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June 2017: What’s the Point event includes low-tide walk, beach exploration at Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve

posted Jun 21, 2017, 2:25 PM by Virginia Cleaveland   [ updated Jun 21, 2017, 2:26 PM ]

Annual family-friendly event takes place June 24th at Point Whitehorn Marine Park. 

The community is invited to the annual What’s the Point beach exploration event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, at Point Whitehorn Marine Park, 6899 Koehn Rd, Blaine (map). The mid-day low tide is -3.1 feet at 12:05 p.m. RSVP on Facebook.

During the event, naturalists familiar with intertidal creatures and seaweeds, birds, native plants, forest ecology, and local geology will answer questions and lead informal tours along Point Whitehorn Beach, an extraordinary stretch of natural shoreline teeming with wildlife. Children can play a game of naturalist bingo as they hunt for various plants and animals, and explore tidepools with expert storytellers. Naturalists include:
  • Casey Cook of the Marine Life Center, Holly Roger of Wild Whatcom, and Doug Stark of the Whatcom Marine Resources Committee, who will lead kid-friendly tidepool explorations and tell astounding stories about how tidepool creatures live.
  • Marine specialists Bob Lemon, Lynne Givler, Marie Hitchman, and marine biologist Michael Kyte, who will teach people about the plants and animals in the intertidal zone.
  • Geologist Dave Tucker, who will lead field trips to investigate beach and bluff geology. Field trip times will be announced the day of the event.
  • Lyle Anderson of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee, who will be on the forest trail to the beach teaching people about native plants.
  • Nick Skye with Whatcom Land Trust, who will lead walks to and from the beach explaining the forest ecosystem and how it relates to the beach.
  • The Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which will have a booth with touchable pelts of marine animals.

The trail at Point Whitehorn Marine Park meanders through a forested wetland and is wheelchair accessible for ¾ mile, including viewpoints at the top of the bluff overlooking the beach and the Strait of Georgia. Porta potties are available in the parking lot.

Participants should bring picnic lunches and drinking water, outdoor clothing and sturdy shoes, waterproof sunscreen and bags to pack trash out. Please leave furry friends at home — dogs are not allowed in this county park.

The event is sponsored by Whatcom Land Trust and the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee, in partnership with the Marine Life Center, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Whatcom County Parks & Recreation, and RE Sources for Sustainable Communities.

Directions: Take I-5 Exit 266 and drive west on Grandview Road for 8.5 miles. Follow the road as it curves left and becomes Koehn Road. Continue 1/2 mile to the parking lot on the left.

About Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve and Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve

The 54-acre Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve adjoins the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve and provides habitat for juvenile salmon, Dungeness crab, great blue heron, bald eagles, migrating seabirds and more. Whatcom Land Trust acquired Point Whitehorn in 2007, then transferred the land to Whatcom County Parks & Recreation. Whatcom Land Trust holds a conservation easement over the property, ensuring its protection forever. For more information, visit whatcomlandtrust.org.

The 227-acre Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve is one of several aquatic reserves established by Washington State Department of Natural Resources in an effort to protect state-owned aquatic lands of significant natural value. The Reserve extends from Birch Bay State Park south to the Lummi Nation border, and from the beach into the Strait of Georgia about one half mile. The Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee works to assist DNR in its implementation of the Aquatic Reserve's Management Plan. For more information, visit aquaticreserves.org.

Media contact:
Kim Clarkin, Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee, kimlu55@gmail.com, (360) 393-3238

June 2017: Orca Month event at Boulevard Park highlights need to protect Southern Resident orca whales from threats of increased oil transport in the Salish Sea

posted Jun 15, 2017, 10:22 AM by Virginia Cleaveland   [ updated Jun 15, 2017, 10:24 AM ]


On Sunday, June 25, community members and environmental activists will gather at Boulevard Park in Bellingham for the free community event “Two if by land, one if by sea: Oil transport threatens the Salish Sea” to celebrate the endangered Southern Resident orca whale population and fight for their protection. 

The Orca Month event is hosted by local organizations RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Sierra Club Washington State Chapter, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Friends of the San Juans, and Washington Environmental Council. The event will begin with groups walking, biking and paddling to the park to represent the crude oil pipelines, trains, and tankers that threaten our fragile orca populations and the Salish Sea, both by land and by sea.

