Thursday, February 11, 2016

2/11 BC LNG, orca recovery, Kwikwetlem First Nation, Olympia at risk, NW power plan

Redpoll (Peter Kuchar/CBC)
Report finds proposed Pacific Northwest LNG project would not harm salmon
A draft report issued Wednesday following a federal government review concludes the $12-billion Pacific Northwest LNG project would harm harbour porpoises and cause adverse effects from greenhouse gases, but not from other components, including salmon. The draft conclusion will be considered a victory for the consortium led by Malaysian state-controlled Petronas which has faced opposition to the project in northwest B.C. from some First Nations and environmentalists over the liquefied natural gas terminal's effect on juvenile salmon. The draft report is open for public comment until March 11, after which the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will produce a final report. Justin Trudeau's federal Liberal government has the final say on the project. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Orcas travel up and down the coast; NOAA lists ‘priority actions’
For the past month, K-33, a Southern Resident orca bearing a satellite transmitter, has been moving up and down the West Coast, presumably with the rest of his pod…. NOAA Fisheries today released a list of “priority actions” for eight endangered “species in the spotlight,” including the Southern Resident killer whales of Puget Sound. These species are highly recognized by the public and considered among those at greatest risk of extinction. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways) See also: New action plans outline recovery efforts for eight 'Species in the Spotlight' (Phys.org)

Endangered orca population comes under review
Weeks after the first new orca calf of 2016 was spotted among the southern resident orca population, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the start of a five-year status review of the species. The southern resident orca population, which frequents the Salish Sea and the Washington and Oregon coasts, was listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2005. With eight calves documented during 2015’s “baby boom” and the addition of the calf in mid-January, the population is now at 85 whales, according to the Center for Whale Research. That’s three whales fewer than when the federal government acknowledged the population’s decline in 2005, one fewer than during the last five-year status review, and far below the recovery goal…. According to the Recovery Plan for Southern Resident Killer Whales, orcas could be removed from the Endangered Species list if their population grows at least 2.3 percent per year for 28 years. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service released the plan in 2008. Although the five-year review is just getting started, orca recovery coordinator Lynne Barre said it’s already clear the whales are not yet meeting that goal. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Kwikwetlem First Nation files Supreme Court challenge for traditional lands
A small B.C. First Nation says it’s been squeezed out of its traditional territory around the Coquitlam River watershed and forced to file an aboriginal title and rights charter claim with the Supreme Court of Canada because the province won’t negotiate with it. The Kwikwetlem First Nation, which has only 85 members, was considered too small to enter into the modern treaty process and denied the right to sit at their own negotiating table to resolve their land claim, said lawyer Karey Brooks. Kim Pemberton reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Rising sea poses more urgent risk to downtown Olympia than previously thought
As sea levels continue to rise, so does the threat of flooding in downtown Olympia. The threat might be more urgent than the city previously believed. “We’re suggesting a more-heightened sense of urgency in our response,” said Andy Haub, water resources director for the city’s public works department. “The current risk is higher for downtown flooding than previously thought.” The potential worst-case scenario could leave much of downtown under water, especially areas bordering West Bay and Capitol Lake. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Panel OKs Northwest power plan focused on energy efficiency
A regional council Wednesday approved a new power plan for four Northwest states that will place a big emphasis on energy efficiency to meet new electrical demand. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council, which draws members from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, found that even with a growing economy, increased energy efficiency could meet all of the power demand expected through 2035. However, some utilities could have to build new power-generation plants to help with such tasks as integrating wind power into the grid. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  236 AM PST THU FEB 11 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 

TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT  19 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE  AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 2 FT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 11 FT AT 17 SECONDS. RAIN.

