Features Archive 2011

The home page on Ecology’s external website periodically features a more in-depth look at the work we do on behalf of Washington’s citizens. The following is a collection of these features.

This is the work we are doing at Ecology every day. It’s not easy, and we’re not perfect, but the citizens of Washington should know that a committed and talented group of public servants are working hard on everyone’s behalf to secure a quality of life we can all be proud of.
Ted Sturdevant, Ecology director

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Ecology in Focus: Quincy Basin Thirst Quenched

posted: December 14, 2011
program: Water Resources,
Eastern Regional Office

Quincy Basin water permitting success

Water being made available in the Quincy Basin means growth in the tourism industry so people have new vacation options; farmers who were for years staring blankly at dry, unproductive land, are now looking out at fresh, new crops; and entrepreneurs with dreams of new industry in their community are making those dreams come true.

This water came from beneath the Columbia Basin Project where it had accumulated from years of irrigation. It's called "artificially stored ground water." Over the last seven years, Ecology and the Bureau of Reclamation worked together to develop a Quincy Basin water permitting process. Since then, more than 100 permits have been issued.

For more information, see:
> ECOconnect blog: Quincy Basin water rights bring tangible changes to area
> Water right applications and water availability
> Managing water in Washington State



Brownfields Integrated Planning Grants - A Call to Revitalization

posted: November 9, 2011
program: Toxic Cleanup

Revitalization Grants

Integrated Planning Grants provide up to $200,000 to local governments without requiring local matching funds. These grants allow local governments to conduct due diligence on a brownfield site and create a well-developed strategy for cleanup and redevelopment before investing local funds.

This 8 minute video shows highlights of interviews with representatives of the cities of Wenatchee, Spokane, Tacoma, Walla Walla, and Palouse.

For more information, see:
> Brownfields Integrated Planning Grants
> Brownfields Revitalization Projects



Breaching Condit Dam

(this Flickr slideshow uses Adobe Shockwave)

posted: November 1, 2011
program: Water Resources

River Restoration

Condit Dam was breached a little after Noon on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. During the event approximately 750 acre feet of water was drained into the White Salmon River downstream of the dam and into the Columbia River. Flows from the breach of the dam are anticipated to transport a plume of accumulated sediment from the reservoir causing turbid water.

For more information, see:
> Condit Dam Removal
> Video: Condit Dam explosion, White Salmon River Restoration



Columbia River Basin Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast

posted: October 4, 2011
program: Office of the Columbia River

Managing Our Water

In November 2011, the Office of Columbia River (OCR) will publish its five year update of the Water Supply and Demand Forecast. It will be the most comprehensive study of future demand ever produced in the state of Washington. It employs state-of-the-art technology and scientific research to identify where additional water supply is needed, now and in the future.

For more information, see:
> Water Supply and Demand Forecast homepage
> Videos: Forecast workshop webinars - Workshops addressing the Forecast's results and methodology, including Overview, Fish study, Economic modeling, Biophysical modeling, Municipal demand forecast and Hydropower demand forecast. (Recorded Sept. 7-9, 2011 in Richland, Wenatchee, and Spokane)
> Blog: New Tool Helps Ecology Help Fish



Ecology in Focus: Waste Auditing at Ecology's Headquarters

posted: September 1, 2011
program: Climate Change

Recycling cuts emissions and costs:

At Ecology, we recycle and compost many waste materials, as shown in this video about our efforts.

Recycling and composting can yield significant reductions in climate-changing air emissions. In fact, a recent report says that recycling or composting many items commonly found in the waste streams in Washington, Oregon and California could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 million metric tons.

That's like taking 6.3 million cars off the road for a year.

For more information, see:
>
Carbon Smart: reducing our carbon footprint
> 1-800-Recycle: find a recycling site



Ecology In Focus: Marine Flight Program, Water Quality Monitoring

posted: July 27, 2011
program: Environmental Assessment

Eyes Over Puget Sound

How and why the Washington Department of Ecology's marine flight program collects data and monitors Puget Sound. Watch Ecology's Mya Keyzers take water samples from a hatch in the belly of a seaplane.

For more information, see:
> Blog: New Ecology video highlights scientists who monitor Washington's marine waters
> Marine Water Quality Monitoring



What you should know about ozone

posted: June 23, 2011
program: Air Quality

Help reduce ozone

Summer is coming, and as temperatures rise, the amount of ozone in the air we breathe also can increase. Ozone is formed when heat combines with certain chemicals from vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions and other airborne sources.

Ozone poses health risks to people and can harm plants. This video shows what you can do in your daily lives to help reduce the formation of ozone.

Learn more about ozone:
> Be the Difference - Breathe the Difference
> read: Focus on Ozone Standard
> visit: EPA's ozone website



Protecting our Waters

posted: June 1, 2011
program: Communication & Education

Make a Pledge to Protect Our Waters

Everybody, as a part of daily life, can help to keep our waters clean. Taking the pledge reminds us of the big change that can come when we each make small changes. The more who pledge, the more these positive choices become the norm. Make your Pledge to Protect Our Waters today.

Spread the Word!

After you take the pledge, you can inspire powerful change in others. Let people know about the actions you're taking to protect Washington waters. Tell us your story or share a photo or video that captures your actions.

