Monday, October 24, 2016

10/24 Squid eggs, spill fine, sunk tug, fracking sands, fish farm rule, Ocean Wise, bulkheads, Duckabush, quakes, bowheads

Squid eggs, Beach Lake shore, east Elwha delta (Anne Shaffer)
Squid eggs in wrack line along restored Beach Lake shoreline, 20 October
Anne Shaffer of Coastal Watershed Institute writes: "… We've not seen these in the Elwha nearshore before. Squid have historically been a very important food resource for our region's salmon and marine birds. They all but disappeared from our radar 15 or so years ago-but seem to have returned to the central Strait nearshore this summer and fall. An exciting new observation for Elwha nearshore that we hope is a harbinger for our future marine ecosystems."

Seattle judge fines Greek shipping companies $1.5 million for pollution, cover-up
A federal judge in Seattle on Friday ordered two companies owned by a Greek shipping magnate to pay $1.5 million after a jury found that a cargo ship deliberately pumped oil-polluted water into the ocean, then repeatedly lied and falsified records in an effort to deceive inspectors with the U.S. Coast Guard. Authorities hailed the sentence Friday as a rare success in holding corporate defendants accountable for pollution on the high seas, an offense they describe as notoriously difficult to detect and prove…. The vessel, the Gallia Graeca, arrived at the Pier 86 grain terminal on Seattle’s waterfront from China in October 2015 to pick up a $20 million shipment of soybeans. When Petty Officer Daniel Hamilton came aboard to conduct a general inspection, several things seemed off, he said Friday after the sentencing. Valves were misaligned, oil appeared where it shouldn’t have, and a device called the oil-water separator did not appear to have been maintained. Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

Booms fixed after wind spreads diesel fuel from tug sunk near Bella Bella
The booms containing spilled diesel from a sunken tug 20 kilometres west of Bella Bella have been fixed, but delays allowed the fuel to spread, along with fears for endangered abalone and other ocean wildlife. Gale-force winds and three-metre waves hampered efforts to fix the failed booms, but officials say they've replaced the containment system. It's unclear how much diesel fuel has spilled, but the tug had 220,000 litres on board when it ran aground on Oct.13. Less than half of that has been recovered, and that's fanned fears the fuel will threaten efforts to reintroduce endangered abalone in the spill area, according to the Heiltsuk First Nation. Yvette Brend reports. (CBC) See also: Owner of stricken tugboat apologizes for diesel spill  (Canadian Press)

Hundreds show dissent for shipment of fracking sands to Port of Olympia
About 250 people gathered at Olympia’s Port Plaza on Saturday, carrying signs reading, “Protect Mother Earth,” “Olympia WA stands with Standing Rock Sioux,” “Fossil Fuel expansion is war,” and “Our port supports oil fracking with our tax $.” The demonstration came about a month after the Port of Olympia received a shipment of ceramic proppants, also known as fracking sand. The product is sent to North Dakota to aid in the removal of Bakken oil. The September shipment was the first since January 2015, with shipments ceasing due to the drop in oil prices. Amelia Dickson reports. (Olympian)

Bainbridge plan severely limits fish and shellfish grows
The city of Bainbridge Island has crafted some of Puget Sound's most restrictive rules on fish and shellfish farming. Awaiting final approval by the state, Bainbridge's aquaculture ordinance would ban the use of plastics in all marine farming, restrict commercial clam and oyster growing operations to just five acres and cap the number of floating fish farms to the one already operating off the island's south end. Additional provisions protecting marine grasses and fish habitat would severely limit where shellfish farming could occur. It's not an outright ban but it may have the same effect, keeping the fast-growing shellfish industry from taking root on the island's shores. City leaders say the science is clear: industrial fish and shellfish farms hurt marine ecosystems. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise program has no enforcement; official partners still sell 'unsustainable' seafood  

The Vancouver Aquarium boasts Ocean Wise as a program to help businesses and consumers make environmentally friendly, sustainable seafood choices — from barnacles to barramundi — harvested locally or around the world. What’s less evident is that restaurants, supermarkets and seafood suppliers can become official partners — paying up to $5,000 annually to display the Ocean Wise logo — for carrying as little as one certified-sustainable seafood, even if they sell far more species on the program’s list of seafoods to avoid.  “They don’t have to be 100 per cent,” confirmed Ann-Marie Copping, the Ocean Wise program manager. The program works with partners to increase their offerings of sustainable products in hopes of reaching full compliance. Ocean Wise — which is a growing operation — also offers no ongoing enforcement and monitoring of its partners. “In terms of auditing their operations on a regular basis, we don’t,” Copping said. “Our program is about education, training and doing proper (species-at-risk) assessments.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Foot by foot, shoreline bulkhead removal outpaces construction
Christopher Dunagan writes: "It’s always nice when I can report a little good news for Puget Sound recovery. For the second year in row, we’ve seen more shoreline bulkheads ripped out than new ones put in. After officials with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife completed their compilation of permit data for 2015, I can say that 3,097 feet of old armoring were removed, while 2,231 feet were added…." (Watching Our Water Ways)

Hood Canal estuary eyed for federal project
A Hood Canal estuary has topped a long list of Puget Sound restoration projects that could get a powerful dose of federal funding. The Army Corps of Engineers ranked the Duckabush River estuary south of Brinnon as one of three priority projects out of 500 sites considered in Puget Sound. If approved by Congress, about $63 million would be spent reconnecting the river to its floodplain and tidal wetland. Highway 101 has cut off the river from the estuary for nearly a century. The project would remove road sections, culverts, berms and small bridges and construct an elevated 1,100-foot-long bridge upstream from the estuary. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Washington state's plan for megaquake 'grossly inadequate,' review finds
The largest disaster drill ever conducted in the Pacific Northwest found that, despite decades of warnings, the region remains dangerously unprepared to deal with a Cascadia megaquake and tsunami. During the four-day “Cascadia Rising” exercise in June, 23,000 participants grappled with a hypothetical catastrophe that knocked out power, roads and communications and left communities battered, isolated — and with no hope of quick relief. Washington state officials called their own response plans “grossly inadequate,” according to a draft report and records reviewed by The Seattle Times. The report warns that “the state is at risk of a humanitarian disaster within 10 days” of the quake. Sandi Doughton and Daniel Gilbert report. (Seattle Times)

White sturgeon meant to showcase Bass Pro Shops aquarium in Tsawwassen mall is dead
It was supposed to be the star of the Bass Pro Shops’ “education aquarium” at the new Tsawwassen Mills shopping mall. But the metre-long-plus white sturgeon just didn’t look right from the beginning, floating at an angle with its nose above the surface. And now it’s gone for good. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: Stunning drone footage reveals bowhead whales feeding, swimming patterns
Bowhead whales like their afternoon siestas. That's what UBC's Sarah Fortune realized after she and her fellow researchers gathered and analyzed stunning drone footage of the mammals in the eastern Canadian Arctic. … She and the team spent four summers in Cumberland Sound, Nunavut — just a few kilometres shy of the Arctic Circle — studying the whales. Tamara Baluja reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT MON OCT 24 2016  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH TUESDAY
 MORNING  

TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A  CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE  AFTERNOON.  TONIGHT  E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...RISING TO 30 TO 40 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 8 TO 9 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  14 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 12 TO 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  12 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...  THEN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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