Monday, February 9, 2015

2/9 Elwha, shellfish poacher, Navy pier, Kalakala, oil trains, bird kill, flu, rockfish, Quinault Lk., golf course water

John Gussman at work (Cath Hickey/PDN)
If you like to watch: Flooding on the Elwha 2/6/15
Short clip of the river flooding, taken from the park entrance up to the Elwha campground area. John Gussman shares. (Peninsula Daily News)

Is Winter Over?
Bulbs have been pushing out of the ground for weeks, cherry blossoms are bursting open at some locations on the UW campus, forsythia are starting to flower, weeds are beginning to grow, and the temperatures are at least 1-1.5 months ahead of normal.  Skiing is reminiscent of late April conditions. Cliff Mass writes. (Weather Blog) See also: It’s a bad snow year in the NW; possibly record-setting bad Erik Lacitis reports. (Seattle Times)

Shellfish poacher sentenced to 5-plus years in prison
A poacher responsible for one of the largest illegal shellfish-harvesting operations ever investigated in the state was sentenced Friday to 5½ years in prison. The value of Rodney Clark’s illegal catch is conservatively estimated at around $700,000. Rodney Clark, 50, pleaded guilty last month to 17 counts of first-degree trafficking in stolen property and one count of reckless endangerment for selling uncertified shellfish to restaurants, fish markets and seafood wholesalers in the Seattle area and other parts of Western Washington. Clark, owner of the now-closed G & R Quality Seafoods based in Quilcene, and 11 employees were charged in 2011 for illegally harvesting clams and oysters from beaches in Jefferson and Kitsap counties between 2008 and 2010. Sara Jean Green reports. (Seattle Times)

Navy holds open house on Ediz Hook submarine-escort plans
Navy officials recently unveiled preliminary plans for constructing a pier and support facilities for berthing submarine-escort vessels on Ediz Hook. Several of those at a Thursday night open house on those plans expressed concerns about one of the three options — Alternative 1 in the Navy's proposal — to build a pier on top of an artificial reef near the entrance of the Port Angeles Coast Guard base (officially known as Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles). The 35- to 90-foot-deep reef is teaming with fish and shellfish and has become a magnet for Pacific Northwest scuba divers. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

After two weeks of demolition, iconic ferry Kalakala is gone
The Kalakala is no more. The only thing left of the iconic art deco ferry that bears any resemblance to its original rounded-steel hull is the pilot house. Now sliced in half, the rusted, elongated dome rested Saturday on a flatbed trailer with a noticeable dent, waiting to be delivered to its new owner. Private buyers bought some of the more prestigious pieces of the boat, including the pilot house, bulkheads with windows, rudder and cargo doors to preserve a small piece of the state’s maritime history. Brynn Grimley reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Oil train regulations hit final stage
A much-anticipated regulation to improve the safety of crude oil and ethanol trains was sent to the White House for review Thursday, the final stage in a process some government and industry officials say has moved too slowly. The U.S. Department of Transportation submitted the rulemaking package to the Office of Management and Budget nearly a week after its self-imposed deadline of Jan. 30. The move came a day after a train carrying ethanol derailed along a remote stretch of the Mississippi River in Iowa, igniting a fire and spilling a yet-to-be-measured quantity of the flammable liquid into the river. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy) See also: Big Trainloads Of Tar Sands Crude Now Rolling Through NW  Tony Schick reports. (OPB)

Corps Finalizes Plan To Kill Thousands Of Columbia River Cormorants
A final cormorant management plan released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday calls for the killing of around 26,000 birds to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.  The agency’s preferred plan would involve shooting around 11,000 double-crested cormorants nesting on East Sand Island in the Columbia River. That plan also includes killing around 15,000 unborn chicks through a technique known as egg oiling – spraying vegetable oil on eggs to block the intake of oxygen so the chicks never hatch. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

Highly pathogenic bird flu confirmed for first time in wild raptors in Whatcom, Skagit
Two hawks in Whatcom and Skagit counties are the first confirmed cases of highly pathogenic bird flu in wild raptors in North America. The Cooper’s hawk was collected in Whatcom County on Dec. 29 and the red-tailed hawk in Skagit County on Jan. 9. Tests confirmed Jan. 26 that both had the H5N2 strain of bird flu. Highly pathogenic means the strains can be deadly to domestic chickens and turkeys. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: Bird Flu Unlikely To Fly Out Of The Northwest Anytime Soon  Anna King reports. (KPLU) And: Avian influenza hits another backyard chicken coop in Fraser Valley: industry group  (Vancouver Sun)

For Rockfish, A Tale Of Recovery, Hidden On Menus
For West Coast commercial fishermen and seafood lovers, there is reason to cheer. Rockfish, a genus of more than 100 tasty species depleted decades ago by excessive fishing, have rebounded from extreme low numbers in the 1990s. It's a conservation and fishery management success story that chefs, distributors and sustainable seafood advocates want the world to hear. The rub? It's hard to communicate this success if purveyors continue to misidentify the fish, as many do. (NPR)

Health Department: Don’t swim or wade at Jack Hyde Park
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced Friday that people should not swim or wade at Jack Hyde Park on Ruston Way. Officials said high levels of bacteria found in the water show an increased risk of gastrointestinal illness. The agency posted advisory signs at the park. Officials said the signs will be removed when bacteria levels no longer show increased risks to public health. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Lawsuit challenges tribe’s control of Lake Quinault
A civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma challenges the Quinault Indian Nation’s jurisdiction over Lake Quinault, a body of water the tribe has controlled for 140 years. The plaintiffs in the case, North Quinault Properties LLC and Thomas and Beatrice Landreth, have asked the federal court to determine the “status of Lake Quinault, the property rights of non-tribal property owners abutting the lake and … the public’s right to access to the lake, its shore and lake bed.” The Quinault Indian Nation regulates recreational use of the lake for non-tribal members and also has enacted regulations affecting lakeshore property owners. It has even implemented fishing and boating bans on the lake in the last few years, though the tribe eventually lifted most of those restrictions. Jack Schild reports. (Aberdeen Daily World)

Kingston wastewater could be valuable for watering golf course
Kingston’s sewage treatment plant could provide irrigation water for the nearby White Horse Golf Course and possibly other uses under a plan now in development. Kitsap County commissioners recently signed a $325,000 “predesign” contract with Brown and Caldwell engineers. The firm was hired to answer a host of questions about the feasibility of producing high-quality effluent at the plant and then putting the clean water to good use. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON FEB 9 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST THIS MORNING
TODAY
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING NE 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS IN THE AFTERNOON.
 SW SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.

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