Salmon habitat is shrinking
In a new study of 22 western Washington watersheds, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission reports continuing losses of salmon habitat between 2006 and 2011.
The problems include more paving that makes land impervious and sends polluted runoff into streams, an additional loss of 153 square miles of forest cover , and new shoreline modifications that are going in faster than old ones are removed.
The report calls for declaration of a statewide emergency for salmon.
Recommended actions include placing a moratorium on development permits until standards are revised to prevent habitat destruction, completing new water quality rules to protect both human and fish health, improving stormwater management to reduce the flow of toxics into streams and Puget Sound, and taking actions that ensure there is enough cool, clean water in streams when fish need it.
Although the report doesn’t directly address it, urban planning and growth management are key to these efforts. Creating denser, more walkable cities that people can afford to live in is critical to reducing the suburban sprawl that is a leading cause of habitat loss.
Happy Trails Raj Manhas
After seven years as superintendent of the North Thurston School District, Raj Manhas has retired. Manhas, an engineer, had a career in business before he became involved in education. He became superintendent of Seattle Public Schools in 2003, when the district was in a severe financial crisis. He turned the districts finances around, and in three years oversaw an improvement in student test scores. For an education leader, that experience was definitely baptism by fire.
When he came to North Thurston, his combination of business acumen with calm but passionate commitment to educating each and every child had been finely honed. Over the past seven years, that was a major blessing for Thurston County’s most diverse school district.
Manhas will be missed in the school system, but we can think of many ways he may continue to contribute. Training new superintendents would be one; every school district could benefit from leaders who so graciously combine compassion, intelligence, and common sense.
First UFO landed 69 years ago
On July 8, 1947, the Roswell, New Mexico newspaper reported that rancher Mack Brazel found what many still believe to be the wreckage of a crashed UFO. Though officials quickly identified it as a weather balloon, other versions of the story persist, including one in which a second, nearby crash had surviving aliens. Have you met any lately?