Friday, April 28, 2017

4/28 Seattle sewer, Skagit shellfish, whale ban, derelict boats, weed parade, Ericksen & Benton

Fairy ring mushrooms
Fairy Ring Mushroom Marasmius oreades
Fairy ring mushrooms are found in spring, summer and fall after rains in grass lawns, parking strips, golf courses or meadows, always in the open, forming 'fairy' rings. This mushroom is considered a pest by homeowners but it has a good flavor and is easily dried. The tough stems should be discarded. Do not confuse this mushroom with the sweat-producing clitocybe which also grows in partial circles on lawns. (The Savory Wild Mushroom)

Mechanical systems restored at West Point plant, but dirty water still flowing into Puget Sound
The West Point Treatment Plant is getting back on track after cleaning, repair and replacement of equipment destroyed in a catastrophic flood Feb. 9. The effluent discharged to the Puget Sound still does not meet permit standards, but it’s getting cleaner. All damaged mechanical systems have been repaired or replaced. Workers restored or rehabilitated a mile of tunnels, 151 electrical motors, two miles of insulation, 40 motor control centers, 125 electrical panels, 25 electrical transformers, more than 1,200 outlets and switches as well as sedimentation tanks bigger than football fields, and digester tanks. (Seattle Times)

Bacterial pollution closing part of Swinomish shellfish harvest area
Part of a commercial shellfish harvest area used by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is closing because of bacterial pollution. The state Department of Health announced Wednesday that the shellfish harvest site in west Skagit County is one of six in the state being closed indefinitely due to bacterial pollution found during annual water quality evaluations. The Department of Health is closing about a 185-acre portion of the about 1,700-acre shellfish growing area. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Vancouver Aquarium pushes back on cetacean ban
The Vancouver Aquarium is making a last ditch effort to thwart a park board bylaw amendment which would ban the importation and display of cetaceans, like dolphins and belugas. Aquarium officials hope a campaign to drum up public support will sway park board commissioners, who in March, voted unanimously in favour of making a change to the bylaws. Randy Pratt, incoming board chair at the aquarium, argued on Thursday the ban would put the Marine Mammal Rescue program at risk — a program responsible for helping more than 100 animals in distress in B.C. each year, though the vast majority aren't cetaceans. Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC)

Volunteers get ready to clean up derelict boats amid inaction
Volunteers unwilling to wait for government action have mobilized to clean up 10 or more derelict boats despoiling the Oak Bay side of Cadboro Bay. They plan to gather on May 13 for the cleanup, and are especially concerned about a 36-foot-long steel-hulled wreck…. There were 16 wrecks just a few weeks back, but owners appear to have dragged some if them away, he said. Abandoned and unsafe vessels and wrecks are under overlapping federal, provincial and municipal jurisdictions, depending on the tide lines. Katherine Dedyna reports. (Times Colonist)

Behind the Veil at the EPA Beachhead
A look at the political and administrative destinies of Trump cronies Doug Ericksen and Don Benton. Michael Riordan and Elisabeth Britt write. (NW Citizen)

Bainbridge's annual noxious weed parade floats through Winslow
Christina Doherty’s lunch break turned into her 15 minutes of fame — almost to the minute — as royalty Thursday. Doherty was queen of this year’s Scotch Broom Parade, the island’s annual elusive, blink-and-you-miss-it, unannounced spoof celebration of a noxious weed. Members of the Bainbridge Kiwanis Club select the parade royalty on a lark by choosing someone off the street just before the parade begins. This year, Doherty happened to be in the area for the surprise jaunt through downtown. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT FRI APR 28 2017  

TODAY
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT  11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SAT
 SW WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING SE IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING W AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SUN
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 9  SECONDS.

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Thursday, April 27, 2017

4/27 Orca tanker risks, ban US coal, LNG jobs threat, Survive the Sound, whale whispers, claw evolution

Dandeliion (Wikimedia)
Common dandelion Taraxacum officinale
The common dandelion was imported to North America on early sailing ships. The young leaves make a good vegetable green. The cooked roots can be eaten as a vegetable or dried and ground for use as a coffee substitute. The flowers can be used to make dandelion wine and the whole plant can be brewed to make beer. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast) See also: Dandelion Greens with a Kick  "Dandelion greens are one of my favorite bitters! They're not for everyone, but I enjoy their unique flavor. I decided to try them sauteed instead of in a salad and it was a huge hit! Makes good use of those dandelions in the yard or you can usually find dandelion greens at the grocery or Asian market." TTV78 cooks. (allrecipes)

