Friday, April 29, 2016

4/29 Early bugs, BC CG, plastic bags, natural gas, bad clams, Bill McKibben

Black carpenter ant
Ants, other insects emerging in large numbers this year
It's not something you want to hear inside your walls on a quiet night: a slight crackle, almost like milk being poured over a bowl of Rice Krispies. That's the sound an infestation of carpenter ants will make… A mild winter coupled with a sudden burst of warm weather has many insects — including carpenter ants — coming out a bit early this year in the Vancouver area, and the colonies will be healthier than other years. Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC) See also: Pine beetles not responsible for wildfires, research shows  Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Kitsilano Coast Guard station reopening with inflatable boat
When the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station reopens next month it will only have a single inflatable boat and limited staff, according to the head of the union representing coast guard employees. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau  promised to reopen the base after winning the last election, but the union says when it actually does officially reopen sometime in May, it won't be staffed with a full crew immediately or the larger rescue boat that used to be there. Instead, it will have an inshore inflatable rescue boat and a seasonal crew from the HMCS Discovery Navy Reserve base. (CBC)

The Bag Bill
Saving America from Plastic Bags. The advocates taking on a ubiquitous ecological blight. Ian Frazier reports. (The New Yorker)

Tacoma plastic bag ban advances, but with help for families on cost
Tacoma’s proposed ban on disposable bags took a step forward late Wednesday, but with an adjustment intended to help low-income households prepare for a change that could have them paying a few extra nickels every time they buy groceries. The vote by a City Council committee that oversees environmental issues keeps the plastic bag ban on track to take effect by the start of next year. Adam Ashton reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

How safe is natural gas?
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank E. Cuthbertson is set to decide today, April 29, whether his previous temporary decision will become permanent to keep the City of Tacoma from releasing the city’s hazardous response plans for a planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant. Puget Sound Energy wants the information to remain secret out of fear that releasing details about the proposed plant’s safety assessment would make it a potential target for terrorist attacks as well as disclose confidential company plans. Red Line Tacoma activist John Carlton sought the details so the environmental group could better understand the potential destruction a blast or fire could have on the surrounding area. Steve Dunkelberge reports. (Tacoma Weekly)

Clams from area closed due to fecal contamination believed sold in Victoria's Chinatown
Clams harvested from an area closed due to fecal contamination may have been sold in Victoria's Chinatown, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said Thursday in a statement. The agency is warning consumers the contaminated clams could be "dangerous and potentially fatal," and says cooking them will not make them safe to eat. The B.C. Centre for Disease control says shellfish contaminated by sewage could result in Hepatitis A and norovirus. (CBC)

Bill McKibben: Sorry for bumming you out about climate change
On his recent visit to Seattle, author and environmentalist Bill McKibben apologized for his “life’s work of bumming people out” about climate change. He continued with that sobering work in this talk at Town Hall Seattle, but not without sharing his optimism about the successes and the future of the environmental movement. McKibben has been a major force in shaping and inspiring the climate change protest movement. He is an author, journalist and the founder of the activist network 350.org. Jennie Cecil Moore recorded this talk at Town Hall Seattle on April 4. John O'Brien reports. (KUOW)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT FRI APR 29 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING
 THROUGH LATE TONIGHT  

TODAY
 NW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS THROUGH  THE DAY.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 TO 4 FT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 9 FT AT 9  SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

SAT
 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. W  SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS.

SUN
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT  13 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, April 28, 2016

4/28 Sound salmon season, Vic sewer, runoff fine, dog poop, shore armor, Magnuson rule, Polley mine

(PHOTO: Jon Corcoran & Lindell Dillon/BirdNote)
The Color of Birds' Eyes
Peer into the world of birds, and eyes of many different colors peer back. While eye color isn’t tied to one group of birds or another, a common pattern is a change in eye color as immature birds grow to adulthood. Bald Eagles, Ring-billed Gulls, and ducks such as goldeneyes and scaup have brown eyes as youngsters, and yellow eyes as adults. Red-tailed Hawks reverse this pattern, with their eyes changing from yellow to brown. And the yellow eyes of a young Cooper’s Hawk, pictured here on the right, turn deep red as they reach maturity. (BirdNote)

