Thursday, June 23, 2016

6/24 Salish Sea News Is Taking A Break


Salish Sea News and Weather will take a break for a few days and return after July 5. Thank you for reading. Mike Sato.

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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 at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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623 Seastar die-off effect, oil train, no oil port, Species at Risk, Vancouver Exit, Ray Hilborn, boo to Inslee

Shelf cloud, 6/20 (Amberlynn White/KOMO)
Atmosphere shows off in amazing ways this past week
The past week has been quite exciting for cloud aficionados around the Pacific Northwest as we've been treated to a number of amazing displays. Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Sea star die-off leads to kelp 'clearcut' in Howe Sound, scientists find
The massive die-off of sea stars in B.C.'s Howe Sound has had a domino effect on other creatures, resulting in the virtual clearcut of kelp forests in the area, scientists have found. The mysterious wasting disease hit in 2013, killing sea stars from Mexico to Alaska in what has been described as one of the largest wildlife die-offs ever recorded. In Howe Sound, 90 per cent of the sunflower star disappeared in a matter of weeks, said Jessia Schultz, lead author on a study by SFU and Vancouver Aquarium researchers published in PeerJ. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Union Pacific to resume oil trains in Columbia River Gorge
Heavy-duty trains with thousands of gallons of crude oil in tow will soon begin rolling through the scenic Columbia River Gorge for the first time since a fiery derailment in early June. Union Pacific on Wednesday announced plans to resume operations at some point this week.  Kristena Hansen reports. (Associated Press)

Washington state agency seeks denial of oil-terminal project
A Washington state agency in charge of protecting millions of acres of state land from wildfires is opposing a proposal to build an oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver, citing risks of blazes from increased train traffic and other concerns. The Department of Natural Resources urged a state energy panel to recommend that the project be rejected, according to a brief filed ahead of hearings that begin Monday. The city of Vancouver also filed a brief stating its opposition to the project. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Canada lists nine B.C. species for first time under Species at Risk Act
Canada is listing nine B.C. species under the Species at Risk Act for the first time, ranging from a fly found in the South Okanagan to a lichen found in older forests within the Rocky Mountain Trench. The federal decision follows the recommendations of a national group of scientific experts, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. COSEWIC chair Eric Taylor, a zoology professor at the University of B.C., said Tuesday: “This is just one of several positive signs the government is taking species at-risk seriously.” SARA requires the federal government to develop recovery and management plans for species listed. The act makes it illegal to kill, harm, harass, capture, or take an individual of a listed species, or to damage or destroy its residence. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Jack Knox: New political party pitches Island as 11th province
While listening to Victoria’s Robin Richardson talk about his new political party, a thought springs to mind: How many separatist movements does Vancouver Island need? There was the shadowy Sovereign State of Vancouver Island faction that emerged, briefly, in 2013 to demand that we get a divorce from the rest of Canada. That was also the year the unrelated Vancouver Island Province group popped up with a petition calling for our Pacific paradise to become Canada’s 11th province. Now we have a third organization, the Vancouver Island Party, officially unveiled today. It also seeks provincehood. Jack Knox reports. (Times Colonist)

UW backs fishery professor in research dispute with Greenpeace
The University of Washington, in a review launched by a Greenpeace complaint, has found that fishery professor Ray Hilborn did not violate university policies when he took money from the seafood industry for research published in academic journals. Hilborn is a prominent UW professor with an international profile who has accused Greenpeace of overstating the impacts of fishing on marine resources. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Inslee’s commitment to the environment questioned
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s strategy as a warrior for the environment is once again coming under fire from other fighters in the environmentalist movement. They’re angry the state Department of Ecology he oversees is appealing a court order requiring new clean air rules be adopted by the end of the year, even though Inslee himself lauded that legal decision in statements issued by his office and campaign last month. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  256 AM PDT THU JUN 23 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING S IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY IN  THE MORNING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT  W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 10 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 at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

6/22 Herring, coal lease, oil train leak, spill response, tanker ban, salmon regs, hatcheries, ranching

