Tuesday, July 26, 2016

7/26 Dike breach, ton of nukes, Chickamauga, white whale Migaloo

Dawn departure (PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Dawn Departure
Laurie MacBride in Eye On Environment writes: "I’m not really a morning person, so it was tempting to turn over and go back to sleep when the alarm sounded at 0530. But I knew that if we missed the narrow window at Malibu Rapids we’d be in trouble, for there are no decent anchorages anywhere near that part of the long, deep fjord that leads to Princess Louisa Inlet, our destination that day…"

Nature Conservancy, WDFW to breach dike on Fir Island
Aug. 1, the afternoon high tide will bring water into a former estuary on Fir Island that has been dry for 100 years. The project, which began in 2009 as a partnership between The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will demolish an existing dike on WDFW’s Fir Island snow goose reserve, returning 131 acres to saltwater estuary. A new 5,800-feet setback dike has been built over the past year, along with a pump station, tide gates and a retention pond. Estuary habitat is critical for juvenile Chinook salmon, which the federal government listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. (Stanwood-Camano News)

Reminder: Puget Sound has a ton of nuclear weapons
The ad pierces your consciousness and catches you by surprise. Plastered on the side of King County Metro buses, it hurls you momentarily back in time, to a time when nuclear weapons were an immanent threat to our survival. Or did the era never end? The ad — sponsored by activists from the Poulsbo-based Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action — reads: “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.” Martha Baskin reports. (Crosscut)

Chickamauga tug owner may do jail time over sinking of historic tugboat
The former owner of the historic tugboat "Chickamauga" may serve 20 days in jail after admitting he let the 100-year tugboat fall into disrepair and sink in Eagle Harbor in late 2013. The Washington State Attorney General's Office announced Monday that Anthony R. Smith, the owner of the Chickamauga, entered a guilty plea on charges of allowing the tugboat to become derelict, and polluting state waters. The 100-year-old tugboat Chickamauga sank in Eagle Harbor in October 2013 and leaked approximately 200 to 300 gallons of diesel fuel into Puget Sound. Brian Kelly reports. (Bainbridge Review)

White humpback Migaloo spotted off Australia's Byron Bay
A famous white humpback whale has been spotted on his annual migration to Australia's north. Migaloo is known for his distinctive colouring and for many years was the only documented all-white humpback whale in the world. He has been sighted off the coast of New South Wales state, including the resort town of Byron Bay. Migaloo's journey up Australia's east coast has attracted large numbers of whale enthusiasts. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  246 AM PDT TUE JUL 26 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 4 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 7 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 at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

7/25 Sick salmon, fish farm, BC quarry, Tacoma LNG, crab pots, fish protest, peat bog, log export, oysters, cannibals

Farmed salmon (World Wildlife)
Pressure is on to find out if fish farms make wild salmon sick, says federal scientist
It's enough to make even the most ardent salmon lover lose their appetite: the divisive debate that's raged for decades on the West Coast about what fish farms are doing to our wild salmon. This week, the latest volley: starlet Pamela Anderson and David Suzuki teamed up to launch an advocacy-slash-research mission looking for PRV — a fish virus especially prevalent on fish farms. The industry dismissed the campaign as a "stunt." But there's no doubt the questions about farmed fish transferring disease to wild salmon are very real, said the Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientist co-leading the largest push to investigate them. The problem is, they're also exceptionally difficult to answer.  Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC) See also: Sea-lice outbreak may have been worsened by management delays: Study  Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Farmed salmon pits Island First Nation against activists
An Island First Nation says wild salmon advocates aren’t welcome at its fish farms. Tlowitsis Chief John M. Smith said he won’t allow conservationists to visit two small Atlantic salmon farms on the Campbell River nation’s territory…. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has teamed with aquaculture critic and biologist Alexandra Morton to investigate the impact of B.C.’s salmon farms — most of which are off the east coast of Vancouver Island — on wild stocks. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Finding answers for dangerous decline of Puget Sound steelhead
Harbor seals have become prime suspects in the deaths of millions of young steelhead trout that die each year in Puget Sound, but the seals may not be working alone. Disease and/or various environmental factors could play a part, perhaps weakening the young steelhead as they begin their migratory journey from the streams of Puget Sound out to the open ocean. Something similar is happening to steelhead on the Canadian side of the border in the Salish Sea. More than 50 research projects are underway in Puget Sound and Georgia Strait to figure out why salmon runs are declining — and steelhead are a major focus of the effort. Unlike most migratory salmon, steelhead don’t hang around long in estuaries that can complicate the mortality investigation for some species. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Campaign mounts against quarry near Desolation Sound
Opposition to a proposed gravel quarry near Desolation Sound is growing. Non-profit society Save Desolation Sound formed in January after Alberta-based aggregate company Lehigh Hanson Materials applied to the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources last fall for an exploratory licence to conduct bore-hole testing near Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park. Prominent Vancouver architect and Save Desolation Sound Society director Russell Hollingsworth said the area is a sanctuary. Chris Bolster reports. (Powell River Peak)

