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 PUD Commissioner Dennis Reid will serve as Secretary, and Lewis County PUD Commissioner Ben Kostick will continue to serve as Treasurer.
The officers serve on the Association’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors, providing oversight and recommendations in support of WPUDA’s mission. The Washington PUD Association represents 27 not-for-profit, community-owned public utility districts and one-joint operating agency, Energy Northwest. WPUDA member PUDs provide electrical, water and wastewater, and wholesale telecommunications services to residential, business and industrial customers in communities across Washington. The new officers assume an important leadership role in achieving the Association’s mission to support, protect and enhance members’ ability to conserve power and water resources of the state and to provide not-for-profit, locally-controlled utility services.
Newly elected WPUDA President, Pacific County PUD Commissioner Diana Thompson, is not new to leadership positions in the Association. She previously served as Vice-President and Secretary. Thompson, who currently serves as the President of the Pacific County PUD Board of Commissioners, looks forward to serving as the Association’s President this year. “It is an honor and a privilege to serve the Washington PUD Association” said Thompson. “For almost 85 years PUDs have existed in this state and for a good part of that time, WPUDA has been a part of that community. In my role as Association President, I am committed to working collaboratively with members of WPUDA to continue the good work that was started by those who came before us; promoting and protecting the interests of our customer-owners and preserving the value PUDs provide to communities across the state.” Thompson is a resident of Oysterville and has served on the Pacific County PUD Board since 2007.
Chelan PUD Commissioner Dennis Bolz moves into his new position as Vice President having served as the Association’s Secretary last year. Bolz has been active in the Association for seven years, serving on the Government Relations Committee and organizing and speaking at orientation programs for new PUD Commissioners. “Collaboration and good information are important tools for PUD commissioners,” said Bolz. “A good example of that is what is occurring right now with the Wanapum Dam situation. Chelan County PUD has been working closely with Grant County PUD to minimize the impacts to the public. Public power has a great story to tell, and WPUDA is a way for us to share experiences that improve the lives of our customer-owners and stakeholders.”
The position of Secretary has been filled by a Wahkiakum County PUD Commissioner Dennis Reid. Reid has served on the PUD Board since 2011 and is looking forward to his new leadership role within the Association. “It is an honor to be elected and to carry on the work of the Association. I will do my best to represent all the members.”
Lewis County PUD Commissioner Ben Kostick will continue serving in his role as Association Treasurer. Kostick is a Certified Public Accountant and has served on the Lewis County PUD Board since 2007. The position of Treasurer is a two-year term with Kostick beginning the second year of his second term. “I am pleased I am able to draw on my professional background to support the work the Association is doing on behalf of Lewis PUD customers as well as other PUD customers across the state,” Kostick said.
The Washington PUD Association was established in 1936. Its mission is to support, protect and enhance its members’ ability to conserve the power and water resources for the benefit of the people of the State of Washington and provide not-for-profit, locally controlled utility services. Visit www.wpuda.org for more information.

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

The 10 lakes with the top catch-and-keep rates were:

  • Ellen Lake, Ferry County (5)
  • Warden Lake, Grant County (5)
  • Panther Lake, Kitsap County (4.6)
  • Clara Lake, Mason County (4.4)
  • Crabapple Lake, Snohomish County (4.3)
  • Mudgett Lake, Stevens County (4.1)
  • Steel Lake, King County (4.1)
  • Devereaux Lake, Mason County (4.1)
  • Mission Lake, Kitsap County (4)
  • Sixteen Lake, Skagit County (4)

“It’s important to remember that we stock lakes with trout for the whole season, not just opening day,” Donley said. “Trout fishing should be highly productive in lowland lakes through June, and then again in September.”

Anglers looking for information about where to fish can find it on WDFW’s new Fish Washington! Online look-up tool at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/ .

The following is the entire opening day creel report. (The column showing “average number of fish caught” includes fish released.)

