Monday, October 14, 2019

10/14 Pipefish, white orca, salmon virus, hybrid salmon, climate change, Salish Sea book, cruise ship regs, tsunami map, mad owl

Bay pipefish [Monterey Bay Aquarium]
Bay Pipefish Syngnathus leptorhynchus
The Bay Pipefish will often float or anchor themselves to strands of eelgrass while in a vertical position, rendering it almost invisible to predators... The protection and gentle currents of the eelgrass beds is a necessity for the pipefish, as they are poor swimmers who would quickly perish in open or coastal waters. Like their seahorse relatives, male pipefish carry the young in a special pouch until they emerge and swim away. (Oregon Coast Aquarium)

Rare white orca among dozens of whales spotted around Puget Sound
Whale-watchers who have braved the chillier fall weather in search of orca sightings got a real treat over the weekend. Island Adventures Whale Watching tells Q13 that October has been full of orca sightings throughout the region, including Tl'uk, a white orca calf that's known for his unusually light coloration.  He is not albino, but something in his genes makes him look different than his family. His name means "moon" in Coast Salish language. Tl'uk was part of a large group of nearly 40 transient, mammal-eating orcas that came into the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Port Angeles and Victoria on Saturday...There was also a group of about 20 southern resident orcas from the J pod in Puget Sound all weekend in front of Seattle. (KCPQ) See also: Orcas sighted in Puget Sound, including rare 'little white whale'  (KOMO)

New Viruses Found in Farmed and Wild Salmon
Researchers have found three new-to-science viruses in chinook and sockeye salmon in British Columbia. The discovery, led by Gideon Mordecai, a University of British Columbia molecular biologist who studies the ecology of viruses, is part of a larger investigation into whether viruses are contributing to the steep declines in wild British Columbia salmon populations over the past 30 years. The researchers now aim to find out if these infectious agents are being transmitted from farmed to wild fish. Erica Gies reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Hybrid salmon discovered by scientists on Vancouver Island 
Two salmon researchers say a surprising discovery has been made on Vancouver Island. Andres Araujo, a biologist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Will Duguid, a PhD biology student at the University of Victoria, recently found fish in the Cowichan River, north of Victoria, B.C., that have the genes of both coho and chinook salmon. Tissue samples revealed the fish are second-generation hybrids, meaning they are the spawn of hybrids. (CBC)

These dramatic photos show climate change at work in the Northwest
Climate change is not a scary thing that might happen in the future. It is here. The photos [below] show how striking a role climate change has already played in the Pacific Northwest — helping to push houses into the ocean and forcing eels to "pant" for air. Here are some ways that climate change is already altering the region. Isolde Raftery reports. (KUOW)

New book 'We Are Puget Sound' reminds us what's at risk if we ignore the struggles of the Salish Sea
A book launch event for “We Are Puget Sound: Discovering & Recovering the Salish Sea” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Seattle Central Library, in the Microsoft Auditorium. Speaking will be Mindy Roberts of Washington Environmental Council, author David L. Workman, photographer Brian Walsh, Sally Brownfield of the Squaxin Island Tribe and Darcie Larson of the Seattle Aquarium. The event is free and open to the public. The book is written by David L. Workman, Leonard Forsman, Mindy Roberts and Brian J. Cantwell. Photography by Brian Walsh and contributors. Foreword by Martha Kongsgaard. (Seattle Times)

Victoria mayor calls for regulation of cruise ship industry to reduce emissions and waste
Victoria's mayor and two councillors have tabled a motion asking for among other things a limit on cruise ships entering the city until a plan can be found to limit their emissions and waste. Lisa Helps and councillors Marianne Alto and Ben Isitt tabled the motion which will go before council on Oct. 17. It makes a number of recommendations, including having staff look into requiring cruise ships to use shore power while docked; having the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) report to council on the impact of the cruise ship operations on the environment; and not increasing the number of cruise ships coming to Victoria until emissions and waste issues are dealt with. (CBC)

Maps show low chance of reaching high ground along coast in event of tsunami
Washington has released tsunami safety maps for Port Townsend, Ilwaco, Long Beach, Seaview and Westport. The maps indicate how much time you have to get to safety before a tsunami hits following a magnitude 9 earthquake along the Cascadia subduction zone. Some of the maps indicate there is almost no chance of reaching safety in the necessary time. For example, in Westport you would have only 15 minutes to get out. All of the walking routes would take longer than that. And, officials say, with roads and bridges out after a quake walking may be your only option. Paula Wissel reports. (KNKX)

