Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Leif Hansen's Profile

Email: sae265305 (at) hotmail (dot) com
Leif Hansen graduated from Washington State University with a BA in English and received his MA in Policy Studies from the University of Washington. His recent internships include working for The Defender Association, a non-profit agency providing legal counsel to Seattle and King County. He serves as volunteer Communications Manager with Public Eye Northwest, the parent non-profit public charity including Public Data Ferret and Social Capital Review. In addition to composing PEN's e-newsletters, he is assisting with database management and fundraising research. He also writes articles for Public Data Ferret.

Website: http://socialcapitalreview.org

Leif Hansen's Recent Posts

Bald eagle viewing on Skagit River starts Saturday

December 12th, 2011

Starting this coming weekend of December 17 and 18 and through January 29, visitors can again witness one of the largest wintering populations of bald eagles in the lower 48 states descending upon the Skagit River’s supply of salmon. Providing assistance will be volunteers from the Skagit Eagle Watchers Program hosted by the US Forest Service. Three viewing stations with off-highway parking along North Cascades Highway 20 provide spotting scopes and binoculars to help you see the birds up close, at Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport, Sutter Creek Rest area (milepost 100 on Highway 20) and the Marblemount Fish Hatchery. Look for the yellow signs. Beforehand, you can view a special map which shows the sites and get background on Skagit River wildlife. Call 360-856-5700 for more information.

Removal from Endangered Species List
In 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list in the lower 48 states. According to a national bald eagle survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, breeding pairs of eagles in the lower 48 have continuously increased from 1963 to 2006. The same study showed an increase in breeding pairs in the state of Washington from 398 in 1990 to 848 in 2006.

Bald eagle in Skagit River Watershed/U.S. Forest Service

Resting in Washington, Nesting in Alaska and Northern Canada
The migratory eagles are coming to the Skagit River from as far away as Alaska and Northern Canada. “During the peak times of the winter you could be looking up and see several hundred eagles in a single day,” says Forest Technician and Eagle Watchers Program Field Coordinator, Tanya Kitterman. “Normally we count 300 [eagles] a day on average. It’s fun to go out every week to the same places and see the eagles and what they are doing. There was one day we saw 700 eagles.”

Northwest Salmon; Vital to Bald Eagles in Western WA
Nestled in the Mt. Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest, the Skagit River is the only river system in Washington to host all five native salmon species. Kitterman said, “The eagles that we’re looking at in our program are migratory and are coming down to the Skagit to feed on salmon in the winter time. The eagles aren’t nesting here, they’re nesting in Northern Canada and Alaska and they’re coming down here specifically for the chum run that we have in the Skagit River.”

Wildlife Refuge Locator: Online Guide to Washington, U.S.

Kitterman is unsure what this year holds. “Chum numbers are low this year and we don’t know how many eagles are going to show up.”

Human Interruption
Human activity can also play a factor in the number of eagles in the area.  According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, bald eagles can be deterred by pesticides, interference with feeding patterns at gravel bars, and other human disruptions. However, the eagles in Washington are usually non-nesting and have grown accustomed to a certain amount of respectful human presence. Kitterman said, “the eagles that are down here are kind of used to being around people. We teach people to not approach the gravel bars while they’re feeding.”

Last season alone there were 5,525 visitors that came to see the migratory eagles along the Skagit; and 7,200 visitors in 2009-2010.

Map of North Cascades bald eagle viewing areas/U.S. Forest Service


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11-fold hike in emergency room visits related to energy drinks

December 6th, 2011

Despite a Washington state ban and tough federal enforcement against energy drinks containing alcohol, alcohol-free energy drinks with up to five times the caffeine blast of a cup of coffee pose growing public health concerns. According to a new study published in late November by an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, emergency department visits related to alcohol-free energy drinks – consumed alone and sometimes with other substances – were 11.6 times greater in 2009 than in 2005. Energy drink-related emergency visits grew in number from 1,128 in 2005; to 3,126 in 2006; 10,052 in 2007; 16,053 in 2008, and 13,114 in 2009, the most recent year for which data were available. Read the rest of this entry »

Bio

June 25th, 2011

Leif Hansen graduated from Washington State University with a BA in English and received his MA in Policy Studies from the University of Washington. His recent internships include working for The Defender Association, a non-profit agency providing legal council to Seattle and King County. Starting in summer 2011, he began work as an intern with Public Eye Northwest, the parent non-profit corporation of Public Data Ferret and Social Capital Review, assisting with fundraising research and membership relations.