Friday, February 24, 2017

2/24 Slow slips and Big One, KM oil pipe route, barn owl rescue, no soil dump, Skansie Center

At left, tremors, summer 2016. Right, last slow slip, 12/2015
Magnitude 4.9 earthquake strikes off Vancouver Island
An earthquake has jolted the area off northwestern Vancouver Island, the second since Wednesday. The U.S. Geological Survey reports a magnitude 4.9 quake occurred at 4:28 a.m. PT Friday. It was centred 158 kilometres southwest of Port Hardy off the west coast of the Island and was at a depth of 10 kilometres. (Canadian Press)

'Slow slip' earthquake season raises risk of 'The Big One'
B.C. is headed back into another one of its riskier seismic seasons, raising the risk of "The Big One," earthquake experts say. Every 14 months, the Cascadian subduction zone — which runs from northern Vancouver Island down to northern California — experiences what seismologists call a "slow slip." This year's slip has already kicked off underneath Washington State and is expected to reach B.C. any day now. The phenomenon happens when seismic stress shifts onto the fault area where the Juan de Fuca and North American plates lock together. That causes thousands of mini-tremors and heightens the likelihood of a major earthquake event in B.C., according to seismologist Alison Bird. (CBC) See also: Big quake could damage, destroy nearly 40% of Victoria buildings, report says   Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Kinder Morgan serves notice to landowners on pipeline route
Kinder Morgan is beginning to issue letters to Burnaby, B.C. landowners whose property falls on the pipeline corridor, outlining how the project will utilize their land. "One of the next steps in the process for us ... is to get into more of the details of the route of where the pipeline will go," said Ali Hounsell, spokesperson for Kinder Morgan "There's about 60 parcels of land through Burnaby that the pipeline will go [through]." Hounsell says the pipeline will not run through residential areas. Of the 60 parcels, a dozen are either commercial or industrial zones with the City of Burnaby owning the remainder. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Delta raptor rescue society sees dramatic spike in barn owls this winter
B.C.’s barn-owl population is falling with the snow. Delta’s Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society has taken in 43 barn owls since Jan. 1, compared with just five barn owls over the same period last winter, according to raptor care manager Rob Hope. Many of the rescued owls have died. Winter is a tough time for many birds, but “it’s the barn owls that have been the hardest hit this year,” said Hope. Glenda Luymes reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Province pulls controversial Shawnigan Lake soil dumping permit
The B.C. government has cancelled the waste discharge permit that allowed a quarry upstream from Shawnigan Lake to receive and store contaminated soil. Environment Minister Mary Polak says Cobble Hill Holdings Ltd. failed to provide documents proving the company had financial security in the form of an irrevocable letter of credit.  Richard Zussman reports. (CBC)

Harbor WildWatch to re-open Skansie Visitor Interpretative Center with $25K Ben B. Cheney Foundation grant
The Welcome Plaza under construction in Skansie Park isn’t the only thing new in downtown Gig Harbor. Changes have been made at Harbor WildWatch in the historic Skansie House, where a $25,000 grant from the Ben B. Cheney Foundation has provided funding for the organization to update and improve its educational displays. Andrea Haffly reports. (News Tribune)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  256 AM PST FRI FEB 24 2017  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  5 FT AT 15 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE MORNING THEN A CHANCE  OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  5 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING.
SAT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING SW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  5 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
SUN
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 15 SECONDS.

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"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.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

2/23 Culverts, Pruitt emails, KM review, DAPL, quake, Sound math, sewage, bug fish feed

(PHOTO: Petras Abromavicius/BirdNote)
Swan Song
Does a swan really lament its death in song? The idea of the "swan song" recurs from Aesop to Ovid to Plato to Tennyson. Ovid described it, "There, she poured out her words of grief, tearfully, in faint tones, in harmony with sadness, just as the swan sings once, in dying, its own funeral song." But it's based on a sweet fallacy - that a swan sings only when it nears death. And calling the sounds that a swan makes a "song" might be a bit off, too! (BirdNote)

