Friday, July 19, 2019

7/19 Strawberry, canoe journey, shaming, state of emergency, hottest June, tiny toads, chlorpyrifos, ag tour

Coastal strawberry [Portland Nursery]
Coastal Strawberry Fragaria chiloensis
Haida people say that the coastal strawberries used to be much more plentiful before deer were introduced to the Queen Charlotte Islands... The Saanich and Mainland Comox steeped the fresh leaves to make a sweet tea. The Mainland Comox often added fresh thimbleberry and trailing wild blackberry leaves to this tea. The Quilcene chewed the leaves and applies them as a poultice on burns. The Skokomish made tea from the entire plant for diarrhea. The Haida used coastal strawberry leaves as an ingredient in a female tonic. Strawberry leaves are well known for their use in anti-diarrhea medicines, especially for children. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Northwest tribes land at Alki during annual canoe journey
The water was nearly calm as the canoes rounded Alki Point and came into view. “The canoes are coming!” a young girl cried from the crowd of onlookers. “They’re right there!” The 20-odd canoes approached Alki Beach  just before noon Thursday as part of the “Paddle to Lummi” — or Sqweshenet Tse Schelangen (“honoring our way of life”) — a journey through the Salish Sea toward the Lummi Nation, this year’s host. During the annual Tribal Canoe Journey, tribes and nations from throughout the Pacific Northwest join up with one another on the way toward Lummi, starting from different points but picking up new canoes along the way.  Brian Contreras reports. (Seattle Times)

First Nation places ads in Texas newspaper shaming company for tugboat fuel spill
Residents of Houston, Texas had likely never heard of the Heiltsuk Nation until they read their morning paper Thursday. The First Nation, located on B.C.'s Central Coast, placed ads in the Houston Chronicle shaming Houston-based Kirby Offshore Marine Corp. after the company pleaded guilty to a fuel spill from a tugboat that sank in Heiltsuk fishing territories in October 2016. Kirby Corp. was fined $2.9 million in penalties on Tuesday in provincial court, but the nation has also filed a civil suit and launched a public relations campaign that included the ads on Kirby's home turf. Bridgette Watson reports. (CBC) See also: ‘We’re in a state of emergency,’ Lummi Nation secretary says of dispute with Canada  The Lummi Nation announced in a press release Thursday, July 18, that it has requested a meeting with Candian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss an international dispute over Canadian projects Lummi says is harming its territory in the Salish Sea. David Rasbach reports. (Bellingham Herald)

World experienced hottest June on record in 2019, says US agency
The world experienced its hottest June on record last month, with an average temperature worldwide of 61.6F (16.4C), according to new data. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the average global temperature was 1.7F warmer than the 20th Century average. The heat was most notable in parts of Europe, Russia, Canada and South America, it said. (BBC)

40,000 tiny toads on the move in annual Whistler migration
An annual migration involving tens of thousands of creatures is underway in Whistler, B.C., but observers could miss it if they don’t look down. Up to 40,000 tiny western toadlets are climbing out of Whistler’s Lost Lake where they hatched as tadpoles and are moving into the surrounding forest. The dime-sized toads, which are native to British Columbia and listed as a species of special concern, grow to full size in wooded areas before returning to the lake to breed. (Canadian Press) See also: Bear sightings on the rise in the Lower Mainland, officials say  (CBC)

E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems
The Trump administration took a major step to weaken the regulation of toxic chemicals on Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not ban a widely used pesticide that its own experts have linked to serious health problems in children. The decision by Andrew R. Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, represents a victory for the chemical industry and for farmers who have lobbied to continue using the substance, chlorpyrifos, arguing it is necessary to protect crops. Lisa Friedman reports. (NY Times)

Seattle senator who angered ag tours farms 
State Sen. Rebecca Saldana, who has introduced bills reviled by farm groups, toured Lewis County farms Wednesday and asked a dairyman what policymakers could do for him. Ross McMahan didn't hesitate. "I don't feel as policymakers you can do anything. The marketplace is bigger than all of us," he said. As Saldana and others on the tour left his milking barn, McMahan said he hoped they took away "some understanding of the position we're in." "We have to be able to succeed on our own and not by them helping us," he said. Later, Saldana talked about her reaction to McMahan's answer. "I'm like, 'That's an honest thing,'" she said. But as for government not intervening as a rule, Saldana said, "I'm definitely not someone willing for that to be the truth." Saldana, a Seattle Democrat, was one of five state lawmakers who accepted an invitation from the Lewis County Farm Bureau to spend several hours on a bus and visit four farms. Don Jenkins reports. (Capital Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  257 AM PDT Fri Jul 19 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the  morning. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  5 ft at 9 seconds. 
 NW wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at  9 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 9 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.

