Monday, August 18, 2014

8/18 Elwha, Cowichan, toxic sediment, sea birds, BC sharks, sea otter, sewer fix, Tesoro, OR coal, SeaWorld

Reid Island (Laurie MacBride)
Mother Nature’s Art Gallery
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "The shoreline can be mesmerizing for paddlers here in the Gulf Islands. Everywhere you look, there’s a fascinating new canvas of layered and eroded sandstone decorated with mosses, lichens and – as the tide drops – endless permutations of kelp, barnacles and other intertidal life. And if you let your imagination drift, you can often conjure up strange human or animal faces, like the grimacing pirate I saw on Reid Island, in the photo above. Maybe you can see him too – or maybe you’ll see something else entirely!…."

Back to nature: Last chunk of Elwha dams out in September
The last dam will be blasted out of the Elwha River sometime next month, cementing the hopes of generations of advocates and tribal leaders who fought to make it happen. With the concrete out, the long-term revival of a legendary wilderness valley in the Olympics can now unfold unfettered after 100 years dammed. The watershed already is springing back to life from the mountains to the sea: ... Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times

B.C.'s Lower Cowichan River closed to recreational use
The lower part of the Cowichan River, one of only three rivers in B.C. with Canadian heritage status, has been closed to recreational use as bacteria counts spike. And if river levels drop much further, the Crofton pulp mill, the area’s largest employer, could be forced to shut down. Stephen Hume reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Mount Polley mine: sediment near spill may harm fish
The latest test results from a tailings pond that spilled waste from the Mount Polley mine in the Cariboo show that while the discharged sediment is still not toxic for humans, it may harm aquatic life. The province says sediment samples collected Aug. 10 from the mouth of Hazeltine Creek and near Raft Creek in Quesnel Lake exceed guidelines and contaminated sites regulation standards for copper and iron. (CBC)

Guest: How to reverse decline of marine birds
Marine birds face a number of threats, and the region is already witnessing the ways that climate change exacerbates their plight. It’s time to reverse the course of dwindling marine life in Puget Sound. Trina Bayard writes. (Seattle Times)

SHARK WEEK: 14 sharks, including the Great White, swim in B.C. waters
For most Vancouverites, despite our ocean setting, Jaws is about close as we ever been to a shark — and it was mechanical. We’ve spotted seals near the docks at Granville Island, and whales and dolphins while saling on B.C. Ferries, but sharks — big ones anyway — are something you only see while diving in the tropics, right? Wrong. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has documented 14 species of sharks — from the tiny two-foot Brown Cat shark to the mammoth, but harmless, 33-foot Basking shark — lurking in the coastal waters of British Columbia.

If you like to watch: Sea otter caught on camera in rare sighting in B.C.'s Georgia Strait
Cheryl Alexander almost couldn't believe her eyes when she spotted a sea otter frolicking and feeding in a cove off Ten Mile Point in Victoria, B.C., Thursday morning. "We ended up having this interaction with him, which was really amazing," she told CBC News. (CBC)

Everett plan aims to prevent repeat sewer backups
As the anniversary of last summer's torrential rainstorms approaches, the city has unveiled a plan to prevent future flooding in 1,800 homes and businesses that are especially vulnerable. The city wants to install backwater valves in those buildings, and is offering to pick up most of the cost, while at the same time putting a cap on future insurance claims stemming from flood damage. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

No criminal charges in 2010 Tesoro refinery fire that killed 7
There will be no federal criminal charges in connection with the April 2010 explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes that killed seven employees. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said a lengthy investigation into possible violations of federal environmental and worker-safety laws concluded no crime had occurred. Mike Carter reports. (Seattle Times)

Oregon To Decide On Controversial Coal Export Dock Permit Monday
Oregon regulators plan to decide Monday whether to deny a permit for a coal export dock in Boardman to preserve tribal fishing on the Columbia River. The Morrow Pacific coal export project needs a permit from the Oregon Department of State Lands to build a dock for coal barges. The project would ship nearly 9 million tons of coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia. It would transfer coal shipments from trains to barges in Boardman, and load the coal onto ships at a dock in Clatskanie, Oregon. Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

Promise of a ‘clean coal’ future far from reality
In 2003, President George W. Bush unveiled plans for the world’s first zero-emissions coal plant, a project that would serve as a global showcase of America’s ability to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels. This FutureGen plant would be “one of the boldest steps our nation takes toward a pollution-free future,” declared Spencer Abraham, Bush’s energy secretary…. More than a decade later, there has yet to be a groundbreaking for FutureGen 2.0. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

BNSF: Coal terminal needs wouldn't block Bellingham waterfront access
BNSF Railway says it is committed to keeping Boulevard Park and the waterfront accessible if a proposed export terminal at Cherry Point brings up to 18 more coal trains a day through the city. What remains unanswered is who is going to pay what could be tens of millions of dollars to connect the two sides of the main rail line in Bellingham. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

SeaWorld park to redesign controversial whale tank
US marine theme park SeaWorld has announced it is to build a bigger tank for its killer whales, amid criticism of its treatment of the animals. But the Florida company said that the plans were not in response to last year's documentary film "Blackfish". The film suggested that captivity and SeaWorld's treatment provoked violent behaviour in the killer whales. (BBC)

New rules might recognize more tribes
New rules proposed by the Obama administration would give more tribes a faster track at joining the ranks of the recognized by making it easier for them to prove their legitimacy. Rob Hotakainen reports. (McClatchy)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON AUG 18 2014
TODAY
SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG IN THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS. AREAS OF DRIZZLE AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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