Wednesday, March 29, 2017

3/29 Go Fish Go, dirty power, Campbell R estuary, coastal marten protection

Survive the Sound: Go Fish Go!
Long Live the Kings has launched an online opportunity allowing you to see the challenges facing Puget Sound steelhead making their way to the Pacific Ocean. "Survive the Sound translates the real experiences of 48 steelhead into a spectacular challenge. Sponsor or gift your favorite steelhead for $25 each, then invite friends to form a school of fish. On May 8th, you will watch your fish embark on a 12-day journey to the Pacific Ocean in a race for their lives! Along the way, you will learn about these amazing fish, the obstacles they face, and what we are doing to recover them…. Sponsor before April 5th and you’ll be entered in a raffle to win a trip to Alderbrook Resort, Hood Canal, and experience the research behind Survive the Sound!" Here's how to enter.

West Coast rejects Trump clean power rollbacks
The West Coast has lined up against President Donald Trump's rollback of the Clean Power Plan and will go its own way on energy, with the region's governors saying they will "assert our own 21st Century leadership and chart a different course."  The divisions of America, not on culture but on climate and energy, were on display Tuesday, as well as the values of the actors. Trump was carrying through his 2016 campaign pledge to revive the coal industry, as he issued an Executive Order to withdraw and rewrite the Clean Power Plan, a key climate initiative of the Obama administration. It required utilities to reduce emissions at power plants. The governors of Washington, Oregon and California -- plus mayors of the Coast's major cities -- said in a letter that action on climate is urgent, and healthy for the economy as well as people that live on the "Left Coast." Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com) See also: Planned Rollback of Climate Rules Unlikely to Achieve All Trump’s Goals  Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Geese flocking to Campbell River Estuary posing threat to sensitive ecosystem
A population of non-native Canada geese is wreaking havoc on the Campbell River Estuary, according to the results of a two-year goose monitoring study. Cynthia Bendickson, executive director of Greenways Land Trust which coordinated the goose banding project, said that 200 Canada geese were banded in the estuary and monitored for 18 months to track the birds’ migrating patterns. Results showed that the majority of the birds were non-native geese flocking to the estuary to lose and replace flight feathers, a process known as moulting. Kristen Douglas reports. (Campbell River Mirror)

Court Tells USFWS To Reconsider Protections For Coastal Martens
A federal court ruled Tuesday that wildlife managers must reconsider a decision to deny endangered species protections to the coastal marten. The American pine marten, a member of the marten family, is closely related to the rare coastal marten. The red-orange mink relative was once believed to be extinct — a victim of the fur trade. But small populations have been found in the coastal mountains of Southern Oregon and Northern California.   In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided the marten did not qualify for listing under the Endangered Species Act because the population was not small enough or isolated enough to be at risk of going extinct. But the Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center argued in court the coastal marten population is perilously low. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  317 AM PDT WED MAR 29 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT...BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES  3 TO 5 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 10 FT AT 15  SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 8 FT. RAIN IN THE MORNING THEN SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 9 FT  AT 14 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, March 28, 2017

3/28 BC pipe, Trump climate, BC LNG, tribal sovereignty, Site C, Canuck the crow, canary rockfish, gopher, Hero

Giant red sea cucumber [National Geographic]
Giant Red Sea Cucumber
The giant red or California sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) is the largest member of the family Holothuroidea, and reaches 30 inches in length and is bright red as an adult. They use their sticky tentacles to feed on detritus and small organisms in sediments on the sea floor. Sea cucumbers have a unique way of defending themselves by shedding their internal organs to entangle and confuse predators. They are harvested for food, primarily for markets in Asia, from the wild and in farms on the Pacific coast of North America. The creature and the food product are commonly known as bêche-de-mer (literally "sea-spade") in French, trepang (or trīpang) in Indonesian, namako in Japanese, balatan in Tagalog and loli in Hawaiian. In Malay, it is known as the gamat. (NOAA, Wikipedia)

B.C. appeal court rules against Burnaby in bylaw battle with Trans Mountain 
A legal battle between the City of Burnaby and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has ended with the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruling the National Energy Board can override municipal bylaws. The fight began in 2014 when Trans Mountain was set to begin field studies on Burnaby Mountain, which required it to cut down trees, drill boreholes and operate heavy machinery — activities that violate the city’s bylaws. (Canadian Press)

