|(PHOTO: Matthew Studebaker/BirdNote)|
By December, an array of diving birds that nested at far northern latitudes are wintering on temperate waters across the continent. If we could watch them under water, we'd see this Common Loon racing like a torpedo. A goldeneye dives under water and swims about 10 feet from the surface, while scoters get down to 30 feet in search of clams and mussels. But if one bird stands out as the most beautiful diver, it has to be the Long-tailed Duck. Propelling itself beneath the surface with its wings, it seems to fly through the water, sometimes to depths of more than 60 feet! (BirdNote)
If you like to watch: Skagit Marine Reserves: Anchor for an Ecosystem
The protected marine reserves in Skagit County are the foundations of a vibrant ecosystem that supports eelgrass, forage fish, salmon, and herons. A film by Jesse Nichols of Western Washington University produce for the Friends of Skagit Beaches 2015 fall film series.
State regulators levy $71,000 fine against BNSF over spills
BNSF Railway will be required to pay more than $71,000 in a settlement with state regulators over not reporting spilled hazardous materials within the time required under state law. The settlement stems from more than a dozen hazardous materials spills across the state between Nov. 1, 2014, and Feb. 24, 2015, including a train that leaked 1,611 gallons of Bakken crude oil from a tank car before the leak was discovered at BP Cherry Point refinery near Ferndale in November 2014. The state Utilities and Transportation Commission staff alleged in a March complaint that BNSF had failed to report 14 releases of various hazardous materials, including crude oil, to the state within the required time, and recommended the company be fined up to $700,000. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)
High praise from state, feds for Smith Island salmon project
Snohomish County was awash with praise from federal and state fisheries officials Monday for years of work on the Smith Island salmon habitat project. Heavy construction on the project in the Snohomish River basin is expected to get under way during the spring. The goal is to restore tidally influenced marshland long cut off by dikes. Planning began shortly after the federal government's 1999 listing of the Puget Sound chinook salmon as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)
Kinder Morgan pipeline critics paint picture of unneeded, risky expansion project
Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would cost Canada a net $7.4 billion, SFU researchers contend in a new study that suggests the project is not in the public interest. The cost-benefit analysis was commissioned by the Living Oceans Society, an intervenor in the National Energy Board hearings on the Trans Mountain expansion project, to evaluate new evidence submitted by Kinder Morgan to the NEB. The lead researcher is resource and environmental planning professor Tom Gunton, who was an adviser to then premier Glen Clark in the late 1990s. Gunton and his colleagues suggest Kinder Morgan is overstating the benefits of the $5.4-billion project by using estimates of gross rather than net economic benefits. Bethany Lindsay reports. (Vancouver Sun)
Port of Port Angeles: Oil-drilling rigs to be loaded up this week; Polar Pioneer headed to North Sea
When the giant oil drilling rig presently parked in Port Angeles Harbor departs, it is not likely to return, according to the Port of Port Angeles. The Polar Pioneer's failure to find much oil in the Chukchi Sea killed the Port of Port Angeles' hopes to become a staging center for Arctic drilling operations, port executive director Ken O'Hollaren told about 60 members of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce on Monday afternoon. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)
China pollution: First ever red alert in effect in Beijing
Schools in Beijing are closed and outdoor construction halted as the Chinese capital's first ever pollution "red alert" came into effect. The alert, the highest possible warning level, was issued late Monday and will last until midday on Thursday. Limits have been placed on car use and some factories have been ordered to stop operations. (BBC)
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 245 AM PST TUE DEC 8 2015
GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
S WIND 30 TO 40 KT...BECOMING SW 25 TO 35 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 11 TO 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF
12 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 14 TO 15 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 11 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN.
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING E 15 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL
12 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.
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