Monday, September 19, 2016

9/19 Coal port, rising sea, marbled murrelet, derelict barge, culverts, Elwha beach, Vic sewer, ginko biloba

Crow, left, and raven (Tom Grey/BirdNote)
Ravens and Crows - Who Is Who
Is that big black bird a crow or a raven? How can you tell? Ravens (seen right here) often travel in pairs, while crows (left) are seen in larger groups. Also, study the tail as the bird flies overhead. A crow's tail is shaped like a fan, while the raven's tail appears wedge-shaped. Another clue is to listen closely to the birds' calls. Crows give a cawing sound, but ravens produce a lower croaking sound. (BirdNote)

Whatcom Council shelves GPT coal terminal environmental study
Whatcom County is ready to wrap up loose ends on a draft environmental study for the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point and archive it so work can be picked up again in the future if need be. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, Whatcom County Council approved a 6-month extension with environmental consultant CH2M Hill, to ensure the work on the draft environmental impact study for the Gateway Pacific Terminal and the BNSF Custer Spur Improvement Project “is closed out in an orderly fashion.” The $51,085 in work will be paid for with pass-through money from project proponent Pacific International Terminals (PIT), owned by SSA Marine. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Island County gets an advance look at future sea levels
Island County is getting a leg up in planning for the likelihood of rising sea levels. Washington Sea Grant, an outreach arm of the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, has put together a study to estimate that amount over the next century as it applies to the waters around Whidbey and Camano islands. It is notoriously difficult to make predictions involving changes to the climate of any sort, given the number of variables involved, ranging from the rate of glacial melting to public policies on pollution control. But Sea Grant researcher Ian Miller has taken a stab at it by combining historical data and previously published research into a new way of looking at the problem. And the end result is a number that Island County planners can use: 5.9 feet. That’s the amount the sea level is likely to rise around Whidbey and Camano islands by 2150, the data suggests. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

Marbled murrelet plans to have little impact on county harvests, says Clallam commissioner
Proposed protections for the marbled murrelet on state-managed forests would have a “minimal impact” on harvest volumes in Clallam County, Commissioner Bill Peach reported last week. Peach also serves on the state Board of Natural Resources, which sets policies that guide how the state Department of Natural Resources manages forest lands and other resources. The DNR board is considering six alternatives in a long-term conservation strategy for the marbled murrelet, a seabird that nests in coastal forests. It is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.   Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Barge that’s been polluting canal for decades being removed
A derelict barge that had for decades both poisoned and smothered part of a Hood Canal estuary is finally on its way to the dump. A state Department of Natural Resources-led crew used excavators and dump trucks to break up and haul out the 475-ton barge this week. Constructed of creosote-treated timbers, the barge has been leaching wood preservatives and other chemicals into the Dosewallips River estuary, directly across the canal from Seabeck, for 40 or more years. About 200 feet long and 40 feet wide, the former shellfish processing barge also took up a piece of tidal real estate that has high value to threatened salmon and other marine life. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

License to kill: how Washington may lose its right to wipe out salmon
…. (The) 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided the state must do more toward fixing its hundreds of culverts. The court affirmed a lower court decision ordering the state to replace its worst salmon-killing culverts that block passage upstream for the fish. A unanimous three-judge panel held that the culverts violate federal treaties signed with Washington tribes. When the 9th Circuit ruled for the feds and tribes on appeal, it scathingly rejected the state’s arguments and even its math. For one thing, the court found the state’s cost estimates — running to $1.9 billion — were “dramatically overstated.” This case really goes back to issues raised nearly half a century ago, and its legal underpinnings stretch back more than a century before that.  Daniel Jack Chasan reports. (Crosscut)

Restored expanse of beach near Elwha River shared with public
About 75 North Olympic Peninsula residents and visitors have been treated to a glimpse of the renewed Beach Lake shoreline east of the Elwha River estuary, courtesy of the Coastal Watershed Institute. The beach is located on private property along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and is not yet accessible to the public. Attendees at Saturday’s tour were curious about the recent $2 million, multi-agency effort to remove shoreline armoring from the beach, allowing the shore to restore itself with sediment moving as a result of the removal of the dams on the nearby Elwha River. Chris McDaniel reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

New Vessel Aims to Transform the Fishing Industry
Seattle-based company Blue North has christened F/V Blue North, a state-of-the-art vessel designed to transform the fishing industry by improving conditions for workers, reducing environmental impact and harvesting seafood more humanely. Designed with sustainability in mind, the new longliner is geared specifically for the Alaskan cod fishery, built by Dakota Creek Industries, Inc. of Anacortes, Wash. from a design (ST-155L) by Norwegian firm Skipsteknisk AS. The result, according to Blue North: “the most modern, low-impact and innovative vessel to ever enter the North Pacific fishing fleet.” Eric Haun reports.  (Marine Link)

Avoid water near Clover Point, Ross Bay after sewage discharge, CRD says
Members of the public should avoid wading or swimming in the waters near Clover Point and Ross Bay until further notice after sewage was discharged in the area. Unscreened sewage was discharged through the Clover Point short outfall after a mechanical equipment failure about 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The equipment failed when heavy rains flushed large debris through the sewer system into the pump station. The Capital Regional District is worried the wastewater might pose a health risk, said Matthew McCrank, the CRD’s senior manager of infrastructure operations. The affected area is between St. Charles and Cook streets. (Times Colonist)

'A living fossil': one of the oldest trees on earth might be stinking up your backyard
Have you ever taken a stroll down a tree-lined street in the fall in Vancouver only to stop and wonder, "Wow, what is that smell?" The odds are you walked past a gingko biloba tree — one of the most popular urban trees in Vancouver. Each fall, the trees produce edible nuts, and according to 'Tree Guy' David Tracey, they're rumoured to have certain medicinal properties. But they smell bad. Like, really bad…. But Tracey says you shouldn't let the smell distract you. The trees are living legends. Gingko biloba trees have grown for nearly 270 million years — they're one of the oldest living species of trees on Earth. They predate the dinosaurs, which started taking strides tens of millions of years later.  Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT MON SEP 19 2016  

TODAY
 SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT  AT 12 SECONDS. SHOWERS AND A SLIGHT CHANCE OF TSTMS.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SE TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF  SHOWERS.

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