Monday, July 28, 2014

7/28 Gulches, oil trains, chinook, Elwha recovery, new beaches, Vic sewage, protect Skagit

(PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Classic in Clinker
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Earlier this year, my eye was drawn by the classic lines of this clinker-built sailing dinghy, built by Barefoot Wooden Boats here on Gabriola Island. At the time I took the photo, the boat seemed ready for some sprucing up – not surprising since it’s exposed to the elements day in, day out, year round at its dock in Silva Bay. Nevertheless I could see it was a beautiful, sturdy little vessel, holding up well. Since then it’s had a bit of TLC, and with its spiffy new paint, it’s now looking great...."

If you like to watch: Gulches: Taming Tacoma’s last wild places
Down in Tacoma’s gulches, you’re in another world — a wild one. Deep ravines sandwiched between residential streets and fed by springs flowing to Puget Sound, the gulches are filled with tangled forests and moss, with deer, coyote and birdsong. Rosemary Ponnekanti reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

If you need to know: Summer Is Back! Dry Weather And Warm, Sunny Skies In the Forecast
The last week of July is historically the driest week of the year. And despite record-breaking rain last week, the forecast for the days ahead fits the bill for this time of year, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. “We’re going to have sun, warmth and virtually no precipitation,” Mass said of the week ahead. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Oil trains crowd out grain shipments to NW ports
As oil trains hauling North Dakota crude delay rail transport of grain to Pacific Northwest ports, the prospect of growing fossil-fuel traffic has some fearing that such shipping disruptions will become a long-term problem impeding exports and the regional economy. Ángel González reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Coal trains pose economic, traffic worries for Puget Sound region  Floyd McKay reports. (Crosscut) And: Oregon Oil Train Safety Report Calls For More Rail Inspectors, Fees  Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

Island sports fishing best in years — chinook catch ‘spectacular’
Chinook salmon are returning to Island waters in strong numbers, making this one of the best years in recent memory for recreational fishermen and charter boat operators, especially off the east coast. Anglers are thrilled that they are catching lots of big silvery chinook salmon just off Greater Victoria’s waterfront. Carla Wilson reports. (Times Colonist)

Biologists track fish recovery in tough conditions on Elwha River
From sonar to snorkels, biologists are using a range of tactics to keep track of fish recovery under way on the Elwha River. The last of two fish-blocking dams are expected to be out as of mid-September, a major milestone in a $325 million recovery program for the river.... As the concrete tumbles, biologists from state and federal agencies and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe are working under difficult conditions to learn how recovery is progressing. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

New beaches take shape along Port Angeles waterfront as work moves on schedule
The clatter of rocks falling from excavator buckets is the sound of creation as two new beaches take form on the waterfront. Crews with Bruch and Bruch Construction Inc. of Port Angeles are carving out the “pocket beaches,” the first step in creating a new park, between the Valley Creek estuary to the west and the waterfront esplanade. Jeremy Schwartz reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

A poopy promise: B.C. premier vows sewage treatment for Victoria — someday
"We have made it clear that sewage treatment will happen. That is not up for debate. Failure to comply with these obligations would result in the possible loss of provincial and federal funding, as well as other potential penalties under federal and provincial laws. Thank you again for writing, and I am pleased to provide you with this response." -- British Columbia Premier Christy Clark. (Seattle Times)

Nature Conservancy highlights model project in Skagit watershed
The Nature Conservancy’s state Director Mike Stevens visited with local partners and individuals from around the region this past week to discuss conservation issues. Stevens stressed the Skagit River’s regional importance for farmland, fish habitat and flood protection, as well as a place that speaks to his organization’s own evolution over the last several decades. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 302 AM PDT MON JUL 28 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. AREAS
 OF FOG THIS MORNING.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

7/25 No-pipe fund, coal trains, marine birds, false killer, composting, no hope Hope, Niaz Dorry, Vic sewer

Seattle derailment, 7/24 (Dana Robinson Slote/KPLU)
Northern Gateway opponents turn to crowd-sourcing to raise at least $150,000
British Columbia First Nations and environmental groups are launching a fundraising campaign for the coming legal battle against the Northern Gateway pipeline. Sierra Club B.C., in partnership with Victoria-based legal defence fund RAVEN Trust, and several northern aboriginal communities have created the website Pull-Together.ca. (Canadian Press)

