Thursday, March 31, 2016

3/31 Vic sewer, First Nation rules, water laws, sea turtle love, Van Aquarium film, snow pack, methanol

Red Irish Lord (SeaOtter.Com)
Red Irish Lord (Hemilepidotus hemilepidotus) or bullhead is found in rocky kelp beds and shallows, and juveniles are sometimes found in large tide pools. Adults eat crabs, isopods, barnacles, mussels, and small fishes. In March females attach masses of pink eggs to barnacles, mussels and rocks in strong currents. Females and males guard egg masses from predators. (From Steve Yates' Marine Wildlife of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

Federal government extends sewage deadline by six months
The Capital Regional District has been given an extra six months by the federal government to get its sewage together. The PPP Canada extension — coming less than 12 hours before the deadline to file a detailed treatment plan — means the Crown corporation’s promised $83.4 million is still on the table while the CRD nails down its options. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Proposed Victoria Travel Ban Withdrawn By Washington State Lawmakers
Washington state lawmakers have flushed a proposed ban on state business travel to Victoria, British Columbia. The travel restriction surfaced last month in one version of a state budget. It was meant to pressure Victoria to stop dumping raw sewage into shared border waters. But the proviso was dropped from the final budget the Washington Legislature approved Tuesday. State Rep. Jeff Morris said the reason was because decision makers in the Victoria capital region picked two locations to build sewage treatment plants. Tom Banse reports. (NW Public Radio)

Seattle Chefs Consider Link Between Healthy Food And Healthy Environment
Seattle restaurant magnate Tom Douglas came out of his kitchen Wednesday to host a conference for chefs on the science connecting the food they serve and the environment from where it comes…. The event underscores the expanding influence of top chefs when it comes to consumer awareness about food: whether it’s grown locally, organically produced, or sustainably harvested from the wild. Carolyn Jones reports. (KUOW)

First Nations-led environmental assessment needed for B.C. projects like Site C, says coalition
A First Nations coalition is calling for First Nations-led environmental assessments for big energy projects in B.C. like Site C. That environmental assessment mean projects would potentially have to pass three environmental tests — provincial, federal, and First Nations. Advocates of a First Nations-led assessment say the process would take into account industry's' interests as well. In fact, a process that puts First Nations in the driver seat means projects will be more likely to get the green light from First Nations groups, said one First Nations leader. Wanyee Li reports. (CBC News)

Nadleh Whut'en and Stellat'en hereditary leaders proclaim B.C.'s first aboriginal water laws
The hereditary leaders of two northern B.C. First Nations proclaimed the first traditional aboriginal water laws in the province, which could have implications for industrial development including mining and LNG pipeline projects. The Nadleh Whut’en and Stellat’en First Nation traditional leaders declared on Wednesday no development would take place on their traditional territories in the Northern Interior unless the water laws were followed. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Vancouver Aquarium trying to block documentary, filmmaker’s lawyer says
A lawyer representing a filmmaker who produced a documentary about the Vancouver Aquarium’s captivity of beluga whales and dolphins says the aquarium is trying to have the film removed from the Internet. But counsel for the aquarium says its aim is not to keep the filmmaker from expressing himself. The two sides were in B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday as the aquarium sought an injunction against Gary Charbonneau’s documentary, Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered. Sunny Dhillon reports. (Globe and Mail)

Lucky sea turtle gets special treatment at Virginia Mason facility
Tucker, an olive ridley sea turtle, was near death when found washed ashore at Cannon Beach, Ore. On Monday, Tucker became the first nonhuman patient to receive treatment at Virginia Mason’s Center for Hyperbaric Medicine. Alan Berner reports. (Seattle Times)

Water-supply snowpack improves but is still less than normal
Snowpack up in the Sultan River Basin has returned almost to normal this year. That’s a vast improvement over last year, when a crew from the Snohomish County Public Utility District found no measurable snow at all at three sites in the mountains around Spada Lake reservoir. The crew measured snowpack on Tuesday at three sites which, when averaged together, came to about 78 percent of what’s considered normal for this time of year. Chris Winter reports. (Everett Herald)

Port commission no closer to answers about methanol plant
Almost two years ago, the Port of Tacoma commission approved a lease for what could become the largest methanol plant in the world, on the Tacoma Tideflats.Commissioners said Wednesday that they are no closer to answers than they were on that May day. Sooner rather than later, Commissioner Don Johnson said, Northwest Innovation Works will have to explain itself and advocate for an extension of a lease term called the feasibility period. Kate Martin reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT THU MAR 31 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 15 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT  AT 15 SECONDS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

3/30 BC Ferries, orca health, quakes, WA budget, sea rise, old growth, Saul Weisberg, March Pt. closure, B'Bay cleanup

BC Ferries' newest vessels will be covered with First Nations art
The exteriors of all three of B.C. Ferries’ new Salish-class vessels will feature Coast Salish art livery designed by local artists. Earlier today (Tuesday), the ferry corporation unveiled the designs for the first vessel to be ready for service, the Salish Orca. Esquimalt Nation member Darlene Gait’s design of orca whales and wolves of legends was selected from a group of nine finalists. Some areas of the interior of the ferry vessel will also be decorated with the art designs. Kenneth Chan reports. (VanCity Buzz)

Scientists build health database for Puget Sound killer whales
The orcas that frequent Puget Sound are about to have in-depth personal health records, thanks to several research groups coming together to share data. There's no shortage of data on the southern resident population of killer whales. According to the experts, these 84 whales are some of the most studied marine mammals in the world. But up until now, that data has been spread out between all the different research groups that study the whales.  Experts from the SeaDoc Society, the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, NOAA Fisheries and the National Marine Mammal Foundation gathered in Seattle on Monday and Tuesday to formulate a plan for putting all that data in one place to make tracking the health of each whale and the population as a whole that much easier. Daniel Demay reports. (SeattlePI.com)

Study confirms link between fracking, earthquakes in Western Canada
New research has confirmed the link between fracking in the oil and gas fields of Western Canada and flurries of earthquakes that have been shaking the region. The research looked at 12,289 fracking wells and 1,236 waste-water wells in an area along the B.C.-Alberta border. It linked 39 fracking wells and 17 wastewater disposal wells directly to several earthquakes of magnitude 3 or larger. Although only a small percentage of wells caused earthquakes, those earthquakes accounted for more than 90 per cent of the magnitude-3 seismic activity in the region over the past few years. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail) See also: U.S. Geology Maps Reveal Areas Vulnerable To Man-Made Quakes  (NPR)

