Monday, December 11, 2017

12/11 Grand fir, Site C dam, Puget Sound report, Skagit Atlantics, king tides, crow talk, Portland Superfund

Grand fir [PHOTO: Coniferous Forest]
Grand Fir Abies grandis
Stately and beautiful, this is every bit a grand species, prized for its use as an ornamental and timber tree. This evergreen is found in two regions: the Pacific coast from British Columbia to California, and in the interior, from Alberta to Idaho. Hardy to USDA zone 6, this species is found most commonly at low elevations on north-facing slopes…. The Grand Fir has gained popularity as a winter holiday tree in recent years and makes a fine display before being planted out. (Hansen's NW Native Plant Database)

B.C. government to announce Site C decision on Monday
The government of B.C. says it will announce its decision about the controversial Site C project on Monday morning. According to a release from the province, Premier John Horgan will make the announcement to either continue or stop the construction of the $8.8 billion hydroelectric dam at 11:30 a.m. in Victoria. The NDP promised a decision by the end of 2017 after conducting an independent review of the project earlier this fall. It's a project more than 60 years in the making, first proposed in the mid 1950s. BC Hydro says the dam, slated to be built on the Peace River near Fort St. John in northern B.C., would produce about 4,600 gigawatt hours of electricity each year — enough to power about 400,000 homes. (CBC)

Puget Sound report tells the environmental story that took place in 2016
The year 2016 may be regarded as a transition year for Puget Sound, coming between the extreme warm-water conditions of 2014 and 2015 and the more normal conditions observed over the past year, according to the latest Puget Sound Marine Waters report. The report on the 2016 conditions was released this past week by the Marine Waters Workgroup, which oversees the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP). The report includes data collected in 2016 and analyzed over the past year. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Atlantic salmon still being caught in Skagit River
More than three months after being released during the collapse of a fish farm near Cypress Island, Atlantic salmon are being caught about 40 miles up the Skagit River. “Virtually every time we have done work in the river we have encountered Atlantics along the way,” Upper Skagit Indian Tribe Natural Resources Director Scott Schuyler said. Since the Aug. 20 collapse, Schuyler said Upper Skagit fishermen and fisheries crews have caught the nonnative fish in Mount Vernon, near Lyman and east of Hamilton while pursuing native salmon. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

‘King tides’ are rising, so groups span globe to monitor it
 The tide watchers start patrolling whenever the celestial forces align. From coast to coast, hundreds of tide watchers come out with their cameras to record the latest ‘king tides,’ brief episodes of tidal flooding that could become the norm, with expected sea-level rise. King tides are a colloquial term for the highest tides of the year. They occur when the moon is closest to the earth at moments when the sun, moon and Earth are in alignment, increasing the gravitational forces at play. A decade ago, few had heard of “king tides,” much less waded through them in galoshes. Now, Miami regularly floods. So does Myrtle Beach, Charleston and other U.S. cities. And more than ever, groups of citizens are out there photographing the results, uploading the pics and debating what the future will bring. Stuart Leavenworth reports. (McClatchy)

Deciphering the 'caw-caw-caw' of crows: biologists study bird talk
The caw-caw-caw of crows is a familiar fall sound around British Columbia and, until now, their cacophony has been indecipherable. Researchers at University of Washington Bothell, north of Seattle, want to change that and determine what all the noise is about. "As humans, we're just fascinated by other intelligent creatures," said biologist and lead researcher Douglas Wacker. "[Crows] are constantly cawing and we really want to find out what all those caws mean." The research team has placed recording equipment on the roof of the university's science building to study the sounds, Wacker told CBC host of On The Coast Stephen Quinn. He estimates the campus is home to roughly 16,000 crows this time of year. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

EPA Targeting Portland Harbor Superfund Site For 'Immediate, Intense' Attention
The Environmental Protection Agency says its targeting the Portland Harbor Superfund Site in the Willamette River for immediate attention. The EPA announced Friday that the Portland Harbor Superfund Site is one of 21 sites it plans to target across the country. In a statement, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says he’s asking Superfund Task Force staff to immediately develop plans for cleanup at the sites, though environmentalists say they want more information about what the cleanup process will look like. Ericka Cruz Guevarra reports. (OPB)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PST Mon Dec 11 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 5 ft  at 13 seconds.
TONIGHT
 E wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 13 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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Friday, December 8, 2017