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

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2/10 Clean power, carbon tax, Esquimalt claim, pricing nature, karst, snowpack, cable ferry, big ship, Vic sewer, foot found

(Space Needle Cam/Weather Blog)
Super-Inversion Over Western Washington
Cliff Mass on Tuesday reported on one of the strongest inversions he's ever seen in Seattle: "The inversion is so strong because temperatures have warmed up aloft, a very strong offshore pressure gradient developed (producing strong subsidence/compression warming on the western slopes), and cool/foggy air is trapped at low levels.  The Space Needle Cam this morning showed the shallow cold/foggy layer very well. (Weather Blog) See also: Seattle breaks record high Tuesday; Forks hotter than Miami  Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Supreme Court puts Obama’s Clean Power Plan on hold
A divided Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to halt enforcement of President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan to address climate change until after legal challenges are resolved. The surprising move is a blow to the administration and a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents that call the regulations “an unprecedented power grab.” By issuing the temporary freeze, a 5-4 majority of the justices signaled that opponents made strong arguments against the rules. The high court’s four liberal justices said Tuesday they would have denied the request for delay. The Obama administration’s plan aims to stave off the worst predicted impacts of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants by about one-third by 2030. Michael Biesecker and Sam Hananel report. (Associated Press)

Washington Lawmakers Consider Putting A Price On Carbon
State lawmakers this week began discussing a measure that could make Washington the first state to tax residents and businesses on their carbon emissions…. More than 350,000 voters signed Initiative 732. Under state law, Washington's legislators must either authorize the carbon tax themselves, or send it to a statewide vote in November. It would tax polluters $25 for every metric ton of CO2 they emit in Washington.  Ken Christensen reports. (KUOW)

Esquimalt First Nation claims land, water
The Esquimalt First Nation is claiming lands and water around Greater Victoria, saying the Crown unlawfully seized the property. In a notice of civil claim filed in the Supreme Court of B.C. on Tuesday, the Esquimalt Nation is seeking an order of possession for the lands and water in question, and compensation. The area covers waterfront land in Esquimalt that is now held by the Department of National Defence, running roughly north to Lyall Street in Esquimalt and west to Clifton Terrace near Macaulay Point. Plumper Bay and Inskip Islands are also claimed, as is a chunk of land from the shoreline on the west and across Admirals Road and past Seenupin Road on the east. Hallowell Road is the northern border. (Times Colonist)

Economists keep saying we should put a price on nature. Now they’ve finally done it
Putting a price on nature may seem like an impossible task, but economists believe that finding a way to calculate the value of natural resources is crucial when it comes to deciding whether our use of a resource is sustainable. Natural resources are capital assets, economists have argued, in the same way that land, buildings and stocks are considered assets — and spending money to protect these resources should be viewed as an investment in the future rather than just another cost. The problem is that, so far, no one has developed a good way to estimate the monetary value of natural resources. But now, a group of scholars may have finally come up with a solution. In a paper published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they’ve published a formula for computing the price of what they refer to as “natural capital” — including everything from groundwater to forests. And they argue that using this formula will allow policymakers to compare the value of natural capital with the value of more traditional forms of capital, thus encouraging better investments and more sustainable decisions in the future. Chelsea Harvey reports. (Washington Post)

Agreement fails to protect rare karst landscapes, expert warns
The newly signed Great Bear Rainforest agreement is under attack for failing to adequately protect of one of the world’s most fragile landscapes — subterranean karst, including features such as caves and sinkholes. The agreement “does not address karst specifically, it’s left to chance,” warned Paul Griffiths, a karst authority and scientist based in Campbell River. “If you have a cave in the Great Bear Rainforest it is not automatically protected. They need to address karst directly with a specific objective.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Mountain snowpack above normal across Washington state
Mountain snowpack came in above normal in Washington state, raising hopes the normally soggy state will not repeat last year’s drought conditions that helped fuel the worst wildfire season in its history, a federal agency said Monday. Winter snowpack was 109 percent of normal across the state, but the numbers varied by location, according to a Feb. 1 report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Some areas came in just below 70 percent, while others ranked close to 150 percent of normal. Nicholas Geranios reports. (Associated Press)

New Denman Island cable ferry officially in service
BC Ferries says a controversial new cable ferry from Vancouver Island to Denman Island has officially gone into service. The Baynes Sound Connector is the first cable ferry in the fleet and replaces the Quinitsa, the current boat on the route. Existing schedules remain the same. According to a release from BC Ferries, the new ferry uses less than half the fuel of the Quinitsa, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 480 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually. (CBC)