Washington Lawmakers Announce Budget Deal, Vote To Override Inslee's Vetoes 
After weeks of gridlock, the Washington House and Senate have reached an agreement on an update to the state’s two-year budget. The deal announced late Monday ends weeks of gridlock that resulted in a 30-day special session. A joint announcement from the House and Senate says the budget update will increase funding for mental health and homelessness and start to address the state’s teacher shortage -- top priorities of House Democrats. The budget will also still balance over four years, something Senate Republicans insisted upon. Austin Jenkins reports. (NW Public Radio)

A Million-Dollar Question: As Sea Levels Rise, How Can Coastal Communities Adapt?
It’s one of the more dramatic sounding aspects of climate change: as carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases speed up global warming, sea levels are expected to rise too. And the effects will have widespread impacts locally. Tacoma and Island County are among coastal communities in Western Washington that are already considered vulnerable.  Both those jurisdictions are partners in a federally-funded coastal resilience project, backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientists working under the umbrella of NOAA’s Washington Sea Grant program have begun collecting data and developing best practices for planners, to help communities adapt and plan for significant risks. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Vancouver Island’s old-growth forest an ‘ecological emergency’: Sierra Club
Looking down from an elevation of 400 kilometres or so, Vancouver Island appears to be covered by a mostly intact jade-green forest from one end to the other. Using a Google Earth mapping tool that incorporates logging data, however, the Sierra Club of B.C. has created a different image – one showing just a few remaining pockets of rich old-growth forest. “This can be described as an ecological emergency,” said Jens Wieting, forest campaigner for the Sierra Club of B.C. “The last big, contiguous old-growth areas with giant trees, such as the Walbran on the southern island and East Creek on the northern island, should be considered as rare as white rhinos.” Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

North Cascades Institute: 30 years of teaching about the wild
In the mid 1980s, Saul Weisberg, now the executive director of the North Cascades Institute, was a climbing ranger in North Cascades National Park and finishing up a graduate degree in biology. It was the time of timber wars and fights over spotted owls. There was a lot of tension around public lands. Weisberg and his friends wanted a way to find a way to counteract that tension. They wanted to bring people out to really experience the park and learn about it. Jessi Loerch reports. (Everett Herald)

State closing March Point beaches to shellfish harvest
March Point beaches will be closed to recreational shellfish harvest this year due to potential health concerns, according to state officials. Starting Monday, March Point will be off limits for clam and oyster harvest. This is the first official state Department of Fish & Wildlife closure for the site, shellfish biologist Philippa Kohn said. In the past, recreational harvest has been allowed year-round…. Department of Health shellfish growing areas manager Scott Berbells said water quality at the site is not regularly monitored and the state has concerns about potential fecal bacteria contamination from wastewater discharges and from nearby agricultural land. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Crew cleans up aquatic preserve
A team of Conservation Corps members and officials from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources are continuing their efforts this week to remove creosote-soaked pilings and trash from the Maury Island Aquatic Preserve. The local work is part of a statewide effort by the department’s Aquatic Restoration Program to remove toxic debris and restore oceanfront environments. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Restoration Specialist Kristian Tollefson said his crews began work on Maury Island in January at Point Robinson. Anneli Fogt reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

State taking input on central Bellingham waterfront cleanup
The public can comment on an interim cleanup plan for Bellingham’s central waterfront through April 12. The plan involves 55 acres between the Whatcom and I and J waterways, and Roeder Avenue and the wastewater treatment lagoon. Some of the work in the plan is needed for the new 60,000-square-foot marine manufacturing building and launch route that the Port of Bellingham will construct for All American Marine. The new AAM building and its foundation will cover a portion of the old Roeder Avenue landfill, which was used for city garbage and waste from the former Georgia-Pacific Corp. pulp and tissue mill from 1965 to 1974. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Clovis point discovery could change understanding of B.C. First Nations' history
An archaeologist working near Fort St. John says a newly discovered spear point could change our understanding of First Nations history. Steve Kasstan and his team discovered a Clovis point, a rare, distinctive spearhead with fluted edges and points. Clovis points were developed by the Clovis culture of modern-day New Mexico, but were eventually copied by other cultures…. The site itself is over 13,000 years old and is the farthest-north site of its type discovered so far. Kasstan says the discovery could change the story of how indigenous peoples settled North America. It was originally believed that indigenous peoples crossed the Bering Land Bridge from Asia during the Ice Age and travelled south through the Ice-Free Corridor. Kasstan says this point's age tells a different story: that humans crossed the Bering Land Bridge and arrived in Chile 16,000 years ago and then moved north later to sites like this one. Liam Britten reports. (CBC News)

Now, your tug weather--
 WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT WED MAR 30 2016  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT  16 SECONDS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

3/29 Freighters, Elwha, light rail, Salish Sea, climate plan, septic fee, Tesoro, bag ban, Kply site, Wild Pacific Trail

Dry, Sunny and Getting Warmer (Puget Sound)
Lawmakers reach deal on state budget
More than halfway through a 30-day overtime legislative session, lawmakers Monday announced an agreement on a state supplemental operating budget. Joseph O’Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)

Jack Knox: Gabriola residents fear disaster from anchoring freighter traffic
A sea battle is raging off Gabriola Island. On one side, the commercial shipping sector, which is eyeing the island’s northeast coast as overflow parking for the port of Vancouver. On the other, island residents who don’t want 300-metre-long freighters plunked outside their picture windows, ruining their view and — they fear — the environment. That’s the issue on a micro level. More broadly, though, there’s the question of where our little Pacific paradise fits into the global supermarket. Vancouver is, based on the tonnage it handles, the third-largest port in North America. You can see that in the thousands of freighters that pass Victoria each year, all that grain bound for Asia and all those iPhones heading to your pocket. (Times Colonist)

Washington's Olympic Peninsula loses 2 dams and gains a wild river – plus a new beach
The United States is expanding. That was not among the goals when the Elwha River was set free. With the removal of two concrete dams that blocked the river for a century, the Elwha has released a wave of sand that has pushed the shoreline here north toward Canada. William Yardley reports. (LA Times)

King County Executive Says $27 Billion Light Rail Extension Is Answer to Growth
King County Executive Dow Constantine used his State of the County address to make a pitch for a massive expansion of public transportation. A $27-billion-dollar Sound Transit 3 tax proposal is on this fall’s ballot. Under the proposal, light rail would extend to Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and, eventually, run from Everett to Tacoma. The completion date would be 25 years from now. Critics who oppose the transit proposal cite the cost, $400 a year for the average homeowner, and the length of time for completion. But Constantine says not approving it would be a mistake similar to what happened in the region in the 1970s. Paula Wissel reports. (KPLU)

