Friday, February 27, 2015

2/27 Crow gifts, new orca!, oil trains, BC LNG, sinking ship, Mountain Slough, Samish review, L Whatcom, Tofino salmon, PS Stewrds, Navy pier

Crow gifts (PHOTO: Katy Sewall/BBC)
The girl who gets gifts from birds
Lots of people love the birds in their garden, but it's rare for that affection to be reciprocated. One young girl in Seattle is luckier than most. She feeds the crows in her garden - and they bring her gifts in return. Eight-year-old Gabi Mann sets a bead storage container on the dining room table, and clicks the lid open. This is her most precious collection. "You may take a few close looks," she says, "but don't touch." It's a warning she's most likely practised on her younger brother. She laughs after saying it though. She is happy for the audience. Katy Sewall reports. (BBC)

Feds Spot Third Baby Orca Born Recently to Imperiled Pods
U.S. scientists following endangered killer whales from a research vessel have spotted a newborn orca off the coast of Washington state. A biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says they spotted the calf on Wednesday with other whales in the "L'' pod, one of three families of southern resident killer whales that frequent inland Washington waters. It's the third baby born to the whale pods in recent months, bringing the Puget Sound's endangered population to 80, still dangerously low. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

The oil trains and the cities: How safe?
They gathered at dusk at the King Street Station with the words “No Exploding Oil Trains” projected on the station’s clock tower. Some held signs with four more words, “Not Under Our City.” The crowd wasn’t certain if any 100-car oil trains would enter the tunnel beneath them on the underground route past the Pike Place Market. But after two more oil train explosions this month, one in Ontario and another in West Virginia, the people gathered there Tuesday felt the time was ripe for another protest. Martha Baskin reports. (Crosscut)

Tax break a cash windfall for potential LNG developers in B.C.: UBC professor
The savings to LNG projects from a new federal tax measure introduced last week could be billions of dollars if three major export terminals were to be built on the B.C. coast. University of B.C. accounting professor Kin Lo has calculated that the tax measure would save LNG companies $75 million to $100 million over seven years for every $1 billion invested. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

HMCS Annapolis warship could sink accidentally off Gambier Island if not towed, says lawyer
A deteriorating former warship from the 1960s is on "borrowed time," and could sink accidentally within months, said a lawyer for the Artificial Reef Society of B.C. on Wednesday. Bryan Hicks told a Federal Court that HMCS Annapolis must be towed from Long Bay, also known as Port Graves, on Gambier Island, to nearby Halkett Bay Marine Park, so the society can finally sink it and create an artificial reef. Hicks is in court fighting an application from the Save Halkett Bay Marine Park group to stop the sinking of the ship, which was sold in 2008 to the society for sinking in the marine park for the benefit of divers and marine life. Laurie Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

Kent District delays plans to excavate endangered species hot spot in Fraser Valley
The province has granted the District of Kent authorization to dredge within Mountain Slough, habitat for endangered fish and frogs, to reduce the flood risk to local farms. Dredging, including here at the confluence with McCallum Slough, must be completed by March 15. An environmental expert must be present to monitor the flood works. The District of Kent says it is putting on hold a controversial plan to excavate within Mountain Slough — a hot spot for endangered species in the Fraser Valley. The excavation is intended to reduce flood risk for local farmers. Mayor John Van Laerhoven said in an interview Wednesday that farmers agreed to the delay after the Sto:lo First Nation said the work would carry less environmental risk if undertaken in the summer. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: NASA's historic views of Seattle region (SeattlePI.Com)

Annual Samish water pollution review starts Sunday
Sunday marks the start of March, and a reminder for many that spring is on the horizon. In Samish Bay, Sunday marks the beginning of another four-month pollution evaluation. Last year the watershed failed the state Department of Health assessment within the first three weeks, much to the disappointment of Clean Samish Initiative partners. The initiative has been working since 2009 to reduce the amount of fecal coliform entering the waterway. Fecal coliform bacteria is an indicator that human or animal feces are present, which can cause illness if consumed. Historically, most Samish water pollution events have been documented between March and June. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Homeowner buy-in needed to meet Lake Whatcom cleanup goal
The next time a Lake Whatcom resident hears from the city or county, it may be to commit to some serious and probably expensive yard work. Bellingham and Whatcom County are funding the next phase of a program that pays homeowners up to $6,000 to partially cover the cost of systems that will capture stormwater from the property and filter out the phosphorus. The new program is part of a comprehensive five-year plan to clean up Lake Whatcom, for 2015-19. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Tofino salmon agency faces uncertain future
A small group of volunteers that has been working to restore some Vancouver Island salmon rivers that are so remote they can only be accessed by horseback may have reached the end of the road. Doug Palfrey, the driving force behind the Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society (TSES) for nearly 30 years, sent a short e-mail to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) this week announcing that his group can’t continue saving endangered Chinook stocks in Clayoquot Sound. Mr. Palfrey wrote that $7,000 annual funding under DFO’s Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) simply isn’t enough. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

EarthCorps and Hazel Miller Foundation support Puget Sound Stewards
EarthCorps is becoming a common sight around town. EarthCorps crews, which are made up of young adult environmental leaders from around the US and the world, have been monitoring and restoring habitat at Edmonds Marsh for the past two years. Now, with support from the Hazel Miller Foundation, EarthCorps and the City of Edmonds are launching a Puget Sound Stewards Program in Edmonds. Puget Sound Stewards are committed volunteers trained in the management of habitat restoration sites and volunteer their time and effort to ensure long-term health of these natural areas. (Edmonds Beacon)

Port of Port Angeles offers alternative to Navy's plan for new pier at Ediz Hook Coast Guard station
The Port of Port Angeles has made a last-ditch, last-minute effort to convince the Navy to use existing port docking facilities instead of building a new pier for submarine-escort vessels at the Coast Guard station on Ediz Hook. Port commissioners approved a draft version of a one-page proposal at their meeting Tuesday. They directed Environmental Manager Jesse Waknitz to revise and send it to the Navy on Wednesday. Wednesday was the deadline for public comments on Naval Base Kitsap's “Description of Proposed Action and Alternatives” for the pier and support facilities. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 236 AM PST FRI FEB 27 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON
TODAY
E WIND 10 TO 20 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT LATE IN THE MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
NE WIND 15 TO 25 KT...RISING TO 20 TO 30 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING.
SAT
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
NE WIND TO 10 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SUN
SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 2 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Thursday, February 26, 2015

2/26 WA pipe, oil train queries, Shell woes, BC LNG, salmon status, non-tangible fish, OR marine life, Howe Sound ship, Barnaby Reach, grizzlies, H2O2, Matlock farm

(PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Emerging from the Decay
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "I love crocuses. They pop up all over the garden every February, bright and cheerful no matter what the weather might be doing. Our yellow crocuses come first, followed a week or two later by their paler, but no less beautiful purple cousins. Both serve as a reminder that spring is just around the corner, helping to bring a smile and a lighter step after the wet, dreary months of winter…."

