Friday, May 13, 2016

5/13 Ag pollution, fishing season, Ray Hilborn, BC fossil fuels, birds at risk, Roberts Bank, derelict boats, sanctuary

Northern red-legged frog (Laurie MacBride)
Red-Legged Days
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "The water level in our pond is going down rapidly as summer approaches, but so far there’s still enough to support a healthy colony of northern red-legged frogs (Rana aurora). For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been seeing these reclusive amphibians all around the banks of the pond, wherever a patch of sunshine can be found. But it requires some serious searching. Even though the adults can be up to 3 inches long, they’re hard to spot, as they blend in so well with the vegetation…."

Report faults state on groundwater pollution
In a stinging look at industrial agricultural practices that may contribute to degrading water quality and steep declines in Puget Sound salmon, a new report places responsibility squarely on weak environmental enforcement. The report from the Western Environmental Law Center calls for dramatic strengthening of regulations and enforcement, long a hot political issue, with a particular call for leadership by the state Department of Ecology. State administrations, led by Democratic governors, and the Legislature under both parties have long shied away from offending farmers. The focus of the report, Agricultural Pollution in Puget Sound, is on what the authors sees as unsustainable practices that lead to contaminated runoff, such as cows grazing too closely to streams, a lack of buffers between agriculture lands and waterways, or chemical fertilizers washing from croplands into waterways. Martha Baskin reports. (Crosscut)

State fisheries director Jim Unsworth issues statement on salmon season breakdown 
…. “Some people have suggested that anglers should break the law and go fishing in closed areas, or interfere with tribal fisheries. We strongly disagree. Such actions would do far more harm than good. And, in fact, the state agrees that tribal fisheries in Puget Sound this spring will not threaten ESA-listed fish stocks. For those reasons, I urge everyone to follow current rules and to avoid interfering with tribal fisheries. Breaking state fishing laws or interfering with treaty fishing would only complicate the process of opening state fisheries and most certainly would impair our ability to work with the tribes in the future…." Posted by Mark Yuasa (Seattle Times)

Port Angeles man reels in behemoth halibut in Freshwater Bay
Catching a 177-pound halibut might seem like a fish tale to some, but Mike Constant of Port Angeles had the proof Thursday swinging from a scale in the parking lot of Swain’s General Store. Constant, 58, said he caught the halibut after a 45-minute struggle with the behemoth in Freshwater Bay. “We ripped one harpoon out and got him with a second one,” a beaming Constant said while onlookers admired his catch as it was being weighed at the store at 602 E. First St. Chris McDaniel reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Greenpeace files complaint about UW fishery professor
Ray Hilborn, a prominent University of Washington fishery scientist, is under attack from Greenpeace for sometimes leaving out mention of industry funding he receives in articles published in academic journals and elsewhere. In a letter sent Wednesday to university President Ana Mari Cauce, Greenpeace filed a complaint against Hilborn’s research practices, and asked for an investigation. Hilborn, over the years, has been a critic of Greenpeace as well as other environmental groups and researchers he accuses of overstating the impacts of fishing on marine resources. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Kinder Morgan pipeline, tankers endanger thousands of B.C. outdoor jobs and potentially billions in future revenue
On May 14, when a fleet of kayaks sets out across the Burrard Inlet to paddle in front of Kinder Morgan’s Westridge tanker terminal, they will represent more than just a rejection of the proposed tarsands pipeline and a demand for bold climate action. These “kayaktivists” will reflect a defence of one of Metro Vancouver's, and the entire coast’s, most important natural resources: the outdoors. Candace Campo writes. (The Georgia Straight)

B.C. LNG: First Nations appeal to UN to help stop Petronas project
First Nations leaders from northwestern British Columbia have taken their battle against a Petronas-backed LNG project to the United Nations. The group was scheduled to travel to New York Thursday to seek UN support for a demand that the Canadian government reject the LNG project proposed just south of Prince Rupert. Opponents say the $36-billion Pacific Northwest plant, slated for Lelu Island at the mouth of the Skeena River, threatens wild salmon habitat on the second largest salmon bearing river in B.C. (Canadian Press)

