Monday, August 31, 2015

8/31 Salmon watch, windstorm, Hood Canal, Gorge waterway, Mt Baker glacier, oil train, Longview oil, Denali

Elwha 8/28/15 (Tom Roorda and CWI)
If you like to watch: Salmon in the Elwha  (John  Gussman) See also: pinks in the green  (Mark Powell)

If Seattle loses salmon, we also could lose city’s soul
Seattle’s the only city in the Lower 48 where lots of salmon run right through the teeth of the urban environment. But this summer the tour guides have had to work to come up with a fish story. Danny Westneat reports. (Seattle Times)

100,000 still without power after windstorm  (Seattle Times) B.C. storm: 60,000 in Metro Vancouver still without power  (CBC)

Lack of oxygen killing marine life in Hood Canal waters
A lack of oxygen in southern Hood Canal is killing fish, crab and other marine life, according to Seth Book, a biologist with the Skokomish Tribe who has been monitoring the marine waterway. Through the month of August, Book and other Skokomish staff have observed dead English sole and thousands of dead and dying eel pouts on the beaches. They also have found masses of dead cockles and butter clams, and on Friday, Book said he saw hundreds of crab along the beaches that were trying to get to the surface to breath. “It’s a dead zone anywhere east of Sister’s Point to Belfair, Mason County. There’s very low oxygen at depth,” Book said. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Victoria's Gorge waterway needs cleanup after barge full of scrap cars tips
A barge carrying scrap vehicles tipped in Victoria's Gorge Waterway Friday, sending more than 50 cars spilling into the water. The accident occurred when a crane that was loading cars onto the barge apparently tipped, causing the barge to list badly, said Katie Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the city of Victoria. (CBC)

Living on boats to be a thing of the past in Victoria's Gorge
The sight of live-aboard boats anchoring on the Gorge Waterway in Victoria could soon be a thing of the past. Council passed a bylaw banning overnight anchoring in the Gorge last year, and by the end of October, people living in boats could be told to raise anchor and leave. Council was mostly concerned about environmental impacts from the boats after hearing complaints that some of the people living on the dozen or so boats — some of which have been described as derelict — were dumping sewage and garbage into the ocean near a sensitive ecological habitat. (CBC)

Scientists, Nooksack tribe study shrinking Mount Baker glacier
…. The glaciers on Mount Baker, a volcanic peak about 125 miles northeast of Seattle, provide a critical water source for agriculture, cities and tribes during the late summer. The icy glacial melt keeps streams cool for fish and replenishes rivers during a time of year when they typically run low. For the Nooksack Indian Tribe, which has relied for hundreds of years on salmon runs in the glacier-fed Nooksack River, a way of life is at risk. Without that glacial runoff, rivers will dry up more quickly and warm up faster, making it harder for salmon to spawn or migrate to the ocean. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Request made to extend comment period on oil-by-rail environmental studies
Several Washington community leaders sent a letter Friday to Skagit County Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt and Gov. Jay Inslee requesting 120-day public comment periods for the proposed Shell Puget Sound Refinery rail unloading facility in Anacortes and the proposed Grays Harbor crude oil terminals. The letter, which was also sent to Hoquiam City Manager Brian Shay and state Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon, urged officials to allow the longer comment periods for the draft environmental impact statements of the projects in order to give community groups more time to gather information. The draft environmental impact statements have yet to be completed. Shannen Kuest reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Parched Olympic Peninsula Community Eyes New Reservoir
For more than a century, the snowmelt that fed the Dungeness River here has provided water for farmers’ crops as well as salmon journeying to the ocean and back. The system has worked well – except when there’s not enough water. And now that this part of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is caught in the drought afflicting much of the West, interest in building a new reservoir is on the rise. For longtime advocate Gary Smith, that’s a good thing. Ashley Ahearn reports. (KUOW)

Oil And More: Longview Energy Company Proposes Expansion
An energy company wants to build a transfer terminal in Longview, Washington that could handle liquefied natural gas and crude oil, according to documents reviewed Friday by OPB. The project is an expansion on an already proposed oil refinery for Longview. The documents were obtained by Columbia River Keeper through a public records request. They describe an “off-load and transfer terminal” at the Port of Longview that could handle up to two unit trains per day. Conrad Wilson and Tony Schick report. (OPB)

Obama Renaming Continent's Highest Peak From Mt. McKinley To Denali
The White House announced Sunday that President Obama is changing the name of North America's highest peak. Mt. McKinley — named after William McKinley, the 25th president, who served in the White House until his assassination in 1901 — is returning to its traditional Alaska Native name, Denali. Obama will make a public announcement of the name change in Anchorage Monday, during a three-day visit to Alaska. Brakkton Booker reports. (NPR)

Lower Elwha Klallam tribe plans to restore beach on Ediz Hook
A restored beach of sand and dune grass will replace rip rap and concrete rubble on the south side of Ediz Hook this fall. The Lower Elwha Klallam tribe plans to re-establish original habitat to two-thirds of a mile of shoreline east of the old A-frame site. The remains of the A-frame log dock vanished in 2008, and the tribe restored the nearby beach in 2011. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON AUG 31 2015
TODAY
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.

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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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Friday, August 28, 2015

8/28 Vultures, Lummi coal, Shell drill, Duwamish cleanup, drone fined, Snohomish habitat, new ferry art

Turkey Vulture (Mike Gabelmann/BirdNote)
If you like to watch: Vultures! Nature's Clean-up Crew
In celebration of International Vulture Awareness Day Sept. 5.  Although some of the Turkey Vulture's habits may evoke our disgust, these remarkable birds also inspire our awe. With wingspans approaching six feet, Turkey Vultures ride currents of air to make their spring and fall journeys, and to cover the miles of their home range in summer. Gliding on updrafts, or pushed along by weather fronts, Turkey Vultures rarely need to flap their wings more than ten times in a row. To rise above storms, they ride upward on thermals. (BirdNote)

Lummis done talking, call for decision on coal port
Lummi Nation’s leaders expect the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will stop a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point. The tribe asked the Corps in January to reject permits for the terminal, claiming the 2,980-foot dock and up to 487 ships per year berthing there would interfere with traditional fishing areas protected by an 1855 treaty. The tribe doesn’t expect its fight against Gateway Pacific Terminal to end there, however. Lummi Nation announced on Thursday, Aug. 27, it had hired Dentons, reportedly the world’s largest law firm, to represent it in future lawsuits related to the terminal. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Environmentalists Appeal To Stop Shell's Return To Seattle
Environment groups have another opportunity to stop a Shell Oil rig from returning to Seattle. They are appealing a Superior Court decision from earlier this summer that the Port of Seattle could host Shell's Arctic drilling fleet without conducting an environmental review. The appeal argues that the port did need to conduct that environmental review. And it says that should be enough to strike down the lease involving Shell. Carolyn Adolph reports. (KUOW)

