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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Divers complete milestone in preparing for Deep Sea lift, expected June 3

by Larry Altose, communications manager, Northwest Regional Office

Divers reached a significant milestone today in preparing to raise the sunken fishing vessel Deep Sea from the bottom of Penn Cove, near Coupeville on Whidbey Island. They were able to insert the lifting chain under the stern section of the boat and secure it in place.

A multi-agency unified command is coordinating the recovery effort. The command comprises the U.S. Coast Guard, Washington departments of Ecology (Ecology) and Natural Resources (DNR), Island County Department of Emergency Management, Global Diving & Salvage Inc. (Global) and NRC-Environmental Services (NRC-ES).

With the stern lifting chain in place, divers for Global will now move to the bow of the vessel and work to remove the starboard (right side) anchor and chain. Once these are removed, crews will rig another lifting chain in the bow and hoist the bow of the vessel toward the surface to create space for divers to run "messenger line" under the hull at the center of ship. This will enable the placing of a heavy lifting chain.

NRC-ES crews continued to tend oil-spill containment boom and to deploy oil-spill cleanup materials in response to sheen - a thin oil coating - visible in surrounding waters. Most of the sheen is too thin to remove, and dissipates by evaporation and natural breakdown. The sheen comes from small amounts of oil that escape from the Deep Sea.

State agencies had incurred costs estimated at $800,000 as of May 31on the Deep Sea response. Ecology projects the state will spend approximately $1,571,000 to raise and remove the vessel. The state will seek reimbursement from the Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC). DNR will separately pay a projected $350,000 to break apart the vessel at a shipyard, a cost not eligible for NPFC funding.

While more than 5,000 gallons of oil products have been removed or recovered since the Deep Sea sank May 13 after a fire, an unknown quantity remains trapped on the vessel. Some of this oil floats out through small openings. Divers have plugged some of these, but accumulations of oil tend to reach new outlets. Removal of the Deep Sea will eliminate this problem and the risk of further oil releases.

The Washington State Department of Health closed all shellfish harvesting in Penn Cove on May 15. The closure will remain in effect until testing confirms shellfish from the area are safe to eat.

The Coast Guard has established a marine safety zone on waters within 200 yards of the Deep Sea. Vessels seeking to enter that zone must request permission from the Coast Guard's Joint Harbor Operation Center at 206-217-6001 or from on-scene patrol craft on VHF radio channel 13.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Preparations continue for Deep Sea lift, expected June 3

By Larry Altose, Communications Manager, Northwest Regional Office

COUPEVILLE, Wash. – Divers made progress as they worked in very soft silt to prepare to raise the sunken fishing vessel Deep Sea from the bottom of Penn Cove, near Coupeville on Whidbey Island. The vessel continued to release small amounts of oil, which formed thin coatings on waters nearby.

A multi-agency unified command is coordinating the recovery effort. The command comprises the U.S. Coast Guard, Washington departments of Ecology (Ecology) and Natural Resources (DNR), Island County Department of Emergency Management, Global Diving & Salvage Inc. (Global) and NRC-Environmental Services (NRC-ES).

Divers for Global, working under a contract with Ecology, reported today that they soon may complete a path for a “messenger line” under the hull at the center of ship. This will enable the placing of a heavy lifting chain. They previously completed a messenger line path under the stern. Installation of the lifting chains will mark a major milestone in the preparations.

NRC-ES crews continued to tend oil-spill containment boom and to deploy oil-spill cleanup materials in response to sheen – a thin oil coating – visible in surrounding waters. Most of the sheen was too thin to remove. The on-water crews received assistance from Ecology observers who made a helicopter flight this afternoon to help track sheen.

While more than 4,500 gallons of oil products have been removed or recovered since the Deep Sea sank May 13 after a fire, an unknown quantity remains trapped on the vessel. Some of this oil floats out through small openings. Divers have plugged some of these, but accumulations of oil tend to reach new outlets. Removal of the Deep Sea will eliminate this problem and the risk of further oil releases.

The Coast Guard has established a marine safety zone on waters within 200 yards of the Deep Sea. Vessels seeking to enter that zone must request permission from the Coast Guard’s Joint Harbor Operation Center at 206-217-6001 or from on-scene patrol craft on VHF radio channel 13.

For more information, see Ecology's FV Deep Sea incident webpage.

