Wednesday, March 12, 2014

3/12 Quakes, tsunami debris, BC water, BP tax, Everett mill site

Pacific chorus frog (Gregg Thompson/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: Pacific Chorus Frogs: Harbingers of Spring
On the West Coast, the sound of Pacific Chorus Frogs - also known as Pacific Tree Frogs - signals the arrival of spring. To send their calls into the night, the males swell their throat sacs to three times the size of their heads. Those who hear this chorus can be sure that Rufous Hummingbirds, Tree Swallows, and Violet-green Swallows will soon be arriving on the scene! (BirdNote)

New blog: Where Were You When...?
It’s a simple question I like to ask to place people quickly on the continuum of time and space. Nothing fancy, like, where were you three years ago when you heard about the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami?

Professor: Infrastructure here not prepared for massive quake
One local seismology professor says we are still far from being ready for when the next big quake hits our area. Seattle’s oldest buildings, including the Alaskan Way Viaduct, are just some of the structures that are a cause for concern when the Big One hits. The Alaskan Way Viaduct has a slew of instruments and engineers paying close attention to its stability. But the professor from Central Washington University said Washington communities are behind the ball when it comes to surveying and upgrading older structures. Just thirteen years ago, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake rocked the Puget Sound. Steve Kiggins reports. (KCPQ)

Three Years Later, Where Did Japanese Tsunami Debris Go?
Exactly three years have passed since a huge tsunami in March 2011 took thousands of lives in Japan and washed whole villages out to sea. Suspected tsunami debris started arriving on our shores the following December, but it's been less than feared. Nir Barnea, federal coordinator for marine debris in the Pacific Northwest, says we may never know for sure where the majority of the tsunami debris went. “A lot of the debris was made of wood. If you look at the photos from early after the tsunami, you see a lot of wood out there. Some of it — maybe even most of it — has sunk. Other debris may not have reached us. It has dispersed and may never reach us,” Barnea said. Tom Banse reports. (KPLU)

Where Are We Now? Tsunami Debris Three Years Later
Last month, six high school students from California visited Rikuzentakata, a city in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture that was nearly destroyed three years ago today by a massive earthquake and tsunami. On the agenda was a visit to Takata High School and its 20-foot boat, now home again after several years and a long voyage across the Pacific Ocean. The boat, which Takata High School used for marine science lessons, washed away during the tsunami and landed in Crescent City, California in April 2013. The Del Norte High School students, with the help of their teachers, restored the boat and worked alongside Del Norte County and various groups to return it to Japan. This tremendous story – a bright spot in an on-going human tragedy – is about friendship, cooperation, and bonds across an enormous ocean. Nancy Wallace blogs. (NOAA Marine Debris Blog)

Critics condemn B.C.’s new ‘watered-down water act’
A new law to protect and manage fresh water in B.C., four years in the making, still leaves the thorny question of pricing for a future date. The Water Sustainability Act, introduced Tuesday by Environment Minister Mary Polak, promises to regulate groundwater, to manage water use during droughts, and to measure large-scale water use. But Ms. Polak has launched another round of public consultation before she’ll ink in fees for water use by major industrial users, including natural-gas companies that use large volumes of water for fracking. This year, NestlĂ© Waters Canada will draw an estimated 300 million litres of groundwater for its bottling plant in Hope, producing truckloads of 500-millilitre plastic bottles of “pure, natural spring water.” Like other water-bottling companies using B.C. groundwater, it pays nothing for the resource. Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

Whatcom County Council not happy about BP tax dispute  
Whatcom County Council members expressed irritation over the property tax appeal filed by BP Cherry Point refinery - an appeal that could reduce property tax revenues by millions of dollars for as long as two years even if the appeal is ultimately rejected. "It is a significant appeal, like nothing I've ever seen in 26 years being an assessor," County Assessor Keith Willnauer told council members during their Tuesday, March 11, meeting, Council member Pete Kremen said he thought BP was asking for far too big a tax cut. John Stark reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Foss owner seeks more time to evaluate Everett mill site
Saltchuk, the Seattle-based company in talks to buy the Kimberly-Clark Corp. waterfront mill site, has asked for more time to finish due diligence on the land. Saltchuk still aims to close the deal before July, said Emily Reiter, a spokeswoman for the transportation and petroleum distribution company. And Kimberly-Clark spokesman Bob Brand said the Dallas-based company is willing to grant more time and is working with Saltchuk on the terms. Dan Catchpole reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED MAR 12 2014
TODAY
SE WIND 10 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. NW SWELL BUILDING TO 9 FT AT 18 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 11 FT AT 15 SECONDS.
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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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