Wednesday, September 30, 2015

9/30 Pesticides, Erich Hoyt, fish waste, eco-bylaw, Chesapeake Bay, more vessels, BC LNG, citizen science

Little owl (Athene noctua)
Reader’s note: ‘A gathering of species of the Strigiformes order is commonly referred to as a "parliament of owls."’ (Tony Angell)

EPA Toughens Pesticide Rules To Protect Farmworkers
Stronger rules for pesticides sprayed on farms and in forests, greenhouses and nurseries can cut health risks for workers, the federal government said in rolling out new safety standards this week…. The Environmental Protection Agency announced the new rules on Monday. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the change are long overdue…. One major change is the setting of a federal age requirement for the first time. Workers who handle pesticides will need to be at least 18. Other states already have implemented a similar rule – in Washington, the minimum age is 18. EPA also will now require that workers get training on pesticide risks - every year. Currently workers have to be trained only every five years. Other changes include whistleblower protections, better notification around work sites and stricter enforcement of rules. The EPA expects to phase in the changes next year. Liz Jones reports. (KUOW)

Erich Hoyt returns to Puget Sound; whale sign goes up near Hansville
Chris Dunagan writes: "Erich Hoyt, who has spent most of his life studying whales, returns to Puget Sound in October for talks in Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle. I enjoyed interviewing Erich last year before he visited this region. (See Water Ways, May 3, 2014.) We talked about the ongoing capture of killer whales in Russia, where government officials refuse to learn a lesson from the Northwest about breaking up killer whale families and disrupting their social order. (Watching Our Water Ways)

What Americans do with fish is shocking
…. Of all the food that Americans waste — and Americans waste a lot of food — it's the seafood that never gets eaten that should trouble us most. Few sources of nutrition, after all, are as coveted as fish. They're high in protein, and low in fat. Eating them is associated with all sorts of beneficial health outcomes. And yet, few foods are discarded so frequently. Between 2009 and 2013, as much as 47 percent of all edible seafood in the United States went to waste, according to a new study from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF). Roberto A. Ferdman reports. (Washington Post)

Saanich mayor outvoted on ditching eco-bylaw
Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell has tried unsuccessfully to scrap the district’s controversial environmental bylaw with councillors solidly outvoting him. After a nearly four-hour torrent of negative comments about the Environmental Development Permit Area, Atwell said that “what I’m hearing tonight is that the burden is unbearable and overwhelming.”…. Coun. Vic Derman said scrapping the bylaw at this stage would be “beyond the pale” and Coun. Judy Brownoff said “chaos” would be the result. They said ditching the bylaw would fly in the face of an open house on the issue Saturday and a public meeting in October. “It’s a matter of a few months before we come back with our results, which is fair to everyone,” Brownoff said. The bylaw states that “alteration of land, subdivision and construction are prohibited within an environmental development permit area, according to the Local Government Act, unless an exemption applies or a development permit is issued.” It is meant to protect from development areas that the municipality calls “rare ecosystems and vital habitat.” Katherine Dedyna reports. (Times Colonist)

Tour shows journalists Chesapeake’s good, bad & plans for future
…. Many of the 14 other journalists on the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources tour had much of the same reaction as the group embarked on the IJNR’s first Chesapeake Bay Institute in more than a decade…. Tristan Baurick, who covers the environment beat for the Kitsap Sun in Bremerton, WA, said he applied to the institute because he wanted to see the parallels between the Chesapeake Bay and the Puget Sound. The sound struggles with some of the same issues as the Bay: algae blooms, sewage spills and a combined stormwater and sewage system in Seattle and King County that often overflows. And yet, Baurick said, he was surprised to learn about swim advisories after rainfalls and about riverkeepers and counties that put out fecal coliform warnings. “Nobody ever says ‘you can’t swim.’ That was amazing to me,’” Baurick said…. “We’re dealing with some of these same problems,” Baurick said of the Puget Sound and the Bay. “I don’t think either of us have the solutions to those problems.” Rona Kobell reports. (Bay Journal)

Storms for Salish Sea
Royal Dutch Shell said it will end oil exploration in offshore Alaska “for the forseeable future’’ after an exploratory well in the Chukchi Sea failed to yield the hoped for oil and gas, but that doesn’t mean the impacts of energy expansion projects will end on the Salish Sea. Our region is targeted for export projects that could dwarf the XL Pipeline. If all the new and expanding terminal and refinery projects in the Salish Sea are permitted and developed, including projects that became operational in 2014, there would be a 43 percent increase in large, commercial marine vessel traffic. Tim Johnson reports. (Cascadia Weekly)

Metlakatla signs agreement in support of Prince Rupert Gas Transmission
The Metlakatla First Nation has become the eighth aboriginal group to support TransCanada Corp.’s Prince Rupert Gas Transmission, a B.C. pipeline project that would transport natural gas to a West Coast export terminal. TransCanada’s $5-billion pipeline venture aims to supply a proposed plant that would export liquefied natural gas from Lelu Island to customers in Asia. The Metlakatla, one of five Tsimshian First Nations consulted during a provincial environmental review last year of Pacific NorthWest LNG, signed a project agreement with TransCanada. The pact details financial, employment and other benefits for the Metlakatla. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Olympia middle school launches Citizen Science Institute
About 45 Marshall students spent three days at the YMCA’s camp on Case Inlet on the Puget Sound near Longbranch last week for its Outdoor Environmental Education Program. They’re part of the newly launched Citizen Science Institute, a grade 6-8 alternative program that combines science, research and community service activities…. During the next school year, CSI students will spend about a half day each week conducting field investigations for a variety of environmental and community organizations, such as the Pacific Shellfish Institute, Garden Raised Bounty and the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. Projects include migratory bird counting, water quality testing in local streams and assisting a research project that’s measuring nitrogen levels found in mussels. Lisa Pemberton reports. (The Olympian)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 248 AM PDT WED SEP 30 2015
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

9/29 No Shell drill, sunk tug, detained bulker, opah, Mars water

Burrowing owls (Garrett Lau/BirdNote)
A Murder, a Party, a Stare, or a Siege
Collective nouns are a mixture of poetry, alliteration, and description. Victorians often made up names for groups of birds, as a parlor game. Many names bring a vision of the birds instantly to mind. How about this stare of owls? They're Burrowing Owls! So what would a bunch of birders be called? A gaggle? A flock? A watch? Can you be more creative? (BirdNote)

