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by Deane Rimerman

Trainings for DIY Home Weather Proofing

Do you have any cold drafty windows in your home? How’d you like to get rid of that draft and save as much as $500 a year in the process? If so,it’s time to measure those windows and head to the Home EmPOWERment Project’s low-cost insulated window inserts building workshop. The next workshop is March 14th at the Olympia Center,222 Columbia,from 10 AM-4 PM. The event has a registration/donation process,and a $1.50 per sq. ft. material fee for all your window insert needs. And please,please,make sure you measure your drafty windows more than once before you show up,ok? The event will also cover many other ways to eliminate heat loss from your home.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the city’s neighborhoods program,NW EcoBuilding Guild,ION Ecobuilding,and Joseph Becker. Becker’s been an eco-minded home builder/home improvement designer in Olympia for almost a decade now and he’s inspired to organize these kinds of events because he’s seen first hand that when you teach someone how to make their home better through their own efforts,they’re likely to get more enthusiastic doing even more to make their home better. You can find out how to sign up and how to get more info at

Legislation on Storm Water Runoff

People for Puget Sound and the Governor are supporting a bill called the Clean Water Act of 2010 (House Bill 3181). This bill attempts to address the estimated 14 million tons of toxins that enter Puget Sound annually due to inadequate storm water runoff filtration.

The bill would raise the Hazardous Substance tax by 2 cents,to provide an additional quarter of a million dollars a year to ongoing stormwater runoff and clean water projects. It is sponsored by Rep. Tim Ornsby of Spokane and Sen. Ed Murray of Seattle. Backers of the bill include Washington State Labor Council,Environmental Priorities Coalition,Washington State Association of Counties,Association of Washington Cities,Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council.

Will an invading snail turn the tide on the Capitol Lake planning process?

Didn’t Capitol Lake look rather.. empty…recently?

During the unseasonable cold weather last December,Eco-Briefs told you about the state’s attempt to draw down Capitol Lake to freeze out the New Zealand mud snail,which is making its first ever invasive appearance in our state. The freeze-out attempt didn’t work.

So the next endeavor is to draw down the lake,then flood it with Puget Sound’s salty water. The lake was last back-flowed with salt water 15 years ago. So at the end of March,the end of a 15 year old ecologic succession of freshwater aquatic species and habitat will be set back to the earliest stages of a reestablishing saltwater-based aquatic system.

And considering that 400 feet of new fencing has been put up to keep people off the beach at Capitol lake as a precaution against the spreading of the invading snail,it can be assumed there will be plenty of support for getting the snail out of the lake.

So perhaps we are at a turning point? Is the long term plan for a more sustainable salt water based estuarine ecosystem starting to upstage the status quo plan for a fresh water lake via periodic dredging? Stay tuned…

Deschutes Watershed Council

There is a newly developing recognition that the issue of Capitol Lake vs. capitol estuary is a bit too myopic.

In response,environmental advocates are re-organizing themselves via a more long-term system wide approach. This means focusing more on addressing watershed-wide problems rather than just the lake. The logic is that by protecting and restoring the greater Deschutes watershed that feeds Capitol Lake,many of the current fresh water lake maintenance issues might be more easily overcome.

Towards that end,there is a new Sue Patnude and other watershed-aware ecologists are bringing back to life the Deschutes Watershed Council. Contact if you’d like more information. ◙

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