Thursday, July 23, 2015

7/23 Shell drill, orcas, humpbacks, oil trains, culverts, Port Gamble, instream flow, Chimacum ridge, drought

Deer in town (Vancouver Sun)
Deer wanders through downtown Vancouver (with photos and video)  Joanne Lee-Young and Larry Pynn report. (Vancouver Sun) And: CRD directors vote to leave deer management to municipalities  Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonnist)

Shell gets permits for limited oil drilling in Arctic waters
The Obama administration has given Royal Dutch Shell PLC approval to begin limited exploratory oil drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast. The two permits issued Wednesday clear the way for drilling in Chukchi Sea, but with conditions. Shell can only drill the top sections of wells because the company doesn’t have critical emergency response equipment on site to cap a well in case of a leak. That equipment is aboard a ship headed to Portland, Oregon, for repairs. Kevin Freking and Dan Joling report. (Associated Press)

SeaWorld orcas live as long as whales in the wild, new study says
The debate over the treatment of killer whales at SeaWorld has turned into a battle over scientific studies now that a new report has concluded that whales showcased at the marine-themed parks live just as long as whales in the wild. The peer-reviewed study, which appears in the July edition of the Journal of Mammalogy, concluded that the life expectancy of a SeaWorld killer whale is 41.6 years, compared with 29 years for killer whales in a southern community of the waters of the Pacific Northwest and 42.3 for whales in a northern community. Hugo Martin reports. (LA Times) See also: Official orca census: 81 whales, including 4 babies (Associated Press)

How emissions threaten humpback whales
A new study finds ocean acidification can dramatically change the structure of marine ecosystems by affecting the ocean's smallest organisms. Shontee Pant reports. (Christian Science Monitor)

Feds warn railroads to comply with oil train notification requirement
The U.S. Department of Transportation warned railroads that they must continue to notify states of large crude oil shipments after several states reported not getting updated information for as long as a year…. In spite of increased public concern about the derailments, railroads have opposed the public release of the oil train information by numerous states. Two companies sued Maryland in July 2014 to prevent the state from releasing the oil train data to McClatchy. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy) See also: Oil train counts trend upward in Clark County   BNSF says 11 to 15 carry crude through the area each week  Eric Florip reports. (Columbian)

Salmon to spawn traffic tie-ups for years
Washington's DOT is completely closing the section of Highway 9 just north of mile post 42 for two entire months. Crews are ripping up the road and tying up traffic to make the commute easier for fish. They are tearing out an old culvert and replacing it with a brand new bridge so that salmon have an easier time spawning. Culverts often get clogged with debris, making it difficult for fish to move up and downstream. The closure is expected aThe Highway 9 project is the very first of nearly 900 similar projects all around the Puget Sound region that will last for the next 15 years…. The fish crossing projects are expected to cost taxpayers about $150 million per year. WSDOT says it still isn't sure how it will pay for all of them.dd about 30 minutes to commute times…. Eric Wilkinson reports. (KING)

Port Gamble sewage plant to protect shellfish, recharge groundwater
The historic town of Port Gamble is about to get a new-fangled sewage-treatment plant, one that will allow highly treated effluent to recharge the groundwater in North Kitsap. The old treatment plant discharges its effluent into Hood Canal, causing the closure of about 90 acres of shellfish beds. After the new plant is in operation, those shellfish beds are likely to be reopened, officials say. The new facility will be built and operated by Kitsap Public Utility District, which owns and manages small water systems throughout the county. The Port Gamble plant will be the first wastewater operation to be managed by the KPUD, which views the project as a step toward reclaiming more of Kitsap County’s wastewater by putting it to beneficial use, said manager Bob Hunter. Christopher Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Landowners express anger over water rights issue that blocks their ability to build
Frustrated landowners complained bitterly at a meeting Tuesday about government decisions that have denied them access to water and full use of their land, with some suggesting property owners should build without county permits as acts of civil disobedience. The meeting was called by the Skagit chapter of the Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights…. Water issues have been a hot topic in Skagit County for decades. The state Department of Ecology contends the instream flow rule is meant to protect aquatic habitat for salmon and other species. Shannen Kuest reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Land trust, others acquire ridge top Chimacum forest to avoid clearcut
An 850-acre parcel that was slated for clearcutting is now protected in a partnership that includes the Jefferson Land Trust, which plans to explore its recreational and economic potential.  Chimacum Ridge, a forested area located between Center and Beaver valleys in sight of the Chimacum Crossroads, will be developed as a community forest where timber is selectively harvested and then used in local projects, according to Sarah Spaeth, Jefferson Land Trust’s director of conservation and strategic partnerships. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Metro Vancouver’s water use now at ‘manageable levels’
Metro Vancouver expects it should have enough water in its three reservoirs to carry the region through to November without further restrictions, following a revised modelling forecast based on a rainless summer and more stringent enforcement. The regional district, which issued level three water restrictions this week, said it’s unlikely to move to level four if the weather cools off and residents continue to conserve water. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU JUL 23 2015
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF
 RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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