12/8 Sturgeon poacher, BC pipe work, Andeavor ok'd, Longview coal, dam options, BC bridge, stormwater, barred owls, Vic Clip, cetacean ban

Sturgeon poacher [Scott Boyd/Emerald Sea Photography]
Sturgeon Poacher
Scott Boyd in Emerald Sea Photography writes: "One of the odder looking fish that Pacific Northwest divers will encounter is the Sturgeon Poacher (Agonus acipenserinus), which can grow up to 12 inches in length[. T]hey have a slender, tapering body that is covered with scales that are actually modified bony plates. Found from Northern California to the Bering Sea in Alaska, in shallow waters to depths of about 200 [feet], these fish have very small mouths, that are surrounded by clumps of cirri. These cirri actually contain their taste buds which are used to grovel through the sand and silt bottoms it prefers to inhabit in search of a tasty shrimp or other very small invertebrate. Poachers are very slow moving, and although easily startled, will typically only move off a short distance before settling again to the bottom…. These fish are fairly common in Puget Sound, and I see them frequently at Fox Island, Owen Beach and Les Davis."

Kinder Morgan cleared to start work on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion despite Burnaby's objections
The National Energy Board issued an order Thursday saying Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is exempt from having to comply with two sections of bylaws in Burnaby, B.C., that were standing in the way of the $7.4-billion project.  The NEB order, which comes three days after the regulator heard the case in Calgary, says the company is not required to comply with two sections of the city's bylaws — which required the company to get preliminary plan approvals and tree-cutting permits — as it prepares to begin construction in the area. Kinder Morgan had filed a motion to have the NEB overrule the bylaws on a constitutional basis, because it claimed Burnaby was delaying a project approved by the federal government. (CBC)

Skagit County hearing examiner approves Andeavor permit 
Skagit County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford has approved a permit for the Andeavor Anacortes Refinery's proposed Clean Products Upgrade Project. The decision comes five weeks after the Nov. 2 public hearing on the shoreline substantial development permit, during which dozens raised environmental and safety concerns about the proposed project. The Andeavor refinery is the former Tesoro refinery at March Point near Anacortes. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Environmental groups to join suit over coal permit
Environmental groups will have a seat at the table in Millennium Bulk Terminals’ legal battle with the state Department of Ecology. Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Michael Evans Wednesday granted five environmental groups’ request to formally join the lawsuit as intervenors in support of Ecology. Millennium is suing Ecology over its denial of a water quality certification for its proposed $680 million Longview coal dock. Evans’ decision Wednesday means the environmental groups will now be listed as parties in the case who can file briefs, motions, appeals and other actions. The intervenors include five groups in the Power Past Coal Coalition: Washington Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Sierra Club and Columbia Riverkeeper. Marissa Luck reports. (Longview Daly News

Options Get Narrowed For Future Of Snake, Columbia Dams And Salmon
Federal agencies are a step closer to deciding how best to manage the Columbia River system and protect endangered fish. They outlined goals for a range of plans at a public meeting Thursday. A series of public meetings this past year gave the agencies plenty to think about. They received more than 400,000 comments about how to protect endangered salmon and steelhead and, at the same time, maintain navigation channels for river traffic, control floods, and meet hydropower demands. The agencies have narrowed down their options to 230 possible ideas that could help solve problems in the dam system — problems that range from warm waters that kill fish to droughts that shrink irrigation supplies. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPR/EarthFix)

Province scraps plan for fixed link to Sunshine Coast
Building a bridge or road link to British Columbia's Sunshine Coast has too many technical and financial hurdles, so the provincial government says it's giving up on the idea. The former Liberal government launched a feasibility study on the idea of a fixed link in November 2015. The NDP government has released a report with the announcement that it wouldn't be proceeding with the plan. Bridgette Watson reports. (CBC)

