Monday, October 5, 2015

10/5 BC whale, Navy EIS, porpoise, salmon sex, salmon swim, Lummi crab, BC pipe, Shell drill, stream study

Grey Whale in False Creek (Kim Stallknecht, Vancouver Sun)
Whale spotted near Vancouver's Maritime Museum
A large grey whale was seen swimming through False Creek near the Maritime Museum in downtown Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 4 (Vancouver Sun)

Navy issues final environmental impact document on use of sonar, explosives in waters of Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound and Alaskan canal
The U.S. Navy has released its final environmental impact statement on its proposals for use of sonar and explosives for training and testing in the Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Behm Canal in southeastern Alaska. The release of the Northwest Training and Testing Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement starts a 30-day clock before a final decision. No further public input meetings or comment periods are planned. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Critics Say Whales Put At Risk By Navy Testing Plan  Ashley Ahearn reports. (KUOW)

Getting to know harbor porpoises
After years diving with dolphins in the clear waters off of Florida and the Bahamas, Cindy Elliser moved from one corner of the nation to another on a mission to get to know the lesser-known dolphin relative, the harbor porpoise. After two years in Anacortes, where she spends hours stationed on bluffs overlooking Burrows Pass and even more sorting through images and data files, she is able to call about 35 of Puget Sound’s harbor porpoises by name. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

It's Time to Free Lolita, a Puget Sound Killer Whale That's Been Held Captive in Florida for 45 Years
Christopher Frizzelle writes. (The Stranger)

Salmon Sex in the City
My friend Sam called from the banks of the Duwamish River, in the industrial heart of Seattle, planes overhead, trains nearby, truck traffic whooshing past. On a cloudless day of high-def perfection, he was excited by a frenzy of sex. Salmon sex. The river, once a junk-hold of toxins and tires, still a Superfund site, was alive with big fish summoning all their remaining energy for a chance to mate and die. There was nothing subtle or coy in those waters; it was all aggression and tail flashing, preening and cruel selection based on looks and strength. Tim Egan writes. (NY Times)

Snorkelling with salmon offers a unique BC experience
More tourism operators are offering a unique experience in B.C. waterways during salmon spawning season: snorkelling with the fish. "It's an unbelievable experience, and it's unique to B.C., because there are very few places in the world that have all the things necessary to make it happen," said Sam Waddington, owner of Mt. Waddington Outdoors in Chilliwack. He said the practice doesn't disturb the fish, and can be done in a number of places. (CBC)

Our state’s greatest gift to the nation just got canceled
Happy 50th birthday to one of Washington state’s greatest gifts to the nation, the park-land preservation program. Oh, and you’re canceled. Danny Westneat writes. (Seattle Times)

Crabbing highlights importance of coal port site to Lummis
Jay Julius steered his boat into the deep water off of Cherry Point, heading north from Fisherman’s Cove Marina to where he had dropped some of his crab pots…. Julius, a member of Lummi Nation who sits on the tribe’s council, likes to say fishing opens up his imagination. On this outing, he was picturing a proposed coal terminal in operation at the same time as he and hundreds of fellow tribal members were out crabbing. “Imagine one of those Capesize tankers coming through right here on its way to the terminal,” Julius said. “It would probably take out 30 of these pots.” Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Northern Gateway talks excluded First Nations’ governance rights
Two First Nations waging a court battle to overturn approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline project say federal officials refused to discuss their claim of decision-making power over ancestral lands. Lawyer Cheryl Sharvit said the Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli are not declaring the right to veto resource projects on traditional territories in British Columbia’s Central Interior. But she said the bands’ asserted authority to govern their lands should have at least been considered by the Crown during consultations on the $7-billion proposal by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.. Laura Kane reports. (Globe and Mail)

Myths about Shell's Arctic Alaska pullout persist
When Royal Dutch Shell announced that it had lost its big-money bet in the Chukchi Sea and would end its entire program in the offshore U.S. Arctic, the hyperbole and finger-pointing began in earnest. Yereth Rosen reports. (Alaska Dispatch News)

Skagit streams included in six-state drought study
About every eight weeks, hydrologic technician Jeffrey Paulat climbs down the banks of the Samish River to check on a U.S. Geological Survey streamflow gauge. He and his colleagues will sometimes wade into streams and rivers such as the Samish to take additional measurements that they can use to can cross-check the data from the gauges. For the first time, similar samples are being taken on small, remote streams in the Skagit River basin as part of a USGS Western U.S. Low Flow Survey. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Comment on the Everett Smelter cleanup
The state Department of Ecology is crafting plans to continue its cleanup of areas polluted by the Everett Smelter, and is soliciting public comment until Nov. 3. A public meeting will also be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, at Hawthorne Elementary School. The smelter contaminated much of north Everett with heavy metals, including arsenic and lead. The residential neighborhoods affected are either clean, in the process of being cleaned or in the planning stages. Ecology has released two studies of the 230-acre “lowlands” area, which is a mostly industrial tract between East Marine View Drive and the Snohomish River. The Supplemental Remedial Investigation provides details about polluted areas, and the Feasibility Study outlines potential cleanup options. (Everett Herald)

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