Thursday, October 19, 2017

10/19 Squirrel, coho killer, sunken homes, heritage site, Pt Hudson plan, marine reserves, lost insects

Douglas squirrel [Wikipedia]

Douglas squirrel Tamiasciurus douglasii
Douglas squirrel is a pine squirrel found in the Pacific coastal states and provinces of North America…. Adults are about 33 cm in length (including its tail, which is about 13 cm long), and weigh between 150 and 300 grams. Their appearance varies according to the season. In the summer, they are a grayish or almost greenish brown on their backs, and pale orange on the chest and belly, while legs and feet appear brown. In the winter, the coat is browner and the underside is grayer; also, the ears appear even tuftier than they do in summer. Like many squirrels, Douglas squirrels have a white eye ring. (Wikipedia)

Stormwater pollution in Puget Sound streams killing coho before they can spawn 
The sweet seep of autumn rain is bringing coho salmon back home to their natal streams all over the Puget Sound basin — where too often they encounter a bitter truth: pollution in a shocking 40 percent of their home range so bad it can inflict a swift death. The culprit is stormwater, and it is causing death rates so high, some populations of wild coho are at risk of local extinction, researchers found. Yet there also are surprisingly simple and cheap solutions at hand, the researchers wrote in their paper, published today by the Ecological Society of America in the scientific journal Ecological Applications. Researchers at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle worked with collaborators, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, local tribes and the Wild Fish Conservancy, to survey 51 sites from 2000 to 2011 in streams all over the Puget Sound basin. They used the survey data with a new computer model to map predicted coho death rates. The results show that in an estimated 40 percent of their range in the Puget Sound Basin, 10 to 40 percent of coho salmon die before they can even spawn because of pollution. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Report shows 5,000 homes would be underwater across Puget Sound if sea levels rise 6 feet
A new report by Zillow shows how 1.9 million homes nationwide would be underwater if sea levels rise by 6 feet over the next 100 years. Locally, the prediction would be for 5,000 underwater homes across Puget Sound. “Outside the climate community there's not necessarily that awareness,” Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas told KIRO 7 on Wednesday.  “So one of our aspirations is to bring awareness of the risk of climate change to the real estate community and to homebuyers.” John Knicely reports. (KIRO)

Parks Canada considers Salish Sea as heritage site
Organizers of a campaign are increasing their efforts to have the Salish Sea added to Canada’s list of potential United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage sites. As part of celebrating the 150th anniversary of confederation, Parks Canada is just weeks away from announcing which of the country’s most exceptional places will be added to the country’s tentative list for world heritage sites. For the past year, Salish Sea Trust, a coalition of volunteers led by Nanaimo-based Laurie Gourlay, has been working on a campaign to advocate for the Salish Sea to top that list. Chris Bolster reports. (Powell River Peak)

Open house today to gather comment on Point Hudson plan
Port of Port Townsend officials, who are seeking public input on a long-term plan for Point Hudson, plan an open house today. The open house will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Marina Room at Point Hudson, 103 Hudson St. It will be open to the community, and public comment will be accepted. The goal of the project is to make Point Hudson financially sustainable while also providing public access, protecting the ecosystem along the shoreline and preserving the historic maritime character of the small marina, according to Maul Foster & Alongi (MFA), an environmental engineering and consulting firm, and port representatives. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Marine reserve boosts snapper outside borders
 Marine reserves don't just benefit sea creatures living within them, but those beyond their borders as well, Kiwi researchers have suggested. University of Auckland scientists have observed a higher proportion of young snapper in fishing areas north of Auckland were related to adult snapper from the Goat Island marine reserve - tens of kilometres away. While it's been hotly debated whether marine reserves have benefits outside their bounds, the new evidence appeared to confirm these ocean havens can serve as local fish nurseries. The study [] was the first time scientists have found evidence outside the tropics of a direct parental link between adults in a marine protected area to juveniles outside. Jamie Morton reports. (New Zealand Herald)

Alarm over decline in flying insects
It's known as the windscreen phenomenon. When you stop your car after a drive, there seem to be far fewer squashed insects than there used to be. Scientists have long suspected that insects are in dramatic decline, but new evidence confirms this. Research at more than 60 protected areas in Germany suggests flying insects have declined by more than 75% over almost 30 years. And the causes are unknown. Helen Briggs reports. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  257 AM PDT Thu Oct 19 2017  
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt late in the  morning. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less late in  the morning. W swell 13 ft at 12 seconds building to 18 ft at 15  seconds in the afternoon. Showers.
 SW wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  19 ft at 17 seconds subsiding to 17 ft at 17 seconds after  midnight. Showers likely.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

10/18 Salmon spawn, fish farm showdown, Lummi totem, culverts, Ostrich Bay, coal mine, Stand, shoreline appeal