What makes stormwater toxic?
Researchers are trying to determine which chemicals in stormwater are contributing to the deaths of large numbers of coho salmon in Puget Sound. It has prompted a larger question: What exactly is in stormwater anyway? Eric Wagoner reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Barred owl invasion results in 150 of the raptors taken to rehab facility
A veritable barred owl invasion is underway. More than 150 of the raptors have been brought dead or injured to a local wildlife rehabilitation facility, in addition to numerous sightings in downtown Vancouver…. OWL has received 156 barred owls this year: 80 died, 51 were released back to the wild, and 25 remain in care. Most are young owls born earlier this year and now striking out on their own for food and habitat. Injuries typically occur during collisions with cars and windows, but some also eat rats that have been poisoned. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Clipper sinks Vancouver-Victoria ferry plan at 11th hour
Seattle company Clipper Navigation Ltd. has cancelled plans to run a passenger ferry between Victoria and Vancouver. Clipper acquired a new ferry and was set to operate between the two harbours starting in spring 2018. However, the cost of upgrading the dock in Vancouver was ultimately too high, CEO David Gudgel said. (CBC)

Animal advocacy groups intervene in Vancouver Aquarium lawsuit
A lawyer for two animal advocacy groups appeared in court Thursday to oppose the Vancouver Aquarium’s bid to quash a bylaw banning cetaceans. Arden Beddoes, who is representing the groups Animal Justice Canada and Zoocheck, made brief submissions before B.C. Supreme Court Justice Andrew Mayer on the aquarium’s argument that the Vancouver park board’s bylaw amendment violated the aquarium’s freedom of expression. The two groups were granted intervener status in the court case after the aquarium filed a petition seeking to overturn the bylaw, which was passed at a meeting of the board in May. Keith Fraser reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  215 AM PST Fri Dec 8 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 
TODAY
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 14 seconds.
TONIGHT
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 13 seconds.
SAT
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 6 ft at  11 seconds.
SAT NIGHT
 E wind 15 to 20 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 7 ft at 11 seconds.
SUN
 E wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 7 ft at  11 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, December 7, 2017

12/7 Deception Pass, oil train rules, Site C, Colstrip shutdown, big Chinook

Deception Pass and Bridge [J Brew/ Flickr]
Deception Pass
Deception Pass is a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island. It connects Skagit Bay, part of Puget Sound, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca…. The Deception Pass area has been home to various Coast Salish tribes for thousands of years. The first Europeans to see Deception Pass were members of the 1790 expedition of Manuel Quimper on the Princesa Real…. George Vancouver gave it the name "Deception" because it had misled him into thinking Whidbey Island was a peninsula. (Wikipedia)

Oil Train Safety Rules Getting Rolled Back By Trump Administration
The Trump administration is rolling back a requirement for trains carrying highly explosive liquids — like the oil trains that run through the Columbia River Gorge en route to Northwest refineries. The 2015 rule was supposed to make these hazardous trains more safe, following a number of derailments. But that was under President Obama, Now, President Trump’s Department of Transportation says railroads with trains carrying highly flammable liquids will not have to update their braking systems. “The costs of this mandate would exceed three-fold the benefits it would produce,” the DOT said in a statement — that’s according to studies by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board and the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Obama-era regulations required railroad companies to install electronically controlled pneumatic brakes by 2021. Those new systems were supposed to help prevent fiery crashes, like last year’s derailment in Mosier, Oregon. ECP brakes are supposed to brake faster because they signal instantaneously throughout the train. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPR/EarthFix)

Site C decision could come as early as Friday as B.C. NDP cabinet meets
 Officials in Premier John Horgan's office say the government's decision on the future of the controversial Site C hydroelectric dam could come as early as Friday. Speaking on background, the officials say government ministers were in meetings Wednesday wrestling with the decision to continue building or to scuttle the $8.3 billion project and that the decision could be announced within days. (Canadian Press)

A settlement signals coal's last legs in Northwest
A state-negotiated rate settlement with Puget Sound Energy, which serves a million Washington customers, is likely to speed up the final shutdown of a big, coal-fired power plant in Montana and give the Pacific Northwest a coal-free future. The legal settlement, brokered by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, provides an accelerated schedule under which PSE's investment in Montana's Colstrip 3 and 4 power plants will be paid off by 2027. Two other plants, Colstrip 1 and 2, which began operation in the mid-1970s, are slated for shutdown within five years. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Could we ever reverse the trend of shrinking Chinook salmon?
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: 'Much has been said about the decline of Puget Sound Chinook salmon. Often the discussion focuses on how to increase the salmon population, but I believe a good case can be made for increasing the size of these once-mighty “kings.”…. While it might take more energy for a killer whale to chase down a large Chinook versus a smaller one, the payoff in nutrition and energy far outweighs the expenditure, according to Jacque White of Long Live the Kings, who has been looking into the size issue for some time.'

