Wednesday, July 18, 2018

7/18 Birds of summer, Vancouver gas, goat relo, green WSF, 'death cap,' fish oil pills

Northern cardinal [Daniella Theoret]
Birds and Baseball
At the crack of the bat, a Blue Jay flies toward first and glides around the base. Deep in left field, an Oriole pounces on the ball. He wings the ball toward second, where a fellow Oriole snares it on a hop - just as the swift Blue Jay slides toward the base in a cloud of red dust. Ahh, summer baseball! (BirdNote)

Why Vancouver is getting utterly hosed on gas prices
The one pipeline is full, the only refinery is maxxed out and thousands of vehicles run on whatever fuel can be imported by truck or barge The next time you’re cringing at the pump, spare a thought for Vancouver. The West Coast metropolis is consistently slapped with the highest gasoline prices of any major city on the continent. As of press time, the lowest gas price in all of Vancouver was 148.9. In Toronto and Montreal, meanwhile, the cheapest gas was 124.9 and 135.9, respectively. Tristin Hopper reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Forest Service agrees with mountain goat relocation plan
The U.S. Forest Service has proposed authorizing the National Park Service and partner agencies to relocate mountain goats from the Olympics to the North Cascades. The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, Olympic and Okanogan-Wenatchee national forests released Friday a draft record of decision regarding the state’s mountain goat populations. The Forest Service supports the proposal announced in June by the National Park Service, state Department of Fish & Wildlife and other agencies that have been working on plans to address problematic, nonnative mountain goats in the Olympics and to increase the number of mountain goats in the North Cascades, where they are native. The plan is to move about 50 percent of the goats in the Olympics — about 360 — and kill the rest, according to the environmental impact statement, or EIS, the agencies released in May. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Washington State Ferries Joins Green Marine
Washington State Ferries (WSF) has become the first U.S. ferry operator to join Green Marine, the globally-recognized environmental certification program for the North American maritime industry.  WSF is the largest ferry system in the U.S, serving nearly 25 million people a year. It is enrolling all of its operations in the Green Marine program, namely 22 vessels, 19 terminals and a maintenance facility, thereby showing its substantial commitment to sustainable operations. Green Marine is a voluntary industry-led sustainability initiative for ship owners, port authorities, terminal operators and shipyard managers. The certification program guides participants towards reducing their environmental footprint by setting various benchmarks that exceed regulatory compliance and foster a culture of continual improvement. (Marine Executive) See also: Survey: Riders rate state ferry system as OK overall - with lots of specific gripes  (KOMO)

Warning issued after toxic death cap mushrooms found in Greater Victoria
The highly toxic “death cap” mushroom, responsible for the death of a Victoria toddler in 2016, has already been found growing in Greater Victoria, much earlier than expected, Island Health warns. Amanita phalloides mushrooms can be found in both urban and rural areas under ornamental European hardwoods introduced here about 50 years ago and more recently under native oak trees. Cindy E. Harnett reports. (Times Colonist)

Fish oil supplements for a healthy heart 'nonsense'
Taking omega-3 fish oil supplements is often touted as a simple way to protect your heart - but experts say the evidence that it does any good is flimsy at best. Cochrane researchers looked at trials in over 100,000 people and found little proof that it prevented heart disease. They say the chance of getting any meaningful benefit from taking omega-3 is one in 1,000. Eating oily fish, however, can still be recommended as part of a healthy diet. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  235 AM PDT Wed Jul 18 2018   

TODAY  Light wind becoming W 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves less than 1 ft becoming 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W swell  5 ft at 7 seconds. Patchy fog in the morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.