Elwha 10/15/17 [Tom Roorda/Coastal Watershed Inst.]
Official complaint lodged against Trans Mountain biologist over unauthorized river work
A Fraser Valley-based conservation group has lodged a formal complaint with the College of Applied Biology over a Trans Mountain biologist’s role in the installation of matting to discourage salmon from spawning at stream sites where the company plans pipeline crossings. In the official written complaint, WaterWealth program director Ian Stephen quotes a Trans Mountain blog post of Sept. 12, 2017, that reads: “Trans Mountain fisheries biologist Calum Bonnington and his team are temporarily installing snow fencing flat down onto some sections of streambed that are intersected by the pipeline construction right-of-way and sections immediately downstream.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Salmon showdown: injunctions served at B.C. fish farm occupation
Late on Monday evening, community members occupying Marine Harvest operations in the coastal Broughton Archipelago were served notices of injunction by the RCMP that were filed by the company in response to the peaceful protest. As of Tuesday, the occupiers remained at their posts on Swanson Island, Midsummer Island and Port Elizabeth fish farm facilities, but are expected to appear in court on Wednesday. The notice of injunction comes just days after B.C. Premier John Horgan met with a newly unified alliance of eight First Nations, whose ultimate goal is to remove the open-net fish farms that they say severely threaten wild salmon populations and all associated ecosystems along the coast. Emilee Gilpin reports. (National Observer)

Another Lummi totem goes on tour, this time to highlight environmental threats
A totem pole carved and put on tour to bring attention to the potential risks fossil fuel pipelines and shipping terminal projects present to Native American communities, and how climate change threatens the world at large, made a stop in Vancouver, Washington on Monday night. The pole is a symbol of tribal resistance to the oil terminal project proposed at the Port of Vancouver, the Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export proposal in Longview and the methanol refinery proposed for Kalama by Northwest Innovation Works, according to Columbia Riverkeeper, an environmental organization that helped organize Monday’s event. Andy Matarrese reports. (Columbian)

A Northwest tribal sovereignty battle, centered on culverts 
Charlene Krise started fishing the waters of Puget Sound in 1975, after a court decision reaffirmed tribal rights to half the region’s salmon. Amid the hard work of hauling in beach seines and long hours on the water, Krise and fellow members of the Squaxin Island Tribe would hook their boats together and talk, sharing their knowledge of the nearby inlets, salmon smoking techniques and family connections. But in the ensuing decades, wild salmon numbers in the Pacific Northwest dropped. By 1999, they had disappeared from 40 percent of their historic range, due in part to environmental degradation caused by road infrastructure, dams and logging. Tribal members struggled to rely on fishing as a source of income or subsistence to support their families. In 2001, 21 tribes sued the state of Washington over roadway culverts that blocked hundreds of miles of salmon passages. Anna V. Smith reports. (High Country News)

Navy proposes munitions cleanup for Ostrich Bay
The Navy has proposed a plan to clean up long-lost munitions and explosives hidden for almost 60 years underneath the sediment in Ostrich Bay near Jackson Park. The housing complex near Naval Hospital Bremerton is the site of the former Naval Ammunition Depot Puget Sound, where munitions were manufactured, stored and demilitarized from 1904 to 1959. The depot's records indicate munitions unintentionally fell into the water during loading and unloading ships at two piers in Ostrich Bay, only one of which still exists today. Julianne Stanford reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Ship strike likely killed humpback whale found on B.C. shore, biologist says
Officials say a dead humpback whale that washed up near Ucluelet last week was likely hit by a large vessel. Scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the juvenile male had its lower jawbone dislocated after being hit with significant force. (CBC)

Reviving Black Diamond's Coal Mine In Seattle's Green Shadow
The Pacific Northwest was once a coal mining powerhouse. In the late 1800s, The area around Oregon’s Coos Bay had over 70 coal mines. Later, Washington’s biggest coal mine in Centralia supplied the Bonneville Power Administration with electricity. But the Coos Bay coal mines closed in the latter part of the 20th century; the Centralia Coal Mine closed in 2006. Today, both Washington and Oregon get their coal from Montana. But that might be about to change. Coal mining could be coming back — to an old coal mine in southeast King County. The John Henry Coal Mine, which is about 30 miles southeast of downtown Seattle, in Black Diamond, has been inactive for nearly two decades. But the Pacific Coast Coal Company has proposed reopening the mine. If permitted, the mine would produce 84,000 tons of coal every year for the next six years. EilĂ­s O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Enbridge prompts raid on environmental group Stand’s Vancouver office
Staff at the environmental group Stand were facing down bailiffs Tuesday morning with orders to seize assets on behalf of pipeline giant Enbridge over unpaid court costs from a 2014 Federal Court action. By early afternoon, however, the company had reversed course, requesting that the bailiffs not seize anything and saying it wouldn’t be pursuing the matter further, according to a statement from spokesman Jesse Semko. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

State court declines David and Nancy Honeywells’ appeal
On Oct. 16, 2017, the Washington State Court of Appeals declined David and Nancy Honeywells’ case in Island County Superior Court. The Honeywells are infamous for the waterfront clearcut at the former Mar Vista Resort on San Juan Island in 2013…. This is not the first time the Honeywells’ appeal has been denied. In June of 2016, the Honeywells were denied their appeal over a shoreline penalty of $55,000 on June 1 in San Juan County Superior Court. The court did grant their appeal regarding a water quality violation penalty of $12,000. Cali Bagby reports. (San Juan Journal)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  248 AM PDT Wed Oct 18 2017  
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming S in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 6 ft at 10 seconds building to SW 8 ft  at 8 seconds in the afternoon. Rain.
 SW wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 10 ft at 9 seconds. Rain  in the evening then 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, October 17, 2017

