Friday, January 18, 2019

1/18 Teal, salmon dollars, Navy hazardous dumping, BC oil pipe, 100 percent clean energy, orca rescue, whale age

Green-winged teal [All About Birds]
Green-winged teal Anas carolinensis
The green-winged teal (Anas carolinensis or Anas crecca carolinensis) is a common and widespread duck that breeds in the northern areas of North America except on the Aleutian Islands... This dabbling duck is strongly migratory and winters far south of its breeding range. It is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks. In flight, the fast, twisting flocks resemble waders. This is the smallest North American dabbling duck. (Wikipedia)

After 20 years and $1 billion spent on Washington state salmon programs, fish still declining, new report says
After 20 years and nearly $1 billion spent on Washington state salmon recovery programs, most salmon are still in decline, a state report has found. The 2018 State of the Salmon report by the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office is a sobering read: Across the state, and in its jewel, Puget Sound, salmon are struggling to survive despite efforts of every kind to prevent extinction. The news isn’t all bad: some runs, such as summer chum on the Hood Canal and fall chinook in the Snake River are doing better and near their recovery goals. And habitat restoration, from taking out dikes to fixing highway culverts that block salmon migration boosts salmon populations, the report found. The problem is that more habitat is being destroyed, more quickly than it can be fixed as the state continues a turbocharged growth spurt that is chewing up salmon habitat with roads, pavement, housing and commercial development. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Navy dumps hazardous substances including copper, zinc into Puget Sound, Washington state AG says
The U.S. Navy dumped the equivalent of 50 dump truck loads of solid material, including copper and zinc, into Puget Sound and must be stopped before it does so again, according to Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The Navy provides dock space at Naval Base Kitsap for decommissioned, nonoperational vessels to be dismantled, recycled and disposed of. While cleaning the ship Independence at the yard in January 2017 before shipment to Texas for disposal, the Navy dumped the scraped-off paint into Sinclair Inlet, in violation of state and federal laws, according to a news release issued by Ferguson....Ferguson’s office notified the Navy on Thursday of the state’s intent to join a suit in federal court to ask the Navy to clean up the mess and to require the Navy to stop scraping ships at Navy Base Kitsap and dumping the material in Sinclair Inlet. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

National Energy Board rejects Burnaby's bid to stop work at Trans Mountain pipeline terminal
The National Energy Board has rejected a request by Burnaby, B.C., that it rescind orders allowing the company building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to conduct work at the city's terminal. The Metro Vancouver city had asked that the board cancel the orders after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed government approval for the expansion project. Burnaby had argued the terminal work was primarily related to the project, but the board said in a written decision Thursday that it's upholding the orders, allowing Trans Mountain Corp. to do infrastructure work at the Burnaby Terminal. (Canadian Press)

State senator puts Inslee's clean energy bill on fast track 
Gov. Jay Inslee is pushing to get Washington state to 100 percent clean energy by 2045. And he's not alone. Dozens of environmental groups, labor organizations, local governments and clean energy businesses also support the idea.  The 100 percent clean energy bill would phase out all coal from the state’s grid by 2025. It would set interim targets for 2030, and increase investments in renewable sources and energy efficiency to get to carbon-free electricity by 2045. The Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee held its first hearing on the measure (Senate Bill 5116) Thursday morning. As he opened up public testimony, Democratic Sen. Reuven Carlyle, the committee's chairman, said he's aiming for a vote on the bill next week. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Tribe calls for NOAA to help rescue two ailing orcas, but scientists sent home during government shutdown
The Lummi Nation urged federal officials Wednesday to launch an emergency response to help two ailing southern-resident killer whales — but how do you call for help? The unprecedented government shutdown, continuing into its fourth week, has stymied any attempt by the tribe or veterinarians ready to help killer whales K25 and J17, among the 75 remaining southern residents that frequent Puget Sound. The policy makers and scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who would approve and coordinate any such response, such as for the emergency rescue plan for J50 last summer, are unavailable during the shutdown. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse: How To See It In Puget Sound 
A supermoon and total lunar eclipse will coincide Jan. 20-21 in a rare celestial occurrence that will be visible across North America. Whether you'll be able to see this event — also known for reasons we'll get into later as a "blood moon" and a "wolf moon" — in the Seattle area is dependent on the weather, of course. Can you guess what our forecast calls for this weekend? From the National Weather Service: Sunday Night: Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38. Monday Night: Rain likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 40. Neal McNamara reports. (Patch)