Trump puts anti-global warming projects on chopping block
President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday aimed at moving forward on his campaign pledge to unravel former President Barack Obama’s plan to curb global warming. The order will suspend, rescind or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels. As part of the roll-back, Trump will initiate a review of the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The regulation, which was the former president’s signature effort to curb carbon emissions, has been the subject of long-running legal challenges by Republican-led states and those who profit from burning oil, coal and gas. Matthew Daly and Jill Colvin report. (Associated Press) See also: New Trump Executive Order -- pointless grovel to polluters, a poke at our planet  Joel Connelly writes. (SeattlePI.Com)

Vancouver Island First Nation gives nod to proposed LNG facility
A First Nation on Vancouver Island has approved a proposed liquefied natural gas export facility on its traditional territories. Members of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation voted 70 per cent in favour of the development planned by Steelhead LNG at Sarita Bay, near Port Alberni. The First Nation says in a news release that it is the first in British Columbia to approve the co-management of the development of a liquefied natural gas facility. (Canadian Press)

How First Nations got ahead of the curve on clean energy
Haida Gwaii's John Disney couldn't help but notice how much wood waste was left behind by local loggers. "We've got waste coming out of our ears up here," said Disney, the economic developer of Old Massett Village. "They do a lot of logging, and none of waste goes anywhere because it's too expensive to ship!" Generally, the bulk of wood waste is either burned or left to decompose in the bush. But Disney and his partners recently came up with a plan to make use of it — by feeding it into a gigantic boiler that will heat all of the town's community buildings, and drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the process. Renewable energy projects like Disney's are on the rise in Indigenous communities across the country. And when it comes making the away from fossil fuels, some industry experts say First Nations are ahead of the curve. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Unpacking Government: What Is Tribal Sovereignty?
Protests over the last year that originated in North Dakota against the Dakota Access oil pipeline have once again highlighted the complex relationship among tribal governments and the United States. How exactly do these sovereign nations exist within the U.S.? And what does “sovereignty” even mean? Ariel Van Cleave reports. (KNKX)

Sierra Club predicts costs of Site C hydro dam will balloon further
A Sierra Club B.C. report released Monday argues that the Liberal provincial government is leaving taxpayers with a costly legacy of bad decisions, corporate subsidies, and failed LNG projects. The environmental group says that the $9-billion Site C dam — approved by the government without referring the issue of its need to the B.C. Utilities Commission — is already well beyond its 2010 budget of $6.6 billion. The cost is likely to balloon further, based on average cost overruns of 70 per cent at other hydroelectric projects around the world, even higher for larger projects, the group says. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Advocates back in court pursuing charges Mount Polley dam collapse  (Canadian Press)

Community rallies behind Canuck the crow after suspected head injury
It was a tough weekend for Vancouver's famous bird and his human friends after Canuck the crow reportedly suffered a head injury while at a rec soccer game in the city. The crow has quite a reputation in Vancouver for its socializing with humans and its antics, which are regularly chronicled on social media, including a dedicated Facebook page, that now has 40,000 followers. Now his fans have rallied around Canuck with well-wishes for his health and given financial contributions. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

NOAA Fisheries delists canary rockfish in Puget Sound based on new findings  
NOAA Fisheries last week removed Puget Sound canary rockfish from the federal list of threatened and endangered species after a recent collaborative study found those fish are not genetically distinct from other canary rockfish on the West Coast. Although many state rockfish populations have declined in abundance, the agency determined that the canary rockfish population in Puget Sound and the inland waters of British Columbia does not qualify for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), because it is not “discrete from” the species as a whole. (San Juan Islander)

Thurston County couple at wit’s end over pocket gophers delaying new home
One Thurston County resident is considering a hunger strike after the county commissioners failed to vote on approving a building permit for her would-be farm south of Tumwater due to concerns surrounding the Mazama pocket gopher. Deborah McLain and her husband have been trying to build a home on a half-acre of an 8-acre plot south of the Thurston County town for around a year, but have not been able to due to the lack of a county-issued permit. The county could have offered her relief had they voted to approve a permit, but McLain said the commissioners did not bring it to a vote at their Tuesday meeting. Aaron Kunkler reports. (Centralia Chronicle)

A Forgotten Hero's Shipwreck Imperils Washington's Oysters 
Driving up the coast toward Bay Center, Washington, it’s obvious when you start to approach Willapa Bay. Fifteen foot high piles of shucked empty oyster shells began to appear on the side of the road. This is an oyster town. But it's also home to a sinking piece of history. Scott McDougall, the director of the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency, points out what remains of the Hero, an Antarctic research vessel from the 1960s. Molly Solomon reports. (KUOW/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  253 AM PDT TUE MAR 28 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 S WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING LATE. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4  FT...SUBSIDING LATE. W SWELL 11 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES  3 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 11 FT AT 16 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 9 FT AT  15 SECONDS. RAIN.

