Tuesday, August 30, 2016

8/30 Sixgill shark, Fidalgo Bay, Belfair sewer, 'perfect' wave, hot rivers, derelict boats

Bluntnose sixgill shark (SeaDoc Society/San Juan Journal)
Shark washes ashore on Jones Island
Out on the water responding to a call about a harbor seal pup for the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, SeaDoc received an alert that a much different kind of critter had washed up at Jones Island State Park. It turned out to be a bluntnose sixgill (Hexanchus griseus), a fascinating species of shark that can grow to over 15-feet long and weigh 1,500 pounds, making it one of the world's largest carnivorous sharks and the Salish Sea's equivalent of a great white (though thankfully not as bitey, with no known unprovoked attacks on humans). This nine-foot female was dead, but still of great interest to local fish expert Dr. Adam Summers, so SeaDoc staff hauled her aboard their boat, the Molly B., and delivered her to Friday Harbor Labs for a necropsy. (SeaDoc Society)

Group is keeping an eye on Fidalgo Bay
The shimmering waters of Fidalgo Bay have a history of being subject to pollution. But a story of restoration is emerging, and it’s no simple task to ensure that trend continues. The Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee, a group of locals that calls itself “the eyes on the bay,” is doing just that for the bay that is bordered by the city of Anacortes, a section of Highway 20 and March Point. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Struggles continue for Belfair sewer
The 4-year-old Belfair Wastewater and Water Reclamation Facility needs several emergency repairs, does not comply with state discharge standards and operates on a daily basis with less than half the amount of flow needed for the plant to operate efficiently. Mason County Public Works Director Jerry Hauth shared the grim state of the Belfair sewer plant with county board of commissioners, but it has not decided how to move forward with permanent solutions. Arla Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Surfers And Scientists Team Up To Create The 'Perfect Wave'
Forget Hawaii or Fiji. The spot that's really got surfers talking these days is a secluded pond more than 100 miles from the ocean, in California's Central Valley. "It's just an amazing, amazing wave," says Robert "Wingnut" Weaver, a longboarder from Santa Cruz, Calif., and one of just a handful of surfers who have ridden the wave. "It's mind-blowing." But it's not natural. A machine generates these breakers in an experimental wave pool south of Fresno, in Lemoore, Calif. And, unlike natural waves, this one has an owner: the Kelly Slater Wave Co., which plans to market its wave-making technology around the world. Jon Hamilton reports. (NPR)

High water temperatures cause B.C. government to close some rivers to fishing
High temperatures have caused the B.C. government to shut down fishing on the Nicola and Coldwater Rivers, as well as Spius Creek. The government says the temporary closure is intended to help protect steelhead and other trout. (Canadian Press)

Victoria on track for fall removal of derelict boats from Gorge
Not a single boat owner has moved out of the Gorge Waterway, more than a month after City of Victoria staff passed out notices asking them to leave. Staff began contacting boat owners in mid-June, asking them to move their vessels by July 18. About 25 vessels and four floating wharves remain in the waterway…. The city will continue communicating with boat owners, but is moving forward with plans to remove the vessels through a court injunction this fall. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  833 AM PDT TUE AUG 30 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT  8 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN A CHANCE  OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 N WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 4 FT AT 6 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN THE  EVENING...THEN RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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

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Monday, August 29, 2016

8/29 Pelicans, Elwha beach, Camano beach, fuel cleanup, train protest, Fraser sturgeon, tribal rights, BC trees, Navy pier, mussels

White pelicans on Padilla Bay (Katie Campbell/EarthFix)
Puget Sound Has New Climate Refugees. They’re Pelicans.
American white pelicans are conspicuous birds. With their long orange bills and their nine-foot wingspan, they stand out, even at a distance. Sue Ehler easily spots a squadron of them through her binoculars from over a mile away, coming in for a landing on Puget Sound’s Padilla Bay. “They’ve got that pure white. It just shines like a bright light out there. More than the other white birds,” Ehler says.  Katie Campbell reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Eroded Elwha River beach transformed after armoring removed
It didn’t take long for a half-mile section of eroded beach to be transformed after derelict armor was removed east of the Elwha River mouth. In one tidal cycle, parts of the sediment-starved, coarse-cobble shoreline were covered by 6 feet to 10 feet of sand as the Beach Lake Acquisition and Restoration project was put into motion last weekend. “It was an incredible beach transformation, literally overnight,” said Jamie Michel, nearshore biologist with the Coastal Watershed Institute and project manager. Nearly 3,000 cubic yards of riprap and concrete slab were removed from the shore as part of a $2 million, multi-agency effort to restore the beach and coastal wetlands for fish and wildlife habitat. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Nature lovers scramble to save wild beach on Camano Island
A group of nature lovers north of Seattle is scrambling to pull off a rare feat in the densely populated Puget Sound region: creation of an expansive, new waterfront park. If the Whidbey Camano Land Trust succeeds in its mission, nearly 130 acres of privately held forest, bluffs and beach will be open to the public for the first time since settlers acquired the property in the early 1900s…. The future park would include more than 2.5 miles of forested trails and a mile-long stretch of wild beach. Mount Baker dominates the horizon to the north, while the view to the east takes in the broad expanse of Port Susan Bay, where the Stillaguamish River spills into the Sound. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Cleanup set to start on fuel terminal property near Edmonds
Cleanup work is expected to begin this fall on property formerly used as a fuel terminal near the waterfront. The bulk fuel terminal was operated from 1923 to 1991 by Unocal, now a subsidiary of Chevron Corp. The property is adjacent to a fish hatchery, Willow Creek and the Edmonds Marsh. Two areas on a 22-acre site are contaminated by petroleum products. The first part of the cleanup, expected to begin later in the fall or winter, involves removal and treatment of petroleum-contaminated water, according to Larry Altose, a spokesman for the state Department of Ecology. Sharon Salyer reports. (Everett Herald)

Protesters on railway trestle in Chuckanut Bay stop trains for nearly 11 hours
Trains were delayed for nearly 11 hours between Saturday afternoon, Aug. 27, and early Sunday morning when three protesters blocked the tracks on a trestle in Chuckanut Bay. The delays began around 4:30 p.m. when a man used three 20-foot-long poles to erect a tripod on the trestle in the path of a northbound BNSF Railway freight train, said Gus Melonas, a BNSF spokesman based in Seattle. Kyle Mittan reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Fraser River sturgeon fishery: Study says fish get stressed
A new international study is raising serious questions about a lucrative catch-and-release sport fishery for threatened white sturgeon in the lower Fraser River. The Canadian-led study, published in the online journal Conservation Physiology, simulated fishing conditions using 24 wild-but-captive sturgeon in winter and 24 in summer at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility in Longview, Wash. The results found that sturgeon suffered wide-ranging physiological stress and some even died during the experiment. Researchers noted that actual fishing conditions could be worse due to warmer summers in the lower Fraser River and the potential for some large sturgeon to be played for more than two hours before being reeled in. The study called for further research and raised the spectre of fishing restrictions in summer, at a minimum, when sturgeon are most vulnerable to catch-and-release fishing. It also suggested that there is little science to support catch-and-release sport fishing for the species. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

