Tuesday, April 5, 2016

4/5 Ocean acid, toxin ban, CA coast guard, BP spill, aquarium film, forage fish, docks, heat wave

Long-billed thrasher (BirdNote)
Bird Songs of April
If you like to listen:  The month of April inspires poets, sometimes with contradictory results. Poet TS Eliot describes April as "the cruelest month." Shakespeare strikes an upbeat note, writing "April hath put a spirit of youth in everything." Let April speak for itself. Listen to the birds. In Southeastern Alaska, the exuberant voice of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet - - - In a Washington State marsh, a Common Yellowthroat - - - In South Texas, this Long-billed Thrasher - - - In a dense Midwestern shrub, a Brown Thrasher holds forth. And in the East, a White-throated Sparrow sings sweetly. Who's tuning up near you? (BirdNote)

Acidic Pacific: Act now, or West Coast pays dearly
Buildup of carbon dioxide is changing the chemistry of the world's oceans, threatening coastal economies and ecosystems -- nowhere more than on the Pacific Coast, according to an expert study released Monday. "Although ocean acidification is a global phenomenon, emerging research indicates that, among coastal areas around the world, the West Coast of North America will face some of the earliest, most severe changes in ocean carbon chemistry." Those were the findings published in a report produced by a 20-member team of experts, several from the University of Washington, called the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel. It is blunt about human causes, and the urgency of action. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

New law will ban 5 chemicals from kids products, furniture
Five toxic chemicals will be banned from home furniture and children's products such as toys, car seats and nursing pillows under a bill Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law. The legislation approved Friday bans five chemical flame retardants from children's products and furniture starting July 1, 2017. Flame retardants are commonly added to consumer products to slow the spread of fire. The legislation approved Friday bans five chemical flame retardants from children's products and furniture starting July 1, 2017. Flame retardants are commonly added to consumer products to slow the spread of fire. House Bill 2545 also directs the departments of Ecology and Health to review whether six additional flame retardants should be considered chemicals of concern to children and recommend whether their use in consumer products should be restricted. (Associated Press)

Report raises alarm over Canada's aging coast guard fleet
A report done for Transport Canada and quietly tabled in the House of Commons paints a grim portrait of the country's coast guard fleet, saying it is understaffed, desperately in need of new ships and without political support. The comprehensive analysis of the nation's transportation network was part of a statutory review submitted to the Trudeau government last December, but not tabled until the end of the February. Murray Brewster reports. (Canadian Press)

US judge OKs $20B settlement from 2010 BP oil spill
A federal judge in New Orleans granted final approval Monday to an estimated $20 billion settlement over the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, resolving years of litigation over the worst offshore spill in the nation’s history. The settlement, first announced in July, includes $5.5 billion in civil Clean Water Act penalties and billions more to cover environmental damage and other claims by the five Gulf states and local governments. The money is to be paid out over roughly 16 years. The U.S. Justice Department has estimated that the settlement will cost the oil giant as much as $20.8 billion, the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history as well as the largest-ever civil settlement with a single entity. U.S District Judge Carl Barbier, who approved the settlement, had set the stage with an earlier ruling that BP had been “grossly negligent” in the offshore rig explosion that killed 11 workers and caused a 134-million-gallon spill. Kevin McGill reports. (Associated Press)

Vancouver Aquarium wins injunction against critical filmmaker
The Vancouver Aquarium has won a temporary injunction forcing a North Vancouver filmmaker to remove nearly five minutes worth of contested material from his hour-long exposé of the facility. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jeanne Watchuk ordered Gary Charbonneau to excise 15 segments from Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered pending a court battle over copyright. The aquarium claims the movie relies on images taken from the organization's website and blog. Jason Proctor reports. (CBC News)

Forage fish off West Coast get new protection from commercial fishing
A federal rule published Monday prohibits West Coast commercial fishermen from targeting eight types of forage fish that help support the broader maritime food chain. Forage fish are pursued in areas of the world where they may be put into feed products for aquaculture, livestock and pet food. This rule intends to preclude such harvests in the 200-mile federal zone off Oregon, Washington and California, so long as there is not enough science to assess the impacts of catching these fish on the marine ecosystem. The rule applies to round herring, thread herring, Pacific sand lances, Pacific saury, silversides and certain kinds of smelts and pelagic squids. Some of these species may currently be caught accidentally, as bycatch, by commercial fishermen, but there are no harvests that specifically target them. All of the species help sustain marine mammals, birds and other fish populations. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

B.C. Supreme Court upholds anti-docks bylaw on Bowen Island
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has upheld a bylaw that prevents new docks from being erected in Bowen Island’s majestic Cape Roger Curtis area, potentially bringing a close to a years-long battle that has pitted residents and municipal council against a development on the island’s rugged southwest coast. Shu Lin Dong and Zhen Wang, who each own a waterfront lot, had sought an order quashing the bylaw on several grounds. They argued the bylaw was inconsistent with the official community plan, was passed in haste and in bad faith, was discriminatory and had inadequate consultation. Sunny Dhillon reports. (Globe and Mail)

Navy’s pier project at Ediz hook could have big financial impact on fish farm
Building a new Navy pier at Ediz Hook could cost a Port Angeles Harbor fish farm $6 million in estimated lost earnings from the end of this year and into 2017, an Icicle Seafoods Inc. vice president said Monday. The company will take the financial hit by being forced to harvest 30 percent of its Atlantic salmon — about 240,000 fish — by Dec. 1, about two months earlier than usual, when construction begins on the $25 million ballistic missile submarine-escort-vessel dock on the south side of Ediz Hook, Icicle’s Alan Cook said in a telephone interview. As a result, each fish will lose significant mass at a time they are gaining about 1 pound a month. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

80 degrees later this week?!? Puget Sound area to get a summer preview
Seattleites were probably just getting used to a few 70 degree days last week, but now it looks like we'll zoom right past that and flirt with 80 degrees on Thursday as a brief one-day early spring "heat wave" pays a visit. A strong ridge of high pressure will build in this week after Monday's showers disappear, making for a gradual warming trend as we head through the week. That is, until Thursday, when "gradual" becomes "zooming to the top of the April temperature charts"! Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT TUE APR 5 2016  

TODAY
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT  10 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. A  CHANCE OF RAIN.

TONIGHT
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN  THE EVENING.

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