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

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

7/17 Photo contest, June SRKW, salmon threats, youth on BC pipe, geothermal testing, sea otter

"Octopus tentacle in a spiral" [Bruce Kerwin]
Salish Sea photo contest shows diversity of local species
Nearly 900 photographs highlighting the diversity and biodiversity of our inland waterways were submitted to the “Salish Sea in Focus” photo contest, which just announced the winners yesterday.... The Grand Prize in the contest was awarded to Bruce Kerwin of Bainbridge Island, whose photo shows the furled tentacles of a giant Pacific octopus at Sund Rock on Hood Canal. Other winners were named in five categories plus an additional award for photographers under age 18.,,, The winning photos can be seen on SeaDoc’s photo contest website, while the 130 top photos are available on a separate webpage. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Summary of June Southern Resident Visits 
Photos and a summary of SRKW activity by Orca Watcher Monika Wieland. Good stuff.

New studies on emerging threats to salmon
Chemicals, disease and other stressors can increase a salmon's chance of being eaten or reduce its ability to catch food. Read the final installment in the series on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project with a look at some of the lesser-known, but still significant factors contributing to salmon declines in the Salish Sea. Chris Dunagan reports on chemical contaminants, disease, artificial light and harmful algal blooms. (Salish Sea Currents)

Members of Trudeau's youth council urge cancellation of Kinder Morgan buyout
Members of Justin Trudeau's youth council are urging the prime minister to withdraw his decision to buy Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline. Sixteen past and present members of the youth council are releasing a letter to Trudeau expressing their "disappointment" in the Liberal government's move to buy the pipeline project for $4.5 billion. The letter, signed primarily by Indigenous members, says young people supported Trudeau during the 2015 federal election because of promises he made on reconciliation and climate leadership. It says when Trudeau appointed himself the minister for youth, he indicated he would listen and honour the concerns of young people. The signatories say they're questioning Trudeau's commitments because they weren't consulted about the pipeline decision and they are the ones who will be affected by the consequences of climate change. (Canadian Press)

Geothermal testing to be done near Baker Lake
In the continued search for sources of renewable energy, crews will soon drill deep into the ground near some of the state’s volcanoes. The state Department of Natural Resources plans to drill this year near Mount Baker north of Baker Lake. Alex Steely, geothermal project manager for the agency’s Washington Geological Survey, said drilling will likely be done at the Mount Baker site in September after drilling is completed at a site near Mount St. Helens — an effort that is expected to begin this month. Two holes will be drilled near each volcano. Each 2-inch-wide, 1,600-foot-deep hole — about the size of a water well and as deep as about two and a half Space Needles — will take about two weeks to drill. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Rare Sighting of Sea Otter on Sunday Near Port Angeles
Marine mammal enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest are celebrating a recent increase in sea otter sightings that appear to show conservation efforts are working. McKenna Hanson, a naturalist with Island Adventures Whale Watching, photographed a female sea otter Sunday near the mouth of the Elwha River. The sea otter was spotted near the mouth of the Elwha River, and is the third confirmed sea otter in the Salish Sea. Sea otters are rarely spotted in the area. Sea otters were nearly driven to extinction by fur traders from the late 1700s to early 1900s due to their desirable pelts, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (KIRO)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  225 AM PDT Tue Jul 17 2018  

TODAY  NW 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 5 ft at 8 seconds. Patchy fog in the morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. Patchy fog after midnight.

"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, July 16, 2018

7/16 'Winged Wonder,' BC pipe, Power Paddle, False Cr., Whatcom beach, Chinook season, corpse flower

Winged Wonder [Molly Murrah]
Molly Murrah wins 2018 Puget Sound Bird Fest poster art contest
Molly Murrah has been named the winner of the 2018 Puget Sound Bird Fest Poster Art Contest with her entry Winged Wonder. The piece was selected by a jury from among 14 entries, and will be featured on the promotional poster for the 2018 event, which will be held Sept. 14-16 in Edmonds. (MyEdmondsNews)

