Thursday, April 30, 2015

4/30 Toxic tailings, BC spill, quake report, Samish, train count, Shell drill, Skagit ag & fish, tourism $s, sick coral

Vancouver in March (International Space Station/NASA)
If you like to watch: Nearshore Spring 2015
While much attention is paid to herring spawning, kelp habitats are critical for a number of forage fish species and life history stages, including young of the year sand lance. Here's a glimpse of this captivating and beautiful component of our marine ecosystem. (Coastal Watershed Institute)

Canadian, American groups call on B.C. to end underwater storage of mine tailings
Dozens of Canadian and American environmental groups, First Nations and businesses, as well as scientists and individuals, have called on the B.C. government to end the use of storing mine waste under water and behind earth-and-rock dams. But Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said that is not going to happen in British Columbia. “I don’t think that’s in the cards for B.C. — or any other province in Canada — to adopt a policy where all you can use to manage tailings is dry-stack tailings,” Bennett said in an interview. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Vancouver oil spill response 'embarrassing,' says international expert
The response to the bunker fuel spill in Vancouver's English Bay was "very disappointing" says Anita Burke, an international expert in responding to and restoring ecosystems affected by industrial and natural disasters. "We clearly have large gaps in our ability to respond and take care of our coast … it's embarrassing, frankly," said Burke, who worked with Shell and its subsidiaries on corporate responsibility and sustainable development for 17 years. (CBC)

Earthquake would leave hundreds critically hurt or dead, North Vancouver report predicts
If a major earthquake hit the North Shore today, many buildings in several low-lying waterfront areas would likely topple as sandy soils were subject to liquefaction. Landslides would likely be triggered along escarpments of the Capilano, Lynn and Seymour rivers. Older neighbourhoods of Norgate, Pemberton Heights, Highlands, Edgemont, Lower Lynn and Riverside would likely see pockets of extensive residential damage. As many as 15,000 homes would be without water and power and over 4,000 people could be forced out of their homes in the immediate aftermath of a large earthquake. Up to 2,000 people are likely to be injured, several hundred of those seriously, overwhelming Lions Gate Hospital and other local medical facilities. Several hundred would likely be critically injured, or killed. Jane Seyd reports. (North Shore News)

10 Things You Should Know About the Samish Nation
The Samish Nation’s story is nothing short of remarkable. In the 1840s, more than 2,000 Samish people lived on their ancestral islands in the central Salish Sea: Fidalgo, Guemes, Lopez, San Juan, and Samish. But by the time of the Treaty of Point Elliott of 1855, which made land available for non-Native settlers, introduced diseases had reduced the Samish population to 200. Richard Walker reports. (Indian Country Today)

Volunteers keep track of trains in annual count
More coal, less oil. That's what a group of volunteers saw last week when they kept a round-the-clock vigil on the railroad tracks running through Snohomish County. They counted 29 coal trains and 12 crude-oil trains. That compares to 24 coal trains and 16 crude-oil trains last year. The new figures are in line with the number of oil-train shipments that BNSF Railway has reported to the state. This was the second straight year that Snohomish County Train Watch has conducted the census. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Judge extends TRO after hearing on Greenpeace injunction
Shell’s court battle to obtain a preliminary injunction against Greenpeace USA continued in U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason’s court in Anchorage April 28. Gleason is considering whether to issue an order that would keep Greenpeace protestors at a certain distance from vessels Shell hopes to use for its 2015 Arctic offshore drilling. After the hearing, Gleason extended the temporary restraining order against Greenpeace covering two drill rigs and a heavy lift vessel; that order issued April 11 expired April 28 and she extended it to May 9 or until she rules on Shell’s request for an injunction that would cover all 27 vessels being mobilized for its Arctic exploration this summer. The company is asking for a court-ordered safety zone of 1,000 meters while vessels are en route, and a 1,500-meter safety zone while drill ships are anchored in the Chukchi Sea and support vessels are maneuvering in the area to move anchors and perform other support tasks. Tim Bradner reports. (Alaska Journal of Commerce)

Washington officials, Skagit County commissioner talk fish and farms with Gov. Inslee
Skagit County has the largest intact estuary in Puget Sound and is a focal point in the largest pending estuary restoration proposal, officials said during a discussion Tuesday with Gov. Jay Inslee. Skagit County Commissioner Ron Wesen also said agriculture is an integral part of the county’s culture and needs to be considered alongside fish recovery…. Skagit County is home to the Padilla Bay National Esturine Research Reserve, which has the largest eelgrass beds in the Sound. Also, four of 11 sites proposed for restoration under the Puget Sound Nearshore Estuary Restoration Project are in Skagit County along the Skagit River delta and the county’s shoreline areas. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Report tallies economic benefit from North Cascades tourism
A National Park Service report shows that nearly 770,000 people visited the North Cascades National Park Service Complex last year, spending more than $33.5 million in nearby communities. The park complex includes North Cascades National Park as well as the Lake Chelan and Ross Lake areas. The report says the spending supported more than 400 local jobs and provided a cumulative local economy benefit of more than $40.5 million. (Associated Press)

Most Whatcom beaches reopened to shellfish harvesting
Most beaches in Whatcom County have been reopened to recreational shellfish harvesting because marine biotoxins that could cause illness have dropped to safe levels. The Washington state Health Department has lifted the ban on most beaches, except for Portage Bay, where varnish clams still can't be harvested recreationally. The announcement was made Wednesday, April 29. (Bellingham Herald)

Black band coral disease continues to affect Kauai reefs  
Black band coral disease is affecting nearly half of the reef sites state officials have surveyed in waters off Kauai. That's according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. The agency is holding a news conference Wednesday to discuss progress made to combat the disease. Scientists will also share information from a new report on the disease by the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. (Hawaii News Now)

Now, your tug weather--
 WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU APR 30 2015
TODAY
SW WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
SW WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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