Friday, October 26, 2012

10/26 Orca visits, green governors, coal tax benefits, BC fish biiologists, Skagit algae, Vancouver online, Bainbridge shores, Shannon Pt

PHOTO: Dawn Noren/USFWS
Residents of the J, K, and L pod of orca whales have visited local waters three times already this month, from Admiralty Inlet to the south end of Vashon Island, where they were seen last weekend. "Any time after Oct. 1 is fair game," said Brad Hanson, wildlife biologist with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center of Seattle, who added that the whales are here to catch returning runs of Puget Sound chinook and chum headed to local rivers to spawn. Lynda Mapes reports. Orcas back in local waters

The whales can’t vote so you’ll have to do it for them: For residents of The Evergreen State, the economy and the environment are two of the most important issues. They're shaping arguments in the hotly-contested race for Washington's next Governor. So, if you’re choosing a candidate, who’s the greenest?  Belamy Pailthorp reports. Inslee vs. McKenna: Down to the wire on environmental issues

The debate over the potential tax revenue from Gateway Pacific Terminal reveals a lot about the complexity of the property tax system and the role that industry plays in Whatcom County's tax base. Gateway Pacific backers stirred up the debate earlier this week by releasing a report from FCS Group Consultants indicating that the Cherry Point coal and bulk cargo terminal proposed by SSA Marine could go on the property tax rolls at a value of about $665 million, making it the second-largest taxpayer after the BP Cherry Point refinery at about $829 million. Assessed at that amount, Gateway Pacific would pay about $7 million in annual property taxes to the state and local governments, with the state share estimated at $1.7 million. There would be millions more in sales tax revenue. John Stark reports. Tax benefit claimed by Cherry Point coal port stirs debate

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is considering significant cuts to the ranks of the workers who protect fish habitat on the Pacific Coast, according to internal federal documents obtained by The Globe and Mail. These biologists are the front-line protectors of the province’s salmon resource. They study the fish for signs they are suffering from disease, pollution or overfishing and monitor their habitats. Mark Hume reports. Austerity measures threaten to sink salmon biologist jobs

The Skagit County Health Department says water samples taken recently from Pass Lake show the presence of toxic blue-green algae, which can cause illness in humans and animals. Water samples taken from the lake at Deception Pass State Park Oct. 18 show concerning levels of Anatoxin-a, the Health Department said in a press release Thursday. Evidence of toxic algae also has been found over the past few months on Fidalgo Island in Heart, Erie and Campbell lakes. Toxic algae detected in Pass Lake  

Metro Vancouver’s old methods of getting residents’ feedback — public hearings, open houses and surveys at the doorstep — aren’t as effective any more in the Internet world. A new start-up called Place-Speak hopes to bridge that gap with a virtual consultation platform designed to connect people with local issues — such as a massive housing development, dog park or transportation project — online. New online survey platform connects people with local issues

A group of Bainbridge homeowners petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court last month to hear its lawsuit against the city stemming from the moratorium. The federal suit claims the city violated the constitutional rights of the property owners by enforcing an unlawful ban on shoreline development in Blakely Harbor between 2001 and 2003. A federal district court and appeals court have already found in favor of the city in the lawsuit. Aaron Laing, one of the attorneys representing the Bainbridge property owners, said he expects to learn by the end of the year whether the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the case. Tad Sooter reports. U.S. Supreme Court asked to hear Bainbridge shoreline lawsuit

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $543,000 grant to two scientists at Western Washington University’s Shannon Point Marine Center to study the effects of ocean acidification on organisms that form the base of the ocean’s food web. Marine scientist Brady Olson and WWU assistant professor Brooke Love collaborated with Julie Keister of the University of Washington to get the grant. The study builds on past ocean-acidification research the two did with National Science Foundation funding. Gina Cole reports.  Marine Center gets national grant   Meanwhile: Steve Sulkin, who has been director of Shannon Point for 28 years, will be retiring. Head of marine center announces retirement  

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI OCT 26 2012
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM PDT THIS MORNING THROUGH THIS EVENING
TODAY
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING 20 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 1 OR 2 FT. SW SWELL 4 FT
 AT 8 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.
SAT
S WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 4 FT AT 9
 SECONDS. RAIN.
SAT NIGHT
S WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING W 10 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 OR 2 FT. SW SWELL 4
 FT.
SUN
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 4 FT.

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