Friday, July 31, 2015

7/31 Warm waters, Shell drill, BC pipe, coal port, fuel cap, salmon plight, tribe fight, BC ferries, tangled whales

(San Juan Journal)
Storm drain mural highlights art and environmental issues
The sea creature glides over the pavement, its red and pink tentacles splayed out and reaching, one of its eight arms curling over the curb. An octopus on the run in Friday Harbor? Close, but not quite. Its a new painting of an octopus in the ocean, painted on a storm drain outside of the Whale Museum to remind passerby’s that the water running through there flows out into the ocean. Anna Smith reports. (San Juan Journal)

Salmon Losing, Jellyfish Winning
When Lewis and Clark were exploring the Pacific Northwest, they talked about salmon running so thick you could cross the river on their backs. You don’t see salmon like that around Puget Sound anymore. What you do see are jellyfish. Joshua McNichols reports. (KUOW)  See also: ‘The Blob’ may warm Puget Sound’s waters, hurt marine life  Scientists say they are concerned about the continued ecological effects of the unusually warm and dry conditions in the Puget Sound region this summer. Paige Cornwell and Sandi Doughton report. (Seattle Times)

Shell icebreaker slips by; authorities force protesters from Portland bridge
After law-enforcement officials removed three of 13 roped Greenpeace activists from a bridge, a Shell icebreaker early Thursday evening was able to begin its journey down the Willamette River en route to the Chukchi Sea. The MSV Fennica passed under the bridge shortly before 6 p.m., capping a tumultuous day of protest here by activists opposed to Shell’s efforts to explore for oil off Alaska’s North Slope. Hal Bernton and Evan Bush report. (Seattle Times)

 Kinder Morgan pipeline opponents furious about ‘chaotic’ review process
The National Energy Board is facing a fresh round of resistance to its embattled review of the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Three separate parties – British Columbia’s Opposition New Democrats, the City of Burnaby and the Sierra Club – all issued renewed challenges to the process on Thursday…. The strongly-worded letter from B.C.’s opposition party details four major concerns with the NEB process, including that it lacks the public’s confidence, doesn’t consider climate change, hasn’t required Kinder Morgan to disclose its emergency response plans and failed to ensure First Nations were on board. Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

Montana scrambles, but Corps not close to coal port decision
A U.S. senator and representative from Montana hurriedly circulated petitions in their respective chambers to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers not to kill the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point. The 16 U.S. senators who signed their letter, including Montana Republican Steve Daines, were appealing to the Corps to not halt Gateway Pacific Terminal as requested in January by Lummi Nation until after a thorough environmental review is completed, with the release of a draft environmental impact statement. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Inslee says cap would hit largest carbon sources, including gas distributors
Not wanting to swallow a “poison pill” provision in the Legislature’s transportation package helped keep Gov. Jay Inslee from creating a clean-fuel standard targeting the tailpipes that are Washington’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. But Inslee told The News Tribune editorial board Wednesday that the regulations he is now pursuing would cover distributors of vehicle fuel. “Basically what this is about is breaking the monopoly and the stranglehold on Washingtonians of the oil and gas industry,” the Democratic governor said. Jordan Schrader reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

As salmon vanish in the dry Pacific Northwest, so does Native heritage
As a drought tightens its grip on the Pacific Northwest, burning away mountain snow and warming rivers, state officials and Native American tribes are becoming increasingly worried that one of the region’s most precious resources — wild salmon — might disappear. Native Americans, who for centuries have relied on salmon for food and ceremonial rituals, say the area’s five species of salmon have been declining for years, but the current threat is worse than anything they have seen. Darrly Fears reports. (Washington Post)

Lummi, S’Klallam Nations In Court Over 30-year-long Dispute Over Fishing Territory
The Lummi and S’Klallams were among the Indigenous Peoples who fished a vast inland sea off northwest Washington, bounded by Haro Strait to the west, Rosario Strait to the east, Georgia Strait to the north, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound to the south. In the middle are the San Juan Islands, which the Lummi believe is their place of origin. To the south is the Olympic Peninsula, the place of origin of the Elwha, Jamestown and Port Gamble S’Klallam peoples…. Both sides are in U.S. District Court, in their third decade of legal battles to determine who has the treaty right to fish those waters. District and appellate court decisions have seesawed in favor of the S’Klallams and the Lummi Nation. Richard Walker reports. (Indian Country Today)

Willapa Bay plan cuts Chinook production by one-third
The production of hatchery Chinook in Willapa Bay will decrease by more than one-third as a result of a policy adopted recently by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. The policy, adopted in June, also is likely to decrease the number of fish commercial fishermen can catch if the commission’s action survives a legal challenge. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have said that they needed to adopt the new policy to avoid having the Chinook listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. (Longview Daily News)