10/17 S-bend, 'Big Dark,' cetacean brain, Clallam shores, BC oyster toxin, Chief Seattle, oil futures

S-bend pipe [BBC News]
How the humble S-bend made modern toilets possible
BBC's program, "50 Things That Made the Modern Economy," discusses watchmaker Alexander Cumming's world-changing invention: "In 1775, Cumming patented the S-bend. This became the missing ingredient to create the flush toilet-  and, with it, public sanitation as we know it." Tim Harford reports. (BBC)

‘The Big Dark’: Satellite image shows future rain clouds stretching from China to Puget Sound 
After a relatively benign first half of the month — with only about a half-inch of precipitation in two weeks — we're likely to get that much dumped on us on Tuesday alone, the National Weather Service says. Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times) Heavy rains expected to pound Metro Vancouver until Tuesday morning   Chance of heavy snow and high winds ‘could reduce visibility to near zero' over Rogers Pass Cathy Kearney reports. (CBC)

Whales and dolphins have human-like social structures and culture, say researchers
Like humans, some whales are capable of complex social interactions and cultural behaviours, which a newly published study suggests may be linked to the size of the cetaceans' brains.  The research, largely done at the University of British Columbia, sheds new light on similarities between whale and human evolution and identifies a kind of evolutionary feedback loop between the behaviours and growing brain size. "Similar pressures and possibilities in the environment can select for a similar outcome," said Kieran Fox, now a postdoctoral student at California's Stanford University and co-author of the new paper in Nature Ecology and Evolution. (CBC)

Clallam County taking comment on Shoreline Master Program update
Clallam County is accepting comment on the first major overhaul to its Shoreline Master Program — a 258-page document guiding future development along waterways — until Dec. 12. A public hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Dec. 12 at the Clallam County Courthouse, where the Clallam County commissioners will consider adopting the Planning Commission’s recommended changes to the SMP. Once adopted, the SMP would go to the state Department of Ecology for approval. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

A Hard Shore Is a Dead Shore
How anti-erosion measures hurt fish—and living shorelines may help. Amorina Kingdon reports. (Hakai Magazine)

CFIA: Certain B.C. farm-raised oysters recalled due to biotoxin  

Federal health officials say some farm-raised Pacific oysters are being recalled due to a marine biotoxin which causes paralytic shellfish poisoning. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the oysters were produced by two firms in Richmond, B.C. — Albion Farms and Fisheries Ltd. and Union Bay Seafood Ltd. The Albion Farms oysters were sold from Oct. 9 to Oct. 16 and the Union Bay oysters were sold from Oct. 10 to Oct. 16. (Canadian Press)

Remembering Chief Seattle and the Duwamish
If there is any indication of a name’s ability to exist far beyond the life of its owner, it can be found in the Pacific Northwest’s largest city. Besides the fact that his name was the basis for a major metropolis, most people likely know very little about Chief Seattle. Author David Buerge seeks to change that with the release this Tuesday of his comprehensive biography, “Chief Seattle and the Town That Took His Name,” the result of two decades of research and writing…. Seattle, who served as chief of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes, retains an important legacy in the region, as it was he who made the decision to peacefully yield the lands around Puget Sound to white settlers in the region. Alex Visser reports. (UW Daily)

Canadians trips to the US have been in decline for five years
Incidents of mass violence and racial rhetoric from the White House are discouraging some Canadians from travelling to the United States…. The mass shootings at Sandy Hook, where 20 six- and seven-year-old children were killed, and in Las Vegas, where 58 people were killed, made a lasting impression on many Canadians…. Travel to the US from Canada is up five per cent in the first half of 2017, compared with the same period last year, according to the US International Trade Association. However, arrivals by air, water, car and foot for fiscal 2017 show no increase from the year before, according to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Visits by Canadians to the US have been dropping steadily since 2013 in virtual lockstep with the falling Canadian dollar, until this year when the dollar modestly recovered but visits did not. Between 2014 and 2016 the Canadian dollar dropped 22 per cent from about US95 cents to US74 cents, while border crossings dropped 20 per cent. The dollar is up ten per cent in 2017, but despite the extra buying power, border crossings have not rebounded. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

New era of oil supply certainty forces changes in Canadian producers' strategies
A shift in global oil markets sentiment is underway, replacing decades of scarcity fears with confidence in surpluses, capping oil prices and forcing changes in the way the industry works, observers say. "We're moving from a mindset where oil was considered a scarce resource to one now where it's more of a plentiful resource," said Steve Reynish, executive vice-president of strategy and corporate development at Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU), speaking at a conference in Calgary last week…. The world's current oil oversupply has been largely driven by U.S. shale oil and gas plays, Reynish said. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Canada's largest energy customer has boosted domestic oil production from less than four million barrels per day in 2008 to 9.2 million bpd now, while gas output has risen from 67 million cubic feet per day to 89 million cf/d. Dan Healing reports. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  423 AM PDT Tue Oct 17 2017  
 S wind 25 to 35 kt becoming W 15 to 25 kt early in the  morning. Combined seas 11 ft at 11 seconds. Rain in the morning then  a chance of rain in the afternoon.
 SW wind to 10 kt becoming S 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 9 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of  rain after midnight.