Permit for Port of Tacoma LNG plant survives tribal challenge
Puget Sound Energy’s proposed liquified natural gas plant at the Port of Tacoma moved a step closer to reality this week when a state panel upheld a key permit. The state Shorelines Hearings Board rejected the Puyallup Tribe’s appeal of a Tacoma city development permit that allowed PSE to develop along the Commencement Bay shoreline, over objections it would harm conditions in the Blair Waterway. Derrick Nunnally reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Northwest Straits Foundation has plan to reduce lost crab pots
Thousands of crab pots are lost in Puget Sound each year, often trapping valuable Dungeness crab in watery graves. The Northwest Straits Foundation released a plan last week that outlines steps to reduce lost crab pots over the next three years. The prevention plan is the latest step in the foundation’s effort to reduce derelict fishing gear, which can net and kill fish, birds and marine mammals. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Protest over Skokomish fishing restrictions set for Saturday
Anglers plan to protest the Skokomish Tribe's decision to close one of Hood Canal's most popular sport fishing spots. Puget Sound Anglers, a recreational fishing group with about 7,000 members, plans to gather Saturday at the river's George Adams Hatchery to demonstrate against the closure. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Local conservation group working to preserve one of county's last remaining peat bogs
SHADOW (Save Habitat and Diversity of Wetlands) Lake Nature Preserve is a 92-acre preserve and home to one of Puget Sound’s last remaining peat bogs. SHADOW works towards ensuring the sustainability of the Shadow Lake’s habitations and preserving the 5,000 year-old bog — a type of wetland that accumulates peat and acid-loving moss — but also to educate kids and adults about the importance of preserving the ecology. Before SHADOW existed and the land was protected, the area was used as a garbage dumping site. But in 1995, Max Prinsen and his wife Erin purchased 18 acres surrounding the lake in hopes to create a recreational area for underserved kids. Leah Abraham reports. (Renton Reporter)

New ocean forecasting technology to help B.C. fisheries
A new regional ocean forecaster has proved it can predict oxygen levels, acidity, and in some cases, the chance of sardines up to four months into the future.  "That will give industry the information it needs to weather changes that are happening in our local waters,"  said Samantha Siedlecki, a research scientist who worked on the model for the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Oceanography at the University of Washington. Up until this point, scientists were using real-time data beamed from buoys floating off the coast and available over the internet. Stefan LabbĂ© reports. (CBC)

Forestry workers, environmentalists call for ban on log exports
Forestry workers and environmentalists gathered in Port Alberni on Friday to call for a ban on log exports and for a transition to “sustainable” second-growth harvests. But an industry representative says a ban could destroy the coastal forest industry…. The province collected $26 million in log export fees in 2015. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonnist)

A look at some oyster restoration programs around the US
Efforts to restore or expand oyster colonies are underway around the coastal U.S. A look at some of them…. WASHINGTON: Restoration projects in Puget Sound and Port Susan and Woodward bays; local restoration project in Olympia. (Salon)

Climate change may be turning gulls into cannibals
Biologist Jim Hayward's research at a large gull nesting colony on Protection Island has found that climate change is triggering cannibalism among nesting gulls. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  259 AM PDT MON JUL 25 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG THIS MORNING.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS.

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

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Friday, July 22, 2016

7/22 Boat poop, pregnant orcas, Fraser salmon, pipe consults, kayak paddle, quake sensor, otter madness, Endridge, BC mines, oil trains

Lion's Mane Jellyfish Cyanea capillata
World's largest jellyfish and by far the largest locally. Arctic specimens reach 8 feet in diameter; local ones may reach 24 inches. Muscular bell is transparent. Huge, frilly manubrium beneath bell is usually tawny, hence "lion's mane"; larger specimens tend toward purplish red. Eight groups of tentacles hanging from margin; extend they can trail 6 feet below bell. Often seen in large numbers in late summer; many end up stranded on beaches. Even when beached, tentacles can deliver nasty sting, hence the other common name "sea nettle." Heads of quiet bays sometimes fill with invisible stinging tentacles. (Marine Wildlife of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

Plan would ban boats from releasing sewage into Puget Sound
Boaters and vessel operators would not be able to release sewage, treated or untreated, into Puget Sound under a proposal by Washington state regulators. The Department of Ecology said Thursday it and other state agencies petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to designate the waters of Puget Sound a “no discharge zone” to improve water quality and protect shellfish beds and swimming beaches from harmful bacteria. If approved, the zone would cover waters from near Sequim to south Puget Sound to the Canadian border, and includes Lake Washington and Lake Union. There are dozens of no-discharge zones in the country, but this would be the first in the Pacific Northwest. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Killer whale miscarriages linked to low food supply
Pregnancy is an uphill battle for fish-eating killer whales of the Salish Sea, according to new hormonal studies, which show a high miscarriage rate among expectant orca moms. In addition to the new and intriguing hormonal studies, researchers taking photos from unmanned aircraft have been able to monitor changing body conditions of the killer whales — including females as they progress through pregnancy. Among the Southern Residents of the Salish Sea, about 65 percent of the pregnancies are ending early with miscarriages, according to research led by Sam Wasser, director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington. And of those miscarriages, nearly one-third take place during the last stage of pregnancy. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

