Friday, March 13, 2015

3/13 Sink ship, Vic sewer, train leak, BC orcas, Robyn du Pre, WoRMS, space ocean, WA lege, booms, Takaro pix, Japanese Gulch, Montana coal

Mmmm (Andrew Scrivani/NY Times)
If you like to watch: Secrets of Food Porn Photos
NY Times photographer Andrew Scrivani is a "photographer who makes beautiful images that set taste buds to tingling. He makes people want to cook." Sam Sifton reports. (NY Times)

B.C. divers get federal approval to sink former warship Annapolis
Federal Court has cleared the way for the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia to sink the former Canadian warship Annapolis in waters just north of Vancouver. The group of recreational divers has been trying to scupper the 113-metre decommissioned destroyer for six years, but has faced numerous delays because of opposition from the Save Halkett Bay Marine Park Society, which fears the wreck will cause pollution. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Sewage treatment for Greater Victoria pushed back to 2023
It could be 2023 before Greater Victoria is treating its sewage — three years beyond the federally legislated deadline of 2020 — according to a new timeline adopted by Capital Regional District directors…. It’s hoped the new schedule, agreed to by CRD directors at an in-camera session on Thursday, will meet federal requirements to qualify for a one-year extension on an $83-million PPP Canada grant for a biosolids treatment plant. Without the extension, the grant agreement will expire at the end of this month. The federal government offered a 12-month extension, but only if the CRD met conditions within a year, including a timeline and having all approvals in place, such as a treatment-plant site. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

N. Dakota loading facility sanctioned in oil train leak discovered at BP Cherry Point
The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a violation against a North Dakota loading facility over a leaking oil car in northwest Washington state that initially wasn’t reported to state officials for a month. The leak was discovered at the BP Cherry Point refinery near Ferndale, Wash., in early November by federal inspectors. About 1,600 gallons of oil was missing from the car, which had originated in Dore, N.D., at a facility operated by Musket Corp. and apparently escaped through a valve that was not properly shut. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

Killer whales spotted near Vancouver's Lions Gate Bridge
Four killer whales have been spotted swimming under the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver's Stanley Park on Thursday morning…. Carla Crossman, a research biologist at the Vancouver Aquarium, said while sightings of killers whales around Vancouver are not common, it is not totally unexpected to see them. "These are probably Biggs killer whales, also known as transients, so they probably made their way up to the Deep Cove area to go hunting for some seals... that area is rich in seals right now, so there's a lot of food for them up in the Inlet," said Crossman. (CBC)

Environmental protector and Bellingham resident Robyn du Pré dies
Robyn du Pré, who has been praised for working tirelessly to protect the region’s environment, died Tuesday, March 10, after a yearlong battle with cancer. The Bellingham resident was 53. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

WoRMS catalogue downsizes ocean life
A mammoth effort to catalogue all known ocean life is nearly complete. It has taken taxonomic experts eight years to pull together all existing databases and compile one super-definitive list, known as the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). Of the 419,000 species names recorded in the scientific literature, nearly half (190,400) have been shown to be duplicate entries. One species of sea snail even had 113 different names. The WoRMS editors have now put the number of species known to science at 228,450. The vast majority - 86% or about 195,000 species - are animals. Jonathan Amos reports. (BBC)

Researchers Think There's A Warm Ocean On Enceladus
Saturn's moon Enceladus is a mystery. From Earth it looks tiny and cold, and yet it's not a dead hunk of rock. Passing spacecraft see trenches and ridges, similar to Earth's, and in 2005 NASA's Cassini mission spotted ice geysers streaming from its south pole. "The moon is actually alive in a sense," says Sean Hsu with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Beneath the surface, most researchers believe it even has a liquid ocean. Now Hsu and his colleagues have found new evidence that it's a downright balmy ocean. Geoff Brumfiel reports. (NPR)

Naturally acidic waters of Puget Sound surround UW’s Friday Harbor Labs
For more than 100 years, marine biologists at Friday Harbor Laboratories have studied the ecology of everything from tiny marine plants to giant sea stars. Now, as the oceans are undergoing a historic shift in chemistry, the lab is establishing itself as a place to study what that will mean for marine life. And the University of Washington laboratory is uniquely placed in naturally acidic waters that may be some of the first pushed over the edge by human-generated carbon emissions…. Measurements off the dock show that the water surrounding the lab has an average pH of about 7.8, which is acidic for seawater. Worldwide, average ocean pH is thought to have dropped from about 8.2 to 8.1 due to climate change. Hannah Hickey reports. (UW Today)

Which bills are still alive at Legislature’s halfway point
Halfway through the state Legislature’s 105-day session, only three bills have made it to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk to be signed into law, with the state’s Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat-led House each passing a series of bills seemingly at odds with the policy goals of the opposite chamber…. The work that remains to reconcile the two chambers’ visions for Washington is thornier, and that’s even before the budget-related debates begin over competing visions for expensive transportation and education proposals. Some bills could be brought to life, if they are deemed to be connected to the budget. (Seattle Times)

Mysterious booms continue to shake houses in west Port Angeles, Joyce while defying explanation
A new round of booming noises has disturbed residents of west Port Angeles and Joyce, who say the mysterious sounds shake their homes. The rattling noises were reported at about 12:21 p.m. Wednesday, almost exactly two weeks after the last round of booms heard on the afternoon of Feb. 25, and again at about 9:35 a.m. Thursday…. Speculation on the cause of the booms has included naval military exercises in the Strait, thunder, sonic booms from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island aircraft, hunters and small, shallow earthquakes. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daly News)

SFU prof Tim Takaro gets in trouble for taking photos near Kinder Morgan site
A B.C. climate change scientist says he got an "intimidating" call from RCMP because he had taken pictures on Burnaby Mountain near the site of a proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline. Tim Takaro, a health sciences professor at SFU, says he was having lunch in Tofino with his family on Wednesday when his daughter's cellphone rang…. He says the officer asked him if he had recently had been taking photos near a TransMountain pipeline work site on Burnaby Mountain. They also told him they knew he had been to protest rallies that had taken place there a few months earlier. (CBC)

Work party to restore native plants to part of Japanese Gulch
For years, Japanese Gulch was the city’s favorite unofficial park. People visited the wooded area to enjoy wildlife, trails and views, even though most of the land was privately owned. That changed last year with the final, and largest, acquisition by the city of 98 acres, the capstone to a 144-acre park. The city is formally planning the future of Japanese Gulch. As part of that effort, a volunteer event is planned for Saturday to help restore an area that had been heavily used by bicycle motocross (BMX) enthusiasts. The event is organized by the non-profit Seattle group EarthCorps. Sharon Salyer reports. (Everett Herald)

Bill would study effects of closing Montana coal plant
Washington lawmakers say they want to study the effects of closing a massive coal-fired power plant in southeastern Montana that provides power to the Northwest. Senate Bill 5874 was initially written to make it easier for owners of the four-unit plant in Colstrip, Montana, to shut that plant down, prompting letters of concern from Montana's governor and Montana's utility commission. But the Senate amended and passed the bill Wednesday night to call for a study on the costs and benefits of a possible closure. It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration, where those wanting to wean Washington state off coal hope it can be amended again. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press) See also: Montana tribe wants to see Cherry Point coal terminal built Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT FRI MAR 13 2015
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SAT
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 7 FT AT 9 SECONDS. RAIN.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND 15 TO 20 KT...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 9 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SUN
NE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E 10 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 9 SECONDS.

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