Thursday, April 16, 2015

4/16 Chum, oil spill, Shell drill, WA ferries, tank cars, Shell EIS, new refinery, glacier melt, orcas, septics, city bird

Dog and chum ( Mark Harrison/Seattle Times)
Let’s hear it for chum: The underdog salmon has a serious drive to thrive
The undervalued fish will do absolutely anything it can to get upstream. The life-and-death journey is the survival specialty of the tiger-striped, snaggletoothed spawning chum. Ron Judd reports. (Seattle Times) See also: No summer king fishery in central Puget Sound for first time in years  Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

Vancouver oil spill: Vancouver Aquarium gathering oil samples from ocean floor
Scientists from the Vancouver Aquarium are currently analyzing oil, water, sediment and shellfish samples from the shoreline to determine the recent impact of an oil spill from the bunker of a grain ship near English Bay…. According to the Aquarium, its analysis is taking place independently, alongside the work being completed by government agencies. (CBC) See also: 10 vessels in Vancouver Island fleet could tackle oil spill  (Times Colonist)

Coast Guard decides against plans to accommodate protests of giant oil rig's visit to Port Angeles  
The Coast Guard said it has no plans to set up a “voluntary First Amendment area” in Port Angeles Harbor for activists to protest Friday's expected arrival of a huge semi-submersible offshore drilling rig from Asia. The Coast Guard, in detailing security measures Wednesday, said it will set up such an area for protesters who plan to launch boats and kayaks in Seattle's Elliott Bay when the oil rig is moved from Port Angeles to Puget Sound later this month or in early May. Chris McDaniel reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Washington’s ferry reservation system breaks down on first day for summer bookings
Washington State Ferries  kicked off the summer vacation planning season with online reservations for summer ferry travel, including to the popular San Juan Islands. But the system failed on the first day of the new reservation season Tuesday and, because of technical difficulties, summer reservations won’t be available for at least a week, said WSF. The technical failure knocked out reservations, by phone or online,  for summer travel on the San Juan Islands route, Port Townsend/Coupeville ferries and Anacortes/Sidney, B.C. route. (Associated Press and Settle Times) See also: Ferry briefly loses power in Puget Sound with 173 people aboard  (Associated Press)

U.S. House bill seeks ban on DOT-111 tank cars for oil trains
Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, on Wednesday introduced a bill to address safety issues with crude oil trains following a series of recent derailments, including an immediate ban on tank cars that are vulnerable to punctures and fire damage. Matsui cited the multitude of railroad tracks passing through Sacramento, some of which have been used to transport crude oil. The oil shipments have declined recently, but could rise again once new terminals are approved and constructed. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

Skagit County asked court to dismiss Shell lawsuit over EIS decision
Skagit County filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Shell Puget Sound Refinery in March on the grounds that the legal action is premature, said county civil prosecuting attorney Will Honea. Shell filed a lawsuit last month against the county and Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford, seeking a review of Dufford’s decision to require a comprehensive environmental impact statement before Shell could build a crude oil unloading facility at the refinery in Anacortes. Shannen Kuest reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Refinery Proposed Last Year For Columbia River, Records Show
Washington’s Port of Longview says it is in talks with an energy company that last year submitted plans for a crude oil refinery on the Columbia River. Details of the company’s planned refinery surfaced Wednesday through public records obtained and released by Columbia Riverkeeper. A potential agreement between Riverside Energy, Inc. and the port, outlined in an unsigned memo of understanding dated July, 2014, described plans for the development of the first refinery on the Columbia River and the first on the West Coast in 25 years. The refinery would have a capacity of 30,000 barrels per day and produce a mix of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel all primarily for regional use, according to the documents, which were sent Wednesday to media organizations. Conrad Wilson and Tony Schick report. (EarthFix)

Frozen giants retreat: Glaciers fading away in Olympic Mountains, national park audience shown
The pictures tell the story: Glaciers are receding in the Olympic Mountains and around the world, a team of University of Washington researchers told an overflow audience at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center. Blue Glacier on Mount Olympus, the largest and most studied glacier in the national park, is being monitored for clues it may reveal about long-term changes in snowfall and temperature, said Michelle Koutnik, a UW research professor. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Spectacular Oregon Coast Orca Visitation Caught on Camera
While much of the world is captivated by the inundations of purple jellyfish to the Oregon coast, there are much bigger creatures wandering these waters as of late, ready to make an even bigger splash. Literally. It's clear as day that the annual spring visits by Killer Whales have arrived. (Pacific Coast Beach Connection)

Maybe the World's Loneliest Whale Isn't So Isolated, After All
Some evidence indicates that the singer of a higher-pitched whale song may not be alone. Marissa Fessenden reports. (Smithsonian)

When septic systems go bad: There’s help for homeowners
Snohomish County has launched a new initiative to replace and repair aging septic systems by providing homeowners with convenient financing options. The county launched its Savvy Septic program earlier this month. The three-year pilot program offers loans, grants and rebates for work to make septic systems cleaner, safer and better-functioning. (Everett Herald)

Vote early, vote often for next City Bird of Vancouver
The birds have been chosen and the tweeting has begun in the annual campaign for the next City Bird of Vancouver. Members of the public can vote as often as they want for the bird of their choice: the western grebe, the barn swallow, the peregrine falcon, or the barn owl. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 246 AM PDT THU APR 16 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY
E WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 10 FT AT
 19 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 10 FT AT 16 SECONDS.

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