Tuesday, August 2, 2016

8/2 Eating fish rule, dike breach, salmon fishing, Picnic Pt., gopher rule, oil train, refinery permit

American Dipper (Tom Munson/BirdNote)
If you like to watch: Amazing Aquatic American Dipper
The American Dipper stands on a rock in a stream, bobbing up and down on its long legs - "dipping" - hence the name. But watch! This nondescript bird steps off a small boulder right into the torrent, and begins to peer under water. What the American Dipper might lack in bright color it more than surpasses with amazing aquatic abilities. Watch a video by Berry Wijdeven of an American Dipper on Haida Gwaii fighting the current. (BirdNote)

State adopts 'fish consumption rule' after years of debate
Washington state regulators on Monday adopted new clean-water rules tied partly to how much fish people eat after years of heated debate over how clean the state's water should be. Now it's up to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency— which stepped in last fall to write its own rules for Washington — to decide whether the state's plan is good enough…. A message to an EPA spokesman in Seattle was not immediately returned Monday. Federal law requires rivers and other water bodies to be clean enough so people can safely swim and eat fish from those waters. The rules set limits on pollutants that factories, wastewater treatment plants and other industrial facilities can discharge into state waters. The state's rules dramatically raise the current fish-consumption rate to 175 grams a day, which would protect people who eat about a serving of fish a day. Tribes and environmental groups have pushed for more stringent rules to reduce water pollution and protect the people who eat the most fish. Cities and businesses have said the technology isn't available to meet stricter rules and it could cost billions of dollars with little or no benefit to the environment. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Fir Island dike breach pivotal moment for fish project
Massive machinery was used Monday to dig into a long-standing dike on Fir Island, creating a gap to allow Skagit Bay to flow through. By mid-afternoon, with the tide coming in, water inundated fields that had been shielded from saltwater for decades. The breaching was a long-awaited, pivotal part of a project to restore 131 acres of fish habitat in the Skagit River delta. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Dike breach restores salmon habitat in Skagit County  Eric Wilkinson reports. (KING)

Protest averted: Sports anglers get permission to fish for Chinook salmon
A protest fishery by sports anglers on the Fraser River was averted on the weekend when the department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada suddenly posted notices allowing recreational fishing for Chinook salmon. The Fraser River Sportfishing Alliance had been pressing DFO for months to get a Chinook opening on the river and tensions were rising because while First Nations were allowed to fish, sports anglers weren’t. On Thursday, the FRSA sent out a statement urging anglers to show up at the Island 22 boat launch in Chilliwack on Monday morning, to go fishing despite the DFO closing.  Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail) See also: Northern Puget Sound remains open for salmon fishing, but expected to close soon  Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

County upholds decision to allow Picnic Point development
A divided Snohomish County Council on Monday upheld an earlier decision to allow a developer to build a subdivision on steep, wooded property in the unincorporated Picnic Point area. The council voted 3-2 to deny an appeal of hearing examiner Peter Camp’s decision on the Frognal Estates project. Camp granted approval to developer Integral Northwest in May…. The project calls for 112 homes on 22 acres behind Picnic Point Elementary School. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Thurston County announces change in gopher habitat reviews
Thurston County officials announced Monday a major policy change for land use permitting on property where there’s evidence of the threatened Mazama pocket gopher. Applicants for land use permits who have the critter on their property and who meet all other county permit requirements may get their building permits in a time frame that is outlined in the 2012 Thurston County Critical Areas Ordinance, according to a new release. Property owners are still encouraged to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and “meeting those federal requirements will be incorporated as a condition of approval, which accompanies most permits,” a news release stated. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

Mosier Derailment Adds Scrutiny To Proposed Vancouver Oil-By-Rail Terminal
Thick black smoke that spewed from a derailed oil train burning in Mosier, Oregon, was not the visual Vancouver Port Commissioner Jerry Oliver wanted in people’s minds…. Oliver has been a vocal supporter of what would be the largest oil-by-trail terminal in the country, known as the Vancouver Energy Project. It’s controversial, to the point Oliver said he’s even lost friends over his stance. The oil terminal in Vancouver would be built just 70 miles downriver from Mosier, Oregon. In a way, the two are linked: The project would help move 360,000 barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to West Coast ports. It would also more than double the number of oil trains traveling through the Columbia River Gorge to about 46 trains per week. Oliver equates June’s derailment to the airline industry – where thousands of planes land safely every day. “I think you have to consider, accidents do happen,” he said. Conrad Wilson reports. (OPB/EarthFix) See also: Can oil trains ever be made safe enough?  Kirk Johnson reports. (NY Times)

State taking comment on refinery water quality permit
The state Department of Ecology is taking public comment on an updated water quality permit for the Shell Puget Sound Refinery near Anacortes. A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Anacortes Public Library at 1220 10th St. Comments will be accepted until Sept. 19. The water quality permits for refineries and other large facilities in Washington are updated every five years, Ecology spokeswoman Krista Kenner said. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  256 AM PDT TUE AUG 2 2016  

TODAY
 SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING W IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...THEN A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER  MIDNIGHT.

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