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

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

7/18 Tomcod, orcas, B'ham Bay cleanup, parasites, blocked Fraser, vineyard snail, pay-per-mile, BC old growth, train fire, Strait swim

Pacific tomcod [John Merck]
Pacific tomcod Microgadus proximus
Pacific tomcod can be found from the Bering Sea to Pt. Sal, California. They are a schooling fish that live on or near soft bottoms of mud, silt or find sand. As adults Pacific tomcod are found at water depths of 27 to 219 m (90-720 ft). Caught incidentally in the commercial fishery off the Washington coast with otter-trawls. Rarely caught by recreational harvesters in Puget Sound. Pacific tomcod can grow up to 30 cm (12 in) in length. (WDFW)

Killer collapse
For the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, killer whales are traditionally seen as messengers from the other side, appearing in B.C.'s Burrard Inlet just before the death of an important leader. The Lummi people of Washington state call them “Qwe ‘lhol mechen,” roughly translated to “our relations below the waves.” But this deep cultural significance is just one reason members of both Nations are alarmed by the current troubles facing the southern resident orca population, which seems to be struggling to find enough food. They also worry that the loss of these beloved whales could signal a downward spiral for marine ecosystems along the West Coast. Beth Lindsay reports. (CBC) See also: Salish Sea Orcas are going elsewhere for fish  It looks like endangered Orcas that reside around Puget Sound… may be residing somewhere else. Anna Boiko-Weyrauch reports. (KUOW) And: Inslee visits Whale Trail site  Gov. Jay Inslee visited a new site Wednesday along what is known as The Whale Trail when he made a stop at West Beach in Deception Pass State Park. The trail has about 100 sites from British Columbia to Southern California.(Skagit Valley Herald)

State accepting public comment on central waterfront cleanup plan in Bellingham
It’s been more than a dozen years since the Georgia Pacific pulp mill on Bellingham’s waterfront shut down and the local port district took ownership of 137 heavily polluted acres. Residents recently got a chance to tour the central waterfront parcel and learn about a new cleanup plan that they hope will ultimately lead to revitalization. Near the railroad tracks, not far from Bellingham Bay, a couple dozen people gathered on a paved lot to see what the City of Bellingham and its port are doing to clean up more than 100 years' worth of pollution. Right now, it appears not much is happening around this site, geographically at the heart of the waterfront. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

'Packed full of worms': Parasites wriggling in fish no cause for panic, experts say
Cassandra Coates is still squirming with disgust after pulling dozens of tiny white wriggling worms from a raw fillet of wild sockeye salmon.... Coates, who purchased the fillet from Save-On-Foods in south Edmonton on Saturday, complained to store management and posted a video to social media showing her pulling dozens of the worms out with a fork.... But experts say the worms are unwittingly eaten by plenty of seafood lovers and only pose a health risk if alive.  The parasites, anisakid nematodes, sometimes called herring worms or cod worms, are among the most common parasites found in fish and the majority of wild salmon are infected, said Michael G√§nzle, Canada Research Chair in food microbiology and probiotics at the University of Alberta. Data cited by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control suggests 75 per cent of wild Pacific salmon are infected with the parasite. (CBC)

'We're losing time': Tl'azt'en First Nation very concerned about rock slide blocking salmon run
A rock slide blocking a narrow part of Fraser River just west of Clinton, about 100 kilometres northwest of Kamloops, has members of the Tl'azt'en First Nation very concerned that salmon that are already endangered won't be able to migrate to Northern B.C. this summer. The province discovered the rock slide late June and has since been trying to decide on a solution to help get the salmon past the blocked area in the river. So far, rock scalers have been working on stabilizing the area above the slide, but no concrete plan on how to move the salmon past the obstruction has been announced. Dominika Lirette reports. (CBC)

Fighting invasive snail a slow go for Port of Tacoma
The Port of Tacoma has been waging a slow war against (wait for it) a snail for more than a decade. Somehow, the Mediterranean vineyard snail found its way from Europe to the port. Since 2006, port and agriculture officials have been trying to make sure this slow-moving but fast-reproducing invader doesn't spread and threaten Washington crops and exports. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Washington drivers might be charged by the mile to make up for lagging gas-tax revenue
Washington state would move toward replacing the gas tax with a pay-per-mile system under a proposal the state Transportation Commission is expected to vote on late this year. The commission expects to receive a report in October from a panel that has studied the new type of tax. The time line calls for commission members to debate the details and vote Dec. 17 on its recommendations to the Legislature, which convenes on Jan. 13, 2020. It’s too early to say how the commission will vote, said chairman Jerry Litt. He said he expects many state residents would pay more under a pay-per-mile tax, which the state calls a “road usage charge.” James Drew reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Dozens of B.C.'s largest old-growth trees now on the protection list
The British Columbia government is protecting 54 of the province's largest and oldest trees along with a one-hectare buffer zone surrounding each of the giants. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson says the announcement is also the start of a broader conversation about the future of old-growth management in the province. The trees are on the University of B.C.'s Big Tree Registry that has identified 347 of the largest of each species in the province. (Canadian Press)

For the second time this year, a passing train started fires along Highways 9 and 12
A train started six small fires along a 2-mile stretch of railroad tracks near Old Highway 9 and Highway 12 Tuesday, according to the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. It’s the second occurrence of its kind along that stretch so far this year. A similar incident occurred on April 30, when fire was reported in six places along tracks in the same general area. In April, wind spread the fire and it reached about 3 acres. This time, Fire Chief Russ Kaleiwahea told The Olympian each “spot fire” was roughly 100-feet-by-100-feet or smaller. He said one tree ignited, but firefighters from his department and the state Department of Natural Resources extinguished the fires before they caused any damage to structures. Sara Gentzler reports. (Olympian)

Swimmer to attempt long route across Strait 
A Port Angeles native aims to be the 14th known person to have swum across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Rob DeCou, an ultra-endurance athlete now living in Los Angeles, plans to swim more than 18 miles across the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Saturday, starting at the Dungeness Spit and ending at Ogden Point in Victoria. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  259 AM PDT Thu Jul 18 2019  
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 7 ft at 13 seconds. A slight  chance of showers. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6  ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of showers.

