Monday, December 19, 2016

12/19 Whale song, ship noise, PS restoration, well use, drilling, ND spill, climate, ocean acid, gypsy moth

Dwarf minke whale (The Austrailian/OSU/EarthFix)
New Whale Song Discovered In The South Pacific By Oregon Researchers
Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a sound coming from one of the deepest spots in the ocean.  They believe it’s the song of a Minke whale, but it’s not like any they’ve identified before.  The so-called “Western Pacific Biotwang” is more horror movie than Nashville ballad. A low moan at the beginning is typical of baleen whales, but it was the end that caught the ear of OSU researcher Sharon Nieukirk. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Ship noise a concern amid dispute over pipeline’s impact on whales
The federal government is seeking a way to regulate underwater shipping noise as part of its plan to protect an endangered group of killer whales from increased oil tanker traffic off Vancouver. The news comes as environmental groups are poised to file a new lawsuit challenging the Liberal cabinet’s approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, alleging the government failed to mitigate the project’s impact on the iconic southern resident killer whales. (Canadian Press)

Congress authorizes five restoration projects
Five major Puget Sound projects have been given the provisional go-ahead by Congress in a massive public works bill signed yesterday by President Obama…. The projects are: Skokomish River watershed, Nooksack River Estuary, Duckabush River Estuary, North Fork Skagit River delta, and Burley Creek. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

State grants fund vital salmon and steelhead habitat projects
Almost $1.5 million in grants will fund projects that will aid in restoring or protecting habitat crucial to restoring runs of salmon and steelhead in the South Sound. Eleven projects in Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap and Mason counties will receive funds from the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board. In all, the board awarded $14.6 million in grants for 77 projects in 26 counties. Jeffrey P. Mayor reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Whatcom asks state to pay for pilot program to offset well water use
The County Council has asked the state Legislature to pay for a three-year pilot project that could address a state Supreme Court mandate that Whatcom County ensure new permit-exempt wells don’t hurt minimum stream flows and senior water rights. The idea came from County Councilman Rud Browne. The council voted Dec. 6 to ask the state for money, although no specific amount was requested…. The system – which includes software, water tanks, water meters – would allow homeowners in rural Whatcom County taking part in the pilot to seasonally store water during the wet winter months to offset the impact of their use in drier months. It would cost a little over $16,000 for a four-person household. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

You can bank on one Trump action: Drill, baby, drill
Of all the things Trump has promised, the one he’s most likely to actually do is drill, baby, drill. Including maybe off the West Coast. Danny Westneat writes. (Seattle Times)

Massive 2013 oil spill in North Dakota still not cleaned up
Three years and three months later, a massive oil spill in North Dakota still isn’t fully cleaned up. The company responsible hasn’t even set a date for completion. Though crews have been working around the clock to deal with the Tesoro Corp. pipeline break, which happened in a wheat field in September 2013, less than a third of the 840,000 gallons that spilled has been recovered — or ever will be, North Dakota Health Department environmental scientist Bill Suess said. (Associated Press)

Tulalips, scientists push for local efforts on climate issues
It’s a question of priorities and a group of scientists and policy makers wants to make sure theirs aren’t lost with a new presidential administration. A workshop earlier this week on the Tulalip Indian Reservation focused on the coming “coastal squeeze,” a reference to communities and ecosystems likely to feel the combined effects of rising seas on one side and vastly altered rain and river flow patterns on the other. A significant undercurrent to the event was how valuable work restoring shorelines, estuaries and watersheds was going to move forward when the incoming leadership in Washington, D.C., is likely to have different goals. Chris Winters reports. (Herald of Everett)

Washington Joins International Alliance To Combat Ocean Acidification
It’s sometimes called the evil twin of global warming. Ocean acidification happens when carbon pollution from the sky is absorbed by the water. Washington state has been a leader in addressing the issue locally. And now the state has joined a new international alliance to fight ocean acidification on a global scale…. The new alliance includes all the West Coast states and British Columbia as well as Chile, Nigeria, France and several Native American tribes. All have committed to five goals, such as advancing the science, reducing the causes and building sustained support to combat ocean acidification. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Belfair residents express anger over sewer plans
Dozens of Belfair residents expressed fear and anger at a public meeting on Mason County’s application to the Department of Ecology for funding the design of the Belfair sewer system’s second phase into Old Belfair Highway…. The proposed project would eliminate 171 septic systems in neighborhoods along Old Belfair Highway and allow property owners to develop on land that must be serviced with sewers because the land lies within the Belfair Urban Growth Area…. Several residents commented that they were on fixed incomes and couldn’t afford to hook into the sewer (a cost estimated at around $5,000). They said they had no intentions of further developing their properties and had functioning septic systems that didn’t need replacement. Arla Shephard Bull reports. (Mason Life)

Officials: No gypsy moth spraying planned in 2017
The state Agriculture Department says it doesn't need to spray for gypsy moths next year, following a large and apparently successful eradication program last spring. Officials said they conducted their second-largest gypsy moth eradication effort ever this past spring, and over the summer, no Asian gypsy moths and only 25 of the European variety were found in the 30,000 traps placed around the state. (Associated Press)

Company behind $1 billion plant proposal plans hiring effort
A company that wants to put a $1 billion methanol plant at the Port of Kalama is planning a hiring program for Cowlitz County residents. The Daily News reports Lower Columbia College, Workforce Southwest Washington and Northwest Innovations Works are collaborating on the program for 40 out of about 200 future employees. Local high school graduates would fill 20 jobs. The rest would be taken up by veterans, people with disabilities, and others facing barriers to employment based on federal guidelines. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  249 AM PST MON DEC 19 2016  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM PST THIS MORNING

GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY
 AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 W WIND 25 TO 35 KT EARLY...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT BY  AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 13 TO 14 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 15  SECONDS. RAIN IN THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SE 25 TO 35 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 10 TO 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  13 SECONDS. RAIN.

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