Event celebrates the Salish Sea
Oak Bay’s Barbara Adams and Jacques Sirois join a sea of guest speakers celebrating the Salish Sea and the name change of the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney. The special event this Saturday, April 2, marks the official change to the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea and raises money for programs. “Our new focus is on the entire bioregion, so that includes now the watershed, the land and also the culture and people, so it’s really trying to elevate the awareness of the Salish Sea as it goes along with our new name,” said Mark Loria, the centre’s executive director…. Headlining the event is Bert Webber, a marine biologist and retired Western Washington University professor who coined the term Salish Sea and helped form WWU’s Salish Sea Studies Institute. Webber joins environmentalist, author, educator and broadcaster Briony Penn to talk about how the name Salish Sea came to be. Carlie Connolly reports. (Oak Bay News)

Metro Vancouver raises concern about B.C.'s climate leadership plan
B.C.’s commitment to a new climate leadership plan is being questioned by Metro Vancouver staff, who say the provincial initiative doesn’t adequately reflect the region’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals. In a report going to Metro Vancouver’s board on Friday, staff say they are concerned the province’s decision not to issue a draft plan as promised for additional comment is watering down the concerns of local governments and the public. Instead, the province has said it will issue a final plan later this spring. Jeff Lee reports. (Vancouver Sun)

King County considering fee for septic systems 
The possibility of a new fee for septic system owners throughout King County has some Woodinville residents worried. Last month, the King County Board of Health voted unanimously to approve a resolution that includes developing a list of all septic systems in King County and finding a stable funding source to oversee management of septic systems. A staff report about the resolution states that failing septic systems contribute to surface and groundwater pollution in streams, lakes, aquifers and Puget Sound. The report estimates there are at least 40,000 septic systems in King County, half of which could be polluting because they were installed prior to safe design and installation standards. Briana Gerdeman reports. (Woodinville Weekly)

Open house set for Tesoro refinery project
Skagit County Planning and Development Services will hold an open house and take public comment Thursday on the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery’s Clean Products Upgrade Project, which includes potential xylene production. Xylene can be extracted from crude oil and used to create products such as polyester fabrics and plastics. Skagit County announced March 17 that it is requiring an environmental impact statement for the proposal under the State Environmental Policy Act. Comments on the scope of the environmental impact statement, or EIS, will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. April 15. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Tacoma council moving to ban plastic grocery bags despite mixed survey
Tacoma City Council members are ready to take steps to phase out plastic grocery bags even though a recent informal survey suggests many residents aren’t ready for the change. That survey of almost 2,200 people showed no clear majority in support of a ban. About 48 percent of respondents want the city to outlaw disposable bags, 42 percent opposed the proposal and the remainder indicated they were on the fence. Adam Ashton reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Port of Port Angeles eyes marine industrial park plans for former KPly site
The former KPly mill site, on the cusp of final pollution cleanup, would see new life as an edge-of-downtown marine trades industrial park for yachts and other large ships under plans that were given a first run-through Monday by Port of Port Angeles commissioners. The industrial park could cost $8.2 million to develop by 2018, according to long-range port budget estimates. To that end, an estimated 52,000 tons of earth laden with benzene, dioxins and other pollutants have been removed from the excavated, 18-acre Marine Drive site, located about three blocks from the Richard B. Anderson Federal Building. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

B.C.'s Wild Pacific Trail, a magical, powerful edge-of-ocean hike
Oyster Jim says walking Vancouver Island's Wild Pacific Trail is a journey along the edge of the open Pacific Ocean, with its majesty, power and beauty in full view. Many agree, as the eight-kilometre nature trail near Ucluelet, about 300 kilometres northwest of Victoria, has been ranked the top outdoor attraction in the province by TripAdvisor and among the travel ranking site's top 10 in Canada. Waves as high as houses crash against the rocks at the iconic Amphitrite Point lighthouse, once toppled by a massive wave. Migrating grey whales are spotted from easy-access trail-viewing areas, and huge cedar trees, hundreds of years old, reach for the sky. Dirk Meissner reports. (Canadian Press)

Complaint over Saanich eco-bylaw thrown out
The Office of the Ombudsperson of B.C. has thrown out a complaint that Saanich failed to adequately notify owners of the Environmental Development Permit Area bylaw it passed in 2012. The bylaw, aimed at preserving biodiversity, has affected most of Saanich’s homeowners on waterfront property, preventing the alteration of land, subdivision and construction unless an exemption applies or a development permit is issued. Katherine Dedyna reports. (Times Colonist)

How caucuses disenfranchise voters
If you live in a caucus state, like I do, you’ve heard party officials talk about how the caucus system is more democratic, more small-government, more conducive to building party unity than holding a big primary. Here’s Washington Democratic Party spokesman Jamal Raad, touting the system to me over the phone: “We’re not trying to be representative of the Washington State electorate. We’re trying to be representative of Washington State Democrats. And we actually make it very easy. You just have to show up and affirm that you’re a Democrat to participate. … It’s like a block party.” But it’s a block party that not everyone can attend. And that’s a problem, especially for the environment, because the people left out tend to be those who care more about it. Katie Herzog reports. (Grist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT TUE MAR 29 2016  

TODAY
 NW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, March 28, 2016

3/28 Toxic orcas, whale noise, study glider, Vic sewer, DNR logging, renewable investment

Varied thrush (Paul Bannick/BirdNote)
Secretive Varied Thrush
Except in winter, when it gathers in loose flocks to move to lower elevations, this shy bird prefers solitude. The intricate pattern of color on its wings resembles dappled sunlight on the forest floor. Naturalist Louis Agassiz Fuertes called the song of the Varied Thrush, "... as perfectly the voice of the cool, dark, peaceful solitude which the bird chooses for its home as could be imagined." (BirdNote)

Another boy? Toxins may be behind boom of male orcas, scientist says
The high number of male babies in a group of killer whales living off the coast of British Columbia is cause for concern, researchers say. Of the nine calves born into the southern resident killer whale population since Dec. 30, 2014, only one has been confirmed as a female, which could spell trouble for the whales’ future. The Washington state-based Center for Whale Research has received confirmation that yet another of the calves is male….  Researchers are looking at why there are so many more males in the latest baby boom. (Canadian Press)

Will new guidance reduce hearing loss in whales and dolphins?
A new controversy is beginning to rumble over the potential injury to marine mammals from sounds transmitted in the water. The National Marine Fisheries Service, also called NOAA Fisheries, is moving closer to finalizing new “technical guidance” for assessing temporary and permanent hearing loss in whales and dolphins caused by human activities — including Navy sonar, seismic explorations and underwater explosions. The guidance will be used for approving “take” permits under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. Meanwhile, in another development, Navy officials have acknowledged that Navy personnel made a mistake by using sonar in Puget Sound without getting approval through the chain of command. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