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

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Monday, October 16, 2017

10/16 Salmon, Robert Elofson, undersea listening, Navy easements, shoreline development, Mayne Is park, herbicides, McBarge, Site C, PSE clean power, Oak Bay

Canada geese [Audubon Field Guide]
Canada Geese - Migratory or Not
It's the time of year that geese migrate south for the winter. Isn't it? So why are there so many geese still hanging around, setting up housekeeping on our parks and golf courses? Did they decide to forgo the long trip north? In the early 1900s, a subspecies of non-migratory geese were imported by the hundreds to populate our wildlife refuges. Now, while many Canada Geese migrate south for the winter, these other geese stay - and multiply. (BirdNote)

Overcast: What's Going On With Salmon In Washington?
Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes talkes to colleagues Jim Brunner and Dan Beekman about the relationship between the release of more than 100,000 non-native Atlantic Salmon this summer and the alarming low numbers of young salmon from the Columbia River system out in the Pacific Ocean. (KNKX)

First Nations Test the Political Water with Fish Farm Protests
Around a blazing fire in the ‘Namgis Nation Big House on Tuesday, British Columbia Premier John Horgan told members and hereditary chiefs from eight Indigenous nations that he would honor the provincial government’s campaign promise to protect wild salmon, and meet with a delegation from the nations to continue discussions. But Horgan did not commit to the nations’ main demand to revoke licenses from fish farms operating in their waters. Six of the nations are six weeks into occupations and protests of two commercial fish farms off northern Vancouver Island. The nations say they’re not moving until the fish farms do. Erica Gies reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Return to the Salish Sea: Elwha Tribal Elder and Commercial Fisherman Robert Elofson
For many people in the Northwest, the undamming of the Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula marked a dramatic turning point. The largest dam removal in the world at the time, it unleashed the lifeblood of a watershed that fronts on the Salish Sea. Among the Salish people working on the project was Elwha tribal elder Robert Elofson, a man who dedicated many years to the effort as the tribe’s Director of River Restoration. He has returned to his passion and works as a commercial fisherman now, with a boat in Port Angeles. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Operations at Atlantic salmon farms continue
Since the collapse of an Atlantic salmon farm Aug. 20 in Skagit County, business has largely continued as usual for the seven remaining farms in the state. The state Department of Fish & Wildlife recently approved requests from Cooke Aquaculture, the company that operates the farms, to move salmon eggs or young fish to facilities in the state. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Extreme low flows in West End rivers prompt closures to protect salmon
River flows so low they impede salmon returning to rivers to spawn are prompting emergency fishing closures on several West End rivers beginning Monday. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will close the Quillayute, Sol Duc, Dickey and Hoh rivers to all fishing and sections of the Bogachiel and Calawah rivers Monday until further notice, it said on its website, Also Monday, Olympic National Park will prohibit fishing in the Quillayute, Dickey and Hoh River mouths and the portions of the rivers within park boundaries until flows are higher, said Penny Wagner, public information officer for the park. Leah Leach reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Washington fishermen are on front lines in fight against proposed Alaska mine
A Trump administration move to withdraw Obama-era restrictions on a proposed Alaska mine has reignited an environmental battle over a watershed sustaining huge runs of wild salmon that draw Washington fishermen north each summer. The Environmental Protection Agency proposal would allow Pebble Limited Partnership to apply for a permit to operate an open-pit mine extracting copper, gold and molybdenum in the Bristol Bay region…. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in a statement released in May, said the agency was committed to a fair permitting process that would listen to all voices. Yet he made the decision to propose the rollback on the same day he met with Pebble Partnership Chief Executive Tom Collier, according to a CNN report, and before he had a chance to consult with agency experts who were preparing a briefing on the mine project. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Government announces funds to improve underwater listening in B.C. waters
Scientists are getting $7.2 million from the federal government to expand a network of underwater listening devices around British Columbia's coast. The government says the money will help improve the collection of listening stations installed along the Pacific coast, especially in key areas used by killer whales. Ocean Networks Canada at the University of Victoria will use the money to augment its network of oceanographic radars and hydrophones that are already in the water. (Canadian Press)

Navy pays $4.92 million for easement fees in Jefferson County
The Navy has partnered with conservation organizations to preserve more than 3,310 acres in Jefferson County in areas near ongoing naval operations. The Navy paid land easement fees of $4.92 million to obtain usage rights for the acreage that spans from the east side of the Puget Sound from the Hood Canal Bridge up north toward Naval Magazine Indian Island. The partnership set aside 854 acres in the Chimacum Ridge, 154 acres of the historic Yarr Farm near and two sections of land near Mats Mats Bay of 817 acres and 1,485 acres. Julianne Stanford reports. (Kitsap Sun)