Exuberance and Disappointment at Shell’s About-Face in the Arctic
For many Alaskans, Monday was “a huge disappointment, a really big disappointment,” as Gov. Bill Walker put it, reflecting on the tax revenue, jobs and investments that may be lost as Royal Dutch Shell abandons its plan to drill for oil in the Alaskan Arctic. But for many people here in Washington State and elsewhere, it was a day of exuberance, one that offered evidence that the harbor blockades, city resolutions, lawsuits and relentless cries of “Shell No!” had helped force Shell’s hand. Kirk Johnson reports. (NY Times) See also: Varied pressures force Shell out of Arctic  Royal Dutch’s Shell’s decision to pull back from exploration off Alaska’s North Slope reflects not just the results of a disappointing summer drilling season but also the pressures faced by an oil industry buffeted by low crude prices and increased concern about the environmental risks of developing major new oil fields in the offshore Arctic. (Seattle Times)

Tugboat sinks in Georgia Strait
An 18-metre tugboat sank in the southern Georgia Strait, just west of Vancouver, Monday morning. The Rescue Co-ordination Centre confirms the Harken 10 sank off Sandheads, near the Tsawwassen ferry terminal around 5 a.m. PT. Officials said no one was hurt and the crew managed to climb into an aluminum boat that was being towed behind the tug. (CBC)

Bulker detained for safety shortfalls
Deficient fire safety equipment has led US Coast Guard (USCG) inspectors to detain a Greek bulker at the Port of Tacoma until the issues can be resolved. A team from the agency's Puget Sound sector found the deficiencies on the 81,700 dwt Rena while conducting a routine inspection on 24 September. While on board the 2011-built vessel, listed as owned by Piraeus-based Trojan Maritime, the USCG discovered "multiple areas" that did not meet SOLAS regulations. The agency said the most severe deficiency involved improper pressurisation of the crew's self-contained breathing apparatuses, a problem that would prevent the crew from responding safely to a fire. John Gallagher reports. (IHS Maritime 360)

Rare and strange fish landed off Westport could be new state record
An opah, a warmer water fish known as a sunfish or moonfish, was caught by recreational fishers out of Westport. "The 35 pound, 11 ounce fish was officially weighed and taken to the state Fish and Wildlife office in Olympia for verification as a possible state record." Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

Liquid water flows on today's Mars: NASA confirms evidence
New findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. (Science Daily)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 254 AM PDT TUE SEP 29 2015
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
E WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SW 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 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

Monday, September 28, 2015

9/28 No Shell drill, pipe benefits, oil train law, whale talks, climate pledge, sea stars, Pt Gamble, plastics

Super blood moon eclipse 9/27/15 (Sy Bean/Seattle Times)
Shell stops Arctic activity after 'disappointing' tests
Royal Dutch Shell has stopped Arctic oil and gas exploration off the coast of Alaska after "disappointing" results from a key well in the Chukchi Sea. In a surprise announcement, the company said it would end exploration off Alaska "for the foreseeable future". Shell said it did not find sufficient amounts of oil and gas in the Burger J well to warrant further exploration. The company has spent about $7bn (£4.5bn) on Arctic offshore development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. (BBC)

Kinder Morgan files new reports to NEB touting benefits of proposed pipeline
Kinder Morgan has filed new reports to the National Energy Board touting the economic benefits of its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, replacing evidence that the regulator ordered removed from the record last month. The filings include an 89-page market analysis by Dallas consulting firm Muse Stancil and an updated Conference Board of Canada tally of the project's broader economic spinoffs. Muse Stancil estimates $73.5 billion (in 2012 dollars) will be added to producers' bottom lines over 20 years if the Alberta-to-B.C. project goes ahead. Lauren Kruegel reports. (Canadian Press)

Oil train law still in works
A new state law requires cities, counties and fire departments be told ahead of time when an oil train is coming through their community. But it may be the summer of 2017 before they start getting such a heads-up. The state Department of Ecology is working to determine what details on the type and source of oil being shipped must be in the notices to help communities prepare for a derailment, spill or other type of accident. Jerry Cornfield report. (Everett Herald)

Killer Whale Talks in October
Erich Hoyt
is featured in talks along the Whale Trail: Oct 3, Saturna Island Marine Research & Education Society (tickets at the door); Oct 6, Shaw Center Ocean Discovery Center, Sidney (tickets at Eventbrite ); and Oct 10, Olympia Friends Meeting Hall, Oct 11, UW Carwein Hall Tacoma, and Oct 13, the Hall at Fauntleroy in West Seattle (tickets at Brown Paper Tickets  (search Erich Hoyt)). Carl Safina speaks on Oct 7 at the Seattle Aquarium (tickets at Brown Paper Tickets .

Robertson launches Vancouver Climate Pledge
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has ended a week in New York by launching Vancouver’s Climate Pledge. The pledge calls for businesses to get behind the push for stronger action on climate change globally and align with Vancouver’s vision to shift to 100 per cent of renewable energy, to have their own corporate carbon reduction and renewable energy targets, and to challenge other businesses to sign the pledge. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Starfish Are Still Dying, But Here's Reason for Hope
It's been three years since millions of sea stars from Alaska to Canada and down to Baja, Mexico started wasting away into gooey white mounds. And although the destruction wrought by this disease shows no signs of stopping, the pace of the die-off has slowed. That's partly because so many sea stars have already died, says Ben Miner, a marine biologist at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Some areas have seen up to a 90 percent decline in their populations… Scientists identified the likely culprit last year: A pathogen known as a densovirus, part of the same parvovirus group that can cause gastrointestinal problems in unvaccinated dogs. So they've shifted their efforts to monitoring sea star populations and investigating why this disease—probably caused by a very common ocean virus—is now rampaging through 19 species of sea stars. Jane J. Lee reports. (National Geographic)

Making amends for mistakes that damaged our natural world
Preservation is cheaper than restoration. If you need proof, one place to look is the Beard’s Cove estuary-restoration project on Hood Canal, about a mile outside of Belfair. The project, nearing completion, is re-establishing 7.3 acres of saltwater wetlands by excavating and removing about 4,000 dumptruck loads of old fill dirt from an area originally built as a private park for the Beard’s Cove community. It is a rare restoration project, because essentially the same dirt used to fill the wetlands in 1973 is being taken out and put back where it came from — across North Shore Road from the development. The cost is estimated at $1.1 million, as reported by Arla Shephard in a story in the Kitsap Sun. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Collaborative restoration project improves local beach for people and fish
A barge arrived on Brown Island in a recent downpour to unload heavy equipment and the removal of a large rock bulkhead along three adjacent residential waterfront properties was finally underway…. Over the next week local contractor Carson Sprenger and his Orcas Island based team at Rain Shadow Consulting will remove 175 cubic yards of rock from the project site, working carefully to retain existing trees and shrubs. Following bulkhead removal, the upper beach will be nourished with sand and small gravel. Native plants including dune grass, Nootka rose, ocean spray and snowberry will be planted by Barry Bartmasser of Naturescapes Landscaping, a San Juan Island based firm. Project funding has been provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Puget Sound Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, participating property owners and FRIENDS members. (San Juan Islander)

