Thursday, July 11, 2013

7/11 Oil train, oil terminal, estuarium, dead Elwha fish, Tseycum clams, abalone nursery, army land fund, state email search

If you like to listen: Penguins, ducks, and meadowlarks provide inspiration BirdNote: Jazz for the Birds

Washington Department of Ecology officials long have planned for crude-oil spills from a ruptured pipeline or a maritime mishap. With surging production from North Dakota increasing the amount of petroleum being shipped by rail, they have scrambled during the past year to prepare for a third possibility — oil leaking out of derailed tanker cars. In the aftermath of Saturday’s train disaster in Quebec that killed some 50 people, state officials say they must now contemplate another scenario — oil tanker cars that blow up.  Hal Bernton reports. Fiery Quebec wreck adds to state’s oil-train concerns

A deadly oil-train explosion in Quebec has given pause to Port of Vancouver commissioners in southwest Washington. They want to rethink their next move with a proposal for a terminal to move oil from trains onto ships. The port commission was set to vote July 23 on the largest train-to-ship oil transfer terminal proposed for the Northwest. That vote is still scheduled, along with a public hearing the previous day. But the outcome could be different than previously expected. Port commissioner Brian Wolfe said Wednesday he now wants to extend the negotiation period with the oil-terminal developers to give the commission more time before voting on whether to approve the lease for the oil-train terminal. Ashley Ahearn reports. Vancouver Port Hesitating On Proposed Oil-Train Terminal

The South Sound Estuary Association reached a major milestone Thursday. The group opened the doors to a marine life discovery center in downtown Olympia, a place for the public to learn more about the mysteries of where the river meets the sea. From the outside, the South Sound Estuarium at 608 Washington St. N.E. looks like a modest place. But step inside the 700-square-foot center packed with a dozen, estuary-themed exhibits and you’re bound to see a marine creature you’ve never seen before, or learn something new about South Sound tideflats and beaches, river deltas, geology, habitat losses and habitat restoration. The estuarium is a small, but significant step forward for a dedicated bunch of volunteers who envision a day when the Olympia waterfront is home to a full-time marine science center. The one that opened Thursday is a temporary home the non-profit group rented this summer from the Port of Olympia for $250.  John Dodge reports. Discover marine life at South Sound Estuarium

A container ship longer and wider than a Navy aircraft carrier called at the Port of Tacoma’s Washington United Terminal Wednesday setting a new record for vessel size at the port. The Zim Djibouti  has a capacity of 10,000 container units, about 40 percent larger than the typical container vessel that calls on port terminals. The container vessel is 1,145 feet long and 151 feet wide.  The USS Nimitz,  is 1,090 feet long and 134 wide at the waterline although at the flight deck the Nimitz is 252 feet wide.  The aircraft carrier is stationed at Naval Station Everett. “Its length stretches more than twice the diameter of the Tacoma Dome and almost twice the height of the Space Needle,” the port noted in a press release. John Gille reports. Containership sets new size record for Port of Tacoma

At least 200,000 young fish have been found dead at the Lower Elwha Klallam fish hatchery on Stratton Road after a water pump failure. Tribal officials said the failure was in a secondary pump that had to be used because of ongoing sediment problems at Olympic National Park’s Elwha Water Treatment Plant. Hatchery staff counted roughly 200,000 dead coho salmon, spawned last fall, and about 2,000 dead yearling steelhead trout at the hatchery over the weekend, Lower Elwha Klallam tribal officials said in a statement released Wednesday. Hatchery officials said the coho deaths represented about 50 percent of this year’s production. Jeremy Schwartz reports. Some 200,000 fish reported dead at Lower Elwha fish hatchery

Members of the Tseycum First Nation are facing a setback in their move to revive the traditional practice of harvesting clams in Patricia Bay after the closure of a local program that monitored marine health. Chief Tanya Jones said the Saanich Inlet Protection Society’s Shorekeeping program, a community-based stewardship project that relied on local non-professionals to collect data on intertidal ecosystems, provided the first step toward cleaning up the beaches and restoring ecosystem health. But with no commitment from the federal government to continue analysis of the 14 years’ worth of data that she and other volunteers have collected, the volunteers have agreed to close the program. Amy Smart reports. Tseycum hoping to bring back Pat Bay shellfish harvest, restore ecosystem   See also: Without scientific analysis, work wasted, Saanich Inlet shorekeepers say  

Just as he brought the snails out it started to rain. Luckily these are animals that like to get wet – in fact they need it to survive. “If they are out of water for any longer than five minutes you might want to give them a gentle dunk,” said Josh Bouma, abalone program director at Puget Sound Restoration Fund, as he filled two cages with the rare snail. Bouma recently visited Orcas to install “remote nurseries” at locations where volunteers can monitor and care for the abalone. Cali Bagby reports. Abalone nurseries arrive

An environmental preservation effort aimed at keeping endangered species alive while freeing up the Army to use its valuable South Sound training grounds is receiving a $12.6 million boost in funding from the federal government and nonprofit organizations. Joint Base Lewis-McChord and its surrounding communities were chosen for a pilot project partnering community organizations with the Defense, Interior and Agriculture departments. They’ll use the money to buy and preserve land outside the base to protect species such as Mazama pocket gophers, Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies and streak-horned larks. It could be used to purchase and set aside land, or to support agricultural easements that allow farmers and ranches to continue using their property. Adam Ashton reports. Federal government steering millions to South Sound to preserve gophers, artillery ranges

In a move inspired by the IRS’ scrutiny of the tea party and other nonprofit groups, the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation has filed records requests with four Washington state agencies asking for employee emails and other records containing certain words, including “tea party,” “Catholic,” “Mormon” and “redneck.” The requests were filed in May. Representatives of the libertarian-style think tank say they are looking for evidence of bias toward the public and regulated organizations. “We tried to come up with terms that we thought would be logical to be used in correspondence about possibly targeted groups,’’ Glen Morgan, property-rights director for the nonprofit organization, which has a hard-right reputation for its battles over land-use limits in environmentally sensitive zones and its perennial criticism of government regulations and spending. Brad Shannon reports. State emails searched for terms such as ‘tea party,’ ‘hicks’

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU JUL 11 2013
TODAY
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W
 SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
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