County receives award for creative conversations about poop
Skagit County has spent years trying to keep fecal pollution getting out of local waterways including the Samish River. The county’s Clean Water Program took its efforts online in March 2018, unveiling a website detailing the problems and how community members can help. That website,, has won a national award. The City-County Communications & Marketing Association, also referred to as 3CMA, recently recognized Skagit County’s Poop Smart campaign with a Diamond Award, an honor given in government communications. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Bikers warned to stay off Whistler trail due to an aggressive owl
Attacks by an ornery owl have prompted the municipality of Whistler to warn the public to steer clear of a local bike trail. The B.C. Conservation Officer Service received a report on Monday about an aggressive bird that was swooping down on people along the Don’t Look Back biking trail located above the Function Junction neighbourhood. At least one trail runner was left with minor injuries after being attacked by a barred owl. Scott Brown reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Invasive zebra mussels found on boat bound for Seattle
Montana officials say a boat infested with an invasive species of mussels passed two watercraft checkpoints before they were discovered. The Missoulian reported that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say the zebra mussels were found on a boat bound for Seattle. Officials say zebra and quagga mussels can clog water intake pipes, disrupt the fishing tourism industry and cost industries, businesses and communities billions of dollars. Officials say the aquatic invasive species on the vessel that originated in Lake Michigan could have spread in the Columbia River basin without the discovery. (Associated Press)

EPA Proposes New Regulations For Lead In Drinking Water
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a new proposal that would change how communities test for lead in drinking water. It’s the first major update to the Lead and Copper Rule in nearly 30 years, but it does not go as far as many health advocates had hoped. The regulations are aimed at stopping people’s water from being contaminated through lead pipes that connect public water supplies to homes. The EPA’s website points out that ingesting lead “can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels.” The proposal that was announced Thursday would require water systems to keep a public inventory of where those lead service lines are and help homeowners replace them if their water is found to be contaminated with lead. Paolo Zialcita reports. (NPR)

Urban deer get birth control to curb overpopulation
On the southern tip of Vancouver Island sits the small community of Oak Bay.  For years it's been stalked by roving urban deer.  But now science is stepping in a bid to stop the population from procreating. Researchers, along with the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society, scientists and veterinarians, are giving birth control to dozens of wild deer. Lead researcher Jason Fisher says it's a first-of-its-kind study in Canada and, if successful, could help shape the future of animal management across the country. Georgie Smyth reports.(CBC)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PDT Mon Oct 14 2019   
 SE wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. 
 E wind to 10 kt becoming SE 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 13 seconds.

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

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Friday, October 11, 2019

10/11 Bull kelp, bird climate woes, laundry microfibres, Duwamish Tribe, Seaport Alliance noise

Bull kelp [Mary Jo Adams]
Bull kelp Nereocystis luetkeana
Attaches to rocks just beyond lowest tides. Entire growth takes place from spring to fall (to several inches per day). Most plants die off during the first winter; release spores that become the microscopic, overwintering gametophyte generation. Bull kelp beds shelter schools of fishes; seabirds rest in calmed sea around fronds. Large tangled are washed ashore by winter storms; leathery stalks may last months. Hollow bulbs were used by coastal Indians as water vessels; long stiles were knotted end-to-end as fishing line for halibut. (Marine Wildlife of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

Audubon study finds harm to most Washington bird species as global temperatures rise 
If climate change continues on its current trajectory, more than half of 296 Washington bird species face trouble as forests shrink, sea levels rise and the seasons warm, according to an Audubon study released Thursday. The Washington outlook for the year 2100 includes population declines for many species as well as the potential for some localized extinctions as birds try to adapt to a warming world. The state assessment is part of an Audubon study of  U.S. bird populations in a world where temperatures climb by 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degree Fahrenheit). That’s the forecast for the century’s end without major reductions in fossil-fuel emissions that scientists say are spurring climate change. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Heavy load: Study breaks down toll of laundry microfibres on ocean ecosystems
A new report from Vancouver researchers suggests laundry machines in Canada and the U.S. release 878 tonnes of potentially harmful microfibres into aquatic environments every year. That's the equivalent to the weight of 10 blue whales flowing into oceans, lakes and rivers even after wastewater treatment, according to the study from Ocean Wise. These tiny fibres, which break off clothing and other textiles during the wash cycle, include a large volume of plastics that don't degrade and could cause serious problems in aquatic ecosystems, according to Peter Ross, vice-president of research at the conservation organization. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Seattle was named after a tribal chief. Now his descendants own less than an acre of city land.
The Native American tribe whose former leader inspired this city’s name plans to kick off its celebration of Indigenous People’s Day with a Friday gala on the downtown Seattle waterfront, a central location designed to remind the public that the tribe persists. The event also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the tribe’s longhouse, a traditional shelter built with Western red cedar that sits on less than an acre of land — all that the Duwamish tribe still owns of its ancestral home. For decades, the tribe’s leaders have fought for federal recognition and to regain some of the land that their ancestors inhabited along Puget Sound, once populated with more than 50 traditional village sites. But after Chief Si’ahl greeted early pioneers in 1851, the settlers adopted not only his name — Anglicized to Seattle — but also his tribe’s home. Greg Skugges reports. (Washington Post)

NW Seaport Alliance Joins Underwater Noise Partnership
The Northwest Seaport Alliance is working with the Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma, Washington State Ferries, NOAA, and the Puget Sound Partnership to find ways to reduce underwater noise - a key factor in the continued survival of Southern Resident orcas, the non-migratory population that inhabits the Salish Sea. Underwater noise hinders killer whales' ability to find food and communicate. The competing seaport of Vancouver, British Columbia has already established a voluntary noise reduction program, and NWSA and other stakeholders gathered at a conference October 3 to look at ways to take up similar measures. (Marine Executive)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  213 AM PDT Fri Oct 11 2019   
 E wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 2 ft at 14 seconds. 
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell  2 ft at 13 seconds. 
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 9 seconds. A slight chance of rain. 
 N wind to 10 kt becoming W after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. 
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 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 (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