Report: Coal trains planned for state carry issues, bring jobs
Communities throughout the Puget Sound region would need overpasses and underpasses costing $50 million to $200 million each to prevent traffic from being stopped by a proposed 18 daily coal trains, a government report says. Elected officials on the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) sounded the alarm Thursday about the magnitude of traffic delays, and the hazards of more trains and people crossing paths. Mike Lindblom reports. (Seattle Times)

Once-common marine birds disappearing from our coast
From white-winged scoters and surf scoters to long-tailed ducks, murres, loons and some seagulls, the number of everyday marine birds here has plummeted dramatically in recent decades. The reasons are often complex, but for many the loss of forage fish like herring might hold a clue. Craig Welch reports. (Seattle Times)

False killer whale calf now nursing at Vancouver aquarium
After many failed attempts, a false killer whale calf rescued near Tofino, B.C., earlier this month has reached a milestone and has started nursing from a bottle, according to staff at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Head veterinarian Martin Haulena said the fact the calf is now suckling is a great sign of improvement, and the male calf has been slowly increasing its strength, buoyancy and co-ordination. Steve Lus reports. (CBC)

Seattle Considers Fining Residents For Failing To Compost
The city of Seattle might start fining residents who put food waste in the garbage instead of the compost bin — the latest idea to push for better recycling rates. Dozens of cities nationwide now give residents the option of putting their household food scraps in a curbside compost bin. Seattle is looking at making it a requirement. Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

Abandon all hope: State Rep. Hope to resign over out-of-state voter registration
Republican state Rep. Mike Hope said Thursday he intends to resign from office after it was revealed he’s been registered to vote in two states, Washington and Ohio, since last summer. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

If you like to listen: Who Feeds Us Matters: Fishers and Farmers Taking Back Control of the Food Supply ---Interview w/ Niaz Dorry
Fish and how they're caught aren't always included in the 'alternative food movement'. But in some communities, “community supported fisheries” or CSF's are catching on. Similar to “community supported agriculture” or CSA's, the goal is to reclaim local sovereignty and food justice. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acre Radio)

Sewage treatment ‘will happen,’ says B.C. premier, doesn’t say when
Treatment of Victoria’s sewage “will happen,” British Columbia Premier Christy Clark promised members of Washington’s congressional delegation in a terse letter. She did not say when.... Clark parried an angry letter, sent last month by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., as well as six U.S. House members from Washington. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.com)

Kids search for critters in marine muck during Mud Flat Safari
With their rain boots on and their hoods pulled up, the “mini explorers” signed up for the Mud Flat Safari at Padilla Bay were ready to head to the water. “It’s your day,” said class leader Anna-mai Christmas, an AmeriCorps education assistant with Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Breazeale Interpretive Center. “You are the explorers today.” Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Discovery Bay closed to shellfish harvesting as diarrhetic shellfish poisoning risk rises
Discovery Bay has been closed to recreational harvesting of all species of shellfish because of the risk of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, Jefferson County Public Health announced Thursday. The state Department of Health found the marine biotoxins that cause diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, or DSP, in concentrations above the safe level of 16 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue, according to Michael Dawson, water quality lead for the county department. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 320 AM PDT FRI JUL 25 2014
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF
 SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
SAT
W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW 10 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SUN
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

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

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

7/24 Oil train, belugas, Helena Star, seabirds, radiation, CATS, Seahurst Park, stormwater, conservation fund, T-Rex

Killdeer (Phil Gilston/BirdNote)
 If you like to watch: Killdeer - Master of Distraction
The Killdeer is one of the most widespread and commonly seen shorebirds in North America. Killdeers lure predators - including humans - away from their nest by calling loudly while appearing to limp and drag a wing. Found throughout the United States and Canada, they nest on the ground, often in human-modified habitats such as gravel roads, driveways, parking lots, and lawns. Catch a video of an adult feigning injury to protect its young. (BirdNote)

Oil Train Tanker Cars Derail In Seattle
Three tanker cars in an oil train from North Dakota derailed at a rail yard in Seattle early Thursday, but BNSF Railway says none of the oil spilled. BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said a locomotive and buffer car loaded with sand also left the rails about 2 a.m. at the Interbay yard as the train with 102 cars of Bakken oil was pulling out, headed for a refinery at Anacortes. From Seattle’s Magnolia Bridge, workers could be seen operating a tractor to try and get a derailed oil train back on track. It appeared that at least one train car was slightly off kilter on the track. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix) See also: Crew Fatigue Persists As Oil By Rail Increases Risks  Tony Schick reports. (EarthFix)

