Wednesday, December 23, 2015

12/23 Salish Sea News and Weather Will Return in 2016

SALISH SEA NEWS AND WEATHER WILL RETURN IN 2016. 

 
Mike Sato and his family and friends wish you happy holidays.

PEACE AND GOOD WILL TO ALL.

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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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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

12/22 Carbon tax, king tide, seahorse birth, ship aground, crab season, Skagit gene bank

Carbon Tax Initiative Sponsors Consider Not Turning In Signatures
The sponsors of a Washington initiative to tax carbon emissions say they're considering not turning in a final batch of about 100,000 voter signatures by Dec. 31 that would all but assure the measure would go before the legislature in January…. In a letter to supporters posted to the Carbon Washington website Monday night, Initiative 732 sponsor Yoram Bauman said an alternative carbon pricing measure has emerged that polls better…. He said details of the competing measure are still being worked out, but that it would be a "carbon fee" with significant portions of the revenues going to support clean energy and clean water projects. In October the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, backed by labor and environmental interests, announced its intention to pursue an alternative carbon-pricing ballot measure. The Alliance conducted the polling that Bauman references in his blog post. Austin Jenkins reports. (KPLU)

Upcoming King Tide Offers A Preview Of Sea Level Rise
What will coastal communities look like as the sea level rises with climate change? This week’s king tide could offer a preview. Several groups will be photographing the effects of the extremely high tides expected Wednesday through Friday. They hope it will help communities visualize and prepare for a warming world. The 10-foot king tide is about two feet higher than normal high tides. Its surging seawater is a natural effect of the moon being closer to the Earth. Experts say it can cause the kind of flooding and erosion that climate models are predicting as average temperatures rise. Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

If you like to watch: Wild seahorse birth caught on camera in 'surreal' video
Two researchers from the University of British Columbia have filmed a rare video of a seahorse giving birth in the wild. The pregnant father can be seen clinging to seagrass, as tiny, thread-like creatures emerge from a pouch on his abdomen, before being swept away in the fast moving water. Clayton Manning and Meagan Abele witnessed the birth off the coast of New South Wales, Australia as part of Project Seahorse, a marine conservation program based out of UBC and the Zoological Society of London. (CBC)

Cargo ship runs aground in Squamish
A team of safety investigators is headed to Squamish after a bulk carrier ran aground there Monday morning. The Kai Xuan, a cargo ship sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, has been in Squamish since Friday, according to an online marine traffic service. No injuries have been reported and there appears to be no leakage from the ship so far, according to Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Collard. Dan Bate, with the Canadian Coast Guard, says the guard wasn’t called out to respond because there was no concern the incident had caused any pollution. Bethany Lindsay reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Crab Season In Northwest Gets Go-Ahead A Month Late
Oregon and Washington fisheries managers announced Monday that commercial crab season will open Jan. 4. That’s about a month later than it was scheduled to start. High levels of domoic acid in the Pacific Ocean had delayed the season. Scientists suspect a lingering patch of warm water led to high levels of the toxin. Jes Burns reports. (OPB)

Some officials take position on gene banking Skagit River
With various groups clashing over what the state should do about steelhead management on the Skagit River, some local governments have taken a position. The Sedro-Woolley City Council and Lyman Town Council each recently passed resolutions stating they oppose designating the Skagit River as a wild steelhead gene bank. The Concrete Town Council decided last week not to take a side. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST TUE DEC 22 2015  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS  AFTERNOON

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY
 MORNING  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SE IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 11 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS  IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 20 TO 30 KT...RISING TO 30 TO 40 KT BEFORE  MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 9 TO 10 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 12  SECONDS...BUILDING TO 16 TO 17 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 13  SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY  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.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

12/21 Vic sewer, oil words, export ban, hillside home, compost odor, Smith Is., wildlife, SeaTimes news

Peacock grouper (Melinda Pride)
If you like to watch: Kona Dive 2015
Melinda Pride shares her latest fish video from her Kona dive. "It was a fun trip and I found a couple of nudibranchs that were new to me and saw lots of other cool fish…. The coral was in sad shape, though.  Water temperatures got up to 89 degrees this summer (usually is 75-77 degrees in winter and 79-81 degrees in summer) and bleached nearly all the cauliflower coral and probably 70% of the antler coral and several other types.  I guess it happened almost overnight in August.  There are some isolated patches of it coming back, but for the most part there’s algae growing on it instead which means that those coral heads probably won’t recover.  I don’t know that I saw a drastic change in the fish populations but the reef is definitely different.  The algae eaters are happy, anyway."

Sewage bill shock looms for taxpayers in Victoria area
Local taxpayers will have to dig deep to pay their yearly bill for sewage treatment if senior government grants are lost — something Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen worries is a real possibility. The prospect of the capital region meeting a March 31 deadline for the first of three federal grants for treatment is “virtually impossible,” Jensen said. Without the grants, the costs to homeowners are “very alarming,” he said…. For example, the annual costs for a homeowner in Oak Bay for the least-expensive treatment option of the five under consideration — a single plant at Rock Bay providing secondary treatment — would jump to $919 from the estimated $583 with the grants. If the most expensive option — seven plants spread around the region — were built, Esquimalt homeowners would see their bills go up $404 to $1,427. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Washington regulator unaware of oil train consultant's connections
A consulting firm that helped write a report underestimating the risks of catastrophic spills from a proposed Vancouver oil train terminal has worked for two groups that will gain financially if the project moves forward. Stephen Posner, the Washington energy regulator who approved the company's hiring, didn't know about all those connections until The Oregonian/OregonLive told him. But he did not answer repeated questions about whether he would investigate further. Three of the four authors who wrote the risk analysis for Washington's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council are former executives of BNSF Railway Co. The railroad would move oil trains to the Vancouver terminal. Rob Davis reports. (Oregonian)

