Friday, December 19, 2014

12/19 King tides, WA taxes, radiation test, oil & coal trains & pipes, Vic sewer, seawall, Polley mine

(PHOTO: J. Custer_12/17/12_Flickr)
Snap the Shore, See the Future: Capture Washington’s King Tide
Higher than normal "king tides" will arrive in the Salish Sea December 21-27. Get outside and use a little imagination to see what climate change and rising sea levels might bring to your shoreline. Take a picture and share it, too. Washington King Tide Photo Initiative

‘Buck up,’ Inslee says, as he makes his case for new taxes
Gov. Jay Inslee laid out an aggressive tax-and-spending proposal Thursday unlike anything that has come out of the governor’s office in recent years, staking out a solidly liberal agenda likely to be a hard sell in a closely divided Legislature. In response to what his budget office estimates is a $2.35 billion budget shortfall, the Democratic governor proposed a new capital-gains tax on profits from sales of stocks and bonds affecting 1 percent of Washingtonians. That new tax, plus a proposal to charge major polluters for carbon emissions, forms the core of Inslee’s proposal to raise more than $1.4 billion in new revenue for the state over the next two years. He also seeks to raise taxes on cigarettes, bottled water and oil refineries. Jim Brunner and Joseph O'Sullivan report. (Seattle Times)

Sockeye, inshore waters test Fukushima-free
As the first batches of seawater samples collected by citizen scientists along the B.C. coast are being analyzed in Victoria, the results of radiation testing on 19 sockeye salmon and steelhead samples have come back negative for Fukushima-related contamination. And tests conducted so far this year on water samples from Prince Rupert to Victoria have also found B.C.’s inshore waters to be Fukushima-free. John Gleeson reports. (Coast Reporter)

MV resolution seeks 15 mph speed limit for oil trains
The City Council drafted and approved a letter Wednesday to send to the state regarding the transportation of oil by rail through the city. The letter outlined desired safety standards for trains carrying flammable crude oil, requesting that their speed be limited to 15 mph or less through the city, said Mount Vernon council member Dale Ragan. Shannen Kuest reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

First Nations file for judicial review of pipeline approval
Two First Nations are seeking a judicial review of a provincial regulator’s decision to approve a TransCanada Corp. pipeline project, alleging that they weren’t adequately consulted. The Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli First Nations say the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) rushed its study of the $4.7-billion Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline that would go from northeastern British Columbia to Kitimat. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Most Canadians support anti-Kinder Morgan protesters: new online poll
More than half of all Canadians support the protesters who disrupted Kinder Morgan’s work on Burnaby Mountain last month, but a majority also believe the company’s Trans Mountain pipeline will be finished despite such civil disobedience, according to a new online national survey. Fifty-seven per cent of respondents to a recent Angus Reid Institute survey voiced their approval of the protests, but at the same time, almost as many (51 per cent) said they wanted the expansion of the pipeline carrying oil from Alberta to Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby terminal. Mike Hagar reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Northwest Coal Export Terminals Could Get Financial Help From State Of Wyoming
The state of Wyoming may be getting into the coal export business. The Legislature will consider a bill during its upcoming session that would increase the Infrastructure Authority’s bonding limit from $1 billion to $3 billion and also allow that money to be spent outside the state’s borders. Wyoming Infrastructure Authority Director Loyd Drain says if it passes, as is widely expected, he could then enter into talks about financing with companies that are trying to build coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. (Wyoming Public Radio)

Coal trains still running through South Fork Valley
What was supposed to be a temporary detour of empty coal trains from Bellingham to the South Fork Valley will continue at least until Jan. 15 and maybe much longer. For the first time, officials at BNSF Railway said they were considering a “long-term” deal with Canadian railroad companies to continue running the empty coal trains on the tracks along Highway 9, from Sumas to the South Fork. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Victoria explores potential sites for sewage treatment
Victoria is hoping to identify potential sites for sewage treatment even as it develops plans on how to best consult residents on what type of system they want. On Thursday, councillors endorsed a motion put forward by Coun. Ben Isitt to have staff report on options for wastewater treatment facilities in the city. Under Isitt’s motion, the site search will be based on criteria such as availability of land, opportunities for resource recovery, and consistency with zoning and the Official Community Plan. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Step one in Spring Street Landing revamp: build new seawall
The bulkhead construction project, at the Spring Street Landing site, is the first phase in what will be a completely revamped public area. Construction got under way with the excavation of compacted earth that’s acted as a retaining seawall. Once excavation is complete the old piling left over from the former ferry dock, decommissioned in the 1960s, will be removed. The final phase of reconstruction of the bulkhead will be building a new seawall, composed of mechanically stabilized earth that’s reinforced with boulders on the exterior. Emily Greenberg reports. (San Juan Journal)