Tribes Sue Coast Guard Over Tanker Traffic's Risk to Orcas
The Tulalip and Suquamish tribes are suing the Coast Guard, alleging a failure to protect endangered orcas from the risk of oil spills associated with tanker traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Tuesday, the tribes argue that the Coast Guard has failed to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service over the impact of the tanker traffic it regulates on the killer whales. The tribes say the risk has increased significantly since the Canadian government approved the expansion of the TransMountain pipeline last November. That decision is expected to increase tanker traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca sevenfold. Chief Petty Officer David Mosley in Seattle said the Coast Guard is reviewing the complaint. The tribes are represented by the environmental law firm Earthjustice. They seek an order requiring the Coast Guard to avoid harm to the whales until the agency consults with the fisheries service. (Associated Press)

B.C. moves to ban U.S. coal transport in retaliation for softwood duties
In the wake of the U.S. imposing new penalties on Canadian softwood lumber imports, B.C. Premier Christy Clark is asking Ottawa to ban the shipment of all thermal coal — including U.S. thermal coal — through British Columbia. "We've gone from seeing Americans as being good trading partners to being hostile trading partners," said Clark when asked why she was making this move now.  On Monday, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its first batch of duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports, ranging from three to 24 per cent, a move that could have serious consequences for B.C.'s large forestry industry. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

LNG Exports Pose a Threat to Domestic Jobs, Warn US Manufacturers
Plans to increase the export of liquefied fracked gas in the United States pose a direct threat to jobs and manufacturing competitiveness, says a powerful trade group that represents some of the largest manufacturers in the U.S. In a blunt letter to the Trump Administration, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) said the U.S. Department of Energy had approved so many LNG terminals that the export industry created “significant risk to domestic manufacturers” by eliminating a secure and cheap supply of natural gas.  Andrew Nikiforuk reports. (The Tyee)

Not Just A Game: Steelhead, Science, and a Race for Survival
If you ever wanted to follow a steelhead from the stream it was born in to the open ocean, now you have your chance. There’s a new online game, called “Survive the Sound,” which is like Oregon Trail, except with real fish instead of computerized wagon trains. And for a game with real fish to play out, scientists have to catch steelhead. That’s part of the job for fish biologist Clayton Kinsel. It’s late April and juvenile salmon and steelhead are rushing down the Big Beef Creek, a stream that empties out into Puget Sound’s Hood Canal. The smolts, as scientists call them, are trying to make it to the ocean. Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Recordings Reveal That Baby Humpback Whales 'Whisper' To Their Mothers
Baby humpback whales seem to whisper to their mothers, according to scientists who have captured the infant whales' quiet grunts and squeaks. The recordings, described in the journal Functional Ecology, are the first ever made with devices attached directly to the calves. "When they're born, these whales are around 5 meters long," says Simone Videsen at Aarhus University in Denmark, who notes that this is "pretty big considering it's a baby."  Nell Greenfieldboyce reports. (NPR)

Sea creature with can-opener-like claws found in Burgess Shale
A B.C. fossil bed continues to be a treasure trove of discovery for Canadian scientists as another new species has been found. The latest wonder in the Burgess Shale is a sea creature estimated to be 507 million years old which helps shed light on the evolution of claws found on many present-day species such as crabs, scorpions and millipedes. Twenty-one specimens of the new species — named Tokummia katalepsis — were found in the Marble Canyon site in Kootenay National Park by researchers from the Royal Ontario Museum and University of Toronto. The discovery is detailed in a paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature. Michele Jarvie reports. (Calgary Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  430 AM PDT THU APR 27 2017...UPDATED  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 
TODAY
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 10 FT  AT 11 SECONDS. SCATTERED SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 20 TO 25 KT BECOMING NW 15 TO 25 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS.  ISOLATED SHOWERS IN THE EVENING.

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

4/26 Green crab, Trump science, fracked fuel, 'What's Upstream?', monuments, West Point, biochar, wax worm

Pea crab (Walla Walla University)
Pea Crab Pinnixa faba
The pea crab lives harmlessly and symbiotically within large edible clams like the horse and gaper clams and lives off their hosts' filtering of organic material. Its tiny carapace is about a little more than half an inch long and about a third of an inch wide. (Wikipedia) Note: Yesterday's critter feature is correctly identified as a house finch, neither a robin nor a red-head sparrow; the bird outside the window has been notified accordingly and is taking the news well… Thank you, Shawn, Connie, Jeff and Herb.