First Nations ask Ottawa to overturn Fraser River fishing restrictions
Three First Nations are taking the federal government to court because they say fishing restrictions on the Fraser River are causing cultural harm by making it difficult for them to harvest salmon for funeral feasts and other ceremonies. The Katzie, Kwantlen and Seabird Island bands, which are all located on the lower Fraser River, are asking the Federal Court to quash management decisions made by the department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), which restrict aboriginal fishing for early runs of chinook salmon. If the application is granted, it could lead to a closure of a popular sport fishery at the south end of Vancouver Island in Juan de Fuca Strait. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Meaningfulness of Trans Mountain pipeline consultations questioned by First Nations chief
A federal panel on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion is holding public consultations in Chilliwack Thursday, as part of an attempt to rebuild public trust in the federal review process. The controversial project was approved in May with 157 conditions to be met before moving forward, and the three-person panel will be consulting communities and First Nations along the route of the pipeline. Questions have been raised by some local First Nations as to whether the new federal panel is really doing any better at offering meaningful consultation, especially given the two-month time frame. Cheam First Nation Chief  Ernie Crey says he was emailed an invitation to the event 10 days ago and feels that he was not given enough notice or information to properly prepare. Anna Dimoff reports. (CBC)

Flotilla of kayakers to paddle Salish Sea this weekend
A flotilla of 80 kayaks will make its way around the Salish Sea beginning Friday. Organizers hope the five-day journey, called Turning the Tide, will raise awareness of social and ecological issues, as well as build community among coastal residents. The event, in its third year, started as a protest against the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipeline projects, said organizer Sasha Kvakic. “Now it’s expanded to be a celebration of our coast and doing what it takes to protect it.” (Times Colonist)

First B.C. offshore earthquake sensor up and running
Scientists in Victoria have successfully placed the first offshore earthquake sensor along the seabed off Vancouver Island.  It will be part of a network of seismic sensors at the Cascadian subduction zone, a fault that is expected to produce a severely damaging earthquake within the next 50 years…. During a recent expedition, scientists installed three underwater sensors along the fault at depths of more than 800 metres. One was hooked up to start providing data. The network will eventually include eight sensors offshore, along with many more sensors on land on Vancouver Island. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC)

Sea otter madness close to Hoh Head
The calls poured in. To the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, to the National Parks Service and to the Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary. Have you seen all those sea otters? What visitors were spying off the Pacific Ocean coastline, a raft of hundreds upon hundreds of sea otters, was unusual in both scope and location. “They just look like a dark brown carpet when they are going up and down on the swell,” said Steve Jeffries, a research scientist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife's Marine Mammal Investigations unit. Michael Carman reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

U.S., Enbridge Reach $177 Million Pipeline Spill Settlement
Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge Inc has agreed to pay $177 million in penalties and improved safety measures in a settlement with the U.S. government tied to one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history. The settlement, announced on Wednesday by Enbridge, the U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, resolves Clean Water Act violations stemming from the 2010 failure of Enbridge's Line 6B near Marshall, Michigan, which spilled some 20,000 barrels of oil into a branch of the Kalamazoo River. It also resolves a second spill that same year in Illinois and commits the company to spend at least $110 million to prevent future spills and improve operations on its pipeline system that extends through seven U.S. states in the Great Lakes region. (Reuters)

B.C. mining code strengthened to prevent disasters like Mount Polley
Changes to B.C.'s mining code will prevent another disaster like the Mount Polley tailings pond collapse, British Columbia's Mines Minister Bill Bennett is promising. In August 2014, a massive tailings dam failed at the mine in B.C.'s Cariboo region, sending 24 million cubic metres of mine waste and water into nearby waterways. Critics called it one of the biggest environmental disasters in modern Canadian history, and still warn the recent changes still do not go after companies responsible. But Bennett said the latest revision to the mining code should put many concerns about tailings dams to rest.  Dirk Meissner, (Canadian Press)

BNSF Railway responds to oil protest in Burlington
n response to a anti-oil train demonstration held July 9, a BNSF Railway representative said the Skagit River railroad bridge will remain safe even if the number of trains using the bridge increases. Bridge safety came up during the protest in response to the proposed oil-by-rail expansion project at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes, which would increase the number of oil trains passing through Mount Vernon and Burlington from 16 to 22 a week. The plan is being reviewed this fall. Brenna Visser reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT FRI JUL 22 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT  AT 10 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS THROUGH THE DAY.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL  3 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SAT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 3 FT  AT 11 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 3 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
SUN
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 3 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

