Monday, March 5, 2012

3/5 Gray whales, lege endgame, toxicants, herring, 1st District, 'poticrete,' Bowker Cr, Squalicum Cr, salmon ceremonies, McAbee fossils, BP Gulf payout

(Photo: Laura Francis, NOAA)
The first gray whale in the annual spring migration up the coast was spotted last week off Tofino, marking the largest and most timeless sign that spring is on the way. Whale sighting marks start of migration

There was high drama on the floor of the Washington state Senate last Friday. Three Democrats broke ranks to join minority Republicans. It was a coup of sorts. This newly formed “philosophical majority” took control of the Senate and forced four bills to the floor -– including an alternate budget-balancing proposal. Minority Republicans force budget to floor of Wash. Senate  

Game time: Environmentalists in Washington state are fighting last-minute legislative proposals they say will weaken rules aimed at keeping toxic pollution out of state waters. One House measure would make it voluntary for dozens of cities and counties in Western Washington to adopt greener strategies to control stormwater runoff, considered the biggest threat to Puget Sound and other state waters. Another idea being floated would delay those rules by three years. Fight in Olympia over solutions for toxic runoff

A Washington State University researcher Michael Skinner has demonstrated that a variety of environmental toxicants-- including jet fuel, dioxin, plastics and the pesticides DEET and permethrin -- can have negative effects on not just an exposed animal but the next three generations of its offspring. The animal's DNA sequence remains unchanged, but the compounds change the way genes turn on and off. Effects of Environmental Toxicants Reach Down Through Generations

A small group of volunteers has been working in the dark, beneath the docks at Squamish Terminals north of Vancouver, to restore a herring run long thought lost. Mark Hume reports:  A herring revival spawned from the depths of darkness

The once-a-decade redrawing of boundaries converted the 1st District from an urban safe haven for a liberal Democrat to a mix of farmland and suburbia from the Canadian border to Medina, where partisans are equally divided -- and where Republicans can win. One Republican, six Democrats and an independent are vying for the seat vacated by Rep. Jay Inslee who is running for governor. Jerry Cornfield reports: Suburbs, farms and mansions: New 1st District a politically battleground

Bellingham Public Works built a missing segment of the Whatcom Creek Trail using LEDs for streetlights, porous pavement and concrete partially made from old toilets and has won a silver Greenroads Certification for the "Poticrete" project. Bellingham earns certification for environmentally friendly street project

Over a century, Bowker Creek’s natural path has been piped and paved, boxed and walled with concrete. The creek running behind Oak Bay High emerges from a culvert and streams along concrete channels before continuing to the sea. On Friday, the federal government announced it will provide $738,000 for a project to restore the section of the creek running south of the school.  The 100-year plan to restore Bowker Creek  See also: 'Watershed moment' for Greater Victoria creek

The state Department of Ecology will provide Bellingham $787,500 in funding and loan the city almost $1 million more to reroute and improve habitat on a segment of Squalicum Creek. The loan would be paid back over 20 years at a 2.7 percent interest rate. Ecology set to provide Bellingham $1.77M for Squalicum Creek project

Courtnery Flatt at EarthFix reports on preparations being made by Columbia River Indian tribes for opening of spring fisheries. Predictions of strong salmon runs are giving the tribes extra reason to celebrate. Ceremonial Fisheries Culturally Important to NW Tribes

After a decade of scientists arguing the insanity of issuing mineral leases allowing the mining of the world-renowned McAbee fossil beds for cat litter, British Columbia's government finally has begun the process of protecting them with a heritage designation.  It took 10 years, but B.C. gov't has 'seen the light' on important fossil beds

BP expects to pay out $7.8 billion as a result of last Friday’s court settlement and anticipates that a separate claims fund run by Ken Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility will cease at some point. People waiting for money from Feinberg's Gulf Coast Claims Facility can take what the settlement vehicles offer them or opt out and make a claim directly to a BP-run entity. If they don't like what they get from that entity, they can sue. The U.S. Justice Department said Friday's settlement is not the end of the road. BP expects to pay $7.8B in Gulf spill suit deal

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON MAR 5 2012
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY
W WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE
AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 10 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN EARLY...THEN SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 10 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS.

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