Container ship larger than the Empire State Building will visit Seattle waters this month
The largest container ship to ever visit a North American port and the most immense vessel that has ever called in the Western hemisphere is heading to Seattle later this month. The Benjamin Franklin, a giant 200,000 ton mega container ship is owned by France-based shipping company CMA CGM Group, and was built in China where it is based. Patti Payne reports. (Puget Sound Business Journal) See also: One million cruise ship passengers will head to Alaska from Seattle this year  (Puget Sound Business Journal)

Victoria Sewer: Protect our oceans, and get it done already
Former BC premier Mike Harcourt writes: "Greater Victoria’s daily flush of 130 million litres of raw sewage and 40,000 kilograms of solids into Haro Strait and toward Race Rocks is neither environmentally nor politically sustainable. Just ask Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, who wrote to Premier Christy Clark on June 10, 2014, noting that: “It is now more than 20 years since your province agreed to implement wastewater treatment in Greater Victoria.” It’s clear that our neighbours’ patience is running out. And here at home, fatigue is setting in. The issue has dragged on far too long. It’s long past time to put a shovel in the ground and start work on a wastewater treatment facility…."  (Times Colonist)

Human foot found in shoe at Botanical Beach
A human foot has been found inside a shoe on Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew. Charlotte Stephens of Duncan said that her husband spotted it on Sunday…. Matt Brown, regional coroner, told CHEK that the left New Balance shoe was manufactured some time after March 2013…. B.C. Coroners Service spokeswoman Barb McClintock said an investigation is underway to determine whose foot it is and the cause of death. It’s at least the 12th foot found washed up on the B.C. coast since 2007. McClintock said of the previous instances, coroners have been able to identify 10 feet, belonging to seven people. Carla Wilson reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  247 AM PST WED FEB 10 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT  11 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.

TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 18 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN  THE EVENING.

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

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2/9 Great Bear, King Co clean water, unsafe ship, water taxis, Gulf fish farming

Great Horned Owl (Art Siegel/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: Examining Owl Pellets
A roosting owl often leaves visual clues to its whereabouts — a scattering of furry, oval objects below its perch — in the form of pellets. Because owls such as this Great Horned Owl often swallow their prey whole, their digestive system has to deal with bones, fur, and feathers. The owl’s gizzard performs a kind of sorting operation: soft tissues pass through to be digested, while indigestible bits like bones, teeth, and fur are formed into an oval mass that’s regurgitated as a pellet some hours later. (BirdNote)

Preserving the Great Bear Rainforest doesn’t really save the bears
Good news deserves to be announced more than once, but the parties associated with the Great Bear Rainforest agreement unveiled last week must have set some sort of record. The deal that saved the Great Bear Rainforest has been announced about 15 times over the years. B.C. land-use agreement protects rare bears – Pristine area to be hands-off to loggers, one headline stated in 2001, followed in 2002 by Cabinet orders protection of Great Bear Rainforest and in 2006 by Deal reached on Great Bear Rainforest. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

King County to invest $196.8 million in clean-water projects in 2016
King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division will do its part to support regional environmental priorities in 2016 by investing more than $196.8 million in dozens of vital sewer improvement projects. Projects entail upgrading aging facilities so they continue to operate reliably and adding new capacity to serve the region’s rapidly growing population. Other priorities include investments in projects that will support the cleanup of Puget Sound and the Lower Duwamish Waterway, and controlling overflows of stormwater mixed with sewage during heavy rains. (Enumclaw Courier-Herald)

Containership Detained in Tacoma for Safety Violations
The 685-foot Liberian-flagged containership Westwood Robson is being held in port after significant safety violations were discovered by Port State Control officers from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound during an inspection at the Husky Terminal in the Port of Tacoma, Thursday. The inspection revealed excessive oil in the bilge holding area, oil-soaked lagging present throughout machinery spaces and clogged oil drains, creating a significant risk of fire, the Coast Guard said. Mechanical issues included deteriorated fittings that contributed to oil and coolant leaks as well as inoperable oil purifiers.  The vessel and crew must are required to stay in port until the deficiencies have been corrected to the satisfaction of Coast Guard inspectors and the Classification Society. Eric Haun reports. (MarineLink.com)