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Check out the 2012 Seattle Science Festival

By Sandy Howard, communication manager, Environmental Assessment Program

As Seattle marks the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, the Department of Ecology is joining along with our region's schools, universities, cultural institutions, research centers and businesses to celebrate the importance of science and technology in the 2012 Seattle Science Festival, which kicks off this weekend.

The 2012 Seattle Science Festival will be the region's first large-scale, community-wide celebration of science and technology that will bring hands-on exhibits, shows, demonstrations and performances to venues throughout the Pacific Northwest. All events will provide experiences that educate, engage and inspire an interest in science and technology and stimulate imagination and innovation.

Science Expo Day

As one part of the festival, this Saturday is Science Expo Day. It's a large-scale, family-friendly event at the Seattle Center campus. It will feature more than 150 interactive exhibits, stage performances and demonstrations.

Ecology’s Environmental Assessment Program will host a booth there. We’ll have an Enviro-Scape model available for a hands-on experience with seeing how pollution moves through and affects a watershed.

In addition, we’ll have a laptop with the ability to access real-time freshwater and marine water quality data. We hope you can stop by and learn about the health of the waters in your neighborhood.

Expo visitors will also have the opportunity to find out their pollution prevention personality profile by taking an online quiz.

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have recently been the focus of increased concern over their effects on the environment. A poster describing information about PPCPs will be displayed at our booth. We hope it generates interest and discussion for all ages.

Science Festival Week

Another piece of the festivities is Science Festival Week, June 3-10. The week offers programming including lectures, workshops, exhibits and behind-the-scenes tours that will take place at collaborator's locations throughout the region.

Science Luminaries Series

Lastly, Science Luminaries Series offers five multidisciplinary, high-profile evening events featuring "rock stars" of science, technology and engineering. This will be held throughout the month of June at locations throughout the city.

We hope to see you there! For full event details visit www.seattlesciencefestival.org/

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Deep Sea lift to begin no sooner than Sunday

By Larry Altose, news media relations, Northwest Regional Office

Contractors plan to begin raising the sunken fishing vessel Deep Sea off the bottom of Penn Cove, near Coupeville on Whidbey Island no sooner than Sunday, June 3. Divers have been preparing the vessel since Friday and will continue to do so through this week.

A multi-agency unified command is coordinating the recovery effort. The command comprises the U.S. Coast Guard, Washington departments of Ecology (Ecology) and Natural Resources (DNR), Island County Department of Emergency Management, Global Diving & Salvage Inc. (Global) and NRC-Environmental Services (NRC-ES).

Divers for Global, working under a contract with Ecology, have cleared a path under the Deep Sea’s stern through which to pull a heavy lifting chain. The vessel rests on its left side, partially sunken in silt. Divers must dig a deeper hole for a second lifting chain under the vessel’s center. That second excavation involves moving the equivalent of three dump truck loads of material.

The dive team has encountered machinery, hatch covers and other material that fell off the Deep Sea. Divers had to remove some of these objects, which had settled deeply into the muddy bottom, to allow digging of lifting chain passages.

Planners expect the 300-foot crane barge, D.B. General, to depart Seattle for Penn Cove late Saturday. It will right the vessel and then provide the bulk of the lifting power in tandem with a 140-foot crane barge, the D. B. Oakland, which arrived late Monday afternoon. The Oakland is helping to put lifting chains under the Deep Sea’s hull. The two cranes belong to General Construction Co.

Environmental teams today surveyed the cove by boat and helicopter. They observed small patches of oil sheen, a thin coating on the water’s surface, in the area around the site of the sunken vessel. The sheen is too thin to recover, and is dissipating by evaporation and wave action.

Earlier underwater operations – soon after the Deep Sea sank May 13 after a fire – have removed approximately 3,100 gallons of diesel oil from the vessel. Crews working on the surface have recovered about 1,400 gallons more. Small amounts of oil continue to leak from the Deep Sea. Responders are preparing to contain or recover oil that remains on board – in unknown quantities and locations – that could escape during the righting and lifting.

The Coast Guard has established a marine safety zone on waters within 200 yards of the Deep Sea. Vessels seeking to enter that zone must request permission from the Coast Guard’s Joint Harbor Operation Center at 206-217-6001 or from on-scene patrol craft on VHF radio channel 13.

