Thursday, July 31, 2014

7/31 Ferry woes, pit-to-pier, beach closures, BC boom, crab crime, captive whales

Got ferry? (Associated Press/KPLU)
Ferry Delays Almost Everywhere As State Repositions Fleet
There are big delays on the Washington state ferries, just about anywhere you go this week. The fleet has been redistributed to make up for some out-of-service vessels, and that’s having ripple effects nearly system-wide. Ed Ronco reports. (KPLU)

New blog: Hood Canal Pit-To-Pier: Screw The Land and Water, There’s Gravel In Them Thar Hills
‘Mining Puget Sound’ sounds like an anachronism, a by-gone day of coal mining which gave us locale names like Black Diamond and Newcastle. Mining these days promises to bring us coal on rail cars for export to far away lands. But what ‘mining Puget Sound’ these days means is ripping the land apart for gravel— and loading and shipping it out to far-off lands via the nearshore....

Comment Aug. 4 in Port Ludlow on proposed Hood Canal 'pit-to-pier'
Jefferson County planners are seeking public comment on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Thorndyke Resources Central Conveyor and Pier project, commonly referred to as “pit-to-pier.” An open house is set for 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4 at the Port Ludlow Bay Club at 120 Spinnaker Lane. Written comments may be submitted to Jefferson County's Department of Community Development (DCD) through Aug. 11, after which time staff plan to prepare a final Environmental Impact Statement. The proposed 998-foot pier on Hood Canal would sit five miles south of the Hood Canal Bridge and northwest across the canal from the U.S. Navy submarine base at Bangor. A 4-mile conveyor belt would transport gravel and rocks from the former Fred Hill Materials Shine extraction pit.
(Port Townsend Leader)

Shellfish poison reaches high levels in Liberty Bay
High levels of paralytic shellfish poison found in mussels from Liberty Bay has triggered a wider closure of shellfish beds. The new closure area for recreational shellfish harvesting includes the eastern shoreline of the Kitsap Peninsula from Point Jefferson near Kingston to Illahee State Park near Bremerton, including all the bays and inlets, according to Jim Zimny of the Kitsap Public Health District. On Bainbridge Island, the west shoreline is now closed from Point Monroe in the north to Point White in the south. Chris Dunagan reports. (Kitsap Sun) See also: Shellfish beds opened in Port Gamble Bay

Sunset Beach E.coli count means no swimming
Sunset Beach has been closed to swimming after recording high readings of E.coli bacteria in the water, which can increase the risk of gastrointestinal illness for swimmers. On Friday, the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority says readings at Sunset Beach for E.coli were at 176 in 100 mL of water. Since then, readings have increased to the point where VCH says it decided to close the beach. (CBC)

Northwest towns eye billions in revenues from resource boom
Northwest B.C. municipal governments formed an alliance Tuesday to help negotiate for billions in potential revenues from an expected resource boom in their region. The B.C. government is banking on projects to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) overseas to growing Asian markets to help fuel a so-called $100-billion prosperity fund in the next three decades. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Cops crack down on illegal crab trade
Using undercover video to nab crabbers working outside the law. Jon Humbert reports. (KOMO)

Whales in captivity: What scientists say
Should whales and dolphins be allowed to live and breed in captivity in zoos such as the Vancouver Aquarium? It's a hot-button question that has become very political, but it's not just politicians that have opinions — marine mammal scientists also have lots to add to the debate. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
 WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT THU JUL 31 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS. PATCHY MORNING FOG.
TONIGHT
W WIND 15 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 3 FT SUBSIDING TO 1 OR 2 FT AFTER MIDNIGHT. NW SWELL
 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.
--
"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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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

7/30 Climate change, aquarium whales, Squalicum cleanup, green diversity, one-crew trains, invasives

(Rich Ross/National Geographic)
Social Octopus Species Shatters Beliefs About Ocean Dwellers
If recent octopus discoveries have taught us anything, it's that these eight-armed ocean dwellers are smart. They can use tools, change color in an instant, and commission their arms to solve problems. But they generally do all this as loners. Now, new research into a surprisingly social octopus is shattering even the most expansive ideas of known octopus behavior. Katherine Harmon Courage reports. (National Geographic)

Gov. Inslee’s Wastewater Plant Tour Highlights Sea Rise Woes
When Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wanted to show the connection between climate change and an unpleasant and costly consequence for his constituents, he decided to tour a sewage treatment plant. Inslee’s visit Tuesday to the West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Seattle’s Discovery Park was the latest stop on his statewide tour to raise awareness about the costs of climate change. The problem the governor wanted to highlight: climate change is causing sea levels to rise. And that means homes and buildings that were built a safe distance from the water’s edge are increasingly becoming too close for comfort. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

Vancouver Aquarium's whale program provokes more debate
Dozens of speakers voiced their thoughts on the Vancouver Aquarium's controversial captive whales and dolphins program Monday evening, at a second special meeting convened by the Vancouver Park Board.... Staff from the aquarium also spoke at the meeting on Monday, including CEO John Nightingale, who said if the park board votes to not allow whales and dolphins in tanks, the aquarium will take legal action to recover some of the costs of its recent $50 million expansion, which was approved by the board in 2006... A third special meeting will be held Thursday to allow Park Board members to discuss what they heard during the first two days of the public meetings, but the Board has not said when a decision will be made on the issue (CBC)

Ecology plan calls for $610K cleanup of contaminated Squalicum Harbor site
A decade after a $1.4 million interim cleanup was completed at a contaminated waterfront boatyard formerly used by Weldcraft Steel and Marine, the Port of Bellingham could finish the job with a new $610,000 cleanup plan. The Department of Ecology recently released its plan for the upland portion of the site at 2652 Harbor Loop Drive that was contaminated with petroleum-related metals and chemicals from Weldcraft's boat building, repair and maintenance work between 1946 and 2002. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

New report expounds on old problem: Lack of diversity in green groups
A new report, released [Monday], shows that the staffs of mainstream green groups have been overrepresented with white men despite the groups’ intentions to be more colorful. One of its most damning findings is that “the dominant culture of the organizations is alienating to ethnic minorities, the poor, the LGBTQ community, and others outside the mainstream.” The report, called “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations,” is billed as “the most comprehensive report on diversity in the environmental movement.” It was compiled by a working group of thought leaders on environment and race called Green 2.0, led by University of Michigan professor Dorceta Taylor. Brentin Mock reports. (Grist)

