Friday, September 16, 2016

9/16 Pigs, coal terminal, eDNA, Delta flooding, carbon cap, coho, Great Bear, Elwha blasting, Beard's Cove

Harbor porpoise (Wikipedia)
The return of the pig
After an almost complete collapse in the 1970s, harbor porpoise populations in Puget Sound have rebounded. Scientists are celebrating the recovery of the species sometimes known as the "puffing pig." Eric Wagner reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

State could put cutout for proposed Cherry Point coal terminal in aquatic reserve
The state Department of Natural Resources will consider incorporating an area set aside for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal into the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve after a request from Lummi Nation earlier this week. On Monday, Sept. 12, Lummi requested DNR reevaluate an area that was left out of the reserve when it was put together for the then-proposed terminal, which would be the largest coal terminal in North America. In May, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied GPT a needed permit because it would impact Lummi Nation’s treaty-protected fishing rights, and DNR followed suit, denying a separate lease application because the federal permit hadn’t been obtained. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Urban Waters Surprisingly Rich In Marine Life Finds High-Tech Sampling
Researchers from the University of Washington and NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center found the opposite of what they expected when they used a new scientific method to sample the waters of Puget Sound. Like humans, sea creatures are constantly leaving their DNA behind -- shedding, oozing from wounds or pooping into the environment. University of Washington professor Ryan Kelly said DNA testing has advanced so far that just one scoop of water can reveal what animals were nearby. This relatively new capability is called environmental DNA, or eDNA for short. It can be used in two basic ways. One is to confirm the presence or absence of a specific critter, typically an invasive or endangered species. The other is to identify the suite of creatures around a place. Tom Banse reports. (NW Public Radio)

Video game simulates survival in a future Delta devastated by climate change
A video game designed by UBC researchers imagines a dystopian future where leaders have failed to address climate change. Delta Future 2.0 is set in 2100 and allows players to navigate a world devastated by rising sea levels, heat waves, fires, food shortages and more. Project coordinator Alicia LaValle told On The Coast's guest host Gloria Macarenko that her team developed the game for high school students who will be the generation the most affected by the effects of climate change. Michelle Ghoussoub reports. (CBC)

Washington state adopts new caps on large carbon polluters
Washington state adopted a new rule Thursday to limit greenhouse gas emissions from large carbon polluters, joining a handful of other states in capping emissions to address climate change. State environmental regulators finalized a rule requiring large industrial emitters to gradually reduce carbon emissions over time. The change will cover power plants, oil refineries, fuel distributors, pulp and paper mills and other industries. (Associated Press)

No new green crabs have been found, but the search will go on
No European green crabs were caught this week during an intensive two-day trapping program designed to see if any of the invasive crabs have gained a foothold in the San Juan Islands. If you recall, a single adult green crab was trapped Aug. 31 by a team of volunteers in the San Juan Islands. It was the first green crab ever found in Puget Sound, but experts have been worried about the crab for years. (See Water Ways, Sept. 3.) The volunteers are involved in a citizen science monitoring program to locate green crabs when they first arrive in Puget Sound and before they become a breeding population. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Lake Washington coho returns still strong as sport fishery in north-end of lake opens Friday
The coho counts at the Ballard Locks fish ladder – the entrance to Lake Washington – continue to climb upwards and are now well above the pre-season forecast. The larger than anticipated run to Lake Washington has allowed anglers to wet a line for coho beginning Friday (Sept. 16). The latest count at the Ballard Locks show 12,443 (preseason forecast was 4,414) counted through Wednesday (Sept. 14). The 10-year average from 2004 to 2014 at this point of the run has been 6,085. Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

Private lands within the Great Bear Rainforest donated for conservation
A vast tract of pristine waterfront within British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest has been donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, filling in part of a patchwork of conservation efforts in the prized wilderness. Parcels of private land are scattered throughout the Great Bear Rainforest that stretches along B.C.'s central coast and is about the size of Ireland. It accounts for one-quarter of the world's coastal temperate rainforests. Only about one-third of the rainforest is fully protected under parks and conservation areas, while nine per cent of the total area is available for logging. Linda Givetash reports. (Canadian Press)

Skagit Land Trust brings more habitat under protection
About 108.5 acres of habitat, including wetlands, forested areas and a pocket of old growth came under the Skagit Land Trust’s protection during the past year. In addition to purchasing 67 acres of wetlands near Nookachamps Creek, the trust entered conservation easement agreements for another 41.5 acres. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

More blasting done on Elwha River dam site
Crews are removing metal bars sticking out from the former Elwha Dam’s foundation and blasting boulders near the site of the former dam and at the former Glines Canyon Dam site upstream. Olympic National Park officials say the boulders could become barriers to fish reaching the upper Elwha River, while the rebar presents a hazard to boaters. Crews with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week are using an underwater torch to cut about 25 pieces of metal, ranging from one foot long to three feet long, from the dam’s foundation and are blasting apart boulders at both dam sites to facilitate fish passage, said Barb Maynes, spokeswoman for the park. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Return to splendor
In 1973, a hill near Belfair was dug up, hauled across the street and dumped on a saltwater wetland, suffocating what had been rich habitat for salmon and other marine creatures. The aim was to build a beachside pool, bathhouse and private parkland to adorn the Beard's Cove housing development taking shape nearby. Forty-three years later, the pool is gone, and the sandy fill — all 4,600 dump truck loads — has been put back where it came from. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

B.C. Court of Appeal upholds Site C environmental assessment report
British Columbia's highest court has ruled against the Peace Valley Landowner Association in its continuing fight against BC Hydro's Site C hydroelectric project in northeastern B.C. The Association hoped to overturn a lower court order that rejected a judicial review of Site C's environmental assessment certificate. In a unanimous ruling, the B.C. Court of Appeal says the ministries of environment and forestry can issue a certificate for the mega project without considering all 50 recommendations contained in an environmental assessment report. The Peace Valley Landowner Association argued Section 17 of the Environmental Assessment Act requires consideration of all recommendations of a hearing panel before a certificate is issued. (Canadian Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT FRI SEP 16 2016  

TODAY
 SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN THE  EVENING...THEN RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SAT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE  MORNING...THEN RAIN LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
 LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT  8 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 7 FT AT 15 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SUN
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 14 SECONDS.

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