Deep Sea incident information: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/incidents/FVdeepsea/index.html

Monday, May 28, 2012

First crane barge to arrive in Penn Cove later today

By Curt Hart, Communications Manager, Spills Program


DB Oakland crane (stock photo from General Construction)
The D.B. Oakland, a 140-foot crane barge owned by General Construction Co., left Seattle early this morning and is on its way to Penn Cove to support efforts to lift the sunken fishing vessel Deep Sea.

The crane barge should arrive in Penn Cove around 5 p.m. today.

Global Diving & Salvage dive crews continue with preparations to lift the Deep Sea, which sank May 13 in 60 feet of water. Divers have completed the two pulling lines under the vessel, which is resting on its port (left) side.

Once the crane barge is anchored in place, divers will start operations tomorrow to attach lifting chains from the crane to the pulling lines under the vessel.

The multi-agency unified command made of representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, Washington departments of Ecology and Natural Resources, Island County Department of Emergency Management, Global Diving & Salvage Inc. and NRC-Environmental Services anticipates that operations to raise the 140-foot Deep Sea will occur no sooner than Wednesday May 30.

As work to raise the Deep Sea gets closer to commence, the 300-foot barge D.B. General, which carries a 700-ton crane will be brought to the site. At this time, it is unknown when the larger crane barge will be called in from Seattle for the Penn Cove operation.

The Deep Sea needs to be raised and removed because a small but continuous amount of oil is leaking from the vessel. The oil is being captured on the water’s surface inside a ring of containment boom directly above the vessel.

A total of 4,500 gallons of diesel fuel and other petroleum products have been removed from the vessel so far. The Deep Sea still contains an unknown quantity of oil and responders are taking precautions to protect the environment and shellfish resources when the vessel is lifted.

The Coast Guard has established a marine safety zone on waters within 200 yards of the Deep Sea. Vessels seeking to enter that zone must request permission from the Coast Guard’s Joint Harbor Operation Center at 206-217-6001 or from on-scene patrol craft on VHF radio channel 13.

There have been no reports of oiled fish, birds or mammals.

For more information:


Fishing Vessel Deep Sea Fire incident website: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/incidents/FVdeepsea/index.html

Ecology Spills Program: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/spills.html

Ecology social media: www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Penn Cove salvage work continues, removal operations no sooner than May 30

By Curt Hart, Communications Manager, Spills Program

Federal, state, local agencies and private contractors are continuing to work through the Memorial Day weekend to raise and remove the sunken 140-foot fishing vessel, Deep Sea that continues to slowly leak oil into Penn Cove in Island County.

A multi-agency unified command has been created to plan and carry out emergency response operations. This effort currently involves the U.S. Coast Guard, Ecology, state DNR, Island County Department of Emergency Management, Global Diving & Salvage Inc and NRC-Environmental Services.

The Washington departments of Health and Fish and Wildlife and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are also providing response support.

Ecology has set up a website for the incident at: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/incidents/FVdeepsea/index.html


A diver’s-eye view of the outer hull of the Deep Sea, shot on May 23, 2012.

Status report

  • Global Diving & Salvage dive crews continue with preparations to lift the Deep Sea. When the vessel sank on May 13, it rolled and settled in 60-feet of water on its port (left) side. Divers discovered when the vessel rolled a tangle of debris fell off the main deck to the port side. They are encountering pieces of this debris buried in several feet of silt on the bottom of the cove.

  • Federal, state and private planners anticipate that operations to raise the Deep Sea will occur no sooner than Wednesday May 30.

  • Ecology has conducted daily aerial surveillance of the site. Responders have spotted a small but continuous thin coating of oil on the water’s surface inside the ring of containment boom on the water surface directly above the Deep Sea.

  • A total of 4,500 gallons of diesel fuel and other petroleum products have been removed from the vessel so far. The Deep Sea still contains an unknown quantity of oil and responders are taking precautions to protect the environment and shellfish resources when the vessel is lifted.

  • The Coast Guard has established a marine safety zone on waters within 200 yards of the Deep Sea. Vessels seeking to enter that zone must request permission from the Coast Guard’s Joint Harbor Operation Center at 206-217-6001 or from on-scene patrol craft on VHF radio channel 13.

  • There have been no reports of oiled fish, birds or mammals.