Thar She Grows: A New Way to Tell a Gray Whale’s Age
If you see a gray whale cruising offshore, it’s fairly easy to guess, based on little more than its size, whether it’s an adult or a juvenile. But without digging through a dead whale’s earwax or examining its ovaries, determining age is surprisingly difficult. A Canadian researcher has now discovered a novel method to eyeball a gray whale’s age that is much less invasive than existing techniques. By analyzing the relationship between whales’ sizes and their ages, Selina Agbayani, a master’s student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, has plotted growth curves that describe in detail how gray whales change in length and weight as they age. Larry Pynn reports (Hakai Magazine)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
240 AM PST Fri Jan 18 2019   
 S wind 20 to 30 kt becoming E 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. SW swell 13 ft at 13 seconds. A  chance of showers in the morning then rain likely in the  afternoon. 
 E wind 20 to 30 kt becoming S after midnight. Wind  waves 3 to 5 ft. SW swell 10 ft at 12 seconds. Rain. 
 SW wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 12 ft  at 11 seconds building to W at 13 seconds in the afternoon.  Showers likely in the morning then a chance of showers in the  afternoon. 
 SW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming S to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 16 ft at 13 seconds subsiding to 14 ft at  12 seconds after midnight. 
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 11 ft  at 12 seconds subsiding to 9 ft at 11 seconds in the afternoon.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

1/17 Lugworm, green Washington, BC oil pipe, EPA's Wheeler, fish traps, Skagit steelhead. razor clam digs, stewards program, Puget Sound herring

Pacific lugworm [Dave Cowles]
Pacific lugworm Abarenicola pacifica
Lives in an L-shaped burrow, head down.  It everts its esophagus then pulls it in, thus ingesting mud and feeding on organisms such as nematodes within it.  Periodically it backs up to near the surface to defecate, forming the characteristic mound around its burrow.  The mound will often have coils of castings roughly 1/2 cm in diameter.  The lugworm pulses its body while within the burrow to bring in oxygenated water. Japan, Pacific coast from Alaska south to Humboldt Bay in northern California. (Walla Walla University)

Poll: After 2018's smoke and dead orcas, voters want environmental action
While Washington has a reputation as a greener-than-average state, voters have a history of giving less priority to the environment when it’s pitted against other issues like education and homelessness. From 2009 to 2018, no more than 7 percent of respondents in Elway polls chose “the environment” as a top priority. But in a new Elway/Crosscut Poll released this month, the environment doubled its support to earn its highest marks since 2001, when interest was at 15 percent. Elway Research President Stuart Elway says it’s rare for environmental interest to break single digits. Manola Secaira reports. (Crosscut)

Nearly 6 in 10 Canadians call lack of new pipeline capacity a 'crisis,' poll suggests
A slight majority of Canadians are calling the lack of new oil pipeline capacity in the country a "crisis," according to findings from a recent survey by the Angus Reid Institute. The institute surveyed 4,024 Canadian adults between Dec. 21 and Jan. 3, and found that 58 per cent affirmed that the lack of new oil pipeline capacity constitutes a crisis, while 42 per cent said it does not.  But responses varied widely though across the provinces, with a high of 87 per cent of Albertans polled calling it a crisis while, at the low end, only 40 per cent of Quebecers had a similar sentiment. (CBC)

Republicans Praise, Democrats Grill Andrew Wheeler In EPA Chief Confirmation Hearing
Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who has been serving as the acting EPA administrator since July, faced Senate lawmakers on Wednesday for his first confirmation hearing to lead the agency. He defended his record on rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations as Democrats assailed his ties to business and his lack of urgency on the issue of climate change. “The Trump Administration has proven that burdensome environmental regulations are not necessary to drive environmental progress,” Wheeler said. “I am very proud of the work I did.”  Daniella Cheslow reports. (NPR)

Banned Fish Trap Returns To Columbia As Sustainable Way To Catch Salmon
About half the salmon swimming up the Columbia River come from hatcheries — raised to be caught by fishermen. The rest are wild. And many of those salmon are protected under the Endangered Species Act. For years, Oregon and Washington have been searching for the best way to catch more hatchery fish while letting the wild fish return unharmed to their spawning grounds. Now, one group says they’ve found it. Fish traps were banned on the Columbia more than 80 years ago. But advocates with the Wild Fish Conservancy are revisiting the idea as a new, sustainable way to separate hatchery salmon from wild fish. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

Government shutdown likely to delay Skagit steelhead fishery
The partial shutdown of the federal government likely will delay the state’s plan to open a special catch-and-release fishery for native steelhead on the Skagit and Sauk rivers. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife and tribal leaders are seeking federal permission to open portions of the rivers for steelhead catch and release during daylight hours starting Feb. 1 and continuing until April 15. The approval is necessary because the Skagit’s native steelhead run is threatened, meaning it’s protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. But the request for continuing a special sport fishing season is sitting under a pile of paperwork on the desks of furloughed workers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s unclear when NOAA employees will get back to work and when they will consider the 2019 special season. Mike Benbow reports (Everett Herald)

