Monday, August 17, 2015

8/17 Bulkheads, pinks, Vic sewer, shellfish, green fund, oil train, ospreys, sea stars, sunk boat, Marina Beach

(PHOTO: Hugh Shipman/Dept. Of Ecology)
Have we turned the corner on Puget Sound bulkhead construction?
Chris Dunagan blogs: "It’s hard to describe the surprise I felt when I first glanced at a new graph plotting bulkhead construction and removal along Puget Sound’s shoreline since 2005. On the graph was a blue line that showed how new bulkhead construction had declined dramatically the past two years. But what really caught my eye was a green line showing an increase in bulkhead removal. Amazingly, these two lines had crossed each other in 2014, meaning that the total length of bulkheads removed had exceeded the total length of bulkheads built last year. Not only was this the first time this has ever happened, it was totally unexpected. Few people really believed that bulkhead removal could exceed construction anytime soon." (Watching Our Water Ways)

Interest flags in pink salmon fishery at Dungeness River mouth after number of returning fish turns out lower
Interest has waned in a pink salmon fishery at the mouth of the Dungeness River now that the numbers originally expected haven’t developed, said the natural resources director for the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe. The beach seine fishery, in which weighted nets are used to pull fish to shore, was developed by co-managers of the Jamestown S’Klallam, Port Gamble S’Klallam and Point No Point Treaty Council and approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to weed out some of the 1.3 million pinks expected to return this season, said Scott Chitwood on Friday. Leah Leach reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Crews deepen channels to help struggling salmon amid drought Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Technical panel to oversee CRD sewage project
The capital region’s sewage committee has created a technical oversight panel that didn’t exist under the Seaterra program, in hopes of avoiding another failed project. The six-member panel will provide independent vetting of the engineering, business case, lifecycle costing and other project analysis. The committee has also hired a fairness and transparency adviser to handle any complaints about the process. In addition, the committee agreed to pay $250,000 for the next step in technical support, detailed cost analysis and engineering work by Urban Systems and Carollo Associates. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

New sensor system monitors water temperature for shellfish safety
In the ongoing effort to reduce “bad oyster” illnesses, the state Department of Health recently installed 13 sensors along the shoreline. One of the sensors was installed in Samish Bay with the help of Taylor Shellfish Farms. Samish Bay averages at least one case of vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria-related illness each year, according to Department of Health data. As of this week, the sensors are sending real-time water temperature, air temperature and salinity data to, which is run by Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems. The goal is to help commercial and recreational shellfish harvesters, as well as the state, keep a closer eye on water conditions. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Biotoxin infesting part of Hood Canal usually free of it
.... The Department of Health found high levels of the marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning in Hood Canal early this summer, leading the state to close several beaches in Jefferson and Mason counties to shellfish harvest, many for the first time. Aria Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun) See also: More shellfish harvest closures in effect in Clallam County; shut areas stretch from Cape Flattery to Jefferson line  (Peninsula Daily News)

Federal conservation money for iconic parks in jeopardy
A 50-year-old government fund that’s helped preserve Mount Rainier National Park, historical sites in the San Juan Islands, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway in Washington state is in danger of disappearing because of funding disputes in Congress. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has paid for $637 million in conservation and recreation projects in Washington state, and nearly $17 billion in work across the nation ranging from the Gettysburg civil war battlefield to the Grand Canyon to the Florida Everglades. The money comes from royalties that oil companies pay the government for offshore drilling rights, not with taxpayer dollars. But the fund is set to expire Sept. 30 unless reauthorized by Congress – and with Congress on vacation until Sept. 8 the chances are not looking good. Sean Cockerham reports. (McClatchy)