DOT proposes 2-year phase-out of older tank cars for crude oil trains
The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a two-year phase-out of older tank cars used to transport crude oil by rail, among other measures to improve the safety of crude oil transportation by rail. Secretary Anthony Foxx outlined the long-anticpated proposals Wednesday, more than a year after a deadly derailment in Quebec focused government and public scrutiny on the rising volumes of crude oil shipped in trains. DOT will seek the phase-out or retrofit of older model DOT-111 tank cars, long known to be vulnerable to failure in derailments, from crude oil and ethanol service. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy) See also: Whatcom, Bellingham elected officials say oil-train rules could be improved Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Vancouver park board report avoids taking a stand on captive whales
The Vancouver park board has released the report it commissioned on keeping beluga whales and dolphins at the city aquarium, but it does not take a stand on whether cetaceans should be held in captivity and effectively calls for more research. The report was released on Wednesday, ahead of Saturday’s special park board meeting. The captivity debate resurfaced in April, with some park board commissioners and later the mayor voicing opposition to keeping cetaceans at the aquarium. Joseph Gaydos – chief scientist of the Wildlife Health Center’s SeaDoc Society Program at the University of California, Davis – was tasked with conducting the review. His report says he was able to compile considerable data in the allotted time, but that more work is needed. Sunny Dhillon reports. (Globe and Mail)

Sunken freighter raised from Hylebos Waterway
Four months and $600,000 later, the derelict freighter Helena Star has been refloated and is expected to leave for Seattle today after sinking 18 months ago in Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway. The 167-foot ship sank on Jan. 25, 2013, and was slowly spilling 640 gallons of oil and diesel. Crews tried to raise the freighter in December, but the single crane wasn’t enough to lift the ship without causing further damage. On Tuesday, two floating cranes that can raise the combined weight of 1,100 tons lifted the vessel so it could be drained of water, said Melissa Ferris, program manager for the Derelict Vessel Removal Program with the state Department of Natural Resources. Shelby Rowe reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Declines in marine birds trouble scientists
An article in Salish Sea Currents, an online magazine from the creators of the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound, and based on proceeding from the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. Eric Warner writes.

Donors Pay To Test Seawater For Traces Of Fukushima Radiation
It's been more than three years since the Fukushima nuclear plant accident resulted in a spill of millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water into the Pacific. Oceanographers projected that it could take until this year for highly diluted traces of that spill in Japan to reach the West Coast of North America. Radiation experts don't believe there is cause for alarm on our shores, but some coastal residents are stepping forward to pay for seawater testing just to be sure. Tom Banse reports. (KUOW)

Citizen Action Training School (CATS) sessions are coming up this fall on the Olympic Peninsula (September) and in Everett (Olympia). CATS sessions include 12 weeks of class and field instruction on local watershed and Puget Sound ecology, as well as guidance about civic engagement around natural resources issues.  For more info or to apply, see CATS web site  or email CATS. 

City of Burien, Corps of Engineers Announce Reopening of Seahurst Park
Seahurst Park in Burien is set to reopen August 25 following completion of the Seahurst Park Ecosystem Restoration Project, Phase II. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned to follow. The project, which began Oct. 28, 2013, removed 1,800 feet of shoreline concrete armoring in the northern section of the park replacing it with more natural habitat for forage fish and salmon rearing. Improved habitat aids recovery of species, such as bull trout, steelhead and Chinook salmon, listed under the Endangered Species Act. (Highline Times)

Stormwater solutions key in fight for Puget Sound
From behind the paywall: Chris Dunagan's seventh installment of articles on Puget Sound natural resource issues. Read it while you can.


Kitsap Sun (July 13)

Most of Wash. delegation stumps for conservation fund in Congress
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, the nation’s main source of federal money to improve access to outdoor recreation, has never received the full funding Congress promised. After 50 years, supporters are demanding more money. Kyung Song reports. (Seattle Times)

Tyrannosaurs prowled in packs, B.C. tracks show
It would have been terrifying to run into a tyrannosaur like Albertosaurus. The massive creature that roamed western North America about 70 million years ago was as long as a bus, with a wide smile of razor-sharp teeth and claws to match. But here's the worst part — it probably wasn't alone. Tyrannosaurs, it seemed, travelled in packs. Scientists came to that conclusion after carefully analyzing an extremely rare find — three sets of tyrannosaur tracks found in northeastern B.C. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 900 AM PDT THU JUL 24 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 15 KT BECOMING NW AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.