Making Sure Salmon Can Cross (Under) The Roads In Washington
Steve Hinton has a pretty unusual mindset when it comes to his job. “I try to think like a fish,” he says. That’s a crucial part of Hinton’s job as the director of habitat restoration for the Swinomish Tribal Community and the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe. He spends a lot of his time trying to figure out how salmon will respond to obstacles in their way as they return from the Puget Sound, up the Skagit River, into little creeks and streams to spawn. One of the problems they encounter are road culverts. EilĂ­s O'Neill reports. (KUOW/EarthFix)

The Pruitt Emails: E.P.A. Chief Was Arm in Arm With Industry
During his tenure as attorney general of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, now the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities and political groups with ties to the libertarian billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch to roll back environmental regulations, according to over 6,000 pages of emails made public on Wednesday. The publication of the correspondence comes just days after Mr. Pruitt was sworn in to run the E.P.A., which is charged with reining in pollution and regulating public health. Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton report. (NY Times)

City of Vancouver to request judicial review of Kinder Morgan expansion
Vancouver city councillors passed a motion Wednesday to request a judicial review of the B.C. Liberal's environmental approval of the controversial Kinder Morgan expansion project. The motion, introduced by Green Party Councilor Adriane Carr, was passed by an eight-two vote inside Vancouver City Hall after several community speakers highlighted a lack of public consultation from the province. Speakers also maintained that no comprehensive studies have been done to model the damaging effects of a bitumen spill along the B.C. coast. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Police arresting holdouts, more than 100 demonstrators refusing to leave protest camp
Some opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline were dug in and defiant as night fell over their besieged camp Wednesday. Police had made 10 arrests of pipeline protesters for failing to follow orders to leave the camp by 2 p.m. local time. Officials have said they did not intend to enter the camp overnight. State authorities estimated the hold outs at 50, but activists estimated double that. Most had left earlier Wednesday, marching arm-in-arm out of the camp, which was so muddy officers could not enter it with their cars. Surrounded on all sides by roadblocks and under threat of arrest, demonstrators burned their tents and shelters rather than see them destroyed by police. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Magnitude 4.4 earthquake hits on Vancouver Island 
A magnitude 4.4 earthquake rumbled off the coast of British Columbia late Wednesday night. Natural Resources Canada says it struck southwest of Port Alice on Vancouver Island at a depth of about 10 kilometers…. The U.S. Geological Survey has pegged the quake's strength at magnitude 4.8 and centred it 166 kilometres southwest of Port Hardy, B.C. The USGS also says a magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck western Washington about 54 kilometres west-southwest of Seattle. See also: Earthquake near Belfair shakes Puget Sound area  Kenny Ocker reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Sum of their parts: Researchers use math to foster environmental restoration
The oft-quoted proverb, "Too many cooks spoil the broth," is apt wisdom for describing challenges facing policy makers, public resource managers, ag producers, industry, residents and other stakeholders in attempts to jointly tackle major environmental restoration projects. The myriad of varied interests—some conflicting; some aligning - results in a confusing tangle of authority and responsibility. "Resource management boundaries seldom align with environmental systems," says Utah State University researcher Jacopo Baggio. "This can lead to a variety of social and ecological problems."… With colleague Jesse Sayles of McGill University, Baggio employed analytic modeling to unravel the confusion in a case study of estuary watershed restoration efforts in Washington's Puget Sound. The team reports development of quantitative tools to foster collaboration and efficient coordination of resources in the Feb. 20, 2017, Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Phys.Org)

Health district lifts advisory for Bainbridge, North Kitsap shorelines
Several stretches of shoreline that were closed after a Seattle plant spilled millions of gallons of sewage and stormwater into Puget Sound have reopened, the Kitsap Public Health District announced Tuesday. Bainbridge Island's east side, as well as shoreline between Jefferson Point and Restoration Point, including Port Madison Bay, have been closed since Feb. 9, when a Seattle plant spilled between 150 and 200 million gallons of sewage and stormwater into Puget Sound. Another spill Feb. 15 dumped an additional 10 million gallons of effluent into the sound. Christian Vosler reports. (Kitsap Sun)