Energy minister tells Imperial Metals it can repair damaged tailings dam
The company that owns the Mount Polley mine near Williams Lake will be allowed to repair the tailings dam before the government has finished its reviews into the cause of its partial collapse. Imperial Metals, which runs the gold and copper mine, called the repairs “another step in the path in the long road forward” at the facility. Mount Polley has not been operational since Aug. 4 when its tailings dam collapsed, sending millions of cubic meters of water and tailings into nearby creeks and Quesnel Lake. Rob Shaw reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PST FRI DEC 19 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING
TODAY
S WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 12 FT BUILDING TO 15 FT AT 20 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
S WIND 20 TO 30 KT RISING TO 25 TO 35 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 17 TO 21 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 18 SECONDS. RAIN.
SAT
S WIND 30 TO 40 KT. SEAS 18 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 17 SECONDS. RAIN.
SAT NIGHT
SW WIND 30 TO 35 KT EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 15 SECONDS.
SUN AND SUN NIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. NW
 SWELL 12 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

12/18 Carbon cap, Vancouver soil, tropical species, Sequim water, Saanich sewer, Black Press, sage grouse

Southern Resident Killer Whale Salmon Initiative
Want to make a difference in restoring the health of the endangered Southern Resident killer whales? Over 2,624 people have signed an online petition asking Washington Governor Jay Inslee to support removing the four lower Snake River dams to save the Southern Resident killer Whales from being dammed to extinction. No dams, more fish, healthy whales. Sign on!


Inslee Reveals Plan For Curbing Washington’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee rolled out an aggressive plan Wednesday to cap carbon emissions and fight climate change. The centerpiece of the governor’s strategy would set a statewide limit for greenhouse gas emissions. Big emitters would pay for credits to cover their emissions if they exceed that cap. In later years, these carbon polluters would have the ability to trade those credits on a regional carbon market, potentially joining California, British Columbia and Oregon. Inslee said the plan will generate up to $1 billion for the state, which would pay for transportation, education and community aid. Inslee is expecting his plan to be met with opposition. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix) See also: Whatcom senator stands in the way of Gov. Inslee’s cap-and-trade climate proposal  Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Vancouver’s native soil ‘too contaminated to grow in,’ SoleFood founder warns
The native soil in Vancouver’s community gardens may be no worse than soils used in rural areas for commercial agriculture, but SoleFood founder Michael Ableman still wouldn’t grow food in it. People’s “romantic perception” that rural areas are somehow pristine environments where all is clean and pure is misplaced. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Turn of the Tides Festival celebrates marine life, winter solstice
The South Sound Estuary Association will hold its second annual Turn of the Tides Festival, a celebration of the winter solstice, Saturday. The free event will include marine life displays, environment education, arts and crafts, chowder and hot chocolate…. The event will run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the South Sound Estuarium, 309 State Ave. NE, Olympia. For more information, go to sseacenter.org. (Olympian)

Scientists Report Rare Sightings Of Tropical Species Off West Coast
Scientists surveying whales and dolphins on the West Coast have discovered unusual species of birds and marine mammals far north of their normal ranges. Experts say fish and wildlife are being drawn northward by unusually warm ocean water. Every few years, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration take a head count of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the ocean off California, Oregon and Washington. Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

County leads effort for cleaner water
Bringing an 18-month project to a close, those involved with creating a Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) Plan for the Sequim Bay-Dungeness Watershed Clean Water District have completed the draft plan and soon will begin a pilot project near Dungeness Bay. The PIC plan provides the skeleton for how water pollution problems will be identified and corrected with the intention to improve local water quality and health of Sequim and Dungeness bays. Alana Linderoth reports. (Sequim Gazette)

Saanich sewer and water fees going up
Saanich councillors have approved an increase of 11.9 per cent in the sewer charge, which translates into the average homeowner’s bill increasing to $405 from $362. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Black Press purchases Island newspapers in deal with Glacier Media
Glacier Media Inc. has sold its Vancouver Island Newspaper Group to Victoria-based Black Press. Black Press takes operational control of that group on March 2. That includes Cowichan Valley Citizen, Nanaimo Daily News and Alberni Valley Times. The sale does not include the Times Colonist. Carla Wilson reports. (Times Colonist)

