News from our member organizations

Pennsylvania Senate May Weaken Rules for Forest Cover that Protects Streams

News from American Rivers - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 6:00am
Stream buffer aerial view | Dave Hess

Pennsylvania’s Special Protection Waters are at risk if the state Senate votes in favor of House Bill 1565 (HB1565) which would remove the riparian forest buffer requirement for land developments. As early as Tuesday, October 14th, requirements for erosion and sedimentation control in permits that direct how developers leave land when construction projects are complete may be undermined by HB1565. This movement is a step-backward for Pennsylvania streams and the residents and visitors who use and enjoy these valued waters.

Pennsylvania residents: tell your state Senator, before HB1565 goes to vote Tuesday, that regulations for healthy rivers protected by riparian forested buffers are important.

Current buffers regulation was put in place to preserve and protect Pennsylvania High Quality and Exceptional Value waters by not allowing new development within 150 feet of the water and requiring developers to establish a fully forested buffer where waterways are already impaired. HB1565 would eliminate the current requirement and allow developers to build within 100 feet of a waterway and offset- the disturbed riparian buffer elsewhere in the watershed.

HB1565 supporters lack understanding of the benefits of buffers.

Here are the facts:

PA’s current regulation offers developers flexibility without burdening landowners or developers; in fact buffers can be an asset to a development site in terms of pollution control and increased property-values.

Streamside forests are the natural condition of Pennsylvania streams and are amongst the most cost-effective water quality and stream protection tools available. Pennsylvania has invested in restoring forested stream buffers to protect Pennsylvania’s best streams, restore water quality in degraded streams, and maintain the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint.

Research demonstrates that forested buffers provide significant nonpoint source pollution removal, for pollutants such as nitrogen, sediment, and phosphorus—the leading causes of stream degradation in Pennsylvania and the major pollutants impacting the Chesapeake Bay.

Communities rely on stream buffers to deal with stormwater problems. Streamside forests provide a stormwater function by capturing, absorbing and storing amounts of rainfall up to 40 times greater than disturbed soil. Riparian buffers reduce flooding impacts and on-site stormwater management costs.

Buffers improve and maintain fish and other stream habitat by shading the sun (maintaining critical stream temperatures) and stabilizing the bank to ensure a more natural environment and channel.

Buffers have economic-value in term of not only being a low-cost control alternative but also through increased recreational and use values form an aesthetic view.

Pennsylvania community-based groups are engaged around HB1565, working hard to protect clean water and environments and communities dependent upon healthy streams. Read the perspectives and activities of our many partners who value forested riparian buffers:

Brandywine Conservancy

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture)

Clean Water Action

Delaware Riverkeeper Network


Pennsylvania Land Trust Association

Pennsylvania Chapter Sierra Club

Pennsylvania Environmental Council

Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs

Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited

Obama’s San Gabriel Monument Designation a Good Step Toward a Lasting Conservation Legacy

News from NRDC - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 10:00pm
WASHINGTON (October 10, 2014) – With today’s planned declaration of Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument, President Obama is providing permanent federal protection for the area’s towering peaks, mature forests and dramatic waterfalls, which retain much of their natural splendor.

Neonicotinoids Called “Bigger Threat” to Environment than DDT

News from Beyond Pesticides - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 9:01pm
(Beyond Pesticides, October 10, 2014) Many officials are no longer mincing words as they tie the global decline in bee populations with mounting evidence pointing to neonicotinoid pesticides. “All the science is not done, but everything that I have before me. . . suggests to me that this is the biggest threat to the structure and ecological integrity […]

ESW welcomes Interim Executive Director

Internal feed - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 3:22pm

Earlier this year our Executive Director, Bill Borden, announced his intention to leave the organization to concentrate on a career transition. During the past several months EarthShare Washington's (ESW's) Board of Directors has been engaged in a succession planning process.

read more

NWEC policy director Nancy Hirsh addresses B.C. – U.S. issues

News from NW Energy Coalition - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 2:41pm
NW Energy Coalition policy director and executive director-designee Nancy Hirsh was the invited speaker at the Pacific Energy Innovation Association breakfast meeting in Vancouver, B.C., on Oct. 1. The object was sharing perspectives on energy issues of cross-border importance. Thus, her address covered such topics as EPA’s proposed Clean Power Rule, the Columbia River Treaty, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s upcoming 7th regional plan, and the Pacific Coast Collaborative’s energy efficiency platform.

Bainbridge Island Shoulder Improvements Benefit Bicyclists

Don Willott is a member and past president of City of Bainbridge Island’s Non-motorized Transportation Advisory Committee. He is also vice president of the North Kitsap Trails Association and chair of its Sound to Olympics Trail Committee. He provides us with this post.