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

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

7/21 Driftwood, oil spill, carbon cut, microplastics, bag ban, Oly oyster, Oso slide

House Finch (Mark Moschell/BirdNote)
Birds Have No External Ears; How Do Birds Hear?
Unlike mammals, birds have no external ear structures. Their ear openings are hidden beneath feathers on the side of the head, just behind and slightly below the eyes. (It's easy to imagine where this House Finch's ear is, isn't it?) In mammals, the external ear structure helps funnel sound in, and it’s crucial for figuring out where a sound is coming from. Birds, too, can locate where a sound comes from, even without external ears. But how? Recent research on crows, ducks, and chickens suggests that it is the shape of a bird’s head that holds the key. (BirdNote)

How Driftwood Can Help Save the Salmon
There are places in the world that just seem to attract history. Rome is one. The Port of Seattle’s Terminal 25 is another. An enormous amount of Seattle history can be told on a quick walk around the grounds, now overgrown and out of use. The terminal looks out across Harbor Island, created by fill from the Denny Regrade to become the largest artificial island in the world when it was finished in 1909 and still the largest in the United States. Then there’s the white gravel that crunches underfoot. Upon close examination you see it is concrete; you are walking on the remains of the Kingdome, shattered into a billion pieces. The imploded municipal project needed to go somewhere. In all directions, the busiest intersection of commerce in the state rumbles at a constant din as container ships, locomotives, and highway overpasses meet at the intersection of land and sea. But perhaps the most interesting corner of this easy-to-miss lot is where 1,200 tons of driftwood—all of it fished from Puget Sound—is stacked neatly in 12-foot-high piles. Like the dirt and the gravel, the logs too seem to want to tell stories of their past. From some hang giant rusted chains of obscured purpose; others retain their massive roots, speaking to some forgotten spring-runoff cataclysm in the wilds of Washington—the kind of annual event that can snap centuries-old trees like toothpicks. Daniel Person reports. (Seattle Weekly)

Mosier Groundwater Contaminated After Oil Train Derailment
When a Union Pacific oil train derailed and burst into fire in Mosier, Oregon, in June, the initial damage was in plain view, as dark smoke billowed into the sky. Now OPB has learned about invisible damage: elevated concentrations of benzene and other volatile organic compounds in groundwater near the derailment site. Bob Schwarz, a project manager with Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality, says Mosier’s drinking water is not at risk, as the closest groundwater drinking wells are uphill from where oil spilled. But he is concerned about wildlife in a nearby wetland. He says cleanup is needed.  Kate Davidson reports. (OPB)

Ecology taking comment on oil spill response plans for local rivers
The state Department of Ecology is taking input on draft oil spill response plans for the Skagit and Samish rivers. The plans, called geographic response plans, cover the lower Skagit River and the Samish River. They focus on protecting sensitive natural, cultural and economic sites in the event of an oil spill. Ecology has started drafting oil spill response plans for inland areas in response to a growing number of trains carrying oil through the state to refineries, including those at March Point. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Hereald)

‘Way too many problems’ with state’s carbon-reduction rule, critics say
Environmentalists say a proposed state rule to force cuts in carbon emissions is too weak to combat the escalating impact of climate change. Biofuels producers are upset because they view their products as green alternatives, and the rule released last month would treat their products the same as gasoline and diesel. Meanwhile, petroleum refiners say the rule is poorly crafted, costly and may face a legal challenge. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Researchers tag 3,000 shellfish to study microplastics in B.C. waters
If you see a clam or oyster with a tag reading "experiment in progress" on a Vancouver Island beach this summer, don't touch them, a researcher says. Those shellfish — 3,000 of them — are part of a Vancouver Island and University of Victoria experiment looking at microplastics in the B.C. marine environment. The research is being supervised by Sarah Dudas, a VIU biology professor and Canada Research Chair in shellfish aquaculture ecosystem interaction and biology. Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

Thurston plastic bag ban survey reveals a mixed bag of results
Thurston County’s recently completed plastic bag ban survey of businesses indicates waste is down but costs are up for businesses the ban affects. County officials told county commissioners Wednesday the ban has been effective in removing single-use, plastic bags from the county’s waste stream, but a majority of business owners and managers said their business expenses have gone up as a result. Rolf Boone reports. (Olympian)

A shell of a comeback
When Brian Allen walked this beach 10 years ago, it was a bare mud flat that sucked and held his boots in an oozing grip. Now he treads easily, his feet supported by millions of rare Olympia oysters. "There are not many places like this — at all," said Allen, a marine ecologist with Bainbridge Island-based Puget Sound Restoration Fund. "But we built it, and they came." Pushed to the brink of extinction by pollution and overharvesting, Puget Sound's native oyster has been the focus of several revival efforts, but this 10-acre restoration area on Dogfish Bay, about a mile south of Poulsbo, is the first to foster a self-sustaining and growing population. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun) See also:  Shellfish harvest closure expanded in Jefferson County  (Peninsula Daily News)

