Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How Much Is That In Dog Grants?

The Island Guardian has a current article about the amount of money that has been spent on Salmon Recovery Grants. It amounts to $9.6 million state-wide this year. Over the past 10 years or so, with matching funds thrown in, the amount spent in San Juan County is about $12 million, according to statements and presentations by the Lead Entity Coordinator for San Juan County.

One of the recent grant-funded salmon recovery projects has been the purchase of a conservation easement by the San Juan Preservation Trust to "protect" land on Stuart Island. Just to be clear, grant money is coming from the State to our County, and then our County is providing the money to the San Juan Preservation Trust, who is purchasing a conservation easement from some private citizens who own land on Stuart Island ... who get the money and then get reduced taxes too because of the easement (yes, the State and County are giving out grants to lower their own tax base). The Guardian has the financial details, but the grant is for $800,000 ... with matching, the cumulative total amounts to a little over $1 million being spent on salmon recovery ... on that project alone.

Reportedly, this Reid Harbor project was highly rated by technical and citizen reviewers associated with our MRC. However, by my estimate, this project "protects" about 0.1% of our county's potential intertidal salmon habitat, assuming it was "threatened" at that location to begin with. Furthermore, the Guardian quotes Governor Inslee as saying,
"these projects will provide construction jobs and help countless numbers of Washington families and businesses, including tackle shops, charter operators, restaurants and hotels, that rely on the world-renowned Pacific salmon.” 
Another official says,
 "Puget Sound Chinook are about one-third as abundant as they were a century ago,” said David Troutt, chair of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. “As we have developed our urban and rural landscapes, we’ve damaged many of the estuaries, floodplains and rivers that salmon need to survive. These projects have been selected as ones that will make big impacts on Puget Sound and salmon recovery."
Does this Reid Harbor project provide construction jobs (nope)? ... protection (well, "they" say it does, but nope)? ... in Puget Sound (nope)? ... increase salmon populations (nope)? ... estuary, floodplain, or river (nope)? ... big impact on Puget Sound and salmon recovery (nope)? Does this project do any of the things talked about? Is it anything more than vacuous "save the environmental bureaucracy" PR messaging?

Answer: No

Mostly, San Juan County has intertidal salmon habitat rather than salmon spawning habitat. We don't have the really important "estuaries, floodplains, and rivers that salmon need to survive." State law provides a statutory path forward for counties that do not have "sufficient" intertidal habitat, and RCWs 77.85.220 & 230 set forth the requirements for an Intertidal Salmon Enhancement Plan. However, we don't have such a plan ... not one that follows the statutory requirements anyway.  So, by inference, it would seem that the State thinks we probably have "sufficient" intertidal habitat already.

There's a disconnect. We're spending millions to protect intertidal habitat here despite not having a proper Intertidal Salmon Enhancement Plan, which the State (the sugar daddy of habitat "protection" millions) would require if we had insufficient intertidal habitat.

How do we know when we're done with salmon recovery here? Is our goal to make intertidal habitat more than sufficient? How do we know if any of our salmon recovery efforts are doing anything? Do we know if we're making any progress?

Answer: We don't know.

Barbara Rosenkotter, Salmon Recovery Lead Entity Coordinator for San Juan County


  1. Who owns that land? Who did we just give this gift to? How are they connected to the machine? The only thing fishy about this grant is the smell.

  2. We will "know" we are done with Salmom Recovery projects when 100% of the land in San Juan County is in a Preservation Trust, or has a Comservation Easment, or is in the National Monument managemnt plan, and the Census reports a population of Zero! In fact, at that time some group,will ne seekimg fumding for a "Human Recovery Project"!

  3. @7:01

    You can look it up on Polaris. It says the land is owned by the COOLEY GILLIOM FAM PRTNSHP, based in Auburn, California.

    Yep, local jobs and local economic development. Just send that Washington State taxpayer money to artists in Auburn, California who are then heralded for their generosity and land conservation ethic.

  4. @ 7:08
    You are incorrect, the population will not be zero, it will be the wealthy scam artists of the FOSJ, Gates Family Trust, Paul Allen's trust, and a few other mega-billionaires who've finally driven off the peasantry and now have their own play ground in the Salish dock their mag-yachts, and dance around drum circles while becoming one with Gaia.