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  211 AM PST Thu Dec 7 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE FRIDAY NIGHT
 
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 16 seconds.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell  4 ft at 14 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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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

12/6 Scallop, net pen ban, sockeye Species At Risk, forage fish, national monuments fight, Clean Air Act suit

[PHOTO: Ceri Jones, Haven Diving Service/NYTimes]
The Scallop Sees With Space-Age Eyes — Hundreds of Them
…. the scallop sees its world with hundreds of eyes. Arrayed across the opening of its shell, the eyes glitter like an underwater necklace. Each sits at the tip of its own tentacle and can be extended beyond the rim of the shell…. a team of Israeli researchers has gotten a look at the hidden sophistication of the scallop eye, thanks to powerful new microscopes. [Last] Thursday, they reported in the journal Science that each eye contains a miniature mirror made up of millions of square tiles. The mirror reflects incoming light onto two retinas, each of which can detect different parts of the scallop’s surroundings. Carl Zimmer reports. (NY Times)

2 Republicans seek immediate ban on Atlantic net pens, too -- and faster
Two Republican state lawmakers have introduced legislation to immediately ban Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound. “This is an emergency,” said state Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, prime co-sponsor of the legislation, which would make Atlantic salmon net-pen farming illegal in Washington waters. The bill is filed for consideration in the coming 60-day legislative session, which begins in January. The bill, if passed by the Legislature, would take effect immediately upon signature by the governor. The ban seeks to cancel existing leases held by Cooke Aquaculture, the multibillion-dollar Canadian corporation that operates eight Atlantic net-pen farms in Puget Sound. Its leases with the state Department of Natural Resources expire at different times at its farms, with the latest timing out in 2025…. The ban takes a more urgent approach than another bill planned by Democratic state Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island. His legislation would phase out the farms as the leases expire. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Net pens allowed as conditional use in Clallam’s draft shoreline plan   Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Sockeye salmon recommended for listing under Species At Risk Act
For centuries, sockeye salmon have raced up British Columbia's Fraser River to spawn in the millions, completing an astonishing life cycle that spans four years and thousands of kilometres. Now, scientists have determined that many populations of Fraser River sockeye are in such alarming decline that they should be listed under Canada's Species at Risk Act. The recommendation, announced Monday by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, an independent scientific body that advises the federal government, is the most significant acknowledgment to date of the jeopardy facing the iconic red-bodied fish that was once the mainstay of British Columbia's salmon industry. Ivan Semeniuk reports. (Globe and Mail)

Forage fish indicate ecosystem changes that impact orcas
The decline of Southern Resident Killer Whales gets a lot of attention, and it's mostly blamed on the disappearance of their favorite food: Chinook salmon. And one group of scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking past Chinook at smaller fish that are often overlooked by headlines. "Chinook salmon, orca, seals, birds - all of these species depend on forage fish," Dayv Lowry said. "When they start to decline, and we start to see these indicators of poor health, now everybody really worries about them especially because so many other species rely on them." Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Was It 'Illegal' For Trump To Shrink Utah's Monuments? The Battle Begins
President Trump has dramatically scaled back two national land monuments in Utah. The administration and Republican leaders in Utah say taking the land out of the hands of the federal government will allow the state to decide what to do with it, including protecting some areas and possibly allowing development in others. As expected, environmental and Native American groups were outraged. Patagonia, which sells outdoor clothing and gear, splashed a statement across its website reading "The President Stole Your Land" and calling Trump's move "illegal." Kirk Siegler reports. (NPR) See also: Cascade-Siskiyou Monument Would Be Reduced Under Ryan Zinke Proposal  Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

New York, Washington sue Trump for violating Clean Air Act
The Attorneys General of Washington, New York and other states are filing a federal court suit Tuesday, charging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with dragging its feet on control of smog in the atmosphere. They are accusing the Trump administration EPA of violating the Clean Air Act by delaying air quality standards for ground level ozone pollution. Ground level ozone is a pollutant that comes when emissions from power plants, automobiles and factories get exposed to sunlight and heat…. The EPA, under President Obama, determined that a new standard adopted in 2015 would have public health benefits worth an estimated $2.9 billion to $5.9 billion. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com) See also: AG Bob Ferguson sues over EPA ozone rule, his 18th suit against the Trump administration   Joseph O'Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times) And also: When Climate Change Makes It Hard To Breathe  Sasha-Ann Simmons and Ashley Ahearn report. (Terrestrial/KUOW)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  257 AM PST Wed Dec 6 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THURSDAY EVENING
 