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

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

7/17 Bee, Vic sewer, tug spill, heat wave, plastic ban, Roundup, Trump's EPA, BC volcano, Fraser rockslide

Honey bee [WSU]
Honey bee Apis mellifera
Honey bees collect pollen from many different plant groups. Over a season, honey bees may visit upwards of 90 different plant groups. Some of the most frequently visited are smartweed, sunflower, white clover, squash, borage, tomatillo, oregano, cilantro, and sow thistle. (A Field Guide to Common Puget Sound Native Bees/WSU)

Operating costs rise by millions for new sewage treatment plant: staff report
Costs to operate and maintain the Capital Regional District’s new sewage treatment project will be millions of dollars a year more than originally forecast, CRD directors are being told. The approved budget for operation and maintenance costs for 2021, including sewage treatment plant operations, residuals treatment, capital costs, debt servicing and asset replacement/maintenance reserves is $40 million.  But a report going to the CRD’s sewage committee has increased that estimate to $42.7 million — a seven per cent increase. That seven per cent would be closer to 12 per cent, except the operating budget proposes deferring a $2-million annual allocation to an asset replacement reserve. Bill Cleverly reports. (Times Colonist)

U.S. company fined nearly $3M for 2016 fuel spill in B.C. First Nation's fishing territory
A Texas-based company has been fined over $2.9 million in penalties after pleading guilty to a diesel spill from a tugboat that ran aground and sank in a First Nation's fishing territory on B.C.'s Central Coast. The decision against Kirby Offshore Marine Corp. was handed down Tuesday in Bella Bella, B.C. The Nathan E. Stewart tugboat spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016. Last year the Transportation Safety Board found that a crew member missed a planned course change because he fell asleep while alone on watch. (CBC)

Widespread, dangerous heat wave to expand across much of the U.S.
A stifling heat wave has begun to take shape across large portions of the United States, with millions likely to see temperatures creep toward the century mark, along with even higher heat indexes by this weekend. The heat wave is already generating excessive heat watches in the central United States, and by Wednesday the national weather map is likely to feature a blanket of heat advisories from the National Weather Service. The combination of sultry dew points and scorching air temperatures approaching will help make this event a dangerous one from a public health perspective. Cities including Chicago, St. Louis, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Nashville and Kansas City, Mo., are likely to see at least three days with temperatures between 95 degrees and 100 degrees, along with dew points — a measure of the amount of moisture in the air — above 70 degrees. Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow report. (Washington Post)

Majority of Canadians support a ban on single-use plastics: poll
Canadians are heavily in favour of a ban on single-use plastics such as cutlery and straws, and most would be willing to pay a small premium for environmentally sustainable products, a new Nanos Research survey has found. Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government announced a plan to regulate plastic waste as part of a national strategy to limit the amount of plastics that are polluting Canada’s environment. Janice Dickson reports. (Canadian Press)

Judge Reduces $80M Award In Roundup Case; Cancer Patient, Monsanto Both Consider Appeal
A federal judge in San Francisco on Monday reduced an $80 million award levied against Monsanto Co. to $25 million for a Sonoma County man who claimed the company’s Roundup weedkiller caused his non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria upheld a jury award of approximately $5 million in compensatory damages to Edwin Hardeman, 70, of Santa Rosa, but said guidelines set by the U.S. Supreme Court required him to reduce the jury’s $75 million in punitive damages to $20 million.... Chhabria said a punitive award is appropriate because evidence at the trial “easily supported a conclusion that Monsanto was more concerned with tamping down safety inquiries and manipulating public opinion than it was with ensuring its product is safe.” The judge said there is evidence on both sides as to whether or not glyphosate, the main ingredient of Roundup, causes cancer, but Monsanto’s behavior showed “a lack of concern about the risk that its product might be carcinogenic.”

E.P.A. Plans to Curtail the Ability of Communities to Oppose Pollution Permits
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to weaken rules that for the past quarter-century have given communities a voice in deciding how much pollution may legally be released by nearby power plants and factories. The changes would eliminate the ability of individuals or community advocates to appeal against E.P.A.-issued pollution permits before a panel of agency judges. However, the industrial permit-holders could still appeal to the panel, known as the Environmental Appeals Board, to allow them to increase their pollution. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Canada's biggest underwater volcano is just off B.C.'s coast — and scientists are finding new species there
Canada's largest underwater volcano is off the coast of British Columbia and, over the next two weeks, a team of national scientists will be doing a deep-sea exploration mission of the area.  The team from Fisheries and Oceans Canada set off Monday on the deep-ocean journey to research the Explorer Seamount ⁠— an underwater mountain west of Vancouver Island. "The biodiversity and the abundance of life we see there is much like a tropical rainforest, except you just replace the birds with fish and the grizzly bears with a shark," said Cherisse Du Preez, a deep-sea marine ecologist. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

