Monday, July 20, 2015

7/20 Orcas, Inslee, BC oil spill, glacier melt, humpies, False Cr, Cowichan R, BC LNG, Tesoro, Army training, eelgrass, 'phallic' clam

J50 (Clint Rivers, Eagle Wing Tours/KING)
Baby orcas thriving in the Northwest
Baby orcas are jumping for joy in Northwest waters. The Pacific Whale Watch Association says: "The Salish Sea continues to be a 'pre-school' of sorts for the four youngest members of the Southern Resident Community of orcas." (KING) See also:  Orca baby boom: Enough to save the endangered whales?  (Christian Science Monitor)

Inslee, the ‘greenest’ governor — not so much
Gov. Jay Inslee has long advocated reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. But the state Legislature adjourned this month without taking the kind of major climate action desired by Inslee and his environmentalist allies. Jim Brunner reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Inslee to decide whether to revise water-pollution standards for the state  …. We can’t forget that Inslee had publicly stated that if the Legislature failed to act on his full pollution-cleanup program, he would revisit the water-quality standards — presumably to make them stronger. So the governor kind of boxed himself in, and that’s where we stand today. Christopher Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Oil spill in English Bay reached several Vancouver beaches, scientist say
Scientists have conclusively linked oil that washed up along numerous Vancouver beaches with the grain container ship that leaked bunker fuel in English Bay in April. Testing by researchers from the Vancouver Aquarium also shows that the fuel may have harmed aquatic organisms and wildlife in the water and along the shores. Peter Ross of the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Research Program and his team did a detailed forensic analysis of the oil from the MV Marathassa, looking at more than 100 hydrocarbons that create a unique so-called fingerprint. (Canadian Press)

How will the Pacific Northwest change when its glaciers are gone?
Glaciers set the Pacific Northwest apart and are essential for supplying the region’s drinking water, hydropower and for ensuring the survival of the region's iconic salmon. But disappearing glaciers make the Northwest uniquely vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Washington has more glaciers than any other state, except Alaska. Some 376 glaciers feed the Skagit River. That number alone sets the Evergreen State apart from the rest of the country, but it also makes it uniquely vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Robert Boos and Ashley Ahearn report. (Living on Earth/PRI)

Drought raises concern over return of humpies
Millions of pink salmon are bound for Washington rivers and streams this year. Biologists are worried that when they return, they might find the water too warm and shallow for spawning and cause more problems for fish already struggling in drought conditions. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is estimating that almost 6.8 million pink salmon will make it to Puget Sound this year. Of those, 1.6 million are forecast for the Snohomish River, 600,000 for the Skagit River and 210,000 for Stillaguamish River. Amy Nile reports. (Everett Herald)

E. coli levels in False Creek have potential to rise even higher
A look at E. coli levels for the past six years reveal a drastic spike in last year's numbers. This year's levels are already higher than average as well…. City officials acknowledge the high numbers this year, and say they are working toward keeping the levels down. Wanyee Li reports. (CBC)

Cowichan anxious to solve a drying river
Cowichan Tribes Chief Chip Seymour has watched the once robust Cowichan River reduced to a mere stream. Drought conditions are stranding salmon fry in warm pools, he said, and hampering mature chinook from completing their spring run up to Cowichan Lake…. A long-term solution seems desperate. But stakeholders say one has already been identified: Raise the weir. The problem is, it hasn’t been implemented. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

B.C. to pass 25-year LNG law, but industry wants more; labour, tax concerns
A liquefied natural gas industry: the British Columbia government fought an election on it, launched an extraordinary summer legislative session and made financial concessions, but it still isn't enough for the companies that want even lower taxes and have expressed concerns over the availability of workers. The Liberal government's LNG dream is expected to move towards reality this week when a bill is adopted for a 25-year agreement on what could be B.C.'s first LNG plant. Dirk Meissner reports. (Canadian Press)

Tesoro to appeal fines connected to fatal 2010 explosion
After five years of hearing delays, Tesoro’s appeal of safety and health violations and $2 million in fines connected to a fatal explosion is set for next week in Mount Vernon. In 2010, a heat exchanger at the Tesoro Refinery in Anacortes exploded, killing seven employees…. After the 2010 explosion, Labor and Industries cited Tesoro for 39 willful violations and five serious violations of state and workplace safety and health regulations, according to a department report. Shelby Rowe reports. (Skagit  Valley Herald)

Army eyes North Cascades for helicopter training
Army aviation officials at Joint Base Lewis-McChord want to create a North Cascades training area for helicopter pilots to practice flyovers and high-altitude landings on U.S. Forest Service lands. The high-elevation mountain training area would extend over an aerial space largely east of the Cascades from around Leavenworth up to the Canadian border. It would include seven remote landing zones, including one just inside the boundary of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area and another within a mile of the Pacific Crest Trail north of Highway 20. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Camps take to Puget Sound to teach environmental stewardship
Environmental stewardship takes on a whole new feel from inside a kayak navigating the Squaxin Passage on Puget Sound. The overnight camp on Hope Island Marine State Park in Mason County and the nearly half-mile kayak trip from Carlyon Beach to the park is just one of the camps being offered to South Sound teens this summer by the nonprofit Mount2Sound Adventures. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

The new face of Seattle’s Aquarium (maybe)
The Seattle Aquarium released its Master Plan For Expansion this week, rolling out a proposal that would increase exhibit space by at least 40 percent and cost a minimum of $90 million. Our favorite part is the Shark tank. The biggest addition is the Tropical Pacific Pavilion (which would house the shark tank). It would rise to the east of today’s aquarium, connecting the waterfront with the Pike Place Market. The pavilion would allow nearly twice the number of visitors as today. Alex Cnossen reports. (Crosscut)

Researchers probe how much sulfide Puget Sound eelgrass can withstand
What’s green, thin, slimy and sways in the water? It’s eelgrass, an often unseen marine plant that is important for the environment and economy in the Puget Sound region. The eelgrass in Puget Sound is sort of like a canary in a coal mine for the underwater world, serving as an indicator of marine health. It can affect many species that depend on it, from crabs to salmon. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Tracking eelgrass changes  Padilla Bay research program documents eelgrass presence. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

East Bay Drive residents plant oyster seeds in Olympia’s Budd Inlet
The shores of Budd Inlet are lined with mesh bags, filled with oysters. Each year, residents of Olympia’s East Bay neighborhood check the bags, and if the oysters are big enough, they’re set free. The bags are then replaced with new ones, filled with oyster seeds…. The oysters aren’t for eating... The goal of the program is to rebuild the local oyster population and improve water quality. Amelia Dickson reports. (Olympian)

The 'phallic' clam America sells to China
It's not the most beautiful dinner to look at and it has a very odd name... but in China the geoduck is an expensive delicacy, so on North America's Pacific coast the race is on to farm them and cash in. James Morgan reports. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 600 AM PDT MON JUL 20 2015
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. AREAS OF DRIZZLE AND FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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