Monday, July 11, 2016

7/11 Salmon woes, Padden spill, Big Beef Cr., Nature's value, quieter ocean, Skagit kayaks, pickup poop

Rufous hummingbird (Mike Yip/BirdNote)
Rufous Hummingbirds Head South
Right now in the Northwest, male Rufous Hummingbirds are heading south. By late July, they will pour into southeastern Arizona on their way to wintering areas in Mexico. The females and their offspring will leave later in the summer, some lingering until mid-September. Along the way, they will take advantage of the wildflowers blooming in north-south mountain ranges. (BirdNote)

Tribal report: Region's salmon remain in peril despite habitat restoration
Although millions of dollars are being spent on research and restoration projects aimed at protecting the region's salmon fisheries, salmon habitat in Puget Sound is not as healthy or abundant as needed to support recovery of the fish, according to the 2016 State of Our Watersheds report produced by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. The commission, which represents 20 treaty tribes in Western Washington, first published a look at the state of area watersheds in relation to salmon habitat in 2012. The 2016 update released last week concludes that salmon and tribal treaty rights remain at risk due to habitat loss and degradation throughout the region. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

State fines city, builder, over sewage spill into Padden Creek
The city of Bellingham and Strider Construction have each been fined $9,000 after as much as 300,000 gallons of sewage was piped into Padden Creek over three days during a sewer replacement project in February. The state Department of Ecology found both parties were responsible for the mistake, which happened when a crew working for Strider put a temporary bypass sewer pump into a manhole that was labeled “sewer” but was actually connected to a storm drain that discharges into the creek. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Big Beef Creek to get log jams to aid salmon
Helicopters will lower 13 log jams into Big Beef Creek as part of a restoration project this summer. Last year, in Phase 1, 10 piles of large woody debris were placed in the creek and three old buildings removed. In Phase 2, the logs will be deposited about three-fourths of a mile up the creek to reduce sediment flowing to the estuary and to create pools where fish can avoid fast flows in winter and stay cool in summer. A 2,500-foot-long gravel road will be removed that divides the creek from its floodplain, said Sarah Heerhartz, habitat program manager for Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. The road, which comprises 1,600 cubic yards of fill dirt, leads to a well that's no longer used at the University of Washington field research station. Ed Friedrich reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Nature’s assets valuable, CRD told
Lakes, forests and aquifers should be listed right alongside sewers, treatment plants and buildings as local governments list and manage their assets, Capital Regional District directors were told last week. Nature is a fundamental component of a municipal infrastructure system and should be hard to ignore — but it regularly is, said Emanuel Machado, chief administrative officer for the Town of Gibsons…. Machado noted that such natural assets can provide some services at a lower cost than engineered alternatives, as they have no capital costs and often have lower operating costs. Gibsons, a pioneer in “eco-asset management,” recently teamed up with other municipalities and the David Suzuki Foundation as part of the Municipal Nature Capital Initiative. The pilot project is designed to develop practices and approaches to valuation of natural assets. Bill Cleverley report. (Times Colonist)

New tech could restore some quiet to noisy oceans
Forty feet below the surface of Puget Sound, a marbled murrelet dives for its catch. The water is cold, dark — and incredibly noisy. A ping-ping-ping emanates from the shore over second-long intervals and continues on for the next several hours, sending a series of pressure waves through the ocean. For the endangered bird, these sounds could result in anything from a disturbing annoyance, to internal injuries, or even death. The pings come from installing marine piles, which are concrete or steel pipes that are driven into the sediments to hold up piers or other platforms over the sea. Piles are ubiquitous in waterfront cities like Seattle. In the early 2000s, however, researchers began to realize there was a connection between putting the piles in and the dead fish that turned up floating on the water when they did it: the pile-driving noise was so loud, it was literally killing the surrounding marine life. But now there might be a better way to put the piles in. Seattle-based Marine Construction Technologies says they have developed a much quieter pile-driving system that could help save aquatic animals’ hearing — and lives. Samantha Larson reports. (Crosscut)

Kayaks float down Skagit River to protest oil train expansion
Around 70 people celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Skagit River railroad bridge to highlight what they call the danger of increasing oil train traffic in Skagit County. Saturday’s event was a mix of party and protest. It included presentations about the danger of oil train derailments, a river kayak flotilla and a birthday cake in the shape of an oil train to celebrate the anniversary of the bridge that spans the river from Burlington to Mount Vernon. Breanna Visser reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Worried about water quality? Pick up, bag and trash your dog’s poop
You’ve seen it along Bellingham trails and at dog parks, piles of dog poop left behind by people who didn’t pick up after their pets. The poop is more than unsightly, or annoying if you step in it. The waste contains fecal coliform bacteria that wash into area streams, lakes and beaches when it rains. The bacteria, which are an indicator of mammal or bird poop, also point to the possible presence of other organisms, such as roundworms, E. coli and giardia, which could sicken people and animals that come into contact with polluted water. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Heald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  244 AM PDT MON JUL 11 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT IN THE EVENING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS.

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