Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1/21 Seabirds, SSA fined, seastars, oil spills, pipeline safety, invasives, bird flu, ELF, FH port, orca close-up

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola
Puget Sound seabird numbers better than expected
More than a dozen species of Puget Sound seabirds thought to be in decline appear to be doing better than expected, according to an ongoing survey by citizen scientists organized by the Seattle Audubon Society. Of the 18 species monitored for seven years at 62 sites near Puget Sound from the north end of Whidbey Island to Olympia, 14 show increased numbers, including cormorants, loons, rhinoceros auklets, bufflehead and harlequin ducks, the new survey analysis shows. The species selected for detailed study are considered good barometers of environmental health because of their relative abundance and their dependence on Puget Sound food and habitat, researchers said. John Dodge reports. (Olympian)

SSA Terminals To Pay $215,000 For Clean Water Act Violations
SSA Terminals will pay $215,000 dollars for violations of the Clean Water Act at its Harbor Island facility in Seattle. After several years of litigation, brought by the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, the company has agreed to reduce their pollution discharges into Elliott Bay. The settlement was announced in a consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Tuesday. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

If you like to watch: Our Fight 2015
NextGen Climate draws the battle line.

Sea stars may be on path to recovery; summer could provide answers
…. Barb Erickson, Linda Martin and Peg Tillery… have been serving as amateur researchers, monitoring the Lofall beach, like hundreds of other volunteers at various locations along the West Coast. When they started monitoring the beach in February 2014, they observed dozens of healthy sea stars — but conditions changed dramatically by June…. I was not sure what to expect when I accompanied the three women to the Lofall pier on Saturday…. What we saw Saturday was a great many more young sea stars than last year, along with adults that seemed to be healthy. None of the starfish showed signs of disease. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Northwest Ships: Near Misses and Almost-Spills
The Northwest is evaluating more than a dozen major projects that would add oil tankers and other major cargo ships to the region’s waters. Nearly all of these plans would affect Washington’s waters: either on the Columbia River, Grays Harbor, or in the labyrinthine channels of the Salish Sea. In the simplest terms, increasing ship traffic means increasing risk. And as the region is contemplating an astonishing jump in vessel traffic, it’s worth pausing to examine the record. Eric de Place reports. (Sightline)

Kinder Morgan needs to disclose more on safety plans, says B.C. Premier Christy Clark
B.C. Premier Christy Clark is demanding Kinder Morgan disclose more details about its safety plans before the province approves the company's $5.4-billion pipeline expansion project.  The National Energy Board rejected the government's call for more information after the pipeline company submitted an incomplete version of its existing spill-response plans. The energy regulator says it is satisfied with the amount of information Kinder Morgan supplied, though it raised concerns over how clearly the company communicated the reasons for the information it left out. But Clark says Kinder Morgan hasn't met the five conditions set out by the province, and until that happens, it won't be going ahead with the project. (Canadian Press)

B.C. government mulling an Invasive Species Act to fight costly introduction of non-native species
The B.C. government is considering new legislation to coordinate the attack against a costly and ever-growing threat posed by the introduction of non-native plants, animals and diseases. Tim Sheldan, deputy minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, said Tuesday that the existing Weed Control Act and regulations have been under internal study and that an “extensive scientific review” of invasive plant species for regulation is nearing completion. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Government Ag Teams Encircle New Washington Bird Flu Case
Three new hot spots of bird flu have been found in wild ducks and domestic birds in Idaho. A second Oregon case was confirmed last week in a wild duck near Eugene. And a flock of 118 birds was euthanized over the weekend in Port Angeles, Washington. Anna King reports. (KPLU)

Rolling Out the Hot New Wheels
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Here on Gabriola Island these days, my father-in-law, Ted, is turning heads, attracting crowds and prompting smiles every time he goes out. It’s not just because he’s well-liked on the island – though he definitely is. The buzz is because of his hot new wheels: an electric-assist ELF tricycle, which arrived on a foggy morning in early January. This is not your ordinary pedal trike. Aside from its smooth, continuously variable transmission and its comfortable ride, it has the added bonus of an electric motor to help get up slopes, powered by a battery that’s recharged by the the ELF’s solar panel or by plugging in to household power…."

$4 million port project complete, ribbon cutting ceremony to follow
The Port of Friday Harbor's multi-million dollar marina reconstruction project is complete. In October 2014 Manson Construction mobilized into the marina with their huge crane and got to work removing old creosote pilings and wooden floats throughout the marina. The Harbormaster relocated vessels to accommodate the major renovations and no vessels were turned away for guest moorage during the holidays. Manson Construction replaced the inner marina with new concrete floats, steel pilings and upgraded utilities. (San Juan Journal)

If you like to watch: Paddle boarders close encounter with Orcas
Rich German on January 14 posted:  "My dream of seeing Orcas (aka killer whales) recently came true. Watch as a friendly pod of 5 orcas interacts with me on my paddle board. This was filmed with my GoPro off the coast of Laguna Beach California last week. You'll see the whales come directly under my board twice. This was an amazing."

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST WED JAN 21 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON PST TODAY
TODAY
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5
 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN RAIN
 LIKELY 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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