Talks to allow salmon fishing in Puget Sound fail
A final attempt by the state and treaty tribes to reach an agreement on salmon fishing in Puget Sound failed Wednesday. Without a deal, salmon fishing will not be allowed in the Sound as of Sunday. The current federal permit that allows the fisheries expires Saturday…. The state and tribes said they now will pursue their own federal permits. Warren said the department will meet Thursday (April 28) with NOAA Fisheries and hopes to learn how long that process would take. Jeffery Mayor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Clover Point sewage dismay well noted
The prospect of a sewage treatment plant at Clover Point Park drew hundreds of residents to a public meeting Monday, but instead of having an opportunity to vent, they were handed pens and pencils and told to put their views in writing on sticky notes. That didn’t stop the crowd of about 400 to 450 people, middle aged to seniors, from making their views clear. When resident Brian Lepine stood and asked the crowd to show with applause if they were opposed to a treatment plant at Clover Point the response was loud and sustained, with people clapping, pounding tables and cheering. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist) See also: Esquimalt closes the door on McLoughlin-only plant  Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Port Orchard development fined for polluting stream, Sinclair Inlet
The developers of the Horstman Heights housing development were fined $53,000 for polluting a stream and Sinclair Inlet with muddy runoff. Horstman Heights is on an 11-acre site at Horstman Road and Orlando Street. As many as 54 single-family homes had been planned there. The state Department of Ecology inspectors determined that Gig Harbor-based Mike Paul Construction had violated six state stormwater management rules and an Ecology order from late last year to halt stormwater discharge. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program: 2015 Annual Report
This is the first annual report from the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) on implementation of the Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program (RSMP).

Heavy doody: Dogs produce massive backlog of waste in B.C. parks
“Landmines” have been sighted in Kelowna’s parks — not the military kind, but the ones planted by canines. Parks Services Manager Ian Wilson has called on pet owners to clean up after their pets, noting that waste matter can be washed into Okanagan Lake…. Leftover dog poo is a big problem, he said. Each of the area’s 38,000 dogs deposits about 124 kilograms of waste per year, and approximately 40 per cent of that is left behind by owners. Kent Spencer reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Puget Sound Suffers As Homeowners Wall Off Natural Shoreline
In Seattle’s King County, property owners have walled off most of the shoreline with concrete bulkheads and other heavy infrastructure. Along Hood Canal and other rural parts of the sound, the owners of coveted waterfront homes keep building more walls to keep their properties from eroding. These walls are going up around Puget Sound, and the sound is paying for it. A new study from the University of Washington suggests the practice, known as shoreline armoring, is more harmful to Puget Sound than previously thought. Studies by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife show that single-family homeowners have done 68 percent of the armoring around Puget Sound since 2005. Half the shoreline losses have been concentrated in just three counties: Mason, Island and Kitsap. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

What is the Magnuson Amendment?
When, at the close of 2015, Congress killed the United States’ 40-year ban on exporting domestic crude oil, many wondered if the change would impact the Northwest, where the fossil fuel industry has been ramping up oil, fracked fuel, and coal shipment projects. In Washington, some observers asked about the so-called “Magnuson Amendment” to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a little-known federal law named after the late Washington Senator Warren G. Magnuson that may protect against new oil terminals in the state and the oil-by-rail schemes that would supply them. Also known as the “little amendment” or “Maggie’s amendment,” it limits oil tanker traffic in waters east of Port Angeles by prohibiting federal permits that could increase that traffic.  Samir Junejo and Eric de Place report. (Sightline)

Mount Polley mine resumes effluent discharge into Quesnel Lake
Effluent from the Mount Polley mine is again flowing into Quesnel Lake in South-Central British Columbia nearly two years after a catastrophic tailings pond breach caused one of the worst mining accidents in Canadian history. In a recent decision, the B.C. government authorized Mount Polley Mining Corp. to bypass a water-treatment plant and temporarily discharge waste water directly into the lake. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  250 AM PDT THU APR 28 2016  