BNSF’s Proposal For One-Person Train Crews Concerns Rail Workers
Railroad workers are speaking out against a proposal by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to have single-employee freight train crews. They say the idea is unsafe, especially in light of the increasing transportation of crude oil by rail. The controversy stems from a tentative contract agreement BNSF has reached with one of its unions, the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union. If union members approve that deal, BNSF could operate freight trains with just an engineer onboard. That engineer would have help from a so-called master conductor who would not be on the train. Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)

Whistler invasive plants could now get you a ticket
Whistler residents can now be fined $250 a day if they have invasive plants in their yards. "Most invasives are quite pretty. Things like yellow-flag iris has a gorgeous yellow flower, and when you tell people it's invasive, they're sort of shocked," said Claire O'Brien, executive director of the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council.... O'Brien's group has been advocating for the bylaw banning invasive species, which was recently enacted by the Resort Municipality of Whistler. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT WED JUL 30 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS. AREAS OF MORNING FOG.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 6 SECONDS.
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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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

7/29 Ocean acid, seastar wasting, train protest, dirty coal, BC LNG, saving fish, Samish vibrio

Lime Kiln SP 2013 (PHOTO: Chris Teren)
Smile: August 7 is National Lighthouse Day and the FOLKS at Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island invite you to celebrate with free tours, music and a commemorative photo by Chris Teren (like the one he took in July 2013).

Changing sea chemistry will hit Alaska communities hard
Oyster growers in the Pacific Northwest have already been stung by changes in ocean chemistry linked to greenhouse-gas emissions. Now, a new study led by Seattle researchers finds communities in Southwest and Southeast Alaska that rely on the sea for food and jobs are also likely to be hit hard over the coming decades. The analysis, published Tuesday in the journal Progress in Oceanography, is among the first to examine the potential social and economic impacts of ocean acidification — sometimes called global warming’s twin. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Peninsula marine life centers losing sea stars to mysterious disease
Visitors to the North Olympic Peninsula's two major marine science centers are likely to see few sea stars. Sea star wasting disease, which has decimated wild populations, also is tearing through captive collections. The disease has accelerated this summer, said staff members at both the Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles and the Port Townsend Marine Life Center. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Oil train protest on tracks ends at Tesoro refinery
Three people who had attached themselves to the train tracks Monday near Tesoro Refinery to protest the movement of oil by rail were arrested. The protesters, joined by more than a dozen sign-waving supporters, started sitting on the railroad tracks about 8 a.m. Skagit County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Jennifer Sheahan-Lee said the protesters on the tracks would be removed. See video: Oil Train Protest  (Skagit Valley Herald)

Not in my backyard: US sending dirty coal abroad
As the Obama administration weans the U.S. off dirty fuels blamed for global warming, energy companies have been sending more of America’s unwanted energy leftovers to other parts of the world where they could create even more pollution. This fossil fuel trade threatens to undermine President Barack Obama’s strategy for reducing the gases blamed for climate change and reveals a little-discussed side effect of countries acting alone on a global problem. The contribution of this exported pollution to global warming is not something the administration wants to measure, or even talk about. Dina Cappiello reports. (Associated Press) See also: Pacific Rim Coal Prices Continue to Tumble  Clark Williams-Derry reports. (Sightline)

B.C. announces $1.35-million for training LNG workers
There’ll be 272 new seats in trades programs at the B.C. Institute of Technology this September, and the provincial government says they’ll help equip students to work in the proposed liquefied natural gas industry. Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk said Monday the Burnaby, B.C.-based institution will receive a total of $1.35-million to pay for the new positions and some minor equipment, and there’ll be similar announcements in the coming weeks across the province as the government rolls out its Skills for Jobs Blueprint. Keven Drews reports. (Canada Press)

One man rescue mission saves fish at risk
These hot, dry, high summer mornings, just as the early sun slants in through the black cottonwoods and red cedars, sparkling on the riffles where the Cowichan River murmurs past, Joe Saysell will finish his tea on the deck, give his chunky, broad-headed Labrador retriever Sweet a pat and set out on his solitary mission to save fish. And fish are in dire need of a saviour on this blue ribbon heritage river that sings past the house Joe and his wife Gail built on its banks 40 years ago and from which he’s emerged as one of the region’s best-known guides, a man who has forgotten more about the natural world than most of us will ever know. Stephen Hume reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Shellfish-related illness case traced to Samish Bay
Of nine reports of illness from shellfish infected with Vibrio parahaemolyticus this summer, at least one has been traced back to commercial harvest in Samish Bay and is suspected in a second case of undetermined origin, according to the state Department of Health. Because of the chance that two illnesses were related to the harvest area within 30 days, strict summer harvest rules have been tightened for growers for the rest of the season, cutting daily harvest times from four hours to three. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT TUE JUL 29 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG THIS
 MORNING.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, July 28, 2014

7/28 Gulches, oil trains, chinook, Elwha recovery, new beaches, Vic sewage, protect Skagit

(PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Classic in Clinker
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Earlier this year, my eye was drawn by the classic lines of this clinker-built sailing dinghy, built by Barefoot Wooden Boats here on Gabriola Island. At the time I took the photo, the boat seemed ready for some sprucing up – not surprising since it’s exposed to the elements day in, day out, year round at its dock in Silva Bay. Nevertheless I could see it was a beautiful, sturdy little vessel, holding up well. Since then it’s had a bit of TLC, and with its spiffy new paint, it’s now looking great...."