University of Victoria researchers use underwater 'glider' to study B.C. whales
A project studying whales with a special undersea "glider" has begun off Flores Island in Clayoquot Sound, north of Tofino, with the hope of eventually reducing ship-whale collisions. The self-powered two-metre glider is being used to study whale movements by listening to and recording their sounds. The torpedo-shaped glider — which can also identify different species of whales — is part of the the Whales, Habitat and Listening Experiment (WHaLE), a partnership between researchers from the University of Victoria, Dalhousie University, and organizations across Canada. (CBC)

Diver in Victoria waters sees firsthand the need for sewage treatment
Allan Crow opines: "I’ve spent more than 35 years fishing and diving for a living in the receiving waters of the Capital Regional District’s untreated sewage discharges, and have witnessed their degrading effects. Saxe Point, for example, was a vibrant and diverse marine environment in 1977, the first time I dove there. Like many other places around Victoria, it is a highly degraded shadow of its former self, changes I attribute to the CRD’s sewage discharges. The sewage discharges appear on the local seabed, reefs and even the marine life itself in the form of a fine, greyish brown sediment with a grotesque “adhesive” quality. Visible accumulations appear about 50 feet of depth and intensify the deeper you go. Vast areas of the local seabed are contaminated, particularly where the conditions are favourable for the accumulation of sediments. An example is illustrated in my diving video entitled: “CRD sewage outfall pollution in Victoria BC” posted on YouTube. " (Times Colonist)

Clallam officials hear arrearage report: Murrelet, staffing, riparian zones faulted
The marbled murrelet, riparian zones and staffing levels are the main reasons why the state Department of Natural Resources failed to sell 92 million board feet of timber that was supposed to be sold in Clallam County from 2005 to 2014, a top DNR official told the Clallam County Trust Lands Advisory Committee on Friday. The 20-member panel is gathering information to determine whether Clallam County should reclaim management of 92,525 acres of DNR-managed forest lands in the county. Kyle Blum, DNR deputy supervisor for state uplands, explained the nuances of arrearage from the agency’s point of view in a four-hour, 40-minute meeting at the county courthouse. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

UN: 2015 record year for global renewables investment 
Global investment in renewable energy hit a record US$285.9bn (£202.3bn) in 2015, beating the previous high of $278.5bn set in 2011, a study shows. The 10th Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment also showed that investment in developing nations exceeded that in developed countries. In another first, more new renewables capacity than fossil-fuel generation came online during 2015. But it warned that much more had to be done to avoid dangerous climate change. Mark Kinver reports. (BBC) See also:  We've Barely Begun to Tap the Sun’s Mighty Power  Tim McDonnell (Mother Jones)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT MON MAR 28 2016  

TODAY  NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT DURING THE  MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8  FT AT 11 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 11 SECONDS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told


Friday, March 25, 2016

3/25 Vic sewer, drone harassment, Sydney ferry, Malheur repair

2016 Poster by Sandy Haight
Columbia Bank (Tulip Festival) Photo Contest is Underway!
Photos must have been taken no earlier than March 21, 2016 or later than April 30, 2016 and be submitted under one of the following categories, each related to the Festival:
a.) Beauty of the flowers close-up
b.) Beauty of the flowers in the fields
c.) Families (photos of multiple generations encouraged)
d.) Children
For more information, click here.

SEWAGE IN THE CRD: Park would top underground plant at Clover Point                                
Clover Point wasn’t on the public’s radar during the most recent consultation process on sewage treatment options. And if everything goes according to plan for the Capital Regional District, a Clover Point facility will remain out of public view once completed. The CRD is moving ahead with a proposal for a two-plant option to meet the region’s wastewater treatment needs – with plants constructed at Clover and either McLoughlin or Macaulay points, near the location of current sewage outfalls. The Clover Point plant would be located on a 1.25-hectare parcel of land on the hillside above the current parking lot. That land was granted to the City of Victoria from the federal government in 1988 on the condition that it be used as parkland. Dan Ebenal reports. (Victoria News)

SEWAGE IN THE CRD: Esquimalt takes an uneasy second look at McLoughlin
Nearly two years ago, the citizens of Esquimalt spoke loud and clear – McLoughlin Point was not the appropriate site for the Capital Regional District’s $783-million sewage treatment plant. Esquimalt councillors were met with a standing ovation when they not only rejected the shoreline site, but unanimously slammed the door on any future proposals. Despite the closed door, the CRD put McLoughlin back on the table due to the cost and disruption of alternatives. This time, however, it’s not being considered as the sole site for a treatment plant, but part of a two-facility solution that also includes Victoria’s Clover Point and allows for a future site on the West Shore. A DND-owned section of Macaulay Point is part of the recommendation, but only as an alternative to McLoughlin. Pamela Roth reports. (Victoria News)

Drone harassment of marine mammals rising on California coast
They’re all over social media: jaw-droppingly dramatic videos and photographs of marine wildlife and scenery, images captured by cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. Some people whose equipment recorded those images, especially when the drones got too close to marine mammals, may have been breaking the law. Many marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which includes admonitions about harassment of the animals. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary includes four separate zones in which overflights by motorized aircraft aren’t allowed below 1,000 feet above the sea’s surface. Kathie Tanner reports. (Tribune News)

Sidney mayor wants passenger ferry to Gulf Islands
The mayor of a B.C. town is taking the first step toward creating a ferry that will carry foot passengers from Sidney to the Gulf Islands, because he says it will boost the town's economy. Mayor Steve Price wants to add another ferry route to Sidney, one that could make the ferry ride from the town to the Gulf Islands a 20-minute trip. "We're just about to hire a consultant to do a visioning process on our whole downtown waterfront, all the way from Port Sidney down to our fishing pier," said Price. (CBC)

$4M will be spent to repair Oregon refuge that was occupied
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will spend roughly $4 million to clean, repair and upgrade the Oregon wildlife refuge that was the site of a 41-day armed occupation by ranchers earlier this year…. Photos of the refuge shared by federal officials show that the ranchers left a mess inside the building…. In all, the standoff will cost Fish and Wildlife about $6 million, with about $2 million spent during the takeover, including the costs of moving the refuge’s 17 employees out of town for safety to live at government expense in hotels for weeks… (Associated Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT FRI MAR 25 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS
 AFTERNOON  

TODAY
 NW WIND TO 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SE TO 10 KT THIS  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 11 FT AT 13  SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 9 FT AT 13 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. A SLIGHT  CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.

TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT  AT 11 SECONDS.

SAT
 SE WIND 10 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT  11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.

SAT NIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING W 15 TO 25 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

SUN
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 9 SECONDS.

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

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

3/24 David Suzuki, climate study, BC LNG, oil trains, fish rules, Vic sewer, bird shifts, bulkheads, ECOSS, deer count

(CBC)
David Suzuki turns 80, reflects on eco-morality and mortality
David Suzuki has been passionate about the planet for decades. Now the scientist and environmental activist has turned 80, an age where in his words you enter the death zone and are compelled to speak from the heart. On March 24, 2016, CBC's The Nature of Things will pull back the curtain and get close and personal with the longtime host to speak to his dedication to defend the environment, his thoughts on the future of science and reflect on his success in life and entering what he calls "the death zone." Anna Maria Tremonti reports. (CBC)

We had all better hope these scientists are wrong about the planet’s future 
An influential group of scientists led by James Hansen, the former NASA scientist often credited with having drawn the first major attention to climate change in 1988 congressional testimony, has published a dire climate study that suggests the impact of global warming will be quicker and more catastrophic than generally envisioned. The research invokes collapsing ice sheets, violent megastorms and even the hurling of boulders by giant waves in its quest to suggest that even 2 degrees Celsius of global warming above pre-industrial levels would be far too much. Hansen has called it the most important work he has ever done. Chris Mooney reports. (Washington Post) See also: Earth’s Most Famous Climate Scientist Issues Bombshell Sea Level Warning  Eric Holthaus  reports. (Slate)

Support for B.C. LNG industry slipping: poll
Support for the B.C. Liberal government’s plan to create a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry has slipped since just after the 2013 election, an Insights West poll has found. In an online survey of 802 adults conducted this month, 43 per cent of British Columbians said they supported the provincial government’s push to expand the development and export of LNG, while 41 per cent were opposed. That’s a change from a more positive sentiment registered in an August 2013 survey, when 50 per cent supported LNG expansion and only 32 per cent were opposed. Gordon Hoekstra, reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Slow Train Coming – Crude By Rail To Northwest Refineries Still Resilient
Most of the crude by rail  (CBR) shipments to 4 refineries in Washington State are ex-North Dakota from where rail freight costs are over $10/Bbl. Bakken crude from North Dakota competes at Washington refineries with Alaska North Slope (ANS) shipped down from Valdez, AK. Back in 2012 ANS prices were more than $20/Bbl higher than Bakken crude – easily covering the rail cost. In 2016 so far the ANS premium to Bakken has averaged well below the $10/Bbl freight cost making CBR shipments uneconomic. But as we discuss today - Northwest refiners are still shipping significant volumes of crude from North Dakota. Sandy Fielden blogs. (RBN Energy)

Scientists want federal government to restore fisheries protection
Prominent scientists and environmental groups are urging the federal Liberals to hurry up and repair what they see as damage to fisheries done by the previous government…. The signatories run from the World Wildlife Fund to the B.C. Federation of Fly Fishers and include researchers such as David Schindler from the University of Alberta, whose work revealed some of the earliest evidence that the oilsands were releasing contaminants…. The letter asks Federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo to repeal changes made under the Harper Conservatives in a controversial 2012 omnibus bill. Those changes removed prohibitions against the harmful alteration, damage or destruction of any fishery. Attention was instead focused on commercial fisheries. Bob Weber reports. (Canadian Press)

B.C. backs CRD plea for more time on sewage plan
The provincial government is backing the Capital Regional District’s plea for more time to submit a detailed sewage treatment plan to the federal government. B.C. Community Minister Peter Fassbender has written federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi asking for “latitude” regarding the March 31 filing deadline. The district, which is already operating on a one-year extension, risks losing $83.4 million from federal Crown corporation PPP Canada if it fails to get more time. The district said Wednesday that it plans to ask for an extension to August of this year. Lindsay Kines reports. (Times Colonist)

Peninsula birders see shifts in populations, behavior
Nature is ever-changing and birds are no exception. Observed changes among local bird populations have been recorded for the past 40 years by members and volunteers of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society (OPAS) during the annual Christmas Bird Count. “It’s perhaps the longest running timeline study that has been done on organisms in the Sequim-Dungeness area,” Bob Boekelheide, OPAS vice president and bird count organizer, said. “There’s some very interesting data that has popped up over the years.” Among the data have emerged some noticeable trends, including a general decline in the number of seabirds, such as western grebes, white-winged scoters and common loons. Alana Linderoth reports. (Sequim Gazette)

Shoreline bulkheads impose changes on the natural ecosystem
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "t goes without saying that wood, rock or concrete bulkheads built along the shoreline are not natural. They certainly don’t look like any structure formed by nature. And when the water is pushing up against them, waves bounce around and splash back instead of rolling up on shore. I have never had any trouble understanding some of the problems caused by bulkheads…."

Halibut season trimmed to eight days
Anglers will get fewer days this year to fish for halibut in waters around Whidbey Island. The recreational halibut season in Puget Sound waters bordering the island will be reduced to eight days from 11 days last year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced in a news release Wednesday. May 7 is the first day anglers may fish for halibut in Puget Sound in Marine Areas 5-10, which includes the waters around Whidbey and San Juan islands. (Whidbey News Times)

Environmental Coalition of South Seattle announces new executive director
Since 1994, Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS) has engaged businesses and communities with sustainable solutions on environmental issues. A frequent partner with state, county, and city governments on programs addressing stormwater pollution prevention and waste reduction, ECOSS works throughout the region with diverse communities, cultures, and businesses to overcome technical, language, and cultural obstacles that stand between people and a healthy environment…. ECOSS recently announced West Seattle resident Cluny McCaffrey as its new executive director. McCaffrey has a nonprofit career spanning more than 20 years specializing in environment, communications, program management, and operations. (International Examiner)

Port Townsend community group plans deer count in April; organizational meeting set for next week
After years of uncertainty about the size of Port Townsend’s resident deer population, an improvised community group aims to count them. The census will take place from 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. April 2, with an organizational meeting planned for 7 p.m. this coming Wednesday in the Marine Science Center’s Natural History Exhibit at Fort Worden State Park. “We’re just really curious. A lot of people say there are too many of them,” organizer Sue Lane said. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  235 AM PDT THU MAR 24 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 

TODAY
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 13 FT AT  16 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 15 FT AT 15 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.  SHOWERS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 15 FT AT 15 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 13 FT AT 14  SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...THEN SHOWERS  LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

3/23 Oso slide, BC LNG, Canada budget, pumpouts, gray whales

(PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Let’s Make this Right a Reality
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Water takes many shapes, and it’s in constant motion around our earth: evaporating from the ocean, rising up to form clouds, falling as precipitation, seeping down through the earth to feed our wells, or remaining on the surface to form snow and ice and fill our wetlands, lakes and rivers. Whether as groundwater or surface water, it eventually it makes it back to the ocean, and the whole cycle begins again. Today [3/22] is World Water Day: a reminder to be grateful for such an elegant – and absolutely essential – transport system, provided to us free of charge by Mother Nature…."