King County Council mulling plan for more water taxis
The King County Council is pursuing the idea of adding additional water taxi routes to Lake Washington and Ballard. The council approved a study on the viability of three different routes: Kenmore (Log Boom Park) to University of Washington (Waterfront Activity Center); Kirkland (Marina Park) to University of Washington (Waterfront Activity Center); Ballard (Shilshole Marina) to Downtown Seattle (Pier 50)…. The three chosen routes met a criteria that included a fare recovery of 25 percent after ten years. Matt Markovich reports. (KOMO)

Gulf Of Mexico Open For Fish-Farming Business
The Gulf of Mexico is now open for commercial fish farming. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last month that, for the first time in the U.S., companies can apply to set up fish farms in federal waters. The idea is to compete with hard-to-regulate foreign imports. But opening the Gulf to aquaculture won't be cheap, and it could pose environmental problems. Tegan Wendland reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  251 AM PST TUE FEB 9 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 

TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN AFTER  MIDNIGHT.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

2/8 Blanchard Mt., plastic ban, Elwha beaches, David Suzuki, water rights, methanol, Colstrip costs, Malheur

Harbour seals at rest (Laurie MacBride)
Laid-back at Low Tide
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Harbour seals can be great camouflage artists. I wonder how many times people have sailed, paddled or motored past a reef when the tide is low, not noticing the blubbery herd that’s there to enjoy a few hours of sunshine and relaxation? The majority of  seal haul-out sites around our region are small, seaweed-encrusted reefs like the one above, off Gabriola Island…."

Now protected, part of 1,600 acres on Blanchard Mt. could be logged
Hundreds of forested acres at the top of Blanchard Mountain could be taken out of protected status and set aside for logging unless the Legislature gives another $7.7 million to fully pay for its conservation. Areas that could be affected include Oyster Dome and the Samish Overlook. A timber sale for a portion of the 1,600-acre core could occur as soon as June 2017. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: Logging a possibility for Blanchard recreation area  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Vancouver considering ban on disposable coffee cups, plastic bags
Vancouver city staff are researching possible methods to cut down on the number of coffee cups, plastic bags and polystyrene food packaging that often end up in the city's litter. The options on the table include banning their use, applying deposits or fees, and mandating recycling or take-back programs, according to a staff report. Albert Shamess, the city's director of waste management and resource recovery, said these single-use items are increasingly ending up in the city's public garbage bins. (CBC)

Public access in works for new beaches on east side of Elwha River mouth
Public access to the new beaches on the east side of the Elwha River mouth is expected to be available by the summer of 2018. Coastal Watershed Institute has been awarded a $1 million National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant to help purchase a property, restore wetlands and establish public access in the area…. The only present public access to the 80 to 100 acres of beaches at the mouth of the Elwha River is on the west bank of the river, which is across private property and where parking and public services are very limited. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Elwha River beach, sea life settling into a new normal  (Peninsula Daily News)

David Suzuki's world view profoundly influenced by Haida ties
David Suzuki will never forget the day, 30 years ago, when he interviewed Haida activist and artist Guujaaw about his fight against logging operations on Haida Gwaii, known at the time as the Queen Charlotte Islands.  "I said to him, 'You know, Guujaaw, your people are desperate for jobs … why are you fighting against logging?' And he said, 'because when the trees are gone, we'll just be like everybody else.'" For Suzuki, this was a radically different way of looking at the world.  (CBC)

Water rights bill passes state Senate committee
A state legislative bill that would give landowners a process for overwriting water use regulations tied to instream flow levels passed its first committee in the state Senate on Thursday. The bill, which passed the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee, still needs to go through the Senate Rules Committee before it could see a floor vote, according to a news release from the office of Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe. Senate Bill 6584, sponsored by Pearson, would task the state Department of Ecology with devising a method of determining if a landowner’s water supply affects instream flow levels of a river, which the bill calls “proof of water reliance.” The bill is of importance to landowners in the Skagit River basin. A 2013 state Supreme Court ruling effectively revoked water rights from well users in the basin when the river is below a certain level. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

