Wednesday, September 24, 2014

9/24 Toxic return, creosote, train spill response, enviro hazards, ferry woes, Columbia Chinook, N.A. Humans

Stink Bug (Dwi Janto Johan/Getty Images, NewScientist)
The creepy crawly story of life on Earth
Mammals are normally considered the stars of the evolution show, but insects should be centre stage, says Scott Richard Shaw in Planet of the Bugs. Bob Holmes reviews. (NewScientist)

Part 2: Returning Chinook Exposed To Bathtub Of Contaminants In Puget Sound
Puget Sound is one of the most enchanting bodies of water in the Pacific Northwest. Framed by mountains to the east and west, its physical beauty is part of what attracts new people to the region every year. A total of 115 towns and cities surround this deep inland fjord. But the Sound’s geography is also part of what makes it toxic for fish that migrate through it. All the polluted runoff and treated sewage from the dense population around the Sound get trapped in and don’t flush out, making it similar to a dirty bathtub that never gets cleaned. Residue from prescription drugs and flame retardants, pesticides and heavy metals are among the contaminants. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Creosote removal to start soon in North Kitsap
The state Department of Natural Resources will launch a major clean-up next week of creosote-saturated pilings and debris along the Puget Sound shores of Kitsap County, the agency announced Sept. 23. About 245 piles and 18 tons of debris will be removed from eight sites located along the eastern Kitsap Peninsula shoreline. (North Kitsap Herald)

Oil trains: BNSF to fund training for state’s first responders
BNSF Railway is paying for 142 Washington firefighters to attend specialized training in Pueblo, Colo., to help them prepare for any mishaps involving crude oil shipped by train. Those classes began in July and will continue through the end of the year. This represents a stepped-up training effort by BNSF Railway at a time of increased shipments of crude oil through the region, which have raised safety concerns about oil spills or fires in the event of a derailment. BNSF will also provide hazardous-materials training for some 600 Washington first responders by early October, and for 800 by the end of the year, according to Gus Melonas, a BNSF spokesman. (Seattle Times)

Housing report ranks Whatcom County low in man-made environmental hazards
Whatcom County has the seventh-lowest score in the nation when it comes to man-made environmental hazards, according to a newly released report. That’s the assessment from RealtyTrac, a national supplier of real estate information. The firm ranked the 578 largest real estate markets based on five man-made environmental hazards: percentage of bad air quality days, number of Superfund sites, brownfield sites, polluters and former drug labs per square mile. According to the data collected by RealtyTrac, Whatcom County averaged zero bad air quality days annually in recent years and was below the U.S. average in the other categories. The brownfield sites, polluters and former drug labs totaled 0.06 per square mile, according to the report.  Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Lawmakers give governor an earful about ferries
Two state lawmakers who have been sharply critical of Washington State Ferries asked the governor on Monday to remove some of the agency’s top leaders as a newly hired director takes the helm. Reps. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, and Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, made the request to Gov. Jay Inslee in a closed-door meeting in which they explained their frustrations surrounding the construction of new vessels and souring relations between workers and managers. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

Biologists Try To Figure Out Large Fall Chinook Runs
Thousands of fall chinook salmon are swimming up the Columbia River every day right now. This year’s migration is expected to be one of the largest in recent years. Researchers aren’t sure exactly why fall chinook have made such a big comeback. Salmon and steelhead restoration has been a big push throughout the Northwest — from Puget Sound to coastal streams to the Columbia-Snake River Basin — where fall chinook were nearly extinct by the 1960s. Courtnery Flatt reports.

Underwater discovery near Haida Gwaii could rewrite human history
As far as underwater photos go, the sonar images acquired by scientists from the ocean floor off Haida Gwaii aren’t as dramatic as those of the recently found Franklin ship. But for a team of archeologists who for decades have been searching for proof of the earliest human presence in North America, the images of a cluster of rocks and unnatural rectangular shapes are just as important as the Arctic discovery that made world news two weeks ago. Mark Hume reports. (Globe & Mail)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-
900 PM PDT TUE SEP 23 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM PDT WEDNESDAY
WED
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 16 SECONDS...BUILDING TO
 11 FT AT 15 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN LIKELY IN THE MORNING... THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
WED NIGHT
S WIND 10 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT. W SWELL 12 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...THEN
 SHOWERS LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT.
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