Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our View of the Water - November 9, 2010

A steer operation, in northern Whatcom County. This ditch flows to headwaters of California Creek, and eventually to Drayton Harbor. Manure is a resource, but not when it’s in our water. In our view, this ditch should have a healthy, maintained, well-vegetated buffer. And the farm should have a farm plan.

Two new ships in dry dock, Bellingham Bay.

We like these heavy-duty tarps – a few of them look loose, but what the heck. I wonder what the view looks like from the other side?

Tribal subsistence fishing in Bellingham Bay. The tribes are fishing 3 or 4 days a week (4 if the river conditions prevent a successful fishery on one day). There is also subsistence fishing for an “excess escapement” of chum in the Whatcom Waterway, so watch for them fishing close in, where non-treaty fishers aren’t allowed. My buddy who works for the Lummi Nation told me that the treaty gives Lummi fishers the right to set up fish smoking shacks on the waterfront. Wouldn’t that be cool! I’d love to see something other than yachts and stormwater discharge pipes down there.

“Mystery Pond” – this pond is located on Marine Drive, in Bellingham.

The Port of Bellingham and GP created this pond with excess wood waste, similar material to what’s in the land fill at the Bellingham airport. Because of the underlying material, the water is discolored, and has unusually rapid vegetation/algal blooms during the warmer seasons. According to local experts, it does not discharge to surface water. Since I live near this pond, I’ll keep checking up on it…

I’ve saved the best for last. Here’s a report from our favorite volunteer in Skagit County, who we call “Rabbitsguy.”

Today I was driving around Sedro-Woolley in the rain. While driving, I saw 2 different instances of people pressure-washing sidewalks and pushing the wash water and crud over the edge, into the nearest storm drain. One of the storm drains had one of the new, plastic, colorful markers with the ‘Puget Sound Starts Here’ logo on it. But best of all, this was occurring right in front of Sedro-Woolley City Hall.

I went inside and asked to file an illicit discharge complaint (way to go, Rabbitsguy)! The office person gave me an illicit discharge reporting form, and I filled it out. He asked me where the problem was occurring, and I pointed out the door! Best report I’ve ever filed.

After that, I headed out for my day and immediately noticed a construction site where workers were tearing up big hunks of dusty, oily concrete from a gas station and dumping them into a big side-dump truck. The rain was washing oily water from the debris, and discolored the water was going right into the storm drain. So, I went back and reported that too.

1 comment:

  1. Kind of Like Sue Joerger's comments about the Seattle paint spill - I never got a call back with any report about what was done. I will have to bird-dog them. Makes me pretty impatient with how the NPDES II permit process is actually applied. Fortunately (or unfortunately), as Kevin the Apocolyptic Rabbit in the Prickly City cartoon says - "I know things about you and I have pictures!"