How a historic court decision is driving a new wave of First Nations protests
Fish farms along British Columbia's West Coast have been at the centre of political and environmental battles for years, but this time it's a two-year-old legal decision that's behind the string of recent protests by First Nations against the industry. In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the Tsilhqot'in First Nation — and in turn all other First Nations in Canada — can have aboriginal title to lands outside of native reserves. At the time, experts predicted that unless First Nations got a greater say in how their traditional territories were being used, B.C. would soon be awash in new protests and new legal cases.  Now, two years later, those predictions appear to be coming true. Richard Zussman reports. (CBC)

Millions of trees on the way for ravaged B.C. forests, according to new climate plan
The B.C. Climate Leadership Plan was met with lukewarm reviews last week, but the province's reforestation industry sees the potential for a major surge in tree planting operations. To meet carbon reduction goals, the province has called for 300,000 hectares of forests damaged by wildfire and pine beetle be rehabilitated over the next five years in order to turn the forests back into a carbon sink. It's titled the Forest Carbon Initiative. While the overall Climate Leadership Plan was panned by environmentalists who don't believe it will lead to any meaningful reduction in GHGs, for many members of the province's forestry sector, the commitment stands out. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Study One Of First To Document Ecological Consequences Of Amphetamine Pollution In Urban Streams
Pharmaceutical and illicit drugs are present in streams in Baltimore, Maryland. At some sites, amphetamine concentrations are high enough to alter the base of the aquatic food web. So reports a new study released today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, which is one of the first to explore the ecological consequences of stimulant pollution in urban streams. (Columbia Basin Bulletin)

Navy making strides with Port Angeles Harbor pier plans
A pier and support facilities for Naval Base Kitsap submarine escort vessels will jut into Port Angeles Harbor from Ediz Hook at U.S. Coast Guard Group/Air Station Port Angeles within the next 18 months. A contract for the 22,303-square-foot trestle and floating pier is expected to be awarded Tuesday, naval base spokesman Jake Chappelle said Thursday in an email. Congress has approved $20.6 million for 2016 for the project as part of the naval base’s Transportation Protection System (TPS) for ballistic-missile submarines plying the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the base on Hood Canal. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Mussels disappearing from New England waters, scientists say
New England is running out of mussels. The Gulf of Maine’s once strong population of wild blue mussels is disappearing, scientists say. A study led by marine ecologists at the University of California at Irvine found the numbers along the gulf coastline have declined by more than 60 percent over the last 40 years. Once covering as much as two-thirds of the gulf’s intertidal zone, mussels now cover less than 15 percent. “It would be like losing a forest,” said biologist Cascade Sorte, who with her colleagues at the university conducted the study and recently published their findings in the Global Change Biology journal. Patrick Whittle reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  845 AM PDT MON AUG 29 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT  AT 14 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4  FT AT 10 SECONDS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Friday, August 26, 2016

8/26 Heat wave, oil safety, fish farm protest, fishing rules, license hack, Padilla Bay, sturgeon, wolf kill

Record-breaking temperatures heat up Western Washington 
Enjoy it while it lasts. Temperatures are expected to cool off again this weekend. Jessica Lee reports. (Seattle Times)

New oil reporting rule to improve safety
Starting Oct. 1, facilities that receive shipments of crude oil and pipelines that deliver crude oil will be required to notify the state Department of Ecology of anticipated oil transport, which the state can pass on to emergency responders along oil train and pipeline routes. The rule will apply to four of the state’s five refineries, including the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery at March Point, said Ecology oil notification rule writer Jase Brooks.   It will also apply to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline and BP Olympic Pipeline, both of which pass through Skagit County. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

RCMP arrest four Indigenous protesters for fish farm demonstration
Four members of the Yaakswiis Warriors — whose members are part of the Ahousaht First Nation — were arrested this week after protesting a fish farm operation north of Tofino. "We were protecting our water and our land," said Lennie John, who drove up to the Dixon Bay fish farm — operated by the Cermaq Group — in a "tin can boat."… John and the other three protesters were arrested and later released on August 23, a day after the protest. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

State seeks input on Puget Sound, coastal fishing rules 
State fishery managers are holding three public meetings Aug. 29-31 to hear public comments on 2017 sportfishing rules for Puget Sound and the Washington coast. Comments can also be made online at wdfw.wa.gov through Oct. 28. After receiving 66 proposals, 11 have been advanced for additional review. State officials are seeking input on proposals that would:

  • Require fishing vessels to carry a descending device when fishing for bottom fish or halibut in areas east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line. The devices are used to return rockfish to deep water, reducing the number of rockfish deaths due to barotrauma, which occurs when rockfish are brought to the surface quickly. (Olympian)

Cyber Hack Shuts Down Hunting, Fishing License Sales In 3 Northwest States
Online fishing and hunting license sales have now been suspended in Washington, Oregon and Idaho following a hacking incident. A Washington state official says some 7 million records across the three states were compromised, but the information was not terribly sensitive. The hack involves a third-party vendor called Active Network Outdoors which calls itself the leading provider of licensing systems to the states. The company has not responded to multiple requests for comment. But Michael Cockrill, Washington’s Chief Information Officer, said the company is cooperating with an investigation that includes the FBI. Cockrill said the information that was compromised includes what you’d find on your driver’s license -- but not full social security or credit card numbers -- suggesting the hacker may have just been showing off. Austin Jenkins reports. (KPLU)

Team spends 24 hours collecting data in Padilla Bay
Scientists sometimes go to great lengths for their research. A team from the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve recently spent more than 24 hours confined to the 22-foot Edna B research vessel, afloat in the bay and packed with water sampling equipment. Team members collected water samples every two hours, gathering data that will help document changes in the bay as the climate warms and oceans become more acidic. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Massive 'Pig Nose' white sturgeon caught near Lillooet
A young fishing guide based in Lillooet is enjoying some extra attention after he and some friends reeled in a huge white sturgeon known as Pig Nose this week. It happened late on Tuesday on the Fraser River near Lillooet after a long day without much to show for it. Rafferty BakerREPORTS. (CBC)

Profanity Peak wolf pack in state’s gun sights after rancher turns out cattle on den
For the second time in four years, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife is exterminating a wolf pack to protect Len McIrvin’s cattle — this time, a WSU researcher says, after the rancher turned his animals out right on top of the Profanity Peak pack’s den. Robert Wielgus, director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University, has radio-collared 700 cattle and dozens of wolves, including animals in the Profanity Peak pack, as part of his ongoing study of conflicts between wolves and livestock in Washington. He also camera-monitors the Profanity Peak pack’s den. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  250 AM PDT FRI AUG 26 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING SW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W  SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SAT
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 7 SECONDS.
SUN
 LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT  7 SECONDS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

8/25 Parks centennial, J14, Vic sewer, clean water, ferry food, wolf kill

Tahoma
Happy 100th birthday, national parks! Where to go for Washington's outdoor playgrounds
For the National Park Service’s centennial, here are ideas for anyone to enjoy Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades national parks. Terry Wood reports. (seattle Times)

Editor’s note: Yesterday’s photo of the Elwha nearshore 8/20/16 should have been correctly credited as follows: “Dave Parks AND the COASTAL WATERSHED INSTITUTE (CWI).”

