Friday, June 17, 2016

6/17 Shark, dairies, waste water, shellfish, BC pipe, train rules, coal ponds, coral, gull kill, Burke, oystercatchers

Sixgill shark (Seattle Aquarium)
Sixgill Sharks: Puget Sound's Open Secret
A living mystery is present in our own backyard, yet many are completely unware of it. Typically found at several thousand feet beneath the ocean's surface, the sixgill shark thrives in the dark, quiet depths. However, the shark’s discovery several years ago in waters as shallow as just 20 feet in the Puget Sound has given researchers an extraordinary opportunity to learn more about these elusive creatures. (KCTS)

Proposed regulation changes target water quality 
A state-only permitting option that would prevent dairy farmers from being subject to costly lawsuits for alleged pollution is among the updates to proposed clean-water regulations for dairies issued Wednesday by the state Department of Ecology…. The update to the proposed regulations for dairies and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) aims to reduce the risk of mismanaged or over-applied manure running into streams or soaking into groundwater and causing environmental damage or public-health problems. Currently, only dairies that have discharged into surface water are required to get a combined state/federal permit under the federal Clean Water Act. Only 10 dairies statewide have such a permit. Under Ecology’s proposal, any dairy that has a manure lagoon that doesn’t have a double synthetic liner and leak detection system would also be required to get a permit. Mai Hoang reports. (Yakima Herald)

Vancouver teen has a plan to turn waste water into electricity
A Vancouver high school student thinks he knows what to do with the one billion litres of waste water that gets flushed down toilets and sent down sink drains every day in the Greater Vancouver Area. Austin Wang, who's won numerous science awards, came up with a way to genetically modify micro-organisms so that they could clean the waste water and generate electricity at the same time. "Canadians are extremely wasteful," says the 18-year-old who loves to play basketball and the piano. "On average, we're worse than Americans." His method could possibly generate up to 600 gigawatts of energy from waste biomass. (CBC)

More of South Sound closed to shellfish harvesting
More beaches in Thurston County will be closed to shellfish harvesting after tests were positive for diarrhetic shellfish poison, according to a news release. Beaches south of Boston Harbor in Budd Inlet were closed earlier this spring. The new closure expands north, beginning at Steamboat Island and continuing east to Hunter Point, then south to Cooper Point and east across Budd Inlet to Little Fishtrap. (Olympian) See also: Shellfish harvesting closed along part of Hood Canal  (Kitsap Sun)

Justin Trudeau's pipelines predicament: 'Decisions always about trade-offs'
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged Thursday he won’t be able to please all Canadians on the oilsands pipeline issue that has pitted Alberta’s desperate need for an economic boost against intense concerns in B.C. and Quebec. Trudeau, in an exclusive interview, also refused to say whether his 2015 election commitments would give vetoes to local communities and First Nations who vehemently oppose oilsands pipelines in their midst. His comments coincided with the release of a new poll showing big differences in regional views towards the idea of transporting hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of diluted bitumen to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

"Imminent hazard" requires oil train rules "immediately" -- senators.
Volatile cargoes in oil trains pose an "imminent hazard" to surrounding communities, and the Obama administration must act "immediately" to impose standards, 10 U.S. Senators said Wednesday in a tough letter. The letter follows the major derailment and resulting fire of a Union Pacific oil train in the Columbia River Gorge, and is designed to light a fire under the U.S. Department of Transportation. A succession of "derailments, fires and explosions"  cry out for permanent regulation, but an "interim standard" is vital given that years of study of oil volatility are needed to fix final rules, the senator argued. The letter, instigated by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., was signed by all six senators from Washington, Oregon and California, as well as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com) See also: Oregon officials want a hold on oil trains after derailment  Gillian Flaccus reports. (Associated Press)

