Thursday, April 24, 2014

4/24 Rainbows, BC quake, Stilly spawn, peat bog saved, Skagit septics, orcas, marbled murrelets, Canada trains, Tacoma gas plant, Howarth Park, Larry Pynn

Rainbow trout (WI DNR/KPLU)
Scientists: Washington's State Fish Has A Remarkable Evolutionary Past
It turns out the Washington state fish is a piece of evolutionary wonder. An international group of scientists sequenced the genome of the rainbow trout and found some surprises.  About 100 million years ago, something odd happened to the ancestor of salmon and rainbow trout. Instead of inheriting two copies of chromosome sets — one from mom and one from dad, they managed to inherit four copies. In evolutionary terms, this was a recent and dramatic event. Rae Ellen Bichell explains. (KPLU) See also: Fishing report: Lowland lakes ready for trout opener  (Seattle Times)

B.C. earthquake: 6.6 magnitude quake hits near Port Alice, B.C.
A 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck Wednesday night shortly aftter 8 p.m. PT. The epicentre was located 40 kilometres southwest of Port Alice at a depth of 22 kilometres, according to the Pacific Tsunami Information Centre. The earthquake was initially reported at 6.7 magnitude, but the USGS National Earthquake Information Centre later changed the scale of the quake to 6.6. Although the earthquake was powerful enough to generate a local tsunami, the risk of one was quickly ruled out. (CBC)

Fish Still Spawning After Deadly Washington Mudslide: Biologists
Fisheries biologist Pete Verhey waded through the cold, clear creek that feeds into the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, scanning riffles and side channels looking for evidence of fish eggs. "We got one!" he shouted, pulling pink tape from his waders and marking the spot where a steelhead trout had buried eggs in the gravel. The redd, or spawning nest, is an encouraging sign that steelhead trout may be making their way upstream from Oso — above where a massive landslide decimated a riverside neighborhood a month ago and pushed several football fields worth of sediment down the hillside and across the river. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

County to buy land to protect rare peat bog from development
Snohomish County leaders moved Wednesday to buy land around a rare peat bog where a developer earlier planned to build luxury homes. The County Council unanimously voted to buy Hooven Bog for $1.6 million. The deal includes pasture land to the west that had been used for access. Along with the land acquisition, the agreement includes a developer dropping his court case seeking damages from the county over permit delays. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

County expands use of Clean Samish septic inspection strategies
While there aren’t thousands of acres of shellfish beds at stake in Padilla Bay, there is fecal coliform pollution that has resulted in closures for recreational shellfish harvest and swimming at Bay View State Park over the years. Skagit County is in the process of expanding its Pollution Identification and Correction program to the Padilla Bay watershed. The program, called PIC, was initially adopted to aid the Clean Samish Initiative in reducing pollution and commercial shellfish harvest closures in the Samish River watershed. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

If you like to watch: PHOTOS: West Seattle whale-watching – orcas back, day 3
Lots of orca-watching going on this [Wednesday] morning, from Beach Drive to Elliott Bay, where the newest reports are from – likely the same two transient male orcas who have been visiting the area for the past several days. (West Seattle Blog)

Chunky seabird in the crosshairs of state's timber-cutting machinery
Environmentalists say the marbled murrelet deserves much more protection than the state Department of Natural Resources are willing to give.... In a lawsuit filed March 31, the Seattle Audubon Society, the Olympic Forest Coalition and others are contesting two timber sales on the Olympic Peninsula that they say violate the state's federal habitat conservation plan. The land is managed by the Department of Natural Resources and includes forests that had been specifically identified for protection and recovery of the endangered bird, according to the lawsuit. Martha Baskin reports. (Crosscut)

Canada moves ahead of U.S. in phasing out older tank cars for shipping crude oil
In response to a deadly train derailment last summer, the Canadian government Wednesday ordered the country’s railroads to phase out tens of thousands of older, puncture-prone tank cars from crude oil transportation within three years. Though Transport Canada and its U.S. equivalent, the Department of Transportation, have been working together to address widespread concerns about the safety of moving large quantities of crude oil and ethanol in trains, the announcement puts Canada a step ahead. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

Multinational group proposes $1.8 billion gas-conversion plant in Tacoma
A multinational consortium of energy, chemical and investment concerns is planning the largest financial investment — $1.8 billion — ever made to create a Tacoma industrial facility if the Port of Tacoma Commission next week grants it a long-term lease on a key Tacoma Tideflats tract. Northwest Innovation Works is proposing to build a plant to convert natural gas into methanol on the former site of the Kaiser Aluminum smelter near the port’s Blair Waterway. The methanol in liquid form would be exported in tankers to Asia from a wharf on the port’s busiest industrial waterway. Those tankers would deliver most of their cargo to China, where the methanol would be used as a basic feedstock to create plastics. John Gillie reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Howarth Park beach to close for 4 months
One of Everett’s most popular beaches is set for a temporary closure this fall to make way for a project to benefit people and fish. The work will remove a bulkhead at Howarth Park. It also involves replenishing sand at up to three other spots along the beach between the Mukilteo city limits and the Port of Everett. Construction is scheduled to begin in November and last about four months. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Sun reporter to receive environmental award
Larry Pynn, The Vancouver Sun's Environment and Special Projects reporter, will be presented Thursday with the Frank Sanford Award for Community Service by Nature Vancouver in recognition of his "outstanding contributions to community awareness about environmental issues.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-300 AM PDT THU APR 24 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
TODAY
SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING S 20 TO 30 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS...
 BUILDING TO SW 7 FT AT 9 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN THIS MORNING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING S 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 9 FT AT 10 SECONDS. SHOWERS
 LIKELY...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS 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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