Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7/23 Storm, B'ham coal, port records, Oso slide, toxic fish, stormwater, clean water poll

(KOMO)
July storm brings heavy rain, lightning to Wash. state
An "unseasonably strong" storm system is invading Washington state, increasing the risk of flash flooding and new wildfires in parts of Eastern Washington and bringing heavy rain to parts of Western Washington, the National Weather Service says. Forecasters say the storm could break rainfall records for the date. The record at Sea-Tac Airport is just over a half-inch (.54) set on July 23, 1949. Lightning strikes were first recorded over the Cascades of Snohomish County at about 2:30 a.m. Heavy rainfall began moving into the Puget Sound region shortly afterward. (KOMO)

Coal exports from Bellingham could ramp up rapidly
Developers of the largest of the region’s proposed coal-export terminals have shifted their site plan to claim a dramatic reduction in impacts on wetlands. Simultaneously, SSA Marine, the Seattle international terminal operator, said it will speed up plans to operate Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) north of Bellingham at full capacity. The capacity planning, along with plentiful evidence that BNSF Railway is beefing up its tracks in northwestern Washington to prepare for more coal and oil traffic, alerted terminal foes and brought immediate pushback Monday from the Bellingham City Council. Potentially adding fuel to the fire, BNSF and its largest union are moving toward a contract that allows the railroad to run the 130-car, mile-plus-long coal trains with a single engineer in the cab, replacing the present practice of two in the cab. Floyd McKay reports. (Crosscut)

Judge eyes whether coal port records should be released
A federal judge said Tuesday he would weigh whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must release environmental review documents involving a proposed coal port criticized by environmentalists. U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak said in Portland that he must decide whether the documents show the agency's internal deliberations about the Morrow Pacific coal export terminal in Boardman. Deliberative documents can be exempt from disclosure under federal rules, depending on how they're interpreted by the releasing agency or a judge. (Associated Press)

Critics say proposed rules on fish consumption insufficient
Some tribal leaders and environmental groups say a water-pollution cleanup plan proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee this month is unacceptable because while it tightens the standards on some chemicals discharged to state waters, it keeps the status quo for others. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

New Report: Oso Landslide Rooted In Long History Of Slides
Scientists have concluded that rain, groundwater seepage and a long history of big landslides likely contributed to the massive landslide of March 22 that killed 43 people and destroyed dozens of homes near Oso, Washington. Those findings came out Tuesday, the result of a scientific team’s rapid-fire assessment of geology and localized factors. Joe Wartman, a University of Washington associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and a co-lead author of the study, said rainfall very likely played a key role in the slide. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix) Read the report

Stormwater: Can we stop the menace we created?
Chris Dunagan at the Kitsap Sun in Watching Our Water Ways blogs: ‘I’ve completed the seventh story package in a 10-part series examining the Puget Sound ecosystem, with a special focus on indicators of ecological health. We’re calling the project “Taking the Pulse of Puget Sound.” The latest stories, which ran Sunday and Monday, addressed freshwater quality.’ (The stories are pay-to-read behind a paywall but Chris invites you to look at the graphics for free.)

Advocacy group says new poll shows support among small business owners for stronger clean water rules
A progressive business advocacy group said that small business owners from around the country support greater efforts by the federal government to protect the nation’s water, according to a poll the group commissioned. The poll of small-business owners found that two-thirds were concerned about the impact water pollution could have on their businesses, and 80 percent favored extending federal clean water protections to streams and wetlands. Support on the second issue was strongest among Democrats, at 91 percent, but Republicans and independents also polled above 70 percent. Chris Adams reports. (McClatchy)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED JUL 23 2014
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS. SHOWERS AND A CHANCE OF TSTMS.
TONIGHT
S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF TSTMS. SHOWERS.

