Monday, October 31, 2016

10/31 J28, dam breach, Snake R. fish, sunk tug, green domain, murrelets, water rule, NAS Whidbey

J28 (deceased mother) and J54 (Ken Balcomb/Seattle Times)
Another Puget Sound orca dies; hope dim for her calf 
One of the most easily recognized of Puget Sound’s resident killer whales has died, and her young calf will almost certainly follow — despite his older sister’s attempts to save him, biologists reported Friday. Photographs and observer reports over the past several weeks revealed the sad drama that has played out among members of J-pod, one of the southern resident orca groups whose range includes Washington’s inland marine waters. The death of the calf would bring the endangered southern orca population to 80, on a par with the lowest levels in decades, said Ken Balcomb, director of the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island. “We have seen virtually no growth in this population in 20 years despite large amounts of money spent to study and recover them,” Balcomb wrote in an “obituary” for the two animals. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Breach Snake River Dams To Save The Orcas, Researchers Say
Some of the top whale researchers in the Pacific Northwest are calling on the federal government to breach four dams on the Lower Snake River in southeast Washington. They say that’s the surest way to restore the Chinook salmon runs that endangered orcas primarily feed on. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Feds release recovery plan for Snake River chinook and steelhead
Restoring healthy populations of wild salmon and steelhead to the Snake River basin could take 50 to 100 years and will require improvements in survival rates for young fish migrating to the ocean, according to a proposed recovery plan released Thursday by the federal government. The plan was developed by NOAA Fisheries, which will accept public comments on the proposal through late December. The recovery plan’s release overlaps with public scoping meetings held by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration. Those meetings are gathering public input on what should be included in an environmental review of the federal hydropower system and its impacts on salmon and steelhead survival. Becky Kramer reports. (Spokesman-Review)

Friday’s posting of the blog  Whoa! Are We Going To Save Puget Sound— Again? drew a bunch of interesting comments. Check them out and tell me what you think.

Federal ministers head to Bella Bella to view diesel spill amid concerns over wildlife
The Heiltsuk First Nation says two federal ministers are flying over the diesel spill site near Bella Bella, B.C., [Sunday] and talking to the First Nation about the disaster members claim has killed sea life. In a press release, the Heiltsuk First Nation said Dominic LeBlanc, the minister of fisheries, and Jody Wilson-Raybould, the minister of justice, are meeting with the Heiltsuk Tribal Council and Unified Command, which is a coalition of four government and Heiltsuk leaders. They are planning a flyover of the marine life-rich spot where a tugboat sank and began leaking diesel fuel, which Heiltsuk leaders say remains "uncontained." Yvette Brend and Andrew Kurjata report. (CBC) See also: B.C. oil spill shows what can go wrong under difficult conditions  Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail) For updates see:  Seaforth Channel Unified Information Site

Tug grounding leads to new guidelines for BC pilots 
After a review of the recent Nathan E. Stewart tugboat incident in Bella Bella, the Pacific Pilotage Authority is announcing new and interim measures regarding waiver exemptions for ships and ships transporting petroleum cargo products. (Professional Mariner)

How .eco domain was won: Meet the Vancouver team behind the internet's new green turf
Imagine sitting across from your friend at a pub, several pints in, with a big idea — one that could change the internet and maybe even help the planet. The prelude, perhaps, to nothing but a hangover. But for Trevor Bowden and Jacob Malthouse, that night in 2007 was the start of a multi-year quest to secure soon-to-be-released online real estate: the domain of .eco, which they believed could be an asset to the environmental movement. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

New urgency to protect murrelets
Getting listed as "threatened under the state's endangered species law nearly 25 years ago didn't do the marbled murrelet much good. The little seabird's population has been in free fall, dropping by 4.4 percent annually for the past decade. Fearing that the species could be extinct in Washington within 50 years, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing to "uplist" the murrelet to "endangered" status — the top tier for species that have hit the lowest lows. The murrelet's advocates welcome the move, but they say the new label will be no more than that — a label. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Thurston County Superior Court upholds Dungeness water rule
A Thurston County Superior Court Judge has upheld the Instream Flow Rule for the Dungeness River Basin, denying a challenge from a group of property owners and developers. Greg McCarry, president of the Olympic Resource Protection Council and a developer in Sequim, called Judge Gary Tabor’s Oct. 21 ruling disappointing…. The nonprofit challenged the state Department of Ecology’s Dungeness Water Rule, which was adopted in early January 2013, after a failed attempt to get state officials to work with them, McCarry has said. State officials designed and implemented the rule as a method for managing surface and groundwaters within the Dungeness River watershed. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

NAS Whidbey poised for bright future
A new era has begun at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. About a year after the base replaced its EA-6B Prowler jets with the EA-18G Growlers, another change is underway. The first of the Boeing-built P-8A Poseidons, which will replace the P-3C Orions, arrived at the base in mid-September, and next week training crews will arrive to help with the transition to the new aircraft. The Lockheed-built Orions have been a part of the NAS Whidbey community since 1969, said base Public Affairs Officer Mark Welding. But four years from now, they will be gone from the base. Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your Hallowe’en tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  237 AM PDT MON OCT 31 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS. RAIN  LIKELY.
TONIGHT
 SW WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.

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