Invasive European green crab found in Dungeness Bay
An invasive crab species scientists and locals feared to find on the North Olympic Peninsula was discovered in traps last week in Dungeness Bay. Staff and volunteers at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge found at least 13 European green crabs in Graveyard Spit across from Dungeness Landing and continue to investigate just how prevalent the species might be there. (Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Science takes a back seat in Trump’s first 100 days
…. Three months into his presidency, Donald Trump has yet to appoint a science adviser. The Office of Science and Technology Policy, which grew to 135 employees under Obama, is at just one-fourth that level. Trump’s proposed federal budget, prepared without the input of a science adviser, calls for deep cuts in federal science agencies, particularly those involved in climate-change research. Stuart Leavenworth reports. (McClatchy)

Fracked Fuel Exports Come to Whatcom County
Northwest fossil fuel export schemes have brought a flood of coal and oil proposals to the region’s shores. But the fossil export tsunami has a third wave as well: fracked fuels, including the massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export proposals in British Columbia, as well as several projects that would export liquid petroleum gases (LPGs) such as propane and butane. In fact, West Coast propane exports have increased six-fold in the past year—most likely because a Canadian energy company called Petrogas recently expanded a fracked fuel export facility at Cherry Point in Whatcom County, Washington. The risks posed by this facility are a direct threat to the interests of the Lummi Nation, who have lived and fished in the area for millennia, and consider Cherry Point a site of central cultural and economic importance. Eric de Place reports. (Sightline)

‘What’s Upstream?’ ad campaign funded by EPA did not break federal lobbying rules, investigation finds
A controversial clean-water campaign funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not violate federal lobbying rules, an Inspector General audit has determined. The What’s Upstream? campaign included billboards and ads to raise awareness of clean-water issues surrounding agricultural pollution in the Puget Sound region. Some Republican lawmakers accused What’s Upstream?, which included a form letter on its website for people to contact their legislators, of being an “anti-farmer campaign.” ….The campaign’s funding came from a five-year EPA grant made to the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. The commission then awarded about $570,000 of that to the Swinomish Indian Tribe, which decided to create the What’s Upstream? campaign. The EPA Office of Inspector General found that neither agency broke lobbying rules, because the form letters did not push for specific legislative action to address pollution.  Joseph O'Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)

Trump To Sign Executive Order That Could Shrink National Monuments 
President Trump is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday that could end up shrinking — or even nullifying — some large federal national monuments on protected public lands, as established since the Clinton administration. Kirk Siegler reports. (NPR) See also: Trump Targets National Monuments, Including Papahanaumokuakea  President Donald Trump is ordering a review of the designations for more than two dozen national monuments, including ecologically rich marine preserves in the Pacific such as Papahanaumokuakea, Marianas Trench and the Pacific Remote Islands. Kirstin Downey reports. (Civil Beat) And also: Trump Is Expected to Sign Orders That Could Expand Access to Fossil Fuels  After moving last month against Barack Obama’s efforts to limit fossil fuel exploration and combat climate change, President Trump will complete his effort to overturn environmental policy this week, signing two executive orders to expand offshore drilling and roll back conservation on public lands. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Coming out of retirement to fight Trump on monuments
Danny Westneat reports: "I interrupted Rich Steele, 82, while he was out hunting turkey. So he didn’t have his thoughts fully formed. “I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do, because I thought we were long done with this,” Steele, of Richland, fumed. “But I can tell you, we’re gonna fight.” Sally Reeve, of Lopez Island, also couldn’t talk long, because her sheep were at that moment giving birth. But she said her fellow San Juan islanders already are mobilizing the troops. “We’re pretty worried up here,” Reeve, 61, said Tuesday. “There’s going to be a heckuva fight if they come after this monument.” Steele and Reeve live on different sides of the state. But as two of the key citizens who campaigned for years to establish separate national monuments, here, they now find themselves united. In resistance to President Trump. (Seattle Times)

King County Launches Investigation Of Waste Treatment Facility
The King County Council has formally launched an investigation into what caused the catastrophic failure of its largest wastewater treatment facility in early February. During the failure, about 30 million gallons of raw sewage flowed into Puget Sound. At 2 a.m. on February 9, catastrophic flooding shut down the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood. A unanimous vote by the council has confirmed selection of a team of wastewater experts from the global engineering firm AECOM for the investigation. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Biochar
At the Port Angeles Science Day over the weekend, reader Norm Baker reported that, in spite of the rain and wind, many were in attendance and he went home with a voice hoarse from spending the day explaining "biochar." What's biochar? According to Norm: "…Biochar is nothing more than charcoal (basically carbon) made from biomass at a specific temperature - 450°C. This temperature is much different than charcoal made for cooking (250C) or activated carbon made at 900 centigrade. The term biochar came from the fact that it is made from unpolluted biomass hence the term bio-….The really short story about biochar is that incorporated into soil, it adsorbs and releases plant nutrients and improves crop production about 25%. Since the biochar has a half-life of eleven hundred years, it is the principal contender for fighting global warming since it is sequestering carbon back into the soil. If we were to take a piece of firewood, about 30% can be made into biochar. The remaining 70% is a mixture of organic oils and gases which can now be made directly into renewable fuels. This is only the tip of the iceberg however. This whole story about biochar is simply the most amazing thing I have encountered as an environmental activist in a very long time. If you have a gardening group or environmental group or climate group that needs a good speaker, let me know. I love talking about this issue…."