Government shutdown leads to cancellation of Kalaloch razor clam digs
At the request of Olympic National Park, the state Department of Fish & Wildlife has canceled razor clam digs scheduled for Kalaloch beach Saturday through Monday. “We are going to cancel that and we will send out a media release later this morning,” Lee Taylor, Olympic National Park acting superintendent, said Wednesday. Taylor declined to discuss the park’s reasoning behind the cancellation. Fish & Wildlife and Olympic National Park co-manage razor clam digs at Kalaloch, which is located within the park. Fish & Wildlife coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres said the request came as a result of the government shutdown. Michael Carman reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Applicants sought for Salish Sea Stewards program
The Skagit Marine Resources Committee is accepting applications for its Salish Sea Stewards program. The program, which is in its sixth year, offers 40 hours of classroom and field-based training on the region’s marine resources in order to prepare volunteers for various research, monitoring and outreach efforts. The training will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, March 19 to May 21, at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 10441 Bayview-Edison Road.... Applications for the 2019 program are being accepted through March 1. Participation requires a $12 fee for a background check. The application is available at and can be submitted by email to, or by mail to: Skagit County Public Works, Attn: Tracy Alker, Skagit MRC Coordinator, 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon, 98273-5625. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Puget Sound Once Teemed with Herring. Can the Industry Be Revived?
“If there is no fish, even herring is a fish,” goes an old Yiddish saying. No matter how bad things got, herring was plentiful — a last resort, but one that made its way into the canon of Jewish cuisine (and to the butt of more than a few Jewish jokes). Herring’s prominence in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine comes from its ability to flourish in the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea, explains Gil Marks in his Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. The Jews of Europe ate it with black bread and boiled potatoes and served it for Shabbat Kiddush and to break their fasts. When they immigrated to the United States, they brought the tradition with them, and herring — once a poor man’s food — shows up at lavish Shabbat spreads. However, Jews weren’t the only immigrants with attachments to the small, fatty fish. The large Scandinavian population that landed in Seattle also relied on them, as did tribal communities for thousands of years prior. And until about 40 years ago, Puget Sound teemed with herring. Naomi Tomky writes. (Jewish in Seattle Magazine)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  809 PM PST Wed Jan 16 2019    GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT   
 E wind 25 to 35 kt. Combined seas 9 to 11 ft with a  dominant period of 17 seconds. Rain. 
 E wind 25 to 35 kt becoming SW after midnight.  Combined seas 13 to 15 ft with a dominant period of 15 seconds.  Rain.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

1/16 Semiahmoo Bay, WA emissions, new calf, Inslee sez, BC pipe, BC LNG, replacing Ranker, blood moon

Semiahmoo Bay
Semiahmoo Bay
The bay derives its name from that of the Semiamu Indians, who lived on its shores. It purportedly translates as "half-moon," but its pronunciation and meaning is so similar to the English "semi-moon" that the definition is suspect--particularly since early ethnologists failed to make note of any phonetic coincidences. Semiahmoo community on the peninsula that separates the bay and Drayton Harbor was a boom town during British Columbia's Fraser River gold rush in 1858. (Washington State Place Names)

Washington's greenhouse gas emissions spiked 6 percent in most recent tally
Washington legislators a decade ago wrote into law a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. But the latest tally of the state’s emissions shows we’re trending in the wrong direction to meet that target and more aggressive emissions goals years ahead. Emissions spiked about 6.1 percent from 2012-2015, due in part to increasing fossil-fuel-generated electricity and a booming economy, according to a new Washington Department of Ecology inventory of greenhouse gas emissions published Monday.... The state sent more than 97 million metric tons of greenhouses gases into the atmosphere in 2015, compared with just 90 million in 1990. Although emissions are rising, the 2015 figure represents progress from the year 2000, when emissions topped out at nearly 109 million metric tons. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times) See also: From skiing to salmon runs, the national climate report predicts a Northwest in peril  Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

If you like to watch: VIDEO: Puget Sound's new bouncing baby orca
We're getting our first look at the new orca calf recently born to the L pod. The Center for Whale Research released pictures and video of L-124, no word yet on the sex. Researchers say it appears to be about three weeks old and was seen bouncing between members of the L pod. Angela King reports. (KUOW)

Inslee calls for action on climate change, mental health and orcas in State of the State address
Warning that Washington state is at a "tipping point," Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday delivered a State of the State address that called on lawmakers to address carbon pollution, "transform" the mental health system and save Puget Sound orcas. "Today offers us two choices," Inslee said. "One, do we reflect on the success of our current story and decide we've done enough? Or two, do we rise up and write one of the worthiest chapters of our time that tells future generations who we are?" Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)