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 6 ft  at 13 seconds.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell  4 ft at 12 seconds. Patchy fog 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

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

12/5 Trans Mountain, Longviw coal, Utah monuments, Papahānaumokuākea, BC king tide, fast-track water

[PHOTO: Laurie MacBride]
A Strange, Soggy Beauty
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "After a mild, wet and windy November, we’re promised a stretch of cool, calm and sunny days this week – a reward to soggy west coasters for our patience, perhaps. But before I break out my long johns and sunglasses, I’m taking a moment to celebrate the strange beauty that all that rain brought to our garden… and forest floor… (See Laurie's pix)

Kinder Morgan, Burnaby clash in NEB hearing over Trans Mountain project
Kinder Morgan Canada and Burnaby, B.C., clashed in a National Energy Board’s hearing room Monday over the fate of local permitting for the controversial Trans Mountain expansion project. The company (TSX:KML) argued at the NEB’s Calgary headquarters that local political opposition to the $7.4-billion pipeline project has tainted permitting in the city and the process is now delayed, requiring the NEB to step in and override local bylaws to maintain the federal government’s wishes that the project go ahead…. The company has been frustrated at the lack of firm timelines, guidance and structure in the local process as it tries to secure permits for actions like tree removal and fence installation ahead of construction of oil storage and loading facilities in the city, [Trans Mountain lawyer Maureen Killoran] said. Killoran said strong and vocal opposition by Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan to the project has created an atmosphere of opposition, even if the mayor has not specifically interfered in the process…. Burnaby, however, said there’s been no unreasonable or illegitimate delay, no intention from city officials to do so, and that it is the company that is to blame for the slow pace of permitting. Ian Bikis reports. (Canadian Press)

Longview Coal Terminal Developer Filing Appeals, Lawsuit To Keep Project Alive
The company that wants to build a coal export terminal in Longview, Washington, is keeping lawyers busy this week on multiple fronts. In recent months, the Millennium Bulk Terminals project has suffered repeated setbacks, mainly in the form of permit denials. The company is fighting back in court. The latest filings include a public records lawsuit against the Washington State Department of Ecology. The lawsuit alleges the agency failed to turn over documents from technical experts that Ecology relied on to make critical findings about the proposed coal terminal. Millennium said it needs the documents so its own experts can try to duplicate or disprove points of analysis.  A spokesman for the state agency said it's delivering the requested files in installments because the developer requested so much material. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Citing 'federal overreach,' Trump scales back 2 national monuments in Utah
President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Monday to scale back two sprawling national monuments in Utah, pledging to “reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens.” Trump made his plans official during a speech at the state Capitol, where he was cheered by the state’s Republican leaders who lobbied him to undo protections they contend are overly broad and close off the area to energy development and other access. Environmental and tribal groups plan to sue to preserve monuments they say are vital to protect important archaeological and cultural resources, especially the Bears Ears National Monument, a more than 1.3 million-acre (2,030-square-mile) site in southeastern Utah that features thousands of Native American artifacts, including ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs. (Associated Press)

The Last Wild Place
The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is one of the most remote places on Earth. Now, it’s threatened by climate change, pollution and politics. A special project report by Nathan Eagle and Alana Eagle. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Lower Mainland may 'dodge the bullet' for potential king tide flooding
The king tides will return to the Lower Mainland from Dec. 5-9, but Metro Vancouver might escape serious flooding, if the forecast is correct. After a record breaking wet November, the sun is expected to shine for the rest of the week which could limit damaging flooding. Stephen Sheppard, a professor in forestry in the University of British Columbia's Department of Forest Resources Management, has spent a lot of time looking into how sea level rise will affect Delta and other low-lying communities. Christine Coulter reports. (CBC)

State water project could get boost from Congress
A pair of Washington lawmakers are trying to fast-track the construction of new dams and reservoirs. Their bill would also push forward a long-sought water project in central Washington. U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., wants to give a leg up to water projects in across the West. Newhouse said drought is a real threat to the region — and the area’s not getting any help from the federal government…. Newhouse and Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., are proposing legislation that would streamline the review process for water projects, including additional surface water storage, infrastructure and recycling…. Not everyone on the subcommittee expressed support for this type of speed. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., said the bill “attempts to undermine our nation’s bedrock environmental laws.” Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  900 PM PST Mon Dec 4 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
 LATE TUESDAY NIGHT  
TUE
 E wind 10 to 20 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 4 ft. W swell 9 ft at 14 seconds.   