Lifting oil-export ban unlikely to affect state right away
With a 40-year oil-export ban lifted Friday by Congress, Washington terminals that receive Bakken shale crude by rail will be able to send unrefined product to Asia. In the years ahead, that might be an attractive option. But current market conditions make the West Coast terminals an unlikely launching point for major overseas shipments, according to industry analysts. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Hillside construction in Edmonds pits neighbors, and railroad against county and developer
For some neighbors and the railroad, a new luxury home on the bluff poses a threat. They worry that the home’s septic system on a steep slope could trigger a landslide, causing trees and dirt to take out nearby homes or passing trains. The homebuilder insists that he’s done everything asked of him, and more. He casts the situation as a neighborhood dispute run amok. If that’s the case, the disagreement has gone off the rails in a big way. BNSF Railway and five neighboring homeowners sued earlier this year, blaming the builder, the home’s new owners and local government regulators for creating a hazard. Noah Haglund repairs. (Everett Herald)

Metro Vancouver’s composting plant faces backlash due to foul air
Richmond city officials want more stringent air-quality regulations to control the stink from the region’s composting plant, suggesting the methods of odour management being used are “out of date” with best practices. Harvest Power, which has held a composting facility license since 1997 and collects most of Metro’s kitchen scraps, has been the focus of more than 270 odour complaints in the past 2½ years, according to Metro Vancouver. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Smith Island project to get final $1.4 million grant funding
One of the final pieces of the funding puzzle for an ambitious environmental project is falling into place. Snohomish County is in line to receive $1.4 million in federal funding for its Smith Island Restoration Project, which will turn hundreds of acres of fallow agricultural land back into a salt water estuary. The project is a $24 million effort to restore former tidelands that have long been cut off from salt water by extensive diking along Union Slough. Most of the budget already has been accounted for, with the grant money one of the final elements. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

B.C. balks at changing law to protect wildlife and biodiversity
The B.C. government will not be changing laws or considering hiring more staff as recommended in a report by one of its own MLAs on how to protect wildlife and biodiversity from the affects of resource industries. Hunting and fishing organizations including the 42,000-member B.C. Wildlife Federation made a call in the fall of 2014 — following the catastrophic Mount Polley Mine tailings dam failure — for the Liberal government to retake control of resource extraction practices, planning and oversight. The groups said the government’s move in the past decade to rely on professionals hired by industry to make decisions on the land base, with little government oversight, had failed. Gordon Hoekstra report. (Vancouver Sun)

Seattle Times Offers Buyouts To Cut Newsroom Budget
The Seattle Times is offering buyouts to its newsroom employees in an effort to cut its budget. But officials say the situation is less drastic than at other papers around the country. Seattle Times editor Kathy Best said she hopes people keep the proposed buyouts at the Seattle Times in perspective…. Best said the buyouts are part of an effort to cut the newsroom budget by 6 percent…. But these reductions will not be on the scale of layoffs this fall at the Oregonian, or at the Los Angeles Times, which lost 80 reporters and editors. Media analyst Rick Edmonds of the Poynter Institute notes that newspapers are in their seventh consecutive year of declining ad revenues because advertisers are trying other things. Amy Radil reports. (KUOW)

Pacific NorthWest LNG plan review resumes after long delay
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has restarted its review of a proposal to export liquefied natural gas from British Columbia after a delay that lasted more than six months. Pacific NorthWest LNG, led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, wants to build an $11.4-billion terminal on Lelu Island in the Port of Prince Rupert. The consortium is striving to become the first major LNG exporter in British Columbia. Brent Jang repairs. (Globe and Mail)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST MON DEC 21 2015  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 

TODAY
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 11 FT AT  13 SECONDS. RAIN.

TONIGHT
 NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...RISING TO 20 TO 30 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS. RAIN  LIKELY IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS 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.

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Friday, December 18, 2015

12/18 Oil trains, energy policy, fish label, no fine Polley mine, sea sponge, flooding, sea lions, sand world

(PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
A Golden Feast
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Anchored off the mouth of the Goldstream River at the head of Saanich Inlet, we were just starting to cook dinner when I heard some sudden loud splashes very close to our boat. In the brilliant, low-angle, golden light of a late September evening, it took my brain a few moments to decipher what my eyes were seeing. A pair of seals had surfaced beside us, where they were wrestling a large salmon into submission…."

More Northwest Oil Trains Could Result From Lifting Export Ban
A budget deal that’s heading for final action Friday includes a provision that could create international demand for American oil — and help make the case for building rail-to-ship export terminals on the West Coast. The fiscal package includes a repeal of the 40-year-old ban on exporting domestically produced oil. The spending bill is seen as vital to avert another government shutdown and to keep many popular tax breaks and spending programs in place. Ashley Ahearn reports. (KUOW)

New blog: A Call For Energy Policy Reform in Washington 
Guest blogger Russ Borgmann writes: "The industrialized world is experiencing an energy renaissance.  And the U.S. is at the nexus of that regeneration. There are several beacons signaling this new energy landscape…."

Congress to require labeling of ‘Frankenfish,’ genetically engineered salmon
The Food and Drug Administration must lay out guidelines for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered salmon and interstate commerce of the fish will not be allowed without guidelines in place, according to a provision inserted in Congress’ new omnibus spending bill…. The Food and Drug Administration approved genetically engineered salmon earlier this fall, saying there is “no biologically relevant difference in the nutritional profile of (modified) salmon compared to that of other farm-raised Atlantic salmon.” Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

No charges under B.C.’s mining laws for failure of Mount Polley mine dam
No charges are being issued under the province's mining laws against Imperial Metals' over the catastrophic failure of its Mount Polley mine dam. Following a more than one-year investigation, B.C.'s chief inspector of mines has not recommended charges be forwarded to Crown counsel over the dam failure on Aug. 4, 2014. The failure of the rock-and-earth dam released 21 million cubic metres of water and finely-ground rock containing potentially toxic metals into the Quesnel Lake watershed…. There will also be no fines or penalties issued either, as B.C.'s mining legislation and regulations do not allow for administrative actions. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: Type of sea sponge thought to be extinct discovered off B.C. coast  In 1987, scientists discovered that B.C.'s Hecate Straight is home to rare Glass Sponges. (Globe and Mail)