B.C. chief says First Nations preparing Trans-Mountain Pipeline bid
First Nations that support construction of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline expansion are close to making a bid for a stake in the project, a leader involved in the bid told a Kamloops radio station over the weekend. Chief Mike LeBourdais of the Whispering Pines First Nation, a community to the north of Kamloops, told Radio NL that the group has met with banks, industry and other potential equity participants. With a federal election expected by November, LeBourdais told Radio NL’s Shane Woodford that “we are going to put a pre-emptive bid” in front of government, probably by April or May. The Whispering Pines community is one of 43 First Nations in B.C. and Alberta that have reached impact benefit agreements with the Trans-Mountain project, if it goes ahead. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. chiefs gather in Smithers to support Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs
Hereditary chiefs opposed to a natural gas pipeline in Wet'suwet'en territory in northern British Columbia are holding a gathering of solidarity on Wednesday that is expected to attract Indigenous leaders from across British Columbia. Chief Judy Wilson, secretary treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said she was planning to attend the meeting and other members of the group had already flown to Smithers.... Coastal GasLink says it has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nations bands along the pipeline route to LNG Canada's $40-billion export facility in Kitimat, B.C. But the project has come until scrutiny because five hereditary clan chiefs within the Wet'suwet'en say the project has no authority without their consent. (Canadian Press)

Democrats working to replace Sen. Ranker
With news of the resignation of Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, Democrats in the state’s 40th Legislative District are beginning the process of nominating potential replacements. With the legislative session underway, Democratic leadership in the district plan to move quickly to appoint a replacement, said Bob Doll, co-chair of the 40th District Democrats Executive Board.... As of Monday afternoon, at least four candidates had made public their interest in the seat: former state Rep. Kristine Lytton, Whatcom County Councilman Rud Browne, Anacortes City Councilwoman Liz Lovelett and San Juan County Councilman Jamie Stephens. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Blood moon to grace Vancouver skies Jan. 20
Celestial lovers mark Jan. 20 on your diary, or set a reminder, because a total lunar eclipse will be gracing the skies over Metro Vancouver starting at 8:41 p.m. that night. According to Gary Boyle, a columnist with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, a lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, earth and moon line up perfectly. This doesn’t occur every month, as the moon has a slight incline in its orbit and often misses earth’s shadow. A lunar eclipse is simply the full moon sliding into earth’s shadow, so there’s no need for special filters to view it — like with a solar eclipse. During the total eclipse the moon will turn copper orange as the earth blocks light from the sun, leading to the term blood moon. Unlike the short solar eclipse, the lunar eclipse will last a few hours. David Carrigg reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  828 PM PST Tue Jan 15 2019   
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 7 ft at  16 seconds. A chance of rain. 
 E wind 25 to 35 kt. Combined seas 8 to 10 ft with a  dominant period of 16 seconds. A chance of rain in the evening  then rain after midnight.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

1/15 Bufflehead, WA enviro health, green diversity, Snake dams breach, rats, Trump's trees

Bufflehead [Audubon Field Guide]
Bufflehead Bucephala albeola
Our smallest North American duck. Spring and fall migrant; common winter resident in sheltered bays. Dives for small mollusks, crustaceans, and small fishes. In spring often seen in flocks close to shore. Courting male darts forward, bobs head, and displays white crest. (Marine Wildlife of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

New Washington map shows why environmental health is a justice issue; see the risks in your area 
Tyrone Beason at the Seattle Times writes: "Most of us use maps to help us know where we’re going. As a journalist, I’m just as intrigued by maps that tell us where we’ve been, who we are, what we’re made of and how we treat each other. So I was especially interested in last week’s unveiling of an online, interactive map of Washington state that lets users see, for the first time, how their communities rank for environmental-health hazards like diesel emissions, potential lead exposure and proximity to toxic waste. The Washington Environmental Health Disparities Map doesn’t just show these risk factors. It also breaks down socioeconomic characteristics for this state’s 1,458 U.S. census tracts. And it lets you overlay the environmental data with the social data to create maps that reveal where people are most and least at-risk for health issues. It’s available to the public and free to use. This new tool is impressive, the culmination of two years of work by the statewide environmental-justice coalition Front and Centered, state agencies and a research team led by University of Washington doctoral student Esther Min, along with guidance gleaned from community listening sessions around the state, including with tribes, farmworkers and the elderly, all of whom face greater health risks from pollution...."

The green movement has a diversity problem. And it is getting worse 
The number of people of color working at the nation’s top green organizations is shrinking. Green 2.0, an initiative launched in 2013 to increase racial diversity in the environmental movement, released its second annual diversity report card this week. Across the board, large NGOs and foundations are getting poor marks. The disparity highlighted in the report is most pronounced when it comes to senior staff positions at foundations: from 2017 to 2018, the number of people of color in this group fell from 33 percent to just 4 percent. The report did not say what accounted for this drop. Meanwhile, the proportion of white senior staff at foundations rose from 67 percent to 96 percent. Environmental NGOs fared a little better. The number of senior staff of color rose from 14 to 21 percent. But racial diversity within the ranks of full-time NGO staff and board members fell slightly. Justine Calma reports. (Grist)