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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, March 27, 2017

3/27 EPA power, orca water, Puget Sound $, cetacean ban, Growlers, Trump budget, BC pipe, KXL, Ecology café

Squirrelly [Laurie MacBride]
Cirque du Matin
Laurie MacBride in Eye On Environment writes: "Our morning coffee has been served up with entertainment over the past week: a small, lively and highly agile acrobat has been performing right outside our living room window…." (more photos)

EPA chief: Trump to undo Obama plan to curb global warming 
resident Donald Trump in the coming days will sign a new executive order that unravels his predecessor’s sweeping plan to curb global warming, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Sunday. EPA chief Scott Pruitt said the executive order to be signed Tuesday will undo the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The 2015 rule has been on hold since last year while a federal appeals court considers a challenge by coal-friendly Republican-led states and more than 100 companies. Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Pruitt said Trump’s intention is to bring back coal-mining jobs and reduce the cost of electricity. (Associated Press) See also: Earth Hour B.C.: residents flip the switch for electricity savings, halts on climate change  BC Hydro says British Columbians saved 24 megawatt hours of electricity and reduced the provincial electricity load by 0.3 per cent during Earth Hour Saturday night — the equivalent of turning off about 1.1 million LED lightbulbs. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC) And also: South Sound Climate Action Convention held in downtown Olympia on Saturday Amelia Dickson and Stacia Glenn report. (Olympian)

Plants providing limited wastewater treatment add to risk for orcas
Pity the poor orcas. They’re already stressed from pollution, noise from vessel traffic and lack of food because of declining salmon runs. And now scientists, in the first study of its kind, have identified a fourth risk factor: pathogens that could hurt the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population — possibly from human sewage. Down to 78 animals, the orcas are in an uphill battle for survival. In research over four years, scientists found yet another reason why, detected in their exhaled breath. In their paper published Friday in Nature’s Scientific Reports, scientists detailed their research using petri dishes extended on 25-foot-long poles to capture samples of orcas’ breath as they came to the surface in the wild and exhaled. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Bad breath: Study find array of bacteria when orcas exhale  Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press) And also: Seattle plant failure dumps millions of gallons of sewage  Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Trump is not the only one cutting Puget Sound funding
President Trump’s proposed $28 million cut of Puget Sound restoration funding has provoked an outcry. But Gov. Jay Inslee himself is proposing a $29 million cut to the program. Loss of federal funding for Puget Sound restoration is not the only cause for concern. State funding, which pays for a much larger share of the restoration costs, also is facing cuts. Citing loss of federal dollars and income from hazardous substance tax revenues, Inslee is proposing to spend $29 million less on the Sound cleanup and restoration than in the previous bi-annual budget. The Legislature is set to follow suit with cutbacks of its own. Adiel Kaplan reports. (Investigate West)

Gov. Inslee, Oregon governor vow to fight Trump environmental proposals
The Democratic governors of Washington and Oregon struck a defiant pose Saturday, vowing to fight proposals they expect soon from President Donald Trump that they say would weaken environmental protection. Govs. Jay Inslee and Kate Brown offered no new tax or policy announcements during their 21-minute news conference in downtown Seattle. They couched the coming showdown between the Trump administration and the Northwest as a third chapter, following Trump’s efforts to ban travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries that was blocked by a lawsuit by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and the proposal that failed in Congress on Friday to repeal Obamacare. Mike Lindblom reports. (Seattle Times)

Proposed cetacean ban could harm marine mammals, DFO says
The Vancouver Park Board's move to ban cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium could spell bad news for some of the stricken marine mammals that are saved by fishery and aquarium teams, says the aquarium. Each year, the federal fisheries department's Pacific Region receives more than 600 calls about distressed marine mammals, including whales, sea lions and porpoises. Some are sick or stranded or entangled in fishing net. John Ford, who heads marine mammal research for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), said if a proposed cetacean ban is approved, some types of rescue marine mammals might not be saved. (CBC)

