Monday, June 11, 2012

Hydro dam on the North Fork Snoqualmie?

Over the objections of the recreation and conservation community, including The Mountaineers, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a preliminary permit last fall for the proposed Black Canyon Hydroelectric Project that would construct a new dam  on the North Fork Snoqualmie River.

The river forms the border for the Department of Natural Resources Mt. Si Natural Resources Conservation Area that includes some of the best remaining intact old-growth riparian forest at low elevation in the western Cascades. The river section proposed for development has been found eligible and recommended for designation as a Wild and Scenic River by the U.S. Forest Service, and is identified as a protected area from hydropower development by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Finally, the lands along the river are protected by a conservation easement held by King County that specifically prohibits hydropower projects of the scale proposed. Despite these concerns, FERC concluded that these issues could all be evaluated once a formal application was filed.

Want to help keep the North Fork Snoqualmie free-flowing? FERC needs to hear from you during the current public comment period.  Mark your calendars & tell your friends – you can attend either the daytime or evening scoping meeting on Tuesday, June 19 to learn more and raise issues and concerns. The virtual site review will provide an opportunity to get a more in-depth overview of the project.  
Daytime scoping  meeting, Tuesday, June 19 11:00 a.m.
Virtual site review, Tuesday, June 19 2:00 p.m.
Evening scoping  meeting. Tuesday, June 196:00 p.m.
All meetings will be held  at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center Auditorium, 19901 Cedar Falls Road SE, North Bend, WA 98045.

A public comment period is now open with comments due by July 24, 2pm (PDT).  For more background and information about how to weigh in this proposal, visit American Whitewater’s webpage on the proposed North Fork Snoqualmie hydro developments.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Vantage Toilet Fundraiser!

Those of you who love the basalt and sunshine at Vantage (a.k.a. Frenchman’s Coulee) know that Eastern Washington's most popular climbing destination is in desperate need for a permanent toilet. 

This remarkable desert recreation area is a long way from the nearest rest stop. The area is used by hundreds of climbers on busy weekends during the spring and fall climbing season, and concert goers headed for the Gorge Amphitheater also camp here during the Summer concert season. This area is popular in large part because it is a unique bit of desert landscape and easily accessible because it is close to Interstate 90. It is also a fragile area. The desert environment does not support rapid decay of human waste and toilet paper left under rocks or even on the surface; human waste presents not only an unsightly mess but an environmental threat. 

The Washington Climbers Coalition, American Alpine Club & The Mountaineers are joining forces to help establish a toilet at Vantage - your dollars are appreciated, we have just $40k to go to reach our fundraising goal! Donate to WCC 's Vantage toilet fund today - $5 or $50, anything helps!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

June 12th Open House regarding seasonal closure of Exit 38 for peregrine falcon nesting
By Kim Brown

Deception Wall and nesting site
The public is invited to an open house June 12, 6 p.m. in North Bend at the Snoqualmie Ranger District, 902 S.E. North Bend Way to learn more about the temporary, seasonal closures of Deception Wall at Exit 38 for peregrine falcon nesting. Representatives from State Parks, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife will be on hand to discuss occasional seasonal closures, and gather ideas from the public on formalizing a process for future seasonal closures.

Insecticides containing DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) used from the late 1940’s to the time of DDT's ban in 1972 caused eggshell thinning, which resulted in high mortality for peregrine falcon chicks. In 1970, the US Fish & Wildlife listed the peregrine falcon as endangered, and Washington State Fish & Wildlife Commission listed it in 1980. See more information on the history of the listing here, and read more about peregrin falcons here.

Though peregrine eggshells are much healthier today, and the birds are more plentiful, peregrines are listed as a sensitive species in Washington and are federally-listed as a species of concern, because of their small numbers.

The nesting season for peregrine falcons typically ends in late June.

For more information about the closure or the June 12th meeting, contact Sonny Paz Paz at 425-888-8757 or Andrew Fielding at 509-665-4312.