Cleanup Effort Begins In Port Gamble Bay
About 20 years after the Pope & Talbot mill shut down, the Washington Department of Ecology is scheduled to begin a $17 million project to remove wood waste and contaminated sediment from the Port Gamble Bay. The Kitsap Sun reports that the two-year-long cleanup effort will begin Monday. The department plans to either dug up or cover 70,000 cubic yards of waste and contamination left over from the mill, which closed in 1995. The department also plans to removed creosote-treated pilings from the water and demolish piers, docks and other structures. (Associated Press)

New design for Point Defiance aquarium revealed to public
Imagine standing in a tunnel of water with hammerhead sharks swimming above your head and sea turtles gliding in front of you. That’s the experience officials at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are aiming for as they design a three-story aquarium to in part replace the North Pacific Aquarium…. Construction is expected to begin next summer, and the aquarium could open by 2018. Stacia Glenn reports. (Olympian)

Port Townsend research delves into problem of microplastic debris in the ocean
Research gathered under the auspices of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is being used to call attention to the effects of microplastic debris in ocean. “There is a lot of plastic that you can't even see,” said Ann Murphy, the center's former executive director.... Murphy and retired biologist and statistician Wally Davis have published an article in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, “Plastic in surface waters of the Inside Passage and beaches of the Salish Sea in Washington State.” Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 255 AM PDT MON SEP 28 2015
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING E TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 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

Friday, September 25, 2015

9/25 Vessel traffic, drought, illegal crab pots, Skagit poop, steelhead fight, city deer

(Friends of the San Juans/San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping)
Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections: A 43 Percent Increase
If all the new and expanding terminal and refinery projects in the Salish Sea are permitted and developed, including projects that became operational in 2014, there would be a 43 percent increase in large, commercial marine vessel traffic. Friends of the San Juans and San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping have released the Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections featuring 18 new or expanded proposed or recently completed projects, which cumulatively would add an additional 5,300 annual vessel transits to and from ports in British Columbia and Washington State…. The Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections flyer and source information are available at Safe Shipping in the Salish Sea. (9/23/15 News Release from Friends of the San Juans/San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping)

Drought not over, state officials say
Don’t let a bit of rain in the last few weeks fool you. We’re still in drought, state officials said. Extreme drought in Eastern and Central Washington. Slightly better severe drought in much of Western Washington. Winter rain and snow are expected to be below average, too, so Washington might start 2016 in worse shape than it started 2015. Jim Camden reports. (Spokesman-Review)

Nearly 700 illegal crab pots seized in waters near Blaine
Nearly 700 illegal crab pots were seized in the waters near Blaine in a two-day sweep conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Tulalip Police on Sept. 17 and 18. Officers seized roughly 675 crab pots between Point Roberts and Peach Arch State Park — an area that includes portions of Semiahmoo Bay and Boundary Bay, said WDFW Sgt. Russ Mullins, who led the investigation. Most of the illegal crab pots belonged to Canadian commercial fishermen. Mullins said when their waters have been fished out, Canadian fishermen will cross the border without proper licenses and try to intercept crabs moving north from U.S. waters. Similar sweeps have been done in the past by WDFW officers. Wilson Criscione reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Fecal coliform fights continue
With the return of wet weather, fecal coliform bacteria is again an issue in Skagit County. The bacteria, an indicator that feces are present, made its fall debut Monday in the Samish River watershed, prompting the first commercial shellfish harvest closure since early May. Rain on Sunday “resulted in absurdly high fecal coliform counts in the Samish River,” Skagit County Water Quality Analyst Rick Haley said in an email. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Steelhead snorkel study biologist wants hatchery compromise
Rivers in Washington may soon be divided into territory for either wild steelhead or hatchery steelhead. The hatchery steelhead are stuck in legal gridlock right now, after a lawsuit filed by the Wild Fish Conservancy argued they're bad for wild steelhead. One biologist wants a compromise, and he's advocating for it underwater. John McMillan works for Trout Unlimited. He's studied steelhead by snorkeling for more than 20 years across 1,500 miles of river, taking video of their behavior changes over time…. McMillan agrees with the state's plan to map rivers, potentially separating hatchery and wild steelhead. He thinks hatchery fish serve a purpose for fishermen - but need their own territory. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

B.C. pledges to help cities deal with urban deer
B.C.’s escalating problem with urban deer has gotten so bad that the province pledged $100,000 and other forms of support Thursday, as communities struggle with aggressive animals and community fights over what to do about them. While Vancouverites fell in love with their single “downtown deer” that roamed Stanley Park and occasionally the city until it was killed in a car crash earlier this month, the deer issue is far from cute elsewhere. Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said there has been a dog killed, another one injured and residents chased down the street by deer in that Victoria-area community. Frances Bula reports. (Globe and Mail)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT FRI SEP 25 2015
TODAY
LIGHT WIND BECOMING N TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SAT AND SAT NIGHT
LIGHT WIND. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SUN AND SUN NIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 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, September 24, 2015

9/24 Supermoon eclipse, fall forecast, OrcaLab cams, community bill of rights

July 6, 1982 (PHOTO: Fred Espenak)
Supermoon plus eclipse equals rare sky show Sunday night
A total lunar eclipse will share the stage with a so-called supermoon Sunday night in Seattle. That combination hasn't been seen since 1982 and won't happen again until 2033. Showtime in Seattle is 7:47 p.m. Sunday. Marcia Dunn reports. (Associated Press)

Fall forecast: Warm and dry across NW
It could be good news for fall hikers and football fans — but not for farmers, skiers, and water-resource managers: A warm, dry fall and winter appear on tap, not just for the Puget Sound area but for much of the Northwest, according to projections from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. The chief indicator is a strong El Niño, a climate pattern marked by warm waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator. The phenomenon has typically been associated with moderate Northwest winters. According to the Climate Prediction Center, the Northwest is likely to see above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation from October through December. Jack Broom reports. (Seattle Times)

Whale viewing just a text away with OrcaLab cameras off Vancouver Island
Want a splash of whale to enliven your day? That’s now possible with a new text feature that alerts you when whales appear at any of four sites equipped with cameras in Johnstone Strait off northeastern Vancouver Island. The new feature is a joint initiative of OrcaLab, which has been tracking killer whale behaviour since 1970 in Johnstone Strait, and the social media organization, explore.org. The sites include Hanson Island, Parson Island, Cracroft Point, and a rubbing beach at Robson Bight. OrcaLab founder Paul Spong said that when whales are observed, text messages are sent out identifying on which of the four sites they can be found. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Municipal leaders call for environmental bill of rights for clean water, air and food
Municipal leaders will press the provincial government to enact a new environmental bill of rights to protect B.C.’s clean air, land and water, but not everybody across the province is happy about it. Delegates at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver were narrowly split over the proposal, which was pitched by Richmond Coun. Harold Steves as “an idea whose time has come.”…. The resolution calls on the UBCM to ask the province to enact legislation for an environmental bill of rights, suggesting municipalities and regional districts share a “deep concern for the welfare of the environment and understand that a healthy environment is inextricably linked to the health of individuals, families, future generations and communities.” The proposed bill of rights, the resolution stated, would recognize the right of every resident to live in a healthy environment; allow public participation in decision-making respecting the environment and access to environmental information; provide access to justice when environmental rights are infringed; and offer whistleblower protection. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Group petitions for Skagit County “bill of rights”
About a year ago, a group of Skagit County residents concerned about protecting natural resources, guarding against unchecked major development and guaranteeing rights for workers and citizens vowed to gather signatures and bring a petition to the Skagit County Commissioners asking for a community bill of rights. On Tuesday, the group Skagit Living Democracy delivered what it said was almost 2,000 signatures of Skagit County residents, business owners and organizations to county commissioners. Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU SEP 24 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
TODAY
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN BY AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
VARIABLE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS. 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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