The secret scientific life of B.C.’s ferries
B.C. Ferries passengers may not know they’re also aboard a mobile ocean observatory. Three vessels that cross the Strait of Georgia have been outfitted with instruments for collecting ocean and atmospheric information, through a partnership with Ocean Networks Canada. Scientists are using the data to monitor the strait’s habitat health, which has implications for everything from micro-organisms to larger species such as salmon and orcas. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist) See also: Some Google Street View Cars Now Track Pollution Levels  Sam Sanders reports. (NPR)

If you like to watch: Storm on the Deschutes
DERT's Board member and historian Helen Wheatley put this video together after a early fall storm on the Deschutes a few years ago. Its the sentiments of sediment. See here.

Whale entanglements increasing off B.C. coast
Fisheries and Oceans Canada says four whales entangled in fishing gear have been rescued off the B.C. coast in the past five weeks. Entanglement can be a death sentence for whales if netting prevents them from breathing and feeding. But in some cases, whales can go on for months or even years dragging along the gear before someone spots them and calls for help. (CBC)

Illuminating the Plight of Endangered Species, at the Empire State Building
Travis Threlkel was standing on the roof of a building on Fifth Avenue and 27th Street looking uptown at his canvas. It’s hard to miss: It’s the Empire State Building, and on Saturday evening he and his collaborator, the filmmaker and photographer Louie Psihoyos, will project digital light images of endangered species onto the building in an art event meant to draw attention to the creatures’ plight and possibly provide footage for a coming documentary.… On Saturday, using 40 stacked, 20,000-lumen projectors on the roof of a building on West 31st Street, Mr. Threlkel and Mr. Psihoyos, director of the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” will be illuminating the night from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. with a looping reel showing what Mr. Psihoyos calls a “Noah’s ark” of animals. A snow leopard, a golden lion tamarin and manta rays, along with snakes, birds and various mammals and sea creatures will be projected onto a space 375 feet tall and 186 feet wide covering 33 floors of the southern face of the Empire State Building — and beyond, thanks to cellphones and Internet connections. Tom Roston reports. (NYTimes)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI JUL 31 2015
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 15 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
SAT
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W 15 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT...BECOMING 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W SWELL 5 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W
 SWELL 5 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
SUN
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

7/30 Shell drill, anchorage, drought conflict, warm waters, Big One, bull kelp, toxic spills, Polley mine, fish names

St. John’s Bridge, Portland ( Mike Zacchino /Oregonian)
Protesters in Portland dangle from bridge in a bid to block Shell icebreaker
Protests against Shell’s off-shore Arctic drilling took a dramatic turn in the pre-dawn hours Thursday as 13 Greenpeace activists suspended themselves on ropes from a bridge above the Willamette River here in a bid to stop an icebreaker from heading north to the Chukchi Sea. The 380-foot icebreaker, the MSV Fennica, must be on hand in the Chukchi before Shell can drill into oil-bearing zones where the company hopes to make a major new find. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Proposed freighter anchorages anger islanders
The owner of a multi-million dollar home on Gabriola Island says he’ll fight the establishment of five proposed anchorages for freighters less than a kilometre from shore all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada if he has to. “NIMBY? You bet,” said Ted Fullerton, who moved into the view home on the island near Nanaimo four years ago and worries about decreasing property values. “It’s heavy industry in my back yard. I don’t want it here and they can’t get away with it.” Susan Lazaruk reports. (The Province)

In drought, conflict emerges between fish and man
…. Government and the courts now protect “in-stream” flows for salmon, other critters, aesthetics, and more. In Washington, salmon have a special place in the calculations. Endangered Species Act listings and the treaty rights of Indian tribes make it impossible to just forget about the fish. Nevertheless, spurred by the current lack of summer water, some people are trying to forget, while others, for transparent reasons of self-interest, are steadfastly remembering. Daniel Jack Chasan reports. (Crosscut)

Warm waters bring more restrictions on salmon fishing in Tulalip
The continuing drought in Washington state has led the Department of Fish and Wildlife to put more restrictions on salmon fishing in Tulalip. Significantly fewer summer-run chinook are showing up in tribal and state hatcheries. Any salmon caught by anglers is one less fish that can be used for brood stock, said the Tulalip Tribes' Mike Crewson. Water temperatures in rivers and streams have been high for most of the summer, and now Tulalip Bay has been getting too warm for the fish, providing a barrier to migration for chinook returning to the tribes' hatchery off Tulalip Creek. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald) See also: B.C. drought forces closure of another fishery  Drought conditions in British Columbia have forced the closure of another fishery in the province's southern Interior. The Okanagan Nation Alliance has suspended the commercial and recreational sockeye salmon fishery on Osoyoos Lake after high water temperature led to more fish disease, infection and death.  (Canadian Press)

