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  • Skokomish tribe receives $1.35M recycling grant

    Gordon Weeks|Nov 23, 2023

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week announced a $1.35 million grant to the Skokomish Tribe to improve solid waste and recycling on the reservation. The grant awards were announced on Nov. 15, "America Recycles Day." A news release from the EPA states the agency gave $34.9 million in Solid Waste Infrastructure grants and almost $3.6 million in Recycling Education grants in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. The Skokomish tribe will use the grant to build a drop-box transfer station...

  • City signs off on dump cleanup

    Gordon Weeks|Oct 5, 2023

    After more than 40 years of prodding and mandating by Mason County and the state, the City of Shelton signed off on the final cleanup of the toxic C Street landfill. The Shelton City Council on Tuesday evening voted unanimously to close out the contract on the construction part of the cleanup of the 17-acre landfill west of downtown Shelton and U.S. Highway 101, which was completed in June. "Staff does not expect any additional action on the city's part pertaining to this project and can be...

  • Salmon projects get $8.5M

    Gordon Weeks|Sep 21, 2023

    Salmon in Oakland Bay, the Union and Tahuya rivers in North Mason, and Cranberry, Deer, Goldsborough and Mill creeks will benefit from $8.2 million in salmon recovery grants from the state. On Monday, the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Partnership announced the awards of 150 grants in 29 counties totaling $81.5 million. The grants focus on improving salmon habitat and conserving shorelines and riverbanks. "These are important projects that will help us...

  • Permit ruling anticipated

    Matt Baide|Aug 24, 2023

    Mason County Hearing Examiner Phil Olbrechts once again heard public comment and asked his own questions about the permit for Taylor Shellfish's proposed floating oyster bag farm in Oakland Bay. The public hearing continued Aug. 16 after a previous public hearing Aug. 9 in the Mason County commissioner chambers that drew a standing-room-only crowd. It began with Taylor Shellfish representative Erin Ewald asking Olbrechts for two weeks to provide written responses to the public comment received...

  • Climate group's preliminary injunction denied Monday

    Matt Baide|Aug 10, 2023

    Mason County Climate Justice and the Legacy Forest Defense Coalition had its preliminary injunction denied Monday by Mason County Superior Court Judge Cadine Ferguson-Brown. According to the judge’s findings, the court concluded for each sale, the state Department of Natural Resources used reasonably sufficient information and that the determination was issued in compliance with the procedural requirements of the State Environmental Policy Act. “Therefore, the appellants failed to meet the sta...

  • Allyn-area Sherwood Forest timber sold at auction

    Matt Baide|Jun 1, 2023

    The state Department of Natural Resources sold logging rights in the Sherwood Forest to the Stella-Jones Corporation on May 23 as part of the Sure Wood Timber Sale. According to a photo from Mason County Climate Justice’s Julianne Gale, Stella-Jones Corp. based in Tacoma had the highest bid for the timber at $3,622,843.50. Bell Timber Co. had the second-highest bid at $3,451,926.56 and the Murphy Co. had the third highest bid of $3,031,765.10. “I’m deeply disappointed that the Department of Na...

  • WSU, Sea Grant offer training to spot invasive crabs

    Submitted|May 4, 2023

    A new program will enable anyone who walks the shorelines of Puget Sound to identify one of Washington’s most concerning invasive species: European green crab. In response to the shore crab’s booming population, Washington State University Extension and Washington Sea Grant outreach specialists are rolling out the Molt Search program in May. WSU Extension and Sea Grant are recruiting volunteers for training to support early detection efforts along Washington’s inland shorelines by searching for European green crab shells and reporting evide...

  • Better managing your private forest

    Gordon Weeks|Nov 3, 2022

    In 1993, Leslie Coulter and Bruce Santy bought 10 acres of woods and wetlands at the end of a dirt road near Cranberry Lake. They started building on the property two years later. The couple, who moved to Mason County from King County, say they felt "overwhelmed" when it came to managing the land. "Our forest is not here for making money," Coulter said. "It's here to create something that's healthy and happy. "We wanted to be in the woods, but what can we do to not to screw things up?" A few...

  • Conservation District provides project updates

    Matt Baide|Nov 3, 2022

    The Mason Conservation District updated the public on nine upcoming Skokomish Habitat projects, with two projects planning to begin construction in the summer. The Skokomish Valley Road "Dips" project is in the permitting phase and is planned to be constructed in the summer. The project will build a new bridge over Skokomish Valley Road, high enough to be above 100-year flood levels. The road elevation will be set so water will not go over it below a 1.4-year flood event. The project includes...

  • Good news: Another strong run for summer chum

    Gordon Weeks|Oct 13, 2022

    For the second consecutive year, summer chum returned by the thousands to their birthplace in the Union River in Belfair. From Aug. 15 to Oct. 15 each year, the Belfair-based Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group at the Pacific Northwest Salmon Center conducts a count of summer chum salmon at a fish trap on the Union River on state Route 300. Around the clock, volunteers and research interns collect data on summer chum, and obtain adult summer chum for artificial spawning and stock...

  • Volunteers team to clean Sweetwater Creek park

    Compiled by reporter Gordon Weeks|Sep 1, 2022

    Members of the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group and TrashMash! Litter Posse on Aug. 25 hauled away debris and invasive plants from the future site of Sweetwater Creek Waterwheel Park, in the woods next to Belfair Elementary School. The park, across state Route 3 from the Mary E. Theler Wetlands Nature Preserve Center, is designed to be sustainable, accessible and enhance public spaces and the ecosystem. The work on the project includes removing trash and invasive species, restoring the...

  • Restoring the river

    Matt Baide|Aug 18, 2022

    Up in the mountains in Olympic National Forest during August, the noise of huge machines digging up dirt and moving trees can be heard. This is part of the Skokomish River restoration project, and the work underway now is being done near the confluence of the Upper South Fork Skokomish River and Church Creek. The project, near U.S. Forest Service Road 2361, involves crews taking trees that were brought in and placed in locations along a stretch of the Skokomish River to try to connect the two...