EPA wants $367,500 penalties on Jorgensen for faulty cleanup work on the Duwamish
Losing patience with faulty work in the heralded cleanup of industrial waste from Seattle’s Duwamish Waterway, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a six-figure penalty against a steel producer that is a major presence on the river. The EPA wants $367,500 in penalties against the Earle M. Jorgensen Co. for repeatedly failing to meet needed and agreed-upon requirements in its portion of the Duwamish cleanup. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Drone operator fined more than $1,000 for allegedly getting too close to orca pod
An American drone operator and photographer have been slapped with hefty fine for allegedly getting too close to a pod of orcas in Washington state.  The footage captured in the Haro Strait, just east of Vancouver Island, is incredible but one of the operators is facing a fine of more than $1,000.  U.S. authorities say the pair's drones were within nine metres of the whales while the regulation requires all vessels should be at least approximately 183 metres back. Tamara Baluja and Tina Lovgreen report. (CBC)

Snohomish River levee breached to open wetlands to salmon recovery
Bulldozers removed about 1,500 linear feet of a levee in the Snohomish River Estuary to reopen 350 acres of wetlands to threatened salmon. The Tulalip Tribes and officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries division say the breach was part of the largest restoration projects so far in the Snohomish watershed. (Associated Press)

Drought forces fishing ban in Nooksack River Basin
Fishing was closed unexpectedly Thursday, Aug. 27, in various areas of the Nooksack River Basin as the drought continues to take its toll on fish. As the drought reduces river flows to a trickle in places and water temperatures increase, spring chinook are dying off in high numbers, many before they can spawn, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Debbie Townsend reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Coast Salish asked to create art for three new ferries
B.C. Ferries has issued a call to Coast Salish people for expressions of interest in creating art for three new vessels — the Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven. Ferries has joined with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council to organize the commission of three original designs from up to three Coast Salish artists. B.C. has 20 Coast Salish nations. Expressions of interest and portfolios are being sought, with a committee of artists and B.C. Ferries representatives to select a short list. Those shortlisted will be commissioned to propose specific design concepts, with the final selections to come from that work. Jeff Bell reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
 WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 900 AM PDT FRI AUG 28 2015

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM PDT EARLY THIS MORNING THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING
TODAY
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS IN THE AFTERNOON. W SWELL 4 FT AT 15 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN SCATTERED SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 16 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...THEN RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SAT
E WIND 20 TO 30 KT...BECOMING S 25 TO 35 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. SEAS 5 TO 8 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 16 SECONDS. RAIN.
SAT NIGHT
SW WIND 20 TO 30 KT...BECOMING S 15 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 17 SECONDS.
SUN
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 15 SECONDS.

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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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Thursday, August 27, 2015

8/27 Robots, rain, BC fracking quakes, 'blob,' sewage spill, hatchery losses

Pink octopus (Ocean Networks Canada)
If you like to watch: Deep sea robots livestream ocean floor landscapes, creatures
Join two robots exploring the deeps off the British Columbia coast — without getting wet. You can watch them online during a three-week mission by the University of Victoria's Ocean Networks Canada in the Salish Sea and Pacific Ocean to discover new species, map the ocean floor, upgrade high-tech undersea sensors – and drop off a couple of fresh pig carcasses. (CBC)

Major Weather Shift Will Bring Substantial Rain And Help Bring Wildfires Under Control
The end of August often brings the entrance of a major weather system and a touch of fall, and this year will follow this pattern. The atmosphere has been shifting into a different configuration the past week, and during the next few days a major transition will occur, with persistent strong troughing (low pressure) over the Northwest.  It will bring large amounts of rain to our mountains, knock back and end some of the fires, and allow firefighters to gain control of the situation.   It will bring substantial water to reservoirs that have dropped to extremely low levels. Cliff Mass forecasts. (Weather Blog)

Fracking-induced quakes in B.C. are among largest on record
At least two earthquakes in British Columbia over the past year – including one last week – are among the largest ever caused by natural gas fracking in North America and were both strong enough to force temporary shutdowns of operations. But while the province’s oil and natural gas ministry as well as the shale gas industry have both played down the severity of fracking-induced quakes – insisting they are rare and present no threat to people or buildings – experts caution much is still not known about just how strong a fracking-induced earthquake could be. Kat Sieniuc reports. (Globe and Mail)

‘Blob’ lures more tropical fish to waters off Island
Tropical fish continue to be spotted off Vancouver Island and scientists say a warm patch of ocean known as “the blob” is to blame. Ocean sunfish, butterfish and tuna are just some of the marine species that have moved beyond their usual habitats into B.C. waters, said Ian Perry, a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. And while some of those species have appeared in past warm years, others are making their debut. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Seward Park beach closed after sewage spill in Lake Washington
A large underground sewage storage tank spilled about 12,000 gallons of sewage into Lake Washington Wednesday morning, prompting the beach at Seward Park to close, according to a Seattle Public Utilities news release. Waker Orenstein reports. (Seattle Times)

Drought Becomes Deadly For Olympic Peninsula's Hatchery Fish
This summer’s extreme drought is becoming increasingly deadly for fish in the northwest. The state department of Fish and Wildlife had already lost about one and a half million juvenile fish in overheated rivers and streams in Washington at the end of July, due to this summer’s historically warm temperatures and low water levels. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Now, your tug weather
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 900 AM PDT THU AUG 27 2015
TODAY
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 17 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W
 SWELL 3 FT AT 16 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT.

--
"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

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

8/26 Farmed salmon suit, giant squid, A95 hurt, BC LNG sites, Whidbey waterfront donation

(PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Must be the Season of the Frog
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "August is Tree Frog Month around our place. The steady chorus that came from our ponds every night in March and April has, thankfully again this year, resulted in a new generation of Pacific Chorus frogs…."