Eat herring
Northwest Herring Week: One little fish we should be eating a lot more of
Wild herring is an incredible seafood resource: abundant, affordable, sustainable, healthy and super-tasty. Why aren’t we eating more of it? Lexi (she just goes by that) of the Old Ballard Liquor Co. started Northwest Herring Week last year to try to make this little fish a bigger deal. Year two is taking place right now, through Sunday, June 26, with special herring dishes at favorite Seattle spots, including Little Uncle, Revel, Terra Plata, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and the Old Ballard Liquor Co. (where you can eat herring while drinking local aquavit or vodka — proper!)…. Meanwhile, the movement is not without its complications: Herring stocks in certain areas have declined dramatically (and, alarmingly enough, for reasons unknown), which shows evidence of impacting entire ecosystems. But, researchers say, the best way to address that is to put more herring — lower on the food chain, at a higher price — into the mouths of people, rather than the mouths of farmed salmon, pigs and chicken (often fed herring and other small fish in the form of pellets or fishmeal). Bethany Jean Clement reports. (Seattle Times)

Environmentalists, politicians call for shutdown of coal leases in Seattle
As the coal industry struggles through a historic slump, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday held a meeting in Seattle to take public comment on how to tackle a major review of the public lands leasing of the carbon-rich fossil fuel. More than 150 people signed up to speak, from environmental activists who urged that the coal be kept in the ground to head off a climate disaster, to politicians from Wyoming who said federal leasing generated revenue crucial to the state’s school system. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Hundreds of gallons of diesel likely leak from train traveling in Columbia River Gorge, official says
Hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel have likely leaked from a train that was traveling in the Columbia River Gorge, a Union Pacific spokesman said late Tuesday. The leaked fuel could total 200 to 300 gallons, said Justin Jacobs, a Union Pacific spokesman. It could be as much as 1,500 gallons, he said, noting it's not likely that much fuel leaked. He said there's no indication fuel entered any waterways.  The 92-car train is stopped in the Bridal Veil area, Jacobs said. He thinks the leak came from a locomotive. Jim Ryan reports. (Oregonian)

In Everett, lawmakers take a closer look at train congestion
For all of the publicity oil- and coal-train traffic has been getting recently, the fiery crash outside Mosier, Oregon, earlier this month came as a reminder that no region with railroads is immune from disaster. On Tuesday, members of the Legislature's Joint Transportation Committee met in Everett and were given a good look at many issues cities are dealing with that might not be as camera-ready as an oil-train explosion, but could be just as disruptive. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

West Coast States Meet To Share Spill-Response Efforts
Washington and Oregon environmental regulators said Tuesday that regional coordination and planning exercises such as drills aided in their response to the fiery train derailment along the Columbia River earlier this month. The Northwest officials briefed their counterparts from other states on the June 3 train accident in Mosier, Oregon, at the annual meeting of the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force in Seattle. The task force — consisting of members from British Columbia, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii — collects and shares data on oil spills, works together on oil spill prevention projects and promotes regulatory safeguards. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Justin Trudeau won't be pinned down on B.C. oil tanker ban timing
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won’t say when his government will fulfill a campaign promise to “formalize” an oil tanker ban for the northern B.C. coast…. There has been considerable media speculation that there could be a loophole in the ban if Enbridge Inc. moves its proposed terminal for a $7.9-billion oilsands pipeline terminal from Kitimat to Prince Rupert near the Canada-Alaska border. Peter O'Neil reports. (Canadian Press)

Companies, vessel's engineers convicted after waste is dumped at sea
Officials say a jury has found companies that own and operate a Greek shipping vessel and two ship engineers guilty of felonies related to dumping oily waste at sea in October 2015. The U.S. Justice Department said ship operator Angelakos, ship owner Gallia Graeca Shipping Ltd. and engineers Konstantinos Chrysovergis and Tryfon Angelou were convicted Monday. The defendants were convicted of 12 counts of violating the act to prevent pollution from ships, falsifying records in a federal investigation and engaging in a scheme to defraud the United States. (Peninsula Daily News)