Interstate 5 under water? UW scientists’ app shows dramatic potential of climate change
Depending on where you live, communities in the Seattle region have already been hit by three to four destructive floods this winter — floods that usually come once a year, if at all — as local rivers swell over their banks and gush into neighborhoods, farmland and commercial areas. And the flooding is expected to only get worse as global temperatures continue to rise, despite the newly announced Paris climate accord that aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions. So scientists at the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group have developed detailed models and interactive maps to better understand what the flooding might look like in a warmer world — and it’s not a pretty picture. Their effort, which focused on the Snohomish River north of Seattle, found that for the so-called 10-year flood (an event that has a 10 percent chance of occurring annually), the area flooded by the river is expected to increase between 19 and 74 percent by later this century compared to levels seen at the end of the 20th Century. Lisa Stiffler reports. (Geekwire)

Port commissioner wants to sue the feds over sea lions
Commissioner Bill Hunsinger wants the Port of Astoria to go after the federal government regarding sea lions. Port of Astoria Commissioner Bill Hunsinger said the agency should do something — potentially litigation — against the federal government regarding California sea lions in the Columbia River…. Hunsinger, a commercial fisherman, said the agency needs to do something before the smelt start running early next year. The small, oily eulachons are a popular diet for male California sea lions migrating by the thousands north between breeding seasons, along with endangered salmon runs and anything else seasonal and abundant. Edward Stratton reports. (Daily Astorian)

Of sand and chakras
Douglas Todd writes: …. The Secrets of Sand: A Journey Into the Amazing Microscopic World of Sand… is a virtual tour of the tiny world of sand, which is a never-ending source of awe to the lead author, Gary Greenberg, a photographer with a PhD in biomedical research. He helps us see many wonders in a grain of sand, drawing us to gain a fuller aesthetic and scientific understanding of it. “The miracles of nature are tangible, and they can be seen directly through the microscope… When we commune with nature, we become conscious of our connection with the universe,” says Greenberg, who can be found at sandgrains.com (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST FRI DEC 18 2015  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 1 PM PST THIS AFTERNOON
 

TODAY
 W WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS.

TONIGHT
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 11 FT AT 15 SECONDS. SHOWERS IN THE  EVENING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT.

SAT
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 12 FT AT 15 SECONDS. SHOWERS.

SAT NIGHT
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W  SWELL 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS.

SUN
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 13 FT AT  13 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

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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"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, December 16, 2015

12/16 Sea lion poison, Tswaout shellfish, salmon recovery, swan death rise

California sea lion (Reuters)
New study says shellfish poisoning is killing sea lions
The unprecedented algae bloom off the coast of the western United States, containing toxic domoic acid halting shellfish harvesting in broad regions, is so severe that three top scientists said Tuesday they are concerned it is causing brain damage or killing sea lions and other marine mammals, and may even find its way into humans. They warn hospitals are not equipped to test for, or diagnose, chronic low level domoic acid poisoning in human patients because, until recently, it has not been as big a threat. Jeff Burnside reports. (KOMO)

Tsawout First Nation welcomes help to restore traditional shellfish harvest
The Tsawout First Nation is welcoming a push to clean up the shore along the Saanich Peninsula north of Victoria where contamination has ruined the traditional shellfish harvest. "I can remember when I was younger, all along this here was a real good place to dig clams," said elder Earl Claxton Jr, standing on the beach front earlier this week. "No matter how poor you were, you could still come down and dig clams and get crabs and feast like a king." But since then a number of factors have made the shellfish along the Saanich Peninsula inedible, including runoff, geese droppings, and a regional sewage treatment plant placed in the community years ago, said Claxton. The treatment plant is now operated by the Tsawout First Nation and Claxton said it is looking to improve what enters the ocean. Sewage treatment for other communities in the region is now provided at a different facility. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC)

Salmon recovery projects awarded to King County and others 
The Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Partnership today announced the award of $44.3 million in grants to organizations around the state for projects that will restore salmon habitat and conserve pristine areas, all targeted at bringing salmon back from the brink of extinction. (Enumclaw Courier-Herald) See also: Fish projects get $5.4M in funding  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

State counties see alarming spike in trumpeter swan deaths
The trumpeter swans have returned to spend the winter there, but along with their recent arrival has come an alarming spike in the number of swans dying in power line strikes. It was a sad sight to watch wildlife biologist Martha Jordan deliver more than a half-dozen carcasses to a drop box in the community of Conway. "All them have died of power line collisions," said Jordan, executive director of the Northwest Swan Conservation Association. "They're big, beautiful birds and to keep losing them on these kinds of things...it never gets easier. I won't say you even get used to it." Jordan says our stormy weather is contributing to an increase in bird-wire fatalities. Mark Miller reports. (KOMO)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST WED DEC 16 2015  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON
 

TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 10 FT AT  17 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 11 FT  AT 16 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN RAIN  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

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12/15 Fish talk, Billy Frank, Jr., ban logging, bag ban, pollution fine, salmon spawn, swan rehab, slave shrimp

How Fish Communicate, Even Using Noise
Q. We know that aquatic mammals communicate with one another, but what about fish? A. Fish have long been known to communicate by several silent mechanisms, but more recently researchers have found evidence that some species also use sound… (NY Times)

Nisqually refuge to be named in honor of activist Billy Frank Jr.
A bill to rename the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in honor of the late Nisqually statesman, Billy Frank Jr., passed in the U.S. Senate Monday and is now headed to President Obama’s desk. (Seattle Times)

Logging ban urged to protect Vancouver Island old growth forests
Communities along the West Coast of Vancouver Island say the provincial government needs to step in to save the ancient, massive trees that grow in the Walbran Valley. Business leaders in Port Renfrew, B.C., a community that once thrived on forestry, are calling for a ban on logging the trees — some of which started life around the time of the Magna Carta in 1215. Tofino's council also passed a resolution asking provincial politicians to protect the forests from commercial logging. Terri Theodore reports. (Canadian Press)

