Thursday, April 2, 2015

4/2 Rockfish, BC sockeye, oil train, OR coal, BC tanker bill, Salish Sea, sand shrimp, Green Diamond trees

Snow Trains Bring Water to the West
Today (April 1), Governor Inslee made an important announcement that will put a smile on the faces of local environmentalists: many of the coal trains that have been plying our region will be adapted to carry snow from the eastern and central U.S. to the Pacific Northwest.   Coal trains will be turned to snow trains, and as shown below, the first snow trains are rolling. Cliff Mass winks. (Weather Blog)

New study highlights the value of local knowledge in recovering endangered species
A new study highlights the value of local knowledge in recovering endangered species. The collaborative research, co-authored by NOAA Fisheries, the University of Washington, and researchers from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, is specifically designed to incorporate the knowledge of recreational anglers into recovery planning for three rockfish species in Puget Sound—bocaccio, canary rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish, each of which was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2010. The study explores how recreational anglers' understanding of the ecosystem and fishing practices influence their views of conserving Puget Sound rockfish. Through surveys of 443 recreational boat-based anglers, which included scoping questions related to their knowledge of rockfish biology, fishing practices, perceptions of threats to rockfish, and preferences for rockfish recovery measures, several key findings arose. (Pyys.org)

More bad news for B.C.’s wild sockeye
Nations around the Pacific Ocean may have to cap the number of hatchery salmon they release if sockeye salmon runs are to return to sustainable levels, according to a new study. Record high numbers of pink salmon in the North Pacific coincided with the disastrously small 2009 Fraser River sockeye return, while the unexpectedly large 2010 sockeye return interacted with 40-per-cent fewer pinks, said Brendan Connors, co-author of the article published by the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. The findings have implications for fisheries management and hatchery programs in Russia and Alaska that produce most of the five billion hatchery fish released into the Pacific each year. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

BNSF: State rail regulators wrong in saying company failed to report leaks
BNSF claims that Washington state rail regulators were mostly wrong when they said the company failed to properly report more than a dozen hazardous materials spills. In an email newsletter Monday, March 30, the company said it wants to “set the record straight” regarding claims made by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission staff in a March 19 report. The report outlines 14 releases of hazardous materials between Nov. 1, 2014, and Feb. 24 that the state says were not properly called in to a state hotline within the required half hour of learning about them. In some cases BNSF did call the hotline, but not within 30 minutes, according to the report. In other cases, it states BNSF never called the hotline and only submitted a copy of a federal report required within a month of any hazardous material spill…. But the company stated it had found inaccuracies with “more than 90 percent of the alleged violations.” Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Coal export terminal gets water-quality approval from Oregon
Oregon environmental regulators have ruled that proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River meets state and federal water-quality standards, but the project still faces an adverse ruling from another state agency and questions about its economics in a slumping coal market. The state Department of Environmental Quality issued a water-quality certification Tuesday to the proposed Coyote Island Terminal at Boardman, The East Oregonian reported. The terminal would receive coal arriving by rail from Montana and Wyoming and put it on barges. Downriver, the barges would be offloaded at another terminal, and the coal put on oceangoing vessels, bound for Asia. Shipments to the Boardman terminal could total 8.8 million tons a year. (Associated Press)

B.C. MP's anti-tanker bill not expected to pass
Members of Parliament will vote on a private member's bill on Wednesday afternoon that would keep crude oil tankers off of British Columbia's North Coast. However, Bill C-628, introduced by New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, likely has next to no chance of passing due to the fact that not a single Conservative MP in B.C. appears to support it. Daybreak North reports. (CBC News)

The Northwest’s Salish Sea comes alive in new book
Perhaps you remember the squabbles a few years ago over the effort to incorporate a new name, “the Salish Sea,” into the cartography of inland waters running from Olympia up to Campbell River, British Columbia. This was an international issue of identity – or lack thereof. As Audrey DeLella Benedict and Joseph K. Gaydos suggest in their new book, “The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest,” the matter arose when environmentalists, concerned by the impact of oil tankers on the inland waters, found it hard to gain traction with their arguments – it was difficult to assert there could be a problem in a place that doesn’t even exist on a map. A professor of environmental and marine science at Western Washington University, Bert Webber, proposed that the waters of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia be given a single moniker to reflect the fact that, despite political boundaries, they are an integrated ecosystem. Barbara Lloyd McMichael reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Sand shrimp may be unavailable due to whales
Herring, sand shrimp, Power Bait, cured roe, nightcrawlers. Eliminate any of those baits and you’ve made a major portion of the western Washington sport fishing public very unhappy. So expect howls of outrage when the word gets around that sand shrimp may be unavailable — or at least hard to find — for anglers anticipating fishing that big run of pinks due this summer in our local rivers. Or steelhead, Dolly Varden, cutthroat, and several other species…. The problem stems from the fact that leases to harvest sand shrimp on public beaches along parts of Saratoga Passage were cancelled last summer by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.... But whales have entered the picture…. Recently, questions have been asked, often by folks in the Langley area, about whether or not commercial shrimp harvest is negatively impacting whale behavior. Wayne Kruse reports. (Everett Herald)

Green Diamond plants its 100 millionth tree, more or less
In the midst of a 40-acre clearcut Wednesday just east of Taylor Towne in Mason County, about 75 people with ties to the state’s timber industry watched Green Diamond Resource Company Chairman Colin Moseley plant what was proudly called the family-owned forestry company’s 100 millionth tree….The Douglas fir seedling that gained so much attention was surrounded by about 16,000 slightly larger Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine trees that were planted in 2011 on the 40-acre parcel, which was harvested in 2010. On all four sides of the reforested area, Green Diamond timber stood in age classes ranging from 15 years old to 80 years old., symbolizing the fact that the company, which began as S.G. Simpson & Company has been around a long, long time — since 1890 to be exact. John Dodge reports. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 301 AM PDT THU APR 2 2015
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 10 KT...BECOMING SE 15 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.
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