Thursday, February 13, 2014

2/13 Pt Gamble shore, oil spill, sewage, coal port study, Skagit flood, B'ham waterfront, Costco stormwater

Winter Wren (Paul Bannick/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: The Savvy Wren  
Because many birds are largely silent in winter, it may seem that they have left us. But many remain, and even the shy and secretive sometimes reveal themselves. A Winter Wren may dart from hiding to grab a meal. The Winter Wren of the East and the Pacific Wren of the West are tiny woodland birds. Their songs are as elaborate as their plumage is drab. This wren is one of the few birds to be heard singing in winter.

Purchase completed: Kitsap County acquires 535 acres of forestland, 1.5 miles from shoreline from Pope Resources
Kitsap County residents are now the owners of 535 acres of forestland and 1.5 miles of shoreline on Port Gamble Bay. Pope Resources President David Nunes and Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder signed the ownership transfer documents Feb. 12, finalizing the first acquisition of Pope’s North Kitsap acreage by the Kitsap Forest & Bay Project. The purchase price was $4.6 million and was funded by several sources: the National Coastal Wetlands Program, the state Department of Ecology, the state Wildlife and Recreation Program, the state Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, and private donors — and even an 11th-hour crowdsource appeal.

‘Drift card’ project shows potential impact of oil spill
A small piece of plywood that washed up in Haida Gwaii shows the potentially massive reach of an oil spill in the Salish Sea, say environmental groups studying the risks associated with Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline. In October, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Georgia Strait Alliance dropped more than 1,000 “drift cards” – four-by-six-inch pieces of bright, yellow plywood, each with a unique serial number – along the oil tanker route that runs from Burrard Inlet, through the Gulf and San Juan islands, and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Andrea Woo reports.

State clears way for Longview coal port study
Ambre Energy ran into no red lights on its two Columbia River coal-export projects Wednesday, but the Australia-based company remains far from receiving the green light it hopes to achieve from regulators in Washington and Oregon. The company’s coal-transfer project at Boardman on the Columbia, upriver from Portland, received three permits by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality but the same agency told Ambre it must also apply for a different certification of water quality. Opponents of the project said that requirement could kill the project. On the Washington side of the river at Longview, a joint statement by Cowlitz County and the state Department of Ecology announced plans to begin drafting an environmental impact statement, but warned that it would be broad in its scope and could take into consideration train and vessel traffic from other proposed projects. Ambre is partnered with Arch Coal to develop Millennium Bulk Terminals at Longview. Floyd McKay reports.

Colwood wants out of capital region’s sewage plan
Colwood has officially served notice it wants to go it alone on sewage treatment. Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton told the CRD sewage committee Wednesday her municipality wants the Capital Regional District to amend its core area liquid waste management plan to permit Colwood to build its own small-scale tertiary treatment plant by 2016. The request will be debated by CRD directors next month. Only about 25 per cent of Colwood residents are on the sewage system, with the rest on septic, so they don’t benefit from the current sewage treatment plan but are being forced to pay for it. Bill Cleverley reports.

Olympia beach closed following nearby wastewater overflow
Thurston County officials say the beach at West Bay Park in Olympia has been temporarily closed a precaution due to a possible wastewater contamination. It is expected to reopen by midday Friday. According to a news release: Officials estimate that 22,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed from a manhole at 2100 West Bay Dr. NW after heavy rain showers on Tuesday. Lisa Pemberton reports.

Navy Says Failed Pump Led To Oily Wastewater Spill In Puget Sound
The Navy is blaming a failed pump for its spill of nearly 2,000 gallons of oily wastewater into Puget Sound. Tom Danaher, spokesman for Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, said the Navy was using a pumping system on one of its piers to remove oily bilge water from a ship late Monday. An electrical ground prevented the pump from automatically shutting off when a 4,000 holding tank was filled –- and because the operation was not attended, it took about 20-30 minutes before naval staff realized that oil-contaminated waste-water was pouring into the sound, Danaher said in an interview Wednesday....Mark Toy, a spokesman for the Washington Department of Health, said his agency is continuing to advise against shellfish harvesting in the area affected by the spill... “While at this time there’s not any evidence that shellfish have been affected, we’ve taken the precaution of advising against harvesting from the area,” he said. Ashley Ahearn reports.

Skagit flood groups prepare next move
The long-running Skagit River General Investigation Study’s team could choose next month one of the flood control projects it has been studying to receive expanded analysis. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will meet Feb. 24 to select a “tentatively selected plan” to bring to 35 percent design. The study has been considering four alternatives. The meeting to choose an alternative was scheduled to take place in December, but was pushed back almost three months. The GI study, which has cost more than $11 million, has been ongoing for more than 16 years. It aims to give communities study results that can be used to get federal funding for flood-control projects. Rachel Lerman reports.

Port of Bellingham selects waterfront developer for possible deal
The Port of Bellingham soon may begin negotiations on a waterfront redevelopment contract with Harcourt Developments Limited, a Dublin-based firm best known for a huge Belfast project that includes a Titanic museum on the site of a shipyard where the ill-fated ocean liner was built. The matter will be on port commissioners' agenda for their next meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at port headquarters, 1801 Roeder Ave. If port commissioners approve, Port Executive Director Rob Fix and his staff will have 120 days to work out a complex development contract with Harcourt that also would be subject to port commissioners' approval when it is completed.... Fix said Harcourt was the consensus choice of an evaluation committee that considered the qualifications of Harcourt and two other groups that expressed interest: Portland, Ore.-based Williams/Dame & Associates and Uniting Creatives/Four Pillars, a team of local activists and visionaries joining forces with The Perfume Foundation. The other contenders need not be shut out of the project, Fix said. All three organizations had good ideas, and Harcourt is being encouraged to work with them to incorporate their best ideas and perhaps get them involved in the project.  John Stark reports.

Whatcom council agrees to $2.5M in Costco stormwater funding
A stormwater control system for 80 acres in northwest Bellingham, including for a 160,000-square-foot Costco proposed for West Bakerview Road, will get $2.5 million from the Whatcom County government after all. The loan-grant combination was initially approved by the county council in October 2013 but was cast in doubt after council members expressed reservations about the award. Council was able to reconsider its offer because it had to vote a second time, to authorize the county executive to sign over the funds from the county Economic Development Incentive program.... About two thirds of the funding, $1.675 million, comes as a loan that would be paid back in part through the fee Costco would pay to use the stormwater system. Ralph Schwartz reports.

Written in saltwater: It's time to stand up for Washington's maritime history
....Professional and amateur historians, historical societies and small museums have spent decades telling the stories of the ships, lighthouses, waterfronts and shorelines of Washington and now they want to take another step toward educating local communities, the state's 6.9 million residents, and tens of thousands of visitors about Washington's maritime past. They have asked the Legislature to enact a law designating the state's saltwater shoreline a “Washington State Maritime Heritage Area.” Without adding any new regulations affecting property owners, a Washington State Maritime Heritage Area enables non-profit organizations such as the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, and the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority in Aberdeen to improve coordination and marketing of the state's maritime heritage resources to neighboring states, the country as a whole, and nearby Canadian provinces. Two bills, HB 2386 and its companion SB 6246, would create the heritage area. The bills are now under consideration at the state capitol. Neither proposal affects the state budget. Joe Follansbee advocates.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST THU FEB 13 2014
GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST THIS MORNING
 GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING
TODAY
W WIND 25 TO 35 KT BECOMING SW 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 9 TO 12 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 11
 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT RISING TO 25 TO 35 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 9 TO 11 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 12 SECONDS. RAIN.

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