Friday, February 28, 2014

2/28 Clean fuel, biomass, ship grounding, stormwater, cable ferry, quake risks, gray whales, 'rock snot'

Got snow(flake)? Watch this (New Scientist)
If you like to watch: Six-sided snowflakes bloom in slow motion
Watch in mesmerising detail as snowflakes crystallise into unique beauties, their rapid growth caught by a high-speed camera. (New Scientist)

Enviro Group Pushing Gov. Inslee To Adopt Clean Fuels Standard
The environmental group Climate Solutions is urging Gov. Jay Inslee to exercise his executive power to adopt a clean fuels standard.  The group's leaders spoke to reporters on Thursday in hopes of adding momentum to their efforts to follow in the footsteps of California and British Columbia. Carrie Nyssen with the American Lung Association says cars and trucks are the largest source of air pollution in Washington state. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

State Supreme Court upholds permit for Port Townsend biomass expansion
The state Supreme Court denied an appeal by environmental group PT AirWatchers and other groups Thursday, upholding a lower court’s ruling that granted a permit for the expansion of the Port Townsend Paper Corp. biomass cogeneration plant.... PT AirWatchers Director Gretchen Brewer said she was “sorely disappointed” by the ruling but was gratified the appeal brought the case to public attention. ... Kevin Scott, Port Townsend Paper Corp. director of sustainability, said company officials are pleased with the ruling because it allows them to move forward with the proposed facility, even as its future is uncertain. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Investigation launched after loaded container ship grounds near Steveston
The Transportation Safety Board says it has decided to launch an official investigation into the Feb. 2 grounding of a container ship in the Steveston area. Even though the 222-metre Cap Blanche was aground for about 30 minutes, there are “sufficient issues” for an investigation, Transportation Safety Board (TSB) spokesman Paulo Ekkebus said Thursday. The ship was loaded with containers at the time. There was no damage or injuries, but the TSB does undertake investigations where there’s a belief that the marine community can learn something from the incident, he noted. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Port of Port Townsend agrees to settlement before environmental group files suit over stormwater management
The Port of Port Townsend has settled with an environmental group that threatened to file a lawsuit if certain environmental standards for stormwater management were not met.  On Sept. 17, the Waste Action Project issued a notice of intent to sue for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, requesting compliance along with $20,000 to support an environmental initiative selected by the group, as well as lawyer’s fees....The settlement, approved by port commissioners Wednesday night says the port has done nothing wrong but agrees to 12 measures, several of which the port is already performing, Deputy Port Director Jim Pivarnik said.  In it, the port also agrees to support a Waste Action Project initiative with a $2,000 subsidy along with $14,000 in lawyer’s fees. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

North Vancouver, B.C., shipyard gets cable ferry contract
BC Ferries has awarded a $15-million contract to Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards to build B.C. Ferries' first cable ferry serving the Buckley Bay-Denman Island route. The ferry corporation says the new vessel will replace the MV Quinitsa, an 80-metre-long vessel built in 1977, and will accommodate up to 50 vehicles and 150 passengers. It should be in service by the summer of 2015. (CBC) See also: Critics pan plan for B.C. cable-driven ferry  (Globe and Mail)

CWU scientists wants Pacific-wide network monitoring quake risks
The campus of Central Washington University is headquarters to one of the largest global positioning systems that studies earthquake risks.  The PANGA geodetic array monitors in real time 500 GPS stations around the Pacific Northwest that track in monitor in detail the compression of the West Coast along a fault line believed capable of a magnitude 9 earthquake. A GPS network in Japan closely tracked the Tohoku earthquake that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, which killed 23,000 people.  Most died not from the shaking, but from the tsunami waves generated by the quake.  The problem, says CWU seismologist Tim Melbourne, is that the GPS networks aren't sharing their data, and he wants to see that changed. Glenn Farley reports. (KING)

Gray whales are arriving and you see them on trips from Everett
An estimated 22,000 gray whales will swim past Washington’s coastline during the next few weeks as they migrate thousands of miles to rich feeding grounds near Alaska. A dozen or more of the giant creatures are expected to spend a few months in Puget Sound as they bulk up for the trip. The whales don’t eat while spending the winter in their breeding grounds in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula or in the Gulf of California, so fuel stops are needed as they travel 5,000 to 6,500 miles to the Bering and Chukchi seas in the Arctic. The Pacific Whale Watching Association calls it the longest migration of any mammal on Earth, with the whales traveling at about five knots and averaging 75 miles a day on the trip. Mike Benbow reports. (Everett Herald)

`Rock snot´ found to be native algae species in N.B.
New research reveals a nasty, mucus-like algae bloom that emerged in Eastern Canada in 2006 may not be an invasive species after all. Instead, it appears to be a native species that was once subdued by cooler temperatures, but is now proliferating due to global warming. Didymo is a thick, slippery algae nicknamed "rock snot" for reasons obvious to anyone who has seen or touched it. The algae is a concern for fish populations such as Atlantic salmon, as it lines river bottoms, hiding food and making it more difficult for some species to forage. (CBC)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST FRI FEB 28 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM PST THIS MORNING THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON
TODAY
E WIND 10 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 12
 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
E WIND RISING TO 25 TO 35 KT. COMBINED SEAS BUILDING TO 5 TO 7 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 11 SECONDS.
SAT
E WIND 25 TO 35 KT. COMBINED SEAS 6 TO 8 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW IN THE AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SUN
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

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