--
"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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

7/22 BC LNG, Tesoro xylene, sea otters, pinks, Elwha weir, orcas for sale, Burfoot Park bacteria

Pune, India waste picker (New Scientist)
If you like to watch: Ethical 3D printing begins with plastic waste pickers
Pick the right plastic off a refuse tip, then shred, melt and convert it into feedstock for 3D printers – it's a living for some of India's poorest people. WITH her small child in tow, a young woman trudges across the hazardous clutter of a vast, dusty rubbish dump in Pune, India, scanning for scrap to sell. This scene comes from the launch video of a social enterprise called Protoprint, but it is played out at waste dumps in developing nations across the world. Some 15 million people are thought to scavenge for saleable refuse. Protoprint's scheme could soon improve the lives of some of these people. The group's aim is to train local pickers in Pune to collect high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic waste and then show them how to shred, melt and convert that plastic into the strands of filament that are the feedstock for one of the world's burgeoning technology industries: 3D printing. Paul Marks reports. (New Scientist)

Political summit hears B.C. liquefied natural gas cleans air, wipes out debt
Premier Christy Clark says British Columbia’s proposed liquefied natural gas industry has the power to fight air pollution in China and clear up smog in Los Angeles. The premier’s natural gas development minister also boasted to delegates at the same conference on Monday that the LNG industry will clean up the provincial debt. (Vancouver Sun)

Tesoro plans $400M investment to refine xylene in Anacortes
Tesoro Corp. today announced plans to invest about $400 million in its West Coast operations to extract up to 15,000 barrels per day of xylene at its Anacortes refinery. Startup of the new facilities is expected to be in 2017, subject to permitting and the approval process. A final investment decision is expected by year-end 2014. In a press release, the company said it intends to gather intermediate feedstock, primarily reformate, from its West Coast refining system for xylene extraction at its Anacortes refinery. The initial investment, estimated to be around $400 million, is designed to recover up to 15,000 barrels per day of mixed xylene, which will mainly be exported to Asia. Xylene is used to make polyester fibers and films for clothing, food packaging and beverage containers. (Skagit Valley Herald)

The remarkable comeback of sea otters to the B.C. coast
The evening before Barb Wilson faced the chiefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations she had a nightmare. The Haida elder and her colleague, Anne Salomon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University, had asked to speak with the chiefs about the spread of sea otters on the West Coast. The species is making a remarkable comeback in British Columbia after being pushed to the edge of extinction nearly 100 years ago. The revival of the otters is seen by some as a great environmental success story, but it is triggering dramatic ecological change and pitting native fishermen against animals that have a voracious appetite for urchins, crabs and clams. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Hyper-abundant pink salmon are outcompeting wild sockeye
Is it too soon to change B.C.’s iconic fish from the sockeye to the pink? Probably, but we should be prepared nonetheless as evidence mounts that the phenomenal and persistent abundance of pink salmon is putting real pressure on other Pacific salmon and even sea birds that share the same food resources. Randy Shore writes. (Vancouver Sun)

Conservationists threaten to sue over unused Elwha River hatchery weir
Four wild fish advocacy groups plan to sue over an unused weir at the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe’s hatchery on the Elwha River, saying that its lack threatens wild fish and violates the Endangered Species Act. The weir was designed to separate wild salmon species from those raised in the hatchery. “That weir was an integral part of their plan. If they can’t use it, their plan can no longer function as designed,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of the Wild Fish Conservancy based in Duvall.  Joe Smillie reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

EarthFix Conversation: Puget Sound Whales For Sale
The resident killer whales of Puget Sound are an endangered species. There are about 80 of them left. But there was a time, not too long ago, when people were catching these whales and selling them into captivity. In the 1960s and ‘70s an estimated 35 orcas were taken from Puget Sound. 13 were killed in the process. Sandra Pollard has documented the history of orca capture in Puget Sound in a new book: Puget Sound Whales For Sale: The Fight To End Orca Hunting. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

County issues swimming advisory for Burfoot Park
Thurston County health officials have issued an advisory for Burfoot Park after testing showed elevated levels of bacteria in the water. The beach is not closed, but it is recommended that people and pets stay out of the water, according to press release from Thurston County Health Division. In the release, Director of Environmental Health Division Art Starry said the department wants visitors to be aware of the situation and use their best judgment about whether they go in the water. Tammy McGee reports. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather-
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE JUL 22 2014
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF TSTMS AFTER
 MIDNIGHT.