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

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 8 FT AT 14 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF 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.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

4/27 Inky, BC ferry, Ballard Locks, sea lion, dead whale

Inky (National Aquarium of New Zealand/New Yorker)
Inky the Octopus and the Upsides of Anthropomorphism
A new book by the Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal argues that seeing human-like traits in other species can deepen our understanding of animal behavior. Rachel Riederer reports. (New Yorker)

Clipper’s Victoria-Vancouver ferry won’t set sail until spring 2017
 A passenger ferry service that will link Vancouver and Victoria’s harbours will not set sail for its inaugural voyage this spring as originally planned. Instead, Seattle-based Clipper will launch the connector service in spring 2017, the company said in a news release Tuesday…. [The] company is delaying the launch so it can focus on finding the right vessel to travel across the challenging Salish Sea. (CTV)

Making the cut: The locks by the numbers
Puget Sound Maritime researcher Joe Baar gives us some insights into the monumental undertaking that was and is the Ballard Locks. This is one of an occasional series of essays commemorating the centennial of the Ballard Locks and the Ship Canal. By 1854 a navigable connection between Lake Washington and Puget Sound to allow movement of logs, milled lumber, and fishing vessels between these bodies of water was being discussed sporadically. After the Civil War, in 1867 the U.S. Navy endorsed a canal project, which included the idea of constructing a naval shipyard on Lake Washington. In 1891 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began planning the project; some preliminary work occurred in 1906…. (Three Sheets Northwest)

Grays Harbor cattle farm sea lion meets unhappy ending
A sea lion that swam and waddled at least 50 miles from the ocean into an Oakville cattle farm was found dead on Friday in Olympia. Samples from a necropsy were being shipped out Tuesday, but no immediate cause of death could be found. The long, strange journey for the male California sea lion began sometime before April 15. That’s when a cattle farmer near Oakville, a small community northwest of Centralia, found the animal in the driveway of his farm. Craig Sailor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Researchers: Whale found dead off Vashon was ‘normal occurrence’
A gray whale that was reported dead off of Vashon last week likely died of starvation, whale experts say, though it is not yet clear if there were additional causes that contributed to the animal's condition. Researchers retrieved the whale from the water between Vashon's north end and Fauntleroy on April 19 and towed it to a remote location in the south sound, where they conducted the necropsy on the 29-foot long cetacean last Wednesday. The same whale, estimated to be a 15-month old male, was in the news earlier in the month, after it was spotted in the Ballard locks. While some who saw the whale there were excited, experts cautioned that that the animal was likely sick, given its atypical behavior. Sue Riemer reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT WED APR 27 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT THIS AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE  OF SHOWERS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING. W SWELL 7 TO 8 FT AT 13 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

4/26 Volunteers, BC pipes, Great Bear guide, Squaw Bay, sea stars, Shoreline Academy

(PHOTO: Mike Siegel/Seattle Times)
How our world would turn to chaos without dedicated volunteers
…. Tens of thousands of locals give their time every year to give a boost to Mother Nature, working through an unusually rich variety of nonprofit environmental groups. Are Puget Sound’s shorelines, salmon streams, ancient forests and alpine meadows its volunteer “church?” The numbers say yes. On a recent Friday morning, a group of about 20 hip-wadered worshippers from the non-ordained Church of Puget Sound, Clean Shorelines, gathered at Bowman Bay in Deception Pass State Park, carried a large plastic tub to the shore and did what they’ve been trained to do: unfurl a fine-meshed net about 10 yards into the water, in a loop, to conduct a “beach seine” in five separate spots, carefully recording marine life. Ron Judd reports. (Seattle Times)