Group threatens to sue over farmed salmon in Puget Sound
A conservation group says it intends to sue the federal government for allowing farm-raised salmon in Puget Sound. Wild Fish Conservancy sent a letter Tuesday to the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, giving them a required 60-day notice of intent to sue. The organization says the agencies failed to fully assess the danger of floating pens of non-native Atlantic salmon to protected wild salmon runs, including chinook and Hood Canal chum salmon as well as steelhead. Wild Fish Conservancy says that violates the Endangered Species Act. (Associated Press)

Hauling in a real-life kraken: Giant squid snagged by Oak Harbor middle schooler a rare find
The only thing certain in Peyton Horn’s mind was that whatever was on the end of his fishing line wasn’t a salmon. Horn, an eighth grader from Oak Harbor Middle School, reeled in a giant squid while fishing for salmon on a North Whidbey beach Sunday morning. The squid was dead, with missing parts and bites taken out of it. But it was an impressive sight nonetheless, estimated to be five-and-a-half feet long and so heavy Horn couldn’t lift it off the beach. A biology professor who conducts research on marine life off Whidbey shores identified the massive creature as a robust clubhook squid, which is an unusual discovery in Puget Sound waters, and exceptionally rare around this island. Ron Newberry reports. (Whidbey News-Times)

Young killer whale may have been injured by boat propeller
Researchers are closely monitoring a young killer whale with an injury that may have been caused by a boat strike off the coast of Vancouver Island. The whale was spotted with a fresh wound on its flank and dorsal fin on Saturday in Johnstone Strait.  Researchers identified her as A95, a six-year-old killer whale from the northern resident population known as Fern. (CBC)

Search on for alternate site for Pacific NorthWest terminal near Prince Rupert
The Lax Kw'alaams First Nation appears to be taking steps to find a new site for the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal, one that would not affect the salmon-rearing habitat in the Skeena River estuary. In several community votes earlier this year, the Lax Kw'alaams rejected a $1.15-billion benefits package offer from the company and the B.C. government over concerns the liquefied natural gas terminal on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert in northwest B.C. would harm young salmon that rear in eel grass beds on Flora Bank. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: First Nation asserts right to B.C. island slated for LNG plant  Some members of a north coast First Nation are gathering on a small island near Prince Rupert, B.C., to protest plans for a liquefied natural gas project. Members of the Lax Kw’alaams band are preparing to set up tents and carry out other activities on Lelu Island, which they claim as traditional Tsimshian territory. (Canadian Press)

Couple donates Whidbey waterfront land to EvCC’s marine sciences academy
A Whidbey Island couple has donated 3.8 acres of waterfront property to Everett Community College's Ocean Research College Academy. Gary and Kathi Lang's daughter, Rebekah Woodson, graduated from ORCA in 2013. ORCA is an early college academy for high school students focused on marine sciences and field research. The land on south Whidbey is undevelopable because of steep sliding slopes, Gary Lang said from his home in Arizona. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 900 AM PDT WED AUG 26 2015
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 15 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 15 SECONDS.

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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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

8/25 Barred owls, Skagit fire, Vic sewer, Nautilus, Tesoro xylene

Barred owl (Paul Bannick/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: The Barred Owl Calls
Barred Owls are very territorial, and they don't migrate. Solitary calls from a male in early spring probably mean that he has not attracted a mate. In May and June, he continues to hoot, though less frequently. By summer, breeding season has passed. Maybe this solitary Barred Owl is what some scientists call a "non-breeding floater". Perhaps his patch of woods is just too small to host a pair of owls year round. (BirdNote)

Wildfire Shuts Down Hydropower On The Skagit River. What You Need To Know
Eight fires are burning more than 4,000 acres in Washington’s North Cascades. The largest of the fires has damaged transmission lines, leading Seattle City LIght to shut down power generation at three dams on the Skagit River. The utility is losing $100,000 in revenue each day that the lines are down. Conditions have remained unsafe for repair crews to work on the power lines. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

Victoria mayor promises sewage solution coming, tourism boycott unnecessary  
Victoria's mayor says the city needs to do a better job of letting its Washington neighbours know it has a handle on the Capital Regional District's sewage situation.  Last week, the Seattle Times published an editorial on Victoria's constipated political process, suggesting it's time for a tourism boycott unless the district makes progress getting a treatment system up and running…. Mayor Lisa Helps says the editorial's timing is ironic, coming days after the district announced what she calls a big step forward — hiring consultants to cost out potential new sites and appointing an independent oversight panel. (CBC)

Robotics-equipped Nautilus to help maintain UVic's undersea labs
The man credited with finding the wreck of the Titanic in 1985 is providing his research vessel for an expedition to benefit the renowned underwater laboratory systems run by University of Victoria -based Ocean Networks Canada. Robert Ballard knows ONC president Kate Moran from their days together at the University of Rhode Island, so he was happy to have the ship Nautilus, with all of its specialized equipment, put to good use by his friend. He said he will keep a close eye on the trip from his computers at home in Connecticut. Jeff Bell reports. (Times Colonist)

How Tesoro’s Petrochem Plans May Threaten Anacortes & the Salish Sea
In July 2014, Tesoro Corporation announced plans to build a xylene extraction facility at the site of its existing oil refinery in Anacortes, Washington. The $400 million facility would be capable of producing 15,000 barrels per day for export to Asia in oceangoing vessels. Yet xylene is a little-known chemical, and it’s worth asking: what is the risk of xylene to Northwest communities? Eric de Place reports. (Sightline)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-900 AM PDT TUE AUG 25 2015
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
 TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 16 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, August 24, 2015

8/24 Totem pole, oil train, BC pipe hearing, BC salmon $, Qwuloolt estuary, Seattle seawall, carwash toxin, garbage

Totem pole (Paul K Anderson)
Native Americans' totem pole journeys to oppose coal exports
A Native American tribe is taking a 22-foot totem pole from Canada through the Pacific Northwest to Montana in opposition of proposed coal export terminals. A team from the Lummi Nation, from Washington's Puget Sound, started the journey on Friday. The pole will travel more than 1,300 miles by truck, from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Missoula, with multiple stops in Washington and Oregon. Its journey includes blessing ceremonies at each of the proposed coal ports and in tribal communities and houses of worship along the oil train route. Gosia Wozniacka reports. (Associated Press)

New Oil Train Safety Rules Approved In Oregon
The Oregon Transportation Commission adopted new rules Friday requiring railroads to increase the amount of information they share with state officials. Months in the making, the rules come in response to concerns over the state’s readiness for oil train spills and fires. Emergency responders will now get immediate notification from railroads for incidents involving hazardous materials. Those notifications include information about the type, quantity and placement of any materials on the train. Railroads now must file quarterly reports with the Oregon Department of Transportation detailing shipments of hazardous materials. ODOT will in turn share those reports with emergency responders. The new rules specify the information is to be released under the state’s public records law, but allow some exemptions for trade secrets. Tony Schick reports. (EarthFix) See also: As oil train burned, firefighters waited 2 hours for critical details  Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

