Thursday, August 4, 2016

8/4 Jellies, invasives, fish rule, fish farms, rising seas, Ballard Locks, Willapa shrimp, Polley mine, James Bay air

Moon jellyfish (University of Puget Sound)
In the increasingly damaged sea, one animal is thriving
Climate change, overfishing and pollution would naturally seem harmful for marine life. But one group of animals appears to be thriving: jellyfish. The blob-like creatures reproduce rapidly in higher temperatures and can prosper in waters tainted by human activity, such as the Gulf of Mexico’s oxygen-depleted “dead-zone.” Plus, declining fish populations mean reduced competition for food. (PBS)

Invasive stowaways threaten Puget Sound ecosystem
Gaps in regulations could allow invasive species to hitch a ride on ships and boats. We report on some of the potential impacts, and how state and federal agencies are trying to solve the problem. Chris Dunagan repairs. (Salish Sea Currents)

Fed judge orders EPA to finalize ‘fish consumption rule’
A federal judge has set a timeline for when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must finalize water-quality rules designed to protect human health in Washington state. U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein on Wednesday found the EPA was derelict when it proposed clean-water rules for the state in September, but then didn’t finalize those rules within 90 days as required…. The judge in Seattle ordered EPA to either approve Washington’s plan, or finalize its own proposed rule for the state by Nov. 15. (Associated Press)

‘There Is a Dead One There’: Patrolling Fish Farms with Alexandra Morton
As biologist’s research quest continues, industry decries use of drones and cameras as ‘harassment.’ Andrew Nikiforuk reports. (The Tyee)

Experts warn rising sea levels could leave 1,600 local homes underwater
Some scientists say as many as 1,600 homes in the greater Seattle area could be underwater by the turn of the century. The real estate website Zillow wanted to see what would happened if the sea levels rose as much as scientists predict, and the answer involves $2.4 billion worth of local houses. Matt Markovich reports. (KOMO)

Ballard Locks turns 100 today [Aug. 3] -- a look back
The Ballard Locks turns 100 today. On Aug. 3, 1916, the first ship passed through the locks. It was officially opened on July 4, 1917. The locks and the Lake Washington Ship Canal connect Lake Union and Lake Washington to Puget Sound. (KOMO)

Willapa Desert: Key oyster bed abandoned as inedible shrimp take over
Imagine your once-profitable farm is now covered with tens of thousands of mole burrows, a desert of holes and naked dirt. Now imagine needing a government permit to control this population explosion — a permit issued and then withdrawn last year, and now once again creeping through the bureaucracy. Transfer this scenario to Willapa Bay and substitute burrowing shrimp for moles, and you have some idea of the anxiety gripping local oyster growers…. Collectively known as burrowing shrimp, the bay harbors two native species — ghost shrimp and blue mud shrimp. Although they’ve been trying to expand their range for decades, they are especially prolific this year, thriving in unusually warm 70-degree bay water. The shrimp aren’t edible by humans. In contrast, oysters generate an annual total of about $35 million for the Pacific County economy. Matt Winters reports. (Chinook Observer)

Air quality near cruise ship terminal has improved
Sulphur-dioxide emission issues may be dwindling in James Bay, but it’s by no means clear sailing for the city’s cruise ship industry, according to the James Bay Neighbourhood Association. A report released Wednesday by the B.C. Ministry of Environment suggests sulphur content regulation for fuels used by cruise ships, and use of technologies to reduce emissions have been effective in reducing ambient levels of sulphur dioxide coming from cruise ships docking at Victoria. But the measures have not stopped all emissions, said Marg Gardiner, president of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association. “There’s other emissions other than sulphur dioxide coming out of that [cruise ship smoke] stack,” said Gardiner. “This report is good news, but it’s old news. And while it’s the end of sulphur dioxide, it’s not really the end of pollution from the ships.” Andrew Duffy reports. (Times Colonist)

Mount Polley mine disaster hits 2-year mark, fallout still causes divisions
Lisa Kraus says it's been a difficult two years in the tiny central British Columbia community of Likely, where the collapse of a massive tailings dam at the Mount Polley mine opened wounds that have yet to heal. Twenty-four million cubic metres of mine waste and water gushed into nearby lakes and rivers on Aug. 4, 2014. An independent, government-ordered panel of experts concluded the cause was an inadequately designed dam at the Imperial Metals open pit copper and gold mine that didn't account for drainage and erosion failures beneath the pond. Dirk Meissner reports. (Canadian Press)

Bacteria in sea ice are making mercury worse
Scientists have discovered methylmercury—a potent neurotoxin—in sea ice in the Southern Ocean. The results, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, are the first to show that sea-ice bacteria can change mercury into methylmercury, a more toxic form that can contaminate the marine environment, including fish and birds. Mercury is a heavy metal pollutant that can be released into the environment through volcanic eruptions and re-released from vegetation during bushfires. It is also created through human activity, such as gold smelting and burning fossil fuels. Nerissa Hannink-Melbourne reports. (Futurity)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT THU AUG 4 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS  AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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