Wednesday, April 1, 2015

4/1 Orca births, herring talks, Nature Conservancy, B'ham port, GOP budget, old ferries, climate, BP spill

Elwha River, 3/26/15 (Tom Roodra/Coastal Watershed Institute)
Could Seattle's Tunnel Deliver Salmon Salvation?
The tunneling machine known as Bertha has been stuck beneath the Seattle waterfront since December 2013, stalling construction and racking up millions in cost overruns. One local engineering firm has a fresh idea for the fumbling tunneling project: Instead of moving Subarus through the heart of the city, the tunnel should be used by salmon. "What we’ve found is the leftover tunnel could be an outstanding, if not the perfect, conduit to help our coho friends make their way from Puget Sound into Lake Union," said Don Meadows, lead engineer at Seattle-based Subterranean Design Group. Ashley Ahearn entertains. (KUOW)

Mystery of the orca moms rekindled by birth of another J-pod whale
A newborn orca calf in J pod extends the ongoing baby boom for the three Southern Resident pods, but it also rekindles a debate about motherhood — namely who is the mom of J-50 and now J-52. The new calf is the fourth to be born since just before the new year. Three of the young ones are in J pod and one is in L pod, bringing the total population of the three pods to 81 — or 82 if you count Lolita in Miami Seaquarium. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

New blog: Eating Together… Can We Talk?
I’m anticipating the day when the waitperson serving my chicken pad thai sits down and wants to talk about eating. I guess I’d have to start off with the one thing I don’t like:

Heiltsuk First Nation in talks about herring fishery
B.C.'s Heiltsuk Nation says it is now in talks with federal officials about a disputed herring fishery in its central coast territory but has yet to see a resolution. The First Nation issued a news release that says its representatives met Monday in Heiltsuk territory with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans regional director general, Sue Farlinger…. The First Nation says Farlinger has now offered to set aside areas for Heiltsuk food, social, and ceremonial fisheries, but the nation wants a guarantee that the fishery will be closed to commercial harvesters. (Canadian Press)

Conservancy buys $7M in timberland on Olympic Peninsula
The Nature Conservancy has purchased 3,184 acres of Rayonier timberlands in the Hoh River drainage in a $7 million acquisition that is part of a broader forest-restoration effort on the Olympic Peninsula. The land sale, which closed Monday, will help in the creation of a 32-mile conservation corridor extending from the Olympic National Park to the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Port of Bellingham: Harcourt can start to rebuild waterfront site, Granary
A decade after the Port of Bellingham purchased a contaminated waterfront site, the Port Commission unanimously cleared the way for an Irish development firm to start the first work there. The three commissioners gave the OK to sign onto a development agreement with Dublin-based Harcourt Developments during an extended special meeting Tuesday, March 31, after hours of public comment and discussion about the agreement. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Washington Senate Republicans Increase Spending, Reject Higher Taxes In Budget
Majority Republicans in the Washington state Senate unveiled a no-new-taxes budget Tuesday that would still boost spending by $4 billion. The Senate plan stands in sharp contrast to a proposal last week from House Democrats. But House and Senate budget writers seem agree on one thing: a double-digit percentage increase in state spending is appropriate over the next two years. How they get there is another matter. Austin Jenkins reports. (KUOW)

The Problem With Having Ferries In Their Late 40s
…. Forty percent of Washington’s fleet is over age 40, and the state’s policy is to try to keep vessels until they reach age 60. But older vessels break down more often. Currently the vessels that spend the most time out of service because of maintenance or breakdowns are the ones in their late 40s. Washington is building new ferries to replace several that are now pushing 60. But the Tacoma crisis revealed that replacing older ferries won’t solve an important stressor: the lack of standby vessels. Carolyn Adolph reports. (KUOW)

US makes climate pledge to UN
The US has pledged to tackle climate change by cutting its carbon emissions 26-28% by 2025. The US announcement said: "The target is fair and ambitious. The United States has already undertaken substantial policy action to reduce its emissions. Additional action to achieve the 2025 target represents a substantial acceleration of the current pace of greenhouse gas emission reductions. Achieving the 2025 target will require a further emission reduction of 9-11% beyond our 2020 target compared to the 2005 baseline and a substantial acceleration of the 2005-2020 annual pace of reduction, to 2.3-2.8 percent per year, or an approximate doubling." Roger Harrabin reports. (BBC)

Five years after Deepwater Horizon, wildlife still struggling dolphins dying in high numbers; sea turtles failing to nest
As the five-year anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig approaches, a new report looks at how twenty species of wildlife are faring in the aftermath of the disaster. (Science Daily)

Now (no fooling), your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED APR 1 2015
TODAY
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS AND A CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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