For more information:


Fishing Vessel Deep Sea Fire incident website: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/incidents/FVdeepsea/index.html

Ecology Spills Program: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/spills.html

Ecology social media: www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Environmental protection key objective for removing sunken vessel in Penn Cove

By Curt Hart, Communications Manager, Spills Program


The 62-foot diving vessel Prudhoe Bay, moored over the Deep Sea on Friday, May 25, 2010. From this vessel, divers with Ecology’s contractor are making underwater preparations to raise the sunken craft.
Ecology and state Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), with help from other agencies and organizations, have prepared an assessment of environmental resources in Penn Cove.

The 140-foot fishing vessel Deep Sea, which sank in the cove near Coupeville on May 13, continues to leak small amounts of diesel fuel, motor oil and other petroleum products. Ecology has established a website for the incident at: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/incidents/FVdeepsea/index.html

Ecology currently is working in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and Washington Department of Natural Resources on plans to raise and remove the sunken vessel to stop the ongoing pollution to the cove.

Information in the assessment — assembled as a normal part of any oil spill response — will help state and federal responders take measures to protect water quality, nearby shellfish operations, public beaches and important habitat areas during the upcoming removal operations.

According to the assessment:
  • Shallow waters fringing Penn Cove support large populations of mussels and hardshell clams. Mussel spawning is currently at its peak and larvae are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of oil. The Penn Cove Shellfish Co. operates shellfish growing rafts roughly 100 yards from the sunken vessel.

  • The cove is a major seabird concentration area – including a pigeon guillemot breeding colony as well as scoter, gulls, cormorants, terns and other species.

  • Marbled murrelets, a federally listed endangered species, are found in Penn Cove and surrounding areas year round. The cove also is home to bald eagle and peregrine falcon – and great blue heron nest throughout the region. In addition, there are harbor seal haulouts in the vicinity and the southern resident killer whales periodically visit the cove.

  • Area salt marshes support juvenile salmon. This is a peak time for young fish from several salmon and sea-going trout species to forage in the waters near the shoreline. The fish are migrating to the ocean from the Skagit River and numerous smaller streams on Whidbey Island.

  • Observers noted forage fish – small fish eaten by salmon and other larger fish — in the area. Penn Cove shorelines and eelgrass beds can support extensive forage fish spawning, but beach sediment samples indicate that spawning is not occurring at this time.

A Washington Department of Health commercial and recreational shellfish harvesting closure, issued May 15, 2012, remains in effect until further notice. Operations to raise and remove the sunken vessel will involve a variety of measures to protect these resources.

Unfortunately, divers could not access two 5,000-gallon fuel tanks during underwater efforts from May 14 to May 18, 2012, to seek and remove fuel and hazardous materials. That effort recovered at least 3,600 gallons.

As a conservative precaution, preparations will assume that the Deep Sea may still contain thousands of gallons of fuel. Spill responders under Ecology’s direction will deploy multiple rings of oil-spill containment boom and cleanup materials on the water surface around the sunken ship as well as the barges and cranes involved in the lifting operation. Responders also will place boom and cleanup materials in a protective line between the Deep Sea site and the shellfish rafts.

At least one oil-skimming vessel will be ready to assist in recovering oil released into the water. Beach cleanup and recovery teams and equipment will stand ready for quick deployment. As the Deep Sea is set upright, divers will attempt to locate and remove any remaining fuel or hazardous materials.

State and federal planners and salvage company experts caution that some release of oil likely will occur during the recovery. They add that the recovery plan seeks to minimize oil releases, contain those that do occur and ensure full readiness for any contingency.

For more information:



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Direct seeding may be answer to soil loss and muddy water

by Jani Gilbert, communication manager, Eastern Regional Office

Photo showing a field using direct seeding.

Photo showing a field using conventional tillage practices.
“Direct seeding” is a major part of the solution for farmers who want to hold on to their soil and for protecting streams and rivers from polluting mud. An evaluation of farm practices in Spokane and Whitman counties this spring has confirmed that direct seeding is a major component in solving the problems of soil erosion on the farm and sediment pollution in the water.

Thousands of tons of soil slough off into the Palouse River and Hangman Creek every year. When this happens, farmers lose valuable soil, and rivers and streams become polluted with sediment. Nutrient pollution and farm chemicals often “hitchhike” on these particles into the water.

Direct seeding is the practice of seeding a crop into the standing straw of the previous crop while only slightly disturbing the ground. Researchers have shown it reduces soil erosion by as much as 95 percent. The straw and roots from the previous crop remain in place and hold on to the soil on the steep Palouse hillsides.

