U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to Review Northern Spotted Owl Endangered Species Act Status

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is commencing an evaluation of the status of the northern spotted owl, as required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
This review is the result of a petition to change the status of the owl from threatened to endangered. The review will also serve as the five-year review of the species as required under the ESA, and which was last completed in 2011. A five-year status review evaluates whether a federally protected species should remain listed, or if it meets the criteria for reclassification.

A petition from the Environmental Protection Information Center requested the northern spotted owl be reclassified from threatened to endangered under the ESA. The ensuing 90-day finding, which will publish in the Federal Register on April 10, determined the petition included substantial information that warrants further review, which automatically triggers a 12-month species review  The Service will not make any finding as to whether the status of the species has changed until after that review.

The population of the northern spotted owl, which is currently listed as threatened, is declining across most of the species’ range. The most recent available data on the owl report a 2.9 percent range-wide population decline per year, although declines as high as 5.9 percent per year have been observed in some areas.

The two main threats to the survival of the northern spotted owl are habitat loss and competition from barred owls.  Barred owls have spread westward, encroaching on spotted owl territories and out-competing them. While the Northwest Forest Plan has helped reduce habitat loss on federal lands since 1994, the threat from barred owls has intensified. Preliminary results from an experiment testing the effects of removing barred owls from select areas of northern spotted owl habitat show promise in benefitting northern spotted owls and will help inform this review.

“The best tools we have to prevent spotted owls from going extinct are continued habitat protection and barred owl management, both of which are recommended in the recovery plan,” said Paul Henson, Oregon State Supervisor for the Service. “On a positive note, the experimental removal of barred owls is showing real promise, with early reports indicating that spotted owl populations rebound when barred owl populations are reduced. Our review of the spotted owl will tell us whether current efforts to address threats are sufficient.”

The Service will use the best available scientific and commercial information, including data from the barred owl removal experiment, in the review. To assist in the review, the Service is requesting input from the public and scientific community, including information on biology, possible threats, population trends and habitat conditions for the species. Information can be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, or by U.S. mail or hand delivery at Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R1–ES–2014–0061, Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Va. 22041-3803.

For more information on the northern spotted owl, visit http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=B08B.

U.S. Marshall Task Force ends Northwest bank robbers spree

The United States Marshall Service has arrested a man wanted for a string of bank robberies in Southwestern Washington and Oregon. Acting United States Marshal David Miller said Anthony James Martinis was wanted by the Longview Washington Police Department on a felony arrest warrant issued out of Cowlitz County, WA for Robbery in the First Degree filed on October 8, 2014.
Over a 30 day period, from September 17 to October 17, 2014, Martinis is alleged to have robbed 6 banks in Washington and Oregon. On October 9, 2014 the Longview Police Department requested assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force (PNVOTF) in locating and arresting Martinis. The PNVOTF developed information that Martinis was located at a motel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. On November 3, 2014 at approximately 2:30 pm PST, members of the U.S. Marshals Service Oklahoma City Metro Fugitive Task Force captured Martinis as he left the motel putting an end to his alleged crime spree.
The Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force is a U.S. Marshals-sponsored partnership comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement officers from Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
The primary mission of United States Marshals led Task Forces is to leverage our relationships with federal, state, local, and international law enforcement agencies to locate, arrest, and return to the justice system the most violent, most egregious federal and state fugitives.

Hoquiam credit union receives coveted Northwest award

Left to Right: Photo (L-R) Denise Gabel, COO, Northwest Credit Union Association Richard Hein, CEO, OSU Federal Credit Union (2013 winner)   Ynette Gibbs, CEO, Newrizons Federal Credit Union Troy Stang, CEO, Northwest Credit Union Association
Left to Right:
Photo (L-R)
Denise Gabel, COO, Northwest Credit Union Association
Richard Hein, CEO, OSU Federal Credit Union (2013 winner)
Ynette Gibbs, CEO, Newrizons Federal Credit Union
Troy Stang, CEO, Northwest Credit Union Association

Newrizons Federal Credit Union located in Hoquiam for nearly 50 years was recently awarded the highly competitive 2014 Credit Union Innovation and Impact award by the Northwest Credit Union Association. “This is like getting an Oscar. It’s a very big deal,” said Ynette Gibbs, CEO. “Of all the great work that credit unions do in Washington and Oregon, Newrizons was chosen for what we naturally do in Grays Harbor County.” What they do is amazing according to those who know Newrizons. Last year their IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program returned over $600,000 in tax refunds to 375 Grays Harbor low-and-moderate income families for free.