If you ride a bike on Bainbridge Island, you are undoubtedly familiar with the pinch point in the first mile of SR 305 north of the Washington State Ferries terminal. This transportation project is improving the location along the highway north of Vineyard Lane with the addition of a full shoulder, and improves the “pork chop” island at the entrance to Vineyard Lane to allow full shoulder. Paving was done on Thursday, October 2nd, shown in these photos. A section of guard rail and construction of the pork chop island are being installed next.

The project was fully funded by City of Bainbridge Island (COBI) City Council as part of the City’s Capitol Improvement Plan. Removing this hazard area has been a high priority for a number of community groups, including the COBI Non-Motorized Transportation Advisory Committee, Squeaky Wheels, Go Bainbridge, and the North Kitsap Trails Association.

The project complements the Sound to Olympics Trail/ SR 305 Corridor Improvement Project Phase II, which is in design now for the section between Winslow Way and High School Road. A portion of STO between Winslow Way and Vineyard Lane will be constructed in 2015. The “Phase II” grant for the STO is funded by a Transportation Alternatives Program competitive grant awarded to COBI by Puget Sound Regional Council, with match by the City.

The post Bainbridge Island Shoulder Improvements Benefit Bicyclists appeared first on Washington Bikes.

The Global Cost of Protecting Biodiversity? Less Than You Think

News from Conservation International - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 7:00am
The price may sound impossibly high, but it’s absolutely doable — and necessary. Here’s why.

Protecting the Gila: To Divert or Not to Divert

News from American Rivers - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 6:00am

This is Part Two in a two part series on New Mexico’s last wild river: the Gila. Part One examined the Gila River’s unique status as one of the Southwest’s last, free-flowing rivers and the series of proposals attempting to divert the river. Part Two provides a more in depth look at the latest threat to the Gila; a diversion project authorized under the Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2004.

Gila River valley | Alex Funk

The Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2004 (AWSA)—the fourth attempt to divert New Mexico’s last free-flowing river—sets up a system of complex requirements for Gila River development, but comes down to two basic choices for the state: either (1) build a diversion project or (2) serve regional water needs through non-diversion alternatives, such as agricultural and municipal conservation efforts. This decision rests in the hands of the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC), a state commission whose members were appointed by current New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.

Under the diversion option, New Mexico would receive a guaranteed $6.6 million annually for ten years, beginning in 2012. This funding can be used for either a diversion or any non-diversion alternatives designed to meet regional water supply demands in Southwest New Mexico. If the ISC chooses the diversion project an additional $34 to $62 million in federal subsidies would be available ($100-128 million total). Like Hooker Dam, each of the proposed diversion project sites identified through an AWSA Stakeholder process, the Bureau of Reclamation, and third party contractors would be located in the Upper Gila Box canyon right outside the Wilderness boundary. While the specifics of each proposed diversion is unique, most of the diversions would be built across the Gila River channel to divert water into an extensive system of open canals, some of which would require blasting out sections of the Upper Gila Box Canyon. These conveyance structures would then transport the water to storage reservoirs in the Cliff-Gila Valley’s beautiful side canyons. From there, water would be diverted for irrigation along the Gila or pumped over the continental divide to provide water to cities.

While this sounds like free money for a diversion project, the AWSA includes a litany of stipulations that could leave New Mexican taxpayers with a hefty price tag for a project that ultimately may not deliver any water to cities and farmers in the region. For starters, any cost associated with construction of new diversion, storage, or delivery works that exceeds the federal subsidy would be borne by New Mexico. A recent Reclamation appraisal study found that “the costs exceed benefits for all of the diversion proposals…and storage options” reviewed. According to Norman Gaume, a former ISC director, one option diverting Gila River to the City of Deming would cost more than $1.1 billion. Because the federal government is only providing the initial subsidy, New Mexicans would be on the hook for the remaining costs of the diversion project. According to the Gila Conservation Coalition, AWSA funding represents only 10-15% of the estimated construction costs, leaving the burden ultimately on ratepayers in southwest New Mexico or state taxpayers. A separate Western Resources Advocates (WRA) study found that a diversion project would burden water customers in Southwestern New Mexico by raising the household’s annual water bill from $200 a year to over $630 a year or cost all New Mexico residents an additional $145 in taxes.

Upper Gila Box Canyon – Location of proposed diversion projects | Alex Funk

In addition to the cost to New Mexico’s citizens, a diversion would essentially “federalize” the Gila River, given that any potential project would be subject to extensive regulation under federal statutes such as the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. Building the diversion would also require New Mexico to offset any water diverted from the Gila River through the Central Arizona Project to assure that Arizona water users will not be injured by additional depletions in New Mexico. This supply of exchange water is not guaranteed, given projected water shortages on the Colorado River system.   All of this for a diversion project that may never yield deliverable water to New Mexico users due to evaporative and seepage losses from storage reservoirs.

