Tuesday, June 9, 2015

6/9 Budget, Shell drill, warm 'blob,' fish barriers, Vic sewer, BC logging, Laura James, Port Susan, oil train, BC LNG, houseboats

Northern Lights from Mukilteo (Liem Bahneman/KOMO)
If you like to watch: Northern Lights come out to play over Western Washington
They're tough to get in the summertime here due to our shorter periods of darkness, but the Northern Lights managed an appearance (Sunday) night! Liem Bahneman captured this time lapse video from the Mukilteo pier. These photos are using time-exposure, but he said they were visible to the naked eye for a solid three hours. Scott Sisek reports. (KOMO)

Senate budget negotiator: No deal on spending level yet
A Senate budget negotiator disputed statements made last week that indicated lawmakers had reached a tentative deal on the size of Washington state's next two-year budget, saying Monday that the announcement was "premature." Talking with reporters before a Monday afternoon meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee, Republican Sen. John Braun of Centralia, said that talks with House Democrats are still ongoing, and that progress was made over the weekend, but that there's still no agreement on the overall spending level of the budget, tentative or otherwise. Rachel La Corte reports. (Associated Press)

Phones, emails deluged in protest of Shell’s oil-fleet lease
Opponents of Shell Oil’s lease of a Port of Seattle terminal to stage the company’s Arctic drilling fleet have employed a new tactic in their battle against the oil giant: deluging phone lines and email accounts of firms supporting the company’s stay in Seattle. Lewis Kamb reports. Seattle Times)

Ocean 'blob' of warm water bringing poor food for B.C. wild salmon
A University of Victoria oceanographer studying the so-called "warm blob" of water off the B.C. coast has observed unusual, "squishy" visitors from the south — and that could be bad news for young salmon. John Dower, who just returned from a research cruise north of Vancouver Island, said he saw remarkably high amounts of tiny animals called zooplankton in the "blob," a huge mass of ocean water about 2 degrees warmer than normal. And the varieties he saw are normally found off northern California — not Canada. (CBC)

Statewide effort takes aim at removing barriers that block fish
A little-known state board has begun sizing up a daunting task: removing the many barriers that block fish across the state's waterways. That's no small undertaking. The Fish Passage Barrier Removal Board cites about 14,000 such impediments in Washington alone. And that's just the known barriers — the estimated total is closer to 35,000 or 40,000, according to officials involved in the effort. Many are culverts built decades ago. Eric Florip reports. (Columbian)

Environment beats cost controls in sewage-treatment survey
Protecting the environment trumps cost in planning sewage treatment for Saanich, Oak Bay and Victoria, according to an Ipsos Reid survey. When respondents were asked the most important criteria for developing sewage treatment, the single-biggest priority at 31 per cent was: “removal of harmful materials from entering water and/or land.” That was followed by minimizing cost to the taxpayer (19 per cent), safety to residents (15 per cent) and no odour (nine per cent). Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Protests will follow if old-growth logging proceeds on Vancouver Island: group
A British Columbia forest company’s plan to log centuries-old cedar trees in southern Vancouver Island’s Walbran Valley cuts into the heart of one of Canada’s most ecologically sensitive forests, says an environmental group. Wilderness Committee spokesman Torrance Coste said that forest company Teal Jones is courting conflict with environmental groups in its bid to harvest almost 500 hectares of old-growth forest in eight separate land parcels. Dirk Meissner reports. (Canadian Press)

Laura James wins Emmy Award for 'Solving the mystery of the dying starfish'
West Seattle filmmaker/diver/environmentalist Laura James has won a 2015 Emmy® Award in Environmental Feature/Segment in the Northwest Region of the US. The award was presented on June 6 for her underwater video work on Solving the Mystery of Dying Starfish produced by KCTS9's Katie Campbell and edited by Michael Werner. Laura is a Seattle based videographer. This is Laura’s second Emmy®. She won her first Emmy® in 2014 in the Health/Science Feature/Segment category in the Northwest Region for Sea Otters vs. Climate Change produced by Michael Werner for Quest PBS. (West Seattle Herald)

Port Susan estuary takes a hit from warming, low Stillaguamish River flow
The early summer, with its unusually hot days and low snowpack, offers a window into the future for local scientists. Researchers have turned their attention to Port Susan and the mouth of the Stillaguamish River. Important tidal ecosystems there have been dwindling over the past two decades, and a team is studying how tide marshes and estuaries can adapt to a warming climate. Other researches are investigating how changing river flows affect the way sediment is spread, and how that could harm fish and increase flood risks. Kari Bray reports. (Everett Herald)

Discovery Bay beaches in Jefferson closed to shellfish harvest due to biotoxins; Dabob Bay reopens, but with vibrio warning in place
Discovery Bay area beaches have been closed to recreational shellfish harvesting due elevated levels of marine biotoxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. Recent shellfish samples from the area showed an increase in biotoxins, prompting the state Department of Health closure, according to a Jefferson County Water Quality Program news release Monday. (Peninsula Daily News)

Ecology joins county in EIS for Shell oil-by-rail project
The state Department of Ecology and Skagit County will together review the Shell Puget Sound Refinery’s proposed rail unloading facility under the state Environmental Policy Act…. Skagit County asked the state agency to serve as a co-lead in the preparation of an environmental impact statement, or EIS, for the proposal to build a crude-by-rail facility at the Shell refinery in Anacortes, according to an Ecology news release. In a letter to the Skagit County Board of Commissioners, Ecology Director Maia Bellon said the agency agreed it was a matter of interest both locally and regionally. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Exxon Mobil selects on-shore LNG system for Prince Rupert site
Exxon Mobil Corp. has selected on-shore terminal plans in its quest to export liquefied natural gas from a site near Prince Rupert, B.C., positioning the project as a serious contender. While Pacific NorthWest LNG leads B.C.’s LNG race, Irving, Tex.-based Exxon Mobil and its Canadian affiliate Imperial Oil Ltd. hope to finish engineering studies in 2017 for their joint venture called WCC LNG Project Ltd. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Everett company accused of muddying water, endangering fish
A global building-materials company faces $21,000 in state fines over allegations that concrete and muddy water flowed from a local facility into city storm drains. The violation involves a sand, gravel and concrete-mixing operation at 6300 Glenwood Ave. that belongs to CEMEX Construction Materials Pacific. The drains there let out into Pigeon Creek Number Two, a tributary of Pigeon Creek. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Living out 'Sleepless in Seattle'-type dreams just got a little more difficult
People living on Seattle's waterfront can sleep a little easier at night. The city's Shoreline Master Program lets all current houseboats meeting the city's requirements stay where they float. The updated shoreline program, which was approved June 1, has been in development about eight years. The Lake Union Liveaboard Association has fought for at least five years to keep houseboats from being booted from the city. Kipp Robertson reports. (MyNorthwest.Com)

Now, your tug weather--
 WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE JUN 9 2015
TODAY
W WIND 10 KT...BECOMING NW 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. NW SWELL 7 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. NW SWELL 6 FT
 AT 9 SECONDS.

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