--
"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, July 21, 2014

7/21 BC beach closures, BP DEIS, coal train, BC pipe poll, East Coast oil tests, BC Park Act, sinking beach

Bald eagle attack (Debbie Martin/Vancouver Sun)
If you like to watch: Wild kingdom in North Van as newborn seal and mom attacked by bald eagle
Life on the North Shore often ends up looking like a scene from a David Attenborough documentary. That was the case for North Vancouver resident Debbie Martin, who witnessed the struggle between life and death play out as she enjoyed a summer evening on the waterfront July 13. Martin watched and snapped photos as a harbour seal gave birth to a pup aboard a float at Mosquito Creek Marina and then came under attack by a bald eagle. “The eagle was harassing the mom, trying to get to the afterbirth or trying to get to the baby. The mom was there tapping the baby and shuffling the baby around trying to keep the eagle away from it,” Martin said. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: Amphibian Explorations
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Pacific tree frogs are showing up all over our yard these days, in varying sizes and often where you least expect them. A few days ago one hopped out of a lettuce I was cutting, landing first on the toaster, then the butter dish while I tried my best to catch it. (Alas, no photos of that!) In a less extreme example, the other morning we were sipping our coffee on the deck when a frog suddenly appeared, heading straight towards my flip-flop-shod toes...." (Watch the slide show online.)

High E. coli counts detected at 3 West Vancouver beaches
Health officials are warning people against swimming at three West Vancouver beaches after routine water quality sampling turned up E.coli bacteria counts exceeding safe-level limits. “No Swimming” advisories are now in effect for Ambleside, Dundarave and Sandy Cove beaches. Health officials say the relatively high concentration of E.coli bacteria detected can increase a swimmer's risk of coming down with gastro-intestinal illness. E.coli is considered to be an indicator organism associated with fecal contamination from either human or animal sources. (CBC) See also: Environmental lobby adds pressure in Victoria raw sewage row  (Peninsula Daily News)

Could BP turn Bellingham into a Northwest oil export capital?
The microphone worked only part of the time, and occasionally the gymnasium walls bounced the words like a volley of loose basketballs. Despite that, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers got an earful last week at Shuksan Middle School in Bellingham in a meeting that echoed decades of Northwest environmental history and new fears about exports of coal and oil to Asia. One by one, three minutes at a time, unhappy citizens dismantled the Corps’ Draft Environmental Impact Statement concerning the operation of the Northwest’s largest oil terminal. Bob Simmons reports. (Crosscut)

If you like to listen: Shellfish
Massive oil spills like Odyssey in the northern Atlantic; Exxon Valdez off the coast of Alaska; and more recently, Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico make big headlines. But the leading source of water pollution in the world is actually water run-off. Rain falling on our streets, lawns and driveways washes contamination into our waterways. In the Puget Sound, shellfish lovers are worried. Shellfish farmers, researchers, and chefs share their concerns about water contamination in the Sound and the danger is poses to shellfish. Hillary Sanders reports.

Official: Bellingham rail traffic from coal terminal still an issue
More than two years after raising the concern, city officials still don't know whether an extra railroad track would be built along Boulevard Park and the waterfront to accommodate additional trains for a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point. City Council member Michael Lilliquist drafted a letter for the full council's consideration on Monday, July 21, that would renew the city's request for more information about the additional rail traffic that would result from the Gateway Pacific Terminal. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Focus groups hint Conservatives out of sync on Northern Gateway
Public-opinion research for the federal Finance Department suggests key government policies are out of step with Canadians' priorities, including the Northern Gateway project. Members of focus groups consulted prior to the February budget had "little enthusiasm" for the proposed bitumen pipeline to the British Columbia coast — even those who said they support the controversial project.... The Harper government has made Northern Gateway a central plank of its energy strategy, and has pilloried environmental groups who oppose it, labelling them "radical." (CBC) See also: Industrial growth should not harm Kitimat if emissions managed, Polak says  Wendy Stueck reports. (Globe and Mail)

Feds approve oil exploration off US Eastern Coast
The Obama administration has sided with energy developers over environmentalists, approving the use of underwater blasts of sound to pinpoint oil and gas deposits in federal Atlantic Ocean waters. The regulatory decision is the first real step toward what could be an economic transformation in East Coast states, potentially creating a new energy infrastructure, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue. But it dismayed people who owe their livelihoods to fisheries and tourism, and activists said it stains President Barack Obama's environmental legacy.... The cannons will substantially increase the noise pollution in Gulf Stream waters shared by whales, dolphins and turtles, sending powerful sound waves reverberating through the deep every ten seconds, for weeks at a time. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management acknowledged that thousands of sea creatures will be harmed, but ultimately decided to approve this exploration in the outer continental shelf from Delaware to Florida. Energy companies need the data as they prepare to apply for drilling leases in 2018, when current congressional limits expire. Jaso Dearen reports. (Associated Press)