Rock scalers making 'considerable progress' clearing area above Fraser River rock slide
Rock scalers are making "considerable progress" stabilizing the area above a rock slide that is blocking a narrow part of the Fraser River, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. The slide, which happened in a remote area west of Clinton — about 100 kilometres northwest of Kamloops — has created a five-metre waterfall. It has been blocking salmon from migrating upstream and spawning since late June, grabbing the attention of provincial and federal politicians. According to a written statement from the ministry, rock scalers removed about 20 dump trucks worth of material from the rock face between July 4 and July 11. (CBC)

Florida's Corals Are Dying Off, But It's Not All Due To Climate Change, Study Says
Brian Lapointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, has spent his career studying corals at the Looe Key Reef, in a National Marine Sanctuary in the Florida Keys. Over that time, he’s witnessed an alarming trend. In the past 20 year, half of Florida corals have died off... Lapointe is lead author on a new paper in the journal Marine Biology. It analyzes 30 years of data he’s collected. When he started his research, in 1984, coral covered 33% of the Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation area, 5.3 square nautical miles of protected ocean at the southern tip of the Florida Keys. By 2014, the coral cover had dropped to just 5%. But the news may not be entirely bad. Lapointe thought his study would show that warming temperatures were killing off corals. Instead, the data show that the coral’s biggest problem has been another human source: nitrogen. Pien Huang reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  256 AM PDT Wed Jul 17 2019   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 4 ft at 18 seconds. Rain. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 5 ft at 18 seconds  building to 7 ft at 14 seconds after midnight. A slight chance of  rain in the evening then a chance of showers after midnight.

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

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

7/16 Morning glory, orca sanctuary, heat wave, steelhead farming, speedy rail, zero-carbon shipping

Beach morning glory [Mary Jo Adams]
Beach morning glory Calystegia soldanella
Native to the Pacific Northwest, the beach morning glory has a low profile that hugs the sandy beaches and dunes where it grows.  This species has pink to purplish pink trumpet shaped flowers with lighter stripes and fleshy oval shaped leaves.  It flowers from April to September.  Beach morning glory is found on beaches from southern California to British Columbia.  It is also known under the scientific name Convolvulus soldanella.  Another common name for it is beach bindweed. (Mary Jo Adams/Sound Water Stewards)

Nonprofit gauges interest in San Juan Islands sanctuary for retired captive orcas
An environmental nonprofit is gauging interest in the creation of an orca enclosure in Washington's San Juan Islands. The organization is hosting public outreach meetings over the coming week in six Western Washington locations. The leaders of the Whale Sanctuary Project say a cordoned-off bay or cove somewhere in the San Juan Islands could be the ideal home for orcas retired from theme parks. It also could serve as a rehabilitation site in the event government biologists temporarily corral an ailing wild orca for treatment. But the sanctuary idea is drawing flak from some quarters, and a brush-off from the current owners of captive killer whales. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network) See also: 'Empty all the tanks': Group proposes sanctuary in San Juan Islands to retire captive orcas  Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

'This is unprecedented': Alert, Nunavut, is warmer than Victoria
Weather watchers are focused on the world's most northerly community, which is in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave. "It's really quite spectacular," said David Phillips, Environment Canada's chief climatologist. "This is unprecedented." The weather agency confirmed that Canadian Forces Station Alert hit a record of 21 C on Sunday. On Monday, the military listening post on the top of Ellesmere Island had reached 20 C by noon and inched slightly higher later in the day. Alert was warmer both days than Victoria, B.C., a Canadian go-to for balmy climes. The average July high for Alert is 7 C. Phillips said that means the heat wave at the top of the world is the equivalent of Toronto registering a daytime high of 42 C. Rob Weber reports. (Canadian Press) See also: How hot will it get? Study predicts climate change’s impact on Whatcom temperatures  David Rasbach reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Cooke eyes raising steelhead instead of Atlantic salmon in state net pens
Cooke Aquaculture, which shut down its Ediz Hook fish farm in May, wants to begin raising steelhead instead of Atlantic salmon in its net pens in Washington state, a company official said Monday. The company also has sites at Bainbridge Island, Hope Island, Clam Bay and Orchard Rocks. “All of our sites would be in the mix,” Cooke spokesman Joel Richardson said, adding that the facility shutdown in Port Angeles remains in litigation in Thurston County Superior Court. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Clallam, Jefferson awarded grants aimed at salmon restoration 
The North Olympic Peninsula is receiving nearly $7.1 million in grant funding aimed at restoring salmon habitat and populations, state officials have announced.
The funding in Clallam and Jefferson counties is part of $45 million in grants intended to restore chinook salmon, a critical food source for endangered Southern Resident orcas, and other Puget Sound salmon populations. Projects in Clallam County were awarded a total of $6.49 million and Jefferson County projects saw a total of $601,529 in this round of funding. (Peninsula Daily News)

High speed rail from Vancouver to Seattle, Portland 'worth the investment,' study says
A new study looking into high speed rail between cities in British Columbia and Washington state says it's financially viable. The report by Washington state officials released on Monday looked at the business case for building a high speed rail system that would connect Vancouver, B.C., with Seattle and Portland across the border... The study found that travel times between Vancouver and Seattle would be reduced to one hour and travel from Vancouver to Portland would take less than two hours. (CBC)

Giant Shipper Bets Big On Ending Its Carbon Emissions. Will It Pay Off?
Maersk — the world's largest container shipping company — has an astonishing goal. By 2050, the company vows to send goods — everything from electronics to soybeans to sneakers — around the world with zero carbon emissions. The environmental logic behind such a promise is straightforward: Shipping contributes substantially to global climate change. But the business case is not as obvious. Camila Domonoske reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Tue Jul 16 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon.  SW swell 2 ft at 20 seconds. A slight chance of showers. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at 19 seconds. A chance of  showers after midnight.