Study on tearing down Snake River dams is a waste of taxpayer money, says letter to governor
A proposal to spend $750,000 of Washington state taxpayer money to study the economic and social impacts of tearing down the Lower Snake River Dams is not sitting well with Tri-City-area supporters of the dams. They’ve drafted a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee saying the study would be a waste. The latest push to remove four Snake River dams is tied to the decline of the population of the iconic orca, or killer whale, population off the Washington coast. The orcas rely on chinook salmon, including from the Snake River, for most of their food.... But the study proposed by the governor duplicates federal studies and would be a waste of state dollars, it said. Drafters of the letter — a loose coalition that put together the Riverfest festival in September in Columbia Park in Kennewick to provide information on the benefits of hydroelectric dams— are presenting the letter at public meetings of Mid-Columbia governments and asking for signatures. Annette Cary reports. (Sri-City Herald)

Rat infestations plague Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and even Haida Gwaii
Respirators, rat droppings and bait made from bacon grease are a near-daily part of Mike Kowbel's life. He owns the X-Terminators, which helps eliminate rat infestations from homes and businesses in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.... Kowbel and other exterminators are on the front line tackling a massive rodent problem in Vancouver and surrounding area.  A substantial shipping industry coupled with a mild climate makes the Pacific Northwest a hotbed for rat infestations. Micki Cowan reports. (CBC)

Trump’s executive order will cut more forest trees — and some of the public’s tools to stop it
With a partial government shutdown looming, President Trump quietly issued an executive order that expands logging on public land on the grounds that it will curb deadly wildfires. The declaration, issued the Friday before Christmas, reflects Trump’s interest in forest management since a spate of wildfires ravaged California last year. While many scientists and Western governors have urged federal officials to adopt a suite of policies to tackle the problem, including cuts in greenhouse gases linked to climate change, the president has focused on expanding timber sales. The executive order instructs the secretaries of agriculture and interior to consider harvesting a total of 4.4 billion board feet of timber from forest land managed by their agencies on millions of acres, and put it up for sale. The order would translate into a 31 percent increase in forest service logging since 2017. Darryl Fears and Juliet Eilperin report. (Washington Post)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  828 PM PST Mon Jan 14 2019   
 E wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 2 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 7 ft at 15 seconds. 
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 7 ft at 14 seconds.

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

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Monday, January 14, 2019

1/14 Tiger rockfish, new orca calf, feeding whales, orca protection, Ranker resigns, BC sea lions, sick smells, Birch Bay, "Mossome' grove, plastic ban, Peninsula news, evolving beauty

Tiger rockfish [Adam Harding]
Tiger rockfish Sebastes nigrocinctus
The tiger rockfish is striped like a tiger, feature shades of pink, grey or rose, with five black or red bars radiating backwards from the eyes.... Tiger rockfish reach lengths of 35 cm by 17 years of age; their maximum size is reportedly 61 cm.... They occur from shallow water to 305 m. They are generally found in waters less than 30 m in Puget Sound. Off Oregon, the species is usually found at depths of 64-305 m. In the northeastern Strait of Georgia, tiger rockfish are generally captured in 21-140 m of water. (Race Rocks Taxonomy)

New orca calf seen among Puget Sound's critically endangered killer whales
A new calf has been born to the critically endangered southern resident killer whales, researchers confirmed. The calf was born to L77, said Ken Balcomb, founding director of the Center for Whale Research. He confirmed the birth in a text to The Seattle Times on Friday. He estimated the calf is several weeks old. The calf, which Balcomb named Lucky, is designated L124. The whale’s sex is not yet confirmed. Center staff first saw the calf Friday morning at the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. “It’s great news,” Balcomb said, adding the calf looks healthy. It is the first known birth to the southern residents since Tahlequah, or J35, gave birth to a calf in July that lived only a half-hour. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Salmon treaty designed to boost spawning count and feed the orcas
Allowable fishing for chinook salmon in the waters of Canada and Southeast Alaska will be cut back significantly this year as a result of a revised 10-year Pacific Salmon Treaty between the United States and Canada.The goal of the updated treaty is to increase the number of adult chinook returning to Washington and Oregon waters, where they will be available to feed a declining population of endangered orcas while increasing the number of fish spawning in the streams, according to Phil Anderson, a U.S. negotiator on the Pacific Salmon Commission. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Marine protection plan for Trans Mountain pipeline fails: enviro group
The National Energy Board’s draft recommendations for its reconsideration of the $9.3-billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion falls short of protecting killer whales and Canada’s climate goals, says the environmental group Announced late last week, the National Energy Board would require the creation of a marine mammal protection program for the Trans Mountain pipeline in a series of draft conditions it has laid out before it considers the project.... “The board’s bias toward the oil industry is on full display with its proposed new restrictions on whale watching and ferries, while at same time continuing to allow a massive sevenfold increase in oil tanker traffic in critical orca habitat in the Salish Sea,” said Steven Biggs, a climate and energy campaigner for Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

