April 28, 2020
Contact: Justin Bush
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office
Scotch Broom Census Set for May
OLYMPIA–The Washington Invasive Species Council, state agencies and researchers are calling for a census in May to help determine the location of Scotch broom throughout the state.
“We need everyone’s help to size up the problem,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “Without baseline information about the location and population size, we don’t have enough details to determine solutions. The information from the census will help us set short- and long-term action plans.”
Yellow flowered, Scotch broom is hard to miss when blooming. It can be found in 30 of Washington’s 39 counties. While known to be spread across the state, specific locations and patch sizes are not well documented, leading to the council’s call for a month-long census.
How to Participate in the Scotch Broom Census
“We’re asking people to send us information from their neighborhoods,” Bush said. “The information can be transmitted easily to the council by using the Washington Invasives mobile app or by visiting https://invasivespecies.wa.gov/report-a-sighting/. Sightings should include a photograph of the plant that shows enough detail that the plant can be verified by an expert. A description of the size of the patch is also helpful, such as whether the patch is the size of a motorcycle, a car, a school bus or multiple school buses. Photographs also can be shared with the council on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtags #TheGreatScotchBroomCensus and #ScotchBroom2020Census.”
Scotch broom is a problem because it crowds out beneficial native species and clogs healthy habitats. It can form dense, impenetrable stands that are a problem for grazing, farming and recreating and it creates fire hazards. Dense stands may prevent or slow forest regeneration and harm sensitive areas near streams and wetlands. Scotch broom also produces toxic compounds, which in large amounts may poison grazing animals.
While widespread and not likely to be fully eliminated from the entire state, action is being taken to remove Scotch broom from parks, roadsides, forests, riverbanks and other at-risk landscapes. The information from the Scotch broom census will help invasive species managers better understand the needs of landowners and managers.
“We don’t have the resources at a state or local level to remove every Scotch broom,” said Greg Haubrich, pest program manager with the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “But organizations like your local noxious weed control board can provide education and technical assistance so that you can efficiently and effectively manage Scotch broom on your property. In some instances, there also could be cost-share funding available from your local conservation district to remove your Scotch broom.”
What You Can Do to Prevent the Spread
When around Scotch broom and any other invasive species, care should be taken not to inadvertently spread it to new locations. Each mature plant can produce thousands of seeds, which are viable up to 80 years. Taking precautions not to move seeds on boots, tires, pets or vehicles is very important.
“Scotch broom is widespread, but it is not everywhere,” Bush said. “By taking simple precautions, you can prevent the spread of this invasive species. Clean your boots, bikes, pets, vehicles and other gear before you venture outdoors to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Conversely, follow the same practices before you head home to protect your own property.”
People that have Scotch broom or would like to get involved in stopping it can find additional help with an online seminar series June 2-4 being organized by the council and its partners, who are working together to share the newest information from throughout the Pacific Northwest so everyone can better address this shared problem.
- Event Web page
- Sighting report form and apps
- County distribution map
- Species information and photographs
- Contact information for county noxious weed control boards
- Local conservation districts contact information
- June 2020 Scotch Broom Ecology and Management Symposium
1111 Washington ST SE
Olympia WA 98501
PO Box 40917
Olympia WA 98504-0917
December 10, 2019
GRAHAM, WA—On December 10th, Puget Soundkeeper reached a legal settlement to resolve a federal Clean Water Act case filed in September 2017 against LRI Landfill, a 168 acre, privately owned non-hazardous landfill within the Nisqually River watershed. The settlement requires LRI to pay $734,000 to fund third party environmental grants in the vicinity of the Nisqually River watershed and areas impacted by illegal discharges of landfill fluid, oils, and other contaminants caused by LRI’s failure to meet both Industrial and Construction Stormwater Permit standards.
Since the start of its construction in 1996, LRI has discharged stormwater to wetlands that lead to Muck Creek ( aka South Creek) – Nisqually River tributaries providing critical habitat for chum salmon, steelhead trout, and sea-run cutthroat trout.