What is going on with waterfront redevelopment? Here are some answers
It’s been a long, meandering trip to redevelop the former Georgia-Pacific waterfront property, but the project is finally at a point where the public will start seeing some tangible activity beyond the makeover of the Granary Building. Construction of the two main streets into the waterfront district – Granary Avenue and Laurel Street – is scheduled to begin in November, while work on Waypoint Park near the Whatcom Waterway is set to begin in late November or early December. Construction of new trails and plans for a residential project are expected in the coming year. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

State taking comment on draft marine development plan
The state Department of Ecology released Friday a draft plan summarizing current and potential uses for the state’s shoreline areas…. Ecology’s draft plan, called a marine spatial plan, offers science-based guidance for determining the most appropriate locations for different uses, such as aquaculture, renewable energy development and military facilities, according to a news release…. Ecology is taking public comment through Dec. 12 on the plan and on an environmental impact statement, or EIS, that evaluates potential impacts of the plan. (Skagit Valley Herald)

New regional park coming to B.C.'s Mayne Island 
Conservationists, local governments and Southern Gulf Island residents are celebrating a new regional park. Their successful fundraising campaign has allowed for the purchase of 26 hectares on Mayne Island known as St. John Point…. Mayne Island is located about 40 kilometres southwest of Vancouver and can be accessed by ferry. St. John Point on Mayne Island is owned by three brothers, two of whom are United States residents. Prior to the sale, locals used the area informally. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Province investigating after allegations CN Rail improperly used herbicide
B.C.'s Ministry of Environment is reviewing claims that CN Rail improperly sprayed pesticides directly adjacent to the Skeena River between Terrace and Prince Rupert. Photographs taken along the river near CN tracks show what appears to be a line of dead vegetation that crosses creeks and waterways, according to the environmentalists who documented the more than 100 kilometre stretch of treated area. Ash Kelly report. (CBC)

With OK From EPA, Use Of Controversial Weedkiller Is Expected To Double
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it will let farmers keep spraying the weedkilling chemical dicamba on Monsanto’s new dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. The decision is a victory for the biotech giant and the farmers who want to use the company’s newest weed-killing technology. Farmers across the Midwest and Mid-South have been waiting for the EPA’s decision for months, ever since it became clear that dicamba was drifting into thousands of fields where it didn’t belong and damaging those crops. Some groups have called on the EPA to ban the most troublesome uses of dicamba, following the lead of regulators in Arkansas. The EPA, however, decided that the problems which occurred this past summer can be solved simply by adding a few new restrictions on the ways in which dicamba is used. Dan Charles reports. (NPR)

Expo 86 McBarge to become deep-sea museum in Vancouver
The famous floating McBarge from Expo 86 has finally found a permanent home, as a deep-sea museum in Vancouver.  The Deep Discovery Centre, which will celebrate the history of Pacific Ocean exploration and conservation, is under development by Howard Meakin, owner of the 57-metre-long barge, and Phil Nuytten, president of the Historical Diving Society of Canada and curator of the new centre. Meakin and Nuytten, who have been working together on the project for more than a year, said they are keeping the location of the museum a secret for now, but confirmed it will be in Vancouver. There had been speculation that the barge could end up in Nanaimo or Victoria. Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Scrapping Site C and developing wind and solar could save billions, analyst says
Scrapping the Site C Dam project and aggressively pursuing wind power could save B.C. between $2 and $4.4 billion according to an energy analyst hired by the Peace Valley Landowners Association, which opposes the project. Robert McCullough presented his findings Friday at a Vancouver hearing held by the B.C. Utilities Commission in Vancouver to review the project. He concluded that BC Hydro's thinking around Site C doesn't reflect today's realities. Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

PSE, industry group urge modified greenhouse-gas regulations
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) wants the Trump administration to keep regulating greenhouse-gas emissions even after the repeal of the federal Clean Power Plan. But any new effort should be more narrowly focused and offer states more time to come into compliance, according to a white paper released by a coalition formed by PSE and a dozen other utilities. The repeal of the federal Clean Power Plan was proposed this week by the Environmental Protection Agency. If it withstands legal challenges, the move would roll back one of President Barack Obama’s major efforts to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions from power plants. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Oak Bay cleans up derelict boats as problem persists along B.C.'s coast
Residents and local politicians are celebrating the removal of derelict vessels that, for years, have marred the shorelines in the District of Oak Bay, near Victoria, B.C. Over the weekend, several vessels were finally hauled to shore, broken up and taken away…. Oak Bay's government paid $4,000 for the clean-up, while the province provided $10,000. (CBC)

Permit hearing set for Andeavor project 
The Skagit County Hearing Examiner will hold a public hearing on a shoreline permit application for the Andeavor Anacortes Refinery’s Clean Products Upgrade Project. Andeavor Anacortes Refinery is the former Anacortes Tesoro Refinery. The hearing will be at 9 a.m. Nov. 2 in the Skagit County Board of Commissioners’ hearing room in Mount Vernon. (Skagit  Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  900 PM PDT Sun Oct 15 2017  
 E wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 7 ft at 11 seconds. A chance of rain in the morning then rain  likely in the afternoon.
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW after midnight. Wind  waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 8 ft at 11 seconds building to 10 ft at  11 seconds after midnight. Rain.

