Tuesday, August 23, 2016

8/23 Forage fish, BC pipe, climate plan, BNSF fine, Lolita, vessel safety, green water

Sand lance (Photo: Collin Smith, USGS)
The secret lives of forage fish: Where do they go when we aren’t looking?
Some of the most important fish in the Salish Sea food web are also the most mysterious. Researchers have only begun to understand how many there are, where they go, and how we can preserve their populations for the future. A University of Washington researcher describes how scientists are looking into the problem. (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound)

Victoria mayor blasts Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says the risk of an oil spill on the B.C. coast from a proposed pipeline expansion should be a national concern. Helps made the remarks Monday at a public meeting on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Kinder Morgan's plan to expand an oil pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby has received conditional approval from the National Energy Board. A ministerial panel has been holding hearings to document any concerns missed by the NEB process. Helps told the panel that tourists from around the globe come to Canada's West Coast to see its coastline. An increase in tanker traffic from an expanded pipeline would pose an unacceptable risk, she said.  Megan Thomas and Jane Armstrong report. (CBC) See also: First Nations lead opposition to controversial pipeline  Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak defends provincial climate change plan
Environment Minister Mary Polak is defending the province's new climate change plan after some critics panned it for rejecting key recommendations by the province's specially appointed climate leadership team. The plan was released on Friday, and it did not include increases to the carbon tax or set emissions targets for 2030. One of the most scathing reviews came from a member of the climate leadership team that was created specifically to help guide the province on fighting climate change. In a Facebook post, environmental activist and academic Tzeporah Berman wrote that she was "disgusted" with the "pathetic" plan. (CBC)

BNSF to pay $75,000 fine for Skagit, Whatcom water quality violations
BNSF Railway has agreed to pay a $75,000 fine after reaching a settlement with the state Department of Ecology over 2015 water quality violations that occurred in Skagit and Whatcom counties. BNSF was originally fined $86,000 after creosote-treated railroad ties left at four sites between mid-2013 and early 2015 resulted in water contamination, according to Ecology. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Orca’s health issues cited in unsealed documents
Lolita, a Northwest orca whale living at Seaquarium in Miami, has suffered scrapes and other health problems, according to recently unsealed court documents that offer an unsettling look at the life of the whale captured in 1970. The documents were written by four expert witnesses who visited Seaquarium, and reviewed medical and other records, on behalf of plaintiffs who challenged the conditions of the whale’s captivity. They found that 20-foot-long Lolita has a troubled relationship with two Pacific white-sided dolphins that live with her in an oblong pool that is 80 feet across at its widest point. These dolphins scraped Lolita’s skin with their teeth more than 50 times in 2015. Through a review of the records and their own on-site observations, the plaintiff’s’ experts concluded that the dolphins – rather than being best buddies with Lolita – are often at odds with the whale. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Lessons Learned on Fatigue, Voyage Planning, Communication
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its annual compendium of marine accidents and the lessons learned from them. Safer Seas Digest 2015 examines 29 major marine casualty investigations the agency closed in 2015. The 72-page report lists some of the lessons learned from the investigations, such as better voyage planning, the need for effective communications and recognizing the peril of crew fatigue. (Marine Executive)

Why is the water so green around southern B.C.?
If you've noticed the waters off the shores of southern B.C. looking greener than usual, give yourself a pat on the back for being attuned to the shades of the sea. There is a massive algae bloom in the Strait of Georgia, extending into Howe Sound, that's left the colour of the water looking more emerald than usual.   Waters off the southern tip of Vancouver Island, in Desolation Sound and around the Malaspina Inlet have also been affected. Lien Yeung reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  244 AM PDT TUE AUG 23 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW 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.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

8/22 BC pipe, BC emissions, Smith Is restoration, salmon farm, sockeye woes, marine mammals, sub crash

(Photo: Steve Spitzer/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: The Crow and the Gull – A Listener’s Story
Crows and gulls are opportunists - grabbing a bite wherever, whenever, however they can. Listener Nick Woodiwiss of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, wrote to BirdNote about a funny scene between an American Crow and a Glaucous-winged Gull on the beach. Can you guess who won? The gull seen here is a Ring-billed Gull. It seems that crows and gulls are frequent adversaries! (BirdNote)