County Lake #Anglers Checked Average # fish caught/angler Average # fish harvested/angler
Chelan Beehive 37 3.6 2.73
Chelan Clear 36 3.4 2.92
Chelan Lily 32 2.4 2.38
Chelan Wapato 65 2.7 2.58
Douglas Jameson 5 2.6 2.00
Ferry Lake Ellen 11 5.4 5.00
Grant Warden 80 4.95 4.09
Grant Blue 66 1.88 1.88
Grant Park 148 3.34 2.91
Grant Deep 64 5.48 3.13
Grant Vic Meyers 29 1.34 1.21
Grays Harbor Aberdeen 134 2.88 1.31
Grays Harbor Sylvia 34 1.26 1.09
Grays Harbor Vance Ponds #1 27 1.50 1.18
Grays Harbor Vance Ponds #2 39 2.95 2.62
Grays Harbor Failor 58 5.44 3.01
Jefferson Anderson Lake 75 4.3 3.1
Jefferson Horseshoe (Jef) 10 1.9 0.4
Jefferson Ludlow 14 0.5 0.5
Jefferson Sandy Shore 65 4.5 3.9
Jefferson Silent Lake 8 8.4 3.5
Jefferson Tarboo 39 1.8 1.8
King Cottage 70 4.3 1.43
King Geneva 27 4.9 2.41
King Langlois 51 6.3 3.75
King Margaret 55 3.1 1.36
King North 12 3.5 3.50
King Pine 75 5.1 3.07
King Steel 23 4.7 4.13
King Walker 33 5.4 4.18
Kitsap Buck 16 3.4 1.4
Kitsap Horseshoe (Kit) 49 6.0 3.0
Kitsap Mission 39 6.5 4.1
Kitsap Panther 40 5.6 4.6
Kitsap Wildcat 65 3.9 2.8
Kitsap Wye 31 4.3 3.9
Klickitat Rowland 47 5.36 2.21
Klickitat Spearfish 30 3.87 2.93
Klickitat Horsethief 36 3.89 3.28
Lewis Plummer 28 2.82 1.32
Lewis Ft. Borst Pk.Pd. 291 1.34 0.95
Lewis Carlisle 33 13.06 0.82
Lewis Mineral 87 8.07 3.11
Lincoln Fish Trap 27 4.4 3.00
Mason Aldrich Lake 7 6.9 3.9
Mason Benson 36 4.8 3.7
Mason Clara 13 5.3 4.4
Mason Devereaux 36 4.1 2.8
Mason Haven Lake 10 13.7 3.2
Mason Howell Lake 18 5.0 4.2
Mason Limerick 22 4.0 2.7
Mason Phillips Lake 28 6.8 4.8
Mason Robbins Lake 15 4.7 3.8
Mason Stump 39 1.6 1.4
Mason Tiger Lake 70 4.5 3.5
Mason Wildberry Lake 1 7.0 3.0
Mason Wood Lake 6 3.5 2.7
Mason Wooten Lake 49 3.8 3.5
Okanogan Alta 95 3.8 2.80
Okanogan Fish 45 2.9 2.07
Okanogan Wannacut 15 3.4 3.40
Okanogan Pearrygin 59 1.4 1.27
Okanogan Conconully Res. 40 2.0 2.00
Okanogan Conconully Lake 51 0.8 0.84
Pacific Black 32 1.66 1.34
Pend Oreille Diamond Lake 44 3.5 1.68
Pierce Bay 114 4.65 3.82
Pierce Carney 27 4.78 1.89
Pierce Clear 41 5.88 3.41
Pierce Jackson 4 2.50 2.50
Pierce Ohop 55 2.67 2.29
Pierce Rapjohn 29 3.34 3.07
Pierce Silver 38 1.89 1.55
Pierce Tanwax 49 3.71 2.82
Skagit Heart 112 4.1 2.95
Skagit McMurray 65 3.9 3.06
Skagit Sixteen 56 4.0 2.96
Skamania Swift Reservoir 40 3.30 2.25
Skamania Kidney 42 3.52 2.17
Snohomish Armstrong 26 1.5 0.58
Snohomish Bosworth 31 3.9 3.23
Snohomish Crabapple 16 4.3 2.13
Snohomish Ki 76 2.8 1.47
Snohomish Martha (AM) 46 3.3 2.02
Snohomish Riley 72 4.4 2.72
Snohomish Serene 18 6.2 2.56
Snohomish Stickney 11 6.3 1.73
Snohomish Storm 53 3.4 2.47
Snohomish Wagner 10 6.5 1.10
Spokane Badger 28 2.5 2.40
Spokane Williams 61 5.5 3.90
Spokane Fish Lake 49 3.3 2.00
Spokane West Medical 88 4.6 3.10
Spokane Clear Lake 37 3.4 2.10
Stevens Cedar Lake 25 4.4 3.28
Stevens Mudgett Lake 22 4.2 4.14
Stevens Rocky Lake 17 2.8 2.71
Stevens Starvation Lake 19 3.7 3.68
Stevens Waitts Lake 28 7.0 2.68
Thurston Clear 88 5.18 3.81
Thurston Deep 62 1.92 1.81
Thurston Hicks 35 2.74 2.06
Thurston Long 46 5.09 3.98
Thurston McIntosh 84 3.85 2.96
Thurston Pattison 36 3.03 1.47
Thurston Summit 65 5.55 4.05
Thurston Ward 39 4.56 2.15
Whatcom Cain 42 6.4 3.81
Whatcom Padden 58 4.8 3.88
Whatcom Silver 132 4.9 3.04
Whatcom Toad 65 7.6 3.34
TOTALS 5129 3.99 2.60

Two Human West Nile Virus Infections Reported in Washington

“We’re glad fewer people were infected with the virus so far this season,” said Deputy Secretary Gregg Grunenfelder. “West Nile virus is unpredictable and we’re not exactly sure why we had a lighter season this year compared to previous years, but it’s a relief to see cases drop.”

