Pacific County Sheriff’s Marine Unit Assists Stranded Lacey Man

On April16th at approximately 5:30 PM, the Pacific County Communications Center received a call from a man that stated that he was stranded with his canoe and stuck in the mud. The caller reported that he was in the Palix River. The caller further advised that he had been returning from a day trip on the Palix River when he encountered swift winds and a decreasing tide.
The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office patrol vessel was launched and deputies searched the Palix River until they located the stranded man. Due to receding tides, deputies were forced to deploy rope to the stranded man stuck in the mud. The rope was secured to the canoe with the man in it and pulled to the Sheriff’s vessel. The man was somewhat wet but in otherwise good condition. The man and his canoe were transported back to the nearest boat launch and dropped off.

Craig Dublanko CCAP, and Joan Brewster Grays Harbor Public Health Department

Craig and Joan discuss campers living on private property along the Chehalis River in Aberdeen. Craig details “where we are now” with the city and the land owner. Joan details concerns for the health of the campers, and what the health department is looking for.

Joan talks about the county money set aside to address homelessness. Craig talks about some of the programs that CCAP has available to help those in need.

Owner given until June 1 to clean up “River Camp” in Aberdeen, campers asked to leave

Time is up for campers living on private property along the Chehalis River in Aberdeen. They are being asked to move out as the property owner works to clean up the site. Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson spoke yesterday with Code Compliance Officer Bill Sidor and owner Michael Lang, they decided that due to the rougher weather and softer ground they would give Lang until the 1st of June before enforcing a recent order to address unsafe conditions on the site. Simpson said the campers need to move along as soon as possible, as the property owner is tasked with the cleanup and has told city officials they do not want campers on the property.

The Code Compliance department last month served notices to vacate to the campers, and contacted property owners about the amount of trash that was piling up on vacant lots along the river.

Mayor Simpson, along with Sidor, and City Attorney Eric Nelson met with campers and advocates on Monday at the site of “River Camp.” Nelson said that even with the property owners approval – which they do not have, the city ordinance would have to change in order to allow camping on the property. “The last time we were down here was seven years ago. So tolerance is something that we have exercised. But we can’t legally permit, we can’t authorize, we can’t allow it because our laws don’t allow us to do that.”

Advocates have been trying to find some common ground – or even just some ground where the campers can live, but without a change to city code their hands are tied.

Natasha - River Camp residentListen to our entire interview with River Camp resident Natasha here.

 

Daytime closures over US 101 Chehalis River Bridge in Aberdeen modified

Drivers will be pleased to hear that previously announced short-duration daytime closures scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, April 15-16 on US 101 across the Chehalis River Bridge have been modified. No maintenance closures will occur on Wednesday, April 15. On Thursday, April 16, Washington State Department of Transportation bridge maintenance crews will close the exit to State Street and the right northbound lane of US 101 across the Chehalis River Bridge from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

These changes are in lieu of multiple daytime closures scheduled to occur each day through Thursday. Bridge crews were able to reduce the number of closures due to faster-than-projected progress on deep-cleaning the bridge’s areas that house moving mechanisms and gears that control openings for marine traffic.

Real-time traffic information is available on the Washington State Department of Transportation’s travel alerts web pages or by calling 5-1-1.

Wildlife Commission lists tufted puffins as state endangered species

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted new big game hunting rules for the upcoming season and an interim policy for Willapa Bay salmon fisheries during a public meeting April 9-10 in Tumwater.

The commission, a citizen panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also agreed to place tufted puffins on the state’s endangered species list and remove Steller sea lions from the state’s threatened list.

New hunting rules approved by the commission will expand hunting opportunities for virtually every big game species and gear type. New regulations will:

  • Add two more days to the modern firearm season for mule deer.
  • Shift archery elk season to start the Saturday after Labor Day to provide better opportunity for hunters in cooler weather.
  • Double the amount of spring bear permits available in northeast Washington.
  • Allow elk hunters using muzzleloaders to hunt in more game management units (GMUs).
  • Increase moose permits to 170 from 136 in the northeast part of the state, where moose populations are near an all-time high.

 

The commission did not adopt a proposal to restrict the use of bait when hunting for deer and elk. Instead, the commission directed WDFW to work with stakeholders to bring forward new options for consideration next year.