EPA faults study on expanding Growler jets at Whidbey, seeks on-the-ground noise monitoring
The Environmental Protection Agency rates as “insufficient” a draft study of the impacts of adding up to 36 additional aircraft to the EA-18G Growler fleet at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. The EPA wants more information about what the expansion would do to the environment and local communities, and recommends a monitoring program to measure the noise effects of the Growler jets. The findings were conveyed to the Navy in a letter sent earlier this month from R. David Allnut, an EPA official in Seattle. According to the EPA policy manual, the final Navy study on the Growler expansion should include additional information on the noise impacts. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: State: Jet noise a public health concern  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Trump's Hiring Freeze Could Be Felt By Recreation Seekers On Public Lands 
The Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River rushes over 40 miles from the North Cascades down into Puget Sound. It’s a big river, with enough rapids and undercurrents that only expert kayakers can navigate it…. The Middle Fork Valley is publicly owned forest land less than an hour from downtown Seattle…. But, now, a newly paved road could bring tens of thousands — or even hundreds of thousands – of visitors to the valley every summer. But the valley might not be ready for them. That’s because, as more and more people use publicly owned lands for recreation, public agencies are struggling to keep up with the demand for rangers, trail maintenance – even the need to restock toilet paper in outhouses. And the problem could get even worse under President Trump’s hiring freeze. Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

B.C. reports 64 pipeline benefit deals with 29 northern First Nations
The British Columbia government says it has completed benefit agreements with 90 per cent of the eligible First Nations along four proposed natural gas pipeline routes across northern B.C. The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations says 64 natural gas pipeline benefits contracts have been signed with 29 First Nations and that most include financial payments worth over $1 million, although the ministry says only $13 million has been paid out so far. Most of the agreements also have separate milestone payments, covering when construction begins or gas starts to flow. (Canadian Press)

Trump approval for Keystone pipeline doesn’t guarantee it’ll be built
Completion of the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline is still far from a done deal, despite the Trump administration’s approval of a key permit on Friday that reversed a decision by the Obama administration…. But it’s still anything but clear when work can begin on uncompleted sections of the pipeline, which is designed to carry crude from the oil sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Nebraska Public Service Commission still must issue a crucial permit so the pipeline can cross state boundaries, and that decision may not come until September. Farmers, landowners and Native American tribes are battling the pipeline, as are national environmental groups and climate activists. They’ve pledged to deploy a variety of strategies – including litigation and civil disobedience – to derail the pipeline, as they did during the Obama administration. Stuart Leavenworth reports. (McClatchy)

Thurston County health inspectors rang up 75 points of high-risk violations in a February visit to the Department of Ecology cafeteria
About 900 workers file into the state Department of Ecology’s building in Lacey each day with a mission to — according to the agency’s website — “protect, preserve and enhance Washington’s land, air and water for current and future generations.” A February health inspection found imperiled segments of the food chain very near the workers’ desks. The Thurston County Health Department found 75 points of red-level “high risk factor” violations in the agency’s cafe — which is open to the public — on a routine surprise visit Feb. 14. Derrick Nunnally reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Event: Welcome the Whales Festival and Parade
Orca Network presents the annual, all-day welcome of the gray whales and celebration of all marine life on April 8, 11 AM - 5 PM, in Langley on Whidbey Island. Join in the whale parade, hear about saving Baja's San Ignacia Lagoon and its gray whales, and take part in the festivities. Info here.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival back on normal schedule
The tulips are set to bloom on time for the 34th annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which runs during the month of April. Warm winters have led to mid-March blooms the past two years, throwing off the festival’s schedule, said festival Executive Director Cindy Verge. That won’t be the case this year. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  338 AM PDT MON MAR 27 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT FROM THIS
AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE TONIGHT  
TODAY
 S WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  5 FT AT 10 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 10 FT. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
 SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  11 FT AT 11 SECONDS. 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, March 24, 2017

3/24 Herring, EPA, Keystone, Tacoma tideflats, Tesoro DEIS, deer mice, Victoria bags, woodpeckers

If you like to watch: Beauty and the Feast: When Herring Come to Spawn
Every spring, nature puts on a breathtaking display on the British Columbia coast. The waters turn milky white as millions of male herring release sperm, while the female fish lay billions of pinhead-sized eggs. Both the eggs and the fish themselves are a critical post-winter food source for animals from bears to bald eagles, whales to wolves, and herons to humans. Travel to the BC Central Coast to watch the show! (Hakai Institute)

Here's Why the Environmental Protection Agency Was Created
The Cuyahoga River burst into flames, while the Potomac stunk from the hundreds of millions of gallons of waste added to its waters every single day. As the Environmental Protection Agency becomes the subject of focus for major cuts under President Trump's proposed budget — and as the U.N. marks World Water Day on Wednesday — it's worth looking back at the moment in time when the EPA was first created, and why Richard Nixon saw a need for the agency to exist. Lily Rothman reports. (Time)