A Worm May Hold The Key To Biodegrading Plastic
People around the world use more than a trillion plastic bags every year. They're made of a notoriously resilient kind of plastic called polyethylene that can take decades to break down. But a humble worm may hold the key to biodegrading them. It was an accidental discovery. Scientist and beekeeper Federica Bertocchini was frustrated to find that her beehives were infested with the larvae of Galleria mellonella, commonly known as a wax worm. Bertocchini, who works at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria in Spain, tells NPR that she was cleaning out the hive and put the worm-infested parts in a plastic bag. But shortly afterward, she noticed that "they were all crawling around my place and the plastic bag was riddled with holes." Merrit Kennedy reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT WED APR 26 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 
TODAY
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 8 SECONDS BUILDING TO 8 FT AT 10 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.  NUMEROUS SHOWERS IN THE MORNING THEN SCATTERED SHOWERS IN THE  AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING NW 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 10 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE EVENING  THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate
http://salishseanews.blogspot.com/

Follow on Twitter. http://twitter.com/#!/savepugetsound/

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told
http://salishseacommunications.blogspot.com/2011/10/salish-sea-communications-truth-well.html

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

4/25 Elwha fish, seagrass, Trump 100, nat'l monuments, methane cuts, Bill Nye, eating fish, oilsands air, safe water

Battering house finch at my window
American Robin, Valiant Challenger
What's that bird doing, banging on my window? The male American Robin - fiercely territorial - belts out its distinctive cheery song to defend its breeding territory from invasion by other robins. Sometimes, the robin sees its own reflection as an interloper and challenges the “invader” over and over, even to the point of exhaustion or injury. It's called the "battering robin syndrome," although cardinals, mockingbirds, juncos, and other birds do it, too. Closing the curtains or stenciling stars made with Bon Ami paste onto the windows can help. (BirdNote)

Court of Appeals supports hatchery fish in Elwha River in decision
Hatchery fish can continue playing their disputed role in the largest dam removal and salmonid recovery project in U.S. history, a federal court has decided. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week confirmed the continued use of hatchery-bred salmon to replenish a decimated Elwha River run being coaxed back to life following the historic removal of the Glines Canyon and Elwha dams, completed in 2014. In doing so the court rejected a 2015 appeal by the Wild Fish Conservancy, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Federation of Fly Fishers Steelhead Committee and Wild Salmon Rivers, doing business as Conservation Angler, upholding Judge Benjamin Settle’s U.S. District Court ruling. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Seagrass meadow research project aided by app launch
Marine conservationists have launched an app to encourage the public to identify and monitor underwater seagrass meadows. [Seagrass Spotter] Research by Project Seagrass, formed by scientists from Cardiff University and Swansea University, has shown the meadows are in a "perilous state". Seagrasses are plants that form dense underwater beds in shallow water. It is hoped people will use the app to help scientists with monitoring, conservation and education efforts. (BBC)

One Hundred Days.
The mess we're in; the challenge ahead. Comment by David Remnick on the first 100 days. (New Yorker)

Trump to sign orders on oil drilling, national monuments
President Donald Trump will sign executive orders this week aimed at expanding offshore oil drilling and reviewing national monument designations made by his predecessors, continuing the Republican’s assault on Democratic President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy. The orders could expand oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans and upend public lands protections put in place in Utah, Maine and other states. The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to declare federal lands of historic or scientific value to be “national monuments” and restrict how the lands can be used. Matthew Daly and Jill Colvin report. (Associated Press)

Federal government seeks to push back methane reduction regulations by up to 3 years
The federal government wants to delay the implementation of its much-touted new methane regulations by up to three years. Documents obtained by CBC News show the initial federal plan was to phase in tough rules to control methane from the oil and gas industry starting in 2018, with all of the new regulations in place by 2020. But a revised federal timeline shows the regulations would be phased in starting in 2020 and wouldn't be fully implemented until 2023. The delay is in sharp contrast to the announcement made only a year ago by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who stood on the White House lawn with U.S. President Barack Obama and declared they would jointly tackle methane emissions from the oil and gas sector and reduce them by up to 45 per cent by 2025. Margo McDiarmid reports. (CBC)

In A New 'Anti-Science' Era, Bill Nye 'Saves The World' With Same Optimism
If you were a kid with a television in the mid-1990s, or you were raising one, Bill Nye probably needs no introduction. A theme song should do it. That’s because Bill Nye the Science Guy was appointment-viewing for kids back then — the highlight of science class for grade school students. Since his PBS show ended, he’s become a vocal champion of the value of science. On Saturday, he led scientists and supporters of the science community during the March for Science. And now he is back — with a new soundtrack — in the same lab coat and bow tie. He’s channeling the same love for showmanship and science, this time, into a new series out on Netflix on Friday: Bill Nye Saves the World. Michel Martin, Liz Baker and Emma Bowman report. (NPR)