Kinder Morgan pipeline hearings postponed after consultant's evidence struck from record
A National Energy Board panel has postponed hearings that were supposed to begin next week into Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, because a consultant who prepared evidence in favour of the project will soon work for the regulator. Kinder Morgan Canada, the company behind the project, filed evidence with the board in late 2013 that was prepared by Steven Kelly, a consultant with IHS Global Canada at the time. The report supported the project's economic benefits. In July, federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford announced Kelly had been appointed to a seven-year term on the National Energy Board starting Oct. 13. As a result, the hearing panel has decided to strike Kelly's evidence from the record and has directed Kinder Morgan to list any other evidence he prepared. (Canadian Press)

Harper’s salmon habitat funding ‘a drop in the bucket’: critics
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says a re-elected Conservative government would help restore and enhance B.C.’s salmon habitat and marine environment. But others involved in preserving salmon habitat say it’s little more than cheap electioneering by a government that has, over the past several years, gutted regulations and cut front line staff…. Harper was in the riding of North Island-Powell River Friday to promise an extended partnership with the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and $15 million to restore and conserve British Columbia estuaries. Brian Morton reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Qwuloolt Estuary Project’s goal: Return of the wild salmon
A small inflatable boat slipped into Allen Creek near where it empties into Ebey Slough…. The four researchers dropped a beach seine into the channel, dragged it ashore, drained out the water and then began sorting through the morass of weeds and dirt to find every squirming fish…. The team, employees of the Tulalip Tribes, was led by Casey Rice, a research biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. They were doing one of the final counts before the ecosystem of this 400-acre lowland is changed forever. At low tide on Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intends to breach a levee separating Ebey Slough from former farmland. When the high tide returns, salt water flowing upstream from Possession Sound will flood the area, returning the land to the salt marsh it had been before the levees were built more than a century ago. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

Seawall project 33 percent over budget, next phase delayed
Seattle's new seawall is going to cost at least 33 percent more than initially budgeted and the entire waterfront project will be delayed by a year. The project, which will now cost $409 million, has run into what leaders have called "challenges no one expected." It was scheduled to be completed in 2016, and will now be delayed until 2017. Voters approved $290 million to make seismic upgrades and other updates to the seawall in 2012, and the project has been underway since last year. It was initially budgeted at $300 million, then increased to $330 million. Emily Parkhurst reports. (Puget Sound Business Journal)

Chambers Creek Soundview Trail reopens Saturday
Chambers Creek Regional Park’s Soundview Trail and the Central Meadow parking lot and restrooms will reopen to the public Saturday, nine weeks after the U.S. Open golf championship was played on the property. Access to the beach, off-leash dog park and Central Meadow grass area will stay closed for now, but the beach and dog park could be ready for public use by the end of the month, according to Tony Tipton, Pierce County Parks and Recreation director. Brynn Grimley reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Carwash chemical a hazard to workers, state agency warns
Hydrofluoric acid, a chemical commonly used at commercial car and truck washes, can cause serious burns to exposed skin, sometimes requiring hospitalization, according to new research cited by the state Department of Labor and Industries. (Associated Press)

Research at Rosario
On Rosario Beach south of Anacortes, 40 acres of private land are tucked between beachside residences and Deception Pass State Park. Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory is a place where summer camp meets aquarium for grown-ups. Water pools beneath recently used diving suits, sea creatures lurk in every tank and bucket, and laughter explodes from a classroom. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' researchers devastated by sight
Far away from California's coast, where the Pacific Ocean currents swirl, the blue of the sea was replaced by fishing nets, buckets, buoys, laundry baskets and unidentifiable pieces of plastic that floated past the Ocean Star, a ship carrying a team of scientists and volunteers gathering data on plastic garbage. "We were surrounded by an endless layer of garbage," sad Serena Cunsolo, an Italian marine biologist who works for The Ocean Cleanup. "It was devastating to see." Cunsolo, 28, was one of a team of 15 researchers and volunteers aboard the Ocean Starr who a month ago set out from San Francisco to study the plastic waste as part of the "Mega Expedition," a major step in the organization's effort to eventually clean up what's known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 435 AM PDT MON AUG 24 2015
TODAY
VARIABLE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT THIS AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 11 SECONDS... SUBSIDING TO 6 FT.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.

--
"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, August 21, 2015

8/21 Fires, floating LNG, safe oil pipe, derailment, bad oysters, hot weather, Rainier glaciers, BC whales

(Steve Spitzer/BirdNote)
The Crow and the Gull
Crows and gulls are opportunists - grabbing a bite wherever, whenever, however they can. Listener Nick Woodiwiss of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, wrote to BirdNote about a funny scene between an American Crow and a Glaucous-winged Gull on the beach. Can you guess who wins? (BirdNote)

Weather service issues ‘red-flag warning’ in North Cascades
The warning foreshadows worsening weather conditions — high winds throughout the Okanogan Valley will make things even more difficult for firefighters. Jack Broom reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Washington Under Siege By Fire: 'We Are Understaffed And Underequipped'   Ross Reynolds and Liz Jones report. (KUOW)

If you like to watch: Remembering 'The Big Burn' That Scorched The West http://www.opb.org/artsandlife/article/remembering-a-big-burn-that-scorched-the-west/
Thursday is the 105th anniversary of what’s been dubbed “The Big Burn,” a devastating wildfire that burned three million acres in Washington, Idaho and Montana, killing 80 people and changing the entire U.S. approach to forest fires. With fires again raging across the west, Idaho Public Broadcasting has shared this video about the 1910 conflagration, originally aired on the program Outdoor Idaho. (OPB)

New blog: Are You An Environmental Racist?
Think about it: The disappearance of the wild and its wildlife is often attributed to too many people. Who do you think “those people” are? Do they look like you, talk like you, share your values? If they don’t, who are “those people?”