B.C. farmed fish feed: Bug-based Enterra product boosts sustainability
Federal approval of a B.C.-made, insect-based feed for farmed fish may help take pressure off wild ocean fish stocks. The high-protein product, made in Langley by Enterra, is the brainchild of environmentalist David Suzuki and CEO Brad Marchant.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency approved dried black soldier fly larvae for use as a feed ingredient for farmed salmon, arctic char and trout, following the lead of U.S. regulators who approved the product last year. The feed is also approved for poultry. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  254 AM PST THU FEB 23 2017  

TODAY
 SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING SW AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF  SHOWERS IN THE EVENING THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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"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.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2/22 'Tis Spring?, Wilbur Ross, Vic sewer, Songhees' wolf, Hawaii whales

Skunk cabbage (Steve Ringman/Seattle Times)
In flower, bud and ‘rib-it,’ signs of spring appear
The nettles are up, the ferns are budding and frogs singing: Officially, spring is a month away, but it’s arriving already. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Trump's billionaire pick for commerce, oceans chief keeping his fleet of oil tankers
If there's one thing that's clear from Wilbur Ross's financial disclosure forms, it's that the billionaire nominee for Secretary of Commerce lives in a world most Americans can only fantasize about. His many holdings include at least $150 million in cash accounts. He also has a collection of art worth somewhere north of $50 million. How far north, we don't know: $50 million is the highest category in the federal government's disclosure forms. (Forbes magazine said a few years ago that Ross's art collection was worth three times that much. He likes to collect Magrittes.) His namesake firm, W.L. Ross and Co., also has a major stake in Diamond S Shipping's fleet of 12 crude-oil tankers and 33 refined-product tankers. While the crude-oil vessels Ross co-owns are too large to enter Puget Sound, several of his tankers make port calls in Puget Sound and sail through Washington state waters as they carry Canadian petroleum products from refineries in Vancouver, British Columbia. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

McLoughlin Point sewage plant gets green light, rezoning application approved
Years of waiting and speculation over whether Esquimalt’s new sewage treatment plant would ever move forward came to an end Monday night. Esquimalt council unanimously approved a rezoning application, giving the green light for the project to be built at McLoughlin Point. The project has been years in the making. (CTV News)

Elusive B.C. wolf ‘captured’ in lucky island encounter off Victoria
Nature photographer Nancy Brown-Schembri was just along for the ride. She had accompanied a boatload of birders with Victoria’s Eagle Wing Tours in hopes of capturing some interesting migratory seabirds or maybe even a whale. What she got exceeded — pardon the expression — her wildest expectations. The tour boat was motoring through the Chatham Islands off Oak Bay when a wolf materialized from the trees near the shoreline. “It was a lucky encounter,” Brown-Schembri said in an interview. “We weren’t even looking for him. He just wandered out of the woods and sat down on the rock.” It’s a fortunate encounter so close to an urban centre. Mark Salter, manager of tourism for the Songhees, said the lone male wolf first showed up on the islands, including nearby Discovery Island, in 2012 — the same year that elected Chief Robert Sam, a member of the wolf clan, died. “The Songhees are particularly proud and protective of the wolf,” he said. “There is a certain affinity to the wolf being found wild there.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

How Hawaii Is Saving Whales From Fishermen And Tourists
Life is getting better for the thousands of humpback whales that make the trip from Alaska each winter to breed in Hawaii’s warm waters, but state and federal scientists, government officials and law enforcement officers are remaining vigilant. A 16-member crew aboard the U.S. Coast Guard’s Galveston Island, a 110-foot cutter based in Honolulu, patrolled the south shore of Maui last week along with a 45-foot response boat and another vessel from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As part of Operation Kohola Guardian, a joint effort that also includes the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, they were monitoring the catamarans and other tour boats providing customers the chance to see 60,000-pound whales breach and their newborn calves spout. Nathan Eagle reports. (Civil Beat Hawaii)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  251 AM PST WED FEB 22 2017  

TODAY
 W WIND TO 10 KT IN THE MORNING BECOMING LIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY IN  THE MORNING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING N AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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"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.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2/21 BC belugas, DAPL deadline, Pruitt's EPA, WA-BC, Blanchard Mtn, green crab, Western Flyer