The ISC can avoid a “Diversion to Nowhere” boondoggle by going with the second option, using the federal money to support cost-effective non-diversion alternatives.  Under the AWSA, New Mexico can receive over half of the federal subsidy to implement non-diversion alternatives to meet the future water demand of the region while maintaining the Gila’s instream flow and saving U.S. tax payers millions in an unnecessary and ecologically destructive project. These alternatives include municipal and agricultural conservation projects, water reuse and recycling, and watershed restoration. In fact, both the AWSA Stakeholder process and the Bureau of Reclamation found the Gila Conservation Coalition’s Municipal Conservation Proposal as the alternative with the most projected benefits for southwestern New Mexico, providing funding for implementation of water conservation programs for several local communities in the region. Other alternatives on the table include much needed improvements to irrigation infrastructure in the Cliff-Gila Valley that would help reduce labor costs for landowners, while improving instream flows. Pursuing these options would also avoid the expensive costs, federal oversight, and ecological damage associated with an unnecessary diversion on the Gila River, while meeting the region’s water needs.

Toxic Wood Preservative Added to Government List of Carcinogens

News from Beyond Pesticides - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 9:01pm
(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2014) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released its 13th Report on Carcinogens, a science-based document that identifies chemical, biological, and physical agents that are considered cancer hazards for people living in the United States. While four substances were added, bringing the total list to 243, it is […]

Spokane Outdoors: 7 Things to Do in October

News from Washington Trails Association - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 5:50pm

From fall hiking information to joining our WTA crew at Iller Creek to connecting with other area organizations and groups, there's a lot going on in Spokane this month. Find a way to learn or get outdoors below:

October 9

REI: Local Fall Color Hikes. Free. More info about registration on REI Spokane website.

October 12

Inland Northwest Land Trust "Wild Edibles" hike with Rich Leon at Liberty Lake County Park. Get more info and preregister by calling (509) 328-2939.

October 16

REI: Snowshoe Basics. Free. More info about registration on REI Spokane website.

October 19, 26 and 27

Work with WTA on the Iller Creek Trail, one of our featured fall hikes.

October 20

Spokane Mountaineers General Monthly Meeting.

October 25

Reforest Spokane Day. Preregister with the Lands Council.

October 30

REI: Zombie Preparedness--Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. Free. More info about registration on REI Spokane website.