TUE NIGHT  E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 7 ft  at 14 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Monday, December 4, 2017

12/4 Atlantic salmon, stormwater, Malahat LNG, BC spill, ANWR, nat'l monuments, mussel test, Chester, Skagit lobbyist, climate change, Beacon Hill air & noise, crows, Jo Bailey

Hope Island Marine State Park - Mason [Wash SP]
Hope Island State Parks
Need some hope? Here's two islands of hope. Hope Island Marine State Park-Skagit is a 200-acre marine park between La Conner and Whidbey Island on Skagit Bay. Most of the island is a nature preserve with four campsites, four mooring buoys, lovely beaches and a trail across the island. Hope Island Marine State Park-Mason is a 106-acre marine camping park in Mason County located near Hunter Point in Eld Inlet. This island is blanketed by Douglas-fir, cedar, hemlock, alder and maple trees and saltwater marshes.

Despite Agency Assurances, Tribes Catch More Escaped Atlantic Salmon in Skagit River
Even as state agency experts were assuring legislators that Atlantic salmon from a spectacular August escape are goners, tribal fishermen were catching Atlantics in the Skagit River, one of Washington’s premier salmon habitats. State lawmakers convened two weeks ago in a House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee work session on the salmon escape were assured by managers from the state departments of Fish & Wildlife and Ecology that the fish were wasting away and not showing up on the spawning grounds. But that is not what some tribal fish managers are seeing. “I can tell you they are free swimming and they are healthy and alive,” Scott Schuyler, Natural Resources Director for the Upper Skagit Tribe, told The Seattle Times on Thursday. He said tribal fish technicians keep on catching Atlantics as they fish with tangle nets for chum to gather broodstock for the tribal hatchery. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Video of infected fish waste spewing into B.C. waters roils fish-farming issue  Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) And also: B.C. fish farms: a tangled net  Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Stormwater Pollution: Less Than Half Of Puget Sound Cities And Counties In Compliance
Stormwater runoff is the largest source of pollution into Puget Sound. It comes from rain or snowmelt that travels over pavement and carries oil and other toxics into the water. New regulations under the federal Clean Water Act mean that 81 cities and counties around Puget Sound now have to update their building codes to address the problem. Two environmental groups just completed a scorecard to see how communities are handling this. Mindy Roberts is with the Washington Environmental Council, which teamed up with the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance to rate the communities. She said in many cases, contact from the environmental groups helped them improve their codes. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Malahat LNG project scrapped
The Malahat Nation and Steelhead LNG are no longer exploring the possibility of a liquefied natural gas project in the Saanich Inlet. Plans had called for construction of a floating liquefaction production and export facility at a 525-hectare site on Bamberton industrial land owned by the Malahat Nation.  The site, south of Mill Bay, is a former cement quarry with five kilometres of waterfront on the Saanich Inlet. Concerns had been raised about the project’s potential environmental impact. Michael D. Reid reports. (Times Colonist)

Sailor on watch admits 'I fell asleep' in report on fuel spill off B.C. coast
A crewmember who fell asleep during his watch was likely responsible for the grounding of a tug that caused thousands of litres of fuel to spill into the waters off Bella Bella, B.C., according to an American government safety agency. The second mate of the Nathan E. Stewart had been on watch for a little more than two hours when the tug ran aground in the Seaforth Channel in the early hours of Oct. 13, 2016, a marine accident brief from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Rescued barge adrift off B.C. coast to be towed to Alaska, First Nation relieved
A British Columbia First Nation is breathing a sigh of relief as a barge carrying millions of litres of fuel was removed from its harbour on the central coast. The barge broke away from a U.S.-registered tugboat, the Jake Shearer, southwest of Bella Bella last Sunday…. The barge was carrying 12.5 million litres of diesel and gasoline... four times the volume initially estimated. (Canadian Press)

Anniversary of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
December 6th is the anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, designated so in 1960. The Arctic coastal plain is probably the most important place in Alaska for the widest number of avian species - including [the] Pectoral Sandpiper - and the greatest number of birds. Ironically, that habitat type has the least protection in the entire state. From the American Birding Association to the National Rifle Association, groups are joining together in support of wildlife refuges. (BirdNote)