A community picnic, family-friendly activities, educational booths, and live music are scheduled from noon to 3 p.m., with a short program of speakers starting at 1 p.m.
  • What: Orca Month event “Two If by Land, One if by Sea: Oil Transport Threatens the Salish Sea”
  • Who: Speakers include Rick Wood, a documentary filmmaker working to tell the story of the resident orca whales, Sharon Abreu and Michael Hurwicz, a musical duo with an activist message, and Qweshimut, a Lummi tribal member who will speak about the cultural importance of the orca and salmon to the Lummi people, accompanied with songs by his family group, Ngen’tse Ste’ky’e (Pack of Wolves).
  • When: June 25th, 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. (paddlers, bikers and walkers will meet at 11 a.m. at designated locations and will parade to the park)
  • Where: Boulevard Park, 470 Bayview Dr, Bellingham, WA 98225
This event is part of the 11th annual Orca Awareness Month, started by long-time orca education and advocacy group Orca Network. Members of the Orca Salmon Alliance (OSA) are hosting events throughout the month to educate the public about the Southern Resident orca population and the challenges they face.

Increased oil transport in the Salish Sea poses an unacceptable threat to local waterways, communities, and the endangered Southern Resident orcas. The proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion in B.C. would drastically increase shipping of crude oil through Haro Strait, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Salish Sea — and risk the safety of our drinking water and fisheries.

Puget Sound is already one of the leading petroleum refining centers in the country, putting us at risk for a catastrophic oil spill that would devastate the marine environment and most likely push the already struggling Southern Resident orcas over the brink. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska had a devastating impact on the orca population in Prince William Sound, and only a handful of non-breeding aged individual orcas remain today.

More information on walking, biking, or paddling to the event:

Paddlers: Congregate at three locations at 11 a.m. on the day of the event.
  • Fairhaven boat launch, 400 block of Harris Avenue, Bellingham. This is an official boat launch with restrooms nearby.
  • Cornwall Beach, at the terminus of Cornwall Avenue, 401 Cornwall Ave. This is an unimproved launch, great for canoes and kayaks. Free parking along Cornwall Avenue.
  • North end of Boulevard Park, 470 Bayview Drive. This is the location of the event. Parking is tight, but there's a sandy beach at the north end of the park.
Walkers: Meet at 11 a.m. at the Fairhaven Village Green, 1207 10th St, Bellingham. The group will be departing by 11:30 a.m. (see map for route)

Bikers: Meet at Cornwall Beach at the terminus of Cornwall Ave, 401 Cornwall Ave, at the same place as the paddlers. The group will be departing by 11 a.m. (see map for route)

June 6, 2017: Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy forum to highlight need for equitable climate policy in Washington state

posted Jun 6, 2017, 10:47 AM by Virginia Cleaveland   [ updated Jun 9, 2017, 9:10 AM ]

RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Blue Green Alliance, Community to Community Development, Washington Environmental Council co-hosting forum June 20 in Bellingham. 

Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy supporter organizations RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Washington BlueGreen Alliance, Community to Community Development, and Washington Environmental Council are co-hosting a forum “Fund the solutions, price the pollution: The future of climate policy in Washington state” from 6:30 - 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20, at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth St, Bellingham (map).

The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy is a statewide coalition of individuals, organizations, and businesses dedicated to reducing global warming pollution, strengthening the economy, and making sure all families have a better future.

The Alliance is advancing a statewide policy initiative for 2018 to reduce carbon emissions and build a clean energy future. The initiative would invest in clean energy, clean water, and healthy forests, by implementing a performance-based tax on major polluters, while providing investment for disproportionately impacted communities and a just transition for workers.