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

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Monday, July 15, 2019

7/15 Pea crab, tracking salmon, fish size limit, bad air, stormwater, tribal journey, old growth, quake, pond turtles, bee killer OK'd, Hood Canal plankton, LNG, MPAs

Pea crab [WoRMS]
Pea crab Pinnotheres pisum
Pea Crabs live inside clams, mussels, and oysters, and people sitting down to a seafood meal occasionally find them. Those in the know consider them delicacies. Pea Crabs fit their name. The largest females measure under an inch across. Full-grown males are much smaller. These tiny crabs live in the part of clams and similar creatures called the mantle, which, among other things, sifts food and oxygen from sea water. Positioned atop the mantle's gills, Pea Crabs snag bits of food, get oxygen, and enjoy the protection of their host's hard shell. (Friends of Skagit Beaches)

Scientists implant noisemakers in chinook, deploy tracking array on seafloor to solve salmon mystery
.... With a $1.2 million research grant from the U.S. Navy, scientists are deploying new tools to help scientists track chinook in part to better understand the travels of the whales, which are shifting. Usually reliable summer residents of the inshore waters of the San Juan Islands, this year the whales have been seen only for a couple of brief trips since May, an unprecedented orca dearth possibly linked to a lack of adequate prey. The orcas are believed to be traveling the outer coast — in search of chinook. Scientists are looking, too: This spring they dropped 115 receivers into the sea, weighed down with 26,000 pounds of sand in burlap bags, 3 to 10 nautical miles off the Washington Coast to track tagged fish. Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)

Size limit on chinook salmon introduced to help fish blocked at landslide
The federal government will implement a maximum size of chinook salmon to be caught by recreational fishers in an effort to help the thousands of fish blocked at a landslide in B.C. ...(An) 80 centimetre size limit from July 15 to July 31 (is) meant to allow more chinook salmon to get up Fraser River...Since late June, thousands of salmon have become blocked at a waterfall west of Clinton on the Fraser River, following a landslide. The waterfall is blocking the fish from travelling upstream to spawn. (CBC)

Climate Crisis Has Made Breathing Smoke Normal in Pacific Northwest
You can’t accuse Grace Stahre of not working to turn climate change around. She’s fought the fossil fuel industry in court, on the streets, in kayaks and on social media. She has rallied to stop new coal terminals and helped pass a moratorium on new gas pipeline infrastructure. And she has lobbied for investment in renewable energy in Seattle, Washington, the city she calls home. Stahre knew an increase in wildfires for the Pacific Northwest was predicted as a major consequence of climate change 20 years ago. What she didn’t know is how quickly wildfires would bring catastrophic climate change to her doorstep. Martha Baskin reports. (Truthout)

Scorecard Spurs WA Cities to Control Stormwater Pollution
After years of work, cities in Washington are doing more to protect Puget Sound from its biggest source of pollution: stormwater runoff. A report from the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and Washington Environmental Council helped motivate them. In 2017, the groups released their progress rating, called "Nature's Scorecard," for 83 Puget Sound municipalities to measure how they were meeting 2012 codes to reduce toxic stormwater. It found fewer than half were making meaningful progress.... In the 2019 scorecard released this month, nearly three-quarters of municipalities are making meaningful progress. (Public News Network)

Tribes come ashore at Lower Elwha Klallam site in Paddle to Lummi
Speaking the Klallam language, the youth of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe welcomed coastal tribes from Washington and British Columbia to the newly formed beach on the east side of the Elwha River on Sunday. It was a milestone in the Paddle to Lummi that involved tribes from Canada crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca and meeting with Washington tribes as they landed at the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s reservation for the first time since 2005. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Old-growth forest should be returned to 30% of original level, researchers say
A team from the University of Victoria is pushing for greater protection of old-growth forests in British Columbia in a report that calls for at least 30 per cent of the province's original forest to be preserved. Keith Schille, a law student at UVic and lead author of the new report, said preservation quotas often look at the amount of forest currently standing rather than taking into account what was there in the past.... Schille estimates that only about 20 per cent of Vancouver Island's original forest is still standing compared to before deforestation initiatives. Across B.C., there are about 32,000 square kilometres of old-growth forests about five per cent of the province's total forested area. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