How To Stay Safe When The Big One Comes
For most of the past three years, I’ve worked as a book critic, which is not a job that affords me many opportunities to scare the living daylights out of my readers. (Authors, occasionally; readers, no.) But earlier this month, when a story I wrote about a dangerous fault line in the Pacific Northwest hit the newsstands, the overwhelming response was alarm. “Terrifying,” the story kept getting called; also “truly terrifying,” “incredibly terrifying,” “horrifying,” and “scary as fuck.” “Don’t read it if you want to go back to sleep,” one reader warned. “It’s hard to overhype how scary it is,” Buzzfeed said. “New Yorker scares the bejesus out of NW,” the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote. Kathryn Schuulz reports. (The New Yorker)

Little is known about bull kelp, which nearly all marine life here relies on
When bull kelp washes ashore in the fall, it's almost too tempting for any kid to leave alone. It provides a ready-made whip or, if cut right, a natural wind instrument. The slick, greenish-brown plant with a bulbous end is such a feature of the beach landscape that it's easy to take for granted. Yet little is known about its presence in the waters of north Puget Sound. Where does it grow? Is it growing back in the same places after it dies off each fall? Is it thriving or declining? Bull kelp has disappeared in parts of south and central Puget Sound, but the situation farther north is unclear. With those thoughts in mind, volunteers from Snohomish County's Marine Resources Committee paddled out in kayaks for several days in mid-July. They left from beaches in Edmonds, Meadowdale and Mukilteo to perform a first-of-its-kind survey, in collaboration with other communities around the Sound.  Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Tacoma tideflats recycling company fined again for toxic spills
For the second time in five months, the state has fined a Tacoma recycling company for spilling toxic waste into Commencement Bay. Emerald Services, Inc., a waste-management company on the Tacoma tideflats, was fined $99,000 by the state Department of Ecology for two back-to-back spills on Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 of 2014. A tank overflowed and spilled 100 gallons of “dangerous waste solvent” into the water, the department said. The spill was the result of employee error, officials said, highlighting shortcomings in training. Stacia Glenn reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Mount Polley tailings pond cleanup completes first phase
The first phase of the cleanup operation triggered by the Mount Polley tailings pond collapse has been completed. On Aug. 4, 2014, the massive dam storing tailings from the gold and copper mine gave way, spilling 24 million cubic metres of mine waste and water into nearby lakes and rivers. The phase one cleanup was meant to stabilize a creek and ensure water quality. (CBC)

You Say Striped Bass, I Say Rockfish. What's In A Fish Name?
Order a rockfish at a restaurant in Maryland, and you’ll likely get a striped bass. Place the same order in California, and you could end up with a Vermilion rockfish, a Pacific Ocean perch or one of dozens of other fish species on your plate. This jumble of names is perfectly legal. But it’s confusing to diners — and it can also hamper efforts to combat illegal fishing and seafood fraud, says the ocean conservation group Oceana. Clare Leschin-Hoar reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU JUL 30 2015
TODAY
VARIABLE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

7/29 BC boats, Inslee acts, warm waters, fish collapse, oil push, Edelman, human measure, Vic sewer, Tesoro, drought

Salish-class ferries (BC Ferries/Times Colonist)
B.C. Ferries announces names of new Salish-class ships
The mid-size ferries joining the B.C. Ferries fleet starting in 2016 will form the new Salish class of vessels. B.C. Ferries announced Tuesday that the Salish class name applies to all three vessels being built at a Polish shipyard for a total cost of $165 million. The three 351-foot vessels will be called Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven. Carla Wilson reports. (Times Colonist)

Inslee: I’ll use my authority to impose cap on emissions
Frustrated by legislative inaction on climate, Gov. Jay Inslee plans to wield his administration’s executive authority to impose a binding cap on carbon emissions in Washington state. Inslee on Tuesday directed the state Department of Ecology to step up enforcement of state pollution laws and develop the emissions cap — aimed at enforcing greenhouse-gas-reduction targets that have been in state law since 2008. Jim Brunner and Hal Bernton report. (Seattle Times)