[PHOTO: Laurie MacBride]
Recognizing Resilience
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "When the power of peace-loving people around the world brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989, we rejoiced – never imagining that almost three decades later we’d see new walls being erected to separate and divide our human family. It’s a disturbing time, when anger, fear, hatred and lies seem so prominent that they’re almost starting to feel “normal”. If we’re to make it through all this, we need to keep clear heads, understand and remember what’s important in the world, and take action to protect it…again, and again, and again. It could be a long and exhausting road – which means we will need major reserves of resilience, both personal and collective. Towards that end, I think it could be useful to recognize and share some of the models of resilience that we each find in our lives. The Great Blue heron ... is (at least so far) a survivor of humanity’s assaults on its habitat." (Read more)

Vancouver Aquarium bringing back belugas despite mysterious deaths
The Vancouver Aquarium says it will bring back beluga whales, ending months of speculation that the sudden deaths of two belugas last year —and resulting public controversy — might have been the end of captive cetaceans at the facility. In November, the only whales at the Vancouver Aquarium, belugas Aurora, 30, and her calf Qila, 21, died within nine days of one another, after signs of illness but without any clear cause of death. President and CEO John Nightingale vowed the aquarium would leave "no stone unturned" in its investigation, and would not return belugas to the pool until a cause of death had been determined. Today, the aquarium revealed there is still no definitive cause of death, but belugas will return — to a new pool, in the Canada's Arctic exhibit which was already slated for construction in the fall. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Deadline looms for Dakota Access pipeline protest camp 
As dawn breaks over an encampment that was once home to thousands of people protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline, a few hundred holdouts rise for another day of resistance. They aren’t deterred by the threat of flooding, nor by declarations from state and federal authorities that they must leave by Wednesday or face possible arrest. They’re determined to remain and fight a pipeline they maintain threatens the very sanctity of the land. (Associated Press)

Former Washington State Senator 'Very Excited' About Pruitt Confirmation To Head EPA
Former Washington state Sen. Don Benton said he’s “very excited” about the confirmation of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Benton is a senior adviser to the White House at EPA. Don Benton was President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in Washington and led the President’s EPA transition. Now the southwest Washington Republican has a permanent role advising the President on EPA matters. “Working for him is one of the greatest honors of my life,” Benton said. Speaking personally and not as a spokesman for EPA, Benton said he expects Trump to issue executive orders aimed at reducing environmental regulations and giving power back to the states. But Benton also said the EPA’s commitment to public health won’t change. Austin Jenkins reports. (KNKX)

In Trump era, Washington governor says relationship with B.C. becoming more important
The governor of Washington State says in the Trump era of U.S. politics, the relationship between his state and British Columbia will become even more important. Gov. Jay Inslee says on trade, tourism and the environment, Donald Trump's policies could hurt his state, which is why he says he wants to work closer with B.C. and like-minded states. Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

Legislators have new plan to save Blanchard forest
Legislators who represent the area in northwest Washington that includes Blanchard Mountain have a new plan to prevent logging. Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, and Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, are pursuing a land transfer that would use money already available in the state’s draft budget rather than make cuts to free up $7.7 million to fulfill an agreement between the state Department of Natural Resources and Skagit County. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Building a green crab defense team
How invasive green crabs got here and how many may be lurking along the shoreline remains a mystery. The Washington Sea Grant Crab Team is training volunteers to help search for green crabs in the area. What they find will help determine the extent of the invasion. Because a handful of the invasive crabs were found in Padilla Bay in September, the team plans to expand its volunteer monitoring efforts this year. The team trained a group of about 30 volunteers Friday, and plans to train more in March. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Crab Team training will foster the upcoming hunt for green crab invaders  Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Gathering celebrates ongoing restoration of Western Flyer
Scientists, educators, shipwrights and artists gathered at the Shipwrights Co-Op in Port Townsend to see the partial restoration of the Western Flyer and to discuss what the future holds for the historic ship. The ship, built originally in 1937 at the Western Boat Building Corporation in Tacoma, has been undergoing a full restoration in Port Townsend with the help of local craftsmen since 2015…. The ship’s fame started when it was chartered in 1940 by author John Steinbeck, who with marine biologist Ed Ricketts would take it on a six-week expedition to Mexico’s Gulf of California. That trip provided the blueprint for Steinbeck’s 1951 book The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  244 AM PST TUE FEB 21 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH
 THIS EVENING  
TODAY
 NW WIND TO 10 KT RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS  IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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"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.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