9/23 Quiet habitat, no Keystone, Exxon climate, Dockton pier, grouse ESA

(PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
May the Fronds be With You
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "“Current affairs” factor into our decisions when we’re kayaking. If there’s next to no surface current, we’ll often just dawdle along, soaking up the scenery. When the current is stronger and it’s going in our direction, the paddling is easy so we’re able to make good speed towards a destination. By contrast, going against the current can make for hard slogging, so we usually try to time our passages to match its direction – especially if we’re heading home after an already lengthy paddle. At worst, if we’re fighting a current, we hope it’s a minor one. But currents can be localized and dynamic, changing several times over the course of the day. So how do we judge their relative speed and direction?…."

Race on to protect whales, dolphins from noise pollution
B.C. has the opportunity to conserve “globally rare” quiet habitat for endangered and noise-sensitive whales and dolphins, but fast action is required, say the authors of a new study. At least 20 liquefied natural gas plants are proposed for the B.C. coast, which could add thousands of tanker trips a year to coastal waters from Howe Sound to the Hecate Strait, the body of water between Haida Gwaii and the mainland near Kitimat and Prince Rupert. But ocean noise from shipping and other marine traffic is disruptive to marine mammals — and likely many other species — causing the animals stress, disrupting navigation, feeding and their ability to detect predators over vast areas. Noise travels hundreds of times farther in water than air, according to the study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Clinton says she opposes Keystone XL pipeline
Hillary Rodham Clinton broke her longstanding silence over the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, telling voters at a campaign stop in Iowa on Tuesday that she opposes the project assailed by environmentalists. The Democratic presidential candidate said the project had become an impediment to efforts to fight climate change. Ken Thomas and Catherine Lucey report. (Associated Press)

What Exxon Knew About Climate Change
Wednesday morning (Sept. 16), journalists at InsideClimate News, a Web site that has won the Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on oil spills, published the first installment of a multi-part exposé that will be appearing over the next month. The documents they have compiled and the interviews they have conducted with retired employees and officials show that, as early as 1977, Exxon (now ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies) knew that its main product would heat up the planet disastrously. This did not prevent the company from then spending decades helping to organize the campaigns of disinformation and denial that have slowed—perhaps fatally—the planet’s response to global warming. Bill McKibben reports. (The New Yorker)

Remnants of south-end pier to be replaced
In an effort to mitigate the environmental impact of the seismic retrofit of the north-end ferry dock, crews will begin work next week to remove the remnants of the old pier next to the Tahlequah dock, as well as clean up beach debris in Dockton. Blackwater Construction has been commissioned by Washington State Ferries (WSF) to remove the creosote-soaked pilings of the old pier at the south end, in order to mitigate work on the north-end dock that will result in some increased over-water coverage, which can alter and negatively impact the near-shore environment. Sarah Low reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

US Rejects Protections For Greater Sage Grouse
The U.S. Interior Department says the greater sage grouse does not need federal protections across its 11-state western range. The long-awaited decision affects millions of acres across the Western states.  “Today I’m proud to mark a milestone for conservation in America, because of an unprecedented effort by dozens of partners in 11 western states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the greater sage grouse does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service. Amanda Peacher reports. (EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 222 AM PDT WED SEP 23 2015
TODAY
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING E 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A
 CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SE 10 TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 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, September 22, 2015

9/22 Forage fish, greenhouse gas, climate myth, El Nino, Shell train, BC fish farm, BC LNG, old growth logging

Forage fish (Paul Dabill/Pew Trusts)
How to Identify a Forage Fish — and Why We Need To
Forage fish are increasingly being recognized as an important part of the marine ecosystem. By studying and setting catch limits on forage fish, managers can reduce the risk of population crashes for commercially valuable fish. Ted Morton writes. (Pew Charitable Trusts)

New blog: Holy Father the Chemist
"There have been some strange twists and turns in religiosity the past few weeks perhaps foreshadowing Pope Francis’ visit to our country this week. No doubt Kentucky county auditor Kim Davis is both deeply religious and an upstanding civil servant but not to choose one’s religious faith and resign from one’s sworn duties as a civil servant when it comes in conflict makes a mockery of both the faith she holds and the duties of the office she had sworn to perform…."

State moves to limit greenhouse gases
The state Department of Ecology on Monday proposed capping greenhouse gases from the state’s 35 largest emitters, rolling out a new rule-making process months after Gov. Jay Inslee failed to get legislation passed on his ambitious cap-and-trade plan. The agency began writing a rule to limit — and reduce over time — the amount of heat-trapping gases from the state’s largest industrial facilities, including power plants, refineries and landfills. Ecology officials said the rule would apply to facilities emitting 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases a year, which would capture about 60 percent of the state’s overall carbon emissions. Those that don’t comply could face penalties like those used to enforce other regulations. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Stephen Hume: Another climate myth debunked  
Mention global warming anywhere in a column and the inbox erupts with angry, condescending and dismissive messages from readers claiming that the planet has been cooling — or, at least, not warming — since 1998. But new research by a team of scientists at Stanford University, just published in the Springer science journal Climatic Change, finds that this so-called “hiatus” in global warming over the last 17 years never happened. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. coast should brace for ‘monster’ El Nino year: UVic professor
The “monster” El Nino weather system expected to hit Canada’s West Coast later this fall and winter could lead to higher tides, flooding and erosion in low-lying coastal areas, says a professor at the University of Victoria. Ian Walker’s warning comes out of part of a larger study by a group of researchers from five countries bordering the Pacific who looked into El Nino and La Nina weather systems. The study was published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience. Kevin Drews reports. (Canadian Press)

