Monday, November 24, 2014

11/24 Dairy waste, Roberts Bank, Kinder Morgan, orca recovery, breeding ban, ocean chem, 'astroturf' groups, ocean temp, oil train action, smelt survey, web birds, Skagit flow, 1872 quake

Nitrates, fecal coliform from dairies linked to tainted shellfish, tap water
Shellfish, swimming beaches, and the tap water for thousands of people in certain areas of Washington state are being contaminated by pollutants running off farms, and critics say dairy cows are the chief culprit, according to a KOMO 4 Problem Solvers investigation. Government regulators are failing to halt that pollution largely because of insufficient laws, pressure from the agriculture industry and too little enforcement, the Problem Solvers review found. Voluntary compliance and good intentions from many dairy farmers have not been enough to prevent dangerous contaminates generated by manure from getting into waters of Washington state. Only one percent of Washington's roughly 700 dairy farms - some with thousands of cows at one facility - have a permit to pollute, say state agencies. Jeff Burnside reports. (KOMO)

Federal agency urged to expand assessment of Roberts Bank container project
Aboriginal, conservation and community groups are demanding that a federal environmental review of the $2-billion Roberts Bank Terminal 2 container expansion project in South Delta include a range of marine issues that extend well beyond the project’s immediate footprint. The concern is that Port Metro Vancouver is investigating only marine-related impacts — spills, ship collisions and effects such as noise pollution on endangered resident killer whales — within its navigational jurisdiction, a distance of only a few kilometres from the project site. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Kinder Morgan protesters rally on Burnaby Mountain
About 100 Anti-pipeline protesters are marching up Burnaby Mountain again to keep up the pressure on Kinder Morgan and register their opposition to the proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline. A similar number went up the mountain Saturday and police say 15 to 16 of them were arrested for crossing into the Kinder Morgan work site as the company continued with test drilling that started Friday night. Organizers decided in advance of the march who among them would offer themselves up for arrest and that appears to be the case again today (Sunday) as a number have indicated their willingness to be arrested. (CBC) See also:  First Nations join pipeline protest in B.C. amid more arrests   (Canadian Press)

Protesters target plan to ship more Canadian oil through Strait
About 70 people gathered outside the Seattle offices of energy giant Kinder Morgan on Sunday to protest shipments of Alberta tar-sands oil on the Salish Sea. Lynn Thompson reports. (Seattle Times)

Southern Resident orcas defy recovery efforts
A decade after gaining federal protection, the Southern Resident orcas of Puget Sound aren’t making progress. With 78 whales, the population has 20 fewer than when the group was first listed under the Endangered Species Act. A calf born in September offered a glimmer of hope, which was quickly snuffed out when the baby disappeared before the end of the month. Much like the presumed death of calf L120, what exactly is hindering the species’ recovery remains a mystery. A lack of food coupled with an abundance of toxins and boat traffic are thought to be contributors. But what could reverse the orca’s downward trend has yet to be pinpointed. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Board members make final push to ban breeding in Vancouver Aquarium
Two outgoing members of Vancouver’s park board will use Monday’s final meeting to push for a vote on the wording of a bylaw that would force the aquarium in Stanley Park to halt the breeding of beluga whales, dolphins and harbour porpoises. Sarah Blyth and Constance Barnes, two of five current Vision commissioners on the seven-member board, have advocated for an end to the aquarium’s cetacean captivity. Ms. Blyth, in an interview, said she wants the compromise measure – a breeding ban agreed to by the board last summer – in place before a new board takes over next month. Sunny Dhillonandrea Woo reports. (Globe and Mail)

Tool to help track changes in Pacific Ocean chemistry
A new research tool launched this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is allowing scientists to better track changes in ocean chemistry along the U.S. West Coast. The tool provides real-time ocean acidification data along the coast and in some protected bays. It captures data from a couple of dozen sensors installed at shellfish farms and hatcheries and other monitoring sites in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska and Hawaii. University of Washington oceanographer Jan Newton, who led the collaborative effort, said the information can help shellfish growers make crucial decisions about when and how to grow shellfish. (Associated Press)

Oil Interests Fund ‘Astroturf’ Groups In Washington, Oregon
Astroturfing is when interest groups run a campaign that’s designed to look like it’s grassroots in nature. A document obtained by public radio shows the oil industry is at the center of more than a dozen Astroturf groups in Washington, Oregon and California. At the center of the effort is the Western States Petroleum Association in Sacramento. An internal PowerPoint slide shows WSPA has “activated” — its word — several “campaigns and coalitions” to respond to “aggressive anti-oil initiatives in the west.”... The groups have names like Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy and Washington Consumers for Sound Fuel Policy. Environmentalists have their own groups. Clean Fuels Jobs in Washington and Clean Fuels Now in Oregon. Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)

Record North Pacific temperatures threatening B.C. marine species
The North Pacific Ocean is setting record high temperatures this year and raising concerns about the potential impact on cold water marine species along the B.C. coast, including salmon. Ocean surface temperatures around the world this year reached the highest temperature ever recorded, due in large part to the normally chilly North Pacific, which was three to four degrees above average — far beyond any recorded value. ​Bill Peterson, an oceanographer with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the warmth along the North Pacific coast is very unusual. (CBC)

Inslee says state will act on oil trains
The number of oil trains running across Washington is unacceptable, and the Legislature will consider bills in the upcoming session that mandate advance notification of oil shipments by rail as well as more funding for railroad crossings and emergency response training, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday. King County Executive Dow Constantine added that oil companies are raking in profits while “the rest of us are picking up the costs.” They were speaking to the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance that met Friday at Olympia City Hall to address the surge of oil and coal trains passing through Washington. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Volunteers document Fidalgo Bay surf smelt
Each week a group of volunteers collects beach samples from the Fidalgo Bay shoreline. The goal is to help the state identify when and where surf smelt spawning is successful along the rim of the bay. “Our purpose is to document — for as many years as we can manage it — the status here, the baseline,” volunteer Pete Haase said. Haase was one of three Anacortes residents who spent Tuesday morning walking the beach and gathering sediment. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

New birding website focuses on Northwest
Birdwatchers in the Northwest can enter their observations with a new online tool. Users can use eBird Northwest for identifying birds, reporting their sightings and contributing to conservation efforts throughout the region. The new website went live Monday. (Olympian)

Groups file petition asking for repeal of Skagit instream flow rule
A handful of real estate, building and farm organizations are petitioning the state Department of Ecology to repeal or change a rule that has limited rural wells and left 5,700 parcels in the Skagit Basin with no legal access to water. Eight groups signed onto a petition filed with Ecology on Thursday, asking the department to repeal the 2001 instream flow rule that has been the center of lawsuits and controversy between Skagit County, Ecology, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Upper Skagit Tribe and rural residents since even before its inception. Daniel DeMay reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Scientists may be cracking mystery of big 1872 earthquake
Geologists may be close to solving one of the biggest seismological mysteries in the Pacific Northwest: the origin of a powerful quake that rattled seven states and provinces when Ulysses S. Grant was president and the transcontinental railroad hadn’t yet reached Washington. Preliminary evidence points to a newly discovered fault near the town of Entiat in Chelan County. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 219 AM PST MON NOV 24 2014
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
TODAY
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING S 20 TO 30 KT LATE IN THE MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT MIDDAY. W
 SWELL 9 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING W TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 9 FT
 AT 13 SECONDS. RAIN.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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