Forum speakers include:
  • Sameer Ranade, Climate and Clean Energy Campaign Associate at Washington Environmental Council
  • Steve Garey, Steering Committee Member of the Washington BlueGreen Alliance, and retired refinery worker and union president of the United Steelworkers Local 12-591 
  • Edgar Franks, Civic Engagement Program Coordinator at Community to Community Development
  • Eddy Ury, Clean Energy Program Manager at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities
  • Stina Janssen, Field Organizer at Washington Environmental Council

“In Washington State, we have a tremendous opportunity to fulfill the vision of a robust and just green economy. We can take on big challenges like climate change and improve the lives of ordinary people in the process. I encourage everyone in the area to come to this event to listen, learn, offer feedback, and engage,” said Sameer Ranade with Washington Environmental Council. 

For more information about the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, visit jobscleanenergywa.com.

RSVP for the event on Facebook at facebook.com/events/452064251813909.

Updates: This press release was updated on July 9th. Rosalinda Guillen of Community to Community Development will not be giving a short introduction. Stina Janssen was added to the list of forum speakers.

May 4, 2017: Author to share personal story of Exxon Valdez oil spill, discuss similar risks facing Salish Sea communities

posted May 8, 2017, 3:10 PM by Virginia Cleaveland   [ updated May 8, 2017, 3:11 PM ]

“Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster” author Angela Day will offer a book reading, presentation, and Q&A session on May 25th in Bellingham. 

“Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster” author Angela Day will discuss the 1989 oil spill and similar risks facing Salish Sea communities during a free book reading, presentation, and Q&A from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 25th, at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth St, Bellingham. The event is co-sponsored by North Cascades Audubon Society and RE Sources for Sustainable Communities.

“Red Light to Starboard” documents the tragic oil spill that stunned the world, discusses the environmental impacts from the spill, and recounts the regional and natural history of Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska.

Angela Day lives in Snohomish, Washington and is married to Bobby Day, a long-time fisherman from Prince William Sound. The book centers on his story and that of his family, whose history is deeply rooted in the region. Based on a wealth of family history and first-hand experiences, the book offers a personal account of the oil spill’s impacts on individual lives and local communities.

During the event, Day will share her thoughts on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, which would nearly triple capacity of an existing pipeline ending just north of the U.S.-Canada border in Burnaby, British Columbia. The proposed project would drastically increase the amount of crude oil tanker traffic in the Salish Sea.

“Whatcom County residents are faced with a potentially huge increase in crude oil tanker traffic in the Salish Sea due to this proposed expansion project,” Day says. “I look forward to having a discussion about lessons learned and how they apply to the risks in the Salish Sea today by prividing some insights about what the past can teach us about the future.”

“Red Light to Starboard” won the Western Writers of America 2015 Spur Award in the Best Western Contemporary Nonfiction” category, and was a finalist in the annual Foreword Review INDIES Book of the Year Awards. For more information, visit re-sources.org/events or RSVP on Facebook.

Media Contact: Lee First, leef@re-sources.org, (360) 733-8307

April 11, 2017: RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Students for the Salish Sea host Earth Day beach cleanup at Locust Beach

posted Apr 11, 2017, 5:36 PM by Virginia Cleaveland   [ updated Apr 11, 2017, 5:37 PM ]


RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and Western Washington University club Students for the Salish Sea are hosting an Earth Day beach cleanup at Locust Beach to remove trash and large debris from the beach.

The cleanup is from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Saturday, April 22nd at Locust Beach. The trailhead to the beach is located at the dead end of Locust Avenue, off Marine Drive in Bellingham. Limited parking is available in a public lot on the north side of the street (map). Participants should meet at the Locust Beach parking lot. Participants are encouraged to carpool or ride your bike.

The event is coordinated by RE Sources’ AmeriCorps-Washington Service Corps members Natalie Lord, the Aquatic Reserve Coordinator for the Clean Water program, and Lindsey Gard, the Green Classrooms Coordinator for the Sustainable Schools program, along with Students for the Salish Sea.

“Plastic pollution can be found on every beach around the world, and it endangers hundreds of species due to ingestion and entanglement, including ourselves,” said Natalie Lord. “Join us on Earth Day at our local marine debris hotspot, Locust Beach, to help reduce our impact on the ocean and become better stewards of the Salish Sea."

The cleanup is appropriate for all ages. Light snacks and equipment will be supplied, but volunteers are encouraged to bring work gloves and 5-gallon plastic buckets. Registration is not required.

Questions: Email Lindsey Gard at lindseyg@re-sources.org or call (360) 733-8307.

