Monday, November 25, 2013

11/25 Cherry Pt. archeology, BC fishing, pipeline security, Nooksack salmon, Elwha exhibit, Skagit water, Vic sewage, BC humpbacks, 'frankenfish'

(PHOTO: Jeannie Finkbonner)
Jeannie Finkbonner took this photo while her cousin Justin Finkbonner and his 10-year old son Kaiden Finkbonner pulled in a beach seine net to catch Silver salmon that run along Portage Island and Brandt Island off the Lummi Nation near Bellingham.   They rowed 10 miles that day with 9 kids from the Lummi Youth Canoe Family in their traveling canoe built by Dean Washington.  Justin likes to volunteer his time to skipper this 38-foot cedar-strip canoe to help revive, protect, promote and preserve their traditional lifeways.   Whether traveling on the Intertribal Canoe Journey each summer or making traditional regalia and learning to fish, they are working hard to protect their ways of life and traditional village sites. Support Justin’s efforts by contacting him by email or at 360-305-6301.

Documents Reveal Disturbance Of Native American Archaeological Site At Cherry Point  
Three summers ago the company that wants to build the largest coal export terminal in North America failed to obtain the environmental permits it needed before bulldozing more than four miles of roads and clearing more than nine acres of land, including some wetlands. Pacific International Terminals also failed to meet a requirement to consult first with local Native American tribes, the Lummi and Nooksack tribes, about the potential archaeological impacts of the work. Sidestepping tribal consultation meant avoiding potential delays and roadblocks for the project’s development. It also led to the disturbance of a site from which 3,000-year-old human remains had previously been removed — and where archeologists suspect more are buried. Ashley Ahearn reports.

Mass: 'Most Amazing Pattern' Defies Tradition, Brings Dry Spell
It may be chilly out there, but it’s also unusually dry for this time of year, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. “It’s really startling,” said Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. “We’re in a most amazing pattern. I mean, this could be the wettest, stormiest time of the year, and it’s going to be basically dry over the next few days. In fact, I think probably the next week, we’re not going to see any precipitation.” We may see a few clouds Tuesday and Wednesday, but then we’ll have wonderful weather for Thanksgiving, says Mass. Bellamy Pailthorp reports.

BC’s Top Ten commercial fishing grounds are richer than you think  
A groundbreaking new study has identified the top ten richest commercial fishing grounds in British Columbia and reveals that they are far richer than you might think. Focused on the province’s North Coast—a vast, remote region under increasing scrutiny due to proposed tar-sands pipelines and oil-tanker routes—the study documents how $167 million in annual commercial catch (2010) is the lifeblood underpinning the social and cultural fabric of many local First Nations and rural communities. The study shows that four of the province’s 10 richest commercial fishing grounds—southern Johnstone Strait, Milbanke Sound on the Central Coast and two areas off Haida Gwaii—are located in North Coast region, which produces half of the province’s total landed value of fisheries.

Jack Knox: Security borders on absurd in pipeline debate
We shouldn’t be surprised that the RCMP and CSIS kept tabs on environmentalists and at least two Victoria politicians during this year’s Northern Gateway hearings. Given the tensions around the proposal, some security planning was needed. Nor should we be surprised that our police and spy agencies meet regularly with energy companies. In the post-9/11 world, sharing intelligence to keep al-Qaeda at bay makes sense. Somewhere, though, the line blurred. Emails released this week show a cosy relationship in which CSIS, a section of the RCMP, our pro-pipeline federal government, the National Energy Board and energy companies are inside the club, while those who oppose Enbridge’s proposal are treated like woolly headed radicals working against the national interest. Which leads to the obvious question: If that’s what Ottawa thinks of British Columbians who worry about oil tankers doing an Exxon Valdez in the tricky inside waters of our coast, how seriously will it listen to them? Jack Knox reports.

Already imperiled Nooksack salmon now face a warmer world
The warmer, drier summers that will result from climate change could be the final straw for diminishing salmon populations in the south fork of the Nooksack River, according to officials developing a report on what needs to be done to keep the stream habitable. The south fork already is too warm in the summer for growing or spawning salmon, according to the state Department of Ecology. Since 2001, the preferred way to give salmon some cool respite in the south fork has been to place artificial logjams in the stream. That is relatively inexpensive; some 100 logjams have been installed at a cost of about $7 million, said Oliver Grah, water resources program manager for the Nooksack Indian Tribe. Other, more expensive projects will be needed if threatened species such as the spring chinook are to overcome the additional threat posed by climate change, officials said. Ralph Schwartz reports.