  5. At what point should this become a RICO investigation?

  6. At the point where we finally implicate Kevin Ranker and lift up his skirt. Between the Brickworks and now this, I think he has some 'splainin to do ...

    Maybe the whole idea is to reintroduce wolves to the wild on Stuart Island. We used to have wolves around there. Lots of Coast Salish stories about them being in kindred spirit with Orcas.

  7. @7:14 the SJI preservation trust article reads differently to me. It seems, from my reading, that the Rissers (residents of Friday Harbor) owned the property on Stuart. It was then bought by the Cooley-Gilliom foundation. The foundation, in turn, is granting an easement...or an outright title (eventually) to the SJI preservation trust.

    Private money from a family trust, not taxpayer money, went to the local couple....not an artist in CA. And, from the other article you cited, the artist died of breast cancer in 2003.

    Where are you reading that taxpayer money went to the artist in CA? I either misread your citations, or it's a different source

    ...Tropical storm Hale has been upgraded to a class 4 and is expected to make landfall this week....
    ....Residents are advised to stock up on essential items such as common sense and hard liquor....
    .....Early damage estimates are in the 10's of millions in diminished property values and litigation costs....
    ....Regular updates will continue from the BAS network as additional details become available....

  9. @7:37

    The current grant money is going to the current owners (the Foundation) to purchase an easement on their property. Whatever transaction the Rissers may have been involved in regarding that property, with the Family Foundation, is in the past. This is a new transaction which purchases an easement from the Family Foundation using state grant money and funds kicked in by the SJPT.

    The Family Foundation has an address of Auburn, California, and at least some of the family members have been in the local press for their art and conservation ethic.

    This is a private transaction in the sense that it is between the SJPT and the Family Foundation, but it is funded by a state grant provided to the SJPT by the State via SJ County.

  10. Correct. Some non-resident Californians are being paid for a conservation easement on land because our local evaluation team decided this easement would restore salmon.

  11. Who exactly? Who decided this would restore salmon. The post says, "this Reid Harbor project was highly rated by technical and citizen reviewers associated with our MRC." Who were the technical and citizen reviewers? What are their names?

  12. Here's a link to the project on the state conservation website:

    The project description (marked-up) is listed at the bottom, and describes this as an important "fish use" area. That's important I guess, fish can't just any water or shoreline.

    It also describes an active reef net site just south of the property. That seems a bit contradictory, but what do I know?

  13. @7:37, 7:14, 7:46, 7:49

    It's easy to get confused because SJPT has been involved with this particular property for more than a decade involving different owners during that time. However, the point made by @7:49 is basically correct. Regardless of what has happened in the past, this site is now the subject of an entirely new transaction funded by SJPT using state salmon money. The local evaluation team selected this project and the state money is disbursed to SJPT via the county.

  14. Who are these "local" evaluators?!?!?

  15. @7:46 Gotcha. Thank you. From @7:37

  16. I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.

    W. C. Fields

  17. @8:03 and 7:51

    A Citizen's Advisory Group (CAG) provided a citizen recommendation. A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) provided a technical recommendation. I do not know who is on the CAG/TAG. I just know that they exist. I don't know if the council appointed the CAG/TAG. I don't know if the council saw the CAG/TAG ratings or voted to concur with them.

    I guess there is a lot I don't know :-) but I also guess I know more than most, probably even more than the council.

  18. One member of the council knows exactly how it works.

  19. Part of the overall strategy here is to create a hopelessly complicated acronym soup.

    A lot of different little committees, task forces, working groups, all with over-lapping membership of certain folks in common. A real hairball.

    Then, the special children meet informally to figure out the general directions of things to push for. They tailor their messages for each group and committee. Before you know it all these little groups are in alignment all speaking in unison, but shading their wording so its really hard to tell they are working in tandem. Then the letters to the paper pour in, with remarkable timing. Then a whole bunch of eager beavers (having received their call through the activist phone tree) descend on the council having been quietly alerted in advance by the Council Chair who MANAGES THE AGENDA.

    There you have it. Fait accompli - business as usual.