One orca is missing and presumed dead; another reported as ‘super-gaunt’
J-14, a 42-year-old female named Samish, has gone missing and is presumed dead, while J-28, a 23-year-old orca mom named Polaris, may living out her final days. “Things are shaping up to be pretty bad,” said Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research, who keeps tabs on the orca population. “J-28 is looking super-gaunt, and I would say she is within days of her death.” Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

McLoughlin Point, Rock Bay on sewage treatment site short list
McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt and Victoria’s Rock Bay have been shortlisted as potential locations for a new sewage treatment plant in the capital region. The independent panel overseeing the project released an interim report Wednesday that presents three options: • A single plant at McLoughlin Point; • A single plant at Rock Bay; • Two smaller plants — one at Rock Bay and the other at McLoughlin Point. The report by the Core Area Waste Water Treatment Project Board said the estimated project costs range from $750 million to $1.1 billion. Lindsay Kines reports. (Times Colonist)

Clean water vs. the cost of clean water
The state is about to get new standards for water quality calibrated in part on how much fish we eat. The question is which version? Will it be those chiseled out by the state’s Department of Ecology through four years of dispute and debate? Or will it be ones hammered together by the federal Environmental Protection Agency under the imperative of a court order? Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee opened the door for federal intervention July 31, 2015, when he scrapped a major rewrite of the state’s clean water rules drafted by department staff. Tribal leaders and environmentalists, many of whom are longtime political allies of Inslee, castigated those proposed rules as too weak. Inslee directed the agency to try again. It did. Inslee endorsed the revamped language and gave the go-ahead for Ecology Secretary Maia Bellon to submit the proposed rules to the feds. She did so Aug. 1. At that point, EPA officials had 60 days to accept the rules or 90 days to reject them and put theirs in place. On a calendar, that means decisions are due by Sept. 30 and Oct. 30 respectively. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

Bremerton ferry food vendor won’t take contract fight to state Supreme Court
The family-owned Bremerton company that sells food aboard Washington ferries will not pursue further legal action aimed at preventing a Connecticut-based catering group from replacing them. The multinational corporation Centerplate outbid Olympic Cascade Services earlier this year for a new vendor contract with the state. Olympic Cascade sued to stop the switch, arguing that the bidding process was unfair. The local company paid the state just shy of $1 million to sell on the ferry system last year, according to the state Department of Transportation. On Wednesday, Olympic Cascade chose not to appeal to the Washington State Supreme Court after a panel of judges on Washington’s Court of Appeals declined Monday to extend an earlier court-ordered injunction barring Washington State Ferries from closing a deal with Centerplate. Walker Orenstein reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Washington To Exterminate Nearly 20 Percent Of State’s Wolf Population
Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to kill an entire wolf pack in the northeast corner of the state. The decision comes after at least 12 cattle were killed in the area. Fish and Wildlife officials have confirmed seven of the 12 dead cows were killed by wolves. It’s likely that the remaining five were as well. The cattle graze on federal land between Kettle Falls and Republic, Washington, in the summer. After six calves and two cows were found dead, the state shot two female wolves from a helicopter. But on August 19, four more dead cattle were discovered.  Emily Schwing reports. (KPLU)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  853 AM PDT THU AUG 25 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT  8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 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 at 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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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

8/24 Totem pole, barge overturns, seal escape, Padilla Bay upgrade, ferry food

Elwha nearshore 8/20/16 (Dave Parks/Coastal Watershed Institute)
Lummi totem pole honors fight against oil, coal industries
Some 100 local environmental activists, Lummi Nation members and others participated in a blessing ceremony Tuesday, Aug. 23, for a totem pole that honors the struggle against expansion of the oil and coal industry into tribal lands across the West…. The House of Tears totem, which depicts an eagle, bear, wolf and a tribal medicine woman, will travel by truck some 5,000 miles to locations across the northwestern U.S. and southwestern Canada to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where it will be displayed. Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Barge overturns in Salmon Bay 
A barge filled with gravel overturned Tuesday morning in  Salmon Bay, but there were no injuries. According to Seattle police and the Coast Guard, the barge was at its home port at the Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel Company in the 5200 block of Shilshole Avenue Northwest when it was reported to have overturned around 7 a.m. No one was injured, and there was no pollution damage, the Coast Guard said. Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times)

Seattle grain exporter to pay $699,000 to settle lawsuit
A Dutch corporation that exports grain from the Port of Seattle has agreed to pay $699,000 to settle allegations by an environmental group that the company violated the Clean Water Act by spilling grain into Elliott Bay. The Louis Dreyfus Co. also will modify its pier and conveyance system to prevent spills while unloading rail cars and loading vessels, according to a consent decree that must be approved by a federal judge. The settlement would be the second-largest ever won by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, which filed the citizen lawsuit in 2014. Don Jenkins reports. (Capital Press)

If you like to watch: Seal hides on tour boat to escape hungry orcas
A seal hitched a ride on a whale-watching boat off the coast of Vancouver Island to escape a pod of hungry orcas who were hunting him. Nick Templeman, who runs Campbell River Whale and Bear Excursions, was taking a tour group out for a whale-watching trip, when he stopped the boat in an area he expected to be a good spot to see transient killer whales that day. After 30 minutes of watching orcas, he noticed the whales suddenly went into their hunting mode. That's when he noticed something else: a seal, seeking safety on the back of his boat's swim grid. Jacqueline Hansen reports. (CBC)

State to upgrade Padilla Bay shellfish area
The state Department of Health is preparing to upgrade a 150-acre commercial shellfish growing area in north Padilla Bay thanks to improved water quality. The growing area, on the south side of Samish Island, has been closed November through January for several years because of high concentrations of fecal coliform bacteria found in the water during those months, said Scott Berbells, Department of Health Office of Shellfish and Water Protection growing areas supervisor. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Local ferry food vendor seeks governor’s help to stay in business
A Bremerton company that serves food on Washington ferries is imploring Gov. Jay Inslee to stop a large multinational corporation from replacing them after an unsuccessful attempt to block the switch in court. Olympic Cascade Services has been the largest vendor on state ferries since 2005, but was outbid for a new contract earlier this year by Centerplate, which caters in Washington at the Tacoma Dome and Safeco Field in Seattle. Nove Meyers, president of Olympic Cascade, maintains the bidding process with Washington State Ferries was unfair and has sued in an effort to force a redo. But a panel of judges in Washington’s Court of Appeals delivered a big blow to Olympic Cascade’s chances Monday by not continuing an injunction barring WSF from signing a contract with the Connecticut-based Centerplate. Walker Orenstein reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  858 AM PDT WED AUG 24 2016  

