• Diana Thompson

    Commissioners from Pacific County PUD, Chelan County PUD, Wahkiakum County PUD and Lewis County PUD assume leadership positions for statewide PUD association

    Olympia – PUD Commissioners from four public utility districts assumed top leadership positions for 2014-2015 as the Washington Public Utility Districts Association (WPUDA) announced the election of its new officers today. Pacific County PUD Commissioner Diana Thompson was elected to serve as President, Chelan County PUD Commissioner Dennis Bolz will serve as Vice-President, Wahkiakum County […]

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  • Two Human West Nile Virus Infections Reported in Washington

    OLYMPIA, Wash. – Two human cases of West Nile virus infection have been reported for the 2010 season. A Grant County resident likely acquired the illness in the state and a Chelan County resident was infected while traveling out of state.

    The Grant County resident is a woman in her 70s who experienced several symptoms of West Nile virus and is not currently hospitalized. The Chelan County woman in her 40s traveled to Colorado and was exposed in that state. She has since recovered.

    This is a big difference compared to the 2009 season when nearly 40 people were reported as cases and the state’s first death from the virus was confirmed in a Yakima County resident.

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  • West Nile virus confirmed in Benton County Mosquito Control District

    Olympipa, WA – The first sign of West Nile virus near the Benton-Yakima county line serves as a reminder for people living in and visiting eastern Washington to avoid mosquito bites. Mosquito samples collected by the Benton County Mosquito Control District near Byron Ponds/Grandview sewage lagoon in the small portion of Yakima County the district serves tested positive for the virus. That led the district to begin spraying today.

    “Many local residents know the threat of West Nile virus is here, but we’re concerned that visitors from the west side may not be as aware,” said Benton-Franklin Health Officer Dr. Larry Jecha. “Eastern Washington in general, and the south central region in particular, have been the most active for the virus in recent years, and we expect big crowds for the Independence Day weekend. It’s vital that people take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”

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  • Record coho returns boost Columbia River restoration

    Coho on redd in Methow River - Photo courtesy Tom Scribner, Yakama NationPortland, Ore. – Record returns of coho salmon to the middle and upper Columbia River this year signal the comeback of fish that 20 years ago were virtually extinct in upriver tributaries.

    Reintroduction programs led by the Yakama Nation and funded in part by the Bonneville Power Administration combined with restored habitat, improved dam passage and positive ocean conditions to bring unrivaled numbers of coho back to the rivers and streams, according to recently concluded annual counts.

    Ten years ago, 12 adult coho returned past Rock Island Dam near Wenatchee, Wash. This year, 19,805 passed the dam. Returns past McNary Dam near Hermiston, Ore., climbed from 4,736 coho a decade ago to 33,385 this year – by far the most since counting began at the dam in 1954.

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  • Anglers Enjoy Big Trout, Nice Weather on Opening Day of Lowland Lakes Season

    OLYMPIA, Wash. – Good weather and big trout helped to boost catch rates on opening day of this year’s lowland lakes fishing season.

    Based on creel checks conducted at 112 lakes around the state, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) estimates that anglers caught an average of 3.99 trout on opening day Saturday, April 28.

    The weather was good and so was the fishing, we saw a lot of limits taken at lakes around the state. – Chris Donley, WDFW’s Inland Fish manager

    For most lakes, the daily limit is five fish. Donley said the 5,129 anglers contacted by WDFW on opening day retained an average of 2.6 trout – up from 2.3 fish in recent years. The rest were released.

    One reason for the higher retention rate may be that three million of the “catchable-size” trout WDFW planted before the opener averaged 11-13 inches, about a third larger than before. Many lakes were also stocked with thousands of triploids, broodstock and other large trout weighing up to 11 pounds apiece.

    Lots of folks noticed those larger fish, with bigger fish and cool but sunny weather, it was all in all a good opener. – Mark Downen, a WDFW fish biologist for Mason and Kitsap counties
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  • Two Birds in Grant County Test Positive For First West Nile Virus in State

    OLYMPIA, Wash. – Two birds collected this summer from the North Potholes Reserve near Moses Lake are the first birds to test positive for West Nile virus in the state this year. An American white pelican and a mallard duck have tested positive for West Nile virus. Though not typically used for monitoring West Nile virus activity, these birds are among the 326 bird species nationally that have been found to carry the virus.

    The dead birds were discovered by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife while investigating why an unusual number of birds had died at the reserve in Grant County. State Fish and Wildlife officials sent the birds to the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center for testing. According to the center, American white pelicans are particularly susceptible to the virus.

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  • First Case of West Nile Virus Detected in Washington State for 2010

    OLYMPIA ¾ Mosquito samples collected in Grant County that tested positive for West Nile virus are the first signal of the presence of the virus in Washington in 2010. Environmental monitoring resumed around the state this spring and mosquito season is well underway.

    “Last year was the busiest so far in our state for West Nile virus,” said Gregg Grunenfelder, environmental health division assistant secretary for the state Department of Health. “We had more human cases, positive mosquito samples, horse cases, and dead birds than ever last year. Dozens of people were infected and one died in Washington in 2009, so it’s clear that West Nile virus can be very serious. Avoiding mosquito bites is the key to preventing infection.”

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  • Gov. Gregoire announces certification for 138 transportation projects

    OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced that she certified 138 transportation projects, which makes them ready to receive funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The state is expected to receive $551 million dollars from the federal stimulus package to help pay for the certified projects.

    “We promised that we would expedite the certification process, and now 138 transportation projects are ready to go,” Gregoire said. “By working in partnership with the Obama administration, we are saving and creating jobs by quickly getting the federal stimulus funding moving through our economy.”

    Some local projects include;

    Heron Street Sidewalk Bulb-out Project (TE) Pedestrian / Safety $730,000
    Wynoochee-Wishkah Road 13 Corners Realignment Safety Improvement $750,000
    City Wide Pedestrian Safety and Mobility Improvement Phase II (TE) Pedestrian Improvement $195,000

    Total ARRA funding amount $152,101,154

    To learn more about these transportation projects, visit: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/funding/stimulus.

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