Chinook limits will cost millions, Island anglers say
South Vancouver Island anglers are contesting a restriction on chinook fisheries they say will cost millions in lost revenue. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has banned catches of wild chinook larger than 85 centimetres through July 15. Daily limits are two wild or hatchery-marked chinook between 45 and 85 cm. The restriction is the latest in a string of challenges for sport fishermen, including spotty weather and uncertainty over whether chinook fisheries would be open at all, said Chris Bos, president of the South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Public input sought on Nooksack salmon hatcheries
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is taking public input on the scope of an environmental impact statement for salmon hatchery programs in the Nooksack River watershed. The environmental impact statement, or EIS, will review salmon programs at the Whatcom Creek Hatchery, Kendall Creek Hatchery, Skookum Creek Hatchery, Lummi Bay Hatchery, Samish Hatchery and Glenwood Springs Hatchery, according to a news release. NOAA Fisheries is gathering information to help prepare a draft EIS for 11 proposed salmon hatchery programs in the Nooksack River basin in Puget Sound. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Long outlawed, salmon ranching might make a comeback
A long-prohibited method of salmon farming is gaining support among state fisheries managers. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is dusting off the idea of allowing private companies to raise and release salmon for commercial harvests. Known as salmon ranching, the practice boomed in the Northwest during the 1970s. It went bust in Oregon and was outlawed in Washington but continues to thrive in Alaska. Norway and Japan are world leaders in the business, producing huge quantities of ranched salmon, lobster, cod and other species. As wild salmon runs decline and government hatchery production wanes, some Fish and Wildlife leaders believe the private sector could have a role in boosting the supply of fishable salmon. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  254 AM PDT WED JUN 22 2016  

TODAY
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4  FT AT 10 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 at 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, June 21, 2016

6/21 Hot salmon, no to BC pipe, forage fish, coral reefs, fish feelings, oil tanker risks

Clouds over Silva Bay (Laurie MacBride)
Shifting Focus
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Each summer when it’s time to re-develop my sealegs, I need to make some shifts in focus and perspective. All through the spring, growing our food garden at home, I’ve been looking down to check soil moisture, plant health and so on. Now, I need to constantly look up, to the wide expanse of sky which holds the signposts for what might be coming our way – because weather trumps all when we’re out on the water…."

Record warm weather continues to threaten Pacific salmon, federal panel says
Record warm temperatures along the B.C. coast are continuing to threaten Pacific salmon populations, according to a federal government update. Unusually warm ocean conditions in 2015, spurred by both the Blob and El Nino, are expected to have lasting effects on Pacific salmon returns over the next three years, including increased mortality rates, says a report from a Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) panel of scientists. Panel members held a news conference in Vancouver Monday to release their findings. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Vancouver asks court to halt Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion
The City of Vancouver has joined the growing list of groups asking the courts to halt the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. In the legal application that was filed in Vancouver on Friday the city is asking the Federal Court of Appeal to stop the National Energy Board from taking any action that would allow the project to move forward. The city argues the National Energy Board failed to properly assess "whether the project is required by public convenience and necessity." when it recently approved the project with a number of conditions. It also argues the NEB failed to conduct a proper environmental assessment of the project, including the full scope of  associated greenhouse gas emissions. Mike Laanela reports. (CBC)

If you like to watch: Ramona deGraaf on Forage Fish
Ramona deGraaf is a scientist who travels the coastline of Howe Sound and beyond creating citizen groups whose task is to monitor the beaches' condition for spawning forage fish - Smelt, Herring, Sand Lance, the "keystone species" upon whom the rest of the predator fish (salmon)and mammals (whales).

Scientists battle to save world’s coral reefs
After the most powerful El Nino on record heated the world’s oceans to never-before-seen levels, huge swaths of once vibrant coral reefs that were teeming with life are now stark white ghost towns disintegrating into the sea. And the world’s top marine scientists are still struggling in the face of global warming and decades of devastating reef destruction to find the political and financial wherewithal to tackle the loss of these globally important ecosystems…. Consecutive years of coral bleaching have led to some of the most widespread mortality of reefs on record, leaving scientists in a race to save them. While bleached coral often recovers, multiple years weakens the organisms and increases the risk of death. (Associated Press) See also: In Secrets of Coral Spawning, Hope for Endangered Reefs  (NY Times)