--
"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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Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7/23 Storm, B'ham coal, port records, Oso slide, toxic fish, stormwater, clean water poll

(KOMO)
July storm brings heavy rain, lightning to Wash. state
An "unseasonably strong" storm system is invading Washington state, increasing the risk of flash flooding and new wildfires in parts of Eastern Washington and bringing heavy rain to parts of Western Washington, the National Weather Service says. Forecasters say the storm could break rainfall records for the date. The record at Sea-Tac Airport is just over a half-inch (.54) set on July 23, 1949. Lightning strikes were first recorded over the Cascades of Snohomish County at about 2:30 a.m. Heavy rainfall began moving into the Puget Sound region shortly afterward. (KOMO)

Coal exports from Bellingham could ramp up rapidly
Developers of the largest of the region’s proposed coal-export terminals have shifted their site plan to claim a dramatic reduction in impacts on wetlands. Simultaneously, SSA Marine, the Seattle international terminal operator, said it will speed up plans to operate Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) north of Bellingham at full capacity. The capacity planning, along with plentiful evidence that BNSF Railway is beefing up its tracks in northwestern Washington to prepare for more coal and oil traffic, alerted terminal foes and brought immediate pushback Monday from the Bellingham City Council. Potentially adding fuel to the fire, BNSF and its largest union are moving toward a contract that allows the railroad to run the 130-car, mile-plus-long coal trains with a single engineer in the cab, replacing the present practice of two in the cab. Floyd McKay reports. (Crosscut)

Judge eyes whether coal port records should be released
A federal judge said Tuesday he would weigh whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must release environmental review documents involving a proposed coal port criticized by environmentalists. U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak said in Portland that he must decide whether the documents show the agency's internal deliberations about the Morrow Pacific coal export terminal in Boardman. Deliberative documents can be exempt from disclosure under federal rules, depending on how they're interpreted by the releasing agency or a judge. (Associated Press)

Critics say proposed rules on fish consumption insufficient
Some tribal leaders and environmental groups say a water-pollution cleanup plan proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee this month is unacceptable because while it tightens the standards on some chemicals discharged to state waters, it keeps the status quo for others. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

New Report: Oso Landslide Rooted In Long History Of Slides
Scientists have concluded that rain, groundwater seepage and a long history of big landslides likely contributed to the massive landslide of March 22 that killed 43 people and destroyed dozens of homes near Oso, Washington. Those findings came out Tuesday, the result of a scientific team’s rapid-fire assessment of geology and localized factors. Joe Wartman, a University of Washington associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and a co-lead author of the study, said rainfall very likely played a key role in the slide. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix) Read the report

Stormwater: Can we stop the menace we created?
Chris Dunagan at the Kitsap Sun in Watching Our Water Ways blogs: ‘I’ve completed the seventh story package in a 10-part series examining the Puget Sound ecosystem, with a special focus on indicators of ecological health. We’re calling the project “Taking the Pulse of Puget Sound.” The latest stories, which ran Sunday and Monday, addressed freshwater quality.’ (The stories are pay-to-read behind a paywall but Chris invites you to look at the graphics for free.)

Advocacy group says new poll shows support among small business owners for stronger clean water rules
A progressive business advocacy group said that small business owners from around the country support greater efforts by the federal government to protect the nation’s water, according to a poll the group commissioned. The poll of small-business owners found that two-thirds were concerned about the impact water pollution could have on their businesses, and 80 percent favored extending federal clean water protections to streams and wetlands. Support on the second issue was strongest among Democrats, at 91 percent, but Republicans and independents also polled above 70 percent. Chris Adams reports. (McClatchy)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED JUL 23 2014
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS. SHOWERS AND A CHANCE OF TSTMS.
TONIGHT
S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF TSTMS. SHOWERS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

7/22 BC LNG, Tesoro xylene, sea otters, pinks, Elwha weir, orcas for sale, Burfoot Park bacteria