Puget Sound waters reach record warm temperatures
Puget Sound has reached the highest temperatures on record based on 25 years of data, the state Department of Ecology announced Tuesday. Scientists are seeing unusual conditions in the sound as a result of the statewide drought and the pool of unusually warm water in the northern Pacific Ocean some are calling “the blob.” Warming waters are increasing harmful algae blooms and shellfish closures, lowering the oxygen content of the water and creating unfavorable conditions for salmon and other marine species. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Sockeye face 'catastrophic' collapse in South Okanagan
A potentially catastrophic collapse of the sockeye salmon run is unfolding on the Columbia River system this year. Scientists once predicted that about 100,000 sockeye would return to spawning grounds in the rivers and streams in British Columbia's South Okanagan region. In fact, it was supposed to be one of the largest sockeye runs in recent history, said Okanagan Nation Alliance fish biologist Richard Bussanich. But Bussanich said the latest projection falls short of earlier expectations. Instead, it's now thought that only 18,000 sockeye will return this year. He said higher water temperatures and low water levels are stressing the migrating salmon. (CBC)

Big oil push for crude exports could bring more oil trains through Washington state
Right now, U.S. companies are not allowed to export crude oil. But if some very powerful oil companies get what they want, that could be about to change. If that happens, Washington state could become a major portal for crude exports. Last week, top executives of four leading U.S. oil companies sent a joint letter to the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, pressing for repeal of the 30-year ban on crude oil exports. Steve Wilhelm reports. (Puget Sound Business Journal)

GPT: Departure of PR firm Edelman ‘won’t impact anything’
News broke late last week in environmentalist social media circles that Edelman, reportedly the world’s largest public relations firm, had dropped Gateway Pacific Terminal as a client. Gateway Pacific Terminal is the coal port proposed on a 1,500-acre site at Cherry Point. At full capacity, it would ship 48 million metric tons of coal annually to overseas markets, primarily in Asia. The story appeared initially in Environment and Energy Publishing, an independent news site that is all but inaccessible to the hoi polloi due to subscription rates that range from $2,000 to $150,000 a year. But some advocacy groups are subscribers, and the news did filter down to Bellingham environmentalists. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

State Agency Adding Human Well-Being To Puget Sound Health Indicators
Humans should be part of any consideration of how well Puget Sound’s ecological recovery is going. How we’re thriving and benefiting are critical parts of the equation, according to new research conducted for the state agency in charge of the cleanup. The agency, called Puget Sound Partnership, is adding indicators of human well-being and quality of life to the “vital signs” it tracks. They’ll be included on the colorful pinwheel “dashboard” that anyone can see online. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Westside sewage committee asks for extension to look at sites
The westside sewage committee wants more time to evaluate site options — and it’s banking on a centralized treatment option in the eastside to keep funding out of jeopardy. The westside committee voted Tuesday to submit a full technical analysis of short-listed sites by the end of October, instead of September, as outlined in its PPP Canada $83-million funding agreement. The core area liquid waste management committee will consider the plan today. Co-chairwoman of the westside Barb Desjardins said the extra time is about getting the right technical information, not delaying the process. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Tesoro to enter chemical business with new project
n a few years, your polyester jacket could be made, in part, by a chemical extracted from crude oil at the Tesoro Refinery. It’s called xylene and can be found in just about any hardware store. The liquid solvent is already being extracted by other refineries and sold overseas to be made into polyester for plastics and clothing, but the Anacortes refinery will be the first in the Tesoro family to expand its repertoire, entering into the chemical business. Shelby Rowe reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Snoqualmie Valley farmers fight drought with innovation
…. Twenty minutes east of Seattle, (the Snoqualmie Valley) is home to multiple small and organic farmers who feed much of Puget Sound’s insatiable appetite for chemical free fruits, vegetables, eggs and poultry. Like every farm in every county across the state, Local Roots is struggling to access enough water this year. Farm owners Siri Erickson-Brown and Jason Salvo, a 30-something couple with advanced degrees, have farmed in this valley for nine years. They’ve seen 100-year floods wash out fields in consecutive years, and record cold on one Fourth of July. But they’ve never seen a year like this – record heat combined with soil so dry they’ve had to exhaust virtually every water resource available. Martha Baskin reports. (Crosscut)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 255 AM PDT WED JUL 29 2015
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

7/28 Marbled murrelet, drought, aquifer, BC LNG, science reporting, whale deaths, Nisqually