 

All of the hunting rules approved by the commission will be included in the 2015 Big Game Hunting pamphlet, which will be available later this spring on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/, in sporting goods stores, and at other license vendors throughout the state.

Tufted Puffin colony occupancyIn other business, the commission added tufted puffins to the state’s endangered species list to provide them with additional protection. Tufted puffins are native seabirds once considered common in parts of Washington. In recent decades, however, the population has significantly declined. WDFW will develop a plan outlining actions necessary for the species’ recovery in the state.

Steller sea lions, on the other hand, have rebounded in recent years, prompting the commission to remove the species from the state’s list of threatened species. The federal government has also delisted Steller sea lions. The species will remain as state protected wildlife and will still receive protection under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

After receiving a briefing from state fishery managers on a long-term salmon-management policy for Willapa Bay, the commission adopted an interim plan that will be in effect through 2015. The interim policy is designed to accelerate the recovery of natural-origin chinook salmon by reducing the incidental catch of wild fish while encouraging the harvest of hatchery chinook.

 

WDFW will work with stakeholders in the coming weeks to designate the 2015 salmon fishing dates in Willapa Bay, based on the new interim plan. The interim plan is posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/willapa_bay_salmon/.

The commission also took public comments on a proposal to reopen recreational fishing for flounder, sole and other flatfish – except halibut – in Quilcene Bay and the northern portion of Dabob Bay in Hood Canal. A separate public hearing was held on management of Columbia River sturgeon.

In other news, April’s meeting was attended by fishing columnist Dave Graybill and retired public health physician Kim Thorburn, who were appointed to the commission by the governor last month.

Comments sought on Ecology study addressing oil spills on the Chehalis River

A March 1 study on oil transport in Washington shows significant risks posed by the changing energy picture, and in particular by the growth of crude oil by rail.

In an effort to protect public health and the environment, the Washington Department of Ecology recently completed a draft contingency plan, outlining how responders would tackle an oil spill near the Chehalis River. The plan is available for public review and comment now through May 8, 2015.

The Chehalis River covers almost 120 miles as it winds through Thurston, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties. The draft plan includes 60 strategies meant to reduce damage to sensitive natural, cultural and economic resources during an oil spill.

The plan considers risks from oil trains, an oil pipeline and tanker trucks.  The Olympic Pipeline includes a 25-mile stretch that crosses several tributaries of the Chehalis River, while oil trains travel on tracks that also cross the Chehalis’ tributaries.

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“This plan covers the second-largest watershed in Washington,” said Kathy Taylor, acting program manager for Ecology’s Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response program. “With the rapid changes in oil transport, particularly with crude by rail, it’s important we have plans in place to protect our precious natural resources.”

The Chehalis River plan is one of eight geographic response plans Ecology aims to complete before June 30, using special funding the Washington Legislature dedicated to help our state prepare for oil spills.

Comments can be emailed to grps@ecy.wa.gov, or mailed to:

Washington Department of Ecology

Spill Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (MLCC-GRP)

P.O. Box 47600

Olympia, WA 98504-7600

Man charged with attempting to redirect Western Washington River

The Attorney General’s Office filed three misdemeanor charges today against a Tahuya man accused of using heavy machinery to fill and alter the course of the Tahuya River near his home without any permits.

William Cayo Sr. is charged in Mason County District Court with violation of the water pollution control act, violation of the shoreline management act, and conducting unpermitted hydraulic activities in connection with the alteration of the channel of the Tahuya River in early February 2013.

Continue reading Man charged with attempting to redirect Western Washington River

Fishing vessel crew saves 2 near Grays Harbor

The crew of a fishing vessel rescued two men from the water near buoy 24 in Grays Harbor, Washington, Sunday.

The men, one 72-year-old and one 53-year-old, both Tacoma residents, were safely transferred to a Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, and taken to the station where they were met by EMS personnel and treated for signs of hypothermia.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River watchstanders received a call from the fishermen at 11:49 a.m. reporting that they had rescued two men from the water near the Grays Harbor South Jetty.

The two men were aboard their 16-foot boat when a wave reportedly capsized them and they were thrown into the water. They were estimated to have been floating at sea for four to five hours while an incoming tide helped carry them into Grays Harbor where they were eventually rescued.