The Department of Ecology wanted a better understanding of the extent of the soil erosion problem in the region, so three water quality experts set out for several days in April to observe what was happening on the ground. Watershed assessments are done each year, but this year’s focus was on soil erosion. The team looked at more than 400 farm fields and covered 600 road miles.

“We observed a lot of soil erosion in conventional farming systems, and almost no erosion from direct seeded fields,” Atkins said. “The difference was like night and day. The farmers who have invested in the change to direct seeding are doing a great service protecting our rivers and streams.”

In conventional systems, farmers make six to eight passes over the field with implements that plow or till the soil to prepare for planting. Atkins saw signs that soil was leaving fields by the ton and entering ditches and streams. This soil eventually ends up in the Spokane and Palouse rivers.

See the full news release here .

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Boots on the Ground: State Legislature Expands Puget SoundCorps

by Bridget Mason, Washington Conservation Corps


WCC members removing creosote-treated logs on Lopez Island.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Farrell, WCC Coordinator
The special session of the 2012 Washington State Legislature adjourned April 11 with excellent news for the WCC’s Puget SoundCorps. The Legislature dedicated $13 million to Puget SoundCorps projects, resulting in up to 20 new crews throughout the Puget Sound region.

These new crews will work on Puget SoundCorps projects, the bulk of which are located on lands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). A few projects will have boots on the ground by midsummer with a larger roll out slated for this October.

Specifically, these crews will work to clean up Puget Sound beaches, install native plant species in urban areas, reclaim land previously used for mining operations, restore in-stream habitat, and control noxious weeds.

Nick Mott, WCC Section Supervisor explains, “This new funding illustrates that our program is a cost effective force for creating jobs for young adults who have been disproportionately affected by the recession in Washington.”

The expansion of Puget SoundCorps projects will increase the WCC roster to 325 members—the largest the program has been in its 29-year history. With humble beginnings of just three crews in 1983, the WCC will now consist of nearly 60 crews and 25-30 Individual Placements for the 2012-2013 AmeriCorps service year.

The online application will open for recruitment on July 15, 2012. Interested applicants can learn more about the Puget Sound Corps program on Ecology's website. Recruitment for crew supervisor positions will be posted at Ecology's Job Opportunities page.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ecology removing toxic metals at more area beaches

by Jani Gilbert, communication manager, Eastern Regional Office

Beach at Harvard Road being capped in 2008.



Sometime later in the summer, you may encounter a closed portion of the Centennial Trail — or construction in progress on a favorite little beach of yours. While the day’s plans may need to change, the good news is that when the work is done, that little beach area will be cleaner and safer for you and your family to use.

The Department of Ecology is continuing work this summer to make sure people and wildlife aren’t exposed to heavy metals that settled on some of the Spokane River’s shorelines as a result of old mining practices in the Silver Valley, Idaho.

Ecology will work to get the word out about beach or trail closures before they happen.

What will Ecology do?

The agency is proposing to remove contaminated soil at three Spokane River beaches: the Barker Road North beach on the north side of the Spokane River, east of the Barker Road Bridge — plus the Islands Lagoon and Myrtle Point beaches on the south side of the Spokane River. Workers will install a protective cap over the remaining soil to reduce the possibility of exposing people and wildlife to contaminants.

Similar work was done at the Flora Road beach in 2009. However, heavy spring runoff in 2011 damaged portions of the protective cover or cap. This year a new cap will be installed, designed to minimize future erosion.

Ecology and local river groups will plant native vegetation on the shoreline to help stabilize the banks.

How to comment

Documents that describe the planned work are available for public review from May 17 through June 15, 2012. They include draft construction design drawings and a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist, which concludes that the work itself will not harm the environment. A list and explanation of the permits that will be needed to do this work also is included.

Send comments to Dave George, site manager, Washington Department of Ecology, 4601 N. Monroe, Spokane, WA 99205, or by email at dave.george@ecy.wa.gov, 509/329-3520. Check in with Ecology to find out how to access the documents, by calling 509-329-3400. Or see the entire news release, including detailed instructions.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fecal Matters: All Beaches Around Penn Cove in Island County are Open for Swimming!


