Thursday, January 7, 2016

1/7 Clingfish, tug rescue, carbon limit, BC LNG, methanol, clam dig, ocean 'blob,' bee die-off, tidal energy

Northern clingfish (PHOTO: Petra Ditsche)
Northern clingfish suction abilities under scientific study for human use
Northern clingfish don’t look like much at a glance: basic brownish coloring, dour mouth, typically growing no larger than a few inches, but it has an unbeatable knack for attachment. The suction disc located on its belly is so powerful its attachment forces ranges between 150-250 times its body weight. To put that in perspective, humans are only one or two times their body weight. The fact its suction disc is able to adhere so well to rough surfaces, or substrate, is part of what drew scientists' attention. According to Friday Harbor Labs researcher Petra Ditsche, if their ability could be replicated, there could be countless benefits to technology. Surgeons, for example may be able to benefit from a device like this. Heather Spaulding reports. (San Juan Journal)

Bulk carrier loses power at entrance to Strait of Juan de Fuca; vessel tugged to Victoria
A bulk carrier that lost propulsion off Neah Bay on Wednesday was being pulled by a rescue tug to Victoria, state Department of Ecology officials said…. Ecology officials posted on the agency's Twitter page that the MV Gallia Graeca departed from Port Angeles and lost power just outside the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca at about 10 a.m. Wednesday. The 735-foot vessel was being pulled by the tug Jeffrey Foss at 4.7 knots near the international boundary off Clallam Bay at 3:45 p.m., according to Marinetraffic.com. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Washington to limit carbon pollution from largest facilities
The state’s largest industrial emitters would be required to reduce carbon emissions by 5 percent every three years, under a proposed rule released Wednesday by state regulators. The Department of Ecology’s proposed Clean Air Rule would initially apply to about two dozen manufacturing plants, refineries, power plants and other facilities, or those that release at least 100,000 metric tons of carbon a year. Many more facilities would likely be covered as the threshold declines over time. State officials say the rule is needed to protect human health and the environment from climate change. But some business groups and others have worried that the efforts could hurt the state’s ability to attract and retain industries. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Shell's Kitimat LNG proposal is first to get key permit
A joint venture company led by Shell has obtained the first permit to build a liquefied natural gas export facility in northern British Columbia, but the company has yet to make a final commitment to go ahead with the project. LNG Canada is the first in the province to receive a facility permit from the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission. The document outlines the requirements for design, construction and operation of the proposed facility in Kitimat, B.C. Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

Public input sought for proposed methanol production plant
Environmental activists are voicing concerns about a proposed methanol production plant at the Port of Tacoma, saying the plant's potential wastewater and chemical pollutants could harm the region's air quality and impact an already fragile Puget Sound. The groups say they're particularly troubled by the veil of secrecy that appears to surround the Tacoma plant project, one of three methanol plants proposed for port cities in the Pacific Northwest. They're also concerned about its size: If built, the advocacy groups say the $3.4 billion Tacoma facility would be the largest methanol production plant in the world. Anneli Fogt reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

Restarting clam digging at Kayak Point Park not logical for now
Researchers found that restarting public clam digging at the popular Kayak Point Park beach isn't a realistic option right now. Seeding the beach with young clams to bolster the population could allow for digging in the future, but getting the tiny clams and managing what would likely be a short, busy season could prove tricky. Kari Bray reports. (Everett Herald)

Pacific Ocean 'Blob' finally starting to dissipate
A University of Victoria oceanographer says the "blob" of warm water in the Pacific Ocean is starting to break up due to strong winds and ocean currents. Richard Dewey says cold winds blowing from Alaska, which have been missing over the past few years, are causing the blob to finally clear up…. The 1,000-kilometre-wide patch of water, 2° C warmer than the surrounding ocean, has been blamed for warmer temperatures on land, changing up this year's El NiƱo and even bringing tropical fish north since appearing in 2013. The blob has also stopped or slowed nutrient growth, damaging salmon populations. (CBC)

Honeybee die-off: EPA finds culprit in some cases
A major pesticide harms honeybees when used on cotton and citrus but not on other big crops like corn, berries and tobacco, the Environmental Protection Agency found. It’s the first scientific risk assessment of the much-debated class of pesticides called neonicotinoids and how they affect bees on a chronic long-term basis. The EPA found in some cases the chemical didn’t harm bees or their hives but in other cases it posed a significant risk. It mostly depended on the crop, a nuanced answer that neither clears the way for an outright ban nor is a blanket go-ahead for continued use. Both the pesticide maker and anti-pesticide advocates were unhappy with report. Seth Borenstein reports. (Associated Press)

PUD officially pulls the plug on tidal-energy project
Snohomish County Public Utility District is closing the book on its mulitmillion-dollar experiment to draw electricity from ocean tides. The PUD has asked federal regulators to cancel its license for the project, which the district stopped working on in September 2014. The project “is no longer economically feasible,” the district said in its application to give up its license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The plan had been to put two turbines on the sea floor off Whidbey Island. Dan Catchpole reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  241 AM PST THU JAN 7 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS
 EVENING  

TODAY
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL  BUILDING TO 11 FT AT 16 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 10  FT AT 15 SECONDS... SUBSIDING TO 8 FT AT 14 SECONDS 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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