Cadboro Bay beach reopened, garbage cleared from derelict boat
Cadboro-Gyro Park Beach re-opened Monday morning after it was closed overnight because of a fuel leak from a boat that had washed ashore. On Dec. 5, the 55-foot-long concrete-hulled vessel washed up in a windstorm on the beach in front of Cadboro-Gyro Park, according to a news release. Tyler Yager, Canadian Coast Guard response specialist, said the owner is believed to have been living aboard. After the boat hit the beach, he managed to collect a few things and left the scene. (Times Colonist)

Tacoma eyes possible shopping bag restrictions
Attention Tacoma shoppers: You might have to bag your groceries differently sometime next year. City officials are considering becoming the 14th community in Washington to adopt shopping bag restrictions. They started taking the public’s temperature in an online survey last month. More than 1,300 people have responded so far…. Thirteen Washington communities have already banned plastic grocery-style bags. Most require a five-cent fee for large paper sacks. Tacoma officials say they don’t yet know what shape their rules will take. Kate Martin reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

“Environmental company” racks up biggest pollution fines of the year
The first image on the website for Emerald Services is a stream fringed by grass and trees. The Tacoma-based recycler of used oils, solvents, and other toxic substances is “committed to a greener tomorrow,” it says at the bottom of the screen. The company trumpets a 2014 Green Manufacturing Award from the Association of Washington Business, in part for its “operational excellence.” Its slogan: “An Environmental Company.” Nonetheless, Emerald Services received the largest penalties of any company this year by the state Department of Ecology, for accidents that spilled thousands of gallons of hazardous materials like recycled fuel oil, waste solvents, and asphalt flux. At least one incident endangered an employee’s life, Ecology officials say. Taken together, the company’s 2015 fines totaled $167,000, which they fought legally and settled this past November without “any admission of liability,” according to a statement from the company. Drew Atkins reports. (Crosscut)

The search for spawning salmon
It didn’t matter that it was wet and windy, or that the cold, clear stream was running more swiftly than usual. With waders up to their armpits, Chris Brown and Sheila Thomas plunged Saturday into Ennis Creek. The water sometimes reached above their knees. The two Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group volunteers were on a mission to find evidence of spawning coho salmon: live fish, dead fish and eggs. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Tulalip turning tide on diminishing salmon
t has been 100 years since water flowed in this now former farmland along Ebey Slough. The place is unrecognizable from what it was just four months ago…. In August, the Tulalip, along NOAA and Snohomish County breached a levee along the slough, flooding the land and returning its natural state. Now, researchers are casting nets into the water to see what fish are showing up. The goal is to create a salmon spawning habitat to help in increase their numbers around Puget Sound. Erik Wilkinson reports. (KING)

Wildlife rehabilitation center works to save trumpeter swans
At the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on Friday, Dec. 11, Alysha Elsby held open the beak of a female trumpeter swan as Sarah Trudeau pushed a thin tube down the bird’s long throat so they could feed her…. The trumpeter swan was among 10 brought from Skagit and Whatcom counties into the center, which is part of the Whatcom Humane Society, in the past week. Eight were suffering from the effects of lead poisoning after ingesting lead shot, one from head trauma after possibly being hit by a vehicle, and one from lead poisoning and head trauma. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Fish Stocks Are Declining Worldwide, And Climate Change Is On The Hook
For anyone paying attention, it's no secret there's a lot of weird stuff going on in the oceans right now. We've got a monster El Nino looming in the Pacific. Ocean acidification is prompting hand wringing among oyster lovers. Migrating fish populations have caused tensions between countries over fishing rights. And fishermen say they're seeing unusual patterns in fish stocks they haven't seen before. Researchers now have more grim news to add to the mix. An analysis published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that the ability of fish populations to reproduce and replenish themselves is declining across the globe.  Claire Leschin-Hoar reports. (NPR)

Houses recently threatened by roaring Dungeness River headed for purchase, demolition
Several homes threatened by the rain swollen Dungeness River last week are slated for purchase and demolition by the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe, which hopes to restore the floodplain for salmon habitat as part of its ongoing Dungeness Floodplain Restoration Project. The Jamestown S'Klallam tribe is in final negotiations to purchase several lots of riverfront property from the Robinson family of Seattle, which owns the land. Chris McDaniel reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Global supermarkets selling shrimp peeled by slaves
Every morning at 2 a.m., they heard a kick on the door and a threat: Get up or get beaten. For the next 16 hours, No. 31 and his wife stood in the factory that owned them with their aching hands in ice water. They ripped the guts, heads, tails and shells off shrimp bound for overseas markets, including grocery stores and all-you-can-eat buffets across the United States. After being sold to the Gig Peeling Factory, they were at the mercy of their Thai bosses, trapped with nearly 100 other Burmese migrants. Children worked alongside them, including a girl so tiny she had to stand on a stool to reach the peeling table. Some had been there for months, even years, getting little or no pay. Always, someone was watching. No names were ever used, only numbers given by their boss — Tin Nyo Win was No. 31. Pervasive human trafficking has helped turn Thailand into one of the world’s biggest shrimp providers. Despite repeated promises by businesses and government to clean up the country’s $7 billion seafood export industry, an Associated Press investigation has found shrimp peeled by modern-day slaves is reaching the U.S., Europe and Asia. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST TUE DEC 15 2015  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON
 

TODAY
 S WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN IN  THE MORNING...THEN A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.