TODAY
 NE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 FT  AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

8/23 Forage fish, BC pipe, climate plan, BNSF fine, Lolita, vessel safety, green water

Sand lance (Photo: Collin Smith, USGS)
The secret lives of forage fish: Where do they go when we aren’t looking?
Some of the most important fish in the Salish Sea food web are also the most mysterious. Researchers have only begun to understand how many there are, where they go, and how we can preserve their populations for the future. A University of Washington researcher describes how scientists are looking into the problem. (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound)

Victoria mayor blasts Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says the risk of an oil spill on the B.C. coast from a proposed pipeline expansion should be a national concern. Helps made the remarks Monday at a public meeting on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Kinder Morgan's plan to expand an oil pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby has received conditional approval from the National Energy Board. A ministerial panel has been holding hearings to document any concerns missed by the NEB process. Helps told the panel that tourists from around the globe come to Canada's West Coast to see its coastline. An increase in tanker traffic from an expanded pipeline would pose an unacceptable risk, she said.  Megan Thomas and Jane Armstrong report. (CBC) See also: First Nations lead opposition to controversial pipeline  Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak defends provincial climate change plan
Environment Minister Mary Polak is defending the province's new climate change plan after some critics panned it for rejecting key recommendations by the province's specially appointed climate leadership team. The plan was released on Friday, and it did not include increases to the carbon tax or set emissions targets for 2030. One of the most scathing reviews came from a member of the climate leadership team that was created specifically to help guide the province on fighting climate change. In a Facebook post, environmental activist and academic Tzeporah Berman wrote that she was "disgusted" with the "pathetic" plan. (CBC)

BNSF to pay $75,000 fine for Skagit, Whatcom water quality violations
BNSF Railway has agreed to pay a $75,000 fine after reaching a settlement with the state Department of Ecology over 2015 water quality violations that occurred in Skagit and Whatcom counties. BNSF was originally fined $86,000 after creosote-treated railroad ties left at four sites between mid-2013 and early 2015 resulted in water contamination, according to Ecology. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Orca’s health issues cited in unsealed documents
Lolita, a Northwest orca whale living at Seaquarium in Miami, has suffered scrapes and other health problems, according to recently unsealed court documents that offer an unsettling look at the life of the whale captured in 1970. The documents were written by four expert witnesses who visited Seaquarium, and reviewed medical and other records, on behalf of plaintiffs who challenged the conditions of the whale’s captivity. They found that 20-foot-long Lolita has a troubled relationship with two Pacific white-sided dolphins that live with her in an oblong pool that is 80 feet across at its widest point. These dolphins scraped Lolita’s skin with their teeth more than 50 times in 2015. Through a review of the records and their own on-site observations, the plaintiff’s’ experts concluded that the dolphins – rather than being best buddies with Lolita – are often at odds with the whale. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Lessons Learned on Fatigue, Voyage Planning, Communication
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its annual compendium of marine accidents and the lessons learned from them. Safer Seas Digest 2015 examines 29 major marine casualty investigations the agency closed in 2015. The 72-page report lists some of the lessons learned from the investigations, such as better voyage planning, the need for effective communications and recognizing the peril of crew fatigue. (Marine Executive)

Why is the water so green around southern B.C.?
If you've noticed the waters off the shores of southern B.C. looking greener than usual, give yourself a pat on the back for being attuned to the shades of the sea. There is a massive algae bloom in the Strait of Georgia, extending into Howe Sound, that's left the colour of the water looking more emerald than usual.   Waters off the southern tip of Vancouver Island, in Desolation Sound and around the Malaspina Inlet have also been affected. Lien Yeung reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  244 AM PDT TUE AUG 23 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

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

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Monday, August 22, 2016

8/22 BC pipe, BC emissions, Smith Is restoration, salmon farm, sockeye woes, marine mammals, sub crash

(Photo: Steve Spitzer/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: The Crow and the Gull – A Listener’s Story
Crows and gulls are opportunists - grabbing a bite wherever, whenever, however they can. Listener Nick Woodiwiss of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, wrote to BirdNote about a funny scene between an American Crow and a Glaucous-winged Gull on the beach. Can you guess who won? The gull seen here is a Ring-billed Gull. It seems that crows and gulls are frequent adversaries! (BirdNote)

Pipeline pitch to draw fire at Victoria stop this week
A federal panellist collecting input on Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion says it’s hearing widespread concern in B.C. about the project. Kim Baird is one of three members of the Trans Mountain Expansion Ministerial Panel tasked with finding perspectives that might not have been heard during the National Energy Board’s consultation process. “Very few people, if any, have stood up in favour of the project [in B.C.],” she said. The panel has hosted 44 meetings in 18 days in Alberta and B.C., she said. It makes its final stops in Victoria on Monday and Tuesday. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

B.C. Liberals rein in greenhouse-gas emissions goals, put off carbon tax change
The B.C. Liberal government has put off the heavy lifting on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a later date, under a new plan released today. The much-anticipated update to a 2008 plan created under then-premier Gordon Campbell recommits the province to achieving an 80 per cent reduction over 2007 levels by 2050. However, today’s 52-page plan only lays out actions estimated to achieve less than half of the needed reductions by 2050, and much less if the government’s much-hoped-for liquefied natural gas export industry materializes and significantly increases emissions. While it’s already known that B.C. will not meet its 2020 target of reducing emissions by one-third, the Christy Clark-led Liberals are not setting a new interim target and will have to remove from law the 2020 legislated target. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Smith Island tidal marsh reclamation is well underway
Within earshot of I-5, a landscape of green and yellow opens up toward Puget Sound. Birds cruise through marine-fresh air, above watery channels where chinook, coho and pink salmon migrate inland to spawn. This is the Nisqually River Delta seven years after the federal government and the Nisqually Tribe oversaw a project to breach dikes to re-flood farmland. Channels snake their way through mud and marsh, reviving an estuary that had long lain dormant. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

72 hours to vacate: First Nation gives eviction notice to salmon farm
A B.C. First Nation has served a 72-hour eviction notice to a fish farm on the northern coast of the province. Hereditary chiefs from Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw First Nation boarded a Cermaq/Mitsubishi salmon farm off the Burdwood Islands earlier this week. Their message was clear: it's time to leave. "This is a 72-hour eviction notice to all salmon farmers in the unceded territory of the Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw," said the Kingcome band's hereditary chief Willie Moon to a pair of farm workers in a video that has since amassed over 80,000 views on Facebook. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Warm water blamed for lowest sockeye salmon run on record
Warm summer temperatures may have Lower Mainlanders feeling good, but they are proving lethal for sockeye salmon. The Pacific Salmon Commission recently revised its already low forecast for sockeye numbers from 2.3 million to 1.1 million in the Fraser River, which would be the lowest number since records have been kept. As of August 12, the DFO has suspended all sockeye fisheries in response. John Reynolds, professor of aquatic ecology and conservation at Simon Fraser University, said three main factors are contributing to this year's low numbers: a small parental generation; a "blob" of warm water in the Pacific Ocean; and higher-than-normal temperatures in the Fraser River. Matt Meuse reports. (CBC)