What Fish Is Good For Me And The Planet? New Documentary Explores
Facts about the virtues of eating fish can be slippery. On the one hand, fish provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids, the substance in fish oil supplements, which is thought to boost cognitive health. Plus, unlike cows, fish don’t belch vast amounts of the greenhouse gas methane into the air. So, fish should be good for your health and the environment. But the science of omega-3 benefits is far from settled, and as fish farming grows to keep up with global demand, the industry is raising new questions about environmental sustainability. New York Times bestselling author and avid fisherman Paul Greenberg wanted to learn more about how eating fish can change human health and the world’s marine environments. He ate fish every day for a year to see how it would affect his health and traveled around the world to learn more about the challenges of fish farming. His experience is captured in a FRONTLINE documentary called The Fish on My Plate airing Tuesday. (You can also watch it online.) Natalie Jacewicz reports. (NPR)

Scientists invent more accurate way to measure oilsands pollution
Federal government scientists say they have devised an accurate way to directly measure air pollutants from oilsands mines and suggest industry estimates for certain harmful emissions have been much too low. The research, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focused on volatile organic compounds, or VOCs — carbon-based substances that can be damaging to the environment and human health. Oilsands companies have indirect ways of calculating their mines' estimated VOC emissions. Methods include extrapolating from other substances they measure from smokestacks or from emissions associated with a specific activity, said lead author Shao-Meng Li, a senior research scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada. Li and his team set out to compare those figures against direct readings they took from the air above the mines. Their experiment took measurements from a plane flown at various altitudes in a box-like pattern above oilsands mines in northeastern Alberta.  (Canadian Press)

Chemicals at old Anacortes treatment plant didn't harm water, city says
Low levels of arsenic, lead and PCBs were discovered at the former Anacortes water treatment plant in January 2015, but those chemicals pose no risk to city drinking water or public health, the city announced Monday. The announcement came on the same day that the city filed a lengthy report with the state Department of Ecology requesting assistance in forming a safe strategy to demolish the building and clean up the former water treatment plant site. The plant was decommissioned in 2013. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
 WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  240 AM PDT TUE APR 25 2017  

TODAY
 S WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING SE THIS AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1  FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS. RAIN THIS AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS. RAIN.

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, April 24, 2017

4/24 Steve, science march, green walls, Howarth Park, Vic Harbour birds, Qwoloolt trail, whale hit, EPA hits, sand cap, Hooker Chem, leadership

Steve [European Space Agency/BBC]
Aurora photographers find new night sky lights and call them Steve
A group of aurora enthusiasts have found a new type of light in the night sky and named it Steve. Eric Donovan from the University of Calgary in Canada spotted the feature in photos shared on a Facebook group. He did not recognise it as a catalogued phenomenon and although the group were calling it a proton arc, he knew proton auroras were not visible. Testing showed it appeared to be a hot stream of fast-flowing gas in the higher reaches of the atmosphere. (BBC) See also: Time lapse camera captures Northern Lights over Puget Sound  Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Marchers stand up worldwide for the value of science 
The world saw brain power take a different form Saturday. From the Washington Monument to Germany’s Brandenburg Gate and even to Greenland, scientists, students and research advocates took to the streets for the March for Science, conveying a global message about scientific freedom without political interference, the need for adequate spending for future breakthroughs and the general value of scientific pursuits. Seth Borenstein reports. (Associated Press) See also: Seattle's March for Science draws thousands on Earth Day -- including a Nobel Prize winner   Erik Lacitis reports. (Seattle Times) And also: Bellingham March for Science takes aim at ‘political agendas on all sides’  Kyle Mittan reports. (Bellingham Herald) And also: March for Science wants humanity to continue advancing, not hide from facts that frighten us   Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

Immigrant Community Designs "Green Walls" to Clean the Air, The Only Walls They Favor  
 
Hear the phrase “green walls” and you might think the southern border wall proposed by the Trump administration is taking on an eco-friendly theme. But the green walls going up in Seattle's South Park are designed to clean the air and reduce air pollution. And many members of the immigrant community are putting them up themselves.  Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acre Radio)

