Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ridges To Rivers and Views from the Horse Heaven Hinge

I've given my own name to a particular ridge segment in the Horse Heaven Hills. I call it the Horse Heaven Hinge in reference to the fact that the trend in the main ridge in the Horse Heaven Hills makes a sharp bend at this spot just south of Benton City. The USGS calls the high point on the ridge Chandler Butte, but the bend in the anticline begins a bit east of the high point.
 
Shaded map showing bend in the ridge
Row of hills to the northeast is the Olympic-Wallowa Lineament
 
The bend in the ridge creates a bit of a promontory enhancing the view up and down the Yakima Valley. The ridge line provides a great running site and distant views of Washington State's two highest peaks. This ridge as well as few others made long distance running training more fun than training. 
Mt. Rainier

Mt. Adams

From left to right: Chandler Butte, Adams and Rainier

Benton County has the ridge in their long term plans as a recreational and scenic area. The land itself is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM has been going through a Resource Management Planning process for these lands blm.gov/or/districts/spokane/plans/. This process is a bit slow with lots of public input as well as budget constraints as well as both local and federal politics. The Ridges to Rivers Open Space Network may play a significant role in steering local community input and planning. Their plans and schemes are like a trail map to my old running haunts.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fall on Blakely

Have to have at least one fall blog post. Fall colors this fall have been moderate on my arbitrary not carefully measured scale. That said, I spotted a big leaf maple on Blakely Island that had drawn my attention when I was last on Blakely which also happened to be in October. I like the bright yellow standing out against the dark Douglas firs and as soon as I saw the tree I remembered it from the year before - "Hey, we met last time I was out here".  


Later in the day the weather had brightened a bit.

It was interesting to compare the image from last October:


The more recent images in the first two pictures were from October 24 and the one from last year was October 16. Yes, the tree is different, but notice the grass. September 2012 and early October 2012 were dry. This year we had some heavy early rain before the fog arrived.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wallula Gap Train and Boat Spotting

Wallula Gap is where the Columbia River cuts through the Horse Heaven Hills. It is a spectacular canyon cut through 1,000-foot high cliffs of Columbia River Basalt Group. The sharp cliffs are reflective of the relative recent erosion by surges of ice age floods that all had to pass through this narrow gap. Wallula Gap played a significant role in farm land in eastern Washington (wallula-gap-and-prime-farmland). An interesting note about the gap - the Columbia River did not carve the initial Wallula Gap (grand-canyon-and-wallula-gap-its-compliacted). 

Geology aside, the gap has been a transportation corridor long before Washington State existed and it remains so today. Train tracks funnel trains across eastern Washington toward the gap and down the Columbia River in order to by pass the steep grades in the Cascades. Heavy load trains that carry bulk goods all travel this route versus shorter but steeper routes over the mountains.
 
The train traffic viewed from above was part of the fun as I traversed the slopes above the river. The gap has multiple train tracks on both sides of the river and is a major transportation route for reaching ports to the west such as Portland, Kalama, Longview, Saint Helens, Tacoma, Seattle, and Vancouver as well as proposed crude oil terminals in Aberdeen/Hoquiam and a coal terminal at Cherry Point in northwest Washington.    

Container cars

This train was carrying rails for new tracks or track repair 

One of the infamous coal trains from the Powder River Basin heading to the coal terminal in Canada 

Grain cars

Rail ballast of crushed basalt stored near tracks from quarry on the slope above 

Fuel barge. Much of the fuel in eastern Washington arrives via barge

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wallula Gap Geology and Art

While traversing the slopes and hanging coulee channels on the west side of Wallula Gap I had a view across the gap to the Twin Sisters via an old ice age flood channel hanging above the gap. The Sisters sort of get lost in the grand scale of the high cliffs of the gap and are better appreciated closer up.
 
Twin Sisters just visible in the left center across the river

The Twin Sisters are made up of a single lava flow of the 15.5 million year old Frenchman Springs Member of the Wanapum Basalt. This was a big flow and reached the Oregon coast. 
 
The Twin Sisters and Wallula Gap inspired early artists that were part of the early explorations in the area (a few decades after fur traders already had established trade routes).    
 

