Tuesday, May 31, 2016

5/31 BC LNG, Redline, BC floods, WA DNR race, Viki Lyne II, seastar babies, Cowichan drought, Nookachamps Cr.

Red-winged blackbird (Mia McPherson/BirdNote)
Beavers and Meadows
Viva Las Vegas -- When explorer Antonio Armijo came upon the place in 1829, he found bubbling springs, abundant beavers, and grassy beaver meadows. No casinos. Armijo named the site Las Vegas – Spanish for “the meadows.” Beavers do much to shape the natural landscape. They fell trees along creeks and stack the logs and branches into dams. Before long, they’ve created wetlands that are magnets for nesting birds, from ducks and rails to warblers and blackbirds, like this one. In time, the beavers move on. The ponds fill gradually with soil and organic debris. They give way to marshes, the marshes to wet meadows, which dry a bit and, at last, to fertile expanses of green meadows. Las vegas.

Pacific NorthWest LNG project 'deeply concerns' climate change experts
A group of international climate change experts has come out swinging against a massive LNG project in Northern B.C., saying it would become one of Canada's largest greenhouse gas emitters, if allowed to move forward. In a letter to Canada's Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, the 90 scientists and experts call for a halt to the proposed Pacifc NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project near Prince Rupert. They say when all of the associated emissions are added up, the project would raise B.C.'s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 22.5 per cent at a time when both B.C. and Canada lack adequate plans to meet existing climate change goals. "This would make it virtually impossible for B.C. to meet its GHG emission reduction targets, and would undermine Canada's international climate change commitments," says the group's letter. (CBC) See also: B.C. environment minister says climate scientists' letter 'doesn't meet with reality'  Matt Meuse reports. (CBC) See also: Pacific NorthWest LNG rejects climate experts’ environmental concerns  Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Flush with victory over methanol, RedLine now targets LNG plant
If you thought Tacoma’s methanol protest movement — with the red shirts and bumper stickers that popped up through the spring — disappeared with the end of the Tideflats plant proposal, just look around. You could glimpse its future at a victory concert activists held in a downtown tavern on a late April Sunday afternoon. Children clad in red shirts gamboled under a hand-drawn “We Won!” sign taped to a table. A city-issued notification poster snatched off the methanol plant’s would-be site hung like a battle trophy above the musicians’ heads. At their feet, a different sign noted the movement’s next target. “No LNG,” it read, shorthand for the group’s nascent push against Puget Sound Energy’s planned liquefied natural gas plant. Derrick Nunnally reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Risk of devastating flood in B.C. rising says study
A new study says the risk of a devastating flood in British Columbia's Lower Mainland is increasing due to rising sea levels and other impacts of climate change. The Fraser Basin Council says a major flood along the coast or the Fraser River could be the most costly natural disaster in Canadian history, with potential losses of about $32 billion. The group says in its report that flood risks are projected to worsen over the next 85 years, both in size and frequency. The report notes dikes in the Lower Mainland were constructed in the 1970s and '80s and says 71 per cent of those assessed could fail if either the Fraser River or the coast floods, and that only four per cent of the barriers meet provincial standards for crest height. (CBC)

Democrats crowd race for Public Lands Commissioner
This fall's race for Washington's Commissioner of Public Lands — an office that oversees the state's largest firefighting force and 5.6 million acres of land — is hotly contested since no incumbent is on the ballot. Commissioner Peter Goldmark will not seek re-election to the quietly influential office. As the head of the state's Department of Natural Resources, the commissioner is responsible for healthy public aquatic lands, forests, parks and more. The department leases land to provide critical school construction money, and its firefighting efforts are a key line of defense against destructive summertime wildfires, too…. So far, Democrats make up the bulk of the hopefuls to replace Goldmark. Of those, King County Councilman Dave Upthegrove, former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner and environmental attorney Hilary Franz might be the most familiar faces. Minor candidates Seattle University professor Karen Porterfield and John Stillings, both Democrats, plus former Navy officer Steve McLaughlin, a Republican, and Libertarian Steven Nielson are also in the race. Walker Orenstein reports. (Associated Press)

Derelict Viki Lyne II to be removed from Ladysmith Harbour
A derelict boat filled with thousands of litres of oil and solvents will finally be removed from Ladysmith Harbour, according to the local MP. Sheila Malcolmson, the NDP MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith on Vancouver Island, says she's been told by Hunter Tootoo, the minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, that the boat will be removed this summer. The commitment came after Malcolmson handed Tootoo a letter expressing the community's concerns last week. The Viki Lyne II has been an eyesore since it was found abandoned in 2012. It was towed into Ladysmith Harbour, where it remains to this day. To make matters worse, the derelict ship has an estimated 13,000 litres of oil and solvents still on board. (CBC)

Big sea stars, but no babies, observed in Lofall this week
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: “Still no babies,” commented Peg Tillery, as we arrived at the Lofall dock in North Kitsap in search of sea stars clinging to pilings under the dock. “They say there’s a comeback of the little ones,” noted Barb Erickson, “but I’m not seeing any of them.” Peg and Barb are two of three retired volunteers who first brought me to this site two years ago to explain their ongoing investigation into the mysterious “sea star wasting disease.” Since our first trip, researchers have identified the virus that attacks sea stars, causes their arms to fall off and turns their bodies to a gooey mush.

Drought prompts Cowichan River supply rationing
Cowichan River stewards are taking emergency measures to ration the water supply, calling it the new “worst year” for early drought conditions. Cowichan Lake, which feeds the river, is about 46 per cent full — the lowest late-May level since the weir was built in 1957, according to the Cowichan Valley Regional District. “This year is the worst ever. It feels like we just keep redefining the worst year, every year,” said Brian Houle, environmental manager for Catalyst Paper, which operates the weir. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist) See also: Warm spring melting Washington’s snowpack while contributing to other problems  Derrick Nunnally reports (Tacoma News Tribune)

Skagit Land Trust holdings grow around Nookachamps Creek
The Skagit Land Trust recently added more conservation land to its network of protected habitat in the Nookachamps watershed east of Mount Vernon. Nookachamps Creek is one of the largest tributaries of the Skagit River, said Kari Odden of Skagit Land Trust. The Nookachamps watershed encompasses about 44,000 acres, much of it floodplains and wetlands. The trust recently acquired property in two parts of the watershed, creating the Big Lake Wetlands and expanding the Barney Lake Conservation Area. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

The power of the apostrophe — to the People’s and the Peoples
Apostrophes seem so insignificant. They’re barely more than floating commas. But the little toenail clipping of a punctuation mark can change the meaning of a word or sentence. Metro Parks Tacoma officials know that. That’s why they cleared up a decade of confusion over Peoples Park this week. Sorry. People’s Park. Craig Sailor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Report: Oil Spill On Columbia River Could Cause $170M In Damages
A new report finds an oil tanker grounding on the Columbia River could cost more than $170 million dollars in damages. Estimates show the oil tanker could spill 8 million gallons of Bakken crude oil. The report commissioned by the Washington Attorney General’s Office looks at possible accident scenarios linked to the proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver. “We concluded that oil spilled near Vancouver would reach Longview (approximately 40 miles downstream) in one day, then travel slowly through the estuary, reaching the mouth after an additional four days,” the report states. Conrad Wilson reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  257 AM PDT TUE MAY 31 2016  

TODAY
 SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
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