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 9 FT AT 14 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.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

12/14 Climate pact, Youth Earth Summit, no-copper brakes, steelhead suit, coal bust, WQ, oil leak, oil fire

Elwha 12/9/15 (Tom Roorda and Coastal Watershed Inst.)
Nearly 200 nations pledge to slow global warming
Nearly 200 nations adopted the first global pact to fight climate change on Saturday, calling on the world to collectively cut and then eliminate greenhouse gas pollution but imposing no sanctions on countries that don’t. The “Paris agreement” aims to keep global temperatures from rising another degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) between now and 2100, a key demand of poor countries ravaged by rising sea levels and other effects of climate change. Loud applause erupted in the conference hall after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius gaveled the agreement. Some delegates wept and others embraced. Karl Ritter, Seth Borenstein and Sylvie Corbet report. (Associated Press) See also: Gregor Robertson applauds climate change deal, promises Vancouver will 'drive the pace  Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Researchers, students convene at Youth Earth Summit
The orcas, salmon and sea stars of the Salish Sea are among local species surrounded by questions. Will sea stars recover from the wasting disease that pummeled the population in 2014? Do the seven baby whales born to the Southern Resident orca population this year mark a turning point for recovery of the endangered species? About 120 high school students from the region gathered Friday at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve for the Youth Earth Summit to learn more about these sorts of issues, as well as explore environmental career options. Kimberly Cauvel report. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Washington State Says 'Give Salmon A Break' With Copper-Free Brakes
It has taken five years, but low-copper and copper-free brakes are now available in Washington. That’s because of a 2010 law designed to phase out the use of copper and other toxics in brake pads. Ian Wesley, the Better Brakes coordinator at the Washington State Department of Ecology, said each time you use your brakes, a bit of material gets deposited on the roadway. “From there it gets washed into streams and rivers where it’s harmful of salmon,” he said. “Even very trace levels of copper negatively impact salmons’ ability to smell.” Austin Jenkins reports. (NW Public Radio)

Conservation groups to sue feds over Puget Sound steelhead  Five conservation groups are planning to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service, saying the federal agency failed to complete a recovery plan for imperiled Puget Sound steelhead. Wild Fish Conservancy and others say the agency has not completed the plan, despite listing the fish as federally threatened in 2007. Such a plan sets out what needs to be done to prevent the species from going extinct. The groups filed its required notice of intent to sue last week. (Associated Press)

The Coal Bust
Already battered by plunging oil prices, Western Canada has another big problem: the collapse of coal. Alberta and British Columbia are suffering from the fallout of a severe downturn in the global coal market, brought on by China’s rapidly cooling industrial demand and the growing shift away from coal-fired electricity generation. It’s troubled times for an industry that’s long been a quietly powerful force in the Canadian economy. Kelly Cryderman and Brent Jang report. (Globe and Mail)

Survey finds continuing presence of E. coli at Irondale Beach County Park, but Quimper Peninsula water largely high quality
Septic waste is the leading cause of stream pollution by Escherichia coli, or E. coli, in the northern part of the Quimper Peninsula, and the worst area is Irondale Beach County Park, according to a two-year survey. Nevertheless, the study found that much of the area’s water is of high quality, Michael Dawson, lead environmental health specialist for the Jefferson County Water Quality Program, told about 20 people at the Nordland Garden Club last Thursday evening. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Cadboro Bay beach closed after possible oil leak
Cadboro-Gyro Park Beach has been closed until further notice because of what appears to be an oil leak from a derelict boat. Saanich Parks and Recreation officials are working with the coast guard to assess the situation brought to their attention by local residents late Sunday. Michael Reid reports. (Times Colonist)

Portland firefighters battle smoky tanker-car blaze
Portland firefighters battled a smoky fire Sunday that spread to eight railroad tanker cars and destroyed a fuel truck that crashed into the train Sunday morning. Portland police said the driver of the semitrailer truck was killed in the 8:30 a.m. crash, which is under investigation. No firefighter injuries were reported, said Portland Fire & Rescue spokesman Terry Foster. The blaze was extinguished by 11 a.m. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST MON DEC 14 2015    

 SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING LATE. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W  SWELL 13 FT AT 12 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 9 FT AT 11 SECONDS IN THE  AFTERNOON. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
 LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 8 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

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Friday, December 11, 2015

12/11 Whale lights, Vic sewer, climate confab, LNG, Shell no drill

Whale installation lights up English Bay for Lumiere Festival
A celestial-looking whale made of 6,000 twinkling bulbs has lit up English Bay just in time for the Lumiere Festival in Vancouver .  The artwork is one of the many lighting installations coming to the West End for the festival, which runs Dec. 11 and 12. Stephen Mouttet helped organize the festival and was inspired by a similar festival of lights in France. (CBC)

CRD delays public talks on sewage plans
Residents will have to wait a few extra weeks for public consultations on Victoria’s sewage options, which range in price from $1 billion to $1.3 billion. Municipal politicians on the Capital Regional District’s core area liquid waste management committee panicked at the suggestion they were ready to take the proposals to the people. After three morning presentations, one from its technical oversight panel, another from a consulting engineer and another from CRD staff, the politicians complained they weren’t ready for the public. Richard Watts reports. (Times Colonists)

Back from Paris, Inslee aims to tackle carbon pollution
Nothing like a few days away from the office to get one’s spirit rejuvenated and energy recharged. For Gov. Jay Inslee, it came in a trip to Paris, where he attended the international confab on climate change. He hung out with folks who share his view that climate change poses the greatest threat to the continued existence of humanity on this planet, folks obsessed with slowing the damage through every political and regulatory means possible. The experience refueled Inslee’s confidence that reducing emissions of pollution-causing carbon and other greenhouse gases is a concern among leaders of cities, states, provinces and nations worldwide. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald) See also: Making Noise For Bolder Action From Paris: Seattle Protestors Organizing 'Climate Scream'  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Vaughn Palmer: LNG terminal built on time and ready to roll (just not here)
Somewhere in the Atlantic, a giant ocean-going tanker is approaching the Louisiana coast on a journey fraught with implications for the North American natural gas market as well as prospects for developing liquefied natural gas here in B.C. The Energy Atlantic tanker is scheduled to take delivery early in the new year of the first test shipment from the multi-billion-dollar Sabine Pass LNG plant and deepwater terminal, the Reuters news service reported recently. The Sabine Pass facility, located on Louisiana’s border with Texas, is billed as the first modern day LNG export terminal in the continental United States. Vaughn Palmer writes. (Vancouver Sun)

Giant ships to begin lifting oil rigs in Port Angeles Harbor
Two giant heavy-lift ships are anchored in Port Angeles Harbor to begin loading operations. The slow-speed action will last for more than a week. The 738-foot-long semi-submersible MV Blue Marlin is expected to begin being loaded with the oil drilling ship Noble Discoverer today and leave Tuesday. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST FRI DEC 11 2015  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT FROM THIS
 AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE TONIGHT  

TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL  20 FT AT 16 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 18 FT AT 16 SECONDS IN THE  AFTERNOON. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

TONIGHT
 E WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 16 FT AT 15 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 14 FT AT 15  SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE  EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

SAT
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT...RISING TO 20 TO 30 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 11 FT AT 14 SECONDS. RAIN.