State Sen. Kevin Ranker resigns amidst workplace conduct investigation
Washington state Sen. Kevin Ranker, an Orcas Island Democrat, has resigned his seat in the midst of a workplace conduct investigation. In a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee dated Friday, Ranker, who served in the Senate for a decade, said his resignation was effective immediately. The state's 105 day legislative session starts Monday. The resignation came just days after Senate Democrats announced that Ranker had stepped down from his leadership roles on two Senate committees. In an emailed statement to supporters Saturday afternoon, Ranker apologized to his former employee, Ann Larson, whose allegations triggered the ongoing investigation. "I am deeply sorry for any stress I caused her and I sincerely apologize," Ranker said. "I wish her peace."  Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)

Loud, smelly and 'spellbinding' — hundreds of huge sea lions converge on Powell Rive
Hundreds of sea lions have converged on a beach in Powell River, B.C., as photographers and nature lovers arrive to take in the sight. Powell River resident Lesley Armstrong says the sea lions started arriving around Christmas and their numbers have been growing to the point where the animals are covering nearly every inch of the barges, beach and breakwater at Second Beach. Maryse Zeidler reports. (CBC)

Ever wonder if your neighborhood is making you sick? Use this new tool to find out
A new mapping tool can help you learn more about the state of environmental health, wherever you live in Washington. The new Washington environmental health disparities map is the first to rank neighborhoods by all the environmental and socioeconomic factors that affect people’s health. People of color and low-income communities are far more likely to live near contaminated sites and sources of toxic pollution. These factors – race, income, and proximity to hazardous pollution – combine to make some communities more susceptible to health problems, like cardiovascular disease and asthma, than others. The new map shows how those multiple factors interact with one another and compound to create vulnerable communities. Kamna Shastri reports. (KUOW)

Birch Bay repairs could help beachfront weather big storms
Repairs are slated this summer for storm-battered Birch Bay Drive, where wind and waves from a furious Dec. 20 gale tore the asphalt to shreds, battered a seaside restaurant and flooded businesses across the two-lane coastal road. Whatcom County officials said that work to stabilize the shoreline as part of a project already planned in the area might have prevented the kind of damage that occurred when a seasonal high tide and fierce winds combined in a perfect storm of devastation. A key feature of the planned summer project is a berm that slopes gently up from the water, replacing the decades-old riprap, seawalls and concrete strips called “groins” that have failed to prevent beach erosion and road damage from storms. Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Heald)

B.C. ancient tree lovers unveil 'Mossome' grove as part of bid for new protections
Conservationists on Vancouver Island have documented a unique grove of ancient trees which it wants protected from logging due to its ecological value. "This is perhaps the most magnificent and stunningly beautiful old-growth forest I've ever seen," said Ken Wu, executive director of the conservation group, Endangered Ecosystems Alliance. Wu, 44, has been exploring forests on Vancouver Island to campaign for their protection for the past 28 years. he latest find, a 13-hectare parcel on public land, is located near Port Renfrew along the San Juan River and within the traditional territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Proposed ban on non-compostable food containers before Edmonds City Council Jan. 15
A public hearing and possible action on a proposal to ban non-compostable food service containers in Edmonds is on the Edmonds City Council agenda Tuesday night, Jan. 15 The proposed ordinance, introduced by Edmonds City Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, notes that non-compostable food service containers “break down into smaller pieces but do not fully biodegrade, and are polluting the Puget Sound and other area waterways.” As proposed, the ordinance would take effect in 2020, which would allow time for business owners to use up their supply of non-compostable containers.

History of news: Peninsula journalists take stock during panel on new book 
A panel of journalists reflected on the history of the local news media and made predictions about the future of the industry last week. Bill Lindstrom, author of the book “Strait Press: A History Of News Media On The North Olympic Peninsula,” was featured with other veteran journalists in two panel discussions at Peninsula College on Thursday. More than 100 students and community members attended the first presentation in the college’s Little Theater. Twenty-eight witnessed the evening talk, part of the Peninsula College Studium Generale series. The well-researched, 617-page book explains how the news media covered the events that shaped the region. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution
The extravagant splendor of the animal kingdom can’t be explained by natural selection alone — so how did it come to be? Ferris Jabr reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  826 PM PST Sun Jan 13 2019   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 9 ft at 17 seconds. 
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  8 ft at 16 seconds.