Public comment period opens on EIS for Shell project
Skagit County and the state Department of Ecology are seeking public comment about the scope of the upcoming environmental impact statement on Shell Puget Sound Refinery’s plans to transport crude oil by rail. Shell has proposed building a facility that would unload crude oil from up to six trains per week. The oil would be refined in Anacortes. Comments are being accepted from until Nov. 5, more than double the 21 days required for an EIS. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Protesters threaten to renew blockade in B.C. fish farm dispute
Protesters who had been attempting to block a fish farm on Vancouver Island say they will return to their camp unless the Norwegian company behind the site removes its docks and equipment, as protesters had expected. Protesters who call themselves the Yaakswiis Warriors said representatives from Cermaq, an aquaculture company with operations in Canada, Chile and Norway, recently promised to remove the installation at a site near Ahousaht, B.C., on Monday morning. A small group of opponents had been blockading the site, located north of Tofino, since Sept. 9, citing potential environmental damage that could result from the plant. Wendy Stueck reports. (Globe and Mail)

LNG exports will impede fishing rights: First Nations
The Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams are claiming title to Lelu Island and Flora Bank in the Port of Prince Rupert, arguing in a court filing that a proposal to export liquefied natural gas would interfere with aboriginal fishing rights. Pacific NorthWest LNG, led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, is seeking to build an $11.4-billion export terminal on Lelu Island in northwestern British Columbia. The island is located next to Flora Bank, which contains eelgrass vital for nurturing juvenile salmon in the Skeena River estuary. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Planned logging of old-growth B.C. forest “shameful,” could spark blockades, say environmentalists  
The B.C. government has approved a permit for logging on one of eight planned “cutblock” areas in the central Walbran Valley on Vancouver Island, which an environmental group says could reignite the war in the woods from the 1990s. “This type of old-growth forest is simply too rare to destroy, and the fact the government isn’t responding to this crisis is shameful,” Wilderness Committee campaigner Torrance Coste said in a news release from the group. The area in question was not protected when more than 16,000 hectares of forests were placed off limits to logging in the Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park created in 1993 following protests and blockades. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT TUE SEP 22 2015
TODAY
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 4 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

Monday, September 21, 2015

9/21 "S.O.S' Act, B'ham waterfront, BC highway, no log, killing birds, BC LNG, Shell drill, Gov's Pt

Biggs killer whales (Pacific Wild)
If you like to watch: Bigg's killer whales prey on Stellar sea lions
8/25/15 Outer Coast field cam. Check out the live video of the Great Bear Rain forest, too. (Pacific Wild)

Puget Sound 'S.O.S.' Act announced by congressmen
…. Congressmen Derek Kilmer and Denny Heck decided the Sound needs emergency help. At the 23rd Salmon Homecoming on Saturday morning, they announced their plan to present a new bill to Congress, called PUGET SOS. They will introduce it to the U.S. House next week…. The bill would define Puget Sound as a nationally significant body of water under the Clean Water Act. It would create a Puget Sound Recovery Program Office in the EPA. It also protects the future of tribal treaty fishing rights. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Massive overhaul of Bellingham waterfront underway
After two decades of planning, some of the most visible cleanup projects along Bellingham’s contaminated waterfront are making progress. From dredging to demolition, hundreds of workers are currently preparing downtown sites near the former Georgia-Pacific Corp. pulp and tissue operations for rebuilding, which could start within a few years. The efforts represent tens of millions of dollars in projects planned for and approved by the Port of Bellingham, city of Bellingham, Washington state Department of Ecology, and other agencies, and represent one of the largest waterfront cleanup efforts in the state. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

B.C. to study highway connection to Sunshine Coast
The B.C. government plans to study the feasibility of a highway or bridge connection to the province's Sunshine Coast, says Transportation Minister Todd Stone. Right now, the only methods to travel from the Lower Mainland to the coastal region northwest of Vancouver is by air or by water — mainly ferry services. (CBC) See also: Fixed-link study: "everything is on the table"  Martha Perkins reports. (Bowen Island Undercurrent)

Logging protesters win temporary victory on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/logging-protest-sunshine-coast-1.3235878
Protesters fighting plans to log an old-growth forest on the Sunshine Coast are celebrating a temporary victory after construction of a logging road was halted temporarily. The protesters, who have set up camp near Roberts Creek, say the area is an important bear habitat that will be destroyed if the trees come down. Hans Penner has been taking turns blocking access to a service road in the Dakota Creek area of Mount Elphinstone, where the government has plans to auction off 53 hectares of old-growth timber, including ancient balsam, hemlock and yellow cedar. (CBC)

Killing cormorants to save salmon: 11,000 in crosshairs of controversial program
EAST SAND ISLAND, COLUMBIA RIVER ESTUARY — Shots ring out — boom, boom, boom, boom — then there’s a splash: government agents gunning for double-crested cormorants have hit their mark again. Federal agents have stalked this tiny uninhabited island with night-vision goggles and silencers, blasting birds on the nest. They have oiled more than 5,000 eggs to suffocate the embryos within. And now, they have taken to the water, firing at double-crested cormorants with shotguns under a federal program intended to boost juvenile salmon and steelhead survival. They killed more than 500 cormorants in just the past week, including five Brandt’s cormorants not intended to be targeted. Under the controversial four-year federal cormorant culling program under way since Memorial Day, federal agents could eventually kill as many as 11,000 adult double-crested cormorants and destroy even more nests. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Lax Kw’alaams First Nation moves to veto LNG plan
The Lax Kw’alaams First Nation is seeking aboriginal title to Lelu Island and Flora Bank, creating a legal obstacle for a Malaysian-led consortium that wants to build an $11.4-billion terminal to export liquefied natural gas from British Columbia. The aboriginal group will file a notice of civil claim to launch the legal action (this) week in the B.C. Supreme Court, Lax Kw’alaams Mayor Garry Reece said in an interview on Friday. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Shell report says Alaska oil exploration program brings $172.7 million to Puget Sound communities
Shell Oil, preparing to return its offshore Arctic drilling fleet to Puget Sound as early as next month, has released a study saying that this year and next its controversial Alaska oil exploration program will pump $172.7 million directly into the Puget Sound economy. That spending is expected to support 1,590 jobs and generate $125 million in wages and $312 million in total economic output, which includes direct, indirect and induced impacts, according to an economic impact study released Wednesday. Coral Garnick reports. (McClatchy) See also: Shell study details $1 million economic benefit for Port Angeles from Polar Pioneer oil rig  (Peninsula Daily News)

Oil terminal review won’t be expanded despite new details
The state agency examining the impacts of what would be the nation’s largest rail-to-marine oil transfer terminal in Vancouver says it won’t broaden its analysis in the face of new contract details showing the facility could be expanded or that a second one could be built in the future. The state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council said it doesn’t need to widen its analysis of the facility proposed by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos. at the Port of Vancouver in response to Kristen Boyles, an attorney for Earthjustice who had requested the expanded review. That’s because the companies haven’t changed their permit application, submitted more than two years ago, to seek “an increased capacity, expanded or new facility,” according to Stephen Posner, manager for the evaluation council. To date, he said, the analysis of the proposed oil terminal, including development of a draft environmental impact statement, is “based on a maximum capacity to receive an average of 360,000 barrels per day.” Aaron Corvin reports. (Columbian)

