Friday, May 27, 2016

5/27 Go fish, tug crash, KPLU sale, Eyman overruled, enviro justice, fish crime, coal train, BC pipe

(PHOTO: UW Digital Collections)
State, tribes reach agreement on Puget Sound salmon fishing plan
State and tribal fishery officials said Thursday that after weeks of negotiations they've agreed on a plan that will allow for a 2016-2017 Puget Sound salmon-fishing season. Recreational and non-tribal commercial salmon fishing in Puget Sound has been closed since May 1, after the state and tribes failed to come to an agreement over annual catch limits. That prompted concern that a fishing season might not happen this year. The agreement still needs federal approval, but John Long, salmon fisheries policy lead for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said anglers can start planning to fish for salmon this summer. (Associated Press)

Double tug boat crash near Nanaimo leaves vessel underwater
The Transportation Safety Board is investigating a collision between two tug boats that caused one vessel to sink near Gabriola Island, off the east coast of Vancouver Island. The safety board's Pacific operations regional manager Mohan Raman says two crew members of the Albern were thrown into the water and rescued after their tug was hit by the C.T. Titan about 6 p.m. Tuesday. He says the larger ship overpowered the smaller boat, which sank about 90 metres to the bottom of the Northumberland Channel between Gabriola and Vancouver Island. (Canadian Press)

Community group reaches $7 million goal to buy KPLU
A grass-roots campaign seeking to purchase Tacoma-based public radio station KPLU from Pacific Lutheran University reached its $7 million fundraising goal Thursday — more than a month before a deadline imposed on the group to raise enough money to buy the station…. he group still must negotiate an asset purchase agreement with PLU by June 30 — and eventually obtain approval of the deal from the Federal Communications Commission — before it can take over KPLU’s broadcast license and begin operating the station. Lewis Kamb reports. (Seattle Times)

Eyman’s tax-limiting initiative unconstitutional, state Supreme Court says 
The state Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld a lower-court ruling striking down a ballot initiative that sought to limit taxes. The high court said Initiative 1366, sponsored by anti-tax activist Tim Eyman, was unconstitutional because it violated the requirement that initiatives be limited to a single subject. Voters last fall narrowly approved the measure, which would have cut the sales tax by 1 percentage point beginning last month unless lawmakers allowed a public vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority in the Legislature for future tax increases. A King County Superior Court judge in January ruled the measure unconstitutional. Rachel La Corte reports. (Associated Press)

Meet the Northwest’s environmental justice champions
There’s a movement afoot in Seattle. It’s a new breed of environmentalism, one that aims to put people who normally get left out of the conversation about conservation right at the center of it. Because when we pollute the air and water, dam streams and rivers, and warm the climate, they are often the people who are the most impacted. The short film “Our Story,” created by Henry M. Jackson Leadership Fellow Laura Stewart and her colleague Julian Kane, highlights 24 of the thought leaders within the environmental justice movement around Puget Sound. Stewart and Kane embarked on the project in order to amplify the perspectives of those most affected by climate change, and to “remind ourselves, to remind each other, that climate justice and environmental justice are everybody’s responsibility,” Stewart says in the film. Samantha Larson reports. (Crosscut)

Repeat illegal fishing offences land B.C. man in jail — again
A commercial fisherman who sold up to $100,000 in illegally-acquired crab and halibut has been given a rare sentence of 21 days in jail for breaching his probation conditions. Fisheries and Oceans Canada says Scott Steer was arrested at sea on April 10 for "failing to comply with a court order banning him from being on any vessel other than BC Ferries." Jim Robson, the department's acting area chief for the South Coast, said Steer was apprehended at sea by members of the Canadian Coast Guard while he was en route to crab fishing grounds. Maryse Zeidler reports. (CBC)

Montana, Idaho, Wyoming Want To Be Heard On Longview Coal Terminal Permit
Dozens of people drove hundreds of miles from Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to Spokane Thursday to weigh in on a proposed coal export terminal. The terminal would sit along the Columbia River in Longview. But the permitting agencies want input from inland cities along the train tracks. If the project is approved, up to 16 trains will travel from the far corners of Montana and Wyoming to deliver coal to the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, Washington. Corinne Hart of Billings, Montana, said the environmental review needs to take into account effects on rail-side communities like hers, Missoula, as well as Sandpoint, Idaho.  Emily Schwing reports. (NW News Network)

