Monday, May 7, 2012

5/7 Kimberly-Clark, chinook fishing, orca deaths, Wild Olympics, spill cleanup, plant diversity, Ediz Hook, coal protests, spot prawns, tangled whale, Keystone redux

[The Everett Herald]
New blog: Travel Notes: Where the GOP Sounds Like Teddy Roosevelt

Cliff Mass asks: “Why are my seeds not germinating and rotting in the soil? Well, I don't pretend to be an expert in this, but I suspect it has something to do so with the temperature of the soil.” Soil Temperatures and Gardening  

For decades, the Kimberly-Clark plant provided countless jobs in Snohomish County and paper products to millions of people. Now that it's closed, the plant is leaving behind another, not-so-positive legacy. Dioxins -- toxic substances thought to cause cancer in humans -- have been found in the waterway next to the plant at a level 15 times higher than what the state considers safe. The dioxins in sediment under the water are a result of the bleaching process in making paper. Bill Sheets reports.  Kimberly-Clark mill leaves a toxic mess behind

Fishermen who catch chinook salmon in the Salish Sea probably are not depriving killer whales of a meal — at least not to the extent that some people believed.  That's the preliminary conclusion of an independent panel of seven U.S. and Canadian scientists. The group was convened to figure out whether the endangered Southern Resident orca population would do better if salmon fishing were reduced or eliminated. Christopher Dunagan reports. Human fishing shown to have little effect on orcas  

Despite assurances from federal officials, San Juan Island residents and officials seem skeptical that Navy training exercises adequately protect local whales. "The people in the San Juans have a special protective feeling about the southern resident orca whales here,” Councilman Howie Rosenfeld told representatives of the Navy at a public meeting in Friday Harbor, Tuesday. The U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet environmental program manager, three other managers and a Navy lawyer came to the island on May 1, telling the San Juan County Council and an overflow audience that testing and training in local waters are critical to the mission of the fleet. Council grills Navy panel over killer whale protections

In a major concession to the forest industry, the Wild Olympics Campaign is accepting the elimination of a “willing-buyer, willing-seller” provision of a land and scenic preservation plan — originally generated by the group — that would have allowed privately owned land to be absorbed into Olympic National Park, group organizer Connie Gallant of Quilcene said. Under the willing-seller, willing-buyer arrangement, the 922,000-acre park — 1,440 square miles — could have purchased up to 20,000 acres, or 30 square miles, of privately owned land outside the park only if a land owner was willing to sell it. It would have allowed the nation’s 13th largest national park to skirt the current legal requirement that the park can now expand its borders only by an act of Congress. Concession made in Wild Olympics wilderness plan   Also: Danny Westneat in the Seattle Times: Olympic National Park expansion felled by politics of misinformation

A ring of proposed pipeline and resource development projects surrounding Vancouver Island would dramatically increase the number of tankers and freighters in nearby waterways, and there are growing fears - on both sides of the border - that Canada is not prepared to deal with a major oil spill. Judith Lavoie reports.  Is Canada prepared for an oil disaster?

The biggest toys in B.C.'s oil-spill cleanup toybox are stashed on Vancouver Island. Western Canada Marine Response Corp., the only Transport Canada-certified organization responsible for cleaning up marine oil spills on the West Coast, has caches of equipment in communities from Port Hardy to Esquimalt, including a 56-metre barge in Esquimalt, the organization's largest skimming vessel in Nanaimo and zoombooms, floating bladders and other goodies in eight Island communities. Even with that stash, it could take WCMRC up to 72 hours, plus travel time, to assemble the equipment at the scene of a major spill - a time frame that exceeds Transport Canada standards. Judith Lavoie reports.  The gear's here, but spill may be far off   See also:  Taxpayers last resort for cleanup tab

Loss of biodiversity appears to affect ecosystems just as much as pollution, climate change and other major stressors on the environment, according to a new study from the international research team - based at nine institutions in the U.S., Canada and Sweden. Their results were published online in the journal Nature on Wednesday, May 2. WWU biologist: Loss of plant biodiversity could affect ecosystems as much as global climate change, pollution

Habitat restoration is planned on a 1,200-foot stretch of Ediz Hook this summer. The Lower Elwha ­Klallam tribe and state Department of Natural Resources will restore the “A-frame” site on the spit, a former log dump area that was used until the 1970s.  It will be cleared of fill and existing structures during an eight-week period starting June 16. Restoration work planned on Ediz Hook this summer

Hundreds of coal train opponents rallied through downtown Bellingham Saturday, May 5, in protest of a proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point. More than 450 people, under the banners of several local anti-coal groups, marched from City Hall to Maritime Heritage Park at noon. Protesters turn out in hundreds for anti-coal march in Bellingham

About a dozen people were arrested Saturday after protesters in White Rock tried to block a coal shipment arriving by rail for export from B.C. ports. The arrests were peaceful and all were released after being served with $115 tickets for trespassing on railway property, the RCMP said in a release. The protesters, from British Columbians for Climate Action, began gathering on Marine Drive near the White Rock pier Saturday morning, with numbers fluctuating between 25 and 40 people, the release says. At about 6 p.m. some walked onto the rail line just east of the pier and erected a banner that said "Stop Coal - Keep It In the Ground." The Burlington North Santa Fe stopped short of the protest. White Rock protestors arrested after blocking a coal shipment

This week, you might see chefs around town with Cheshire smiles and maybe even leaping and clicking their heels. Why? The spot prawn season begins tomorrow at high noon. This West Coast specialty intoxicates the minds of chefs. Nothing says West Coast seafood as elegantly as spot prawns. There’s a certain elegance in spot prawn biology, too. In a move called sequential hermaphroditism, they start life as males and in their last year (about the third year), they turn into females to lay some 2,000 to 4,000 eggs. Spot prawns: A West Coast treasure

Crab fisherman Mark Anello noticed something odd near his boat off the Northern California coast: three buoys floating nearby were moving. Motoring closer he saw a gray whale tangled in a large fishing line. It was the same whale, officials determined later, that was first spotted hundreds of miles south off the Orange County coast April 17, dragging several buoys attached to a net.  At that time, rescuers attempted to free the marine mammal, but it disappeared. It was spotted about a week later still entangled off the coast of Monterey County.  Northern California fishermen free entangled whale

The energy hot potato known as the Keystone XL pipeline was back to the State Department, which announced Friday that it had received a new application from developer TransCanada that includes a reworked route through Nebraska.  Environmental groups and industry quickly lined up on opposite sides, while the Obama administration said a final decision is not likely before next year. Reworked Keystone pipeline application back for US review

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 837 PM PDT SUN MAY 6 2012
MON
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 5 TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
MON NIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
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