What we've learned from the deadly Oso, Washington landslide two years on
Joseph Wartman writes: "On March 22, 2014, a hillside above Oso, Washington collapsed, unleashing a torrent of mud and debris that buried the community of Steelhead Haven. Forty-three people lost their lives, making it one of the single deadliest landslide disasters in U.S. history. Over the past two years, we've learned much about the specific geology of the Stillaguamish River Valley where Oso is located, and the weather that preceded this landslide. One study I co-led identified geologic factors such as weak, saturated ground that made the Oso hillside highly susceptible to landslides. Another investigation found that large landslides similar to the one in Oso occur with surprising frequency in the region – on average, every 140 years, just a flash in recent geologic time…." (The Conversation)

Japan warns LNG delay could mean losing Asian market
The Japanese ambassador is warning the federal government that delays in a major LNG plant near Prince Rupert could cost Canada a rare opportunity. Ambassador Kenjiro Monji sent a letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency after the federal government announced Monday it would delay a final decision on the Pacific NorthWest LNG Ltd. project by three months.  Japan is part of the proposal to build the $36-billion facility near Prince Rupert, partly as a potential market for liquefied natural gas. Monji said in his letter Canada could wait another decade before it finds the same access to Asian buyers, unless it acts quickly to develop and export the product. (CBC)

Ottawa forecasts $29.4B deficit — with lots more red ink to come
The Liberal government unveiled its first federal budget on Tuesday, an outline of the new government's spending projections that's awash in big plans — and big deficits. Ottawa plans to spend almost $30 billion more than it takes in this coming fiscal year, a big jump from the $5.6-billion deficit for the current year straddling the previous Tory and current Liberal governments. The red ink flows from there, to $29 billion the following year, then $22.8 billion and $17.7 billion in 2019-20, the next scheduled federal election year. Pete Evans reports. (CBC News)

All pumped up: Boaters set new record for protecting Puget Sound
More than 8.3 million gallons of raw sewage that would otherwise have been dumped into vulnerable waterways was diverted from Puget Sound in 2015 for safe onshore treatment with the help of Pumpout Washington. A joint project of Washington Sea Grant (WSG) and Washington State Parks, Pumpout Washington helped to divert 6 million gallons of raw sewage in 2014, and has a goal to divert 10 million gallons of sewage in 2016. The Pumpout Washington project is managed by Port Townsend–based Aaron Barnett, a boating specialist for WSG. (Port Townsend Leader)

Gray whale season set to begin
The “Saratoga” or North Puget Sound Gray whales return to Saratoga Passage and Possession Sound each spring, for their annual three-month feeding foray in North Puget Sound. In greater Puget Sound, we see approximately 12 to 50 grays per year, and along the Pacific Coast a population of 250 Gray Whales known as the Pacific Northwest feeding aggregation lives.  These whales can be found along the coast of Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The whales are identified by the markings on the underside of their flukes, as well as by the patterns of barnacles, scars, and markings on their backs. (Whidbey News Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  303 AM PDT WED MAR 23 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING
 THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN THE MORNING...  THEN RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 S WIND 20 TO 30 KT...BECOMING W 15 TO 25 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 TO 4 FT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 10 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN  SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

3/22 Fuel spill, eelgrass, sea lion 'massacre,' BC LNG, tug losses, salmon season, Tacoma gas, sewage spill

Elwha 3/18/16 (Tom Roorda/Coastal Watershed Institute)
Elwha Nearshore March 18, 2016
Anne Shaffer writes: "What do these photos mean ecologically? The estuary has grown by approximately 80 acres since dam removal began four and a half or so years or so ago-the size changes with the season and hydrodynamic conditions. Chum are well into their annual emergence (they started in December) and are now in the estuary for the next few months. Thru our decade of sampling we've documented that chum fry consistently arrive in the Elwha estuary six weeks or so earlier than previously thought…."

Marina fire might have triggered largest fuel spill in sound in years
Sunday's marina fire triggered the largest fuel spill to hit Puget Sound in years. State Department of Ecology officials say the five burned and sunken boats might release 2,000 gallons of oil, gasoline and diesel before their leaking hulls can be secured. By Monday afternoon, an oily sheen had spread beyond the Port Orchard waterfront and into the middle of Sinclair Inlet. "It's possible that fuel is still being released, but we can't get to (the boats) because of all the fire debris," Ecology spokesman Larry Altose said Monday. "It's trending to be one of the largest spills we've had in recent years." Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

DNR study sees seagrass recovering in Puget Sound
Critical eelgrass beds are showing signs of recovering in parts of Puget Sound, including Hood Canal, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. A new DNR report found sites with increased eelgrass outnumbered sites with declining eelgrass between 2010 and 2014. The rebound was most pronounced in lower Hood Canal. Seagrasses provide nearshore nursery grounds and shelter for many species, including salmon. They also serve as an indicator of the overall health of Washington’s saltwater environment. (The Olympian)

‘Marine mammal massacre’ ends sea lions’ invasion of salmon pen
In a highly unusual event, 15 sea lions were shot and killed at a fish farm in Clayoquot Sound after a pack of the large mammals broke into salmon pens and couldn’t be scared away. The incident has been described as “a marine mammal massacre” by environmentalists who want the farm shut down, but a spokesman for Cermaq Canada Ltd. said it hasn’t experienced anything like the sea lion invasion before, and steps have been taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

Lax Kw’alaam Band gives green light to Pacific NorthWest – with conditions
The Lax Kw’alaam Band, which threatened to block the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, now says it is willing to support the development – so long as the federal government establishes a committee that includes the First Nations community and enforces environmental standards. The Lax Kw’alaam position could remove a key roadblock to what would be British Columbia’s first liquefied natural gas export project, given that the band had previously filed a legal challenge claiming ownership of Lelu Island, where the terminal would be constructed. Shawn McCarthy reports. (Globe and Mail)

