Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2/24 Octo love, Shell train, train derailing, ocean acid, orca ESA, Western Flyer, Saanich ecosystems

Octo Love (Photo: Jackie Hildering/CBC)
If you like to watch: Giant Pacific octopus wraps itself around diver's face near Port McNeill, B.C.  
A scuba diver in Port McNeill, on the north coast of Vancouver Island, B.C., got up close and personal with a Giant Pacific octopus on Sunday, when the marine creature wrapped itself around her face. The encounter between Natasha Dickinson and the octopus was caught on camera by her diving partner Jackie Hildering, a biologist and marine educator who blogs under the name The Marine Detective. (CBC)

Hearing examiner says Shell oil project needs full review
A Skagit County hearing examiner handed conservation groups a victory Monday, ruling that an oil-by-rail project at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery near Anacortes should undergo a full environmental review. "Shell's proposal is a major action significantly affecting the quality of the environment," and a full review should be prepared, Skagit County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford said in Monday's ruling. The review should take into account the potential risks of spills and explosions, the safety of railroad bridges and the impact of oil-train spills to sensitive natural areas such as Padilla Bay, Dufford wrote. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year
The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades. The projection was contained in a Department of Transportation analysis from last July. It says the derailments could cause more than $4 billion in damage and possibly kill hundreds of people if a serious accident were to happen in a densely populated part of the U.S. Matthew Brown and Josh Funk report. (Associated Press)

National ocean acidification study finds Northwest among hardest-hit regions
The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report today that won't come as a surprise to Northwest shellfish growers. Ocean acidification--a chemical imbalance in the water caused by carbon dioxide emissions--is hitting the Northwest harder than other parts of the country. Authors of the report, "Vulnerability and adaptation of US shellfisheries to ocean acidification," ranked Oregon and Washington high among regions expected to be rocked by the ocean's changing chemistry, but not only because of our water conditions. They picked us because many Northwesterners make their living off shellfish - a species that's particularly vulnerable to acidification. Kelly House reports. (Oregonian) See also: Acidifying Waters Are Endangering Your Oysters And Mussels Christopher Joyce reports. (KPLU)

Feds studying how to expand protections for endangered orcas
The National Marine Fisheries Service is studying how to revise habitat protections for endangered orcas that spend time in Washington waters. The federal agency said Monday it is responding to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity. The group wants to expand protections for southern resident killer whales to include offshore waters from Cape Flattery to Point Reyes, Calif. The agency says it didn't have enough data or analyses yet to propose revisions requested in the petition. It would publish a proposed rule in 2017 after collecting more data and completing studies. (Associated Press)

Steinbeck Vessel To Be Refloated By New Owner And Northwest Shipwrights
New ownership is giving new hope to a decrepit, unseaworthy fishing boat with a notable literary pedigree. Northwest shipwrights will be hired to restore the Western Flyer, the vessel made famous by the author John Steinbeck. In 1940, Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts (who later inspired the character Doc in "Cannery Row") chartered the Western Flyer for a Mexican cruise, which Steinbeck immortalized in the non-fiction classic "The Log From the Sea of Cortez." Tom Banse reports. (KPLU)

‘Professional’ oversight of environment needs to be tempered: UVic study
Much of B.C.’s environmental deregulation goes too far in handing over matters of public interest to those employed by industry, says a University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre study. The shift to so-called professional reliance in the past decade has put more decision making and responsibility into the hands of professionals such as consulting engineers, and allowed the B.C. government to reduce staffing. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Owners irked after Saanich deems properties sensitive ecosystems
Saanich residents are raising alarm about an ecosystem protection bylaw that may make it harder for them to sell their homes. The Environmental Development Permit Area bylaw, which came into effect in 2012, affects more than 2,000 private properties in the district. One of its provisions would prevent homeowners from planting new gardens without a permit, if it damaged native vegetation. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 229 AM PST TUE FEB 24 2015
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF 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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