Project to reroute Squalicum Creek wins national award
A project to reroute Squalicum Creek away from Sunset Pond in order to improve water quality and habitat has been named Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association. In the summer of 2015, Bellingham work crews rerouted nearly a mile of Squalicum Creek around Sunset Pond into a newly created channel that provides better habitat for salmon and that supports other fish, birds, and mammals. The project also eliminated fish passage barriers along James Street and Interstate 5, opening up more than 22 miles of salmon habitat upstream. (Bellingham Herald)

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway may be resuscitated as Trudeau wavers on tanker moratorium
Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline may get a new lease on life as the Canadian government wavers on a planned tanker moratorium that was previously thought to spell the end for the project. Officials are weighing what types of petroleum products may be exempt from any moratorium, and whether certain tankers could be allowed, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged in November to “formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic” on British Columbia’s northern coast. But cabinet ministers are noncommittal on its precise implications, while federals officials have regularly declined to comment on Northern Gateway’s prospects. Josh Wingrove and Jeremy van Loon report. (Bloomberg News)

Trans Mountain pipeline project to require B.C. environmental test
About six weeks before the National Energy Board was due to make a recommendation on the Trans Mountain pipeline, the company behind the project was told a British Columbia provincial environmental assessment will now be required. B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) put up a new hurdle when it advised Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, that the expansion project will have to pass provincial scrutiny before it can proceed. In a letter dated March 17, Kevin Jardine, associate deputy minister of the EAO, informed Mr. Anderson that because of a B.C. Supreme Court decision related to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway project, the province cannot assign environmental assessment responsibilities solely to the NEB. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

UVic prof creates digital guide to plants, animals on B.C. coast
An innovative app created by a University of Victoria professor is giving people around the world the ability to experience the vast, diverse beauty of British Columbia's coast. Ecologist Brian Starzomski and his team have catalogued more than 700 species in the Great Bear Rainforest and logged them in a new digital field guide called "Central Coast Biodiversity." Their work can be accessed through a smartphone or tablet app, or on a computer, to help people identify unfamiliar plants and animals…. The free app currently includes an inventory of 210 plants, 80 birds, 120 seaweeds, 190 marine invertebrates, and 20 mammals and reptiles. Gemma Karstens-Smith reports. (Canadian Press)

No More Squaw Bay: Name Change Coming
A Washington state committee will give final consideration in May to changing the name of Squaw Bay, on Shaw Island, to a Lummi Nation place name for the island. Many more changes could follow. Last fall, state Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, worked with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, and a resident to have a lake and creek in Chelan County renamed for a 19th century African-American pioneer. The lake and creek formerly bore a name considered to be offensive.... The process to change names on official geographic maps is initiated by the public; anyone who wishes to make a change can initiate it by filling out a form and delivering it to the state Committee on Geographic Names. Among the community-initiated changes on the committee’s May 19 agenda: renaming Squaw Bay on Shaw Island, one of the San Juan Islands in the middle of the Salish Sea, to Sq’emenen Bay. Hereditary chief Tsilixw James said Sq’emenen – pronounced sqe-men-en – is the Lummi name for Shaw Island, which is part of Lummi’s historical territory. The change will then go to the state Board on Geographic Names for final approval. Richard Walker reports. (Indian Country Today Media Network)

Scientists study ecological fallout of sea star die-off
Marine scientists with the Vancouver Aquarium were on — and under — the water in Howe Sound near West Vancouver on Monday taking a close look at how a serious decline in starfish is affecting the rest of the marine ecosystem…. But the Vancouver Aquarium's researchers weren't seeking sea stars — they were inspecting kelp, the so-called underwater forests that serve as a food source for countless marine species. They're about halfway through a two and a half year study examining the trophic cascade. "Trophic cascade means that there's an alternating effect at each level of food chain," explained [Jessica] Schultz. "Sea stars decline and their prey item — which is the urchins — increase drastically, and then [we see] the subsequent decline of their food, which is the kelp." Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC)

5th annual Fidalgo Shoreline Academy
Friends of Skagit Beaches presents on May 14 keynote speaker Chris Jordan whose work includes documenting the tragedies of Midway Island's starving albatrosses who mistake our floating plastic for food. The day's program also includes a variety of programs and interpretive walks exploring the Salish Sea marine environments and cultures. Fidalgo Bay Resort, Anacortes, 9 am - 3:30 pm. Purchase tickets by May 12.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  247 AM PDT TUE APR 26 2016  

TODAY
 VARIABLE WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W  SWELL 6 TO 8 FT AT 11 OR 12 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN.