Greenhouse gas emission rule to add millions to Trans Mountain cost: Kinder Morgan
It will cost millions of dollars more to build the Trans Mountain expansion because of an unprecedented requirement to offset greenhouse gas emissions from pipeline construction, the project's proponent says. But Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, said Thursday he has no objections to the unexpected provision because it gives the company a chance to reduce its environmental footprint. Dan Healing reports. (Canadian Press)

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

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM PDT THIS MORNING
 

TODAY
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 15 KT DURING THE  MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 2 FT. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 7 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN A SLIGHT  CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT  AT 7 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
 S WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT  9 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SW AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SUN
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 14 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, May 26, 2016

5/26 Whale watch, What's Upstream, toxin-control, salmon deal, Vic sewer, pulp fine, algae watch, Burns Bog

Shore-based whale watch (NOAA)
Forget the engines: shore-based whale watching takes off
Good feature piece on The Whale Trail, Erich Hoyt and those advocating for shore-based whale watching. Jude Isabella reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Guest blog: What’s Upstream Generally Comes Downstream
Guest blogger Pete Haase writes about the "What's Upstream" campaign and why it's time agriculture should be subject to the same extensive water pollution regulations and inspections almost any other industry, port or municipality is subject to.

Environmental groups criticize revisions to toxics-control act
Reform to the nation’s oldest toxic-substance control law is a step backward for Washington, state environmental policy experts say. Legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week that would enact the first significant revisions to the Toxic Substances Control Act since its initial passage in 1976. No one disputed the law needed reform: it is so ineffective that only a small fraction of the roughly 84,000 registered industrial chemicals in commerce are currently subject to any federal regulations…. At issue here are potential new hurdles, delays and restrictions on states’ ability to enact their own restrictions on toxics. Instead of being a national leader on controlling toxic chemicals, Washington will now have to fall in line behind the feds and wait for EPA to take the lead, said Rob Duff, chief of staff on environmental issues for Gov. Jay Inslee. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

State and tribes could have a deal on salmon fisheries by Thursday
State Fish and Wildlife and tribal fishery managers continue to work out the details on 2016-17 salmon fishing seasons, and as of Wednesday contrary to what has been heard in other media outlets there is no agreement. “Currently we do not have an agreement with our co-managers and we are collaboratively working on finalizing agreed to fisheries, model runs and monitoring,” said Ron Warren, the state Fish and Wildlife salmon policy manager. “Until we can sign off on the details that would have taken place in the middle of this past April, and make sure all of the dots and periods are signed off we cannot move forward with any of our joint consultation to NOAA Fisheries.” Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

Province said to be ‘controlling agenda’ on sewage
With some kicking and screaming, Capital Regional District directors officially ceded control of the core area’s sewage-treatment program on Wednesday, reluctantly agreeing to terms to establish a new independent wastewater project board of experts to oversee the mega-project. Several directors complained they were being asked to be financially responsible for a treatment plan that they will have no part in crafting…. The CRD has been trying to come up with a plan for sewage treatment since 2006, when an environmental assessment of the seabeds around the outfalls found them to be contaminated. As a result, the province directed the region to put in secondary treatment. After years of planning, the CRD got close to getting shovels in the ground two years ago with a proposed single regional plant at the site of a former tank farm at Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point. That plan, with an estimated price tag of $788 million, was abandoned because Esquimalt would not approve minor zoning variances for the McLoughlin site and the province refused to override the decision. Bill Cleverely reports. (Times Colonist)

