Thursday, September 20, 2012

9/20 State forecast, Skagit water, BC CG, natural gas, Port Angeles esplanade, Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, Victoria sewage, "Ocean Frontiers," Whidbey prairie, Norm Dicks, Gig Harbor pier, top 20

Tethys, daughter of Uranus and Gaia
If you like to watch: Amazing Video: Clever Bird Goes Fishing  

Upcoming: 9/21 San Juan County Planning Commission workshop on docks and bulkheads portion of its shoreline master program; 9/23 The Ride For Cherry Point; 9/24 Anacortes City Council vote on expanding UGA for Tethys bottling plant; 9/24 Bellingham City Council meets on Gateway Pacific Terminal; 9/25 Ecology hearing in Marysville on oil spill damage assessment and contingency plan rules

Washington economic forecasters said Wednesday they see a slight improvement in the state’s financial outlook, but the next governor will enter office next year staring at another shortfall. Compared with past forecasts, state government is expected to bring in about $29 million more in the current biennium, according to the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. That should mean that lawmakers won’t need to come back for a special session to balance the budget. The biennium that begins in July may be more problematic. Finance officials expect that the state will have a roughly $500 million shortfall in that budget, with more needed as a buffer, and lawmakers are also looking to add some $1 billion in funding to education. Mike Baker reports. State’s pockets not quite so empty – until July 2013  

Skagit County Public Works released its annual Water Quality Program report Wednesday, and the news about Skagit county’s waterways is a “mixed bag,” said Rick Haley, water quality analyst for the county. The report, meant to track water quality inside and outside agricultural zones, includes positive data on the Skagit River’s water quality, as well as disappointing figures on streams in the Samish and Skagit River areas. Many did not meet state water-quality standards meant to protect local salmon from poor dissolved oxygen levels and unhealthy temperatures, the report showed. “None of the 40 sites has met all water quality standards for the entire project, although some sites meet the standards most of the time,” according to the report. Erinn Unger reports. Report: Skagit’s water quality ‘a mixed bag’  

A much-debated high-rise condo project at Point Wells could be kept smaller and shorter than the plans a developer has submitted, if new Snohomish County regulations pass. The code and planning changes would limit the waterfront development to about 2,600 condo units and a maximum height of 124 feet. Developer Blue Square Real Estate previously applied to build 3,081 homes in towers up to 180 feet tall. Representatives from Woodway, the city of Shoreline and the Save Richmond Beach neighborhood group said Wednesday that they're ready to support a development under the latest proposal, if the county agrees to some suggested tweaks limiting the scale. That would be a departure from years of legal challenges. Noah Haglund reports. Opponents would back Point Wells if regulations pass

Kitsap County Planning Commission put the finishing touches on a proposed Shoreline Master Program, voted unanimously to approve the document, then passed it along for final action by the county commissioners. The county commissioners have tentatively scheduled two public hearings on the shorelines plan, Oct. 22 in Port Orchard and Oct. 29 in Poulsbo, according to county planner Dave Greetham. The final debate by the planning commission focused on aquaculture, including the future development of geoduck farms and their use of plastic pipes to protect the giant clams from predators. Christopher Dunagan reports. Planning commission adopts Kitsap County shorelines plan  

Vessel traffic controllers in Canada’s busiest port are sometimes temporarily blinded when the sun illuminates a spider web spun over a camera installed on Lions Gate Bridge. The officers who monitor the 3,000 foreign freighters and 80 cruise ships that arrive in Vancouver harbour annually have a backup plan for those moments when high-tech fails, however. They use binoculars and old-fashioned line of sight to augment the sophisticated radar, GPS and radio information that is constantly tracking vessels. But federal cutbacks will soon rob marine traffic controllers of that simple ability to walk to the window and take a look, says a union representative. Under an amalgamation plan, staff now perched atop an office tower over the Vancouver harbour will be relocated to Victoria next year. Mark Hume reports.  Cutbacks leave port workers worried about marine safety

Canada could some day export nine billion cubic feet per day of liquefied natural gas to Asia through five proposed plants on the West Coast, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told a Japanese audience this week. Those major energy projects come with little of the opposition from politicians and native groups that threaten the proposed Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline. In a speech to the Liquefied Natural Gas Producer-Consumer Conference in Tokyo this week, Oliver trumpeted Canada's status as a rising "global energy leader."  Canada eyes Asian markets for B.C. natural gas exports  