Protections blocked, but sage grouse work goes on
U.S. wildlife officials will decide next year whether a wide-ranging Western bird species needs protections even though Congress has blocked such protections from taking effect, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday. They could determine the greater sage grouse is heading toward possible extinction, but they would be unable to intervene under the Endangered Species Act. The bird's fate instead remains largely in the hands of the 11 individual states where they are found. President Barack Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill late Tuesday with a provision that barred money from being spent on rules to protect the chicken-sized bird and three related types of grouse. Matthew Brown reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PST THU DEC 18 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM PST THIS MORNING THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT IN THE
 AFTERNOON. NW SWELL 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
S WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12/17 Port Angeles toxins, Rhapsody, Site C dam, Skagit water, pollution fee, bird flu, Bristol Bay, citizen science

Port Angeles Rayonier mill site (Keith Thorpe/PDN)
Toxins abound off old Port Angeles pulp mill site, state Ecology says
Mercury, arsenic, dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are among the ingredients of the toxic brew in the eastern side of Port Angeles Harbor near the site of the former Rayonier mill. A draft Marine Data Summary Report released Tuesday by the state Department of Ecology in Olympia summarized the amount and types of marine contamination in the 1,300 acres of water and sediment. The poisons are concentrated most highly in water in the eastern part of the former log pond and near the mill dock, the report said, but “are spread throughout the marine environment.” James Casey reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Infection from fetus death killed orca off Vancouver Island
An endangered orca found dead off Vancouver Island in Canada earlier this month died after a failed pregnancy caused a bacterial infection, officials said Tuesday. Preliminary necropsy results show the 19-year-old killer whale known as J-32 was pregnant with a nearly full-term female calf that died, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Finding Light In The Dark For Whales
The Whale Trail hosts a seasonal gathering in the wake of the loss of J-32 tonight in West Seattle at 6:30 at C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW. Researcher Mark Sears shares photos from recent encounters with J, K and L pods. Join in discussing your concerns fro and connection with these beloved pods. $5, kids free, Brown Paper Tickets.

Site C dam approved by B.C. government
B.C. has approved the $8 billion Site C dam — a massive hydroelectric project that would flood a large area of the Peace River Valley in northeastern B.C. In making the announcement, Premier Christy Clark said the Site C Clean Energy Project will provide B.C. residents with a reliable source of power for the next 100 years for the least cost to the taxpayer. (CBC)

Washington Court Rules Against Landowners In Skagit Water Rights Case
A judge ruled against a couple Tuesday after they sued for the right to drill a well and build a new home on their property in Skagit County. The case marks the latest battle in the ongoing fight over water rights in Washington’s Skagit River valley. Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Appel dismissed the case brought by property owners Richard and Marnie Fox. He told the couple that they can’t build a home on their property because they don’t have legal access to water. That’s because of a 2001 rule that basically says there has to be enough water left in the Skagit River to protect spawning salmon. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

Inslee wants a pollution fee to pay for transportation
Sound Transit would be able to ask big new tax increases for light rail, but improvements to the state’s highways and bridges would get paid by a “market-based carbon pollution fee” under Gov. Jay Inslee’s sure-to-be controversial transportation plan. The $12.2 billion, 12-year plan was unveiled by Inslee at the east end of the 520 floating bridge, a project that the governor’s plan pledges to complete.  The “Let’s Move Forward” plan would also finish expansion of Interstate 405 in the Renton-to-Bellevue corridor. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePi.com) See also: Polling shows some public support for taxing carbon pollution in Washington  Brad Shannon reports. (Olympian)

Bird flu confirmed in wild birds in Whatcom County
Two separate strains of bird flu have been confirmed in wild birds in Whatcom County, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday, Dec. 16. Tests identified H5N2 in a northern pintail duck and H5N8 in a gyrfalcon fed wild birds killed by hunters, agriculture officials said…. The cases were quickly reported and identified given the increased surveillance and testing of birds in Whatcom County after the outbreak of the H5N2 strain in commercial poultry in British Columbia. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Obama makes Alaska’s Bristol Bay permanently off-limits to drilling
President Obama announced Tuesday that he’s removing more than 52,000 square miles of waters off Alaska’s coast from consideration for oil and gas exploration or drilling. The president said in a video announcement that Bristol Bay and nearby waters, covering an area roughly the size of Florida, would be withdrawn from consideration for petroleum leases. He called Bristol Bay one of the country’s great natural resources and a massive economic engine. Dan Joling reports. (Associated Press)

