Thursday, February 27, 2014

2/27 Scallops, ocean acid, coal & oil trains, Vic sewer, pine trees, radiation measuring

Bay Scallops
10 million scallops are dead; Qualicum company lays off staff
High acid levels in the waters around Parksville Qualicum Beach have killed 10 million scallops and forced a local shellfish producer to scale operations back considerably. Island Scallops CEO Rob Saunders said the company has lost three years worth of scallops and $10 million... Saunders said the carbon dioxide levels have increased dramatically in the waters of the Georgia Strait, forcing the PH levels to 7.3 from their norm of 8.1 or 8.2. Island Scallops seeds its animals at its hatchery in Qualicum Bay and they are reared in the ocean in small net cages attached to horizontal "longlines," according to the company's website. The longlines are submerged about 10 metres  below the surface in water about 30 metres deep. From hatchery to harvest takes about three years. Saunders said the company has lost all the scallops put in the ocean in 2010, 2011 and 2012. John Harding reports. (Parksville Qualicum Beach News) See also: Acidic water blamed for West Coast scallop die-off (Vancouver Sun)

Struggling shellfish farmers eye genomic research
Shellfish farmers are appealing to the federal and provincial governments to support genomic research in an effort identify oysters, mussels and scallops suited to withstand the west coast’s rapidly changing marine environment. Oyster and scallop farmers from Oregon right up the coast of British Columbia are experiencing massive die-offs of animals associated with rising carbon dioxide levels and increasing acidity in local waters. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: How The GPT Proposal Threatens Our Waterfront
Communitywise Bellingham shows how Gateway Pacific Terminal, if built, would bring big changes to the Bellingham waterfront.

Regulator declines to set date for new rail tank car safety rules
The chief of a federal agency tasked with improving the safety of crude oil shipments by rail declined Wednesday to give lawmakers a date for new tank car rules that railroads and safety officials have sought for years. Cynthia Quarterman, administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, also testified the tank car fixes weren’t “a silver bullet,” and were only “one piece of the mitigative puzzle” in making crude oil transportation safer. The rail industry petitioned the agency three years ago for a rule on tank cars, but the process didn’t begin until this past September and could take at least another year to finish. Lawmakers expressed their frustration at the delay and the uncertainty it creates. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

More oil trains likely to head west
California, the third-biggest refining state in the country, is about to see a flood of oil by rail from places such as Canada and North Dakota as suppliers seek to tap a market isolated from the rest of the country. The western United States may bring 500,000 barrels of light oil by rail a day in 2015 as the region’s refiners seek to replace shrinking output in California and Alaska and more costly foreign imports, Mark Smith, Tesoro Corp.’s vice president of development, supply and logistics, said at a conference this week. California refineries can run 1.63 million barrels a day, the most in the U.S. after Texas and Louisiana, government data show. The western U.S. has become one of the nation’s most dependent on foreign oil as it lacks pipeline access to crude from shale in the middle of the country. Companies from Alon USA Energy Inc. to Valero Energy Corp. are looking to tap the market with projects that would bring more crude into the West by rail. (Bloomberg News)

Esquimalt sewage decision not expected until April
Esquimalt isn’t scheduled to make a decision on locating a sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point until April 7 — raising the spectre of millions of dollars in tax dollars flushed down the toilet because of delays. Esquimalt is being offered about $13 million in amenities from the Capital Regional District should the siting of the $230-million plant on the former oil tank farm be approved. The amenities would include oceanfront walkways, a million-dollar bike and path system on Lyall Street, public art, bike lanes, road improvements and $55,000 a year for at least five years to compensate for hosting the unpopular sewage plant. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

UW Prof Confirms Pine Trees Make Particles From Thin Air, Counteract Greenhouse Effect
When you walk into an evergreen forest, you get a whiff of that unmistakable smell of pine. It turns out some of those vapors come from newly-discovered particles that seem to come out of nowhere and cool the forest.  Researchers at the University of Washington have confirmed the finding, which they say will help scientists more accurately forecast climate change. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Fukushima radiation on B.C. coast measured by crowdfunding  
People along B.C.'s coast are being asked to step in where governments in Canada and the U.S. have not — to measure radiation from Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in B.C.'s ocean waters. Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Maine, are calling on the public to collect data from B.C.'s oceans for a crowd-funded research project. The website ourradioactiveocean.org is recruiting "citizen scientists," ordinary people who can raise $600 for a home testing kit and then take water samples to return to Woods Hole for analysis. (CBC News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST THU FEB 27 2014
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS. SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
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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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