Experts say best plan for oil train fire is evacuation and containment
Each oil tanker car that passes through Snohomish County carries about 33,000 gallons. Multiply that by 100 to 110 cars per train. Often, it's Bakken crude oil, which is easier to refine but far more volatile. The Pacific Northwest now is averaging 2.5 loaded oil trains per day, most headed toward refineries in Skagit and Whatcom counties. Local firefighters have been talking about how they can be prepared if one turns into a fireball. The message from experts is that, most likely, local firefighters won't be able to extinguish the flames. Instead, their focus will be evacuating the area and keeping the fire from spreading into buildings, said Brad Reading, an assistant chief at Snohomish County Fire District 1. In his district, the railroad tracks run through downtown Edmonds and along steep waterfront bluffs toward Everett. Rikki King reports. (Everett Herald)

Anti-pipeline campaigners grab onlookers’ attention with environmental street theatre
Anti-pipeline campaigners with the Sierra Club spent Sunday morning at English Bay, trying to grab the attention of selfie-snapping tourists with a little environmental street theatre. The performance was an attempt to dramatize the some of the predicted health impacts of an oil spill if Kinder Morgan is allowed to go through with its planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Bethany Lindsay reports. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: Birdwatching 2.0: Webcam keeps an eye on UVic ospreys
A University of Victoria webcam documenting the round-the-clock activity of a family of ospreys has become a hit on campus and online, drawing viewers from around the world. Video of the ospreys has been streaming live since early July, netting as many as 1,000 views a day. Thanks to a webcam placed in view of the nest, which is located atop a soccer field light standard near the school’s Centennial Stadium, followers are being given a rare glimpse into the daily activities of the birds of prey…. The webcam can be viewed by visiting Mike Devlin reports. (Times Colonist)

Volunteers provide crucial surveys of sea stars to monitor a mysterious, devastating disease
Michael Kyte and his team were more than an hour into their search when they spotted their first dying sea star. The orange mottled sea star had two detached arms and exposed white flesh — telltale signs of sea star wasting syndrome. A semi-retired biology consultant from Seattle, Kyte has been leading volunteer groups to track signs of sea star wasting at Camano Island State Park since the spring of 2014. This was the first diseased specimen they had found in more than a year…. Kyte's group is one of seven citizen-science groups monitoring sea star populations in Washington's intertidal zones. Other observers contribute data from points stretching from Anchorage, Alaska, down to Baja California. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald) See also: Will the sea stars ever be able to recover?  Anna Meyer reports. (Islands' Weekly)

State fines Brinnon boat owner more than $16,000 for spill after sinking; DNR presents $123,446 bill for vessel’s recovery
The state Department of Ecology has fined the owner of Avalon, a 1929 wooden purse seiner, $16,244 after it sank and spilled diesel near Brinnon on Sept. 14. The owner, Randall Schleich, 56, of Brinnon, said he plans to partially contest the ruling, although he said he doesn’t have the resources to hire legal counsel and accepts responsibility for the spill. “I am going to contest it because I can’t afford to pay it,” he said. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Whale Watcher: Orca Network volunteer passionate about tracking whales from Whidbey’s shores
Rachel Haight admits that her passion for orca whales borders on obsession. Even her 6-year-old daughter Lily will shake her head at the suggestion of another car trip to catch a whale sighting…. Haight, who lives in Oak Harbor, is a sighting volunteer with the Langley-based Orca Network who’s been very busy lately. Ron Newberry reports. (Whidbey News-Times)

Marina Beach Master Plan public hearing on Edmonds City Council agenda for Tuesday
After taking a week off to celebrate Edmonds’ 125th anniversary, the Edmonds City Council will hold both a business meeting and study session this Tuesday, including a public hearing on the draft master plan for redesigning Marina Beach to accommodate the daylighting of Willow Creek through the Edmonds Marsh and into Puget Sound. (My Edmonds News)

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1 comment:

  1. We've been seeing wasting disease non-stop to varying degrees. It has taken an upturn since the extended warm weather, but at no point have we noted it absent on our dives. If there are stars (mostly mottled at this point, monoculture...) there are infected specimens.