Here's How You Can Help Scientists Study Sex, Whales, and Distant Galaxies
Sharman Apt Russell, author of Diary of a Citizen Scientist, describes her involvement in scientific research without ever pursuing a scientific degree-- and how you can, too. Indre Viskontas reports. (Mother Jones)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST WED DEC 17 2014
TODAY
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT. NW SWELL 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN LIKELY IN
 THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING S AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT. NW SWELL 7 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12/16 Lemon shark, Vic sewer, Rhapsody, Illabot Cr., ocean acid, Site C dam, Inslee's ed budget

“Spineless” Susan Middleton
The Oceans’ Depths, Saturated With Life and Color
As we stand on the thin crust of this watery planet, our gaze tends to roam from horizon to heavens. We often neglect the riot of life that seethes and thrives below us, especially in the still mysterious depths of our oceans. When we focus on sea life at all, our fancies turn to the vertebrate exhibitionists — whales, sharks, dolphins — or the delicious fish on our plates. But as the photographer and writer Susan Middleton tells us in her ravishing new book, “Spineless,” marine invertebrates make up more than 98 percent of the oceans’ known animal species. As she writes, “Beneath the ocean waves, hidden from our view, a spectacular profusion of life flourishes.” Dana Jennings reports. (NY Times)

Lemon shark dies at Point Defiance Zoo
A lemon shark believed to be the oldest in any North American aquarium died over the weekend at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Lizzie, 30, developed lesions three weeks ago on her gill slits, around her pectoral fins and in her mouth, zoo officials said Monday. Veterinarians have been monitoring the 450-pound shark and noticed she changed her swimming patterns and was having trouble breathing Thursday. Stacia Glenn reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Victoria eyes back-to-basics approach on sewage treatment
….Victoria has hired consultants and begun working with Saanich and Oak Bay staff to explore local or sub-regional treatment options since the collapse last summer of the Capital Regional District’s plan to locate a plant at Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point. In a report going to councillors Thursday, municipal staff present a strategy to begin in January to outline to the public:… Bill Cleverley and Amy Smart report. (Times Colonist)

Pregnant killer whale J-32 was starving, necropsy reveals
Questions remain after a necropsy revealed a young female orca in the endangered southern resident population was malnourished when she died before giving birth to a full-term calf. Preliminary necropsy results released by the Center for Whale Research indicate that J-32 had a thin layer of blubber and had not been feeding adequately for an extended period of time. But the report also concluded the 19-year-old female likely died because she could not expel a nearly full-term fetus from her body, and that the fetus might have been dead for some time. "The question is why did the fetus die, and why are we having so much trouble with reproductive success in this population?" said Kenneth Balcomb, the executive director of the center. (CBC)

Illabot Creek awaits president’s pen to become wild and scenic
After a half-dozen years of trying, Skagit County’s Illabot Creek is a pen-stroke away from being designated a Wild and Scenic River. Congress passed a National Defense Authorization Act Friday that includes the designation. All that remains is President Obama’s signature. The designation has been a goal for conservation groups, local and state officials for many years, but efforts to pass it as separate legislation have previously failed. This time, it was added to the $585 billion Defense bill. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Ocean acidification a culprit in commercial shellfish hatcheries' failures
The mortality of larval Pacific oysters in Northwest hatcheries has been linked to ocean acidification. Yet the rate of increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the decrease of pH in near-shore waters have been questioned as being severe enough to cause the die-offs. Now, a new study of Pacific oyster and Mediterranean mussel larvae found that the earliest larval stages are sensitive to saturation state, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) or pH (acidity) per se. Saturation state is a measure of how corrosive seawater is to the calcium carbonate shells made by bivalve larvae, and how easy it is for larvae to produce their shells. A lower saturation rate is associated with more corrosive seawater. Cheryl Dybas reports. (PHYS.ORG)

B.C. government decision on Site C dam expected
The province is expected to announce a decision on the controversial Site C dam on Tuesday. Provincial Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett has called a news conference in Victoria on Tuesday to make what his ministry said is a major announcement. If given the go-ahead, the $8.5-billion project would dramatically alter a large chunk of northeastern B.C. by putting it underwater for the hydroelectric project. (CBC)