Marbled murrelet (Rich MacIntosh/USFWS/Seattle Times)
Little seabird’s advocates hope protection plan is near
In 1992, a small, speedy seabird called the marbled murrelet was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Its home — the old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest — had dwindled, leaving it few places to nest. Twenty-three years later, the population of the bird has continued to decline. By some counts, its numbers are 50 percent lower than they were a decade ago. Now its advocates have joined together in a new campaign to save the bird, which can fly at up to 100 mph, swims underwater and has a roundish body. Maria Mudd-Ruth, whose 2005 book about the species was reissued in 2013, described it as a “brown potato with a beak.” The Murrelet Survival Project, which started last August, is pressuring the state and federal governments to come up with a long-term conservation plan, aimed at increasing the murrelet’s nesting habitat. Miguel Otarola reports. (Seattle Times)

Water Shortage Response Plans Ask For Conservation, Don't Mandate It
Seattle, Tacoma and Everett have activated their water shortage response plans. The hot, dry weather has increased demand for water just as river levels are at historic lows. Seattle Public Utilities, Tacoma Public Utilities and the city of Everett issued a joint  release announcing the implementation of the first stage of the response plans. In the first stage, no one will be forced to stop watering their lawn…. If water supplies go too low, Seattle, Tacoma and Everett, which supplies water for most of Snohomish County, would move to stage two, which would mean asking customers to voluntarily cut back. Under stage 3, mandatory restrictions would kick in. Paula Wissel reports. (KPLU) See also: Drought prompts water-use advisories in Everett, Seattle and Tacoma  Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald) See also: Tacoma Water joins Seattle, Everett in water shortage plan  Kate Martin reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Massive underground aquifer helping to keep Vancouver green
As Vancouver increasingly relies on an underground aquifer to water its street trees and the Langara golf course in the midst of this summer’s punishing drought, one hydrology expert is cautioning that we don’t know enough about how readily it can be replenished. For more than 25 years, Vancouver’s parks department has used the city’s largest aquifer to irrigate its Langara golf course, taking pressure off the region’s treated drinking water supplies. Now, as the Lower Mainland experiences a drought that shows no signs of ending, Vancouver is considering gently expanding its use of the vast underground Oakridge aquifer for non-potable water needs. Jeff Lee reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. LNG job numbers overstated, report claims
The B.C. Liberal government’s claim that liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports will create 100,000 jobs is a vastly exaggerated forecast, says a report by a think tank that has touched off a controversy about how much of an employment boon the sector will actually create. “We find that this claim is not credible and that potential employment impacts have been grossly overstated,” said the study by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

A few random thoughts about reporting and environmental science
Christopher Dunagan, who retired from daily reporting at the Kitsap Sun and now blogs, wrote of his 35 years of reporting: … "I grew up believing that science was a particular set of facts that explained the workings of nature. For the longest time, I failed to see that the most important thing about science was formulating the right questions about things we don’t know. Science teachers should, of course, convey what is known, but I believe they should also lead their students to the edge of the unknown, revealing some of the questions that scientists are attempting to answer right now. That is what much of my reporting on Puget Sound has been about. We’ve known for years that the health of the waterway is in decline. It has been rewarding to help people understand why things have been going wrong and what can be done to reverse the downward trends. While there is much work to do, we’re at a point where we can expect Puget Sound residents to limit their damage to the ecosystem and become part of the restoration effort." (Watching Our Water Ways)

Scientist: Whale deaths off Alaska island remains mystery
Researchers may never solve the recent deaths of 18 endangered whales whose carcasses were found floating near Alaska's Kodiak Island, a scientist working on the case said Monday. Samples taken from one of the 10 fin whales were at least a week old, which could throw off test results, said Kate Wynne, a marine mammal specialist for the University of Alaska Sea Grant Program. The carcasses of eight humpback whales also were found. The carcasses of the marine mammals were discovered between Memorial Day weekend and early July. Most of the animals were too decomposed for sampling. Rachel D'Oro reports. (Associated Press)

Explore the Nisqually wildlife refuge during walks, programs
The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a great destination when you want to get outdoors and only have a few hours to spend. There are several miles of trails for hiking, a multitude of places to watch resident and migrant birds and spots to look for other wildlife. Along with its natural attractions, the refuge also is offering a number of programs in the coming weeks…. The refuge is located just off Interstate 5, at Exit 114. For more information, call the refuge at 360-753-9467 or go to fws.gov/refuge/nisqually. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE JUL 28 2015
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT...BECOMING 2 FT OR LESS IN THE AFTERNOON. W
 SWELL 3 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 15 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, July 27, 2015

7/27 Salmon stress, Shell drill, oil port, divestment, disaster class, spill kits, boat racetrack, Bowker Cr, Squaxin park, Western Flyer

