Monday, June 3, 2013

6/3 Gateway pipe 'no,' Island Co. clean water, Jeff Hogan, shark fisheries, farm fish food, tribe water, Oly shores, Atlantic puffin

Solo (PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Laurie MacBride writes in Eye on Environment: "Some readers will remember meeting Solo a few months ago, and perhaps appreciate an update. He’s two years old now, still immensely curious and still visiting us daily. But one thing is different: our little boy is looking quite grown up. Over the years we’ve watched a number of male black-tailed deer at close range. At two years old, each has been different in the headgear department..." Antlers at Last – and Fast!

If you like to watch: Samuel Orr’s film is a must-watch: Return of the Cicadas

The B.C. government has officially expressed its opposition to a proposal for the Northern Gateway pipeline project, saying it fails to address the province's environmental concerns. The province made the announcement in its final written submission to the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel. "British Columbia thoroughly reviewed all of the evidence and submissions made to the panel and asked substantive questions about the project, including its route, spill response capacity and financial structure to handle any incidents," said Environment Minister Terry Lake. "Our questions were not satisfactorily answered during these hearings." B.C. officially opposes Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline  

Island County’s controversial clean water utility will be under a microscope of scrutiny next week. At the request of the county’s newest commissioner, two department heads are charged with giving the board a detailed presentation about the program, its funding and projects, at the commissioners’ work session next Wednesday, June 5. In short, the department leaders were asked to justify the unpopular utility before a skeptical majority of commissioners. Adopted in late 2010, the utility was created to address water quantity and quality concerns by generating revenue — about $600,000 a year — for surface and ground water programs. While the utility uses a fee system, collecting about $40 a year from homeowners, critics say it’s a tax that was not approved by the public. Justin Burnett reports. County Clean Water Utility goes under scrutiny  

After a 30- to 45-minute battle, Woody Woods managed to get the monster halibut up to the boat. It was 75 inches long and was estimated to weigh 225 pounds. Mark Yuasa reports. Mammoth 225-pound halibut caught near Sequim

Ashley Ahearn of Earthfix profiles Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales, "a sort of traveling road show that combines science with storytelling." Taking Killer Whale Research To The Classroom  

Researchers at the University of British Columbia's Fisheries Centre say protecting sharks would lead to a big economic payoff. A study published Thursday in Oryx, The International Journal of Conservation, says shark fisheries are declining, mostly due to overfishing, but the industry around shark watchers is thriving. Rashid Sumaila, director of the Fisheries Centre and the study's senior author, says shark tourism is making big gains, and within the next two decades, its economic importance is expected to surpass that of shark fisheries in terms of income. Sharks worth more in ocean than in soup, B.C. study finds

The search is on for a cost-effective alternative fish food in the form of pellets. A key ingredient in commercial feed is other fish caught in the wild. Northwest trout farmers and some salmon growers recognize the practice is unsustainable. But trout are carnivores; they can't just become vegetarians, or can they? Washington State University recently held a taste test to see if seafood consumers can tell any difference. I was one of 72 volunteer taste-testers at WSU’s School of Food Science in Pullman. I was seated, fork at the ready, in a row of booths that resembled voting booths but with sliding windows to the test kitchen.... I couldn't really tell whether each sample had been raised on fish, land animals, or vegetables. Tom Banse reports. Farmed trout go vegetarian (sort of), but what about the taste?

Everyone involved in Whatcom County's water rights disputes seems to agree that a local settlement would be a good idea, but representatives of Lummi Nation have made it clear they will not sacrifice Nooksack River salmon to benefit farms, industries or cities....The flow of water in the Nooksack and its tributaries is reduced by withdrawals of water for the city of Bellingham and Cherry Point industries, but Whatcom County farms withdraw even more to irrigate raspberries and blueberries. River water is also used to irrigate cow pastures in dry months. Both the Lummi and the Nooksack Indian Tribe have a federally recognized right to catch Nooksack River salmon. The tribes have asked federal agencies to file a lawsuit on their behalf to force the state to take steps to define the amount of water that they should be guaranteed, to bolster the flow of water in the river and its tributaries. That likely would mean curbing the amount of water that other users are allowed to withdraw. The tribes asked the feds to file the lawsuit more than a year ago, and so far there has been no word of a response. John Start reports. Water dispute clouds future for Whatcom County farms, factories

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community has appealed a ruling that would have allowed seven landowners to build homes in the Carpenter-Fisher basin. In May, the state Department of Ecology ruled that seven landowners could build homes in the area as long as they drill their wells low enough to draw from an aquifer that does not connect with water that feeds creeks in the Carpenter-Fisher basin. The basin, south of Mount Vernon, was closed to new residential development nearly two years ago because of a concern that too much groundwater was being removed, putting local salmon at risk. Kate Martin reports. Swinomish Indian Tribal Community appeal water access  

The Olympia City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday for another discussion of the Shoreline Master Program. According to a news release, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss whether to delay another public hearing on the shoreline plan, which is scheduled for June 18. The council is considering allowing people more time to review the plan and whether to hold an open house prior to the public hearing. This is in addition to a public hearing that was held in January. Matt Batcheldor reports. Council to meet on shoreline plan

They pulled up invasive buttercups and blackberry vines and spread mulch under the trees. On Friday, students at Horizon Elementary School on Casino Road in south Everett enthusiastically welcomed U.S. Forest Service and EarthCorps members, who helped the kids continue their ongoing quest to preserve the forest wetlands adjacent to the school yard. The third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students learned about wetland ecosystems while they performed stewardship activities. Everett students reclaim wetland once filled with trash

Anderson Lake remains closed this week while the level of a potent toxin created by blue-green algae continues to climb. Anderson Lake’s anatoxin-a level and is now at 39 times the safe level, according to preliminary data from King County Environmental Labs in Seattle, said Greg Thomason, Jefferson County environmental health specialist. Algae toxins keep Anderson Lake off-limits

The Atlantic puffin population is at risk in the United States, and there are signs the seabirds are in distress in other parts of the world.
In the Gulf of Maine, the comical-looking seabirds have been dying of starvation and losing body weight, possibly because of shifting fish populations as ocean temperatures rise, according to scientists. The survival rates of fledglings on Maine's two largest puffin colonies plunged last summer, and puffins are in declining health at the largest puffin colony in the Gulf, on a Canadian island about 10 miles off eastern Maine. Dozens of emaciated birds were found washed ashore in Massachusetts and Bermuda this past winter, likely victims of starvation. Clarke Canfield reports. US Atlantic puffin population in peril as fish stocks shift, ocean waters heat up  

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