Newrizons started GHC IDA raising $75,000 in community funds and receiving a $75,000 federal grant.This program rewards savers with $1 of federal and $1 of community for every $1 they save for first time home ownership, college or trade school. “People work for this, stick to a savings plan for at least 6 months and take financial education.” Another reason why Newrizons received the innovation and impact award is their homegrown credit and financial counseling program. Newrizons’ 3 full-time, certified financial counselors help Grays Harbor County residents rebuild poor credit and pay collections or garnishments.

Ynette credits the Newrizons’ team who work confidentially one-on-one to jointly build realistic and manageable plans paying old and current bills in a way that really works. People increase their credit score an average of 62 points in just 6 months. Sometimes this includes negotiating settlements or debt consolidation loans but the real secret is the ongoing support for new choices achieving what at first feels impossible.

Newrizons, located at 120 Firman Street in Hoquiam, is a US Treasury-certified, community-development financial institution dedicated to the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People”.

Anglers, beachcombers asked to watch for transponders from Japan

Some transponders have reportedly been washing up along the WA Coast. The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency reports these floating instruments are about the size of a 2-liter soda bottle and were set in the ocean from different ports off Japan in 2011-12 after the massive Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Researchers from Tattori University for Environmental Studies in Japan have been collaborating with Oregon State University, Oregon Sea Grant, and the NOAA Marine Debris Program on the project.

Persons who find a transponder are asked to photograph it if possible, and report the location of their find to Chan at Samuel.Chan@oregonstate.edu ; or to the NOAA Marine Debris Program regional coordinator in their area at http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/contact-us . They will provide shipping instructions to persons who find the transponders so that the instruments can be returned to the research team.

More information available at:http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2014/sep/anglers-beachcombers-asked-keep-eye-out-transponders-japan

New to be artwork unveiled at Hoquiam Timberland Library

On Wednesday, October 15, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Hoquiam Timberland Library, artist Jenny Fisher will unveil her latest work – two large murals depicting many of the most beloved icons from children’s and teen literature.

 

Library staff members anticipate a large turnout for the public unveiling and members of the Friends of the Hoquiam Timberland Library, who commissioned and paid for the murals, will be present to celebrate the occasion.

 

Each mural measures 87 by 72 inches and is installed on either side of the Library’s signature stained glass windows, forming a wall of color and fantasy.

 

“This is what I know,” writes Jenny Fisher, “I have been an artist since … 6th grade … and an avid reader since 4th grade when a librarian toured me around the school library. These two identities have enriched my life.”

 

A native of California, Fisher attended college in her home state and in Oregon, majoring in art.  She has lived in Grays Harbor since 1985, establishing herself as a mural artist through Washington State’s 1989 Bicentennial mural project.  Since that time, Fisher has painted numerous public murals in Grays Harbor County.

 

“Through my own childhood, my children’s childhood, and now my grandchildren’s, I have experienced many delightful authors and artists in the children’s section of the library,” Fisher reminisced.  “Of the books depicted on these panels,” she continued, “my favorites include To Kill a Mockingbird, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Jungle Book, Peter Rabbit, Bread and Jam For Francis, The Golden Compass, and Charlotte’s Web … I could have painted on and on.”

 

All programs at Timberland Regional Libraries are free and open to the public.

 

The Hoquiam Timberland Library is located at 420 7th Street. For information, contact the library at (360) 532-1710 or visit www.TRL.org.

Race the Wave 5K fun run/walk to practice tsunami evacuation routes

September is National Preparedness Month and Pacific Northwest coastal communities are leading by example. Cannon Beach, Oregon will host Race the Wave, their first hazard-themed fun run designed to blend awareness and action into a single activity.

