(2007 WSB photo of Fauntleroy Cove, looking toward Lincoln Park)
Since our report about last night’s Fauntleroy Community Association board meeting, there’s one more note from that neighborhood – requesting help ASAP on a hot topic that’s coming up right now in the Legislature – FCA president Bruce Butterfield has sent this from Judy Pickens, who works with Fauntleroy Creek among other local environmental issues:
SUPPORT ONGOING FUNDING FOR ‘THE STENCH’
Rep. Sharon Nelson from our district has introduced, with others, a bill that would provide ongoing funding for research and emergency response to sea-lettuce blooms in Puget Sound (“the stench”). E-mails in support of the bill from Fauntleroy residents could greatly increase its chance of passage.
HB 1231 (“Controlling saltwater algae”) and the Senate version (SB 5412) would assign 25 cents of every dollar that the state now collects from boat registrations for controlling algae in freshwater to doing the same in saltwater. This diversion would result in an estimated $140,000 per year for a grant program that cities and counties could tap for research on sea lettuce and emergency response when public-health concerns warrant haul-out of rotting seaweed. By tapping the existing revenue stream from a related program, the legislation would not require new funding. Read the full text of HB 1231 and analysis at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?year=2009&bill=1231.
The Washington State Lake Protection Association is opposing these bills on the grounds that sea lettuce is merely a nuisance, not a public-health threat comparable to algae growth in freshwater. I have updated FCA’s “white paper,” to emphasize Fauntleroy’s experience with hydrogen sulfide from rotting sea lettuce and included data from air-quality studies here. While lake advocates understandably don’t want to lose some of their funding, their position is ill-informed.
If you have a personal story to tell about “the stench” at its worst on a hot summer day in Fauntleroy, please send a quick e-mail to the committee chairmen:
House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee
Rep. Brian Blake, chairman
Senate Environment, Water, and Energy Committee
Sen. Phil Rockefeller, chairman
Send a copy of your e-mail to Rep. Nelson at
apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail/MailForm.aspx?Chamber=H&District=34&Position=2 (corrected from original publication)
For more information, please e-mail Judy_Pickens@msn.com
ADDED 1:53 PM: Since there seems to be an intense amount of interest in this, we’ve also uploaded the “white paper” mentioned above, which explains that this goes beyond what you might assume is a smelly natural phenomenon. Read it here.