If you like to listen: Wild Caught Cod Sizzling on the (Hospital) Grill: Making a Dent in Healthcare and Healthy Oceans
You might think locally sourced, omega-rich seafood would be a no-brainer for hospitals concerned about the health of their patients. But wild caught fisheries and the local healthy food movement have been slow to catch on in healthcare. There are notable exceptions like Seattle's Virginia Mason Hospital. In this story we visit the hospital's kitchen where mouth-watering good and sustainable seafood is available every day of the week. Martha Baskin reports.

B.C. Park Amendment Act under fire from environmentalists
Environmentalists are planning protests against new legislation they say threatens to open up parks and protected areas to pipelines and other industrial projects.  In Vancouver Friday, they unfurled a 167,000 name petition calling on the provincial government to repeal the Park Amendment Act, which was passed into law in May. The Act allows for research in provincial parks, but many fear that could lead to mining, logging, or even pipelines. Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee says the changes will only benefit corporations, some of which are already planning projects. (CBC)

Mystery still surrounds ‘sinkhole’ recesses off Port Angeles’ Hollywood Beach
Engineers at the city of Port Angeles still don’t know why recesses are forming in the sand off Hollywood Beach that has closed the beach to bathers. But they’re looking into one possible cause — rotting wood. “It’s still a mystery,” said Craig Fuller, city engineer. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON JUL 21 2014
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING W TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told




Friday, July 18, 2014

7/18 Sanctuary, Martinac shipyard, boat insurance, Ohop Cr., shellfish dig, Pebble Mine

(IMAGE: Olympic Coast NMS)
New blog: Happy 20th Birthday, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
Twenty years ago this week the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary was dedicated, the nation’s 12th marine sanctuary authorized under the Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (full name: Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 aka Ocean Dumping Act). Today, it’s impossible to imagine Congress passing such comprehensive environmental legislation....

Tacoma’s oldest shipyard to be sold on courthouse steps Friday
A last-hour rescue effort for Tacoma’s sole remaining major shipyard has failed. The 90-year-old J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Co.’s Foss Waterway shipyard will be sold Friday morning in a foreclosure auction on the plaza of the county courthouse. Joe Martinac Jr., the shipyard’s president, and the last of a long line of family shipyard managers, said eleventh hour efforts to find new business for the shipyard failed to produce new contracts that would stave off the shipyard’s auction. John Gille reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

New law targets purchase, sale, condition of older, longer boats
A new Washington state law requires boat owners to carry insurance for vessels 65 feet or longer, and for boats age 40  and over. Approved by the state legislature, the law went into effect July 1. The law applies to owners of commercial and private boats, and also requires inspection of boat and its condition prior to sale. (San Juan Journal)

Tribe, Land Trust Break Ground on Ohop Creek Restoration Project
The Nisqually Indian Tribe, Nisqually Land Trust and South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group broke ground on 1.5 miles of restored salmon habitat on Ohop Creek on Saturday. Ohop Creek, near Eatonville, is a vital tributary to the Nisqually River, according to a press release from the land trust. The Ohop River flows into the Nisqually River about 15 miles southeast of Yelm. Steven Wyble reports. (Yelm Online)

Mystery Bay, Kilisut Harbor reopened to shellfish harvest of all but butter, varnish clams
Mystery Bay and Kilisut Harbor have reopened for recreational shellfish harvesting of all species except butter and varnish clams, the Jefferson County Health Department said Thursday. Levels of the marine biotoxin that cause diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, or DSP, are currently below the safe level of 16 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue, according to Michael Dawson, water quality lead for the county department. The area remains closed to the harvest of butter and varnish clams due to their tendency to retain marine biotoxins for a long time, up to a year. (Peninsula Daily News)

Opponents say Alaska mine would devastate salmon, Washington state fishing industry 
Supporters of the embattled Pebble Mine project in Alaska are making a desperate effort in Congress and the courts to keep it alive in the face of warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency that it could devastate the finest run of wild salmon left on the globe. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing a bill to keep the EPA from blocking the mine, despite opposition from Washington state lawmakers who say the project could be devastating to the fishing industry in their state. Sean Cockerham reports. (McClatchy) See also: EPA proposes to block Alaska mine over salmon risk  Becky Bohrer reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI JUL 18 2014
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W
 SWELL 5 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 4 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SUN
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 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@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