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

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Friday, January 11, 2019

1/11 Mandarin duck, LNG pipe, oil pipe protections, SRKW, chum salmon kill, Wheeler to EPA, warm ocean, Columbia dams, fish farm suit

Mandarin duck [John Preissl/CBC]
'The weirdest bird I've ever seen': Sighting of flamboyant duck brightens birders'
When Christopher Deane first caught a glimpse of the mandarin duck in the Lower Mainland, he knew it wasn't from around here. The mandarin duck is native to East Asia, but has made appearances in the Lower Mainland. Dean spotted one in Stanley Park last year, and in Burnaby just a few days ago. In fact, recent sightings in Deer Lake Park have prompted dozens of wildlife and nature photographers to crowd the lake in hopes of catching a glimpse. Jon Hernadez reports. (CBC)

Deal reached between Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and RCMP over road access for pipeline company 
After three days of talks with the RCMP, the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs say an agreement has been reached over the enforcement of an interim injunction order to allow pipeline workers into the nation's traditional territory. Hereditary​ chiefs met Thursday in Smithers, B.C., with the RCMP and representatives from Coastal GasLink. They have agreed to allow the company access to do pre-construction work as specified in the interim injunction order for the time being, following arrests on Monday. "We are adamantly opposed to this proposed project and that will never change, but we are here to ensure the safety of our people," said Chief Na'Moks who attended Thursday's meeting. Chantelle Bellrichard reports. (CBC)

NEB wants marine protection program from Trans Mountain pipeline builder
The National Energy Board would require the creation of a marine mammal protection program for the Trans Mountain pipeline in a series of draft conditions it has laid out before it considers the project. The focus of the review is to apply the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Species at Risk Act to project-related marine shipping, the board says in the document. The conditions mitigate potential risks to the environment and protect the public, it says. Releasing these draft conditions and recommendations is not an indication of the board's forthcoming recommendation to the federal government to either approve or deny the project, it says. The board, which has to have its final recommendations in by Feb. 22,  also recommends a number of measures be taken to offset the increased underwater noise and potential risk posed by ship strikes of marine mammals including southern resident killer whales. (Canadian Press)

Southern resident orcas spotted in Central Puget Sound; no news on pregnancies
What a day for orca sightings in Central Puget Sound. The southern resident K pod got it started  Thursday morning, cruising south toward Vashon Island at about 8:45 a.m. Then transient, or Bigg’s killer whales, came into view, with the T137s following close behind the Ks. Finally, much of L pod was also seen. The transients soon headed north; the two types of killer whales don’t intermingle. “They got out of there,” said Howard Garrett, of Orca Network. In all, more than 40 whales were seen in a wide swath of Central Puget Sound from Vashon Island to Point Defiance in Tacoma to Three Tree Point in Burien to Bainbridge Island, Garrett said....So far there is no confirmation on a sighting of a baby. Several southern residents were observed to be pregnant last September but there’s no report yet as to any babies — or pregnancies lost. Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)

'Random act of foolishness' kills 700,000 chum salmon on Sunshine Coast
The manager of a salmon hatchery north of Vancouver says it will take years to recover from vandalism that led to the deaths of 700,000 fish. Shane Dobler, hatchery manager for the Powell River Salmon Society, says vandals broke into the Duck Lake hatchery in late December. They turned off valves and removed pipes, which cut water to incubation tanks filled with newly hatched chum salmon. Dobler says 90 per cent of the tiny fish were deprived of oxygen and died, and the rest only survived because they had already been moved to different tanks that still had some water flow. Dobler believes the vandalism was a "random act of foolishness." (Canadian Press)

Trump nominates acting EPA head, an ex-coal lobbyist, to run agency
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to run the agency permanently, the White House said, placing a former energy lobbyist at the helm of the nation’s top environmental regulator. The widely anticipated nomination provides Trump another avid supporter of his deregulatory and pro-fossil fuels agenda, but without the constant criticism over alleged mismanagement that plagued Wheeler’s predecessor, Scott Pruitt. The decision pleased Republican lawmakers and industry groups eager for less onerous federal environmental oversight, but drew criticism from environmental groups critical of the EPA’s direction under Trump.  Lisa Lambert reports. (Reuters)

Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds 
Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters. A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. The researchers also concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years. “2018 is going to be the warmest year on record for the Earth’s oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, an energy systems analyst at the independent climate research group Berkeley Earth and an author of the study. “As 2017 was the warmest year, and 2016 was the warmest year.” Kendra Pierre-Louis reports. (NY Times)

Federal agency trims timeline for court-ordered review of Columbia River dams 
The Army Corps of Engineers has trimmed a year off the timeline for its court-ordered environmental review of the 14 dams and reservoirs in the Columbia River system. The agency is now aiming to sign off on a decision for how to manage the system and its impacts on endangered salmon by the end of September 2020. The environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Columbia River system is underway because of lawsuits filed by environmental groups, who say the facilities for hydropower, irrigation, navigation and flood control are harming endangered salmon and orcas. Bellamy Paithorp and Kari Plog report. (KNKX)

The Dzawada’enuxw First Nation files lawsuit against Canada on fish farms dispute
Dzawada'enuxw First Nation community members, including matriarchs, elected and traditional leaders, and artists, were in Vancouver Thursday to announce their decision to sue the Government of Canada. The First Nation, from Kingcome Inlet, B.C., filed a statement of claim in federal court in Vancouver on Thursday, arguing the federal government authorized licenses for fish farms operating in their waters, without their consultation or consent. The claim says the fish farm operations pollute and poison wild salmon and infringe on the nation's constitutionally protected rights. Their case is the first ever rights-based challenge to the federal licensing process that fish farm companies rely on to operate along the coast of B.C. (National Observer)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  900 PM PST Thu Jan 10 2019   
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 11 ft at 12 seconds. A  chance of showers in the morning. 
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 10 ft at 12 seconds. 
 SE wind 15 to 20 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 8 ft at 12 seconds. 
 E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 7 ft at 11 seconds. 
 SE wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 7 ft at 23 seconds.