10/10 Agate Pass, Kalama methanol, Bristol Bay mine, PacifiCorp coal, jellyfish, Canada's plastic polluters, B'ham port plans, bye-bye birdies

Agate Pass
Agate Pass
Agate Pass or Agate Passage is a high-current tidal strait in Puget Sound connecting Port Madison and mainland Kitsap County. It lies between Bainbridge Island and the mainland of the Kitsap Peninsula near Suquamish... The traditional winter village of the Suquamish people was located on Agate Pass. It was the site of Old Man House, the largest longhouse on Puget Sound, and Haleets, a petroglyph. Agate Pass was unknown to non-native people until it was discovered by the Wilkes Expedition in 1841. Before then, Europeans thought Bainbridge Island was a peninsula. It was named by U.S. Navy Lt. Charles Wilkes in honor of one of the members of the expedition, Alfred Thomas Agate. (Wikipedia)

Kalama methanol plant decision delayed
A key permit decision for a methanol project in Kalama, Washington, is on hold after the state Department of Ecology announced it’s pausing its review to ask for more information. The Daily News reports that Ecology issued a decision Wednesday and is requesting information from Cowlitz County, Northwest Innovation Works and the Port of Kalama regarding the project’s greenhouse gas emissions before it will make a decision on whether or not to issue a shoreline conditional use permit for the project. Northwest Innovation Works hopes to build the $2 billion project at the Port of Kalama to convert natural gas into methanol for shipment to Asia. Backers say the project would create about 1,000 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs and generate millions of dollars in local taxes. (Associated Press)

Battle over Bristol Bay mine: Native, fisheries groups sue Trump
Five Bristol Bay native and fisheries groups sued the Trump administration on Tuesday, seeking to restore Clean Water Act protection and block a giant open pit copper-goldmine proposed cheek-by-jowl with the world's greatest sockeye salmon fishery. The suit was filed on National Salmon Day. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reportedly after intervention by President Donald Trump, in July withdrew a determination that the proposed Pebble Mine would cause enormous potential harm to rivers and wetlands where salmon spawn. The mine would be located between two of the most productive salmon streams in the Bristol Bay fishery. Joel Connelly reports. (

PacifiCorp Plan To Move Away From Coal Exposes Deep Divide Among Western States
....This month, PacifiCorp released a 20-year power plan that cuts way back on coal-fired power and ramps up renewable wind and solar. The plan exposes a harsh reality: With more than half of its power still coming from coal, the utility is stuck in the middle of a regional tug of war over the future of coal in the West. The West Coast states the company serves have firm plans to stop paying for coal-fired power. And they’re increasingly focused on reducing contributions to climate change like the carbon emissions that come from burning coal. But PacifiCorp customers in the Rocky Mountain states are still staffing its fleet of power plants and mining the coal they’re scheduled to be using for many years to come. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

What's with all the jellyfish in Puget Sound waters?
It was a strange and surreal sight: Thousands of moon jellyfish swimming in Puget Sound. And not just in one spot -- we've received photos of jellyfish swarms in Vashon Island's Quartermaster Harbor and off Orcas Island. And stories of swarms in Sinclair Inlet too... But it turns out, it's not an unusual event -- in fact, it's an annual event. "Highest number of moon (jellyfish) typically occur in the late summer and fall," says Christopher Krembs with the Department of Ecology. He oversees the Eyes Over Puget Sound team and has been documenting jellyfish occurrence using aerial photos for several years now. Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Nestlé, Tim Hortons named Canada's top plastic polluters again
For the second year in a row, Nestlé and Tim Hortons were the top companies behind branded plastic bottles, coffee cups, and lids and other plastic waste collected in shoreline cleanups across the country, Greenpeace Canada reported Tuesday. Starbucks, McDonald's and the Coca-Cola Company rounded out the top five of the environmental advocacy group's list of plastic polluters...The companies were named from 1,426 pieces of identifiably branded plastic out of 13,822 pieces of plastic waste collected and audited by 400 volunteers during shoreline cleanups between April and Sept. 21. The cleanups were organized by community groups participating in the global Break Free from Plastic movement in Halifax; Covehead, P.E.I.; Fredericton; Montreal; Toronto; Grimsby, Ont.; Broken Group Islands, B.C.; Vancouver and Victoria. Emily Chung reports. (CBC)

WWU-Port of Bellingham plan this renewable energy research and development project
In an attempt to jump-start a key waterfront project, two public agencies will soon be reaching out to the private sector. Officials from the Port of Bellingham and Western Washington University have an outline in place to move forward with the Western Crossing Innovation Park. The Port of Bellingham commissioners approved an amendment in a meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 8; the plan is scheduled to go before Western’s Board of Trustees on Friday, Oct. 11. The plan calls for a public-private partnership where the Port and Western would seek out others, including business start-ups, to “nurture scientific and technological entrepreneurial ventures.” The focus of the park would be renewable energy research and development, according to port documents. Other ideas for the innovation park include cybersecurity and marine engineering. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