What Is Methanol And What Hazards Does It Pose?
On Wednesday, Tacoma residents will get another chance to weigh in on a plan for what could become the world’s biggest methanol plant. A lot of people have raised concerns about potential safety hazards posed by methanol itself and the process of refining it from natural gas. Methanol is a type of alcohol used in plenty of products, from windshield wiper fluid to plastics to fuel additives for cars. It even occurs naturally in certain things we consume. Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)

Washington puts a price on closing oldest Colstrip units
Shutting down and cleaning up the two oldest units at the Colstrip power plant in southeast Montana would cost $130 million to $200 million, according to the Washington utility that owns most of the plant. Puget Sound Energy, which owns half of Colstrip Units 1 and 2, says the two coal-fired power plants can be shuttered and dismantled for $49.7 million. Cleaning up the contaminated water and coal waste at the site will take another $85 to $142.7 million. The Billings Gazette reports that this is the first time since the debate about shuttering Colstrip began that real numbers have been put to paper. However, the cost to electricity customers to complete the proposed shutdown has not yet been determined. (Associated Press)

Northwest Volunteers Want To Help Restore Malheur Refuge
Oregon conservation groups say volunteers are lining up to help reverse damage done to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the ongoing occupation.  At the end of January, the Oregon Natural Desert Association put out a call for volunteers interested in doing environmental restoration at the refuge after the occupation is over. In just a week, more than 600 people from all over the Northwest have signed up. Jes Burns reports. (EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  440 AM PST MON FEB 8 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST THIS MORNING
 

TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...SUBSIDING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 8 FT AT 18 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 9 FT AT 16  SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT AFTER MIDNIGHT. W  SWELL 9 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@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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Friday, February 5, 2016

2/5 Windy weather, toxic flame retardants, kelp farming, Kitimat LNG, Malheur indictments

(KOMO News)
New storm promises heavy rain, gusty winds, and increased landslide risks
Stormy weather has taken a bit of a break from the Pacific Northwest, but the break is over as a potent storm heads our way for Friday. The storm is expected to bring another round of heavy rains to our already-soggy winter, and potentially damaging winds to parts of the region. The strongest winds will be relegated to the coast and areas north of Everett. A High Wind Warning is in effect for the San Juan Islands and Whatcom County from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday for southeast wind gusts as high as 50-60 mph. A lesser Wind Advisory si in effect for much of Friday for the coast and Skagit, Island and eastern Jefferson Counties for gusts to 50 mph. Winds in the greater Puget Sound region aren't expected to be as strong, peaking in the 30-40 mph range and no wind advisories are in effect. Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Bill to ban toxic flame retardants could fizzle for fifth time
A bipartisan group of lawmakers want to ban flame retardants linked to cancer, learning disabilities and other health problems from being used in children’s products and furniture. But legislation to do that could fail for the fifth year running if legislators cannot agree on how to ban new chemicals down the road. The bill, the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act (HB 2545), would ban five common flame retardants from upholstered furniture and children’s toys, safety seats and clothing. It also would authorize the Washington State Department of Health to ban additional flame retardants found to be of high concern for children’s health. The House Health Care & Wellness Committee passed an amended bill 8-7 on Tuesday. In past years, versions of the legislation have passed the full House overwhelmingly only to die in the Senate. Allegra Abramo reports. (Investigate West)

Fish farms eye piece of $10-billion aquaculture pie
The local aquaculture industry is hoping to turn waste nutrients from net-pen fish farms into a lucrative chunk of the $10-billion kelp industry. Researchers from North Island College are installing lines seeded with baby kelp at 30 B.C. fish farms as part of a five-year, $1-million pilot project to test the viability of seaweed aquaculture on our coast. Preliminary trials conducted by project manager Naomi Tabata and Stephen Cross, NIC’s Industrial Research Chair for Sustainable Aquaculture, showed strong potential for a commercial seaweed industry. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Setback for Kitimat LNG as Shell postpones investment decision
The huge LNG Canada export project proposed for Kitimat appears to have suffered a setback with Royal Dutch Shell announcing it will postpone its final investment decision, which was expected this month, until the end of the year. The announcement comes on the heels of Shell releasing 2015 fourth-quarter results which show a 44 per cent slump in earnings due largely to the slump in oil prices. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Indictment says protesters in Oregon occupation ‘threatened violence’
A federal grand-jury indictment unsealed Thursday charges Ammon Bundy and 15 other people involved in the standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge with a single count of “conspiracy to impede officers of the United States” — even as four of those charged remain at the refuge, refusing to surrender to FBI agents who surround them. The indictment, by a grand jury convened in United States District Court in Portland, comes more than a week after Bundy and others were arrested during a traffic stop three weeks into their armed occupation of the nearly 200,000-acre Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the high desert of eastern Oregon. William Yardley reports. (LA Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  252 AM PST FRI FEB 5 2016  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT  

