Hunter’s Point Forms Scotch Broom Patrol

Homeowners in the Hunter’s Point area have formed a Scotch Broom Patrol, to assist in the control of that pernicious weed. It sounds like a good model, for other areas of the peninsula. In the past, we’ve written here about various scotch broom eradication methods and why it’s important to keep that prodigious seed producer under control. If you live in the Hunter’s Point area, here’s your invitation to join their Scotch Broom Patrol. And, if you don’t live in that area, here’s part of a blueprint you can use to mobilize your own neighbors.

Sunday, February 28th beginning at 11AM a group of folks are meeting at the North East end of Hunter Point Road (the Hunter Point Road dead end). Our objective is to remove all the Scotch Broom from the County right of way along both sides of the Hunter Point Road. Those who have Scotch Broom or other noxious weeds on their property can solicit our group to help them remove it. However, the right of way comes first.

This is the best time to start this project as the ground is soft and makes it easier to pull the smaller plants. We do have one weed wrench for the larger ones. However, you will need to bring your own shovel and gloves. Black plastic bags will be provided to collect these weeds.

We will also be removing other noxious non-native, invasive weeds, Scotch Broom; (cystisus scoparius) is the main thrust at this time. Please come and learn more about this and other noxious weeds and how they impact our quality of life out here on our very delicate and fragile peninsula.

Hope to see you!!!

Sunday, February 28, 2010
11am at the Top of Hunter Point Rd NW

Reserve Your Place for a 6-Course Organic Meal, Hosted by Local Farms

Madrona Grove, Building Earth Farm and Hot L Farm present:

An Evening of Fine Dining

Saturday, February 20
6:00 – 9:00 PM

Treat yourself to a unique dining opportunity AND support your community’s farms. Come feast on a seasonal meal of local, organic food, and Washington wines, lovingly prepared by local chefs and winemakers. The Prosperity Grange on Steamboat Island Road will be transformed for the evening into a rustic/elegant venue for a sit-down dinner, served banquet style.

Cost is $40 per ticket. Each ticket includes a 6 course, organic meal, two glasses of wine, a raffle of local goods and services, and the knowledge that your meal supports the future of food.

Wow! What a deal.

Arrive at 6:00 for music, appetizers and a glass of Washington white wine.

Only the first 50 lucky participants will get in to this seasonal event premiere. Vegetarian selections available. For reservations call 360-866-2810, or by email to

Copenhagen Climate Conference

THURSDAY, Feb. 18, 7:30pm, Olympia Center. 222 Columbia Street, Olympia
SPEAKER: Janice Adair, Special Assistant for Climate Policy at the Washington State Department of Ecology and Delegate to the Copenhagen Climate Conference
TOPIC: The Copenhagen Climate Conference, The Western Climate Initiative and Where Do We Go from Here
Janice Adair, Special Assistant for Climate Policy at the Dept. of Ecology, will discuss the Copenhagen Climate Conference (COP15) and the Western Climate Initiative. Janice traveled to the U.N. conference, as part of the Washington State Delegation led by Governor Gregoire, serving as the state’s expert on climate policy and to participate as a panelist. Janice also represents Washington on the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). WCI is a collaboration of independent, international jurisdictions working together to identify, evaluate, and implement policies to tackle climate change at a regional level. During its first 1 and 1⁄2 years, Janice chaired the WCI.
According to the New York Times, the climate change accord passed its first test recently after countries responsible for the bulk of climate-altering pollution formally submitted emission reduction plans, meeting the Jan. 31 deadline. Most major nations — including the U.S., the 27 nations of the European Union, China, India, Japan and Brazil — restated earlier pledges to curb emissions by 2020.
Much has been written about COP15 before, during and after the event. Was it a success, a failure or somewhere in between? Janice will give us a first hand report on how it was organized, who participated, what worked, what failed and what lies ahead. See UN website:
In contrast to COP15, a world-wide effort to address climate issues, the WCI takes a regional approach by bringing together Pacific Rim jurisdictions from Canada to Mexico. Among the participants and observers have been: Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora and Tamaulipas. This is a comprehensive effort to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, spur growth in new green technologies, help build a strong clean-energy economy, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. More information is available on the WCI website:

Griffin School District Participating in “Food to Flowers Lunchroom Recycling”

On February 1, 2010, the Griffin School District kicked off their participation in Thurston County’s Food to Flowers program. Thurston County staff weighed all of the trash and all of the organics and other recyclables generated by the students in the lunchroom for the first 5 days of the program from February 1 to February 5, 2010.