These State Birds May Be Forced Out of Their States as the World Warms
Each state in America has an official state bird, usually an iconic species that helps define the landscape. Minnesota chose the common loon, whose haunting wails echo across the state’s northern lakes each summer. Georgia picked the brown thrasher, a fiercely territorial bird with a repertoire of more than 1,000 song types. But as the planet warms and birds across the country relocate to escape the heat, at least eight states could see their state birds largely or entirely disappear from within their borders during the summer, according to a new study. Brad Plumer reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  217 AM PDT Thu Oct 10 2019   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell  3 ft at 13 seconds. 
 E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 2 ft at 14 seconds.

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

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

10/9 Horned grebe, orca task force, Drayton green crab, climate emergency, grizzly restoration, killer moths

Horned grebe [Conner Mah]
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus
A small diver found mostly on northern marshes in summer, coastal bays in winter. Also widespread in Eurasia, where it is called Slavonian Grebe. Similar to Eared Grebe, but much less gregarious, it seldom nests in colonies and seldom gathers in large flocks at other seasons. Like other grebes, it must patter across surface of water to become airborne; may become trapped when waters freeze quickly overnight. (Audubon Field Guide)

Orca task force adds 13 recommendations at final meeting as 'biological extinction' looms 
Their goal is clear: to prevent Puget Sound’s iconic Southern Resident killer whales from going extinct. Solving that problem is anything but simple. The task force convened by Gov. Jay Inslee to save the orcas added 13 new recommendations this week, at its final meeting. The additions to the group’s so-called “Year 2 Report” cover more than 100 pages, adding climate change and population growth to the list of issues complicating orca recovery. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

17 European green crabs trapped in Drayton Harbor, raising fears about these invaders
Seventeen European green crabs were trapped in Drayton Harbor over two days in late September, worrying those working to keep the hungry invaders from taking root here and elsewhere in Washington state. “This is the highest number of green crabs trapped in such a short period of time from any one area along Washington’s inland shoreline,” the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement on Tuesday, Oct. 8. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

‘We’re staring at the end of a livable future’: Native activists call for a climate emergency in Washington
On the steps of the Capitol building, Indigenous activists are urging the governor to treat climate change as a statewide emergency. But what would that mean in action? Manola Secaira reports. (Crosscut)

Proposal To Restore Grizzlies To Washington Draws Hundreds To Public Meeting
It’s been four years since the federal government initially started asking Washington residents whether they’d like to see more grizzly bears brought into the state. And still, the heated debate continues. Around 450 people filed into the AgriComplex building at the Okanogan County Fairgrounds Monday night. They wanted to voice their opinions on a draft plan to relocate grizzlies to the North Cascades. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW News Network)

Outbreak of tree-killing, allergy-inducing moths prompts warnings from B.C. government
An infestation of insects that have the ability to quickly kill healthy Douglas fir trees is on the move in British Columbia and the Ministry of Forests says it has now been found further north than ever before. A statement from the ministry Tuesday said an infestation of tussock moth has been found in trees in the western Cariboo, just south of the community of Alkali Lake. The pest is usually found in more southern parts of the province, such as Kamloops and the Okanagan. They can kill a large Douglas fir in just one to two years during a severe infestation, according to the ministry. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  111 AM PDT Wed Oct 9 2019   
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft  at 9 seconds. 
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 4 ft at  8 seconds.

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

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

10/8 St. John's wort, saving orcas and salmon, Seattle 'streamline,' climate protest, saving forests, Snohomish R junkers, oil profits, ghost forests

St. John's wort [Jennifer Anderson/USDA]
Common St. John's Wort Hypericum perforatum
Common St. John's wort is a Eurasian perennial weed and a serious pest in fields, pastures and on roadsides and waste places, common from about Tacoma south to California, and scattered north to central Vancouver Island and the lower Fraser Valley. It was introduced from Europe where it has been used in medicine since ancient times. In herbal medicine it has been widely employed to alleviate nervous disorders and it was applied to wounds where the nerves were exposed. It contains a phototoxin concentrated in the glandular dots on the leaves. Recent studies indicate that 2 compounds isolated form this species strongly inhibit a variety of retrovirus, leading to speculation about its effect on HIIV. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

How to help Puget Sound's orcas and salmon: What Seattle-area leaders say can make a difference
Leaders around our region had lots to say when asked what should be done to restore threatened salmon runs and Puget Sound’s endangered orcas...Some Seattle-area leaders said nothing will change unless we get serious about land use and reverse the destruction underway of the habitat salmon and orcas depend on...A carbon tax, fishing ban and more funding for habitat recovery were also among the things that would be needed, they said. Explore more of the potential solutions in our interactive. Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)