Senate votes to open up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling
The Senate has given a green light to opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. In a vote early Saturday morning, Republicans rejected an effort led by Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington to block drilling. The vote was 52-48. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska had pushed for oil and gas drilling in a 1.5-million-acre coastal plain within the refuge. The measure was attached to the bill to overhaul the nation’s tax code, which passed through the Senate early Saturday. By attaching the provision to drill to the tax legislation — which is tied to the budget process — backers didn’t have to muster the 60 votes that would have been needed to pass and overcome a filibuster that a stand-alone bill likely would have faced. The Senate still needs to reconcile the bill with the House. (Seattle Times and Associated Press)

Trump To Take Aim At Utah's National Monuments, Reversing Predecessors' Legacies
President Trump travels to Utah Monday where he’s expected to announce his administration will dramatically shrink the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The visit caps months of speculation and a controversial review of the boundaries of large national monuments that protect more than 100,000 acres of U.S. public land. The review, conducted by Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, originally looked at more than two dozen national monuments designated by presidential decree since the 1990s. Kirk Siegler reports. (NPR)

Mussels help measure contaminants in Puget Sound
Volunteers will spread out across Puget Sound on Friday night to install cages filled with mussels, which will help scientists track the health of the ecosystem. "They will be zip tied to sides of the cage, and they will sit there suspended above the bottom," said Puget Soundkeeper Alliance Executive Director Chris Wilke. A top cover keeps predators out, and for 90 days, water will flow through. It allows for scientists to record contaminants over a larger period of time and compare to past results. The mussels are donated by Penn Cove Shellfish and the cage placement is done almost entirely thanks to volunteers. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Necropsy suggests Chester the false killer whale died from infection
Chester the false killer whale likely died of a bacterial infection, according to the Vancouver Aquarium. The rescued cetacean died last week after a sudden change in his behaviour. A necropsy has been performed, and preliminary results suggest he was infected with Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, a bacteria that causes a disease called erysipelas, according to the aquarium's head veterinarian, Dr. Martin Haulena. (CBC) See also: Quebec walruses coming to Vancouver Aquarium  (CBC)

Concerns surround county contract with D.C. lobbyist
During the past 17 years, Skagit County has paid a Virginia lobbyist $261,000 to represent the county in Washington, D.C. The county is set to pay another $20,000 to Robert K. Weidner in 2018, according to its draft budget. The Skagit County commissioners say they hired Weidner to give them a voice in federal decisions that determine whether Skagit County receives revenue from federal timber lands or gets grants for local projects. However, some county residents have raised concerns about Weidner’s values and motives, as well as the commissioners’ reasons for hiring him. Jerry Eisner of Mount Vernon said he and others in the community became concerned earlier this year while looking into the county’s involvement with the organization American Stewards of Liberty, a group known for its anti-environmental and anti-federal control initiatives. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Credit Rating Agency Issues Warning On Climate Change To Cities
One of the largest credit rating agencies in the country is warning U.S. cities and states to prepare for the effects of climate change or risk being downgraded. In a new report, Moody’s Investor Services Inc. explains how it assesses the credit risks to a city or state that’s being impacted by climate change — whether that impact be a short-term “climate shock” like a wildfire, hurricane or drought, or a longer-term “incremental climate trend” like rising sea levels or increased temperatures. Also taken into consideration: “[communities] preparedness for such shocks and their activities in respect of adapting to climate trends,” the report says. Nathan Rott reports. (NPR)

Environmental Justice: Seattle’s Beacon Hill Addressing Air And Noise Pollution
Community leaders in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood have a two-year environmental justice grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to address health issues from air and noise pollution. They’re holding a meeting Saturday at the Centilia Cultural Center on the campus of  El Centro de la Raza.  Beacon Hill is one of the city’s largest and most-diverse neighborhoods. It’s also in a location that makes it one of the most polluted, says Maria Batayola with El Centro de la Raza. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Carmel wings and other crazy facts about crows
Why does that crow have blue eyes?… Not all crows are black…. #CrowOrNo …. What's with the bracelets?…. Ever see a crow's knees?…. No guacamole, please!…. Kaeli Swift shares photos and observations. (KUOW)

Jo Bailey (1928-2017) Gunkholing In The San Juans
Sailor and author Jo Bailey passed away in October (see obit). She coauthored several "gunkholing" guides to South Sound, the San Juans and British Columbia's Desolation Sound. For landlubbers who've never gone "gunkholing," the term describes cruising in shallow waters, roaming around, and overnighting in sheltered coves. Mud, or gunk, is what's found in "gunkholes" like coves, marshes and sloughs. Thanks, Jo, now we know.