Trans Mountain protesters predict arrest numbers will rise, despite threat of jail
Protest organizers against the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project say they believe the number of people arrested for civil disobedience will rise or even surpass the number arrested fighting to stop logging in Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island more than two decades ago. Those logging demonstrations, known as the War in the Woods, marked the largest civil disobedience protest in Canadian history. The promise of more arrests from Trans Mountain protesters comes despite the threat of spending seven to 14 days in jail for blocking work at Kinder Morgan's Burnaby Terminal and the Westridge Marine Terminal. (CBC) See also: Canoes, kayaks take to water around Trans Mountain's marine terminal  Canoers and kayakers gathered on Burrard Inlet Saturday morning to participate in an Indigenous-led ceremony aimed at protecting the water surrounding Trans Mountain's Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C. (CBC) And also: Indigenous pipeline protester arrested near Kamloops, B.C., released by RCMP  (CBC)

Pullers begin Power Paddle to Puyallup
A pageant of canoes began making its way last week along the Pacific Northwest and Canadian coastlines. The Power Paddle to Puyallup 2018 Canoe Journey will include stops — with welcoming ceremonies of songs and dances and potlatches — on North Olympic Peninsula beaches. Landings include Friday at Hollywood Beach in Port Angeles for a two-day visit greeted and hosted by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, July 22 by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe at Jamestown Beach near Sequim, and July 23 by the area’s Klallam tribes at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Call for clean swimming water in Vancouver's False Creek falls flat
Pollution levels at the east end of False Creek are almost quadruple safe levels, a year after Vancouver city council passed a motion to make the waterway swimmable by this summer. The concentration of animal or human fecal contamination registered at 776 in False Creek East early this month, about four times the level of 200 E. coli per 100 ml of water considered safe for swimming, according to latest Vancouver Coastal Health test numbers.The pollution hit a high of 926 at the end of May and has hit weekly highs of over 500, from 541 to 855, during six other weeks this spring/summer season already. In 2017, the E. coli levels topped 500 only three weeks in total. Neither the city or health authority could explain why the pollution levels were higher this year over last year. Susan Lazaruk reports. (Vancouver Sun)

This Whatcom beach reveals a hidden world when the tide is out
When there’s a minus tide in summer, grab the kids and head to Wildcat Cove at Larrabee State Park south of Bellingham. It’s one of the best-known spots for low-tide exploration in Whatcom County. In addition to the marine creatures, there are other features that make this a good place for families. Kie Reylea reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: This could be why the water off the coast has been reddish-brown in parts of Whatcom  Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Chinook Salmon season begins Monday in Puget Sound
Chinook salmon season is always fun and exciting for anglers, but there are rules to follow to help sustain the population. This year the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is giving recreational anglers fewer opportunities to fish for Chinook in both the Columbia River and ocean waters compared to recent years. Tribal fisheries also face more restrictions to protect the salmon. Nonetheless, anglers will be out in full force during the season and can catch and keep hatchery chinook. In certain areas, (Marine Areas 9 and 10), anglers can keep one hatchery Chinook. Michelle Li reports. (KING)

Nature stinks! Rare corpse flower about to unleash its stench at Bloedel Conservatory
The Vancouver Park Board says the clock is ticking on seeing and smelling a rare occurrence at the indoor tropical garden in Queen Elizabeth Park. For days, officials and onlookers, have been waiting on an exotic corpse flower to open at the Bloedel Conservatory and release a smell that many have likened to a rotting corpse or warm garbage. On Sunday, the flower started opening, and it's expected to start smelling overnight on Sunday. Officials say the bloom will last for 48 hours. The Titan arum, or corpse flower, is a rare tropical plant that usually requires seven to 10 years of growth before blooming for the first time, but the conservatory says its six-year-old plant has begun blooming unexpectedly. Cory Correia reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  234 AM PDT Mon Jul 16 2018   

TODAY  Light wind becoming N to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 7 seconds. Patchy fog in the  morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 7 seconds.