Inslee outlines plan to pump $2.3 billion into education
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday said he wants to give public schools and colleges a $2.3 billion boost in the next budget. He’s proposing to put in enough money to amply fund basic education as ordered by the Supreme Court, prevent a tuition hike for college students and give teachers a nearly 5 percent pay hike over the next two years. But he’s not sticking in enough to cover the cost of the smaller class size initiative passed by voters last month. And on Monday he wasn’t saying how he will pay for his proposal. That answer won’t come until Thursday when he issues his proposed spending plan for the biennium that begins July 1, 2015. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST TUE DEC 16 2014
TODAY
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT THIS MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. NW SWELL 6 FT AT 13
 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 10 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT. NW SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, December 15, 2014

12/15 Bird counts, sewage pipe, sewage spill, salmon farmers, Skagit water, oil trains

(PHOTO: BirdNote)
Christmas Bird Count - Join In!
During late December, birders go out counting every bird that hops, swims, flies, or soars into view, as they have for more than 100 years. Audubon chapters across the United States and elsewhere sponsor the Christmas Bird Count, or CBC. Learn about the history of the Christmas Bird Count. Join the count - in Alaska, Connecticut, Detroit, Texas, Washington State, California, New Mexico, or Florida. Visit Audubon.org to find a CBC near you! CBC runs December 14, 2014 - January 5, 2015. (BirdNote)

Pipeline to a cleaner Puget Sound
Workers in Seattle are installing a 3,000-foot pipe that will eventually divert millions of gallons of raw sewage from Puget Sound. The pipe is being fed through a tunnel that workers recently dug into the side of Magnolia Bluff. It will connect with an aging sewer line in a steep canyon on the other side. Two dozen times every year, sometimes more, that old system is overwhelmed by heavy rains and ends up overflowing into the sanitary sewage line. Then that mixture flows directly into Puget Sound. Gary Chittim reports. (KING)

3.5 million gallons of sewage and runoff water into PA harbor, and in Jefferson County, homes still without electricity — a post-storm rundown across Peninsula  (Peninsula Daily News)

Salmon farmers will spend $1.5 million to study interactions with wild fish
The B.C. Salmon Farmers Association is putting $1.5 million over the next five years into a series of research projects on how wild and farm-raised salmon interact. The announcement is part of the industry’s attempt to address recommendations stemming from Judge Bruce Cohen’s recent inquiry into the state of Fraser River sockeye. Matthew Robinson reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Water fight ruling won’t mean battle ends l
The matter of who gets water and who doesn’t in Skagit County has been one of the most challenging issues plaguing the county in recent years. For nearly 20 years, residents, the county, the state and local tribes have been locked in a series of ongoing negotiations-turned-battles over how to manage the waters of the third-largest river system on the West Coast and protect salmon populations there. Now, a court case brought forward by a Sedro-Woolley couple arguing for their right to use water for their retirement home has the potential to bring the issue before the state Supreme Court for a second time and cause a fresh round of lawsuits between any combination of the people and agencies involved. Daniel DeMay reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Court Case Is The Latest Battle In Water Wars Of The Skagit River  Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

As more oil trains roll through, safety concerns increase
The parade of flat-black tank cars began arriving here less than two years ago. Now the crude oil trains are a familiar sight — and a source of anxiety for many people along the route. Every week, up to a dozen such trains skirt Puget Sound, each hauling more than 1 million gallons of Bakken crude from North Dakota and Montana. They pass erosion-prone coastal bluffs, then travel through the downtowns of Edmonds, Mukilteo, Everett, Marysville and Stanwood. They take the highly flammable fuel from fields in North Dakota to refineries in Skagit and Whatcom counties. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald) See also: Bellingham could quiet train horns with ‘quiet zone’ rule for railroad crossings Samntha Wohfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

 Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON DEC 15 2014
GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM PST THIS MORNING
 SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 7 AM PST THIS MORNING THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY
E WIND 25 TO 35 KT...EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 6 FT. W SWELL 9 FT AT 17 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 9 FT AT 15 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told


Friday, December 12, 2014

12/12 Elwha, storm, Rhapsody necropsy, lake vs. estuary, bad oyster, BC pipe, vessel demolition