Pipeline pitch to draw fire at Victoria stop this week
A federal panellist collecting input on Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion says it’s hearing widespread concern in B.C. about the project. Kim Baird is one of three members of the Trans Mountain Expansion Ministerial Panel tasked with finding perspectives that might not have been heard during the National Energy Board’s consultation process. “Very few people, if any, have stood up in favour of the project [in B.C.],” she said. The panel has hosted 44 meetings in 18 days in Alberta and B.C., she said. It makes its final stops in Victoria on Monday and Tuesday. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

B.C. Liberals rein in greenhouse-gas emissions goals, put off carbon tax change
The B.C. Liberal government has put off the heavy lifting on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a later date, under a new plan released today. The much-anticipated update to a 2008 plan created under then-premier Gordon Campbell recommits the province to achieving an 80 per cent reduction over 2007 levels by 2050. However, today’s 52-page plan only lays out actions estimated to achieve less than half of the needed reductions by 2050, and much less if the government’s much-hoped-for liquefied natural gas export industry materializes and significantly increases emissions. While it’s already known that B.C. will not meet its 2020 target of reducing emissions by one-third, the Christy Clark-led Liberals are not setting a new interim target and will have to remove from law the 2020 legislated target. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Smith Island tidal marsh reclamation is well underway
Within earshot of I-5, a landscape of green and yellow opens up toward Puget Sound. Birds cruise through marine-fresh air, above watery channels where chinook, coho and pink salmon migrate inland to spawn. This is the Nisqually River Delta seven years after the federal government and the Nisqually Tribe oversaw a project to breach dikes to re-flood farmland. Channels snake their way through mud and marsh, reviving an estuary that had long lain dormant. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

72 hours to vacate: First Nation gives eviction notice to salmon farm
A B.C. First Nation has served a 72-hour eviction notice to a fish farm on the northern coast of the province. Hereditary chiefs from Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw First Nation boarded a Cermaq/Mitsubishi salmon farm off the Burdwood Islands earlier this week. Their message was clear: it's time to leave. "This is a 72-hour eviction notice to all salmon farmers in the unceded territory of the Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw," said the Kingcome band's hereditary chief Willie Moon to a pair of farm workers in a video that has since amassed over 80,000 views on Facebook. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Warm water blamed for lowest sockeye salmon run on record
Warm summer temperatures may have Lower Mainlanders feeling good, but they are proving lethal for sockeye salmon. The Pacific Salmon Commission recently revised its already low forecast for sockeye numbers from 2.3 million to 1.1 million in the Fraser River, which would be the lowest number since records have been kept. As of August 12, the DFO has suspended all sockeye fisheries in response. John Reynolds, professor of aquatic ecology and conservation at Simon Fraser University, said three main factors are contributing to this year's low numbers: a small parental generation; a "blob" of warm water in the Pacific Ocean; and higher-than-normal temperatures in the Fraser River. Matt Meuse reports. (CBC)

Agency failing to protect marine mammals from the Navy — Joel Reynolds
After more than a decade of losing court battles, the U.S. Navy still refuses to fully embrace the idea that whales and other sea creatures should be protected during Navy training exercises, says Joel Reynolds, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. But the blame cannot be placed entirely on the Navy, Joel says in a blog entry he wrote for the Huffington Post. “In fact, much of the blame lies with the government regulatory agency whose mandate it is to protect our oceans,” he writes. “It lies with the failure of the National Marine Fisheries Service to do its job.” Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Bangor submarine collides in Strait of Juan de Fuca
The ballistic-missile submarine USS Louisiana and a Navy offshore support vessel collided while conducting routine operations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Thursday, according to Submarine Force Pacific. The collision occurred at 6 p.m. There were no injuries. Damages to both vessels is being assessed. Ed Friedrich reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  858 AM PDT MON AUG 22 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 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.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

8/19 Goat party, killer bridge, BC pipes, BC climate plan, fish farms, saving farmland