Floating LNG plant proposed for Saanich Inlet
The Malahat First Nation and Steelhead LNG are proposing a floating liquefied natural gas processing facility offshore in Saanich Inlet. It would be capable of processing six million tonnes of natural gas annually. Cost of the project, the pipeline that will need to be built to bring gas to the Island for the Malahat LNG plant and Steelhead's other proposed LNG plant near Port Alberni, and the financial consideration paid to the Malahat First Nation as part of a mutual benefits agreement were not disclosed. The project would see a floating LNG facility built on the foreshore at the Bamberton site, which the Malahat First Nation bought last month. Andrew Duffy and Lindsay Kines report. (Times Colonist)

Trans Mountain tells NEB pipeline expansion is ‘safe and viable option’
An expanded Trans Mountain pipeline would add $18.2 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product over 20 years, benefit First Nations and reduce environmental harm, Kinder Morgan says. The energy giant filed its final written submissions to the National Energy Board on Thursday, arguing the $5.4-billion proposal is a safe and viable option to transport diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to British Columbia’s coast. Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

BNSF caboose derails near Cherry Point in Whatcom County
The caboose of a BNSF train hauling 20 cars of petroleum coke product partially derailed Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 19, near Cherry Point in Whatcom County. No product spilled, no one was injured, and no hazardous materials were involved, said Gus Melonas, BNSF spokesman. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

B.C. oysters sold for eating raw are recalled
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has announced a recall of B.C. oysters harvested for eating raw, because of possible contamination by food-poisoning bacterium. The Canada-wide federal recall applies to oysters harvested for the raw market before Tuesday because they may contain the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The recall follows a move Monday by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority to ban restaurants in its area (most of the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast) from selling raw oysters, also because of possible Vibrio contamination. Richard Watts reports. (Times Colonist)

July Was Earth's Hottest Month On Record
Earth just keeps getting hotter. July was the planet’s warmest month on record, smashing old marks, U.S. weather officials said. And it’s almost a dead certain lock that this year will beat last year as the warmest year on record, they said. (Associated Press)

Mt Rainier's Glaciers Retreating, Likely At Fastest Rate Ever Seen In Summer's Heat
Mount Rainier is famous as the most glaciated peak in all of the United States. But the massive flows of ice and snow that cover the mountain are retreating rapidly, likely more rapidly than ever in the record warmth of this summer…. Park scientists have been measuring the glaciers’ retreat and have found they’re now melting six times faster than the historic rate. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

What's killing whales off B.C.-Alaska coast?
The large number of dead whales appearing along the coast of British Columbia and Alaska since May is raising alarms among scientists. Thirty dead whales have been detected in the Gulf of Alaska since May, representing a die-off more than three times the normal rate, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Another six dead stranded whales have been reported along B.C.'s north coast over the same time period, also a significant increase above annual seasonal numbers. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC) See also: Finding needles in a haystack on the B.C. coast It wasn’t your average whale-watch trip. The science crew aboard the Canadian Coast Guard ship John P. Tully documented almost 5,000 cetaceans during 483 sightings along about 1,600 nautical miles of the remote B.C. coast. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 249 AM PDT FRI AUG 21 2015
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SAT
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
NW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SUN
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 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, August 20, 2015

8/20 Fires, sea sanctuary, Mukilteo stink, bad oysters, green Latinos, oil spills, salmon marsh

(8/16/15 NASA/KUOW)
Northwest Wildfires Photographed From Space
From space, the West looks like it’s on fire. In Washington state, brown smoke obscures the Cascades in these photos taken by a NASA  satellite. Most of the fires across the West have been triggered by lightning strikes, but years of drought have turned the forests bone dry. Anna King and Isolde Raftery report.(KUOW)

Could Vancouver be home to the first sea sanctuary for cetaceans?
Vancouver could be the site of the world’s first sea pen sanctuary for cetaceans, says a internationally prominent animal advocate. Dr. Lori Marino raised the idea during her visit to the city last month, and Whale Lab researcher from the University of Victoria, Dave Duffus, agrees…. Marino, the Utah-based executive director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, says a sanctuary site should be chosen not only for its geographical location but for the local public's attitude…. Marino spoke about an orca sanctuary in Vancouver at the Compassionate Conservation Conference in July. Cheryl Rossi reports. (Vancouver Observer)

State to use mist to stem the smell from pier work in Mukilteo
Following complaints from neighbors that removing creosote-soaked pilings from a former tank farm pier is creating headache-inducing fumes, the state Department of Ecology has approved a plan to mist the pilings with water to try to reduce the smell. The state ferry system’s request to use the misting machine was approved Tuesday, said Larry Altose, a Department of Ecology spokesman…. The pier is being demolished as part of a project to build a new $129 million ferry terminal, replacing the current 60-year-old terminal for the Mukilteo-Clinton route. Sharon Salyer reports. (Everett Herald)

B.C. oyster industry says recall too broad
B.C. oysters are popular in fine-dining circles, with varieties like the Kusshi and Stellar Bay garnering raves for their taste and texture. But thanks to a recall from Canada’s federal food safety agency, fewer of those B.C. oysters are likely to make it to diners’ plates and down their gullets – resulting in disappointment from sellers and producers who say the recall is too broad and doesn’t recognize that some oysters may be safer than others. Wendy Steuck reports. (Globe and Mail)

For Latinos, Environment Seems Just As Important As Immigration
An increasing amount of research suggests the environment — an issue that has long been seen within the purview of progressive, white liberals — is now increasingly important to Latinos. A new poll conducted by Latino Decisions (a polling firm focusing on Hispanics in America) on behalf of two environmental nonprofit groups — Earthjustice and GreenLatinos — finds that Latinos are deeply concerned about the environment and its potential impact on their families. Asma Khalid reports. (NPR)

UBCM to debate emergency response plan, compensation for oil spills
B.C. politicians will press for better emergency response and protection of wildlife from oil spills at the Union of B.C. Municipalities this fall, with Vancouver upping the ante by calling for compensation for communities affected by a spill. Vancouver, Sechelt and Port Moody have all put resolutions forward to the UBCM calling for more action from the provincial and federal governments, following an oil spill in April that saw 2,700 litres of bunker fuel foul English Bay. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Wildlife biologist urges salt marsh for salmon in Vancouver harbour
Nick Page watches glistening fingerlings swim among the massive bull kelp at the New Brighton pier and hopes for a friendlier fish habitat in future. “We want to recreate the link between Hastings Park and New Brighton Park,” said the City of Vancouver wildlife biologist. Ian Austin reports. (Post Media News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU AUG 20 2015
TODAY
SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS. PATCHY DRIZZLE AND FOG THIS MORNING.
TONIGHT
W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING. W SWELL 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF
 SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
--
"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.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

8/19 Hazel Wolf, sewage, citizen scientist, tanker ban, coal port, rewilding, Blob-Godzilla, crab closure, quakes, gulls

Brown creeper (Mike Hamilton/BirdNote)
Hazel Wolf
The writer Paul Bowles said, “Nothing just happens. It depends on who comes along.” For the Audubon Society in Washington State, that “who” was Hazel Wolf. She was a labor activist, environmental campaigner, and life-long champion of causes she believed in. From 1969 until 1997, Hazel Wolf organized Audubon chapters throughout the Pacific Northwest. She made a difference for birds including her favorite, the Brown Creeper, because someone had made a difference for her. It was a calling, though, that nearly didn’t happen... (BirdNote)

Department of Ecology honors Vashon wastewater plant
The Vashon Wastewater Treatment Plant is perfect — according to the performance requirements of the State Department of Ecology (DOE), that is. The plant is one of 127 such operations throughout the state recently recognized for perfect performance by the DOE. The plant passed all environmental tests, analyzed all samples, turned in all state-required reports and avoided permit violations during 2014. It is the first time the plant has been recognized for such an award. Craig Groshart reports. (Vashon Beachcomber0

Sewage treatment: Victoria’s constipated political process needs fixing
The Seattle Times editorial board asks: "Despite decades of ridicule and protest, Victoria continues the foul practice of treating the Puget Sound like a toilet bowl. What will it take, Oh Canada, to bring your sewage treatment into the 20th century?"