BEACH Program Update

All recreational swimming beaches around Penn Cove in Island County including Long Point Beach, W. Penn Cove Beach, Monroe Landing, Coupeville (Waterfront) Beach, Coupeville Wharf and Coupeville Town Boat Launch are open for swimming! New reports indicated that the discharge from the derelict fishing vessel has stopped and the fuel sheen has dissipated.

Visit the BEACH web site to find the latest results for these and other saltwater beaches: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/eap/beach/

Stay updated about water quality at your beaches by keeping up with us on our blog Fecal Matters, on Facebook, or join our listserv.

Julie Lowe is the BEACH Program Manager and can be reached at julie.lowe@ecy.wa.gov


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Eyes Over Puget Sound aerial images for May 14, 2012

By Sandy Howard, communication manager, Environmental Assessment Program

We’ve just posted our aerial photos from our May 14 Puget Sound flight (pdf).

Eyes Over Puget Sound combines high-resolution photo observations with satellite images, en route ferry data between Seattle and Victoria BC, and measurements from our moored instruments.

Sign up to receive email notifications about the latest “Eyes Over Puget Sound” by subscribing to Ecology’s email listserv.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fecal Matters: Proposed Beach Monitoring List Availabile for Public Comment

BEACH Program Update

As this Washington heat wave cruises through the state, people everywhere are hitting the beach! Water testing at high risk saltwater swimming beaches is about to begin.

Check out our proposed beach list for water testing during the upcoming 2012 season!
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/eap/beach/beachlist.html

Send your comments to the Beach Program Manager, Julie Lowe at julie.lowe@ecy.wa.gov.

Remember to surf the web before you surf the beach! http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/eap/beach/

Stay updated about water quality at your beaches by keeping up with us on our blog Fecal Matters, on Facebook, or join our listserv.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fecal Matters: No Contact Advisory for Port Washington Narrows Near Bremerton, WA

BEACH Program Update

Today, Kitsap County Public Health re-opened three recreational beaches near Bremerton. Lions Park, Bachmann Park and Lent Landing are now open to swimming and water contact.  The swimming advisory signs were removed today, May 11, previously posted on May 7, 2012.

Visit the BEACH web site to find the latest results for these and other saltwater beaches: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/eap/beach/

Stay updated about water quality at your beaches by keeping up with us on our blog Fecal Matters, on Facebook, or join our listserv.

Julie Lowe is the BEACH Program Manager and can be reached at julie.lowe@ecy.wa.gov

Fix that Leak! - Youth drive home clean water point

by Justine Asohmbom, Shorelines & Stormwater Education Manager for Puget Sound, Northwest Regional Office

** NEW 2013 Workshops! for more information about FREE workshops see Don't Drip and Drive - Fix That Leak workshops (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/washington_waters/fixcarleaks.html) **


There is nothing more captivating than when young people help inspire and educate their peers. The possibilities are as endless as their imaginations. Students from Ballard, West Seattle and Roosevelt high schools, with their youthful zeal and passion, are engaging and educating their peers on the importance of checking for and fixing vehicle oil leaks and protecting Puget Sound.

“We are trying to stop pollution and raise awareness for the younger generation and not just for the older generation because oil leaking from cars ends up in Puget Sound, it pollutes everything, and it all comes back to us. We are not hurting just the environment, we are hurting ourselves,” said Macauley Cameron and Kelsey Mendenhall, both Juniors at Ballard High school.

These students are members of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA Washington), and they are working in collaboration with the Department of Ecology, Seattle Public Utilities and KUBE 93 FM radio. DECA is the club for high school students interested in marketing.

“The youth are change agents in our society. That is why we are focusing on them. They are first time drivers. They are learning new habits, so we want to start them off on the right foot,” said Michael May, Public Relations Specialist, with Seattle Public Utilities.

The teens used social marketing principles to produce radio commercials, videos, iPhone games, brochures and posters with messages to encourage their peers to check for and fix vehicle leaks and fluids.

Susan Trunk, Account Executive with KUBE 93, who was one of the judges of the student campaign materials, said: “I was very impressed by the caliber of work that the high school students were able to present to us. It was very creative and they are the best people to get messages out to their peers, so what they created was very spectacular.”


Students sneak a peek at KUBE 93 FM Radio

The students with the winning submissions visited KUBE 93 FM radio station for a learning experience and to contribute to the official eight-week on-air, online and onsite auto leaks campaign. http://www.kube93.com/pages/auto_leaks.html. Catalina Solberg, Account Executive with KUBE 93, gave the students a sneak peek behind the scenes at the station.