Seattle council votes to 'streamline' environmental reviews for upzones, some housing projects
The City Council passed legislation Monday that supporters say will speed up environmental reviews for some major policies and projects needed to make Seattle more sustainable, such as denser zoning and large apartment buildings. Councilmembers Abel Pacheco and Mike O’Brien sponsored the legislation, and the vote was 8-0, with Councilmember M. Lorena González absent. Representatives of urbanist environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and 350 Seattle asked the council to adopt the changes, arguing neighborhood opponents have time and again used misused State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) appeals to obstruct policies and projects related to smart urban growth. Daniel Beekmam reports. (Seattle Times)

Climate protesters arrested after blocking Burrard Street Bridge for hours
More than 100 rain-soaked climate activists took over the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver Monday morning, blocking traffic in order to draw attention to a global demonstration demanding world leaders take urgent action to cut carbon emissions and prevent environmental disaster. Rhianna Schmunk reports. (CBC) Dancers in red protest Trans Mountain pipeline expansion  Seven dancers dressed in crimson robes with their faces painted white, theatrically protested the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline outside of a storage yard containing materials for the pipeline in Kamloops on Monday. Dominika Lirette reports. (CBC) Climate Change Protests: With Fake Blood, Extinction Rebellion Hits N.Y. Tourists and workers on Wall Street on Monday were met by a jarring spectacle: protesters, some lying in pools of fake blood outside the New York Stock Exchange, some dancing and others chanting, all to call attention to people killed by climate-related disease and disaster. Anne Barnard reports. (NY Times)

‘Thin it or watch it burn’: How Washington is chewing up trees and spitting out resilient landscapes
Using machinery and prescribed burns, land managers are hoping to safeguard 2.7 million acres of forest from catastrophic fires like the one that destroyed Paradise in California. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Broadcasting)

Snohomish River almost rid of its worst abandoned junk boats
Weeks after crews worked to dismantle and remove the 100-foot Midas from the Snohomish River, another sunken boat nearby awaits a similar fate. The state Department of Natural Resource’s Derelict Vessels Removal Program took custody Monday of a 50-foot sailboat about half a mile north of where the Midas sat for more than a year. Contractors have until Oct. 15 to submit bids to remove the wreck, with the hope of having it out of the river by the end of the month, program manager Troy Wood said. If a contractor is selected quickly, work could start Oct. 21 Joseph Thompson reports. (Everett Herald)

Oil Companies Ponder Climate Change, but Profits Still Rule
Two decades ago, John Browne rocked the oil industry by saying that the “possibility cannot be discounted” of a link between man-made carbon emissions and global warming, and that it was time for “action.” In 1997, Mr. Browne, then chief executive of BP, the London-based oil company, was a lonely voice among his peers. How much has changed since his speech? Most large oil companies no longer deny the connection between burning fossil fuels and climate change. In fact, they are scrambling to position themselves to be seen as part of the solution to what is increasingly seen by worried citizens as a major threat. Stanley Reed reports. (NY Times)

As Sea Levels Rise, So Do Ghost Forests
Up and down the mid-Atlantic coast, sea levels are rising rapidly, creating stands of dead trees — often bleached, sometimes blackened — known as ghost forests. The water is gaining as much as 5 millimeters per year in some places, well above the global average of 3.1 millimeters, driven by profound environmental shifts that include climate change. Moises Velasquez-Manoff and Gabriella Demczuk report. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  215 AM PDT Tue Oct 8 2019   
 W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 2 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 8 ft at 8 seconds. A chance of rain in the  morning. 
 N wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 7 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 (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, October 7, 2019

10/7 Amanita, climate protest, polluted waters, BC fish farms, Cooke steelhead, Maine gulf warming, Big Pipe mural, Trudeau vote, JP Morgan protest, BC plastic pellets

Fly amanita [Amy Nelson]
Fly amanita Amanita muscaria
This is the mushroom often pictured in European fairy tales. It is called 'fly amanita' because it is thought a decoction make from it kills flies. It is definitely dangerous but fortunately it is quite easy to recognize; the bright red, orange, or yellow cap with its white warts is in itself a conspicuous warning for even the most unwary collector. It also comes in forms with white or brown caps, and the veil may be striking yellow instead of the more typical white. (The New Savory Wild Mushroom)

'It's going to happen': Climate protestors pledge to shut down bridges in Vancouver and Victoria
Climate activists in B.C. say they will shut down bridges in Vancouver and Victoria on Monday. In Vancouver, organizer Maayan Kreitzman said at least "a few hundred people" will walk onto the Burrard Street Bridge at 8:30 a.m. PT to block most vehicle traffic. Emergency vehicles, transit buses, cyclists and pedestrians will be allowed through...In Victoria, organizer Mark Nykanen said dozens of people will gather on the Victoria side of the Johnson Street Bridge at 3:30 p.m. PT to also block traffic in a similar way until 6 p.m. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Does Washington's slow pace of cleaning polluted waterways violate the Clean Water Act?
Two decades ago, a small environmental group reached a lawsuit settlement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency that launched a major new effort to tackle water pollution in Washington state. Under the 1998 agreement, the state Department of Ecology had to develop cleanup plans for nearly 1,600 bodies of water, from the Puget Sound to the Palouse River that winds through the state’s wheat country, with the EPA overseeing work called for by the federal Clean Water Act. The group — Northwest Environmental Advocates — is now back in U.S. District Court, alleging that federal and state officials have moved too slowly, and that they violated federal law by failing to get the plans done by a 2013 deadline. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: New EPA regulations could allow for more polluted waters, and tribes and state officials are worried  A unilateral reversal of Washington water quality regulations is creating concern around human health and control of state waters. Hannah Weinberger reports. (Crosscut)

