Wednesday, October 1, 2014

10/1 Chinook threat, tidal power, fish consumption rules, state budget, water fights, ocean literacy, Shawn Yanity, Chesapeake

Ballard Locks (PHOTO: Eric Warner/KPLU)
Ballard Locks Poses Triple Threat To Returning Chinook
At the heart of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is one of the most unique parks in the region. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks attracts tourists and locals alike. People line up to watch boats move up and down between Puget Sound and Lake Washington in a narrow concrete and metal channel that is, in effect, a kind of marine elevator. It was built with the Ship Canal that replumbed the region at the turn of the last century. The Locks opened in 1917. Along the south side is a fish ladder that has windows where you can see salmon as they migrate through. In the late summer and fall, especially when the tide is coming in, dozens of giant chinook salmon might be visible, along with sockeye and coho swimming upstream on their way to spawning grounds in Issaquah to the north, or the Cedar River to the south. But sometimes the ladder is eerily empty, as was the case one recent afternoon. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Tidal Power Project In Puget Sound Abandoned By Utility
A long-awaited tidal energy project in Puget Sound has come to halt. The project was set to generate electricity and connect it to the grid – the first project of its kind in the world. But it just got too expensive. The Snohomish County Public Utility District had hoped to install two underwater turbines in Admiralty Inlet near Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island. The pilot turbines would have generated enough power for about 200 homes and stayed in the water up to five years. The U.S. Department of Energy had said it would pay for half the project, but the department recently said it couldn’t keep paying after eight years of permitting and testing. Courtney Flatt reports. (EarthFix)

Draft of water rules released; tied to fish consumption
The state Department of Ecology on Tuesday released a draft rule that updates contentious water quality standards partly tied to how much fish people eat. Under the federal Clean Water Act, rivers and other water bodies must be clean enough so people can safely eat fish from those waters. The proposal dramatically raises the current fish-consumption rate to 175 grams a day, which would protect people who eat about a serving of fish a day. The draft rule, expected to be finalized next year, is tied to legislation Gov. Jay Inslee plans to propose in 2015 that would seek to reduce toxic chemicals from everyday sources. Tribes and conservation groups have criticized the governor's proposal as not protective enough. Meanwhile, businesses have worried too-strict rules will hurt economic development. The draft rules released Tuesday provide greater detail of the plan Inslee announced in July. It comes nearly two years after the state began an often-heated process of updating the clean-water standards. (Associated Press)

Inslee: Carbon regulation could fund education, flood control
Which sounds more unlikely: a bipartisan coalition raising revenue through carbon regulation or Republican lawmakers putting together a big-dollar water-projects bill in a cash-strapped budget year? Both were talked about Tuesday at the Chehalis Tribe Community Center, as Gov. Jay Inslee stopped by on his tour across the state to discuss climate change. Joseph O'Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)

Can we escape water fights in Puget Sound?
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways blogs: "It seems from my interviews that we should have enough water in the Puget Sound region to serve the needs of people while maintaining streamflows for fish and other aquatic organisms. It’s all about managing the resource... What isn’t so clear to me is what we need to do about water rights, and this is where the real hangup can come in. People, governments and developers are allowed to reserve vast amounts of water for various uses, then they simply need to “use it or lose it.” That does not encourage conservation. Water rights are considered a property right…. Christopher Dunagan blogs.

Interactive dives will promote ocean literacy
The Fish Eye Project, a non-profit group of diving enthusiasts, researchers and educators, will co-ordinate an interactive live-stream video feed for a dive exploring a shipwreck off the coast of Vancouver Island on Thursday. The Robert Bateman Centre, in the CPR Steamship Terminal at 470 Belleville St., will host the interactive public viewing from 9 a.m. to noon as part of its first Explore the Ocean Day. The dive can also be watched online. (Times Colonist)

Stillaguamish Tribe chairman named to Indian fisheries post
Shawn Yanity, chairman of the Stillaguamish Tribe, has been elected vice chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. “I'm there for the commission to help carry the voice of the 20 tribes in their interests,” Yanity said. “It's a huge honor, and it's a huge responsibility.” The commission, based in Olympia, represents 20 tribes in the state, with a member from each tribe serving in the group. A chair, vice chair and treasurer are elected from among the commissioners. Kari Bray reports. (Everett Herald)

Good: sturgeon return. Bad: rockfish fall. Ugly: a killer plant comes back to the bay Darly Fears reports about Chesapeake Bay (Washington Post)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 1220 AM PDT WED OCT 1 2014
WED
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
WED NIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
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