Prince William SOUNDKEEPER®

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Soundkeeper's Log

Updates, Observations & Commentary
  • 07 Aug 2013 4:42 PM | Kate McLaughlin (Administrator)
    Representatives of the Clean Harbor Working Group met today in Cordova at the NVE office.  Members include the Prince William Sound Science Center, Native Village of Eyak, Oil Spill Recovery Institute, Copper River Assoc., UAA Marine Advisory, Cordova District Fisherman's Union and Cordova residents.  Agenda discussed this year's Harbor Outreach Program and the joint proposal to EVOS Trustee Council to fund the Cordova Clean Harbor Program into 2014-15.
  • 01 Jul 2013 1:05 PM | Kate McLaughlin (Administrator)
    Congratulations to our Founding Board Member Vince Kelly on his retirement from the Alaska Department of Conservation!

    Vince is now beginning a new venture with the purchase of a vessel with which he intends on giving Board Member Capt. Dean Rand and The Discovery a bit of competition for the natural history tourism market in the Sound. 

    Vince will be traveling to California soon to sail the new boat (send us pictures soon Capt.!) up to Oregon for a winter of renovation and refitting before returning to Prince William Sound spring of 2014. 

    Vince will also be serving an important duty while in the Pacific Northwest this winter, he will be acting as PWSK's Lower 48 Liaison bringing the issues and concerns of Prince William Sound to our non-Resident constituents. 

    Smooth Sailing Vince!

  • 19 Apr 2013 1:34 PM | Kate McLaughlin (Administrator)
    I just returned from a two week vacation to Kauaii.  My family is very honored and lucky to have good Kauaiian friends who treat us as Ohana and let us stay in their home and take us on great adventures. 

    One of my favorite things to do is get up early for sun-rise walks on Larson's Beach, a short distance from where we stay.  Larson's Beach is located on the NE side of Kauai, below the Kilauea Lighthouse area.  This beach is very dangerous for swimming.  I only see the Japanese/Hawaiian guys out on the reef dancing with the incoming waves on low tide while harvesting red sea weed and octopus.  This beach is a Hawaiian monk seal and green sea turtle haul out area, and the endangered Laysan Albatross nests on the slopes above.  The beach is a great place to shell and find ocean gifts.  A few coves along this stretch of the island are really good "trash catchers", I once found a glass fishing float nestled among the lava rocks. 

    A group of SurfRiders and other residents performed a beach cleanup just a few weeks before I arrived on Larson's.  The bundles of marine trash and old buoys, were staged under the bushes above high tide waiting to be collected and analyzed by a University doctoral student.  The cleanup on Larson's only extended to the mile or so of "beach" and didn't include the farther rocky coves towards Kilauea.  One such cove contains the beat up hull of a wrecked fishing boat, along with several large black buoys, chunks of Styrofoam, and many, many small plastic pieces and bottles.  I was struck by how much of this debris is likely from the Japenese Tsunami event, such as the large black buoys, and how much of it was plastics, both large and small.

    Marine Debris is a problem that knows only the boundaries of the tide and wind.  The challenges we face here in Prince William Sound with marine debris are the same that our friends and family face in the Hawaiian islands.  A reminder that we all live in the same blue marble and have a vested interest in keeping her clean and healthy.

    Mahalo and Aloha.
  • 19 Mar 2013 4:13 PM | Kate McLaughlin (Administrator)
     re: Coal strip mining through salmon streams

    Governor Parnell once famously stated that he "would not trade one resource for another".  It is even greater folly to trade a sustainable renewable resource that feeds and provides for many in this state for a non-renewable resource that benefits few. 

    Allowing for coal strip mining through wild salmon streams is a return of the failed resource extraction policies indicative of the Lower 48 of the past century.  Those policies destroyed the salmon runs in the Lower 48.  We should have learned from that disaster, not attempting to recreate them.

    ADF&G needs to focus on providing stronger protections for our fragile natural ecosystem and allow for more input from citizens, especially in regards to the loss of the Coastal Zone Management Plan and DNR's restriction of public input in these matters of water quality and conservation. 

    Alaska has the last remaining wild salmon streams in the world.  Protection of this irreplaceable and invaluable resource should be of utmost importance.  It should be clearly illegal to destroy the birth place of such an important economic, personal, and cultural resource. 

    Please consider implementing provisions for predictable, consistent rules for salmon fishery management.

  • 04 Mar 2013 7:36 PM | Kate McLaughlin (Administrator)
    Board Member Liz Senear  and I (via speaker phone) attended The Clean Harbors Working Group meeting which met today in the PWS Science Center's office.   The meeting's agenda was to discuss our 2013 plans for continuing our efforts in the Cordova Harbor for Outreach & Education and the status of the joint proposal submitted by the group to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Marine Habitat Harbor Water Quality Improvement Program. 
  • 26 Feb 2013 2:50 PM | Kate McLaughlin (Administrator)
    The PWSK Board met at the PWS Regional Citizens Advisory Council office on Saturday, Feb. 23 for our Strategic Planning Board Meeting.  Thank you to PWS RCAC for opening their doors on a Saturday and donating their meeting room for this event.  The meeting was facilitated by JSC Consulting. 

    Our meeting was extremely successful.  We updated our Mission and Vision Statements and developed a Strategic Plan for 1, 3, and 5 years.  

    This meeting was made possible by a grant from the Capacity Building for Charitable Organizations fund of The Alaska Community Foundation.
  • 22 Feb 2013 1:43 PM | Kate McLaughlin (Administrator)
    The PWSK Board of Directors will meet this Saturday at the PWSRCAC office to hold a strategic planning meeting.  This meeting will result in the production of a 1, 3 and 5 year plan for moving PWSK forward. 
  • 05 Feb 2013 10:51 AM | Kate McLaughlin (Administrator)
    This week I am attending the Alaska Forum on the Environment in Anchorage.  This Forum has many sessions with subjects that affect Prince William Sound and its resource users such as: Climate Change, Water Quality, Invasive Species and Marine Debris.  One opportunity in particular for PWSK is to learn about, and give comment on, the 2013 Chugach National Forest Plan Revision.  

    Of special concern for PWSK this week is that State Legislative actions regarding the Cruise Ship Wastewater bill presented by the Governor.  This bill essentially guts the provisions of the 2006 Citizens Initiative and allows for more discharge of untreated sewage and wastewater in Alaska's marine ecosystems.

    PWSK will be issuing a formal comment to the State Legislature, but we realistically understand that there is little chance of it getting derailed at this point.  PWSK will be looking at other avenues of recourse to deal with this very troubling rollback of the citizens will to control and update the cruise ship industry's water quality problem.
  • 25 Jan 2013 1:48 PM | Kate McLaughlin (Administrator)
    Our five member board is preparing to hold a Strategic Planning Board Meeting in Anchorage, on Feb. 23. at the PWS RCAC office.  PWSK members interested in attending are welcome!  
  • 08 Jan 2013 1:08 PM | Kate McLaughlin (Administrator)
    Prince William Soundkeeper is pleased to announce the generous donation of $5,000 to our organization from the Oiled Regions of Alaska Foundation.  The Foundation has closed it doors and disbursed its remaining funds to the associated non-profits in Alaska working on water quality / oil spill issues.  Prince William Soundkeeper is very thankful to receive this unexpected, and needed general support.  
Prince William Soundkeeper, PO Box 1368, Cordova, Alaska, 99574  tel: 907-424-5701 www.pwsoundkeeper.org  a 501c(3) non-profit organization.
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