Nanaimo pulp mill to pay $135,000 penalty
Nanaimo’s Harmac Pacific pulp mill will pay $135,000 in penalties under the Fisheries Act as a result of a June 2013 power failure that caused it to spill raw effluent into an arm of the Strait of Georgia for 90 minutes. The mill’s owner, Nanaimo Forest Products Ltd., pleaded guilty in provincial court in Nanaimo on April 8 to one charge of depositing a deleterious substance into fish habitat related to the June 26, 2013 incident, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. The power failure at a pump house led to the spill of 3.75 million litres of untreated pulp mill effluent, enough liquid to fill one-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools, into Northumberland Channel, the body of water separating Nanaimo and Gabriola Island. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Automated monitor provides early warning of harmful algae blooms
Automated equipment installed Monday off the Washington Coast will track concentrations of six species of plankton that could become harmful to humans and marine species. The Environmental Sample Processor, or ESP, collects discrete samples of water and processes them for analysis. Imbedded modules can test for DNA and antibodies to identify the organisms picked up in the seawater. Concentrations of the plankton and their toxins are sent to shore-based researchers via satellite. The equipment was installed by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Efforts To Ban Oil Projects In Vancouver [WA] Move Forward
Efforts to ban future crude oil projects in Vancouver are moving forward. The city of Vancouver’s planning commission voted Tuesday to prohibit future crude oil storage facilities. “And to prohibit the expansion of any existing crude oil facilities,” said Sandra Towne, the city’s long-range planning manager. The proposal would also prohibit petroleum refineries, she said. Vancouver has a moratorium on crude oil projects that the city council has extended several times. The current ban expires in mid-August. Conrad Wilson reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Leave Burns Bog alone, says conservation society
A development proposal in Delta — west of Highway 91 — has the Burns Bog Conservation Society concerned. Although the prospective industrial rezoning would be outside the designated protected zone, it would still be located close to the Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area. The society has been lobbying against it for some time…. MK Delta Lands Group owns approximately 500 acres of land in Delta. Its proposal involves one of its five parcels of land. It also includes the transfer of 328 acres to the Corporation of Delta for conservation. Tina Lovgreen reports. (CBC)

Edmonds kayaker catches record 124-pound halibut off Neah Bay
A fish tale blending equal parts of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” and the classic “teach a man to fish” parable recently unwound in the Pacific Ocean near Neah Bay. Leo Vergara, a 34-year-old Edmonds angler, achieved his fishing dream near Strawberry Rock in Makah Bay: he caught a halibut while sea kayaking. Vergara’s catch was no chicken of the sea: he brought ashore a monster flatfish that eventually topped the scales at 124 pounds at Big Salmon Fishing Resort on Saturday, May 14. Michael Carman reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT THU MAY 26 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A  CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT  AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5/25 Velella, seal health, green sewer, SEA Discovery Ctr., Mt Rainier, Vic bag levy, orca risk, marine debris

Velella velella at Haida Gwaii (Chris Ashurst/CBC)
Velella velella stink up a Haida Gwaii beach
Thousands of little blue sea creatures have washed up on the shores of Haida Gwaii and have left a stench. They are called Velella velella — small, carnivorous creatures related to the jellyfish. They usually float in the open ocean but they can't swim, so their movements are dictated by the wind and the currents — earning them the nickname, by-the-wind sailors.   Sometimes when the wind changes direction they get pushed around and end up drifting to the shores where they pile up, looking like deflated balloons. Tina Lovgreen reports. (CBC)

Harbour seals in Strait of Georgia healthier than Puget Sound
Levels of two “persistent organic pollutants” in harbour seals have declined dramatically over the decades, but remain considerably higher in Washington state’s Puget Sound than in southern B.C. waters, new research shows…. The study obtained blubber samples from four-to-six-week-old seals at four sites: Hornby Island in the Strait of Georgia, Burrard Inlet near Port Moody, Smith Island in eastern Juan de Fuca Strait near the Canada-U.S. border, and Gertrude Island in southern Puget Sound near Tacoma in Washington state…. Toxins such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls, used as industrial coolants) and PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers, used as flame retardants) bioaccumulate in the blubber and provide an indication of pollution near the top of the food chain. The study showed that harbour seals in southern Puget Sound are four to five more times contaminated with PCBs and 1.8 times more with PBDEs than their counterparts at the other Salish Sea sites. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Pierce County sewer plant expansion has green benefits
One day, recycled Pierce County sewage could water the greens at Chambers Bay golf course. The new source of irrigation water for the course and surrounding parklands is one benefit of a $342 million expansion of the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, county officials say. While the irrigation system to make use of the reclaimed water possible will take some time, other benefits of the sewer plant upgrade are close. Brynn Grimley reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Poulsbo Marine Science Center gets a SEA change
Poulsbo's Marine Science Center became the SEA Discovery Center with the swipe of a pen and unveiling of a new sign Tuesday afternoon. Western Washington University will take over the center's youth programs, floating lab, aquarium and museum while leasing the building from Poulsbo at no cost until the facility can be fully handed over to the Bellingham-based university…. The facility's new name comes from the location by Liberty Bay that connects to Puget Sound and is an acronym for the center's three service components: science, education and aquarium. Rachel Seymour reports. (Kitsap Sun)