Oso mudslide study authors win top geological prize
The authors of an important geology study of the Oso mudslide have won one of the Geological Society of America’s top prizes for their report. University of Washington professors Joseph Wartman and David Montgomery were two of the authors of the so-called “GEER” report, a July 2014 study of the possible causes, behavior and implications of the slide. The E.B. Burwell Jr. Award is the top prize given to an engineering geology paper each year…. The GEER report was the first significant scientific study of the 2014 Oso slide. Notably, it bucked the conventional wisdom that rushed to connect the slide’s cause to various parties, such as the logging industry or real estate developers. Instead the report found no clear cause of the reactivation of a 2006 landslide on the hillside. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  231 AM PDT THU JUL 21 2016  

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

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

7/20 Fin whale, marine debris, Frankenfish, boat spills, hot year, I-123, oil ban, WA DNR

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium)
Fireweed is specially evident along roads and railways and on old burns, hence the common name. The flowers produce ample nectar, which makes an excellent honey. The Haida used the outer stem fibers of fireweed to make cord. They peeled off the outer layer of the stem, dried it, and later soaked it in water and twisted or spun it into twine, used especially for making fishing nets. The Coast Salish used the seed fluff in weaving and padding. The Saanich and other Vancouver Island groups along with the Squamish and Puget Sound groups added seed fluff to dog hair or mountain-goat wool and wove the mixture into blankets and clothing. The Saanich used fireweed seed fluff mixed with duck feathers to make blankets. The Haida, Nisga'a, Gitksan and some other peoples ate the central pith of fireweed stems in the early spring. This plant was sometimes called asperse by the French Canadian voyageurs, and it was used by them as a green potherb. The leaves are rich in vitamin C and can also be use to make a tea. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Rare Fin whale spotted in Puget Sound
The Pacific Whale Watch Association confirmed the sighting of a Fin whale in the Puget Sound on July 15, the second sighting of this endangered species in US waters since 1930. The crew of the Chilkat Express spotted the whale a few miles northeast of Dungeness Spit, taking photographs and video of the massive creature. Captain Mark Malleson documented the sighting of a Fin whale on July 9, and immediately rushed to the aquatic scene to confirm it was the same animal when he was alerted of a sighting by the Chilkat crew. The adult Fin whale is estimated to be between 60 and 70 feet in length and weighing 70 tons. The animal the Chilkat crew spotted is not only endangered, but the second largest animal on earth behind the blue whale. Alexis Daugherty reports. (KING)

B.C. coast to see historic cleanup of marine debris as Japanese tsunami money runs out
A coordinated marine-debris cleanup described as the largest in Canadian history is underway all along B.C.’s west coast, from the remote wave-tossed beaches of Cape Scott and Haida Gwaii to the tourist-heavy Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It is largely funded by the last of a $1-million package provided by the Japanese government in 2012 for tsunami debris cleanup in B.C. “This is the last hurrah,” confirmed Karen Wristen, executive-director of Living Oceans Society, the conservation group coordinating the effort on the western coast of Vancouver Island. “It will be the largest marine debris cleanup operation ever undertaken in Canada.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Washington tribe joins legal challenge over modified salmon
A Native American tribe in Washington state has joined a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s approval of an Atlantic salmon genetically modified to grow faster. The Quinault Indian Nation on Friday joined the lawsuit that 11 other fishing and environmental groups filed against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and others in late March. The lawsuit alleges the FDA didn’t fully analyze potential environmental effects before approving the faster-growing salmon for human consumption in November. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Boat-related fuel spills hit Lake Union and Jones Island
Two damaged vessels dumped diesel fuel into Lake Union and the waters off Jones Island in separate incidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. In one incident, a 48-foot fishing vessel stuck a rock near Jones Island in the San Juans yesterday [Monday] afternoon and started losing diesel. The vessel, Gladstone, had 900 gallons aboard, and salvage crews recovered about 700 gallons from the boat, according to the Coast Guard. A crew from TowBoatUS stopped the diesel leak and towed the boat to Deer Harbor for further repairs. Two nearby boaters rescued one person for the damaged vessel. In the second incident, a 90-foot vessel moored at Lake Union Dry Dock spilled about 50 gallons of diesel into the water. Apparently, a cracked fuel tank dumped diesel into the boat’s bilge and eventually overboard. Marty McOmber  reports. (Three Sheets Northwest) See also: Leaky Comox-Powell River ferry out for repairs for second time this year  Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Scientists Report The Planet Was Hotter Than Ever In The First Half Of 2016
If you think it's been hot this year, you're right. The latest temperature numbers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the first six months of 2016 were the hottest on record around the planet. Let's look at June. Scientists took temperatures from around the world and got a June average. What they found was a world that was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the average June in the 20th Century. How about January? Hottest ever. Same with February, March, April and May. Every month in 2016 has been warmer than ever, at least since people started keeping reliable records — that was 1880. Christopher Joyce reports. (NPR)

