Tuesday, March 22, 2016

3/22 Fuel spill, eelgrass, sea lion 'massacre,' BC LNG, tug losses, salmon season, Tacoma gas, sewage spill

Elwha 3/18/16 (Tom Roorda/Coastal Watershed Institute)
Elwha Nearshore March 18, 2016
Anne Shaffer writes: "What do these photos mean ecologically? The estuary has grown by approximately 80 acres since dam removal began four and a half or so years or so ago-the size changes with the season and hydrodynamic conditions. Chum are well into their annual emergence (they started in December) and are now in the estuary for the next few months. Thru our decade of sampling we've documented that chum fry consistently arrive in the Elwha estuary six weeks or so earlier than previously thought…."

Marina fire might have triggered largest fuel spill in sound in years
Sunday's marina fire triggered the largest fuel spill to hit Puget Sound in years. State Department of Ecology officials say the five burned and sunken boats might release 2,000 gallons of oil, gasoline and diesel before their leaking hulls can be secured. By Monday afternoon, an oily sheen had spread beyond the Port Orchard waterfront and into the middle of Sinclair Inlet. "It's possible that fuel is still being released, but we can't get to (the boats) because of all the fire debris," Ecology spokesman Larry Altose said Monday. "It's trending to be one of the largest spills we've had in recent years." Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

DNR study sees seagrass recovering in Puget Sound
Critical eelgrass beds are showing signs of recovering in parts of Puget Sound, including Hood Canal, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. A new DNR report found sites with increased eelgrass outnumbered sites with declining eelgrass between 2010 and 2014. The rebound was most pronounced in lower Hood Canal. Seagrasses provide nearshore nursery grounds and shelter for many species, including salmon. They also serve as an indicator of the overall health of Washington’s saltwater environment. (The Olympian)

‘Marine mammal massacre’ ends sea lions’ invasion of salmon pen
In a highly unusual event, 15 sea lions were shot and killed at a fish farm in Clayoquot Sound after a pack of the large mammals broke into salmon pens and couldn’t be scared away. The incident has been described as “a marine mammal massacre” by environmentalists who want the farm shut down, but a spokesman for Cermaq Canada Ltd. said it hasn’t experienced anything like the sea lion invasion before, and steps have been taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Lax Kw’alaam Band gives green light to Pacific NorthWest – with conditions
The Lax Kw’alaam Band, which threatened to block the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, now says it is willing to support the development – so long as the federal government establishes a committee that includes the First Nations community and enforces environmental standards. The Lax Kw’alaam position could remove a key roadblock to what would be British Columbia’s first liquefied natural gas export project, given that the band had previously filed a legal challenge claiming ownership of Lelu Island, where the terminal would be constructed. Shawn McCarthy reports. (Globe and Mail)

Canadian Tug Losses Increasing
The Canadian west coast is very dependent on tug and barge transportation, and it has witnessed a significant increase in tug boat losses in 2015.  Proportionately, year on year, 2015 is remarkably high as six tugs have sunk, in nine incidents involving the vessels. In 2014, only two tugs sank out of 11 incidents; and in 2013, only two out of 15 incidents; and finally in 2012, only one out of 12.  This is very surprising, says Mariella Dauphinee, a marine claims manager for Intact Insurance Company, Canada, and International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) loss prevention committee member. “To quote Captain Phillip Nelson, President of the Council of Marine Mariners, ‘these boats, they just don’t sink, they shouldn’t sink.’” (Maritime Executive)

Sport fishing advocates clear the air on salmon season setting process that will include summer and fall fisheries
Rumors have been swirling through tidal pool of the sport salmon fishing season setting process that this will be a summer of no fisheries, which is totally untrue and 10 groups who represent the sport fishing industry wanted to voice their side of the story. The groups include Puget Sound Anglers; Charterboat Association of Puget Sound; Northwest Marine Trade Association; Coastal Conservation Association; Three Rivers Marine, Inc.; Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club; Snohomish Sportsmens Association, Inc.; The Outdoor Line; John’s Sporting Goods; and Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. (Mark Yuasa reports.)

Need an Environmental Expert? Ask the Person Living in That Environment
…. “Our People, Our Planet, Our Power” is rooted in climate justice, a movement that connects the threat of climate change with racial and economic inequity. Because of that, it draws heavily on interviews, roundtables and workshops with 175 community members primarily from south Seattle and south King County — two of the area’s lowest-income and most racially and ethnically diverse communities — to document their greatest environmental concerns and priorities. “We have a value that our community are the experts,” says Jill Mangaliman, Got Green executive director. “We’re so used to researchers and policymakers coming to us and telling what the issues are. We’re making sure our people are at the table directing and driving the work.” Rebecca SaldaƱa, Puget Sound Sage executive director, puts an even finer point on it: “The mainstream environmental movement fails to engage people of color and represent people of color in their issues. People of color communities do care about the environment and climate change, but define it differently than the mainstream environmental movement.” Josh Cohen reports. (NextCity.Org)

With methanol on pause, new attention turns to PSE’s natural gas proposal 
Six months ago, the second most controversial project at the Port of Tacoma looked like it had a clear path to construction. By 2018, Puget Sound Energy thought it’d be moving natural gas to ships passing through the port and storing some fuel there for homes around the region. Now — even with backing from a wide swath of business, labor and left-leaning politicians — PSE’s proposed liquid natural gas terminal no longer looks like a sure thing. Adam Ashton reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Second sewage spill reported from Bangor 
A second sewage spill in less than a week has fouled the waters near Bangor. The Kitsap Public Health District extended a no-contact advisory for the area of Hood Canal near Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor after about 2,500 gallons of sewage spilled from the base Monday morning. People are advised to stay away from the water near the base until Thursday. The spill comes four days after 2,800 gallons of sewage poured into the canal from the base. The cause of Thursday's spill has not been released. It was first reported to health officials Friday. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Squamish Woodfibre LNG project opponents angry over federal environmental approval
An environmental group fighting the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant near Squamish says it's disappointed with the latest thumbs-up for the project.  On Friday federal Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna approved an environmental assessment done by the province on behalf of both levels of government, subject to certain conditions. McKenna called the environmental assessment "thorough and science-based,"and said the LNG plant is unlikely to cause significant harm. The decision includes a list of legally-binding conditions the company building the plant must meet, including mitigating impact on fish habitat and implementing noise and air emission reduction measures. But the members of the group My Sea to Sky say they feel "snubbed" by the approval. (CBC)

State seeks public comment on Pierce County’s shoreline plan
The state Department of Ecology wants to hear from the public before it decides whether to approve Pierce County’s draft shoreline master program or request changes. An open house is planned March 30 at Pacific Lutheran University at 5 p.m. A public hearing on the plan starts 6:30 p.m. at Chris Knutzen Hall, 12180 Park Ave. S. The shoreline document governs how the county manages its 700 miles of shoreline, including Puget Sound, lakes and rivers and associated wetlands. Brynn Grimley reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  257 AM PDT TUE MAR 22 2016  

TODAY
 S WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 13 SECONDS. SCATTERED  SHOWERS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE  EVENING...THEN A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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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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