Friday, September 5, 2014

9/5 Crab pots, toxic algae, mine spill, oil spill suit, BC pipes, sewage spills, blue whales, BP spill, Friendship Tour

Crab pot recovery (Elaine Thompson AP)
Divers seek lost crab pots in Washington waters
Over 12,000 crab pots are lost in Washington state's Puget Sound every year, costing an estimated $700,000 in lost harvest revenue, and more poignantly, damaging the sea floor environment. Using sonar to find the pots, divers and scientists venture into the waters to clean up and learn why pots are lost. Manuel Valdes reports. (Associated Press)

Predicting when toxic algae will reach Washington and Oregon coasts
….University of Washington oceanographers have created a tool to help predict when harmful algae might strike. A few days’ warning could prevent last-minute beach closures or shellfish harvest losses, and reduce the risk of eating a clam filled with a neurotoxin that can lead to permanent short-term memory loss, or even death. The researchers developed a computer model to track when harmful algae will get carried to Washington and Oregon beaches. A study published in April in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows the model, when fed the right data, could predict most of the toxic algae events recorded in field studies between 2004 and 2007. Hannah Hickey reports. (UW Today)

Mount Polley mine tailings spill nearly 70 per cent bigger than first estimated
Imperial Metals’ estimate of the size of the spill from its Mount Polley mine tailings dam collapse is nearly 70 per cent greater than the initial estimate. The B.C. government has estimated that 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic meters of finely ground rock containing potentially-toxic metals was released by the collapse of the dam on Aug. 4. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Conservation Groups Concerned Oil Spill Would Harm Wildlife
As more oil trains travel along the Columbia River and Puget Sound, conservation groups worry that cleanup plans could harm sensitive wildlife, like endangered salmon and shorebirds. That concern is prompting legal action. The Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Columbia Gorge Thursday filed a 60-day notice to sue the U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency. The conservation groups say the oil spill response plan needs to be updated to account for endangered species. Courtney Flatt reports. (EarthFix)

Northern Gateway pipeline unlikely to start up by 2018
The president of the Northern Gateway pipeline says the possibility of a 2018 start-up date is "quickly evaporating." John Carruthers says the company planning to build the project, Enbridge Inc., is focused on getting support from First Nations groups along the pipeline's route through British Columbia. He told a Calgary business audience that the process of "re-engagement" with First Nations will take time and he's not too fussed about keeping to a schedule. (Canadian Press) See also: Kinder Morgan pipeline crews to resume work on Burnaby Mountain

Treated but not chlorinated sewage released into Strait of Juan de Fuca; officials advise no recreational contact with Port Angeles Harbor water
The Port Angeles sewer treatment plant released sewage that had been treated but not chlorinated into the Strait of Juan de Fuca for nearly 20 hours beginning Tuesday afternoon, Clallam County health officials said Thursday. About 1 million gallons of “insufficiently disinfected effluent” was released from a discharge pipe at a depth of 60 feet between 1 p.m. Tuesday and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, county Hydrologist Carol Creasey said. Although the risk of contamination is low, county health officials are advising the public to avoid recreational water contact in Port Angeles Harbor through next Wednesday. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Sewage spill affects Cadboro Bay beach  (Times Colonist)

UW Study: Despite Boat Strikes, California Blue Whales Have Rebounded
California blue whales have rebounded after decades of commercial whaling. New research from the University of Washington suggests their numbers are back to where they were before humans started hunting the species. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Ruling over Deepwater spill could cost BP $18B in fines
By finding that BP was, in legal parlance, grossly negligent in the disaster, not merely negligent, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier opened the possibility of $18 billion in new civil penalties for BP. (NY Times)

Taiwanese students study Olympia’s ecosystem during Friendship Tour
A group of students from Taiwan are visiting the Olympia area this week to learn more about the Puget Sound region’s water and ecosystem. The Evergreen State College has been hosting 18 undergraduate students plus seven faculty from National Sun Yat-sen University since Tuesday. The group is part of the Taiwanese university’s Department of Marine Environment and Engineering. While in town, the group has seen local landmarks like the State Capitol Campus, but also environmental staples such as Tumwater Falls, the fish hatchery, and the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT FRI SEP 5 2014
TODAY
E WIND 10 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING E 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SAT
E WIND 10 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SUN
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

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