Wednesday, June 1, 2016

6/1 Elwha Love, fire rainbows, oil terminal, BC LNG, bleaching, TooToo, spot prawn fine, stormwater, citisci

Elwha, 5/30/16 (Tom Roorda/Coastal Watershed Institute)
Elwha Nearshore May 30, 2016
Anne Shaffer of Coastal Watershed Institute writes: "Nearshore is firing on all cylinders at the end of May 2016. The consistent winds have been driving upwelling, plankton blooms, and swell trains laden with Elwha sediment. The shallow subtidal is alive with forage fish and salmon right now, and beaches along the drift cell continue to transform.   We continue to insist these transitions and world scale restoration opportunities are properly addressed in shoreline management.  This shouldn’t be difficult-right?"

Fire Rainbows' bring colorful cloud display over North Sound
After a fairly soggy weekend that brought a few traditional rainbows to the area, Mother Nature brought a different type of colorful display to the skies over the Puget Sound region Tuesday: "Fire rainbows." Several people snapped photos as cirrus clouds appeared to put on a colorful wardrobe from the rainbow. Fire rainbows, or more officially (and more boringly) known as "circumhorizontal arcs" are caused by ice crystals in the thin, distant clouds being at just the correct angle to refract the sunlight into the colors of the prism. Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO) See also: Seattle summer forecast: Hot, but not as extreme as last year  Paige Browning reports. (KUOW)

Diverse groups join forces against oil terminal
When plans for the nation’s largest oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver surfaced in 2013, project backers likely expected opposition from environmentalists. But what they surely didn’t anticipate was that a broad swath of the region, from city councils to local businesses to Indian tribes, would so forcefully turn against a project promising tax dollars and jobs to a cash- and job-hungry community. In the past three years, a broad-based coalition of terminal opponents has waged an unrelenting campaign to win the hearts and minds of the general public. Most of the connections within the coalition are loose and each member focuses on their particular interests, be they global warming or the risks of crude-by-rail. Collectively they’ve managed to overwhelm supporters at public hearings and in the state’s environmental review process, which generated more than 250,000 comments on the terminal, nearly all opposed to the project.  Dameon Pesanti reports. (Columbian)

B.C. climate plan promises to reduce emissions from LNG
The B.C. government’s new climate action plan, to be unveiled in June, will promise to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by a liquefied natural gas industry as part of the province’s bid to win federal approval for the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project in Kitimat. Environment Minister Mary Polak says the annual GHG emissions related to the Petronas-backed LNG plant could be reduced to 3.7 million tonnes. The climate plan calls for reductions in methane emissions at the wellhead, and it would encourage the use of electric power to get natural gas out of the ground and then squeezed down pipelines to the coast. That would be a massive reduction compared with the estimates produced by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which calculate the project’s emissions from the wellhead to the waterline to be at least 11.8 million tonnes each year. Justine Hunter and Nathan Vanderklippe reports. (Globe and Mail)

Bleaching kills third of coral in Great Barrier Reef’s north
Mass bleaching has killed more than a third of the coral in the northern and central parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, though corals to the south have escaped with little damage, scientists said today (5/30). Researchers who conducted months of aerial and underwater surveys of the 2,300-kilometer (1,400-mile) reef off Australia’s east coast found that around 35 percent of the coral in the northern and central sections of the reef are dead or dying, said Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland state. And some parts of the reef had lost more than half of the coral to bleaching. (Associated Press)

Hunter Tootoo resigns as fisheries minister, leaves Liberal caucus   Nunavut MP Hunter Tootoo has resigned from his position as minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office. The release says Tootoo will be taking time to seek treatment for addiction issues. Dominic Leblanc will assume the role of minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, in addition to being government House leader. (CBC)

Illegal spot prawns sales net fishmonger $30K fine
A Vancouver fishmonger landed a jumbo-sized fine for his role in the illegal trade in spot prawns. Ying Chiu, the operator of Jumbo Seafood Co., was fined $30,000 last month in provincial court after pleading guilty to two counts of purchasing prawns caught out of season in January and February of 2014. The commercial spot prawn season normally opens for May and June, according to officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The charge was part of a major investigation launched by Fisheries and Oceans Canada into the illegal harvesting and sale of both crabs and spot prawns. (CBC)

Tacoma storm water treatment facility opens
A $2.4 million storm water treatment facility is up and running in Tacoma. The water from the storm water treatment facility ends up in Puget Sound. It's supposed to be clean water that keep heavy pollution from destroying the water…. It's first of its kind in Pierce County. This storm water facility can treat up 8 million gallons of storm water per day, and it collects water from as far away as two miles from the facility. Jenna Hanchard reports. (KING)

Restoration work to start this summer at Fort Townsend
The Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee is to begin shoreline restoration work at Fort Townsend State Park in July, and shares information about that project during guided beach walks and other family-friendly activities set for 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5 at Fort Townsend…. The restoration project is funded by the Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Grant program, which is a partnership program of the Washington state departments of Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources. They administer funds awarded by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to implement priorities of the Puget Sound Action Agenda to protect and restore habitat and ecosystem functions. (Port Townsend Leader)

Citizen science can help manage marine treasures
Ellana Steele writes: "What’s next for Cherry Point? A detailed study of the health of this unique marine ecosystem, assisted in part by volunteers who serve as citizen scientists. In October 2015, I received an email invitation to a public educational forum on the status of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve (CPAR). Living on Point Whitehorn, I was very familiar with Cherry Point and had walked its cobbled beaches enjoying Orca and other marine animals, birds and plants within the shadow of the heavy industry that dots its shoreline. Having been involved in salmon and riparian restoration projects in the area, I was interested to see what had been happening with this special marine habitat in “my backyard.” (Cascadia Weekly)

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