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

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Friday, July 13, 2018

7/13 Poacher, ESA change, fish food, salmon guts, kill seals, seamount protection, puffins, thanking Trump

Sturgeon poacher []
Sturgeon poacher Agonus acipenserinus
Poachers are small, slender fishes covered with hard, spiny plates. They have two dorsal fins and undulate their pectoral fins to swim. The sturgeon poacher is found at shallow to moderate depths on soft bottoms. It feeds primarily on amphipods, copepods and shrimp. They are found from Alaska to Baja California. (Marine Life of Puget Sound, the San Juans and the Strait of Georgia)

Lawmakers Set Sites On Changes To Endangered Species Act
Federal lawmakers are making a move to change the Endangered Species Act.  On Thursday, members of the U.S. House announced legislation they say will “modernize” one of the country’s seminal environmental laws, originally passed in 1973. Members of the House Western Caucus say the nine pieces of legislation are designed to streamline the administration of the Endangered Species Act, provide more local control and protect property rights. At an event held outside the U.S. Capitol and livestreamed via social media, the lawmakers said only 3 percent of listed species have recovered and been successfully removed from the endangered species list. “That means the Endangered Species Act is the most inept program we have in the federal government,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Could anchovies and other fish take pressure off salmon and steelhead?
A recent influx of anchovies into Puget Sound may have saved some steelhead from predators, but researchers seek more evidence to prove the connection. Our series on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project continues with a look at these and other potential impacts from predators on the region's salmon and steelhead. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Save salmon gut contents for science
Calling all salmon anglers. Local scientists need your Chinook salmon guts to learn more about differences between the diets of summer Kings and winter Blackmouth. Resident Chinook salmon – Blackmouth – are the focus of a collaborative study involving Lopez-based nonprofit laboratory Kwiaht as well as scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Long Live the Kings. With the help of local anglers, including contestants in local derbies, researchers were able to see what Blackmouth were eating in different parts of the San Juan Islands over the course of the winter fishing season. Herring was the clear favorite but many other things were found in Blackmouth stomachs, including Pacific Sand Lance and several kinds of shrimp. The study of winter diet will continue for two more years before it develops into a long-term diet-monitoring program run by anglers themselves. (Islands Sounder)

Farmers’ group sees harbor seals as Salish Sea problem
More than just habitat improvements are needed to save killer whales and bring Chinook salmon back, a farming group says. While June Congressional action on protecting salmon is a positive step, it focuses only on Columbia River sea lions. Save Family Farming’s research shows that to restore endangered Chinook runs and preserve orca whales, it’s even more important that legislators address the unique — and largely unreported — problem of harbor seals in the Salish Sea. Using the latest science studies, a new social media campaign and web page are focusing on the role protected mammals, especially harbor seals, play in the decline of Chinook salmon and local killer whales. This is the message that Washington state’s family farmers are working to bring to the public and policy makers. The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act (H.R. 2083) was passed June 26 by a bipartisan group in Congress, including the entire Washington delegation. However, the bill — introduced by Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Kurt Schrader — is specific to the Columbia River sea lions. The issue with sea lion predation has gotten far more attention than the Salish Sea harbor seal problem that also needs urgent attention if Chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales are to recover. (Lynden Tribune)

Haida Nation wants shipping traffic banned from culturally significant underwater volcano
The Haida Nation wants tighter restrictions around a marine protected area that is the site of an ancient undersea volcano from which springs a supernatural being central to some of the nation's traditional stories. Known as the SGann Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area, it encompasses a grouping of about three volcanoes which rise 3,000 metres from the seafloor to about 24 metres from the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The Haida Nation wants to restrict shipping traffic in the area. Currently, it is only a "voluntary exclusion zone," said Haida Nation President Kil tlaats'gaa Peter Lantin. Jorge Barrera reports. (CBC)

