Wednesday, March 5, 2014

3/5 Coal dust, oil trains, Delta crash, Samish test, Vic sewer, Snookbrook poop, murrelet logging, Oly sea rise, gray whales, BC orcas, Seattle natives, Skagit flood $

The Twinnies (PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
If you like to watch: With Weather Like This…
Laurie MacBride in Eye On Environment  writes: "Ironically, right after I published my post about the little yellow messengers of spring, we had a huge (by west coast standards) dump of snow, more than a foot in all. That was followed by – no surprise – a multi-day power outage. Snow is still covering most of our garden and patches of our lawn, though it’s been melting a bit more each day. While the crocuses haven’t yet emerged from under their white blanket, I’ve been happy to see our weather heading back to “normal”. But today, to my dismay, it’s been snowing again. I think “the Twinnies” are also rather dismayed by it all..."

Are Coal Trains Degrading the Air We Breathe? The Answer is Yes.
Cliff Mass blogs: "During the past week, a paper describing the air quality effects of coal trains lumbering through the Pacific Northwest was accepted for publication and finally I can tell you about it.  This work was completed by Professor Dan Jaffe of the University of Washington in Bothell and several UW students, and relates the results of an extended observational study above the tracks in north Seattle and in the Columbia Gorge...."

Seattle Mulls Resolution Calling For Closer Scrutiny Of Oil Trains  
Seattle is on its way to joining Spokane and Bellingham in demanding tougher scrutiny of oil trains traveling through the city. A resolution that would restrict oil shipments until further review has passed out of a city council committee, and is scheduled for a vote before the full council on Monday. Council member Mike O’Brien, who chairs Seattle's Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee, says he’s been shocked by recent headlines about fiery explosions of increasingly volatile petroleum products like Bakken crude. And he recently learned a new statistic about how quickly the number of such shipments has been increasing. “Just in the last four years, the volume of oil being transported by rail in this country has gone up 57-fold, which is a massive increase,” O'Brien said, referring to a study released last week by the Seattle think-tank Sightline. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

State: Columbia River oil terminal violated permit
A Columbia River industrial plant converted from making ethanol to shipping volatile North Dakota crude oil has been operating improperly by moving six times the volume its permit allowed, Oregon regulators say. The company that runs the Clatskanie industrial plant disputes the allegation, saying its permit covers what it's been doing. It is, however, seeking the new permit the Department of Environmental Quality demands, The Oregonian reported. In June 2012, the agency quickly signed off on an air pollution permit change that allowed the plant to move crude from trains onto barges bound for West Coast oil refineries, saying the shift had an incidental effect on air emissions. (Associated Press)

Poor communication led to collision at Delta coal terminal: safety report
An investigation into an accident that saw a coal ship crash into a terminal near Vancouver, significantly damaging the facility, has concluded poor communication and inadequate safety planning contributed to the accident. The Transportation Safety Board released a report Tuesday examining what happened when the Japanese-owned bulk coal carrier Cape Apricot hit a conveyor belt at Westshore Terminals, south of Vancouver at Roberts Bank, in December 2012. The collision caused extensive damage to the terminal, rendering one of its berths inoperable, and sent 30 tonnes of coal into the water. No one was injured. (Vancouver Sun)