The Port Angeles City Council has taken money from the city's marketing and visitor signage programs to cover construction costs for the esplanade phase of the waterfront improvement project. Council members voted 6-1 Tuesday, with Councilman Max Mania opposed, to approve a $3.9 million contract to Primo Construction of Carlsborg, the lowest of four bids submitted. The entire, roughly $17 million waterfront project will be permitted as of Friday, when the city gets an Army Corps of Engineers permit to drive pilings for the esplanade. Paul Gottlieb reports. Port Angeles City Council OKs $3.9 million esplanade

The Sauk-Suiattle Tribe is studying how climate change will affect members of the tribe and the natural resources that sustain them. The homes and administration buildings of the Sauk-Suiattle reservation are on the banks of the Sauk River near Darrington. With nearly 400 glaciers in the region, the Sauk and other tributaries to the Skagit River – the Suiattle and Whitechuck – will see rapid change as the climate continues to warm.  Sauk-Suiattle Tribe plans for climate change  

The Capital Regional District is moving forward with sewage treatment plans by tendering a site survey for McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt. The tender closes Sept. 28. The work comes as the CRD begins the planning and implementation of its wastewater treatment program and includes setting up a program management office and a commission to oversee the project. CRD issues sewage site survey tender

“Ocean Frontiers,” by Green Fire Productions discusses the problems we face in managing our oceans and explores solutions for those conflicts. The documentary, which features on-the-ground reporting from places across the country that are at the forefront of implementing promising new approaches to ocean and coastal management, will be showing at the Orcas Center in the Madrona Room, Thursday, Sept 27., 6:30-8:30 p.m Jacques White, Long Live the Kings’ director, said the documentary has an important message of hope. “In all of Puget Sound, it is perhaps most relevant to the San Juans, and the efforts to designate a Marine Stewardship Area here are actually mentioned in the film,” White said. Cali Bagby writes. ‘Ocean Frontiers’ film showing  

Patches of prairie on Central Whidbey last week were once again ablaze with the fires of science. For the third year in a row, researchers and land managers with various organizations from around the state conducted controlled burns of grasslands at Ebey’s Bluff and the Pacific Rim Institute of Environmental Stewardship. The specific goals and objectives of each group vary, but all are essentially looking at how the regular use of fire can affect prairie ecosystems and its applications for land management. Justin Burnett writes. Researchers test restoration techniques on Central Whidbey grasslands  

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks will be inducted into the Wild Salmon Hall of Fame during a Saturday night benefit for the Pacific Northwest Salmon Center.Dicks, who has served in the House since 1976, is retiring at the end of his term this year. Dicks named to Salmon Hall of Fame  

The City of Gig Harbor will officially cut the ribbon on its new Maritime Pier and thank all of those who made this pier possible 3:30 p.m., Monday, Sept.24. The ribbon cutting marks a significant accomplishment for the city, and follows decades of discussions to build Gig Harbor’s commercial fishing fleet a pier. The Gig Harbor commercial fishing fleet, once the largest on the West Coast, continues the tradition today with approximately 40 active vessels. The new drive-aboard pier is 156 feet, plus ramp and float, and will provide access for loading and unloading for the fishing fleet, transient moorage and viewing, and water access for the public.  Gig Harbor Maritime Pier Ribbon Cutting  

There has been a lot of talk about the 1 percent, the 47 percent, the 99 percent or whatever slice of the population is lately in the spotlight. On Wednesday, we had some research on the 59 million Americans who live in households with $100,000 or more in annual income — the Mendelsohn Affluent Survey 2012, subtitled “The State of the Affluent Consumer,” which was released by Ipsos MediaCT. The results of the survey, which has been conducted for 36 years among affluent Americans, are scrutinized by marketers, media companies and advertising agencies for clues on how best to peddle goods and services to people with money. Stuart Elliot blogs. The 47 Percent May Struggle but the Top 20 Percent Are Feeling Flush

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 238 AM PDT THU SEP 20 2012
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH THIS EVENING
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT LATE IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT LATE IN
 THE AFTERNOON. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG THIS MORNING REDUCING VISIBILITIES TO ONE QUARTER MILE. PATCHY FOG
 LINGERING IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 1 OR 2 FT AFTER MIDNIGHT. W SWE
--
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