B.C. salmon industry withdraws from eco-certification, unable to meet conditions
Canada’s Pacific salmon industry is withdrawing from Marine Stewardship Council certification rather than risk an audit with a high probability of failure. MSC set 22 conditions for certification in 2017, most of them aimed at properly assessing the health of wild salmon stocks on the north and central coast and the effect of hatchery fish on wild salmon. “We were behind on nine of those conditions in last year’s audit and we came to the conclusion that it would be touch and go whether we would pass (this year),” said Christina Burridge, spokesperson for the Canadian Pacific Sustainable Fisheries Society, which holds the MSC certificates. The move will voluntarily suspend eco-certification of B.C. chum, pink and sockeye, including Fraser River sockeye. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Tribe in partnership with Cooke Aquaculture, eyeing steelhead fish farm in Port Angeles Harbor
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Cooke Aquaculture Pacific LLC are teaming up to restart a dormant fish farm in Port Angeles Harbor despite Cooke’s lawsuit against the state agency that leases the site. The tribe and Canadian company announced the joint fish-farm venture to rear black cod and sterile all-female rainbow trout-steelhead in a press release issued Thursday...The state Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a mitigated determination of nonsignificance to Cooke on Tuesday and is taking comment through Oct. 22. Information can be found and comments can be submitted at Venture. The permit would allow the company to raise the fish for five years in existing marine net-pens in Puget Sound at Fort Ward, Orchard Rocks, Clam Bay and Hope Island. The permit would be extended to Cooke’s Ediz Hook, Port Angeles facility and Cypress Island net pens if the company receives new leases or the terminated leases are restored. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Man found guilty in 2017 pipeline break-in
A 30-year-old Michigan man was found guilty Friday on three charges related to a 2017 break-in at the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline facility west of Burlington. Donald Jose David Zepeda was convicted of second-degree burglary and criminal sabotage — both felonies — and third-degree malicious mischief for the Oct. 24, 2017 incident. Zepeda and another person broke into the facility in an effort to perform what he called in court documents an “emergency shut off” of the pipeline, documents state. Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

The Gulf Of Maine Is Warming, And Its Whales Are Disappearing
Each summer for the last two decades, Jim Parker has readied his small whale watch boat, and made a business out of ferrying tourists out into the cool blue waters of the Gulf of Maine. For years, it was steady work. The basin brimmed with species that whales commonly feed on, making it a natural foraging ground for the aquatic giants. Whales would cluster at certain spots in the gulf, providing a reliable display for enchanted visitors to the coastal community of Milbridge, Maine. But lately, the whales have been harder and harder to find. Waters in the gulf have been warming, sending the whales’ food supply searching for cooler temperatures. The whales have gone with them. Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Peter Breslow, and Avery Ellfeldt report. (NPR)

Activists create mural at Trans Mountain pipeline terminus in Burnaby, B.C.
Dozens of people with Greenpeace Canada painted a mural on Saturday depicting orcas and anti-fossil fuel slogans on the road leading into the Westridge Marine Terminal of the Trans Mountain pipeline in Burnaby. The organization says it wants to use art to draw attention to fighting climate change and push for urgent action from elected officials. The mural — 22 by 15 metres in size — was designed by Ocean Hyland, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, and Brandon Gabriel, a member of the Kwantlen First Nation. (CBC)

O Canada -- Will voters toss out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is Canada's man in shirtsleeves, whether it's marching in Vancouver's Pride Parade, or joining the half-million Climate Strike demonstrators in Montreal, or posing for ceaseless selfies from coast to coast to coast. He charmed a country in 2015, reviving the Liberal Party and moving into the PM's residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa where he grew up as son of a prime minister. Asked why half of his new Cabinet ministers were women, Trudeau shot back: "It's the 21st Century." The charm has faded, and Trudeau is in a neck-and-neck race as Canadians prepare for their national election on October 21. Joel Connelly writes. (SeattlePI.Com)

A Climate Sting: JP Morgan Chase Sited for Crimes Against the Climate
Financial institutions who bankroll fossil fuel expansion are receiving renewed attention after global climate strikes. The nation's largest bank, JP Morgan Chase, was the target of a unique 'climate sting' by activists intent on shutting the bank down. Actions happened in 11 states. Martha Baskin reports. (PRX)

Group calls for plastic pellet regulation after finding widespread pollution 
A B.C. oceans protection group says new research showing widespread plastic pellet pollution throughout southern B.C. waters is proof the province needs to start regulating the product. Surfrider Foundation Canada claims the tiny pellets — known as nurdles — are being spilled at plastic manufacturing sites along the Fraser River and washing into municipal storm drain systems that flow into local waterways. In a combined effort, Surfrider Foundation Canada and the University of Victoria found pellets had found their way to waterfronts in the Lower Mainland, and as far away as north and south Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands and the Sunshine Coast. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  200 AM PDT Mon Oct 7 2019   
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming W in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds building to 7 ft at 9  seconds in the afternoon. Rain in the morning then a slight chance  of rain in the afternoon. 
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 6 ft  at 8 seconds. A slight chance of rain after midnight.

