Wednesday, March 18, 2015

3/18 Tulip bloom, B'ham deal, Shell EIS, warm ocean, Stanley Park herons, shellfish safety, Oly Pen booms

Tulip Town ( Brandy Shreve/Skagit Valley Herald)
Tulip Town to open early
Tulip Town is set to open Friday — nearly two weeks early — setting a new record for the 35-year-old tulip farm. Jeanette DeGoede, who co-owns the farm with husband Anthony DeGoede, said the unseasonably warm weather and rain have everything to do with the flowers blooming early this year, and while it’s not uncommon for their opening day to fluctuate, this is sooner than usual. Shelby Rowe reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Port of Bellingham could sign waterfront deal at special March 31 meeting
An Irish development group could start rebuilding part of the city’s waterfront as soon as 2017, if all goes according to plan. A year after starting negotiations with Dublin-based Harcourt Developments, the Port of Bellingham has finished hashing out the terms of a master development agreement that would allow Harcourt to start work on the first 18.8-acre piece of the site. The negotiations have involved the northwestern corner of a contaminated section of Bellingham’s waterfront that was formerly home to a Georgia-Pacific Corp. pulp and tissue mill. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Shell files lawswuit over EIS
Shell Oil Co. filed a lawsuit Monday in Skagit County Superior Court against Skagit County and County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford, seeking a review of Dufford’s decision requiring Shell perform an environmental impact statement before building a crude oil unloading facility at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery. The suit was filed before the county commissioners met Tuesday to decide whether further administrative appeals were available. The commissioners approved a resolution declaring the matter out of their jurisdiction. In the lawsuit, Shell claims that Dufford’s decision exceeds his jurisdiction and is not related to the “reasonably foreseeable” impacts of Shell’s proposal. Shannen Kuest reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Warm Ocean Temperatures Could Mean Trouble For Marine Life
It’s a double-whammy kind of year for the Pacific. An unusually warm winter in Alaska failed to chill ocean waters. Then this winter’s El Nino is keeping tropical ocean temperatures high. Combine these and scientists are recording ocean temperatures up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average off the coasts of Oregon and Washington. Jes Burns reports. (KUOW)

Up close with Stanley Park’s herons
The Vancouver park board is launching a webcam at 10 a.m. Wednesday to document the lives of Stanley Park’s tall, long-legged Pacific great blue herons, who live in one of North America’s largest urban colonies with over 100 birds…. The webcam will take people inside the nests of the herons, highlighting the birds’ courtship and mating rituals, nest building and egg-laying. Viewers will watch chicks hatch and their parents fend off eagles, raccoons and other predators. Brian Morton reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Shellfish safety plan updated
The state Board of Health has adopted revisions to the state’s vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria control plan, which aims to reduce illness caused by eating shellfish, according to a press release Monday. Samish Bay shellfish growers have supported the plan, seeing it as a way to reduce unnecessary harvest closures and cut down on illness among those who prefer to eat raw shellfish…. The revisions set water temperature thresholds that prompt shorter harvest times or full closures when exceeded. For inland areas, closures will occur at 66 degrees and last until 24 hours after the temperature drops back into normal range. Also among the revisions is a requirement to report harvest quantity and water temperatures to the state. The reports will enable the state to look at the ratio of sickness to the number of shellfish consumed, according to the release. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Railroad seeks to close Walnut Street crossing
The Burlington City Council is opposing a request from BNSF Railway to close down a railroad crossing on Walnut Street…. Because the Walnut Street crossing is within a block of another crossing on Spruce Street, BNSF officials previously decided they would close the crossing, essentially closing the road. Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Sound solution: ‘Explosive welding’ might account for some of the mysterious booms recently heard on Peninsula
A business conducting “explosive welding” on property west of Port Angeles says it might have been a source of the loud booms that rattled west Port Angeles and Joyce residents recently. But other booms felt elsewhere on the North Olympic Peninsula remain mysterious. Joe Munn, operations manager of Souriau PA&E Bonded Metals Division at 2249 Diamond Point Road, said his company has been doing such welding west of Port Angeles. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED MAR 18 2015
  TODAY
 SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
 TONIGHT
 E WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN.

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