Thursday, September 18, 2014

9/18 Burnaby, home toxics, DNR HCP, Seahurst Park, WA investment, BC humpback, Kitsap sewage, Shell refinery, canoe journey, GBR coral

George the goldfish (ScienceBlogs)
If you like to watch: 10-year old goldfish undergoes surgery to remove a tumor
No joke. George (the goldfish) had developed a rather large tumor over the past year and the owners loved the fish so much, they spent $200 to have the life-threatening tumor surgically removed… Dr. Dolittle reports. (ScienceBlogs)

Burnaby's Trans Mountain Pipeline injunction rejected by B.C. court  
The City of Burnaby's application for a temporary injunction to stop Kinder Morgan cutting trees for survey work on Burnaby Mountain has been rejected by a B.C. Supreme Court Judge. The judge in the case has not yet issued the reasons for the decision. Those could be issued next week. The city was seeking the temporary injunction while it prepares for an upcoming court case challenging the company's right to cut trees in the conservation area as part of its survey work for a new route for its existing Trans Mountain Pipeline. (CBC)

Mystery solved: How household toxics get into the environment
Scientists have well chronicled the vast reach of flame retardants in waterways and wildlife -- even in the most remote corners of the planet. But exactly how toxic flame retardants get from inside homes and then out into the environment has never been confirmed until now, says the author of a new study. The peer-reviewed study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found household flame retardants, a portion of which degrades into dust, cling to our clothing and are then washed away in our washing machines. The wastewater then goes to municipal treatment plants, where it passes through into the environment. While some levels of certain kinds of flame retardants tend to cling to sludge and then disposed on land, much of it is water soluble and exits the treatment plants directly into waterways. Jeff Burnside reports. (KOMO)

DNR seeks comment on aquatic lands plan
Washington’s Department of Natural Resources invites the public to review the new draft Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Plan. In a press release, the agency said that over the next 50 years, the HCP is designed to guide DNR in better ways to protect at-risk native aquatic species on 2.6 million acres of state-owned lands under marine and fresh waters of the state. DNR manages these lands as a public trust…. The draft HCP is a culmination of nearly eight years of effort by DNR aquatics staff, working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. It will protect 29 sensitive, threatened and endangered aquatic species—several listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. It will help identify and restore important habitat on state-owned aquatic lands. The plan allows DNR to address protection of species and their habitats through management decisions, including authorizing public and private uses of state-owned aquatic lands. These lands include the marine bedlands under Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and the coast, including 30 percent of their related tidelands; the freshwater bedlands and about 70 percent of the shorelands of the navigable lakes and rivers—or basically, all the lands under the navigable water bodies in the State of Washington. (Wahkiakum County Eagle)

Ribbon-cutting at Seahurst Park merges environmental and community interests
On Friday, September 12th, community members and leaders gathered for a ribbon-cutting at newly restored Seahurst Park in Burien…. At the Seahurst Park beachfront, where once there was a concrete wall, there are now wetlands. Children climbed on logs, waded through surf grass and sedges, and tested pooled water with fingers. The pooled water on the beachfront is a vital part of the Puget Sound estuary. Some species of fish lay eggs on the gravel and during low tide, the gravel remains wet enough to keep the eggs alive. Since restoration, the Environmental Science Center has seen a healthy rise in the population of fish species and invertebrates. Maggie Nicholson reports. (Highline Times)

Report: Wash state investment accounts included big money in coal exports, oil shipping
How much of the Washington State Investment Board’s portfolio is sunk into controversial fossil fuel investments is a bit in dispute, but a Seattle-based think tank that focuses on environmental issues thinks the figure is in excess of $500 million and could be in the billions of dollars. The Sightline Institute published an online report Wednesday that cited two private-equity investments alone worth $250 million each, including funds in a private equity company linked to both a coal export proposal and oil-by-rail project. It also identified money the Oregon Investment Council put into those controversial energy projects. But the Washington SIB is disputing the report’s details. Spokeswoman Liz Mendizabal said a screen of total investments shows the share of WSIB’s $75 billion trust fund that is devoted to coal investments is closer to $108 million, or 0.14 percent of total assets under management. Brad Shannon reports. (Olympian)

Rescuers search for entangled humpback whale off Vancouver Island
A humpback whale tangled so tightly in thick rope that its fins are torn is somewhere along the southwest coast of Vancouver Island in need of help. “We need to put the word out that if anybody sees it, they call our hotline,” said Paul Cottrell, marine mammal co-ordinator for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “This entanglement is almost certainly going to be lethal if nothing is done.” Cottrell got a call Sunday morning that a distressed whale had been spotted off the coast of Tofino by researcher Jim Darling. Darling sent photos, showing rope digging several inches into the whale’s blubber. Sarah Petrescu reports. (Times Colonist)

Broken pipe at PSNS results in sewage spill, beach closure  (paywall)
Local health authorities have issued a no-contact advisory for the waters in Sinclair Inlet and Port Washington Narrows following a 45,000-gallon sewage spill at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Shipyard officials reported that a sewer line running along the beach inside the shipyard apparently broke Sunday, according to Stuart Whitford of Kitsap Public Health District. At high tide, large volumes of seawater flowed into the line. The high flows were noticed at a nearby pump station, which delivers sewage into Bremerton's sewer system. The spill was repaired Wednesday, Whitford said. Chris Dunagan reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Northwest Clean Air Agency takes comments on Shell refinery offloading plan  
The Northwest Clean Air Agency is now accepting public comment on a draft construction permit for the Shell Puget Sound Refinery’s crude-by-rail offloading facility proposal. The regional air agency announced the start of the comment period Tuesday, and will accept comments through Oct. 16. The agency has also set a public hearing for the permit for Oct. 16. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Tribal Canoe Journeys on hiatus in 2015 after no host comes forward
The Tribal Canoe Journeys, traditionally an annual event, is expected to take a one-year hiatus in 2015 for the first time since 1993. “No one has stepped up to the plate to host [the Canoe Journey] in 2015,” said Frances Charles, tribal chairwoman of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe. The first canoe journey was the 1989 “Paddle to Seattle,” which was conceived by Quinault tribal member Emmet Oliver and Frank Brown of Bella Bella. That led to the first Canoe Journey in 1993 in Bella Bella. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Effect of ocean acidification: Coral growth rate on Great Barrier Reef plummets in 30-year comparison
Researchers working in Australia's Great Barrier Reef have documented that coral growth rates have plummeted 40 percent since the mid-1970s. The scientists suggest that ocean acidification may be playing an important role in this perilous slowdown. (Science Daily)

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