Voters to decide Seattle waterfront’s future
Voters have two weeks to decide whether to completely change the city’s plan for transforming Seattle’s downtown waterfront. Initiative 123 would create a public development authority to plan a one-mile elevated park — or “garden bridge” — incorporating a small, restored portion of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Former mayoral candidate Kate Martin has led the effort for an elevated park for years and helped gather more than 30,000 signatures to get it on the Aug. 2 ballot. If voters approve, it would effectively kill the city’s waterfront plan that’s been almost a decade in the making and would give access to city funds for the elevated park. Patricia Madej reports. (Seattle Times)

Unanimous vote bans oil facilities in Vancouver
Protesters broke into applause and gave Vancouver city councilors a standing ovation Monday night after they unanimously approved a ban on new oil refineries and facilities. But the council’s vote won’t affect the nation’s largest crude-by-rail facility proposed for the Port of Vancouver that many protested shortly before the council meeting started. Instead, the city’s ban would prohibit expansion of existing and new crude oil refineries and facilities that average less than 50,000 barrels a day. Still, as many noted, the vote sends a message, including to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say whether the Vancouver Energy project is approved. Lauren Dake reports. (Columbian)

Washington lands commissioner race draws crowd of Democrats
This fall’s race for Washington’s commissioner of public lands—an office that oversees the state’s largest firefighting force and 5.6 million acres of land—is hotly contested since no incumbent is on the ballot. Commissioner Peter Goldmark will not seek reelection to the quietly influential office. As the head of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, the commissioner is responsible for healthy public aquatic lands, forests, parks and more. The department leases land to provide critical school construction money, and its firefighting efforts are a key line of defense against destructive summertime wildfires, too. The department has a big influence on fishing, timber and agriculture—three classic Washington industries threatened by drought, wildfires and ocean acidification that could be worsened by climate change. So far, Democrats make up the bulk of the hopefuls to replace Goldmark. Walter Orenstein reports. (Cascadia Weekly)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  242 AM PDT WED JUL 20 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF  SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3  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 at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

7/19 Billy Frank, Jr., Tesoro, old growth, canoe journey, orca plan, no fish farm, GBH, port stormwater

Billy Frank, Jr. (NW Treaty Tribes)
A Native American Leader's Legacy Lives On At Nisqually Wildlife Refuge
Top Northwest officials and a member of President Obama’s cabinet will gather Tuesday for the renaming of a wildlife refuge near Olympia in honor of one of the region’s best known Native American leaders. The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is being renamed in honor of late Nisqually tribal leader Billy Frank Jr. In the 1960s and ‘70s, Frank helped organize protests, or “fish-ins,” to advocate for south Puget Sound tribes’ fishing rights based on the 1854 Medicine Creek Treaty. Ken Christensen reports. (OPB)

Tesoro Anacortes Refinery included in national emissions settlement
A $425 million Clean Air Act settlement announced Monday will require Tesoro Corp. and Par Hawaii Refining to reduce emissions at six of their oil refineries, including the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery. The settlement is between the two oil companies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Other refineries in the region, including the Shell Puget Sound Refinery, previously entered into similar settlements with the EPA.... Most of the changes required for refinery operations in the latest settlement will apply to the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery, said Mark Asmundson, executive director of the Northwest Clean Air Agency, which regulates air quality in Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties. Changes will include a reduction in the threshold for sulfur emissions during the refining process, and closer scrutiny of the refinery’s wastewater treatment system and equipment performance. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Vancouver Island old growth on brink of collapse, environmental group claims
Vancouver Island's forests are on pace for an ecological and economic collapse, according to new data collected by the Sierra Club of B.C.  The environmental advocacy group is calling on the B.C. government to help phase out old growth logging in favour of younger second growth trees…. But the B.C. government is leery of sudden changes that might negatively affect the industry — one that contributes $2.5 billion to three levels of government and employs nearly 150,000 people. Stefan LabbĂ© reports. (CBC)

Nisqually tribe prepares for upcoming Canoe Journey
…Thousands of people are expected to descend on the Port of Olympia on July 30 to watch more than 100 tribal canoes arrive at the tip of the Port Of Olympia peninsula. Given the tide predictions, the landing ceremonies are expected to begin about 1 p.m. that day, according to organizers. Nearly a dozen tribes and First Nations from Alaska, Canada and the Pacific Northwest have already begun their journey along the saltwater highway to Nisqually’s traditional territory known as the Salish Sea. They are stopping at coastal tribal communities along the way. From the west, the canoes were scheduled to land at Neah Bay on Monday and head down the Strait of Juan de Fuca this week, according to a map posted on the Canoe Journey Facebook page. From the north, they are scheduled to arrive at Lummi, near Bellingham, on Wednesday. Several of Nisqually’s canoe family members plan to leave for Lummi on Tuesday to join in the last part of the journey, which includes stops hosted by the Muckleshoot and Puyallup tribes. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

