Monday, November 14, 2016

11/14 Swans, weather, sunk tug, orcas, sonar, protests, Ebell, non-compliance, seafood, forest plan, carbon tax, trust lands, Hanjin ship

(PHOTO: Duke Coonrad/BirdNote)
Swans Come Calling
Trumpeter Swans land in a plowed field to forage for remnant potatoes, grain, and other waste crops. This swan is among the largest of all waterfowl; the Tundra Swan is somewhat smaller. These swans migrate in family groups each fall from nesting sites in Canada and Alaska. Learn more about these swans, and view a map to the Skagit Flats of Washington where you can see them. When you go, please be courteous, and if you stop, pull completely off the roadway. Always respect private property. More info at Northwest Swan Conservation Association and The Trumpeter Swan Society! (BirdNote)

British Columbia’s warm November breaking records, disrupting wildlife
In Heather Higo’s yard in Langley, her honey bees would normally be tightly clustered in their hives, hunkered down for the cold winter months. Instead, they are active, flying about looking for any pollen and nectar they can find, at a time when there normally is little. Unseasonably warm weather — so unseasonable that Tuesday’s daytime high broke all records for November going back to 1936 — has settled over B.C. for the last 10 days, disrupting not only the patterns of wildlife, but also dumping massive amounts of rain on parts of Vancouver Island and the Squamish and Lillooet areas.  Jeff Lee reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Sunken tug to be lifted Monday: Heiltsuk First Nation
The Heiltsuk First Nation says in a news release that salvage operations to lift a sunken tug from the waters off British Columbia's central coast will begin on Monday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. PT.  The release says the operation to remove the Nathan E. Stewart from the ocean floor is anticipated to take six hours. Once lifted, the 30-metre tug will be placed on a salvage barge and towed from the area. (Canadian Press)

Researchers worried orca population will flatline with female deaths
The death of a single wild animal is not usually scientifically significant, but for an endangered species of killer whales, the loss of a young female has some experts worried about the future growth of the population. There are only 80 whales among the southern residents — a clan of orcas that live in the waters off southern British Columbia and Washington State — and the death of each female is a lost opportunity to increase the pod. (Canadian Press)

Navy to expand sonar, other training off Northwest coast
The U.S. Navy has finalized a plan to expand sonar testing and other warfare training off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and northern California. The Navy decided to implement its preferred plan after a lengthy review that included a determination from the National Marine Fisheries Service that the exercises would not have major impacts on endangered orcas and other marine mammals. It announced its decision on Nov. 4. The fisheries service last year renewed the Navy's five-year permit, through 2020, to conduct the activities in areas from the inland waters of Puget Sound in Washington state to the northern coast of California. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Anti-fossil fuels protest draws more than 1,000 marchers to the streets of downtown Tacoma
More than 1,000 people marched through downtown Tacoma on Saturday to protest fossil fuel expansions from the Dakota Access Pipeline to a proposed Port of Tacoma liquefied natural gas plant. They chanted “Water is life” and followed drummers from the Puyallup, Nisqually and other area tribes up Pacific Avenue and onto the campus of the University of Washington Tacoma, where tribal leaders gave a series of speeches against what they viewed as abuses of the Earth’s resources. Derrick Nunnally (Tacoma News Tribune) See also: Olympia anti-fracking protest settles into camp on railroad tracks  Rolf Boone reports. (Olympian)

Climate change denier is leading Trump's EPA transition team
President-elect Donald Trump has selected a climate skeptic to lead his Environmental Protection Agency transition team, a man whose beliefs are distinctly at odds with President Obama’s environmental policies. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) Myron Ebell is also viewed by many as a top candidate to become the next head of the EPA. Ebell’s research focuses on questioning what he calls “global warming alarmism” and opposing energy rationing policies, according to his biography on CEI’s website. Julia Boccagno reports. (CBS)

BC environment law: Inspections report reveals 60% non-compliance rate
Sixty per cent of operations inspected across B.C. in 2015 failed to comply with a key provincial environmental law, a new Ministry of Environment report reveals. Of 632 inspections under the Environmental Management Act — undertaken in sectors ranging from mining and forestry to sewage and hazardous waste management — only 40 per cent were deemed to be compliant, while 55 per cent required a low-level response such as an advisory or warning. Stronger action was required for the remaining five per cent, ranging from orders to rectify environmental problems, violation tickets and penalties, restorative justice forums, and court action in the most serious cases involving threats to the environment or human health and safety. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Mislabeled seafood may be more sustainable, new study finds
With seafood, what you see is not always what you get. It’s no secret that mislabeling is rampant around the world. Recent studies estimate up to 30 percent of seafood served in restaurants and sold in supermarkets is actually something other than what is listed on the menu or label.
Fish labeled red snapper seen on ice in a fish market. Why mislabeling happens is a little squishier. Fraud, human error or marketing ploys — combined with an often multicountry traverse from boat to restaurant — make it possible you are eating a different fish than what’s on the menu. A University of Washington study is the first to broadly examine the ecological and financial impacts of seafood mislabeling. The paper, published online Nov. 2 in Conservation Letters, finds that in most cases, mislabeling actually leads people to eat more sustainably, because the substituted fish is often more plentiful and of a better conservation status than the fish on the label. Michelle Ma reports. (UW Today)

Draft of Northwest Forest Plan released
The U.S. Forest Service released this week a draft update to the Northwest Forest Plan, and is accepting public comments on the update through Jan. 6. The plan covers the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest and Pacific Southwest regions, which includes land in Washington, Oregon and California. The plan guides how resources are managed in 17 national forests for up to the next 20 years. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Washington state alliance to push a reworked carbon-tax proposal
Though Washington voters just rejected a carbon-tax ballot measure, a new campaign to put a price on fossil-fuel emissions already is gearing up for the 2017 legislative session in Olympia. This will be an alternative proposal pitched by an alliance of environmental, social justice and labor groups that would place a modest tax on carbon emissions from oil, coal and natural gas. Unlike the ballot measure turned down by voters, much of this tax money would be invested in clean-energy projects, according to a five-page draft of the plan released in the past week. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Peninsula sites proposed for state trust land exchange
Three sites on the North Olympic Peninsula, including an off-stream reservoir for the Dungeness River, have been proposed in a state trust land exchange. A 319-acre reservoir located south of Sequim and two expanded conservation areas in Jefferson County were among 10 projects that the state Department of Natural Resources has asked the Legislature to consider funding in the 2017 Trust Land Transfer program…. The Board of Natural Resources voted 5-0 on Nov. 1 to recommend the transfer of 2,730 acres of low-revenue-producing trust lands for public use. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Hanjin container ship on B.C. coast hangs in the balance
A skeleton crew is manning the Hanjin Scarlet container ship that’s hunkered down in Plumper Sound, between North Pender and Saturna islands. It has relocated after two months in waters off Prince Rupert and a subsequent visit to Vancouver, where it off-loaded cargo and spent $8,000 on provisions, said Peter Lahay, Vancouver-based national coordinator with the International Transport Workers Federation. The ship and its crew are caught in the middle of the financial collapse of South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, once the seventh-largest, container-shipping company in the world. It went into receivership at the end of August, and creditors are seeking billions of dollars. Carla Wilson reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--

300 AM PST MON NOV 14 2016

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