Library is an essential asset in Ocean Park
It has been said that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Just packing to move from Ocean Park in 2004 we missed it; in 2015, returned. No, dewy wet and stormy days of wind and rain are not what drew us “home.” Rather, as it is with many a small town, what called us back was a glorious church body, the pace of living, the competent community — “A competent community is aware of resources and alternatives, can make reasoned decisions about issues facing the group and can cope adaptively with change. It parallels the concept of positive mental health,” according to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 2009 — and the natural beauty of the Peninsula.
Likewise, it has been said that you do not know what you have until it is gone (or threatened). Rural, remote community talk exists in Ocean Park. The fall of 2018 community gossip concerned the Timberland Regional Library (TRL) system closures and whether our local library is at risk. The fever of care in my heart and mind about the potential risk of this library facility has pushed me to write this letter to the editor with copies forwarded to the TRL Board of Trustees.
My love and appreciation of our community’s competence is not new. Ocean Park living teaches you. People watch out for each other here “at the end of the world.” A generous spirit of community and service for the benefit of others is commonplace. This is both historical and sociological. South Pacific County demographics do show high rates of poverty, resource scarcity and homelessness. What is awe inspiring to me, and the purpose of this letter to the editor, is that our local library has accomplished serving as a protector for those that may be in need on one or more levels. It is an effective community hub; that is, a place that connects residents with the outside world and with each other. “Just go to the library” is what folks often share with each other frequently, that is because library staff either have direct knowledge of community resources and/or can link folks readily to information and/or supportive services that are requested.
My heart falls considering what would be lost if and when Ocean Park Library were ever to be closed. Apart from regular library resources, yoga classes, music programs, current magazines, free books and printing capabilities, scores of community events occur at the library. It is the newspaper, a homework location, a job search center and the technology connection to the rest of the world! It is Toddler Play Group, Preschool Reading Hour, an elementary school walking field trip and, of course, a resource bank. For seniors, it is both a wellness center and a library. A reasonable selection of large print books are available and staff are welcoming and consistently caring in their approach. For those who walk, the library is on the public transit route and for those who walk in fear (mental health and/or homelessness pressures) the Ocean Park Library is also a warming center and a mental health first aid zone. Thank you Ocean Park Library for your excellence. Your community, funders, trustees and Olympia officials need to know the confidence and trust this TRL facility has achieved. With gratitude,
Plant more trees
Some people measure a tree’s worth in board feet of lumber. Consider this: each healthy tree sequesters (stores) carbon in its wood and in the soil. Right now there is so much carbon in the air and water — put there by us — that they are becoming acidic, causing diseases and Dead Zones. We need to counteract all that carbon. A good way to do that is with trees.
To fight the climate change we have caused, I recommend we plant as many trees as possible — those that will grow locally. We can also choose building materials other than wood. We can cut down on driving as much as possible. And we can use electricity to heat our homes instead of firewood. (Lower thermostat and sweaters will help, too.)
I realize many people support their families by working in the timber industry. There are other jobs out there. We can do this, but it will take all of us. Please help me save life on earth!
Don’t blame crimes on firearms
This is a response to Michael Goldberg’s letter in the Nov. 14 edition of the paper. As usual, after every shooting, the liberal view point is ban assault weapons. What is an assault weapon? Any gun, including a 2-inch Derringer is an assault weapon, because it is just as deadly as a rife, a shotgun or any other firearm. Now, I have owned all of the above in my lifetime and never once did any of these weapons leave my house and shoot anybody.
So let’s put the blame where it belongs! We live in a dysfunctional society, where mental illness and drug usage is rampant, where our returning military personal are not getting what they need from our VA hospitals. Blame those things and not an inanimate object that is being used by very sick and disturbed people.
Time to quit spraying
Thanks to the Observer for diligent reporting on the use of pesticides in Willapa Bay. The guest column from Dick Wilson prompts a reply to his self-serving claims.
In spite of a claimed review by a professional biologist, his wordy defense of using a pesticide to control shrimp is undermined in his first sentence blaming the Department of Ecology for a decrease in estuary species by their denial of a permit to spray “invasive burrowing shrimp.” Dick (and his reviewer) surely know the shrimp are a native foundation keystone species, while the commercial oysters and clams are non-native.
Dick claims further that “DOE knows not what they do.” Well, if one takes the time to review the voluminous information and numerous public comments which DOE considered, the conclusion is obvious. Time to quit spraying, protect wildlife diversity, shift to sustainable shellfish farming methods. The risks from spraying outweigh the potential benefits.
Most shellfish growers have shifted to alternative methods since pesticide use stopped five years ago. Markets are strong, there is no shortage of oysters, ads for new workers in the industry are seen in the Observer regularly. I farmed oysters successfully at Nahcotta for 25 years without using pesticides. It can be done.
Dick repeats recent claims that the burrowing shrimp population is exploding. This is a familiar argument, used often to justify spraying in years past. But the best evidence of shrimp populations comes from OSU marine biologist John Chapman who documented last year that shrimp populations are crashing. They are already extinct in California estuaries, and declining in estuaries further north, including Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Suspected causes are a parasite, climate change, ocean acidification. Further research may shed some light, but meanwhile, killing native shrimp with a pesticide to protect a non-native crop doesn’t make sense.