While I traversed the steep slopes and made my notes, my favorite artist set up her kit on one of the mid slope terraces. Sam, who is getting a bit on in years decided art was a much better occupation than geology.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Paddling to Work

I had a site visit in the San Juan Islands that presented some logistical problems due to the thick fog last week. Typically I'd take a plane from Bellingham to Blakely Island, but with the low fog that option was out. So I got it in my head that with the calm weather, I'd paddle across Obstruction Pass and Peavine Pass from Orcas to my destination and perhaps do some sight seeing on the way. 
 
No good content in this post - that will have to wait. But there was great geology on this trip and I feel I am completely recovered from politics: never crossed my mind.
 
Launch point at ramp

Heading along the west shore of Obstruction Island

View towards Harvey Channel between Orcas on the right and Shaw and Lopez on the left

Navigating through kelp at the entrance to Peavine Pass

My destination - Blakely Island

Barge heading to Blakely
I left Orcas just as the barge was arriving
I would have beat them to Blakely except I had to check out the geology 
 
I returned via the east side of Obstruction Island.
 
The eastern, return leg included checking out the two small islets above as well as third islet and portions of the north shore of Blakely. Here the water was a bit choppy being more open than the confines of the narrow passes. I should note that I had triple checked the currents ahead of time as they can get very fast through the passes. My timing was good with only a modest current although there were some spots where the current was higher than expected.

The advantage of a inflatable.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Horses and the Horse Heaven Hills

Gaylord Mink has put together a short documentary on the history of horses in the the Horse Heaven Hills (When Wild Horses Roamed). 



A very simplified order of events and impacts could be thought through that was covered by the film:

1) Pre horse the Horse Heaven Hills would have been grazed by a combination of pronghorn, bison, elk, deer and big horn sheep.

2) After the arrival of the horse, hunting by First Nations peoples likely ended the bison and pronghorn presence in the Horse Heaven Hills as well as other areas of eastern Washington and greatly diminished the elk and deer populations.

3) The horse rapidly became the dominant grazer in the Horse Heavens.

4) With few predators and rapidly increasing numbers combined with new invasive weeds, the ecosystem of the Horse Heaven scrub steppe would have changed rapidly.

5) With the arrival of farming with cattle, sheep and dry land wheat and economic shifts as well as petroleum powered machines huge round ups and slaughters greatly reduced and in most areas eliminated the wild horse population. Horses were pushed out into the more remote western Horse Heaven Hills.
 
6) Population of wild horses slowly rebounds and grows.

Thinking about the above process might inform how the remaining scrub steppe lands of the Horse Heavens will respond over time.

The wild horse population in the western Horse Heavens has been expanding rapidly and the range land they live on is being altered and likely is reaching its limits to support the horse population that is there. With farm fields in the valleys and to the east the range can not be expanded. Wild horses are now appearing with greater frequency along Highway 97 in the Horse Heavens on an increasing basis. Hence a very real challenge for the Yakima nation on how to manage the resources of the western Horse Heaven Hills. 

But beyond the current wild horse range the change of grazing will and likely already has had an impact elsewhere in the Horse Heavens. Some limited areas still have open range cattle grazing on a seasonal basis (the range land both private and pubic is much better managed than it used to be). Other areas have no grazing of farm animals, but were grazed not that long ago. Isolated pockets have not been grazed and without a dominant grazer may be evolving in a markedly different manner. Past overgrazing combined with invasive grasses and weeds, particularly cheat grass, has greatly altered the intensity and frequency of wild fires in some areas. The presence of farm fields and roads has reduced the fire frequency in other areas thus allowing plants that are fire sensitive to become predominant at the expense of fire tolerant species. The Yakima Nation recently reintroduced pronghorns to the western Horse Heaven Hills.

All in all and interesting mosaic of changing land use and habitats across the Horse Heaven Hills despite the relatively uniform climate. The Horse Heaven Hills are a wide open, big sky kind of place, but on close look there is a lot of detail and change taking place.

View of the lower Yakima River valley from the Horse Heaven Hills

The above picture was taken a few days ago (nice to be out of foggy western Washington). This particular hill slope is on BLM managed land and is covered by bunch grass. It was formerly very heavily overgrazed, but has recovered with native grasses being the predominant species, but has a remarkable lack of scrub plants at least currently. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guns of October Geology Field Safety

One safety aspect of geology field work is the consideration of guns. That is particularly true in October. I had a couple of days where I made some route adjustments due to folks simply practicing their shooting.

Practice shooting and hunters in orange in the distance

The idea of wearing orange while doing geology during hunting season is not a bad idea. The target shooters took a pause while the hunters walked through the area uncomfortably close to the line of fire with the target. Just a guess, but I suspect this chap is a more accurate shot than me.