Agency failing to protect marine mammals from the Navy — Joel Reynolds
After more than a decade of losing court battles, the U.S. Navy still refuses to fully embrace the idea that whales and other sea creatures should be protected during Navy training exercises, says Joel Reynolds, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. But the blame cannot be placed entirely on the Navy, Joel says in a blog entry he wrote for the Huffington Post. “In fact, much of the blame lies with the government regulatory agency whose mandate it is to protect our oceans,” he writes. “It lies with the failure of the National Marine Fisheries Service to do its job.” Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Bangor submarine collides in Strait of Juan de Fuca
The ballistic-missile submarine USS Louisiana and a Navy offshore support vessel collided while conducting routine operations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Thursday, according to Submarine Force Pacific. The collision occurred at 6 p.m. There were no injuries. Damages to both vessels is being assessed. Ed Friedrich reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  858 AM PDT MON AUG 22 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

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

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Friday, August 19, 2016

8/19 Goat party, killer bridge, BC pipes, BC climate plan, fish farms, saving farmland

Party, party... (PHOTO: WDFW/Seattle Times)
Party of 90 mountain goats near Mount Baker wows biologists
State biologists spotted something unusual while counting mountain goats near Mount Baker earlier this summer: a group of 66 adults and 24 kids traveling together up a snow field. Aerial photos released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife show 90 goats about 5 miles from Artist Point, on the northeastern side of the volcano. Mountain goats are common in Washington’s mountain ranges. The department estimates the statewide population is between 2,400 and 3,200, including 400 to 500 in the area surrounding Mount Baker. But Rich Harris, who coordinates goat management for the department, says it’s rare to see that many goats gathered in one spot at the same time. Caitlin Moran reports. (Seattle Times)

Is the Hood Canal bridge killing fish?
A recent study of juvenile steelhead by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found an unusually high mortality on the south side of the 55-year-old bridge, but a lower death rate on the north side. There are several theories about the bridge and its impact on juvenile fish. The conservation group Long Live the Kings is hoping a new study will end the mystery…. Young fish headed out to sea from spawning grounds in the south are stopping at the center of the bridge. As they swim around the structure near the water’s surface, they become prey for the hungry seals that prowl the area looking for an easy meal. Kevin McCarty reports. (KIRO) See also: Scientists study Hood Canal bridge effect on fish  Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Kinder Morgan president says pipeline supporters drowned out
Kinder Morgan says it's building significant support for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project despite opposition from outspoken critics such as Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Since July, a federal panel has been gathering feedback from First Nations, non-governmental organizations and citizens along the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline route.  Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

Northern Gateway exposes divides in First Nations governance
The dispute over who in the powerful Haida Nation can speak publicly on divisive issues such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway project is revealing how First Nations’ traditional clan-based methods of government are being threatened, according to a UBC professor. In stripping two hereditary chiefs of their titles for supporting the pipeline project, the Haida Nation tried to reassert its natural authority, says Bruce Miller, a professor of anthropology. But the case has wide implications for other First Nations and aboriginal groups, especially since the Haida are considered one of the most influential tribal groups in Canada. Jeff Lee reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C.’s climate plan to leave out carbon price, greenhouse gas targets
British Columbia’s new climate plan is not expected to include changes to carbon pricing or greenhouse gas reduction targets as recommended by the province’s own expert committee – a fact that environmental groups say will undermine the plan’s credibility. The plan, to be released on Friday, has been held up as an opportunity for the province to regain its title as a climate leader, a position bolstered under former premier Gordon Campbell. It will address most of the 32 recommendations put forth by the Climate Leadership Team (CLT) struck last year; however, it will leave unanswered the call for new pricing and targets needed to reverse rising emissions, according to a source. Andrea Woo reports. (Globe and Mail) See also: B.C.'s delayed Climate Leadership Plan expected today  Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Salmon farming on the rise in Washington
Human travelers have I-5 and I-90. Salish Sea salmon have the Juan de Fuca Strait. It’s the route that they all swim on their way to and from the wide Pacific — the salmon from the Elwha and all the rivers of Puget Sound, plus many salmon returning to Canada’s Fraser River, which are the main local food source for Puget Sound orcas and have always formed the bulk of Puget Sound’s commercial catch. Now, Icicle Seafoods —  recently acquired by Canada’s Cooke Seafood — wants to raise Atlantic salmon in 9.7 acres of salmon net pens in the strait, just east of Port Angeles. Although it has its critics, salmon aquaculture isn’t new in Puget Sound — and certainly not elsewhere. British Columbia aquaculture produces salmon worth nearly half a billion (Canadian) dollars a year. And B.C. is a minnow compared to the salmon-raising industries of Norway (where salmon aquaculture is booming) and Chile (where it’s not.) Daniel Jack Chasan reports. (Crosscut)

Why Some Farmers Don't Want The Government To Save Their Land
Pierce County leaders are exploring a way to save more farmland from the development sweeping the Puget Sound region. But they risk upsetting some key stakeholders: the farmers. Every county in Washington has to decide which farms count as "agricultural resource land" -- basically farmland that can't be developed. No county has stricter criteria, or less farmland preserved in this way, than Pierce County. It boasts some of the nation's best soils, but about two-thirds of its farmland has disappeared since 1950 as the county's population nearly tripled. Will James reports. (KPLU)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  249 AM PDT FRI AUG 19 2016  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 10 SECONDS.
SAT
 SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SUN
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 8 SECONDS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

8/18 Stubby squid, Vic sewer, rail safety, Kitsap toxic mess

Stubby squid (Photo: Nautilus Live)
Exploration Vehicle Nautilus crew finds googly-eyed, stubby squid
Proving once again that undersea creatures are infinitely weirder than the ones on dry land or in Washington, D.C., this week the crew of the Exploration Vehicle Nautilus discovered a stubby squid with googly eyes that nearly look painted on. According to the Nautilus crew, the stubby squid – looking like a cross between an octopus and a squid, but more closely related to a cuttlefish – was found off the coast of California.   Craig Hlavaty reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

