Thursday, December 17, 2015

12/17 Baby J54, BC coast guard, oil export OKd, no BC LNG, KPLU sale, climate changes, Maury reserve

J-54 (Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research)
New baby orca joins the local J pod
A new baby orca has joined the J pod. The whale, known among orca experts as J54, was first seen on Dec. 1 by whale watchers near San Juan Island. Born to a 22-year-old mother known as J28, baby J54’s gender remains unknown, the Pacific Whale Watch Association said in a news release Wednesday. This is J28’s second baby — J46, a female, was born in 2009 and is still alive. Jennifer Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)

Vancouver's Kitsilano coast guard base to reopen 'as soon as possible'
The Kitsilano coast guard station in Vancouver is scheduled to reopen "as soon as possible," according to Fisheries and Coast Guard Minister Hunter Tootoo. Tootoo made the announcement outside the closed station on the shores of English Bay in Vancouver, following through on a Liberal campaign promise. (CBC)

U.S. leaders agree to lift 4-decade ban on oil exports
A bill to lift the 40-year-old ban on U.S. oil exports, changing the dynamic of U.S. producers in the world energy market, could be pushed through Congress by week's end thanks to a deal reached this week. The measure was folded into a massive tax-and-spending bill that averted another government shutdown. The move was favored by Republican lawmakers and oil industry leaders. In return, Democrats won a five-year extension of credits for wind and solar energy producers and a renewal of a land and water conservation fund and nixed attempts to roll back President Obama's environmental regulations. (USA Today)

Tsawwassen First Nation votes down controversial LNG facility
The Tsawwassen First Nation has rejected plans to build an LNG export facility just north of the B.C. Ferries terminal. In a vote on Wednesday night, 53 per cent said 'no' to allowing the 32-hectare project on the nation's traditional land…. The proposed LNG facility has been a contentious issue for the 430 band members, 139 of which cast a ballot. (CBC)

PLU And UW Say They'll Consider An Outside Bid For KPLU
Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington say they will open the door for an outside group to bid on KPLU. PLU holds the radio station’s license, and had signed a letter of intent to sell it to UW. The original deal would turn KPLU into an all-music station with new call letters, operated by the UW-licensed KUOW.  But now the parties say they’re negotiating an addendum to that agreement. It would allow a community-based group to submit its own competing bid. If that happens, Associate Vice President Norm Arkans says UW would "stand down." Gabriel Spitzer reports. (KPLU)

West Coast marine mammals respond to shifting conditions, new research shows
Humpback whales off the West Coast consume thousands of pounds of krill, plankton and small fish each day. Research shows that humpback diets reflect their surroundings, with the truck-sized whales filter-feeding on vast amounts of krill when cold upwelling waters prevail, but switching to schooling fish such as anchovies when warmer waters take over and the fish grow abundant…. The findings presented at the Society of Marine Mammalogy's Biennial Conference in San Francisco demonstrate that humpback foraging responds to environmental changes, and illustrates how marine mammals serve as sentinels of ever-changing ocean conditions…. The Society's conference has attracted more than 2,000 marine mammal researchers, agency representatives, educators and conservation groups to San Francisco for its first return to California in 25 years. (Phys.Org)

Lake Washington Is Warming Up Faster Than Global Pace
It’s not in your head. Seattle's Lake Washington is getting warmer and more comfortable to swim in every year. And it’s not the only lake experiencing a rapid rise in temperature. For the first time, scientists have brought together a comprehensive data set from 235 lakes around the world, containing more than half of the world’s fresh water. The study, which was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that globally, lake temperatures are rising more rapidly than ocean or air temperatures – at an average uptick of .61 degrees Fahrenheit each decade. Ashley Ahearn reports. (KUOW)

Annual Arctic report card shows record warmth and retreating ice
The U.S.'s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its report on the state of the climate in 2015. And it's not looking good.  Among its key observations: An increase in air and sea surface temperatures, a decrease in sea ice, the shrinking of the Greenland ice sheet and the changing behavior of marine life. Not only were Arctic temperatures well above average, some areas saw the highest temperatures since record-keeping began in 1900. For the second straight year, the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet — a finding that was recently affirmed by Environment Canada scientists.  Johanna Wagstaffe reports. (CBC)

County receives grant from state to purchase land in Maury Aquatic Reserve for salmon habitat restoration
Last week, the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Partnership awarded over $44 million in grants to various organizations throughout the state for projects aimed at restoring and conserving salmon habitat. King County received nearly $3.8 million of that total, with $200,000 designated by the Water and Land Resources Division for the purchase of 11 acres of land within the Maury Island Aquatic Reserve. The land parcel that has been deemed a priority includes about a quarter-mile of shoreline along the west side of Quartermaster Harbor near Lost Lake. Sarah Low reports. (Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST THU DEC 17 2015  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 

TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 15 SECONDS. RAIN.

TONIGHT
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 14 SECONDS. RAIN.


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