U.S., in Reversal, Issues Permit for Keystone Oil Pipeline
The Trump administration announced Friday that it would issue a permit for construction of the Keystone oil pipeline, a long-disputed project that would link producers in Canada and North Dakota with refiners and export terminals on the Gulf Coast. The announcement by the State Department reversed the position of the Obama administration. It followed a 60-day review that was set in motion as one of the first acts of President Trump’s tenure. (NY Times)

Rethinking The Future Of Tacoma's Industrial Tideflats
Tacoma has a decades-old reputation as an industrial city. But leaders say it’s time to rethink which specific industries are welcome. A City Council proposal would direct the Planning Commission to draft new land-use recommendations for Tacoma’s industrial tideflats area, which includes the Port of Tacoma. Neighbors of the tideflats have formed a vocal block of opposition to recent industrial projects, citing safety and environmental worries. Will James reports. (KNKX)

Draft EIS released for Tesoro refinery project
Skagit County released today a draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, for a proposed project at the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery. The draft EIS is open for public comment through May 8, according to a news release.  An open house and public hearing is set for 4 to 8 p.m. April 17 in the Anacortes High School gym and Brodniak Hall, at 1600 20th St. The proposal, called the Tesoro Anacortes Clean Products Upgrade Project, would enable the refinery to produce 15,000 barrels of xylene per day through the refining process and sell it as a product separate from its various fuel products. The proposal would also reduce the amount of sulfur in fuel products processed at the refinery and capture emissions from marine vessels at the refinery dock. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Deer mice: Cute, but potentially deadly carriers of hantavirus
The deer mouse might be cutest among our problematic rodents. The tiny creature sports big eyes, large ears and a white underbelly. But, it can be deadly, too. The tiny rodent is known to carry hantavirus, a rare, often fatal disease. Deer mice excrete hantavirus in urine, saliva and droppings, according to the Washington Department of Health (DOH). People most commonly contract the virus when those materials are stirred up and the virus becomes airborne. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Victoria mulls over a ban on plastic bags from stores — again
Victoria is considering following in the footsteps of Fort McMurray and Kenya, at least when it comes to trying to reduce the use of plastic bags. In 2015, city council voted to have staff look into a ban on single-use retail plastic bags. Since then, staff has presented numerous recommendations on the issue, but a ban has never been approved. Now, the idea is back before council and it's already raising concerns for some members of the local business community.  Jean Paetkau reports. (CBC)

With spring comes the menace of the woodpecker
hey may be hungry, horny or busy building a nest for their young. Those are some of the reasons woodpeckers might be pecking against the walls of your home in spring, according to Ann Nightingale, a bird expert who works with the Rocky Point Bird Observatory in Victoria. Nightingale says woodpeckers are especially active in early spring so home owners shouldn't be surprised to hear drumming against their walls. Jean Paetkau reports. (CBC)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  248 AM PDT FRI MAR 24 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 
TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING S 15 TO 25 KT DURING THE  MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL  9 FT AT 9 SECONDS. SHOWERS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN  THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING SW 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 9 FT AT 10 SECONDS.  SHOWERS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE EVENING.
SAT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT  AT 10 SECONDS. SHOWERS IN THE MORNING THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN  THE AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
 SW WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
SUN
 SE 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, March 23, 2017

3/23 Crude oil export ban, EPA cuts, OxyChem cleanup, Ediz Hook sand, burning oil, wild habitats

