Wednesday, March 9, 2016

3/9 Cleanup budget, fault zone, Billy Frank Jr. Day, BC LNG, Tilikum, bluefin tuna, bird news

State cuts threaten Puget Sound, cleanups, grassroots groups
Cleaning up toxic waste. Protecting Puget Sound. Dealing with polluted rainwater runoff.   All hang in the balance as the Democratic-dominated House and Republican-controlled Senate face a Thursday deadline to agree on a state budget. No matter what happens, though, it seems certain that this year the Evergreen State will shell out less green to protect the environment. With the percentage of the state budget devoted to the environment hovering just over 2 percent, the question is how much of what remains will be shaved this year. “We are really concerned,” said Darcy Nonemacher, a lobbyist for the Washington Environmental Council. If the Senate's proposed budget passes, projects that would be defunded include pollution sleuthing around the Duwamish River Superfund site in Seattle, delineating pollution “hot spots” in Olympia’s Budd Inlet, removing arsenic pollution at three public parks in north Everett, and cleanup of toxic metals at Tacoma’s Aladdin Plating site. Robert McClure reports. (Investigate West)

Earthquake possible along new fault zone near Victoria say scientists
Seismologists in B.C. have confirmed the existence of a fault only five kilometres south of Victoria, giving South Coast residents one more thing to worry about when preparing for earthquakes. It's called the Devil's Mountain Fault Zone and it's actually made up of a series of faults that run from Washington state to Victoria, running much closer to the B.C. capital than the point where the Juan de Fuca plate meets the North American plate, which scientists have predicted for decades will result in the 'Big One.' (CBC)

Area tribes to honor Billy Frank Jr. with ceremonies, holiday today
Tribes are remembering Billy Frank Jr. today in ceremonies and with holidays to recognize his achievements as an environmental leader and Native American fishing rights activist. Billy Frank Jr. Day recognizes the contributions of Frank, who died May 5, 2014, at age 83. Frank was posthumously given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Scientists want federal environment minister to reject 'flawed' B.C. LNG report
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna should reject a "flawed" environmental draft report for the proposed $36 billion Petronas-backed liquefied natural gas plant on British Columbia's northwest coast near Prince Rupert, says an open letter to the minister signed by more than 130 scientists. Dirk Meissner reports. (Canadian Press)

SeaWorld Says Health Of Tilikum The Killer Whale Is Declining
SeaWorld says the health of one of its best-known killer whales is deteriorating. Tilikum is the orca that killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 — her death and SeaWorld's treatment of its killer whales were at the center of the documentary Blackfish. On its blog, SeaWorld says Tilikum has become increasingly lethargic in recent weeks. The orca appears to have a bacterial infection in his lungs that is resistant to treatment. Tilikum is one of SeaWorld's most prolific breeders, siring more than 20 calves. Greg Allen reports. (NPR)

How In Trouble Are Bluefin Tuna, Really? Controversial Study Makes Waves
Bluefin tuna have been severely depleted by fishermen, and the fish have become a globally recognized poster child for the impacts of overfishing. Many chefs refuse to serve its rich, buttery flesh; many retailers no longer carry it; and consumers have become increasingly aware of the environmental costs associated with the bluefin fishery. But a group of scientists is now making the case that Atlantic bluefin may be more resilient to fishing than commonly thought — and perhaps better able to rebound from the species' depleted state. In a paper published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers suggest that fishery managers reassess the western Atlantic bluefin's population, which could ultimately allow more of the fish to be caught. Alastair Bland reports. (NPR)

Little bird uses a linguistic rule thought to be unique to humans
When it comes to human language, syntax — the set of rules for arranging words and phrases to impart meaning — is important. People might understand what you meant if you declared “to the store I go must,” but your phrasing wouldn’t seem quite right. And saying “must store go the I to” wouldn’t get you anywhere at all, even though the same six short words were in play. But sometimes we use syntax to impart complex combinations of ideas. “Careful, it’s dangerous” is a phrase that has meaning, and so is “come toward me.” When those two phrases are combined, they have a different meaning than they do on their own: They’re directing the receiver to act in a different way than either phrase would independently. Until now, only humans seemed to use syntax this way. But a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications suggests that the Japanese great tit — a bird closely related to the North American chickadee — uses grammatical rules like these in its calls. Rachel Feltman reports. (Washington Post)

Wings Over Water
When a friend of mine recently posted a Facebook query asking if people would rather be able to breathe underwater or fly, the overwhelming response from his fellow two-leggeds was that they’d prefer to swap their limbs for wings and take flight. While wingsuits and parachuting have made human aviation risky but possible, the next best thing to being able to soar the skies is to be in a place where you’re able to closely observe the creatures whose bodies are actually built for it. At the 14th annual “Wings Over Water” Northwest Birding Festival taking place March 11-13 at a variety of outdoor and indoor locales in Blaine, Birch Bay, and beyond, those in attendance will be able to do just that. Amy Kepferie reports. (Cascadia Weekly) See also: A closer look at trumpeter swans  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  242 AM PST WED MAR 9 2016  

STORM WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING
 

TODAY
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING E 20 TO 30 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE  MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 35 TO 45 KT...BECOMING SE 40 TO 50 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 12 TO 14 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  15 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 14 TO 17 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  14 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. RAIN.
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