The rains came... (Nick Procaylo/Vancouver Sun)
Stillaguamish River, threatened fish species weather silt, slides and drought
....The Stillaguamish is home to three species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act: Chinook salmon, steelhead trout and bull trout. In recent years, however, the river suffered two blows that have threatened the survival of those species. First came the Oso mudslide on March 22, 2014. In addition to killing 43 people and cutting off Darrington from the rest of the county, the slide dumped tons of sediment into the river, turning the north fork opaque gray…. Then came the second blow: record low winter snowpack combined with high temperatures and drought caused record low water levels this summer just as the salmon started to return. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald) See also: Snowpack drought has salmon dying in overheated rivers   Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Kayactivists Paddle In Protest As Shell Prepares For Arctic Drill
Portland's Swan Island basin was still and remarkably quiet Saturday as a flotilla of kayakers dipped their paddles in and out of the water, pulling themselves north toward the Vigorous, the largest dry dock in America. Then, with a cry, a drumbeat began. One hundred paddles smacked the water, and people yelled, "Shell no!" It was a moment of spontaneous drama in an otherwise meticulously planned floating protest of Shell's imminent plan to drill exploratory wells for oil in the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic, and the Obama administration's decision to issue Shell the environmental permits to proceed. (KUOW)

Judge Rules In Favor Of Vancouver Port On Oil Terminal Lease
Clark County Judge David Gregerson ruled Friday that port leaders in Vancouver, Washington didn’t violate state laws in 2013 when they negotiated a lease for an oil terminal. The lease between Tesoro-Savage companies and the port remains in place. If built, the terminal project could ship 360,000 barrels of oil daily from the port to refineries along the West Coast. Conrad Wilson reports. (EarthFix)

Victoria seeks powers to divest from fossil fuels
Victoria council wants local governments to be able to divest themselves of investments in fossil fuels. After hearing from several speakers Thursday, councillors passed a resolution calling for several actions relating to socially responsible investments, including…. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Crude Oil Spill Disaster Classes Offered As Communities See Increased Oil Train Use
A year ago Friday, an oil train from North Dakota derailed under Seattle’s busy Magnolia Bridge during the height of the morning commute. No one was hurt and nothing burned in that accident but the scare has prompted changes to the emergency response to a similar accident should one occur. The reason? As many as two thousand black oil tanker cars now roll through Seattle each week, carrying crude from North Dakota’s Bakken region…. “Everybody that makes up the city - believe  it or not - is going to have a role to play," said John Malool, who teaches occupational safety at Rutgers University in New Jersey Malool  also is the fire chief in his hometown of Ridgefield Park, outside New York City. He’ll be teaching classes next week in Seattle and  Everett on how communities can prepare for oil train accidents. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Free oil spill kits can help curb Puget Sound boating pollution
In an effort to curb pollution from recreational boats, a partnership of agencies will be giving away oil spill kits in Western Washington. The free kits will be handed out by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotillas during free vessel examinations. During the last 10 years, more than 19,000 gallons of pollution has been spilled into Puget Sound. Of that, 75 percent came from recreational boaters and commercial fishing vessels, according to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard. (The Olympian)

EPA settlement imposes $14,000 fine, wetlands restoration order on sprint boat racetrack in Port Angeles; track will stay
An agreement has been reached between Extreme Sports Park co-owner Dan Morrison and the federal Environmental Protection Agency that will keep Morrison’s sprint boat racetrack intact. But Morrison’s A2Z Enterprises will have to pay a $14,000 fine and restore 1.3 acres of wetlands that were filled when the track was built, the EPA announced Friday. A final restoration plan has not been released, EPA spokeswoman Brianna Stoutenburgh said. (Peninsula Daily News)

Bowker Creek restoration a textbook example of environmental healing
A revitalized Bowker Creek will be an added touch to the new Oak Bay High School, set to open in September. The creek is a prominent feature at the south end of the school grounds, where it cuts a swath, then flows a few more kilometres to the ocean near Willows Beach. Work began this month on a restoration along 120 metres of the creek, where much of the growth was invasive and not conducive to a healthy environment. Jeff Bell reports. (Times Colonist)

State to sell former island park to Squaxin Island tribe
Washington State Parks will sell a former state park to the Squaxin Island Tribe, which forced the park’s closure more than two decades ago. The Kitsap Sun reported that the parks commission on Thursday unanimously approved the sale of the former Squaxin Island State Park in Mason County to the tribe for $45,000. (Associated Press)