If you like to watch: Gulches: Taming Tacoma’s last wild places
Down in Tacoma’s gulches, you’re in another world — a wild one. Deep ravines sandwiched between residential streets and fed by springs flowing to Puget Sound, the gulches are filled with tangled forests and moss, with deer, coyote and birdsong. Rosemary Ponnekanti reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

If you need to know: Summer Is Back! Dry Weather And Warm, Sunny Skies In the Forecast
The last week of July is historically the driest week of the year. And despite record-breaking rain last week, the forecast for the days ahead fits the bill for this time of year, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. “We’re going to have sun, warmth and virtually no precipitation,” Mass said of the week ahead. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Oil trains crowd out grain shipments to NW ports
As oil trains hauling North Dakota crude delay rail transport of grain to Pacific Northwest ports, the prospect of growing fossil-fuel traffic has some fearing that such shipping disruptions will become a long-term problem impeding exports and the regional economy. Ángel González reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Coal trains pose economic, traffic worries for Puget Sound region  Floyd McKay reports. (Crosscut) And: Oregon Oil Train Safety Report Calls For More Rail Inspectors, Fees  Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

Island sports fishing best in years — chinook catch ‘spectacular’
Chinook salmon are returning to Island waters in strong numbers, making this one of the best years in recent memory for recreational fishermen and charter boat operators, especially off the east coast. Anglers are thrilled that they are catching lots of big silvery chinook salmon just off Greater Victoria’s waterfront. Carla Wilson reports. (Times Colonist)

Biologists track fish recovery in tough conditions on Elwha River
From sonar to snorkels, biologists are using a range of tactics to keep track of fish recovery under way on the Elwha River. The last of two fish-blocking dams are expected to be out as of mid-September, a major milestone in a $325 million recovery program for the river.... As the concrete tumbles, biologists from state and federal agencies and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe are working under difficult conditions to learn how recovery is progressing. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

New beaches take shape along Port Angeles waterfront as work moves on schedule
The clatter of rocks falling from excavator buckets is the sound of creation as two new beaches take form on the waterfront. Crews with Bruch and Bruch Construction Inc. of Port Angeles are carving out the “pocket beaches,” the first step in creating a new park, between the Valley Creek estuary to the west and the waterfront esplanade. Jeremy Schwartz reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

A poopy promise: B.C. premier vows sewage treatment for Victoria — someday
"We have made it clear that sewage treatment will happen. That is not up for debate. Failure to comply with these obligations would result in the possible loss of provincial and federal funding, as well as other potential penalties under federal and provincial laws. Thank you again for writing, and I am pleased to provide you with this response." -- British Columbia Premier Christy Clark. (Seattle Times)

Nature Conservancy highlights model project in Skagit watershed
The Nature Conservancy’s state Director Mike Stevens visited with local partners and individuals from around the region this past week to discuss conservation issues. Stevens stressed the Skagit River’s regional importance for farmland, fish habitat and flood protection, as well as a place that speaks to his organization’s own evolution over the last several decades. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 302 AM PDT MON JUL 28 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. AREAS
 OF FOG THIS MORNING.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.
--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Friday, July 25, 2014

7/25 No-pipe fund, coal trains, marine birds, false killer, composting, no hope Hope, Niaz Dorry, Vic sewer

Seattle derailment, 7/24 (Dana Robinson Slote/KPLU)
Northern Gateway opponents turn to crowd-sourcing to raise at least $150,000
British Columbia First Nations and environmental groups are launching a fundraising campaign for the coming legal battle against the Northern Gateway pipeline. Sierra Club B.C., in partnership with Victoria-based legal defence fund RAVEN Trust, and several northern aboriginal communities have created the website Pull-Together.ca. (Canadian Press)

Report: Coal trains planned for state carry issues, bring jobs
Communities throughout the Puget Sound region would need overpasses and underpasses costing $50 million to $200 million each to prevent traffic from being stopped by a proposed 18 daily coal trains, a government report says. Elected officials on the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) sounded the alarm Thursday about the magnitude of traffic delays, and the hazards of more trains and people crossing paths. Mike Lindblom reports. (Seattle Times)

Once-common marine birds disappearing from our coast
From white-winged scoters and surf scoters to long-tailed ducks, murres, loons and some seagulls, the number of everyday marine birds here has plummeted dramatically in recent decades. The reasons are often complex, but for many the loss of forage fish like herring might hold a clue. Craig Welch reports. (Seattle Times)

False killer whale calf now nursing at Vancouver aquarium
After many failed attempts, a false killer whale calf rescued near Tofino, B.C., earlier this month has reached a milestone and has started nursing from a bottle, according to staff at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Head veterinarian Martin Haulena said the fact the calf is now suckling is a great sign of improvement, and the male calf has been slowly increasing its strength, buoyancy and co-ordination. Steve Lus reports. (CBC)

Seattle Considers Fining Residents For Failing To Compost
The city of Seattle might start fining residents who put food waste in the garbage instead of the compost bin — the latest idea to push for better recycling rates. Dozens of cities nationwide now give residents the option of putting their household food scraps in a curbside compost bin. Seattle is looking at making it a requirement. Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

Abandon all hope: State Rep. Hope to resign over out-of-state voter registration
Republican state Rep. Mike Hope said Thursday he intends to resign from office after it was revealed he’s been registered to vote in two states, Washington and Ohio, since last summer. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

If you like to listen: Who Feeds Us Matters: Fishers and Farmers Taking Back Control of the Food Supply ---Interview w/ Niaz Dorry
Fish and how they're caught aren't always included in the 'alternative food movement'. But in some communities, “community supported fisheries” or CSF's are catching on. Similar to “community supported agriculture” or CSA's, the goal is to reclaim local sovereignty and food justice. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acre Radio)

Sewage treatment ‘will happen,’ says B.C. premier, doesn’t say when
Treatment of Victoria’s sewage “will happen,” British Columbia Premier Christy Clark promised members of Washington’s congressional delegation in a terse letter. She did not say when.... Clark parried an angry letter, sent last month by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., as well as six U.S. House members from Washington. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.com)

Kids search for critters in marine muck during Mud Flat Safari
With their rain boots on and their hoods pulled up, the “mini explorers” signed up for the Mud Flat Safari at Padilla Bay were ready to head to the water. “It’s your day,” said class leader Anna-mai Christmas, an AmeriCorps education assistant with Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Breazeale Interpretive Center. “You are the explorers today.” Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Discovery Bay closed to shellfish harvesting as diarrhetic shellfish poisoning risk rises
Discovery Bay has been closed to recreational harvesting of all species of shellfish because of the risk of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, Jefferson County Public Health announced Thursday. The state Department of Health found the marine biotoxins that cause diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, or DSP, in concentrations above the safe level of 16 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue, according to Michael Dawson, water quality lead for the county department. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 320 AM PDT FRI JUL 25 2014
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF
 SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
SAT
W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW 10 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SUN
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Thursday, July 24, 2014

