Thursday, July 24, 2014

7/24 Oil train, belugas, Helena Star, seabirds, radiation, CATS, Seahurst Park, stormwater, conservation fund, T-Rex

Killdeer (Phil Gilston/BirdNote)
 If you like to watch: Killdeer - Master of Distraction
The Killdeer is one of the most widespread and commonly seen shorebirds in North America. Killdeers lure predators - including humans - away from their nest by calling loudly while appearing to limp and drag a wing. Found throughout the United States and Canada, they nest on the ground, often in human-modified habitats such as gravel roads, driveways, parking lots, and lawns. Catch a video of an adult feigning injury to protect its young. (BirdNote)

Oil Train Tanker Cars Derail In Seattle
Three tanker cars in an oil train from North Dakota derailed at a rail yard in Seattle early Thursday, but BNSF Railway says none of the oil spilled. BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said a locomotive and buffer car loaded with sand also left the rails about 2 a.m. at the Interbay yard as the train with 102 cars of Bakken oil was pulling out, headed for a refinery at Anacortes. From Seattle’s Magnolia Bridge, workers could be seen operating a tractor to try and get a derailed oil train back on track. It appeared that at least one train car was slightly off kilter on the track. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix) See also: Crew Fatigue Persists As Oil By Rail Increases Risks  Tony Schick reports. (EarthFix)

DOT proposes 2-year phase-out of older tank cars for crude oil trains
The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a two-year phase-out of older tank cars used to transport crude oil by rail, among other measures to improve the safety of crude oil transportation by rail. Secretary Anthony Foxx outlined the long-anticpated proposals Wednesday, more than a year after a deadly derailment in Quebec focused government and public scrutiny on the rising volumes of crude oil shipped in trains. DOT will seek the phase-out or retrofit of older model DOT-111 tank cars, long known to be vulnerable to failure in derailments, from crude oil and ethanol service. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy) See also: Whatcom, Bellingham elected officials say oil-train rules could be improved Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Vancouver park board report avoids taking a stand on captive whales
The Vancouver park board has released the report it commissioned on keeping beluga whales and dolphins at the city aquarium, but it does not take a stand on whether cetaceans should be held in captivity and effectively calls for more research. The report was released on Wednesday, ahead of Saturday’s special park board meeting. The captivity debate resurfaced in April, with some park board commissioners and later the mayor voicing opposition to keeping cetaceans at the aquarium. Joseph Gaydos – chief scientist of the Wildlife Health Center’s SeaDoc Society Program at the University of California, Davis – was tasked with conducting the review. His report says he was able to compile considerable data in the allotted time, but that more work is needed. Sunny Dhillon reports. (Globe and Mail)

Sunken freighter raised from Hylebos Waterway
Four months and $600,000 later, the derelict freighter Helena Star has been refloated and is expected to leave for Seattle today after sinking 18 months ago in Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway. The 167-foot ship sank on Jan. 25, 2013, and was slowly spilling 640 gallons of oil and diesel. Crews tried to raise the freighter in December, but the single crane wasn’t enough to lift the ship without causing further damage. On Tuesday, two floating cranes that can raise the combined weight of 1,100 tons lifted the vessel so it could be drained of water, said Melissa Ferris, program manager for the Derelict Vessel Removal Program with the state Department of Natural Resources. Shelby Rowe reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Declines in marine birds trouble scientists
An article in Salish Sea Currents, an online magazine from the creators of the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound, and based on proceeding from the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. Eric Warner writes.

Donors Pay To Test Seawater For Traces Of Fukushima Radiation
It's been more than three years since the Fukushima nuclear plant accident resulted in a spill of millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water into the Pacific. Oceanographers projected that it could take until this year for highly diluted traces of that spill in Japan to reach the West Coast of North America. Radiation experts don't believe there is cause for alarm on our shores, but some coastal residents are stepping forward to pay for seawater testing just to be sure. Tom Banse reports. (KUOW)

Citizen Action Training School (CATS) sessions are coming up this fall on the Olympic Peninsula (September) and in Everett (Olympia). CATS sessions include 12 weeks of class and field instruction on local watershed and Puget Sound ecology, as well as guidance about civic engagement around natural resources issues.  For more info or to apply, see CATS web site  or email CATS. 

City of Burien, Corps of Engineers Announce Reopening of Seahurst Park
Seahurst Park in Burien is set to reopen August 25 following completion of the Seahurst Park Ecosystem Restoration Project, Phase II. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned to follow. The project, which began Oct. 28, 2013, removed 1,800 feet of shoreline concrete armoring in the northern section of the park replacing it with more natural habitat for forage fish and salmon rearing. Improved habitat aids recovery of species, such as bull trout, steelhead and Chinook salmon, listed under the Endangered Species Act. (Highline Times)

Stormwater solutions key in fight for Puget Sound
From behind the paywall: Chris Dunagan's seventh installment of articles on Puget Sound natural resource issues. Read it while you can.


Kitsap Sun (July 13)

Most of Wash. delegation stumps for conservation fund in Congress
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, the nation’s main source of federal money to improve access to outdoor recreation, has never received the full funding Congress promised. After 50 years, supporters are demanding more money. Kyung Song reports. (Seattle Times)

Tyrannosaurs prowled in packs, B.C. tracks show
It would have been terrifying to run into a tyrannosaur like Albertosaurus. The massive creature that roamed western North America about 70 million years ago was as long as a bus, with a wide smile of razor-sharp teeth and claws to match. But here's the worst part — it probably wasn't alone. Tyrannosaurs, it seemed, travelled in packs. Scientists came to that conclusion after carefully analyzing an extremely rare find — three sets of tyrannosaur tracks found in northeastern B.C. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 900 AM PDT THU JUL 24 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 15 KT BECOMING NW AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.

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