Prime real estate at Governors Point goes on auction block
Governors Point, the 125-acre peninsula south of Bellingham that has been in the same family for a half century, will go to the highest bidder next month at auction. Roger Sahlin, whose father acquired Governors Point piece by piece in the 1960s, is seeking Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Washington. The auction will be held Oct. 8 in Seattle. Only bidders who have paid earnest money will be able to attend, said Douglas Johnson, managing director of CBRE Auction Services. Bids will start at $3.5 million. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON SEP 21 2015
TODAY
NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...EASING TO 10 KT OR LESS IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 4 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



Friday, September 18, 2015

9/18 Wildlife watch,,BC oysters, PA crabs, ferry link, salamanders, CA ESA, oil export ban, rail safety

Wolf, Pacific Wild (Ian McAllister/CBC)
If you like to watch: Great Bear Rainforest live cams capture wolves, seals and salmon at play
Now you can catch sea wolves playing, seals scratching themselves or salmon jumping from a stream through three live stream cameras set up in the Great Bear Rainforest. The Great Bear LIVE program has installed what it describes as non-invasive technology that captures the animals in their element. "It's a unique opportunity for people to see first hand what is happening here and see animals behaving in a natural way," explained Diana Chan, conservation biologist with Pacific Wild. Watch the live stream. (CBC)

If you like to watch: Transient orcas catch sea lion near Lopez Island
A private whale watching tour witnesses a group of transient orcas hunting for a meal. In this case, members of the T-137 group attacked a thousand-pound Stellar sea lion. According to Mystic Sea Charters, passenger Mike caught the hunt near Lopez Island on camera. Elizabeth Wiley reports. (KING)

B.C. raw oyster ban lifted by Vancouver Coastal Health
Oyster growers in B.C. are back in business after Vancouver Coastal Health lifted the ban on serving raw oysters that's been in place since August. All restaurants under VCH's jurisdiction have been required to cook any oysters served up to customers after an outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection. (CBC)

Study: Eating large amounts of Port Angeles Harbor crab could raise risks of cancer
Eating a lot of crab from Port Angeles Harbor could increase the risk of cancer, according to 13-year-old research presented to the Clallam County Board of Health on Tuesday. The report issued in February 2005 stems from samples taken in 2002 mostly off the old Rayonier mill site, a firmer pulp mill that became a cleanup site in 2000. In 2007, a health warning against eating crab or shellfish from the harbor was issued. James Casey reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

New ferry would link Victoria and Vancouver downtowns
A foot passenger ferry service between Vancouver and Victoria could soon be operating out of the Inner Harbour’s historic CPR Steamship Terminal, along with a deep ocean education centre affiliated with the University of Victoria. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority said Wednesday that it is negotiating long-term leases with two potential tenants: Riverside Marine, a major Australian marine operator and Ocean Networks Canada, which operates the NEPTUNE and VENUS cabled ocean observatories. Not only would the two potential tenants make the money-losing harbour authority viable, said CEO Ian Robertson, but help return the building to its maritime origins dating to 1905. He hopes tenancy agreements will be worked out by mid-November. Katherine Dedyna reports. (Times Colonist)

Pacific Northwest Salamanders May Qualify For Protection
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says two salamanders in Oregon and Washington may qualify for Endangered Species Act protection. The findings on Tuesday about the Cascade torrent salamander and Columbia torrent salamander mean the agency will initiate full status reviews for the species to see if they warrant protection. The findings come in response to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity. The Center first asked for protection for the salamanders in 2012. The petition said they are increasingly rare because of habitat loss due primarily to logging and road building. The four-inch brown salamanders live in forest streams and are found only in a small stretch of the Cascades and Coast range. (Associated Press)

Canada sidesteps protection of endangered fish, study finds
Endangered and threatened marine fish species in Canada are routinely refused protection by the federal government, contrary to scientists' recommendations, a new study has found. In fact, the more endangered the fish are, the less likely they are to get protection under Canada's endangered species legislation, researchers at the University of Victoria and the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax report. "It's a bit of a perverse outcome," Julia Baum, a University of Victoria biologist who co-authored the report, said during an interview with CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks that airs Saturday…. And while the federal government says that species that aren't listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) will still get protection under the Fisheries Act, Baum and her colleagues found "absolutely no evidence" that that has ever happened. (CBC)

Chambers Creek dog park, beach reopen Friday
The off-leash dog park and access to the beach at Chambers Creek Regional Park will open Friday (Sept. 18)…. Close to 800 creosote piles and two dilapidated docks were removed from the water and beach area. Removal work began last fall but was completed during the park’s extended closure after the U.S. Open golf championship June 15-21 at the county-owned park and golf course. The piles and cement structures removed from the waterfront were left over from the site’s former operation as a gravel mine. Brynn Grimley reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

House moves one step closer to lifting ban on crude oil exports
The House Energy and Commerce Committee took a major step Thursday toward allowing crude oil exports from the United States. Three Democrats joined all of the Republicans on Thursday in voting for a bill that would lift the decades-old ban on exports. The tally was 31-19. The vote sends the legislation to the full House for final passage, something that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said would happen in the coming weeks. Republicans said the bill would benefit the economy, jobs, national security and other areas, while most Democrats decried it as a giveaway to oil companies that would threaten energy prices. Timothy Cama reports. (The Hill) See also: Does Anyone Even Want to Buy Crude Oil From the U.S.?  Sheela Tobben and Mark Shenk report. (Bloomberg)

Rail service crisis looms as Congress looks to modify safety law
President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the nation’s rail safety agency told lawmakers Thursday that the agency would hold railroads to a year-end deadline to install collision-avoidance technology even if it meant that freight and passengers could be left stranded. Congress set a Dec. 31, 2015, deadline for railroads to implement positive train control back in 2008. The Government Accountability Office reported Wednesday that few companies would actually make the deadline. That conclusion was no surprise: The GAO had warned Congress of it in another report two years ago. While lawmakers sought guidance from Sarah Feinberg, the Federal Railroad Administration’s acting administrator, on what she thought they should do about it, she told them that whether and how to extend the deadline was up to them. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

Court date set for Cape Roger Curtis dock lawsuit
A hearing date has been set for November 16 and 17 for a lawsuit filed by two property owners on Cape Roger Curtis against the municipality. The landowners want the courts to set aside Bylaw No. 381, 2015 which does not allow the building of any further docks at Cape Roger Curtis. They received permission from the province to build their docks 10 days prior to the adoption of the bylaw. Martha Perkins reports. (Bowen Island Undercurrent)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI SEP 18 2015
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SE 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A
 CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
S WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE
 OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING.
SAT
S WIND 10 TO 20 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT NIGHT
S WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SW 10 TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SUN
SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING W 15 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. 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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