Thursday, July 17, 2014

7/17 Drone pix, oil & coal terminals, oil & coal trains, Moby Doll, Victoria sewage

Eagle 2014 (Dendi Pratama/Chicago Tribune)
If you like to watch: Best drone photos of 2014
The first place winner of a new contest determining the best aerial photos taken by drone went to Dendi Pratama who photographed an eagle soaring over Bali Barat National Park in Indonesia. The contest was sponsored by Dronestagram and National Geographic. (Chicago Tribune)

Vancouver site zoned OK for oil terminal
A state panel reviewing a plan to build the Northwest's largest crude-by-rail terminal says the proposed site is properly zoned for the purpose. The state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council said Tuesday that zoning at the Port of Vancouver site allows for an oil terminal. (Associated Press)

Whatcom environmentalists balk at redesign of coal terminal
Proponents of a coal terminal that would be built at Cherry Point have revised the layout "to ensure greater environmental safeguards," including the destruction of fewer wetlands, according to an announcement they released on Tuesday, July 15. Environmental groups that oppose the Gateway Pacific Terminal remained unimpressed. The new layout is 14 percent smaller and would require removal of only half of the wetlands that would have been disturbed in the original plan, according to a report by project proponent SSA Marine, submitted in April to Whatcom County, the state Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Report Shows Coal, Oil Trains Would Quadruple Rail Traffic, Alarming Lawmakers
Lawmakers are expressing concerns over an updated report outlining the combined impacts of coal and oil trains that would roll through the Northwest if plans for export terminals move forward. Elected officials in the Leadership Alliance Against Coal, a group that formed under the leadership of former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, met in Seattle Tuesday to hear from the author of the report. Proposals for two export terminals are still on the table in Washington: one in Cherry Point, near Bellingham, and one in Longview. A third is planned for the Port of Morrow near Boardman, Oregon.  Shipments of domestic oil products are already slowing rail traffic. They’ve more than doubled over the past four years. And if all plans for export terminals go forward, added volumes from coal and oil trains would be more than triple the current shipments for agriculture, according to the report commissioned by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, a network of grassroots community groups. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

4 ways Moby Doll changed how we think about orcas
July 16, 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the capture of Moby Doll, the first orca ever caught in B.C. for display. In 1964, the Vancouver Aquarium had wanted to kill what was viewed as a vicious predator to study its brain and use its body as a model for a large sculpture. But after their harpoon hit the animal and it didn't die, the crew had a change of heart and brought Moby Doll to shore. The orca lived in a pen at Jericho Beach for three months before he died. Charlie Cho reports. (CBC)

In face of delays, Greater Victoria groups push for sewage cleanup
Local politicians arguing over how to best treat Greater Victoria’s sewage shouldn’t lose sight of the environmental damage being caused by current practices, says a lawyer for several environmental groups. Ecojustice lawyer Margot Venton recently wrote to Esquimalt council warning that its plan to rezone McLoughlin Point to prevent sewage treatment could mean local municipalities would have to bear the costs of additional environmental cleanup around sewage outfalls.... About 129 million litres of raw, screened sewage is pumped daily through long outfalls at Macaulay and Clover Points. A 2005 assessment of the seabeds around the outfalls found they legally qualify as contaminated sites under provincial law, Venton said in a letter to Esquimalt council on behalf of the Georgia Strait Alliance, the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation and the David Suzuki Foundation. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU JUL 17 2014
TODAY
SW WIND 10 KT...BECOMING W 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER
 MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 8 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

7/16 BC pipe, oil train, Shannon Pt., Van aquarium, seastar dying, Fraser flood, Cowichan drought, Bainbridge shore

Seattle Sunday sunset (Jessica Aguilar-Beth/KOMO)
Was the Best Sunset in Years the Result of Wildfire Smoke?
Climate scientist Cliff Mass on why the Sunday sunset was both spectacular and special. (It wasn't the smoke.)

