Thursday, September 8, 2016

9/8 Vic sewer, Skagit poop, 'pit-to-pier,' no oil port, bad fisher, Hood Canal, quake!, bird fest

Prognathodes basabei (NOAA)
Scientists name new fish species found in Papahanaumokuakea
Scientists have named a new species of butterflyfish discovered in the deep reefs of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument after a Kona diver who has assisted in the collection of reef fishes for numerous scientific studies and educational displays in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The new fish, Prognathodes basabei, is named after Pete Basabe, a veteran local diver from Kona who, over the years, has assisted with the collection of reef fishes for numerous scientific studies and educational displays, according to a news release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Basabe, an experienced deep diver, was instrumental in providing support for the dives that produced the first specimen of the fish that now bears his name. Gregg Kakesako reports. (Star-Advertiser)

Build sewage plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt, expert panel says
In what can only be seen as coming full circle, an independent panel is recommending the Capital Regional District build a single regional tertiary sewage treatment plant at Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point. The new proposal, which still needs approval by the CRD board, has a pricetag of $765 million. That’s far less expensive than the other short-listed options — $920 million for a plant at Rock Bay or $1 billion for plants at Rock Bay and McLoughlin, says a panel report released Wednesday. The new McLoughlin plan is remarkably similar to one rejected two years ago when Esquimalt council refused to approve variances to the zoning of McLoughlin to allow a regional enhanced secondary sewage treatment plant to be built there. That sent CRD staff and directors on a two-year, multimillion dollar search for a different option. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist) See also: West Shore wastewater plant still on the table  Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Skagit County program effective at reducing fecal coliform pollution
With less fecal coliform bacteria found this year at the Bay View State Park beach, Skagit County staff say their efforts to find and fix sources of pollution are working. During past years, the beach along Padilla Bay has closed to swimming multiple times during the testing season — May to September — due to fecal coliform bacteria in the water, but this year it closed once. County staff are saying the “dramatic water quality improvement” is thanks to a pollution identification and correction program used in the Bay View area over the past year. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Local group critical of Swinomish pollution campaign 
A Skagit County agriculture organization and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community have been feuding for several months over a Swinomish multimedia campaign that paints farmers as chief polluters of the region’s streams. The agriculture organization Save Family Farming was formed in late 2015 in response to the Swinomish campaign “What’s Upstream?” The campaign has been funded by Environmental Protection Agency grant money, totaling about $430,000 since 2011. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

‘Pit-to-pier’ project appears to be dead
A gravel company has dropped its legal challenge of conservation protections in Hood Canal, likely putting to rest the legal fight over a "pit-to-pier" mining operation proposed for the canal's west side. Jefferson County-based Hood Canal Sand and Gravel had filed a federal lawsuit in 2014 challenging a conservation easement running along the shore from the Hood Canal bridge to the Jefferson-Mason County line near Eldon. The easement prevented the company from building a conveyor belt system and pier for shipping gravel mined in Jefferson County. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

State attorney: Deny oil terminal
Arguing that the proposed Vancouver Energy oil terminal creates “unprecedented and unacceptable” risks to the environment and Washington residents, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Kernutt in his closing brief recommended that the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council deny the project. The 18-page document was filed Tuesday, the deadline for all parties to submit post-hearing briefs before the adjudication record officially closed for the terminal project proposed at the Port of Vancouver. The Port of Vancouver, Vancouver Energy and others also filed post-hearing briefs, but Kernutt’s was the first made available to The Columbian. Dameon Pesanti reports. (Columbian)

B.C. man sentenced to another 45 days in jail for repeat fishing violations
A man previously convicted for selling up to $100,000 in illegally-acquired crab and halibut has been given another jail term. Scott Steer, a fisherman based out of Nanaimo, was found guilty last month on eight charges of breaching his Fisheries Act prohibition order. As a result, he has been sentenced to an additional 45 days in jail, along with forfeiting his crab fishing gear and a vessel, the HOLLY V.  Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Close call, but Hood Canal may escape a major fish kill this fall
With some luck, southern Hood Canal may avoid a major fish kill this year, as we observe extremely low oxygen levels beginning to dissipate. It looks like the fish around Hoodsport dodged a bullet on Friday when south winds pushed the surface layer of oxygenated water to the north, bringing hypoxic waters up from below, according to data from the Ocean Remote Chemical Analyzer (ORCA) buoy near Hoodsport. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Northwest Humpback Whales Continue To Struggle Despite Positive Outlook Worldwide
The humpback whale has made a significant recovery since being listed as endangered nearly 50 years ago. But a federal review issued Tuesday indicates Northwest humpbacks are still showing signs of trouble. The review evaluated the Endangered Species Status of the whale worldwide. This time around, U.S. fisheries managers did something very different.  “Up until this review, humpback whales were listed under the Endangered Species of Act as a single species,” Angela Somma of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.  But now the whales will be divided worldwide into 14 distinct geographic populations. Nine of those groups are in good shape and will no longer be listed as endangered.  Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Magnitude 3.2 earthquake near Bellingham shakes Abbotsford residents
A small earthquake shook Bellingham, Wash., just before midnight Tuesday, rattling residents in nearby Abbotsford, B.C. The magnitude 3.2  quake struck at 11:50 p.m. near Lake Whatcom, roughly 30 kilometres south of the Sumas Canada-U.S. border crossing, according to the U.S. Geological Service. The quake was widely reported by residents from Bellingham to Abbotsford, with at least one B.C. resident saying it felt like a truck hit his house. (CBC) See also: What was that jolt last night in Whatcom County? Yep, earthquake  Robert Mittedorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Birders, swoop on over to Puget Sound Bird Fest, plus other festivals this weekend
oin the flock of bird fans heading to Edmonds this weekend for the Puget Sound Bird Fest — a celebration of birds and nature with speakers, guided walks, exhibits and activities for all ages — Friday through Sunday (Sept. 9-11). Saltwater, fresh water, wetlands, fields and woods in the Edmonds area provide habitats for more than 200 bird species, year-around and migrating, making the area a favorite for local bird-watchers. Bird Fest draws bird fans from around the Puget Sound region for the popular annual event that’s been drawing fans since 2005. Along with speakers, exhibits and activities Saturday at Frances Anderson Center, Pilchuck Audubon hosts outdoor events Saturday and Sunday at several locations in the Edmonds area. Some events require fees and advance registration; check before you go, as several are sold out. Madeline McKenzie reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--


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