Senate bill would look to install crude oil pipeline across Washington state
A state senator introduced a bill today that would require Washington to look at building pipeline to move crude oil through the state. “We need to move oil across our state and there is a lot of concern about oil-by-rail,” said Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, in an announcement Wednesday, Feb. 25. “It’s time to look at a trans-Washington oil pipeline.” Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, is a co-sponsor of the bill, which would require a study of the safest pipeline route to the state’s oil refineries from the Midwest, e.g. the Bakken region in North Dakota and Montana. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Unanswered questions about oil trains
Two questions popped up Tuesday at a Washington House committee hearing on an oil train safety bill. No one could answer them. The first came from Bob Rudolph, a resident of Steilacoom, a Pierce County city where a railroad line lies next to Puget Sound. He asked: Are there any plans to deal with a possible train accident spilling oil into Puget Sound? The hearing room held railroad, oil industry and government emergency officials, none of whom could answer. The other question at the House Finance Committee hearing came from Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland. He asked: If an oil train wrecked in an area crisscrossed by the jurisdictions of several local and state agencies, how long would it take to get a unified command in place? Six hours? Three days? Barnaby Dow, representing the King County Office of Emergency Management department, said the county has the resources to deal with such an emergency. But he did not know how long it would take to set up a unified command structure. John Stang reports. (Crosscut)

Anacortes refinery plan may hit another roadblock
An environmental review isn't the only challenge Shell faces with its Anacortes refinery. Betting on the long-term viability of Bakken oil is risky. Jon Talton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Shell Puget Sound getting new general manager Tom Rizzo, site general manager of Shell Puget Sound Refinery, will leave his position March 1 and will be replaced by Shirley Yap, who comes to Anacortes with 20 years of experience. Shannen Kuest reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

B.C. LNG projects unlikely to produce by 2020: analysts
Just a week into the new year, Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman declared British Columbia’s nascent liquefied natural gas industry would “take flight” in 2015. He said he expected to see three plants in production by 2020 as the province had set the “playing field” for development of the new industry. Measures included a new LNG income tax that had been cut in half and rules that set benchmarks for greenhouse gas emissions. Last week, the federal government sweetened the pot, announcing it would introduce an accelerated capital tax allowance measure that would provide savings to companies. But despite the latest tax measure from Ottawa, there is little likelihood that three plants will be in operation by 2020, say industry analysts. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

New Report Shows Status of Salmon Recovery
Salmon recovery efforts in Washington are making a difference – more salmon are returning home in some areas, although significant work remains – according to a new report released by the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office. The newly released State of Salmon in Watersheds Executive Summary and interactive Web site show Washington’s progress in trying to recover the 15 populations declared as at risk of extinction by the federal government and listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Web site puts online live data from many sources around the state and offers interactive story maps from efforts statewide. (San Juan Islander)

In Overturning Conviction, Supreme Court Says Fish Are Not Always Tangible
A narrowly divided Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with a Florida fisherman, throwing out his conviction for tossing evidence — undersize grouper — back into the Gulf of Mexico under a federal law aimed mostly at white-collar crime. The fisherman, John L. Yates, was convicted of violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which imposes a maximum sentence of 20 years for the destruction of “any record, document or tangible object” in order to obstruct an investigation. In two opinions, five justices accepted Mr. Yates’s argument that fish were not the sort of tangible objects with which the law was concerned. Their analysis was based on a close reading of the words and structure of the law. Adam Liptak reports. (NY Times)

Japanese Fish Found Alive In Oregon Waters
Oregon scientists are trying to figure out how a fish, native to Japan, was pulled out of a crab pot on the Oregon coast - alive. “I’ve been thinking about it ever since I heard about it,” says John Chapman, an invasive species expert at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. He says there’s only a handful of ways the striped knifejaw could make it here: in the ballast water of a ship; someone could have dumped their aquarium into the ocean; or the fish survived under debris washed out to sea after the Japanese tsunami. Kristian Foden-Vencil reports. (OPB) And, oooh: Great white shark lurking near Washington State's Ocean Shores (CBC)

Permit to sink former warship in Howe Sound questioned in Federal Court
A lawyer for a group opposed to the sinking of a former warship off the coast of British Columbia says Environment Canada failed to adequately consider whether the vessel contained toxic chemicals. Martin Peters represents the Save Halkett Bay Marine Park Society, which is fighting in Federal Court to quash a permit that Environment Canada issued last October to the Artificial Reef Society of B.C., allowing it to sink the ship. The reef society is aiming to tow the 1960s vessel from Long Bay to Halkett Bay Marine Park on Gambier Island, where it would be sunk to create an artificial reef for divers and marine life. (Canadian Press)

Concerns raised over Barnaby fish proposal on Skagit
A proposal to restore fish passage in a section of the upper Skagit River was met with heated discussion at a public meeting Monday evening. While landowners and families that live in the potential project vicinity say they have abundant concerns and frustrations with the proposal’s direction so far, project proponents say Monday’s discussion was a good place to start. Their goal over the long term is to improve fish habitat in the area near Rockport, known as the Barnaby Reach, with the least impact to nearby residents. But for now they aim to work with the people who live there to develop a project all parties can support. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Agencies are working to restore grizzlies to their natural range
There's an effort under way to help ensure grizzly bears don't become extinct in the North Cascades. The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working with other agencies on a plan to bring grizzly bears back to this part of their natural range. That includes many of Snohomish County's prominent peaks, such as Mount Pilchuck and Whitehorse Mountain. The grizzly bear restoration effort comes 40 years after the animals were listed in 1975 under the Endangered Species Act as threatened in the lower 48 states. Amy Nile reports. (Everett Herald)

Ecology: 9,600 gallons of hydrogen peroxide spilled from tank at Port of Olympia
A recent chemical spill at the Port of Olympia was larger than first reported, according to state Department of Ecology documents obtained through a public records request. The documents also shed light on the strength of hydrogen peroxide that spilled from a tank at the port’s marine terminal about noon on Jan. 28. The spill led to a large emergency response. S everal businesses within a quarter-mile of the marine terminal were evacuated; some employees were asked to stay indoors. Rolf Boone reports. (Olympian)

