Dear Sky Valley Residents,
I hope this monthly update finds you and your family in good health and spirits.
- Annual meeting of SVENA members is coming soon this month, April 2016. We will be glad if you would like to support our group and become a member. Please see details at the Membership page of our website. We are working towards a safer, cleaner, healthier and more beautiful place to live and to visit.
- Arsenic is a mineral that is commonly found in the soils, bedrock, and groundwater in Snohomish County. Drinking well water with high levels of arsenic can impact your health. EPA states that arsenic can cause skin damage or problems with circulatory systems and may increase a risk of getting cancer.
Regular water tests are recommended for all household water systems. Owners of private wells should test their drinking water based on the following recommendations:
- Drilled wells – 1 sample every 12 months
- Dug wells – 1 sample every 3 months
- Springs – 1 sample every 3 months
If you are on well water, please test your tap water for arsenic to keep yourself and your family safe and spread the word. For more information, go to Water Quality and Quantity page at our website.
- SVENA sent a comment to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) and also to SnoPUD Commissioners for Sunset Falls hydro-project that SnoPUD has been planning for many years on Skykomish River. If you already sent your comment to FERC, big thank you for your support against hydropower on our protected river. There is still time to submit your comment to FERC by going to eComment. Docket number is P-14295-000. Below you can find a sample of a comment or you can write down your own thoughts:
“I am alarmed that Snohomish County PUD in Washington State is proposing a hydropower project on the Skykomish River. This project:
> has significant cost overruns and is not financially effective;
> involves detonation of explosives multiple times during production of a 2-story-high tunnel in close proximity to a busy highway, active railway and only 330 feet away from a large, active landslide, creating a serious concern for public health and safety;
> drastically reduces amount of water over a mile of the State Scenic River System, in violation of mandated minimum flows;
> creates high potential for significant harm to several threatened fish species.
The S. Fork Skykomish is part of the WA State Scenic River System. The NW Power & Conservation Council (a federal agency) legally protected this stretch of river from hydropower development.
Please deny this Draft License Application. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.”
- SVENA also signed onto the letter of concern for instream flows of Sunset Falls hydro project. The letter is addressed to WA Department of Ecology and is signed by several organizations such as Sierra Club, the Mountaineers and Pilchuck Audubon Society, and also by local property owners and concerned citizens.
- Below are new FPAs (Forest Practice Applications) submitted in 3-2106 to DNR Northwest Region (Department of Natural Resources) for our area. Please visit FPAs and Summary for FPAs page at svena.org for more information such as exact location. It is important to send comments (even they are past due) so they are in the system. The more comments, the more seriously government agencies will take them.
2815067 – Gold Bar area – comments due 4-13-2016 (road const.760 ft, road aband. 750 ft)
2815068 – Gold Bar area – comments due 4-13-2016 (logging 42 ac, road const. 2625 ft)
2815069 – Gold Bar area – comments due 4-13-2016 (logging 63 ac, road const. 200 ft, road aband. 400 ft)
2815053 – Gold Bar area – comments due 4-5-2016 (logging 7 ac, road constr. 5056 ft)
If you have concerns, it is important that you send them to the Northwest Region office of DNR (Department of Natural Resources) firstname.lastname@example.org . For more impact, please include recipients from Resources page: press; city, county and state legislators. Comments should be informed concerns relevant to the specific FPA. “Canned” comments will not be taken seriously.
List of possible concerns:
> logging and toxic chemical spraying harm public health and safety
> toxic chemical spraying contaminates drinking water sources, local watershed (creeks, streams, rivers) and harms salmon
> logging on steep slopes increases a risk of land/mud slides
> contaminating creeks and streams by putting fill for bridges during road construction
> logging and toxic chemical spraying hurt environment and wildlife
> reducing values of homes and properties
> reducing aesthetic values in the tourism and recreation active area; hurting tourism and recreation industry
> harming local community, economy, businesses and residents.
Comments can ask for conditions to be placed on a permit:
> excluding a steep area from the harvest
> doing a partial cut in a gully
> removing logs by helicopter instead of skidding them down a steep unstable slope
> putting a no-cut boundary around a domestic water source
> asking on-site Interdisciplinary Team Review (IDTeam) for the part of the greatest concern
> asking for analysis and evaluations of specific items.
If you have more ideas for concerns and conditions, we will be glad to hear from you.
- We are concerned about chemical and trash (plastic, aluminum, glass and other) pollution in the Skykomish Valley. In the future, we would like to work with local citizens, cities and school district to address this concern and improve current situation in the valley. This is important for the health of the valley and its people, and also for tourism and recreation industry.
- During sunny and clear weather, that we have now more often, you can very well see a new and growing brown patch not far from the Upper Wallace Falls. This is Moonbeam Timber Sale that borders Wallace Falls State Park. The best place to view Moonbeam is from Hwy 2. Please check it out next time you are in Sultan – Gold Bar area. It is truly eye catching. We are working with WFLC (Washington Forest Law Center) to find alternatives for Singletary Timber Sale that borders Wallace Falls State Park at the lower elevations. It will greatly impact the park and the valley. For more information go to Logging and Petition at our website. We keep communication open with Senator Kirk Pearson and Representatives Dan Kristiansen and Elizabeth Scott about harms of clearcut logging to the tourism and recreation industry and hope for their support.
- Capacity of Hwy 2 was named last month (at the Urban Tourism Workshop) #1 obstacle for continuous growth of the tourism and recreation industry in Sky Valley. The workshop was organized by Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. According to USFS (United States Forest Service) Hwy 2 has 4.2 M cars annually. If on average each car has at least 2 passengers, that will make about 8.4 M people. We are supporting efforts of Hwy 2 Coalition to address safety of our highway, and also encouraging it to work towards larger capacity.
Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like to opt out from receiving SVENA updates. I will remove you from the mailing list.
SVENA (Skykomish Valley Environmental & Economic Alliance)s