More Spokane-area resources

Wild Night Out 2014 Live Auction Catalog

News from Washington Wilderness Coalition - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 4:56pm
Check out our amazing live auction line up you can bid on by attending Wild Night Out 2014 on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Mountaineers! Get your tickets today!A Day in the Field with Nature Photographer Andy PorterThe winning bidder and up to two guests experience a day in the field with famed nature photographer Andy Porter along the Lake Anne - Maple Pass Loop.  See nature’s beauty through a new lens on this all day trip, which includes a guided tour and photo lessons!   Guests must provide food and transportation to and from Sedro Woolley (transportation to the trailhead is provided) on a mutual agreeable and weather dependent date. Donor: Andy PorterValue: $400Camano Island Canopy Tour Zip Line AdventureYou’ve never seen the forest like this before! Zip your way through a canopy of the forests of Camano Island! Walking between the zips, you will learn about nature, wildlife and the rich history of the land. Clip in, relax and enjoy the ride with a view! Safety restrictions: weight between 65 and 300 pounds, at least 48 inches in height, and children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Donor: Canopy Tours NWValue: $190The beautiful Long Beach Peninsula offers 28 miles ofsandy beach and surf! Long Beach Peninsula One-Night GetawayThe Long Beach Peninsula is unbeatable! Soak in 28 miles of natural beach habitat just outside your hotel door at the dog-friendly Adrift Hotel and take a tour of one of the peninsula’s famed cranberry bogs! Tonight you’ll take home two bottles of Starvation Alley Farms cranberry juice. And what goes well with cranberry juice? Delicious, locally and sustainably crafted Bluewater Distillery vodka! Adrift Hotel is a one-night stay, best available room, not valid holidays or event times, valid for stays Sunday through Thursday, must present gift certificate at check in. Expires Sept. 20, 2015.Donors: Adrift Hotel, Starvation Alley Farms, Bluewater DistilleryValue: $285WILD Weekend in Index  Get in touch with your wild side in Index and experience the area just outside the Wild Sky Wilderness. This package includes one night of lodging in the Historic Bush House Inn, North Fork Skykomish River Whitewater Rafting (Class II-III), and a guided hike. It will be a weekend of adventure to remember while you also remember why Wilderness matters even more 50 years after the Wilderness Act!Donor: Outdoor AdventuresValue: $599Sound Spirits Distillery: Ebb and Flow Bottle of Gin and Distillery PartyTake home a tasty bottle of Sound Spirits gin, amazing to sip but also crafted to bring out the best in classic cocktails, with a rich balance of flavors: herbal, citrus and spice. But you aren’t just taking home one of the best bottles of gin on the market. You also get a PRIVATE PARTY for 15-20 people at the distillery including a tour, tastings and a few mixed drinks! Guests must be 21+. Party will be held on a mutually agreed upon date, Sun-Thurs, 5pm to 8pm. Expires October 18, 2015.Donor: Sound Spirits DistilleryValue: $250Hike in Wilderness with a Team of Pack Goats This is a one-of-a-kind day hike to get on your 2015 hiking calendar! Explore the outdoors withDonna Ruelas-Semasko and her team of pack goats. These sure-footed, furry friends are both charming and helpful on the trail! Lunch will be included. Hike should be scheduled for spring or summer in 2015 on a Saturday or Sunday; can accommodate up to six hikers; no minimum age; Donna will offer the winning bidder a choice of hikes closer to the hike time frame. Expires October 18, 2015.Donor: Donna Ruelas-SemaskoValue: $240(Bag in auction is not the bag in this picture)Women’s Alchemy Goods Mystery BagNot only do you take home an Alchemy Goods bag made completely of recycled materials, but just wait until you peek inside! Treat yourself to top-of-the-line hair care products from Aveda, outdoor gear from Kavu and Love Bamboo and two-day passes for full entry to the women-only Ladywell’s Spa and Sauna in Greenwood which include access to soaking tubs, heat therapy rooms, the relaxation lounge, towels, lockers and filtered water! Ahhhhh! You’ll find over $100 worth of other surprises inside as well.                   Donors: Alchemy Goods, Aveda, Chinook Book, Kavu, IanFitness, Nikwax, Ladywell’s Vitality Spa and Sauna, Love BambooValue: $336Smartwool Men’s Head to Toe KitThis gift card is good for getting the perfect size for one men’s baselayer top and bottom, a pair of socks, a hat and gloves. Stay warm and cozy on the slopes, in the backcountry, on the trail or just in the comfort or your own home this winter with top-of-the-line thermal attire from Smartwool! Donor: SmartwoolValue: $350Smartwool Women’s Head to Toe Kit   This gift card is good for getting the perfect size for one women’s baselayer top and bottom, a pair of socks, a hat and gloves. Stay warm and cozy on the slopes, in the backcountry, on the trail or just in the comfort or your own home this winter with top-of-the-line thermal attire from Smartwool! Donor: SmartwoolBanya5 puts the "aaaaahhhh!" in spa!Value: $350Seattle Staycation Getaway Begin your evening with a $100 gift card toward dinner at Seattle’s premier Asian restaurant, Wild Ginger. After enjoying a delicious dinner, head over to use your Banya5 Urban Spa pass good for five visits for a healthy hot and cold soak! Finish your night with a one-night stayin a luxurious room at W Seattle Hotel, good for two people anyFriday or Saturday night. Wild Ginger gift carddoes not include tip or alcohol. Donors: Wild Ginger, W Seattle Hotel, and Banya5 Urban SpaValue: $700Davenport Cellars  Attention, wine lovers, wine snobs, wine aficionados! You don’t want to miss this! Win a private wine tasting party with wine and cheese or wine and chocolate pairings for up to 12 of your friends at Davenport Cellars located in Woodinville. Davenport Cellars is committed to crafting quality wines using the following tenets in winemaking. They source the highest quality grapes available; use a minimalist approach; pay attention to the details; handle the fruit and wine as gently as possible; and maintain traditional practices. The winning bidder also takes home a bottle of Davenport Cellars 2009 Continuity tonight to build the anticipation! Donor: Davenport CellarsValue: $329Week-long Stay at Mount Baker CondoBask in the beauty of Mount Baker for ONE FULL WEEK at the closest accommodations to the Mount Baker Ski Area.  Your proximity will enable you to easily explore Mount Baker, Bellingham, or even Vancouver, B.C. with ease.  The condominium amenities include two heated pools, jacuzzi, sauna, four outdoor tennis courts, racquetball, squash courts, handball courts, wally ball courts, basketball courts and a fitness room.  You can choose to explore, or just stay in and relax. Weeks available include 12/12/14, 6/5/2015, and 8/28/15 and must be booked by November 1st to ensure availability.  Donor: Andrea MatzkeValue: $850K2 Sports Skis Gift CertificateNo matter what your skiing style, K2 has the gear for you! Whether you’re into groomers, freeride or backcountry, experienced or novice – this certificate will ensure that you have the best gear on the mountain. Details: Gift certificate is redeemable only for one pair of either men’s or women’s flat skis. Product, size, color, etc. are subject to availability and does not include bindings.Donor: K2 SportsValue: $700K2 Sports Snow Shoes Gift CertificateHit the trail this winter with a pair of Tubbs Showshoes! Explore the snow-covered forest and mountain air and stay in shape all winter long. Wild Sky Wilderness, the Olympics and Cascades, Methow Valley – enjoy the winter wonderland snowy splendor of these places this winter! Details: Gift certificate is redeemable only for one pair of Tubbs Snowshoes. Product, size, color, etc. are subject to availability.Donor: K2 SportsValue: $260Register Your Trademark and Protect Your Brand! Are you a small business owner who has never gotten around to protecting the name of your company with a state or federal trademark registration?  