Monday, November 17, 2014

11/17 Burnaby pipe, stormwater kills, Skagit salmon, Chester, breeding ban, piling removal, Adventuress, coal study, Trout Unlimited, black scoter, waterfront park

Transient Killer Whales (Capt. Mark Malleson/KOMO)
If you like to watch: Sightings of 'exotic' transient orcas on the rise in Puget Sound
Northwest whale watchers say they are witnessing a historic boom in sightings of seal-eating transient orcas in the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia, including a mysterious group of rarely seen whales that usually spend their time in the ocean off the California coast. (KOMO)

Kinder Morgan Burnaby Mountain protest injunction granted
Kinder Morgan has been granted an injunction against protesters who have been blocking crews from doing work in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area.​ The company said the protesters have been interfering with survey and drilling work it needs to complete for its submission to the National Energy Board on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. On Friday, just before 10:30 a.m. PT, a B.C. Supreme Court judge's ruling was released, giving protesters until 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 17, to dismantle their campsites and barricades, and to clear out of Kinder Morgan's survey work areas. (CBC) See also: Mayor Derek Corrigan says Burnaby will stop Kinder Morgan pipeline in the courts  Tara Carman reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Death by dirty water: Storm runoff a risk for fish  
Just hours into the experiment, the prognosis was grim for salmon that had been submerged in rain runoff collected from one of Seattle's busiest highways. One by one, the fish were removed from a tank filled with coffee-colored water and inspected: They were rigid. Their typically red gills were gray….. This was the fate of coho salmon exposed to the everyday toxic brew of dirt, metals, oil and other gunk that washes off highway pavement after rains and directly into Puget Sound. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Making strides for salmon
Since the Skagit River Chinook Recovery and Monitoring Plan was adopted in 2005, how has the population changed? What have researchers learned? Skagit Watershed Council board members and area fish experts met this week to reflect on progress over the last decade and what remains to be done. What they determined is that so far, population observations show short-term rises and falls with a continuing decline over the long term. They also concluded that chinook productivity is not so much limited by spawning habitat, but by the amount of rearing habitat available to juvenile fish that stay in freshwater to “beef up” before heading out into Puget Sound. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

If you like to listen: Chester, the false killer whale, thrives at aquarium's rescue centre (with video)
When Chester, the false killer whale, was rescued on Chesterman Beach near Tofino in July he was 86 kilograms and 199 cms. Still a baby at four to six weeks of age, he was near death, so weak he had to be supported in a sling and monitored around the clock once he was transferred to the Vancouver Aquarium’s marine mammal rescue centre. Importantly, he was also silent. More than four months later, Chester is 125 kilograms and 220 cms, swimming effortlessly in a pool at the rescue centre, playing with floating toys, interacting with staff, and producing a surprising repertoire of vocalizations that extend well beyond the human ability to hear. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Vancouver Aquarium breeding ban to be lifted say NPA commissioners
Vancouver NPA park commissioners John Coupar and Sarah Kirby-Yung say they were elected Saturday in part on their party's promise to reverse the aquarium breeding ban imposed by the Vision Vancouver dominated park board. With the NPA now holding a four-to-three majority, Coupar says the party intends to fulfill that commitment. (CBC)

Two-week creosote piling cleanup starts Monday on Vashon, Maury islands
Approximately 170 creosote-saturated piling will be removed from Vashon and Maury islands starting Monday, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources announced in a statement Friday morning. The two-week cleanup project will cost an estimated $161,555. The DNR contracted the Quigg Brothers, an Aberdeen company, for the project. Craig Hill reports. (Olympian)

Refurbished tall ship to serve as a public school 'classroom'
Renovations complete, the Adventuress will spend this winter serving as a floating classroom. For the past five winters, the 101-year-old schooner has been pulled out of the water for major renovations in a $1.2 million project completed this spring. Now that it has been spruced up, the tall ship will augment a special Port Townsend School District curriculum program. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

UW professor seeks money to study pollution from coal trains in Whatcom County
A scientist who uses the Internet to solicit donations for his research on coal trains may bring his work to Whatcom County. Dan Jaffe, professor of atmospheric and environmental chemistry at the University of Washington-Bothell, said his research is too politically charged to attract funding through the normal government channels. He’s also been the target of criticism from a union that supports the construction of a coal export terminal at Cherry Point. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Centralia Council votes no on oil train resolution
The Centralia City Council has rejected a resolution that would have encouraged rail companies, the governor and state agencies to ensure oil shipped by rail be moved safely and asked shippers to take responsibility after a spill. “This comes at no political cost to any of us,” said Councilor Pat Gallagher, who proposed the resolution. “But it addresses concerns for safety of shipping a dangerous product through our town … It should be an open-and-shut thing, a no brainer.” But it wasn’t. The resolution was voted down 5-2. The neighboring Chehalis City Council passed a similar resolution in July. Dameon Pesanti reports. (Chronicle)

Trout Unlimited creating new steelhead conservation group
Trout Unlimited, one of the nation’s largest fishing conservation organizations, will turn its focus to wild steelhead. The organization will launch Thursday the Wild Steelhead Initiative, a project to protect and restore wild steelhead and the fishing opportunities they provide throughout their native range in Washington, Alaska, California, Idaho and Oregon. At the forefront of this effort will be the creation of a new conservation organization, Wild Steelheaders United. The goal of this new group will be to bring together steelhead anglers, regardless of their preferred fishing method, to work on protecting and recovering wild steelhead populations. Jeffrey Mayor reports. (Olympian)

Bird Lore: Black Scoter  
Simple elegance in evening dress. The Black Scoter male (drake) always sports his black suit, accented by the yellow nob on his bill. Scoters (Surf, White-winged, and Black) are dark sea ducks that spend most of the year on the ocean in large flocks. On our inland marine waters, Surf Scoters are most abundant and seen most regularly, followed by White-winged Scoters. Black Scoters, seen much less frequently, winter in Edmonds waters. Carol Riddell reports. (My Edmonds News)

Bellingham approves plan for new waterfront park
When fully developed, the city’s newest waterfront park would have three beaches for water access; a large, open lawn; children’s play area; a viewing hill; a coffee shop or cafe and 250 parking spaces. Now unofficially called Cornwall Beach Park, it also could have a business that rents bicycles or stand-up paddle boards, trails and improvements to shoreline habitat. Those were among the details in the master plan that will guide development of the 17-acre waterfront park. The Bellingham City Council approved the plan Monday, Nov. 10. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

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