Friday earthquakes on a crustal fault show it's not only the 'Big One' we should fear 
The Cascadia Subduction Zone may get most of the attention, but as Friday’s earthquakes north of Seattle show, the monster fault off the coast isn’t our only seismic threat. Western Washington is also crisscrossed by more than a dozen large, shallow faults — cracks in the Earth’s crust capable of unleashing damaging earthquakes. Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Olympia and Bremerton all sit uncomfortably close to crustal faults. And new evidence suggests that in the aggregate, those faults might rupture more frequently than previously thought. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Seattle may be closer to Canada after morning earthquake  Angela King and Jason Pagano report. (KUOW)

Ravenous bull frogs and shell disease: the trials and tribulations of the endangered western pond turtle
...The western pond turtles, which dine on insects, crayfish and other small creatures, are a broader indicator of the health of wetlands, which are important to a wide range of species. They are one more intriguing example of the diversity of wildlife native to our region.... These turtles, which can live for more than a half century, were once found throughout much of Western Washington, including in ponds all over the Puget Sound region and Southwest Washington. Development and dams destroyed much of their habitat, some were grabbed by humans to be sold as pets or for their meat, and ravenous bullfrogs found their way to the turtles’ remaining refuges. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

EPA to allow use of pesticide considered ‘very highly toxic’ to bees
The Environmental Protection Agency approved broad new applications Friday for a controversial insecticide, despite objections from environmental groups and beekeepers who say it is among the compounds responsible for eviscerating the nation’s bee populations. Alexandra Dunn, head of the EPA office that oversees pesticides, said the agency was “thrilled” to be able to approve new uses and lift past restrictions on sulfoxaflor, which she called a “highly effective” tool for growers around the country — but which the agency itself considers “very highly toxic” to bees. The decision will allow the chemical to be applied to a wide array of crops, including citrus and corn, soybeans and strawberries, pineapples and pumpkins. Brady Dennis reports. (Washington Post)

Hood Canal blooms again, as biologists assess role of armored plankton
In what is becoming an annual event, portions of Hood Canal have changed colors in recent days, the result of a large bloom of armored plankton called coccolithophores. Teri King, a plankton expert with Washington Sea Grant, has been among the first to take notice of the turquoise blooms each year they occur. “Guess who is back?” Teri wrote in the blog Bivalves for Clean Water. “She showed up June 24 in Dabob Bay and has been shining her Caribbean blueness throughout the bay and spreading south toward Quilcene Bay.” Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Flawed analysis leads clean-air agency to support climate-harming gas plant
Environmentalists have soured on natural gas.... Many activists refuse to even call the substance found in the earth “natural” gas anymore, preferring to re-brand it “fracked” gas. The shift has fueled clashes over energy projects around the world and on the Tacoma waterfront. Puget Sound Energy’s ongoing construction of a 14-story-tall tank for holding super-chilled gas there has drawn heated protests. John Ryan reports. (KUOW) See also: Jordan Cove LNG Plans Not Good Enough For People Or Environment, Oregon Says  The state of Oregon says federal environmental impact findings for the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project are inadequate and sometimes incorrect. State agencies submitted 250 pages of comments to federal energy regulators late last week on the project’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the power to determine whether the controversial project can be built. The Canadian company Pembina is proposing to build an LNG export terminal and pipeline in southwest Oregon. Yes Burns reports. (OPB)

The Benefits of Marine Protected Areas Spill into Neighboring Waters
A new genetic analysis demonstrates the spillover effect in action, showing that fish leave marine protected areas for fishable waters. Alastair Bland reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  251 AM PDT Mon Jul 15 2019   TODAY  W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon.  SW swell 2 ft at 9 seconds. A chance of showers. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NW after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance  of showers in the evening.

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

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Friday, July 12, 2019

7/12 Blue whale, canoe journey, plastic ban, Pebble Mine, mussel power, old-growth trees, flying ants, 'fried egg' jelly, 'ghost nets,' salmon pens

Blue whale [Andrew Sutton]
Blue whale Balaenoptera musculus
The blue whale is a marine mammal belonging to the baleen whale parvorder, Mysticeti. At up to 29.9 metres in length and with a maximum recorded weight of 173 tonnes, it is the largest animal known to have ever existed. (Wikipedia) See: 'In the presence of greatness': Rare sighting of blue whale off B.C. coast  Cathy Kearney reports. (CBC)

2019 Canoe Journey underway for Peninsula tribes
Washington’s Coastal tribes this week have started a two-week cultural experience as they participate in the 2019 Intertribal Canoe Journey. The Paddle to Lummi will include stops — including welcoming ceremonies of songs, dances and potlatches — on North Olympic Peninsula beaches. The journey for Washington’s coastal tribes started in Queets and stops were planned for Wednesday at the Hoh Tribe, today at the Quileute Tribe, Friday at the Makah Tribe, Saturday at Pillar Point, Sunday and Monday at the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Tuesday at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and Wednesday, July 17 in Port Townsend, according to the Paddle to Lummi website. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Victoria's plastic bag ban quashed by B.C. court
The City of Victoria has lost a battle in B.C.'s court of appeal over its ban of single-use plastic bags. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that because Victoria's primary aim in enacting the ban was the environment, it required approval by the Minister of Environment — something it failed to receive. The city argued the bylaw was "a valid regulation in relation to business," but in her ruling, Madam Justice Newbury wrote that wasn't the case. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Trump administration pushes for new look at proposed Alaska mine near sockeye spawning grounds
In Alaska’s Bristol Bay, North America’s biggest wild salmon harvest is in full swing, a bonanza of gill-netted sockeye that comes amid renewed concerns about a proposed open-pit mine that fishermen fear would imperil this resource.... The Pebble Mine project would tap into a world-class deposit of gold, molybdenum, silver and copper within the remote Bristol Bay headwaters region, where salmon spawn and their offspring may linger for several years before heading out to sea. Pebble was first proposed more than a decade ago, and because of the sensitive location, has emerged as the most contested mine development in Alaska’s history. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: What Alaska's Pebble Mine fight means for Seattle Bristol Bay is a cornerstone of Washington's seafood industry. But many say a mine 20 years in the making could threaten all of it. Hannah Weinberger reports. (Crosscut)

