Monday, February 8, 2016

2/8 Blanchard Mt., plastic ban, Elwha beaches, David Suzuki, water rights, methanol, Colstrip costs, Malheur

Harbour seals at rest (Laurie MacBride)
Laid-back at Low Tide
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Harbour seals can be great camouflage artists. I wonder how many times people have sailed, paddled or motored past a reef when the tide is low, not noticing the blubbery herd that’s there to enjoy a few hours of sunshine and relaxation? The majority of  seal haul-out sites around our region are small, seaweed-encrusted reefs like the one above, off Gabriola Island…."

Now protected, part of 1,600 acres on Blanchard Mt. could be logged
Hundreds of forested acres at the top of Blanchard Mountain could be taken out of protected status and set aside for logging unless the Legislature gives another $7.7 million to fully pay for its conservation. Areas that could be affected include Oyster Dome and the Samish Overlook. A timber sale for a portion of the 1,600-acre core could occur as soon as June 2017. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: Logging a possibility for Blanchard recreation area  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Vancouver considering ban on disposable coffee cups, plastic bags
Vancouver city staff are researching possible methods to cut down on the number of coffee cups, plastic bags and polystyrene food packaging that often end up in the city's litter. The options on the table include banning their use, applying deposits or fees, and mandating recycling or take-back programs, according to a staff report. Albert Shamess, the city's director of waste management and resource recovery, said these single-use items are increasingly ending up in the city's public garbage bins. (CBC)

Public access in works for new beaches on east side of Elwha River mouth
Public access to the new beaches on the east side of the Elwha River mouth is expected to be available by the summer of 2018. Coastal Watershed Institute has been awarded a $1 million National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant to help purchase a property, restore wetlands and establish public access in the area…. The only present public access to the 80 to 100 acres of beaches at the mouth of the Elwha River is on the west bank of the river, which is across private property and where parking and public services are very limited. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Elwha River beach, sea life settling into a new normal  (Peninsula Daily News)

David Suzuki's world view profoundly influenced by Haida ties
David Suzuki will never forget the day, 30 years ago, when he interviewed Haida activist and artist Guujaaw about his fight against logging operations on Haida Gwaii, known at the time as the Queen Charlotte Islands.  "I said to him, 'You know, Guujaaw, your people are desperate for jobs … why are you fighting against logging?' And he said, 'because when the trees are gone, we'll just be like everybody else.'" For Suzuki, this was a radically different way of looking at the world.  (CBC)

Water rights bill passes state Senate committee
A state legislative bill that would give landowners a process for overwriting water use regulations tied to instream flow levels passed its first committee in the state Senate on Thursday. The bill, which passed the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee, still needs to go through the Senate Rules Committee before it could see a floor vote, according to a news release from the office of Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe. Senate Bill 6584, sponsored by Pearson, would task the state Department of Ecology with devising a method of determining if a landowner’s water supply affects instream flow levels of a river, which the bill calls “proof of water reliance.” The bill is of importance to landowners in the Skagit River basin. A 2013 state Supreme Court ruling effectively revoked water rights from well users in the basin when the river is below a certain level. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

What Is Methanol And What Hazards Does It Pose?
On Wednesday, Tacoma residents will get another chance to weigh in on a plan for what could become the world’s biggest methanol plant. A lot of people have raised concerns about potential safety hazards posed by methanol itself and the process of refining it from natural gas. Methanol is a type of alcohol used in plenty of products, from windshield wiper fluid to plastics to fuel additives for cars. It even occurs naturally in certain things we consume. Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)

Washington puts a price on closing oldest Colstrip units
Shutting down and cleaning up the two oldest units at the Colstrip power plant in southeast Montana would cost $130 million to $200 million, according to the Washington utility that owns most of the plant. Puget Sound Energy, which owns half of Colstrip Units 1 and 2, says the two coal-fired power plants can be shuttered and dismantled for $49.7 million. Cleaning up the contaminated water and coal waste at the site will take another $85 to $142.7 million. The Billings Gazette reports that this is the first time since the debate about shuttering Colstrip began that real numbers have been put to paper. However, the cost to electricity customers to complete the proposed shutdown has not yet been determined. (Associated Press)

Northwest Volunteers Want To Help Restore Malheur Refuge
Oregon conservation groups say volunteers are lining up to help reverse damage done to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the ongoing occupation.  At the end of January, the Oregon Natural Desert Association put out a call for volunteers interested in doing environmental restoration at the refuge after the occupation is over. In just a week, more than 600 people from all over the Northwest have signed up. Jes Burns reports. (EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  440 AM PST MON FEB 8 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST THIS MORNING
 

TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...SUBSIDING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 8 FT AT 18 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 9 FT AT 16  SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT AFTER MIDNIGHT. W  SWELL 9 FT AT 14 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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