Pune, India waste picker (New Scientist)
If you like to watch: Ethical 3D printing begins with plastic waste pickers
Pick the right plastic off a refuse tip, then shred, melt and convert it into feedstock for 3D printers – it's a living for some of India's poorest people. WITH her small child in tow, a young woman trudges across the hazardous clutter of a vast, dusty rubbish dump in Pune, India, scanning for scrap to sell. This scene comes from the launch video of a social enterprise called Protoprint, but it is played out at waste dumps in developing nations across the world. Some 15 million people are thought to scavenge for saleable refuse. Protoprint's scheme could soon improve the lives of some of these people. The group's aim is to train local pickers in Pune to collect high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic waste and then show them how to shred, melt and convert that plastic into the strands of filament that are the feedstock for one of the world's burgeoning technology industries: 3D printing. Paul Marks reports. (New Scientist)

Political summit hears B.C. liquefied natural gas cleans air, wipes out debt
Premier Christy Clark says British Columbia’s proposed liquefied natural gas industry has the power to fight air pollution in China and clear up smog in Los Angeles. The premier’s natural gas development minister also boasted to delegates at the same conference on Monday that the LNG industry will clean up the provincial debt. (Vancouver Sun)

Tesoro plans $400M investment to refine xylene in Anacortes
Tesoro Corp. today announced plans to invest about $400 million in its West Coast operations to extract up to 15,000 barrels per day of xylene at its Anacortes refinery. Startup of the new facilities is expected to be in 2017, subject to permitting and the approval process. A final investment decision is expected by year-end 2014. In a press release, the company said it intends to gather intermediate feedstock, primarily reformate, from its West Coast refining system for xylene extraction at its Anacortes refinery. The initial investment, estimated to be around $400 million, is designed to recover up to 15,000 barrels per day of mixed xylene, which will mainly be exported to Asia. Xylene is used to make polyester fibers and films for clothing, food packaging and beverage containers. (Skagit Valley Herald)

The remarkable comeback of sea otters to the B.C. coast
The evening before Barb Wilson faced the chiefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations she had a nightmare. The Haida elder and her colleague, Anne Salomon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University, had asked to speak with the chiefs about the spread of sea otters on the West Coast. The species is making a remarkable comeback in British Columbia after being pushed to the edge of extinction nearly 100 years ago. The revival of the otters is seen by some as a great environmental success story, but it is triggering dramatic ecological change and pitting native fishermen against animals that have a voracious appetite for urchins, crabs and clams. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Hyper-abundant pink salmon are outcompeting wild sockeye
Is it too soon to change B.C.’s iconic fish from the sockeye to the pink? Probably, but we should be prepared nonetheless as evidence mounts that the phenomenal and persistent abundance of pink salmon is putting real pressure on other Pacific salmon and even sea birds that share the same food resources. Randy Shore writes. (Vancouver Sun)

Conservationists threaten to sue over unused Elwha River hatchery weir
Four wild fish advocacy groups plan to sue over an unused weir at the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe’s hatchery on the Elwha River, saying that its lack threatens wild fish and violates the Endangered Species Act. The weir was designed to separate wild salmon species from those raised in the hatchery. “That weir was an integral part of their plan. If they can’t use it, their plan can no longer function as designed,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of the Wild Fish Conservancy based in Duvall.  Joe Smillie reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

EarthFix Conversation: Puget Sound Whales For Sale
The resident killer whales of Puget Sound are an endangered species. There are about 80 of them left. But there was a time, not too long ago, when people were catching these whales and selling them into captivity. In the 1960s and ‘70s an estimated 35 orcas were taken from Puget Sound. 13 were killed in the process. Sandra Pollard has documented the history of orca capture in Puget Sound in a new book: Puget Sound Whales For Sale: The Fight To End Orca Hunting. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

County issues swimming advisory for Burfoot Park
Thurston County health officials have issued an advisory for Burfoot Park after testing showed elevated levels of bacteria in the water. The beach is not closed, but it is recommended that people and pets stay out of the water, according to press release from Thurston County Health Division. In the release, Director of Environmental Health Division Art Starry said the department wants visitors to be aware of the situation and use their best judgment about whether they go in the water. Tammy McGee reports. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather-
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE JUL 22 2014
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF TSTMS AFTER
 MIDNIGHT.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told



Monday, July 21, 2014

7/21 BC beach closures, BP DEIS, coal train, BC pipe poll, East Coast oil tests, BC Park Act, sinking beach