Could Mussels Teach Us How To Clean Up Oil Spills?
Mussels may be popular among seafood lovers, but many boaters consider them pests. They colonize ship bottoms, clog water pipes and stick to motors. To chemical engineers, though, those very same properties make mussels marvelous. They can stick to just about any surface, and underwater, no less. The study of practical applications for mussel biology is so widespread that there's a special term for it: mussel-inspired chemistry. And now, researchers believe that studying how mussels stick to things may help them address water pollution, according to a review of recent mussel-inspired chemistry published this week in the journal Matter. While most of the technologies studied still aren't widely applicable, research in the area of mussel-inspired water cleanup shows great promise, the review says. Susie Neilson reports. (NPR)

B.C.’s old-growth trees produce mutations over time to thrive: UBC
Researchers collected DNA from the tops of some of Canada’s tallest trees to search for mutations that could provide evidence of how the ancient forest giants evolve to survive. It involved ascending 20 Sitka spruce trees on Vancouver Island, averaging 80 metres tall and ranging in age from 220 years to 500 years old, to reveal that the old-growth trees developed mutations to their genetic code as they grow and age. Dirk Meissner reports. (Canadian Press)

Flying ants swarming over the Lower Mainland
Flying ants are swarming across the Lower Mainland more than usual this week. UBC zoology professor Judith Meyers says on warm and humid days, they come out with their wings. "They do a lot of good by feeding on all sorts of dead vegetation … they sort of keep our world clean. We have this period of time where we become aware of them," Meyers said. (CBC)

Massive 'fried egg' jellyfish spotted in B.C.
A massive jellyfish spotted near Sechelt, B.C., which looks almost exactly like a fried egg has got social media buzzing. Donna Harrison, who works as a kayak guide, took the viral photo which has been shared thousands of times on Facebook. She spotted the jelly this week while on a tour in Porpoise Bay in Sechelt Inlet.... Mackenzie Neale, a jellyfish specialist with the Vancouver Aquarium, says the jelly was likely a Phacellophora camtschatica, commonly known as a fried egg jellyfish. (CBC)

'Ghost nets': How lost and abandoned fishing gear is destroying marine wildlife
The sight of an abandoned fishing net trapping fish or strangling seals never comes as a surprise for B.C. commercial diver Bourton Scott. Scott's day job is beneath the ocean's surface, inspecting underwater structures for different clients. But during nearly every dive, he comes across lost or discarded fishing material — or "ghost gear" — that is still snaring wildlife....After years of witnessing the damage first-hand, Scott decided to launch a cleanup program with his close friend Gideon Jones. It's called the Emerald Sea Protection Society (ESPS), and the group's effort to remove nets along the Gulf Islands — located between Vancouver Island and B.C.'s south coast — is featured in a new documentary called Ghost Nets. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Here’s how Ecology hopes to prevent a repeat of the 2017 Atlantic salmon pen collapse
The Washington Department of Ecology has a plan to prevent an incident similar to the 2017 pen collapse that allowed 250,000 Atlantic salmon to escape into the Puget Sound from ever happening again. According to a release sent out on Thursday, July 11, Ecology will strengthen the environmental protections for remaining net pen operations in the Puget Sound, updating permits to require salmon farms to step up their monitoring, inspections and reporting and to have emergency response plans. This plan is in place until a law to phase out non-native species of marine fish farming begins in 2022. David Rasbach reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  302 AM PDT Fri Jul 12 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft  at 13 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  2 ft at 12 seconds. 
 NW wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 2 ft at 11 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 1 ft at 10 seconds. 
 Light wind becoming NW to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 1 ft at 12 seconds.

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

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

7/11 Cabbage butterfly, Tacoma LNG, BC tug rescue, 'protesting grandpa,' salmon projects, carbon credits, trucking salmon, crab bonanza, mitten crab, goat removal

Cabbage White Butterfly Pieris rapae
A frequent visitor to vegetable patches, the Cabbage White adds whimsy to a garden scene. The unfortunate consequence of this may mean a caterpillar problem a few weeks later. The green larva of the Cabbage White eats cabbage, nasturtiums and other plants related to mustard. It is covered with hairs and has 5 yellow lines running down its length. Because the caterpillar has a voracious appetite and usually has siblings nearby, the leaves of cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower can be chewed through in a matter days. (Insect Identification)