What will happen when Mount Rainier erupts?
When geologist Carolyn Driedger talks about Mount Rainier, she feels like she’s trash-talking…. She’s talking about a possible eruption, which could happen in our lifetime. Statistics show there’s a volcanic eruption in the Cascades two to three times every century; Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in that range. Joshua McNichols reports. (KUOW)

Victoria city staff recommend 10-cent bag levy to reduce waste
In a move some critics say is too timid, Victoria city staff are recommending that businesses be encouraged to introduce a levy of at least 10 cents apiece on plastic and paper bags to reduce their use. Collected fees could be reinvested in improving and reducing business packaging, says a staff report to be considered by councillors this week. Staff recommend the city hold meetings with businesses and waste-management stakeholders before the end of next month and, based on the feedback, work with local businesses and retailers to promote the voluntary fee structure. Another recommendation is to help develop a working group to improve management of single-use retail bags, single-use beverage containers, food packaging and plastic film products. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

2 million pounds of water debris cleaned up to keep boaters safe
Harbor Patrols have been busy clearing logs and hidden hazards from Lake Washington and Puget Sound before boating season. They've pulled more than two million pounds of floating debris from the water. Jeff Dubois reports. (KIRO)

More tanker traffic bad news for orcas
The highest-visibility impact of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, as far as Victoria is concerned, would be the tanker traffic going by the waterfront. The National Energy Board devoted several chapters to the marine effects of the proposed new line from Edmonton to Burnaby. It concluded, as with all the other aspects of the pipeline, the rewards outweigh the risks. The marine risks relate to ship movements, and there would more of them. The Burnaby terminal now dispatches about five tankers a month on the 296-kilometre, 15-hour trip out Burrard Inlet, through the Gulf Islands, past Victoria and out to the end of Canadian waters. Twinning the existing pipeline would increase that by about 30 ships. That’s 360 departures a year, meaning 360 more arrivals a year, for a total of 720 more ship movements a year. But Trans Mountain supplied a traffic study of the Salish Sea circa 2012 to the NEB and it shows how busy the Juan de Fuca, Haro and Georgia straits already are. Those supertankers cruising off in the distance that are so familiar to beachfront strollers really add up. The study counted 1,197 tanker movements a year through Juan de Fuca Strait, most of them headed to the U.S. refineries around Cherry Point. There are 391 tankers a year in Haro Strait, on the Canadian side, and similar numbers in the Strait of Georgia and in Vancouver’s harbour. Tankers are only a small part of the 23,000 ship movements a year in Juan de Fuca and Georgia straits. The increase in traffic that would result from the new pipeline would include corresponding increases in tug traffic along the route. Of all the marine life that could be affected, the endangered southern resident killer whales — 84 members as of December — are likely the highest-profile example. They’ve been symbolic of the West Coast for generations, and have the most emotional impact on the most people. The news on that front is bad, and worse. Les Leyne writes. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  242 AM PDT WED MAY 25 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 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@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

5/24 Big fish, Colstrip, BC oysters, Seattle port, state of birds

Steven Charles Orr with state record black rockfish
Washington’s 46-year-old black rockfish record broken
After 46 years, Washington has a new state record black rockfish, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed today. The fish weighing 10.72 pounds was caught on May 15 by Steven Charles Orr of Rochester, Washington. The fish, measuring 26.15 inches long, was hooked in Marine Area 1 near Ilwaco, Pacific County. Orr said he was bait fishing with herring.  Rich Landers reports. (Spokesman-Review)

