Monday, February 1, 2016

2/1 Great Bear Rainforest, Capitol Lake, oil price, green port, eelgrass, Lake Cr., orca breath, Mukilteo shores

Mark Olsen and Garfunkel (Scott Terrell/Skagit Valley Herald)
Visitors get in touch with marine life at Padilla Bay aquarium
Onlookers crowded around a cylindrical viewing tank Saturday inside the aquarium at the Breazeale Interpretive Center at Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. They watched as aquarist Mark Olson gently tipped a glass bottle into the tank, trying to coax out Garfunkel, one of the aquarium’s main attractions and, as Olson put it, the “world’s shyest octopus.” Evan Marczynski reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Final agreement reached to protect B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest
The 20-year battle to protect the Great Bear Rainforest – the largest coastal temperate rainforest on the planet – is over, with the B.C. government set to announce Monday it has reached an agreement with environmentalists, forest companies and First Nations. The deal, which will be enshrined in legislation this spring, applies to a stretch of 6.4 million hectares of the coast from the north of Vancouver Island to the Alaska Panhandle. It promises to protect 85 per cent of the region’s old-growth forests, with logging in the remaining 15 per cent subject to the most stringent commercial logging standards in North America. Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

If you like to listen: CaamaƱo: The Sound of (Whale) Music
Is this where North Pacific humpback whales practice their songs?
Darcy Dobell reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Committee restarts work on Capitol Lake solution
Stakeholders from the state and Thurston County have taken a symbolic first step toward resolving a debate over whether Capitol Lake in Olympia should remain a lake or revert back to an estuary. Another option is a hybrid of both. The 260-acre man-made reservoir on the Capitol Campus is owned and maintained by the state Department of Enterprise Services. In the 2015 budget, the Legislature directed the department to “make tangible progress” on a long-term management plan for Capitol Lake. A committee of local and state officials met Friday to move forward on the Legislature’s directive. The collaboration includes the cities of Olympia and Tumwater, the Port of Olympia, Thurston County and the Squaxin Island Tribe. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Low Oil Prices Hurting Northwest Oil Terminals
With plans for new oil terminals still pending throughout the Pacific Northwest, low oil prices are hampering operations at existing crude-by-rail operations in the region. Five different  projects to transfer crude from trains to ships have been proposed in Washington, including what would be the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver. While the backers of such projects have said current declines won’t affect their plans, some existing operators in Oregon have not fared well in the current market. Global Partners, the owner of a crude oil terminal on the Columbia River in Clatskanie, Oregon, announced Thursday plans to lay off 28 of its 47 workers at the facility. The reduction comes in response to poor crude oil markets and declines in facility operations. Tony Schick reports. (EarthFix) See also: Why cheap oil isn’t bad for the environment  Froma Harrop writes. (Seattle Times)

New Committee for the Port of Seattle
On Jan. 26, the Port of Seattle Commission voted to establish its Energy and Sustainability Policy Committee, a group that would develop and propose new environmental initiatives across the organization. The motion was based on the recent Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, where 195 countries reached a landmark climate accord that will commit nearly every country to lower planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions…. “Having championed this initiative, I look forward to working with our regional stakeholders to promote environmentally responsible growth at the airport and seaport,” port Commissioner Fred Felleman said in a statement. Mark Edward Nero reports. (Pacific Maritime Magazine)

Sequim scientists work to restore eelgrass in Puget Sound
Local scientists are lending their expertise to offset the global decline of seagrass by studying and restoring eelgrass throughout Puget Sound. To help address this decline, scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Marine Sciences Lab in Sequim are working with the state on restoring eelgrass throughout the Puget Sound…. Eelgrass is recognized by the Puget Sound Partnership as both critical habitat and a vital sign of Puget Sound because changes in its abundance or distribution reflect changes in environmental conditions. Alana Lineroth reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Skagit Land Trust aims to buy Lake Creek property to save steelhead, wetlands
The wetlands around lower Lake Creek are ideal steelhead habitat. While much of the water trickling through the area isn’t easily visible, the abundance of birds and bugs is a sign the habitat is in good condition, Skagit Land Trust Conservation Planner Kari Odden said. The land trust wants to buy about 67.5 acres in the area, which could open the door for the first habitat conservation project in Skagit County specifically geared toward steelhead. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

A viral threat
As the sleek black-and-white orcas glided like torpedoes beneath the waves, researchers in a 42-foot boat did their best to stay alongside, watching and waiting for a whale to surface. Suddenly, it happened. "Whoosh" went the eruptive sound of an exhaled breath. A cloud of mist hung in the air. Without hesitation, veterinarian Pete Schroeder reached out toward the misty cloud with a long pole, capturing moist droplets from the whale's breath as they landed on a set of Petri dishes. This sampling technique, used on 16 whales, was designed to find out what microorganisms might be threatening the Southern Resident orcas of Puget Sound. Chris Dunagan reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Mukilteo’s waterfront makeover plans include parks and paths
For years, the city’s waterfront was dominated by a former military tank farm. The last of the 16 massive fuel storage tanks were removed in 1999, yet its ghost town-like imprint can still be seen. The aging pavement of a roadway that ran through the property is surrounded by weedy lots. Now the city has a plan to transform not only this site but the look of the waterfront from nearby Edgewater Beach to Lighthouse Park near the current ferry terminal. It calls for construction of a nearly mile-long promenade along the waterfront between the beach and the popular city park, as well as adding other parks, a scuba diving site, and providing more places to access aquatic activities such as kayaking and fishing. Sharon Salyer reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST MON FEB 1 2016  

TODAY
 SW WIND TO 10 KT IN THE MORNING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS IN THE MORNING...BECOMING LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL  6 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 S WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

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