Do you have dreams of starting your own business but have no idea how to select a trademark and register it for protection?  Look no further! The winner of this item receives trademark procurement services and counseling from one of the area’s top lawyers practicing in this evolving area of the law.  Washington Wild Board member, Mark Walters, will conduct a “knock-out” search of US Trademark filings providing preliminary clearance for your name.  Depending on the search results, Mark will also file a trademark application seeking to register your trademark with the appropriate state or federal registry.  Furthermore, Mark can provide advice if the search turns up a conflicting trademark. This item includes one government filing fee for one class of goods and services using standard goods and services descriptions ($275) as well as time required to complete the search and application for trademark (about 1.5 hours of time).   Expires October 18, 2015.Donor: Mark WaltersValue: $1,000Mazama Ski Excursion GetawayEnjoy three nights for two at this mountain lodge, located at the edge of the Pasayten Wilderness. You will be surrounded by half a million acres of virgin timberland and mountains offering a wide variety of recreational activities and a place to retreat deep into nature. In keeping with the peaceful setting, there are no phones or television sets in in guest rooms although wireless internet is available throughout the lodge. Who will need WiFi though, when you are taking ski lessons for two from at the Methow Valley Ski School? Whatever your activity, you will enjoy an excellent restaurant, hot tub/sauna, pool and other facilities. Restrictions: Not usable during holidays. Expires October, 2015.Donor: Mazama Country Inn and Methow Valley Ski SchoolValue: $950Andy Porter PhotographyAndy Porter Photography: Sahale Glacier Camp Smithsonian Museum PrintThe Wilderness Act turns 50 years this year and the Smithsonian Museum, as part of the Wilderness 50 Celebration, is displaying the best pictures of protected areas under this powerful Act!  This autographed 15" x 20" canvas-wrapped print of Sahale Glacier Camp in the Steven Mather Wilderness, North Cascades National Park is on display in the Smithsonian - and could be on display in YOUR home! Donor: Andy Porter Value: $200Mount Rainier Snowshoe Escape for TwoThis full-day escape offers opportunities for adventure, exploration, learning and having fun! Old growth forests, frozen waterfalls, wildlife and river valleys connected to glaciers – you’ll see it all! Led by a naturalist guide, you will be driven from downtown Seattle in a bio-fueled Mercedes van or crossover and treated to morning tea and pastries on the way up the mountain. Enjoy a seasonal Cascadian lunch with local wine and afternoon snacks! Park entry fees, snowshoes and poles are included. All you need to do is show up and have fun! Expires May 14, 2015. Restrictions apply. Confirmation is subject to availability. No rescheduling within seven days of departure.Donor: Evergreen Escapes         Value: $450Columbia Backpack Mystery Bag This Columbia backpack that just keeps on giving! The winner of this Treadlite Performance Backpack has quite the surprise in store for them when they open it up! Inside you’ll find outdoor gear, a Mount Rainier hiking guide and credit for a session with one of Seattle’s best personal training facilities to help you get ready to tackle the outdoors! Also includes over $100 of surprises! Donors: Columbia, Patagonia, Nikwax, IanFitness, Chinook Book, Ecosocks, Sasquatch Books, PetzlValue: $320Mariners Tickets and Dinner at Elliot’s Oyster HouseMariners and fresh local oysters? What a perfect Seattle day! Fill up on a delicious meal at the restaurant where Seattle goes to for seafood (valet parking included!), and then hit the ball game! These Charter Seats are just the first row behind the Diamond Club 9 rows back behind the on deck circle.  You are right in the middle of the action with great views of home plate and both dugouts. Seats are in section 132, row 9, seats 15 & 16. Donors: Michael Barcott and Elliot’s Oyster House            Value: $295X-Box One + Kinect and Project SparkWelcome to a new generation of games and entertainment. Where games push the boundaries of realism. And television obeys your every command. Where listening to music while playing a game is a snap. And you can jump from TV to movies to music to a game in an instant. Where your experience is custom tailored to you. And the entertainment you love is all in one place. Welcome to the all-in-one, Xbox One. And now, Kinect has been completely re-engineered to take full advantage of all that Xbox One can do. It's more precise. More responsive. More intuitive. Its unparalleled voice, vision, and motion technology lets you reach into games and entertainment like never before. Automatically sign in when you enter the room. Accelerate through a game with subtle gestures. Or navigate through your favorite TV shows with the sound of your voice. It's an entirely new Kinect for a new generation of entertainment. To get you started, play “Project Spark.” “Project Spark” unlocks imagination and creativity like never before. It’s a powerful gaming destination where creation and play live seamlessly together. Build the supreme gaming experience by making unique and instantly playable levels, games and worlds and share them with a global community. Dive in to the community’s collective imagination and start playing. If you dream of creating your own games and love to build your own stories, “Project Spark” provides a powerful creation engine that unlocks world building through intuitive sculpting tools to shape and paint a new world, as well as a simple yet incredibly powerful visual programming language to make anything happen. Be a part of the never-ending evolution of creation. Access the frontier of game creation. “Project Spark” is where players create and creators play.Donor: Carla VillarValue: $570Two-Day San Juan’s Sea Kayaking Trip       Washington offers many gems, some of which are islands.  Come visit the San Juans and learn to appreciate them- through camping, kayaking, and biking the San Juan Islands.  Come experience these beautiful islands like you never have before.  Restrictions apply – see gift certificate for details.       Donor: Outdoor AdventuresValue: $699A Bike For the City and AdventureThis bike is perfectly suited for your next commute to the office or trip to the beach. The sturdy cantilever frame and fun, modern graphics are distinctly Felt and will turn some heads wherever you are going. The balloon tires and upright handlebars make for a smooth ride and allow you to take in the scenery as the miles pass by. Remember, life is a journey, not a destination!Donor: Evergreen Mountain Bike AllianceValue: $300Apple Pressing and Dutch Oven Experience in IndexTraditionally seen as a campfire method of cooking, Dutch Ovens have become popular for home cooking as well, and once you've had some basic instruction and a chance to try it, you'll be preparing great dishes in no time! Heating coals, seasoning the cast iron, and calculating heating temperatures can put even an experienced cook out of their comfort zone, but we'll get you off and cooking in no time!   If that’s not enough you will also learn about apple pressing!  Come visit Index and learn a thing or two that will change you for back home!  See certificate for details and restrictions.Donor: Outdoor AdventuresValue: $150Brewshed® Growler and WABL MembershipTake home this one-of-a-kind growler celebrating the Washington Wild Brewshed® Alliance! And don’t forget to bring it with you when you’re joining Washington Wild for a Brewshed® happy hour at one of our brewery partners’ tap rooms in the upcoming year! Fill it up with tasty, locally crafted beer made from clean pure water that flows out of wilderness areas Washington Wild works to protect. You also get a one-year membership to Washington Beer Lovers (WABL)! WABL’s mission is to build a community of local craft beer enthusiasts while pursuing an active, responsible, and social lifestyle built around Washington beer.Donor: Fresh NW Design and WABLValue: $135

