At least one scientist monitoring the shoreline surrounding the ever-evolving mouth of the Elwha River has started to see modest beach growth as sediment held back by two gargantuan dams for nearly 100 years is released during the dams’ removal. As sediment from the destruction of Elwha Dam and the ongoing removal process of Glines Canyon Dam 8 miles upstream flows toward the Elwha River mouth, it accumulates in sand bars that are shaped nearly every day by the flow of the river, said Ian Miller, a coastal hazards specialist and one of the scientists surveying beaches to the east and west of the river mouth. Read more.
It came out of Siberia, swirling winds over an area that covered almost the entire Arctic basin in the normally calm late summer. It came to be known as “The Great Arctic Cyclone of August 2012,” and for some observers it suggested that the historic sea ice minimum may have been caused by a freak summer storm, rather than warming temperatures. But new results from the University of Washington show that the August cyclone was not responsible for last year’s record low for Arctic sea ice. The study was published online this week in Geophysical Research Letters. Read more about this.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday announced that $20 million in grants will go to 24 coastal wetland projects throughout the United States. Fully one-third of those grants will go to Washington state, and seven of the eight will be used for projects in the Puget Sound region. Read more about this and what it means for our nearby ecosystems.
President Obama should act now, using his presidential powers, to designate a national monument to protect “cherished lands” owned by the federal government in the San Juan Islands, Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and two House colleagues urged Obama in a letter sent Monday. The lawmakers noted wide local support, and visits by outgoing U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar dating back to April 2011. “Before Secretary Salazar leaves office, we urge you to consider designating a National Monument in the San Juan Islands, bring his and our efforts to fruition,” they wrote. Read more about this effort.
While its official opening is nearly three months away, the Bullitt Center is already being dubbed the greenest commercial building in the world, and the UW Integrated Design Laboratory is getting in on the ground floor, literally. Currently located just west of campus on Northeast Northlake Way, the lab is preparing to move into the first floor of the Bullitt Foundation’s new headquarters at 1501 East Madison Street between downtown and Capitol Hill in late April. Read more about this and the Bullitt Center itself.
A federal grant for $1 million has been awarded for the purchase and preservation of 1.8 miles of shoreline along the west side of Port Gamble Bay in North Kitsap. The approved property acquisition, with money from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will contribute to the goal of acquiring nearly 7,000 acres in North Kitsap from Pope Resources — a community effort known as the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project. Read more about this project.
New research suggests that a key part of Antarctica is warming up fast; the finding could help change the outlook for sea level rise this century. ESS‘ Eric Steig is included in this interview; check out the audio, video, and transcript here!