Monday, September 15, 2014

9/15 Elwha chinook, Smith Is., Fraser sockeye, Kinder Morgan protest, Shell appeal, train spills, BC LNG

(PHOTO: Tom Grey/BirdNote)
Ravens and Crows - Who Is Who
Is that big black bird a crow or a raven? How can you tell? Ravens (seen right here) often travel in pairs, while crows (left) are seen in larger groups. Also, study the tail as the bird flies overhead. A crow's tail is shaped like a fan, while the raven's tail appears wedge-shaped. Another clue is to listen closely to the birds' calls. Crows give a cawing sound, but ravens produce a lower croaking sound. Frances Wood explains. (BirdNote)

Chinook salmon seen in upper Elwha River for first time in 102 years
The sight of a chinook resting quietly by the bank of the Upper Elwha River was one that Mel Elofson had awaited for 56 years and worked toward for 20. It was the first sighting of a salmon above the Glines Canyon Dam site in 102 years. “It was awesome,” he said. Leah Leach reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Raft trip on Elwha River shows its newly untamed nature  Jeffrey P. Mayor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Salmon habitat project on Smith Island to proceed
The Snohomish County Council last week signed off on an agreement that brings it closer to creating salmon habitat on Smith Island. The county plans to create a 350-acre wetland at the mouth of the Snohomish River. The $25 million project involves removing dikes and allowing the acreage to flood, turning it back into a saltwater estuary. The plan has drawn opposition from businesses that share the island. They are concerned about effects on their properties from construction or saltwater flooding. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

Fraser River sockeye run still avoiding U.S. waters, frustrating Whatcom County fishermen
With the sockeye salmon run into the Fraser River nearly complete, the fortunes of local U.S. commercial fishermen haven’t improved much. As of Thursday, Sept. 11, the number of sockeye caught in Canadian waters for the Fraser River run is estimated to be 7,783,800, compared to 438,200 in U.S. waters, according to data from the Pacific Salmon Commission. The run size to date is 20.7 million fish, right around the preseason forecast. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Trans Mountain pipeline: Kinder Morgan terminal locked down by activists
A handful of activists locked themselves to the main gate of Kinder Morgan's Westridge Terminal Saturday morning vowing to remain for 13 hours or one hour for every tree the company cut doing survey work for its proposed pipeline expansion. Burnaby RCMP arrested one man to get his identification, but quickly released him and made no move to stop the protesters. (CBC)

Groups appeal county on proposed rail terminal at Shell refinery
Several groups banded together to file an appeal with Skagit County Thursday over the proposal to build an oil-by-rail terminal at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes. The appeal is aimed at the second determination of nonsignificance the county issued last month for Shell’s application for a shoreline variance permit. The county first issued a similar determination in April, but reviewed the proposal after it was overwhelmed by public comments on the issue….Six groups — RE Sources for Sustainable Connections, FRIENDS of the San Juans, ForestEthics, Washington Environmental Council, Friends of the Earth and Evergreen Islands — joined with Earthjustice to file the appeal. Earthjustice is an environmental law group headquartered in San Francisco. Daniel DeMay reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Preparing for the worst: Is Whatcom County ready for an oil train derailment?
If a train hauling more than 100 cars of highly volatile crude oil were to derail in Bellingham, would the city be prepared? What if it instead left the tracks near Ferndale, or rural Custer, or along Chuckanut Drive, where an accident only feet from the water might be nearly impossible for first responders to reach from land? Samantha Wohfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Ecology launching study of spill response need at Nisqually River from passing oil trains
The state Department of Ecology says it is asking for the public’s help in crafting a response plan for potential oil spills into the Nisqually River from passing trains. Railways since 2012 have begun hauling larger amounts of volatile oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to refineries in Washington. A one-hour public meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Monday at the agency headquarters auditorium, 300 Desmond Drive in Lacey. The effort is one of nine inland response plans the agency is preparing using money provided this year by the Legislature, Ecology spokeswoman Lisa Copeland said Friday. Brad Shannon reports. (Olympian)

Controversial natural gas rule changes came after B.C., oil lobby met
In January of this year, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers made a presentation to high-ranking officials in British Columbia's Environment Ministry, outlining changes they wanted to environmental review rules for natural gas projects. Those changes became law on April 14, but they didn't stay that way for long. An outcry from First Nations organizations forced an about-face from Environment Minister Mary Polak, who rescinded the revisions two days after they were passed by order-in-council.... The Environment Ministry says Polak met with "various industry and environmental organizations" to discuss the regulation change, but the documents don't make a single mention of any meetings other than with the petroleum producers' association. (Canadian Press) See also: B.C. LNG firms press Ottawa for tax break  Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT MON SEP 15 2014
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 2 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
LIGHT WIND BECOMING W 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 15 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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