Tuesday, November 3, 2015

11/3 Elwha, Keystone, BC LNG, Qwuloolt Estuary, Still Cr., Snake salmon, pesticide ban, Bowman Bay, Vic bags

Elwha River 11/2/15 (Tom Roorda/CWI)
Elwha River November 2, 2015
Anne Shaffer at Coastal Watershed Institute writes: "The day after the weekend rain event during which the Elwha flows jumped from 2000 to over 12000 cfs in less than 8 hours. Flows then dropped back to pre-storm cfs overnight. Classic Elwha. The high flow combined with fall high tide and the entire Elwha west estuary (not blocked by a dike) was reactivated. The result? Juvenile steelhead, coho, and Chinook were abundant. Also, (for the first time in over a decade of sampling), we caught a number of large, powerful, adult chum in our sets. We’ve said it before: chum are absolutely critical for the restoration of the watershed ecosystem."

TransCanada asks US to suspend pipeline application review
TransCanada, the company behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S Gulf Coast, has asked the U.S. State Department to pause its review of the project. The move comes as the Obama administration increasingly appears likely to reject the pipeline permit application before leaving office in January 2017. TransCanada said Monday it had sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that the State Department suspend its review of the pipeline application. The pipeline company said such a suspension would be appropriate while it works with Nebraska authorities to secure approval of its preferred route through the state that is facing legal challenges in state courts. TransCanada anticipated it would take seven to 12 months to get route approval from Nebraska authorities. Rob Gillies reports. (Associated Press)

Steelhead LNG must cross the Salish Sea before its proposed facilities can be built
The list of obstacles before liquefied natural gas project proponents in British Columbia is long and daunting. The laundry list includes the need to secure off-take agreements with Asian customers, to sign rights of way for pipelines through First Nations territory and to lock in financing for their multi-billion-dollar facilities in a capital-constrained energy market. But for Nigel Kuzemko, CEO of Steelhead LNG, there’s an additional obstacle: the Salish Sea.... Before Steelhead LNG sanctions the construction of either of its two proposed LNG facilities on the south end of Vancouver Island, which many observers say is an unlikely location for such a project, the company will need to build a pipeline across and under that sea. Geoffrey Morgan reports. (Financial Times)

After levee breach, marine life returns to Qwuloolt Estuary
It's been two months since the levee at the Qwuloolt Estuary was breached, letting the tides return to the lowlands for the first time in a century. There are early signs that the action is having its intended effect. “We're already seeing marine species like smelt come in,” said Morgan Ruff, the Snohomish Basin Capital Program Coordinator for the Tulalip Tribes. Biologists monitoring the changes to the landscape have also caught an adult coho salmon in the new estuary. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

Vancouver's Still Creek sees salmon for fourth year running
Chum salmon have returned to spawn in an urban creek in East Vancouver for the fourth year in a row, leaving biologists feeling "pretty excited" about the potential to return city landscapes to their natural states.  "It really indicates that if we can improve these systems more, if we can work on the watershed, if we can open up stream channels that are buried now, we can get these kinds of fish back into our city," said Vancouver Park Board biologist Nick Page. The city has been working since 2002 to restore the Still Creek corridor to its natural habitat, a process sometimes referred to as "rewilding." (CBC)

Feds Release Plan For Recovering Snake River Salmon
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a draft plan Monday for recovering threatened Snake River fall chinook salmon – fish that have to pass eight Columbia and Snake River dams to reach their spawning grounds. In the past, nearly a half million of these fish returned to the Snake River each year. But with overfishing, dam construction and habitat loss, those numbers dropped to just a few hundred by 1992, when the fish were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The construction of the three Hells Canyon Complex dams wiped out one of only two populations of the species and blocked the fish from reaching about 80 percent of their historic spawning grounds in Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Cassandra Proffita reports. (EarthFix)

EPA may ban common pesticide used on fruits and vegetables
A common pesticide used on citrus fruits, almonds and other crops would be banned under a proposal announced Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency. The proposal would prohibit use of chlorpyrifos, a widely used insecticide that is sprayed on a variety of crops including oranges, apples, cherries, grapes, broccoli and asparagus. The pesticide, in use since 1965, has sickened dozens of farmworkers in recent years. Traces have been found in waterways, threatening fish, and regulators say overuse could make targeted insects immune to the pesticide. Matthew Daly reports. (Associated Press)

Bowman Bay project personal for park manager
 As Bowman Bay glittered under the sun Monday, massive orange machinery dug, dumped and distributed dirt along the shoreline. Trimaxx Construction Inc. of Sedro-Woolley is in the midst of a Northwest Straits Foundation beach restoration project, where about 1,300 cubic yards of rocks are being removed to improve fish habitat and open up the area to more recreation. The beach at Bowman Bay is part of Deception Pass State Park. It is on the south end of Fidalgo Island. For Deception Pass State Park Manager Jack Hartt, the project is something he dreamed up 40 years ago, and at a place he has known since he was 4 years old. Kimberley Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Victoria eyes ban on single-use plastic bags
Victoria councillors are considering whether to bring in a bylaw banning city retailers from providing single-use plastic bags. Councillors Ben Isitt and Jeremy Loveday are sponsoring a motion that calls on the city to implement the ban and on Mayor Lisa Helps to write to all the other municipalities and electoral areas in the Capital Regional District urging them to follow suit. If the city gave first reading to such a bylaw, it would be the first city on Vancouver Island and the first Canadian capital city to do so.  Bill Cleverely reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
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