Puffins face challenges but return to Cannon Beach every spring 
TO SOME OF US, the tufted puffin is living, flying proof that Mother Nature — or whatever force causes creatures to evolve in garish plumages with inexplicable appendages — has a sense of humor. Go ahead: Look at one up close, and convince the person next to you it is not some odd result of crossbreeding a cormorant with a rodeo clown. To others, they’re a thing of rare beauty — a striking amalgamation of color, charisma and ingenuity that serves as a jewel in the crown of many a northern Pacific Ocean seascape. Whichever your preference, those placing a face-to-face encounter with Fratercula cirrhata (from the Latin for “little brother” or “little monk”) on their bucket list might want to get a move on: Places that afford those opportunities are shrinking every year, possibly as a result of climate change. Nowhere is this more evident than the maritime climes of Washington and Oregon, where the squat, web-footed, stubby-winged-but-irresistible birds, who spend much of their lives at sea, make landfall to breed and lay a single egg in a rock-face burrow each spring. Ron Judd reports. (Seattle Times)

Pardoned ranchers return home to Oregon, thank Trump
Father and son ranchers pardoned by President Donald Trump after becoming the focus of a battle about public lands flew home Wednesday to Oregon and were greeted by relatives and riders on horseback carrying U.S. flags.... Just 25 miles away is Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which was taken over in 2016 by armed protesters angered by the five-year prison sentences given to the Hammonds after they were convicted of setting fires on federal land. The standoff lasted 41 days, ending when occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy were arrested and LaVoy Finicum was killed by authorities.... The occupiers insisted the Hammonds were victimized by federal overreach involving management of public lands that make up almost half of the U.S. West. Andrew Selsky reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  240 AM PDT Fri Jul 13 2018   

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 5 ft at 9 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 5 ft at 9 seconds. 

SAT  Light wind becoming NE to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 8 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. 

SUN  Light wind becoming NW to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 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 (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

7/12 Newt, summer's here, Kavanaugh, 200m rule, Canada marine protection, BC pipe, toadlets, Skagit R erosion

Rough-skinned newt [Henk Wallays]
Rough-skinned Newt Taricha granulosa
The Rough-Skinned Newt is a medium to large-sized, stocky, brown salamander with a rounded snout, rough glandular skin, and a bright orange underside. At low elevation sites in western Washington, Rough-skinned Newts are active year round. Terrestrial forms can be observed migrating in streams and creeks to ponds starting in January. Courtship displays and pairs in amplexus are most obvious in March and April at low elevation sites. Newts that occur at higher elevations start breeding soon after snow and ice melt. Eggs are laid soon after mating takes place. Newts are the last of our salamander species to breed and the last salamander larvae to hatch.... The Rough-skinned Newt is one of only three Washington amphibians that lays single eggs and the only one that hides its eggs within vegetation. (WDFW)

Hot summer weather hits B.C. and it could last for weeks
The high pressure weather system building over B.C. could finally signal the start of a long, hot summer, according to CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe. Temperatures in Metro Vancouver are expected to hit the mid-20s today, and the pattern is expected to stick around for the next week and maybe longer. Mike Laanela reports. (CBC) See also: Hot week, burn bans signal de facto start to Puget Sound's summer  Get your fans ready, folks — the Puget Sound’s true, short season of summer begins now. Never mind what the calendar says, longtime residents of the region know you can only reliably count on an extended stretch of high temperatures and sunny skies from about July 12 to around the end of September or mid-October. Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times)

How Brett Kavanaugh Could Reshape Environmental Law From the Supreme Court
Long before President Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court on Monday, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh had already made a name for himself as an influential conservative critic of sweeping environmental regulations. During his 12 years on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often regarded as the nation’s second-most powerful court, Judge Kavanaugh voted in a number of high-profile cases to limit Environmental Protection Agency rules involving issues like climate change and air pollution. In two key instances, his arguments were later embraced by the Supreme Court. Brad Plumer reports. (NY Times)