Two dead birds collected in Grant County tested positive for West Nile this year. Nearly 130 mosquito samples collected in Grant, Yakima, and Benton counties tested positive. No horses tested positive for the virus in our state during the 2010 season.

Although West Nile activity was considerably less this year than in recent years, that doesn’t mean the risk is over in future seasons. West Nile virus causes illness in birds but can also be spread to people, horses, and other animals by infected mosquitoes. Case counts and the number of positive mosquito samples can be unpredictable from season to season. Infection can be very serious for some people. The best way to reduce the chance of infection is to avoid mosquito bites and reduce mosquito habitat around your home.

Local and state health agencies, mosquito control districts, and others work to battle West Nile virus in Washington. More information about West Nile virus (www.doh.wa.gov/wnv) as a reportable condition (www.doh.wa.gov/notify/nc/wnv.htm) is available on the Department of Health website.

Two Birds in Grant County Test Positive For First West Nile Virus in State

West Nile virus is unpredictable and there’s no way to know how much activity will be seen in a given year. Last year was the state’s most active with 38 human infection cases including the first death from the virus. It was also detected in numerous dead birds, horses, and mosquito samples.

“We haven’t seen West Nile activity as strong this year as we have in previous years, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods,” said Gregg Grunenfelder, environmental health division assistant secretary for the Department of Health. “Mosquitoes are still out there so it’s important people continue to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.”

While it’s getting late in the mosquito season, people should continue to protect themselves against West Nile (www.doh.wa.gov/wnv) by avoiding mosquito bites, at least until the first cold snap that reduces the mosquito populations. Start preparing for the off-season by removing standing water around your home. Clean out gutters, keep water fresh in birdbaths and pet dishes, and fix leaky outdoor sprinklers and faucets.

As hunting seasons get under way, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends hunters follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines (www.cdc.gov/Features/HuntingSafety) to avoid diseases transmitted from animals to people. That includes wearing gloves while handling game, safely field-dressing game, and using proper cooking and storage procedures. This time of year, hunters should also take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

The state Department of Health encourages people to report dead birds through October using the online dead bird reporting system (www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/Zoo/WNV/reportdeadbird.html).

West Nile virus confirmed in Benton County Mosquito Control District

Environmental monitoring for West Nile virus, which includes testing mosquito samples and dead birds, is underway across the state. On the heels of our state’s busiest year for West Nile virus cases, state health officials agree it’s important that people protect themselves.

“Wear sleeves and long pants, and cover exposed skin with an effective repellent to avoid mosquito bites,” said Gregg Grunenfelder, of the state Department of Health. “This latest detection, coming just days after mosquitoes collected in Grant County tested positive, leaves no doubt that the West Nile virus season is here.”

A second West Nile virus positive mosquito sample from Grant County has also been reported this week. While there have been no human infections detected in Washington yet this year, there were 38 reported in 2009, including one death; all of the human exposures were in eastern Washington or out of state. Last year, West Nile virus was also detected in 22 dead birds, 346 mosquito samples, 72 horses, and a dog.

People can report dead birds (www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/Zoo/WNV) using the state health department’s dead bird reporting system or by contacting their local health agency (www.doh.wa.gov/LHJMap/LHJMap.htm).

For some people, West Nile virus infection can be very serious, and even fatal. Some people may develop meningitis or encephalitis; some neurological effects may be permanent. The majority of people bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus won’t become ill, yet some may have mild symptoms including headache and fever that go away without treatment. People over 50 and those with weak immune systems are at higher risk for serious illness.

Additional mosquito bite prevention tactics (www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/Zoo/WNV/WNVQA.html) are available online.

Recorded audio quotes on West Nile virus prevention (http://www.doh.wa.gov/NewsRoom) are available on the Department of Health

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

Grant County Mosquito Control District #1 has been monitoring for the virus since early spring and spraying in areas with high mosquito populations. The district plans to continue spraying for mosquitoes this week. Call 509-765-7731 for information about the spraying schedule.

