Tuesday, June 16, 2015

6/16 Shell drill, toxic algae, 'fire rainbow,' BC spills, Vic sewer, shellfish farming, drought, Kply cleanup, ESA

Polar Pioneer departs. (KING)
24 arrested trying to block Arctic oil rig's departure  Activists formed a blockade of kayaks Monday around a terminal in this city's port to attempt keep an oil rig destined for Arctic waters from moving. Coast Guardsmen detained two dozen protesters because they violated the safety zone around the rig, a spokesman said. One was Seattle City Councilman Mike O'Brien. Seattle City Hall said O'Brien was booked and fined $250. He was later released. (Associated Press/USA Today) See also: Should the Puget Sound region allow more coal trains and terminals?  Emily Parkhurst reports. (Puget Sound Business Journal)

Toxic algae bloom might be largest ever
A team of federal biologists set out from Oregon Monday to survey what could be the largest toxic algae bloom ever recorded off the West Coast. The effects stretch from Central California to British Columbia, and possibly as far north as Alaska. Dangerous levels of the natural toxin domoic acid have shut down recreational and commercial shellfish harvests in Washington, Oregon and California this spring, including the lucrative Dungeness crab fishery off Washington’s southern coast and the state’s popular razor-clam season. At the same time, two other types of toxins rarely seen in combination are turning up in shellfish in Puget Sound and along the Washington coast, said Vera Trainer, manager of the Marine Microbes and Toxins Programs at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

'Fire Rainbows' dot the skies over Puget Sound region
The thin, wispy clouds floating around the Puget Sound region Monday usually do nothing more than give the blue skies a little bit of character. But today, they were giving the skies a little bit of color. We had a number of reports of rainbow arcs in the sky -- both in a circular halo around the sun and just lighting up some clouds near the horizon -- a circumhorizontal arc, otherwise known informally as "fire rainbows." Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Oil spills on land to have provincial response team, says B.C. government
Plans are in the works to create a quicker, more coordinated response to land-based hazardous spills in British Columbia. Provincial Environment Minister Mary Polak says the province is working on creating an organization that will be able to immediately respond to all land-based spills with trained workers and proper equipment. The minister says the provincially certified, industry-funded organization will be able to take action even before authorities have identified who's responsible for the spill and its clean up. (Canadian Press)

Fuel spill in Vancouver's False Creek triggers cleanup
Coast guard officials now say as much as 5,000 litres of diesel fuel may have spilled into Vancouver's False Creek near Fisherman's Wharf on Sunday night. Original estimates had put the spill as large as 1,000 litres, but shortly after 10 a.m. PT, coast guard spokesman Jeff Brady revised the estimate to somewhere between 500 and 5,000 litres. The spill was first reported to the Canadian Coast Guard around 10:30 p.m. PT Sunday. (CBC)

Next up for sewage: Westside options considered
In two weeks, people will have another chance to weigh in and pare down a list of potential sites for at least secondary sewage treatment. Through public consultation involving about 2,000 people, a list of 47 potential sites on the east side of the region — in Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay — was narrowed last week to 27. Of the remaining sites, 19 garnered a mixed level of support in public consultations and surveys, while eight had a high level of support. About half of those eight sites are in the Rock Bay area of Victoria. The remainder are located at Clover Point, coast guard land beside Ogden Point, University of Victoria lands, and a public works yard in Saanich. None is in Oak Bay. Cindy Harnett reports. (Times Colonist)

Shellfish farmers lick wounds, hire PR help
Oyster and clam growers on Washington's southwest coast weren't ready for hostile public reaction to spaying for burrowing shrimp. Don Jenkins reports. (Chinook Observer)

Drought Watch: Small Water Systems Could Run Dry
The major water utilities in the Puget Sound area are telling customers the water supply is in good shape for the drought. But for thousands who depend on springs or shallow wells, the outlook is not as certain. More than two-thirds of the state’s population is served by big water systems. Take Seattle, Tacoma and Everett – their utilities have saved plenty of water in their extensive reservoir and storage systems. They’ve asked customers to conserve, but haven’t recommended any extreme measures.  But according to Ginny Stern, a hydrogeologist with the State Department of Health, for nearly 27,000 people statewide, it’s a different story. Monica Spain reports. (KPLU)

Port of Port Angeles’ schedule for KPly mill site cleanup advances; bids for project due July 8
The Port of Port Angeles may know by mid-July who will clean up the former KPly mill site — and how the contractor will do it. The port’s three commissioners Monday ratified their staff’s request for bids on the environmental project that’s expected to cost up to $5.4 million. Bidders will have their choice of methods to clean the 19-acre area on Marine Drive just west of downtown. James Casey reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Endangered Species Protections At Center Of Drought Debate
Travel up and down California farm country, the Central Valley, and you hardly hear people lamenting the lack of rain or how dry this past winter was. What you hear from the agriculture industry and many local and national politicians, are sentiments like those expressed by Rep. Devin Nunes: “Well, what I always like to say is that this is a man-made drought created by government,” the Central Valley Republican says. When he says “man-made” drought, he’s talking about court-ordered restrictions that have kept hundreds of millions of gallons of water in West Coast rivers and estuaries to protect endangered fish like the Delta smelt. Kirk Siegler reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 422 AM PDT TUE JUN 16 2015
TODAY
W WIND 10 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 6 SECONDS.

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