|Yellow Warbler(Daniella Theoret)|
Emily Dickinson: "The Birds begun at Four o'clock..." As the first rays of sunlight fill the trees on a spring morning, a symphony of birdsong erupts. As early morning light extinguishes the stars, male birds begin to belt out their songs. One of the magical gifts of spring is the dawn song. Early in the morning, sparrows, chickadees, thrushes, finches, wrens, blackbirds, and warblers - like this Yellow Warbler - all sing at once. (BirdNote)
Tiny particles delay study of coal port
They are so small you can’t see them in the air — but you inhale them, and they can go to your lungs and even your bloodstream. They come from many sources, but among them are diesel train engines and coal in trains or storage piles. Doctors worry about them, researchers study them, and now the microscopic critters — called Diesel Particulate Matter, or DPMs — are delaying the finish of a lengthy environmental assessment of a giant coal-export terminal proposed for Cherry Point in Whatcom County. Agencies handling the protracted Environmental Impact Statement process say the EIS process has been delayed — perhaps for a year or more — by disagreements over how to study particulates. BNSF Railway’s refusal to share documents and studies with consultants has also contributed to the delay, along with other factors. Floyd McKay reports. (Crosscut)
Gases in oil tank cars: How volatile, Cantwell wants to know
Three oil trains pass through Seattle each day, headed to north Puget Sound refineries, and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is prodding federal regulators to take a long, hard look at what will happen to their cargoes if a train derails. Cantwell wants something called the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to probe the volatility of gases in tank cars hauling Bakken crude oil, and how that can contribute to the risk of explosions if cars derail. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)
State rail regulators: Fine BNSF for not reporting leaks immediately
Washington state regulators have recommended BNSF Railway be fined up to $700,000 for failing to properly report more than a dozen hazardous materials spills in recent months despite the fact state staff had reminded the company how to do so last fall. On Thursday, March 19, the state Utilities and Transportation Commission staff announced it found BNSF had failed to report 14 releases of hazardous materials, including crude oil leaks, within a half hour of learning about the leaks, as required by state law. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)
Massive herring spawn on South Beach
Masses of herring spawn, up to 3 inches deep in spots, washed ashore on South Beach March 12, portents of a potential bumper crop of herring this year. Pacific herring deposit their eggs on subtidal eelgrass and algae, and a sharp eye can spot the tiny larval fish in each transparent egg. Point Roberts is a spawning ground for two distinct stocks of herring, the Semiahmoo Bay stock, which spawns from January through April, and the Cherry Point stock, which is unique in Washington, spawning from April through June. Meg Olson reports. (All Points Bulletin)
Samish Bay to reopen to shellfish harvesting
Samish Bay will open to shellfish harvesting this afternoon, according to the state Department of Health. The bay was closed to harvest activities Sunday due to river rise that exceeded the state’s threshold for conditionally approved areas. The bay is conditionally approved because of its history with recurring fecal coliform bacteria pollution funneled in from the Samish River. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)
State tackles steep challenges to step up logging oversight
Mike Janicki has spent 40 years as a logger, and his work brings him to the unstable hillsides around this upper Skagit Valley town. During past decades, there have been large and small slides here, some on cut land and some on forested land. Those slides have damaged homes, dumped a hillside of silt into a reservoir and spilled onto roads. Again and again, Janicki and other loggers have returned to harvest fir, cedar and other trees. Since the Oso disaster in neighboring Snohomish County one year ago, there has been only one application to log nearby slopes behind Concrete. That compares with a half-dozen requests in the 15 months before the landslide in the same 11,520-acre area. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)
The most asked weather question, answered.
"What is the difference between partly cloudy and partly sunny?" Cliff Mass answers. (Weather Blog)
Now, your first Spring weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI MAR 20 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN.
S WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING W. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN.
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING S. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SE WIND 10 TO 15 KT RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
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