Trip Reporter Spots Wolverine at Spider Gap!

News from Washington Trails Association - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 4:53pm

When hiker and WTA trip reporter Jake Gentry and his father-in-law David Fossum went backpacking on the classic 44-mile Spider Gap-Buck Creek Pass Loop last month, they expected to see some spectacular scenery and maybe even spot some wildlife. What they didn't expect was to have a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounter with the rare and elusive wolverine (the amazing animal, not Hugh Jackman).

Read Jake's first-hand account the day he calls "the best hiking day I've ever had in the PNW" below:

"She posed for us one the ridgeline for a split second ..."

My father-in-law (Dave) and I were taking a break and grabbing a snack at the top of Spider Gap at the top of the Phelps basin hiking area, after climbing up the Spider Glacier. It was a gorgeous day with not a cloud in the sky. The pass was unusually quiet with a complete absence of marmot whistles—just a lone chipmunk darting across the rocks.

Enter WTA's Photo Contest Categories include:
  • Flora and Fauna
  • Families Go Hiking
  • Camp Life
  • Hikers in Action
Submit your best photo or two to our annual photo contest before Oct. 19 for a chance to win some sweet prizes, including a new camera.

We were sitting at the gap facing the Lyman lakes enjoying the world-class mountain views when out of the corner of my eye I saw what first appeared to be a large dark marmot scurrying across the high alpine boulder field 40 feet from us. As soon as my eyes had time to adjust and focus on what I was looking at, I yelled to Dave, "there's a wolverine!"

I grabbed my camera and started snapping photos as fast as my camera would let me.

We watched her cross the boulder field in what seemed like 20-30 seconds, because she was moving at such a quick clip. She posed for us on the ridge line for a split second, just long enough to provide a great silhouette with the blue bird sky in the background.

Wolverine at Spider Gap. Photo by Jake Gentry.

It could end up being just some overfed ground squirrel ...

Afterwards, we couldn't believe how lucky we were to be in the right place at the right time. My father-in-law told me not to get too excited, because until we could verify it was a wolverine, it could end up being just some strange overfed ground squirrel.

As we descended into the Lyman lakes basin from Spider Gap we relished the experience while soaking up the incredible scenery of the Lyman lakes and Lyman Glacier glistening in the unobstructed sunlight.

The day had been off to an amazing start before seeing the wolverine, but the sighting some how made it even better. As we passed fellow hikers, we shared the exciting news, and consistently received the same response, "No way, you're so lucky, they are so rare!"

Wolverine scrambles across a talus field at Spider Gap. Photo by Jake Gentry.

