Wednesday, March 25, 2015

3/25 Herons, Portage Bay, Lolita, oil train plans, Exxon Valdez, Fir Island, Bainbridge who?

Herons (Darrell Benedict/KING)
If you like to watch: Explore the PNW: Sammamish River Heron Colony
You don't have to travel far to enjoy great bird watching in the Puget Sound area. Recently, my husband Darrell and I spotted a heron colony along the shore of the Sammamish River while kayaking. The big birds nest high in the treetops and were easy to spot since the branches haven't leafed out yet. Darrell later returned to the spot on foot to photograph the nesting pairs as they prepared to raise a new batch of chicks. Evonne & Darrell Benedict report. (KING)

Pollution partially closes nearly 500 acres of Portage Bay shellfish beds
Commercial shellfish harvesting is being banned on nearly 500 acres of Portage Bay for about half the year because of worsening water quality caused by fecal coliform bacteria, the Washington state Department of Health announced Tuesday, March 24. Portage Bay is home to Lummi Nation’s ceremonial, subsistence and commercial shellfish beds. State health officials last week changed the classification of nearly 500 of the 1,300 commercial shellfish harvesting acres in the bay from “approved” to “conditionally approved” because of water quality. That means harvesting in the conditionally approved area will be closed each year April through June and again October through December. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Appeals court hears arguments over license for orca 'Lolita'
Animal rights groups that want a captive killer whale removed from Miami Seaquarium asked federal appeals judges Tuesday to send their lawsuit against the tourist attraction and the U.S. Department of Agriculture back to a U.S. district court. The case concerns an orca named Lolita that has lived at the Seaquarium since 1970. Last year, a federal judge in Miami dismissed the groups' lawsuit alleging that the tank that holds Lolita violates USDA standards for its care under the Animal Welfare Act. Jennifer Kay reports. (Associated Press)

Fire Chiefs demand oil train disaster plans from BNSF Railroad
The Washington Fire Chiefs, in a pointed letter, have asked the BNSF Railroad to turn over “Worst Case Scenarios” for an oil train accident as well as “Comprehensive Emergency Response Plans” for high hazard flammable trains…. The letter comes as three oil trains pass through Seattle each day en route to northern Puget Sound refineries. Railroads now transport one-tenth of U.S. crude oil output — approximately 1.1 million barrels a day. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Anniversary: Effects, Facts, Pictures, Captain's Drinking Rumors
At 12:04 a.m. on March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in the Prince William Sound off the coast of Alaska. It was one of the worst oil spills in history at the time, leaking nearly 11 million gallons of oil – think 17 Olympic swimming pools’ worth – into a pristine sea and ultimately coating more than 1,300 miles of shoreline coated with black, sludgy oil. “We’ve fetched up hard aground, and evidently we’re leaking some oil,” Exxon Valdez Captain Joseph Hazelwood said in a recording during the crash. Elizabeth Whitman reports. (International Business Times)

Fir Island dike setback moves forward  
New dikes are expected to go up on the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fir Island Farm this summer, making way for removal of about a mile of the old ones next year. The project will inundate land formerly farmed for waterfowl to create fish habitat where the Skagit River meshes with Skagit Bay. It’s more than twice as ambitious a restoration project as The Nature Conservancy’s earlier work at Fisher Slough. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Ever look over to Bainbridge Island and wonder who Bainbridge was?
Starting the New Year on an 11-boat raft up in Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island, I was curious to know if anyone else ever wondered who Bainbridge was? Why was an island named after him? And what did he do? Mark Aberle reports. (Three Sheets Northwest)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED MAR 25 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING S IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
S WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 8
 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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