|John Oliver and the Salmon Cannon|
From November 2014 but still good for a Friday laugh in 2016: "The long tube wiggled and then violently wobbled, shaking as a salmon came blasting out the end and belly-flopped into the water. Still in its pilot phase, the cannon-type device, "o'fish'ally" known as the Whooshh Transport Conduit, can zip fish between 16 and 33 feet per second (5 and 10 meters per second) above obstacles, such as dams, and toward their destination. The device is designed to help salmon reach their spawning grounds, but late-night talk-show host and comedian John Oliver launched the so-called salmon cannon into the spotlight by giving his audience a preview of how it works, and pretending to use it to launch fake salmon at A-list celebrities, including Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon and Anderson Cooper." Laura Geggel reports. (Live Science)
B.C. LNG: AltaGas shelves Douglas Channel project near Kitimat
In another blow to B.C.'s nascent liquefied natural gas industry, AltaGas Ltd. is shelving the development of its Douglas Channel LNG plant near Kitimat. The decision to halt work on the project was blamed on poor economic conditions and worsening global energy prices. (CBC)
Herring fishery's strength is in the sum of its parts, study finds
A wise investor plays the financial market by maintaining a variety of stocks. In the long run, the whole portfolio will be more stable because of the diversity of the investments it contains. It's this mindset that resource managers should adopt when considering Pacific herring, one of the most ecologically significant fish in Puget Sound and along the entire West Coast, argue the authors of a paper appearing in the January 2016 print edition of the journal Oecologia. Just like a financial portfolio contains shares from different companies, the diverse subpopulations of herring from different bays and beaches around Puget Sound collectively keep the total population more stable, the study's authors found. Michelle Ma reports. (Phys.org)
Falling gas prices undercut toxic-waste cleanups — will state act?
Swooning gas prices are a boon for consumers but they’re creating a huge shortfall in state tax collections used to clean up hazardous waste dumps, prevent pollution and give citizens a voice in chemical-waste cleanups. "We're very worried," lobbyist Doug Levy, representing the cities of Everett and Puyallup, told the Senate Ways and Means Committee this week as it took up a bill (SB 6660) to partially make up the shortfall. The problem is that when gas prices drop, so do state collections of a tax on oil and other chemicals designed to help protect people from hazardous chemicals. The result of $2-a-gallon gas: a big slowdown in cleanups of toxic waste dumps and of stormwater, the pollution-laced rainwater runoff that is the biggest source of toxics in Puget Sound and many other waterways. The bill considered by the Senate committee would boost the hazardous substances tax from 70 cents per $100 worth of chemicals imported to 90 cents per $100. Robert McClure reports. (Investigate West)
Victoria to ban pesticides from ‘urban farms’
As Victoria councillors move to encourage commercial agriculture in the city’s backyards and vacant lots, pesticides are being rejected. Staff had recommended the use of pesticides be restricted in regulatory changes that will allow commercial agriculture in all zones in the city, except in city parks. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)
Lawsuit Spurs Salmon Habitat Designation
Nearly a decade after listing coho salmon and Puget Sound steelhead as threatened species, the National Marine Fisheries Service designated critical habitat Wednesday. Under provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), critical habitat is to be designated at the time of listing, or within one year. The agency found that critical habitat was "not determinable" within that timeframe, according to the final action…. Remarkably, the final critical habitat designation published Wednesday comes just eight days after a coalition of five fish conservation organizations filed suit against the agency for "failing to complete and implement a recovery plan" for the Puget Sound steelhead, according to the Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC), which spearheaded the legal action. The suit was filed Feb. 16, in the Western District of Washington U.S. District Court in Seattle. The other plaintiffs are The Conservation Angler, International Federation of Fly Fishers Steelhead Committee, Washington Fly Fishing Club and Wild Steelhead Coalition. Ramona Young-Grindle reports. (Courthouse News Service)
Executives, Politicians Failed To Anticipate Tacomans’ Deep Opposition To Methanol Plant
In Tacoma, a Chinese-backed company has been seeking to build one of the world’s largest plants to convert natural gas to methanol, which would then be shipped to China to be used in making plastics. After an intense public outcry, the company recently said it will pause the environmental review process, saying it has been “surprised by the tone and substance of the vocal opposition that has emerged in Tacoma.” Some political leaders, as well, appear to have not anticipated the depth of community members’ opposition. Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)
CHB provides eyes on the water
While most of the environmental discussion around Tacoma these days centers on the proposed methanol-conversion plant in the works for the former Kaiser Aluminum site on the tideflats, patrols continue for other environmental hazards along the waterway. Citizens for a Healthy Bay started the Bay Patrol early-warning system program throughout Commencement Bay and the industrial waterways in 1998 to provide eyes-on-the-water searches for pollution, leaks or other hazards on the water. Steve Dunkelberger reports. (Tacoma Weekly)
Giant container ship is headed to Seattle
The Benjamin Franklin is the largest ship to ever call on the Port of Seattle, or any U.S. port, and it’s scheduled to arrive on Monday. The container ship Benjamin Franklin can hold 18,000 containers (as measured in 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, which is the industry benchmark). Not that long ago a 5,000 container ship was considered big. The ship recently called at the Port of Long Beach, California where it unloaded 13,000 containers. That’s more than two and one half times the typical ship call for the large California port. To accommodate that, the port had to have extra truck chassis and trains ready to seep rapid movement of the containers inland. The vessel is currently at the Port of Oakland. Glen Farley reports. (KING)
State investigating corrosion on newest ferry
Washington State Ferries is investigating a hole the size of a quarter in the Samish, the state's newest ferry. The Samish went into service in June, running the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route. Another ferry has been brought in to take its place. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Billionaire Paul Allen to restore Cayman coral reef damaged by megayacht
A company founded by billionaire Paul Allen and the Cayman Islands have announced an agreement on a plan to restore a coral reef damaged by his 300-foot yacht in January. A joint statement Thursday from Allen’s Vulcan Inc. and the British territory’s Department of the Environment says the work will begin Tuesday. The cost hasn’t been disclosed. The anchor chain from the MV Tatoosh apparently damaged the reef Jan. 14. Allen was not on board at the time. Vulcan said the crew was directed to moor in that area by the Port Authority and moved as soon as they learned of the damage. (Associated Press)
Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST FRI FEB 26 2016
TODAY SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING VARIABLE 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT VARIABLE WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL BUILDING TO 9 FT AT 16 SECONDS. RAIN.
SAT NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 TO 9 FT AT 16 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT SE WIND RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 TO 8 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
SUN SE WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING SW 20 TO 30 KT. COMBINED SEAS 11 TO 14 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 14 SECONDS.
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