Cascade Oregon-grape (WA Native Plant Society)
Cascade Oregon-grape Mahonia (Berberis) nervosa
M. nervosa
is commonly found in second-growth, closed-canopy Douglas-fir forests. The tart, purple berries were eaten but generally not in quantity. Today they are used for jelly and some make wine from them. The shredded bark of the stems and roots were used to make a bright-yellow dye for baskets. The bark and berries were also used for liver, gall-bladder and eye problems. One Saanich woman said that eating the berries in quantity was the only antidote known for shellfish poisoning-- but great caution was used because the drug is very potent. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Whatcom Council approves second 6-month ban on crude oil exports
The fight over allowing new shipments of unrefined fossil fuels to go through Cherry Point again went before the Whatcom County Council, which approved another six-month moratorium. The council temporarily banned applications for new or expanded facilities for shipping unrefined fossil fuels out of Cherry Point by a vote of 6-1, after more than two hours of public input Tuesday night. The majority of people who went before the Council pushed for the new moratorium. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Big Trump cuts will gut EPA's "core mission" -- letter from 37 senators
The huge cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency budget, proposed by the Trump administration, , sparked protests from U.S. Senators in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, as well as a pro-EPA Seattle waterfront demonstration in the "other" Washington. EPA programs marked for extinction are "a critical piece of a coordinated effort" to clean up Puget Sound, as well as other waterways from San Francisco Bay to Chesapeake Bay, Dennis McLerran, former EPA Region X (Northwest, Alaska) told a rain-spattered crowd at Waterfront Park. The senators' letter, signed by all six senators from West Coast states of Washington, Oregon and California, used President Trump's own words in decrying the cuts. "During the President's February 28th address to Congress, he pledged to 'promote clean air and water'," they wrote.  "Such a pledge is meaningless when the President follows it by proposing a 31 percent cut to EPA's budget and 20 percent reduction in its staff. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com) See also: Advocates call on lawmakers to resist environmental cuts in Trump budget  Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) And also: Activists ask state to fund Puget Sound clean-up cuts   Alison Morrow reports. (KING) And: Former EPA Head Says Regulatory System Could Stand Reform, But Not Elimination  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Who Should Pay for Tacoma’s Last Big Clean-Up?
There’s a modern-day monster lurking under Tacoma’s industrial lands. Mixed in with the groundwater is a stew of pollution from a shuttered chemical plant: PCBs—toxic chemicals the EPA banned in 1979—and volatile organic chemicals so alkaline that the pollution is actually stronger than drain cleaner and can dissolve rocks into jelly. The core plume of toxic chemicals under the Tacoma tideflats is as tall as the Seahawks stadium and more than four times as big in area—and it may be inching its way toward the waters of Puget Sound. The cleanup for Occidental Chemical, or OxyChem as it’s known, is the last big remediation in Tacoma, a city that is undergoing a remarkable rebirth and transformation from its sometimes noxious past. But the company responsible may get away with a half-hearted treatment. Eric de Place reports. (Sightline)

Officials hope sand cap layer works as project restoration option at Ediz Hook
Officials are preparing to apply a 6-inch layer of sand to an inside portion of Ediz Hook to test whether a sand cap could be a potential restoration solution. Commissioners of the Port of Port Angeles, one of five members of the Western Port Angeles Harbor Group, approved the port’s portion of the costs for the project — up to $77,000 — on Tuesday. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Researchers Test Hotter, Faster And Cleaner Way To Fight Oil Spills
On a cold and windy day off the coast of Alabama, a team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts gathers, conducting the first test outside a laboratory for a potential new solution to a challenging problem: cleaning oil spills from water. The invention, the Flame Refluxer, is "very simple," says Ali Rangwala, a professor of fire protection engineering: Imagine a giant Brillo pad of copper wool sandwiched between layers of copper screen, with springy copper coils attached to the top. "The coils collect the heat from the flame and they transmit it through the copper blanket," Rangwala explains. The goal is to make a hotter, faster and more complete burn that leaves less pollution. Debbie Elliott reports. (NPR)

Learning to create small habitats in Kitsap, Thurston, Pierce counties
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes about Sarah Bruemmer, a habitat steward coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, who teaches people "how to turn small outdoor spaces — or large ones, if available — into functioning habitats. She coordinates a training program that addresses issues from soils, gardening and invasive plants to birds, butterflies and water quality." (Watching Our Water Ways)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  247 AM PDT THU MAR 23 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH
 LATE TONIGHT  
TODAY
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT  AT 9 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING THEN RAIN IN THE  AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL  8 FT AT 8 SECONDS BUILDING TO 10 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE  EVENING THEN 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, March 22, 2017

3/22 Vic sewer, oyster norovirus, GE salmon fight, BC pipe $, talkin' orcas, bad clammers, clean air

Red sea urchin [Ed Bierman/WikiMedia]
Red Sea Urchin Stronggylocentrotus franciscanus
The Salish Sea's largest urchin, growing to 5 inches. Found in subtidal waters and in lower tide pools and surge channels on rocky shores. Feeds on pieces of drifting kelp which snags on its long, mobile spines. (Marine Life of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia) Uni (oo-nee) is the Japanese name for the edible part of the sea urchin. While colloquially referred to as the roe (eggs), uni is actually the animal's gonads (which produce the milt or roe). (Sushifaq.com)

