Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4/22 Earth sounds, Big Bang, BC pipe, spill risks, tankers, alpine mercury, Orca Tour, Japan mussel, land-farmed salmon, stormwater

For the Earth: Help Scientists Record One Day of Sound on Earth
Bryan Pijanowski wants to capture the sounds of the world on a single day, and he needs your help. On Earth Day, April 22, Pijanowski hopes to enlist thousands of people in recording a few minutes of their everyday surroundings with his Soundscape Recorder smartphone app. All those sonic snippets could create an unprecedented soundtrack to life on Earth — and as they accumulate, year after year, scientists could use them to measure patterns and changes in our sonic environments. Brandon Keim reports. (Wired)

For the Earth and the Universe: Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans
While scientists believe the universe began with a Big Bang, most Americans put a big question mark on the concept, an Associated Press-GfK poll found. Yet when it comes to smoking causing cancer or that a genetic code determines who we are, the doubts disappear. When considering concepts scientists consider truths, Americans have more skepticism than confidence in those that are farther away from our bodies in scope and time: global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and especially the Big Bang from 13.8 billion years ago. Seth Borenstein and Jennifer Agiesta report. (Associated Press)

Key native group in Northern B.C. threatens to stop talks on pipelines
Another crack has appeared in the government’s energy strategy, with a key native group in northern B.C. threatening “to stop discussions [regarding] any and all proposed pipeline development” in their territory. The Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs, whose traditional lands near Hazelton lie in the path of several proposed oil and gas pipelines, say they will block those projects unless the government withdraws controversial treaty deals offered to two neighbouring bands. Gwaans – chief negotiator for the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs whose English name is Beverley Clifton Percival – said Monday the threat to pull out of pipeline talks was made to get the government’s attention and drive home the importance of the issue. Mark Hume and Justine Hunter report. (Globe and Mail)

Vancouver seeks oil spill risk assessment
The city of Vancouver [WA] is seeking an independent assessment of the region's readiness for possible oil spills, explosions or other accidents that may result from the Northwest's largest proposed oil-by-train terminal. "We don't have experience with this kind of crude or volume," Deputy Fire Chief Dan Olson said. Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies want to build an oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver to handle as much as 380,000 barrels of crude a day. The state's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council is weighing the proposal. The council will make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say. Aaron Corvin and Erin Middlewood report. (Columbian)

Proposed oil terminal in B.C. could increase Strait tanker traffic
The number of oil tankers sailing along the Strait of Juan de Fuca bringing cargos of crude from Alaska has diminished dramatically in the past few years, according to oil and ship-movement records, but a plan for Alberta tar sands crude could increase the number of tankers in the Strait if it comes to pass. Many of the ships that currently head for Ferndale, Anacortes, Tacoma and other refinery points on Puget Sound often anchor in Port Angeles Harbor. Many of those anchored that sit “low in the water” with full cargos await clearance to proceed to their refineries. (Peninsula Daily News)

New Study: Mercury Found In Sport Fish In Remote Northwest Lakes
Some bad news for backcountry in the West: Some of the fish in the region’s wild alpine lakes contain unsafe levels of mercury, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. In the broadest study of its kind to date, the USGS tested various kinds of trout and other fish at 86 sites in national parks in 10 western states from 2008 to 2012. The average concentration of mercury in sport fish from two sites in Alaskan parks exceeded federal health standards, as did individual fish caught in California, Colorado, Washington and Wyoming. But perhaps more importantly, mercury was detected in all of the fish sampled, even from the more pristine areas of the parks. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

If you like to watch: March's Point Heron Colony
The heron colony on March's Point is believed to be the largest nesting area for Great Blue Herons in all of Western North America. Herons have nested at this site on Padilla Bay since the late 1970s. In 1984, just 42 nests were counted at this site, with a steady increase ever since. In 2006 Skagit Land Trust estimated over 700 active nests in the area! Now we think there are about 600.

Orca Tour 2014 - California, Here We Come!
The Whale Trail hosts a pre-kickoff and fundraiser on May 24 beginning at 6:30 PM at C&P Coffee in West Seattle for the Orca Tour which will feature orca expert Erich Hoyt in talks in two countries and three states in May. There will be a small silent auction and plenty of orca-themed door prizes. Friends from Seal Sitters, and emmy-nominated diver Laura James will also be on hand. Light appetizers and desserts, and no-host beer and wine. Admission is $5 adults, kids free, at Brown Paper Tickets.

Stowaway mussel surfs Japanese tsunami debris to B.C.
A sea creature unfamiliar in Canadian waters has hitchhiked its way across the Pacific ocean on a piece of suspected tsunami debris from Japan’s 2011 earthquake. The federal fisheries department has identified a non-indigenous mussel on one piece of wreckage believed to have drifted to B.C. after the devastating Japanese tsunami. The department says at this time it hasn’t conducted a full risk-assessment for the species, called mytilus coruscus... (Canadian Press)

Land-farmed salmon: Coming (temporarily) to a restaurant or store near you
Still have farmed salmon crossed off your short list of eco-friendly fish? A local version that’s available for a limited time in the Washington area could temporarily rewrite your rules. Most farmed salmon are raised in open nets or pens in the ocean, where their waste and potential to introduce parasites, diseases or non-native fish to the wild present serious environmental concerns. The Freshwater Institute, a program of the Arlington-based Conservation Fund, has been trying another way. For two years, the institute’s researchers have been growing Atlantic salmon at a recirculating aquaculture facility in Shepherdstown, W.Va., 70 miles from the District. They have been chipping away at the sustainability issues that plague this farmed fish’s reputation by growing it in land-based tanks without the use of antibiotics or hormones. They’ve acclimated the fish to grow in fresh water and are reusing 99 percent of it while reducing the amount of forage fish required to feed the growing predators. Whitney Pipkin reports. (Washington Post)

Rolling rain gardens at Port of Seattle
The Port of Seattle is testing a contraption that combines a boxcar, soil, plants and pipes to treat storm water runoff. The Port of Seattle is constantly looking for ways to reduce the runoff from its miles of concrete surfaces into Puget Sound.  The Splash Boxx may be a viable method. Splash Boxx is a Seattle Company that custom designs boxcar style containers that are packed with soild and plants and used to capture, slow down and treat stormwater in a natural, inexpensive process. Gary Chittim reports. (KING)

Now, your Earth Day tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE APR 22 2014
TODAY
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 9 FT AT 13 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
 SHOWERS...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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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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