Tuesday, January 14, 2014

1/14 Burnaby spill, oil trains, feeding orcas, WVA spill, BC wolverines, Western bumblebee, monkeys

CN derailment (Vancouver Sun)
Burnaby coal spill could affect salmon: biologist
A coal-train derailment and spill into a tributary of Burnaby Lake follows the celebration of significant returns of chum salmon to the area after years of government and volunteer efforts, a fish biologist said Monday. “I’m very concerned about what is the potential impact of that spill both into Silver Creek and the Brunette River itself,” said Mike Pearson, who specializes in the watershed. “Some of those chum salmon are likely spawning in that stream.” He added that endangered western painted turtles are also known to “overwinter buried in the mud in the vicinity” of where Silver Creek empties into Burnaby Lake. Larry Pynn reports. See also: City of Burnaby asks for cargo info in wake of coal spill

For oil trains crossing Oregon, Washington, state oversight gaps raise questions in wake of accidents  
Ship crude oil on a tanker, barge or through a pipeline in Oregon and Washington, and you’d better get ready for paperwork. It helps ensure state responders are ready for potentially catastrophic oil spills. You’ll have to tell them where you’re sending the oil. How much. What type it is. When you’ll unload it. Want to avoid the hassle? Just put the oil on a train. With little public discussion, trains hauling potentially explosive crude oil are already passing near schools and through towns in Oregon and Washington, past parks and playgrounds. The oil is being transported under lighter state oversight than if it moved any other way. Rob Davis reports. See also: How Many Rail Cars Carrying Hazardous Materials Get Inspected?

Biologist sentenced for feeding killer whales
A prominent California marine biologist was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act by feeding killer whales in the wild, a misdemeanor. Nancy Black was sentenced to three years of probation, $12,500 in fines and 300 hours of community service. Black, who runs a popular whale watching tour on Monterey Bay, had pleaded guilty to one count of violating the federal act when she fed whale blubber to orcas in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in 2004 and 2005. Martha Mendoza reports.

Mysteries Persist Surrounding West Virginia Chemical Spill
The chemical that was found last week to be contaminating the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of West Virginians is used to clean coal. But very little is known about how toxic it is to people or to the environment when it spills. The chemical is called 4-methyl-cyclohexane-methanol or MCHM. If you've never heard of it, you're in good company. Most chemists and toxicologists hadn't either — nor had the water company, nor emergency responders in West Virginia who had to deal with thousands of gallons of it spilling from a tank into the Elk River, just a mile and a half upstream from the intake for the region's drinking water plant. Elizabeth Shogren reports.

Reclusive wolverines set up house on B.C. coast
B.C.'s wolverines are expanding their territory, according to a study published Monday in The Canadian Field-Naturalist. Department of Fisheries and Oceans biologist Tom Shardlow, who authored the report, says at least two wolverines have taken up residence on Princess Royal Island, 130 kilometres south of Kitimat, in B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest. Shardlow says it's the first proven sighting of a wolverine in the area.  B.C. has 3,000 to 4,000 wolverines, but until now, most have been living in snowy habitats at higher elevations in the province's interior.

The mysterious reappearance of the Western bumblebee
Sightings in the Seattle area and Colorado have raised hopes for a species that helps agriculture but seemed to have disappeared... Western bumblebees, which usually have a distinctive white patch on their tail ends — hence their other common name, white-bottomed bees — are key pollinators of cranberries, blueberries, cherries, greenhouse tomatoes and other species. Their recent reappearance in Washington and Colorado has surprised and delighted both amateur and professional entomologists, particularly because the species is among several North American bumblebees known to be shrinking in numbers and range.  Michelle Nijhuis reports.

Research monkeys quietly live and die in Everett lab
It's true. He does kill monkeys in his business. And those dead monkeys mean advances in human health. Mark Crane is second in command at the West Coast's largest monkey lab, located in Everett. The former Connecticut high school health teacher turned corporate vice president said the animal-rights activists who protest outside the biomedical research facility should reflect more on what happens inside. SNBL USA, Crane said, is saving people's lives through medical innovation. Amy Nile reports.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 900 PM PST MON JAN 13 2014
TUE
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 10 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
TUE NIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 14 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG.

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