Party, party... (PHOTO: WDFW/Seattle Times)
Party of 90 mountain goats near Mount Baker wows biologists
State biologists spotted something unusual while counting mountain goats near Mount Baker earlier this summer: a group of 66 adults and 24 kids traveling together up a snow field. Aerial photos released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife show 90 goats about 5 miles from Artist Point, on the northeastern side of the volcano. Mountain goats are common in Washington’s mountain ranges. The department estimates the statewide population is between 2,400 and 3,200, including 400 to 500 in the area surrounding Mount Baker. But Rich Harris, who coordinates goat management for the department, says it’s rare to see that many goats gathered in one spot at the same time. Caitlin Moran reports. (Seattle Times)

Is the Hood Canal bridge killing fish?
A recent study of juvenile steelhead by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found an unusually high mortality on the south side of the 55-year-old bridge, but a lower death rate on the north side. There are several theories about the bridge and its impact on juvenile fish. The conservation group Long Live the Kings is hoping a new study will end the mystery…. Young fish headed out to sea from spawning grounds in the south are stopping at the center of the bridge. As they swim around the structure near the water’s surface, they become prey for the hungry seals that prowl the area looking for an easy meal. Kevin McCarty reports. (KIRO) See also: Scientists study Hood Canal bridge effect on fish  Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Kinder Morgan president says pipeline supporters drowned out
Kinder Morgan says it's building significant support for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project despite opposition from outspoken critics such as Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Since July, a federal panel has been gathering feedback from First Nations, non-governmental organizations and citizens along the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline route.  Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

Northern Gateway exposes divides in First Nations governance
The dispute over who in the powerful Haida Nation can speak publicly on divisive issues such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway project is revealing how First Nations’ traditional clan-based methods of government are being threatened, according to a UBC professor. In stripping two hereditary chiefs of their titles for supporting the pipeline project, the Haida Nation tried to reassert its natural authority, says Bruce Miller, a professor of anthropology. But the case has wide implications for other First Nations and aboriginal groups, especially since the Haida are considered one of the most influential tribal groups in Canada. Jeff Lee reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C.’s climate plan to leave out carbon price, greenhouse gas targets
British Columbia’s new climate plan is not expected to include changes to carbon pricing or greenhouse gas reduction targets as recommended by the province’s own expert committee – a fact that environmental groups say will undermine the plan’s credibility. The plan, to be released on Friday, has been held up as an opportunity for the province to regain its title as a climate leader, a position bolstered under former premier Gordon Campbell. It will address most of the 32 recommendations put forth by the Climate Leadership Team (CLT) struck last year; however, it will leave unanswered the call for new pricing and targets needed to reverse rising emissions, according to a source. Andrea Woo reports. (Globe and Mail) See also: B.C.'s delayed Climate Leadership Plan expected today  Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Salmon farming on the rise in Washington
Human travelers have I-5 and I-90. Salish Sea salmon have the Juan de Fuca Strait. It’s the route that they all swim on their way to and from the wide Pacific — the salmon from the Elwha and all the rivers of Puget Sound, plus many salmon returning to Canada’s Fraser River, which are the main local food source for Puget Sound orcas and have always formed the bulk of Puget Sound’s commercial catch. Now, Icicle Seafoods —  recently acquired by Canada’s Cooke Seafood — wants to raise Atlantic salmon in 9.7 acres of salmon net pens in the strait, just east of Port Angeles. Although it has its critics, salmon aquaculture isn’t new in Puget Sound — and certainly not elsewhere. British Columbia aquaculture produces salmon worth nearly half a billion (Canadian) dollars a year. And B.C. is a minnow compared to the salmon-raising industries of Norway (where salmon aquaculture is booming) and Chile (where it’s not.) Daniel Jack Chasan reports. (Crosscut)

Why Some Farmers Don't Want The Government To Save Their Land
Pierce County leaders are exploring a way to save more farmland from the development sweeping the Puget Sound region. But they risk upsetting some key stakeholders: the farmers. Every county in Washington has to decide which farms count as "agricultural resource land" -- basically farmland that can't be developed. No county has stricter criteria, or less farmland preserved in this way, than Pierce County. It boasts some of the nation's best soils, but about two-thirds of its farmland has disappeared since 1950 as the county's population nearly tripled. Will James reports. (KPLU)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  249 AM PDT FRI AUG 19 2016  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 10 SECONDS.
SAT
 SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SUN
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 8 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, August 18, 2016