Habitat restoration at Howarth Park ready to be enjoyed by public
By the time the beach was remade and the bridge repaired at Howarth Park last year, warm weather already had passed. Beach-goers now have the chance to enjoy the enlarged waterfront at the city park for the first full summer since 2014. Snohomish County employees and researchers also continue to track environmental benefits from tons of sand deposited on the beach last year. The work was an attempt to re-create features of the natural environment that have been disrupted for more than a century. Volunteers and researchers are looking both at fish spawning and how the sand is drifting over time. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Victoria Harbour’s rebirth is for the birds
From a rocky outcrop along the coastal path that leads from Esquimalt to downtown Victoria, Jacques Sirois looks through binoculars across Victoria Harbour. The retired ornithologist has just pointed out dozens of buffleheads — tiny blackish and white seafaring ducks — when he spots a surprise…. The return of many bird populations to Greater Victoria’s shores is just one part of a larger story that Sirois says goes too easily unnoticed. Victoria’s waters are cleaner than they’ve been in 60 years, he says, which means all kinds of species are thriving. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Marysville’s new waterfront trail draws big Saturday crowd
More than 100 people crowded Marysville’s Qwuloolt Waterfront Trail after an official ribbon-cutting Saturday morning. They ambled, strolled and, at least a few, scooted along the new trail, taking in the sprawling floodplain scenery. The crowd’s easy pace and the canary grass waving in the wind was a breathless retort to cars and truck rushing along I-5 in the distance. The trail instantly expanded the city’s waterfront from a mere 900 feet at Ebey Waterfront Park to nearly two miles along Ebey Slough’s lazy curves. Saturday’s grand opening was nearly two decades in the making. Dan Catchpole reports. (Everett Herald)

Boat hits whale near Whidbey Island
A boat hit a whale Sunday morning near Whidbey Island as whale watching vessels packed with spectators witnessed the entire incident. The whale was a gray whale. It is one that was has been spotted for many years in Puget Sound. It was swimming with a couple other whales when a boat drove right over it. Witnesses say he stopped for a few "moments," then continued on. The whale may have been the well-known "Patch," first photographed in the Puget Sound in the 1990s. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Port Angeles agrees to sand cap in harbor; pilot project aims to restore marine habitat
The city will chip in $15,400 for a pilot project to restore a patch of marine habitat along Ediz Hook by capping woody debris pollution with a 6-inch layer of sand. The goal: Make it fertile ground for marine life in a deep-water harbor that’s been home to logging industry and municipal detritus for decades. Council members unanimously agreed last Tuesday to spend $15,400 on the $77,000 pilot project. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Hooker Chemical Cleanup Planning Getting Underway
One million pounds of toxic chemicals; that’s what estimated to be left behind over several decades because of work done at the Hooker Chemical plant on the Tacoma Tideflats. The plant was purchased by a company called Occidental in the late 1960s and finally shut down for good in 2002. Now the state Department of Ecology is deciding how to move forward on cleaning up the area. And the price tag for that cleanup is anywhere between $110 to $440 million. The public comment period for cleanup options closed April 27. Kirsten Kendrick, Ariel Van Cleave and Derrick Nunnally report. (KNKX)

50 programs scrapped at EPA
President Trump proposes a $54 billion increase in military spending, offset by slashing domestic programs. The Environmental Protection Agency would take the biggest hit, a 31 percent cut that would eliminate a quarter of the staff and save $2.6 billion, returning the agency’s budget to 1970s-era levels. Congress dictates spending, however, and some cuts face bipartisan pushback. The agency has begun offering buyouts to workers. Here is a sample of programs that would be eliminated: (SF Chronicle)

Where is the leadership?
Al Bergstein in Olympic Peninsula Environmental News writes: "Here we sit, four months into the most destructive Presidency of all time, as it relates to the environment. Where are the leaders to ask us to head into the field to take up the banner and stop this insanity? We are watching as laws are getting passed, and we are helpless to come to the table and demand a stop to this. We are asked to participate in an Earthday Science March, but really, this will  change nothing. Where are the leaders that will demand us to put ourselves in harms way to stop this insanity?  Who is willing to step up and show the way forward, the Martin Luther King, or Alice Paul, to help us define what is needed to slow the machine? Phone banks won’t win, though they help. But, point me to the person. We need leadership now more than ever."

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  309 AM PDT MON APR 24 2017  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE  OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Friday, April 21, 2017

4/21 Science, Earth, marsh pub, whales, State of the Sound, Tacoma action, Kalama gas, EPA cuts, LA coast

[Image by Miles Greb/KNKX]
Earth Day on Saturday includes old events plus new March for Science
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "With Earth Day falling on a Saturday this year, all sorts of environmental activities have been scheduled for this weekend. On top of your typical Earth Day activities, there will be a March for Science in Washington, D.C., as well as in Seattle and hundreds of other communities across the country. It just seems like a great time to get out and do something.... The National Weather Service predicts that warm weather tomorrow will give way to a low-pressure trough moving over Western Washington on Saturday. That weather system might be traveling slowly enough that the rains won’t appear until later in the day when most activities have been wrapped up in the Puget Sound region…." See also: Organizers Of Seattle's March For Science Expect It To Be 2nd Largest In U.S. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Forget hockey, Saturna pub tuning into marsh sounds marathon
At the Saturna Lighthouse Pub, weekends are typically filled with the sound of clinking beer glasses and hockey games on five TV screens. But this Saturday, on Earth Day, it’ll be different. All day and night, the Saturna Island bar will be suffused with the dulcet tones of croaking frogs, buzzing bees, hooting owls and quacking ducks. The pub is tuning into a marathon radio broadcast of a 24-hour recording that captures the natural sounds of a marsh on the island. Adrian Chamberlain reports. (Times Colonist)