Sharing the sighting with rangers, conservation groups and biologists

We ran into Tom Winter (a ranger) at Buck Creek pass and showed him the photos. He was able to verify it was a wolverine and we have been on cloud nine ever since.

We've shared the photos with multiple ranger stations, conservation groups and biologists from across the state, in hopes of helping advance the conservation efforts around wolverines in the Pacific Northwest.

Further reading

Christian Science Monitor article: Blue-light special: three scientists share Nobel for physics for work on LEDs

News from NW Energy Coalition - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 11:22am
Three researchers, one from the United States and two from Japan, have been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for their roles in developing light-emitting diodes that shine blue – for decades, a Holy Grail in the field of photonics. The trio's collective breakthroughs have spawned light bulbs that last for a decade and consume less than 20 percent of the power incandescent bulbs use to provide the same amount of light.

Nuclear in the age of climate change brown bag discussion

News from NW Energy Coalition - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:26am
On October 6, 2014 the NW Energy Coalition hosted a brown bag lunch featuring nuclear power expert Ed Lyman from the Union of Concerned Scientists.   Dr. Lyman is the co-author of the recent book, Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster (New Press). His work has focused on critical nuclear issues such as civilian and […]

Coast-to-Coast Cleanups

News from American Rivers - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:00am
Volunteers in Miami teamed up to clean up islands outside of Miami Beach! | Al Ricketts Photography

Have you ever thought about just how vast an area the waterways of the United States reach? The United States has more than 250,000 rivers that stretch, meander, surge, and flow over 3.5 million miles! That puts almost every American within 1 mile of a river or stream. With local waterways just a short walk away from most people’s front door it’s no surprise that over 100,000 people volunteered with National River Cleanup® last year to clean up their local river or stream.

As you’ve seen on the blog before, American Rivers has been holding cleanups with Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (Keurig) employees for years. This summer National River Cleanup packed their bags and went out across the country from the Northeast the Pacific Northwest to attend cleanups with Keurig employees and community members.

Each river cleanup has its own story and its own beginning. Its volunteers are working to protect their river from a wide range of threats. Having the chance to paddle the waters, tromp through the muddy shores, and listen to the organizers and volunteers of cleanups in different regions gives National River Cleanup valuable insight into how we can all work together to protect, preserve, and cleanup our rivers!

A neighborhood volunteer cleaning up Concrete Plant Park in New York City | G.I.V.E. Inc

On September 13th and 20th National River Cleanup attended cleanups in New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles. Cleanups near the coast provide an important reminder that our trash flows downstream and that what happens to our rivers can impact our bays, our deltas, and ultimately our oceans. Let’s take a look at the cleanups and the incredible organizations we partnered with for these events:

New York City

The Bronx River Alliance has been a friend of American Rivers for years having worked together on the Bronx River Blueway GeoStory. National River Cleanup and Keurig were proud to partner with them on a cleanup of the Bronx River on September 13th where volunteers braved the cold and rainy weather to cleanup Concrete Plant Park. American Rivers’ staff member Courtney Barefoot attended the cleanup and said, “What I loved most about this cleanup on the Bronx River was that every volunteer there was a community member. The volunteers’ enthusiasm for their community was infectious, and their devotion to bettering it was evident as they worked in the cold, rainy conditions.”


National River Cleanup and American Rivers ventured to Miami for the first time to work with the Environmental Coalition of Miami and the Beaches (ECOMB) and Keurig on a cleanup of Teachers Island, Flagler Monument Island, and two of Morningside Park Picnic Islands. Nearly 200 volunteers boarded boats donated by other concerned citizens and a local paddleboard tour company to shuttle volunteers to islands for a morning of cleaning up their waterways. The volunteers cleaned up hundreds of pounds of trash and debris and sorted plastics to donate to Method, a project that turns trash from waterways back into useful materials.

A young volunteer in Los Angeles sifts through sand for micro-plastics | Los Angeles Waterkeeper

Los Angeles

National River Cleanup and Keurig got to engage another partner of American Rivers by supporting the Los Angeles Waterkeeper’s Coastal Cleanup on September 20th at Dockweiler State Beach. This cleanup engaged 350 volunteers, including a team of volunteer scuba divers from the Kelp Restoration Project, who cleaned up and sorted 200lbs of trash for plastic pellets! The volunteers were entertained by a solar powered DJ during the cleanup!

We’re often concerned with cleaning up our hometown river or stream to help our local environment and community. But it’s important to remember that water keeps on flowing and it will carry trash and waste on to our neighbors and beyond. There’s still time to organize or volunteer for a cleanup with National River Cleanup this year!

Human Rights Protection Critical for Conservation Success

News from Conservation International - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 7:00am
Many human rights violations slip under the radar of major news outlets, despite their profound impact on communities (and ecosystems).

