Monday, March 12, 2012

3/12 Storm, special session, Padden Trails, goeducks, tsunami, quake, Mitch Friedman, pipeline, Elwha, plane fuel, Rayonier cleanup, coal petition, beavers, Spinnaker, bald eagles, cutthroats

The Big Wind (George McIntyre)
Cliff Mass writes: "It's showtime.  The coastal storm is now rapidly intensifying offshore and winds are increasingly over the coast and over NW Washington... a serious storm, but a significant notch lower in intensity." Storm Update

Oh, the Washington State legislature returns in special session today to pass a balanced state budget... Special session begins in Olympia, but with limited agenda

A request to rezone 113 acres west of Lake Padden to allow more housing and include apartments and condominiums will go before the Bellingham City Council today. If approved, the change would more than double the number of allowed homes to 492 - 200 of them multi-family and 292 houses or duplexes. The request from landowner Padden Trails LLC is opposed by six area neighborhood associations, including the one for Samish neighborhood, where the land is located.  Bellingham to consider request to allow more homes west of Lake Padden

Commercial geoduck farms in Puget Sound are not dramatically altering intertidal habitat for other species, particularly after protective plastic pipes and nets are removed, said Sean McDonald, a University of Washington researcher, during a geoduck research symposium last week. Christopher Dunagan in the Kitsap Sun reports: Studies of geoduck farms show limited effects on habitat  

Scientists and planners are reconsidering the region's tsunami risk in light of the massive walls of water that swept nearly 20,000 people to their deaths on the day the Japanese simply call 3-11. The tsunami reached 130 feet high in some places, taking everyone by surprise. Levels that extreme are unlikely in the Pacific Northwest, but experts say it's possible some parts of our coast could be hit by waves of up to 100 feet the next time the offshore fault called the Cascadia subduction zone snaps. Sandi Doughton in the Seattle Times reports:  On NW coast, potential for tsunami waves up to 100 feet now seems possible

And: A monster earthquake rivaling the one that devastated Japan last March is all but a certainly on North America's Pacific coast. No one can say when it will occur, but when it does a huge and powerful wall of water could hit the outer coast areas within 30 to 45 minutes. Monster earthquake threat looms over B.C. coastal communities

The former radical environmentalist's recent run of wildlife-habitat successes were mostly created by some degree of quiet collaboration with traditional environmental foes such as federal land managers, ranchers, loggers and hound hunters. Ron Judd in the Seattle Times swoons: A once radical Mitch Friedman now collaborates for a wilder Northwest

The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline threatens critical habitat of humpback whales off the coast of British Columbia, says newly released internal federal documents from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The warning was included in a summary of a draft recovery strategy for the species that was to be introduced in 2010. DFO says Enbridge pipeline a risk to whales  And: Courts could overturn pipeline because of "unreasonable" consultation with natives, feds cautioned  And: B.C. oilsands pipeline opponents to bring message to Ottawa panel discussion

Three excavators working in tandem are nearly done removing the last remnants of the Elwha Dam in the river's original channel and the hundreds of tons of dirt, logs and concrete dumped into the narrow V-shaped canyon in 1912 to plug a blowout that occurred during construction. Tom Callis and Arwyn Rice in the Peninsula Daily News update Reclaiming the Elwha: Salmon to swim past former dam site this week for first time in century

Small airplanes are the leading source of lead pollution in the nation's air. The group Friends of the Earth petitioned the EPA six years ago to regulate leaded aviation fuel. Now they're suing. John Ryan at KUOW reports: EPA Sued To Get Lead Out Of Aviation Fuel

The time line for the Rayonier cleanup has been pushed back by another year because of the long-delayed release of Ecology’s Port Angeles Harbor pollution study and a two-month extension of its public comment period The state Department of Ecology is now requiring Rayonier Inc. to have a cleanup plan for its former mill site finished in December 2014 rather than the end of 2013.  Rayonier mill site cleanup pushed back another year

Opponents of a proposed coal shipping terminal at Cherry Point kicked off an initiative campaign Saturday morning as part of an effort to derail SSA Marine's plans to increase coal train traffic through Bellingham.  Supporters of the Coal-Free Bellingham campaign will be knocking on doors and staking out public sidewalks as they try to get 5,000 signatures by June 29, so the initiative can be on the November ballot.  Activists start gathering signatures in hopes of banning coal trains in Bellingham

Beaver ponds are probably not the first image you have of the Northgate Mall. But come to the Beaver Pond Natural Area just south of it and see what you’re missing – habitat restoration in the big city, with all the community and pitfalls that go with the territory. Martha Baskin at Green Acre Radio reports on Urban Beavers at the Mall Face an Uphill Battle

The death of Spinnaker the Pacific white-sided dolphin at the Vancouver Aquarium yesterday remains a mystery, says staff veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena. Stomach inflammation, pancreatic cancer and bone marrow problems may be  potential causes. Death of dolphin Spinnaker remains a mystery  

Oregon's bald eagle population has grown nine-fold over the last 30 years and the state's Fish and Wildlife Commission has voted to remove the iconic bird from the state list of endangered species. Oregon Removes Bald Eagles From Threatened List

“Searun cutts are close to my heart, and they’re a truly mysterious, unique trout,” writes Chester Allen, former Olympian outdoor writer and author of Fly Fishing for Sea-Run Cutthroat. “The Northwest, British Columbia and Alaska are the only places to find these beautiful, wild trout that love to live in saltwater. Puget Sound is probably the best place on the planet to find and catch these trout – even though a couple million people live within a short drive.” Former reporter pens fishing book  

Now, your thank-goodness-for-tug-weather:
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON MAR 12 2012
STORM WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
TODAY
S WIND 35 TO 50 KT. COMBINED SEAS 11 TO 15 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 11 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. SW SWELL 12 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS.

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