TODAY
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING SE IN THE AFTERNOON. COMBINED  SEAS 15 TO 18 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 15 SECONDS. RAIN  LIKELY IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 17 FT  AT 13 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

SAT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 13 FT AT 12 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 11 FT AT 12 SECONDS IN THE  AFTERNOON. SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE MORNING.

SAT NIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 10 FT AT 12 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 8 FT AT 12  SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

SUN
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT  12 SECONDS.
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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

2/4 Toxic water, BC coast road, Harriet Spanel, sand lance, salmon declines, ESA hatchery review, fuel spill, drinking water bills, UBC fossil fuel

Winter wren (Paul Bannick/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: The Savvy Wren
This plucky bird takes advantage of food, wherever and whenever it can! Because many birds are largely silent in winter, it may seem that they have left us. But many remain, and even the shy and secretive sometimes reveal themselves. A Winter Wren may dart from hiding to grab a meal. The Winter Wren of the East and the Pacific Wren of the West are tiny woodland birds. Their songs are as elaborate as their plumage is drab. This wren is one of the few birds to be heard singing in winter. (BirdNote)

Newest effort from state not protective enough, critics say
The state’s latest effort to create new standards governing water pollution has run into a buzz saw of criticism. The new rules don’t do enough to dial back pollution levels and give polluters too many avenues to delay implementation, critics said. Kelly Susewind, water-quality program manager for the state Department of Ecology, said the proposed rules, released Wednesday, strike the right balance between the state’s earlier proposed standards and a rule issued by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year after the state failed to meet deadlines to act…. The EPA’s version regulates more pollutants more tightly and does not provide the same tools for permit holders that could in some cases provide more time to implement the rules or variances from them. “You could draw some Orwellian references to say these implementation tools are for nonimplementation,” said Chris Wilke, executive director of Puget Soundkeeper, a nonprofit in Seattle dedicated to cleaning up Puget Sound. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Sunshine Coast-Lower Mainland highway link study launched by B.C. government
The "hot topic" of a highway link from the Vancouver area to B.C.'s Sunshine Coast will now get a $250,000 government study to see if its feasible, according to B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone. R.F. Binnie, a Vancouver-based civil engineering firm, has been contracted to study a range of possibilities to connect to the Sunshine Coast to the Lower Mainland…. The Sunshine Coast, including the communities of Gibsons, Sechelt and Powell River, is on the B.C. mainland, but cut off from the Vancouver area by deep inlets — and accessible by ferry or air, but not by road. (CBC)

Former Sen. Harriet Spanel of Bellingham dies
Harriet Spanel, who served Whatcom County for more than two decades as a state legislator, died Tuesday, Feb. 2. She was 77. “She was so responsive, so ethical, so vibrant, so interested in everything that concerned the district,” said Mary Kay Becker, a former Whatcom County Council member and state lawmaker and now a judge with the State Court of Appeals. “The phrase is, good citizen.” Service arrangements are pending. Dean Kahn reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Sand Lance found hiding in existing salmon data
Recently a team of scientists from the Northwest Straits Commission and the SeaDoc Society took a deep dive into decades of data collected by scientists looking for juvenile salmon in the nearshore. But they weren’t interested in salmon. Instead, Jamey Sellek, Caroline Gibson, Suzanne Shull and SeaDoc’s Joe Gaydos were interested in Pacific Sand Lance, which are often caught by accident during salmon sampling. They discovered a treasure trove of data about these important fish, which are vital to the ecosystem because they turn plankton into fat for other animals higher up the food web. Within the salmon data, they analyzed findings from over 15,000 beach seines that captured Sand Lance, spanning 1,630 sites along 320 miles of shoreline. The results of the study were published in the scientific journal Northwestern Naturalist. (SeaDoc Society)