Fish Have Feelings, Too: The Inner Lives Of Our 'Underwater Cousins'
When you think about fish, it's probably at dinnertime. Author Jonathan Balcombe, on the other hand, spends a lot of time pondering the emotional lives of fish. Balcombe, who serves as the director of animal sentience for the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that humans are closer to understanding fish than ever before.... In his new book, What A Fish Knows: The Inner Lives Of Our Underwater Cousins, Balcombe presents evidence that fish have a conscious awareness — or "sentience" — that allows them to experience pain, recognize individual humans and have memory. He argues that humans should consider the moral implications of how we catch and farm fish.  (NPR)

Event: Oil, Orcas & Oystercatchers: Preparing for the Inevitable
A free program exploring the marine ecosystem of the Salish Sea and the threats posed by increased oil tanker traffic. Speakers include Dr. Deborah Giles of Center for Whale Research, Dr. John Bower of Western Washington University, Stephanie Buffum of Friends of the San Juans and Jerry Joyce of MoonJoyce Resources. Padilla Bay Reserve, 10441 Bayview-Edison Road, Mount Vernon, 12 NOON-2:30 PM, Sunday, June 26. RSVP here.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT TUE JUN 21 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS. PATCHY DRIZZLE IN  THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A SLIGHT 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 at 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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Monday, June 20, 2016

6/20 BC pipe, oil train, LNG, 'Richmond,' Robert Paine, Cowichan, snails, Japanese Gulch

Giant spider crabs (Sheree Marris/BBC)
Giant crab horde gathers in Australia
A horde of giant spider crabs has amassed in waters near the Australian city of Melbourne. Hundreds of thousands of the crabs migrate to Australia's southern shores each year as ocean waters cool. Australian aquatic scientist Sheree Marris filmed an enormous gathering of the crustaceans in Port Phillip Bay. (BBC)

Environmental groups launch court challenge of Trans Mountain recommendation
A pair of environmental groups are asking the courts to quash a recommendation that the federal government allow the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to go ahead. Lawyers for the Living Oceans Society and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation say they have filed a judicial review of the National Energy Board's recommendation, arguing that it is unlawful. They say the NEB did not take into account the impact the $6.8-billion project would have on Southern Resident killer whales and their habitat. (Canadian Press)

Vancouver Protest Marks Continued Resistance To Northwest Oil Projects
[Vancouver WA] Police arrested 21 people who refused to vacate the tracks as they protested oil train activity in the Pacific Northwest. This comes after a Union Pacific train carrying Bakken crude derailed in Mosier, Oregon, in early June, spilling about 42,000 gallons of oil. Some of that oil ended up in the Columbia River. Bradley Parks reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

B.C. indigenous leaders bring case against LNG terminal to Ottawa
Two B.C. First Nations leaders fighting a proposal to export liquefied natural gas from Lelu Island say Ottawa needs to recognize the hereditary rights of the Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams. Donnie Wesley and Ken Lawson say Pacific NorthWest LNG’s plan to build an $11.4-billion terminal on Lelu Island poses a threat to juvenile salmon habitat. The two men are hereditary leaders of the Gitwilgyoots, one of nine allied tribes of the Lax Kw’alaams in northwestern British Columbia. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

The First People of 'Richmond'
There was no thudding of trucks on bridge decks, roaring of airplanes, sounding of ship horns, screeching of wheels. The sounds of the city that now echo over the Salish Sea did not persist for the ancestral Coast Salish people, who lived alongside and in what is now known as Richmond. In fact, Richmond didn’t even exist when the Aboriginals first planted roots in the region. “We’ve been welcoming people to this area before there was land to stand on,” explained Musqueam councillor Morgan Guerin, speaking from his home on the Musqueam reserve in South Vancouver, a stone’s throw from Richmond. The Musqueam are some of the first people of this land, now known as Richmond, and this Saturday marks National Aboriginal Day, a day for Aboriginal communities across Canada, including here in Richmond, to celebrate their culture. Graeme Wood reports. (Richmond News)