Boat associated with John Steinbeck getting $2 million renovation in Port Townsend
The Western Flyer is about to be uncloaked.  Three months after the beginning of a $2 million renovation to transform the battered hulk of a boat once used by author John Steinbeck into a floating science center, those working on the project are lifting the shroud of secrecy and allowing the public to look but not touch.  Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON JUL 27 2015
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 9 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, July 24, 2015

7/24 Orca rescue, Blue rockfish, spill response, port alliance, closures, discharge fee, barred owl

The original Blue Marble, left, and the new image, right. (NASA/NYTimes)
Comparing Two 'Blue Marble' Photos of Earth  (New York Times)

If you like to watch: Stranded orca saved by volunteers who kept it cool for hours until high tide
An orca that was stranded on some rocks was kept alive for eight hours by a dedicated team of whale researchers and volunteers on the North Coast of B.C.  (CBC)

On the subject of orcas in captivity living as long as those in the wild, a reader wrote: “What a ridiculous argument to make on behalf of Orcas in captivity.  It's also possible to make the argument that some people in prison live longer than those outside of the walls.  The longevity records for captive species almost always suggests that they have longer life spans than their wild relatives.  I can think of half a dozen reasons why this may be a fact, but the greater consideration is comparing QUALITY of life with QUANTITY  of life.  Your news report [ SeaWorld orcas live as long as whales in the wild, new study says ] is just one more example of an organization skewing the content to sustain their ill conceived practices. Good news in the Orca birth dept eh?  How many births does Seaworld have recorded for these species?  Not that even one birth would be a good argument for captivity and what that means to truncating a wild animals range of learning and activity.”

Researchers conclude popular rockfish is actually two distinct species
A new analysis confirms that the Blue Rockfish (Sebastes mystinus), a popular and commercially significant rockfish sought by anglers primarily off the California and Oregon coasts, is actually two separate and distinct species. Previous studies had discovered some genetic differences between two groups of Blue Rockfishes, but their status as distinct species had never been proven until researchers at Oregon State University, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California State University, Los Angeles, demonstrated distinguishing differences in anatomy, coloration, geographic distribution and genetics. (Phys.Org)

Feds step up efforts to improve Vancouver’s oil spill response time
Following a fuel spill in April that drew widespread criticism of the coast guard’s response time, the federal government has announced it will set up a new office dedicated to pollution risks in the harbour. Office space for a new environmental response office will be set aside in the HMCS Discovery at Coal Harbour, headquarters for the Canadian Coast Guard inshore rescue boat station. Yvonne Zacharias reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Federal Maritime Commission gives its blessing to Northwest Seaport Alliance
An alliance designed to bolster the competitive stance of Puget Sound’s two largest ports has won the blessing from the Federal Maritime Commission in a unanimous vote. Under the alliance proposal approved Wednesday, the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, historic rivals for the business of major shipping lines, will merge the management, operations and marketing of their largest container terminals under a joint operating agency known as the Northwest Seaport Alliance. Implementation of that alliance plan now only awaits formal approval from both ports at an Aug. 4 meeting. John Gille reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Vashon’s Quartermaster Harbor closed to recreational shellfish harvesting
Vashon-Maury Island’s Quartermaster Harbor has been closed to recreational shellfish harvesting because of unsafe levels of paralytic shellfish poison (PSP). (Seattle Times) See also: Swimmers advised to avoid Owen Beach water after sewage spill Alexis Krell reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

State may increase fees for water discharge permits
The state Department of Ecology is considering increasing annual fees for stormwater and wastewater discharge permits and is accepting public comment through Sept. 9. Local governments and some industries are required to have the permits, which limit how much pollution can be released into the environment, Ecology said in a news release. The fees for the permits help the state recoup the costs of running the program. The agency oversees about 6,000 discharge permits. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Judge Clears Barred Owl Removal Study
Killing barred owls to study the potential effects on threatened spotted owls does not violate federal environmental laws, according to a federal judge. Populations of the northern spotted owl, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act, have continued to decline in recent decades despite strict limits on logging. Federal scientists believe the problem is partly due to the barred owl, a rival species that’s more adaptable, occupies similar habitats and competes for food. Mateusz Perkowski reports. (Capital Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI JUL 24 2015
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING S IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN THE
 MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SUN
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 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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Thursday, July 23, 2015

7/23 Shell drill, orcas, humpbacks, oil trains, culverts, Port Gamble, instream flow, Chimacum ridge, drought

Deer in town (Vancouver Sun)
Deer wanders through downtown Vancouver (with photos and video)  Joanne Lee-Young and Larry Pynn report. (Vancouver Sun) And: CRD directors vote to leave deer management to municipalities  Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonnist)