SAT NIGHT
 SW WIND 25 TO 35 KT. COMBINED SEAS 12 TO 13 FT WITH A  DOMINANT PERIOD OF 11 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 23 TO 24 FT WITH A  DOMINANT PERIOD OF 14 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

SUN
 W WIND 25 TO 35 KT...EASING TO 20 TO 30 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  COMBINED SEAS 24 TO 25 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 15 SECONDS...  SUBSIDING TO 20 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 14 SECONDS IN THE  AFTERNOON.
--
"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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Thursday, December 10, 2015

12/10 Fuel fight, RR crossing, green crab, 'Puget Sound,' Shell appeal, spotted owls, tangled whales

(PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
The Laughs Were on Me
Laurie MacBride in Eye On Environment writes: "As you can tell by the elongated shadows under their bills, it was close to noon when we paddled past these seagulls, standing on a rocky point at low tide. The sun was high in the sky, and fittingly, the birds appeared to be in high humour. Like stand-ups at a comedy festival, they seemed to single me out for special abuse. I can imagine the dialogue that ensued:…."

The Northwest’s coming clashes over fossil fuel exports
Big Energy’s rush to the Pacific will hit some serious roadblocks next month, kicking off a year that will be full of big-time politics over coal and oil exports. The decisions about energy and politics in 2016 could begin to decide the face of the Pacific Northwest for generations to come. Next year, three huge export terminals — including the largest coal and oil export terminals in the nation if they are built — go into the next chapter of their long process, and elections at the national and state level will coincide with emotional debate at the local level. Floyd McKay reports. (Crosscut)

Crossways with the Railroads
Before Whatcom County citizens had a chance to speak their minds about closing Valley View Road, state and federal agencies appeared to have settled the matter. It now seems likely that the north county road connecting town to country since the 1800s will be closed, to make way for a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad siding for oil trains and other freight. Citizens spoke passionately at a state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) hearing in the County Council chambers last week, lamenting the proposed road closure and suspecting the motives behind it. Too late, it would seem. Actions by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Ecology have taken away the county’s best legal argument. Bob Simmons reports. (Cascadia Weekly)

Tracking a voracious invasive predator
Washington Sea Grant (WSG) is responding to a possible threat from an invasive crustacean, with monitoring sites across Puget Sound, including in Jefferson County. The European green crab, a small but highly efficient and adaptable predator, has colonized waters and threatened native shellfish from South Africa to Australia to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. First found on the West Coast in San Francisco Bay in 1989, the green crab has been blamed for the collapse of the softshell clam industry in Maine, according to a press release. The European green crab has appeared in other West Coast bays, including Coos Bay in Oregon, and Willapa Bay in Washington, and in 2012, the first known colony in the inland Salish Sea was discovered near Victoria, British Columbia. (Pt Townsend Leader)

Is it Puget Sound or 'The' Puget Sound?
There's too much weird name-calling going on in Seattle and KIRO Radio's Dave Ross is sick of it. To his ears, anyone who puts a "the" before Puget Sound has it wrong. The Columbia River, the Pacific Ocean - those makes sense. But put the definite article before Puget Sound and you've been influenced by all the Californians who define freeways as "The 405" or "The 10." "There's no real logical reason to hate the 'The,' except that it makes us more like California if we let this continue," Dave said.
Eric Mandel ponders. (MyNorthwest.Com)

Shell plans to appeal L&I fines
Shell Oil Products plans to appeal $77,000 in fines from the Department of Labor & Industries for workplace health violations in connection with an uncontrolled toxic release in February at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery. Shell spokesman Cory Ertel said Friday the specifics of the appeal are still being worked out…. L&I began its investigation at the March Point refinery after learning of an incident during which the refinery’s main flare released contaminants into the environment, prompting numerous odor complaints from the community nearby. Joan Pringle reports. (Anacortes American)

Spotted Owls Still Losing Ground In Northwest Forests
Northern spotted owl numbers are declining across the Northwest, and the primary reason is the spread of the barred owl, according to a new analysis published Wednesday.   Federal scientists have been keeping tabs on spotted owls for more than 20 years now. “We have a lot of data that suggests that they’re in real trouble,” said study co-author Eric Forsman, a retired U.S. Forest Service biologist. Jes Burns reports. (EarthFix)

Whales entangled at an alarming rate along California coast
An unusual warming in the Pacific Ocean might be having disastrous consequences for the majestic whales that use the waters off California as a migratory super-highway. This year alone, more than 60 whales entangled in fishing gear have been spotted along the coast — a more than 400 percent spike over normal and a pattern that began in 2014. Scientists believe the whales might be following prey closer to shore as warm water influences feeding patterns, putting them on a collision course with fishermen, crabbers and lobstermen. Gillian Flaccus reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST THU DEC 10 2015  
 GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING  

TODAY
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING S IN THE AFTERNOON. COMBINED  SEAS 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 15 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 16 TO  17 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 15 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN IN  THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON. SCATTERED TSTMS.

