Monday, March 10, 2014

3/10 Log jam, tideflats, rail safety, fishing ban, L112

Varied thrush (Paul Bannick/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: Secretive Varied Thrush
Except in winter, when it gathers in loose flocks to move to lower elevations, this shy bird prefers solitude. The intricate pattern of color on its wings rese CenturyLink Field mbles dappled sunlight on the forest floor. Naturalist Louis Agassiz Fuertes called the song of the Varied Thrush, "... as perfectly the voice of the cool, dark, peaceful solitude which the bird chooses for its home as could be imagined." Help the Varied Thrush by choosing forest-friendly lumber for your next building project! (BirdNote)

Artificial log jam designed to protect roads and fish
A stretch of U.S. Highway 20 that runs right along the Skagit River east of the community of Rockport has been undermined and heavily damaged by rapidly flowing water three times in the last decade.  Each time the Washington State Department of Transportation has had to come out with boulders, more dirt, gravel and pavement to fix it.  But is there a better way? Now WSDOT thinks it has the solution, and construction of a 1,300-foot long artificial log jam is expected to be a permanent repair. Glenn Farley reports. (KING)

Tideflats could become site for LNG plant
The Tacoma Tideflats could become the site of the state's first natural gas liquefaction plant if a bill being considered by the Legislature passes. Rep. Jake Fey, one of the bill's sponsors, said the bill would pave the way for Puget Sound Energy to build a liquified natural gas plant on the Tideflat to supply Alaska trailership operator Totem Ocean Trailer Express with liquid natural gas to power its ships. TOTE is converting its two huge roll-on, roll-off trailerships to use LNG to power their engines. The natural gas fuel will both be less expensive and less polluting than the heavy oil that powers the ships now. John Gillie reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

NTSB to hold safety forum on crude oil, ethanol shipments by rail
The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a two-day public forum next month on the safety of moving crude oil and ethanol by rail, the agency said Thursday. The NTSB has been warning for years that a common type of railroad tank car, known as the DOT-111, was not suitable for transporting flammable liquids and cited its tendency to puncture or rupture easily in derailments. Federal regulators had known for more than two decades about the car’s shortcomings when a train loaded with crude oil derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in July, killing 47 people and destroying the center of town. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

DFO ‘fudging the numbers,’ court finds; bars commercial fishery off
An unprecedented court injunction has barred the Department of Fisheries and Oceans from opening a commercial fishery off Vancouver Island after a judge concluded DFO was “fudging the numbers” and that the federal minister declared it open against her own bureaucrats’ advice. The Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, whose herring-roe fishery has been closed since 2006, went to court last month seeking the injunction. The ruling has prompted the Haida First Nation to threaten similar court action. And the central coast First Nations say they’ll do whatever it takes to protect their fisheries. The First Nations say the fisheries should not be opened because they have not recovered enough to allow harvesting safely. In the Nuu-chah-nulth case, court documents showed that DFO experts agreed that all three areas should remain closed, but federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea chose to open the fisheries anyway. Zoe Tennant reports. (Globe and Mail)

Whale-death investigation flawed, experts say
An investigation into the death of a baby killer whale that absolved Royal Canadian Navy exercises around Vancouver Island of involvement was seriously flawed, two experts claim. “My concern is our investigation team looked the other way at negligence and misleading evidence,” said Ken Balcomb from the Center for Whale Research, based in Friday Harbor, Wash.... Balcomb wants the National Marine Fisheries Service to reopen its investigation.... Scott Veirs, an environmental biologist with Beam Reach marine science school, said he supported Balcomb’s call to reopen the investigation. Sarah Petrescu reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON MAR 10 2014
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W
 SWELL 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS.

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