Friday, February 19, 2016

2/19 Gray whales, NW petro future, Tacoma aroma, Ladner landfill, Soundkeeper, Ballard Locks

(PHOTO: Bill Thompson/Peninsula Daily News)
Out of the blue: Gray whale greets visitors near Point Wilson Lighthouse in Port Townsend
Port Townsend residents Bill and Betty Thompson shared a photo of a passing whale in Admiralty Inlet near the Point Wilson Lighthouse this week. Bill Thompson reported that they were walking their dogs on Tuesday when they heard some commotion and climbed up on the rocks to investigate. They saw seagulls and seals and then suddenly, this whale surfaced. (Peninsula Daily news)

Study: Petrochemical Projects Could Transform Pacific Northwest Into Export Hub
Projects in the works for the Pacific Northwest could turn the region into a major hub for exporting petrochemicals and products derived from fossil fuels, according to a new stud from the environmental think tank Sightline Institute. The proposed plant in Tacoma to convert natural gas into methanol has grabbed headlines lately, but Sightline said it’s just one of a number of fossil-fuel-based projects in the works for the region. Northwest Innovation Works, the Chinese-backed company behind the Tacoma plant, also wants to build two more: one in Kalama in southern Washington and another in Oregon along the Columbia River. Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)

Will Methanol Be The New Aroma Of Tacoma?
It wasn’t long ago that Tacoma was known for its distinctive industrial smell, the so-called “aroma of Tacoma.” But in recent years, as more young people move to the city, the arts and cultural scene has flourished, some say eclipsing the city’s industrial past. Now, a controversial proposal to build the world’s largest methanol production facility at the Port of Tacoma has become a lightning rod for a city at a crossroads. Proponents say it will bring tax revenue and more blue-collar jobs to a city that has seen that sector shrink in recent years. And they say the plant is better for the environment than current methanol operations elsewhere in the world because it would emit less carbon. Ashley Ahearn reports. (KUOW)

Ladner landfill becomes bald eagle haven
Albert Shamess thought he was accepting a job as director of waste management for the City of Vancouver in 2012. He didn’t know he was also becoming manager of Canada’s most prolific, if unconventional, bird habitat. “It’s pretty interesting, not what you normally think of for a landfill,” he says while taking The Vancouver Sun on a safari-style tour through the city’s 225-hectare garbage dump at Burns Bog in Ladner. Eagles are visible for as far as the eye can see, perched atop wooden fence posts like aboriginal totems, or side-by-side on the curved metal pipes that are part of the landfill’s methane gas collection system. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Blue herons, oil sheens and polluted urban waters: Puget Sound's biggest water quality challenge
 Water bodies across the nation are under steady assault from legacy pollutants, petroleum products, stormwater runoff and contaminants of all kinds. In this feature we take a tour of waterways in Seattle with the Puget Soundkeeper, a member of the global water keeper alliance, a grassroots movement devoted to protecting specific watersheds. Decades after the Clean Water Act was passed you may be surprised at some of the pollutants the Soundkeeper finds and the challenges in preserving water bodies for wildlife and future generations. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acres Radio)

A deeper look into the Ballard Locks, where antique equipment rules
Christopher Dunagan blogs: "The Ballard Locks is a great place to visit, especially in the late summer and fall when the salmon are migrating into Lake Washington. I’ve been taking out-of-town friends and family there for years to observe the multitude of boats using the locks and to peer at salmon through windows of the fish ladder. I never thought much about all the mechanical equipment that keeps the locks functioning. But during a recent visit, I was taken to a darker and more dangerous side of the facility. I walked down a spiral iron staircase some 60 feet deep into an abandoned pumping plant. Rusty iron pipes and pumps were still in place, having been shut down three years ago out of concern that a pipe might burst while someone was down in the well…." (Watching Our Water Ways)

Now your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  240 AM PST FRI FEB 19 2016  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 

TODAY
 E WIND RISING TO 25 TO 35 KT THIS MORNING. COMBINED SEAS  10 TO 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 12 SECONDS. RAIN.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT LATE. WIND  WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 11 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS.

SAT
 S WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING E 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 15 FT AT 13 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO  13 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS MAINLY IN THE MORNING.

SAT NIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT  AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W  SWELL 11 FT AT 13 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 9 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

SUN
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT  13 SECONDS.
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