DOE made the right decision, consistent with our current scientific understanding of shrimp and their importance to wildlife diversity. The Growers have appealed the decision, another waste of public resources. What if the decision is overturned? Spraying can begin again? The Growers had a permit in 2015, but voluntarily quit in the face of strong consumer opposition. Will they persist, or finally recognize we can have a healthy shellfish industry and pristine estuary unpolluted by pesticide use?
Oystering has been a long rich journey for me, a good excuse to live by the water and fool around with boats. Jack Wiegardt was my mentor, starting in 1983 when we began experiments raising oysters on stakes and lines, searching for alternatives to the more common ground culture that required spraying carbaryl. It has been a long time coming, I’m happy to see sustainable organic aquaculture thriving. Maybe someday a more complete story will be written about the efforts to keep pesticides out of the Bay.
Science supports ban on use of pesticides in Willapa Bay
Good science is based on research.
It’s curious that oyster growers want to spray imidacloprid—it’s toxic to oysters (1) and human beings. (2) Imidacloprid is also on the list of pesticides that pose a risk to salmon, (3) it puts Dungeness and other crab at risk, (4) and our shrimp industry could face negative impacts as well. (5)
Dr. Wilson mentions the importance of algal communities to the benthic environment; however imidacloprid and its break down products are toxic to algal communities and phytoplankton. (6) He mentions benthic invertebrates, but they are poisoned by imidacloprid. (7) Look at the research and push back against this fight to poison our bay.
Burrowing shrimp are not invasive species, as some people want us to think. They are native creatures that have lived in our bay long before we began growing Pacific oysters. (8) Everyone agrees that the burrowing shrimp populations are out of balance with the environment, but that’s because of our own actions. We have reduced the populations of their predators, changed the seasonal flow of fresh water, and increased carbon in the atmosphere and dissolved in our water ways, our bay, and the ocean. Our job is to find strategies that work around the problem and that will help bring the environment back into balance. Imidacloprid is neither a safe nor healthy strategy for that work.
Dr. Wilson claims that oysters can’t be grown off bottom in Willapa Bay. That’s an interesting claim, as Taylor Shellfish already has off bottom flip-bag plots here, which produce the superior and expensive deep cupped oysters prized for the half shell market. When driving between Tokeland and Raymond at low tide, you may have seen the plots of hanging mesh flip-bags. (9)
The burrowing shrimp that live here are also found from Alaska to mid California. Oyster growers up and down the Pacific Coast have found ways to work around burrowing shrimp without using poison. If we put our minds to it, we can as well. And we will be much better off for not poisoning oysters; the people who raise, process, and enjoy them; and our environment—which we depend on in many ways in addition to growing oysters.
Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association has spent many thousands of dollars promoting pro-pesticide narratives. They could have been seeking to adopt and adapt sustainable and non-toxic solutions from those who have already put them into practice. It’s time to make that change. It’s a change consumers and other seafood industries will support.
(1) “Aquatic animals, including molluscs, are at direct risk . . .”: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26340121?dopt=Abstract <https://bit.ly/2r25bnb> Oysters and other shellfish are molluscs (also spelled mollusks): https://www.britannica.com/topic/list-of-mollusks-2068994 <https://bit.ly/2BvCrcn> More here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29353174 <https://bit.ly/2AgYQZa> Search ‘oysters’ here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4284392/ <https://bit.ly/2RbhtF8>
(2) “Four general population studies reported associations between chronic neonic* exposure and adverse developmental or neurological outcomes, including tetralogy of Fallot, anencephaly, autism spectrum disorder, and a symptom cluster including memory loss and finger tremor.” (*Imidacloprid is a neonic.) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5289916/ <https://bit.ly/2DUUU4G>
(3) Imidacloprid poses a risk to salmon, see page 3: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/documents/1/salmonsafe-residential.pdf <https://bit.ly/2zo8ytb>
(4) Dungeness crab had significant mortality rates on imidacloprid test plots, see page 45: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/documents/1810002.pdf <https://bit.ly/2r4VDb4> Also search ‘imidacloprid’ here: http://nccoast.org/uploads/documents/CRO/2012-9/blue-crab-study-II.pdf <https://bit.ly/2PSXDSo>
(5) Imidacloprid’s negative impacts on shrimp: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321372669_The_impacts_of_modern-use_pesticides_on_shrimp_aquaculture_An_assessment_for_north_eastern_Australia <https://bit.ly/2FEHZFE>
(6) Imidacloprid affects algal growth and survival: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048357512001150 <https://bit.ly/2r530PK> Also see page 125 for toxicity of imidacloprid to algae and phytoplankton: https://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/pesticide/pdfs/ImidaclopridFinalReport.pdf <https://bit.ly/2Kz0Lx2>
(7) “Significant, unavoidable impacts to benthic invertebrates.” https://ecology.wa.gov/Regulations-Permits/Permits-certifications/Aquatic-pesticide-permits/Burrowing-shrimp-control-Imidacloprid <https://bit.ly/2RaINmZ>
(8) Ghost shrimp’s range - Alaska to Baja California: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/invertebrates/bay-ghost-shrimp <https://bit.ly/2R8W7bl>
Mud shrimp found from Alaska to Morro Bay, California: https://inverts.wallawalla.edu/Arthropoda/Crustacea/Malacostraca/Eumalacostraca/Eucarida/Decapoda/Thalassinidea/Upogebia_pugettensis.html <https://bit.ly/2zozIAe>
(9) Taylor uses flip-bag technology:” http://www.thurstontalk.com/2014/01/04/washington-oysters-farmers-flip-bag/ <https://bit.ly/2FGUe4t>