TONIGHT
 SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6  TO 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.

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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

Monday, April 25, 2016

4/25 Coal port, Earth Day, oil spill, Vic sewer, Portage Bay, ocean-fertilizing, Surfrider

Kayaktivists (Dean Rutz/Seattle Times)
Earth Day on Elliott Bay
Kayaktivists from breakfreepnw.org and other organizations launched a flotilla of kayaks to put luminary and an Earth Day message on Elliott Bay Friday evening. The group, which set out from Alki, sought to draw attention to the Paris World Climate Agreement, and dire warnings of climate change. In mid May, the group will be active again at the March Point refineries in Anacortes.  Dean Rutz reports. (Seattle Times)

Feds deciding if coal-export project violates tribal rights
For centuries, Lummi tribal fishermen have harvested, dug up clams and fished for salmon in the tidelands and waters of northwest Washington state. Now, the tribe says a proposed $700 million project to build the nation’s largest coal-export terminal threatens that way of life. The tribe last year asked federal regulators to deny permits for project, saying it would interfere with the tribe’s treaty-reserved fishing rights. The Gateway Pacific Terminal, a venture between SSA Marine and Cloud Peak Energy, would handle up to 54 million metric tons of dry bulk commodities, mostly coal, at a deep water port at Cherry Point. Coal would be shipped by train from Montana and Wyoming for export to Asia. If the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency overseeing the permitting process, finds that the proposed terminal would disrupt the tribe’s rights to fish in its traditional areas, it won’t issue permits. A decision is expected this week. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press) See also:  Lummi Nation Cherry Point Coal Terminal Decision by End of April  Richard Walker reports. (Indian Country Today)

Earth Day: a time to consider diverse accomplishments
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "On this Earth Day, I would like to share some “environmental victories” at the national level, take note of advancements in environmental education at the state and local levels, recognize a global climate accomplishment at the international level and celebrate the birthday of John Muir, a giant in the conservation movement…."

#EarthDay: The High Cost Of Eco-Activism
World leaders have celebrated Earth Day today by gathering in New York to sign a historic climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But some of the most vital environmental work is being done by ordinary citizens with extraordinary courage. People like subsistence farmers and tribal leaders in the poorest countries are standing up to some of the world's most powerful industries. And a growing number of them have been attacked — and sometimes murdered — for trying to protect the environment. Nurith Aizenman reports. (NPR)

Earth Day: Recycling, reducing measures need to be convenient for people, prof says
Earth Day encourages the protection of the environment, but on this day — and the other 364 days of the year — there will still be many who won't use reusable cups, cut down their driving or compost and recycle. That's because it's not convenient enough, says a professor who studies the psychological reasons why people take environmental action. "Awareness alone is not enough to change behaviour, we actually need to provide solutions, suggestions, alternatives to current practice so that people can actually change," said Jiaying Zhao, an assistant professor at UBC's Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability and the department of psychology. Gavin Fisher reports. (CBC)

Is Washington ready for the next big oil spill?
On a calm, clear afternoon in December 1985, the Arco Anchorage made a routine stop in Port Angeles. It was killing time, waiting its turn to drop off 814,000 barrels of Alaskan crude oil at the Cherry Point Refinery, 22 miles north of Bellingham. Somehow, despite perfect conditions, the Anchorage ran aground. Rocks on the ocean bottom tore two long slits through ship’s hull; the oil began to leak immediately. Over the next few hours, 239,000 gallons of oil spilled into the harbor. Samantha Larson reports. (Crosscut)