8/18 Stubby squid, Vic sewer, rail safety, Kitsap toxic mess

Stubby squid (Photo: Nautilus Live)
Exploration Vehicle Nautilus crew finds googly-eyed, stubby squid
Proving once again that undersea creatures are infinitely weirder than the ones on dry land or in Washington, D.C., this week the crew of the Exploration Vehicle Nautilus discovered a stubby squid with googly eyes that nearly look painted on. According to the Nautilus crew, the stubby squid – looking like a cross between an octopus and a squid, but more closely related to a cuttlefish – was found off the coast of California.   Craig Hlavaty reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

A West Shore sewage plant? Colwood says yes
The idea of a sewage-treatment plant for the West Shore is gaining fresh steam. Colwood council voted unanimously Tuesday that the presentation of a proposed treatment plant to serve Colwood and Langford should be made to the Capital Regional District’s sewage-treatment project board. It also committed to select a site and host it…. Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting will present to the project board Aug. 25, if it also gets support from Langford council. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Railroads show little progress on key safety technology
Many commuter and freight railroads have made little progress installing safety technology designed to prevent deadly collisions and derailments despite a mandate from Congress, according to a government report released Wednesday. The technology, called positive train control or PTC, uses digital radio communications, GPS and signals alongside tracks to monitor train positions. It can automatically stop or slow trains to prevent them from disobeying signals, derailing due to excessive speed, colliding with another train or entering track that is off-limits. The Federal Railroad Administration report shows that while some railroads have made substantial progress, others have yet to equip a single locomotive or track segment with the technology, or install a single radio tower. Joan Lowy reports. (Associated Press)

Business leaves poisonous legacy
When a chrome-plating business departed the Port of Bremerton last fall, it left a toxic mess behind. Materials used in the metal-plating process, which included arsenic, lead, cyanide, cadmium and other poisonous chemicals, had leached into the concrete floor of the shop and the soil below. Ventilation fans had drawn more chemical particles up the walls, dusting exposed surfaces. Nine months after Art's Custom Chrome gave up its shop in Olympic View Industrial Park, the port still is dealing with a painstaking and expensive cleanup. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  239 AM PDT THU AUG 18 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NE TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

8/17 Heat wave, BC pipe, fish plan, chum, bad crabber, grounded ship, oil train fines, GBH habitat

(PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Secrets of the Mist
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "We slipped through the narrow entrance into Bottleneck Inlet one afternoon, when the lowering cloud cover made visibility too poor to continue our journey up Finlayson Channel. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it proved a perfect anchorage: excellent protection, the right depths, good holding and plenty of swinging room…. I felt a sense of profound beauty and mystery in this remote place – as I have felt in so many places along the BC coast during my lifetime of boating…."

Warning issued as heat wave to hit Metro Vancouver  Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun) NWS issues 'Excessive Heat Watch' for Seattle area  Jim Guy reports. (KING)

City of Vancouver begins final push against Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion
For years, the City of Vancouver has led a concerted campaign against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which could see nearly 900,000 barrels of crude oil a day shipped to Vancouver's harbour. Tuesday, the city began what could be its final push. "There is no question from our analysis it's not worth the risk. In fact, it's not in Canada's interest," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, at the first of three days of hearings held by a federal panel reviewing the project…. The project was given approval, subject to 157 conditions, by the National Energy Board in May, and the federal government must make a final decision by the end of the year. In the interim, the ministerial panel has been tasked with meeting with communities along the 1,000-kilometre route between Edmonton and the Chevron refinery in Burnaby, B.C., which was originally built in 1953.  Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Washington Farm Bureau rips Puget Sound plan
The Washington Farm Bureau has broadly criticized a state and federal plan to breach dikes and inundate hundreds of acres of farmland in Whatcom and Skagit counties to create fish habitat. The farm bureau says a recent report by the Army Corps of Engineers understates the loss of farmland in Skagit County and undervalues agriculture in both counties…. The corps and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have been working for more than a decade on a plan to roll back “ecological degradation” in Puget Sound. Don Jenkins reports. (Capital Press)