To RSVP for the event, go online to facebook.com/events/117925902084341.

Media Contact: Lindsey Gard, Green Classrooms Coordinator, lindseyg@re-sources.org, (360) 733-8307

RE Sources for Sustainable Communities is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the health of Northwest Washington’s people and ecosystems through the application of science, education, advocacy, and action. For more information, visit re-sources.org.

Students for the Salish Sea is a club at Western Washington University that supports the restoration of the Salish Sea bioregional watershed. For more information, visit Students for the Salish Sea on Facebook.

April 7, 2017: RE Sources, Whatcom MRC launch North Sound Stewards program to train volunteer citizen scientists

posted Apr 7, 2017, 1:44 PM by Virginia Cleaveland   [ updated Apr 7, 2017, 1:44 PM ]

Free trainings give program participants tools to participate in variety of beach surveys and play an important role in protecting marine resources.


This spring, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) are launching a comprehensive North Sound Stewards volunteer program that will train participants to become citizen scientists and play an important role in protecting our marine resources.

The program is in partnership with the Northwest Straits Initiative, the Northwest Straits Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and the Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserves Citizen Stewardship Committees.

The program offers a variety of citizen science opportunities, including intertidal surveys, forage fish surveys, and sea star wasting syndrome surveys. Participants can also connect with other nonprofits and government agencies to receive additional trainings and participate in green crab surveys and ocean acidification surveys, among other opportunities.

“North Sound Stewards connects a group of people passionate about protecting the North Puget Sound,” said Eleanor Hines, program manager and lead scientist at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities. “The information we collect provides a baseline of data that informs policy, restoration efforts, cleanups, and more. Citizen scientists are integral to support important work that underfunded agencies cannot do themselves.”

The program requires 50 hours of trainings and surveys throughout a one-year period. Program participation can reflect individual skills, from the actual survey work to photography, data entry or event coordination. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome; children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Upcoming intertidal survey trainings (participation in one of two trainings is required):
  • Whatcom County: 12:00 - 4:30 PM, Saturday, April 29th, Heron Center, Birch Bay State Park, 7290 Birch Bay Dr, Blaine.
  • Skagit County: 12:00 - 4:30 PM, Sunday, April 30th, Interpretive Center, Padilla Bay Reserve, 10441 Bayview Edison Rd, Mount Vernon.
For more information about North Sound Stewards, visit re-sources.org/north-sound-stewards. To sign up for the program, click the “Register Today” button. Questions? Contact Eleanor Hines at eleanorh@re-sources.org or 360-733-8307 ext. 213.

Media Contact: Eleanor Hines, Lead Scientist, eleanorh@re-sources.org, 360-733-8307 ext. 213

RE Sources for Sustainable Communities is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the health of Northwest Washington’s people and ecosystems through the application of science, education, advocacy, and action. For more information, visit re-sources.org.

The Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) is one of seven citizen-based committees in the Northwest Straits region to address marine issues. The purpose is to guide local communities, using up-to-date information and scientific expertise, to achieve the important goals of resource conservation and habitat protection within the Northwest Straits. For more information, visit mrc.whatcomcounty.org.

March 3, 2017: BNSF Railway required to clean up coal train pollution

posted Mar 3, 2017, 2:38 PM by Virginia Cleaveland   [ updated Mar 6, 2017, 3:04 PM by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities ]

Settlement of Clean Water Act case means coal and petcoke must be removed from several sections of the Columbia River. 


BNSF Railway (BNSF) will be forced to pay for the cleanup of Pacific Northwest waterways that were polluted for decades by coal or petroleum coke (“petcoke”) emitted from their open-topped train cars.

A finalized consent decree lodged with U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour today brings to a close a Clean Water Act case brought against BNSF by a coalition of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Puget Soundkeeper, Columbia Riverkeeper, Spokane Riverkeeper, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Friends of the Columbia Gorge. 

During the week-long November 2016 trial, scientists testified that a million or more coal particles per second come off of each rail car, dumping mercury, arsenic, and hundreds of other pollutants into rivers, lakes and oceans along BNSF rail lines. Eyewitnesses also recounted being pelted by coal from passing trains while recreating or driving along waterways.