Documented by the Washington Department of Ecology and Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, LRI’s list of violations also include failure to follow stormwater sampling guidelines; high levels of toxic chemicals such as copper, zinc, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in their discharged stormwater; and failure to install technological improvements to effectively control their water pollution.
The settlement reached with Puget Soundkeeper also requires LRI to comply fully with all clean water permits going forward; to install site improvements to prevent future leachate leaks; to install an advanced stormwater treatment system for both their industrial and construction stormwater discharge, and upgrade it if sampling data shows it’s needed; improved handling of auto shredder residue to prevent it from becoming a pollution source; and share permit compliance reports with Puget Soundkeeper to track changes outlined in the settlement. For a full list of settlement outcomes, view the Consent Decree.
“LRI Landfill has a long and complicated history of disappointing community members with its poor pollution track record – and we hope that today marks a turning point for this facility,” said Katelyn Kinn, Puget Soundkeeper Staff Attorney. “Moving forward, LRI has the opportunity to work to become a better neighbor. We look forward to tracking their progress, and holding them accountable.”
Puget Soundkeeper is an environmental non-profit whose mission is to protect and preserve the waters of Puget Sound. Since 1984, Soundkeeper has filed over 200 legal actions and all funds from successful settlements go to restoring polluted waterways in the region through the Puget Sound Stewardship & Mitigation Fund.
Puget Soundkeeper was represented in this matter by Claire Tonry, Richard Smith, Knoll Lowney, Katherine Brennan at Smith & Lowney PLLC and Soundkeeper’s Staff Attorney Katelyn Kinn.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2019
Planning Commission adds meetings on community plan updates
The Pierce County Planning Commission has scheduled eight additional meetings on the Frederickson, Mid-County, Parkland-Spanaway-Midland and South Hill community plan updates in early 2020. The commission is scheduled to makes its final recommendations on the updates in March.
Community plans provide direction on how growth and development will occur. The plans address topics such as zoning, transportation, the look and feel of the community, and access to services and amenities. An overview of the proposed changes is available at www.piercecountywa.gov/cpupdate.
The meetings will be held at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th St. in Tacoma.
Several meetings will focus on the Centers and Corridors proposal, which would focus growth along Pacific Avenue/State Route 7, Meridian/State Route 161, 176th Street East, 112th Street East and Canyon Road East.
Two January study sessions are open to the public, but there will be no public testimony.
Four public hearings will be held in February and March. Each meeting will feature a staff presentation, discussion by the commission, and public testimony about proposed changes presented at that meeting.
The commission will make a final recommendation on each plan, associated development regulations, and amendments to the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan in March. There will be no public testimony.
The commission’s final recommendations will be submitted to the Pierce County Council. The council will then consider the proposed changes for each plan and determine whether to adopt them.
Visit www.piercecountywa.gov/cpupdate to view a meeting calendar and sign up for meeting updates.
Written comment accepted
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from: Washington State Department of Ecology
Friends of Pierce County 2019 Annual Meeting Summary
Friends of Pierce County welcomed Erin Dilworth from Citizens for Healthy Bay. Erin briefed attendees on the latest issues with the Tacoma Tide Flats. The City of Tacoma is working on a Tideflats Subarea Plan. The City is putting together a stakeholder team to address a vision, environment, land use, economy, public services and transportation in the plan.
The most contaminated site in Commencement Bay (from Hylebos to Marine View Drive – and deeper than the height of the Tacoma Dome) is slated for cleanup. A plan is currently being developed for what portions of this area will be cleaned up. For more on Occidental Chemical Cleanup: https://www.healthybay.org/work/contaminated-site-cleanups/occidental-chemical-cleanup-site/
Erin Dilworth, Citizens for Healthy Bay, at Friends of Pierce County Annual meeting. March 19, 2019.