(Edmonds Beacon)
The illusion of light illuminating the waters of the Puget Sound has been captured by a local artist who created a fabric installation to alter the space of Edmonds’ shorelines and bring awareness to the plight of salmon. “I’ve lived in Edmonds my whole life,” artist Marni Muir said, “and am deeply committed to the Edmonds way of life”…. Muir, 64, temporarily displayed the 5-yard untitled “altered space fabric piece” along the Edmonds waterfront, and draped it over a section of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks and the tall, billowing grasses of the Edmonds Marsh. She said current waterfront developments have created blocked pathways for salmon, making it impossible for them to complete their spawning cycle. Laura Daniali reports. (Edmonds Beacon)

If you like to watch: Elwha River at flood stage 12/9 and 12/10
John Gussman treats us to a short clip of some of the flooding on the river this week.

BC Hydro power outages affect thousands after wind storm  (CBC) Storm is over, but thousands still without power  (KING)

Orca necropsy shows fetus died first: report
A 19-year-old orca whose body was found last week off Courtenay had a near full-term fetus disintegrating in her uterus, says a preliminary necropsy report from the Center for Whale Research. It appears the fetus died some time before the mother, said Kenneth Balcomb, executive director and principal investigator at the centre in Friday Harbor, Washington. The mother’s death was probably caused by difficulties trying to expel the fetus, he said…..During the necropsy, Balcomb observed that the whale’s blubber layer was relatively thin and dry of oil, indicating that J-32 existed on an inadequate diet for an extended period. He noted that her spleen was enlarged and there was an enlarged lymph node adjacent to the uterus, which suggests something had been wrong for a while. Louise Dickson reports. (Times Colonist)

Lake-estuary impasse will be tough to break
Capitol Lake sits at the center of a years-long debate over a complex public policy issue in Olympia: Should it remain a lake, or be restored as an estuary? A new report says collaboration among key players is the best way to find a solution for managing the 260-acre man-made reservoir. However, collaboration will be difficult at best with the estuary camp wanting the Fifth Avenue Dam removed and the lake supporters wanting it to stay, the report went on to say. The two groups’ dueling science and financial cost estimates for the lake-estuary options are other barriers to collaboration. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Raw oysters sicken 12, prompt shellfish harvest closure and recall
Washington state health officials have ordered an emergency harvest closure and a multistate recall of all shellfish from a portion of Mason County’s Hammersley Inlet after at least a dozen people who ate raw oysters became ill. Norovirus is suspected in the illnesses reported last month; laboratory tests confirmed the infection in two people, health officials said. The recall announced Thursday includes nearly 4,000 dozen oysters and nearly 3,000 pounds of Manila clams from the area processed from Nov. 10 to Dec. 5. The shellfish was sent to a dozen states including Oregon, Nevada, Florida, Minnesota, Illinois, California, New York, Maine, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. JoNel Aleccia reports. (Seattle Times)

Pipeline expansion proposal in B.C. has Washington groups worried, too
Kinder Morgan’s plans to boost the export of Alberta tar sands oil to Asia through its British Columbia pipeline picked up more opposition south of the border Tuesday when Seattle-based Sightline Institute released research critical of the company’s safety and environmental record. The report adds to aggressive efforts by the U.S.-based nonprofit Forest Ethics and environmental groups in the San Juan Islands to stop Kinder Morgan from expanding its Trans Mountain pipeline in southern British Columbia. Floyd McKay reports. (Crosscut)

San Juan tops in state demolition 'turn-in' program; five dismantled in two days time
Tearing apart a boat that’s past its prime is nothing new for Michael Durland. In fact, it’s more akin to business as usual at Orcas Island’s Deer Harbor Boatworks, where, over the course of two days, Nov. 13-14, Durland and crew demolished five boats whose owners had surrendered various vessels they could no longer maintain or dispose of themselves to the grindstone of the state-funded voluntary turn-in program coordinated by San Juan County’s derelict vessel removal program. Scott Rasmussen reports. (San Juan Journal)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 301 AM PST FRI DEC 12 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM PST THIS MORNING
TODAY
W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 10
 FT AT 14 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT AT 15 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
S WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE 10 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 14 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SUN
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 16 SECONDS.
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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

12/11 Oil train rules, Growlers hushed, Kinder Morgan slammed, warming waters, Ed Ricketts, sage grouse

Pond Transformations (PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Finding Fascination in Confusion
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "This photo of our partly frozen pond is never going to win any awards. It’s visually chaotic, with lines running every which way, a jumble of geometric shapes, and no clear focal point. Not to mention, my shivering hands were probably shaking when I pressed the shutter. Nevertheless, I can’t resist looking at it. I zoom in on the details, drawn one moment by the network of slow, meandering ridges of slush, and the next by the straight, decisive tracks made by the floating sticks and twigs…."