New 200m rule might not help save endangered killer whales
New whale watching rules came into effect Wednesday, but they may not do much to help the killer whales they aim to protect, according to some whale watchers and experts. "We are closing the barn door after this has all happened. This isn't going to help the southern residents at all," said Cedric Tower, the operator of Vancouver Whale Watch. That's because the critically endangered southern resident killer whales the new rules are designed to protect are rarely spotted anymore on whale watching trips, according to many in the industry. Mike Laanela reports. (CBC)

Is Canada Taking Shortcuts to Hit Its Marine Protection Targets?
The government is counting fisheries closures as protected spaces in order to hit a 2020 target. Many scientists argue this is not meaningful conservation. Erica Gies reports. (Hakai Magazine)

3 Reasons the Deadly Lac-M├ęgantic Oil Train Disaster Could Happen Again
In the five years since the oil train disaster in Lac-M├ęgantic, Quebec, claimed 47 lives, the world has learned much about the risks that hauling oil by rail poses. One of the clearest lessons is how little has been done to address those risks, which means that deadly event could easily happen again. To mark the anniversary, Kathleen Fox, chair of the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada, released a statement on oil-by-rail. "Much has been accomplished in the intervening years, but more remains to be done," she said. Fox is correct about one thing: More remains to be done. Much more. Justin Mikulka reports. (DeSmog)

Indigenous pipeline protesters take over B.C. park, displace campers
An Indigenous group calling itself the Tiny House Warriors has moved into the North Thompson River Provincial Park near Clearwater, B.C., in an effort to block the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Group spokeswoman Kanahus Manuel says they are reclaiming an ancestral village their people were forced from many years ago, while at the same trying to prevent the expansion of the pipeline through their traditional territory. (Canadian Press)

Conservationists struggle to save western toadlets making perilous migration in Chilliwack
It is one of the greatest, if tiniest, terrestrial migrations in North America, an estimated 100,000 western toadlets making their annual, overland trek from the pond of their birth in Chilliwack, across a farm pasture, and into a bordering forest. The distance is only a two-minute walk for humans. But for the brown toadlets — about the size of your thumbnail — the journey is fraught with dangers. There is the unknown number of invasive bullfrogs lurking in the pond, the field grasses rustling with predatory garter snakes, and, worst of all, the fast-moving motor vehicles on two lanes of asphalt in their path.... To improve the odds, in 2015, conservationists created a tunnel under Elk View Road in the Ryder Lake area, and put up 350 metres of black plastic fencing in an effort to direct the toadlets towards the tunnel — and safety. It doesn’t always work. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

County to purchase Lyman properties damaged by erosion
Skagit County will soon take ownership of three Lyman properties after residents were forced to leave their homes following flood-related erosion in November. Skagit County Watershed Planner Kara Symonds said purchase agreements have been signed with the owners of the three homes: Mark Harris, Michael Taxdahl, and Richard and Vicky Guidinger.... Taxdahl and his neighbors’ homes are being purchased by the county using Hazard Mitigation Grant Program money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as about $150,000 in state Military Department funds and about $150,000 from the county in the form of labor, project management and waste disposal. The three homes are being purchased for a combined $1.2 million, Symonds said. That’s their combined fair market value before the erosion occurred, according to Skagit County Assessor’s Office records. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  239 AM PDT Thu Jul 12 2018   


TODAY  Light wind becoming N 5 to 15 kt midday then becoming NW  15 to 25 kt during the afternoon. Wind waves less than 1 ft  building to 2 to 4 ft by mid afternoon. W swell 5 ft at 8  seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 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 (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

7/11 Robin, EPA awards NWIFC, rockfish, farmland solar, MV Sun Sea, forest protection

Baby robin [Carmen Elliott/BirdNote]
American Robin Babies Afoot
After hatching, baby robins spend up to 15 days in the nest. By July, many young American Robins have left the nest, or fledged. But they aren't ready to make it entirely on their own yet, and they follow their parents around, learning to fend for themselves. Outside of the breeding season, robins tend to form large flocks, often feeding on berries and fruits. (BirdNote)