Saving salmon in the wild – is chum the king?
Chum rule. In the same toxic stormwater brew that killed coho salmon in less than three hours, their chum cousins did just fine. It’s a king-sized mystery that Washington State University researcher Jenifer McIntyre is trying to solve. The answer, she said, will tell an important story…. Wild salmon are a symbol of survival in the Pacific Northwest. The fish fuel the region’s economy, define the culture and fortify culinary needs and traditions. With this in mind, McIntyre is working with researchers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife to figure out practical ways to prevent human-tainted streams from snatching the future from these iconic fish. Linda Weiford reports. (WSU News) See also: Chum salmon resistant to stormwater toxins  Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Commercial crab fisherman fined $20K for harvest in contaminated zone
A haul of crab last summer off the Sunshine Coast has netted a Burnaby man a $20,000 fine, for harvesting Dungeness crab from an area closed due to dioxin contamination. Burnaby resident Danny My Ho, skipper of the vessel New Star, has pleaded guilty to four violations of the Fisheries Act, according to a release from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The vessel's electronic monitoring data and logbook revealed that Ho had been harvesting crab between August 15 and 26, 2015, inside an area near Roberts Creek that was closed due to dioxin contamination. (CBC)

Grounded Bulk Carrier Refloated in Washington
The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to an incident involving a motor vessel that grounded in the Columbia River near Skamokawa, Washington, Friday night. The motor vessel Rosco Palm, a 751-foot Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship reportedly ran aground at 7:49 p.m. on Friday night, refloated, moved to a few miles upstream to mitigate collision risk and then grounded while at anchor on sand bottom while waiting for first light assessment. The vessel has refloated with the tide at 7:40 am and there is no indication of pollution being discharged. Michelle Howard reports. (MarineLink)

City Council removes controversial oil and coal train fines from ballot
Spokane will not be the test site for unprecedented local regulation of trains moving coal and oil, at least not this fall. Three weeks after putting on the ballot an ordinance that would fine railroad operators up to $261 per car carrying flammable crude or coal through downtown Spokane, the City Council voted 5-2 on Monday to withdraw the measure. Supporters cited the certainty of a successful legal challenge to the proposal and a desire to recruit more partners concerned about derailments. City Council President Ben Stuckart, who led the charge with a PowerPoint on July 25 depicting a dozen fiery oil train derailments, said he now believed the fine would expose the citizens to too much legal liability. Kip Hill reports. (Spokesman-Review)

Olympia will buy 2.75 acres to protect great blue heron habitat
The Olympia City Council has approved the purchase of two properties near the city’s lone great blue heron colony in the West Bay woods. The deal will add about 2.75 acres to the area that surrounds and protects the colony, also known as a rookery or heronry. About 15 nests are perched high in the trees off Rogers Street Northwest near the Olympia Food Co-Op where the birds have lived for more than 40 years. The city’s goal with acquiring both properties is to expand its inventory of open space and wildlife habitat. Another goal is to create trail connections between the Northwest Olympia Neighborhood and the West Bay waterfront, for example. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  304 AM PDT WED AUG 17 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM PDT EARLY THIS
 MORNING  

TODAY
 SW WIND TO 15 TO 25 KT EARLY...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT.  WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT EARLY...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6  FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

8/16 Nearshore value, hottest month, steelhead rivers, river temperatures

From This Is Your Century
If you like to watch: This Is Your Century
All of us need a bit of inspiration in these troubled times. Watch Eric Becker's video with words by Paul Hawken. (We Are Shouting)

Authorities Highlight Nearshore’s Importance In Puget Sound Recovery
Communities around Puget Sound have invested about $150 million over the past two decades to clean up the water and improve habitat for endangered salmon. Yet we continue to lose ground when it comes to a crucial part of that environment. King County watershed managers recently hosted a guided boat tour to spread the word about the importance of restoration work in recovering the so-called ‘nearshore.’  The nearshore environment is the place where the water meets the land. That intertidal area is hugely important for the biology of Puget Sound. Authorities say it’s a gathering place for 22 Chinook populations that swim in from every watershed around.  It forms the base of the food chain. Tiny forage fish that salmon eat lay their eggs in the sandy shallows of the beaches. But there’s a problem. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