The results are impressive. Students are doing a great job separating out food, soiled paper and other recyclables to be made into compost and other valuable products. As a result of their efforts, about 90% of what used to be thrown in the trash in the lunchroom is now being composted or recycled. For a full school year, that’s about 12 tons of food and soiled paper and about 720 pounds of recyclables that are no longer being sent to the landfill. A graph illustrating this data is included below.

All of this and the program is just getting started. Kitchen staff are already separating out their organic kitchen scraps for composting and a bin for compostable material has been set up in the staff break room. The next steps in the program include collecting paper towels from the bathrooms and expanding the collection of recyclables in the classroom.

For more information on the Food to Flowers program, contact Peter Guttchen at (360) 709-3013,,

Numbers Your Cell Phone Can’t Live Without

Here are some ideas as to numbers everyone’s cell phone ought to have.

Emergency – 911

Griffin Fire Department – (360) 866-9000 (this is a non-emergency phone number)

Thurston County Sheriff – (360) 786-5500 (this is a non-emergency phone number)

Capital Hospital – (360) 754-5858 (this is a non-emergency phone number)

Puget Sound Energy – (888) 225-5773 (available 24 hours a day)

Poison Control – (800) 222-1222

Animal Control – (360) 352-2510

Thurston County Roads (For dead deer pick-up) – (360) 786-5495

Your next door neighbors.

If you use propane, your propane provider.

Your doctor and child’s pediatrician.

A local tow truck company. Bayside Towing (360-455-1314), Summit Towing (360-754-8858‎) and Howard’s Towing (360-943-6644) are suggestions.

Your auto insurance carrier

Steamboat Annie’s at (360) 866-2274, for a quick bite to eat, and Character’s Corner (360) 866-9904 to find out if the oysters are fresh, tonight.

What are your must-have cell phone numbers? Click “Comments” below and add your suggestions.

Science Café Looks at Bacteriophages on February 9

Science Café is moving to Batdorf & Bronson Coffee House beginning February 9th.

When:  7:00 pm, Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Where:  Batdorf & Bronson Coffee House, 516 Capitol Way S.  Olympia, WA,  phone (360) 786-6717
On-street parking is available on Legion, Capitol Way, Columbia Street, and Water Street. After 6 p.m., parking is also available at Heritage Bank on Columbia Street between 5th and Legion.

Our presentation in February is Bacteriophages: Natural, Self-Replicating, Self-Limiting Antibiotics.

Bacteriophages – a special kind of viruses that can only multiply in bacteria – are the most abundant life form on earth. They are found in the oceans, the soil, the food we eat and the water we drink. They help maintain the microbial balance in every part of our planet. Bacteriophages were discovered by Felix d’Herelle in 1917 in the feces of French soldiers recovering from dysentery and soon were being used with enthusiasm to treat intractable infections in both humans and animals. However, phage therapy was largely abandoned in the West in the 1940s due to the advent of chemical antibiotics and the apparent complexity and unreliability of phage-based treatments when compared to antibiotics. As our understanding of both phages and pathogenic bacteria has increased and we are more and more frequently loosing the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA, interest is again escalating in the possibilities of phage therapy.

Dr. Kutter’s talk will explore properties of phages, their surgical use in the Republic of Georgia and in Poland, and the work being carried on at Evergreen State College. The latter includes studies aimed toward using phages to reduce livestock carriage of E. coli O157. E. coli O157 is a serious health risk and has been found in many things we consume, from hamburgers to spinach to water.

