montesano Fire Department to offer a free boater education course for local boaters. The 8 hour class gives boaters the basics for safe boating.
The class was developed for the State Parks and Recreation Commission and will be taught by the Sheriff’s Marine Unit.
As of January 1, boat operators between the ages of 12 and 50 are required to carry a Boater Education Card.
The class is a public service, and there is no charge for attending. It is limited to 30 students on a first come/first serve basis.
The class will be held at the Montesano Fire Hall on Sunday, May 19th from 8 am-5 pm.
For more information, contact Deputy Brad Russell at (360) 580-7634
The Washington Department of Ecology has given its final approval of an oil spill readiness plan that covers more than 1,600 commercial vessels in Grays Harbor and Puget Sound.
The plan helps ensure that large commercial vessels can mount a rapid, aggressive and well coordinated response if they spill oil in state waters.
The plan identifies the location of different response equipment such as oil containment boom, skimming and towing vessels and vacuum trucks in Grays Harbor. It also identifies how the equipment will be used during a spill to minimize harm.
This plan enrolls nearly all large cargo and passenger ships, commercial fish-processing vessels as well as some oil tankers and fuel barges that travel through Grays Harbor and other Washington waters.
State law requires all large commercial ships and vessels, oil tankers and tank barges have contingency plans.
Every year, about 20 billion gallons of oil are transported across Washington waters.
Washington also requires 28 oil refineries, large oil-handling facilities, liquid fuel pipeline and oil tanker companies to have oil spill contingency plans.
Washington State Marine Debris Task Force have some new guidelines for beachgoers on what to do with wood debris and the best way to deal with potentially hazardous items.
Logs, branches, and wood debris are common along our coastal beaches. In the wake of the 2011 Japan tsunami, beachgoers may find a larger amount of wood debris as well as some new items coming in with the tides-small beams and milled lumber.
NOAA warns those on the beach that in most cases, you should leave the items in place. Unless the wood is treated, or contains a lot of nails and other metal, the wood should stay on the beach, decay, and become part of the ecosystem.
If the item is unusual and you believe that it is Japan tsunami debris, report it as if it were.
To report items, call 1-800-WA-COAST or email email@example.com
Warm, dry weather over the weekend helped move fire in Grays Harbor and throughout the state. 10 wildfires started over the weekend scorching more than 100 acres and citizens are urged to use caution. Even with very few warm days this spring, never under estimate the ability of grass and brush to catch on fire.
The C-Line Wildfire was reported early Sunday morning approximately 8 miles northwest of Littlerock.
The fire burned over 60 acres on state trust lands. Some recreation areas closed in the vicinity of the fire. Winds pushing from the east moved the fire through the area.
Smoke was visible from Olympia.
The state Department of Natural Resources says about 80 people, several engines and a helicopter were fighting the fire Sunday.
Karen Ripley of the Department of Natural Resources there have been no evacuations or injuries from the fire.
The cause of this fire is under investigation.
Clam digs return this week to Twin Harbors. Shellfish managers approved a morning razor clam dig May 8-14 at Twin Harbors and May 10-11 at Long Beach.
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said two other beaches – Copalis and Mocrocks – are now closed for the season.
“We still have clams available for harvest at Twin Harbors and Long Beach, and we want to give diggers a chance to catch their limit before the season comes to an end,” Ayres said. “After this opening, we’ll take another look at how the catch on those beaches measures up against the harvest guidelines.”
Digging dates at those beaches, along with morning low tides, are as follows:
• May 8, Wednesday, 6:22 am -0.5 ft., Twin Harbors
• May 9, Thursday, 7:00 am, -0.8 ft., Twin Harbors
• May 10, Friday, 7:37 am, -0.9 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach
• May 11, Saturday, 8:12 am, -0.8 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach
• May 12, Sunday, 8:48 am, -0.7 ft., Twin Harbors
• May 13, Monday, 9:23 am, -0.5 ft., Twin Harbors
• May 14, Tuesday, 10:01 am, -0.2 ft., Twin Harbors
Officials remind diggers to avoid disturbing the western snowy plovers, nesting on the beaches through August. The small white birds are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act as threatened and by the state as endangered.
Plovers – and their eggs – are extremely vulnerable at this time of year because the birds nest in the dry sand, Ayres said.
At Twin Harbors, the closed areas are located from just south of Midway Beach Road to the first beach-access trail at Grayland Beach State Park.
To participate, diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2013-14 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses are available online (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), by phone (1-866-320-9933) and from license dealers around the state.
Clam diggers are limited to 15 razor clams per day, and are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.
Following a 7 day dig on the Twin Harbors, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is set to announce two morning razor clam digs in May this week. The dates will be based on toxin tests conducted at the beaches.
These digs will be the last of the season. Razor clam season closes from June through October to allow razor clams to spawn. This year, numbers on Kalaloch did not allow that beach to open, but Coastal Shellfish Manager Dan Ayres is hopeful it will return to the schedule in the fall.
Extra enforcement by WDFW has seen multiple instances of digging over the limit along the coast. Those diggers were cited by officers. By law, clam diggers are limited to 15 razor clams per day, and are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.
You must have a valid fishing license to dig in these final openings. Your 2013-2014 fishing license will run through the fall digs.