Esquimalt, Songhees First Nations to reap millions for backing CRD sewage plan
Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations will receive millions of dollars for their support of the Capital Regional District’s sewage-treatment project. The “support agreements” negotiated with each nation provide for everything from paid liaison positions and guarantees of employment for band members to costs of re-interment of any ancestral remains discovered during construction. They also include money to operate a food truck and provide culinary arts training, and cash to supply water and sewage services to reserve housing. The largest payment is for Rock Bay land controlled by the two First Nations. The CRD will spend $600,000 annually for four years to lease the land, which will be used as a preparation area for the sewage project. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

B.C. oyster industry reeling after more than 300 consumers fall ill
The federal government has closed oyster farming at seven diverse locations in southern B.C. waters, and several other commercial growers have voluntarily stopped selling amidst the worst norovirus outbreak to ever hit the industry. To date, a total of 304 illnesses have been reported in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario from eating raw or undercooked oysters from the West Coast, said Darlene Winterburn, executive director of the Comox-based B.C. Shellfish Growers’ Association.

Illness traced back to Samish Bay oysters
Part of Samish Bay is closed to commercial shellfish harvesting because of multiple reports of an oyster-related illness traced back to the area. According to the state Department of Health, the agency received several reports of shellfish consumers in King County having norovirus-like symptoms after eating oysters the weekend of March 10.  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Wild Salmon Allies: Tribes and Others Resist FDA Approval of GE Salmon
Wild salmon, an ecological keystone species in the Northwest, have played a central role in tribal life for generations. The quiet approval of genetically engineered salmon by the Food and Drug Administration doesn't sit well with tribes and fishing communities across the nation, who are rallying behind a lawsuit against the FDA which is making its way through the courts. In the Pacific Northwest, Coast Salish tribes and community allies held a wild-salmon cook out to bring attention to the issue, which they say is about food sovereignty and honoring of treaty rights. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acre Radio)

B.C. Liberals challenged to return donations from Kinder Morgan and 'associates'
Three environmental groups are calling on the B.C. Liberals to return hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from Kinder Morgan and groups and companies they say have a stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Dogwood Initiative, Stand.earth and Leadnow said Tuesday the B.C. Liberals have received "at least" $771,168 from Kinder Morgan, "its shippers and allied pipeline and petroleum associations." Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

Event: Washington State’s Regional Fishery Enhancement Groups: Making a Real Difference for Salmon (and Orcas)
The Whale Trail presents Jeanette Dorner of the Midsound Fisheries Enhancement Group speaking about working with private landowners an community partners to identify and carry out projects that increase the number of Puget Sound salmon, the main prey of endangered local orcas. The talk is on March 30, 7 PM, at C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave. SW, in West Seattle. $5 adults, children free; tickets


Orca whales return to Puget Sound, just in time for start of spring
Orca whales have officially returned to Puget Sound waters. On the second day of spring, KIRO 7’s Chopper spotted a group of orca whales, swimming above and below the water. (KIRO)

Shots fired on Vancouver Island over alleged illegal clam digging
Charges have been laid in connection with an alleged illegal clam digging operation on Vancouver Island that turned violent Friday. North Cowichan RCMP officers say they were called in after Department of Fisheries and Oceans officers reported shots fired at around 4:30 p.m. PT. The officers were patrolling a beach near the Chemainus River when they caught three people allegedly digging clams illegally…. Tom Hlavac, acting director of the DFO's Conservation and Protection program, said officers often encounter resistance to enforcement. (CBC)

Celebrating 50 years of clean air
Before the state established laws to protect air quality, smoke and ash billowed from industrial facilities, including some in Skagit County. The Northwest Clean Air Agency, which enforces air quality regulations in Skagit, Whatcom and Island counties, is celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the state's Clean Air Act. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  433 AM PDT WED MAR 22 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON PDT TODAY THROUGH
 THURSDAY AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING SW 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL  7 FT AT 13 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL  7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.