As far as carrying a gun while doing field work, it is not something I have ever done. My field work in bear country has been limited to some rare grizzly areas and never brown or polar bear areas. The only time I really considered it was in Canada, but the hassle seemed more than it was worth, and we simply made sure to be extra bear smart about camp sites.

As far as having a gun for protection from people with guns, that scenario sounds like it would already be a mess and seems like it might just cause an escalation of anxiety all around. Adding a gun to the field kit always seemed an addition to the safety list of things that can go wrong. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Coal Smog in China and Washington State

Smog over China (MODUS)

Events and decisions far from Washington State can have impacts on our landscape. What has been happening periodically in areas of China the last couple of years has consequences on an issue that is currently being hotly debated in Washington State.

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Air pollution from coal fired power plants was already influencing the coal market for Powder River Basin coal. The coal from the Powder River has lower thermal quality than many other coal sources; however, it also has less sulfur making it somewhat less polluting to the air. China has already recognized that high sulfur coal poses a problem and hence the demand for Powder River coal because most Chinese power plants have much less pollution control than U.S. coal power plants. In the U.S., coal power plants far from the coal fields generally (but not all) prefer higher thermal unit coal as sulfur scrubbers are in place.

Curious about Habin, the city shown in the BBC news, I took a Google Earth tour including a look back in time.


Habin 2002
 
Habin like many cities in China has undergone rapid growth. This is one example of a city rising up where only a decade ago was only a rural village. Besides the air pollution the new city encroaches well out onto what was clearly visible in the 2002 image as a flood plain and river meander area. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dual Stormwater and Soccer Facility in Moxee

What to do with 25 acres of stormwater near Yakima? I was in Moxee and swung by the relatively new Ace Hardware distribution warehouse on the north edge of Moxee. The warehouse and associated parking area cover approximately 25 acres.  

Ace Hardware, Moxee distribution center

The green field just to the west of the distribution center is used as soccer field and as part of the stormwater detention for the large impervious surface of the warehouse and parking areas. It does not rain much in Moxee so the stormwater detention and infiltration can be combined with the soccer field as a dual purpose land use. The field can hold a lot of water with any excess directed to the irrigation canal south of and down slope from the field.

The area is underlain by wind blown silts according to the Yakima 1:100,000 (Schuster, 1994) although Schuster has ice age flood sediment just to the west and the elevation of the site suggests that it would have been briefly submerged by the largest floods.

Prior to the construction of the warehouse distribution center, the site was either grapes or hops - both big crops in the Moxee area.  

1992 aerial

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hiding the Coal Money

A follow up on my last post about coal political money coming into Whatcom County to influence Whatcom County races. My only angle was on this was doing some research on why Corbin Robertson and Quintana Minerals would be interested in Whatcom County. I left off that Quintana Minerals made $286,650 in political donations in 2012 alone including $12,500 to Ted Cruz and $12,500 to John Boehner (http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000036912). Corbin Robertson Chair of Quintana donated $50,800 to Boehner for Speaker Committee and Barbara Robertson chipped in $11,000 (http://data.influenceexplorer.com/contributions/#b3JnYW5pemF0aW9uX2Z0PVF1aW50YW5hJTIwTWluZXJhbHMmZ2VuZXJhbF90cmFuc2FjdGlvbl90eXBlPXN0YW5kYXJk)

Besides donating $50,000 to the Whatcom County raises, Powder River Basin coal miner Cloud Peak Energy has been supporting Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports, the activist front group in favor of the coal terminal proposal http://thesheridanpress.com/?p=13046.

Global Coal Sales donation of $50,000 was likely a pass through donation as the company revenues were only a bit over $500,000 last year. Coal empire billionaire Wayne Boich is listed as the company contact.

With Washington State Public Disclosure Commission rules political donations must be reported in a timely manner. Reporters routinely comb over PDC reports for easy stories or hints about candidate leanings on issues. If one reads newspapers or blogs about politics, the coal money would not be a surprise.

There is an interesting twist though about the coal money directed at Whatcom County races. Independent expenditures are required to identify their top 5 donors on political advertisements. The coal money was given to Save Whatcom. But then Save Whatcom in turn gave all the money to Whatcom First and Whatcom First has put out political advertisements indicating the ads were paid for by Save Whatcom. Hence, the advertisements don't say what they should "Paid for by Global Coal Sales, Cloud Peak Energy, Corbin Robertson, SSA Marine".

