Monday, October 21, 2013

10/21 More oarfish, coal money, fog, Willapa oysters, tidal turbines, quake, sewage man, light pollution, Samish hatchery, loons

Textures of Time (Laurie MacBride)
Textures of Time
Laurie MacBride at eye on environment this week shows us West Beach, on the exposed outer coast of Calvert Island. "I love what seems like a mix of hard and soft textures in the weathered granite walls, that rise up at the edge of the long stretch of sand. With their creases and rounded contours, they almost look alive..."

Top this, Salish Sea!-- Second giant "sea serpent" oarfish found in California
For the second time in less than a week, a "sea serpent" has attracted gawkers on a Southern California beach. This time the rare, snakelike oarfish washed up Friday afternoon in Oceanside. The newspaper U-T San Diego reported that it measured nearly 14 feet long and attracted a crowd of up to 75 people. New blog: News From The Deep— Two Oarfish

Coal interests give more than $100K to 'Save Whatcom' for local elections
Save Whatcom, a local conservative political group that says it works to protect "jobs and business growth," is poised to spend up to $160,000 to support the campaigns of four Whatcom County Council candidates and two Port of Bellingham candidates. Save Whatcom was able to raise this much money after only two months in existence. Most of the money comes from coal companies, according to the Public Disclosure Commission's website. The top two donors are Cloud Peak Energy, which mines Powder River Basin in Wyoming, and Global Coal Sales, which -- well, I think the name speaks for itself. They gave $50,000 each. Ralph Schwartz reports.

Northwest getting hit by virtual ''anti-wind storm''
Missing: Isobars. Last seen about a week ago... The last part of October is the traditional start of the stormy season in the Pacific Northwest.  But Mother Nature is going in the totally opposite direction, bringing what you might call an "anti-wind storm" -- a wide swath of area that will not have *any* wind. Wind is caused by differences in pressure -- air flows from higher pressure toward lower pressure. On weather charts, the pressure is noted by isobars, and around this time of year, we are eagerly counting the of isobars around because the more there are and the closer together they are, the windier it'll be... Scott Sistek reports. And from Cliff Mass: Fogmageddon

If you like to watch: Sunrise Season http://www.orcawatcher.com/2013/10/sunrise-season.html
Orca Watcher Monika Wieland shares her early morning photos and her keen eye for mushrooms, birds and insects-- and whales-- as fall descends in the San Juans.

If you like to watch: Oyster harvest numbers drop in Washington state  
Oysters have been dying by the billions off the west coast. Scientists suspect a polluted Pacific Ocean is to blame. Harvesters in Washington State are turning to expensive tactics to save their industry. Allen Schauffler reports.

Ruling on tidal turbines delayed; sparring continues
While a decision on whether tidal power turbines may be installed in Admiralty Inlet has been delayed in part by the federal government shutdown, sparring between the proponent and opponents has continued. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had planned to decide whether to approve the Snohomish County Public Utility District's $20 million tidal power pilot project as early as this past summer, but now it will likely wait at least until December, according to the utility. The federal energy agency has been awaiting a report on the project from the National Marine Fisheries Service. Completion of that report came later than expected and has been further delayed by the government shutdown, PUD officials said. Bill Sheets reports.

Report: 'The big one' could kill 10,000 in Western WA
The Cascadia Subduction Zone located off the Pacific coast has long been identified as the biggest earthquake threat in Western Washington. A new report gives insight into the impacts if it ruptures, causing a 9.0-magnitude earthquake that could shake the Seattle area for more than 6 minutes. The fault line is 700 miles long from Vancouver Island to Northern California and is located 70 miles off the coast.  According to the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup, a Cascadia quake could cause more than 10,000 deaths, more than 30,000 injuries and cause around $49 billion in damages in Washington State. Jake Whittenberg reports.

Sewage treatment is a dirty job, and Albert Sweetnam is in charge
When Albert Sweetnam built one of Greater Toronto’s first private tolled highways, he faced off against protesters who chained themselves to trees and hurled tomatoes and dead fish at him. So, he’s apt to feel right at home in Victoria as the new head of an equally controversial sewage treatment project, where a man in a giant turd costume is the unofficial mascot and a steady stream of protesters picket virtually every meeting. Rob Shaw reports.

Rules to Curb Light Pollution Advance One City, Park at a Time
Even though this week brought clear skies, chances are you can't see the Milky Way at night. That's because the glare from city lights washes out all but the brightest stars where most people live. A smattering of Northwest cities and counties are taking action by passing new rules for outdoor lighting. It's not all about the stars; some people take a dim view of light regulation. Tom Banse reports.

Outdoor learning
The students in Brian Raupp’s animal science class at Burlington-Edison High School have spent a lot of time this school year learning about salmon — through lectures, notes and power points — but a field trip really drove the lesson home. A trip last week to the Samish hatchery holding ponds on the Samish River provided a close look at the fish’s life cycle when students helped state Department of Fish and Wildlife employees work to preserve the local salmon supply. Kera Wanielista reports.

Get to know the fascinating loons that live around here
Steve Ellis knows loons: common, red-throated, Pacific and yellow-billed, the last rarely sighted. He and his wife "lead field trips for the Whidbey Audubon Society and give talks on several natural history topics. They developed the Birds of Whidbey class. They've also created a series featuring birds that fish for Sound Waters, the education event put on by Island County's Beach Watchers program..." Sharon Wootton reports.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON OCT 21 2013
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING
TODAY
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS IN THE AFTERNOON. W SWELL 5 FT AT 18 SECONDS. AREAS OF DRIZZLE THIS MORNING. FOG THIS MORNING...THEN PATCHY FOG IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
E WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 16 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG...THEN FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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