Victoria seeks input on sewage plant site at Monday meeting
Victorians will get their first chance Monday to weigh in on the plan to bury a sewage-treatment plant under the park at Clover Point. A public meeting, planned for the Crystal Garden, is being billed as an opportunity to talk about guidelines in siting sewage-treatment plants in general. But with the Capital Regional District’s preferred option being a treatment plant at Clover Point, Mayor Lisa Helps has little doubt that it will be the focus of much of the discussion…. But, she noted, the plan could change. Some Fairfield residents who are opposed to Clover Point would be OK with a site nearby, Helps said. And a site in Rock Bay, just to the north of downtown, is still under consideration. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Pollution could restrict shellfish harvesting in Portage Bay 
The state could restrict commercial shellfish harvesting on up to 300 additional acres in Portage Bay because of pollution caused by fecal coliform bacteria. That decision will be made in the coming months. The bay was among more than 100 commercial shellfish harvesting areas looked at by the Washington State Department of Health during its annual evaluation of water quality. The state could downgrade those acres from the current “approved” to “conditionally approved.” Or the state could close them altogether. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Controversial Haida Gwaii ocean fertilizing experiment pitched to Chile
The federal government is still investigating an experiment off the West Coast almost four years ago aimed at boosting salmon stocks that sparked an international outcry. Now a former director and operations officer of Haida Salmon Restoration Corp. says he wants to carry out another ocean-fertilizing exercise, this time off South America. Jason McNamee says the company Oceaneos, where he serves as chief operations officer, has been in talks about fertilizing the ocean with iron with the Chilean government, which could not be reached for comment. Geordon Omand reports. (Canadian Press)

Peninsula man earns national award from Surfrider Foundation for work on behalf of oceans, beaches
A North Olympic Peninsula man has been given a national award for work to protect oceans and beaches. Arnold Schouten, the former co-owner of Hartnagel Building Supply and Angeles Millwork in Port Angeles, was given the Surfrider Foundation’s Coastal Impact Wavemaker award for 2015. He is a member of the Surfrider Olympic Peninsula Chapter and the Clallam Marine Resources Committee…. The awards recognize individuals and companies for volunteer efforts to fulfill Surfrider’s mission of protecting the ocean and beaches. Chris McDaniel reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  258 AM PDT MON APR 25 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS
 AFTERNOON  

TODAY
 NW WIND 10 KT...BECOMING W 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 9 TO 10 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE  OF SHOWERS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING. W SWELL 7 TO 8 FT AT 12 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Friday, April 22, 2016

4/22 Leaded water, ocean health, dilbit, BC pipe, Break Free, Vic Bird Sanctuary

New blog: How Many More Earth Days Until The Earth Is Saved?
Friday is the 46th Earth Day and hundreds of thousands of people young and old will be doing something good for the Earth. That’s a good thing because every act of recycling, reusing and restoring helps. But honestly, it’ll take a lot more to make our Earth a healthy place….

Western Washington water providers react to Tacoma finding some high lead levels
Water providers across the Western Washington were scanning their systems for lead Thursday after Tacoma Water announced it had found high lead levels in service lines at four homes in the city’s Lincoln District. Tacoma Water on Wednesday released the results of tests done to find short sections of lead pipe, known as goosenecks, that connect water mains to service lines outside of homes and can taint drinking water. All samples tested at 98 parts per billion or higher — and one tested at nearly 400 ppb. The Environmental Protection Agency requires action be taken if lead levels exceed 15 ppb. Kate Martin reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Port of Vancouver funds program to track health of ocean
The Port of Vancouver is providing $300,000 over two years to a Vancouver Aquarium program designed to track the health of the ocean on the B.C. coast. The PollutionTracker program will investigate pollutant trends by analyzing samples of sediments and mussels from a network of 10 sampling stations in Burrard Inlet, Strait of Georgia, and Gulf Islands. The program will document levels of contaminants such as as PCBs, dioxins, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and microplastics. The endangered southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea are considered the most PCB-contaminated marine mammals in the world. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

