Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2/17 Seastar wasting, steelhead, Alaska toxins, sewer overflow, septic fees, coal investment

Ochre star (Katie Campbell/EarthFix)
Warm Waters Linked To Sea Star Wasting
During the height of the sea star die-offs in 2014, millions of stars up and down the West Coast were wasting away. At the same time, sea surface temperatures in the northeast Pacific Ocean were the warmest recorded in decades.  Scientists suspected a connection. Now in a study published Monday, scientists are confirming that warm temperatures played a part in what’s being called the single largest, most-geographically widespread marine disease that’s ever been recorded. Researchers analyzed logs from temperature sensors in Puget Sound and on the outer coast of Washington and compared them with extensive sea star monitoring data from surveys before, during and after the outbreaks. They found evidence that as water temperatures rose, so did the risk of starfish succumbing to the wasting disease. Katie Campbell reports. (EarthFix)

Groups sue feds over lack of steelhead recovery plan
Conservation groups are suing the federal government over what they describe as foot-dragging when it comes to recovering wild Puget Sound steelhead. In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Duvall-based Wild Fish Conservancy and other organizations accuse the National Marine Fisheries Service of failing to come up with a plan to recover the seagoing rainbow trout, which were listed as threatened in 2007. The complaint says the agency has delayed the recovery plan for eight years and doesn’t expect to have one until 2019. The groups say that without a plan, projects intended to improve steelhead habitat aren’t getting funded. Steelhead populations in the region have declined by about 97 percent since 1900. (Associated Press)

This could explain all those strange happenings in Alaska’s waters 
New research is shedding light on how far toxic algae blooms have spread in Alaska, and surprised scientists are saying this is just the beginning. A study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest fisheries center found domoic acid and saxitoxin – algae-produced neurotoxins that are deadly in high doses — in 13 marine mammal species across Alaska, including as far north as the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Researchers say the study is just the latest piece of evidence that warming ocean temperatures are allowing these blooms to stretch into Arctic ecosystems, threatening marine life and the communities who rely on the sea to survive. Ryan Schuessler reports. (Washington Post)

Anacortes sewer overflow causes health advisory
The state Department of Ecology has issued a health advisory for beaches near Cap Sante Park and marina after sewage overflowed Monday from the Anacortes Wastewater Treatment Plant. The wastewater treatment plant reported the overflow to Ecology on Monday afternoon, Ecology spokesman Larry Altose said. The Skagit County Health Department collected water samples Tuesday to check fecal bacteria levels. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

King County looks to charge septic system owners
King County's Board of Health will begin discussions this week to tackle the issue of un-monitored septic systems, of which there are thousands in the region. Darrell Rodgers with King County Public Health said 192 of the area's rivers, streams and other waterways have some form of pollution connected to untreated contamination that gets into the groundwater from septic systems. John Langeler reports. (KING)

With coal prices in steep slide, even once bullish analyst sees risky investment
Coal-export terminals proposed at Cherry Point in Whatcom County and in Longview, Cowlitz County, are irrelevant because Asian coal markets are so weak, according to an industry analyst who has offered some of the industry’s most bullish forecasts. The Feb. 10 report was written by Andy Roberts, an analyst at Wood Mackenzie, who less than three years ago was boosting the long-term prospects of the Gateway Project proposed at Cherry Point in Whatcom County and the Millennium bulk terminal in Longview, Cowlitz County. Lynda Mapes and Hal Bernton report. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  249 AM PST WED FEB 17 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 

TODAY
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 9 FT AT  13 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.  SHOWERS.

TONIGHT
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT  AT 12 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
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