The steady decline of salmon runs in Lake Washington | Part II
Elizabeth Mooney is a Kenmore biologist involved with the grassroots environmental group People for an Environmentally Responsible Kenmore. She is concerned with waterfront development the city of Kenmore is proposing, namely developing the Swamp Creek area, which also houses Squire’s Landing park. What worries her most is the plans to develop a gravel or sand beach at Log Boom Park, and how all these developments will affect already fledgling salmon populations in the Sammamish River and north Lake Washington. “My worry is that if we mess up the shallow area, and push (salmon) out into deeper water, the larger fish like bass will eat them,” she said. Aaron Kunkler reports. (Bothell/Kenmore Reporter)

Work under way on Endangered Species Act hatchery plans
The National Marine Fisheries Service says it has completed work on plans for 26 Columbia River hatcheries and is actively working on Endangered Species Act review of 32 more, including 16 on lower Columbia tributaries in Washington. The numbers from the federal fishery agency were provided in response to a 60-day notice of intent to sue announced Jan. 13 by the Wild Fish Conservancy, which claims the government is funding Columbia River hatcheries prior to meeting mandated review of plans under the Endangered Species Act…. Jones said 135 plans have been submitted to his agency for review and they currently are working on 31 in Puget Sound, 32 in the Columbia River, 42 on the Oregon coast and a handful in California. Another 143 plans are in the works by hatchery operators. Jones said he expects those plans will begin arriving at his office soon. Al Thomas reports. (Columbian)

Fictions in Collision
Whatcom County Council held a long and crowded, rancorous session on the update of the county’s Comprehensive Plan last week. The Comp Plan update is intended to shape a shared vision for the future in the context of expected growth and economic development. The reason for the ruckus was obvious—by hook and by crook, in a roundabout way, after spending nearly seven long pent-up years mincing around and avoiding the subject, County Council finally heard public testimony on the proposed coal pier at Cherry Point. The catalyst for the eruption was amended language proposed by the Lummi Indian Business Council for Chapter 2 of the Comp Plan on land use… (Cascadia Weekly)

Victoria's harbour authority upset with research vessel's response to fuel spill
The crew of a research ship that spilled diesel fuel into an area around a Victoria port should have immediately put up a spill boom around the entire vessel, says the CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority On Monday, Feb. 1 an estimated 10 to 20 litres of diesel mixed with gas leaked out of a generator on shore that was being used to power the EV Nautilus, a 64-metre vessel anchored at Ogden Point. "The response by the vessel was less than spectacular, and quite frankly, it is their responsibility to ensure that any type of spill boom is put out immediately," said GVHA CEO Ian Robertson. (CBC)

Bills take aim at drinking water protections
Three bills currently working their way through the Washington state legislature would limit the government’s ability to crack down on farms and other industries that pollute groundwater, the source of drinking water for over 60 percent of the state’s 7 million residents. The most extreme appears designed to deregulate groundwater completely. At least two of the bills are a reaction to new rules proposed by the state Department of Ecology which would create new regulations around the handling of manure. Ecology says manure from farms and dairy operations is the primary contributor to nitrate pollution in groundwater, a major issue in parts of the state. Drew Atkins reports. (Crosscut)

University of B.C. won't quit investing in fossil fuels
The campaign to get the University of British Columbia to stop investing in fossil fuel companies will push forward even after the board committee voted against divesting, organizers say. UBC's finance committee on Wednesday rejected a student and faculty-supported proposal to divest its $1.46-billion endowment fund of fossil fuel investments. About $85 million of that is invested in the energy sector. Tracy Sherlock reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  257 AM PST THU FEB 4 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 

TODAY
 SW WIND 10 TO 20 KT EARLY...BECOMING SE 15 TO 25 KT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT EARLY...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 15 FT  AT 18 SECONDS. SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE  AFTERNOON. 


TONIGHT
 E WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 13 FT  AT 16 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 11 FT AT 15 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. A  CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE EVENING.