Colstrip power-plant operator plans to quit plants within two years
The operator of the four coal-fired power plants at Colstrip told plant owners Monday it plans to exit as operator within two years, MTN News has learned. State Sens. Jim Keane and Duane Ankney confirmed Monday they’d been told Talen Energy of Allentown, Pa., informed the plants’ utility owners that it no longer wants to operate the power plants in southeastern Montana. Ankney, of Colstrip, also said Talen has asked to “expedite” its request to expedite as plant operator, and possibly quit its role earlier than two years. Mike Dennison reports. (MTN News)

British Columbia’s oyster sector focuses on protocol, safety
When Canada’s food safety agency announced a recall of B.C. oysters last August, it meant producers like Steve Pocock had to ensure every last oyster they had shipped after a certain date was accounted for. Along with a recall – issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) after dozens of people got sick as a result of eating raw oysters contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio parahaemolyticus – there was a ban on restaurants serving raw oysters from British Columbia. The inconvenience and forgone sales added up to a big hit for Mr. Pocock and other producers in British Columbia’s oyster sector. Over the past few months, they have been working to prevent a repeat scenario. Wendy Stueck reports. (Globe and Mail)

Port of Seattle wants to ready Terminal 5 for big ships
A glimpse of the future of the marine cargo business came in February, when the Benjamin Franklin arrived in Elliott Bay. The largest cargo ship ever in Puget Sound called at Terminal 18 on Harbor Island, which can hold two mega ships. The Northwest Seaport Alliance wants to be able to dock two more at Terminal 5. On Monday, the Port of Seattle released a draft environmental impact statement for the modernization project, and opened about a month's worth of public comment. Graham Johnson reports. (KIRO)

The State of North America’s Birds 2016
The North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) just released The State of North America's Birds 2016, based on the first-ever conservation vulnerability assessment for all 1,154 native bird species that occur in Canada, the continental United States, and Mexico. The assessment was compiled by a team of experts from all three countries and includes an interactive species assessment table, conservation status descriptions, levels of conservation concern for 9 major habitat types, and much more.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  302 AM PDT TUE MAY 24 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told



Monday, May 23, 2016

5/23 Salmon disease, marine toxics, coal port, Navy killings, BC pipe, gopher ESA, eelgrass, OR ocean center

Swainson's Thrush (Jack Daynes/BirdNote)
Salmonberry Bird
The native names of birds sometimes distill the essence of their appearance or behavior. In the Cherokee language, for instance, the Meadowlark is called "star," because of the way the bird's tail spreads out when it soars. To the Northwest Coastal people, this Swainson's Thrush is known as the "Salmonberry Bird." The name derives from its annual arrival in the Pacific Northwest in May, when salmonberries ripen in the forests. Here, the Salmonberry Bird is seen eating elderberries. (BirdNote)

Deadly salmon disease found in B.C. farmed stock, federal scientists say
A feared viral disease proven deadly in Norwegian fish farms has been confirmed for the first time by federal scientists studying farmed salmon in B.C. Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) has been linked to the deaths of up to 20 per cent of stock at some Norwegian farms. "The concern is that it is a disease that hasn't previously been detected in B.C. and at the present time we really don't have sufficient evidence to know if it causes mortality or is a production issue here," said Kristi Miller, part of a team of federal scientists studying farmed fish samples from sites along the B.C. coast. Yvette Brend reports. (CBC)

New theory rethinks spread of PCBs and other toxics in Puget Sound
Recent findings about how toxic chemicals creep into the food web, causing harm to species from herring and salmon to killer whales, could strengthen commitments to control pollution pouring into Puget Sound. Researchers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and other agencies have been tracking toxic chemicals — including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) — as they move from smaller to larger animals in Puget Sound. In doing so, the researchers confronted a perplexing problem. Compared to other waterways, Puget Sound seems to have a considerably higher level of PCBs in its living creatures — even though the concentration in bottom sediments is not as high as in other regions.  Jim West and Sandie O’Neill of WDFW say the difference may lie with the beginning of the food web, where harmful chemicals first enter the waterway. If borne out, their findings could result in a shift in thinking about the biological transfer of contaminants. (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound)