A West Shore sewage plant? Colwood says yes
The idea of a sewage-treatment plant for the West Shore is gaining fresh steam. Colwood council voted unanimously Tuesday that the presentation of a proposed treatment plant to serve Colwood and Langford should be made to the Capital Regional District’s sewage-treatment project board. It also committed to select a site and host it…. Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting will present to the project board Aug. 25, if it also gets support from Langford council. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Railroads show little progress on key safety technology
Many commuter and freight railroads have made little progress installing safety technology designed to prevent deadly collisions and derailments despite a mandate from Congress, according to a government report released Wednesday. The technology, called positive train control or PTC, uses digital radio communications, GPS and signals alongside tracks to monitor train positions. It can automatically stop or slow trains to prevent them from disobeying signals, derailing due to excessive speed, colliding with another train or entering track that is off-limits. The Federal Railroad Administration report shows that while some railroads have made substantial progress, others have yet to equip a single locomotive or track segment with the technology, or install a single radio tower. Joan Lowy reports. (Associated Press)

Business leaves poisonous legacy
When a chrome-plating business departed the Port of Bremerton last fall, it left a toxic mess behind. Materials used in the metal-plating process, which included arsenic, lead, cyanide, cadmium and other poisonous chemicals, had leached into the concrete floor of the shop and the soil below. Ventilation fans had drawn more chemical particles up the walls, dusting exposed surfaces. Nine months after Art's Custom Chrome gave up its shop in Olympic View Industrial Park, the port still is dealing with a painstaking and expensive cleanup. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  239 AM PDT THU AUG 18 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NE TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 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 at 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, August 17, 2016

8/17 Heat wave, BC pipe, fish plan, chum, bad crabber, grounded ship, oil train fines, GBH habitat

(PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Secrets of the Mist
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "We slipped through the narrow entrance into Bottleneck Inlet one afternoon, when the lowering cloud cover made visibility too poor to continue our journey up Finlayson Channel. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it proved a perfect anchorage: excellent protection, the right depths, good holding and plenty of swinging room…. I felt a sense of profound beauty and mystery in this remote place – as I have felt in so many places along the BC coast during my lifetime of boating…."

Warning issued as heat wave to hit Metro Vancouver  Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun) NWS issues 'Excessive Heat Watch' for Seattle area  Jim Guy reports. (KING)

City of Vancouver begins final push against Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion
For years, the City of Vancouver has led a concerted campaign against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which could see nearly 900,000 barrels of crude oil a day shipped to Vancouver's harbour. Tuesday, the city began what could be its final push. "There is no question from our analysis it's not worth the risk. In fact, it's not in Canada's interest," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, at the first of three days of hearings held by a federal panel reviewing the project…. The project was given approval, subject to 157 conditions, by the National Energy Board in May, and the federal government must make a final decision by the end of the year. In the interim, the ministerial panel has been tasked with meeting with communities along the 1,000-kilometre route between Edmonton and the Chevron refinery in Burnaby, B.C., which was originally built in 1953.  Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Washington Farm Bureau rips Puget Sound plan
The Washington Farm Bureau has broadly criticized a state and federal plan to breach dikes and inundate hundreds of acres of farmland in Whatcom and Skagit counties to create fish habitat. The farm bureau says a recent report by the Army Corps of Engineers understates the loss of farmland in Skagit County and undervalues agriculture in both counties…. The corps and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have been working for more than a decade on a plan to roll back “ecological degradation” in Puget Sound. Don Jenkins reports. (Capital Press)

Saving salmon in the wild – is chum the king?
Chum rule. In the same toxic stormwater brew that killed coho salmon in less than three hours, their chum cousins did just fine. It’s a king-sized mystery that Washington State University researcher Jenifer McIntyre is trying to solve. The answer, she said, will tell an important story…. Wild salmon are a symbol of survival in the Pacific Northwest. The fish fuel the region’s economy, define the culture and fortify culinary needs and traditions. With this in mind, McIntyre is working with researchers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife to figure out practical ways to prevent human-tainted streams from snatching the future from these iconic fish. Linda Weiford reports. (WSU News) See also: Chum salmon resistant to stormwater toxins  Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Commercial crab fisherman fined $20K for harvest in contaminated zone
A haul of crab last summer off the Sunshine Coast has netted a Burnaby man a $20,000 fine, for harvesting Dungeness crab from an area closed due to dioxin contamination. Burnaby resident Danny My Ho, skipper of the vessel New Star, has pleaded guilty to four violations of the Fisheries Act, according to a release from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The vessel's electronic monitoring data and logbook revealed that Ho had been harvesting crab between August 15 and 26, 2015, inside an area near Roberts Creek that was closed due to dioxin contamination. (CBC)

Grounded Bulk Carrier Refloated in Washington
The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to an incident involving a motor vessel that grounded in the Columbia River near Skamokawa, Washington, Friday night. The motor vessel Rosco Palm, a 751-foot Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship reportedly ran aground at 7:49 p.m. on Friday night, refloated, moved to a few miles upstream to mitigate collision risk and then grounded while at anchor on sand bottom while waiting for first light assessment. The vessel has refloated with the tide at 7:40 am and there is no indication of pollution being discharged. Michelle Howard reports. (MarineLink)

City Council removes controversial oil and coal train fines from ballot
Spokane will not be the test site for unprecedented local regulation of trains moving coal and oil, at least not this fall. Three weeks after putting on the ballot an ordinance that would fine railroad operators up to $261 per car carrying flammable crude or coal through downtown Spokane, the City Council voted 5-2 on Monday to withdraw the measure. Supporters cited the certainty of a successful legal challenge to the proposal and a desire to recruit more partners concerned about derailments. City Council President Ben Stuckart, who led the charge with a PowerPoint on July 25 depicting a dozen fiery oil train derailments, said he now believed the fine would expose the citizens to too much legal liability. Kip Hill reports. (Spokesman-Review)

Olympia will buy 2.75 acres to protect great blue heron habitat
The Olympia City Council has approved the purchase of two properties near the city’s lone great blue heron colony in the West Bay woods. The deal will add about 2.75 acres to the area that surrounds and protects the colony, also known as a rookery or heronry. About 15 nests are perched high in the trees off Rogers Street Northwest near the Olympia Food Co-Op where the birds have lived for more than 40 years. The city’s goal with acquiring both properties is to expand its inventory of open space and wildlife habitat. Another goal is to create trail connections between the Northwest Olympia Neighborhood and the West Bay waterfront, for example. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  304 AM PDT WED AUG 17 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM PDT EARLY THIS
 MORNING  

TODAY
 SW WIND TO 15 TO 25 KT EARLY...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT.  WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT EARLY...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6  FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 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 at 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, August 16, 2016

8/16 Nearshore value, hottest month, steelhead rivers, river temperatures

From This Is Your Century
If you like to watch: This Is Your Century
All of us need a bit of inspiration in these troubled times. Watch Eric Becker's video with words by Paul Hawken. (We Are Shouting)

Authorities Highlight Nearshore’s Importance In Puget Sound Recovery
Communities around Puget Sound have invested about $150 million over the past two decades to clean up the water and improve habitat for endangered salmon. Yet we continue to lose ground when it comes to a crucial part of that environment. King County watershed managers recently hosted a guided boat tour to spread the word about the importance of restoration work in recovering the so-called ‘nearshore.’  The nearshore environment is the place where the water meets the land. That intertidal area is hugely important for the biology of Puget Sound. Authorities say it’s a gathering place for 22 Chinook populations that swim in from every watershed around.  It forms the base of the food chain. Tiny forage fish that salmon eat lay their eggs in the sandy shallows of the beaches. But there’s a problem. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