Canadian Tug Losses Increasing
The Canadian west coast is very dependent on tug and barge transportation, and it has witnessed a significant increase in tug boat losses in 2015.  Proportionately, year on year, 2015 is remarkably high as six tugs have sunk, in nine incidents involving the vessels. In 2014, only two tugs sank out of 11 incidents; and in 2013, only two out of 15 incidents; and finally in 2012, only one out of 12.  This is very surprising, says Mariella Dauphinee, a marine claims manager for Intact Insurance Company, Canada, and International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) loss prevention committee member. “To quote Captain Phillip Nelson, President of the Council of Marine Mariners, ‘these boats, they just don’t sink, they shouldn’t sink.’” (Maritime Executive)

Sport fishing advocates clear the air on salmon season setting process that will include summer and fall fisheries
Rumors have been swirling through tidal pool of the sport salmon fishing season setting process that this will be a summer of no fisheries, which is totally untrue and 10 groups who represent the sport fishing industry wanted to voice their side of the story. The groups include Puget Sound Anglers; Charterboat Association of Puget Sound; Northwest Marine Trade Association; Coastal Conservation Association; Three Rivers Marine, Inc.; Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club; Snohomish Sportsmens Association, Inc.; The Outdoor Line; John’s Sporting Goods; and Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. (Mark Yuasa reports.)

Need an Environmental Expert? Ask the Person Living in That Environment
…. “Our People, Our Planet, Our Power” is rooted in climate justice, a movement that connects the threat of climate change with racial and economic inequity. Because of that, it draws heavily on interviews, roundtables and workshops with 175 community members primarily from south Seattle and south King County — two of the area’s lowest-income and most racially and ethnically diverse communities — to document their greatest environmental concerns and priorities. “We have a value that our community are the experts,” says Jill Mangaliman, Got Green executive director. “We’re so used to researchers and policymakers coming to us and telling what the issues are. We’re making sure our people are at the table directing and driving the work.” Rebecca SaldaƱa, Puget Sound Sage executive director, puts an even finer point on it: “The mainstream environmental movement fails to engage people of color and represent people of color in their issues. People of color communities do care about the environment and climate change, but define it differently than the mainstream environmental movement.” Josh Cohen reports. (NextCity.Org)

With methanol on pause, new attention turns to PSE’s natural gas proposal 
Six months ago, the second most controversial project at the Port of Tacoma looked like it had a clear path to construction. By 2018, Puget Sound Energy thought it’d be moving natural gas to ships passing through the port and storing some fuel there for homes around the region. Now — even with backing from a wide swath of business, labor and left-leaning politicians — PSE’s proposed liquid natural gas terminal no longer looks like a sure thing. Adam Ashton reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Second sewage spill reported from Bangor 
A second sewage spill in less than a week has fouled the waters near Bangor. The Kitsap Public Health District extended a no-contact advisory for the area of Hood Canal near Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor after about 2,500 gallons of sewage spilled from the base Monday morning. People are advised to stay away from the water near the base until Thursday. The spill comes four days after 2,800 gallons of sewage poured into the canal from the base. The cause of Thursday's spill has not been released. It was first reported to health officials Friday. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Squamish Woodfibre LNG project opponents angry over federal environmental approval
An environmental group fighting the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant near Squamish says it's disappointed with the latest thumbs-up for the project.  On Friday federal Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna approved an environmental assessment done by the province on behalf of both levels of government, subject to certain conditions. McKenna called the environmental assessment "thorough and science-based,"and said the LNG plant is unlikely to cause significant harm. The decision includes a list of legally-binding conditions the company building the plant must meet, including mitigating impact on fish habitat and implementing noise and air emission reduction measures. But the members of the group My Sea to Sky say they feel "snubbed" by the approval. (CBC)

State seeks public comment on Pierce County’s shoreline plan
The state Department of Ecology wants to hear from the public before it decides whether to approve Pierce County’s draft shoreline master program or request changes. An open house is planned March 30 at Pacific Lutheran University at 5 p.m. A public hearing on the plan starts 6:30 p.m. at Chris Knutzen Hall, 12180 Park Ave. S. The shoreline document governs how the county manages its 700 miles of shoreline, including Puget Sound, lakes and rivers and associated wetlands. Brynn Grimley reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  257 AM PDT TUE MAR 22 2016  

TODAY
 S WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 13 SECONDS. SCATTERED  SHOWERS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE  EVENING...THEN A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

3/21 Mussel test, xylene, BC LNG, Roberts Bank algae, toxic jewelry, farm fish, sewage dog, steelhead, Vic sewer

Eastern towhee (Mark Peck/BirdNote)
Celebrating the Vernal Equinox
The vernal equinox, the first day of spring. The moment when the sun is directly above the equator, and day and night are nearly equal all over the world. Yet birds sense the growing hours of daylight through a surge of hormones. It’s time to sing! Both science and folklore tie spring to the renewal of nature, as the world awakens from the long cold winter. (BirdNote)

Mussels help researchers track toxins in Puget Sound
A group of University of Washington students spent Friday morning shucking mussels at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's lab in Olympia. They had thousands of mussels to shuck for their study on contaminants in Puget Sound, so volunteer groups are helping out until the work is complete. Once removed from the shell, the soft tissue is blended and homogenized, then sent for testing to see what toxic contaminants stormwater is leeching into Puget Sound. The mussels were planted at more than 60 locations around the sound and left for three months. Mussels are good indicators of contaminants in water systems because they are filter feeders. The contaminants in their food remain in their soft tissue for several months. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Skagit County requiring environmental review of Tesoro xylene project
Skagit County will require an environmental review for the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery’s proposed $400 million xylene project. The review, called an environmental impact statement, determines what impact the project will have on the environment and what steps can be taken to mitigate those impacts…. he project involves multiple additions to the refinery. The most notable is a unit that can extract xylene from crude oil, which will allow the refinery to expand its product line. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Fish habitat worries stalls approval of B.C.'s Pacific NorthWest LNG project
A federal review of the $12-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG facility in northwest B.C. has been granted a three-month extension. It further delays an already-drawn out decision on a major energy transportation project meant to open up new markets for natural gas in Asia. The extension was granted by federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna at the request of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency which has continuing concerns about the project’s effect on fish habitat. A key concern from First Nations, environmentalists, and area residents has been the potential harm the project could have on eelgrass beds on Flora Bank, adjacent to Lelu Island, the proposed location of the terminal. The eelgrass beds are considered prime habitat for juvenile salmon. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Squamish Woodfibre LNG project gets federal environmental approval
The federal minister of environment and climate change has approved the environmental assessment of a controversial LNG project near Squamish, B.C. The Squamish mayor and residents of the coastal town have repeatedly voiced their concerns and opposition to the proposed Woodfibre LNG project, which is expected to produce and export up to 2.1 million tonnes of LNG per year. (CBC)