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PST Mon Dec 4 2017  
TODAY
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft  at 11 seconds.
TONIGHT
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 13 seconds building to 6 ft at 13 seconds 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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Friday, December 1, 2017

12/1 Incredible limpet, Trans Mountain, Cargill pollution, Oly train protest, ocean plastic ban, Kalakala

Limpet [Rebecca Kordas/UBC]
How Tiny Limpets Do the Heavy Lifting of Climate Resilience
As the ocean temperature rises, it may be the little things that make the biggest difference to the survival and resilience of living things. Take the limpet, a tiny snail-like gastropod with a hefty appetite for the minute plants that live in the intertidal—the space between low and high tide. In 2014, Becca Kordas, then a zoology doctoral candidate at the University of British Columbia, tested the effect these creatures have on the ecosystem when exposed to ocean warming. She found that their influence was huge. Christopher Pollon reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Ottawa wants conflict resolution panel for Trans Mountain pipeline project
The federal government wants to see a new process established to resolve conflicts over permits that Kinder Morgan says is delaying construction on its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in British Columbia. Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the government has written to the National Energy Board, endorsing the creation of a panel that would address conflicts over municipal or provincial permits. Kinder Morgan has appealed to the board, arguing Burnaby in Metro Vancouver is wrongly withholding construction permits for Trans Mountain after it has been approved by the federal government. (Canadian Press) See also: Ottawa insists Trans Mountain expansion will be built, but won’t say how it will stop delays  Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun) And also: Trans Mountain pipeline project still lacks hundreds of permits  Justine Hunter and Ian Bailey report. (Globe and Mail)

Cargill settles suit over Puget Sound pollution
Cargill Inc. has tentatively reached a settlement with two environmental groups that accused the company of letting polluted rainwater run off its animal feed plant in Ferndale, Wash. The settlement has not been finalized, but a federal judge dismissed the suit Nov. 28 at the request of the two sides. The parties have not disclosed the terms of the proposed settlement, which comes less than four months after the suit was filed. Dan Jenkins reports. (Capital Press)

The tracks are clear, but there’s no resolution to Olympia’s fracking-related problem
The downtown Olympia railroad tracks that had been blocked by protesters since Nov. 17 are clear. But there’s no solution to the core problem: The Port of Olympia continues to accept shipments of fracking materials, and a group of protesters is willing to stand in their way. Members of Olympia Stand have organized two blockades of the downtown railroad tracks in two years. Twice they have been removed by police. Amelia Dickson reports. (Olympian)

'Zero tolerance' plan eyed for plastic pollution
A plan for zero tolerance of plastic pollution of the oceans may be agreed by nations at a UN environment summit. Governments are being asked to move towards a legal treaty banning plastic waste from entering the sea. At the moment ships are prohibited from dumping plastic overboard but there's no international law against plastics flooding into the sea from the land. Experts say ocean plastics are an obvious subject for a global treaty: plastics present a large-scale threat.  Roger Harrabin reports. (BBC)

The streamlined Kalakala sure stood apart from its piers 
The Black Ball Line’s flagship ferry was the most popular man-made creation on Puget Sound until the raising of the Space Needle in 1962. We have, perhaps inevitably, featured this ferry for “Now & Then” more than once. For instance, on Nov. 3, 1991, we showed her passing through the Chittenden Locks in 1947 for one of her few visits into our fresh waterways. Ordinarily busy carrying tourists and Naval shipyard workers back and forth to Bremerton, the Kalakala did not need our lakes. Paul Dorpat recollects. (Seattle Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PST Fri Dec 1 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT FROM THIS  AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE TONIGHT  
TODAY
 S wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW in the afternoon. Wind waves  2 to 4 ft. W swell 12 to 14 ft at 16 seconds. Rain.
TONIGHT
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 11  or 12 ft at 15 seconds. Rain.
SAT
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at  15 seconds. Showers likely.
SAT NIGHT
 NE wind to 10 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 14 seconds.
SUN
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 8 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told