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Doppelganger
Gorecrow



Joined: 09 Feb 2006
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Gorecrow
PostFri Jun 05, 2015 7:21 am 
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trestle wrote:
Doc Hastings

Well this is one less thing we, as a people, need to worry about! Dreams do come true!
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RodF
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Joined: 01 Sep 2007
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Location: Sequim WA
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PostThu May 16, 2019 3:31 pm 
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"Wild Olympics" bill endangers SNOTELs.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (Washington Snow Survey Office in Mt. Vernon) operates two SNOTEL sites, and plans a third, in Olympic National Forest:
- Dungeness SNOTEL 943 in the Dungeness watershed,
- Mt. Crag SNOTEL in the Quilcene River watershed, and
- Mt. Tebo SNOTEL in the Skokomish River watershed (planned, fall 2019).

SNOTELs enable snowpack and river flows, which vary greatly from year to year in our Northwest climate due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, El Nino Southern Oscillation, weather and climate change, to be predicted.  This affects endangered salmon, fisheries, floods, water supplies for Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, their industries and agricultural irrigators, managed cooperatively with the tribes and affecting their treaty rights.  It affects all of us concerned with conservation and recreational use.

SNOTELs measure snowpack, snow water equivalent, temperature, precipitation, etc.  They require annual maintenance, including replacement of dozens of gallons of glycol antifreeze in the precipitation gauge, and periodic replacement of the rubber snow pillow which is filled with antifreeze.  This requires motorized access, either by vehicle or by helicopter.

The "Wild Olympics" bill would place two of these SNOTEL sites entirely within designated wilderness, permanently cutting off motorized use and road access, and the third on the wilderness boundary, half within wilderness.  This would make them impossible to maintain without a full Environmental Assessment, and even then, leave them vulnerable to removal by a lawsuit like the one which resulted in the court order to remove Green Mountain Lookout from Glacier Peak Wilderness.

Sen. Dan Evans held public hearings on the peninsula prior to drafting the 1984 Washington State Wilderness Act that designated the existing wilderness areas in Olympic NF.  The lack of similar public hearings prior to introduction of the "Wild Olympics" bill in 2012 resulted in this oversight of SNOTELs, and was not noted by USFS in its subcommittee testimony.

Please join me in writing the sponsors of the "Wild Olympics" bill, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Derek Kilmer, to amend their companion bills to explicitly enable the continued operation and maintenance of SNOTELs within wilderness.

--------------
"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Brian R
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Location: Fircrest WA
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PostThu May 16, 2019 8:46 pm 
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West coast politicians and empowered agency bureaucrats seem less and less inclined to care what we think. Hearings, if they're held at all, are simply window dressing check the box nonsense.
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Forum Index > Stewardship > "Wild Olympics": Wilderness
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