In Record-setting Deal, More Than 153 Acres Of Farmland Preserved In Pierce County
More than 153 acres along the Puyallup River will be preserved forever as farmland and wildlife habitat. It's the biggest agriculture conservation deal in the history of Pierce County. The farmland has been in the Matlock family since the mid-1940s. During the height of operation they grew more than one million pounds of berries a year and hired thousands of school children to help bring in the harvest and learn what a day’s work on a farm felt like. For the last 16 years, the family has leased out the land to other farmers. A few years ago, Ivan Matlock, who is now 81, was looking to get the family out of the agriculture business for good and put in a call to Forterra, a nonprofit conservation group. Jennifer Wing reports. (KPLU)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 232 AM PST THU FEB 26 2015
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E 10 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 12 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2/25 Octo crab, Keystone, Shell smell, snow pack, sea rise, surf fall, seawall, Meadowdale Park, BC ferries

Octo crab (PHOTO: Porsche Indrusie/Guardian)
If you like to watch: Octopus filmed jumping out of water to catch and devour passing crab
Octopus are amazing creatures in many ways, but this remarkable video, recently captured by Porsche Indrisie in Yallingup, Western Australia… (The Guardian)

Defying GOP, Obama vetoes Keystone XL pipeline bill
Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency. Obama offered no indication of whether he’ll eventually issue a permit for the pipeline, whose construction has become a flashpoint in the U.S. debate about environmental policy and climate change. Instead, Obama sought to reassert his authority to make the decision himself, rebuffing GOP lawmakers who will control both the House and Senate for the remainder of the president’s term. Josh Lederman reports. (Associated Press) See also: Obama veto isn’t only problem for Keystone pipeline  Sean Cockerham reports. (McClatchy)

Shell refinery apologizes for odor released over Anacortes
Shell oil refinery at Anacortes has apologized to its neighbors in the city and on the Swinomish Indian Reservation for releasing a strong sulfur odor. Spokesman Cory Ertel told the Skagit Valley Herald the odor was released Friday during maintenance work and was stopped as soon as the source was identified. He said Monday no harmful levels were detected. (Associated Press)

B.C.'s low snow pack could affect salmon run in summer
Balmy winter weather in B.C. could lead to trouble in the months ahead, if the unseasonably small snow pack doesn't improve and leads to dangerously low water levels. Snow levels have been so low that six ski resorts in the province have closed, according to the British Columbia Snow Report. And with Environment Canada forecasting sunshine and temperatures up to 10 C this weekend, it doesn't look like snow conditions will improve anytime soon. (CBC)

US sea level north of New York City 'jumped by 128mm'
Sea levels north of New York City rose by 128mm in two years, according to a report in the journal, Nature Communications. Coastal areas will need to prepare for short term and extreme sea level events, say US scientists. Climate models suggest extreme sea level rises will become more common this century. Helen Briggs reports. (BBC)

Climate change may flatten famed surfing waves
On a summer day in 1885, three Hawaiian princes surfed at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on crudely constructed boards made from coastal redwoods, bringing the sport to the North American mainland. Today their wave-riding successors consult satellite weather forecasts on smartphones before heading to Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz to don neoprene wetsuits. But the new century could bring the biggest transformation yet to surfing - the waves themselves. A rapidly changing global climate will likely affect prime surfing spots worldwide. In California, the forecasts for Monterey Bay's famed big swells, while far from certain, are also far from good. James Urton reports. (San Jose Mercury News)

Seattle’s new seawall also a highway for fish
Seattle’s $330 million replacement seawall is taking shape — and local fish are taking notice. Workers have completed the first section of the wall, including a migratory corridor for juvenile salmon that will eventually run the entire length of the downtown waterfront. The finished section sits between South Washington Street and Yesler Way, near the Colman Dock ferry terminal at the southern end of the waterfront. It features a suite of design elements meant to attract fish and other aquatic animals and plants. Daniel Beekman reports. (Seattle Times)

Deal ensures land near Meadowdale Beach Park won’t be developed
For the past decade, the future of 13 acres of wooded, steep hillside overlooking Meadowdale Beach Park has been debated. Now that battle has come to an end. The city of Lynnwood has reached an agreement to buy the property from developers for $6 million, Jared Bond, the city’s environmental and surface water supervisor, said Tuesday. Sharon Salyer reports. (Everett Herald)

BC Ferries petition with 20,000 signatures moves to legislature
Frustrated by soaring ferry costs that make it increasingly difficult to leave Powell River for family visits, Laural Eacott turned to the world’s largest online petition platform in an attempt to get government attention. And she certainly got it Tuesday, when a list of more than 20,000 names collected over the past year on Change.org was tabled in the B.C. legislature. The petition calls for BC Ferries to be stripped of its independent status and be returned to the jurisdiction of the provincial highways department, which could provide it with additional funding. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 218 AM PST WED FEB 25 2015
TODAY
S WIND TO 10 KT IN THE MORNING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 13 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2/24 Octo love, Shell train, train derailing, ocean acid, orca ESA, Western Flyer, Saanich ecosystems

Octo Love (Photo: Jackie Hildering/CBC)
If you like to watch: Giant Pacific octopus wraps itself around diver's face near Port McNeill, B.C.  
A scuba diver in Port McNeill, on the north coast of Vancouver Island, B.C., got up close and personal with a Giant Pacific octopus on Sunday, when the marine creature wrapped itself around her face. The encounter between Natasha Dickinson and the octopus was caught on camera by her diving partner Jackie Hildering, a biologist and marine educator who blogs under the name The Marine Detective. (CBC)

Hearing examiner says Shell oil project needs full review
A Skagit County hearing examiner handed conservation groups a victory Monday, ruling that an oil-by-rail project at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery near Anacortes should undergo a full environmental review. "Shell's proposal is a major action significantly affecting the quality of the environment," and a full review should be prepared, Skagit County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford said in Monday's ruling. The review should take into account the potential risks of spills and explosions, the safety of railroad bridges and the impact of oil-train spills to sensitive natural areas such as Padilla Bay, Dufford wrote. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year
The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades. The projection was contained in a Department of Transportation analysis from last July. It says the derailments could cause more than $4 billion in damage and possibly kill hundreds of people if a serious accident were to happen in a densely populated part of the U.S. Matthew Brown and Josh Funk report. (Associated Press)

