Tuesday, August 23, 2016

8/23 Forage fish, BC pipe, climate plan, BNSF fine, Lolita, vessel safety, green water

Sand lance (Photo: Collin Smith, USGS)
The secret lives of forage fish: Where do they go when we aren’t looking?
Some of the most important fish in the Salish Sea food web are also the most mysterious. Researchers have only begun to understand how many there are, where they go, and how we can preserve their populations for the future. A University of Washington researcher describes how scientists are looking into the problem. (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound)

Victoria mayor blasts Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says the risk of an oil spill on the B.C. coast from a proposed pipeline expansion should be a national concern. Helps made the remarks Monday at a public meeting on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Kinder Morgan's plan to expand an oil pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby has received conditional approval from the National Energy Board. A ministerial panel has been holding hearings to document any concerns missed by the NEB process. Helps told the panel that tourists from around the globe come to Canada's West Coast to see its coastline. An increase in tanker traffic from an expanded pipeline would pose an unacceptable risk, she said.  Megan Thomas and Jane Armstrong report. (CBC) See also: First Nations lead opposition to controversial pipeline  Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak defends provincial climate change plan
Environment Minister Mary Polak is defending the province's new climate change plan after some critics panned it for rejecting key recommendations by the province's specially appointed climate leadership team. The plan was released on Friday, and it did not include increases to the carbon tax or set emissions targets for 2030. One of the most scathing reviews came from a member of the climate leadership team that was created specifically to help guide the province on fighting climate change. In a Facebook post, environmental activist and academic Tzeporah Berman wrote that she was "disgusted" with the "pathetic" plan. (CBC)

BNSF to pay $75,000 fine for Skagit, Whatcom water quality violations
BNSF Railway has agreed to pay a $75,000 fine after reaching a settlement with the state Department of Ecology over 2015 water quality violations that occurred in Skagit and Whatcom counties. BNSF was originally fined $86,000 after creosote-treated railroad ties left at four sites between mid-2013 and early 2015 resulted in water contamination, according to Ecology. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Orca’s health issues cited in unsealed documents
Lolita, a Northwest orca whale living at Seaquarium in Miami, has suffered scrapes and other health problems, according to recently unsealed court documents that offer an unsettling look at the life of the whale captured in 1970. The documents were written by four expert witnesses who visited Seaquarium, and reviewed medical and other records, on behalf of plaintiffs who challenged the conditions of the whale’s captivity. They found that 20-foot-long Lolita has a troubled relationship with two Pacific white-sided dolphins that live with her in an oblong pool that is 80 feet across at its widest point. These dolphins scraped Lolita’s skin with their teeth more than 50 times in 2015. Through a review of the records and their own on-site observations, the plaintiff’s’ experts concluded that the dolphins – rather than being best buddies with Lolita – are often at odds with the whale. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Lessons Learned on Fatigue, Voyage Planning, Communication
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its annual compendium of marine accidents and the lessons learned from them. Safer Seas Digest 2015 examines 29 major marine casualty investigations the agency closed in 2015. The 72-page report lists some of the lessons learned from the investigations, such as better voyage planning, the need for effective communications and recognizing the peril of crew fatigue. (Marine Executive)

Why is the water so green around southern B.C.?
If you've noticed the waters off the shores of southern B.C. looking greener than usual, give yourself a pat on the back for being attuned to the shades of the sea. There is a massive algae bloom in the Strait of Georgia, extending into Howe Sound, that's left the colour of the water looking more emerald than usual.   Waters off the southern tip of Vancouver Island, in Desolation Sound and around the Malaspina Inlet have also been affected. Lien Yeung reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  244 AM PDT TUE AUG 23 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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