As part of the settlement, BNSF agreed to pay for a precedent-setting study about rail car covers for coal and petcoke train cars that puts the rail operator on a court-ordered path toward keeping coal and petcoke out of sensitive water bodies.

The settlement also requires BNSF to pay $1 million for environmental projects across the state of Washington, focused on projects in the Bellingham, Puget Sound, Columbia River and Spokane River areas. BNSF will also clean up the following areas of the Columbia River and its tributaries that have been littered with large amounts of coal and petcoke from BNSF trains:
  • Horsethief Lake 
  • Drano Lake Rail Bridge and parking area
  • White Salmon River and its confluence with the Columbia River
  • Confluence of Rock Creek and the Columbia River
  • Causeway near Murdock, WA
Environmental groups that brought the suit are celebrating the settlement:

"BNSF Railway spent decades downplaying the fact that coal from their trains was polluting some the most ecologically and culturally important waterways of the Pacific Northwest," said Cesia Kearns, Deputy Regional Campaign Director for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. "This settlement finally forces BNSF to take responsibility for their impact on our water, clean up the mess they made and take steps to prevent similar pollution in the future."

“Our public waters are not dumping grounds for coal and toxic pollutants,” said Chris Wilke, Puget Soundkeeper Executive Director. “This settlement rightfully places the burden of cleaning up contamination from coal trains with the company responsible for the pollution, and it will also lead the way in affirming technologies to prevent coal from entering waterways in the future.”

"When dealing with corporations like BNSF, we as citizens must use every tool in our toolbox to ensure polluters — no matter how large or powerful — are being held accountable for contaminating our shared water resources. Owning their responsibility for the pollution they produce is simply the cost of doing business,” said Lee First, North Sound Baykeeper at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities. "In the North Puget Sound, we will never back down from fighting to protect the cleanliness of our water — even if it means taking on multi billion dollar companies in court."

This public health threat of BNSF’s coal trains would be exacerbated by Millennium Bulk Terminals’ proposal to build the largest coal export terminal in North America in Longview, Washington, bringing up to eight additional fully loaded train cars a day travelling along BNSF lines between Longview and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana. Millennium has appealed a decision by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to reject a sublease needed for the project. The Army Corps of Engineers’ Final Environmental Impact Study on the project is expected in June.

The plaintiffs are represented by Charlie Tebbutt, Dan Snyder, and Sarah Matsumoto, The Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, PC; Jessica Yarnall Loarie, Sierra Club; Andrea Rodgers, Western Environmental Law Center, David Pettit and Morgan Wyenn, Natural Resources Defense Council; and Nathan Baker, Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

Media contact: Crina Hoyer, Executive Director, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, crinah@re-sources.org, 360-223-8678

February 21, 2017: Environmental groups challenge Ecology’s new permits for industrial dairies

posted Feb 21, 2017, 10:56 AM by Virginia Cleaveland   [ updated Mar 2, 2017, 3:40 PM by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities ]

On Feb. 17, 2017, a coalition of environmental groups filed an appeal with the Washington state Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) challenging the Department of Ecology’s waste discharge permits for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). 

The appeal alleges the permits fail to include basic water quality monitoring requirements and fail to require best-available technology for CAFOs such as synthetic manure lagoon liners, which prevent pollution from manure leaking into groundwater. The appeal also alleges the permits lack necessary standards to ensure compliance with state and federal water quality laws: the state-only permit authorizes groundwater discharges and removes the power granted to citizens under federal law to defend their clean water rights if dangerous pollution from CAFOs threatens water quality. 

Uncovered piles of manure at a cattle CAFO in Yakima County, Washington in July 2016.

According to the appealing groups, Ecology’s new permits fail to prevent the four major sources of pollution from CAFOs: land application, manure lagoons, compost areas, and animal pens. The permits authorize CAFOs to discharge into groundwater, which threatens the drinking water that many communities depend on. The permits also failed to address the thousands of public comments Ecology received asking for permits that prioritize human health and clean water.

CAFOs, or large industrial feedlots, generate more than 26 million of pounds of manure each day in Washington state. The manure, which contains nitrates, fecal coliform bacteria, and other pollutants, is often over-applied, untreated, directly to farmland, or is stored in unlined manure lagoons that are known to leak.