New blog: Citizen Scientists – Are They For Real?
Guest blogger Pete Haase writes: "Nowadays, in this business of volunteering in the environmental community around Puget Sound, I see citizen scientists behind every tree and on very beach…. I’m one.  I know this because several “real” scientists have told me so and thanked me for being one!…"

Greens push for supertanker ban on B.C. coast, stronger environmental laws
The federal Green party says Canada needs stronger environmental assessment laws to help defend coastal communities from risky pipeline and tanker schemes. The party also wants a legislated ban on supertankers on British Columbia's coast and a moratorium on drilling for oil and gas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. (Canadian Press)

Montana officials praise Cherry Point coal port plan
Congressional and business leaders from Montana shrugged off the concerns of environmentalists and praised a coal terminal proposed for Cherry Point. This was no surprise, as coal is an $80 million a year business in Montana, according to U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, a Republican and Montana’s only House member. No state has more coal in the ground than Montana, the officials said. Zinke and representatives of the Montana Farm Bureau and Montana Chamber of Commerce met with reporters on Tuesday, Aug. 18, after touring the site of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Burrard Inlet restoration boosts Seymour River salmon returns
Salmon numbers in the Burrard Inlet are improving, with the help of a so-called rewilding project put in place following an oil spill in Burnaby, B.C. in 2007, according to a North Shore environmental group. "On the pink salmon I would say the returns are 50 per cent better this year than what we saw two years ago," said Shaun Hollingsworth, president of the Seymour Salmonid Society.  He said he believes the numbers of salmon on the Seymour River have improved in part because of the work being done by the Burrard Inlet Restoration Program. (CBC)

Blob-Godzilla combo to affect B.C. coast weather
What will happen when “the blob” meets “Godzilla” off the coast of the Pacific Northwest this year? The question might sound like science fiction, but B.C. scientists are watching closely. Experts forecast this year could bring one of the most intense El Niño events in recorded history, of such strength that some scientists recently dubbed it the “Godzilla El Niño.” The El Niño is expected to bring another warm, dry winter to southern B.C., and experts are watching to see how it combines with a warm-water phenomenon called “the blob” already being observed off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. John Colebourn and Dan Fumano report. (The Province)

Drought prompts more rule changes for region’s rivers
Drought conditions have prompted changes to rules on 60 rivers and streams in the state. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced changes this week for some dredging and plant removal activities. The changes prohibit or restrict suction dredging for gold and the removing aquatic plants using machinery. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Emergency closure of Dungeness crab fishery in Olympic National Park’s coastal section
To protect people from severe health impacts, fishing for Dungeness crab along the coastal strip of Olympic National Park is closed, effective at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19…. This emergency closure is designed to protect human health, as levels of the marine toxin domoic acid have exceed health standards in Dungeness crabs along the Washington coast. (Peninsula Daily News)

Cascadia fault chatters and pops with little quakes
Initial results from a program to monitor the Cascadia Subduction Zone in unprecedented detail show that the fault off the Northwest coast isn’t as seismically quiet as it has long appeared. Seafloor seismometers deployed as part of the National Science Foundation’s Cascadia Initiative detected nearly 600 small earthquakes off central Oregon during their first year of operation — quakes that didn’t register on any land-based instruments. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Gull darn it! – Lots of seabirds, lots of guano
The problem with gulls in Port Townsend. John Boone reports. (Port Townsend Leader)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED AUG 19 2015
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 9 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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

8/18 Fraser salmon closure, raw oyster ban, Shell drill, wildlife plan, tsunami, fin whales

Oystercatcher (Laurie MacBride)
Slowing Down for the Details
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "It seems like we’re often so busy rushing about, trying to get the “most” out of life, that we miss out on the delightful little details around us. The folks in the boat above, for instance, didn’t seem to notice the Black oystercatcher as they sped by. I’m not judging them – I’ve been in the same metaphorical boat myself, way too many times. But this was one occasion when I was grateful to be in the slow lane…."

Fraser River salmon fishing closes
The Fraser River has been closed to salmon fishing from its mouth all the way to the Alexandra Bridge north of Hope, thanks in part to record-high water temperatures. The closure came into effect Friday at midnight, according to notices from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. First Nations fisheries have also been closed. Bethany Lindsay reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Mainland raw-oyster ban slams industry
The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, which encompasses most of the Lower Mainland and a large chunk of the Sunshine Coast, instructed restaurants to stop serving oysters raw. It also warned consumers to cook oysters before eating them. B.C. shellfish farmers are reeling after Lower Mainland health officials ordered restaurants to stop serving raw oysters. Richard Watts reports. (Times Colonist)

Feds allow Shell to drill for oil in Arctic Ocean off Alaska
The federal government on Monday gave Royal Dutch Shell the final permit it needs to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska’s northwest coast for the first time in more than two decades. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced that it approved the permit to drill below the ocean floor after the oil giant brought in a required piece of equipment to stop a possible well blowout…. Shell is free to drill into oil-bearing rock, estimated at 8,000 feet below the ocean floor, for the first time since its last exploratory well was drilled in 1991. Dan Joling reports. (Associated Press)

State’s wildlife action plan open for comment
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is accepting comments on a proposed update to the State Wildlife Action Plan, which identifies 268 fish and wildlife species with the greatest conservation needs. The plan is open for comment through Sept. 11. The document is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/cwcs/. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

UW researchers model tsunami hazards on the Northwest coast
…. Dozens of UW scientists are part of the M9 Project, a research endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation to study the Cascadia subduction zone and communicate information about potential hazards to government officials and the public. Key goals of the M9 Project include mathematical modeling of tsunami waves, which tries to predict where and how an earthquake-triggered wave will affect the coast. Two University of Washington scientists — applied mathematics professor Randy LeVeque and affiliate professor of Earth and space sciences Frank Gonzalez — recently talked about how they model tsunami hazards along the Northwest coast. James Urton reports. (UW Today)