CRD directors decline to condemn orca action plan
Capital Regional District directors want to be consulted before the federal government implements a proposed action plan to protect endangered orca populations. But they stopped short of endorsing a letter penned by Juan de Fuca director Mike Hicks, who said the action plan “although well intentioned, is potentially disastrous for our residents and First Nations.” Fisheries and Oceans Canada has posted the proposed plan, which includes fishery closures and marine habitat protection, and is accepting public comment until Aug. 14. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Pamela Anderson and Sea Shepherd Society join anti-salmon farming push in B.C.
Celebrity and animal-rights activist Pamela Anderson joined David Suzuki and others to urge consumers not to eat B.C. farmed salmon on Monday, at the launch of a new campaign aiming at highlighting problems in the industry…. The event was held in Vancouver aboard a sailboat owned by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a controversial direct-action marine conservation group that will be flying its pirate-inspired flag along the B.C. coast this summer. The Sea Shepherd's R/V Martin Sheen will be travelling from Vancouver to Port Hardy, B.C., carrying biologist and activist Alexandra Morton as she carries out field research on a virus found on B.C. salmon farms and in the wild. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Herons’ baby boom fills tiny park near Ballard Locks after eagles made them move 
It’s the sounds that give it away: a steady clacking of bills, and raucous, prehistoric- sounding squawks. Seattle’s biggest, newest heronry is burgeoning with the city’s official bird, the great blue heron. After a series of devastating eagle attacks in nearby Kiwanis Ravine, where herons had been nesting since at least 1982, the colony abandoned all 86 nests there and moved house to tiny Commodore Park. In just two weeks in May 2013, the herons added about 55 new nests to the seven already established at Commodore Park. Despite the late start — breeding season usually starts in January — the herons managed to raise and fledge 87 young in their new colony in 2013. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Port of Port Angeles signs off on contract for stormwater project
Port of Port Angeles commissioners approved Monday a $1.4 million contract to complete stormwater conveyance improvements on Terminal 3. The port will contract through Glacier Environment Service Inc., a Lynwood construction company that specializes in remedial site work and mechanical system installation. The project will be over budget because the port’s 2016 budget only allocated $1.2 million for the improvements. Port staff expect to make up the extra costs through other projects that won’t be completed this year or will come in under budget, according to port documents. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  240 AM PDT TUE JUL 19 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND TO 10 KT IN THE MORNING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 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 at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

7/18 Fraser sockeye, sonar, aliens, BC pipe, MNCA, Wild Olympics, Vic sewer, clam gardens, goose poop, gopher ESA

Fraser R. sockeye (The Tyee)
Fraser River sockeye returns predicted to be dismal — again — this summer
Sockeye returns are predicted to be so low this summer on the Fraser River that they won’t support a commercial or recreational fishery. The Pacific Salmon Commission said Friday that the four-year cycle for this year’s sockeye runs has generated an average 3.9 million fish over the past half century, well above the 2.27 million fish anticipated to return this season. It is a median prediction, meaning that half the time the run could be higher and half the time lower….This marks the third time in four years in which Fraser River sockeye returns have been a washout…. Several reasons are to blame for this summer’s dismal situation, including low spawning escapements four years ago and poor survival related to warm ocean conditions. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Federal appeals court rejects Navy sonar-use rules
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the U.S. Navy was wrongly allowed to use sonar that could harm whales and other marine life. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision upholding approval granted in 2012 for the Navy to use low-frequency sonar for training, testing and routine operations. The five-year approval covered peacetime operations in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. The appellate panel sent the matter back to the lower court for further proceedings. (US News and World Report)

Bill could increase risks of alien species invasions in Puget Sound waters
Congress is on the verge of passing a law that would open a door for invasive species to sneak into Puget Sound from San Francisco Bay — known as the most infested waterway in the country. The proposed legislation, supported by the shipping industry, is focused on reducing regulations surrounding the release of ballast water, which large ships use to maintain stability. Environmental groups and officials from at least nine states have voiced their opposition to the proposal, saying it could result in long-term damage to coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems. Ballast water doesn’t get much attention in the media, but it has been associated with the transfer of invasive species throughout the world. Ships often take on ballast water at ports where they unload their cargo before moving to their next destination for a new load. As ships take on cargo, they discharge ballast water from the previous location — along with any organisms that hitched a ride. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Trudeau making same mistake as Harper on pipelines, say critics
The Trudeau government’s new Kinder Morgan panel, aimed at reviving public trust in the federal review process, has come under fire as it starts B.C. hearings next week into the controversial $6.8-billion pipeline expansion project. Some West Coast First Nation leaders say the Liberals are ignoring, and therefore are likely to repeat, the mistakes of the Harper Conservatives. Accusations that Stephen Harper’s Conservative government failed to adequately consult First Nations on Enbridge Inc.’s proposed $7.9 billion Northern Gateway project to Kitimat resulted in last month’s Federal Court of Appeal decision quashing the 2014 approval of the project. Earlier this year, the new Liberal government unveiled a new three-person panel to hear public, interest group, and First Nation concerns in B.C. and Alberta about Kinder Morgan’s bid to triple capacity of its line from Edmonton to Burnaby. Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