National ocean acidification study finds Northwest among hardest-hit regions
The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report today that won't come as a surprise to Northwest shellfish growers. Ocean acidification--a chemical imbalance in the water caused by carbon dioxide emissions--is hitting the Northwest harder than other parts of the country. Authors of the report, "Vulnerability and adaptation of US shellfisheries to ocean acidification," ranked Oregon and Washington high among regions expected to be rocked by the ocean's changing chemistry, but not only because of our water conditions. They picked us because many Northwesterners make their living off shellfish - a species that's particularly vulnerable to acidification. Kelly House reports. (Oregonian) See also: Acidifying Waters Are Endangering Your Oysters And Mussels Christopher Joyce reports. (KPLU)

Feds studying how to expand protections for endangered orcas
The National Marine Fisheries Service is studying how to revise habitat protections for endangered orcas that spend time in Washington waters. The federal agency said Monday it is responding to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity. The group wants to expand protections for southern resident killer whales to include offshore waters from Cape Flattery to Point Reyes, Calif. The agency says it didn't have enough data or analyses yet to propose revisions requested in the petition. It would publish a proposed rule in 2017 after collecting more data and completing studies. (Associated Press)

Steinbeck Vessel To Be Refloated By New Owner And Northwest Shipwrights
New ownership is giving new hope to a decrepit, unseaworthy fishing boat with a notable literary pedigree. Northwest shipwrights will be hired to restore the Western Flyer, the vessel made famous by the author John Steinbeck. In 1940, Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts (who later inspired the character Doc in "Cannery Row") chartered the Western Flyer for a Mexican cruise, which Steinbeck immortalized in the non-fiction classic "The Log From the Sea of Cortez." Tom Banse reports. (KPLU)

‘Professional’ oversight of environment needs to be tempered: UVic study
Much of B.C.’s environmental deregulation goes too far in handing over matters of public interest to those employed by industry, says a University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre study. The shift to so-called professional reliance in the past decade has put more decision making and responsibility into the hands of professionals such as consulting engineers, and allowed the B.C. government to reduce staffing. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Owners irked after Saanich deems properties sensitive ecosystems
Saanich residents are raising alarm about an ecosystem protection bylaw that may make it harder for them to sell their homes. The Environmental Development Permit Area bylaw, which came into effect in 2012, affects more than 2,000 private properties in the district. One of its provisions would prevent homeowners from planting new gardens without a permit, if it damaged native vegetation. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 229 AM PST TUE FEB 24 2015
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, February 23, 2015

2/23 BirdNote, Oil oil oil, Shell smell, Nanuq death, saving orcas, stormwater $s, climate $s, Saanich leak

Winter wren (Wild Bird Video/BirdNote)
BirdNote At 10
To celebrate BirdNote's 10-year anniversary, we asked BirdNote founder Chris Peterson how she came up with the idea for the show. The StarDate public radio program provided inspiration. “I had this idea grab me around the neck,” Chris recalls. “Why don’t we do for birds what StarDate does for stars?” She gathered a team, and the first BirdNote broadcast, “Bald Eagle – National Symbol,” aired on KPLU 88.5 FM Seattle/Tacoma on February 21, 2005. Since then, more than 1200 shows have aired. (BirdNote)

If you like to watch: Inside The Fight To Save The Salish Sea
A proposed tar sands pipeline through Western Canada threatens the Salish Sea—rich, abundant border waters shared by the U.S. and Canada—and the very existence and way of life of Native tribes located in the United States. The pipeline would end near Vancouver, but from there, massive oil tankers carrying toxic tar sands bitumen must thread their way through the waters of the Salish Sea along the U.S-Canada border, where an oil spill would destroy one of our nation's most valuable ecosystems. (EarthJustice)

State seeks more oversight as rails carry more oil
As the number of trains carrying volatile North Dakota crude oil through Washington grows, railroads are coming under scrutiny. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Ferndale senator’s oil safety bill faces competition in state House
Mirroring last session, two competing bills that would expand oil safety programs are making their way through the state Legislature, and compromises likely will be needed for either to pass. Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, is working to pass House Bill 1449, which was requested by Gov. Jay Inslee to implement a series of oil safety recommendations made in a state Department of Ecology oil transportation study. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Conferences in March to discuss fight for rail safety
“The Future of Railroads: Safety, Workers, Community and the Environment” is the title for two upcoming conferences sponsored by Railroad Workers United, a labor group active in last year’s successful fight against one-person “crews” at the BNSF Railway, and Backbone Campaign, an organization based in Washington state active on environmental and other issues. The conferences will be held March 14 in Richmond, California, and March 21 in Olympia, Washington. Jeff Powers reports. (The Militant)

Despite Kinder ruling, NEB wants pipeline emergency response plans made public
The National Energy Board wants companies in Canada to make their emergency response plans public for existing pipelines, even though it has ruled Kinder Morgan can keep its plans secret from British Columbians. "Our chairman is not very happy. Canadians deserve to have that information,” said Darin Barter, a spokesperson for the NEB. Companies are not required to disclose their emergency response plans under Canadian law. Barter said the board is not calling for a legislative change, but for a commitment from industry to be more transparent. David Geselbracht and Laura Kane report. (Globe and Mail)

Maintenance work at Shell Refinery causes bad odors
A strong chemical odor from the Shell Puget Sound Refinery late Friday afternoon had an impact on some of its neighbors, and the chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community says he wants answers. At least 13 instances of offensive odors were reported Friday to the Northwest Clean Air Agency, which said the affected areas included the Swinomish reservation and La Conner. An air quality inspector went to the scene to investigate the source of the odor, the agency said. The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management issued an alert Friday night saying the odor was expected to dissipate with time but advised anyone who felt ill to call 911 or visit a hospital. Evan Marczynski reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Beluga whale Nanuq death at Orlando SeaWorld reignites breeding debate
The death of a beluga whale loaned by the Vancouver Aquarium to Orlando SeaWorld for breeding purposes is renewing the debate over whether cetaceans should be bred in captivity. SeaWorld officials said Nanuq died Thursday at the estimated age of 31 or 32. While the cause of death is not yet known, he had been undergoing treatment for an infection caused by a broken jaw that occurred in an encounter with other animals. "The conversation has obviously been brought back to the table," said Vancouver Park Board commissioner Michael Wiebe.  (CBC)

If you like to watch: Orca encounter near Whidbey Island  Photographer Stu Davidson said he had an unbelievable day when he was out on the boat on Puget Sound on Sunday. He encountered a small pod of about four or five Orcas milling just off the Clinton Ferry dock and watched them frolic before slowly heading north. (KING)

