Monday, August 25, 2014

8/25 Quake, Polley spill, BNSF track, sockeye, netted orca, Whatcom shellfish, Edward Curtis, Capitol Lake

(USGS)
New quake map shows Northwest at high risk
A new federal earthquake map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about one-third of the United States and lowers it for one-tenth. In July, the U.S. Geological Survey updated its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor. (KING) See also: Would Seattle’s viaduct survive an earthquake today?  (KCPQ) And also: California quake a reminder to expect B.C.'s 'Big One'  (CBC)

Mount Polley spill: Testing finds elevated selenium in fish
Fish from Quesnel Lake and Polley Lake, downstream from the Mount Polley mine spill, have elevated levels of selenium, arsenic and copper among other elements, but there is no threat to human health, according to the B.C.  government. The fish tissue analyzed shows an elevated level of selenium in the livers and gonads that exceed guidelines for human consumption. But the province says the elevated levels are similar to those found in the lakes before the spill. (CBC) See also: Health officials say blue sheen from Mount Polley tailings pond breach likely organic Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun)

BNSF plans to add tracks north, south of Ferndale
To relieve congestion that will come with more trains carrying coal and other cargo, BNSF Railway expects to lay four miles of track along existing rail north of Ferndale, a company official said. The work has not yet received state approval, but Gus Melonas, public affairs director for BNSF, said new track from Ferndale High School north to Custer is scheduled to be added in 2015. The second line will be long enough for two full-length coal or oil trains to move aside and allow higher-priority passenger trains to pass. BNSF also is preparing to lay a second track along its line between Bellingham and Ferndale, covering about four miles from near Wynn Road in Marietta, north almost to Main Street in Ferndale. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

'Warm blob' keeps possible record sockeye run away from U.S. waters
In a development that has left local fishermen scratching their heads, it appears an unusually warm section of ocean water is helping send nearly the entire sockeye salmon run into Canadian fishing waters this season. According to data from the Pacific Salmon Commission through Tuesday, Aug. 19, in recent weeks about 99 percent of the sockeye salmon has gone through the Johnstone Strait around the northern part of Vancouver Island into Canadian waters. That's made a big difference in who is catching the fish: Nearly 2.9 million sockeye salmon have been caught in Canadian waters, while the U.S. fishermen had caught around 98,000 through Aug. 19. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Killer whale pod rallies around orca trapped in fisherman's net
A young killer whale is trapped in a fisherman's net. A pod of distressed whales cries out frantically as the youngster struggles to get free. Sightseers aboard a whale-watching boat that arrives to help are stunned at what they see. "It's a very rare thing," said Nicole Mackay, co-owner of Port McNeill-based Mackay Whale Watching. "I never want to see it again." While she was out on on the water with customers near Port Hardy Thursday morning, a fisherman radioed Comox coast guard asking for help because a whale had become entangled in his net. Rhiannon Coppin reports. (CBC)

Most northern Whatcom County beaches safe for shellfish harvesting
Beaches in northern Whatcom County have been reopened to recreational shellfish harvesting after the biotoxin that causes diarrhetic shellfish poisoning has dropped to safe levels. The Whatcom County Health Department has lifted the ban on beaches from Point Whitehorn north to the Canadian border, excluding Point Roberts. Point Roberts and all beaches south of Point Whitehorn remain closed to recreational harvest of molluscan shellfish because biotoxin levels remain unsafe. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Oregon Approves Subsidies For Oil Transport, Not For Coal
The Oregon Transportation Commission voted Friday to approve nearly $5 million in subsidies for rail and dock infrastructure tied to controversial coal export and oil-by-rail projects. The subsidies were recommended as part of a $42.3 million package of transportation funding through the ConnectOregon program. The program leverages state lottery dollars to pay for transportation projects such as airport runway upgrades, railroad improvements and dock expansions. Tony Schick and Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

Our History: Recapturing the glory of a people
The American photographer and ethnologist Edward Curtis spent almost 30 years compiling a 20-volume work documenting the vanishing traditional world of the native people of western North America. In Edward S. Curtis Above the Medicine Line, Victoria author and publisher Rodger Touchie delves into the years Curtis spent from 1909 to 1924 studying the tribes of the British Columbia coast, whom he considered among the most fascinating he encountered. (Times Colonist)

Lake reflects our inability to make hard choices
Invasive species flourish where conditions for reproduction are optimal and no predators discourage them from choking out native species. New Zealand Mud Snails have invaded Capitol Lake and closed it while at the same paralyzing a management process that was already grinding to a halt due to political pressure….. The reflection of the Capitol dome—the original purpose for depriving the Deschutes River of its estuary—becomes increasingly more difficult to see. For a state whose leaders frequently proclaim their desire to restore endangered salmon and return Puget Sound to health, the irony of Capitol Lake in its current condition literally under the noses of those who have power to remedy the situation offers a pungent counterpoint. John Rosenberg writes. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON AUG 25 2014
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS. AREAS OF DENSE FOG IN THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
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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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