9/17 BC vote, McCallum Slough, RR quiet zones, BC Hydro exemption, Coho dock

(PHOTO: Jeff Poklen/BirdNote)
Jaegers Give Chase in September
A tern or gull plunges headfirst into the water, then bounces aloft grasping a small fish in its bill. But before the bird can swallow its catch, a Parasitic Jaeger swoops in. The jaeger nips the bird's wing, and it drops its hard-won fish. The pirate catches the fish in mid-air and gulps it down. The jaeger (German for hunter) is built for sprinting speed and predatory feats. Here's a photo of a jaeger in pursuit of a juvenile Western Gull. (BirdNote)

B.C. residents split on oil pipeline projects
B.C. residents are split on proposed oil pipeline projects, but fairly optimistic about the economy despite news of a mild recession, according to a recent poll. Mainstreet, a national public research firm, polled residents on Sept. 15 about some of the key issues going into the federal election and came away with an indication that there could be more three-way races in this province than in any other. The poll shows Vancouver Island painted in New Democratic orange, B.C.'s north bathed in Conservative Party blue, and the Lower Mainland pulsing with Liberal red. But in many ridings, particularly those in the Lower Mainland, the leading party did not appear to have much breathing room, said Quito Maggi, the president and CEO of Mainstreet. Matthew Robinson reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. government steps in to save endangered fish
The B.C. government has stepped in at the 11th hour to fill a void created by the weakened federal Fisheries Act, providing the District of Kent with a series of conditions before it can conduct flood-related excavations in a known hot spot for endangered species…. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations provided The Sun with a copy of its conditions for conducting works on McCallum Slough near Agassiz. The district must, in part: provide a plan to ensure existing environmental features are maintained or enhanced; replant along riparian areas to shore up the banks and reduce in-stream growth; hire a professional biologist to monitor the work; complete in-stream work by Oct. 15 to protect spawning fish. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Rules for setting up railroad quiet zones need adjustment, residents say
Residents of Blanchard decried Tuesday what they called a unclear payment structure and excessive liability on individuals wanting to create railroad quiet zones. The residents spoke at a public hearing with Skagit County Commissioners and county Public Works. About 10 members of the community, which has four rail crossings in close proximity, spoke, advocating for a streamlined process for requesting quiet zones — areas where train conductors do not need to blow their whistles. The criticism stems from a draft of the procedure for establishing quiet zones, which would require a majority of those living within a half-mile of the crossing to sign on. County officials agreed to rework the draft. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Province seeks to exempt two BC Hydro projects from review
The provincial government is seeking to bypass a regulatory review to fast-track two major projects designed to supply the natural gas industry with clean energy for production. The bid to exempt the transmission line projects from an independent evaluation comes on the heels of a commitment last spring from the B.C. Liberal government to restore the powers of BC Hydro’s watchdog, the B.C. Utilities Commission. The Crown corporation says it needs to move quickly to respond to what it calls “some of the most dramatic, single industry load growth in a discrete area that it has experienced over the past 50 years.” That demand is fuelled by plans to electrify gas plants developing the Montney shale gas deposits in the Peace region in B.C.’s northeast. Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

Coho ferry dock work in Victoria Harbour expected to start next month
Work could begin as early as Oct. 13 on new docks in Victoria Harbour for the Coho car ferry. The project, which could take about 18 months and cost more than $10 million, will see Black Ball Ferry Line rebuild its docks, replace the dolphins and car ramps, improve U.S. Customs facilities and establish covered walkways for passengers. Andrew Duffy reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU SEP 17 2015
TODAY
E WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NE IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE MORNING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING S AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS. 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, September 16, 2015

9/16 Orca names, ship noise, baby salmon, spill funds, BC fuels, dog poop app, ugh slug, ocean fish

J50 Scarlet (Capt. Simon Pidcock, Ocean EcoVentures/KING)
Four orca calves receive names
Meet Scarlet, Nova, Sonic and Windsong. The four orcas who were born in the past 12 months have finally gotten their names. Over 3,000 people voted in person and online to help give the calves their new monikers. The names were announced Tuesday by The Whale Museum. Known to whale researchers as J50, J51, J52, and L121 respectively, the birth of these Southern Resident Killer Whales has boosted the endangered population…. A fifth calf, L122, made its debut on September 7, 2015, but hasn't yet been named. Elizabeth Wiley reports. (KING) See also: Orca research station sends text messages when killer whales nearby  Tamara Baluja reports. (CBC)

New hydrophones monitor ship noise in Salish Sea
Researchers have installed another underwater listening station in British Columbia’s Salish Sea to better understand how shipping noise impacts at-risk whales. The installation Monday was part of a program run by Port Metro Vancouver, the University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada and the hydrophone’s manufacturer. Underwater noise has been identified as a threat to orcas that make their home in the waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland and are listed as at risk by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.(Canadian Press)

Young chum salmon may get biggest nutrition boost from Elliott Bay restored beaches
In the midst of ferry boats, container ships and tourists crowding Seattle’s Elliott Bay, young salmon are just trying to get a decent meal. The fish hatch in the rivers and streams that feed into Puget Sound and almost immediately rely on eating small organisms near the shore, including in the heart of Seattle’s commerce-filled waterfront…. But are concrete seawalls actually affecting what the salmon eat, and by how much? A University of Washington study shows that it depends on the species, with small chum salmon seeming to be most affected. Michelle Ma reports. (UW Today)

Oil Spill Funds Race to Catch Up to Rise in Rail Transportation
…. The oil spill response and prevention programs that originally sprung up around marine tanker traffic are struggling to keep pace with the shift in transportation. As more oil is transported via rail and pipeline, the coastal contingency plans and funding models have lost relevance. Regional contingency plans are now needed inland, though none exist at the state level and few at the federal level. This has left the river systems and inland areas of coastal states exposed, says David Byers, response manager for Washington's Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program. Gloria Dickie reports. (High Country News)

Stephen Hume: Stop ignoring greenhouse gas emissions from exported fuels
Climate change is already having a major impact on British Columbia. Lost revenue from insect and fire-devastated forests and dwindling fisheries is amplified by the ballooning cost of responding to extreme weather events and forest fires. In the past decade wildfires and the mountain pine beetle infestation have cost taxpayers close to $4 billion…. Yet a University of Victoria graduate student's research shows that professed provincial targets to mitigate global warming by curbing greenhouse gas emissions are a sham. Stephen Hume reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Drilling at proposed LNG terminal starts despite First Nation opposition
Petronas-led Pacific NorthWest LNG has started test drilling off of Lelu Island, location of its proposed $11.4-billion liquefied natural gas terminal in northwest B.C., despite First Nation opposition. Members of several First Nations — including the Lax Kw’alaams and the Gitxsan — appeared to stop drilling on the weekend, but the presence of Prince Rupert Port Authority boats has allowed the work to start, Lax Kw’alaams First Nation hereditary chief Don Wesley, also known as Sm’oogyet Yahaan, said Tuesday. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Amakusa Island coal ship grounding near Prince Rupert prompts changes
The Transportation Safety Board says the grounding of a Japanese coal ship off B.C.'s North Coast could have been worse, had the massive vessel been moving more quickly. The Japanese bulk carrier Amakusa Island was hauling 80,000 tonnes of Canadian coal when it hit a shoal about 22 km from Prince Rupert on July 14, 2014. The ship ran aground and visibly listed. No one was injured and no pollution was released, but the 228-metre ship was left with damage to its ballast tanks, which began to take on water, and sustained cracks up to 30 metres long. Betsy Trumpener reports. (CBC)