To save orcas, we must save salmon
OUR salmon and orcas are at a crossroads. Puget Sound’s resident killer whale population could be headed toward extinction, and saving our region’s salmon — a critical and sharply declining food source for our whales — may be the only way to save these Northwest icons. Ken Balcomb, Martha Kongsgaard and David Troutt opine. (Seattle Times Opinion)

Kitsap to receive major funding for stormwater, sewer construction
Washington Department of Ecology is poised to award $229 million in grants and loans for projects that will help clean up waters throughout the state. Grants to Kitsap County include $4.2 million for planned stormwater projects, plus another $4.6 million to lay sewer lines designed to protect shellfish beds in South Kitsap’s Yukon Harbor. This level of funding for a single round of water-quality grants demonstrates that elected officials are serious about cleaning up Puget Sound and other water bodies throughout the state. The Legislature must still approve the funding for the proposed grants and loans. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Noted climate-change skeptic linked to corporate money
Documents show Wei-Hock Soon, a scientist who attributes global warming largely to variations in the sun’s energy, has accepted more than $1.2 million from the fossil-fuel industry but failed to disclose that in most of his scientific papers. (NY Times)

Former homeowners must pay for oil tank leak in Saanich
Current and former owners of a Saanich home with a leaking underground oil tank must pay the costs of cleaning up their neighbour’s property, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled…. The contamination was discovered on March 4, 2012, when Saanich engineers saw oil spilling into the Gorge Waterway from the storm drain at the bottom of Adelaide Avenue. They found oil coming through a drainage tile on Dolinsky’s property. Louise Dickson reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
 WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON FEB 23 2015
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Friday, February 20, 2015

2/20 BC pipe, J51 & J50, deer cull, razor clamming, LIDs

Lunar New Year: Predictions for Year of the Sheep (or Ram, or Goat)
The Year of the Sheep has arrived. Or is it the ram? Or the goat? The Chinese character representing the animal of year could mean any of the above. Which leaves the animal of the year open to interpretation. Margaret Gallagher reports. (CBC)

Washington State can view spill-response plans for pipeline that B.C. cannot
Washington State has documents outlining emergency response plans for a Kinder Morgan pipeline – plans similar to those British Columbians have been told by Canada’s National Energy Board they’re not allowed to see due to security concerns. The B.C. government lost a battle with the National Energy Board in January to have greater access to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline emergency response plan (ERP). Kinder Morgan had already provided B.C. with a version of the plan, but significant portions were blacked out…. A link to the Washington State ERP was available online recently at DeSmog Canada, but has since been deactivated by state officials. David Geselbracht reports. (Globe and Mail)

J51 and J50 Spotted Swimming With Their Moms
"It was an epic day on the water, what any whale watcher hopes for,” reports Naturalist Heather MacIntyre of Legacy Charters on San Juan Island. “We saw both of the newest Southern Resident orca calves. The wide range of behavior, from spunky J50 porpoising to J51 nursing, truly gives us hope.” Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) crews observed the the two newest members of Jpod in Trincomali Channel north of Active Pass in British Columbia on February 19. (San Juan Islander)

SPCA firm on opposition to Oak Bay deer cull
Following a confidential meeting with Oak Bay’s deer cull contractor on Wednesday, the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals remains against trapping and killing 25 deer. Dr. Sara Dubois, the B.C. SPCA’s chief scientific officer, met with Oak Bay and Capital Regional District staff to reiterate the animal welfare group’s concerns about the cull and ensure awareness of the SPCA’s responsibility to respond if complaints of animal distress are filed. Oak Bay was granted a permit by the provincial government in January to cull 25 deer. The contractor will use large net boxes reinforced with wood and shots from a bolt gun to the deer’s head. The method has been deemed humane by the provincial wildlife veterinarian. Katherine Dedyna and Amy Smart report. (Times Colonist)

If you like to watch: All in a good night’s work: searching for razor clams 

Photographer Erika Schultz captures recreational digging for razor clams on Grayland Beach in Grays Harbor County this week. (Seattle Times)

State wants greener surfaces in future
Skagit County and area cities are gearing up for an environmentally friendly change to development rules. Under certain types of state Department of Ecology-issued stormwater permits, low-impact development techniques will become more of a requirement for new development and less of an option in 2016, as long as cost is not a burden. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST FRI FEB 20 2015
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF
 SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
NW WIND 10 TO 15 KT BECOMING E 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SAT
E WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
SUN
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING E 10 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 16 SECONDS.
--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate
http://salishseanews.blogspot.com/

Follow on Twitter. http://twitter.com/#!/savepugetsound/

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told
http://salishseacommunications.blogspot.com/2011/10/salish-sea-communications-truth-well.html

Thursday, February 19, 2015

2/19 Sea lion, bag ban, geoduck farm, bird counts, Vashon septics, gas tax, WY coal, refineries

Sea lion rescue (SeaDoc Society/Islands Sounder)
SeaDoc scientists rescue Steller sea lion
Rescuing a wild animal is no easy feat. Rescuing a 1,400-pound sea mammal is an entirely different feat. A few weeks ago, Joe Gaydos found himself facing a Steller sea lion entangled by a piece of plastic packing strap off Fanny Bay in British Columbia. Cali Bagby reports. (Islands Sounder)

Kirkland City Council passes ordinance banning plastic bags
The Kirkland City Council voted to approve a proposed ban on most plastic bags at city businesses, despite a 2013 survey of residents that showed overwhelming opposition. The ban prohibits single-use plastic bags while allowing exemptions for plastic bags such as those used for transporting bulk food, hardware items, frozen foods, meats, and newspapers. It also requires retail stores to charge customers at least five cent fee for recyclable paper bags. The new policy is scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2016. It is estimated that the new regulation will affect approximately 170 retail businesses in Kirkland. Mayor Amy Walen, who voted in favor of the ordinance, has said a ban is necessary for environmental reasons. TJ Martinell reports. (Kirkland Reporter)