Trans Mountain pipeline review delayed pending new route studies
A regulatory review of the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline through British Columbia will be delayed by almost seven months while Kinder Morgan gathers information requested by the National Energy Board. The company now prefers a new route through Burnaby Mountain, in Metro Vancouver, and must complete further feasibility studies. Compiling the information could take an order from the National Energy Board that forces the City of Burnaby to co-operate. (CBC) See also: Burnaby's refusal to co-operate forces NEB to delay Trans Mountain review (Vancouver Sun)

Groups seek ban of oil in older railroad tank cars
Environmental groups asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to immediately ban shipments of volatile crude oil in older railroad tank cars, citing oil train wrecks and explosions and the agency's own findings that accidents pose an imminent hazard. The petition filed Tuesday by the Sierra Club and ForestEthics seeks an emergency order within 30 days to prohibit crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains and elsewhere from being carried in the older tank cars, known as DOT-111s. Accident investigators have reported that the cars rupture or puncture during wrecks, even at slow speeds. Phuong Le and Matthew Brown report. (Associated Press) See also: State firefighters want Inslee to halt Bakken crude by rail till safety concerns addressed  Erin Hart reports. (Daily World)

Shannon Point Marine Center gets new director
Shannon Point Marine Center’s new director has officially joined the team of researchers tucked away on a 78-acre forested campus with a 3,000-foot stretch of undisturbed shoreline. The Western Washington University facility in Anacortes drew director Erika McPhee-Shaw from her former post as an associate professor in California because of the intricate level of research and coordination between scientists. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Vancouver Aquarium whales program to be reviewed at Park Board meeting
The continuing controversy over Vancouver Aquarium's captive whale and dolphin program will be addressed at a special meeting of the Park Board on Saturday, July 26.... After hearing the staff report, the Vancouver Aquarium will present to the board on its programming, education and rehabilitation programs, then registered speakers will be invited to comment. (CBC)

Sea star die-off reaches Florence
....On the Oregon coast, according to CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator Fawn Custer, “Last December, we had less than 1 percent of sea star wasting. By May 1, more than 5 percent of sea stars were affected. Now, I would say, in some areas, it is up to 90 percent.”  Jack Davis reports. (Siuslaw News)

Strategy released to deal with rising threat of catastrophic Fraser River flooding
A massive flood of the Fraser River has the potential to be the most expensive natural disaster in Canada, affecting more than 300,000 people, $50 billion worth of infrastructure and the B.C. economy. The threat, which is believed to be a one-in-50 year occurrence, has prompted senior levels of government, along with 25 municipalities, two regional districts and the Fraser Basin Council, to join together to develop an integrated flood plan from Hope to Richmond, recognizing that the Lower Mainland is highly vulnerable to river and coastal flooding as a result of snowpack, heavy rainfalls, tsunami and debris flow. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Low water in Cowichan River threatening fish, mill — and summer fun
The Cowichan River is getting so low there’s talk of pumping water over the weir at Cowichan Lake just to keep enough water downstream for spawning salmon, industry and a myriad of water users. The water flow in the river over the last few weeks has dropped to five cubic metres per second from seven. Sandra McCulloch reports. (Times Colonist)

Bainbridge council passes updated Shoreline Master Program
The Bainbridge Island City Council has given its final stamp of approval on the city's Shoreline Master Program update. In a narrow 4-3 council vote after a public hearing this week, the council approved the Shoreline Master Program ordinance and it is now on its way to the state Department of Ecology to become law. Cecilia Garza reports. (Bainbridge Review)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED JUL 16 2014
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG THIS
 MORNING.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 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@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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

7/15 BC pipe suit, B'ham Bay cleanup, BC air quality, clam kill, Pit to Pier, Oly port, anchovies, Oly Sanctuary

Townsend's Warbler (David Sibley/BirdNote)
If you like to watch and listen: David Sibley - Sketching and Painting Impressions
David Sibley’s paintings connect millions of people with the lives of birds. His talent in observing and portraying birds culminated in The Sibley Guide to Birds, now in its second edition. Sibley describes how he learned to sketch and illustrate birds such as this Townsend’s Warbler: “I spent years in the field, just traveling and birding and sketching,” he says. “ . . . The drawing was so important to me, that there was never any question in my mind of continuing to paint the birds. It’s how I study the birds.” (BirdNote)

