Wednesday, March 11, 2015

3/11 Tsunami debris, forage fish, WQ standards, drought, Shell drills, WA climate, train safety, Prince Rupert, nets

Tsunami debris (Vancouver Sun)
Photos: Japanese tsunami debris still washing up on B.C. shores
March 11, 2015 is the fourth anniversary of the devastating tidal waves that hit Japan after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Honshu, Japan's largest island. Debris from Japan has been washing up on North American shores since 2012. (Vancouver Sun)

Action Taken To Protect Fish At Bottom Of Ocean Food Chain
West Coast fishery managers adopted a new rule Tuesday that protects many species of forage fish at the bottom of the ocean food chain. The rule prohibits commercial fishing of herring, smelt, squid and other small fish that aren't currently targeted by fishermen. It sets up new, more protective regulations for anyone who might want to start fishing for those species in the future. The Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously voted to adopt the rule at a meeting in Vancouver, Washington. The council sets ocean fishing seasons off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

Feds watch closely as state updates water-quality standards
For more than 40 years, state regulators have been pondering the raw end of effluent pipes to control water pollution — and they will keep doing so for the foreseeable future. Under federal guidelines, the state Department of Ecology has been enforcing statewide water quality standards, which were last updated in 1992. These apply to toxic discharges from industrial facilities and sewage-treatment plants. Now, under threat from the Environmental Protection Agency, Ecology is rushing to complete a new set of standards for toxic chemicals before the EPA takes over and imposes its own standards on the state. The situation is expected to come to a head in August. Christopher Dunagan reports. (Kitsap Sun)

It's official: Olympic Mountains — source of our water supply — in a state of drought
A stubbornly warm winter is still providing the Olympic Mountains with little snowpack, and the mountain range has been declared to officially be in a state of drought. After a short-lived storm restored about a foot of snow last week, the meager, melting snowpack in the Olympics is back to single-digit percentages of where it should be. The snow level is above the tops of most of the Olympics peaks, meaning that today's rains are just that — rain — and not snow. Both the short- and long-range forecasts are for above-normal temperatures, according to the National Weather Service. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

A Port pledge? Shell’s Arctic fleet out in 2 years, no more lightning leases
The Seattle Port Commission is seeking a passage to calmer waters after facing protest and song over its lease of Terminal 5 to provide a staging area for Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic oil drilling fleet. A motion, set for vote at a future Commission meeting, would require that Shell’s fleet be gone within two years.  It also promises no more quickie deals removed from public scrutiny.  And the Commission would take over all future details of the controversial deal with Foss Maritime, which services Shell’s ships. “We are not changing terms of the lease,” said Seattle Port Commissioner Tom Albro.  “We are, essentially, owning the lease as an executive action and determining what will happen there.” Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com) See also: Critics sound off against Port’s lease for Shell drilling-fleet base   Coral Garnick reports. (Seattle Times)

State Senate’s collision with science and climate change
At least nobody brought in a snowball to argue that the planet is cooling. That’s about the best I can say about our Washington state Senate and the issue of climate change: That it isn’t as willfully misinformed as its national counterpart, the U.S. Senate. But a half-hour debate this week in Olympia showed it’s a depressingly close race…. In the end every Republican senator but one voted against the statement that “human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” They replaced it with “human activity may contribute” to climate change. Danny Westneat reports. (Seattle Times)

State Senate passes oil train safety bill
The state Senate passed a measure Monday night to improve the safety of oil transportation, one of two competing bills that deal with the increasing shipments of crude oil through the state. Senate Bill 5057, sponsored by Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale, passed 26-23 after extended debate. The House passed a competing bill last week…. The Senate-approved measure requires the Department of Ecology to review oil-spill response plans, provide grants to local emergency responders and convene a panel to evaluate whether tug escorts are needed for oil vessels on the Columbia River and in Grays Harbor. Ericksen’s bill also extends a barrel tax collected on oil that comes to the state by train, with the proceeds going to an oil-spill response fund. It differs from House Bill 1449, which passed last week, because it doesn’t cover oil shipped by pipeline and lacks requirements that railroads and others show they can pay to clean up a spill. Derrick Nunnally reports. (Associated Press)

Prince Rupert’s port to expand by 500,000 containers
A container terminal at a northern British Columbia port announced an expansion Tuesday that will increase the facility’s capacity by nearly 60 per cent. Maher Terminals said it’s expanding its Fairview Container Terminal at the Prince Rupert Port to handle 1.3 million containers per year, from its current capacity of 850,000 units. Don Krusel, president of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, said construction would begin immediately and is expected to be finished by the middle of 2017. He said the expansion will involve a capital investment of more than $200-million. (Globe and Mail)

Bainbridge Island company casts its net a bit wider
Before they begin scooping fish out of the ocean, many trawl nets are born at a factory off Day Road on Bainbridge Island…. The Bainbridge Island company is the only manufacturer in North America with the looms needed to produce this knotless, polyethylene netting, a product it unabashedly calls the “world’s strongest.” Squares in the netting are formed with braids instead of the traditional knots, making it less likely to lose its shape or break, according to its makers. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 227 AM PDT WED MAR 11 2015
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT. SW SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.
 RAIN.
TONIGHT
S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 8 FT AT 9 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY AFTER
 MIDNIGHT.

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