Overapplication of manure and leaking lagoons can release pollution into surface water and groundwater, causing serious public health issues and threatening industries dependent on clean water, like shellfish farmers. Swimming beach closures and shellfish bed closures are frequently the result of water quality problems resulting from high levels of fecal coliform. The over-application of manure has been linked to contamination of drinking water due to high levels of nitrates. In Washington State, more than three-quarters of pollution cleanup funds between 2005 and 2013 were used to clean up waters contaminated by agriculture.

Ecology’s new permits — a state-only permit for CAFOs that discharge to groundwater, and a combined state/federal permit for CAFOs that discharge to surface water — were issued a full five years after the former permit expired.

The coalition, represented in the appeal by the Western Environmental Law Center and the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, includes national organizations Center for Food Safety, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Sierra Club; Yakima Valley organizations Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) and Friends of Toppenish Creek; and Puget Sound organizations Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and RE Sources for Sustainable Communities.

“Every resident of Washington has a right to clean water,” said Chris Wilke, Puget Soundkeeper. “By removing the power granted in the Clean Water Act for individuals and communities to defend their waterways, this permit tramples on those rights and sets a precedent that dangerous pollution can occur without consequence. It’s inexcusable to put public health at risk when there are known solutions to the problem.”

“The courts have been our only bastion of hope and ability to affect positive change,” said Helen Reddout, president of CARE, which has been working to highlight the issue since the 1990s. “It is now time for the state courts to step up to protect our communities.” As a resident of the lower Yakima Valley, Reddout’s own well is contaminated with nitrates from manure pollution.

“Sixty percent of the wells within a mile of a cluster of Yakima County CAFO dairies are unsafe for drinking,” said Jean Mendoza, executive director at Friends of Toppenish Creek in Yakima County. “The people who use these domestic wells (groundwater) would be unaware of the problem if not for litigation that has been brought under federal laws. Citizen lawsuits are the best way to protect public health from CAFO pollution. The new dual permit eliminates that option.”

“We applaud a small group of farmers who recently formed the Portage Bay Partnership and are taking necessary steps to help clean up fecal coliform pollution in our local waters,” said Ann Russell, Clean Water Program manager at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities in Whatcom County. “But when a state agency responsible for protecting human health fails to adequately regulate the dangerous impacts from industries, it is our duty to demand stronger permits that protect drinking water and shellfish beds.”

“Ecology has spent six years drafting a new waste discharge permit for CAFOs and unfortunately the agency has still not written something that protects the waters of Washington," said Andrea Rodgers, attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center. “Fortunately, citizens can turn to the courts when agencies don’t comply with their statutory obligations to protect public health and the environment.”

“The permit is as irresponsible as it is unlawful,” said George Kimbrell, attorney with the Center for Food Safety. “The communities and environments being damaged by these industrial animal factories deserve protection, and we are going to court to get it.”

“For well over a decade, Ecology has been acutely aware of the dangers manure pollution poses to people and the environment, yet it continues to put profits for the few over the good of the many,” said Charlie Tebbutt, long-time attorney for impacted communities. “Ecology’s continuing refusal to protect people despite the mountain of evidence is truly shameful.”

“Ecology disregarded the law and issued a permit that actually authorizes untreated animal waste to be discharged into Washington’s waters,” said Kelly Hunter Foster, senior attorney for Waterkeeper Alliance. “This is dangerous, and Ecology knows that, but the agency chose to shield industry instead of protecting public health.”

Under the administrative appeal process, citizen groups have the right to challenge final agency actions and rules to ensure that regulations adequately protect public resources and comply with the law. The groups seek rewritten permits that comply with the law and protect public waterways and water resources.

Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, 360-733-8307 x217, virginiac@re-sources.org

North Cascades Audubon Society offers free educational series “Marine Birds of the Salish Sea”

posted Feb 10, 2017, 2:58 PM by Virginia Cleaveland   [ updated Feb 10, 2017, 3:04 PM ]

Participants will learn about physical features, behaviors, and history of more than 30 bird species in the Salish Sea.

