By Erika Holmes, Community Outreach & Environmental Education Specialist, Nuclear Waste Program Check out this new video about removing the dangerous radioactive and chemical waste from Hanford’s underground tanks (“closing” the tanks). Then, please forward it to your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, acquaintances, etc.

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By Mary-Ellen Voss, Spills Program You may wonder why a spill response plan might be important to your marina but the fact is when spills or other accidents happen, you can waste time in the confusion and panic of the emergency. Planning and practicing the steps you take to respond to a spill or a sinking boat can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to respond and reduces the impact a spill can have on the environment.

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By Jeanne Koenings, Environmental Planner, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance DNR has been removing old creosote pilings from the waters off Cypress Island (near Anacortes). Those that can’t be pulled are being cut by divers and swam over to a nearby boat for collection.

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By Jani Gilbert, communication manager, Eastern Regional Office Replanting damaged riparian areas on our shorelines is not always successful. Sometimes these projects are only partially successful.

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By Kim Schmanke, Communication Manager, Southwest Region Office OLYMPIA – Response units from the Washington Department of Ecology, U. S.

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By Jani Gilbert, Communication Manager, Eastern Region Office SPOKANE – The state Department of Ecology responded today to a diesel spill that occurred this morning on State Route 730 at milepost 1 on the Washington side of the Columbia River, west of Walla Walla. The Washington State Patrol responded originally to the injury collision that involved two semi trucks.

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By Rebecca Lawson, regional Toxics Cleanup Program Manager Ecology has an updated timeline for the Rayonier Mill cleanup. Back in February 2010, we put together an estimated timeline for completing the work under our Agreed Order with Rayonier.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program I have some catching up to do on recent Puget Sound news since I was traveling during last week’s “Snowpocalypse.” (But that’s another story.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program Staff from Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program will be in Everett on Feb. 16, 2011, to talk with Everett-area residents our cleanup sites around Port Gardner Bay. You’re invited to take part.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program Staff from Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program will meet Thursday, Feb. 24, with Anacortes-area residents to talk about cleanup work planned this year at the former Custom Plywood mill site.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program A group called the Alliance for Green Heat says Washington earned the nation’s highest marks for efforts to protect residents from harmful smoke caused by burning wood for home heating. Washington is one of only three states that earned an “A” grade.

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By Sandy Howard, Water Quality Program Last year’s state budget included $54 million to assist local governments with their stormwater needs in state fiscal year 2011. The funding came from the state building construction account.

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By Johanna Ofner and Eli Levitt, Climate Policy Group

Grab your cameras and hit the beaches!

Washington is joining other West Coast states and provinces by asking citizens to document upcoming extreme high tides — or “king tides” — in January and February. These naturally-occurring extreme tidal events give us the ability to better understand and visualize the potential impacts of coastal flooding.

Window on sea level rise

From California to British Columbia, individuals will share their king tide photographs to help us all visualize how ongoing higher sea levels may alter our coastal communities. King tides are a natural phenomenon that happen once or twice a year when the gravitational pull by our sun and moon reinforce one another. While king tides are not caused by climate change, they do give us a pretty dramatic glimpse into what impacts sea level rise may have on Puget Sound and our outer coast.

Point, shoot, upload and tag

In Washington, individuals are encouraged to submit their photos of the extreme high tides to the Washington King Tide Photo Initiative Flickr page. For information about high tides in your area, instructions on how to submit your photos to the Flickr page, or more detailed information about king tides and climate change, see Ecology’s king tides website.

Sea level rise happening at an accelerated rate

Since the Industrial Revolution, sea levels around the globe have risen about eight inches. We anticipate levels are going to keep rising at an accelerating pace. The rise is due largely to ocean warming combined with melting glaciers and land-based ice sheets. Using a mid-range estimate, a study by Ecology and the University of Washington projects that sea level will increase 13 inches by 2100 in Puget Sound and 11 inches on Washington’s central and southern coasts. Sea level rise of this magnitude is expected to increase coastal flooding and coastal erosion, which threatens Washington’s coastal communities.

Understanding impacts first step toward preparation

Understanding the impacts of sea level rise is a priority for the Department of Ecology. By documenting the possible impacts of sea level rise, we can more clearly understand what current and future generations can expect along Washington’s more than 3,000 miles of tidal coastline. To learn more about the Washington King Tide Photo Initiative:
    Visit Ecology’s king tide website Join the Flickr photo group Read the News Release (Jan 5, 2011)

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Under Whatcom County’s Shoreline Master Program, this existing single-family residence on Lummi Island was allowed to expand (to the right) through an administrative conditional use permit. Whatcom County required the existing vegetative buffer area at the top of the bluff be retained.

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by Lynne Geller, Communication and Outreach, Water Resources Program Much of the Quilcene-Snow watershed, on the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula, is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. The watershed’s location affects when, where, and how much rain and snow falls.

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You know that big old TV taking up space in the garage, and that ancient computer sitting next to the desk -- those pesky relics that you just don’t know what do with them? You’re tired of tripping over them and you’d like to get rid of them, but you know you shouldn’t just throw them in the landfill.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program The breakout groups are wrapping up their presentations for possible cleanup work on Bainbridge Island’s Wyckoff site. The photo shows Group 1 leader Mike Basel (center, standing) listening to questions after his presentation.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program During his presentation, Kent Udell talked more about thermal treatment methods. He expanded more on his earlier comments on how steam injection can be effective under certain circumstances and walked the group through the limitations around it.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program Welcome to the first posting for “Around the Sound,” a collection of news and information about efforts by Ecology and others to restore and protect Puget Sound. I’ll post “Around the Sound” entries frequently, so I encourage you to check back often and offer comments and ideas.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program As the rain roars down on Bainbridge, the ideas for Wyckoff site cleanup keep flowing. Mike Basel of Haley & Aldrich Inc.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program Following a lunch break, we’re back at it at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island. “Cousin Ken” Preston of General Construction Co.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program After workshop leader Kate Snider laid the groundwork, participants are now working in three breakout groups. The groups are a mix of cleanup experts, Ecology staff, consultants, and community members who act as a Steering Committee for this effort.

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