Strike one against Samish Bay in testing period
In the first four days of a four-month evaluation period for fecal coliform bacteria in Samish Bay, pollution was found to exceed state standards. “It’s obviously disappointing,” Taylor Shellfish spokesman Bill Dewey said Tuesday. “Four days into the evaluation period, and we’ve gotten our one closure. Chances of going another four months without another one are pretty slim.” If no more than one pollution closure occurs during the evaluation, the bay may be upgraded, which would mean it would no longer be subject to precautionary closures when the Samish River rises. Skagit County water quality specialist Rick Haley was also disappointed. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Esquimalt presents long list of sewage questions to CRD
Esquimalt, already accused of dragging its feet on the Capital Regional District’s sewage treatment proposal, is now asking for a raft of new documentation on everything from tsunami walls to super bugs in secondary treatment plants. Mayor Barb Desjardins says the municipality is simply looking for answers to questions raised at the municipality’s public hearings into the CRD’s proposed sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point. “We’re just looking for more information, and a lot of it is because members of the public have brought forward concerns that we don’t have the information about,” she said. But Victoria Coun. Geoff Young, chairman of the CRD core area liquid waste management committee, says it’s becoming apparent that the municipality may very well turn down the CRD’s application. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Snookbrook Farms likely main source of fecal contamination in Terrell Creek
Snookbrook Farms is probably the main source of fecal coliform bacteria that contaminated part of Terrell Creek and caused the beach closure near where the creek empties into the south end of Birch Bay. The beach has been closed since Jan. 31, after routine sampling Jan. 30 showed very high counts of fecal coliform in the creek from the Kickerville Road bridge down to the creek's mouth. Fecal coliform bacteria come from human and animal feces. The dairy's manure storage is at capacity - leading to overflows that eventually reached Terrell Creek, according to Hector Castro, spokesman for the Washington Department of Agriculture. Kie Reylea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Kitsap Public Health Releases 2013 Water Quality Report
The Kitsap Public Health District, in partnership with the Kitsap County Storm Water Management Program, today released its 2013 Water Quality Report for Kitsap County. This report summarizes bacteria levels in 57 Kitsap County streams, five marine embayments, 10 marine shoreline areas, and 12 lakes... Some highlights from the 2013 water quality report include... (Central Kitsap Reporter)

Controversial Olympic Peninsula Timber Sale Pits Environment Against Education
The Washington Board of Natural Resources voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the sale of 200 acres of the Olympic Peninsula that are home to the endangered marbled murrelet. The money from the timber sale will go to the University of Washington. 200 acres might not seem like that big of a deal, but not if you ask Peter Goldman, director of the Washington Forest Law Center. “These 200 acres are extremely important,” he said. “These lands around these timber sales are heavily used and officially mapped as occupied by the marbled murrelet.” Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

Rising sea level a big concern for Olympia
Government leaders are sitting down Tuesday night for a first ever discussion of their common threat…rising seas. Olympia City, Thurston County and Port of Olympia planners acknowledge they are in a precarious position for even modest rising tides. Record tides just over a year ago backed up street sewer outfalls and caused minor flooding through street drains in low parts of Olympia. Storm surges send Puget Sound waters over bulkheads and swamp downtown city streets during even moderate events. Gary Chittim reports. (KING-TV)

Small group of gray whales return to Puget Sound
A male gray whale that feasts on shrimp in the Puget Sound every year was spotted this past weekend, marking the start of an annual stay in Washington state inland waters by a small but peculiar group of these big marine mammals, whale watchers reported Tuesday. The intrepid male - nicknamed "Little Patch" and identified with the number 53 by researchers - has been the first whale to be spotted and identified in north Puget Sound waters for two years in a row. He's part of a small group of about a dozen, primarily male, gray whales that feed on ghost shrimp in the Puget Sound for about three months during spring. Around May, the whales continue their migration to the Bering and Chukchi seas off Alaska. Manuel Valdes reports. (Associated Press)

Regional Consultation on the Draft Action Plan for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales in Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) would like your feedback on the draft Action Plan for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada. The Species at Risk Act (SARA) requires that an action plan be developed for Threatened and Endangered species. The Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales were listed as Threatened and Endangered respectively under SARA in June 2003. This draft Action Plan was developed by DFO in cooperation with Parks Canada Agency. This document will form a key component in the recovery of the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales in Canada... The deadline for submitting comments on the draft Action Plan is April 16, 2014. If you are prepared to submit comments, please use the online comment form.

The Invisibles: Seattle’s Native Americans
They’re rarely seen or heard, but the statistics on the population’s health, education, and happiness speak loud and clear. Matt Driscoll reports. (The Stranger)

House OKs $400K for Skagit River flood study
The Skagit River General Investigation has secured $400,000 in additional federal funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an increase of $100,000 over last year. President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget also includes an additional $250,000 for the project, if the budget is approved. The federal funding should be enough to finish out the project, along with the local match, said Dan Berentson, Skagit County interim director of public works.... The study, which has been ongoing for more than 16 years, aims to produce study results that Skagit communities can use to apply for federal funding for flood-control projects. Rachel Lerman reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST WED MAR 5 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON
TODAY
SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS IN THE
 AFTERNOON. W SWELL 5 FT AT 14 SECONDS. RAIN THIS MORNING...THEN A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING S 20 TO 30 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT AFTER
 MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. 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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