NASA: July was Earth's hottest in recorded history
Earth just broiled to its hottest month in recorded history, according to NASA. Even after the fading of a strong El Nino, which spikes global temperatures on top of man-made climate change, July burst global temperature records. NASA calculated that July 2016 was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1950-1980 global average. That's clearly hotter than the previous hotter months, about 0.18 degrees warmer than the previous record of July 2011 and July 2015, which were so close they were said to be in a tie for the hottest month on record, said NASA chief climate scientist Gavin Schmidt. Seth Borenstein reports. (Associated Press)

Nisqually, Elwha rivers selected to aid wild steelhead recovery
The Nisqually and Elwha rivers were designated Monday as wild steelhead gene banks to help conserve wild steelhead populations. Both rivers will now be off-limits to releases of steelhead raised at state hatcheries, which can pose risks to native fish through interbreeding and competition for spawning areas. Winter steelhead fishing in the Nisqually will not be allowed if the wild steelhead run is not strong enough to allow it. Current rules on the Nisqually allow fishing for hatchery steelhead from July 1-Sept. 30. Jeffery Mayor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Lawsuit Aims To Lower Columbia And Snake River Temperatures For Salmon
Conservation groups announced plans Monday to sue the Environmental Protection Agency.  They say the agency isn’t doing enough to protect salmon from high water temperatures on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Warm water can be deadly for salmon.  Just last year, 250,000 sockeye died on the Columbia because of high temperatures. The EPA started addressing the issue more than a decade ago, but that process stalled. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  256 AM PDT TUE AUG 16 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM PDT THIS AFTERNOON
 THROUGH THIS EVENING  

TODAY
 SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 5 FT AT 12 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG IN THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SW 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG IN THE EVENING.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

8/15 Marine mammals, drones, carbon tax, refinery safety, Petrogas, coal export, Big Beef Cr., KNKX, mining mess

A Crow That Makes Tools
A crow named Betty learned how to take a straight piece of wire and bend one end into a hook. She then used the hooked end to haul a tiny bucket of meat from the bottom of a long tube. A postage stamp was issued in honor of this New Caledonian Crow. (BirdNote) If you like to watch:  How smart is a crow?

Demanding international changes to help protect marine mammals
After 43 years and some legal prodding, the United States is preparing to use its economic and political power to protect whales, dolphins and other marine mammals around the world. On Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is scheduled to publish regulations that will set up a system to ban imports of seafood from any country that fails to control the killing of marine mammals in its fishing industry. To avoid a ban, foreign controls must be as effective as standards adopted by the United States to reduce the incidental death and injury to marine mammals in the U.S. fishing industry. Harvesting nations that wish to continue selling fish and fish products to U.S. markets will have five years to implement their marine mammal protection programs, if they have not already done so. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Whale wars: humpbacks versus orcas focus of new study 
It's a strange marine phenomenon: humpback whales actively defend other marine mammals like seals and grey whales from orca attacks, according to a new study. But while some people might call it a rare example of interspecies altruism, the study also found that these attacks are likely a survival behaviour due to orcas' tendency to feed on humpback calves. Robert Pitman, a marine ecologist in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in southern California, is the lead author of the study recently published in the Marine Mammal Science journal. Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

From scientists to activists, everyone has eye in the sky
From high above two pods of orcas near Telegraph Cove, a drone captured images that hold clues to the threatened species’ health. Northern resident killer whales are picky eaters, with an almost exclusive diet of chinook salmon. Using aerial images such as those taken on Thursday, researchers are keeping track of the whales’ size in relation to salmon abundance over time — from a perspective they can’t get on a boat…. Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, pose risks to both humans and animals when used irresponsibly. Washington state Fish and Wildlife officers ticketed two drone operators for flying too close to whales near the San Juan Islands last year. And firefighting efforts had to be halted twice last year and once this year, when amateurs flew drones over B.C. wildfires. But increasingly, everyone from researchers to firefighters are finding ways to take advantage of the new technology. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Carbon-tax initiative backers press campaign despite green opposition
Carbon Washington campaigners seek to persuade voters to embrace Initiative 732, which would implement a carbon tax with the goal of driving down fossil-fuel use. But the state’s environmental community is divided. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Federal agency critical of oil refinery safety measures
A federal agency issued new oil refinery safety recommendations Thursday that it says if not followed would leave the industry vulnerable to more incidents such as the explosion that killed seven workers in 2010 at Anacortes Tesoro Refinery. The safety recommendations by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board stem from a board investigation into the Anacortes explosion. In that incident, a device called a heat exchanger cracked and weakened over time even though safety measures aligned with industry standards, according to the board’s report. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Petrogas plans to take over Alcoa Intalco pier at Cherry Point
Petrogas West, which receives, stores and ships liquefied petroleum gas at Cherry Point, plans to take over Alcoa Intalco Works’ wharf and pier, pending a sale deal that includes transfer of a state aquatics lease. Petrogas currently employs about 30 full-time workers at the Ferndale terminal, and already uses the pier with permission from Intalco, as allowed under the state lease. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Judge upholds Oregon denial of coal export permit
An administrative law judge in Oregon has upheld the 2014 rejection of a proposed coal terminal on the Columbia River that could be a conduit for millions of tons of American coal headed to Asia annually. Administrative Law Judge Alison Greene Webster found Friday state lands regulators were within their authority when they denied the permit to Brisbane, Australia-based applicant Ambre Energy. Ambre Energy wants to transport coal mined from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming through Oregon on its way to power-hungry Asian markets. (Associated Press)

Hospitality for salmon coming with restoration of Big Beef Creek
Big Beef Creek, which flows into Hood Canal near Seabeck, will soon undergo a major wetland renovation that should improve the survival of coho salmon and steelhead trout. Other work, which started last year, involves placing large woody debris in the stream to create deep pools for salmon to cool off and rest before continuing their migration. The wood also will help to form new spawning areas for coho, fall chum and the threatened summer chum of Hood Canal. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

KPLU renamed KNKX (pronounced ‘connects’)
The newly saved public-radio station KPLU has a new name: KNKX, or “Connects.” The station had to change its call letters as part of the deal that bought its independence from Pacific Lutheran University a few months ago. Brendan Kiley reports. (Seattle Times) [or, try KNKX=’kinks’]

Mining company facing charges for alleged damage to Hecate Strait island
A B.C. mining company, along with its CEO and chief geologist, are facing charges for allegedly releasing waste material into woods, wetland, and water on a Hecate Strait island. They have been charged with 18 offences for allegedly violating the province's Environmental Management Act, including failure to report a spill of a polluting substance and repeatedly failing to comply with environmental permits. Banks Island Gold Ltd., president and CEO Benjamin Mossman and chief geologist Dirk Meckert have not yet appeared in court. They will make their first appearance in Prince Rupert on Sept. 7. According to the Gitxaala First Nation, the company has left behind environmental damage that has people worried about the safety of their food and fish.  Andrew Kurjata reports. (CBC)