New report tracks heavy oil shipments in Puget Sound
A report out Thursday tracks the movement of heavy oil known as diluted bitumen, or dilbit, through Puget Sound and raises questions about whether it is being transported as safely as possible. Fred Felleman, a consultant for Friends of the Earth, who also serves on the Port of Seattle commission, has been tracking tugs and barges traveling between the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C. and the U.S. Oil refinery in Tacoma. "What we found is there's a regular service about three times a month carrying this heavy oil, this diluted bitumen," Felleman told KIRO 7. Dilbit can sink after it spills. Graham Johnson reports. (KIRO)

B.C. in no rush to approve Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s softening stance on the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline project has generated renewed optimism in the oil and gas sector, but it will be many months before the B.C. government may match her shift toward “yes” on the movement of more crude oil across the Rockies. Ms. Notley said this week her government is in negotiations with B.C. to pave the way for construction of an oil pipeline to the West Coast in exchange for a long-term contract to buy British Columbia’s surplus electricity. Ms. Notley indicated she is no longer strictly opposed to the construction of Northern Gateway. In a statement Thursday, B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak confirmed negotiations with Alberta are running on parallel tracks – climate and energy – but played down any tradeoffs between the two provinces on those files. Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

Protest planned for March Point refineries
More than 2,000 protesters are expected by organizers to rally against fossil fuels next month at March Point, the site of the Shell Puget Sound Refinery and Tesoro Anacortes Refinery. Break Free Pacific Northwest, a coalition of nearly 40 activist groups, is organizing the event for May 13-15. The demonstration is part of a worldwide effort that will take place in May. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Signs on the way for forgotten bird sanctuary
Too many of us are overlooking the unique natural areas of Greater Victoria and it’s about time to stop and take notice, according to local wildlife advocate Jacques Sirois. The retired employee who formerly worked for Wildlife Service Canada uses his kayak to cruise the shorelines from Cadboro Bay and Ten Mile Point, all the way to Portage Inlet. He spots birds of all varieties, anchovies and oysters thought to be nearly extinct from the area, all within metres of a tideline that is part of a diverse stretch of sacred waterways. It includes migratory bird nesting grounds and an estuary, and it was all captured under the federally created Greater Victoria Bird Sanctuary in 1923. But today, the health of the sanctuary is not earning its proper due. Travis Paterson reports. (Saanich News)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  258 AM PDT FRI APR 22 2016  

TODAY
 NE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS.  SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE MORNING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE  AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 SW WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT  AT 13 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 6 FT AT 16 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. A  CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

SAT
 S WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NE 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT  13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS  LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.

SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  7 FT AT 12 SECONDS.

SUN
 NW WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 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, April 21, 2016

4/21 Sound salmon, #SSEC16, green justice, orca tag, green econ, port expansion, Tesoro, snow melt

(PHOTO: Dasha Gudalewicz/BirdNote)
Chickadees Fledge! 
Photographer and Seattle Audubon Master Birder Dasha Gudalewicz shares her back yard with the cutest toddlers: Black-capped Chickadee fledglings. (BirdNote)

New blog: What’s In A Name?
Referring to the inland waters of Puget Sound and the Georgia Strait as the “Salish Sea” makes a difference, I believe, as I wrote about last week in "The Salish Sea— What’s In A Name?" So, how about “Jap” and “Nigger” Islands?...

State, tribes pursue separate plans for Puget Sound salmon
State and tribal fishery officials are pursuing separate plans for salmon fishing in Puget Sound this year after failing to agree on a joint plan. The Department of Fish and Wildlife and Puget Sound tribes say they will seek separate federal approval for salmon fisheries after negotiations between the parties reached an impasse. The Seattle Times reports it’s unclear whether the state plan could gain approval in time for the new season, which begins May 1 and runs for 12 months for sport anglers and nontribal commercial fishermen. The tribe and state couldn’t agree over what harvest cuts or closures to make and by whom to protect the weak wild coho and chinook runs. The tribes said Wednesday they plan to limit fisheries this year to minimize impacts on record low returns of coho. (Associated Press)