Coal hearing expected to draw big crowds Tuesday
It’s finally here. A hearing on a draft environmental impact study for the controversial Longview coal terminal will take place Tuesday at the Cowlitz Expo Center. Expect big crowds, rallies, traffic, signs and flags. The marathon day of presentations and public testimony kicks off at 1 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m., with an hour-long break at 4 p.m. Estimates of the potential crowd size vary, but a previous public hearing on Millennium Bulk Terminal’s proposal drew 1,300 people. Marissa Luck reports. (Longview Daily News)

Navy Allowed to Kill or Injure Nearly 12 Million Whales, Dolphins, Other Marine Mammals in Pacific 
What if you were told the US Navy is legally permitted to harass, injure or kill nearly 12 million whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions and seals across the North Pacific Ocean over a five-year period? It is true, and over one-quarter of every tax dollar you pay is helping to fund it. A multistate, international citizen watchdog group called the West Coast Action Alliance (WCAA), tabulated numbers that came straight from the Navy's Northwest Training and Testing EIS (environmental impact statement) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Letters of Authorization for incidental "takes" of marine mammals issued by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. A "take" is a form of harm to an animal that ranges from harassment, to injury, and sometimes to death. Many wildlife conservationists see even "takes" that only cause behavior changes as injurious, because chronic harassment of animals that are feeding or breeding can end up harming, or even contributing to their deaths if they are driven out of habitats critical to their survival. Dahr Jamail reports. (Truthout)

First Nations vow to fight Trans Mountain despite NEB approval
The First Nation question — can aboriginal opponents stop Kinder Morgan’s $6.8-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion — looms large after the project passed a major hurdle with approval Thursday from the National Energy Board. Some First Nations, including the Simpcw in the Interior, are supportive. But key First Nations on the coast remain opposed, including the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam. First Nations in the northwest U.S. are also opposed and reiterated their opposition Thursday, saying they were “extremely” disappointed with the NEB decision. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Big oil vs. big whale: Will pipeline trump iconic orca?
If you don't live on the West Coast, perhaps it's hard to appreciate just how poorly approving an oil pipeline at the expense of an endangered population of killer whales might play out. To give it an Eastern perspective, it's a bit like saying Bonhomme might have to die to make way for a new museum dedicated to Stephen Harper's legacy. In approving Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion this week, the National Energy Board said it weighed the benefits of the project against its burdens. Among the "adverse effects" deemed to be most "significant" were those likely to impact a population of about 80 southern resident killer whales found off the coast of Vancouver Island. Jason Proctor reports. (CBC)

If you like to watch: Octopus goes head-to-head with robot
An octopus laid claim to a cable coil as a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) was trying to do some work on the Ocean Networks Canada underwater observatory off the coast of Vancouver Island. The octopus can be seen fighting with the ROV named Hercules — the octopus tries to get in the way of it so it can`t undo a knot. Watch here.  Tina Lovgreen reports. (CBC)

Correction ordered for Thurston County gopher review process
Opponents of Thurston County’s interim building permitting process on potential Mazama pocket gopher habitat hope a recent state board ruling will bolster a lawsuit they filed last year in Lewis County. The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board ruled last week that a portion of Thurston County’s permitting process was out of compliance with the state’s Growth Management Act. The board found that the county’s Interim Screening Process resulted in de facto amendments to the county’s Critical Area Ordinance by placing controls on land use activities that differ substantially from the current Critical Area Ordinance adopted in 2012. It also determined that the county didn’t include public comment or participation in the change to the development regulation. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

Eelgrass a vital source food and shelter in Salish Sea
Eelgrass is appropriately named because it’s an underwater grass, not a seaweed. Meadows of eelgrass grow from muddy, sandy bottoms in shallow marine waters in Whatcom County and elsewhere in the Salish Sea. Like other grasses, eelgrass flourishes in the spring and summer and decays in the fall and winter. The bacteria and decaying plant and animal matter that collect on and in eelgrass provide important food for assorted marine creatures. That, in turn, makes eelgrass beds important feeding areas for birds and fish. It also provides shelter and breeding habitat for young fish, crabs, snails, and other marine life. (Whatcom Magazine)