Elwha exhibit at Burke explores reborn river
An exhibit based on the Elwha book by Seattle Times’ Lynda Mapes and Steve Ringman opens Saturday at the Burke Museum.... At the heart of the exhibit is the river, where salmon, steelhead and lampreys lost 70 miles of spawning grounds when dams blocked their passage more than a century ago. It is also the story of the regeneration that has taken place since the Elwha Dam was removed in 2011 and will continue after demolition of the upstream Glines Canyon Dam is completed next year.... “This is a profoundly hopeful story,” said Mapes, who is currently a fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at MIT. Keith Ervin reports.

Mixed results for Skagit water quality
Since October 2003, Skagit County employees have visited streams that trickle through the Skagit, Samish and Padilla watersheds every other week to collect water samples. The samples document fecal coliform bacteria, temperature and dissolved oxygen levels, as well as phosphorous and nitrogen four times a year. The results reflect the health of local waters for fish, shellfish and recreation... On Wednesday, Skagit County Public Works’ Natural Resources Division released the 2012 Skagit County Water Quality Monitoring Program Annual Report, which summarizes findings since the start of the program through the October 2011 to September 2012 cycle. As in years past, the results are a mixed bag. The bad news is many of the streams do not meet state water quality standards and the causes, whether natural or human-related, are inconclusive. Most of the poor results are found in the Samish Basin and tributaries to the Skagit River, while the Skagit River itself tends to meet water quality standards more often than not, according to the report. Kimberly Cauvel reports.

Sewage project delays could cost $1 million a month, official says
Greater Victoria’s sewage project is close to falling behind schedule and incurring a million dollars a month in extra costs, says the civilian commission overseeing the project. Chairwoman Brenda Eaton said Friday that with politicians yet to authorize rezoning for a treatment plant at McLoughlin Point, staff have been conducting a line-by-line analysis of the $783-million budget and schedule to examine the situation. “We estimate that a one- month delay is $1 million,” Eaton said. Rob Shaw reports.

B.C. humpback whales use seabirds to find herring, new research reveals
A population of humpback whales off northern Vancouver Island is taking advantage of diving seabirds to exploit herring stocks, new research shows. Christie McMillan, a fisheries science master’s student at Simon Fraser University, says that seabirds such as rhinoceros auklets and common murres dive into the ocean and swim beneath the herring so the prey forms tight schools known as “bait balls”. “It’s a response of all herring,” she said in an interview at a weekend marine mammal symposium at the University of B.C. “When they’re startled, their response is to group up tight. It’s instinctual: ‘There’s a predator, get close to my neighbour, and hopefully he gets eaten instead of me.’” Larry Pynn reports.

Things are not looking up for dark-sky watchers
The sad truth is that the current bunch of us will be the first in the history of the planet to go most or all the way through life failing to grasp our place in the universe. Because we simply have never seen it. Ron Judd reports.

DNA testing provides clues on captured B.C. ‘frankenfish’
The “frankenfish” that generated international attention when video of it swimming in a Burnaby pond surfaced on YouTube was likely not a northern snakehead after all, says a new study. But researchers say the fish – which was most likely a blotched snakehead that might not have survived the winter – still feasted on other species during its time in the pond, and could have yielded more serious consequences if it found its way into the Fraser River. Sunny Dillon reports.

Vancouver [BC] Barge Company Signs On To Coal Project
While Ambre Energy awaits state and federal permits to build a controversial coal export terminal at the Port of Morrow, the company signed a letter of intent with Tidewater Barge Lines for transportation service along the Columbia River. Tidewater, based in Vancouver, Wash., will operate tugboats and barges needed to move the coal 218 miles down river — if the project receives permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Oregon Department of State Lands and Department of Environmental Quality. The Morrow Pacific project would ship 8.8 million tons of coal per year on covered barges from Boardman to Port Westward, an industrial park located between St. Helens and Astoria. From there, it would load onto ocean-going vessels for export to Asian markets including Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. George Plaven reports.

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