Thursday, February 11, 2016

2/11 BC LNG, orca recovery, Kwikwetlem First Nation, Olympia at risk, NW power plan

Redpoll (Peter Kuchar/CBC)
Report finds proposed Pacific Northwest LNG project would not harm salmon
A draft report issued Wednesday following a federal government review concludes the $12-billion Pacific Northwest LNG project would harm harbour porpoises and cause adverse effects from greenhouse gases, but not from other components, including salmon. The draft conclusion will be considered a victory for the consortium led by Malaysian state-controlled Petronas which has faced opposition to the project in northwest B.C. from some First Nations and environmentalists over the liquefied natural gas terminal's effect on juvenile salmon. The draft report is open for public comment until March 11, after which the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will produce a final report. Justin Trudeau's federal Liberal government has the final say on the project. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Orcas travel up and down the coast; NOAA lists ‘priority actions’
For the past month, K-33, a Southern Resident orca bearing a satellite transmitter, has been moving up and down the West Coast, presumably with the rest of his pod…. NOAA Fisheries today released a list of “priority actions” for eight endangered “species in the spotlight,” including the Southern Resident killer whales of Puget Sound. These species are highly recognized by the public and considered among those at greatest risk of extinction. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways) See also: New action plans outline recovery efforts for eight 'Species in the Spotlight' (Phys.org)

Endangered orca population comes under review
Weeks after the first new orca calf of 2016 was spotted among the southern resident orca population, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the start of a five-year status review of the species. The southern resident orca population, which frequents the Salish Sea and the Washington and Oregon coasts, was listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2005. With eight calves documented during 2015’s “baby boom” and the addition of the calf in mid-January, the population is now at 85 whales, according to the Center for Whale Research. That’s three whales fewer than when the federal government acknowledged the population’s decline in 2005, one fewer than during the last five-year status review, and far below the recovery goal…. According to the Recovery Plan for Southern Resident Killer Whales, orcas could be removed from the Endangered Species list if their population grows at least 2.3 percent per year for 28 years. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service released the plan in 2008. Although the five-year review is just getting started, orca recovery coordinator Lynne Barre said it’s already clear the whales are not yet meeting that goal. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Kwikwetlem First Nation files Supreme Court challenge for traditional lands
A small B.C. First Nation says it’s been squeezed out of its traditional territory around the Coquitlam River watershed and forced to file an aboriginal title and rights charter claim with the Supreme Court of Canada because the province won’t negotiate with it. The Kwikwetlem First Nation, which has only 85 members, was considered too small to enter into the modern treaty process and denied the right to sit at their own negotiating table to resolve their land claim, said lawyer Karey Brooks. Kim Pemberton reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Rising sea poses more urgent risk to downtown Olympia than previously thought
As sea levels continue to rise, so does the threat of flooding in downtown Olympia. The threat might be more urgent than the city previously believed. “We’re suggesting a more-heightened sense of urgency in our response,” said Andy Haub, water resources director for the city’s public works department. “The current risk is higher for downtown flooding than previously thought.” The potential worst-case scenario could leave much of downtown under water, especially areas bordering West Bay and Capitol Lake. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Panel OKs Northwest power plan focused on energy efficiency
A regional council Wednesday approved a new power plan for four Northwest states that will place a big emphasis on energy efficiency to meet new electrical demand. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council, which draws members from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, found that even with a growing economy, increased energy efficiency could meet all of the power demand expected through 2035. However, some utilities could have to build new power-generation plants to help with such tasks as integrating wind power into the grid. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  236 AM PST THU FEB 11 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 

TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT  19 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE  AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 2 FT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 11 FT AT 17 SECONDS. RAIN.

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