Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12/10 Samish GBH, oil spills, BC pipe poll, BC ferries, Vic sewer, Mima Mounds, 'king tides,' fresh water

Samish Heron Nests (PHOTO: Pete Haase)
If you like to watch: Samish Island Heron Nest Count & Ivy Pull
Pete Haase writes: "Here is something your readers might enjoy.  The Skagit Land Trust stewards two large Heron Nesting grounds near Padilla Bay.  Each has 300 plus nests.  In the late fall/early winter, volunteers go into the grounds and count the nests and document the conditions." Check out Pete's web site and photos of the December 7 outing.

Rolling the dice on the Salish Sea
Judith Lavoie writes: "It was the kind of sparkling day on Haro Strait that lifted the soul and showcased BC’s unique beauty. Against a backdrop of the Gulf Islands and the snowy outline of Mount Baker, a humpback whale surfaced in front of our boat. But, as bright yellow plywood drift cards were tossed into the ocean from Raincoast Conservation Foundation’s research vessel Achiever, it was also a stark reminder of all that could be lost if oil spills into the Salish Sea. Staring into the water as the cards drifted towards land, I found it was too easy to imagine the whale emerging
through a sheen of oil. On the horizon looms the likelihood of a proliferation of oil tankers, freighters, fuelling barges and coal bulk carriers, making the Salish Sea a carbon export superhighway. Fears are growing on both sides of the US/Canada border that increasing the number of tankers carrying diluted bitumen from Alberta oil sands through the fragile environment of the southern Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands could be a recipe for disaster when combined with other projects boosting marine traffic...." Read on; it's a 'must' read. Then check out the spills map.

If you like to watch: Retro Report: The Exxon Valdez Disaster
On a cold March night in 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off the coast of Southern Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the waters of Prince William Sound and creating one of the worst oil spills in American history. This week’s Retro Report examines how the spill happened and follows its impact. Using archival footage and interviews with those involved, including former Alaska Attorney General John Havelock and Riki Ott, a fisherman who became an environmental activist in the wake of the spill, the video explains how the focus on a reportedly intoxicated tanker captain obscured a far more complex set of safety failures that led to the spill. Scott Michels reports.

Support and opposition over Northern Gateway evenly split: business poll
British Columbians are nearly equally split on their support for or opposition to the Northern Gateway oil pipeline, according to a new poll commissioned by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. The poll found 47 per cent of the 1,050 adults surveyed by phone strongly or somewhat support Enbridge’s proposed $6.5-billion project to transport bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to Kitimat for shipment by tanker to new markets in Asia.

BC Ferries to build 3 new LNG ferries
BC Ferries has confirmed it plans to commission three new vessels that will be able to operate on liquid natural gas, but there is no guarantee they will be built in B.C. The ferry company announced three months ago it planned to build the ferries to replace the vessels currently operating on the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route and the Comox – Powell River route. On Monday the company confirmed the vessels would be built to operate using both liquid natural gas and marine diesel.

Lack of haste makes for waste in CRD sewage project: report
Regional politicians need to hammer out a sewage deal with Esquimalt on Wednesday or the only option left will be to call on the provincial government for help and begin incurring extra fees, says a new report. Capital Regional District staff say if politicians on the sewage committee can’t finalize a rezoning deal with Esquimalt to allow a sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point, then “an impasse will have been reached” and the “assistance of the province should be sought in resolving the outstanding issues.” That would mean several months of delays for arbitration, with each month costing approximately $900,000, according to the staff report to politicians. Rob Shaw reports.

Baby It's Cold Outside....
Orca Watcher Monika Wieland writes: "We've had beautiful sunny weather here over the last week or so, but man has it been cold! Temperatures in the mid-20s plus breezy conditions that makes the wind chill factor in the teens. Not the type of cold we're used to dealing with here! Most of the wildlife-watching has occurred from the car as a result, or at least after a drive and then a brief hopping out of the car..." Wonderful pictures shared.

Likely Builder Of Mima Mounds? Hint: It’s Furry, Tiny And Tireless  
For centuries, Mima mounds have mystified... Mima mounds are hillocks, piles of dirt upchucked from the ground. They are sometimes covered in grass, giving them the illusion of a knoll. There are millions in California’s Central Valley; near Olympia, Wash. is the Mima Prairie, where the mounds got their name... Now scientists say they are fairly certain about what has been creating – or at least maintaining – these Mima mounds: half-pound, foot-long rodents better known as pocket gophers. Marcie Sillman and Christine Streich report.

'King tides' may provide glimpse of future
It's the time of year when tides are king. While it might seem counter-intuitive, the Earth is actually slightly closer to the sun in winter than in the summer for the northern hemisphere, making for stronger gravitational pull -- and the highest tides of the year. Tides are forecast to be up to 12 feet above mean sea level or higher through much of this month and into January. Those highs will be balanced by minus tides on the low side much of the time. Bill Sheets reports.

Vast Freshwater Reserves Found Beneath the Oceans
Scientists have discovered huge reserves of freshwater beneath the oceans kilometres out to sea, providing new opportunities to stave off a looming global water crisis. A new study, published December 5 in the international scientific journal Nature, reveals that an estimated half a million cubic kilometres of low-salinity water are buried beneath the seabed on continental shelves around the world. The water, which could perhaps be used to eke out supplies to the world's burgeoning coastal cities, has been located off Australia, China, North America and South Africa.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PST TUE DEC 10 2013
TODAY
VARIABLE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 11 SECONDS. CHANCE OF RAIN OR SNOW.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 11 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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