2/20 Octo Week, Pruitt, SeaSewer, oyster biz, Howe Sound, seagrass, oil pipes, LNG ferry, Massey Tunnel

Odie the octopus at Seattle Aquarium (Alan Berner)
Seattle Aquarium salutes creature bound to grab your interest 
Octopus Week is happening now through Feb. 26 at the Seattle Aquarium. The giant Pacific octopus will have daily feedings, and there are daily talks and hands-on activities for kids. Alan Berner reports. (Seattle Times)

Senate Confirms Scott Pruitt as E.P.A. Head
The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt on Friday to run the Environmental Protection Agency, putting a seasoned legal opponent of the agency at the helm of President Trump’s efforts to dismantle major regulations on climate change and clean water — and to cut the size and authority of the government’s environmental enforcer. Senators voted 52 to 46 to confirm Mr. Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who has built a career out of suing to block the E.P.A.’s major environmental rules and has called for the dissolution of much of the agency’s authority. One Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, crossed party lines to vote against Mr. Pruitt, while two Democrats, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, both from coal-rich states where voters generally oppose environmental rules, voted for him. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times) See also: Longtime EPA foe now the boss. Ex-staffers in Seattle predict chaos.  John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Crippled Seattle sewer plant getting by at half capacity
Despite some weekend drizzle, the damaged West Point regional sewer plant is avoiding the sorts of emergency overflows that polluted Puget Sound twice this soggy month, managers say. Incoming sewage is undergoing “limited wastewater treatment,” according to an update by the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, which operates the facility in Seattle’s Magnolia area. Mike Lindblom reports. (Seattle Times)

Feds investigating as B.C. oyster norovirus outbreak spreads
An outbreak of norovirus linked to B.C.-harvested oysters is now under federal investigation. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says it has taken on a leadership role in the investigation, now that cases have been reported in Alberta and Ontario, as well as B.C. As of Feb. 14, the agency says it's aware of 221 reported cases of norovirus connected to B.C. oysters. Matt Meuse reports. (CBC) Taylor Shellfish acquires oyster business on Willapa Bay  Taylor Shellfish has acquired an oyster business on Willapa Bay with a 35-year history, the Shelton-based company announced. The purchase of Ekone Oyster Co. closed last week, but Taylor won’t officially take over operations until March 1. As part of the deal, Taylor acquires Ekone’s property, equipment, nursery, processing facilities, smokehouse and 350-acres of tidelands on Willapa Bay. Rolf Boone reports. (Olympian)

Howe Sound sea life still at risk from contaminants, report says
The sea life in Howe Sound is still vulnerable to contamination from shipping, fishing and development in the region — despite a "remarkable" ecological recovery over the past few decades, according to a new report. The Vancouver Aquarium's Coastal Ocean Research Institute (CORI) said pollutants from the old Britannia Mine still linger in the area. Remediation efforts have been underway since 2001, bringing some good news: pink salmon populations are rising and whale counts are the highest they've been since 2003. (CBC) See also: Howe Sound ecology improving but remains under threat  Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Disappearing Seagrass Protects Against Pathogens, Even Climate Change, Scientists Find
Every continent save Antarctica is ringed by vast stretches of seagrass, underwater prairies that together cover an area roughly equal to California. Seagrass meadows, among the most endangered ecosystems on Earth, play an outsize role in the health of the oceans. They shelter important fish species, filter pollutants from seawater, and lock up huge amounts of atmosphere-warming carbon. The plants also fight disease, it turns out. A team of scientists reported on Thursday that seagrasses can purge pathogens from the ocean that threaten humans and coral reefs alike. Carl Zimmer reports. (NY Times)

