Critical coastal estuaries could face devastating consequences for birds if the oil industry is successful in expanding its operations in Grays Harbor in Washington state—a site visited by hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds every year. Now, officials in one local city are deciding whether to allow the development of a new oil terminal that would transport 750 million gallons of toxic crude through the Grays Harbor estuary, most of it for export to China. Our birds rely on this Pacific coast estuary to rest and refuel during migration. One oil spill would devastate this fragile marine ecosystem.
Tell city officials to reject the Westway oil terminal. The permit decision could be made as soon as this Friday, October 7.
Located on Washington’s outer coast, Grays Harbor is a critical spring migration stop-over site for Red Knots in the Pacific Flyway. The Red Knot uses the North Bay of Grays Harbor almost exclusively during the month of May to feed on rich marine food sources before flying non-stop to northwestern Alaska and Wrangel Island, Russia to nest and raise their young.
The proposed Westway oil terminal has a tank capacity greater than the Exxon Valdez and is upstream from the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. The strong tidal flows in the harbor will carry any sizable spill onto the Refuge’s mudflat, smothering and poisoning the invertebrates that shorebirds need to fuel their migration. One oil spill or accident could wipe out a significant portion of the Red Knot population in the Pacific Flyway.
City officials are making their decision right now. Don’t let them put our vital coastal habitat at risk from a devastating oil spill.
The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has recommended an uplisting of the Marbled Murrelet--from threatened to endangered--and is soliciting public comment. The 2016 Status Review can be viewed on the WDFW website.
The Marbled Murrelet population has declined 44 percent over the past 15 years in Washington State. Population declines have been occurring throughout the species' entire range--from Alaska to California. Every conservation tool is needed to save this species from extinction. Wildlife biologists believe the Marbled Murrelet could become extirpated in Washington within the next several decades if solutions aren't found to address threats to this species.
More information on uplisting the Marbled Murrelet and Washington State’s plans for conservation of its habitat can be found on page 5 of our newsletter, The Whistler (pdf)
The uplisting is strongly supported by the National Audubon Society, Audubon Washington, Black Hills Audubon Society (Olympia), Willapa Hills Audubon Society, the Murrelet Survival Project (a coalition of conservation groups including Seattle Audubon, Conservation Northwest, Washington Environmental Council, Sierra Club, Olympic Forest Coalition, and the Washington Forest Law Center).
Written comments on the reviews and recommendations can be submitted by Oct. 10,
The Vaux's Swifts are still coming through Rainier on their southbound migration, roosting at night in the chimney of Carpet One. Linda Jennings counted 1,026 on Sunday evening; Darrel Whipple counted 1,070 last night.
We are declaring a WHAS field trip to Carpet One this Saturday, Sept.10. Meet at the front steps of Rainier City Hall (Highway 30 and First Street) at 7 pm. Binocs and camera are optional. The swirling and funneling into the chimney will likely begin a few minutes after sunset; enjoy the spectacle. The wee birds should all be in bed by 8 pm.
The Fall 2016 Whistler is available now.
Read more of its content:
Russ Koppendrayer's take:
As is fairly typical of the July - August period we added only a few species, primarily regular species that we had missed earlier and some that we find most years, but also sometimes miss.
Coming up is that late fall and early winter season which can be most productive for vagrants that have never been encountered in the county before or only once or twice. Many times these are young birds that get their migration route a little confused.
Let's get out there and enjoy the movement of the birds.
Download the pdf file here.
For most nature lovers, spotting a bald eagle is a conversation-halting moment. Without fail, everyone falls silent to watch the magnificent bird soar, swoop, or simply reign over a towering tree.
WHEN: Wednesday, August 31st at 12:30 PM, celebratory cake to follow
WHERE: Willow Grove Park, Willow Grove Rd., Longview, WA 98632
Note: the closest parking lot to the release site is the one just after the boat launch parking lot. Please keep your eyes open for signs and volunteers providing directions.
Linda Jennings reported that on Saturday, August 13, 259 Vaux's Swifts roosted in the chimney of Carpet One in Rainier, across highway 30 from the City Hall. And on Monday, August 15, she counted 374 using the chimney.
People wishing to check out this phenomenon for themselves will have the best chance from half an hour before sunset until half an hour after sunset. (The southward migration of the swifts from all over the Northwest usually starts in September, affording us more opportunities to view hundreds of them entering the chimney.) You can park along Highway 30 or along A Street, or in parking lots nearby.
The Summer 2016 Whistler is available now.
Read more of its content:
Since 2011 Willapa Hills Audubon Society and other Audubon chapters have been working to oppose the coal export terminal in Longview. This facility has been proposed by Millenium Bulk for the former Reynolds Aluminum site on the Columbia River. Thousands turned out for the scoping hearings in 2013, and we need even more support at the hearings for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which was published April 29, 2016.
Public Hearings will be held:
For a summary of information on the proposed coal terminal, see http://tdn.com/news/local/study-finds-coal-terminal-would-have-significant-affects-on-environment/article_d46b28e6-3859-5d0a-bf42-acd61188eac5.html
Comments on the DEIS will be accepted until June 13, 2016. You can read all 3300 pages here: http://www.millenniumbulkeiswa.gov.
Reading this huge document is daunting! Instead come to a workshop to learn what’s in the DEIS and how you can send in comments or participate in a hearing.
Workshops, sponsored by Columbia Riverkeeper, will be:
Monday, May 9, from 6 -8 pm, Cowlitz PUD, 961 12th Ave, Longview, WA 98632
Wednesday, May 18, from 1 – 3 pm, No Coal Field office, 1520 Commerce Ave. Suite A, Longview, WA 98632
Saturday, May 21, from 3 to 5 pm, No Coal Field office, 1520 Commerce Ave. Suite A, Longview, WA 98632
A preliminary summary of the DEIS can be found at http://columbiariverkeeper.org/top-stories/millennium-summary/ and updates will be posted to the Columbia Riverkeeper website.