Grand Opening Saturday For New Marine Life Center On Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast is getting a new tourist attraction. The University of Oregon is holding a ribbon cutting and grand opening Saturday in Charleston at the mouth of Coos Bay for its new Marine Life Center. The center is part museum, part aquarium and part learning lab and gallery. It was a long time in coming. Several directors cobbled together grants, donations and leftovers from other projects to create the facility from relatively little money over about nine years. It is located on the campus of the University of Oregon's marine lab overlooking the marina in Charleston. The attraction features five galleries of exhibits and fish tanks with highlights including complete whale and sea lion skeletons, touch tanks and a working undersea robot vehicle. The focus is on the marine life and fisheries of Oregon. Tom Banse reports. (KPLU)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  258 AM PDT MON MAY 23 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

5/20 Duwamish love, BC oil pipe OK'd, beyond Break Free, Nisqually, Northern Lights

Allentown, from Once & Future River (Tom Reese)
Reclaiming the Duwamish River is about reclaiming ourselves
Through photographs and words, “Once & Future River: Reclaiming the Duwamish” explores the complicated relationship between Seattleites and their only river. Central to the indigenous settlement that preceded the city, the Duwamish also was critical to Seattle’s founding and growth, but it has paid a steep price. Straightened, filled with trash and toxins, and generally neglected by those who benefited from it the most, the river was declared a Superfund site in 2001. Co-author Tom Reese writes. (Seattle Times)

NEB approves Trans Mountain pipeline with 157 conditions
The federal government now has seven months to make a decision on the controversial Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, after the national regulator gave its support to the proposed project. The National Energy Board is recommending the multi-billion dollar pipeline be constructed if 157 conditions are met, including 49 environmental requirements. The NEB described the requirements as achievable for the company. Kinder Morgan must meet the conditions in order for the company to construct and operate the pipeline. Kyle Bakx reports. (CBC) See also: Not so fast: B.C. government clashes with NEB on Trans Mountain approval  Politicians and First Nations express concerns about spill response and environmental impact Richard Zussman reports. (CBC) And also: Canadian board backs pipeline expansion that would add tankers to Puget Sound  A Canadian energy board has recommended approval of a major pipeline- expansion project that would dramatically increase Puget Sound oil-tanker traffic. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Activists in Pacific Northwest Vow to Keep Fossil Fuel Industry on Notice
They call it a tipping point. It began with the "Shell No" mobilization last spring, when activists in Portland and Seattle thwarted the oil giant's Arctic drilling plans. Now, after days of successful mass actions with the Break Free From Fossil Fuels campaign, in which thousands of protesters on six continents took defiant action earlier this month to keep fossil fuels in the ground, from the coal fields of Germany to the oil wells in Nigeria, a cross-regional campaign that's taken root in the Pacific Northwest is vowing to continue the momentum. Martha Baskin reports. (Truthout)

Guided walks offer a deeper glimpse at Nisqually refuge
Covering more than 4,500 acres, the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a remarkable place to explore. The varied habitats include the riparian forest along the Nisqually River and the salt marshes where the land intersects with Puget Sound. More than 300 species of wildlife and fish can be found at the refuge. To help visitors better understand the natural and cultural history of the area, the refuge offers interpretive walks each weekend. These walks are led by local experts and offer participants an in-depth look at different aspects of the refuge. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Why your camera sees the Northern Lights better than you do
On Mother's Day, the skies over the Puget Sound region danced to life with one of the most brilliant Northern Lights displays in several years. Social media pages were flooded with photos showing elaborate curtains of green and purple lights stretched across the nighttime skies. The show was so intense, the lights were visible to the naked eye-- a rarity in Western Washington as it takes a very strong storm for the lights to be intense enough to make it this far south and shine through the city lights. I was one who was out at 1:10 a.m. and saw the skies illuminate in gorgeous green hues. But the show I saw was nowhere near as bright or colorful as what cameras standing right next to me happened to capture. And in other past shows that haven't been as intense, the only way to see them has been in photographs; even the photographers couldn't really notice the lights unless they looked at their camera displays. Then we'd get gorgeous photos posted to Twitter or Facebook of the green glow and others who race out to see them would come back disappointed. Why is that? Scott Sistek explains. (KOMO)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT FRI MAY 20 2016  
TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 10 SECONDS.
SAT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9  SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SUN
 SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1  FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 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@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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Thursday, May 19, 2016