Dakota pipeline protesters to Bellingham: Pull money out of U.S. Bank  Opponents of the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline want the city to pull its money out of U.S. Bank. They recently went before the City Council to ask that Bellingham government take its banking business elsewhere. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald) Jury convicts more Break Free PNW protestors  A jury has convicted four more Break Free PNW protestors of second-degree criminal trespass for being on BNSF Railway property in May. Three of the four defendants are from Oregon, and one is from southwest Washington. Kimberly Cauvel reports. Enbridge pipeline leaks 200,000 litres of oil condensate in Strathcona County - Edmonton  Andrea Ross reports. (CBC)  (Skagit Valley Herald)

BC Ferries unveils first LNG-powered vessel in its fleet
BC Ferries unveiled its newest vessel on Friday, the first in the fleet capable of being powered by liquid natural gas. The Salish Orca has three engines and can switch from natural gas to diesel if needed, But LNG is the preferred fuel because of cost savings and its smaller environmental footprint. Peter Scobie reports. (CBC)

Feds say no to environmental review of Massey Tunnel replacement
The Massey Tunnel replacement project will not be subject to a federal environmental review, according to a letter sent to Metro Vancouver’s board of directors. The board wrote to Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna early last year, urging her to order an environmental assessment for the $3.5-billion bridge project (under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act)…. The board said the bridge could have an impact on the area’s air quality, utilities, parks and environment. There was also a lack of transparency and consultation about the bridge’s design and business case, the board said. Jennifer Saltman reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
 WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  216 AM PST MON FEB 20 2017  

TODAY
 E WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT AT 15 SECONDS SUBSIDING TO 8 FT AT 14  SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN LIKELY.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING NW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS.

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"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.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

2/17 Sewage woes, block Pruitt, Ecology CWA failure, dissolved oxygen, World Heritage Site, slow4whales

Marine traffic
Marine Traffic: Global Shipping
For your viewing pleasure: "MarineTraffic provides the most comprehensive maritime database to more than 6 million users monthly. 800 million vessel positions recorded monthly; 18 million vessel and port related events recorded monthly; Details of over 650 thousand marine assets available (vessels, ports, lights). MarineTraffic is the Global pioneer in AIS vessel tracking." Check out the Salish Sea. Whew.

Officials say damage to sewage plant in Discovery Park is catastrophic 
King County has stopped dumping raw sewage into Puget Sound from its crippled West Point treatment plant for now — but the county will likely start dumping again when rainy weather returns. The plant, which treats sewage from 1.7 million people around the Seattle region, suffered catastrophic damage on Feb. 9 and will not resume regular service for many weeks, according to Mark Isaacson, director of the King County’s wastewater-treatment division. Beaches at Discovery Park are closed, with no date yet for reopening, because of the risk to public health from raw sewage pumped from the plant into the Sound.
 Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

E.P.A. Workers Try to Block Pruitt in Show of Defiance
Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency have been calling their senators to urge them to vote on Friday against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s contentious nominee to run the agency, a remarkable display of activism and defiance that presages turbulent times ahead for the E.P.A. Many of the scientists, environmental lawyers and policy experts who work in E.P.A. offices around the country say the calls are a last resort for workers who fear a nominee selected to run an agency he has made a career out of fighting — by a president who has vowed to “get rid of” it. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Petition seeks to revoke Department of Ecology’s clean-water authority
Citing pollution problems in Puget Sound, an environmental group is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke Washington state’s authority to enforce the federal Clean Water Act. Northwest Environmental Advocates, based in Portland, says a review of 103 discharge permits issued by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a failure to control nitrogen pollution. Excess nitrogen reduces oxygen levels in the water and triggers algae blooms, resulting in serious problems in Puget Sound, according to a petition submitted to the EPA…. The 113-page petition filed by NWEA describes the problems that nitrogen can cause and the need to implement nitrogen-removal systems, especially in sewage-treatment plants that discharge into Puget Sound. EPA should either require Ecology to take action on nitrogen or remove Ecology’s authority to issue permits under the Clean Water Act, the petition says. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate
A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues. The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change. Chris Mooney reports. (Washington Post)

