Monday, May 14, 2012

5/14 Coal trains, dead porpoises, Navy exercises, Union River, seafood toxin, Kimberly-Clark, BC LNG

PHOTO: Stephan Michaels
What a weekend. Cliff Mass writes, "On Saturday it became toasty here in Northwest, with many locations gets into the 70s and lower 80s.  Yet a number of locations exprienced daily minimum temperature records in the morning..."  Cold Records with Warm Temperatures  

Bellingham City Council will discuss today a new report that warns of likely waterfront disruptions if a massive new rail siding is constructed to accommodate coal trains headed for a proposed export pier at Cherry Point. At 1:55 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, the council's transportation committee expects to take a closer look at a recent consultant's report commissioned by Communitywise Bellingham. That report indicates that the single track on the BNSF Railway Co. mainline through the city is already close to its practical capacity.  Coal train complexities face Bellingham City Council

North Sound Baykeeper dubs Sanitary Service Company a Stormwater Hero.

Three dead porpoises have washed ashore on Whidbey Island in a matter of days, and now some experts are wondering if the animals were ill - or the cause of their deaths is something worse. One of the porpoises was found a few yards away from the iconic Admiralty Lighthouse on Whidbey Island, and Susan Berta is hoping to find answers that will shed light on the mystery. The dead harbor porpoise found near the lighthouse is the third one she has investigated this week. Just as concerning is what happened north of here, along the San Juan Islands. In early May, over a seven-day stretch, eight porpoises were found dead along the shoreline. Porpoise deaths raise alarms about health of Puget Sound   

The U.S. Navy may hurt more dolphins and whales by using sonar and explosives in Hawaii and California than thought, says an analysis that reflects new research and covers naval activities in a wider area than previous studies. The Navy estimates its use of explosives and sonar may unintentionally cause more than 1,600 instances of hearing loss or other injury to marine mammals each year, according to a draft environmental impact statement that covers training and testing planned from 2014 to 2019. The Navy calculates the explosives could potentially kill more than 200 marine mammals a year. Sonar, explosives pose high risk for marine mammals  

A proposed assessment of habitat conditions in the Union River could be a major step toward increasing the number of baby salmon that can survive in the river, experts say. The $125,000 survey would identify the best places to restore channel complexity and boost salmon productivity year after year in this highly developed region near Belfair, said Mendy Harlow of the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. Critics of Union River restoration, including Ken VanBuskirk of Belfair, question whether the watershed can ever be restored to high productivity, given the numbers of homes built along the river in Mason County and up into Kitsap. Union River restoration seen as key to summer chum salmon return  

 NOAA scientists have found a novel way to detect low level exposure to a seafood toxin in marine mammals. While high level exposure has long presented a significant health threat, the outcome of increasing low-level toxin threats was unknown. Subsistence shellfish harvesters, particularly in coastal and tribal communities, are most at risk. Martha Baskin reports on Green Acre Radio.  NOAA Scientists Discover Novel Way to Detect Low Level Exposure to Seafood Toxin:  Students at Northwest Indian College Learn How to Conduct Tests  

The Port of Everett is aggressively exploring whether it should buy the 66-acre Kimberly-Clark site, which is for sale after the waterfront pulp-paper mill closed last month.  It's a rare piece of real estate: a large, industrial tract with access to a deep-water channel on Puget Sound, a wharf, a railroad, truck access and a huge, dedicated water supply pipeline.  Port considers buying K-C mill site    See also: Potential buyers eye Kimberly-Clark's former mill site in Everett  

Public access to the waterfront should be a top concern for the redevelopment of the Kimberly-Clark mill site. That's one of the key findings of a city survey that asked the public what they think should happen to the prime waterfront land.  Other top responses favor family-wage jobs and cleaning up pollution on site.  Public wants access to waterfront via mill site  

B.C. Premier Christy Clark is prepared to alter her government’s strict climate-change targets to pave the way for her plan to create a liquefied natural gas industry in the province. Ms. Clark is in Japan this week seeking investors and buyers for a string of proposed LNG plants on British Columbia’s north coast. In an interview before her departure, she said she expects legislated targets to reduce the province’s emissions will have to change.  LNG plans may alter B.C.'s climate-change goals   

A special issue in the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes looks at how hatcheries are affecting wild fish populations. Research for the issue came from scientists around the Pacific Ocean – from Japan to California. One of the major findings: hatchery fish may be outcompeting wild fish for food in the Bering Sea. New Research: Hatchery Salmon Posing Problems For Wild Stocks  

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON MAY 14 2012
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 3 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
 PATCHY FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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