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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, March 21, 2017

3/21 MPAs, public lands, Gas Works Park, aquarium documentary, chem dump, gas pipe safety, poop bugs, King Lysen

Surf Scoter [Daniella Theoret/BridNote]
Surfing with Scoters
Surf Scoters are perfectly at home in the element they’re named for. They swim smack in the middle of what surfers call the impact zone: Just where the waves break with greatest violence. Why risk the harshest waves when there’s calmer water close by? Because the churning action of crashing waves can expose the small clams and crabs that scoters eat. And how do Surf Scoters avoid getting mashed by the sea? When a towering wave is about to crash down, the scoter deftly dives and swims under the crest of the foaming breaker, then pops up on the other side. (BirdNote)

Fish evolve quickly, benefit from marine protected areas: UBC study
Fish can quickly evolve to get more benefit from the protection offered by marine protected areas, according to research from the University of B.C. Variation in the natural range of large fish species means that some fish will spend much of their lives in or near areas protected from fishing, while others will range farther and face capture. Because they are less likely to be harvested, less mobile fish are more likely to survive and pass that trait on to their offspring. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Hunters And Anglers Cross Political Lines To Fight For Public Lands
Hunters, fishermen and environmental activists: it’s not often these groups are mentioned in the same breath. But recently they’re finding themselves standing shoulder to shoulder over the issue of public lands.  Despite having an avid hunter in Ryan Zinke leading up the Interior Department, which oversees the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, there’s a sense that calls to sell off or transfer public lands are gaining traction.  Sportsmen and women consider hunting and fishing in these wild places to be their right – one that earlier generations led by President Theodore Roosevelt fought to secure more than a century ago.  Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Seattle's Gas Works Park About To Undergo Toxic Cleanup 
Kite flyers, picnickers, and Ultimate players treasure Seattle’s Gas Works Park, whose famous towers and pipes were once part of a coal gasification plant on the shore of Lake Union that lit up early Seattleites’ homes. But beneath the grass lies a more insidious legacy of the park’s industrial past: toxic waste. “Just offshore, the sediments are contaminated by oily substances that have oozed from the land into the lake,” says Ching-Pi Wang, with the Department of Ecology. And that’s not all: Benzene, arsenic, lead, and other substances pollute the soil, groundwater, and lake sediment.  Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Filmmaker challenges injunction on Vancouver Aquarium documentary 
A man who directed a low-budget documentary critical of the Vancouver Aquarium should not have been ordered to remove five minutes of footage by a judge, his lawyer told an appeal court Monday. But a lawyer for the aquarium called the lower-court judge's decision "balanced" and denied the facility was trying to silence criticism. Gary Charbonneau released the documentary, Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered, online in January, 2016. The 61-minute film examined the aquarium's practice of keeping beluga whales and dolphins in captivity.  Sunny Dhillon reports. (Globe and Mail)

$50,000 fine, two years of probation for Tacoma truck wash owner who dumped chemicals into sewer
The owner of a Tacoma truck washing company will pay $50,000 and spend two years on probation for dumping hazardous materials into the city’s water system, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office said Monday. Company owner Ryan Lewis pleaded guilty March 9 to gross misdemeanors for polluting water and illegally discharging hazardous chemicals, according to a news release from the attorney general’s office. He also pleaded guilty on behalf of his company, Cleaner Pressure Washing, to the same charges, along with a felony charge of defrauding a public utility. Walker Orenstein reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

State fines Cascade Natural Gas $1M over pipeline safety violations
 Cascade Natural Gas has agreed to pay $1 million to settle allegations it broke state and federal pipeline safety rules. The Washington state Utilities and Transportation Commission approved the settlement Monday. Under the agreement’s terms, the company could be fined an additional $1.5 million unless it completes a compliance plan, including validating the maximum pressure on its highest risk pipelines in Washington by the end of the year. (Associated Press)

These bugs could help Seattle's poop spill. But they're hibernating
Workers continue their efforts to get the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle up and running. The plant was crippled by a flood last month and it continues to spew solid waste into the Puget Sound every day. And restoring the plant's full treatment capacity relies on its tiniest workers – bugs: microorganisms that kill harmful bacteria and help in the treatment process. But there's a problem: These tiny little bugs are hibernating. Kate Walters reports. (KUOW)

King Lysen: A reformer in the Legislature who took on the old boys
King Lysen was a young man despised by his state's powerful old boys. As a state legislator, he challenged an out-of-control nuclear construction program that threatened to melt down the Northwest's economy. Lysen, who died last week at age 75, served 12 tumultuous years in the Washington State Legislature, from 1970 to 1982, eight years in the House and four in the State Senate. He had his district abolished out from under him in 1982. A product of O'Dea High and Seattle University, with a stint at the University of the Americas in Mexico City, Lysen brought a dose of Catholic social activism to Olympia. He was in the group of reformers, nicknamed the "Seattle 10" elected to the House of Representatives in 1970. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.com)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  239 AM PDT TUE MAR 21 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING
 
TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W  SWELL 4 FT AT 16 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE MORNING THEN SHOWERS IN THE  AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT  SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 15 SECONDS.  SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE EVENING THEN 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