EPA awards $350k to NW Indian Fisheries Commission for habitat projects
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission with a $350,000 Indian General Assistance Program Grant to assist western Washington tribes with habitat protection projects.... This award continues the EPA-NWIFC partnership that began in the early 1990s that has since evolved into the current Indian General Assistance Program, which is critical to the development, organization, and implementation of the Washington Coordinated Tribal Water Quality Program. This inter-governmental strategy was designed to build tribal capacity to monitor and evaluate environmental conditions, and to advance water quality protection and clean-up objectives important to tribal resources. (Tacoma Weekly)

After an epic ecological comeback, the local, versatile rockfish has become a restaurant rock star
Rockfish is appearing on Seattle-area menus in everything from ceviche to tacos. But new it is not. This lean, mild fish is nothing short of the best ecological comeback story on the West Coast in the past 50 years.... After years of conservation measures, natural rockfish stocks have recovered. Today, U.S.-sourced rockfish species are all “best choices” or “good alternatives” on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. And several species are certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. Catherine M. Allchin reports. (Seattle Times) Meanwhile: Protecting Washington's Rockfish  Washington is home to many species of rockfish (family Sebastidae).  Populations of some species are healthy but others, such as yelloweye, canary and bocaccio, are suffering and have been listed under the Endangered Species Act (canary and yelloweye as Threatened, bocaccio as Endangered). Within Puget Sound, WDFW has implemented recreational depth and area restrictions, and closed commercial fisheries that target rockfish or have a high potential to encounter them as bycatch.  Other commercial fisheries off the Washington coast that tend to take rockfish as bycatch have also been limited in an effort to reduce rockfish mortality, but more can be done to protect vulnerable rockfish species. (WDFW)

Solar Plan Collides With Farm Tradition in Pacific Northwest
When a company from Seattle came calling, wanting to lease some land on Jeff and Jackie Brunson’s 1,000-acre hay and oat farm for a solar energy project, they jumped at the idea, and the prospect of receiving regular rent checks. They did not anticipate the blowback — snarky texts, phone calls from neighbors, and county meetings where support for solar was scant. Critics said the project would remove too much land from agricultural production in central Washington. If approved by regulators, it would be one of the biggest solar generators ever built in the state, with five large arrays spread around the county, covering around 250 acres with sun-sucking panels. Ms. Brunson said the critics should mind their own business and respect property rights. Kirk Johnson reports. (NY Times)

Ship that carried hundreds of migrants to Canada now a floating toxic stew
The MV Sun Sea carried nearly 500 Tamil migrants to Canada eight years ago, but now the rusting cargo ship sits forlornly on the B.C. coast — an unwanted vessel of toxins including asbestos, PCBs and mould, documents reveal. The federal government, which has been stuck with the rickety ship for years, is looking for an "environmentally sound" and cost-effective way of getting rid of it. The Public Services and Procurement Department recently issued a request for feedback from industry on how to dismantle and dispose of the 38-year-old steel ship with an infamous past. (CBC)

Conservationists move to protect more than 7,000 acres of Puget Sound forest
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources, along with the Trust for Public Land and the Green Diamond Resource Company, announced they have moved to permanently protect more than 7,000 acres of forest at the southwestern end of Puget Sound. The land – 7,391 acres in total – is located on the Olympic Peninsula between Hood Canal and Case Inlet. The area will remain in active timber production, but water quality and wildlife habitat will be protected, and space will be available to the public for hiking, biking, and other recreation.... This area of land is part of a three-phase effort to protect 20,000 acres of this coastal forest from development. The plot protected Tuesday is part of phase two. Previously, 6,967 acres were protected in 2016, and $5.1 million was procured in the 2018 congressional budget for the third phase. (KIRO)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Wed Jul 11 2018   


TODAY  Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 11 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 3 ft at 11 seconds building to 5 ft at  7 seconds after midnight.