Whatcom County GOPers and Tea Partiers in Whatcom County have been agitated that Washington Conservation Voters has been doing political mailings funded by non Whatcom County donors. But here is the difference: the Conservation Voters mail pieces and door fliers state the top 5 donors on the advertisement consistent with State law.

Under our freedom of speech Supreme Court interpretation political donations from outside very interested companies and individuals will likely continue. This is nothing new here in Whatcom County or elsewhere. But under Washington State law, if one wants to exercise ones freedom of speech, one is required to let people know who you are or who is funding your activities. However, the creation of shadow political action committees allows avoidance of revealing the funding except for the most diligent voters.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Quintana Minerals, Cloud Peak and Whatcom County

Corbin Robertson of Quintana Minerals of Houston Texas just tossed $32,000 into the Whatcom County Council races. Cloud Peak added $50,000 and Global Coal Sales LLC added $50,000. Coal terminal applicant SSA has put in $12,000. The money has been donated to this group: http://www.savewhatcom.org/

Quintana is the largest private holder of coal reserves in the United States. Cloud Peak Energy is betting heavily on coal exports as well and has been backing a PR campaign in Washington State thesheridanpress.

It appears that the coal terminal proponents have decided who they should back in the local election.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Top of Bluff Collapse West of Port Townsend

The Port Townsend Leader (news) caught this bluff slope failure on the high bluff west of Port Townsend.



The site is on a north facing bluff that rises above the shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The upper, vertical section of bluff is glacial drift - sediment deposited directly by glacial ice. Pre glacial alluvial sands and silts are capped by the till. This section of bluff shore does receive fairly large waves at times as ocean swell does get into the Strait. The beach is fairly narrow and high tide gets close to or reach the base of the bluff most days.

Most of the top of bluff failures on this shore reach are likely similar to the one captured in the video. The top of bluff toppling at the top of the bluff does not extend very far into the upland, but the height of the failure does give the slide some volume. There are other areas on this reach where subtle differences in the geology below the till leads to a potential for much bigger slides, but the biggest problem on this reach is the very active erosion rate - at least relative to more protected areas within the Puget Sound.
As can be seen in the Google Earth image there are a number of slides of various ages along this bluff reach. But note that there are also stands of fairly mature Douglas fir on portions of the slope indicating the recurrence interval between full top of bluff failures is on a multi decade interval.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wallace Broeker's 1975 Climate Prediction

I was once an atmospheric science major prior to switching over to geology. I've been on a bit of a catching up phase of late. I reread this paper by Broeker (1975). He estimated future atmospheric CO2 at 403 ppm for 2010 and a temperature increase of 0.65 degree C from 1975 to 2010. Not a bad climate prediction projecting 35 years out. And note the title; he has been credited with coining the term we now all know so well.

I used one of the example plots from http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/ (a fun site to mess around with temperature trends) to show the T change from 1975 (little projection required as some of the data sets only go back to 1979).


One thing that was impressive about the prediction was at the time other climate factors likely were a cause for greatly masking the CO2 signal and Broeker noted that up front in his paper.

More Notes on Ocean Acidification




The left side shows the depth of the saturation horizon with regard to the CaCO3 mineral aragonite, and the right side shows the surface ocean pH. The bluer, the deeper and oranger (is that a word?) the closer to the surface. The saturation horizon reaching near the surface means there will be a lack of aragonite mineral in the water which will lead to corrosion of aragonite shells or an extra expenditure of energy for shell growth.  As can be seen the extent and magnitude of low aragonite events off the California coast are projected to increase dramatically over the next few decades.

The pulsing like nature of the aragonite and pH in the images relates to seasonal changes in upwelling which is dependent on northerly winds and duration of the winds. Off of the Washington coast the effect is much more seasonal with more definitive periods of upwelling generally restricted to the summer. Gruber and others (2013) note that coasts such as ours that have weather systems that drive deep water upwelling already have low average pH and will be among the first regions to experience long term under saturation with regard to aragonite.

The video is related to the paper "Rapid Progression of Ocean Acidification in the California Current System," by N. Gruber; C. Hauri; Z. Lachkar; D. Loher at ETH Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland; T.L. Frölicher at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ; G.-K. Plattner at University of Bern in Bern, Switzerland published in Science http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6091/220.short.