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

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Friday, October 13, 2017

10/13 Earth's Fate, farm fish $, vessel noise, dam rulings, oil spill woes, AK oysters, GBH, buffleheads

The Blue Marble [NASA, 1972]
The Fate of Earth
This week the New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert delivered the second annual Jonathan Schell Memorial Lecture on the Fate of the Earth, an event established by the Nation Institute in honor of the late Jonathan Schell, a longtime New Yorker staff writer, and named for “The Fate of the Earth,” a series of articles that Schell wrote for the magazine in 1982 and later published as a book. In these edited remarks, Kolbert speaks about "Humanity’s survival on this planet seems more uncertain than ever. But what happens when we look at ourselves through other creatures’ eyes?" (The New Yorker)

Fish-farming company offered money for Lummi Nation’s silence about net pens, letters show
Cooke Aquaculture offered to pay a premium price for Atlantic salmon caught by the Lummi Nation after a major spill from the company’s Cypress Island fish farm if the tribe would not advocate getting rid of net pen aquaculture. The tribe tartly rejected the offer. “Your demand to keep quiet for a few extra dollars is insulting,” Timothy Ballew II, chairman of the Lummi Indian Business Council, responded in a Sept. 14 letter. Nell Halse, vice president for communications for Cooke, said Wednesday the offer “was not an attempt to muzzle or insult the Lummi Nation, but rather an effort to negotiate toward common ground and respect the interests and concerns of both parties at the table …” Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Action needed now to restrict vessels in critical killer whale habitat, scientists warn
Government action is needed now, on an emergency basis, to restrict vessels within the critical habitat of endangered southern resident killer whales, marine scientists warned Thursday in Vancouver. “There are some short-term things that can be done — they’re practical, well-supported and cautionary,” Vancouver Aquarium whale researcher Lance Barrett-Lennard told a federally sponsored symposium on the killer whales. “We’d better stop talking about them and start doing them.” John Ford, an emeritus federal scientist who now teaches at the University of B.C., agreed that sport fishing and whale-watching boats can physically interfere with the whales’ ability to hunt, including their key summer prey, chinook salmon. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Salmon-Friendly Court Rulings On Columbia, Snake Dams Could Be Oveturned By Congress
A bill sponsored by several U.S. House members from the Northwest aims to overturn two recent court decisions on Columbia and Snake river dams. Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon rejected the federal plan for managing dams to protect salmon in the Columbia River Basin. He then ordered federal agencies to spill more water through the dams to help fish and to consider removing Snake River dams. A new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would allow Congress to overrule those decisions. House Bill 3144 reinstates the rejected plan and cancels court orders for spilling water and analyzing dam removal. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

'We're the ones that have to live here': Heiltsuk still feel impact of fuel spill
A year after a sinking tug spilled thousands of litres of fuel into the waters off Bella Bella, B.C., members of the Heiltsuk First Nation say their valuable clam beds are still contaminated. The Kirby Corporation's Nathan E. Stewart spilled an estimated 110,000 litres of diesel and another 2,000 litres of lubricants after it ran aground in the Seaforth Channel on Oct. 13, 2016. The spill sent contaminants into Gale Pass, a significant Heiltsuk harvesting site for manila clam and other shellfish. The clam beds earn up to $150,000 in income every year for the community. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Alaska’s Oyster Farmers Are Filling an Acidification-Driven Void
On a float house in Ketchikan’s George Inlet, dozens of cylindrical tanks teem with oyster larvae that range from tiny specks to small pebbles. These larvae number around 15 million, and once they’re done growing in the cold Alaskan waters, they’ll be sent to market across the state. As the Pacific Ocean acidifies—a consequence of carbon emissions—oyster farms off California, Washington State, and British Columbia have struggled to get larvae to grow into seed, the stage when young oysters’ shells have formed. Though scientists are not quite sure why, the water off Southeast Alaska hasn’t seen the same deleterious effects. Now, entrepreneurs and investors are eyeing the state, looking to turn a profit off the short-lived gains of climate change. Gloria Dickie reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Olympia neighbors band together to save great blue herons
Booming development in the Pacific Northwest is pricing out a lot of residents. But one Olympia neighborhood has plans to protect some of its longtime inhabitants: a colony of great blue herons. Residents near West Bay Woods wanted to save a heron nest three years ago, so they formed a nonprofit. Daniel Einstein is president of the Olympia Coalition for Ecosystem Preservation, which raised more than a million dollars to keep 10 acres from being developed. Casey Martin reports. (KUOW)

Saanich Peninsula Bufflehead Festival gets bigger for 2017
What started out as a single day’s event to welcome the punctual Bufflehead duck back to the Saanich Peninsula during its annual migration, has become a three-day affair. The involvement of Nature Canada and the Robert Bateman Centre and others in the event created by the Friends of Shoal Harbour Bird Sanctuary, is raising the profile of the small sea duck. Research done locally into the migratory habits of the Bufflehead, show that on the 298th day of every year — or October 15 — the duck returns to Shoal Harbour in Sidney and North Saanich. The event starts Oct. 13 with a public reception at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea in Sidney from 7 to 9 p.m. Steven Heywood reports. (Victoria News)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Fri Oct 13 2017  
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  6 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of showers.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW after midnight. Wind waves  2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 9 seconds.
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at  9 seconds. A slight chance of rain in the morning then a chance of  rain in the afternoon.
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5  ft at 9 seconds.
 SE wind to 10 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind waves 1  ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds.

