|Columbia River sockeye (US Forest Service)|
Why have salmon been pouring back into the Columbia River in record numbers recently while returns to the Washington coast and Puget Sound continue to drop? One big reason is that for the past decade someone in a position of authority has been in charge of protecting and restoring Columbia River salmon. That person has been U.S. District Court Judge James Redden. Three times during the past 10 years he has rejected plans to operate hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River basin that would have jeopardized salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act. He ordered more water spilled over the dams to aid fish passage, even though that meant less water to generate power. He has also insisted on specific habitat improvements to aid in the recovery of salmon. Redden recently stepped down from the case, but has been replaced by federal court Judge Michael Simon. That kind of attention and bold, targeted actions are exactly what we need to turn around salmon recovery in western Washington. Salmon recovery is failing because federal and state governments allow salmon habitat to be destroyed faster than it can be restored. This trend shows no sign of improvement despite drastic harvest reductions, careful use of hatcheries and extensive habitat restoration projects. Lorraine Loomis writes. (Bellingham Herald)
State at critical crossroads, Inslee tells split lawmakers
Gov. Jay Inslee used his State of the State address to double down on sweeping budget proposals to spend more on education and transportation, and to tax carbon pollution and capital gains. Joseph O'Sullivan and Jim Brunner report. (Seattle Times)
First Nations launch court challenge against B.C. over Northern Gateway
Coastal First Nations are taking the B.C. government to court in an attempt to strike down an agreement that gave Ottawa decision-making authority over the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project. It is the 19th legal challenge that has been filed against the project since the federal government gave conditional approval to the controversial pipeline last year. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)
NTSB adds railroad tank car safety to ‘Most Wanted’ list
The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday added railroad tank car upgrades to its list of “Most Wanted” safety improvements, reflecting a heightened awareness about problems in transporting crude oil and ethanol by rail. It was the first time tank cars have appeared on the board’s annual list of safety priorities since it issued the first one in 1990. The board also renewed its call for railroads to install Positive Train Control, a collision-avoidance system, by the end of the year. The NTSB makes recommendations, but has no power to enforce them. The U.S. Department of Transportation regulates the shipment of hazardous materials by rail and is finishing new standards for tank cars that reflect the NTSB’s recommendations. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)
Alan Dutton battles Kinder Morgan for right to protest
One of the Burnaby Mountain pipeline protesters named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit by Kinder Morgan says he has no plans to settle his legal fight quietly. Retired Burnaby professor Alan Dutton says he's digging in against the multinational pipeline company as a matter of principle and he wants the case thrown out of court…. The lawsuit began in November, when Kinder Morgan's attempts to do survey work on Burnaby Mountain were blocked by protesters. The company sued five people for $5.6 million in damages. Four of the protesters settled out of court with the company, but Dutton refused. (CBC)
West-side sewage open houses begin today
Residents in the western part of the capital region can learn about what wastewater treatment might look like in their communities at a series of open houses beginning today. Organizers are also seeking feedback. The open houses are hosted by Westside Solutions, which represents Colwood, Esquimalt, Langford, View Royal and the Songhees First Nation. (Times Colonist)
Two win award for studying birds and salmon on B.C.'s west coast
Most people walk along a stream and marvel at the fish and birds without knowing anything about them. That's not the case for Rob Butler and John Reynolds, of the Port Moody-based Pacific WildLife Foundation. The researchers and conservationists have set themselves goals of changing our understanding about salmon and marine life, and their work has been honoured with the Vancouver Aquarium's Murray A. Newman Award for excellence in aquatic research and conservation (www.vanaqua.org). Diane Strandberg reports. (The Tri-City News)
Will Sonobuoys In The Pacific Help The Navy But Harm Whales?
The Navy conducts training and testing in a stretch of the Pacific roughly the size of Montana. It wants to continue and expand its activities in these waters off the West Coast from Washington to Northern California. But first, the Navy must renew its permit under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The plan calls for detonating explosives, moving vessels, and deploying 700 more sonobuoys per year. And that’s drawing criticism from environmentalists who say the increased use of sonar poses increased risk for whales and other marine mammals. Sonobouys are three-feet-long cylindrical floats are dropped from aircraft into the water. They use active sonar for the audible clues that can help them locate enemy submarines. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)
Time to sign up for Sound Waters event on South Whidbey
The 20th annual Sound Waters event will take place 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7 at South Whidbey High School. Hosted by an all-volunteer team of Island County’s Beach Watchers, a Washington State University Extension program, this one-day university for all celebrates the unique marine ecosystems of Puget Sound and the broader Salish Sea. (Whidbey News Times)
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 249 AM PST WED JAN 14 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 14 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG.
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 15 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT.
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