Thursday, December 5, 2013

12/5 King tides, Fraser toxins, BC tribes, BC spills, mudsnails, Alexis Valauir, anxious fish, wetlands, eagles, Skagit fish

(PHOTO: KOMO-TV)
New blog: It’s “King” Tide Time Again
If you live in Puget Sound, the first “king” tides will be occurring this weekend, beginning December 6. The Strait of Juan de Fuca shorelines have already had their first round of these seasonal extra-high tides this week. The tides will also be high at the end of December and early January in Puget Sound.

Mercury, PCBs to be recycled near Fraser River in Chilliwack

A hazardous waste recycling plant on the shores of the Fraser River opposed by environmentalists, wildlife groups and First Nations was unanimously approved by Chilliwack city council Tuesday evening. Ontario-based Aevitas Inc. asked council to rezone a property on the Cattermole Lands from heavy industrial to special industrial to allow for the plant that, each month, will recycle 5,000 litres of transformer oil containing PCBs and 500,000 lamps containing mercury. Few even knew about the proposal and the public hearing until it was nearly too late. Paul Henderson reports.

Feds told to work harder with aboriginal groups on energy projects

A report set for release today will urge the federal government to do more to build trust with aboriginal communities and ensure their participation in proposed energy projects on Canada’s West Coast. The report by the prime minister’s special envoy, Doug Eyford, is based on months of consultations with aboriginal groups in British Columbia and Alberta. It’s a key part of the federal effort to win support for proposed pipelines to take oilsands bitumen and natural gas to B.C. ports for export to Asian markets.

B.C. still struggling to define ‘world-class’ response to oil spills

With two major studies now in hand demonstrating how poorly prepared B.C. is for a marine oil spill, Environment Minister Mary Polak says the government still doesn’t know what it would take to achieve a “world-class” response system... Her ministry is reviewing this week’s report from a federal panel that found major gaps in the safety system for oil supertankers plying Canadian waters off the coast. That did not take into account the hundreds of additional tankers expected to pass along the B.C. coast if two proposed oil pipelines are built. The provincial government recently released its own study that found efforts to clean up tanker spills would leave most of the oil on the ocean. Justine Hunter reports.

Freeze could help kill Capitol Lake's mudsnail population

State wildlife officials say this week’s freezing weather could kill off half or more of an invasive New Zealand mudsnail population afflicting Capitol Lake in downtown Olympia. With temperatures falling into the teens overnight, the theory is that the mudsnails — which are the size of a grain of rice — will simply die of cold. To maximize the effect, the Department of Enterprise Services began draining the lake Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning a scientist from the Department of Wildlife was inspecting the newly uncovered shore areas where the tiny mollusks live. Brad Shannon reports.

If you like to listen: Alexis Valauir -Ocean Acidification Effects on Global Communities

From the 2013 NW Straits Annual Conference: Alexis Valauir, a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, traveled to Norway, Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand and the Cook Islands researching how ocean acidification on communities. She shares her experiences and offers insight into communicating global environmental problems to different cultures.

Rising Ocean Acidification Leads to Anxiety in Fish
A new research study combining marine physiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, and behavioral psychology has revealed a surprising outcome from increases of carbon dioxide uptake in the oceans: anxious fish. A growing base of scientific evidence has shown that the absorption of human-produced carbon dioxide into the world's oceans is causing surface waters to decline in pH, causing a rise in acidity. This ocean acidification is known to disrupt the growth of shells and skeletons of certain marine animals but other consequences such as behavioral impacts have been largely unknown.

Humans Threaten Wetlands' Ability to Keep Pace With Sea-Level Rise
Left to themselves, coastal wetlands can resist rapid levels of sea-level rise. But humans could be sabotaging some of their best defenses, according to a Nature review paper published December 5 from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Where to see bald eagles, from B.C. to Oregon
For bald-eagle fans in the Northwest, the cool, dark days of December and January don’t mean outdoor doldrums. This is prime eagle-viewing time. In winter, many eagles make their way from high-latitude areas to the relatively warm and food-rich lakes and rivers of Washington, Oregon and southern British Columbia. Since winter is not mating or hatching season, the birds congregate more than usual, meaning you potentially can see dozens at once, often feeding on salmon at the side of spawning streams. Bonus: You’ll probably see other animals as well. Christy Karras reports.

Fish habitat restoration gets boost with $3.5 million grant
Nine Skagit County fish habitat restoration projects sponsored by state and local agencies received more than $3.5 million in grant funding from the state’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board on Wednesday, the Skagit Watershed Council announced. The council is a community partnership that promotes protection and restoration of salmon habitat in Skagit. Each of the project sponsors — Skagit County Public Works, Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group, Skagit Land Trust, Seattle City Light, Skagit River System Cooperative and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife — are partners in the council, Executive Director Richard Brocksmith said. Kimberly Cauvel reports.

Sea-Level Rise to Drive Coastal Flooding, Regardless of Change in Cyclone Activity
Despite the fact that recent studies have focused on climate change impacts on the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones themselves, a research team led by Jon Woodruff of the University of Massachusetts Amherst found on review of the relevant science that sea level rise and shoreline retreat are the two more certain factors expected to drive an increase in future flood risk from such storms.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 900 AM PST THU DEC 5 2013
GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 9 SECONDS. CHANCE OF FLURRIES.
TONIGHT
E WIND 20 TO 25 KT BECOMING 20 TO 30 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 2 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SNOW.
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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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