Help Spokane be healthy: Volunteer Opportunities Available: Oct. 20th – Nov. 20th

Are you recently retired or just love to walk in the neighborhood in the morning? Do you live in/ around Spokane? We’d love to have you join the fun with the Walking School Bus. The Walking School Bus is up and running and we’re looking for volunteers who like taking walks /bike rides in the morning.

We are currently looking for volunteers to walk 5-10 students less than one mile on the weekday mornings between October 20th – November 21st, 2014  weather permitting. Volunteers often commit to just one day per week. We’ll work with your schedule.

Please contact Kate if you can help us make this community healthier by walking to school with enthusiastic students in Spokane!


The post Help Spokane be healthy: Volunteer Opportunities Available: Oct. 20th – Nov. 20th appeared first on Washington Bikes.

River Books for Autumn Reading

News from American Rivers - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 4:32am

Reading by the river | Wilson Hardcastle

“The Grand Canyon stands as one of our most important touchstones—a kind of roofless tabernacle whose significance is both natural and national. It is our cathedral in the desert. And the word our is key because although the canyon belongs to the entire world, we, as Americans, belong particularly to it.”

– from The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon, by Kevin Fedarko

Maybe you’re looking for a book to tuck into your dry bag for your last river trip of the season, or maybe you just need a good story, a little literary escape. Here are some favorites recommended by the staff of American Rivers.  Share your own favorite river books in the comments section, and we’ll feature new books each month.

First things first: if you haven’t read The Emerald Mile yet, what are you waiting for! No question, it’s the most popular river book these days, already a classic. Kevin Fedarko weaves a story that is captivating on so many levels… a historic flood, an illegal river run, fearless boatmen, threat of a massive dam failure, and the timeless beauty of the Grand Canyon. I couldn’t put it down.

Two other classics that belong on your bookshelf: The River Why, and My Story As Told By Water, both by David James Duncan. Few writers can so perfectly capture the magic of rivers, and his writing is full of humor and soul.

And how can we leave out Ed Abbey’s The Monkeywrench Gang, after watching DamNation?

But it’s not all about the guys. Don’t miss these amazing women:  Ellen Meloy’s Raven’s Exile: A season on the Green River is one of my all time favorites. And speaking of the Green River, Ann Zwinger’s “Run, River, Run: A Naturalist’s Journey Down One of the Great Rivers of the West” is also a good read.

Philosopher and naturalist Kathleen Dean Moore’s essays in Riverwalking: Reflections on Moving Water, take you across the West and explore all of the life, human and otherwise, that is sustained by rivers.

Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a story of her year in Virginia’s Roanoke Valley. Whether she’s witnessing a flood, stalking muskrats, or meeting neighbors, she gets to know this creek inside and out and shows us “beauty tangled in a rapture with violence.”

Finally, for the hidden story behind one of our nation’s most significant environmental law battles (including a look at the early days of American Rivers as an organization) check out The Snail Darter and the Dam: How Pork-Barrel Politics Endangered a Little Fish and Killed a River, by Zyg Plater.  As Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers, wrote in The Huffington Post,the fight to save the snail darter has been lampooned as the archetype of environmental extremism, putting the needs of a tiny fish over those of people. As Plater’s book reveals, that story is wrong but still resonates today.”

Here are some other recommendations from our staff. Enjoy!

Gerrit Jobsis:

  • Deliverance, by James Dickey (“much better than the movie!”)
  • The French Broad, by Wilma Dykeman

Eileen Fretz-Shader:

  • An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World, by Anders Halverson
  • Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America, by John M. Barry

Ken Neubecker:

  • The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Graham (“There is nothing quite like messing about in boats…”)
  • Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Growth of the American West, by Donald Worster

Ben Emmanuel:

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  • The Great Dismal: A Carolinian’s Swamp Memoir, by Bland Simpson

Serena McClain:

  • The Lost City of Z, by David Grann
  • The Time It Never Rained, by Elmer Kelton

Trey Tickner:

  • Cadillac Desert, by Marc Reisner
  • Downriver and River Thunder by Will Hobbs (“two of my favorite books from childhood!”)

Jeff Odefey:

  • The Secret Knowledge of Water: Discovering the Essence of the American Desert, by Craig Childs
  • Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History, by Paul Horgan

Sinjin Eberle

  • The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict, by Peter McBride and Jonathan Waterman
  • Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West, by Wallace Stegner

Looking to find great books while supporting efforts to protect our rivers? American Rivers is now participating in Amazon’s SMILE program.

The Touch, the Feel, of GE Cotton?

News from Beyond Pesticides - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 9:01pm
(Beyond Pesticides, October 8, 2014) After headliners like genetically engineered (GE) Roundup-Ready corn and soybeans failed to deliver on claims of decreased pesticide use and environmental sustainability, instead leading to the rise of “superweeds,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved more dangerous, 2,4-D-resistent versions  shortly after. Now after the predictable failure of Roundup-Ready cotton, USDA […]