A care package for a lonely B.C. whale researcher
James Pilkington glances wistfully at Ulric Point as the John P. Tully motors past Aristazabal Island on B.C.’s north coast. From 2008 to 2011, he worked there on contract to the non-profit North Coast Cetacea Society, spending up to 100 days from spring to fall observing whales and seabirds. “It was incredible. Caamano Sound is so alive, one of the few areas you see fin whales consistently close to shore, inland waters.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE AUG 18 2015
TODAY
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 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


Monday, August 17, 2015

8/17 Bulkheads, pinks, Vic sewer, shellfish, green fund, oil train, ospreys, sea stars, sunk boat, Marina Beach

(PHOTO: Hugh Shipman/Dept. Of Ecology)
Have we turned the corner on Puget Sound bulkhead construction?
Chris Dunagan blogs: "It’s hard to describe the surprise I felt when I first glanced at a new graph plotting bulkhead construction and removal along Puget Sound’s shoreline since 2005. On the graph was a blue line that showed how new bulkhead construction had declined dramatically the past two years. But what really caught my eye was a green line showing an increase in bulkhead removal. Amazingly, these two lines had crossed each other in 2014, meaning that the total length of bulkheads removed had exceeded the total length of bulkheads built last year. Not only was this the first time this has ever happened, it was totally unexpected. Few people really believed that bulkhead removal could exceed construction anytime soon." (Watching Our Water Ways)

Interest flags in pink salmon fishery at Dungeness River mouth after number of returning fish turns out lower
Interest has waned in a pink salmon fishery at the mouth of the Dungeness River now that the numbers originally expected haven’t developed, said the natural resources director for the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe. The beach seine fishery, in which weighted nets are used to pull fish to shore, was developed by co-managers of the Jamestown S’Klallam, Port Gamble S’Klallam and Point No Point Treaty Council and approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to weed out some of the 1.3 million pinks expected to return this season, said Scott Chitwood on Friday. Leah Leach reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Crews deepen channels to help struggling salmon amid drought Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Technical panel to oversee CRD sewage project
The capital region’s sewage committee has created a technical oversight panel that didn’t exist under the Seaterra program, in hopes of avoiding another failed project. The six-member panel will provide independent vetting of the engineering, business case, lifecycle costing and other project analysis. The committee has also hired a fairness and transparency adviser to handle any complaints about the process. In addition, the committee agreed to pay $250,000 for the next step in technical support, detailed cost analysis and engineering work by Urban Systems and Carollo Associates. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

New sensor system monitors water temperature for shellfish safety
In the ongoing effort to reduce “bad oyster” illnesses, the state Department of Health recently installed 13 sensors along the shoreline. One of the sensors was installed in Samish Bay with the help of Taylor Shellfish Farms. Samish Bay averages at least one case of vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria-related illness each year, according to Department of Health data. As of this week, the sensors are sending real-time water temperature, air temperature and salinity data to nanoos.org, which is run by Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems. The goal is to help commercial and recreational shellfish harvesters, as well as the state, keep a closer eye on water conditions. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Biotoxin infesting part of Hood Canal usually free of it
.... The Department of Health found high levels of the marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning in Hood Canal early this summer, leading the state to close several beaches in Jefferson and Mason counties to shellfish harvest, many for the first time. Aria Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun) See also: More shellfish harvest closures in effect in Clallam County; shut areas stretch from Cape Flattery to Jefferson line  (Peninsula Daily News)

Federal conservation money for iconic parks in jeopardy
A 50-year-old government fund that’s helped preserve Mount Rainier National Park, historical sites in the San Juan Islands, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway in Washington state is in danger of disappearing because of funding disputes in Congress. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has paid for $637 million in conservation and recreation projects in Washington state, and nearly $17 billion in work across the nation ranging from the Gettysburg civil war battlefield to the Grand Canyon to the Florida Everglades. The money comes from royalties that oil companies pay the government for offshore drilling rights, not with taxpayer dollars. But the fund is set to expire Sept. 30 unless reauthorized by Congress – and with Congress on vacation until Sept. 8 the chances are not looking good. Sean Cockerham reports. (McClatchy)

Experts say best plan for oil train fire is evacuation and containment
Each oil tanker car that passes through Snohomish County carries about 33,000 gallons. Multiply that by 100 to 110 cars per train. Often, it's Bakken crude oil, which is easier to refine but far more volatile. The Pacific Northwest now is averaging 2.5 loaded oil trains per day, most headed toward refineries in Skagit and Whatcom counties. Local firefighters have been talking about how they can be prepared if one turns into a fireball. The message from experts is that, most likely, local firefighters won't be able to extinguish the flames. Instead, their focus will be evacuating the area and keeping the fire from spreading into buildings, said Brad Reading, an assistant chief at Snohomish County Fire District 1. In his district, the railroad tracks run through downtown Edmonds and along steep waterfront bluffs toward Everett. Rikki King reports. (Everett Herald)

Anti-pipeline campaigners grab onlookers’ attention with environmental street theatre
Anti-pipeline campaigners with the Sierra Club spent Sunday morning at English Bay, trying to grab the attention of selfie-snapping tourists with a little environmental street theatre. The performance was an attempt to dramatize the some of the predicted health impacts of an oil spill if Kinder Morgan is allowed to go through with its planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Bethany Lindsay reports. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: Birdwatching 2.0: Webcam keeps an eye on UVic ospreys
A University of Victoria webcam documenting the round-the-clock activity of a family of ospreys has become a hit on campus and online, drawing viewers from around the world. Video of the ospreys has been streaming live since early July, netting as many as 1,000 views a day. Thanks to a webcam placed in view of the nest, which is located atop a soccer field light standard near the school’s Centennial Stadium, followers are being given a rare glimpse into the daily activities of the birds of prey…. The webcam can be viewed by visiting uvic.ca/osprey. Mike Devlin reports. (Times Colonist)

Volunteers provide crucial surveys of sea stars to monitor a mysterious, devastating disease
Michael Kyte and his team were more than an hour into their search when they spotted their first dying sea star. The orange mottled sea star had two detached arms and exposed white flesh — telltale signs of sea star wasting syndrome. A semi-retired biology consultant from Seattle, Kyte has been leading volunteer groups to track signs of sea star wasting at Camano Island State Park since the spring of 2014. This was the first diseased specimen they had found in more than a year…. Kyte's group is one of seven citizen-science groups monitoring sea star populations in Washington's intertidal zones. Other observers contribute data from points stretching from Anchorage, Alaska, down to Baja California. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald) See also: Will the sea stars ever be able to recover?  Anna Meyer reports. (Islands' Weekly)