Bald eagle attack (Debbie Martin/Vancouver Sun)
If you like to watch: Wild kingdom in North Van as newborn seal and mom attacked by bald eagle
Life on the North Shore often ends up looking like a scene from a David Attenborough documentary. That was the case for North Vancouver resident Debbie Martin, who witnessed the struggle between life and death play out as she enjoyed a summer evening on the waterfront July 13. Martin watched and snapped photos as a harbour seal gave birth to a pup aboard a float at Mosquito Creek Marina and then came under attack by a bald eagle. “The eagle was harassing the mom, trying to get to the afterbirth or trying to get to the baby. The mom was there tapping the baby and shuffling the baby around trying to keep the eagle away from it,” Martin said. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: Amphibian Explorations
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Pacific tree frogs are showing up all over our yard these days, in varying sizes and often where you least expect them. A few days ago one hopped out of a lettuce I was cutting, landing first on the toaster, then the butter dish while I tried my best to catch it. (Alas, no photos of that!) In a less extreme example, the other morning we were sipping our coffee on the deck when a frog suddenly appeared, heading straight towards my flip-flop-shod toes...." (Watch the slide show online.)

High E. coli counts detected at 3 West Vancouver beaches
Health officials are warning people against swimming at three West Vancouver beaches after routine water quality sampling turned up E.coli bacteria counts exceeding safe-level limits. “No Swimming” advisories are now in effect for Ambleside, Dundarave and Sandy Cove beaches. Health officials say the relatively high concentration of E.coli bacteria detected can increase a swimmer's risk of coming down with gastro-intestinal illness. E.coli is considered to be an indicator organism associated with fecal contamination from either human or animal sources. (CBC) See also: Environmental lobby adds pressure in Victoria raw sewage row  (Peninsula Daily News)

Could BP turn Bellingham into a Northwest oil export capital?
The microphone worked only part of the time, and occasionally the gymnasium walls bounced the words like a volley of loose basketballs. Despite that, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers got an earful last week at Shuksan Middle School in Bellingham in a meeting that echoed decades of Northwest environmental history and new fears about exports of coal and oil to Asia. One by one, three minutes at a time, unhappy citizens dismantled the Corps’ Draft Environmental Impact Statement concerning the operation of the Northwest’s largest oil terminal. Bob Simmons reports. (Crosscut)

If you like to listen: Shellfish
Massive oil spills like Odyssey in the northern Atlantic; Exxon Valdez off the coast of Alaska; and more recently, Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico make big headlines. But the leading source of water pollution in the world is actually water run-off. Rain falling on our streets, lawns and driveways washes contamination into our waterways. In the Puget Sound, shellfish lovers are worried. Shellfish farmers, researchers, and chefs share their concerns about water contamination in the Sound and the danger is poses to shellfish. Hillary Sanders reports.

Official: Bellingham rail traffic from coal terminal still an issue
More than two years after raising the concern, city officials still don't know whether an extra railroad track would be built along Boulevard Park and the waterfront to accommodate additional trains for a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point. City Council member Michael Lilliquist drafted a letter for the full council's consideration on Monday, July 21, that would renew the city's request for more information about the additional rail traffic that would result from the Gateway Pacific Terminal. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Focus groups hint Conservatives out of sync on Northern Gateway
Public-opinion research for the federal Finance Department suggests key government policies are out of step with Canadians' priorities, including the Northern Gateway project. Members of focus groups consulted prior to the February budget had "little enthusiasm" for the proposed bitumen pipeline to the British Columbia coast — even those who said they support the controversial project.... The Harper government has made Northern Gateway a central plank of its energy strategy, and has pilloried environmental groups who oppose it, labelling them "radical." (CBC) See also: Industrial growth should not harm Kitimat if emissions managed, Polak says  Wendy Stueck reports. (Globe and Mail)

Feds approve oil exploration off US Eastern Coast
The Obama administration has sided with energy developers over environmentalists, approving the use of underwater blasts of sound to pinpoint oil and gas deposits in federal Atlantic Ocean waters. The regulatory decision is the first real step toward what could be an economic transformation in East Coast states, potentially creating a new energy infrastructure, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue. But it dismayed people who owe their livelihoods to fisheries and tourism, and activists said it stains President Barack Obama's environmental legacy.... The cannons will substantially increase the noise pollution in Gulf Stream waters shared by whales, dolphins and turtles, sending powerful sound waves reverberating through the deep every ten seconds, for weeks at a time. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management acknowledged that thousands of sea creatures will be harmed, but ultimately decided to approve this exploration in the outer continental shelf from Delaware to Florida. Energy companies need the data as they prepare to apply for drilling leases in 2018, when current congressional limits expire. Jaso Dearen reports. (Associated Press)

If you like to listen: Wild Caught Cod Sizzling on the (Hospital) Grill: Making a Dent in Healthcare and Healthy Oceans
You might think locally sourced, omega-rich seafood would be a no-brainer for hospitals concerned about the health of their patients. But wild caught fisheries and the local healthy food movement have been slow to catch on in healthcare. There are notable exceptions like Seattle's Virginia Mason Hospital. In this story we visit the hospital's kitchen where mouth-watering good and sustainable seafood is available every day of the week. Martha Baskin reports.

