Thursday, May 26, 2016

5/26 Whale watch, What's Upstream, toxin-control, salmon deal, Vic sewer, pulp fine, algae watch, Burns Bog

Shore-based whale watch (NOAA)
Forget the engines: shore-based whale watching takes off
Good feature piece on The Whale Trail, Erich Hoyt and those advocating for shore-based whale watching. Jude Isabella reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Guest blog: What’s Upstream Generally Comes Downstream
Guest blogger Pete Haase writes about the "What's Upstream" campaign and why it's time agriculture should be subject to the same extensive water pollution regulations and inspections almost any other industry, port or municipality is subject to.

Environmental groups criticize revisions to toxics-control act
Reform to the nation’s oldest toxic-substance control law is a step backward for Washington, state environmental policy experts say. Legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week that would enact the first significant revisions to the Toxic Substances Control Act since its initial passage in 1976. No one disputed the law needed reform: it is so ineffective that only a small fraction of the roughly 84,000 registered industrial chemicals in commerce are currently subject to any federal regulations…. At issue here are potential new hurdles, delays and restrictions on states’ ability to enact their own restrictions on toxics. Instead of being a national leader on controlling toxic chemicals, Washington will now have to fall in line behind the feds and wait for EPA to take the lead, said Rob Duff, chief of staff on environmental issues for Gov. Jay Inslee. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

State and tribes could have a deal on salmon fisheries by Thursday
State Fish and Wildlife and tribal fishery managers continue to work out the details on 2016-17 salmon fishing seasons, and as of Wednesday contrary to what has been heard in other media outlets there is no agreement. “Currently we do not have an agreement with our co-managers and we are collaboratively working on finalizing agreed to fisheries, model runs and monitoring,” said Ron Warren, the state Fish and Wildlife salmon policy manager. “Until we can sign off on the details that would have taken place in the middle of this past April, and make sure all of the dots and periods are signed off we cannot move forward with any of our joint consultation to NOAA Fisheries.” Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

Province said to be ‘controlling agenda’ on sewage
With some kicking and screaming, Capital Regional District directors officially ceded control of the core area’s sewage-treatment program on Wednesday, reluctantly agreeing to terms to establish a new independent wastewater project board of experts to oversee the mega-project. Several directors complained they were being asked to be financially responsible for a treatment plan that they will have no part in crafting…. The CRD has been trying to come up with a plan for sewage treatment since 2006, when an environmental assessment of the seabeds around the outfalls found them to be contaminated. As a result, the province directed the region to put in secondary treatment. After years of planning, the CRD got close to getting shovels in the ground two years ago with a proposed single regional plant at the site of a former tank farm at Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point. That plan, with an estimated price tag of $788 million, was abandoned because Esquimalt would not approve minor zoning variances for the McLoughlin site and the province refused to override the decision. Bill Cleverely reports. (Times Colonist)

Nanaimo pulp mill to pay $135,000 penalty
Nanaimo’s Harmac Pacific pulp mill will pay $135,000 in penalties under the Fisheries Act as a result of a June 2013 power failure that caused it to spill raw effluent into an arm of the Strait of Georgia for 90 minutes. The mill’s owner, Nanaimo Forest Products Ltd., pleaded guilty in provincial court in Nanaimo on April 8 to one charge of depositing a deleterious substance into fish habitat related to the June 26, 2013 incident, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. The power failure at a pump house led to the spill of 3.75 million litres of untreated pulp mill effluent, enough liquid to fill one-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools, into Northumberland Channel, the body of water separating Nanaimo and Gabriola Island. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Automated monitor provides early warning of harmful algae blooms
Automated equipment installed Monday off the Washington Coast will track concentrations of six species of plankton that could become harmful to humans and marine species. The Environmental Sample Processor, or ESP, collects discrete samples of water and processes them for analysis. Imbedded modules can test for DNA and antibodies to identify the organisms picked up in the seawater. Concentrations of the plankton and their toxins are sent to shore-based researchers via satellite. The equipment was installed by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Efforts To Ban Oil Projects In Vancouver [WA] Move Forward
Efforts to ban future crude oil projects in Vancouver are moving forward. The city of Vancouver’s planning commission voted Tuesday to prohibit future crude oil storage facilities. “And to prohibit the expansion of any existing crude oil facilities,” said Sandra Towne, the city’s long-range planning manager. The proposal would also prohibit petroleum refineries, she said. Vancouver has a moratorium on crude oil projects that the city council has extended several times. The current ban expires in mid-August. Conrad Wilson reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Leave Burns Bog alone, says conservation society
A development proposal in Delta — west of Highway 91 — has the Burns Bog Conservation Society concerned. Although the prospective industrial rezoning would be outside the designated protected zone, it would still be located close to the Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area. The society has been lobbying against it for some time…. MK Delta Lands Group owns approximately 500 acres of land in Delta. Its proposal involves one of its five parcels of land. It also includes the transfer of 328 acres to the Corporation of Delta for conservation. Tina Lovgreen reports. (CBC)

Edmonds kayaker catches record 124-pound halibut off Neah Bay
A fish tale blending equal parts of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” and the classic “teach a man to fish” parable recently unwound in the Pacific Ocean near Neah Bay. Leo Vergara, a 34-year-old Edmonds angler, achieved his fishing dream near Strawberry Rock in Makah Bay: he caught a halibut while sea kayaking. Vergara’s catch was no chicken of the sea: he brought ashore a monster flatfish that eventually topped the scales at 124 pounds at Big Salmon Fishing Resort on Saturday, May 14. Michael Carman reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT THU MAY 26 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A  CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT  AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
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