7/24 Oil train, belugas, Helena Star, seabirds, radiation, CATS, Seahurst Park, stormwater, conservation fund, T-Rex

Killdeer (Phil Gilston/BirdNote)
 If you like to watch: Killdeer - Master of Distraction
The Killdeer is one of the most widespread and commonly seen shorebirds in North America. Killdeers lure predators - including humans - away from their nest by calling loudly while appearing to limp and drag a wing. Found throughout the United States and Canada, they nest on the ground, often in human-modified habitats such as gravel roads, driveways, parking lots, and lawns. Catch a video of an adult feigning injury to protect its young. (BirdNote)

Oil Train Tanker Cars Derail In Seattle
Three tanker cars in an oil train from North Dakota derailed at a rail yard in Seattle early Thursday, but BNSF Railway says none of the oil spilled. BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said a locomotive and buffer car loaded with sand also left the rails about 2 a.m. at the Interbay yard as the train with 102 cars of Bakken oil was pulling out, headed for a refinery at Anacortes. From Seattle’s Magnolia Bridge, workers could be seen operating a tractor to try and get a derailed oil train back on track. It appeared that at least one train car was slightly off kilter on the track. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix) See also: Crew Fatigue Persists As Oil By Rail Increases Risks  Tony Schick reports. (EarthFix)

DOT proposes 2-year phase-out of older tank cars for crude oil trains
The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a two-year phase-out of older tank cars used to transport crude oil by rail, among other measures to improve the safety of crude oil transportation by rail. Secretary Anthony Foxx outlined the long-anticpated proposals Wednesday, more than a year after a deadly derailment in Quebec focused government and public scrutiny on the rising volumes of crude oil shipped in trains. DOT will seek the phase-out or retrofit of older model DOT-111 tank cars, long known to be vulnerable to failure in derailments, from crude oil and ethanol service. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy) See also: Whatcom, Bellingham elected officials say oil-train rules could be improved Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Vancouver park board report avoids taking a stand on captive whales
The Vancouver park board has released the report it commissioned on keeping beluga whales and dolphins at the city aquarium, but it does not take a stand on whether cetaceans should be held in captivity and effectively calls for more research. The report was released on Wednesday, ahead of Saturday’s special park board meeting. The captivity debate resurfaced in April, with some park board commissioners and later the mayor voicing opposition to keeping cetaceans at the aquarium. Joseph Gaydos – chief scientist of the Wildlife Health Center’s SeaDoc Society Program at the University of California, Davis – was tasked with conducting the review. His report says he was able to compile considerable data in the allotted time, but that more work is needed. Sunny Dhillon reports. (Globe and Mail)

Sunken freighter raised from Hylebos Waterway
Four months and $600,000 later, the derelict freighter Helena Star has been refloated and is expected to leave for Seattle today after sinking 18 months ago in Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway. The 167-foot ship sank on Jan. 25, 2013, and was slowly spilling 640 gallons of oil and diesel. Crews tried to raise the freighter in December, but the single crane wasn’t enough to lift the ship without causing further damage. On Tuesday, two floating cranes that can raise the combined weight of 1,100 tons lifted the vessel so it could be drained of water, said Melissa Ferris, program manager for the Derelict Vessel Removal Program with the state Department of Natural Resources. Shelby Rowe reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Declines in marine birds trouble scientists
An article in Salish Sea Currents, an online magazine from the creators of the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound, and based on proceeding from the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. Eric Warner writes.

Donors Pay To Test Seawater For Traces Of Fukushima Radiation
It's been more than three years since the Fukushima nuclear plant accident resulted in a spill of millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water into the Pacific. Oceanographers projected that it could take until this year for highly diluted traces of that spill in Japan to reach the West Coast of North America. Radiation experts don't believe there is cause for alarm on our shores, but some coastal residents are stepping forward to pay for seawater testing just to be sure. Tom Banse reports. (KUOW)

Citizen Action Training School (CATS) sessions are coming up this fall on the Olympic Peninsula (September) and in Everett (Olympia). CATS sessions include 12 weeks of class and field instruction on local watershed and Puget Sound ecology, as well as guidance about civic engagement around natural resources issues.  For more info or to apply, see CATS web site  or email CATS. 

City of Burien, Corps of Engineers Announce Reopening of Seahurst Park
Seahurst Park in Burien is set to reopen August 25 following completion of the Seahurst Park Ecosystem Restoration Project, Phase II. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned to follow. The project, which began Oct. 28, 2013, removed 1,800 feet of shoreline concrete armoring in the northern section of the park replacing it with more natural habitat for forage fish and salmon rearing. Improved habitat aids recovery of species, such as bull trout, steelhead and Chinook salmon, listed under the Endangered Species Act. (Highline Times)

Stormwater solutions key in fight for Puget Sound
From behind the paywall: Chris Dunagan's seventh installment of articles on Puget Sound natural resource issues. Read it while you can.


Kitsap Sun (July 13)

Most of Wash. delegation stumps for conservation fund in Congress
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, the nation’s main source of federal money to improve access to outdoor recreation, has never received the full funding Congress promised. After 50 years, supporters are demanding more money. Kyung Song reports. (Seattle Times)

Tyrannosaurs prowled in packs, B.C. tracks show
It would have been terrifying to run into a tyrannosaur like Albertosaurus. The massive creature that roamed western North America about 70 million years ago was as long as a bus, with a wide smile of razor-sharp teeth and claws to match. But here's the worst part — it probably wasn't alone. Tyrannosaurs, it seemed, travelled in packs. Scientists came to that conclusion after carefully analyzing an extremely rare find — three sets of tyrannosaur tracks found in northeastern B.C. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 900 AM PDT THU JUL 24 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 15 KT BECOMING NW AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.