B.C. Park Amendment Act under fire from environmentalists
Environmentalists are planning protests against new legislation they say threatens to open up parks and protected areas to pipelines and other industrial projects.  In Vancouver Friday, they unfurled a 167,000 name petition calling on the provincial government to repeal the Park Amendment Act, which was passed into law in May. The Act allows for research in provincial parks, but many fear that could lead to mining, logging, or even pipelines. Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee says the changes will only benefit corporations, some of which are already planning projects. (CBC)

Mystery still surrounds ‘sinkhole’ recesses off Port Angeles’ Hollywood Beach
Engineers at the city of Port Angeles still don’t know why recesses are forming in the sand off Hollywood Beach that has closed the beach to bathers. But they’re looking into one possible cause — rotting wood. “It’s still a mystery,” said Craig Fuller, city engineer. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON JUL 21 2014
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING W TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

7/18 Sanctuary, Martinac shipyard, boat insurance, Ohop Cr., shellfish dig, Pebble Mine

(IMAGE: Olympic Coast NMS)
New blog: Happy 20th Birthday, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
Twenty years ago this week the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary was dedicated, the nation’s 12th marine sanctuary authorized under the Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (full name: Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 aka Ocean Dumping Act). Today, it’s impossible to imagine Congress passing such comprehensive environmental legislation....

Tacoma’s oldest shipyard to be sold on courthouse steps Friday
A last-hour rescue effort for Tacoma’s sole remaining major shipyard has failed. The 90-year-old J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Co.’s Foss Waterway shipyard will be sold Friday morning in a foreclosure auction on the plaza of the county courthouse. Joe Martinac Jr., the shipyard’s president, and the last of a long line of family shipyard managers, said eleventh hour efforts to find new business for the shipyard failed to produce new contracts that would stave off the shipyard’s auction. John Gille reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

New law targets purchase, sale, condition of older, longer boats
A new Washington state law requires boat owners to carry insurance for vessels 65 feet or longer, and for boats age 40  and over. Approved by the state legislature, the law went into effect July 1. The law applies to owners of commercial and private boats, and also requires inspection of boat and its condition prior to sale. (San Juan Journal)

Tribe, Land Trust Break Ground on Ohop Creek Restoration Project
The Nisqually Indian Tribe, Nisqually Land Trust and South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group broke ground on 1.5 miles of restored salmon habitat on Ohop Creek on Saturday. Ohop Creek, near Eatonville, is a vital tributary to the Nisqually River, according to a press release from the land trust. The Ohop River flows into the Nisqually River about 15 miles southeast of Yelm. Steven Wyble reports. (Yelm Online)

Mystery Bay, Kilisut Harbor reopened to shellfish harvest of all but butter, varnish clams
Mystery Bay and Kilisut Harbor have reopened for recreational shellfish harvesting of all species except butter and varnish clams, the Jefferson County Health Department said Thursday. Levels of the marine biotoxin that cause diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, or DSP, are currently below the safe level of 16 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue, according to Michael Dawson, water quality lead for the county department. The area remains closed to the harvest of butter and varnish clams due to their tendency to retain marine biotoxins for a long time, up to a year. (Peninsula Daily News)

Opponents say Alaska mine would devastate salmon, Washington state fishing industry 
Supporters of the embattled Pebble Mine project in Alaska are making a desperate effort in Congress and the courts to keep it alive in the face of warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency that it could devastate the finest run of wild salmon left on the globe. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing a bill to keep the EPA from blocking the mine, despite opposition from Washington state lawmakers who say the project could be devastating to the fishing industry in their state. Sean Cockerham reports. (McClatchy) See also: EPA proposes to block Alaska mine over salmon risk  Becky Bohrer reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI JUL 18 2014
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. W
 SWELL 5 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 4 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SUN
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@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