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Skokomish River Basin Ecosystem Restoration Project Clears Major Milestone

skokriverSEATTLE – The Skokomish River Basin Ecosystem Restoration Project is one step closer to construction after receiving approval to release the study’s proposed Chief’s Report from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers board in Washington, D.C.
The Civil Works Review Board approved release of the project’s proposed Chief’s Report accompanied by the final Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement during a milestone meeting held in Washington, D.C. on August 25.
Next, the Feasibility Report and EIS will be reviewed by Federal and state resource agencies during a 30-day review period to begin this fall. Additional information will be provided once the review period dates have been confirmed.
The plan includes several projects including a levee removal, placement of large woody debris, wetland restoration at two sites, and a side channel reconnection. Once constructed, the project will restore an estimated 280 acres of habitat for fish and wildlife species in the Skokomish River Basin.
Mason County and the Skokomish Indian Tribe are the non-federal project sponsors working with the Corps on the restoration effort.

US Army Corps of Engineers News Release - August 28, 2015

Scientists, Tribe Study Shrinking Washington State Glacier

mtbaker glaciermeltMOUNT BAKER, Wash. (AP) — Mauri Pelto digs his crampons into the steep icy slope on Mount Baker in Washington state and watches as streams of water cascade off the thick mass of bare, bluish ice. Every 20 yards, the water carves vertical channels in the face of the glacier as it rushes downstream.

What little snow from last winter is already gone, so ice is melting off the glacier at a rate of nearly three inches a day this summer, he said.

"At the rate it's losing mass, it won't make it 50 years," said Pelto, a glaciologist who returned this month for the 32nd year to study glaciers in the North Cascades range. "This is a dying glacier," he said.

Glaciers on Mount Baker and other mountains in the North Cascades are thinning and retreating. Seven have disappeared over the past three decades, and glaciers in the range have lost about one-fifth of their overall volume.

The shrinking glaciers here mirror what is happening around the U.S. and worldwide: As the planet warms, glaciers are losing volume, some faster than others.

Read more ...

EPA: Clean Water Rule In Effect Despite Court Ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency says it is going forward with a new federal rule to protect small streams, tributaries and wetlands, despite a court ruling that blocked the measure in 13 central and Western states.

The EPA says a rule that took effect Friday in 37 states will safeguard drinking water for millions of Americans.

Opponents, including farm and business groups, have pledged to fight the rule, emboldened by a federal court decision Thursday that blocked the rule from Alaska to Arkansas.

Other lawsuits seeking to block the rule are pending across the country, and the Republican-controlled Congress has moved to thwart it.

Opponents call the rule federal overreach. The EPA says it clarifies which smaller waterways fall under federal protection after two Supreme Court rulings left that uncertain.

MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press – August 28, 2015

Officials Breach Levee To Open Wetlands To Salmon Recovery

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - Bulldozers have removed about 1,500 linear feet of a levee in the Snohomish River Estuary in order to reopen 350 acres of historic wetlands to threaten salmon.

The Tulalip Tribes and officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries division say the breach was part of the largest restoration projects so far in the Snohomish watershed.

A system of levees cut off and drained the Qwuloolt Estuary from the rest of the Snohomish system in the early 1900s. That turned the area into farmland.

Today, it's no longer viable as farmland so the tribe and federal officials spearheaded its restoration to support recovery of wild Chinook salmon and other wildlife.

The area is a key habitat for one of the largest remaining populations of wild Puget Sound Chinook salmon.

August 28, 2015

Port Of Longview Exports Down 19 Percent

portoflongviewLONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) - Exports from the Port of Longview continue to drop, despite a dramatic increase in imports. The Longview Daily News reports (http://is.gd/OrxROi ) that a new report released Tuesday shows the volume of goods exported fell 19 percent in the first six months of the year.

Port officials say log and grain markets continued to suffer from the strong U.S. dollar and growing competition from abroad.

While soy meal and corn exports improved, wheat and soybean shipments nosedived and barley exports disappeared.

Port officials say they hope things will pick up once the Chinese market calms down.

In contrast with exports, imports at the port were up 92 percent, boosted by arrivals of calcined coke and metal products.

August 26, 2015

Information from: The Daily News, http://www.tdn.com