Tuesday, January 13, 2015

1/13 Toxic fish, bad BPA, spills history, Padden Cr., Fir Is., George Divoky, dead seabirds, Navy tests, Jpod, BCLNG

Draft "fish-consumption" rule out; tied to proposed bill
The state Department of Ecology has proposed a draft water-quality rule tied to how much fish people eat, but its adoption may depend on whether lawmakers are willing to give the agency new authority to ban certain toxic chemicals to prevent water pollution. The draft, known as the "fish-consumption rule," was released Monday, after two years of debate that pitted tribes and environmental groups against businesses and municipalities over the issue of how clean state waters should be. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

BPA alternative disrupts normal brain-cell growth, is tied to hyperactivity, study says
In a groundbreaking new study, researchers have shown why a chemical once thought to be a safe alternative to bisphenol-A, which was banned by the government for baby bottles and sippy cups, might itself be more harmful than BPA. University of Calgary scientists say they believe their research is the first to show that bisphenol-S, an ingredient in many products bearing “BPA-free” labels, causes abnormal growth surges of neurons in an animal embryo. This disruption of prenatal cellular activity in zebra fish, which share 80 percent of their genes with humans and are considered a good model for studying human brain development, has been directly linked to hyperactivity, according to the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Amy Ellis Nutt reports. (Washington Post)

Fifty Years of Oil Spills in Washington’s Waters
What can the past tell us about the future? Eric de Place compiles. (Sightline)

Night work ahead in effort to restore health of Padden Creek estuary
Night work will start this Friday, Jan. 16, on a project to restore Padden Creek estuary, which also is referred to as Padden lagoon. An estuary is where salt water and fresh water mix. Located off Harris Avenue near the ferry terminal, Padden Creek estuary provides important habitat for wildlife and fish, including adult and juvenile salmon that use them as migration corridors, according to city of Bellingham officials. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Fir Island wetland project gets $1M federal support
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fir Island Farm Estuary Project is one of five in the state to receive federal support from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program this year. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will restore 126 acres of estuarine marsh and 5 acres of intertidal channel in the Skagit River Delta on Fish and Wildlife’s 258-acre property on Fir Island. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Seattle's Birdman of climate change
Researcher George Divoky turned his 40-year-long study of Arctic seabirds into an extraordinary chronicle of changing climate, melting ice and a vanishing world. Eric Scigliano reports. (Crosscut)

Researchers wait for answers amid mysterious mass seabird die-off in region
Researchers hope that necropsies this week will reveal the cause of a dramatic increase in the number of dead or starving Cassin's auklets appearing on regional beaches. According to the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) at the University of Washington, more than 700 dead auklets were discovered on beaches in northern Washington in December, a figure 128 times normal levels. This represents a rapid increase over October when mortality was 17 times more than normal and November, which saw death rates 56 times higher than normal, according to COASST seabird program coordinator Jane Dolliver. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Navy Seeks Permits To Expand Testing Off Northwest Coast
For the past several years the Navy has been in the process of renewing the permits it needs under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to continue detonating explosives and performing sonar tests and other military activities along a large swath of the Northwest coast, from Northern California to the Canadian border. Starting Monday, the Navy is asking for public comment on a supplement to its initial environmental impact statement. The supplement includes consideration of an increase in escort vessels and other traffic and anti-submarine warfare training using sonobuoys. Sonobuoys are 3-foot long buoys that are dropped from aircraft into the ocean. The devices use active sonar to detect submarines beneath the surface. The sonar is harmful to whales and dolphins. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

Update on the travels of J pod along with new calf
J pod crossed the Canadian border and came into Puget Sound over this past weekend, allowing Brad Hanson and his fellow researchers to meet up with whales. Brad, of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, was able to locate the killer whales from a satellite transmitter attached to J-27, a 24-year-old male named Blackberry…. The newest baby in J pod, designated J-50, was spotted with J-16, according to the report from Hanson and crew. Other reports have indicated that J-36 was also nearby, so it appears that the new calf’s mother still is not certain. Researchers agree that the mom is either J-36, a 15-year-old orca named Alki, or else Alki’s mother — 42-year-old J-16, named Slick. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Ways of Whales Workshop organized by Orca Network will be held Saturday, January 24, 9:30 am until 4:30 pm at the Coupeville Middle School Performing Arts Center, 501 S. Main St, Coupeville, Whidbey Island. Cost of the workshop is $35 ($25 for Students/Seniors), and a hot lunch is available for purchase for an additional $10  (for those who pre-register by Jan. 16, or on an as-available basis after this date). The workshop will be followed by a special screening of the new documentary Fragile Waters at the Nordic Lodge south of Coupeville. Cost $25/person. Register at www.orcanetwork.org.

Groundfrog Day brings Snohomish Slew’s spring prediction
The 10th annual Groundfrog Day celebration is set from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 31 at the Avenue A gazebo in downtown Snohomish. Instead of counting on groundhog Punxsutawney Phil to predict the coming of spring, people here trust a frog known as the “Snohomish Slew.” Tim Noah, of Snohomish’s Thumbnail Theater, is hosting the event, which includes activities, games, face-painting, crafts and dancing. Princess Amphibiana is expected to attend.

Exxon Mobil could begin construction of B.C. LNG facility as early as 2017
Exxon Mobil Corp., along with subsidiary Imperial Oil Ltd., say they could begin construction of an LNG facility in British Columbia in 2017, and their B.C. environment assessment application, filed last week, says the project would cost between $15 billion and $25 billion. Collapsing oil prices will not affect the proposed up-to-$25-billion WCC LNG project in northwest B.C., says Imperial Oil. Details of the Exxon and Imperial Oil project were revealed for the first time in a project description filed with the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office last week. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 245 AM PST TUE JAN 13 2015
TODAY
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 12 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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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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