--
"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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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7/23 Storm, B'ham coal, port records, Oso slide, toxic fish, stormwater, clean water poll

(KOMO)
July storm brings heavy rain, lightning to Wash. state
An "unseasonably strong" storm system is invading Washington state, increasing the risk of flash flooding and new wildfires in parts of Eastern Washington and bringing heavy rain to parts of Western Washington, the National Weather Service says. Forecasters say the storm could break rainfall records for the date. The record at Sea-Tac Airport is just over a half-inch (.54) set on July 23, 1949. Lightning strikes were first recorded over the Cascades of Snohomish County at about 2:30 a.m. Heavy rainfall began moving into the Puget Sound region shortly afterward. (KOMO)

Coal exports from Bellingham could ramp up rapidly
Developers of the largest of the region’s proposed coal-export terminals have shifted their site plan to claim a dramatic reduction in impacts on wetlands. Simultaneously, SSA Marine, the Seattle international terminal operator, said it will speed up plans to operate Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) north of Bellingham at full capacity. The capacity planning, along with plentiful evidence that BNSF Railway is beefing up its tracks in northwestern Washington to prepare for more coal and oil traffic, alerted terminal foes and brought immediate pushback Monday from the Bellingham City Council. Potentially adding fuel to the fire, BNSF and its largest union are moving toward a contract that allows the railroad to run the 130-car, mile-plus-long coal trains with a single engineer in the cab, replacing the present practice of two in the cab. Floyd McKay reports. (Crosscut)

Judge eyes whether coal port records should be released
A federal judge said Tuesday he would weigh whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must release environmental review documents involving a proposed coal port criticized by environmentalists. U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak said in Portland that he must decide whether the documents show the agency's internal deliberations about the Morrow Pacific coal export terminal in Boardman. Deliberative documents can be exempt from disclosure under federal rules, depending on how they're interpreted by the releasing agency or a judge. (Associated Press)

Critics say proposed rules on fish consumption insufficient
Some tribal leaders and environmental groups say a water-pollution cleanup plan proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee this month is unacceptable because while it tightens the standards on some chemicals discharged to state waters, it keeps the status quo for others. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

New Report: Oso Landslide Rooted In Long History Of Slides
Scientists have concluded that rain, groundwater seepage and a long history of big landslides likely contributed to the massive landslide of March 22 that killed 43 people and destroyed dozens of homes near Oso, Washington. Those findings came out Tuesday, the result of a scientific team’s rapid-fire assessment of geology and localized factors. Joe Wartman, a University of Washington associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and a co-lead author of the study, said rainfall very likely played a key role in the slide. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix) Read the report

Stormwater: Can we stop the menace we created?
Chris Dunagan at the Kitsap Sun in Watching Our Water Ways blogs: ‘I’ve completed the seventh story package in a 10-part series examining the Puget Sound ecosystem, with a special focus on indicators of ecological health. We’re calling the project “Taking the Pulse of Puget Sound.” The latest stories, which ran Sunday and Monday, addressed freshwater quality.’ (The stories are pay-to-read behind a paywall but Chris invites you to look at the graphics for free.)

Advocacy group says new poll shows support among small business owners for stronger clean water rules
A progressive business advocacy group said that small business owners from around the country support greater efforts by the federal government to protect the nation’s water, according to a poll the group commissioned. The poll of small-business owners found that two-thirds were concerned about the impact water pollution could have on their businesses, and 80 percent favored extending federal clean water protections to streams and wetlands. Support on the second issue was strongest among Democrats, at 91 percent, but Republicans and independents also polled above 70 percent. Chris Adams reports. (McClatchy)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED JUL 23 2014
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS. SHOWERS AND A CHANCE OF TSTMS.
TONIGHT
S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF TSTMS. SHOWERS.

--
"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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Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

7/22 BC LNG, Tesoro xylene, sea otters, pinks, Elwha weir, orcas for sale, Burfoot Park bacteria

Pune, India waste picker (New Scientist)
If you like to watch: Ethical 3D printing begins with plastic waste pickers
Pick the right plastic off a refuse tip, then shred, melt and convert it into feedstock for 3D printers – it's a living for some of India's poorest people. WITH her small child in tow, a young woman trudges across the hazardous clutter of a vast, dusty rubbish dump in Pune, India, scanning for scrap to sell. This scene comes from the launch video of a social enterprise called Protoprint, but it is played out at waste dumps in developing nations across the world. Some 15 million people are thought to scavenge for saleable refuse. Protoprint's scheme could soon improve the lives of some of these people. The group's aim is to train local pickers in Pune to collect high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic waste and then show them how to shred, melt and convert that plastic into the strands of filament that are the feedstock for one of the world's burgeoning technology industries: 3D printing. Paul Marks reports. (New Scientist)

Political summit hears B.C. liquefied natural gas cleans air, wipes out debt
Premier Christy Clark says British Columbia’s proposed liquefied natural gas industry has the power to fight air pollution in China and clear up smog in Los Angeles. The premier’s natural gas development minister also boasted to delegates at the same conference on Monday that the LNG industry will clean up the provincial debt. (Vancouver Sun)

Tesoro plans $400M investment to refine xylene in Anacortes
Tesoro Corp. today announced plans to invest about $400 million in its West Coast operations to extract up to 15,000 barrels per day of xylene at its Anacortes refinery. Startup of the new facilities is expected to be in 2017, subject to permitting and the approval process. A final investment decision is expected by year-end 2014. In a press release, the company said it intends to gather intermediate feedstock, primarily reformate, from its West Coast refining system for xylene extraction at its Anacortes refinery. The initial investment, estimated to be around $400 million, is designed to recover up to 15,000 barrels per day of mixed xylene, which will mainly be exported to Asia. Xylene is used to make polyester fibers and films for clothing, food packaging and beverage containers. (Skagit Valley Herald)

The remarkable comeback of sea otters to the B.C. coast
The evening before Barb Wilson faced the chiefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations she had a nightmare. The Haida elder and her colleague, Anne Salomon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University, had asked to speak with the chiefs about the spread of sea otters on the West Coast. The species is making a remarkable comeback in British Columbia after being pushed to the edge of extinction nearly 100 years ago. The revival of the otters is seen by some as a great environmental success story, but it is triggering dramatic ecological change and pitting native fishermen against animals that have a voracious appetite for urchins, crabs and clams. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Hyper-abundant pink salmon are outcompeting wild sockeye
Is it too soon to change B.C.’s iconic fish from the sockeye to the pink? Probably, but we should be prepared nonetheless as evidence mounts that the phenomenal and persistent abundance of pink salmon is putting real pressure on other Pacific salmon and even sea birds that share the same food resources. Randy Shore writes. (Vancouver Sun)

