Tuesday, November 17, 2015

11/17 Stormin', Hood Canal, microbes, BC LNG, Gates fuels, future floods, Billy Frank, Jr., green audit, VW suit

Surf smelt
If you like to watch: Forage Fish of the Salish Sea
Forage fish are a critical keystone species in the marine food web. This film sponsored by Friends of Skagit Beaches and WA Dept. of Ecology highlights the importance of these small fish to the ecology, economy, and identity of the Pacific Northwest. This is the fourth in a series of student made films featuring the work of promising young filmmakers from Western Washington University and Anacortes High School. The film created by Jesse Nichols (WWU) was premiered as part of the Friends fall film series "Films with Friends" in October 2015.

Severe wind warning issued for Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island  (CBC) and Northwest forecast: 65-mph wind gusts, falling trees, full rivers, mountain snow  (Seattle Times)

Senate hearing to explore DNR easement to Navy that blocks pit-to-pier
A state Senate committee has scheduled a hearing this week to determine whether the state Department of Natural Resources acted properly in determining the amount the Navy would pay for a 55-year easement that restricts development on Hood Canal aquatic land. The easement blocks a project known as “pit-to-pier.” The Accountability and Reform Committee is scheduled to address the topic at 8 a.m. Thursday in Senate Hearing Room 2 in the John A. Cherberg Building, 304 15th Ave. S.W., Olympia. The pact between DNR and the Navy, which went into effect in August 2014, is a barrier to a Thorndyke Resources proposal to build a 998-foot pier on state-owned tidelands 5 miles south of the Hood Canal Bridge. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Microbes that are key indicators of Puget Sound’s health in decline
Paleontologists with the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture find that tiny organisms called foraminifera have a big story to tell about the health of Puget Sound. Two recent studies about the health of Bellingham Bay and inlets in the Bremerton area found the diversity and number of foraminifera — single-celled marine organisms that live on the sea floor — deteriorated significantly. The decline of these microscopic organisms is consistent with the deterioration of snails and other larger marine animals, even though analysis showed a reduction of chemical pollutants in Bellingham Bay and Bremerton over the same period of time. Andrea Godinez reports. (UW Today)

B.C. LNG project in Tsawwassen to be voted on by First Nation
The Tsawwassen First Nation will proceed with a vote on plans to build an LNG export facility just north of the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, it announced on Monday. "The preliminary concept looks at a plan somewhere between three million and five million metric tonnes per annum," said Tsawwassen First Nation spokesman Chris Hartman.  "In terms of tanker traffic associated with that, probably somewhere in the range of four to five LNG carriers a month, or about one a week." (CBC)

Gates Foundation cuts fossil fuel investments — but why?
Almost every day for the past several months, protesters gathered outside the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Seattle headquarters, exhorting the world’s richest philanthropy to fight climate change by pulling its investments from fossil-fuel companies. As usual when it comes to questions about its portfolio, the foundation responded with silence. But tax documents posted Monday show that the foundation has significantly scaled back its holdings in some of the world’s biggest oil, coal and gas companies. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

UW study: Puget Sound area may face more flooding as climate gets warmer
A University of Washington climate-change study for Puget Sound forecasts a temperature rise of 2.9 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit by midcentury, resulting in wide-ranging shifts as more storms bring rain rather than snow. A warming climate is expected to result in an increase in flood risks even as overall precipitation is predicted to remain roughly the same. That’s because the climate models indicate more rain will fall during the winter when rivers already are at higher levels, and intense storms will become more frequent. Sea-level rise also can contribute to flooding as storm surges become a bigger threat. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

The late Billy Frank Jr. and Ruckelshaus to receive Medal of Honor
Two influential figures from Washington state, each with a long record of environmental leadership, were named Monday as recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Billy Frank Jr., the former chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and a treaty-rights leader, and William D. Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are receiving the highest civilian honor in the U.S. The two advocated for and worked on environmental issues for decades. Rachel Lerman reports. (Seattle Times)

If you like to watch: Video: Billy Frank Jr. Street Gets First Sign In Bellingham
Bellingham has renamed Indian Street Billy Frank Jr. Street in honor of the late Native American fishing rights activist. A small group gathered Monday morning, Nov. 16, to watch public works' Tom Oberlander post the first sign at Laurel Street. (Bellingham Herald)

Environmental groups no longer under audit threat  
They’re handing out Vancouver Island’s National Philanthropy Day awards at The Empress this afternoon, rewarding those who volunteer for non-profits. Happily, supporters of environmental charities need not wear fake noses and glasses this year. Buried among all the changes announced in Ottawa last week was this: After three years of using tax audits to threaten Canadian green groups, the federal government in changing course. This goes back to 2012, when the Harper government allocated $8 million to audit the political activities of charities — the threat being that those deemed too political could lose their tax status. The Conservatives denied that the audits were politically motivated, but it was hard to ignore that they were introduced at the same time Harperites were muttering about “radical” environmentalists bogging down the Northern Gateway pipeline-approval process. Jack Knox reports. (Times Colonist)

Washington Takes Legal Action Over Volkswagen's Diesel Pollution
Washington is taking legal action against Volkswagen in the wake of a diesel vehicle scandal. Back in September, Volkswagen admitted to installing special software in some of its diesel vehicles, causing them to give false readings during pre-sale air quality tests. Forty-seven states, including Washington and Oregon announced investigations.  Now Washington has given the company formal notice that they violated the state’s Clean Air Act. Jes Burns reports. (EarthFix)

Groundwater is mostly non-renewable, study finds
The water that supplies aquifers and wells that billions of people rely on around the world is mostly a non-renewable resource that could run out, a new Canadian-led study has found. While many people may think groundwater is replenished by rain and melting snow the way lakes and rivers are, underground water is actually renewed much more slowly. In fact, just six per cent of the groundwater around the world is replenished within a "human lifetime" of 50 years, reports University of Victoria hydrogeologist Tom Gleeson and his collaborators in a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience today. Emily Chung reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 246 AM PST TUE NOV 17 2015
STORM WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
TODAY
SW WIND 30 TO 40 KT...RISING TO 40 TO 50 KT. COMBINED SEAS 14 TO 16 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 12 SECONDS...BUILDING
 TO 19 TO 20 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 12 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN.
TONIGHT
W WIND 35 TO 45 KT...EASING TO 20 TO 30 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 17 TO 20 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF
 12 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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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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