NASA: July was Earth's hottest in recorded history
Earth just broiled to its hottest month in recorded history, according to NASA. Even after the fading of a strong El Nino, which spikes global temperatures on top of man-made climate change, July burst global temperature records. NASA calculated that July 2016 was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1950-1980 global average. That's clearly hotter than the previous hotter months, about 0.18 degrees warmer than the previous record of July 2011 and July 2015, which were so close they were said to be in a tie for the hottest month on record, said NASA chief climate scientist Gavin Schmidt. Seth Borenstein reports. (Associated Press)

Nisqually, Elwha rivers selected to aid wild steelhead recovery
The Nisqually and Elwha rivers were designated Monday as wild steelhead gene banks to help conserve wild steelhead populations. Both rivers will now be off-limits to releases of steelhead raised at state hatcheries, which can pose risks to native fish through interbreeding and competition for spawning areas. Winter steelhead fishing in the Nisqually will not be allowed if the wild steelhead run is not strong enough to allow it. Current rules on the Nisqually allow fishing for hatchery steelhead from July 1-Sept. 30. Jeffery Mayor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Lawsuit Aims To Lower Columbia And Snake River Temperatures For Salmon
Conservation groups announced plans Monday to sue the Environmental Protection Agency.  They say the agency isn’t doing enough to protect salmon from high water temperatures on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Warm water can be deadly for salmon.  Just last year, 250,000 sockeye died on the Columbia because of high temperatures. The EPA started addressing the issue more than a decade ago, but that process stalled. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  256 AM PDT TUE AUG 16 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM PDT THIS AFTERNOON
 THROUGH THIS EVENING  

TODAY
 SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 5 FT AT 12 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG IN THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SW 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG IN THE EVENING.

--
"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, August 15, 2016

8/15 Marine mammals, drones, carbon tax, refinery safety, Petrogas, coal export, Big Beef Cr., KNKX, mining mess

A Crow That Makes Tools
A crow named Betty learned how to take a straight piece of wire and bend one end into a hook. She then used the hooked end to haul a tiny bucket of meat from the bottom of a long tube. A postage stamp was issued in honor of this New Caledonian Crow. (BirdNote) If you like to watch:  How smart is a crow?

Demanding international changes to help protect marine mammals
After 43 years and some legal prodding, the United States is preparing to use its economic and political power to protect whales, dolphins and other marine mammals around the world. On Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is scheduled to publish regulations that will set up a system to ban imports of seafood from any country that fails to control the killing of marine mammals in its fishing industry. To avoid a ban, foreign controls must be as effective as standards adopted by the United States to reduce the incidental death and injury to marine mammals in the U.S. fishing industry. Harvesting nations that wish to continue selling fish and fish products to U.S. markets will have five years to implement their marine mammal protection programs, if they have not already done so. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Whale wars: humpbacks versus orcas focus of new study 
It's a strange marine phenomenon: humpback whales actively defend other marine mammals like seals and grey whales from orca attacks, according to a new study. But while some people might call it a rare example of interspecies altruism, the study also found that these attacks are likely a survival behaviour due to orcas' tendency to feed on humpback calves. Robert Pitman, a marine ecologist in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in southern California, is the lead author of the study recently published in the Marine Mammal Science journal. Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