World Heritage Site designation sought for Saanich Peninsula's Salish Sea
Long-time B.C. resident Laurie Gourlay nominated the Salish Sea for consideration as a World Heritage Site for many reasons, which he referenced to wearethesalishsea.eco. “It talks about 7,500 kilometres of coastline, 3,000 species in the Salish Sea … and then there’s 113 threatened species, including glass sponge, reefs and the like and they are some of the oldest and most unique species on the planet, right here in the Salish Sea,” said Gourlay, the director of the Salish Sea Trust. The application went into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the end of January. Carlie Connolly reports. (Peninsula News Review)

Mariner's guide to B.C. whales urges ship captains to slow down
The number one piece of advice for ship captains looking to reduce the risk of whale collisions? Slow down. That's according to a new industry handbook, the Mariner's Guide to Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises of Western Canada, which aims to reduce the impact of B.C.'s shipping industry on marine wildlife. Caitlin Birdsall, program coordinator at the Vancouver Aquarium's Coastal Ocean Research Institute, says the handbook provides information and practical advice for ships to help avoid collisions in areas with large cetacean populations. Matt Meuse reports. (CBC)

Kinder Morgan opponents launch chilly social media challenge
Opponents of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion are jumping into freezing cold water and showcasing their feat on social media to gain exposure for their cause. "We're not raising money or anything," explains Kai Nagata, communications director for the environmental group Dogwood Initiative. "It's just a reminder of what's important and what's worth defending. If we can have a little fun with it, get people outdoors, and show off how tough we are in British Columbia, that's just a bonus." The #KMchallenge will soon be filling social media feeds if Nagata has his way. Megan Batchelor reports. (CBC)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  218 AM PST FRI FEB 17 2017  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
 N WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
SAT
 LIGHT WIND BECOMING E TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 LIGHT WIND BECOMING SE TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
SUN
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT  12 SECONDS.

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"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.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

2/16 Raging Grannies, raw sewage, glass-sponge reefs, BC LNG, "The Blob," PS restoration, Tacoma water, Ericksen, dams

Raging Grannies (Vancouver Raging Grannies/Facebook)
Raging Grannies celebrates its 30th anniversary
The Raging Granny movement wasn't supposed to be an enduring 'thing', but the social justice activist group — which started in Victoria, B.C. — has persisted in ways that surprise even its oldest members. Known for their loud, colourful costumes and cheeky protest songs about peace and environmental causes, the older women activists have become a mainstay at rallies and protests across North America. They mark their 30th anniversary this year. Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

Crippled treatment plant continues to dump raw sewage into Puget Sound
King County is dumping raw wastewater including sewage into Puget Sound at the rate of 50 million gallons a day as its damaged West Point Treatment Plant limps at half capacity during heavy rain. The untreated effluent, about 90 percent stormwater and 10 percent raw sewage, is being dumped from an emergency outfall pipe a few hundred feet offshore in water about 50 feet deep at West Point, said Doug Williams, King County spokesman. The emergency bypass will continue as long as the plant off Discovery Park in Magnolia can’t manage heavy flows resulting from rain that is more than three times that of a typical February. Rain is expected through the week. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Where does Seattle coffee go after it's poured down the drain?  Gary Horcher reports. (KIRO)

Fisheries minister to announce protection for ancient glass sponge reefs
Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc is expected to announce today a long-awaited Marine Protected Area for Canada's rare glass sponge reefs, found on the B.C. coast. The kind of glass sponge found in B.C. was thought to have died off 40 million years ago, before the discovery of fragile living reefs in Hecate Strait, near Haida Gwaii, in 1987…. A Marine Protected Area is a zone in the ocean designated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with tighter regulations, meant to conserve and protect something endangered, unique or ecologically important. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC) See also: BC: Fishermen to fight feds over expected ban near Hecate Strait reefs  Rick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. LNG: Premier Christy Clark, First Nations sign benefits agreement
Premier Christy Clark’s government and Lax Kw’aalams First Nation Mayor John Helin announced today a benefits agreement worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the controversial Pacific Northwest LNG project. There was no total value immediately available on the deal — which includes annual payments if the project goes ahead. It is not clear whether the deal is a final one and has been ratified by the community, some of whose hereditary leaders have opposed the project. If it is a final decision it would be a major step forward for the project, in which First Nation support is critical. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

