Washington Maritime Blue launch: Inslee mentions killer whales and noise

On Tuesday December 12, 2017, the Washington Maritime Blue initiative was launched at Bell Harbor conference center in Seattle. Overlooking Elliott Bay on a crisp winter day, the State unveiled the new 21-member Maritime Innovation Advisory Council. In a nutshell this appears to be an effort by local experts to generate a strategic plan for Washington to have the most sustainable maritime industry in the U.S. by 2050. The time line calls for a strategic report to the Governor within 18 months using a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce (U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies) and a local match.

Gov. Inslee launches WA Maritime Blue

Stand-out moments for me were:

  • noting immediately how the council is dominated by white people, primarily old men, with no environmental representation relevant to whales/salmon except the Puget Sound Partnership and Port Commissioner Fred Felleman;
  • seeing 4 staff from the facilitating consulting firm DNV which is based in Norway (how much of the $1M are they getting?), in contrast to 1 staff from WA;
  • hearing about a $40M renovation of Fisherman’s Terminal by the Port of Seattle that may include a “Washington Maritime Innovation Center” that will serve as a Cluster Organization, Incubator and Commercialization Test Lab for Washington’s growing Blue Tech cluster, in partnership with APL
  • agreeing with Inslee that blue-collar jobs should be accessible via apprenticeships and other smart alternatives to a 4-year degree
  • experiencing one of the co-chairs (Frank Foti) ask everyone to spend 60 seconds envisioning the physical beauty of the Salish Sea.

This post presents audio recordings of most of the presentations — from the Governor’s remarks, through a string of speakers beginning with sole staff-member Joshua Berger (Governor’s Maritime Sector Lead), to a facilitated questioning of many of the council members — as well as a selection of images from the room and slide decks.

Governor Inslee’s remarks

Excerpts relevant to southern resident killer whales and salmon:

  • Inslee’s grandfather fished in the San Juans; his son’s have participated in commercial fisheries.
  • Through this “strategic initiative to develop the world’s most-sustainable, long-term, and innovative marine industry for the next century” … “we are going to ensure that our State is positioned to thrive in the increasingly competitive international marketplace for maritime services while at the same time working proactively to deal with some of our most pressing local and global environmental and community challenges.”
  • 3:44 “We seek to accomplish an important, timely approach to solving issues of air quality, underwater noise, and storm water mitigation.”
  • 3:54 “We know that our natural heritage depends on our success in these efforts. And we know that we have some visible signs of that with the threats now to our southern resident orca population and salmon population.”
  • 15:41 “We’re going to guarantee that the 7th generation not only has clean waters but to be able to have a family history in the maritime industry like my family has had. And when we do that together, that’s going to be a good day.”

    Strategic plan timeline.

Other speakers

Excerpts from presentation by Amy Scarton of Washington State Ferries relevant to underwater noise:

  •  2:00 In 2012 WA State Ferries did a study of conversion to a hybrid propulsion system, but most electric vessels/technologies weren’t available until 2013-15.
  • 2:35 We’re returning to hybrid considerations, but the big opportunity (highest short-term ROI) will be the Jumbo-Mark II class diesel-electric vessels that are 20 years old (Tacoma, Wenatchee, Puyallup on Seattle-Bainbridge and Edmonds-Kingston). “Now is the time for us as an agency to come in and do some life-time replacements of those propulsion systems.”
  • 3:20 “Of the 22 active vessels we have in our fleet, these 3 burn 26% of our diesel fuel.”
  • 4:20 “We did a high-level feasibility study this summer [2017]. That showed us that this is worth pursuing.”
  • Three studies will be finished at the end of the year
  • In 2018 work with Governor and Legislature to get preliminary design
  • RFP in 2019; engineering in 2020; retrofit in 2021.
  • We could have a pilot project in just a few years
  • Jan 4 christening of new vessel…

Co-chairs, Fred Felleman, and facilitated questions of the counselors



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