City of Mukilteo plans to improve Japanese Gulch trails
Two years ago, the city celebrated a milestone. Some 140 acres of land with mature forest and wetlands, home to animals such as pileated woodpeckers, herons and mountain beavers, had been saved as a park. The land stretches from 76th Street downhill to Puget Sound.Saving the property was the first step. The next was figuring out what to do with it. A document now details plans for the land, which include adding signs, picnic areas, restrooms, upgrading trails, and expanding the community garden.People can give their opinions on the plan during a public hearing scheduled during Monday's City Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Sharon Salyer reports. (Everett Herald)

Robert Paine, UW ecologist who identified ‘keystone species,’ dies at 83
Robert Paine, a groundbreaking, hands-on ecologist who found that removing what he called a “keystone species” from an environment could profoundly affect the fortunes of neighboring species, died Monday in Seattle. He was 83…. Dr. Paine demonstrated in his field work that certain species exert a disproportionate impact on their ecosystems and that their elimination — as a result of climate change, pollution or some other natural or man-made factors — can produce unexpected and far-reaching consequences for the local environment. A teacher and researcher at the University of Washington for 36 years, Dr. Paine propounded his keystone theory in 1966 after studying ochre starfish, or sea stars, as they preyed on the mussel population along the rocky shore of Makah Bay, on the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. After he pried the starfish from rocks with a crowbar and hurled them into the sea, the mussels proliferated along the shore, displacing algae and limpets. He found a similar chain reaction — or “trophic cascade,” as he called it — when sea otters vanished or were removed from an environment because of fur trading, pollution or marine predators. With the otters gone, sea urchins, which the otters had preyed upon, were free to gobble up a larger share of kelp, food that would otherwise have sustained fish and crabs. Sam Roberts reports. (NY Times)

Chevron looks to unload more Western Canada assets to bolster cash reserves
Chevron Canada is testing the waters for a possible sale of its non-core refining and marketing assets in Western Canada, including its refinery in Burnaby, B.C. A company spokesman said Friday that Chevron has asked for expressions of interest on the company's 57,000-barrel-a-day refinery as well as its marketing assets, but that no final decision has been made to sell. The request for interest does not cover Chevron's lubricants business, its stake in the Kitimat LNG project, or upstream producing assets, the spokesman said. (Canadian Press)

Tacomans Say Puget Sound Energy Is Using A Poll To Try To Sway Opinion About LNG Project
After working to defeat a plan for a giant methanol plant, the grassroots environmental group RedLine Tacoma has turned a critical eye to another big energy project, Puget Sound Energy's plan to build a facility at the Port of Tacoma to store liquefied natural gas and sell it as a marine fuel. Now, people affiliated with RedLine say they’ve received a phone poll that they think is aimed at persuading them to soften their views…. PSE spokesman Grant Ringel said the purpose of the poll is not to change people’s minds but instead to find out what customers think of the project. Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)

Cowichan part of new look at the future of our waters
A new research project at the University of Victoria looks at indigenous and colonial watershed stewardship in three communities where water is scarce, including the Cowichan Valley. “The overarching purpose is to support responsible stewardship in the province,” said Val Napoleon, director of the Indigenous Law Research Unit. Napoleon and law faculty colleague Deborah Curran received $350,000 from the federal government and Real Estate Foundation of B.C. for the three-year project. They will look at three regions of B.C. with ongoing water issues: the Similkameen, Nemiah and Cowichan valleys. In each community, they plan to look at indigenous and non-indigenous laws and practices regarding water, then bring those together to plan for future stewardship. Sarah Petrescu reports. (Times Colonist)

The slowest invasion: Non-native snails take over the Northwest
Whether you think snails are good looking or good for nothing (or good eating), one fact seems undeniable: the little critters are everywhere this year. And they're hungry…. The bane of many a Northwest garden, it's hard to say definitively where the snails came from in such numbers, and even how many different kinds there are. Most of the land snails, and their shell-less cousins the slugs, aren't native to the Pacific Northwest. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  236 AM PDT MON JUN 20 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT  AT 9 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 at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

6/17 Shark, dairies, waste water, shellfish, BC pipe, train rules, coal ponds, coral, gull kill, Burke, oystercatchers