Last year in the state, West Nile virus was detected in 22 dead birds, one dog, 346 mosquito samples, and 72 horses. Half of the infected horses died or were euthanized. Contact a veterinarian to learn about horse vaccines; it’s not too late to vaccinate horses against West Nile. There were also 38 human cases reported including one death in 2009, with all exposures in Eastern Washington or out of state.

The best strategy against diseases transmitted by mosquitoes is to use bug repellant and wear long pants and sleeves outdoors when mosquitoes are active. Stop mosquitoes in their tracks by getting rid of standing water that collects around your home. Dump water in wading pools, tires, or old flower pots. Change water in pet dishes and bird baths at least once a week; twice a week is preferred. Keep screens in working order to keep mosquitoes from getting inside the home.

For some people, West Nile infection can be very serious, and even fatal. Some people may develop meningitis or encephalitis; some neurological effects may be permanent. The majority of people bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus won’t become ill, yet some may have mild symptoms including headache and fever that go away without treatment. People over 50 and those with weak immune systems are at higher risk for serious illness.

Record coho returns boost Columbia River restoration

The rise in adult coho returning past seven or more mainstem Columbia dams to spawn this winter in upriver tributaries exceeds all expectations, said Tom Scribner, the Yakama Nation’s project leader. While most of the returning fish came from hatcheries, an expanding share comes from natural spawning that biologists hope will resurrect self-sustaining wild stocks.

The return of spawning coho to the upper Columbia reflects the success of a pioneering reintroduction strategy that no one had attempted before. The program is funded by BPA, Chelan County Public Utility District, Grant County Public Utility District and NOAA-Fisheries.

Biologists began rekindling the upriver runs in the 1990s with hatchery-bred fish from the lower Columbia, since no local coho adapted to the upper Columbia were left. Some wondered whether lower river fish, after many generations in hatcheries, could rebuild runs that would have to migrate hundreds of miles farther up the Columbia, past several major dams.

“There was a question whether it was really possible to do this so far above the dams,” said Roy Beaty, BPA’s project manager for upper Columbia coho restoration. “We really didn’t know whether the fish could swim that far.”

Coho returns past Rock Island Dam on Columbia River
Coho returns past Rock Island Dam on the Columbia River near Wenatchee, Wash.
BPA

Irrigation diversions and development wiped out some 90 percent of native coho from the middle and upper Columbia during the late 1800s. A remnant population hung on but largely vanished by about 1980. Upriver coho did not receive protection under the Endangered Species Act, since none were left to protect.

“Coho are a kind of Rodney Dangerfield of the Columbia River anadromous fish world – they don’t get much respect,” said Nancy Weintraub, a BPA project manager who works on coho. “It’s great to see them succeed.”

BPA now funds the coho restoration program through the Columbia River Fish Accords and is completing an environmental impact statement assessing the construction and long-term operation of program facilities.

BPA is a not-for-profit federal electric utility that operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.  It also markets more than a third of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest. The power is produced at 31 federal dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and one nuclear plant in the Northwest and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities.  BPA purchases power from seven wind projects and has more than 2,300 megawatts of wind interconnected to its transmission system

Gov. Gregoire announces certification for 138 transportation projects

Infrastructure project certifications enable the governor to confirm to the federal government that construction projects ― roads, water systems and others ― have received the review required by law and represent an appropriate investment of taxpayer dollars.

Washington expects to receive more than $4.5 billion from the federal stimulus package that will be used to modernize Washington’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, increase access to health care and provide tax relief. The White House estimates the package will sustain or create nearly 75,000 jobs in Washington state.

In addition to the certification of the 138 transportation projects, the governor announced that the Federal Aviation Administration has provided stimulus funds to four Washington airports:

-Bellingham International Airport ($800,000)
-Paine Field in Snohomish County ($11.3 million)
-Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake ($2 million)
-Pangborn in Wenatchee ($1 million)

Gregoire also announced that $38 million in economic stimulus funds will be distributed soon to make improvements to Washington’s water systems. To see the list of projects under consideration, visit: http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/dw/draft_list.pdf.

To date, the state has distributed approximately $177 million of its federal economic stimulus money, most in Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding.

Washington state is administering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability. Gregoire created a new Web site, www.recovery.wa.gov, so every Washingtonian can see where tax dollars are going and hold government accountable for the results. On the federal level, President Obama has appointed Vice President Biden to oversee all states’ recovery efforts and to root out waste and fraud. This combined oversight will ensure taxpayer dollars are put to good use and recharge the economy.