Taylor Shellfish Farms officials present plan for Dungeness Bay
Taylor Shellfish Farms officials continue to move forward with plan for a 30-acre geoduck farm in Dungeness Bay, but not without community questioning. The later half of the Dungeness River Management Team meeting Feb. 11 was devoted to Taylor officials in order to answer public inquiries pertaining to the geoduck farm anticipated in Dungeness Bay. About 50 interested residents came with questions for Bill Dewey, the Taylor Shellfish Farms spokesman, and Marlene Meaders, senior marine biologist with Confluence Environmental Company, representing the largest producer of farmed shellfish in the United States, Taylor Shellfish Farms. The company already has about 80 acres of geoduck-specific aquaculture in Puget Sound, but the farm in Dungeness Bay would be its largest – trumping its 16-acre geoduck farm in Discovery Bay. Alana Linderoth reports. (Sequim Gazette)

Bluebirds rebuilding colony on southern Vancouver Island
A flock of 14 Western bluebirds spotted on Mount Tzouhalem, near Duncan, have conservationists hopeful that a once common species is returning to the Island. It’s an auspicious sign that repopulation efforts are on track and could also mean the birds chose not to migrate this season. While the long-term implications of staying home for a season are unknown, it bodes well in the short term, said Gemma Green, project co-ordinator for the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team, which leads the Bring Back the Bluebirds Project. “We think it’s great in the sense that these bluebirds, if they survive the next few weeks, will be here to start the breeding season,” Green said. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist) See also: It's early, but rising sea bird populations a good sign  Kari Bray and Noah Haglund report. (Everett Herald)

County pushes for septic fixes, hoping to open harbor to shellfishing
After working for years to get waterfront homeowners to update their failing septic systems, King County says it nearly has something to show for its effort. If 18 more homes along a stretch of Quartermaster Harbor can prove their septic systems are up to code and not polluting the water, that shoreline could be opened for shellfishing — something officials say would indicate a healthier harbor and open the way for millions in revenue from tribal and commercial geoduck harvesting. (Vashon Beachcomber)

Ad hoc hazardous waste dump on Renton property prompts jail sentence
The former owner of an oil-spewing hulk anchored off Whidbey Island has been sentenced to two months in jail for keeping leaking barrels of hazardous waste on a Renton property. Facing felony charges in King County Superior Court, Rory Westmoreland was sentenced Wednesday to 60 days in jail and ordered to pay $127,300 in clean-up costs. He pleaded guilty to unlawful dumping and violating state environmental laws. Westmoreland was previously fined $301,000 for violations related to the Deep Sea, a fishing vessel he owned that burned and sank off of Penn Cove. The sinking cost more than $3 million to contain and imperiled mussel beds in the area. Levi Pulkkinen reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

‘Poison pill’ in gas tax plan worry enviros
Some environmental groups objected to a “poison pill” that could hurt state funding for transit. Other people at a hearing on a proposed state transportation package praised the plans for new highways and bridges…. But representatives from a half-dozen Puget Sound environmentalist organizations — plus an adviser to Gov. Jay Inslee — objected to the “poison pill” provision in the package. That provision says that if Inslee installs low-carbon fuel standards, a pet project of his, then the Senate would shift transit, pedestrian and bike-path money to work on roads. John Stang reports. (Crosscut)

Wyoming bill would help finance coal ports in the Northwest
Wyoming lawmakers are pushing a bill that would allow the state to issue $1 billion in bonds to support possible construction of a Northwest port for shipping Wyoming coal to Asia. Wyoming, the nation's leading coal-producing state, has been stymied so far in its fight to get access to Asian markets. State officials are facing slumping domestic demand for coal because of tough federal rules for power plant emissions and cheaper natural gas. The bill pending in Wyoming's ongoing legislative session would expand the authority of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, a state agency. Ben Neary reports. (Associated Press)

Tesoro to invest $390M in Anacortes refinery
The Tesoro Corp. Board of Directors approved two major construction projects planned for its Anacortes refinery, the company announced in a news release Wednesday. Included are a $90 million naptha isomerization project to allow the refinery to meet 2017 federal requirements for lower-sulfur gasoline while reducing production costs, as well as a $300 million project to facilitate the extraction of xylene — a product high in demand in Asia to make polyester fibers and films, according to Tesoro news releases. Mark Stayton reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Explosion rocks Southern California oil refinery  Tami Abdollah reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST THU FEB 19 2015
TODAY
SW WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS BUILDING TO 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS AFTER
 MIDNIGHT. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2/18 Oil train safety, Winter 2070, Buckingham Cr., Elwha studies, grant boost, national park visits

(Steve Keenan/Associated Press)
W.Va. oil train derailment was 1 of 3 with safer tank cars
The fiery derailment of a train carrying crude oil in West Virginia is one of three in the past year involving tank cars that already meet a higher safety standard than what federal law requires -- leading some to suggest even tougher requirements that industry representatives say would be costly. Hundreds of families were evacuated and nearby water treatment plants were temporarily shut down after cars derailed from a train carrying 3 million gallons of North Dakota crude Monday, shooting fireballs into the sky, leaking oil into a Kanawha River tributary and burning down a house nearby. It was snowing at the time, but it is not yet clear if weather was a factor. John Raby and Jonathan Mattise report. (Associated Press) See also: West Virginia, Canada derailments renew focus on oil tank cars  Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

The Winter of 2070
Climate scientist Cliff Mass writes: "There is a fascinating aspect of our present anomalously warm/snow-free winter. It is very similar in many ways to what will be experienced about a half-century in the future --more so than any year I can think of…."

Illegal tree cutting under investigation in Burnaby, B.C. salmon spawning creek
The City of Burnaby, B.C. is investigating complaints of illegal tree cutting after more than a dozen alder trees were cut down without a permit last week near a salmon spawning creek. Resident Alicia Schuurmans says she contacted the city when she saw someone had removed the trees from a property that backs onto Buckingham Creek…. The trees ranged in size and age, all were near Buckingham Creek, one of a number of sensitive waterways in the Central Valley watershed near Deer Lake. The city says the property owner did not have a permit to cut them down, and would likely not have been given one, because the trees provide shade and nutrients to spawning fish. (CBC)

Silt, sediment and change: Federal government releases scientific studies on Elwha River dam removal
Five peer-reviewed studies on the effects of the Elwha River dam removal were released this week. Authors with the U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, Washington Sea Grant, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe and the University of Washington provide detailed observations about the changes in the river’s landforms, waters and coastal zone during the first two years of dam removal, which began in 2011. In the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams were demolished, allowing the river to revert to its wild state. The five new papers can be found in Elsevier’s peer-reviewed journal, Geomorphology. (Peninsula Daily News)