    Anyone on the outside of the fish bowl has no clue what's going on inside. Although I suppose it all looks so pristine and perfect and pretty.

    Just watch out for the scum sucking bottom feeders, mud sharks, puff fish and eels slithering around.

  20. Why do we always think the wild animals need our help. Leave them alone, they know what to do. I don't care how many redundant grant fueled studies are done we can't tell them how to live their lives. Humans caused the problem and the only way we can help is to butt out. We don't need committees, board of directors and BAS to do that. Just remove them from human contact. Tourism be dammed.

  21. @5:07

    We are all learning that it isn't about the environment. It's about the money. Rosenkotter probably believes that grant funds drying up is an environmental catastrophe, or their critics should be listed as Superfund sites.

    Their world has nothing to do with toxins or ecology. They have managed to convince everyone that we have to go along with everything they say and do or the world will literally come to a devastating ecological end. They have redefined "being an environmentalist" as being the "thought police" for a doomsday cult. Doomsday is the day the money runs out, not the day the world ends.

  22. As I was saying it truly has nothing to do with the fish.

  23. So how does this work? Suppose we have 60 acres on Stewart (which we don't) which fronts on waters that the fish apparently use.

    Does the Preservation Trust knock on our door and say "Hey, our experts have selected your property in particular because it fronts on waters that fish seem to use, and we would like to buy a conservation easement for a lot of money"?

    Or do we go to the Preservation Trust and say "Hey, the fish seem to use the waters off our property, don't you want to give us a lot of money so we don't build something the fish might not like?"

    Is the process driven by the CAG/TAG/TLA choosing particularly important property, or by particular property owners asking to be chosen?

  24. @6:17

    No no no no no. You have it all wrong. Didn't you ever watch "The Incredible Mr. Limpet"?

    The fish contact Barbara Rosenkotter. She sails out into the ocean on a Navy submarine, and the fish contact her. The fish speak into a hydrophone and BR translates it. She's the only one who can do it, you see. BR speaks for the fish. Our fine finned friends tell BR which properties they swim by, and they instruct her to take their fishy wants and desires right to the top, no red tape.

    Then it all just happens.

    (In this case, I think the SJPT has been wanting to serve as a bridge for absorbing this property into the state park system on Stuart, so I bet they dreamt up the justification for the grant. Who knows, this property might even become part of the National Monument at some point. I fully expect the Land Bank, the SJPT, and our state parks to start selling their land to the feds at some point. That way, the National Monument expands "voluntarily" and the LB, SJPT, and state park system cash out.)

  25. San Juan Preservation Trust is a private nonprofit. Donate and maybe they can help you out.
    I'll scratch your back and you scratch mine. Only problem is they are using our scratch.

  26. San Juan Preservation Trust just pulled of a feat of fiscal agentry that Zee would be jealous of.

  27. Now you can see why RZ wanted to take over the Lead Entity program at the CD. It fits.

  28. How much property can be taken off the property tax base till the scales tip to the breaking point.
    They say it is bought for us then tell us to stay off cause it is really theirs. I guess they can always get their pay check from the feds, state and county.

  29. This stuff is like a boat the cheap part is buying it and then you have to maintain the maintainers.

  30. @7:15
    I don't know if a boat is the best analogy.
    I'm thinking more like the mafia.
    RICO. Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization.
    That is how these clowns operate. Didn't donate to the Friends? Guess you pay your lawyer for a drawn out trial. You paid your Eco protection? Ahhhh yes, that dock looks just fine.
    It's not bordering on corrupt, it is way beyond it.

  31. @ 6:33 PM

    I think you are correct; this makes simple sense and this scenario has been raised before and folks think through what the National Monument designation really means.

    It does mean a gradual consolidation of Land Trust, SJPT, state lands and conservation easements into a larger and single federal land holding. A lot of "corridors" will need to be established to connect these currently "diversified" holdings.

    You don't want to live in a corridor. Habitat freeway is coming through. You'll have to stop doing what you're doing. Just ask Shirene.

    Think about it. Think about the money. What is the future of the Land Bank, and the SJPT twenty years from now? They buy real estate but they have no resources to MANAGE the lands. Get it? What we are seeing is the beginning of a process to divest holdings of protected lands to the federal government, and whoever is left as inholders are well and truly screwed unless they are plutocrats.

