Thursday, August 7, 2014

8/7 Mine spill, pit-to-pier suit, shoreline permits, radiation, Elwha Dam, new ferry name

(Paul Bannick/BirdNote)
Woodpeckers and Forest Fires
A forest fire roars along a mountain slope once green with spruce and pines, ignited by a lightning strike late in a Northwest summer. Once the fire has run its course, acres of blackened trunks stand silently against the blue sky. But by next summer, woodpeckers have discovered the charred forest and the feast of insects it provides. The Black-backed Woodpecker - like this female - comes closest to being a burnt-forest specialist. It will even form loose nesting colonies in recent burns. (BirdNote)

Mount Polley mine spill threatens B.C. sockeye salmon run
Conservationists and wildlife experts say the Mount Polley mine spill in B.C. poses a threat to sockeye salmon and wildlife that depend on them. Millions of cubic metres of mine waste escaped from a tailings pond Monday into local waterways near the town of Likely, B.C., raising alarm about harm to salmon spawning grounds.... As of Tuesday night, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans banned salmon fishing in the Cariboo and Quesnel Rivers because of the Mount Polley mine spill. (CBC) See also: First Nations fear the worst for B.C.’s salmon population  Sunny Dhillon reports. (Globe and Mail)

Company seeking ‘pit-pier’ project sues state, Navy over new Hood Canal conservation easement
Hood Canal Sand and Gravel, the company seeking the long-planned “pit to pier” gravel operation, has filed suit in Jefferson County Superior Court in an effort to block a state and federal plan to block development along the Hood Canal coastline.  Earlier this month, the state Department of Natural Resources and the Navy announced a 55-year conservation easement would block development of more than 4,800 acres of state-owned tidelands along Hood Canal.  Thorndyke Resources Operation Complex, affiliated with Hood Canal Sand and Gravel, wants to build a 998-foot pier on state-owned land five miles south of the Hood Canal Bridge to annually load onto barges some 6.75 million tons of gravel that would be transported from a quarry at Shine. The suit asks for nullification of the easement, an order that the company has preserved rights to develop the property and an injunction preventing the state and Navy from enforcing the easement. Joe Smillie reports. (Peninsula Daily News)  See also: Deadline looms for comments on the pit-to-pier impact statement  Christopher Dunagan reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Shoreline permitting effort sees mixed response
In 2009, Rodney Hearne refaced his bulkhead at Sylvan Beach, something he said he and his family members have done many times since 1928, when his grandfather built their walk-in home. In June, however, Hearne received a letter from King County informing him that he may be required to seek a construction permit for the work he did. After following up with the county’s Department of Permitting and Environmental Review (DPER), he learned that he did in fact need a permit, and that obtaining it would cost about $1,900....Hearne’s property was one of 72 on Vashon identified in a study completed last spring as having had shoreline changes in the last decade that could require permits.  Natalie Martin reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

Citizen scientists to help measure tsunami radiation
A network of citizen scientists along the B.C. coast is being recruited to help researchers measure the potential risk of low-level radiation arriving from Japan after the tsunami and Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen is leading a $630,000 project to test water and seafood over the next three years. Lindsay Kines (Times Colonist)

Freed Elwha River's water level falling enough to allow dam removal to finish
The Elwha River is finally beginning to cooperate with efforts to remove the last bit of dam blocking it. The volume of flow has lowered enough to allow crews with National Park Service contractor Barnard Construction Co. Inc. to restart work — perhaps as early as next week — to take down the final remnant of Glines Canyon Dam 8 miles from the mouth of the Elwha River. Jeremy Schwartz reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

You could help name state's newest ferry; here's how
Construction of the next 144-car-ferry is under way and the Washington State Transportation Commission invites people from across the state to get involved and submit ideas for the new boat’s name. Ferry name proposals will be accepted until 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12. The commission has established the following guidelines to assess ferry name proposals: (San Juan Journal)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU AUG 7 2014
TODAY
SW WIND 10 KT...BECOMING W IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG THIS MORNING.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS.

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