Race the Wave is a 5k tsunami fun run/walk that follows an actual tsunami evacuation route in Cannon Beach.  On September 28, participants will learn about earthquake and tsunami hazards so they can make informed decisions and take actions to be better prepared, creating a more resilient community. The race route begins on the beach and finishes at the higher ground of one of the community’s evacuation meeting points, where Cannon Beach will host a preparedness fair with interactive booths for all to learn more about how to prepare for emergencies and disasters.

Cannon Beach, OR is a community long committed to ensuring its citizens and visitors are prepared for a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. Race the Wave uses the National Preparedness month themes of being disaster aware and taking action to prepare and makes those themes relevant for their community.

  • Know the Plan: Make a plan with your family about where you will meet. Know if you need to pick your kids up from school. Know where you need to go and what to bring with you.
  • Take the Route: Become familiar with signage in your area. Learn the evacuation route from where you live, work, and play. Evacuate on foot and avoid traveling by car if possible.
  • Race the Wave: Natural warnings are the best sign of a tsunami. If you feel the ground shaking, move quickly inland or to a higher elevation. Listen to the radio to learn of tsunami warnings originating from non-local causes.

The Community of Cannon Beach, Clatsop County Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), Oregon Office on Disability & Health at Oregon Health & Science University and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region X office are coming together to support Race the Wave.

FEMA is encouraging everyone to take steps to become better prepared for an emergency. Whether it’s at home, at work, at school, or in the community, there’s a lot that you can do to be ready and help others be ready too.  This September, take time to get disaster prepared and take action to prepare.

For more information and to participate in Race the Wave visit the community Facebook page.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Humpback whale washes ashore on Grayland beach

A 30 foot humpback whale washed ashore in Grayland over the weekend. Kathryn Myrsell with the Westport Aquarium tells us it appears to have been dead for at least a week, and had lacerations on it’s tail. The way is washed ashore Sunday prevents them from telling if it’s male or female. Teams from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with Cascadia Research, performed a necropsy on the whale Monday morning.

Here is a photo of Kayla Bosarge and and intern from Fish and wildlife or Cascadia Research. Kayla Bosarge who graduated from Aberdeen, High School this June and who will be going to Oregon State College next year to study Marine Biology  Kayle got to help with the necropsy on a 30 foot humpback whale, Monday August 18th at about 11 am. This was Kayla's first whale necropsy.  The whale had been dead for probably about a week and just washed ashore in Grayland Sunday August 19th.
Here is a photo of Kayla Bosarge and and intern from Fish and wildlife or Cascadia Research. Kayla Bosarge who graduated from Aberdeen, High School this June and who will be going to Oregon State College next year to study Marine Biology
Kayle got to help with the necropsy on a 30 foot humpback whale, Monday August 18th at about 11 am. This was Kayla’s first whale necropsy. The whale had been dead for probably about a week and just washed ashore in Grayland Sunday August 19th.

Imperium Renewables returns to Umpqua Bank for expansion capitol

Imperium Renewables, Inc., a leader in next-generation biofuels, announced a new lending agreement with Umpqua Bank, a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation (UMPQ), that will provide Imperium with an additional $10 million in working capital to fuel its growth.

This modification of a 2012 agreement increases Imperium’s working capital from Umpqua to $20 million while maintaining the company’s revolving line of credit with the bank.

“Umpqua Bank’s knowledgeable team continues to find smart, flexible financing solutions that Imperium needs,” said John Plaza, president and CEO of Imperium Renewables. “These resources will help us continue to grow and diversify our operations in biodiesel production and sales.”

Seattle-based Imperium Renewables develops proprietary technology and processes to produce biodiesel, a clean-burning alternative fuel whose global demand is growing due to its environmental benefits, including lower carbon dioxide emissions. Its Imperium Grays Harbor facility can produce up to 100 million gallons of biodiesel annually. The additional working capital supplied by Umpqua will position Imperium to expand production and sales.

“Imperium Renewables is a proven leader in the industry, and is uniquely poised for further growth,” said Danielle Burd, Umpqua Bank’s executive vice president and director of client relations. “We’re pleased to expand this partnership – and to provide access to capital that allows them to diversify and grow.”

Imperium is committed to producing the highest-quality biodiesel, using sustainable and environmentally sound feedstocks. In lending to Imperium, Umpqua Bank demonstrates its commitment to help grow the region’s economy by finding financial solutions for local businesses.