MLA pushes to re-start talks on Salish Sea
Quietly, a B.C. and Ottawa agreement to look into creating a National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) for the southern Strait of Georgia, has stalled — and now there’s a small push to have those talks resume. Saanich North and the Islands MLA Gary Holman and his NDP counterpart from Port Alberni, Scott Fraser, co-signed a letter last month, urging both levels of government to meet with First Nations and get talking again — 13 years after both B.C. and Ottawa signed a memorandum of understanding on the matter. Steven Heywood reports. (Peninsula News Review)

Map released in support of Wild Olympics campaign; two outdoor retailers touting Peninsula’s nature, recreation
Two popular outdoor clothing retailers are encouraging their customers to visit the Olympic Peninsula and support the Wild Olympics campaign. REI and Patagonia are promoting the Wild Olympics campaign at REI Seattle and online, encouraging customers to experience the diverse nature and outdoor recreation available on the North Olympic Peninsula. The campaign supports the proposed Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, which was reintroduced last year by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Seattle, and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. The bill would permanently protect more than 126,000 acres of new wilderness areas in Olympic National Forest and 19 Olympic Peninsula rivers and their tributaries as Wild and Scenic Rivers — the first ever on the Peninsula. Jesse Mayor reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Clover Point sewage treatment plant panned by Victorians
If there was ever any doubt, it’s official: Victorians do not want a sewage treatment plant at Clover Point. The city received feedback from 400 people at a public hearing, along with 702 responses in a survey and 120 emails. The common theme, said Jonathan Tinney, was that a sewage plant should be located where it will have minimal impact on residential or high-use areas…. The Capital Regional District had been looking at building plants at Clover Point in Victoria and at either McLoughlin Point or Macaulay Plain in Esquimalt at an estimated cost of $1.13 billion. That changed in May, when the province stepped in and appointed an independent panel to oversee the project. Community Minister Peter Fassbender essentially told CRD directors they would have to agree to the panel or risk losing more than $500 million in federal and provincial grants for the project. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

State releases crab and prawn consumption guidelines
It is safe to eat Dungeness crab and spot prawns caught in local waters, according to a state report released Thursday. The report is based on data collected in 2011 and 2012 by the state Department of Health and state Department of Fish & Wildlife. The agencies tested crabs and prawns from each of the state’s marine areas for a variety of pollutants, including pesticides, metals and chemicals that don’t break down easily in the environment. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Clam gardens provide new perspective on First Nations history
Roasted mussels were a favourite meal of Captain George Vancouver and his crew as they explored the island archipelagos of the Pacific Northwest. They could find them “in the wild” and cook them up on the spot – a rare treat for sailors whose diet was otherwise strictly controlled by the Victualling Board of the British Navy and consisted mainly of hardtack and salted meat du jour. One unfortunate though, John Carter, of the H.M.S. Discovery, actually died after eating contaminated shellfish for breakfast on the central coast at a place they decided to call Poison Cove. B.C.’s First Nations had a similar sweet tooth for shellfish but what has not been widely recognized until recent decades is that they also employed a sophisticated maritime technology to harvest the seafood. Precontact, shellfish were a staple for many aboriginal groups on the coast, as important as salmon and more reliable as a food source year-round. John Goodman reports. (North Shore News)

Canada Goose poop complaints spurs action from Port Moody council
Rocky Point Park is a favourite spot for Nicola Shoton and her two daughters who usually like to roll in the grass and have a picnic, but this year, they have had to focus more on where they put their feet due to the amount of Canada Goose poop in the Port Moody park….The City of Port Moody says complaints about all the geese are up and it is taking steps to do something about the problem. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Federal cuts create backlog of Thurston County gopher reviews
The Mazama pocket gopher continues to dig up drama in Thurston County. The latest in the continuing saga of the furry critter that was listed about two years ago as threatened under the Endangered Species Act: A whole lot of finger-pointing between Thurston County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over some cutbacks that could cause more delays for property owners. County officials say U.S. Fish and Wildlife recently informed them that the agency’s biologists will be able to survey property for gophers with county biologists only three days a week, instead of four, like last year. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

Port Angeles, tribe say Elwha water plant never worked, still doesn’t 
It was the most expensive single part of the $325 million Elwha dam-removal project: a $79 million water-facilities project designed and built for the National Park Service that has never worked as originally planned. Now the park service is ready to hand the plant off to the city of Port Angeles, but the city doesn’t want it, saying it doesn’t work and will cost too much to operate. The city says it won’t take over the facilities — which include screens, pumps, a water intake, a water-treatment plant and other components — without $16 million in repairs first. The city also wants money to cover higher than anticipated operating costs for 20 years, for a total of $41 million. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT MON JUL 18 2016  

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 8 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE  OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF  SHOWERS IN THE EVENING.

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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 at 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