Tacoma LNG project faces legal challenge from local group
Tacoma’s LNG site at the Port of Tacoma has faced a steady stream of critics since the start of its construction, and the fight now is moving into court. A legal challenge was filed Tuesday in Thurston County Superior Court against the Washington State Department of Ecology by Advocates for a Cleaner Tacoma, in a petition for judicial review of agency action regarding the issuance of water quality certification for the project. In the filing, ACT, led by Tacoma resident Todd Hay, contends that “On June 10, 2019, the Department of Ecology denied ACT and Sierra Club’s request to reopen Ecology Administrative Order No. 13764, which granted a 401 Water Quality Certification ... for PSE’s proposed liquefied natural gas plant” in Tacoma. “Although the Army Corps of Engineers has already issued the 404 permit for the Project, Ecology’s duty to comply with (the State Environmental Policy Act) ... is not moot.” Debbie Cockrell reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Limited Availability of Tugs for Emergencies on Canada's Pacific Coast
A research report on the Availability of Tugs of Opportunity in Canada’s Pacific Region published by Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping indicates that Canada’s West Coast faces gaps in the availability of commercial tugs to serve as emergency towing vessels for ships in distress. The existing emergency towing system is based on a small number of dedicated high-powered emergency towing vessels or ETVs supported by so-called tugs of opportunity or commercial tugs that are not dedicated to rescue services. Such tugs are occasionally contracted to provide aid in the event of a ship emergency due to loss of engine power, steering or other cause. (Marine Executive)

'Protesting Grandpa' arrested in snorkel gear after entering Trans Mountain terminal from water
The self-described "Protesting Grandpa" is once again in police custody following an apparent attempt to hang a protest banner from a barge at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C., early Wednesday morning. In an emailed statement, Burnaby RCMP said, a 71-year-old man allegedly entered the facility at the foot of Burnaby Mountain — the western terminus of the Trans Mountain pipeline — from the water, wearing a snorkel and mask, at around 3:50 a.m. PT. RCMP said the man was arrested after breaching a court-ordered injunction that says protesters must not come within five metres of a Trans Mountain site. (CBC)

State awards $4 million to salmon projects in Skagit County
On the heels of a state grant package for recreation projects that included $2 million for work in Skagit County, another $4.2 million in state grants specific to salmon recovery projects in the county was announced Monday. The 13 projects awarded funding include plans to restore tidal marsh along the Swinomish Channel, as well as restoration of segments of the Sauk River and local creeks and beaches. The grants are part of a $45 million package awarded statewide. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: State grants to fund local salmon habitat improvement projects Three Thurston County organizations have been awarded state money for purchases and projects aimed at supporting endangered salmon. Abby Spegman reports. (Olympian)

For sale: Carbon credits. Contact King County
King County has gotten into the business of selling carbon credits. Here’s how it works: Since 2015 the county has been buying up forested land at risk of development and getting carbon credits for protecting it. Now, it’s started selling those carbon credits to companies that want to reduce their carbon footprints. That money goes back into the program to buy more threatened forestland. Eilis O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Politicians consider trucking, helicoptering salmon trapped by rock slide
Federal and provincial officials say they're considering options such as trucking or helicoptering salmon upstream, as hundreds of fish remain trapped in a narrow area of the Fraser River Canyon, unable to migrate upstream and spawn following a rock slide. The slide, which happened in a remote area just west of Clinton — about 100 kilometres northwest of Kamloops — has created a five-metre waterfall blocking salmon from passing through since late June. Seven hundred fish are known to have gone through as of last week, but it's unknown how many are pooled beneath the boulders. Michelle Ghoussoub reports. (CBC)

Crab fishermen cashing in during windfall harvest in Northern B.C. 
Crab fishermen in Northern British Columbia are pinching themselves to make sure they aren't dreaming this season. Dungeness crab in the Hecate Strait, a shallow body of water between Haida Gwaii and the mainland, are bountiful this year and ship crews are crabbing around the clock to cash in. For many working on the water, it is the most rewarding harvest in recent memory. Bridgette Watson reports. (CBC)

Correction: Chinese mitten crab
Reader Deb Rudnick graciously provided a correction to yesterday's critter feature, pointing out: "So cool to open up this email and see my dissertation topic! :-)  I studied the ecology and impact of the Chinese mitten crab in San Francisco Bay. I'm pretty sure the picture you sent in your newsletter is NOT a Chinese mitten crab. The carapace and chelae are all wrong. Mitten crabs don't have a pointed, widened carapace, and they have very broad front chelae with “mittens” or fur on the front claws... Also- its introduction to SF Bay wasn’t recent- we pinpointed its arrival to the mid-1990s, so its been in that system for a solid 20+ years. I suppose “recent” is a relative term- but by the human timescale, not so recent :-)." Thanks for setting the record straight. MS.

Another round of goat removal underway in Olympic National Park
Mountain goats in Olympic National Park are learning what happens when helicopters roar overhead, making the second round of goat catching more difficult than it was last year. That helicopter means they will journey far away to the North Cascades — their native habitat — only after first having been darted or netted, blindfolded, drugged, flown across the mountain range and then placed in a refrigerated truck for transport. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  831 PM PDT Wed Jul 10 2019   
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves less than 1 ft becoming 2 ft or less in the afternoon. SW  swell 4 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance of showers. 
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming W to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 12 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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