Vancouver Aquarium says unknown toxin killed belugas last year
he Vancouver Aquarium says an unknown toxin was the cause of death for two belugas last year. Aurora, aged 30, and her calf, Qila, 21, died within nine days of each other in November 2016. The aquarium says the determination followed a five-month investigation involving "dozens" of aquarium and external specialists. (CBC) See also: SeaWorld Welcomes Its Last Orca Born In Captivity  (NPR)

Muri’s bill supporting Puget Sound Partnership signed into law http://thesubtimes.com/2017/04/20/muris-bill-supporting-puget-sound-partnership-signed-into-law/
The governor signed a bill sponsored by Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, that would help the on-going efforts of the Puget Sound Partnership…. Every two years, the Puget Sound Partnership is required to produce a State of the Sound science work plan. The plan identifies recommendations for improvements to their ongoing work in Puget Sound. Because of the short interval for updates, they are in a continuous planning mode. Muri’s bill changes the frequency of the report from every two years, to four years. By reducing the frequency of the updates, the proposal would help free up the Puget Sound Partnership’s resources. This would allow them to focus on meeting restoration performance targets. (Suburban Times)

Coalition of groups priming for election fight, protests
The community uproar that originally started a year ago and prompted the death of a planned natural gas to methanol plant on the tideflats continues to morph into other local environmental and social justice issues as like-minded groups merge and share resources. The grassroots effort Save Tacoma Water, for example, is gathering momentum for a ballot measure to change the term limits for City Council members from the current 10 years with a “break in service” before running again…. RedLine Tacoma continues to protest the planned liquefied natural gas plant Puget Sound Energy is preparing to build…. Both groups are also recruiting candidates to run for political office, particularly the three seats up for votes in November on the Port of Tacoma Commission and the five open seats on the Tacoma City Council, including the mayor’s seat. Steve Dunkelberger reports. (Tacoma Weekly) See also: New tenant for ex-methanol plant site at Port of Tacoma?  Derrick Nunnally reports. (New Tribune of Tacoma)

Proposed Kalama Methanol Refinery Hits Snag In Permit Approval
Washington’s Department of Ecology wants more information before deciding whether to approve a shoreline permit for a controversial methanol refinery in Kalama. The state agency sent a letter to Cowlitz County on Tuesday that called the submitted permit incomplete. It said some of the proposed site plans were out of date and missing key information. It also said the applicants underestimated the amount of greenhouse gas emissions at the proposed site. In its application, NW Innovation Works establishes a self-imposed limit of 976,131 metric tons greenhouse gas emissions annually. But in the letter to the county, the Department of Ecology says its calculations found an additional 232,136 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be emitted per year. Molly Sullivan reports. (OPB)

Staff cuts under way at EPA
The Trump administration has lifted its hiring freeze for the federal government. But the Environmental Protection Agency remains frozen, according to internal documents obtained by KUOW. The Trump administration has proposed cutting EPA’s budget by 31 percent, more than at any major federal agency, and scrapping 56 programs there, including funding for Puget Sound restoration. This week, even though Congress has final say when it comes to spending, administration officials told EPA brass to start letting go of employees through buyouts and early retirement offers. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Louisiana's Governor Declares State Of Emergency Over Disappearing Coastline
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency over the state’s rapidly eroding coastline. It’s an effort to bring nationwide attention to the issue and speed up the federal permitting process for coastal restoration projects. “Decades of saltwater intrusion, subsidence and rising sea levels have made the Louisiana coast the nation’s most rapidly deteriorating shoreline,” WWNO’s Travis Lux tells our Newscast unit. “It loses the equivalent of one football field of land every hour.” Merrit Kennedy reports. (NPR)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  230 AM PDT FRI APR 21 2017  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND BECOMING E 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT BECOMING 1 TO 2 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W SWELL  5 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT RISING TO 15 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SAT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT  13 SECONDS BUILDING TO 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. A  CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING THEN RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING S AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS BUILDING TO 9 FT  AT 13 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SUN
 SE WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Thursday, April 20, 2017

4/20 Deepwater Horizon, WA funding, Trump $, EPA coal, water wells, fish barging, farmlands, beaches, Arctic plastic

Deepwater Horizon [USCG]
Deepwater Horizon Blowout and Explosion April 20, 2010
Seven years ago an uncontrollable blowout in the deepest vertical drilled well in the Gulf of Mexico caused an explosion that killed 11 men and set fire to the rig. The rig sank two days later and 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed at the seabed causing the largest oil spill in U.S. waters. (Wikipedia) See also: The Pacific States – British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force Deep Water Horizon Updates  (Thanks to Sarah Brace)

