Wednesday, November 20, 2013

11/20 ISON, rain gardens, clogged culverts, fishery wisdom, spill response, Land Conservancy

PHOTO: Aron Kingery/NASA
Look to the Sky before Dawn This Week to Catch Comet ISON
If you wake up early and the skies are clear, you could be in for a treat this week. A comet named ISON should be visible through binoculars over the southeastern horizon. Astronomy websites have hyped the passage of this comet as the best in more than a decade. But a lot depends on a close encounter with the sun next week. A nice bright comet comes by about once per decade on average says Chris Anderson, the observatory coordinator at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. We're overdue; the last appearance of an easily visible comet around here was Hale-Bopp in 1997. Tom Banse reports.

Flood prone Everett neighborhood dry thanks to new program
.... the City of Everett is returning to nature to alleviate perennial flood problems. They're building "rain gardens" around town on people's properties. A rain garden is essentially a ditch dug in your yard and then filled in with soil and plants like a forest. The vegetation filters and soaks up stormwater from downspouts and roads and diverts it into the watershed. Less water runs into gutters and storm drains, keeping cellars dry and plumbing from backing up. Everett's Public Works Department is promoting the projects, even paying for them. Hoping interest in thegardens will grow, the city will subsidize up to $2500 per home. Eric Wilkinson reports.

Agency wants culverts unclogged
A mixed agricultural and estuarine environment on an island in the South Fork Skagit River is a lot soggier than it’s supposed to be. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife owns the 273-acre Island Unit in the delta, south of Conway and off of Wylie Road, and has proposed a $30,000 project to clear partially blocked culverts and drainage ditches that aren’t letting water out. Dikes separate the land from the Skagit River and Skagit Bay tidal zones, but it lies in the Skagit River’s 100-year flood plain and seasonally floods in late winter, according to Fish and Wildlife’s Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application with Skagit County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Kimberly Cauvel reports.

What can the Philippines teach us about our fisheries?
A Burke Museum cultural exchange brings Filipinos here to the Suquamish reservation to learn about culture and ethnography. But they've got their own tricks up their sleeve. University of Washington Professor of Marine and Environmental Affairs Patrick Christie has done a lot of research in the Philippines — for which he is currently trying to marshall typhoon relief — and he has noticed one thing among many: People seem to feel a strong connection to Pacific Northwest fisheries. That might reflect the large number of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who have worked in salmon canneries. Dan Chasan reports. See also Carl Safina's blog: Fishermen In Palau Take On Role of Scientist To Save Their Fishery

Emergency Responders Prepare For Higher Risk Of Oil Spills In The Northwest
Northwest emergency responders are meeting in Portland Tuesday to discuss the increased potential for oil spills in the region. Several oil-by-rail projects have been proposed in Washington state. The largest of those would be built at the Port of Vancouver if it is approved... Tuesday’s meeting includes emergency responders from the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, Oregon, Washington and Idaho environmental agencies, railroads and oil companies. The agenda features an in-depth discussion of how to respond to an oil train derailment. Cassandra Profita reports.

Ian Mulgrew: Land Conservancy’s asset sale mired in legal proceedings
The creditor protection proceedings involving TLC — The Land Conservancy — have become a legal donnybrook over the proposed sale of heritage properties. Although the non-profit charity beset by debt planned to sell assets to ease its financial burden, the B.C. Supreme Court has blocked the Nov. 29 closing date on an offer to purchase historic B.C. Binning House in West Vancouver.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 252 AM PST WED NOV 20 2013
TODAY
E WIND 10 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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