Sixgill shark (Seattle Aquarium)
Sixgill Sharks: Puget Sound's Open Secret
A living mystery is present in our own backyard, yet many are completely unware of it. Typically found at several thousand feet beneath the ocean's surface, the sixgill shark thrives in the dark, quiet depths. However, the shark’s discovery several years ago in waters as shallow as just 20 feet in the Puget Sound has given researchers an extraordinary opportunity to learn more about these elusive creatures. (KCTS)

Proposed regulation changes target water quality 
A state-only permitting option that would prevent dairy farmers from being subject to costly lawsuits for alleged pollution is among the updates to proposed clean-water regulations for dairies issued Wednesday by the state Department of Ecology…. The update to the proposed regulations for dairies and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) aims to reduce the risk of mismanaged or over-applied manure running into streams or soaking into groundwater and causing environmental damage or public-health problems. Currently, only dairies that have discharged into surface water are required to get a combined state/federal permit under the federal Clean Water Act. Only 10 dairies statewide have such a permit. Under Ecology’s proposal, any dairy that has a manure lagoon that doesn’t have a double synthetic liner and leak detection system would also be required to get a permit. Mai Hoang reports. (Yakima Herald)

Vancouver teen has a plan to turn waste water into electricity
A Vancouver high school student thinks he knows what to do with the one billion litres of waste water that gets flushed down toilets and sent down sink drains every day in the Greater Vancouver Area. Austin Wang, who's won numerous science awards, came up with a way to genetically modify micro-organisms so that they could clean the waste water and generate electricity at the same time. "Canadians are extremely wasteful," says the 18-year-old who loves to play basketball and the piano. "On average, we're worse than Americans." His method could possibly generate up to 600 gigawatts of energy from waste biomass. (CBC)

More of South Sound closed to shellfish harvesting
More beaches in Thurston County will be closed to shellfish harvesting after tests were positive for diarrhetic shellfish poison, according to a news release. Beaches south of Boston Harbor in Budd Inlet were closed earlier this spring. The new closure expands north, beginning at Steamboat Island and continuing east to Hunter Point, then south to Cooper Point and east across Budd Inlet to Little Fishtrap. (Olympian) See also: Shellfish harvesting closed along part of Hood Canal  (Kitsap Sun)

Justin Trudeau's pipelines predicament: 'Decisions always about trade-offs'
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged Thursday he won’t be able to please all Canadians on the oilsands pipeline issue that has pitted Alberta’s desperate need for an economic boost against intense concerns in B.C. and Quebec. Trudeau, in an exclusive interview, also refused to say whether his 2015 election commitments would give vetoes to local communities and First Nations who vehemently oppose oilsands pipelines in their midst. His comments coincided with the release of a new poll showing big differences in regional views towards the idea of transporting hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of diluted bitumen to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

"Imminent hazard" requires oil train rules "immediately" -- senators.
Volatile cargoes in oil trains pose an "imminent hazard" to surrounding communities, and the Obama administration must act "immediately" to impose standards, 10 U.S. Senators said Wednesday in a tough letter. The letter follows the major derailment and resulting fire of a Union Pacific oil train in the Columbia River Gorge, and is designed to light a fire under the U.S. Department of Transportation. A succession of "derailments, fires and explosions"  cry out for permanent regulation, but an "interim standard" is vital given that years of study of oil volatility are needed to fix final rules, the senator argued. The letter, instigated by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., was signed by all six senators from Washington, Oregon and California, as well as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com) See also: Oregon officials want a hold on oil trains after derailment  Gillian Flaccus reports. (Associated Press)

Judge says waste leak from coal plant ponds is ‘alarming’
A state judge expressed alarm at the estimated 200 million gallons of contaminated water seeping annually from leaky ash-storage ponds at a Montana power plant serving customers across the Pacific Northwest — a problem that’s persisted years after the company and state officials reached an agreement to address it. A 2012 deal between Montana environmental regulators and the Pennsylvania-based manager of Colstrip Steam Electric Station was intended to clean up decades of contamination of surrounding water tables. The agreement, known as an administrative order on consent, came after the plant’s six owners paid $25 million in a separate settlement to Colstrip residents whose water was fouled by the plant’s ash ponds. Matthew Brown reports.  (Associated Press)