Climate models project Washington State to fare better than many places with the big Pacific Ocean and weather patterns leading to less dramatic temperature and precipitation changes than other place on the planet. However, it appears that ocean conditions will change off our coast sooner and more intensely than other areas.

There is a tendency to dismiss media reports on science as being a bit hyperbolic and indeed that seems to have been Cliff Mass' angle on the recent Seattle Times articles on ocean acidification (sea-change). Perhaps I can read and edit out hyperbole better than some. Perhaps my past political era helps or sitting through environmental impact statement hearings has allowed me to have a built in filter. On careful look, perhaps a few words here and a story angle with some drama can be a bit much for objective science, but the Times is not a scientific journal. Regardless my take on the Sea Change was it did a pretty good job on a very complex subject. 

The above said, there was a line in the article that I edited in my own mind own hyperbole:

"But all that CO2 is changing the chemistry of the ocean faster than at any time in human mammalian history."

What we are about to do to the ocean chemistry is the sort of stuff that causes hyperbole even in scientific papers.

  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ocean CO2: Yes It Is Alarming

Barton and others (2012) reported the impacts of ocean pH and available carbonate impacts to Pacific Northwest oysters. The short version of the paper is that lower pH and lower carbonate availability in the water had a detrimental impact of the early life stages of oysters. They note in detail a variety of causes for lowering pH at the particular study site: diurnal effects, local biological activity, organic inputs and most notably upwelling deep cold water with lower pH associated with periodic north wind that pushes surface water (via Coriolis effect) offshore allowing cold deeper waters to upwell along the coast. Barton and others (2012) document how CO2 levels in the ocean water can impact a nearly billion dollar industry in Washington State.

This paper and others has been a cause of alarm for the Washington State oyster industry. Currently oyster growers can do work arounds to get oyster spat to take by limiting spat activities during periods of warmer water when upwelling is not taking place or by buffering the water oyster hatcheries take in. Oysters, particularly the big non native ones grown (natives are grown as well) could be described as living on the fringe in the Pacific Northwest coastal waters in regards to carbonate. The concern is that over time the frequency and scale of low carbonate water will have broader corrosive effect in areas with upwelling cold water. Feely and others (2012) have estimated that the upward migration of aragonite and calcite saturation horizon is on the order of 1 meter per year due to CO2 inputs into the ocean.

I don't want to get into a critique of Cliff Mass (cliffmass.blogspot) critique on the Seattle Times article (seattletimes.com/reports/sea-change/pacific-ocean-perilous-turn). I'll just say I very much enjoy Cliff Mass' blog on weather and thought the Craig Welch Seattle Times article was extremely well done and researched.

However, as alarming as the Welch article was I found this graph very disturbing:


Zeebe and Zachos (2013) looked at the loading rate of CO2 into ocean water under current "business as usual" and compared it to their estimated rate for the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The PETM had CO2 levels and temperatures reflective of where we may be heading if we stay on the same CO2 path. In addition to the much warmer climate, the ocean consequences if we stay on the same path will be sharply different than that of the PETM; surface saturation for calcite would rapidly plummet to much lower levels than during the PETM. This would have a dramatic impact on ocean life. Yes it is alarming.

       

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lemming Myths

Last week when commenting on my first encounter with the Federal shutdown I noted House Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) calling his fellow House GOPers "Lemmings with suicide vests".

The lemming mass suicide vision has been firmly seared into the minds of most baby boomers by Disney, but is worth noting that it is not true Lemming Suicide Myth - Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. Fun read and always eye popping when reminded of the population growth of rodents when conditions support it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pittsburgh and Kennewick in Bellingham


Roberto Clemente
Not a bad childhood hero to try to emulate as he was much more than a sports hero

When asked where I grew up I have to give a bit of a complicated answer. I was born in New Hampshire. However, I lived for equal lengths of time in Pittsburgh, PA, the East Bay of San Francisco, CA and Kennewick, WA. A rather divergent mix of places and climate and then topped with an extended nomadic period and then by far my longest residence in Bellingham.

Although Bellingham is a long way from Pittsburgh and a very different place than Kennewick, I have a bit of Pittsburgh and Kennewick just up the street in the inner city historic York neighborhood where I live. Nelson's Market/Marlin Caf√© located one block from my house could easily fit into an older Pittsburgh neighborhood. But Nelson's has an added Pittsburgh and Kennewick angle because John, the owner went to Kennewick High and he is also a huge Pittsburgh Pirate fan.