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

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

10/12 Sturgeon, SRKW, boat noise, Samish chinook, AK sockeye, well ban, Fidalgo Academy, SuperFund

White sturgeon [Andy Wright/Sturgeon Conservation Soc.]
White Sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus
The white sturgeon is a unique freshwater fish species that plays a significant role in British Columbia's cultural and social heritage, as well as our economy. The white sturgeon belongs to the sturgeon family Acipenseridae. Not only is it the largest sturgeon species in North America, it is also the largest freshwater fish species in North America…. White Sturgeon are found in 3 major drainages on the west coast of North America including the Sacramento (in California), Columbia (in British Columbia, Idaho and Washington) and Fraser systems…. Some individuals are over 100 years old… (Environment Canada) See also: Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society

Frustrations mount over dwindling B.C. orca population at DFO symposium
Environmentalists invited to Vancouver's orca symposium left frustrated after hearing few solutions from the federal government to restore B.C.'s dwindling killer whale population. Six orcas along the B.C. South Coast have died over the last two years, reducing the total population to 77. Last month, a young killer whale was spotted malnourished along the south coast. Researchers believe it has also died. "We haven't heard anything from the government yet about what they're going to do this week, next month, in the next six months, to protect the orcas — and that's what we're waiting to hear," said Christianne Wilhelmson executive director of the Georgia Strait Alliance. More than 200 stakeholders were in attendance at the event, which runs until Thursday. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Vessel noise is reducing ability of killer whales to hunt by about 25 per cent, new research suggests
New research suggests that underwater noise from vessel traffic in the Salish Sea is reducing the ability of endangered southern resident killer whales to hunt by 20 to 25 per cent, a Port of Vancouver official said Wednesday. Orla Robinson, manager of the port’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation program, told a killer whale symposium in Vancouver that the research — based on “predictive models” rather than actual observations — also suggests that large ocean-going ships are responsible for about two-thirds of that diminished hunting ability and whale watching about one-third. Robinson also said that hydrophones indicate that while there is variation in vessel noises by location — ferries on scheduled routes, recreational boaters in the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands — ocean-going ships are responsible for the greatest underwater noise in the region. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Too few returning chinook prompts closure of Samish River fishing
Due to anticipated low returns of chinook salmon, the lower Samish River was closed Tuesday to all fishing. The state Department of Fish & Wildlife closed the river to fishing from the mouth of the river at Samish Bay to the Interstate 5 bridge. The closure is needed to increase the number of returning fish available to the state’s Samish River Hatchery. (Skagit Valley Herald)

U.S. Members of Congress urge protections for Alaska salmon fishery
More than 40 U.S. House and Senate members have asked President Donald Trump to maintain protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay region, which produces about half of the world's sockeye salmon. The Democrats say a federal proposal to ease restrictions on mining in the area is egregious and illogical. The stalled Pebble Mine project received new life when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it would move to lift restrictions on development sought by the Obama administration as part of a legal settlement. (Associated Press)

Note: Doug Myers, Maryland Scientist at Chesapeake Bay Foundation and former science director at People For Puget Sound, provided the following comment on the recent blog , Little Progress Made Towards A Puget Sound "Fishable, Swimmable, Diggable," Says Partnership After 10 Years -- "In an uncharacteristic upbeat note for me, I can say from the Chesapeake that it can be done.  The investment has been and continues to be HUGE.  Efforts to educate and engage the public can never stop.  Water quality and living resources will respond once the level of effort matches the magnitude of the problem.  I'm just sorry that in my 15 years in Puget Sound, we never reached that critical mass.  ESA is clearly insufficient.  Maybe one of those non-profits that still exist could follow the Chesapeake's lead and sue EPA under the Clean Water Act.  Progress made since CBF did that in 2009 has been remarkable." Maybe there's some hope. See last month's news item: Judge OKs Lawsuit Seeking Better Protection of Puget Sound

For the fourth time, Whatcom County Council curbs building that relies on rural wells
For the fourth time, the County Council is restricting new rural developments that rely on domestic wells in Whatcom County. On Tuesday, the council voted 6-1 for the six-month extension. Council member Barbara Brenner voted “no.” This moratorium runs another six months, ending in April. The measure replaces the existing six-month restriction that ends Oct. 30. The council’s actions were in response to a state Supreme Court ruling in October 2016 that required the county to make sure there was enough water – both legally and physically – in streams for fish and those holding senior water rights. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Get educated on the environment at Fidalgo Bay Academy
Climate change ecologist, conservation biologist, sustainability strategist and environmental planner Phoebe Barnard will present the keynote address at the Fidalgo Shoreline Academy. The event is put on yearly by Friends of Skagit Beaches as a way to provide education on some of the many aspects of marine and shoreline environments in this area…. The academy, developed as a day for learning, is 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Northwest Educational Services District 189 Building, 1601 R Ave. next to Seafarers Memorial Park. Cost for the event is $30 plus $10 for an optional lunch provided by The Store. Registration, at, is due by Thursday, Oct. 19, to guarantee a lunch. Joan Pringle reports. (GoAnacortes)