Mass coral death drives efforts to identify resilient reefs
It has been a bleak year for the world’s coral. Ecologists have watched in horror as unusually warm ocean temperatures have prompted corals to ‘bleach’, or expel the symbiotic algae that provide much of their food. The result has been death and damage to reefs from Kiribati in the Pacific to the Indian Ocean's Maldives. With such episodes projected to occur more often even if climate change is mitigated, researchers are redoubling efforts to identify the factors that can make a reef resilient to harsh conditions. An analysis published this week in Nature points to some answers. The study identifies 15 ‘bright spots’ where ecosystems are in a much better shape than researchers had predicted they should be. These include unpopulated, unfished regions such as the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean, and areas that are close to towns and where fishing takes place — such as Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, also in the Pacific. The study also pinpoints 35 ‘dark spots’ where conditions were surprisingly poor, such as Montego Bay in Jamaica and Lord Howe Island between Australia and New Zealand. Daniel Cressey reports. (Nature)

Seafarers rejoice! Foss Waterway Seaport reopens bigger and better
It’s a vision that’s 300 feet long, 100 feet wide and 116 years deep. The Foss Waterway Seaport has gone from old boats in a decrepit building to a jewel in Tacoma’s museum array — and Sunday it celebrates a major milestone. It now has heating and insulation, and can stay open year-round for the first time. With new art and history exhibits, education programs and events like Sunday’s reopening party (including music, cake and free clam chowder), the Foss Seaport is opening up its history to a reimagined future. Rosemary Ponnekanti reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Turf war erupts over federal kill permit for gulls drawn to Delta compost operation
A Delta turf farm that receives regional food waste for composting has a federal “damage or danger” permit that allows the use of firearms to harass and kill scores of nuisance gulls per year attracted to the operation. David Hancock of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation said he is outraged at Environment Canada for issuing the permit, saying: “That’s incredible. I find the issuance of a kill permit to be an obscene way of handling an obvious turf-farm, self-induced problem.” He has earlier expressed concerns that the location of the compost operation on 72nd Street — wedged between busy Highway 17 and Boundary Bay Airport — poses a risk to birds, including bald eagles, as well as to motorists and aviators. Larry Pynn reports (Vancouver Sun)

Burke Museum exhibit shows what makes North Cascades special
The Burke Museum has brought a taste of the wild North Cascades to the city. A new exhibit, which opens Saturday, brings to life the region, using the book “The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby” as inspiration. The book, by William Dietrich, drew people's attention to the amazing wild resources just a short drive from the cities around Puget Sound. The Burke exhibit does the same, while adding in the elements of the museum's extensive collections and scientific knowledge. Jessi Loerch reports. (Everett Herald)

If you like to watch: Live Oystercatcher nest, Race Rocks, Pearson College UWC
CTV Vancouver reports: " The public can now get a rare look at an Oystercatcher thanks to a web camera on Race Rocks Island. Victoria’s Pearson College stationed a nestcam on the island after a pair of elusive Oystercatchers were spotted building a nest in a rocky quarry on the reserve. This marks the first time in Race Rocks’ history that outsiders can see the magic of this small island from the comfort of their own home....” (CTV Vancouver)

Guemes Channel Trail wins award
The Guemes Channel Trail took first place in the engineering and design category June 6 at the annual Walkable Washington Symposium in Bellevue…. The mile-long trail starts at the Edwards Way cul-de-sac and extends east along the Guemes Channel. The goal is to eventually extend the trail so it connects Washington Park to the Tommy Thompson Trail. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  259 AM PDT FRI JUN 17 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT  AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
 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 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SUN
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 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 at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

6/16 Bird brain, Van flood, clam closures, no Arctic drill, track safety, Kruckeberg Garden

Study gives new meaning to the term ‘bird brain’
The macaw has a brain the size of an unshelled walnut, while the macaque monkey has a brain about the size of a lemon. Nevertheless, the macaw has more neurons in its forebrain – the portion of the brain associated with intelligent behavior – than the macaque. That is one of the surprising results of the first study to systematically measure the number of neurons in the brains of more than two dozen species of birds ranging in size from the tiny zebra finch to the six-foot-tall emu, which found that they consistently have more neurons packed into their small brains than are stuffed into mammalian or even primate brains of the same mass. The study results were published online in a paper titled “Birds have primate-like numbers of neurons in the forebrain” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences early edition on the week of June 13. David Salisbury reports. (Vanderbilt News)