About Imperium Renewables

Imperium Renewables is a global leader in next-generation biofuel production. Founded in 2004, the company is driven by a single goal – to fundamentally change the way we fuel transportation by developing and producing clean, renewable and sustainable alternative fuels. Imperium operates one of the nation’s largest BQ-9000®-certified biodiesel facilities, Imperium Grays Harbor in Hoquiam, Wash.

About Umpqua Bank

Umpqua Bank , headquartered in Roseburg, Ore., is a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, and has locations across Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California and Northern Nevada. Umpqua Bank has been recognized for its innovative customer experience and banking strategy by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and BusinessWeek, and named to FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” eight years in a row.

U.S. Coast Guard advises strong caution to beachgoers in the Pacific Northwest

Due to the recent number of fatalities the Coast Guard strongly cautions beachgoers to be aware of possible dangers to stay safe while enjoying the Oregon and Washington coasts.

During the past two months, the Coast Guard has responded to numerous reports of beachgoers swept out into the ocean along the Pacific Northwest coast. Since July 3, four of these cases have resulted in fatalities. These include a 10-year-old girl in Long Beach, Washington, July 3, a 53-year-old man in Seaside, Oregon, July 22, an 18-year-old man in Ocean Shores, Washington, July 26 and a 19-year-old man in Garibaldi, Oregon, Monday.

“In each instance, the people who got caught in the currents were visiting from out-of-town,” said Cmdr. Bill Gibbons, chief of response, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “Visitors are more likely to enter the water unaware of the unpredictable and extreme dangers posed by beach surf along the Pacific Northwest coast. In one instance, a victim was only in water up to his knees when he was knocked down by a wave and pulled out into the ocean.”

Beachgoers are reminded to always be aware of their surroundings. Water depths can change rapidly along the coastline and waves and rip currents can be very strong and unpredictable.

“The only way to avoid the risk is to avoid going in the water,” said Gibbons.  “At a minimum, people should never enter the water alone, children should never be allowed near the water unattended, and people who are near the edge of the surf line must be prepared for what many refer to as “sneaker waves” – disproportionately large and powerful coastal waves that can appear without warning.”

Additionally, since ocean temperatures in the Pacific Northwest remain around 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months, wet or dry suits are advisable during prolonged water exposure.

“Tragic experiences such as the ones over the last couple of months highlight the need for beachgoers to be fully aware of the dangers while enjoying their time along the coast,” said Capt. Daniel Travers, commander, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “Incidents like the aforementioned can be reduced by planning ahead, being aware of your surroundings and observing beach safety guidelines.”

For more information on general beach safety along the Pacific Northwest coast visit http://visittheoregoncoast.com/beach-safety/ and http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov.

“Pay It Forward” College Plan – One year later

SEATTLE – One year ago this week, a unique idea for sending people to college without student loans was embraced by the Oregon Legislature. The “Pay It Forward” plan was created here in Washington, and has piqued interest around the nation as policymakers look for ways to make higher education more affordable and reduce student debt.

Instead of paying tuition in advance, said John Burbank, executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, students agrees to pay a small percentage of their income after graduation for a fixed number of years into a fund so that other students also can go to college debt-free.

“From our point of view, creating that access for the next generation of students is very important,” he said, “and we believe that through Pay It Forward, we can build a community of intergenerational responsibility and inter-generational rights to higher education.”

Oregon lawmakers liked the idea well enough to pass it unanimously and form a workgroup that is creating recommendations for a pilot program. They’ll be presented to that state’s Legislature in September. Burbank said proponents will try again next year to make headway in the Washington Legislature.

Sami Alloy, a member of Oregon’s Pay it Forward Workgroup, said deciding on all the details of how a whole new system of college funding could work has been complex and challenging – but also exciting. 

“We’ve seen so many students, and parents and grandparents so interested in the passage of this proposal,” she said. “And we’ve seen a lot of grassroots advocacy from families all over the state to our legislators, to get this proposal moving on the ground.”

According to the Economic Opportunity Institute, seven out of 10 college students graduate with debt that averages almost $30,000. So far, 25 states are taking a closer look at the “Pay It Forward” model.