The students were impressed by how much work gets into each radio production.

Young voices for clean Puget Sound

Listen to the radio commercial by one of the groups of students.

Wael Abou-Zaki, KUBE 93 and KISS FM Creative Director, worked with the winning team to produce their final radio commercial. He said, “Tailoring and putting together a commercial and getting it on radio is genius; there is no other way to capture kids attention than putting them on the radio where everybody can hear them.”

Check out the partners’ YouTube site and watch the contest-winning Fix That Leak video by one of the groups of students.

Gearing up for action

These students will bring the inspiration and magic of the campaign to life for other young people in their schools and communities at a youth-driven auto leaks education kickoff event scheduled for May 16, 2012 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ballard High School. KUBE will be onsite with their sound system. The host, DJ Eddie Francis, will conduct a live on-air call-in at the event. Students will answer auto leaks questions, and listeners will vie for a chance to win Summer Jam tickets and other fun prizes.

Will you say “yes!” to our youth?

Start by checking your own car for oil leaks. Get started today at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/washington_waters/cars.html

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stakeholders working with state agencies on ocean and coastal issues

By Jennifer Hennessey, Ocean Policy Associate, Shorelands & Environmental Assistance Program

On May 11, 2012, a new coastal advisory group will meet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Grays Harbor College, Building 2000, Room 2101, 1620 Edward P. Smith Drive, in Aberdeen.

The advisory group was created in December 2011 to advise the State Ocean Caucus – an interagency team made up of state agencies with a management role or expertise in ocean and coastal issues.

The Washington Department of Ecology coordinates this team and formed the advisory group on behalf of the State Ocean Caucus. This will be the advisory group’s second meeting.

May 11 meeting open to the public

The public is welcome to attend the Friday meeting and an agenda is available here. At the May 11 meeting, advisory group members will: 

  • Learn about and discuss ocean energy.
  • Receive updates about agency activities.
  • Provide input on marine spatial planning and other policy topics.
  • Discuss the group’s operating procedures.

Local participation crucial

When it comes to coastal management issues, our coastal communities have important perspectives and knowledge to share. The advisory group is important because it provides a mechanism for improving state engagement with our coastal communities. The group gives them a stronger voice in critical issues affecting their communities.

For example, the 2012 Washington Legislature passed and Gov. Chris Gregoire approved $2.1 million in new state funding for supporting marine spatial planning for Washington’s Pacific Coast. This means the advisory group will have strong role in shaping projects and activities.

Advisory group represents broad range of interests

People on the advisory group represent a wide array of coastal and ocean interests, including: 

  • Each of the four coastal Marine Resource Committees
  • Local citizens
  • Ports
  • Shipping
  • Economic development
  • Shellfish aquaculture
  • Commercial fishing
  • Recreational fishing
  • Science and research
  • Education
  • Conservation

For more information

If you have any questions about the coastal advisory body, please call me at 360-407-6595 or send me an email. I hope to see you in Aberdeen on Friday.


Fecal Matters: Lions Park, Bachmann Park and Lent Landing in Bremerton Closed for Swimming

BEACH Program Update

Today, Kitsap County Public Health closed three recreational beaches near Bremerton due to a nearby sewage spill. Lions Park, Bachmann Park and Lent Landing are closed to swimming and water contact until further notice.

Contact with fecal contaminated waters can result in gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses. Children and the elderly may be more vulnerable to waterborne illnesses.

Stay updated about water quality at your beaches by keeping up with us on our blog Fecal Matters, on Facebook, or join our listserv. Julie Lowe is the BEACH Program Manager and is available at 360-407-6543 or julie.lowe@ecy.wa.gov for questions.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Our Changing Climate: Greenland ice still melting ... just a bit slower

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center say Greenland’s ice continues to melt away at a brisk pace. It’s just melting a little slower than some feared it might.

These reports from the Seattle Times and KPLU Radio detail the researchers' findings.

How much and how fast Greenland’s ice melts is relevant to Washingtonians. That’s because all of the water from the melted ice is expected to raise sea levels, and that poses a threat to the communities along Puget Sound and Washington’s coast.