Salish Sea Conference
More than 1100 scientists and policy experts, including presenters from Bowen Island, gathered in Vancouver last week for The Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. The event drew scientists from BC and the U.S., to discuss the latest scientific research on the state of the Salish ecosystem, and to guide future actions for protecting and restoring the ecosystem. The Bowen Island presenters were among scientists, First Nations and tribal government representatives, resource managers, community and business leaders, policy makers, and educators. Louise Loik reports. (Bowen Island Undercurrent)

Seattle may finally get its environmental justice act together
When Seattle was named the most sustainable city in the country in 2014, Mayor Ed Murray expressed delight, saying “This five-star rating is just the latest example of Seattle’s deep-seated environmental consciousness.” What went unsaid was that Seattle failed badly in the ratings by the Star Communities program when it comes to environmental justice, the concept that environmental protection should apply equally to everyone no matter their ethnic background, age, gender or station in life. The rating followed a report revealing that residents of the disproportionately minority and low-income Duwamish River Valley, between Beacon Hill and West Seattle, are subject to a high degree of environmental health threats and are likely to live sicker and die younger than residents of other Seattle neighborhoods. But the real reason Star Communities dinged Seattle in its rating wasn’t because of what’s actually happening to poor people on the ground in Seattle. No, it was because the city had never adopted a formal environmental justice plan aimed at reducing polluted and toxic environments in its jurisdiction. Ellis Conklin reports. (Investigate West)

Puget Sound orca tagging stops after dead animal is found with fragments in fin
Federal biologists have temporarily stopped tagging endangered orcas in the Puget Sound after a dead orca was found with pieces of a dart tag lodged in its dorsal fin. Researchers use a dart projector to fire the small satellite-linked transmitters into the animals to track where they go in the winter and how they find food. An initial exam of the 20-year-old orca found floating off Vancouver Island last month did not find a clear cause of death, but some advocates fear tagging injures the animals and say there are less invasive ways to monitor the small population of whales…. The researchers' federal permit requires dart tagging to stop if the devices break, and tagging can't resume until NOAA authorizes it. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

The Puget Sound region’s not-so-green economy
People of a certain age remember when Earth Day, coming up Friday, was a big deal. But who needs that for a news hook when Seattle is going through a record April heat wave? It’s going to take all our ingenuity and no small changes in our living arrangements to prevent planetary catastrophe from climate change, something barely imagined when the first Earth Day kicked off in 1970. At least the Northwest has a robust environmental ethic and even some helpful policies, from taking down dams to, in Washington and Oregon, having a semblance of urban growth boundaries to contain sprawl. But even a cursory look shows that the Puget Sound region’s economy doesn’t quite match our green aspirations: Jon Talton reports. (Seattle Times)

Nanaimo port expansion pitch worries Gulf Islanders
People on Gabriola Island are worried a proposal to expand the boundaries of the Nanaimo Port Authority will make it easier to turn the area into a freighter parking lot. Residents on Gabriola Island have been fighting a plan from the Pacific Pilotage Authority of Canada to put five freighter anchorages off the northeast end of the island.  They believe a push from the Nanaimo Port Authority to have jurisdiction over the area is another step towards ships anchoring next to the island. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC)

EPA files complaint against Tesoro Anacortes Refinery
 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it has filed a complaint against the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery and has proposed $718,361 in fines for alleged failures to comply with federal safety regulations. According to the EPA news release, two inspections in 2011 revealed violations of federal chemical accident prevention and emergency planning rules. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Mountain Snowpack In Northwest Melting Fast This Spring
The early heat wave across most of the Northwest is forecast to start winding down Wednesday. It might have felt nice while it lasted, but the unusual warmth --record-setting, in some cases-- compounded the rapid melting of the Northwest's precious mountain snowpack. When winter officially ended last month, snow measurements showed near normal to above normal snowpack across the Northwest. In four short weeks though, the snowpack in Oregon, Washington and Idaho has significantly eroded. Tom Banse reports. (KPLU)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  253 AM PDT THU APR 21 2016  

TODAY
 NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5  FT AT 16 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 15 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY  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