Monday, August 1, 2016

8/1 Octopus, fuel export ban, sinking ships, fish frustrations, BC LNG risk, Site C, sanctuary die-off

Octopus at Lytle Beach (Jeff Prentice/Bainbridge Review)
Islanders get rare visit from the deep
Jeff Pritchard never imagined that an afternoon sitting in the sun on his parent’s deck would result in an octopus sighting. But it did. It was about 3 p.m. on the afternoon of July 20 that Pritchard heard commotion out on Lytle Beach. He knew he had to investigate…. He discovered that two people were looking at an octopus, about four feet in diameter, lying on the beach…. Giving the octopus room to move in any direction, the crowd kept watching and in about 10 minutes, the octopus propelled itself back in the water. Leslie Kelly reports. (Bainbridge Island Review)

Whatcom County might ban unrefined fossil fuel exports at Cherry Point 
Whatcom County could try to prevent the export of crude oil and coal from Cherry Point, long home to the county’s heavy industry and, in recent years, the epicenter of community debate over environmental and economic issues. Until recently, the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal coal export facility received the most attention from both those who hope to curb fossil fuel use and protect the environment, and those who hope to attract more living-wage jobs to a county whose median income has not kept pace with the cost of living. But after GPT was denied a needed permit from the Army Corps of Engineers this May because it would impact Lummi Nation treaty-protected fishing rights, the focus for the future at Cherry Point shifted toward some proposed changes to a document that guides development decisions in the county: the Comprehensive Plan. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Belief in reefs: Canadian crew sinks everything into creating underwater playgrounds
It began as a seemingly simple but grand scheme nearly 30 years ago. Take some old ships, scour their bilges of oil, remove physical and environmentally hazardous objects and then sink them. And then watch as recreational scuba divers and wildlife flock toward them. Start small, with a rusty old freighter and then move up to the big ones: Canada’s aging and obsolete 1950s-era destroyers. Turn scrap steel and aluminum into gold by creating viable fish habitats and destinations for B.C.’s growing dive tourism industry. Solve government asset disposal problems by diverting the ships from breakers’ yards, with the added bonus of increasing underwater biodiversity and creating a new dive-tourism economy. But like all big dreams, there have been unintended twists. Jeff Lee reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Fisheries frustrations
Although the region’s salmon fisheries are well into their summer seasons, much turmoil remains concerning the management of the state’s fisheries. Fishermen lost time on area rivers and lakes this spring because the state and tribes had trouble reaching an agreement on seasons and allotments. Those in fisheries-related businesses were hurt because of the uncertainty over whether fishing would be allowed at all. Others feel the fisheries conflict drowned out other issues, such as the battle to bring a catch-and-release steelhead fishery back to the upper Skagit River. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Pacific NorthWest LNG venture could pose low risk to B.C. salmon habitat
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has told the federal environmental regulator that Pacific NorthWest LNG’s plan to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in northern British Columbia poses a low risk to juvenile salmon habitat. Environmentalists and some First Nations argue that Pacific NorthWest LNG’s construction activities would devastate Flora Bank, a sandbar with eelgrass that nurtures young salmon. The LNG joint venture, led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, is seeking to build an $11.4-billion export terminal on Lelu Island, which is located next to Flora Bank in the Skeena River estuary. Fisheries and Oceans – also known as DFO because it was once the Department of Fisheries and Oceans – said that based on its analysis of scientific studies provided by Pacific NorthWest, potential threats to salmon are manageable. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Trudeau government signals support for Site C dam, grants two permits
Justin Trudeau's Liberal Government has granted two crucial federal permits for Site C, a controversial mega dam project in northeastern British Columbia.  The permits allow B.C. Hydro to continue construction work on the giant dam on the Peace River near Fort St John. B.C. Hydro says the permits were issued this week by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada and relate to fisheries and navigable waters. Betsy Trumpener reports. (CBC)

NOAA: mass die-off at marine sanctuary off Louisiana, Texas
Federal scientists say a massive die-off is taking place on a coral reef of a national marine sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico. Steve Gittings, chief scientist with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, reported this week that federal scientists reported a large-scale mortality event of unknown cause was taking place at the East Flower Garden Bank in Gulf of Mexico. The reef is part of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, which is about 100 miles off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas. Gittings says researchers are reporting unprecedented numbers of dying corals, sponges, sea urchins, brittle stars, clams and other invertebrates. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  259 AM PDT MON AUG 1 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT...BECOMING 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W SWELL  4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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