Federal budget bill sets January deadline on safety rules for oil tanker cars
Hidden away in Congress’ big spending bill, designed to fund the federal government through FY 2015, are stern marching orders to the U.S. Department of Transportation: Deliver a final rule for new, safer oil tank car design standards by Jan. 15, 2015, and require that all rail carriers put in place comprehensive oil spill response plans. The budget provisions, inserted by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are prompted by an oil train disaster in Quebec, and the rapid increase in trains carrying volatile Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to four refineries on northern Puget Sound. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

'Hush house' for Growlers backed by Larsen, Murray
The amount of noise emanating from Whidbey Island's fleet of navy jets may be muffled to a significant degree if navy officials heed a request of two senior members of the Washington state's congressional delegation. Sen. Patty Murray and Congressman Rick Larsen last week asked the Navy to consider a funding recommendation earmarked for construction of a so-called "hush house" hangar at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, ground-zero in a rising controversy over the impact of noise created by air and ground testing of the naval station's fleet of EA-18G Growlers. (San Juan Journal)

U.S. report slams Kinder Morgan’s enviro transgressions, including on Burnaby Mountain
The Seattle-based think-tank Sightline Institute released a report Tuesday highlighting Kinder Morgan’s enviro-transgressions across the energy giant's continent-wide network of pipelines and export terminals. The company's recent troubles on Burnaby Mountain in Canada were cited as a major reason for updating the second edition of this report.  More than 100 people were arrested last month -- including scientists, environmentalists, First Nations and other people young and old -- for disobeying a court order designed to protect the company's drillers on the mountain. Mychaylo Prystupa reports. (Vancouver Observer)

Study: Warming West Coast will send fish north
Warming seas will likely send West Coast fish species northward by about 20 miles a decade, and some species probably will disappear from southern ranges off California and Oregon, a new study says. The study, in the January issue of Progress in Oceanography, projects how 28 West Coast species ranging from sharks to salmon will react as greenhouse gases warm the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Warm-water species such as thresher sharks and chub mackerel will become more prominent off British Columbia and in the Gulf of Alaska, the study predicted.  (Associated Press)

Pacific Grove filmmakers champion Ed Ricketts’ contribution to science
The history of Ed Ricketts the scientist can be summed up by three books laid out on a stack of large, note-covered newsprint paper in the office of two Pacific Grove filmmakers. All three are different editions of Ricketts’ seminal 1939 book “Between Pacific Tides,” in which he documented in comprehensive detail the creatures found in tidepools and rocky shores along the coast from Sitka, Alaska, to northern Mexico…. In their half-hour documentary “The Great Tidepool: The Story of Ed Ricketts’ Scientific System,” the Alberts demonstrate Ricketts’ holistic approach to research. At a time when scientific texts described marine animals divorced from their surroundings, Ricketts documented how the animals related to their habitats and each other. That approach helped set the stage for the practice of marine ecology. Jeannie Evers reports. (Monterey Herald)

Flap over sage grouse spurs Congress to intervene
Congress is poised to make an end-run around the Endangered Species Act with a legislative rider on a massive spending bill that would delay protections for several struggling bird populations in the Western U.S. The rider blocks the Interior Department from spending money on rules to protect greater sage grouse and three related birds. The chicken-sized sage grouse has been on a collision course with oil and gas companies, agriculture and other industries in recent years. The Obama administration was up against a September 2015 deadline to either turn around the bird's fading fortunes, or propose protections that could mean severe restrictions on industry. Matthew Brown reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 305 AM PST THU DEC 11 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM PST THIS MORNING THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING
TODAY
E WIND 10 TO 20 KT...RISING TO 20 TO 30 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT IN THE
 AFTERNOON. W SWELL 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
E WIND 30 TO 40 KT WITH POSSIBLE GUSTS TO 50 KT...BECOMING SW 15 TO 25 KT LATE. SEAS 12 TO 15 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 14
 SECONDS... SUBSIDING TO 9 TO 11 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 15 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told