Environmental News 9/27
Puget Sound May Become No-Discharge Zone
The Washington Ecology Department is asking the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to declare Puget Sound a "no discharge zone" that would prohibit boaters from releasing any sewage - treated or untreated - into Puget Sound.
Under current rules, boaters are allowed to release treated sewage.
The Ecology Department leader for the effort, Amy Jankowiak, says there are enough pump-out locations for boaters.
If the no-discharge zone is approved it would include all inland waters south of the Canadian border and east of Dungeness Spit, which is near Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula.
Judge Wants Feds To Reassess Navy Sonar Permits
A judge is requiring federal regulators to reassess permits that allow the Navy's expanded use of sonar in training exercises off the West Coast.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas wrote in a ruling Wednesday that the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to consider the best available scientific data for the 2012 authorization. The parties are now discussing the timing and scope of how the permitting reassessment.
The permits had authorized a five-year Navy plan for operations in the Northwest Training Range Complex. That area stretches from the waters off Mendocino County in California to the Canadian border.
A spokeswoman for the fisheries service said the agency hadn't had a chance to review the ruling. A Navy spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Salmon expansion possible in Columbia River talks
Salmon could one day return to areas above the massive Grand Coulee Dam.
The Spokesman-Review reports that the issue of salmon passage has resurfaced as officials explore the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. Tribes in the Northwest and First Nations in Canada have long sought the restoration of salmon habitat above the 550-foot-high Grand Coulee.
The 1964 Columbia River Treaty focuses on hydropower and flood control. Officials in the United States are interested in expanding the treaty's purpose to also address issues such as salmon and climate change.
The Grand Coulee Dam was built in the 1930s without fish ladders, halting salmon runs to the Upper Columbia River.