“The help and watchful lookout by the fishermen saved two men today,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Zariczny, an operations specialist and search and rescue coordinator at Sector Columbia River. “The life jackets the two boaters were wearing were vital in their rescue. However, without the help of the fishing vessel crew, we may never have known they were out there and in trouble.”

The Coast Guard encourages all boaters to have essential safety equipment on board their vessel, including life jackets, flares, and most importantly a way to call for help in an emergency. Having a VHF marine radio to call for help, or to be carrying an emergency position indicating radio beacon, is essential for letting someone know you need help.

Both men were treated and released by EMS personnel.

The exact position of the sunken vessel is unknown. Mariners are encouraged to keep a safe lookout for any hazards as they transit in and out of Grays Harbor. There are no reports of pollution from the sunken vessel.

Migratory fish return to Upper Elwha River for the first time in over a century

Thanks to a radiotracking program begun this spring, fisheries biologists confirmed yesterday that two radio tagged bull trout have migrated through Glines Canyon and are now upstream of the former Lake Mills in Rica Canyon.

Two other bull trout have also been detected above Glines Canyon, but were not located during the ground survey yesterday.  Biologists will use fixed-wing aircraft to conduct watershed-wide surveys this fall.

“To witness these first fish to migrate above Glines Canyon is both amazing and inspiring,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “We always knew the fish would return once the dams were removed – but these four fish passed through Glines Canyon even before the concrete was gone.”

Both of the fish currently in Rica Canyon were tagged earlier this summer at locations below the former Elwha dam site.

The radiotracking program is possible through partnerships with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Washington’s National Park Fund, allowing biologists to monitor the movements of radio-tagged salmonids in the Elwha River.

Each fish is equipped with a a uniquely coded radio transmitter that differentiates it from all other tagged fish. Radio signals from the tags are then detected by radio receivers and antennas.  Six telemetry stations were installed between the mouth of the river and just above the Glines Canyon dam site. These stations continually scan for and record data, documenting when individual fish pass by each station.  Biologists also manually track fish between Rica Canyon and the river mouth using handheld radio receivers and antennas

Eighty-seven anadromous fish have been radio-tagged so far.  Of that total, 13 bull trout, 2 winter steelhead, 5 Chinook and one sockeye salmon have been located above the old Elwha dam site.

More details on the migratory bull trout located above Glines Canyon yesterday.

  •      **  Fish #167 was captured and radiotagged on May 7 approximately 3.5 miles above the river’s mouth.  Before releasing the fish, biologists recorded its length as 19 inches.  This fish swam through the old Elwha dam site in late July and was detected above Glines Canyon in early August, before the last chunk of the dam was demolished on August 26.
  • ** Fish #200, measuring 20.5 inches, was radio-tagged on June 25 about a mile and a half upstream of the river’s mouth.  This fish swam past the Elwha dam site on July 20 and swam through Glines Canyon on August 24, just before the final blast.
  •      **  Bull trout are among the smallest of Pacific salmonids, and are federally listed as a threatened species.
  •      **  Rica Canyon is upstream of the former Lake Mills and begins about 2.5 miles above Glines Canyon.

Background and more information about the salmonid radiotracking program and Elwha River Restoration can be found at the Olympic National Park website: http://www.nps.gov/olym/naturescience/damremovalblog.htm

Coast Guard rescues two stranded boaters near Willapa Bay

A Coast Guard Air Station Astoria MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued two stranded boaters near Willapa Bay, Wash., Saturday.

The 67-year-old man and 57-year-old woman were safely transported to an airfield in Raymond, Wash., where they were met by local emergency medical services for evaluation.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River command center received the call for assistance via Pacific County Dispatch late Saturday night after the boaters reported their 12-foot aluminum skiff was aground on a mud flat. The two individuals became stuck in the mud after leaving their vessel to attempt to walk to shore prompting another 911 call. The command center watchstanders dispatched the Jayhawk crew to respond. Once on scene they hoisted the boaters aboard and departed to Raymond.

“This case illustrates the importance of having hoist capable helicopters in the Pacific Northwest,” said Mark Dobney a command duty officer at Sector Columbia River. “With the professionalism of our highly trained helicopter crews, along with aircraft capabilities, we were able to get these two boaters the help they needed in a timely manner.”