Shell gets permits for limited oil drilling in Arctic waters
The Obama administration has given Royal Dutch Shell PLC approval to begin limited exploratory oil drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast. The two permits issued Wednesday clear the way for drilling in Chukchi Sea, but with conditions. Shell can only drill the top sections of wells because the company doesn’t have critical emergency response equipment on site to cap a well in case of a leak. That equipment is aboard a ship headed to Portland, Oregon, for repairs. Kevin Freking and Dan Joling report. (Associated Press)

SeaWorld orcas live as long as whales in the wild, new study says
The debate over the treatment of killer whales at SeaWorld has turned into a battle over scientific studies now that a new report has concluded that whales showcased at the marine-themed parks live just as long as whales in the wild. The peer-reviewed study, which appears in the July edition of the Journal of Mammalogy, concluded that the life expectancy of a SeaWorld killer whale is 41.6 years, compared with 29 years for killer whales in a southern community of the waters of the Pacific Northwest and 42.3 for whales in a northern community. Hugo Martin reports. (LA Times) See also: Official orca census: 81 whales, including 4 babies (Associated Press)

How emissions threaten humpback whales
A new study finds ocean acidification can dramatically change the structure of marine ecosystems by affecting the ocean's smallest organisms. Shontee Pant reports. (Christian Science Monitor)

Feds warn railroads to comply with oil train notification requirement
The U.S. Department of Transportation warned railroads that they must continue to notify states of large crude oil shipments after several states reported not getting updated information for as long as a year…. In spite of increased public concern about the derailments, railroads have opposed the public release of the oil train information by numerous states. Two companies sued Maryland in July 2014 to prevent the state from releasing the oil train data to McClatchy. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy) See also: Oil train counts trend upward in Clark County   BNSF says 11 to 15 carry crude through the area each week  Eric Florip reports. (Columbian)

Salmon to spawn traffic tie-ups for years
Washington's DOT is completely closing the section of Highway 9 just north of mile post 42 for two entire months. Crews are ripping up the road and tying up traffic to make the commute easier for fish. They are tearing out an old culvert and replacing it with a brand new bridge so that salmon have an easier time spawning. Culverts often get clogged with debris, making it difficult for fish to move up and downstream. The closure is expected aThe Highway 9 project is the very first of nearly 900 similar projects all around the Puget Sound region that will last for the next 15 years…. The fish crossing projects are expected to cost taxpayers about $150 million per year. WSDOT says it still isn't sure how it will pay for all of them.dd about 30 minutes to commute times…. Eric Wilkinson reports. (KING)

Port Gamble sewage plant to protect shellfish, recharge groundwater
The historic town of Port Gamble is about to get a new-fangled sewage-treatment plant, one that will allow highly treated effluent to recharge the groundwater in North Kitsap. The old treatment plant discharges its effluent into Hood Canal, causing the closure of about 90 acres of shellfish beds. After the new plant is in operation, those shellfish beds are likely to be reopened, officials say. The new facility will be built and operated by Kitsap Public Utility District, which owns and manages small water systems throughout the county. The Port Gamble plant will be the first wastewater operation to be managed by the KPUD, which views the project as a step toward reclaiming more of Kitsap County’s wastewater by putting it to beneficial use, said manager Bob Hunter. Christopher Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Landowners express anger over water rights issue that blocks their ability to build
Frustrated landowners complained bitterly at a meeting Tuesday about government decisions that have denied them access to water and full use of their land, with some suggesting property owners should build without county permits as acts of civil disobedience. The meeting was called by the Skagit chapter of the Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights…. Water issues have been a hot topic in Skagit County for decades. The state Department of Ecology contends the instream flow rule is meant to protect aquatic habitat for salmon and other species. Shannen Kuest reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Land trust, others acquire ridge top Chimacum forest to avoid clearcut
An 850-acre parcel that was slated for clearcutting is now protected in a partnership that includes the Jefferson Land Trust, which plans to explore its recreational and economic potential.  Chimacum Ridge, a forested area located between Center and Beaver valleys in sight of the Chimacum Crossroads, will be developed as a community forest where timber is selectively harvested and then used in local projects, according to Sarah Spaeth, Jefferson Land Trust’s director of conservation and strategic partnerships. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Metro Vancouver’s water use now at ‘manageable levels’
Metro Vancouver expects it should have enough water in its three reservoirs to carry the region through to November without further restrictions, following a revised modelling forecast based on a rainless summer and more stringent enforcement. The regional district, which issued level three water restrictions this week, said it’s unlikely to move to level four if the weather cools off and residents continue to conserve water. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU JUL 23 2015
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF
 RAIN 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