Northern Gateway pipeline: First Nations outline constitutional challenges
Several B.C. First Nations are launching at least nine court challenges to try to block Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline, leaders revealed at a news conference [Monday] morning in Vancouver. The First Nations leaders said they will argue the proposed pipeline and its recent approval by the federal government is a constitutional violation of their aboriginal land rights in their respective territories, particularly in light of the Supreme Court of Canada victory last month by the Tsilhqot'in First Nation. Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said he was aware of at least nine separate legal actions being launched by various First Nations, as part of a co-ordinated effort to stop the project. Mike Laanela reports. (CBC)

Plan would move contaminants, cap others at Bellingham waterfront site
The Washington Department of Ecology likely will recommend the Port of Bellingham spend $5.7 million to cap and remove some contaminated portions of a waterfront site rather than asking for removal of all contaminated materials. The plan is the cheapest of four cleanup alternatives Ecology proposed for the 31-acre parcel on the former Georgia-Pacific Corp. property in a recently released feasibility statement that is up for public review. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Cruise ship emissions in Victoria hit peak on weekend
Sulphur dioxide emissions related to cruise ships hit a peak Saturday not seen since 2009, says Marg Gardiner, president of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association. Saturday saw the highest recorded one-hour SO2 levels related to cruise ship plumes in five years at Topaz Avenue, three kilometres from Ogden Point, Gardiner said. Monitoring sites in both James Bay and Topaz recorded maximum SO2 levels exceeding World Health Organization 24-hour guidelines, she said. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist) See also: Air quality advisory issued for eastern Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley  (CBC)

What's Killing Clams? Solve This Low Tide Mystery
One of the lowest tides of the year this weekend revealed a "crime scene" at the beach at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle. The victims: thousands of clams that died in the prime of their lives. Each bivalve victim has a tiny hole drilled near its hinge. Also strewn on the beach were gray rubbery things that looked like toilet plunger heads. The Beach Naturalists from the Seattle Aquarium say concerned citizens have collected them in buckets, upset that someone would have dumped so much litter on the beaches. But it turns out that the holes and the toilet plunger heads are all the products of a little-known predator: the moon snail. Joshua McNichols reports. (KUOW)

Pit to Pier and the Navy and DNR Aquatic Lease
Dan McShane at Reading The Washington Landscape blogs on how the "Pit to Pier" project took a bit of a blow last week when the Washington State Department of Natural Resources completed an agreement with the United States Navy regarding aquatic leases within Hood Canal and why the Navy made the agreement. But there’s more: Jefferson County continues the permitting process for the project and has issued a Draft EIS open for public comment until August 11.

New blog: What Does It Mean To Be Hawaiian?
The best part of thinking about what it meant to be Canadian was to be in Montreal during St-Jean Baptist Day eating hand-pulled Nouilles de Lan zhou in a large bowl, spicy, surrounded by people speaking Chinese. Over the last couple of weeks, the best part of thinking about what it means to be Hawaiian was to be in Honolulu eating the laksa at Panya Bistro and the Belly Bowl ramen at Lucky Belly restaurant and driving my mother to hula lessons at the Alama Sisters’ hula studio....

Port commission rejects bids for second marine terminal warehouse
In a surprise move, the Port of Olympia commission voted to reject all bids for a proposed second marine terminal warehouse Monday night, instead taking a cautionary step after warehouse critics had raised concerns about the overall environmental process. Commissioners Sue Gunn and George Barner voted to reject all bids, while Commissioner Bill McGregor voted to move forward with the second warehouse. All three commissioners, however, voted to move forward with a related step: a master plan and a supplemental environmental impact statement for the marine terminal. Rolf Boone reports. (Olympian)

If you like to watch: Anchovy school at Scripps Pier, July 8, 2014
A school of California anchovies so big it rivals anything seen off the San Diego coast in decades was spotted off La Jolla by researchers with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography June 8. Footage from Scripps Pier by Scripps staff and underwater by Scripps graduate students. But wait, there's more: BONUS anchovy footage

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary to mark 20th anniversary at Wednesday’s Concert on the Pier in Port Angeles
The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary will celebrate its 20th anniversary Wednesday by sponsoring a free party on City Pier, and everyone is invited. The sanctuary’s mascot, Sanctuary Sam the sea lion, will greet visitors from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the Concert on the Pier, the music series organized by the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--

WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE JUL 15 2014
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W
 SWELL 5 FT AT 7 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG.
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 7 SECONDS. AREAS OF 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@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