Responding to and preparing for sea-level rise are key components of the state’s climate change response strategy, which was released in early April. Here’s a recent news story about the strategy from The Columbian, along with Ecology’s news release announcing the strategy.

Around the Sound: Sampling to start at Bellingham Bay site

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

Next week, contractors will start taking samples at the R.G. Haley cleanup site on the shore of Bellingham Bay.

Sampling will continue for several months, and will yield information that will help shape the eventual cleanup of the site. Here’s a news release about the project.

You can learn more about the R.G. Haley site and the work at other Bellingham Bay sites on Ecology’s website.

On a related note, the Bellingham Herald reports that plans to develop the Bellingham Bay waterfront are changing. And here’s a presentation about that.

Other news

Chris Dunagan of the Kitsap Sun posted this blog item about the Puget Sound Science Panel.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Let’s Talk Science! Cycle through our Ecology for Scientists web portal

By Brook Beeler, Environmental Educator, Office of Communication and Education

Did you know that Ecology has a web portal for all you hard core science types? It is a one stop shop for links to our monitoring databases, mapping and spatial data, and the most recent scientific reports and articles. Good science provides the foundation for credible decision-making. And we want you to have access.
But before you dive into the latest postings on Microbial Source Tracking, macroinvertebrates in the Wenatchee River, or the latest update to our Eyes Over Puget Sound monitoring, let’s talk science.

You may have heard that our oceans are a large “carbon sink,” meaning they absorb and store carbon. Before checking out our information on the state’s ocean acidification Blue Ribbon Panel, linked from our scientist’s page, learn about the carbon cycle. Understanding the carbon cycle is important because as the oceans soak up higher levels of carbon emissions, the chemistry of the seawater changes — both locally and globally. This carbon absorption alters the ocean’s natural water quality balance.

The Carbon Cycle

Diagram of the carbon cycle. The black numbers indicate how much carbon is stored in various reservoirs, in billions of tons ("GtC" stands for gigatons of carbon and figures are circa 2004). The dark blue numbers indicate how much carbon moves between reservoirs each year. (image source Wikipedia)
The earth is one incredible and dynamic system; and within this system there are processes that function in cycles. Just like a bicycle tire, round and round they go. On a larger scale, there is the rock cycle and water cycle and on the elemental level there is the nitrogen cycle and carbon cycle. All of these cycles are cruising along, interacting with one another to create a beautiful system we call home.

Let’s start with understanding one of these cycles. The carbon cycle allows carbon to be recycled and reused throughout the earth’s many systems and among all of its organisms. The major pathways for carbon are:
  • Atmosphere — layer of gases that surround the earth
  • Biosphere — living organisms on earth
  • Geosphere — the earth itself
  • Hydrosphere — the combined amount of water on the earth
Carbon is constantly being exchanged between these pathways through chemical, physical, geological and biological processes. Some pathways exchange carbon more readily than others. When carbon is not rapidly exchanging through these pathways, it is stored in what is known as a carbon reservoir. 

A Deeper Look

Carbon exchange between the atmosphere and the earth’s oceans is particularly interesting because the ocean is the largest reservoir of carbon. You can divide this reservoir into two pools. The ocean contains the largest active pool of exchangeable carbon near its surface, but the deep ocean part of this pool does not rapidly exchange. In regions of oceanic upwelling, carbon is released to the atmosphere. Conversely, regions of downwelling transfer carbon in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere to the ocean.

When CO2 enters the ocean it undergoes a series of chemical reactions changing from dissolved carbon dioxide gas into carbonic acid, bicarbonate, then carbonate. As the carbon changes forms, hydrogen ions are released into the ocean. At this point, the different forms of carbon are now exchanging through other pathways in the cycle, including being absorbed into sediment, living organisms or back into the atmosphere, continuing the carbon recycling process.

But what about those hydrogen ions released into the ocean due to carbon cycling? As the concentration of hydrogen ions increases, the water chemistry of our oceans change. One way scientists verify this change in water chemistry is by measuring the pH of ocean water. pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in any solution. The higher the concentration, the more acidic the solution. When an increase in hydrogen ions occurs in the oceans, the pH decreases. This change is known as ocean acidification.

As carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, how will Washington State be affected? Our scientists are part of a panel to answer that question. To learn more about the science and actions in Washington state visit our “Ecology for Scientists” web portal and link to the ocean acidification Blue Ribbon Panel.