Wednesday, September 17, 2014

9/17 Quake, oil train response, Fraser sockeye, 'Salmon Safe,' coal dust risks, coastal politics

(Doug Davis/CBC)
If you like to watch: Humpback whales pause for YouTube close-up off B.C. coast (CBC)

4.0 magnitude quake wakes up the Puget Sound
No, that wasn’t a truck passing by the house, and your dog wasn’t just barking at the moon – that was an earthquake! The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 4.0 magnitude quake near Seabeck, Washington just after 3 a.m. Wednesday. There were no reports of any damage or injuries, according to Central Kitsap Communications Center. The USGS reported the quake was approximately 7 miles southwest of Seabeck and 14 miles west of Bremerton in Kitsap County. The quake was reported to be relatively “shallow”, about 10 miles deep. John White reports. (KCPQ)

Report Finds Weakness In Seattle’s Ability To Respond To Oil Train Mishap
A new report by public safety agencies highlights several weaknesses in Seattle’s ability to respond to an oil train accident. The report to the Seattle City Council was complied by the Seattle Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management. At the top of the report’s list of concerns: the 100 year old tunnel that runs through the middle of downtown Seattle. The report said that the lack of safety systems in the Great Northern tunnel will present significant challenges to first responders. Next on the list: landslides along Puget Sound. The stretch of track between Seattle and Everett has banks that are prone to slides. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

Fraser River's sockeye salmon run size uncertain, but ‘great’
The Fraser River’s sockeye run is being hailed as exceptional by fisheries experts even though there is considerable doubt about how many millions of salmon remain at sea and how many of those fish should be caught. “I would call it a great run,” Jennifer Nener, area director for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), said Tuesday as seine boats were given a three-day opening to scoop up late-arriving sockeye off the mouth of the Fraser. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Some hope island will go 'Salmon Safe'
In the coming week, representatives from the environmental organization Stewardship Partners will visit the island twice with information about their Salmon Safe certification program, part of an effort to get more island farms and other organizations to consider their environmental impact, not just on the island’s salmon streams, but on  Puget Sound in general. With help from a grant from the King Conservation District, Stewardship Partners has already certified five island farms as Salmon Safe, meaning their practices protect water quality and fish habitat. Now, islander CC Stone is leading an effort to get more farms and other entities on Vashon certified. She has organized a community meeting for next Monday with Stewardship Partners, and Salmon Safe representatives will also be at this Saturday’s Farmers Market. Sarah Low reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

Scientists On A Quest For Knowledge About Coal Dust Risks
Coal had been transported around the country by rail for decades before the recent push to bring it by train to ports in the Northwest. And yet, scientists don’t really know how much coal dust could escape from rail cars, how far it might travel, and what coal-borne mercury and other contaminants might do to aquatic life. With the permitting process moving forward for two large coal terminals in Washington, a team of scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey is trying to find out how the chemicals in coal might interact with the environment. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

Politics divide coastal residents' views of environment 

From the salmon-rich waters of Southeast Alaska to the white sand beaches of Florida's Gulf Coast to Downeast Maine's lobster, lumber and tourist towns, coastal residents around the U.S. share a common characteristic: their views about coastal environments divide along political lines. That's a primary finding of a new study by University of New Hampshire sociologists published this month in the journal Society & Natural Resources. "We found a lot of environment-related differences from place to place to place. Each environment is different so that's just what you'd expect. But underneath there's a common pattern: partisanship," says Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology at UNH and lead author of the paper. "On almost every issue in every place, Democrats express greater concern about environmental problems than Republicans." (phys.org)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT WED SEP 17 2014
TODAY LIGHT WIND. W SWELL 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT AND THU
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.

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