Conservationists threaten to sue over unused Elwha River hatchery weir
Four wild fish advocacy groups plan to sue over an unused weir at the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe’s hatchery on the Elwha River, saying that its lack threatens wild fish and violates the Endangered Species Act. The weir was designed to separate wild salmon species from those raised in the hatchery. “That weir was an integral part of their plan. If they can’t use it, their plan can no longer function as designed,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of the Wild Fish Conservancy based in Duvall.  Joe Smillie reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

EarthFix Conversation: Puget Sound Whales For Sale
The resident killer whales of Puget Sound are an endangered species. There are about 80 of them left. But there was a time, not too long ago, when people were catching these whales and selling them into captivity. In the 1960s and ‘70s an estimated 35 orcas were taken from Puget Sound. 13 were killed in the process. Sandra Pollard has documented the history of orca capture in Puget Sound in a new book: Puget Sound Whales For Sale: The Fight To End Orca Hunting. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

County issues swimming advisory for Burfoot Park
Thurston County health officials have issued an advisory for Burfoot Park after testing showed elevated levels of bacteria in the water. The beach is not closed, but it is recommended that people and pets stay out of the water, according to press release from Thurston County Health Division. In the release, Director of Environmental Health Division Art Starry said the department wants visitors to be aware of the situation and use their best judgment about whether they go in the water. Tammy McGee reports. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather-
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE JUL 22 2014
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF TSTMS AFTER
 MIDNIGHT.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told



Monday, July 21, 2014

7/21 BC beach closures, BP DEIS, coal train, BC pipe poll, East Coast oil tests, BC Park Act, sinking beach

Bald eagle attack (Debbie Martin/Vancouver Sun)
If you like to watch: Wild kingdom in North Van as newborn seal and mom attacked by bald eagle
Life on the North Shore often ends up looking like a scene from a David Attenborough documentary. That was the case for North Vancouver resident Debbie Martin, who witnessed the struggle between life and death play out as she enjoyed a summer evening on the waterfront July 13. Martin watched and snapped photos as a harbour seal gave birth to a pup aboard a float at Mosquito Creek Marina and then came under attack by a bald eagle. “The eagle was harassing the mom, trying to get to the afterbirth or trying to get to the baby. The mom was there tapping the baby and shuffling the baby around trying to keep the eagle away from it,” Martin said. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: Amphibian Explorations
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Pacific tree frogs are showing up all over our yard these days, in varying sizes and often where you least expect them. A few days ago one hopped out of a lettuce I was cutting, landing first on the toaster, then the butter dish while I tried my best to catch it. (Alas, no photos of that!) In a less extreme example, the other morning we were sipping our coffee on the deck when a frog suddenly appeared, heading straight towards my flip-flop-shod toes...." (Watch the slide show online.)

High E. coli counts detected at 3 West Vancouver beaches
Health officials are warning people against swimming at three West Vancouver beaches after routine water quality sampling turned up E.coli bacteria counts exceeding safe-level limits. “No Swimming” advisories are now in effect for Ambleside, Dundarave and Sandy Cove beaches. Health officials say the relatively high concentration of E.coli bacteria detected can increase a swimmer's risk of coming down with gastro-intestinal illness. E.coli is considered to be an indicator organism associated with fecal contamination from either human or animal sources. (CBC) See also: Environmental lobby adds pressure in Victoria raw sewage row  (Peninsula Daily News)

Could BP turn Bellingham into a Northwest oil export capital?
The microphone worked only part of the time, and occasionally the gymnasium walls bounced the words like a volley of loose basketballs. Despite that, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers got an earful last week at Shuksan Middle School in Bellingham in a meeting that echoed decades of Northwest environmental history and new fears about exports of coal and oil to Asia. One by one, three minutes at a time, unhappy citizens dismantled the Corps’ Draft Environmental Impact Statement concerning the operation of the Northwest’s largest oil terminal. Bob Simmons reports. (Crosscut)

If you like to listen: Shellfish
Massive oil spills like Odyssey in the northern Atlantic; Exxon Valdez off the coast of Alaska; and more recently, Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico make big headlines. But the leading source of water pollution in the world is actually water run-off. Rain falling on our streets, lawns and driveways washes contamination into our waterways. In the Puget Sound, shellfish lovers are worried. Shellfish farmers, researchers, and chefs share their concerns about water contamination in the Sound and the danger is poses to shellfish. Hillary Sanders reports.

Official: Bellingham rail traffic from coal terminal still an issue
More than two years after raising the concern, city officials still don't know whether an extra railroad track would be built along Boulevard Park and the waterfront to accommodate additional trains for a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point. City Council member Michael Lilliquist drafted a letter for the full council's consideration on Monday, July 21, that would renew the city's request for more information about the additional rail traffic that would result from the Gateway Pacific Terminal. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Focus groups hint Conservatives out of sync on Northern Gateway
Public-opinion research for the federal Finance Department suggests key government policies are out of step with Canadians' priorities, including the Northern Gateway project. Members of focus groups consulted prior to the February budget had "little enthusiasm" for the proposed bitumen pipeline to the British Columbia coast — even those who said they support the controversial project.... The Harper government has made Northern Gateway a central plank of its energy strategy, and has pilloried environmental groups who oppose it, labelling them "radical." (CBC) See also: Industrial growth should not harm Kitimat if emissions managed, Polak says  Wendy Stueck reports. (Globe and Mail)