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

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2/3 Quake warning, city wildlife, ocean plastics, sniffer dogs, PA fish farm, derelict boat fee

(PHOTO: NPR)
Rogue Drones? Unleash The Eagles
As recreational use of drones around the world continues to soar, authorities have been forced to get creative with how they deal with drones that fly into restricted airspace. In December, Tokyo police launched a drone designed to take out other drones with a net. In October, British tech companies unveiled a drone "death ray" that can disable drones in midflight. Now, police in the Netherlands are turning to nature for another possible solution: eagles. Laura Wagner reports. (NPR)

Earthquake Early Warning System Coming To West Coast
Federal agencies and university scientists are making progress on the deployment of an earthquake early warning system for the West Coast. That was one of the messages from a half-day earthquake preparedness summit hosted by the White House Tuesday. It wouldn’t be much advance warning. An alert between a few seconds up to a couple minutes ahead of strong shaking coming from a distance. But that could be enough time to save lives, said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Vancouver wildlife biodiversity strategy approved by park board
The Vancouver Park Board has voted unanimously in favour of a biodiversity strategy that will see 25 hectares of "natural area"  in the city restored or enhanced by 2020. There are 20 at-risk species in the city according to the park board, which considers its new strategy a "legacy piece" that will ensure future generations can enjoy the biodiversity of Vancouver's forests, shorelines, and marshes. (CBC)

All the plastic that we’re throwing in the oceans could be hurting baby oysters
Tiny bits of plastic in the ocean could have a serious impact on the ability of oysters to reproduce, a new study suggests, affecting everything from the movement of their sperm to the growth of their babies. The study is just the latest in a long string of research on the harmful effects of plastic on marine organisms. The problem is that when plastic is dumped into the ocean, it doesn’t exactly decompose — rather, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Once it reaches a certain size (fewer than 5 millimeters in diameter, to be exact), it’s referred to as “microplastic.”  Chelsea Harvey reports. (Washington Post)

Zebra mussel invasion snuffed out by elite team of sniffer dogs
An elite special investigative team is being used to keep out the invasive zebra mussel from Alberta waters, and while the pests haven't invaded B.C. waters yet, it is best to be careful, says one team member. The team consists of three mussel-sniffing dogs and their handlers, who inspect boats on land before they are transported to another body of water, to ensure they do not spread the invasive species. The Alberta team is particularly concerned about snowbirds bringing boats back home from U.S. lakes and rivers, where the zebra mussel was discovered for the first time 20 years ago, believed to have been carried in the ballast tanks of ships from Europe. (CBC)

Seattle seafood company alters proposal to move salmon farm out of Port Angeles Harbor
A seafood company has slightly altered its proposal to move its Atlantic salmon farm operation out of Port Angeles Harbor and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. In addition, all of the 11 permits required for the proposed new pens, located 1.7 miles north-northeast of Green Point, have been completed. The company is awaiting responses from the local, state and federal agencies, Alan Cook, vice president of aquaculture for Icicle Seafoods Inc. of Seattle, told about 25 people at the Port Angeles Business Association meeting Tuesday…. Icicle Seafoods has operated fish pens in Port Angeles Harbor for nearly 30 years. They raise genetically natural Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, which are only distantly related to the six Pacific salmon species of the genus oncorhynchus. A new proposed 4.1-acre pen is just east of a location selected in November, moved due to concerns expressed by the Puget Sound Pilots regarding ship transfer areas in the Strait. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Derelict boat fee proposed to pay for cleanup of wrecks
A municipal councillor in Saanich is calling for a fee on boat purchases or registrations to help clean up derelict vessels on the B.C. Coast. The community in Greater Victoria is dealing with several vessels that have washed up on the beach recently at the popular Gyro Park in Cadboro Bay. Removing and disposing of all of the abandoned boats, including one large vessel that has a concrete hull, could cost up to $50,000, said Coun. Judy Brownoff…. Brownoff is proposing a senior level of government collect a small levy on boat purchases or registrations that could go into a fund to help municipalities deal with the problem. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST WED FEB 3 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON


SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT FROM THIS
 EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON  

TODAY
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT  15 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 10 FT AT 19 SECONDS...  BUILDING TO 14 FT AT 19 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. RAIN IN THE  EVENING...THEN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told