5/19 Transients, BC oil port, BC LNG, hungry bears, Salish Sea Stewards, BC rats, 'saving' wildlife

Transient orca (Heather MacIntyre/Maya's Whale Watching)
Transient orcas visiting northwest waters in record number
Now deemed “resident transients,” mammal-eating orcas are becoming familiar visitors to northwest waters. "I remember Dr. John Ford (head of the Cetacean Research Program at the Pacific Biological Station) telling me at least 10 years ago that by this time we’d start seeing an influx of transient killer whales in the Salish Sea, and he was right,” explained Capt. Mark Malleson, of Prince of Whales Whale Watching. Scientists and whale watchers report that a boom in the pinniped population -- seals and sea lions --means a set table for the orcas. (KIRO)

U.S. tribes mobilize against giant proposed Canadian pipeline, oil export terminal
An oil pipeline bigger than Keystone XL, which would put 40 tankers a month into waters shared by the U.S. and Canada, is expected to get a green light -- with conditions -- Thursday afternoon by Canada's National Energy Board. But the battle over Kinder Morgan Inc.'s proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline system is far from over.  Four Puget Sound Native American tribes have joined with aboriginal First Nations in British Columbia and climate activists to resist the proposed project.  The pipeline would carry up to 890,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta's tar sands to Burnaby, just east of Vancouver. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Central Saanich says no to Malahat LNG proposal
The District of Central Saanich has expressed strong opposition to the proposed Malahat Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project being touted by company Steelhead LNG and members from the community were right behind them. On May 9, President of Steelhead LNG Victor Ojeda gave a presentation to the municipality, with technical advisor Ian Hill and the CEO of the Malahat First Nation, Renee Racette. Carlie Connolly reports. (Peninsula News Review)

Low salmon stocks cause increased interactions between bears and humans: study
Low salmon stocks in B.C. waterways cause an increase in conflicts between humans and bears, and killing problem bears doesn't actually reduce the frequency of human-bear interactions. That's according to a new study by B.C. researchers — published in Scientific Reports — which looked at 35 years of data relating to conflicts between humans and grizzly bears in B.C. For bear populations that feed on spawning salmon, the study found that for every 50-per-cent decrease in salmon populations, the annual number of bears killed per square kilometre increased by an average of 20 per cent. Gavin Fisher reports. (CBC)

B.C. premier says it’s time Ottawa approves LNG, but denies linkage to oil pipelines
B.C. Premier Christy Clark says it’s long past time for the federal government to issue environmental permits for a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas terminal in Prince Rupert. Clark’s demand ups the pressure on the Trudeau Liberals, who have so far avoided hard decisions on resource projects that are being squeezed between pro-development premiers and environmental and indigenous opponents. But the B.C. premier isn’t laying the blame at the feet of the Liberal government elected last October, saying the bid by Indonesian giant Petronas for its Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal began more than three years ago. (Canadian Press)

Third class of Salish Sea Stewards ready for summer
The third class of Salish Sea Stewards is ready to hit area beaches in the name of citizen science, after graduating Tuesday from the program. The Salish Sea Stewards is a one-of-a-kind program in the region dedicated to educating and training volunteers to help with area research, outreach and events. The work the stewards do to help nonprofit and government agencies collect data is important in the efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound, Northwest Straits Commission Director Ginny Broadhurst said during the graduation. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Parks Canada airbombs poison pellets to wipe out rats in B.C. national park
Parks Canada says it has wiped out invasive rats on two islands in Haida Gwaii, B.C., helping important seabirds species recover by doing so…. The news comes on the heels of the first State of North America's Birds report, that found one third of birds in North America are threatened with extinction, especially ocean birds. The rats threaten seabirds like ancient murrelets — a species at risk that is culturally significant to the Haida Nation — by eating their eggs and chicks. Maryse Zeidler reports. (CBC)

‘Save’ a baby bison? Visitors to our coast once ‘rescued’ a seal pup
The recent incident at Yellowstone has tongues wagging about tourists’ naiveté. Park rangers and wilderness experts in the Northwest try to be sympathetic to people who are perhaps new to the outdoors. But still, they’re sometimes left shaking their heads. Eric Lacitis reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT THU MAY 19 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT  12 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS. 
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 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@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