Monday, May 9, 2016

5/9 Sky views, sea star babies, BC pipe, BC port, whale sanctuary, Thurston toxins, Site C protest, BCCG

(KOMO)
Epic Northern Lights show dazzles Puget Sound region
Sunday might be Mother's Day but it was Mother Nature who was doling out the gifts, especially to photographers who happened to heed the geomagnetic warnings and head to a spot with a clear northern view. Because Sunday morning may have been among the most intense Northern Lights shows in several years in the Puget Sound region. Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Here’s how to watch today’s Mercury transit
The planet Mercury began its rare journey passing between the Earth and Sun on May 9, 2016. It takes this trek only about 13 times a century. The last time it made this journey was in 2006. Mercury will appear as a small black dot on the face of the Sun. See the beginning of the journey, which will last more than 7 hours here. Elizabeth Koh reports. (McClatchy)

Starfish baby boom follows a major West Coast die-off
Droves of baby starfish are returning to Oregon and Northern California’s shores after a wasting disease decimated whole populations of the creatures over the past two years along the West Coast. Data collected by Oregon State University researchers shows an unprecedented number of baby starfish, or sea stars, survived the summer and winter of 2015, the Eureka Times Standard reported Saturday. “When we looked at the settlement of the larval sea stars on rocks in 2014 during the epidemic, it was the same or maybe even a bit lower than previous years,” Oregon State University marine biology professor Bruce Menge said in a statement. “But a few months later, the number of juveniles was off the charts — higher than we’d ever seen — as much as 300 times normal.” (Associated Press)

Proponents behind B.C.'s Northern Gateway pipeline ask for three-year extension
The proponents behind the Northern Gateway pipeline are asking the National Energy Board for three more years to start building the controversial project. Northern Gateway and 31 aboriginal equity partners said Friday they need the time to secure legal and regulatory certainty and continue consultations with First Nations and Metis communities. (Canadian Press)

Water's Edge: Industry versus nature in Canada's busiest port
When we look out at the craggy industrial face of the Port of Vancouver, we see freighters from around the world, piles of sulphur and coal, grain unloaded from rail cars into silos, commercial float planes, tugs, ferries and gantries moving container cargo. Much less obvious is the natural world that defies the odds and makes its home within the bustling waters and unyielding infrastructure of the inner harbour. At Harbour Green Park at Cordova and Bute, a half-circle of large orange buoys gives no indication of the protected forests of bull kelp and fish flourishing beneath the surface. Next door, Vancouver Convention Centre delegates are oblivious to the range of conservation measures built in to the facility. Crew substituted clean soils for sediments polluted with old industrial hydrocarbons, constructed reef, shoal and islet habitat, and installed pipes for rockfish, and heavy chains for invertebrates. Some 100 marine species are thought to frequent the site, about one-third more than before construction of the facility in 2009. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Pacific Northwest Coast Scouted For Possible Seaside Whale Sanctuary
A new environmental nonprofit is scouting the Pacific Northwest coast for a suitable cove or bay to establish a refuge for retired captive orca and beluga whales. The board and staff of the new outfit, called The Whale Sanctuary Project, includes a number of people who helped return Keiko, the star of the Free Willy movie, to Icelandic waters from Newport, Oregon. Whale Sanctuary Project Executive Director Lori Marino said her group is searching for a cold water home on the East Coast or along the Washington or British Columbia waterfront. Tom Banse reports. (KUOW)

10 most toxic Thurston County properties have worst threat rating
At the end of Buckeye Court sits an abandoned property with a dirty backstory. This uninhabitable half-acre parcel near Black Lake was under investigation more than a decade ago for its role in a gasoline theft operation. The site reeked of gasoline when four 55-gallon drums full of stolen fuel were found alongside hand-operated pumps and plastic tubes. Gasoline had spilled on the soil and, at the time, an environmental report warned of the potential for toxic chemicals to wash downhill into the wetlands less than 1,000 feet away. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Researchers implant electronic tags to track journey of juvenile salmon
Using tags surgically implanted into thousands of juvenile salmon, UBC researchers have discovered that many fish die within the first few days of migration from their birthplace to the ocean…. Researchers from the Pacific Salmon Ecology and Conservation Laboratory at UBC followed the migration of one of B.C.'s largest sockeye populations from Chilko Lake, in British Columbia's Cariboo region, to the ocean. Each spring, juvenile salmon known as smolts leave this central B.C. lake and migrate downstream through the Chilko, Chilcotin, and Fraser rivers and into the Salish Sea. To follow the juvenile salmon, researchers implanted small electronic tags into the tiny 12-centimetre fish as they were leaving Chilko Lake. As the smolts made the 1,000-kilometre journey to the Pacific Ocean, acoustic receivers picked up the signals from the tags to monitor how many fish survived the migration. (Phys.org)

Site C protesters to dismantle camp outside Vancouver BC Hydro office
Opponents of a major hydroelectric dam project in northern British Columbia are packing up a protest camp outside BC Hydro's Vancouver office. The decision came more than a week after the utility filed a notice of civil claim and an application for an injunction in a bid to evict Site C protesters who have been stationed outside the head office 24 hours a day since March 13. Julia Ratcliffe, one of the people named by BC Hydro in court documents, said she decided to settle with the company outside of court. (Canadian Press)

Most MPs endorse Comox coast guard station shutdown: Report
A House of Commons committee gave its conditional nod of approval Friday to the federal government’s planned closure next week of a communications station in Comox. Liberal and Conservative MPs on the committee, overriding the objections of the New Democratic Party, accepted the Canadian Coast Guard’s argument that mariner and public safety won’t be threatened by the move. “The committee has been sufficiently reassured that the capacity of the Canadian Coast Guard to respond to emergency situations has not diminished,” stated a news release issued following the tabling of the report in Parliament. Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  243 AM PDT MON MAY 9 2016  

TODAY
 NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 10 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

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