For more information, see:
> Washington Waters - Ours to Protect
> Take the Protect Our Waters Pledge
> Share what you're doing!



Scott Paper Mill transformation

(this Flickr slideshow uses Adobe Shockwave)

posted: May 20, 2011
program: Toxic Cleanup

Former cleanup site transformed into Seafarers’ Memorial Park

For nearly 100 years, mill operations dominated the Anacortes waterfront along Fidalgo Bay. First a sawmill started up, followed later by a pulp mill. But by 1978, Scott Paper had closed both mills. The property was used for other industrial purposes in following years. The mills left behind widespread contamination from their operations, ranging from wood waste to industrial chemicals.

The Washington Department of Ecology, acting under Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Puget Sound Initiative, worked with the Port of Anacortes and Kimberly-Clark (which had purchased Scott Paper) to clean up the contamination and restore the area’s environment.

Now the former mill site features a beautiful waterfront park, which provides unprecedented public access to the shores of Fidalgo Bay. And it shows how the public and private sectors can work together to protect the environment and provide benefits to the local community.

For more information, see:
> Scott Paper cleanup site
> Puget Sound Initiative



Secure Your Load campaign

posted: May 9, 2011
program: Waste to Resources

Litter and it will hurt

There are many serious unsecured load related accidents in Washington State. A report by the AAA Foundation estimates twenty-five thousand accidents a year result from unsecured loads in North America. On average, 400 accidents involving road debris occur each year on Washington state highways.

For more information, see:
> Secure Your Load campaign
> Report Litter Now



Water Resources Explorer - How to use Ecology's Statewide Water Rights Web map

posted: April 5, 2011
program: Water Resources

Convenient access to water right information throughout Washington State

As part of the Washington State Department of Ecology's ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency of its water management services, the Water Resources Program has posted a new water right map on its Web site providing convenient access to water right information throughout Washington State. Now anyone with a personal computer can locate and research water rights on land parcels anywhere in the state.

The Webmap provides direct public access through a geographical interface to Ecology's voluminous records of water rights and claims. The Statewide Water Resources Webmap provides information on 230,000 active water right and claim records in the Water Resources Program database, many that have been in existence since the late 1800s

For more information, see:
> Water Resources Explorer
> Water Rights web page
> Blog: Statewide water right information is available on-line



Public Involvement opportunities

posted: March 2, 2011
program: Communications & Education

Get Involved: We need your voice

Your voice is important. Our agency makes countless decisions about environmental permits, rules, and clean-up plans. Getting involved in the process is through public meetings and hearings is important in making our decisions better. Watch environmental advocates, Ecology staff, and project proponents talk about just how valuable the "public" voice is.

For more information, see:
> Public involvement opportunities
> Public involvement calendar
> Blog: Make a difference



Documenting King Tide Events in Washington State - Flickr site

(this Flickr slideshow uses Adobe Shockwave)

posted: February 14, 2011
program: Climate Change

Washington King Tide Photo Initiative

More extreme high tide events are expected to occur on a more regular basis in the future as a result of rising sea levels. In the Olympia region, for example, these high tide events could occur ten times per year by 2050 instead of just once or twice per year, based on a medium projection of 6 inches of seal level rise in 2050 for the Puget Sound region.

This is expected to intensify flooding of coastal areas, especially during major storm events. Rising sea levels also shift coastal beaches inland and increase erosion of coastal bluffs, endangering houses and other structures built near the shore or near the bluff edges. Saltwater intrusion into coastal freshwater aquifers is also expected as sea levels rise.

For more information, see:
> Ecology's King Tides web page
> News Release: Public invited to share photos of extreme high tides in Washington during January, February 2011
> Blog: Join Washington’s 2011 King Tide Photo Initiative
> Flickr: Washington King Tide Photo Group



Expanding British Columbia - Washington climate partnerships

posted: February 3, 2011
program: Climate Change

February 2, 2011 event to sign climate action plans

Washington State Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant and British Columbia Minister of State for Climate Action, John Yap, sign two climate change action plans. The plans help to promote public awareness about how sea level rise will impact coastal areas, and to limit carbon emissions from government operations. These plans build on an already strong regional partnership between Washington and British Columbia.

For more information, see:
> Climate Change events page
> National and Regional Leadership in Climate Change



Documenting King Tide Events in Washington State

(this Flickr slideshow uses Adobe Shockwave)

posted: January 5, 2011
program: Climate Change

High tides and climate change photos from 2010

More extreme high tide events are expected to occur on a more regular basis in the future as a result of rising sea levels. In the Olympia region, for example, these high tide events could occur ten times per year by 2050 instead of just once or twice per year, based on a medium projection of 6 inches of seal level rise in 2050 for the Puget Sound region.

This is expected to intensify flooding of coastal areas, especially during major storm events. Rising sea levels also shift coastal beaches inland and increase erosion of coastal bluffs, endangering houses and other structures built near the shore or near the bluff edges. Saltwater intrusion into coastal freshwater aquifers is also expected as sea levels rise.

For more information, see:
> Ecology's King Tides web page
> News Release: Public invited to share photos of extreme high tides in Washington during January, February 2011
> Blog: Join Washington’s 2011 King Tide Photo Initiative
> Flickr: Washington King Tide Photo Group