Philanthropy Group Says Foundations Plan To Boost Grantmaking As Assets Recover
The stock market has bounced back from the recession, and philanthropy is climbing along with it. That’s the message from Philanthropy Northwest, a group that tracks grantmaking to nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest.  "The trend here in Washington, the trend in the Pacific Northwest and the trend nationally are all aligned. Everybody’s feeling very positive," said Jeff Clarke, chief executive of Philanthropy Northwest, a member organization of foundations, corporations and individuals who make charitable grants. "I would say it’s probably the most positive sentiment that I’ve heard since pre-2008." Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)

National parks set attendance record for 2014; Olympic 6th most-visited national park in system
The national park system in the United States has a new attendance record for 2014. More than 290 million people visited one of the many national parks or recreational areas in the country. The old attendance record was set in 1999 when more than 287 million people visited the park system.  The 2014 record was an increase from 2013 by 7 percent, or 19 million.  The actual attendance for 2014 was 292,800,082 million people, 3,243,872 of whom visited Olympic National Park. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 258 AM PST WED FEB 18 2015
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SW. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT AND THU
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 11 OR 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2/17 Elwha, Grace Islet, oil train crash, spill risk, BC fish farms, sea star comeback, OR minnow, bird beaks

Elwha River 2/15 (Tom Roodra/Coastal Watershed Institute)
Elwha Shoreline Changes Public Forum and Field Tour, Feb. 21
Coastal Watershed Institute and partners present a free forum and field trip for you to learn about changes on the Elwha shoreline as a result of dam removal. A forum will be held 11 AM- 12 PM at the Landing Mall, Room 205, 115 E. Railroad Ave., Port Angeles, and a shoreline walking tour (1 - 4 PM) will be held near the Place Road Beach Access. Carpool advised.

British Columbia pays $5.45-million for Grace Islet
B.C. has finalized its deal to buy Grace Islet, with the lion’s share of the purchase price going to the former owner who had planned to build a retirement home on the picturesque site. The province announced Monday it has put up $5.45-million for the property – in Ganges Harbour off Saltspring Island in the Gulf Islands – consisting of $850,000 for the land and $4.6-million as a settlement with the previous landowner. That amount represents “costs incurred over the past two decades by the landowner and his lost opportunity for future enjoyment of the property,” the province said in a statement Monday. Costs also reflect the expense of putting in utilities and materials for a “high-end house,” the statement added. The province announced its plans to buy the island in January but had not disclosed a price. Reached after months of controversy, the deal was struck to protect the ancient aboriginal cemetery that covers the property. Wendy Stueck reports. (Globe and Mail)

Two oil trains derail, tank cars burning in West Virginia, Ontario
Two oil trains have derailed and caught fire, one in a populated area of Fayette County, W.V., and the other in a remote Ontario forest, during the past 48 hours. The West Virginia accident has seen 14 tankers and a house catch on fire, with at least one tanker car going into the Kanawha River. A nearby water-treatment plant was shut down. The train was carrying Bakken field crude oil from North Dakota, the same somewhat volatile oil that is now passing by rail along waterfronts of Puget Sound cities en route to oil refineries at Anacortes and Cherry Point on northern Puget Sound. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Risk of oil spills shifts from big ships to smaller vessels, Coast Guard expert says
f you fear a big oil spill on Washington waters, you're wiser to worry about small spills and fret about them more often, according to several public and private agency experts. They told an oil spill forum earlier this month that pleasure craft and fishing boats leak more oil than do cargo ships, luxury liners or tankers. And on the North Olympic Peninsula, they said, be grateful we have no train tracks because the threat from so-called crude by rail is greater than a marine spill. Still, no one dismisses the possibility of a disaster like the Arco Anchorage catastrophe in Port Angeles Harbor late in 1985 “when a lot of folks instead of spending Christmas with their families went out and worked on an oil spill,” said Jeff Ward of the Clallam County Marine Resources Committee. James Casey reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Ottawa extends multi-year aquaculture licences in B.C.
The federal government will issue multi-year licences for finfish and shellfish aquaculture facilities in B.C. to promote investment in sustainable design and technology by the industry. Licenses issued in B.C. by Fisheries and Oceans Canada have previously been limited to one year, which may have discouraged operators from making significant investments in more secure — and more expensive — ocean-based facilities and in land-based hatcheries, according to Jeremy Dunn, executive director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: B.C.’s only land-based salmon farm on target  Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Sea Stars Could Be Making a Comeback
On a windless, cloudless night in late January, Salish Sea ecologist Russel Barsh and his team of scientists at the KwiĆ”ht biology lab scoured Indian Island for sea stars. No humans live on the island, a tiny strip of land just south of Port Townsend, but the winter low tide reveals a colorful variety of the island’s other inhabitants: violently fucking sea slugs, dazzling red octopuses, reptilian-looking snail fish, and the island’s famous sea stars—one as big as a yard wide—that have traditionally feasted on the mussels and clams hidden in the sand. Indian Island’s sea star population—like other sea star hangouts up and down the West Coast—experienced a swift and mystifying die-off that inspired alarmist headlines in 2014. Marine biologists looked on with horror as appendages of the keystone species—a species that plays a fundamental role in its ecosystem—washed ashore. But this year, Barsh and his crew found something hopeful: Hundreds of sea stars, babies, mostly. And healthy, from the looks of it. Syndey Brownstone reports. (The Stranger)

Oregon minnow is first fish to be taken off endangered list
It’s official. A tiny minnow that lives only in backwaters in Oregon’s Willamette Valley is the first fish to be formally removed from Endangered Species Act protection because it is no longer in danger of extinction. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe was to make the announcement Tuesday afternoon at a wildlife refuge outside Corvallis. The action comes 22 years after the 3-inch-long fish was first listed as an endangered species, and five years after it was upgraded to threatened. Jeff Barnard reports. (Associated Press)

Chemical contaminants suspect in mystery of Alaska chickadee beak deformities
When black-capped chickadees and some other birds in the Anchorage area began turning up in the late 1990s with elongated, weirdly curved or twisted beaks, biologists and bird lovers began to worry. The deformities range from slight to gross and can have severe consequences for the birds if they are unable to use their beaks to pick up food or groom feathers so their bodies retain heat. The tiny black-capped chickadees are the most afflicted, with 7 percent of Alaska adults developing deformed beaks. The deformities are also showing up in other birds, including ravens and crows, though not as frequently, (said Colleen Handel, a U.S. Geological Survey biologist.) Now the beak-deformity outbreak has spread north to Fairbanks, south to the Puget Sound region and -- for an unknown reason -- across the globe to Great Britain, where it is showing up among starlings, tits and other species, Handel said. Yereth Rosen reports. (Alaska Dispatch News)