Dr. Elizabeth Kutter is a faculty member at the Evergreen State College

Coming in March:

From Ivory Towers to Prison Watch Towers: Research on Rain Forest Canopies and Its Communication to Nontraditional Public Audiences. Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, Evergreen State College

Thurston County Draft Shoreline Inventory and Characterization Report – Public Review Deadline Feb 15

Nearly a year ago, Thurston County held a series of public meetings “to hear citizens’ views and knowledge on eight requirements elements of the Shoreline Master Program.” We wrote about this back on March 1, 2009. Thurston County has now posted a draft of their Shoreline Inventory and Characterization Report. Unfortunately, we never received notice of this and it was only by accident that it was discovered, but barely in time to here post notice of its availability. Public comment is now being taken on the draft, but the deadline for public comment is only two weeks away, on February 15.

Click here for the Planning Department’s Shoreline Master Program Update pages.

Public comments may be sent by email to

Spanning 323 pages (a 9.5 MB download), not including appendices, the Shoreline Analysis and Characterization was submitted this last July by Grette Associates, an environmental consulting firm out of Tacoma. The document provides information regarding “ecosystems and ecosystem-wide processes that influence and shape shoreline ecological functions.”

Information is presented at a broad scale and provides a foundation for understanding shoreline management in the context of ecosystem-wide processes. The chapter begins with a description of Thurston County’s regional setting, including the hydrogeologic factors /process controls of topography, climate, geology, and hydrology that govern ecosystem-wide processes. It describes nearshore and freshwater processes and effects of process alterations on ecosystem function. It describes priority species and habitats existing in Thurston County.

A small section regarding “Sea Level Rise” may make for interesting reading, particularly for those residents near to shore. Sections describing geology, the effects of deforestation, processes affecting shellfish harvesting, goundwater recharge, and naming of some key threatened and endangered species are within the first 100 pages.

Much of the inventory describes several characteristics in portions of 4 areas known as water resource inventory areas (WRIAs). There are a total of 62 identified WRIAs in Washington state, according to the report. A WRIA designates the boundaries of specific watersheds.

In the Inventory, our watershed is described as “WRIA 14 – Kennedy/Goldsborough” (page 77). “WRIA 14 is 381 square miles in size. Approximately 48 square miles are located within Thurston County. 9% of the County is located within this WRIA.” 12 different basins are located within WRIA 14 and each basin is described in the document.

The predominant land uses in WRIA 14 are as follows: Single family residential (20%), Designated Forest Land (27%), and Undeveloped Land (37%).

The predominant zoning designations in WRIA 14 are as follows: Long Term Forestry (47%) and Rural Residential – One Dwelling Unit per Five Acres (45%).

Not surprisingly, “analysis of future basin use within this WRIA reflects that this area will experience increased residential and commercial development.”

The majority of the marine shoreline within this WRIA has been developed for residential use. 2006 aerials reflect that large portions of the shoreline have been armored and the vegetation adjacent to the shoreline has been modified.

Basin analysis for our area begins on page 205.

Regarding the basin marking the west side of Eld Inlet, the report notes, “This basin contains a small number of un-named streams that flow into Eld Inlet. These streams are not mapped as meeting the shoreline jurisdiction requirements. However, these streams are likely to qualify as critical areas.”

The same is said for the Kennedy Creek basin, on our southwest corner, Perry Creek, to the southeast, Schneider Creek, and the Totten Inlet side of our peninsula.

For those of you willing to consume a one-page, 30 MB file, there is a countywide mosaic of 2006 aerial photos available. Similar documents map impervious surfaces, but only from 2004, and forest cover, also from 2004. Further analysis of the documents will be required in order to determine if the County is making decisions based on these old views of our region.

Click here to see a description of the status of the Master Shoreline Program Update.

Click here for the County’s Master Shoreline Program Update Q&A.

Thurston County’s Shoreline Master Program was last updated in 1990, before new state guidelines were approved in 2003. Thurston County must update its plan by 2011 in order to be consistent with the latest state requirements. Public input is an important component in this effort.

We would like to write again about the documents the County has made available for public review. This assumes we get enough eyes looking that this material, over the next few days. If you have the opportunity to review some of this, and wish to share your opinion with others – or point out details you feel ought to be more closely evaluated – please consider dropping us an email at