    Tell my why this theory makes no sense, please.

  32. Folks here on the TH are doing a great job, but just what would qualify this purchase.

    Via Ms. Hale we all would have to hire multiple specialists/scientists/known persons to identify the edge of a wetland.

    Stuart Island has this all mapped out for fish?

    I go there several times a year and there is a net trap on floats at the head of Reid Harbor, but of course that is in the water and likely a legal native american subsistence gig for some people who missed out on linking up to the tribal casino bosses.

    Usually these kind of purchases come down to a significant tax saving for people with incomes that need such things.

    The fish lady pulled off a real coup d'etat at pissing away a large sum of money on nothing to do with fish.

    Maybe worse is the rubber stamp uninformed blessing by a State of Washington Governor.

  33. The pictures of the suspects are great. But I think they usually show a front and side view. I bet their friends and families are very proud.

  34. I hope the people that support and mingle with these groups at there fund raisers and cocktail parties realize that they will turn on them, like a pack of starved wolves, if need be.
    They are being used also, even though they would/could never admit it. Remember the food chain? Eat the little fish and then when you are big and powerful enough , eat the big fish.
    What's the end goal? Destroy a rural county for a paycheck?

  35. @10:17
    You say "destroy a rural county" but to them, it is "preservation".
    Other poster brought up the tax shift and mentioned a "tipping point". Sadly, at least for me, the tipping point won't mean anything other than I will be forced to sell my house because I can no longer afford the tax burden. If it keeps going up and up, for me, that is a reality.
    All of this open space and hobby farming crap is killing us.
    Didn't they council just vote recently to reduce the fees to get in to the open space program? That's right, you can pay a whole lot less for the privilege of cheating on your taxes.
    And the lad bank, thanks to the voters of the county, approved their budget for an unheard of 12 or 14 years or something. Anyone remember that? Must be nice.
    Trouble is brewing everywhere. Folks the fix is in.
    Locally, nationally, globally.
    Get I know your neighbors and learn which islanders you can TRUST.
    The doo doo is going to hit the fan in a big way soon and when it does, it's Ain't gonna be pretty.

    I pray tonight to our Lord to help us stay strong in the face of evil and oppression. Let us cast aside our petty differences and work together to keep our spirit and freedom alive.

  36. I JUST saw the MRC meeting notice for yesterday including the big ten minutes for public comment.

    Was that video taped? Were there comments? What happened there? And...were any commissioners there?
    I would have gone if I'd known about it...oh..and of course if I hadn't had to go to work.


  37. Soon, after we have all lost our jobs and there is not more work to be had, we'll have plenty of time to attend MRC meetings and show up at council sessions to speak for the fish.

  38. According to the new huge banner at the lopez post office san juan county is now a national monument sight, not much longer and we will all be extinct

  39. There was a little bit of video shot at the Anacortes Community Forum with Secretary Salazar, Sen. Cantwell and our own King Kevin who couldn't stop gushing about how good this thing would be for the local economy, and tourism jobs in the islands. But then, up spoke a woman from Lopez who basically said, wait a sec, we have too many tourists already, why should attract more?

    Its so sad that this Community Forum was not held in the San Juan Islands, among the communities most impacted by this. But, its what they do. The news stories were showing up via Google news all over western Washington by early afternoon, even before the meeting was over, trumpeting its success and the strong showing of community support. All the news outlets were saying exactly the same thing.

    I am now hopeful that our San Juan County Community Conversations can be held in Bellingham, chaired by Senator Ranker during his next campaign. Attendance will be required for all county employees who feed on the LIO/AAOG/CD/PSP pig trough, and we will gladly foot the bill for their time and expenses.

  40. @ 9/4 9:13p All current reef net gears are part of the non-Indian commercial fishery. They can fish selectively, much cleaner than hook-and-line sport fishing, and therefore can and do avoid harvesting listed or endangered or threatened stocks. So, your speculation is way off, like so much else on here.

    As John Evans said recently, "it not that hard" to become educated about the issues. But, it is so much more fun to sling mud, isn't it?