Nelson's

Before the big game Monday night

Special beer for Pirate fans

The Pirate shrine in the corner

Pride in Pittsburgh

Even the Marlin is a Pirate fan

The Pittsburgh Pirate fans have had a long dry spell with the first winning team in 21 years. A long dry spell that makes the playoffs all the sweeter. Great fun and more Pittsburgh in Bellingham ahead as the Pirates play the Cardinals later today.

I do love the York Neighborhood that has been my home for the longest, but having a few reminders of my past is a nice bonus. As an added bonus Wade had left a prize for Lisa at Nelson's knowing I'd be up for the game.

More Shutdown

Perhaps I am over doing the government shutdown stuff. But, it is on my mind and other good content is a bit challenging as I have been a bit pressed for time and immersed in work requiring discretion.

Cliff Mass points out buoy issues budget-cutbacks-and-buoys. They already were an issue under the cut backs that have taken place, but with a shutdown they will not be fixed any time soon.

Red labeled buoys are all down

Mike Konczal attempts to shed light on shutdown programs the-non-essential-parts-of-government-that-shut-down-are-actually-quite-essential. The abrupt cutting off of WIC certainly rises above the level of my petty issues with maps being unavailable and a research program I use being shut off. But, Konczal notes that the shutdown will have very direct impacts to specific economic activity.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yes - More on Shutdown

My first confrontation with the Federal Government shutdown was the inability to access geologic maps. As I noted I had a work around at least on one project. On another this issue will cause delay of a project. This is more than an internet issue. In the "old days" one would mail in a request for a map with a payment. It took longer than the near instant approach that has become available. But this not a case of internet disruption as mail ordering maps would have to wait for the shutdown to end. 

The map thing is nowhere near as problematic as lack of access to a mapping program that I routinely have been using for an ongoing work/research project. The 1,000 point plus data point set I have been working on can not be used as long as the USGS servers are down.


Kim notified me that the USDA soil maps we routinely use are down as well.



Dylan Mathews points out this is not about debt or spending: you-probably-think-the-shutdowns-about-spending-it-isnt. Just because wonky folks know it is not about debt and spending does not mean our U.S. Congress understands the debt in the same way or what various spinners will say about this current government crisis. The very fact that Mathews put the article up indicates that there are a lot of confused people including the House GOP.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Shutdown Map

 
The Washington Post put up an interactive map of the top 100 metro areas with federal workers. The Seattle-Tacoma area has 86,000 federal workers representing just under 5% of the total employment. In the graphic, the bigger and darker the circle the bigger the percentage of the local work force.
 
This is not directly reflective of federal shutdown furloughs or other associated job losses as it only uses the rough numbers of federal employees in a given area and only shows the top 100 locations. Smaller population areas might be even more impacted. Joint Base Lewis-McCord will definitely see furloughs, but of course many of those employees are considered essential. But on the flip side, the joint base also has a great many non federal employee contractors. The map leaves off other significant military employment centers in Washington State - namely Oak Harbor with the naval air station, Kitsap County with the Bremerton ship yards and Bangor submarine base, Everett and its naval ship yard and Spokane with the Air Force station. Then there are the smaller communities with forest service offices - it doe not take many employees in Quilcene to have a impact on the local economy.
 
One of the largest areas of federal spending in Washington State has been the Tri-City area via Hanford projects. The vast majority of that work is large federal contracts. Cuts in funding have a large impact on the economy of the Tri-Cities. Stimulus spending actually caused the Tri-Cities to add jobs during the large down turn in the economy and as the stimulus spending ended the area lost jobs. 
 
 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

First Encounter With The Shutdown

Had my first encounter with the U.S. government shutdown this morning. USGS maps were not available on line. For one site I have a work around, but for another I am not sure I can proceed. Stratum Group also does environmental consulting and some of the data bases we routinely use are down.

So simply put the shut down is hurting our work already, and, no, the Affordable Care Act has not caused any harm to our business and we recently added an employee.

And less one thinks both sides need to compromise consider this chart from Micheal Linden and Harry Stein the-senate-continuing-resolution-is-already-a-compromise



Lots of smart folks have been trying to explain what is going on: Ezra Klein quotes Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein as a way of explanation as to what is going on: "The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics — it is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.", but I think House Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) calling his fellow House GOPers "Lemmings with suicide vests". sums the situation up as well as anything.