Friday, May 6, 2016

5/6 Wyckoff Superfund, BC LNG & oil pipes, ocean acid, fish protection, bag ban, Mercury transit

Bye-bye lawn, hello wildness.
America's Love of the Lawn
According to NASA, there are about 63,000 square miles of lawn in the US — nearly enough to cover the state of Wisconsin. That’s bad news, because most birds... prefer shrubs that provide food and cover. And lawns suck up fertilizers, herbicides, fossil fuels, and extraordinary quantities of water. Fortunately, lawns are also easy to replace with bird-friendly elements: borders or islands of dense, fruiting shrubs, layers of foliage for shelter, and wildflowers to attract native pollinators. (BirdNote)

Wyckoff Superfund site's 'final' plan proposed
After nearly 30 years of slow, expensive cleanup, a "final" solution has been proposed for one of the most polluted spots on Puget Sound. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dug up, pumped out and covered portions of the Wyckoff Superfund site on Eagle Harbor — yet vast quantities of toxic tar and other harmful chemicals remain in the ground and on the beach. Now the EPA hopes to try a new strategy: injecting wet cement into the ground to freeze contaminants in place. Once hardened, the underground reservoirs of creosote and other chemical compounds would no longer threaten to seep into groundwater or ooze into the harbor, according to the EPA. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

TransCanada gets final permits for Coastal GasLink pipeline to Kitimat
TransCanada says it has secured the final permits needed to start construction and operation of its proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline. The company said Thursday that the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission issued the last two of 10 permits needed and it now is awaiting a final investment decision from LNG Canada before starting construction. The 650-kilometre pipeline would link natural gas fields in northeastern British Columbia to LNG Canada's proposed liquefied natural gas export project in Kitimat, B.C. The Shell-led LNG Canada consortium is expected to make a final investment decision on the natural gas project in late 2016 and, if approved, TransCanada could start pipeline construction next year. (Canadian Press)

Kinder Morgan review: Ottawa now promises consultative panel
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, in a speech just two days after his office said he would appoint a single envoy to gauge public views on the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, promised Thursday a “panel of ministerial representatives” to do that job. The switch is coming more than three months after the Trudeau government announced that the public would have a fresh chance to weigh in on the $6.8-billion expansion of the oilsands pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby. And it comes roughly two weeks before Carr has promised to unveil the identity of those being asked to help the government improve its public outreach on pipelines. Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

New West Coast mission investigates ocean acidification threat
Ocean acidification, a global process in which the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, is occurring faster than at any time in the past 50 million years. The global rise in ocean acidity, fueled by human-created greenhouse gases, is already affecting West Coast oyster hatcheries and the ability of tiny sea snails—an important food for salmon and herring—to build and maintain their shells…. During the monthlong cruise aboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown, some 36 scientists from the United States, Mexico, Canada and Europe will collect ocean data to measure acidity, temperature, oxygen and chlorophyll from 16 locations stretching from Mexico to Canada. They will also deploy tow nets to sample sea snails and other ocean plants and animals to analyze how they are being affected by acidifying waters. (Phys.Org)

Fisheries protections are under threat
…. The days of sitting in a small rowboat fishing for 25-pound salmon just off Shilshole in north Seattle, rocking in the wake of the local salmon fishing fleet, are long-gone memories because all those big and continuing threats have already reduced the once-abundant fish populations. It is quite likely that no one will be general fishing for salmon in Puget Sound this year. Coho runs are expected to be exceptionally low and the opportunity to fish for winter-run steelhead is only half of what it was. Up the Skagit River, the community of Marblemount no longer sees out-of-state tourists vying for RV and hotel accommodations in winter and spring to fish for wild steelhead — instead, it looks like a town in decline. On my trip to D.C., I was surprised to learn that there is notable pressure to weaken the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Rather than roll back the law, I encouraged our congressional representatives to strengthen the law when it is updated again, to make sure that the growing knowledge about our ocean environment is used to better inform fishery management decisions. Bob Margulis writes. (Crosscut) See also: Total shutdown of Puget Sound salmon season sparks anger  (Associated Press/KOMO)

Thurston County launches new survey to gauge impact of plastic bag ban 
Plastic carryout shopping bags have been banned in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and unincorporated Thurston County for nearly two years, which means it’s time to look at the financial impact of the ban and other factors through a new survey and interviews. That was a requirement written into the bag ban ordinance, which took effect on July 1, 2014. And one aspect of the survey is already under way, according to the county. As of this week, the county is asking the owners and managers of retail businesses to take an online survey this month to determine the financial impact on those businesses as a result of the ordinance. To take the survey, go to: www.surveymonkey.com/r/ThurstonBagBan. Rolf Boone reports. (Olympian)

Best whale video you will ever see
Captain Cy Williams of Strike Zone Sportfishing in Ketchikan, Alaska shot this video of a giant humpback whale feeding just off the dock at Knudson Cove Marina. Scott Brown reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Mercury transit: How to watch the rare event
A rare daytime celestial show takes place on Monday. The planet Mercury will pass in front of the sun, and Canadians will get an exceptional view. Such "transits" of Mercury only happen 13 times a century, and not all of them are visible from all parts of the world…. his particular Mercury transit has great timing — Mercury will appear as a tiny dot on the east side of the sun at 7:12 a.m. ET and slowly cross it over 7½ hours, disappearing on the west side of the sun at 2:42 p.m. ET. That will make the entire event visible from most of Canada — with the proper equipment, of course. Emily Chung reports. (CBC)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  242 AM PDT FRI MAY 6 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT...BECOMING 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT  11 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 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 6 FT AT  10 SECONDS.

SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 9 FT  AT 11 SECONDS.

SUN
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 9 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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