West Vancouver flooding could be sign of worse to come
Without changes both big and small, floods on the North Shore, like the one that hit West Vancouver Tuesday night, will only get worse, says University of British Columbia professor Hans Schreier. Schreier says development, deforestation and climate change are largely to blame for the recurrent floods…. Schreier calls the North Shore a "worst case scenario." The area gets about 2,500 mm of precipitation every year — the airport gets about 1,400 — and heavy urbanization means water can't drain. He says the region is going to need "innovative" storm management solutions going forward. Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

Additional beaches closed to recreational shellfish harvesting
Beaches closed to recreational shellfish harvesting now extend to Port Ludlow and Mats Mats Bay. Shellfish samples from Port Ludlow were found to contain elevated levels of marine biotoxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), Michael Dawson of Jefferson County Environmental Health said Wednesday…. Earlier closures in Jefferson County include Strait of Juan de Fuca beaches from the Clallam County line east to Port Townsend, including Discovery Bay, which are closed to all species. Kilisut Harbor, including Mystery Bay, is closed to harvesting butter and varnish clams, according to a state Department of health bulletin. All Clallam County beaches along the Strait are closed to recreational shellfish harvests due to the presence of marine biotoxins. Sequim Bay, which was previously under a limited shellfish closure, was closed Friday to the recreational harvest of all species due to diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, according to the state Department of Health. Other Clallam County beaches have been closed to all species for elevated levels of the marine biotoxin that causes PSP. Pacific Ocean beaches are under seasonal closure for all species. (Peninsula Daily News)

Scientists oppose offshore drilling in Arctic
Nearly 400 scientists have signed a letter urging President Obama to eliminate the possibility of Arctic offshore drilling in the near future by taking the Arctic Ocean out of the next federal offshore lease sale plan. The scientists include Jane Lubchenco, Obama's former administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, now a researcher and teacher at Oregon State University…. The 388 signees include scientists from 13 countries and 25 current or emeritus professors at the University of Alaska. Their opinion runs counter to Alaska elected officials, who strongly support opening Alaska waters to drilling as a new source of oil for the trans-Alaska pipeline. (Associated Press)

Oil Train Tank Cars Are Getting Safer But What About The Tracks?
Just after noon on June 3, the two-man Union Pacific crew hauling 96 cars of Tacoma-bound crude oil felt a tug on the train as they passed through the Columbia River Gorge. The train’s emergency brakes triggered unexpectedly, according to railroad union leaders, indicating bad track or equipment failure could be to blame. The crew looked back and saw smoke — the beginnings of a fire that would burn for much of the night. Union Pacific’s investigation later determined track was in fact the cause— multiple fasteners connecting the rail line to the ties had failed, allowing the track’s gauge to widen and derail the train. It spilled 42,000 gallons in Mosier, Oregon, prompting an evacuation order. Tony Schick reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Northwest garden pioneers’ legacy endures in Shoreline
Just over the south Snohomish County line is a four-acre garden treasure, established more than 50 years ago by the late Arthur and Mareen Kruckeberg. The garden features 2,000 species of Northwest native trees, shrubs and flowers, along with unusual plants from Asia and other places, all situated in a natural wooded setting. Art Kruckeberg, who died May 25 at age 96, had a long career as a popular University of Washington botany professor. “Dr. K” also was a co-founder of the Washington Native Plant Society. Kruckeberg was instrumental in establishing the regional garden movement that preaches the use of native plants. Gale Fiege reports. (Everett Herald)

B.C. ministry change gives public online access to mine inspections and dam safety information
The B.C. government has launched a new online platform where the public now has access to mine inspection reports, permits and their amendments, as well as dam safety reports. Eventually, the online database will include orders, penalties and sanctions levied against mining companies. The province had posted dam safety reports online as a first step last year, but this is the first time the other documents are being made available to the public at mines.empr.gov.bc.ca. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  259 AM PDT THU JUN 16 2016  

TODAY
 SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A SLIGHT  CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
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 9 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE  EVENING.

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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 at 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