"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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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

7/10 River otter, orca plight, BC pipe, BC LNG, Wheeler's EPA

River otters [Dmitry Azovtsev]
River otter Contra canadensis
Although seldom seen, river otters are relatively common throughout Washington in ponds, lakes, rivers, sloughs, estuaries, bays, and in open waters along the coast. In colder locations, otters frequent areas that remain ice-free in winter—rapids, the outflows of lakes, and waterfalls. River otters avoid polluted waterways, but will seek out a concentrated food source upstream in urban areas. River otters are sometimes mistaken for their much larger seagoing cousin, the sea otter (Enhydra lutris). However, male sea otters measure 6 feet in length and weigh 80 pounds. Sea otters are acclimated to salt water, and come to shore only for occasional rest periods and to give birth. In comparison, river otters can be found in fresh, brackish, or salt water, and can travel overland for considerable distances. (WDFW) See also: They're cute, cuddly and smell like old fish. Now they're living in the wild.  Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Orcas of the Pacific Northwest Are Starving and Disappearing
For the last three years, not one calf has been born to the dwindling pods of black-and-white killer whales spouting geysers of mist off the coast in the Pacific Northwest. Normally four or five calves would be born each year among this fairly unique urban population of whales — pods named J, K and L. But most recently, the number of orcas here has dwindled to just 75, a 30-year-low in what seems to be an inexorable, perplexing decline. Listed as endangered since 2005, the orcas are essentially starving, as their primary prey, the Chinook, or king salmon, are dying off. Jim Robbins reports. (NY Times)

Alberta likely to take equity stake in Trans Mountain pipeline, Notley says
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the province is likely to end up owning a piece of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The federal government agreed to buy the Alberta-to-British-Columbia crude conduit this spring for $4.5 billion from U.S. company Kinder Morgan. Kinder Morgan had threatened to walk away from a planned $7.4-billion expansion to the line because of resistance from the B.C. government. Notley announced in May that her government would make up to $2 billion available, if necessary, to keep the project going. (Canadian Press)

'It’s going ahead': LNG Canada dreams appear closer to coming true as Shell ramps up in Kitimat
A flurry of activity in a remote Canadian town is raising optimism that Royal Dutch Shell Plc and its partners are ready to go ahead with the nation’s largest infrastructure project: a $40 billion (US$30 billion) liquefied natural gas terminal that could at last unlock energy exports to Asia. The action is unmistakable in Kitimat, British Columbia, the Pacific coast city hugging a deep inlet that would be the closest launch point on the continent for LNG cargoes to Asia. The lights are on, shades open and SUVs parked outside a 49-unit apartment complex built to house Shell executives, which sat mostly darkened for the last two years. Local workers have left jobs at a Rio Tinto Plc smelter nearby to join contractors ramping up for the LNG project. Landlords are raising rents and houses are selling twice as fast as they used to in anticipation of a flood of workers coming to town. (Bloomberg News)

Incoming EPA chief: ‘This is the right job for me.’
In some ways, Andrew Wheeler — former Environmental Protection Agency career staffer, Republican Senate aide, energy lobbyist — could hardly be more different from the man he is replacing as head of the EPA. Where Scott Pruitt was a career politician who enjoyed the limelight, Wheeler has worked behind the scenes on energy and environmental law. Pruitt filled his time at the agency by traveling the country, speaking to groups of industry executives and praising President Trump. As the EPA’s deputy administrator, Wheeler has spent much of his short tenure meeting with career staffers and delving into the policy weeds at the agency’s headquarters. But this much is clear: Wheeler intends to pursue many of the regulatory rollbacks Pruitt put in motion and to carry out Trump’s promises of a more efficient, less powerful EPA. Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin report. (Washington Post)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PDT Tue Jul 10 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. SW swell 2 ft at 14 seconds. A slight chance of  showers in the morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 4 ft at 11 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told