Citizen Scientists Generate Big Data For Annual Bird Count
Downy woodpecker, dark-eyed junco, tufted titmouse. These are just a few of the most popular birds to have been sighted in last year’s Great Backyard Bird Count, when in 2014, bird enthusiasts from 135 countries participated in counting over 4,000 species. Monday is the final day of the annual count. It’s a chance for researchers at Cornell University’s Ornithology Lab to harness the power of nearly 100,000 citizen scientists over a 4-day period. Michelle Leis reports. (OPB)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 251 AM PST TUE FEB 17 2015
TODAY
E WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, February 16, 2015

2/16 Forage fish, Ticiang Diangson, dog poop DNA, end-of-coal lege, pilot whales, Lummi marina, Tacoma aroma

Surf smelt (top) and sand lance (WDFW)
Proposal wants big study for Puget Sound's little fish
Puget Sound's little fish - the kind that school together near the shore - don't have the celebrity status of salmon or orcas. But as the populations of herring, smelt and other forage fish dwindle, so too may the sound's more iconic species. A bill by state Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, aims to improve what state regulators readily admit is a poor understanding of the small fish that serve as prey for the sound's larger predators…. Senate Bill 5166 would initiate the most comprehensive study of forage fish ever undertaken in Puget Sound. It would also require a recreational fishing license for smelt, a species typically caught with dip nets near the shore…. Sound Action, the Coastal Conservation Association and the National Audubon Society's Washington chapter are among the environmental groups that have spoken in favor of the bill. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun) If you like to watch: Sound Action - Forage Fish Matter

Fighting Over Herring—the Little Fish That Feeds Multitudes
The Pacific herring—an oily, silvery, schooling fish—is rarely high on the list of marine animals people fret about. But for the second straight year, the Canadian government has ignited a skirmish in British Columbia by moving to let fishing nets scoop up spawning herring, despite objections from scientists, Native people, and even commercial fishing groups. Pacific herring stocks are shadows of their former abundance. But the Canadian government wants to reopen fishing off British Columbia. Craig Welch reports. (National Geographic)

In memory of … Ticiang Diangson: A legacy of environmental justice  
A pioneer in the field of environmental justice, Ticiang Diangson died peacefully on Jan. 29 at her home on Beacon Hill.  The legacy of her work lives on in Seattle and in cities throughout the nation. (NW Asian Weekly)

Apartment complex using DNA to track down dog dropping offenders
Dog owners at the Monterra Apartment Homes in Tacoma are held responsible for pet droppings through a DNA matching system. KOMO reports owners are required to register their dog's DNA, which is taken with a mouth swab. When a dog pile violation is reported, a maintenance worker takes a small sample. A DNA lab matches it to the guilty pooch. The owner gets a $200 fine. (Associated Press)

Bills in Washington State Seek to End Use of Coal
Lawmakers hoping to wean Washington State off coal power are trying to ease the way for the state’s utilities to end the electricity they get from coal. Bills in the House and Senate would set favorable conditions for three private utilities if they decided to shut down a large coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana that provides power to a chunk of the Pacific Northwest. Supporters say the proposal gives the utilities the tools to begin divesting from coal power plants, including a way to issue bonds for a shutdown. But the Sierra Club and other critics say the proposal removes too much utility oversight, sets too long a timeline for closing a power plant and does not ensure that coal power would be replaced by something cleaner. (Associated Press)

Rescuers refloat 66 pilot whales stranded in New Zealand
Rescuers on Saturday refloated 66 pilot whales stranded on a remote beach in New Zealand as a race to save their lives continued. Nearly 200 whales were beached Friday in Farewell Spit on New Zealand's South Island. Scores got back in the water, only to return to land -- leaving more than 100 dead. Faith Karimi reports. (CNN)

Lummi Nation moves forward with plans for marina at Gooseberry Point
A marina for Lummi Nation fishermen at Gooseberry Point is still years away, but Whatcom County officials this year will begin working on a plan to accommodate the marina by altering the Lummi ferry dock. The county will not be required to relocate the dock, but it likely will need to be realigned, as outlined in the lease that allows the county to use Gooseberry Point as a ferry landing. The tribe’s preferred marina design includes a floating breakwater directly in front of the dock. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Cleaner air moves Pierce County, Tacoma off polluters list
Progress made by Tacoma and Pierce County in improving air quality has persuaded the federal Environmental Protection Agency to remove the area from its most-wanted list of polluters. Effective Tuesday, Tacoma and Pierce County no longer will be classified as a “nonattainment area,” a label that has been not only embarrassing for the city and county, but which also makes economic development more difficult. Rob Carson reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

WWU marine center lets students plunge into science
It’s a drizzly, February day, but the spirits of the elementary school students at Western Washington University’s Shannon Point Marine Center are bright as they scour the beach for signs of marine life. Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON FEB 16 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
TODAY
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 2 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
E WIND 10 TO 15 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 2 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told


Thursday, February 12, 2015

2/13 Baby orca, plastics, Kinder Morgan & First Nations

J-51 and J-19 (Center for Whale Research)
Another new baby for Puget Sound’s endangered orcas: Welcome, J51! 
The Center for Whale Research reports: "The late December calf, J50, with its J16 family were seen today as well; but, the big news is that J19 and J41 were swimming protectively on either side on another new baby that we estimate is about one week old. This newest addition to J pod is designated J51, and the presumed mother is thirty-six year old J19. Her ten-year old daughter, J41, was also in attendance. The newest baby appears healthy." (West Seattle Blog) 

Plastics dumped in world's oceans estimated at 8M tonnes annually
New research shows for the first time the enormity of the problem posed by the amount of plastic finding its way into the world's oceans. The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, estimates that 4-12 million tonnes of plastic are dumped every year by coastal countries. Margo McDiarmid reports. (CBC)

Trans Mountain project signs 20 First Nation agreements, but opposition remains
While there has been strong First Nations opposition at the Burnaby terminus of Kinder Morgan Canada’s proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, the company says it has found support from 20 aboriginal communities along the $5.4-billion project’s 1,100-kilometre route. Company president Ian Anderson said it has reached “mutual benefit agreements” with 20 First Nations, seven directly on the pipeline’s path, which include measures for “prosperity-sharing” and confers Aboriginal support for the proposal. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 900 PM PST THU FEB 12 2015
FRI
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE
 AFTERNOON.
FRI NIGHT
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN A
 CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SAT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SUN
SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told