Thursday, April 10, 2014

4/10 Salmon quotas, BC tidal power, sewage plants, oil-train safety, BC farmlands, PS Action Agenda, Everett polluter, VanAquarium captives, otter flu, BC landslides

Salmon life cycle (Wikipedia)
New Quotas Clear Way For Banner Summer Salmon Fishing In Pacific Ocean
A federal fisheries management panel approved what some charter captains are calling the best ocean fishing season in 20 years. Meeting at a hotel in Vancouver, Washington, the Pacific Fishery Management Council on Wednesday adopted the 2014 season quotas unanimously after days of lengthy negotiations between commercial troll and recreational fishing representatives, treaty tribes and government regulators. The quotas are a big turnaround from the recent past when ocean salmon fishing was sharply curtailed or not allowed at all. Tom Banse reports. (KPLU)

Island company hopes to harness tides for power
Western Tidal Holdings has applied to the province for permission to investigate installing undersea turbines to generate power at sites close to Trial Island and Race Rocks. The projects are part of a suite of 14 tidal-power projects the Nanaimo-based company is proposing on B.C.’s coast. Last year, the company made similar applications for another site near Race Rocks, as well as sites in Active Pass and a location between Mayne and Pender islands. Those applications are still under review. Andrew Duffy reports. (Times Colonist)

Project at sewage treatment plant forges ahead near Chambers Bay
Four tower cranes up to 175 feet tall soar above a maze of concrete and rebar at Pierce County’s sewage treatment facility, where a $353 million expansion is in full swing. The project next to Chambers Bay golf course in University Place will expand sewage capacity to accommodate growth. And it will allow the county to meet anticipated stricter environmental rules. Workers will take a break before the crowds arrive for the 2015 U.S. Open golf championship. Steve Maynard reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

B.C. environment minister loath to take on sewage mess
The Capital Regional District will ask the province to set aside Esquimalt’s bylaws so the CRD can build a sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point. But Environment Minister Mary Polak said she’s unlikely to get involved. “Certainly, we will review whatever request they forward to us, but I am not inclined to intervene in what is, ultimately, a decision that should be made by local governments,” Polak said. Bill Cleverley and Lindsay Kines report. (Times Colonist)

Sen. Murray seeks safety assurances as state oil-train transport increases
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday held the first congressional hearing focused solely on the safety of transporting crude oil by rail — an issue that hardly existed a decade ago and which reached Washington state only in 2012. The hearing, chaired by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, of Washington, was prompted by a recent spate of oil-train accidents that have followed a resurgent domestic production driven by the Bakken shale oil and gas boom. Kyung M. Song reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Communities not prepared for risks of crude oil train derailments, Congress told  (McClatchy)

Opposition grows to BC government's plan to weaken farmland protection
The chorus of opposition to the B.C. government's planned rewrite of the agricultural land reserve is growing. A letter with more than 100 signatures, mostly from academics, biologists and naturalists, has been sent to Premier Christy Clark critical of Bill 24, which was introduced in the legislature on Mar. 27. The letter contends that the bill "reduces the ability for science to inform land use decisions...will increase pressure to remove land from the reserve at a cost to the general good" and overlooks the importance of farmland as habitat for wildlife and endangered species. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Public invited to learn about 2014-15 Puget Sound Action Agenda updates
Community members are invited to learn more about the Puget Sound Action Agenda and revised Near Term Actions for 2014-15 at one of two public open houses: April 15: 5 to 7 p.m.  at the Center for Urban Waters, 326 East D St., Tacoma; April 16: 5 to 7 p.m. at the Edmonds Library, Plaza Room, 650 Main Street, Edmonds. More on the updates (Puget Sound Partnership)

Department of Ecology reduces fine for Everett company
An Everett metal finisher will pay a reduced fine of $24,000 after taking measures to improve the handling of toxic chemicals, according to the state. Blue Streak Finishers, at 1520 80th St. SW, was fined $60,000 last fall by the state Department of Ecology after inspections revealed several violations of state law in the company’s handling of waste. That included a discharge of dye penetrant into the sewer system; tossing unused paint in with regular garbage; failure to designate, identify and properly handle paint and other chemicals; and lack of proper testing, labeling and inspection of waste storage tanks. Bill Sheets reports. (Everett Herald)

Vancouver Aquarium whales should be phased out, mayor says
A hot civic debate is stirring once more over whether the Vancouver Aquarium should be allowed to keep whales and dolphins in captivity. Mayor Gregor Robertson said he wants them gone, in time, but doesn't want the issue to go to a referendum. Earlier this week, the mayor issued a statement praising the aquarium for its conservation work and educational activities, and noting that is is a significant tourist draw, but said he's personally against the idea of having cetaceans in captivity. (CBC)

Researchers: We Shared The Flu Virus With Olympic Peninsula Sea Otters
Humans are particularly generous with the flu, otter-wrangling scientists have found. People shared the 2009 swine flu epidemic with ferrets, dogs, cats, raccoons and pigs, and new research shows even wild sea otters in Washington state got hit. "These otters, which we think were living in a relatively pristine environment off the Olympic Peninsula, were exposed to pathogens that are more commonly associated with people," said Virologist Hon Ip with the U.S. Geological Survey, who co-authored the study published in the May 2014 issue of “Emerging Infectious Diseases.” Rae Ellen Bichell reports. (KPLU)

Landslide disaster in U.S. highlights risks in B.C.
Several areas of the Lower Mainland have geology strikingly similar to that of Oso, Wash., where a wall of mud wiped out much of the community in late March, killing as many as 45. While past tragedies have forced some B.C. municipalities to face the risks and become leaders in prevention, others are still catching up. Justin Giavannetti reports. (Globe and Mail)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 245 AM PDT THU APR 10 2014
TODAY
W WIND 10 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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