Conservationists guardedly optimistic about funding to restore forests, coasts and flood-prone areas
Bipartisan. Unanimous. Two words not heard often in contemporary politics describe a pair of bills passed by a divided Washington Legislature to revitalize forests in the face of climate change and megafires that have killed firefighters and cost the state millions of dollars. Now comes the real test: Will the Legislature provide the money needed to carry out these plans? The same test confronts high-profile efforts to restore Washington ecosystems in coastal and flood-prone areas. Most at risk is the restoration program for flood-prone regions, which could lose more than half of its funding under the Senate’s budget plan. n yet another difficult year for legislators beset by a court order to spend more on education and plaintive pleas to shore up a decrepit mental-health system, environmentalists are surprisingly upbeat based on what they’ve seen so far in the House and Senate budget proposals. Adiel Kaplan reports. (Investigate West)

How would San Juan County look if Trump’s budget proposal was passed?
President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal suggests cutting funds to most major federal agencies and departments while increasing military and border patrol spending. On Monday, April 10, the League of Women Voters of the San Juans held a panel to predict what San Juan County would be like if Congress, who has the final decision, adopts Trump’s plan. Hayley Day reports. (San Juan Journal) See also: Washington state gets a lot of federal money for science  Kara McDermott reports. (KUOW)

EPA seeks to scuttle cleanup of coal power plant pollution
The Trump administration is once again seeking to scuttle cuts to pollution from coal-fired power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court in Washington to postpone consideration of 2012 rules requiring energy companies to cut emissions of toxic chemicals…. It is the latest in a string of moves by President Donald Trump’s appointees to help companies that profit from burning of fossil fuels. Last week EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced he would seek to rewrite Obama-era rules limiting water pollution from coal-fired power plants. The agency also sought to roll back tighter restrictions on pollution from coal mines. Michael Biesecker and Sam Hananel report. (Associated Press)

Whatcom County Council curbs building that relies on wells for another 6 months
The County Council is restricting new rural developments that rely on domestic wells in Whatcom County for six more months. The measure replaces the temporary six-week restriction that was ending. On Tuesday, the council voted 5-2 for the six-month extension. Council members Barbara Brenner and Ken Mann were the “no” votes. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Conservation Groups Ask To Stop Barging Sockeye Around Dams
Helping juvenile salmon migrate out to sea has long been difficult and controversial. Barging is a common way to get the fish around dams. The salmon are hauled around eight dams in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Idaho Conservation groups say this practice harms fish — and needs to stop now. Seven groups sent a letter to NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking the agencies to this spring stop sending salmon along their migration route in barges. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Radio/EarthFix)

Pierce council rejects changes to county farmland zoning
A proposal to reclassify and preserve Pierce County farmland died in County Council chambers this week, much as it died two years ago. One key difference in Wednesday’s version of the demise was a number: $230,000, the price of a county-commissioned study of “Agricultural Resource Land.” The study recommended changes to the county’s current designated ARL stock, including the correction of a longstanding mapping error and the reclassification of 942 land parcels that didn’t meet the definition of commercial farmland. In the end, none of it mattered. After months of debate and public hearings, council members settled for the status quo since 2004, which sets the county’s ARL stock at 22,951 acres, though the study found about 50,000 acres are actively farmed. Sean Robinson reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Sunken Pleasure: California Will Need Mountains of Sand to Save Its Beaches 
Southern California’s beaches are an essential part of the state’s identity. The sandy, blond shorelines are like Hollywood or the towering redwoods—iconic. They are also an important piece of California’s more than $40-billion annual coastal and ocean economy. But scientists have bad news: Without human intervention, many of the region’s beautiful beaches may disappear by 2100 as sea levels rise. If the Golden State wants to save its golden shores, it will have to add sand to them—and lots of it. Annie Sneed reports. (Scientific American)

Trillions of Plastic Bits, Swept Up by Current, Are Littering Arctic Waters  
The world’s oceans are littered with trillions of pieces of plastic — bottles, bags, toys, fishing nets and more, mostly in tiny particles — and now this seaborne junk is making its way into the Arctic. In a study published Wednesday in Science Advances, a group of researchers from the University of Cádiz in Spain and several other institutions show that a major ocean current is carrying bits of plastic, mainly from the North Atlantic, to the Greenland and Barents seas, and leaving them there — in surface waters, in sea ice and possibly on the ocean floor. Because climate change is already shrinking the Arctic sea ice cover, more human activity in this still-isolated part of the world is increasingly likely as navigation becomes easier. Tatiana Schlossberg reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  301 AM PDT THU APR 20 2017  

TODAY
 VARIABLE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND A SLIGHT CHANCE OF  TSTMS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING SW AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE  OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING.

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told