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

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Friday, October 4, 2019

10/4 Mountain ash, rockfish, Cheri Scalf, distressed animals, microplastics, PacifiCorp coal, oil by rail rule, Sandy Bendixen, Blanchard Mtn, sea turtle rescue, ocean trash boom, Trump's California feud, tuna, coffee

Sitka mountain ash [Fraser Valley Conservancy]
Sitka Mountain Ash Sorbus sitchensis
There are about 100-200 species of Sorbus in the Northern Hemisphere.  The genus Sorbus includes, Mountain Ashes (also known as Rowans), Whitebeams, and Service Trees.  True Ashes belong to the unrelated genus, Fraxinus.  The word Rowan is thought to be from a Norse word for tree, or a Germanic word meaning “getting red,” referring to its fall foliage color and berries.  Rowans were important trees in Celtic mythology; the wood was used for Druid’s staffs, magic wands and dowsing rods. (Native Plants PNW)

West Coast Rockfish Boom with the Blob
The high temperatures that came with the marine heatwave known as the Blob led to unprecedented mixing of local and subtropical species. There were, often with new and unpredictable outcomes. Out of that mix came one unexpected winner: West Coast rockfish. These bottom-dwelling species, which that had previously collapsed in the face of overfishing during the 2000s, thrived under the new conditions. Scientists from Oregon State University and NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center recount the boom in young rockfish in a new research paper in the journal Fisheries. It examines the effects of the Blob as documented by NOAA Fisheries offshore surveys. Scientists have been conducting the surveys for more than 20 years. The Blob years brought some of the most dramatic changes in marine life off the West Coast they’ve ever seen. (NOAA Fisheries)

‘Salmon godmother’ earns environmental award
Cheri Scalf has always been curious about nature, but she didn’t realize the endangered nature of salmon until she reached adulthood. When she learned about Salmon Creek and the watershed that flows directly to Discovery Bay, Scalf wanted to do something about it. That was in 1992. Today, Scalf is known to many as the “godmother of salmon,” a leader in volunteer salmon monitoring and restoration projects, said Sarah Doyle, the North Olympic Salmon Coalition stewardship coordinator. Scalf was honored Thursday with the 15th Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award during the Port Townsend Marine Science Center’s annual stewardship breakfast at The Commons at Fort Worden. Brian McLean reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Animals in distress alarm B.C. climate-change watchers
Photos of emaciated grizzly bears and the rescue of a distressed tropical turtle off B.C.’s coast have ocean watchers worried about the damage climate change is doing to local ecosystems. Rolf Hicker, a wildlife photographer and tour guide based in Port McNeill for the past two decades, recently posted photos to Facebook which show a malnourished grizzly sow with two cubs along the shore of Knight Inlet. The disturbing images were shared around the globe. Bicker said he’d never seen a grizzly in such dire shape. He is concerned they are suffering from the effects of climate change, particularly poor runs for salmon, a critical food source for the bears. Nick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

San Francisco microplastics study shows car tires biggest likely source
Driving is not just an air pollution and climate change problem — turns out, it just might be the largest contributor of microplastics in California coastal waters. That is one of many new findings, released Wednesday, from the most comprehensive study to date on microplastics in California. Rainfall washes more than 7 trillion pieces of microplastics, much of it tire particles left behind on streets, into San Francisco Bay each year — an amount 300 times greater than what comes from microfibers washing off polyester clothes, microbeads from beauty products and the many other plastics washing down our sinks and sewers. Rosanna Xia reports. (LA Times) See also: Plastic with your seafood? Same question goes for otters and orcas Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Portland-Based PacifiCorp Releases Plan To Cut Coal Power And Add Renewables
On Thursday, PacifiCorp released a 20-year power plan that cuts back on coal and adds renewable wind and solar energy. The Portland-based utility serves 1.9 million customers across six western states, including Oregon and Washington, and right now more than half of its power comes from coal. Environmental groups have been pressing PacifiCorp for years to close more of its coal plants sooner and speed up its transition to renewable energy. But leaders in states like Wyoming, where the utility’s coal plants are stationed, say the company would be hurting local economies and betraying their trust by closing coal plants early. The investor-owned utility is planning to shutter more than 75% of its coal fleet by 2038, cutting nearly 4,500 megawatts of coal-fired power at multiple plants in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Idaho and Utah. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