State fines Brinnon boat owner more than $16,000 for spill after sinking; DNR presents $123,446 bill for vessel’s recovery
The state Department of Ecology has fined the owner of Avalon, a 1929 wooden purse seiner, $16,244 after it sank and spilled diesel near Brinnon on Sept. 14. The owner, Randall Schleich, 56, of Brinnon, said he plans to partially contest the ruling, although he said he doesn’t have the resources to hire legal counsel and accepts responsibility for the spill. “I am going to contest it because I can’t afford to pay it,” he said. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Whale Watcher: Orca Network volunteer passionate about tracking whales from Whidbey’s shores
Rachel Haight admits that her passion for orca whales borders on obsession. Even her 6-year-old daughter Lily will shake her head at the suggestion of another car trip to catch a whale sighting…. Haight, who lives in Oak Harbor, is a sighting volunteer with the Langley-based Orca Network who’s been very busy lately. Ron Newberry reports. (Whidbey News-Times)

Marina Beach Master Plan public hearing on Edmonds City Council agenda for Tuesday
After taking a week off to celebrate Edmonds’ 125th anniversary, the Edmonds City Council will hold both a business meeting and study session this Tuesday, including a public hearing on the draft master plan for redesigning Marina Beach to accommodate the daylighting of Willow Creek through the Edmonds Marsh and into Puget Sound. (My Edmonds News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON AUG 17 2015
TODAY
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 6 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, August 14, 2015

8/14 Derelict gear, coal terminal, oil pipes, geoducks, safe oysters, drought, power sales, mine safety

Ken Woodside at work
(Bellingham Herald)
Lost nets, crab pots pulled from Puget Sound waters
Divers pulled more than 5,660 derelict fishing nets from Puget Sound’s shallow water — within 105 feet of the surface — as part of the work to remove lost and abandoned gear that had snared and indiscriminately killed marine life, sometimes for decades. Bellingham-based Northwest Straits Foundation led the project. It started in 2002 and ended June 30 this year. About 3,800 crab pots also were removed. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: Long-running effort to remove deadly ghost nets reaches major milestone  Christopher Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Finally, Some Real Rain
Cliff Mass writes: "For almost a week the models have been advertising a significant rain event today (Friday).  And the most recent forecast is no different.  A substantial rain event that will substantially reduce water use for several days and perhaps put some meaningful water into reservoirs.   The first significant rain of the summer…." (Weather Blog)

Coal company buys stake in Gateway Pacific Terminal
Coal producer Cloud Peak Energy has purchased a 49 percent stake in a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point, according to a joint announcement by Cloud Peak and majority owner SSA Marine. Cloud Peak paid $2 million up front and will pay up to $30 million in future permitting costs, according to the announcement Thursday, Aug. 13. In the short term, SSA Marine gets an infusion of cash and some relief from what has already been an expensive permitting process. SSA Marine has paid more than $11 million so far for an ongoing environmental review that is scheduled to be completed next year. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Shipping oil by pipeline safer than rail, says Fraser Institute report
While a new study finds transporting crude oil by pipeline is much safer than by rail, pipeline opponents argue there is no safe way to transport oil and given the threat of climate change, the discussion should be how to reduce the need to transport fossil fuels. The Fraser Institute report was released Thursday, ahead of an anticipated rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project by U.S. President Barack Obama. Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun)

New blog: Old Japanese Pitcher Throws No-Hitter
Japanese-born Hisashi Iwakuma pitched a no-hitter on Wednesday in Seattle. At 34 years old, Iwakuma is the oldest pitcher since Randy Johnson threw a non-hitter in 2004. That’s according to Tim Booth, the Associated Press sports writer. Did it matter that Iwakuma needed to be identified as Japanese-born by the sports writer?

Geoduck farms expand along with rules and critics
New geoduck farming rules are rolling out across Puget Sound, prompting a renaissance in the clam harvest and a growing movement to stop it. In the last decade, Taylor Shellfish has expanded geoduck farms by 30 acres, with another 25 awaiting permit. They produce 7,000 pounds of geoduck per year, through which hundreds of jobs have been created. Their nursery is filled with tens of thousands of growing geoduck seed…. Now, counties across Puget Sound are adopting the new geoduck rules. That's prompted renewed interest, along with big demand in Asia. The Department of Ecology counts 28 new geoduck farm permits since 2012. However, geoduck growth has also grown grit from critics. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Growers say B.C. oysters are ‘safe to eat raw’ despite Vancouver-wide ban
Vancouver Coastal Health issued an order this week instructing all restaurants to cook their B.C. oysters before serving them to customers, explaining that a naturally occurring bacterium called Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which is found in coastal waters, is linked to a rise in gastrointestinal illness. Other health authorities across the province, including on Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley, followed suit. Raw oysters harvested elsewhere are unaffected. But the B.C. Shellfish Grower’s Association, which represents about 70 per cent of shellfish growers in the province, disputed that its members had anything to do with the illnesses. Executive director Roberta Stevenson said the province’s oysters are fine when they come out of the water. Kat Sieniuc reports. (Globe and Mail)

If you like to listen: Drowned Out
If you’re a whale, you use your ears to navigate. Unfortunately, humans can have a hard time seeing all the noise they make, and what it’s doing to the world of sound. Christopher Clark can explain. He’s a senior scientist in bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is part of a “listening culture” of scientists. And he knows a lot about whales. This is an audio story about listening. (NPR)

Peninsula drought intensifies; status boosted from severe to extreme
The North Olympic Peninsula's drought status has been upgraded from severe to extreme. The U.S. Drought Monitor announced the change Thursday. The new categorization indicates regional impacts that include major crop and pasture losses and widespread water shortages or restrictions. It is based on multiple factors including soil moisture, rainfall, river flows and groundwater availability. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Drought Cuts Seattle City Light's Revenue By Millions
Seattle’s electric utility says it's taking a big financial hit because of the weather: The lack of rain has affected its ability to produce surplus power to sell in the open market. Its revenue from selling that surplus is down more than 40 percent, KUOW has learned. The utility relies primarily on hydropower, and in this normally wet corner of the country, it typically produces a lot more power than its customers need. Deborah Wang reports. (KUOW)

The Animas River spill and the myth of mine safety
The definition of a mine, said Mark Twain, is a hole in the ground owned by liars. And this month the industry's biggest lie — that it can be trusted with our water — is once again on display as another mining disaster has spilled millions of gallons of toxic mining waste and chemicals into our streams, rivers and lakes. Joel R. Reynolds reports. (LA Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 250 AM PDT FRI AUG 14 2015
TODAY
SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING.
SAT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SUN
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
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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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