Natural gas industry could dwindle without LNG facilities
…. Historically, the United States has been the main buyer of Canada's oil, natural gas, propane and other petroleum goods. In the last five years, this relationship, symbiotic for so long, has seen profound changes as commodity prices have fallen and U.S. production has undergone a dramatic reversal of fortune because of the emergence of prolific shale oil and gas plays. Kyle Bakx reports. (CBC News)

Tiny algae could block Metro Vancouver’s Roberts Bank container expansion
The annual spring bloom of microscopic algae coinciding with the migration of hundreds of thousands of western sandpipers could pose a roadblock for Port Metro Vancouver’s planned $2-billion expansion at Roberts Bank in South Delta. Bob Elner, an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University and emeritus scientist with Environment Canada, describes the discovery of the diatom bloom as the “most important science” of his career. The “precautionary principle” should apply to port plans to ensure development does not alter the specific conditions that make Roberts Bank so productive for the sandpipers, he said. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C.’s most endangered rivers include the Seymour and Fraser
The Seymour River in North Vancouver topped the most endangered waterways list for the Lower Mainland, as a result of a December 2014 rockslide that blocked the return of early coho and summer steelhead stocks, according to the most recent survey by the Outdoor Recreation Council. The river shared the distinction with the Lower Fraser River, which placed high on the list due to pressures from urbanization and industrial development such as port expansions and a proposed bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel. Recent studies have indicated that aboriginal fish catches could diminish by up to 50 per cent by 2050 in the Fraser as marine species move up the coast in search of cooler waters. Kelly Sinoski reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Packaged with girls’ dresses, jewelry tested off charts for toxics
One necklace for young girls was more than 98 percent cadmium. Another was more than 5 percent lead. With Easter and the first day of spring around the corner, pretty dresses are flying out of the stores and piling up in online shopping carts. But tests by the state Department of Ecology show chances are dangerously high that some of those dresses are adorned with jewelry loaded with toxic metals. Of 27 pieces of jewelry packaged with dresses that Ecology randomly purchased last October and tested, five had extraordinarily high levels of cadmium and lead. Ecology purchased the dresses both in brick-and-mortar stores, and online. The dresses are marketed specifically to parents of young children — the very group at the greatest exposure risk, either from swallowing the jewelry, mouthing it or frequent hand-to-mouth contact. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Nutritional value of fish may be reduced by farming, study finds
About half of the seafood people consume around the globe now comes from farms, but efforts to make fish a sustainable food source by raising it in a tank instead of letting it grow wild may mean it’s losing its main nutritional selling point. Omega-3 fatty acids found naturally in fish have been shown to improve cardiovascular health and possibly are staving off other maladies such as cancer. Levels of the fats, however, likely are being altered by a shift at the farms from feed made from fish meal and oil to plant-based feed, according to an analysis by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers. Meredith Cohn reports. (Baltimore Sun)

Canine sniffs out sewage in the Samish River watershed
With the sun shining and the air crisp, Thursday morning was a great time to walk a dog. For Crush, an illicit discharge detection and elimination animal, the walk along Skagit County streets was business. Crush can sniff out fecal matter and tell the difference between human and animal sources. Fecal pollution has been a problem in the Samish River for several years, leading to occasional shellfish harvest closures in Samish Bay. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Ocean acidification putting marine life at risk, study finds 
A new study, based on the most extensive set of measurements ever made in tide pools, suggests that ocean acidification will increasingly put many marine organisms at risk by exacerbating normal changes in ocean chemistry that occur overnight. Conducted along California’s rocky coastline, the study shows that the most vulnerable organisms are likely to be those with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons…. Kristy Kroeker, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is a coauthor of the new study, published Friday in Scientific Reports. (Tribune News Service)

Ecology proposes changing boatyard regulations
The state Department of Ecology is updating the water quality permit that requires boatyards to control toxic stormwater and wastewater discharges…. The work done at boatyards to repair and maintain boats, such as pressure washing, painting, engine repair, welding and grinding, can release chemicals such as copper, lead and zinc, according to an Ecology news release. If those chemicals get into waterways, they can harm aquatic life. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Fishery managers get creative on how to shape summer fishing seasons despite poor wild coho runs
The wild coho forecasts are way down this year mainly along the coast and inner-Puget Sound, but it appears fishery managers are hard at work trying to create salmon fishing seasons for healthy hatchery chinook and coho returns as well as other species like sockeye and chum. The federal agency developed three options for ocean salmon fishing seasons this past week, and include a high option of 58,600 chinook and 37,800 coho; middle option of 30,000 chinook and 14,700 coho; and a no fishing option. It is unlikely that the no fishing option will be issued this summer based on the strong hatchery salmon returns. Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

Steelhead plans unfolding at federal, state and local levels
Developments continue to be made regarding Puget Sound steelhead management, which could influence whether a hatchery program reopens on the Skagit River….The state Department of Fish & Wildlife announced Thursday that it selected a river in the Columbia River watershed to use as a wild steelhead gene bank…. The Skagit and Sauk rivers are among those being considered. If the Skagit River is designated as a wild steelhead gene bank, it would prohibit steelhead hatchery operations indefinitely. Fish & Wildlife spokesman Craig Bartlett said the agency plans to announce the remaining gene bank selections by the end of March. Gene banks, also known as wild fish management zones, allow wild fish populations to recover without interference from hatchery fish. Wild Puget Sound steelhead, including the Skagit River population, were listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2007. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Black Press reports on Sewage In The CRD in a series of articles: Tackling the treatment issuePressure on to find a solution, Halifax's $330 million sewage solution

Stream restoration near Lake Stevens teaches the importance of salmon habitat
As president of the National Junior Honor Society at Olympic View Middle School, Maya Green needs to complete 20 hours of community service. By 11 a.m. Saturday, she was starting her 21st hour. Green, 14, of Mukilteo, was in the work party at Catherine Creek in Lake Stevens. She and her classmates joined volunteers from the Adopt A Stream Foundation in planting more than 500 native spruce, cedar, fir and shrub saplings in the watershed near Grade Road. Rikki King reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  224 AM PDT MON MAR 21 2016  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT  AT 15 SECONDS. SHOWERS. A CHANCE OF AFTERNOON TSTMS.

TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 14 SECONDS. SHOWERS AND A  CHANCE OF TSTMS IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AFTER  MIDNIGHT.

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