Refineries push back against Washington crude-by-rail law; IMO 2020 cited
n a letter to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) filed as part of a long series of comments by many made to the federal agency, Phillips 66, a leading refiner, brings up the impact on IMO 2020 if a Washington state law on crude by rail is allowed to stand. The Washington law, SB5579, which went into effect earlier this year, limits crude oil by rail deliveries into the refineries around Puget Sound through both a cap on off-loadings from existing facilities and limits on a technical specification known as Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP). The RVP limit is written to clearly target shipments of crude oil from the Bakken field of North Dakota and Montana by rail into Washington...By restricting offloadings of rail cars and sticking an RVP limitation on crude-by-rail that is aimed at Bakken crude oil, “Phillips 66 has drastically reduced the scheduled deliveries of crude oil to be unloaded at the Ferndale refinery rail rack for the remainder of the year,” Phillips 66 said in its letter to PHMSA...The problem then is that since meeting IMO 2020 regulations is a top priority for refiners as the oil market approaches the January 1 launch date, what replaces the shipments of crude oil by rail into Washington refineries? And that’s where Phillips 66 says that environmentally, the solution to that question will be worse than what advocates of the Washington law sought in the law’s  passage. John Kingston reports. (FreightWaves)

Sandy Bendixen’s cool job piloting massive vessels in Puget Sound 
Meet Sandy Bendixen, a marine pilot who boards large ships navigating Puget Sound, directing their captains and moving their massive ships in precise ways to ensure the vessels’ safe passage. At 37, Bendixen is one of the youngest pilots on the job — and the state’s first female pilot. Michelle Archer reports. (Seattle Times)

Final land transfer to preserve Blanchard Mountain approved
With state Board of Natural Resources approval of a land transfer Tuesday, the long-sought conservation of recreation areas on Blanchard Mountain became official. The final steps toward conserving the 1,600-acre area called the Blanchard Core — where popular trails, campgrounds and lakes are found — are being paid for with $10 million allocated by the state Legislature in 2018. That money is allowing the state Department of Natural Resources to make a one-time payment of $9.2 million to the fund that supports school construction statewide and use $626,000 to purchase forest lands to be managed by Natural Resources for timber revenue. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Rare tropical sea turtle rescued in waters near Port Alberni
A rare tropical sea turtle is now recovering from a dangerously low body temperature after being rescued in the chilly waters near Port Alberni earlier this week. The male olive Ridley sea turtle was found by passersby in the Vancouver Island community Sept. 30 and transferred by officials to the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (MMRC), where it remains in recovery under constant watch. The turtle, now named Berni, is gradually being exposed to warmer temperatures...The male turtle, which weighs 26.9 kilograms, registered a dangerously low body temperature of 11 C when it was rescued, compared with the species’ usual temperature of more than 20 degrees. Stephanie Ip reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Ocean cleaning boom between California and Hawaii is now working, Dutch inventor says
After a series of setbacks, a system for catching plastic floating in the Pacific between California and Hawaii is now working, its Dutch inventor said today. Boyan Slat, a university dropout who founded The Ocean Cleanup nonprofit, announced that the floating boom is skimming up waste ranging in size from a discarded net and a car wheel complete with tire to chips of plastic measuring just 1 millimeter. The results are promising enough to begin designing a second system to send to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of floating plastic trash twice the size of Texas, Slat said. (Associated Press)

A ‘Chilling Message’: Trump Critics See a Deeper Agenda in California Feud
President Trump’s political feud with California has spread collateral damage across more than a dozen other states, which have seen their regulatory authority curtailed and their autonomy threatened by a Trump administration intent on weakening the environmental statutes of the country’s most populous state. When the administration last month revoked California’s authority to set state-level standards on climate-warming tailpipe emissions, it simultaneously stripped that power from 13 other states that follow California’s standards and ensured that no other state could set fuel-efficiency standards in the future. The Environmental Protection Agency last week followed up with letters to California that threatened to wield rarely used provisions of environmental law to withhold federal funding from the state if it did not take specific steps to clean its air and water. Coral Davenport report. (NY Times)

Mechanical trouble stalls train in Mount Vernon for few hour
A BNSF Railways train stopped on its tracks through Mount Vernon for about two hours Thursday morning snarled traffic across several major roads and caused backups on Interstate 5. Mount Vernon police Lt. Greg Booth said the southbound train's engine was stalled just south of Fir Street, leaving Fir Street, Riverside Drive, East College Way and Hoag Road blocked. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

We're Pulling Tuna Out Of The Ocean At Unprecedented — And Unsustainable — Rates
If you’re in the mood for a tuna poke bowl or an old-school tuna niçoise salad, here’s a tip: Don’t hit up the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland. It has been nearly six years since chef Jonathon Sawyer became a “tuna evangelist” after attending a meeting of like-minded chefs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was there that he made the decision to forgo tuna — both in his personal life and on the menus at all four of his restaurants. Clare Leschin-Hoar reports. (NPR)

What Your Coffee Says About Your Politics
Partisan divide creates different Americas, separate lives.  Robert B. Talisse explains. (Civil Beat)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  234 AM PDT Fri Oct 4 2019   
 E wind 15 to 20 kt becoming N 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 3 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less in the  afternoon. W swell 5 ft at 11 seconds. A chance of showers. 
 SW wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  5 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of showers. 
 SW wind to 10 kt becoming N in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. A chance of showers in  the morning. 
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  3 ft at 11 seconds. 
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at  11 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told