Feds approve oil exploration off US Eastern Coast
The Obama administration has sided with energy developers over environmentalists, approving the use of underwater blasts of sound to pinpoint oil and gas deposits in federal Atlantic Ocean waters. The regulatory decision is the first real step toward what could be an economic transformation in East Coast states, potentially creating a new energy infrastructure, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue. But it dismayed people who owe their livelihoods to fisheries and tourism, and activists said it stains President Barack Obama's environmental legacy.... The cannons will substantially increase the noise pollution in Gulf Stream waters shared by whales, dolphins and turtles, sending powerful sound waves reverberating through the deep every ten seconds, for weeks at a time. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management acknowledged that thousands of sea creatures will be harmed, but ultimately decided to approve this exploration in the outer continental shelf from Delaware to Florida. Energy companies need the data as they prepare to apply for drilling leases in 2018, when current congressional limits expire. Jaso Dearen reports. (Associated Press)

If you like to listen: Wild Caught Cod Sizzling on the (Hospital) Grill: Making a Dent in Healthcare and Healthy Oceans
You might think locally sourced, omega-rich seafood would be a no-brainer for hospitals concerned about the health of their patients. But wild caught fisheries and the local healthy food movement have been slow to catch on in healthcare. There are notable exceptions like Seattle's Virginia Mason Hospital. In this story we visit the hospital's kitchen where mouth-watering good and sustainable seafood is available every day of the week. Martha Baskin reports.

B.C. Park Amendment Act under fire from environmentalists
Environmentalists are planning protests against new legislation they say threatens to open up parks and protected areas to pipelines and other industrial projects.  In Vancouver Friday, they unfurled a 167,000 name petition calling on the provincial government to repeal the Park Amendment Act, which was passed into law in May. The Act allows for research in provincial parks, but many fear that could lead to mining, logging, or even pipelines. Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee says the changes will only benefit corporations, some of which are already planning projects. (CBC)

Mystery still surrounds ‘sinkhole’ recesses off Port Angeles’ Hollywood Beach
Engineers at the city of Port Angeles still don’t know why recesses are forming in the sand off Hollywood Beach that has closed the beach to bathers. But they’re looking into one possible cause — rotting wood. “It’s still a mystery,” said Craig Fuller, city engineer. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON JUL 21 2014
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING W TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told




Friday, July 18, 2014

7/18 Sanctuary, Martinac shipyard, boat insurance, Ohop Cr., shellfish dig, Pebble Mine

(IMAGE: Olympic Coast NMS)
New blog: Happy 20th Birthday, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
Twenty years ago this week the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary was dedicated, the nation’s 12th marine sanctuary authorized under the Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (full name: Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 aka Ocean Dumping Act). Today, it’s impossible to imagine Congress passing such comprehensive environmental legislation....

Tacoma’s oldest shipyard to be sold on courthouse steps Friday
A last-hour rescue effort for Tacoma’s sole remaining major shipyard has failed. The 90-year-old J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Co.’s Foss Waterway shipyard will be sold Friday morning in a foreclosure auction on the plaza of the county courthouse. Joe Martinac Jr., the shipyard’s president, and the last of a long line of family shipyard managers, said eleventh hour efforts to find new business for the shipyard failed to produce new contracts that would stave off the shipyard’s auction. John Gille reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

New law targets purchase, sale, condition of older, longer boats
A new Washington state law requires boat owners to carry insurance for vessels 65 feet or longer, and for boats age 40  and over. Approved by the state legislature, the law went into effect July 1. The law applies to owners of commercial and private boats, and also requires inspection of boat and its condition prior to sale. (San Juan Journal)

Tribe, Land Trust Break Ground on Ohop Creek Restoration Project
The Nisqually Indian Tribe, Nisqually Land Trust and South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group broke ground on 1.5 miles of restored salmon habitat on Ohop Creek on Saturday. Ohop Creek, near Eatonville, is a vital tributary to the Nisqually River, according to a press release from the land trust. The Ohop River flows into the Nisqually River about 15 miles southeast of Yelm. Steven Wyble reports. (Yelm Online)

Mystery Bay, Kilisut Harbor reopened to shellfish harvest of all but butter, varnish clams
Mystery Bay and Kilisut Harbor have reopened for recreational shellfish harvesting of all species except butter and varnish clams, the Jefferson County Health Department said Thursday. Levels of the marine biotoxin that cause diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, or DSP, are currently below the safe level of 16 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue, according to Michael Dawson, water quality lead for the county department. The area remains closed to the harvest of butter and varnish clams due to their tendency to retain marine biotoxins for a long time, up to a year. (Peninsula Daily News)

Opponents say Alaska mine would devastate salmon, Washington state fishing industry 
Supporters of the embattled Pebble Mine project in Alaska are making a desperate effort in Congress and the courts to keep it alive in the face of warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency that it could devastate the finest run of wild salmon left on the globe. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing a bill to keep the EPA from blocking the mine, despite opposition from Washington state lawmakers who say the project could be devastating to the fishing industry in their state. Sean Cockerham reports. (McClatchy) See also: EPA proposes to block Alaska mine over salmon risk  Becky Bohrer reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI JUL 18 2014
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W
 SWELL 5 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 4 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SUN
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told





Thursday, July 17, 2014

7/17 Drone pix, oil & coal terminals, oil & coal trains, Moby Doll, Victoria sewage

Eagle 2014 (Dendi Pratama/Chicago Tribune)
If you like to watch: Best drone photos of 2014
The first place winner of a new contest determining the best aerial photos taken by drone went to Dendi Pratama who photographed an eagle soaring over Bali Barat National Park in Indonesia. The contest was sponsored by Dronestagram and National Geographic. (Chicago Tribune)

Vancouver site zoned OK for oil terminal
A state panel reviewing a plan to build the Northwest's largest crude-by-rail terminal says the proposed site is properly zoned for the purpose. The state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council said Tuesday that zoning at the Port of Vancouver site allows for an oil terminal. (Associated Press)