Program set to learn more about health of state park's lakes
Jack Hartt is looking to science for help in understanding a pesky problem that plagues a couple of the state park’s lakes. Hartt, the park’s manager, is spearheading a research project involving Cranberry and Pass lakes, and is enlisting the help of volunteers to create a scientific profile of both lakes through data gathered over time…. Hartt is trying to find out why both lakes are plagued by cyanobacteria, a toxic algae known for its blue-green color. Cyanobacteria is a natural component of water, but certain types produce toxins that can lead to both acute and chronic health effects. When certain levels of toxins are reached, lakes are closed. Vince Richardson reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

'Toadvisory' issued for Whistler area as toadlets migrate
The migration of tens of thousands of tiny Western toads, or "toadlets," begins this week as the dime-sized amphibians continue their biologically-driven quest from Lost Lake into the surrounding forest area. Every spring, about 50 of the toads lay hundreds of thousands of eggs along the shores of the lake, resulting in a black cloud of tadpoles when they hatch several weeks later. Once they sprout arms and legs in July and August the toadlets are on the move towards the forest surrounding the lake. Anna Dimoff reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  259 AM PDT MON AUG 15 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT...BECOMING 1 TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG IN THE MORNING.  TONIGHT  W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT.  W SWELL 4 FT AT 14 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG.

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

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Friday, August 12, 2016

8/12 Black birding, no Fraser fishing, ocean blob, tidal power, Nippon mill, skunk season, wolf kill, farmlands, Si'ahl

Drew Lanham
If you like to watch: Diversity In Nature: Ecology Professor Drew Lanham On ‘Rules For The Black Birder’
The Pacific Northwest is known as a Mecca for bird watchers. Diverse habitats offer shelter for hundreds of species throughout the state. In summer, urban parks offer viewing of everything from osprey and bald eagles to chickadees and warblers, hummingbirds, owls and woodpeckers. But what if while pursuing that passion you felt out of place, because of the color of your skin? Wildlife ecologist and avid birder Drew Lanham uses satire to get people talking about it. His essay “9 Rules for the Black Bird Watcher” first appeared in Orion Magazine and was then adapted by BirdNote into a short YouTube video. It’s full of zingers such as, “Be prepared to be confused with the other black birder” and “Carry your binoculars — and three forms of identification — at all times” or “Don’t bird in a hoodie. Ever.” Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

DFO shutting down all salmon sports fishing on Lower Fraser to protect sockeye
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has taken the extraordinary measure of shutting down all sports salmon fishing on the Lower Fraser River because of a lower-than-anticipated return of sockeye. The closure of all recreational fishing for salmon — including Chinook and possibly Chum when they arrive later in the year — is taking place so that sockeye aren’t inadvertently caught while other salmon species are being fished. Anglers can still fish for trout, steelhead and sturgeon. The closure was to go into effect one hour after sunset Thursday until further notice. It covers the mouth of the Fraser River to the Alexandra Bridge south of Hell’s Gate in the Interior, a stretch of about 200 kilometres of river. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

The Blob That Cooked the Pacific
When a deadly patch of warm water shocked the West Coast, some feared it was a preview of our future oceans. Craig Welch reports. (National Geographic)

Tidal power technology rolls into Haida Gwaii shores
A Haida Gwaii company has developed a technology that may one day provide power to parts of Haida Gwaii by harnessing the energy from tides. Right now, the northern half of Haida Gwaii uses diesel to provide power to all homes and buildings. It's an expensive power source and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Clyde Greenough, business manager of Yourbrook Energy, says his company has developed a generator that is powered solely by the ocean's tide.. The technology harnesses the powerful pull of the tide to turn the blades of a pump that then pressurizes the water and sends it up an incline. Anna Dimoff reports. (CBC)

Nippon paper mill, cogeneration plant in Port Angeles for sale
The paper mill that has anchored Ediz Hook for 98 years is for sale. The Nippon Paper Industries USA plant and the company’s newly built biomass cogeneration plant west of downtown Port Angeles are being marketed for sale by PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance LLC in southwest British Columbia. There is no sign the mill, which employed 160 as of June 2015, would be closed, said City Manager Dan McKeen. (Port Angeles Daily News)

Skunk season arrives in Vancouver
In the wilds of Vancouver, perhaps no animal inspires more terror to walking pedestrians than the skunk. August is high season for the notoriously stinky black-and-white creatures, and many are being spotted around the Lower Mainland — especially in Vancouver's West End, West Vancouver and North Vancouver. "Now's the time of year that most of the baby skunks are starting to leave their mothers and become independent," said Janelle Vanderbeek, a wildlife hospital coordinator with the Wildlife Rescue Association in Burnaby. Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

State wildlife staff kill two adult female wolves in Northeastern Washington
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff on Aug. 5 killed two adult female wolves from the Profanity Peak pack in Northeast Washington by shooting them from a helicopter. Wolves began recolonizing Washington about a decade ago, and this is the third time the department has removed some of them.  The department director Jim Unsworth approved the killings earlier this month, after wolves were linked to cattle deaths. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Army Corps downplays value of prime farmland in Washington
The Army Corps of Engineers proposes to convert about 800 acres of prime farmland in Whatcom County to fish habitat, a loss of cropland the agency calls “insignificant,” but that farm groups say could threaten agriculture’s long-term survival in the state’s northwestern corner…. Government agencies have spent years reviewing hundreds of sites for the state-federal Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project. The corps has narrowed the project to converting 2,100 acres in Jefferson, Skagit and Whatcom counties into fish habitat, mainly by removing dikes. The largest project would breach dikes along the Nooksack and Lummi rivers in Whatcom County. The $260 million project would expose 1,800 acres to tides and rivers, including the 800 acres characterized by the corps as prime farmland. Dan Jenkins reports. (Capital Press)

If you like to listen: What’s in a namesake? The enigma of Chief Si’ahl 
We know that the city of Seattle was named after a prominent Native American chief called Si’ahl. We have remnants of words of wisdom attributed to him. But in most ways, Seattleites have never known the legacy of their namesake.  Writer and historian David Buerge has steeped himself in the history of the people who thrived in this region before explorers and pioneers arrived. His knowledge of what life was like here before it was “discovered” will likely surprise and fascinate you. David Buerge spoke with journalist and writer Knute Berger at Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum on August 3. (KUOW)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT FRI AUG 12 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 TO 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT  OR LESS. W SWELL 4 TO 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SAT
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR  LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING LATE. WIND WAVES 1 TO  3 FT...SUBSIDING. W SWELL 5 TO 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
SUN
 SW WIND 10 KT OR LESS...BECOMING W 10 TO 20 KT. WIND  WAVES 3 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 TO 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told