A Blob in the Ocean Means More Ozone in the Air
Remember the warm weather we had in 2014 and 2015? University of Washington professor Dan Jaffe says that was caused by a meteorological phenomenon known as “The Blob.” “The Blob was a region of really unusual warm water that was sitting off the coast of Washington and Oregon,” he explains. That blob had a surprising effect: it increased air pollution across the West. Jaffe has been measuring air pollution from the summit of Oregon’s Mount Bachelor for years. In 2014 and 2015, he noticed spikes in ozone levels—which he eventually traced back to the blob. Ellis O'Neill reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Clean Samish Initiative partners discuss progress
Clean Samish Initiative partners discussed Tuesday the progress that’s been made on improving water quality in the Samish watershed. Still, officials said more work remains. They also said they are hopeful that Samish Bay can be upgraded to allow for shellfish harvesting this year. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Bill to help the restoration efforts of Puget Sound Partnership passes the House
Rep. Dick Muri’s, proposal to help the on-going efforts of the Puget Sound Partnership was approved by the House today. The Partnership’s mission is to oversee the environmental restoration of the Puget Sound. Muri’s bill would make an adjustment to their reporting requirements…. 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…. The bill now heads to the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee for further consideration. (Suburban Times)

Salish Sea Citizens Stand on Capitol Hill in Olympia
On Monday, February 13, 200 people from the San Juan Islands and greater Salish Sea region attended a rally at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia to show support for the Oil Transportation Safety Bills (House Bill 1611/Senate Bill 5462)…. Rally attendees carried 86 life-size posters of orca fins — one for each living member of J, K and L pods, including Lolita in captivity and the 7 lost in 2016. An oil spill is one of the biggest threats to the endangered Southern Resident orcas. Katie Fleming writes. (OrcasIssues)

Save Tacoma Water files initiative petition to remove section from city code that they say allows for special contracts with large water users
A water protection group filed an initiative petition Tuesday seeking to delete from the city code a section that they worry allows Tacoma Public Utilities to give special contracts and rates to large water users. Save Tacoma Water said their initiative would end water utility special service contracts. “Those customers using large amounts of fresh water daily from the city of Tacoma will have water rates equal to all other large water users,” the initiative states. Candace Ruud reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Sen. Ericksen heavily criticized for post on controversial cartoon 
State Sen. Doug Ericksen faced a barrage of criticism for a Facebook post about an editorial cartoon that compared new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who was blocked from entering a school, to Ruby Bridges, who was the first black child to desegregate an all-white school in Louisiana in 1960…. “In 1960 some people were outraged that a black girl entered a white school. in (sic) 2017 some people are outraged that a conservative woman would enter a public school. Some people are just full of rage,” read the post on Ericksen’s Facebook page…. Responses on his Facebook page were withering. The entire post – along with people’s comments, including from those who identified themselves as his constituents – was deleted sometime Wednesday afternoon. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

King County's dams safe? Officials plan to launch review 
The unfolding crisis at California’s Oroville Dam is prompting local officials to take a closer look at dams in King County. King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is calling for a detailed analysis of existing evacuation plans, as well as a review of the risks of dam failure caused by heavy storms and earthquakes…. According to King County’s Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan, there are 122 dams in the county that hold at least 10 acre-feet of water. The four with the potential to cause countywide emergencies if they fail are: Howard Hanson Dam on the Green River; Tolt River Dam, above Carnation; Masonry Dam on the Cedar River; and Mud Mountain Dam on the White River. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST THU FEB 16 2017  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM PST THIS MORNING

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM PST THIS MORNING
 THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 SW WIND 25 TO 35 KT EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE MORNING.  WIND 3 TO 6 FT. SW SWELL 14 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN  THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT  SW WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING S 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS  BECOMING W 10 FT AT 14 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. SHOWERS LIKELY IN  THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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"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