Whatcom environmentalists balk at redesign of coal terminal
Proponents of a coal terminal that would be built at Cherry Point have revised the layout "to ensure greater environmental safeguards," including the destruction of fewer wetlands, according to an announcement they released on Tuesday, July 15. Environmental groups that oppose the Gateway Pacific Terminal remained unimpressed. The new layout is 14 percent smaller and would require removal of only half of the wetlands that would have been disturbed in the original plan, according to a report by project proponent SSA Marine, submitted in April to Whatcom County, the state Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Report Shows Coal, Oil Trains Would Quadruple Rail Traffic, Alarming Lawmakers
Lawmakers are expressing concerns over an updated report outlining the combined impacts of coal and oil trains that would roll through the Northwest if plans for export terminals move forward. Elected officials in the Leadership Alliance Against Coal, a group that formed under the leadership of former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, met in Seattle Tuesday to hear from the author of the report. Proposals for two export terminals are still on the table in Washington: one in Cherry Point, near Bellingham, and one in Longview. A third is planned for the Port of Morrow near Boardman, Oregon.  Shipments of domestic oil products are already slowing rail traffic. They’ve more than doubled over the past four years. And if all plans for export terminals go forward, added volumes from coal and oil trains would be more than triple the current shipments for agriculture, according to the report commissioned by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, a network of grassroots community groups. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

4 ways Moby Doll changed how we think about orcas
July 16, 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the capture of Moby Doll, the first orca ever caught in B.C. for display. In 1964, the Vancouver Aquarium had wanted to kill what was viewed as a vicious predator to study its brain and use its body as a model for a large sculpture. But after their harpoon hit the animal and it didn't die, the crew had a change of heart and brought Moby Doll to shore. The orca lived in a pen at Jericho Beach for three months before he died. Charlie Cho reports. (CBC)

In face of delays, Greater Victoria groups push for sewage cleanup
Local politicians arguing over how to best treat Greater Victoria’s sewage shouldn’t lose sight of the environmental damage being caused by current practices, says a lawyer for several environmental groups. Ecojustice lawyer Margot Venton recently wrote to Esquimalt council warning that its plan to rezone McLoughlin Point to prevent sewage treatment could mean local municipalities would have to bear the costs of additional environmental cleanup around sewage outfalls.... About 129 million litres of raw, screened sewage is pumped daily through long outfalls at Macaulay and Clover Points. A 2005 assessment of the seabeds around the outfalls found they legally qualify as contaminated sites under provincial law, Venton said in a letter to Esquimalt council on behalf of the Georgia Strait Alliance, the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation and the David Suzuki Foundation. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU JUL 17 2014
TODAY
SW WIND 10 KT...BECOMING W 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER
 MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

7/16 BC pipe, oil train, Shannon Pt., Van aquarium, seastar dying, Fraser flood, Cowichan drought, Bainbridge shore

Seattle Sunday sunset (Jessica Aguilar-Beth/KOMO)
Was the Best Sunset in Years the Result of Wildfire Smoke?
Climate scientist Cliff Mass on why the Sunday sunset was both spectacular and special. (It wasn't the smoke.)

Trans Mountain pipeline review delayed pending new route studies
A regulatory review of the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline through British Columbia will be delayed by almost seven months while Kinder Morgan gathers information requested by the National Energy Board. The company now prefers a new route through Burnaby Mountain, in Metro Vancouver, and must complete further feasibility studies. Compiling the information could take an order from the National Energy Board that forces the City of Burnaby to co-operate. (CBC) See also: Burnaby's refusal to co-operate forces NEB to delay Trans Mountain review (Vancouver Sun)

Groups seek ban of oil in older railroad tank cars
Environmental groups asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to immediately ban shipments of volatile crude oil in older railroad tank cars, citing oil train wrecks and explosions and the agency's own findings that accidents pose an imminent hazard. The petition filed Tuesday by the Sierra Club and ForestEthics seeks an emergency order within 30 days to prohibit crude oil from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains and elsewhere from being carried in the older tank cars, known as DOT-111s. Accident investigators have reported that the cars rupture or puncture during wrecks, even at slow speeds. Phuong Le and Matthew Brown report. (Associated Press) See also: State firefighters want Inslee to halt Bakken crude by rail till safety concerns addressed  Erin Hart reports. (Daily World)

Shannon Point Marine Center gets new director
Shannon Point Marine Center’s new director has officially joined the team of researchers tucked away on a 78-acre forested campus with a 3,000-foot stretch of undisturbed shoreline. The Western Washington University facility in Anacortes drew director Erika McPhee-Shaw from her former post as an associate professor in California because of the intricate level of research and coordination between scientists. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Vancouver Aquarium whales program to be reviewed at Park Board meeting
The continuing controversy over Vancouver Aquarium's captive whale and dolphin program will be addressed at a special meeting of the Park Board on Saturday, July 26.... After hearing the staff report, the Vancouver Aquarium will present to the board on its programming, education and rehabilitation programs, then registered speakers will be invited to comment. (CBC)

Sea star die-off reaches Florence
....On the Oregon coast, according to CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator Fawn Custer, “Last December, we had less than 1 percent of sea star wasting. By May 1, more than 5 percent of sea stars were affected. Now, I would say, in some areas, it is up to 90 percent.”  Jack Davis reports. (Siuslaw News)

Strategy released to deal with rising threat of catastrophic Fraser River flooding
A massive flood of the Fraser River has the potential to be the most expensive natural disaster in Canada, affecting more than 300,000 people, $50 billion worth of infrastructure and the B.C. economy. The threat, which is believed to be a one-in-50 year occurrence, has prompted senior levels of government, along with 25 municipalities, two regional districts and the Fraser Basin Council, to join together to develop an integrated flood plan from Hope to Richmond, recognizing that the Lower Mainland is highly vulnerable to river and coastal flooding as a result of snowpack, heavy rainfalls, tsunami and debris flow. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Low water in Cowichan River threatening fish, mill — and summer fun
The Cowichan River is getting so low there’s talk of pumping water over the weir at Cowichan Lake just to keep enough water downstream for spawning salmon, industry and a myriad of water users. The water flow in the river over the last few weeks has dropped to five cubic metres per second from seven. Sandra McCulloch reports. (Times Colonist)

Bainbridge council passes updated Shoreline Master Program
The Bainbridge Island City Council has given its final stamp of approval on the city's Shoreline Master Program update. In a narrow 4-3 council vote after a public hearing this week, the council approved the Shoreline Master Program ordinance and it is now on its way to the state Department of Ecology to become law. Cecilia Garza reports. (Bainbridge Review)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED JUL 16 2014
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG THIS
 MORNING.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
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