Thursday, September 3, 2015

9/3 Whales, orcas, oil trains, water rules, crab pots, port traffic, spill response, quake, fishing

This you have to watch: How Whales Change Climate
When whales were at their historic populations, before their numbers were reduced, it seems that whales might have been responsible for removing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year. Whales change the climate. The return of the great whales, if they are allowed to recover, could be seen as a benign form of geo-engineering. It could undo some of the damage we have done, both to the living systems of the sea, and to the atmosphere. (Sustainable Human)

B.C. orca calves ‘growing like weeds’ in waters off Vancouver Island
The Class of 2015 — four orcas born since late December — is thriving in the waters of B.C. and Washington state. All are part of the southern resident orca population, which includes the J, K and L pods. Southern resident orcas are listed as endangered, with pollution and lack of food among the contributing factors. Jeff Bell reports. (Times Colonist)

How Harry Styles sent SeaWorld's image diving
One Direction's Harry Styles sent SeaWorld's reputation plunging on social media when he urged concertgoers to boycott the chain of aquatic theme parks, research by the investment bank Credit Suisse suggests. Are young people turning en masse against the idea of animals in captivity? (Vanessa Barford reports. (BBC)

Feds give extension to fix defect causing oil train leaks
Railroad tank cars equipped with defective valves still will be allowed to transport crude oil and other hazardous materials through the end of the year, despite a March directive from federal regulators requiring their replacement within 60 days. The Federal Railroad Administration order followed a Bellingham Herald story about a leaking oil train reported in Washington state in January…. About 6,000 tank cars were affected by the recall, issued on March 13. Curtis Tate and Samantha Wohlfeil report. (McClatchy)

Feds Propose Tougher Clean Water Rule For Washington, Holding Line On Cancer Risk
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making good on its promise to put forward a clean water rule for Washington, in case the state doesn’t come up with its own plan in time. At issue is how much fish the government says is safe to eat, if it’s caught in polluted water.  In early August, Washington was on track to adopt a major rewrite of the state's outdated water standard, known as the "fish consumption rule." It uses the amount of fish we eat as a measure of how clean the water must be to protect human health. But Gov. Jay Inslee put the most recent proposal on hold and directed the state Department of Ecology to reassess its approach. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Crab pots mysteriously vanish in Puget Sound
Since last season, more than 1,000 crab and shrimp pots have been reported stolen or lost to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. "When it's gone, they always think the worst," said Ralph Downes, a fish and wildlife police officer for two decades. "Worst case scenario? I'm thinking 10 percent is the result of theft." As for the other 90 percent, Downes and other wildlife officers think the culprit is the strong current of the sound. Dan Cassuto reports. (KING)

Puget Sound Ports Lose Ground As Mega Ships Grow
The container terminals at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma are running at less than half their capacity, according to a study conducted for the ports. The study by Mercator International of Kirkland – one of several last year – said no other major port complex in North America is so underused. Mercator also says Puget Sound ports have been losing ground, even as competitor ports have been gaining. Carolyn Adolph reports. (KUOW)

WCMRC christens its newest oil spill response vessel
Vancouver, British Columbia, based Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) christened its newest oil spill response vessel yesterday in Burrard Inlet. The $4.5 million G.M. Penman is a 65-foot Ocean Class oil spill response vessel (OSRV) built by Rozema Boat Works, Mount Vernon, WA. It is only the fifth vessel of its kind in the world with sister vessels operating in Santa Barbara servicing the offshore production platforms off the California coast. (Marine Log)

Worst-case scenario Vancouver earthquake could have death toll of 10,000
It’s a typically rainy day in January at 2 p.m. Downtown cores are packed, with businesses in full swing after workers have returned from the holidays. Then the earthquake hits Vancouver. Most people hear it before they feel it — a low, rumbling sound similar to a freight train. Closest to the epicentre, violent shaking, which lasts 10 to 20 seconds, knocks people off their feet. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Washington eases fishing restrictions on some rivers
As conditions improve in some Washington rivers, state officials are easing fishing restrictions and closures put in place earlier this summer because of the drought. The Department of Fish and Wildlife had closed or restricted access on more than 60 rivers and streams to protect fish, which can be harmed by low river flows and warmer water temperatures. On Wednesday, the agency said fishing is now open or no longer restrict to certain hours on more than a dozen rivers, including in north Puget Sound, south-central Washington and on the Olympic Peninsula. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 258 AM PDT THU SEP 3 2015
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT IN THE MORNING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND A SLIGHT CHANCE OF TSTMS.
TONIGHT
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. NW SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND A SLIGHT CHANCE OF TSTMS IN THE EVENING.
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"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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