From scientists to activists, everyone has eye in the sky
From high above two pods of orcas near Telegraph Cove, a drone captured images that hold clues to the threatened species’ health. Northern resident killer whales are picky eaters, with an almost exclusive diet of chinook salmon. Using aerial images such as those taken on Thursday, researchers are keeping track of the whales’ size in relation to salmon abundance over time — from a perspective they can’t get on a boat…. Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, pose risks to both humans and animals when used irresponsibly. Washington state Fish and Wildlife officers ticketed two drone operators for flying too close to whales near the San Juan Islands last year. And firefighting efforts had to be halted twice last year and once this year, when amateurs flew drones over B.C. wildfires. But increasingly, everyone from researchers to firefighters are finding ways to take advantage of the new technology. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Carbon-tax initiative backers press campaign despite green opposition
Carbon Washington campaigners seek to persuade voters to embrace Initiative 732, which would implement a carbon tax with the goal of driving down fossil-fuel use. But the state’s environmental community is divided. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Federal agency critical of oil refinery safety measures
A federal agency issued new oil refinery safety recommendations Thursday that it says if not followed would leave the industry vulnerable to more incidents such as the explosion that killed seven workers in 2010 at Anacortes Tesoro Refinery. The safety recommendations by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board stem from a board investigation into the Anacortes explosion. In that incident, a device called a heat exchanger cracked and weakened over time even though safety measures aligned with industry standards, according to the board’s report. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Petrogas plans to take over Alcoa Intalco pier at Cherry Point
Petrogas West, which receives, stores and ships liquefied petroleum gas at Cherry Point, plans to take over Alcoa Intalco Works’ wharf and pier, pending a sale deal that includes transfer of a state aquatics lease. Petrogas currently employs about 30 full-time workers at the Ferndale terminal, and already uses the pier with permission from Intalco, as allowed under the state lease. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Judge upholds Oregon denial of coal export permit
An administrative law judge in Oregon has upheld the 2014 rejection of a proposed coal terminal on the Columbia River that could be a conduit for millions of tons of American coal headed to Asia annually. Administrative Law Judge Alison Greene Webster found Friday state lands regulators were within their authority when they denied the permit to Brisbane, Australia-based applicant Ambre Energy. Ambre Energy wants to transport coal mined from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming through Oregon on its way to power-hungry Asian markets. (Associated Press)

Hospitality for salmon coming with restoration of Big Beef Creek
Big Beef Creek, which flows into Hood Canal near Seabeck, will soon undergo a major wetland renovation that should improve the survival of coho salmon and steelhead trout. Other work, which started last year, involves placing large woody debris in the stream to create deep pools for salmon to cool off and rest before continuing their migration. The wood also will help to form new spawning areas for coho, fall chum and the threatened summer chum of Hood Canal. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

KPLU renamed KNKX (pronounced ‘connects’)
The newly saved public-radio station KPLU has a new name: KNKX, or “Connects.” The station had to change its call letters as part of the deal that bought its independence from Pacific Lutheran University a few months ago. Brendan Kiley reports. (Seattle Times) [or, try KNKX=’kinks’]

Mining company facing charges for alleged damage to Hecate Strait island
A B.C. mining company, along with its CEO and chief geologist, are facing charges for allegedly releasing waste material into woods, wetland, and water on a Hecate Strait island. They have been charged with 18 offences for allegedly violating the province's Environmental Management Act, including failure to report a spill of a polluting substance and repeatedly failing to comply with environmental permits. Banks Island Gold Ltd., president and CEO Benjamin Mossman and chief geologist Dirk Meckert have not yet appeared in court. They will make their first appearance in Prince Rupert on Sept. 7. According to the Gitxaala First Nation, the company has left behind environmental damage that has people worried about the safety of their food and fish.  Andrew Kurjata reports. (CBC)

Program set to learn more about health of state park's lakes
Jack Hartt is looking to science for help in understanding a pesky problem that plagues a couple of the state park’s lakes. Hartt, the park’s manager, is spearheading a research project involving Cranberry and Pass lakes, and is enlisting the help of volunteers to create a scientific profile of both lakes through data gathered over time…. Hartt is trying to find out why both lakes are plagued by cyanobacteria, a toxic algae known for its blue-green color. Cyanobacteria is a natural component of water, but certain types produce toxins that can lead to both acute and chronic health effects. When certain levels of toxins are reached, lakes are closed. Vince Richardson reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

'Toadvisory' issued for Whistler area as toadlets migrate
The migration of tens of thousands of tiny Western toads, or "toadlets," begins this week as the dime-sized amphibians continue their biologically-driven quest from Lost Lake into the surrounding forest area. Every spring, about 50 of the toads lay hundreds of thousands of eggs along the shores of the lake, resulting in a black cloud of tadpoles when they hatch several weeks later. Once they sprout arms and legs in July and August the toadlets are on the move towards the forest surrounding the lake. Anna Dimoff reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  259 AM PDT MON AUG 15 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT...BECOMING 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG IN THE MORNING.  TONIGHT  W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT.  W SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG.

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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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