Judge says waste leak from coal plant ponds is ‘alarming’
A state judge expressed alarm at the estimated 200 million gallons of contaminated water seeping annually from leaky ash-storage ponds at a Montana power plant serving customers across the Pacific Northwest — a problem that’s persisted years after the company and state officials reached an agreement to address it. A 2012 deal between Montana environmental regulators and the Pennsylvania-based manager of Colstrip Steam Electric Station was intended to clean up decades of contamination of surrounding water tables. The agreement, known as an administrative order on consent, came after the plant’s six owners paid $25 million in a separate settlement to Colstrip residents whose water was fouled by the plant’s ash ponds. Matthew Brown reports.  (Associated Press)

Mass coral death drives efforts to identify resilient reefs
It has been a bleak year for the world’s coral. Ecologists have watched in horror as unusually warm ocean temperatures have prompted corals to ‘bleach’, or expel the symbiotic algae that provide much of their food. The result has been death and damage to reefs from Kiribati in the Pacific to the Indian Ocean's Maldives. With such episodes projected to occur more often even if climate change is mitigated, researchers are redoubling efforts to identify the factors that can make a reef resilient to harsh conditions. An analysis published this week in Nature points to some answers. The study identifies 15 ‘bright spots’ where ecosystems are in a much better shape than researchers had predicted they should be. These include unpopulated, unfished regions such as the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean, and areas that are close to towns and where fishing takes place — such as Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, also in the Pacific. The study also pinpoints 35 ‘dark spots’ where conditions were surprisingly poor, such as Montego Bay in Jamaica and Lord Howe Island between Australia and New Zealand. Daniel Cressey reports. (Nature)

Seafarers rejoice! Foss Waterway Seaport reopens bigger and better
It’s a vision that’s 300 feet long, 100 feet wide and 116 years deep. The Foss Waterway Seaport has gone from old boats in a decrepit building to a jewel in Tacoma’s museum array — and Sunday it celebrates a major milestone. It now has heating and insulation, and can stay open year-round for the first time. With new art and history exhibits, education programs and events like Sunday’s reopening party (including music, cake and free clam chowder), the Foss Seaport is opening up its history to a reimagined future. Rosemary Ponnekanti reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Turf war erupts over federal kill permit for gulls drawn to Delta compost operation
A Delta turf farm that receives regional food waste for composting has a federal “damage or danger” permit that allows the use of firearms to harass and kill scores of nuisance gulls per year attracted to the operation. David Hancock of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation said he is outraged at Environment Canada for issuing the permit, saying: “That’s incredible. I find the issuance of a kill permit to be an obscene way of handling an obvious turf-farm, self-induced problem.” He has earlier expressed concerns that the location of the compost operation on 72nd Street — wedged between busy Highway 17 and Boundary Bay Airport — poses a risk to birds, including bald eagles, as well as to motorists and aviators. Larry Pynn reports (Vancouver Sun)

Burke Museum exhibit shows what makes North Cascades special
The Burke Museum has brought a taste of the wild North Cascades to the city. A new exhibit, which opens Saturday, brings to life the region, using the book “The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby” as inspiration. The book, by William Dietrich, drew people's attention to the amazing wild resources just a short drive from the cities around Puget Sound. The Burke exhibit does the same, while adding in the elements of the museum's extensive collections and scientific knowledge. Jessi Loerch reports. (Everett Herald)

If you like to watch: Live Oystercatcher nest, Race Rocks, Pearson College UWC
CTV Vancouver reports: " The public can now get a rare look at an Oystercatcher thanks to a web camera on Race Rocks Island. Victoria’s Pearson College stationed a nestcam on the island after a pair of elusive Oystercatchers were spotted building a nest in a rocky quarry on the reserve. This marks the first time in Race Rocks’ history that outsiders can see the magic of this small island from the comfort of their own home....” (CTV Vancouver)

Guemes Channel Trail wins award
The Guemes Channel Trail took first place in the engineering and design category June 6 at the annual Walkable Washington Symposium in Bellevue…. The mile-long trail starts at the Edwards Way cul-de-sac and extends east along the Guemes Channel. The goal is to eventually extend the trail so it connects Washington Park to the Tommy Thompson Trail. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  259 AM PDT FRI JUN 17 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT  AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
 W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SUN
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

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