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

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

1/10 Sea sack, pipe protest, Phil Johnson, Kevin Ranker, killing sea lions, sustainable maritime, Vashon Nature Ctr

Sea sack [Race Rocks Taxonomy]
Sea sack Halasaccion glandiforme
Typical descriptions of Halosaccion glandiforme depict the plant as a thin-walled elongated sausage-shaped sac found in the mid-intertidal region of rock dominated shores. The plant is identifiable by its rounded head and short stipe anchored by a small circular holdfast. It ranges in colour from yellow/brown to red/purple. Also, because of the water it contains, applying pressure to the plant produces fine sprays of water emitted from the pores. (Race Rocks Taxonomy)

RCMP, Wet'suwet'en reach tentative deal to let gas company workers through
A tentative agreement has been reached to allow workers for a natural gas pipeline company to access to an area in northern B..C. that had been the focal point of First Nations opposition to a pipeline project in their traditional territory. The hereditary leadership of the Wet'suwet'en Nation spelled out some of the details of the tentative deal in a Facebook livestream on Wednesday from the healing centre of the Unist'ot'en camp. The camp is the site of the remaining blockade preventing Coastal GasLink workers from accessing to the Wet'suwet'en territory, which sits about 300 kilometres west of Prince George, B.C. Under the deal, the RCMP would agree not to enter the healing centre without permission and the Wet'suwet'en would allow workers to access the territory by Thursday 2 p.m. PT. The Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs have a meeting planned Thursday morning with the RCMP and Coastal GasLink to iron out the final details. Chantelle Bellrichard reports. (CBC) See also: LNG aside, clarification of ‘consent’ with First Nations murky  Vaughn Palmer writes. (Vancouver Sun)

Former Jefferson County leader dies: Johnson remembered as politician, environmentalist, poet
Former Jefferson County commission chairman Phil Johnson died Tuesday morning of complications of Parkinson’s Disease. He was 72. Johnson, a native of Port Townsend, served three terms on the Jefferson County commission.... A longtime champion of the environment, Johnson was a key figure in fighting net pens in the county. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

State Sen. Ranker steps down from chairmanship during investigation
Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas, has stepped down from a planned leadership position in the State Senate, while a Senate-hired lawyer investigates allegations that he sexually harassed an aide nearly a decade ago. Duties of the planned Senate Environment and Tourism Committee, which Ranker was slated to chair, are being folded into two other Senate panels.... Ranker will continue to sit on the now-renamed Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, and the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI)

Oregon Starts Killing Sea Lions At Willamette Falls
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has started killing sea lions below Willamette Falls to protect a fragile run of winter steelhead. The state got a federal permit in November to kill up to 93 California sea lions per year below the falls. So far, officials have killed three sea lions using the same traps they used last year to relocate the animals to the coast. A recent study found sea lions were eating so many threatened winter steelhead at Willamette Falls that certain runs were at a high risk of going extinct. One year, they ate about a quarter of a run that was already down to about 500 fish. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

State releases strategy to make maritime sector the nation's most sustainable 
Just over a year ago, Gov. Jay Inslee launched his “Washington Maritime Blue” initiative. It aims to make the state’s seafaring sector the most sustainable in the nation, by boosting innovations and clean technology that help the environment and also grow jobs. The initiative was funded with a $500,000 grant from the federal government. Now, a Maritime Blue advisory council has rolled out the organization’s mission and strategic plan to grow the sector through 2050. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Islanders watch for salmon, ways to help orcas
More than 40 volunteers and staff of the Vashon Nature Center ended 2018 with the largest count of salmon in island streams and creeks in several years. But more important than the numbers, said director Bianca Perla, is assembling a catalog to help identify salmon species, their spawning tendencies and range, all of which inform continued restoration. “We have 75 creeks on the island that have fish in them, and we’re trying to figure out how many of those are supporting salmon as well as trout,” said Perla. Paul Rowley reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  900 PM PST Wed Jan 9 2019    
 E wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 15 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 11 ft at 12 seconds subsiding to  9 ft at 11 seconds in the afternoon. Showers in the morning then  showers likely in the afternoon. 
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell  9 ft at 11 seconds. Showers likely.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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