Japan: City launches app to report dog poo
A city in Japan is trying to crack down on dog fouling by asking people to take photos of any canine mess they encounter and upload the images to a new app. The authorities in Izumisano, in central Osaka Prefecture, are trying out the new method after years of failed attempts to solve the city's dog mess problem, the Asahi Shimbun website reports. Locals are invited to post comments detailing the scene alongside their photo submissions, and the app uses GPS location data from their smartphones to create an interactive online map. (BBC)

Slug with interesting mating life spotted in Comox Valley
Limax Maximus, literally the biggest slug, is a ferociously speedy nocturnal predator with an interesting sex life according to a local biologist. "They wave their penises in the air and the penises stick together and transfer organs. Now once they finish hours of mating, they are literally stuck together. So one of them cuts off the other's penis and turns it into a female," explained  Comox Valley Nature biologist Loys Maingon, who was given the creature to identify. Like all slugs, Limax Maximus is hermaphroditic. The invasive species is a terror for gardeners says Maingon, because it reproduces twice as fast as other slugs and feeds on anything. (CBC)

Ocean fish numbers on 'brink of collapse,' WWF reports
The amount of fish in the oceans has halved since 1970, in a plunge to the "brink of collapse" caused by over-fishing and other threats, the WWF conservation group said on Wednesday. Populations of some commercial fish stocks, such as a group including tuna, mackerel and bonito, had fallen by almost 75 per cent, according to a study by the WWF and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, told Reuters mismanagement was pushing "the ocean to the brink of collapse". (Thomson Reuters)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT WED SEP 16 2015
TODAY
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 10 SECONDS. 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, September 15, 2015

9/15 Navy sonar, whale watching, killer 'blob,' Cornwall cleanup, small coho, fishing lines, BC water

(PHOTO: Associated Press/BBC)
US Navy limits 'whale-harming' sonar in Pacific
The US Navy has agreed to limit its use of sonar that may inadvertently harm whales and dolphins in waters near Hawaii and California. A federal judge in Honolulu signed the deal between the Navy and environmental groups on Monday. It restricts or bans the use of mid-frequency active sonar and explosives used in training exercises. Campaigners say that sonar disrupts the feeding of marine mammals, and can even cause deafness or death. An explosives training exercise in San Diego four years ago killed four dolphins, Earthjustice lawyer David Henkin said when announcing the agreement. (BBC)

Baby Orcas And Gloomy Future: Can Whale Watching Help?
s it ethical to go whale watching? Boats sometimes interfere with whales’ ability to hunt and eat. But whale watching can also connect people with conservation. And that could help the group of orcas that are resident in Puget Sound. The recent arrival of another baby orca in that so-called southern resident group (see photos in the slideshow above) has tickled whale watchers in the San Juan Islands…. David Hyde talks to tour boat skipper Dan Wilkes and author David Niewert about whale watching in the San Juan Islands. (KUOW)

Dead whales in Pacific could be fault of the Blob
Scientists believe the mysterious deaths of more than two dozen whales in B.C. and Alaska since May are probably related to the so-called "Blob" of warm water in the Pacific Ocean. The Blob is a 1,600 kilometre wide patch of warmer-than-usual water that has been linked to several anomalies in the Pacific, including a massive toxic algae bloom that contaminates the krill and sardines that many whales eat. (CBC) See also: Grey whale spotted frolicking in West Vancouver

Cleanup for future waterfront park could cost $16 million
It could cost $16 million to clean up contaminated soil on property that will one day be part of the city’s waterfront park at the end of Cornwall Avenue. The city of Bellingham, with oversight from the Washington state Department of Ecology, has completed a study of toxic chemicals found on what’s known as the R.G. Haley site as well as cleanup options. Ecology will hold a Thursday, Sept. 17 meeting about the project that will include a discussion of the preferred cleanup for the property at Cornwall Avenue, near Wharf Street. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Edmonds Coho Derby produces smallest winning fish in the derby’s history, but plenty of fish around to catch in Puget Sound
The Edmonds Coho Derby hosted by the Sno-King Puget Sound Anglers sold close to 1,000 tickets and had 287 coho weighed-in on Saturday under great weather conditions, but the concern lies within the sheer size of the fish. “The winning fish was (7.480 pounds), and was a record low size for the derby’s winning fish and that is just the tip of iceberg,” said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association in Seattle. “I saw more 2 and 2 ½ pound fish than I’ve ever seen in my life, and they looked more like small resident coho than the mature fish type.” Mark Yusaa reports. (Seattle Times)

Fighting fishing line litter
Volunteer Don Coleman never knows what to expect when he visits Fidalgo Island boat launches to empty plastic tubes of their contents. More often than he would like, he finds trash such as cigarette packs, beer cans and juice boxes. The tubes are there so fishermen have a place to put used fishing line, also called monofilament. Fishing line that is left in the water or sent to landfills can last hundreds of years and harm animals. That’s why Coleman and Catherine Buchalski launched a Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program in Skagit County last year through the WSU-Skagit County Beach Watchers. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Some Clallam County beaches reopen to shellfish harvesting
The recreational harvest of all types of shellfish has reopened along the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Clallam County from the Lyre River and Low Point east to Dungeness Spit. Previously, all Clallam County beaches along the Strait of Juan de Fuca were closed to harvesting.  The state Department of Health announced the change Monday after recent tests for marine biotoxins in shellfish came back meeting safety guidelines. (Peninsula Daily News)

New law gives B.C. more authority involving water use; Legislation comes into effect Jan. 1
Hans Schreier has spent a career studying B.C.’s water supply, charting a resource that most of the province seemed to ignore until this summer’s drought. “I worked for 30 years in water and nobody cared,” said Schreier, a University of B.C. emeritus professor of watershed management. “Now everybody wants information.” A scorching hot summer, abnormally low rainfall and dwindling reservoirs meant there wasn’t enough water to sprinkle lawns, fill pools or wash cars in Metro Vancouver and many other cities across B.C. Suddenly, interest spiked in understanding how the province protects and allocates its newest precious resource. Rob Shaw reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT TUE SEP 15 2015
TODAY
S WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN
 THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF RAIN 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