Tuesday, September 10, 2013

9/10 Billy Frank Jr., Cowlitz coal, snowshoe hare, ocean acid prize, BC farms, Everett floods, Columbia dams

Billy Frank, Jr., 1973 (Ecotrust blog)
If you like to watch (and listen): Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission chairman Billy Frank Jr. sits down with UW Professor Richard Whitney to reminisce about their involvement with tribal treaty rights and the Boldt decision in the 1970s and 1980s. Whitney was the fisheries technical advisor to federal Judge George Boldt, whose opinion in U.S. v. Washington upheld tribal treaty fishing rights for treaties in Western Washington. (20 minutes) Boldt Decision Memoir: Billy Frank Jr. and UW Professor Richard Whitney

Cowlitz Indian tribal officials announced Monday they are opposing proposed Pacific Northwest coal docks, specifically the Millennium Bulk Terminals project west of Longview. In a written statement, tribal officials said they worried that increased coal transport on trains and ships could threaten air and water quality along the Columbia River and harm salmon and smelt populations. Eric Olson reports. Cowlitz Tribe announces opposition to coal terminals  

Sometimes a single species’ plight can help to illustrate the impacts of climate change as compellingly as melting glaciers and or a remote Alaskan village’s sea level rise. Take, for instance, the snowshoe hare. NPR spoke to researchers who are studying the small forest hare, including University of Montana grad student, Alex Kumar. He says that snowshoe hares are considered the “cheeseburger of the ecosystem” with many potential predators: “Lynx, foxes, coyotes, raptors, birds of prey. Interestingly enough, young hares, their main predator is actually red squirrels.” How does climate change affect the snowshoe hare? The hare typically changes colors to camouflage itself in the forest. They are brown in the summer and white in the winter. If the winter snow comes late, the hare gets ‘mismatched.’ In other words, it changes colors at the time it’s always changed color, which sometimes can be too early. Toni Tabora-Roberts reports. Climate Tale: The Mis-Camouflaged Hare

In August, scientists reported that atmospheric acidity is on the rise, as CO2 levels reached 400 parts per million for the first time in at least 800,000 years. It is difficult to tell if the same is true of pH level in our oceans because, unlike measuring temperature, measuring pH is costly and cumbersome. But a new contest hopes to change that. The Ocean Health X PRIZE is offering $2 million to scientists who can design more accurate and affordable ways of measuring ocean pH levels.... The organization is asking scientists, engineers and innovators from around the world to create accurate, affordable pH sensor technology. The grand prizes of $750,000 will be given in two categories: Accuracy and Affordability. Applicants are eligible for both prizes, for a total possible prize of $1.5 million. Second place prizes of $250,000 will be awarded in each category.... The competition will run for 22 months. Teams have 12 months to develop projects. The resulting projects will be tested for a month in the Puget Sound. Danielle Elliot reports. Competition seeks to find innovative ways to measure ocean health

Three agricultural regions in B.C. have produced preliminary plans for dealing with the effects of climate change on food production. Cowichan Valley, Delta and Peace River will deal with vastly different effects as temperatures rise and precipitation patterns change, from increased frequency of flooding to lengthy drought and the need for water rationing and new irrigation infrastructure. But the model for change will require farmers, processors, scientists and every level of government to be on the same page, said Greg Norton, vice-chairman of the B.C. Agriculture Council’s environmental protection committee. Randy Shore reports. B.C. agricultural regions issue preliminary blueprints for dealing with climate change

Residents are calling on city leaders to ramp up efforts to find storm drainage solutions after heavy rains Thursday, Aug. 29 flooded basements and sent sewage into local rivers. The city received 109 calls of flooding, and at least 20 incidents developed into flood claims from across Everett after a two-hour downpour dumped two inches of rain, public works spokeswoman Marla Carter said last week. Most of the claims are coming from north and central Everett residents, Carter said. Michael Whitney reports. Residents want city to do something about urban flooding   And see: Everett beaches reopen after sewage spills

Weather scientist Cliff Mass writes: It has been a hard time for migrating birds over the region. They don't like headwinds as they head south, and we have had persistent southerly (from the south) flow for weeks due to a persistent low off the coast...  Hard going for the little fellows. They don't like rain, and particularly heavy showers, and I don't have to tell you about our recent thunderstorms!  I guess birds are a lot like people in that way. But something magical for birds happened [Saturday] night:   as the low moved through, the winds in the lower atmosphere turned to northerly... and the skies cleared.  Optimal conditions for migration. And our bird friends were ready! Mega Bird Migration

The state Department of Ecology has ordered a fine of $16,500 from Olympic Tug & Barge of Seattle for spilling oil into Port Angeles Harbor last November.  The spill occurred when a company-owned fuel barge was overfilled while being loaded with fuel oil, Ecology said. The agency determined the Nov. 7, 2012, heavy fuel oil spill occurred because of an error by the barge operator. More than 1,700 gallons spilled to the deck of the barge, and nearly 50 gallons entered Port Angeles Harbor. $16,500 fine for Port Angeles Harbor oil spill

Not much would change for dam operations on the Columbia River under the federal government’s new draft plan for protecting endangered salmon and steelhead. The federal government on Monday released its new draft plan, known as the biological opinion or BiOp, has been the subject of legal conflict for more than 20 years among those who want to protect fish and those who want to protect dams. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revised this draft after U.S. District Judge James A. Redden rejected it in 2011. In the latest 751-page document, the agencies stood by their current approach for how the Columbia’s 14 hydroelectric dams should be operated. Courtney Flatt reports. Feds Say Dams Are Working Fine For Columbia Salmon  

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT TUE SEP 10 2013
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING E. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. AREAS OF MORNING FOG.
TONIGHT
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 6 SECONDS.
--
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