TONIGHT
 S WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING SE 20 TO 30 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 28 TO 29 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  18 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 25 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 17 SECONDS  AFTER MIDNIGHT. SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...THEN SHOWERS 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, December 9, 2015

12/9 Seal call, flooding, Canadian dollar, Sound recovery, shoreline restoration, BC carbon tax

Harbor seal (Marine Mammal Center)
Seals prefer quite times for the call of the wild, study suggests
Marine scientists call it a roar, though it sounds more like someone breathing heavily on the other end of the phone. It’s the underwater mating call of a male harbour seal and it could be at risk of being drowned out by the din of motor vessels. The first study of its kind has found that male seals in the Strait of Georgia are choosing evening times to vocalize when underwater noise from vessel engines, especially pleasure craft and commercial fishing boats, is lowest. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Major flooding expected on Skagit River
In preparation for what may be the largest Skagit River flood since 2006, some upriver communities began voluntary evacuations Tuesday. The river was expected to reach flood stage near Concrete on Tuesday night, and high water is forecast to make its way through the Skagit Valley on Wednesday and Thursday. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Massive flooding threatens communities as rain, snowmelt continue  Jack Broom and Jessica Lee report. (Seattle Times)

Weak Canadian dollar sets new 11-year low
The tumble of oil and other commodity prices continues to weaken the Canadian dollar, which posted a new 11-year low on Tuesday, Dec. 8. The Canadian dollar finished the trading day at 73.6 cents compared to the U.S. dollar, its lowest level since June 2004. With oil prices bouncing around just under $40 a barrel and a strengthening U.S. dollar, the loonie continues to be hit hard, dropping 14 cents in the past year when compared to the American currency. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Guest blog: Salish Sea Protection and Improvement: Cases for Patience … And a Little Optimism
"I read the recent State of the Sound report produced by the Puget Sound Partnership and I was conflicted.  There is a lot of so-so news, too much not-so-good news, and not much good news…. But I think there are reasons for hope and here are a few:…" Pete Haase writes. See also: Puget Sound Action Agenda up for renewal  Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Twelve Washington projects receive state grants to restore shorelines
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has begun distributing $8.2 million in funding for 12 local projects designed to protect and restore the natural shorelines around Puget Sound…. [Projects include:] Jefferson Co. Discovery Bay Restoration ($257,862), Kilisut Harbor Restoration ($2,000,000), West Dabob Bay Restoration ($527,000); King Co. Maury Island Restoration ($1,586,712 – Federal EPA grant funds and ESRP state capital funding provided); Mason Co. Beard's Cove Restoration ($409,000 – Funded with federal EPA grant dollars), Skokomish Delta Restoration ($1,231,929); Kitsap Co. Teekalet and Port Gamble Restoration ($1,500,000); Snohomish Co. Railroad Grade Beach Nourishment ($99,010); Thurston Co. Bulkhead Removal Planning ($86,684); Thurston/Pierce Cos. Restoring Sediment Supply to Sustain Delta Marsh ($350,000); Puget Sound-Wide: Prioritization for Bluffline Structure Protection ($149,621), Identifying Target Beaches for Restoration and Protection ($34,685 partial funding)…. Funding distributed by WDFW through those programs comes from a combination of state capital funds and federal grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (Maple Valley Reporter)

Carbon tax increase would jeopardize LNG economy, says industry
The premier of B.C. has said the provincial government will not implement a carbon tax increase without further consultation with the public and industry, but the LNG Alliance is already firm on its position against the increase. A climate change leadership team, composed of businesses, First Nations, local governments, academia, and environmental groups, put forward a report recommending a $10 carbon tax increase in 2018 and a one percent decrease in the provincial sales tax. The report was commissioned by the B.C. government. The LNG Alliance participated in the climate leadership talks and it says there was consensus on all points except one — a rise in the carbon tax. Premier Christy Clark froze the carbon tax in 2012. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 234 AM PST WED DEC 9 2015
GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON
TODAY
W WIND 25 TO 35 KT...EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 13 TO 16 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF
 13 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING E 25 TO 35 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 14 TO 15 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF
 14 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told





 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

12/8 BNSF fined, Smith Island, BC pipe, Shell drill, china smog

(PHOTO: Matthew Studebaker/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: Diving Birds – Below the Surface
By December, an array of diving birds that nested at far northern latitudes are wintering on temperate waters across the continent. If we could watch them under water, we'd see this Common Loon racing like a torpedo. A goldeneye dives under water and swims about 10 feet from the surface, while scoters get down to 30 feet in search of clams and mussels. But if one bird stands out as the most beautiful diver, it has to be the Long-tailed Duck. Propelling itself beneath the surface with its wings, it seems to fly through the water, sometimes to depths of more than 60 feet! (BirdNote)

If you like to watch: Skagit Marine Reserves: Anchor for an Ecosystem
The protected marine reserves in Skagit County are the foundations of a vibrant ecosystem that supports eelgrass, forage fish, salmon, and herons. A film by Jesse Nichols of Western Washington University produce for the Friends of Skagit Beaches 2015 fall film series.

State regulators levy $71,000 fine against BNSF over spills
BNSF Railway will be required to pay more than $71,000 in a settlement with state regulators over not reporting spilled hazardous materials within the time required under state law. The settlement stems from more than a dozen hazardous materials spills across the state between Nov. 1, 2014, and Feb. 24, 2015, including a train that leaked 1,611 gallons of Bakken crude oil from a tank car before the leak was discovered at BP Cherry Point refinery near Ferndale in November 2014. The state Utilities and Transportation Commission staff alleged in a March complaint that BNSF had failed to report 14 releases of various hazardous materials, including crude oil, to the state within the required time, and recommended the company be fined up to $700,000. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

High praise from state, feds for Smith Island salmon project
Snohomish County was awash with praise from federal and state fisheries officials Monday for years of work on the Smith Island salmon habitat project. Heavy construction on the project in the Snohomish River basin is expected to get under way during the spring. The goal is to restore tidally influenced marshland long cut off by dikes. Planning began shortly after the federal government's 1999 listing of the Puget Sound chinook salmon as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Kinder Morgan pipeline critics paint picture of unneeded, risky expansion project
Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would cost Canada a net $7.4 billion, SFU researchers contend in a new study that suggests the project is not in the public interest. The cost-benefit analysis was commissioned by the Living Oceans Society, an intervenor in the National Energy Board hearings on the Trans Mountain expansion project, to evaluate new evidence submitted by Kinder Morgan to the NEB. The lead researcher is resource and environmental planning professor Tom Gunton, who was an adviser to then premier Glen Clark in the late 1990s. Gunton and his colleagues suggest Kinder Morgan is overstating the benefits of the $5.4-billion project by using estimates of gross rather than net economic benefits. Bethany Lindsay reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Port of Port Angeles: Oil-drilling rigs to be loaded up this week; Polar Pioneer headed to North Sea
When the giant oil drilling rig presently parked in Port Angeles Harbor departs, it is not likely to return, according to the Port of Port Angeles. The Polar Pioneer's failure to find much oil in the Chukchi Sea killed the Port of Port Angeles' hopes to become a staging center for Arctic drilling operations, port executive director Ken O'Hollaren told about 60 members of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce on Monday afternoon. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