Marine bird experts will host a free educational series “Marine Birds of the Salish Sea” from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, February 22-23, at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, 2309 Meridian St., Bellingham. The event is sponsored by North Cascades Audubon Society in collaboration with RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee.

The two-part series — taught by Caanan Cowles, a biologist with more than a decade of experience researching seabirds in the Salish Sea, and Pam Borso, president of North Cascades Audubon Society — will teach participants about physical characteristics of more than 30 species, their behavior, and interesting facts about their histories. Participants are encouraged to attend both classes. Previous class participants are welcome to attend.

After the classes, participants will have the opportunity to go on a birding tour led by North Cascades Audubon Society. The field trip time and date will be decided during the class.

North Cascades Audubon Society has been conducting surveys of marine birds for several years at Cherry Point. The series is intended to increase awareness of marine birds and the reasons the North Cascades Audubon Society monitors them.

North Cascades Audubon Society also hosts monthly guided birding tours from 9 a.m. to noon the first Saturday of the month at Semiahmoo Park, 9261 Semiahmoo Pkwy, Blaine.

To register for the event, email Lyle Anderson at lyleand2@comcast.net or call 360-739-9249. For more information, visit northcascadesaudubon.org/calendar/

Media Contacts:
Lyle Anderson, North Cascades Audubon Society, lyleand2@comcast.net, 360-739-9249
Virginia Cleaveland, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, virginiac@re-sources.org, 360-733-8307

Since 1970, the North Cascades Audubon Society has represented the interests and importance of wildlife, habitat and the environment in Whatcom County. Through scientific research, environmental education, stewardship and advocacy, NCAS provides a variety of services and opportunities for members and the public to engage with the natural world. northcascadesaudubon.org

RE Sources for Sustainable Communities is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the health of Northwest Washington’s people and ecosystems through the application of science, education, advocacy, and action. re-sources.org

The Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee increases public awareness and enjoyment of the Reserve and assists the Department of Natural Resource’s Aquatic Reserve Program to successfully implement the Reserve’s management plan. aquaticreserves.org

January 24, 2017: Audubon Society director to give talk on oil spill prevention and preparedness, risks facing Salish Sea

posted Jan 24, 2017, 1:25 PM by Virginia Cleaveland   [ updated Jan 24, 2017, 1:28 PM ]

Director of bird conservation for Audubon’s Gulf Coast and Mississippi Flyway helped lead organization through 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. 


Melanie Driscoll, the National Audubon Society’s director of bird conservation for the Gulf Coast and Mississippi Flyway, will discuss oil spill prevention and preparedness and the risks facing vulnerable communities of the Salish Sea during a talk from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15th, at the Whatcom Museum Rotunda Room in Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St., Bellingham. The event is co-sponsored by North Cascades Audubon Society and RE Sources for Sustainable Communities.

During the talk, “Deepwater Horizon disaster: How oil spills affect local people and wildlife,” Driscoll will share her thoughts on the need for prevention of oil spills, preparedness for an organization to find a role in the event of a major spill, and the particular risks facing Native Americans and other vulnerable communities in the Salish Sea.

Driscoll’s perspective comes from her involvement in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster and subsequent years of response and restoration efforts, and the spill’s effects on wildlife, the environment, and local communities.

During the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Driscoll initiated wildlife survey efforts and provided biological interpretation regarding the relief effort to media, the public, and the environmental community. She also led Audubon’s conservation planning in response to the disaster and initiated their volunteer response effort. Driscoll has worked with Audubon since 2006.

For more information about the event, visit re-sources.org/events.

Media Contacts: Steven Harper, North Cascades Audubon Society, info@northcascadesaudubon.org, 360-650-9065
Virginia Cleaveland, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, virginiac@re-sources.org, 360-733-8307

Since 1970, the North Cascades Audubon Society has represented the interests and importance of wildlife, habitat and the environment in Whatcom County. Through scientific research, environmental education, stewardship and advocacy, NCAS provides a variety of services and opportunities for members and the public to engage with the natural world. northcascadesaudubon.org

RE Sources for Sustainable Communities is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the health of Northwest Washington’s people and ecosystems through the application of science, education, advocacy, and action. re-sources.org

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