EPA Vows To Speed Cleanup Of Toxic Superfund Sites Despite Funding Drop
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is vowing to speed the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites, part of a shift away from climate change and toward what he calls the “basics” of clean air and water. The EPA’s Superfund program manages the cleanup of some of the most toxic waste sites — Pruitt says the EPA will soon name a top 10 list of sites to focus on. Joe Wertz reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Thu Oct 12 2017  
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 5 ft at  10 seconds. Rain in the morning then showers likely in the  afternoon.
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft  at 10 seconds. A 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, October 11, 2017

10/11 Squid, sewage control, chinook for whales, Fraser sturgeon, bad sushi, feeding deer

Opalescent squid [David R. Andrew/Central Coast Biodiversity]
California Market aka Opalescent Squid Doryteuthis (formerly Loligo) opalescens
California Market Squid range from Baja, Mexico to Alaska.  This species lives within 200 miles of shore, moves off the continental shelf by day, and can be found in depths up to 500 m (1,640 ft).  Shoals of adults move to the surface at night to hunt.   Spawning occurs in aggregations with females creating 5-20 eggs capsules containing 100-300 fertilized eggs.   Females attach egg capsules to sandy bottoms with a thin anchoring strand.  Wave surge ventilates the eggs for 45-75 days depending on water temperature.  Paralarvae emerge and grow into juveniles and then into adults that die after spawning.  Over the course of their development, California Market Squid progress through a diet that is dominated by copepods, then euphausiids, and eventually fish, crabs, shrimp, mollusks and other juvenile squid.  They are preyed upon during every developmental stage with predators ranging from sea stars to fish, marine mammals, and birds. (WDFW)

NWEA Petition Seeks Control of Puget Sound Sewage Discharges
(News Release 10/10/17) Pursuing action to clean up sewage discharges, a Northwest environmental group called on the State of Washington's Department of Ecology (Ecology) to develop a clean-up plan for Puget Sound that is required by the federal Clean Water Act.  The demand, contained in a formal 77-page petition for rulemaking filed today with the state agency, seeks to force Ecology to drastically reduce the amounts of nitrogen pollution flowing from cities and towns into Puget Sound where it is causing unsafe levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, widespread nuisance algal blooms, and food web changes. (Northwest Environmental Advocates)

Stopping chinook fishing might not be enough to help hungry killer whales: salmon official
Stopping all fishing of chinook, including harvesting by First Nations, likely won’t provide an instant food solution for endangered Southern Resident killer whales, the president of the Pacific Salmon Foundation said Tuesday. Brian Riddell, a former senior official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said in an interview there are limited options to help the whales other than to stop fishing. “Can you do it? Certainly. That’s something that could be done right now, if that was the priority. You could stop all fishing and put all the fish on the spawning grounds…. Riddell said he is not convinced that taking “large-scale immediate actions are going to make an immediate difference” for the whales. He also believes it is possible to provide limited in-river First Nations chinook catches without having a major impact on productivity. In Canada, only conservation takes priority over First Nations’ food, social, and ceremonial fishing. What is needed over the longer term is to increase the overall abundance of chinook, including protection of their habitat, while acknowledging the impact of other marine predators on those same chinook, he said. “That’s probably the only way we’ll make a significant difference.” One option for increasing productivity is to acclimate chinook smolts through their transition to sea water by feeding them in temporary sea-pens. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Proposed bridges over Fraser River threaten sturgeon, environmentalists warn
Environmental groups are warning that a proposed bridge development over the Fraser River near Chilliwack could irreversibly harm critical white sturgeon spawning habitats. The B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF), is asking provincial and federal governments for a full environmental review of the proposed construction of two bridges to Carey and Herrling islands…. The BCWF is one of a number of environmental groups that have written to provincial and federal ministers, outlining their concerns and pleading for an immediate intervention. White sturgeon are classified as"imperilled" in B.C. Cathy Keamey reports. (CBC)

Here's One More Reason To Be Scared Of Cheap Sushi
Yet another alarm is being raised about the dangers posed by a staple of local cuisine — seafood. A new federal study says that fish imported from other countries contain potentially hazardous levels of drug residue, which can cause allergic reactions or even cancer in consumers. About 90 percent of all seafood in the United States comes from overseas, and about half of that comes from fish farms, according to the General Accountability Office. Major suppliers of seafood to the United States include China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. Kristin Downey reports. (Civil Beat)

So you love feeding deer. How much longer will you be able to do it in Bellingham?
Feeding wild deer and raccoons is being banned in Bellingham city limits over concerns that doing so isn’t good for the animals, or the people who are affected by the activity. The City Council voted 6-1 on Monday to prohibit the intentional feeding of deer and raccoons. Council member April Barker was the no vote. The new rule is expected to go into effect in about a month. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PDT Wed Oct 11 2017  
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft  at 11 seconds. A chance of showers.
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft  at 10 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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