China pollution: First ever red alert in effect in Beijing
Schools in Beijing are closed and outdoor construction halted as the Chinese capital's first ever pollution "red alert" came into effect. The alert, the highest possible warning level, was issued late Monday and will last until midday on Thursday. Limits have been placed on car use and some factories have been ordered to stop operations.  (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 245 AM PST TUE DEC 8 2015
GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
TODAY
S WIND 30 TO 40 KT...BECOMING SW 25 TO 35 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 11 TO 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF
 12 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 14 TO 15 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 11 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING E 15 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL
 12 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.

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"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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Monday, December 7, 2015

12/7 Orca calf, giant tree, Vic sewer, Rhapsody, JeffCo water, steelhead, naming places, Arctic climate

L-123 born to L-103 (PHOTO: Mark Malleson)
Orca baby boom: 7th calf born to endangered southern resident population
The Center for Whale Research says yet another orca calf has been spotted swimming with the southern resident killer whale population.  This is the seventh new calf born to the endangered population of cetaceans in the last 12 months. The young orca was photographed in November, but due to poor visibility and unfavourable sea conditions, it took several weeks to confirm that there was indeed a new calf in L pod.  It has been designated L-123 and is believed to be the first offspring of 12-year-old orca L-103. (CBC)

New blog: Guns Are Not Outlawed; Outlaws Have Guns
“It’s been an awful couple of weeks of shootings, people killing and wounding lots of other people. Guns, long guns, rifles, assault weapons, and thoughts and prayers have been top of mind and top of the news. Two news items amidst the guns, long guns, rifles, assault weapons and thoughts and prayers I’ve been chewing on this past week....”

'Tolkien Giant' tree at root of B.C. climate change appeal
Conservationists who want the government to take action on climate change by protecting B.C.'s old-growth forests say they've measured a near-record-sized red cedar in Vancouver Island's central Walbran Valley. The Ancient Forest Alliance said the tree that it calls the Tolkien Giant is the ninth-widest western red cedar in the province, according to a list compiled by the University of B.C.'s forestry faculty. It said the tree has a circumference of 14.4 metres, or 47 feet, stands 42 metres high and lies within a protected reserve. (Canadian Press)

High cost will force limited sewage solution, mayors say
Prohibitive costs for multiple sewage-treatment plants in the capital region will force a single-plant solution, even if that might not be appropriate, mayors say. The Capital Regional District is about to go to the public for feedback on five options for sewage treatment: a secondary treatment plant at Victoria’s Rock Bay, a tertiary treatment plant at Rock Bay, or two, four, or seven plants around the region. Preliminary cost estimates run between $1 billion and $1.3 billion, according to a report before Capital Regional District directors. Cindy Harnett reports. (Times Colonist)

Orca Lost: Remembering Rhapsody
A year ago today (12/4), off the shores of British Columbia, a pregnant orca whale washed up dead. We don't know exactly what killed her, but we do know that Rhapsody was starving….. Rhapsody was born in 1996 to J20 (aka Ewok), one of the few females of J Pod. Ewok died two years later, leaving Rhapsody in the care of her extended family. Her family banded together to raise her, as orcas often do, and she was frequently seen in the company of her Uncle J18 (Everett), and Aunt J22 (Oreo). Regular observers of J Pod took note of Rhapsody's apparent glee at breaching the water, calling her "exuberant," "vivacious," "the embodiment of joy." Giulia C.S. Good Stefani blogs. (NRDC Switchboard)

Results of Jefferson County water quality study to be detailed at meetings starting Thursday on Marrowstone Island
The results of a three-year water quality study are to be presented at two public meetings this month, with the first set for Thursday. “We hope people will come away with an understanding of the overall water quality in the northwest portion of the Quimper Peninsula,” said Michael Dawson, Jefferson County water quality manager…. The test area included Cape George, Port Townsend, Port Hadlock, Marrowstone Island and Oak Bay, with samples taken along 40 miles of shoreline and tested for E. coli bacteria. The project included sampling Port Townsend stormwater, comparing the water quality of Marrowstone Island and Indian Island, and discovering a major source of pollution in Irondale. Dawson said Irondale Creek was the most polluted area tested, attributable to a number of failed or failing septic systems in its proximity. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Skagit River steelhead at crossroads
The future of Skagit River steelhead is at a crossroads. In the year since the Marblemount Fish Hatchery’s steelhead program was shut down because of a lawsuit, the state Department of Fish & Wildlife has been weighing options for steelhead management. The agency is considering two options: designating the Skagit River as a wild steelhead gene bank or re-establishing a hatchery program using wild fish. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Did you just say ‘The’ Puget Sound?
Place names shape what Reuben Rose-Redwood — an associate professor of Geography at the University of Victoria in British Columbia — calls our “geographic imagination.” They are sometimes political, personal, aspirational — or just pure marketing. Knute Berger reports. (Crosscut)

ArcticNet in Vancouver discussing 'unsettling speed' of climate change
Top Arctic scientists will gather in Vancouver this week to discuss everything from caribou populations to the high cost of food — but underlying it all is the unsettling speed with which the northern climate is changing. Bob Weber reports. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 251 AM PST MON DEC 7 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 AM PST TUESDAY
TODAY
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 18 FT AT 16 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 14 FT AT 15 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN.
TONIGHT
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 12 FT AT 13 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told