Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Presentation to
the Corinthian Yacht Club

Sonia Hurt and I were invited to the Corinthian Yacht Club in November and we shared information about the Shore Stewards program, invasive tunicates and how to get involved in monitoring efforts, marine sewage, and non-toxic products.

I asked some questions about marine sewage and learned a lot. I learned that boaters are often reluctant to use the pump-out stations because they are inconveniently located. Several participants said that the best places for pump-outs are either by fueling stations or along their route to or from the marine. I also learned that very unpleasant experiences with portable pump-outs are not uncommon. Wow, that would turn you off! I was reminded of how important it is to most people that good choices are also convenient choices.

Sonia did a great job talking about the effects of a common surfactant in cleaning supplies and had wonderful give away samples of non-toxic boating products for the participants. It was the highlight of the presentation! The cleaning supplies were developed by West Marine in cooperation with the EPA’s Design for the Environment program, which has been instrumental in developing numerous non-toxic products. If you would like to see their list of non-toxic products you can visit the EPA’s website: http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/projects/formulat/formpart.htm

If you want to learn about non-toxic boating products, I recommend talking to Sonia at West Marine!

Mt. Baker Marathon Movie

David Lowrance is an award winning local film-maker who is currently working on a documentary about the 1911 race to Mt Baker - a sort of forerunner to the current Ski-to-Sea race. He’s become intrigued by the shrinking of glaciers which played a key role in the race route, and this has him more broadly intrigued by changes in the land between then and now. He’s interested in creating a documentary short that would tell a story about the land and to create a compendium of resources (a companion DVD or website) for people who want to learn more/and or take action to protect the landscape. Right now he’s looking for compelling stories and people/places/things to film.

This documentary on the 1911 Bay to Baker race will likely have enduring appeal because there will always be history buffs and there will always (I hope) be Ski-to-Sea enthusiasts. I see a neat opportunity here to get information and stewardship messages out beyond the choir. Do any of you have any ideas for David?

You can also learn more about David’s work by following the links below.
"SHIPYARD": http://bellinghamshipyards.com/Home.html
"The Mountain Runners” An upcoming film now in production about the Mt. Baker Marathon Race of 1911: http://themountainrunners.com
Website: http://familyhistoryvideos.com/FHV/Documentaries.html
Email: familyhistoryvideos@comcast.net

Rain Garden Outreach – The Precipitators
Bob Hendricks has been making fantastic connections for our Rain Garden outreach project. We presented to the Lynden Museum Docents group last week and we have presentations to the Birchwood Garden Club and the 42nd District Democrats coming up with still more presentations in the works. Thanks Bob!

Eelgrass Anchor Out Zone
Keats Garman has been instrumental in researching the impacts of boaters on eelgrass beds in the South Bellingham area and promoting the idea of a voluntary anchor out zone. A volunteer with RE Sources surveyed the area and documented the anchoring locations of boaters in the Boulevard Park area and the DNR supplied maps of the area eelgrass beds. Jeanne Bogert has offered to create an artistic sign highlighting the value of eelgrass beds and encouraging boaters to voluntarily anchor outside of eelgrass areas.

Thank you Keats for getting Beach Watchers, RE Sources, the MRC and the City of Bellingham together on this great idea!

Lummi Island Watershed Enhancement Committee
Ferry Landing Shoreline Restoration

Wanda Cucinotta’s wonderful work on the Lummi Island Ferry Landing is wrapping up. Here is some of what she has to say about the project:

“Surprisingly, much of our community education success came from over 300 [emphasis mine] one on one personal contacts with Lummi Islanders and visitors during our highly visible shoreline enhancement work which included community volunteers planting native vegetation along the ferry landing . . .
  • We made 3 wooden hand painted signs: 1 Shoreline Restoration volunteer recruiting sign, 2 project informational signs. Displayed at the ferry landing.
  • Community volunteers who worked at the ferry landing took personal ownership of our restoration work and became good stewards of the public areas around the ferry landing. . .
  • We included Beach Elementary School Kids and the Island Girl Scouts where possible. . . We taught the Girls Scouts about the importance of water quality through videos, programs and hands on work.
  • We spent many hours marketing our project and educating our community about shoreline stewardship. We had educational booths at community events: farmer’s market, Reef-Net festival, Civic Club plant sale. And certified 32 more Island Shore Stewards through the Washington state University Beach Watcher Program . . .
  • We co-organized The Blue Thumb Workshop with the WSU Extension Shore Stewards Program. It was held at the Lummi Island Grange Hall on 9//27/08. We had over 42 attendants!”
Wanda has been a Lummi Island environmental champion and has nurtured her connections on the Island for years. She credits her Watershed Master/Beach Watchers experience with giving her greater legitimacy in the eyes of her neighbors on the Island. And she has clearly leveraged that legitimacy to tremendous effect!

To see some photos of the project, learn more about it, and give Wanda some kudos, please visit her Lummi Island Watershed Enhancement Blog at: http://liwec.wordpress.com/

Spartina News

Spartina is found in Whatcom County again! People for Puget Sound conducted a Spartina survey again in this year and – Bingo! – they found the wicked weed. Attached to your email there's a map showing the results of their survey. It's the same as the map below but legible.

To refresh yourself on what to look for when you’re out on the beach, check out their Spartina fact sheets here: http://cmnbc.ca/files/atlas_files/SpartinaIDguide.pdf

Marine Mammal Stranding Network
Rose Lavoie has become immersed in the Marine Mammal Stranding Network with roles including Director of Volunteers and webmaster! In her spare time she keeps a blog. You can catch a glimpse of several Beach Watchers, including Rose, in this Wolf Hollow seal release video. Check it out.

Meanwhile, Bob Ryerson has taken on a new role as Director of Education.

Nice work, you two!

But Wait There's More!
As always there are just tons of great informational resources out there. These are mostly if not all from Heather Mackay:

Smart, Cheap Stormwater Fixes

Big Profit from Nature Protection

Read the full report here:

Conversation with James Workman, “The Heart of Dryness.”
I found this fascinating. Heather writes, “James Workman is a water management and water policy person, and much of the book is actually about collaborative community-based water conservation and management strategies amongst the Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana. This in itself is interesting, especially if you know the area at all. However, in the interview he also discusses how what he learned has relevance for water policy and water allocation at local level in the US, and you might find his comments interesting and relevant for us here in Whatcom County. The interview is on the KUOW program “The Conversation”, about 15 minutes into the program itself so you will need to fast forward through the podcast, which is at http://www.kuow.org/podcast/Conversation20091030.mp3

A Safe Operating Space for Humanity
A way to look at sustainability from a global perspective. The graphic alone is worthwhile. Heather writes, “Figure 1 is popping up everywhere at the moment.”

Seagrasses to Salt Marshes Among Most Cost Effective Carbon Capture and Storage Systems on Planet.

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