B.C. birds in decline: 5 to watch
Publication of the BC Breeding Bird Atlas is raising alarms about the decline of several species across the province. The atlas is one of the largest citizen-science initiatives in B.C. history. More than 1,300 volunteers contributed some 60,000 hours of their time over eight years to document the status of birds. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Oil, gas industry challenges efforts to protect Western bird
The oil and gas industry on Thursday challenged in federal court drilling restrictions imposed by the Obama administration to protect a struggling bird that ranges across 11 Western states. The Western Energy Alliance and North Dakota Petroleum Council said they would ask a U.S. District judge in North Dakota to block sweeping land use plans for the region adopted in September by the Interior Department. The groups said local and state efforts to prop up populations of greater sage grouse have been effective. Sweeping changes to U.S. Interior Department policies were not needed to ensure the chicken-sized bird's long-term survival, they said. Matthew Brown reports. (Associated Press)

Group encourages planning for clean energy future
Is the end approaching for oil refineries in northwest Washington, much the way it did for the cement, timber and cannery industries? A group that convened Wednesday at the Anacortes Depot Arts and Community Center said with the world looking for solutions to climate change, such an end may be approaching, but is not likely coming quickly. The future of oil refineries has been discussed at recent events in Skagit County. Speakers at the Wednesday event, which was called “Charting our course: A conversation about our energy future,” said it’s a discussion that should continue. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Water's Edge: Like a flea among elephants at Roberts Bank
Larry Pynn writes: "If we just left things alone, Canoe Pass wouldn’t be the quiet little backwater that it is, all but forgotten next to the other three arms of the Fraser River. That’s not how it works on the industrial lower Fraser. Some 14 federal structures, including the Steveston and north arm jetties, are located in the lower Fraser to stabilize the course of the river and help maintain channel depths for navigation past communities such as Steveston. One study by GeoSea Consulting Canada Ltd. estimated that 16 per cent of the Fraser’s flow goes through the north and middle arms around Sea Island, 70 per cent through the south arm, and 14 per cent through Canoe Pass. It’s fine with me that Canoe Pass is runt of the litter on the sprawling delta. On this clear, crisp morning, it emerges as a bucolic and beautiful stretch of shoreline devoid of the larger vessels so menacing to paddlers on other stretches of the lower Fraser…." (Vancouver Sun)

Victoria aims to begin clearing Gorge of derelict boats by fall
Victoria expects to begin the process of removing liveaboards and derelict boats from the Gorge waterway in September. Councillors agreed Thursday to hold a public hearing May 26 on zoning bylaw changes in the waterway that would allow for short-term anchoring of up to 48 hours, to a maximum of 72 hours in a 30-day period. The current bylaw prohibits anchoring in the Gorge Waterway from Selkirk Trestle to about Gorge Road Hospital. But following a recent B.C. Court of Appeal decision regarding anchoring in West Kelowna, Victoria council, worried a blanket prohibition would exceed municipal jurisdiction, changed course. The federal government has jurisdiction over navigation. Bill Cleverey reports. (Times Colonist)

Island coves eyed to shelter whales retired from aquariums
One of Vancouver Island’s coves, bays and inlets could become a refuge for orcas retired from aquarium life. The Whale Sanctuary Project, launched last week, is in the early stages of identifying potential sites along the coast of southern B.C. and Washington state. The sanctuary would allow retiring, injured or ill cetaceans — whales, dolphins and porpoises — to swim in a cordoned-off ocean environment close to their natural habitat. “A lot of us in the marine mammal community have known for a long time that, if there was any kind of move to phase out having these animals in entertainment in concrete tanks, there’s nowhere to go,” said project president Lori Marino, an expert in animal behaviour and executive director of the Utah-based Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy. The project has raised an initial $1 million US toward a $20-million startup budget, Marino said. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  239 AM PDT FRI MAY 13 2016  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT  AT 11 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 NW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SW AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 2 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

SAT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 2 FT AT  11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  3 FT AT 12 SECONDS.

SUN
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

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