waskington state lake images
June, 2020

Water quality education and outreach continue despite stay-at-home orders

Joan Hardy and Avery Shinneman

The keynote panel at the 2019 WALPA annual conference talked a great deal about mentoring and providing experiences that develop the next generation of environmental scientists. In an effort to connect students with mentors and engage with the larger community, the non-profit group Lake Advocates (LA) and the University of Washington-Bothell (UWB) received a small grant from King County WaterWorks program for students in two degree programs to develop short outreach videos.

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WALPA Board news from the President

by Sally Abella, Board President

First, the great news: we welcome Portland State University Professor Emeritus Mark Sytsma to the WALPA Board, replacing Robin Matthews, who resigned due to a move across the US to Virginia. Mark will be a wonderful addition to WALPA, and we are happy to have his expertise on the Board. He has expressed interest in the legislative and membership committees, both of which will benefit from his perspectives and experience with the Oregon Lakes Association.

Now, the not so great news: the continuing threat from COVID-19 and the state management of the pandemic using quarantines and social distancing have made the possibility of holding an October conference this year look more and more unlikely.

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Update: 2020 WALPA conference may be virtual!

WALPA is currently negotiating with the hotel in Richland about cancelling our October 2020 conference due to the COVID pandemic and possibly rescheduling it there for 2021. We are looking into holding a virtual conference on October 15-16, 2020 and will post more information about that in the coming month. Please stay tuned and be safe. In the meantime, feel free to send your conference presentation abstracts or ideas…

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Interesting water plants

by Jenifer Parsons
Note: This article originally appeared in the spring 2017 issue of Douglasia, the journal of the Washington Native Plant Society. It appears here with permission of the WNPS and our thanks. Learn more about this great organization at https://www.wnps.org/

I am very fortunate in that I spend a lot of time on Washington’s beautiful lakes and rivers looking at plants as part of my job. Most of the time I’m focused on finding invasive non-native weeds that cause problems. But, while out there I also take note of the native plants, and have come to regard several with particular fondness. Here are a few of these, illustrated with photos and a short explanation of what I find interesting about them.


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Non-stick chemicals in Washington’s urban lakes: new study to look at pathways and sources

Callie Mathieu and Siana Wong, Washington State Department of Ecology

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made chemicals used in many industrial and consumer products, such as those with non-stick or stain-proof coatings, and fire-fighting foams. PFAS have been manufactured since the 1950s, but manufacturers began phasing out certain compounds – like perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – in the 2000s due to concern over their toxicity and persistence in humans and the environment. PFAS are released to the environment through manufacturing emissions and through the use or disposal of products containing PFAS. As a result of these releases, PFAS are widespread in the environment and some compounds, like PFOS, build up in aquatic food webs leading to elevated concentrations in predator fish species.

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