Monday, October 31, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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"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, October 28, 2016

10/28 Save Our Sound, ND pipe protest, Malheur standoff, Mary Polak, NW rainfall, little fish tales

Giant house spider (spider.us)
Giant House Spider (Eratigena atria)
The leg span of this large funnel weaver can reach 4 inches or more! Native to Europe, the “Giant House Spider” is now well-established in the Pacific Northwest. The webs can be found in dark corners of rooms, garages, sheds, under rocks and logs, etc. May be mistaken for a Hobo Spider on occasion.
This species is native to Europe but was introduced to southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia in the early 20th century, and has since spread to mainland British Columbia as well as Washington and Oregon (Vetter 2003).  (From Spiders of Washington)

New blog: Whoa! Are We Going To Save Puget Sound— Again?
Headlines screamed last week: “White House, Washington state and federal leaders announce major new initiatives for Puget Sound recovery;” “New federal task force to identify Puget Sound’s top issues;” “The Obama administration steps up to the plate on cleaning up Puget Sound.” Are we done with the Puget Sound Partnership effort and its laboriously-derived Action Agenda?… (more)

Pepper spray, chaos as N.D. pipeline protesters cleared from private land
Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline grew significantly more volatile Thursday, as law enforcement using pepper spray and concussion grenades forced protesters off private land on the pipeline route. At least 141 people were arrested. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Jury acquits leaders of Malheur wildlife refuge standoff
In a thorough defeat for federal prosecutors, jurors Thursday acquitted the leaders of a standoff at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon that brought new attention to a long-running dispute over control of federal lands in the U.S. West…. The jury found brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy not guilty of possessing a firearm in a federal facility and conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs during the 41-day takeover that ended Feb. 11 at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 300 miles southeast of Portland. (Associated Press/Seattle Times)

B.C. Green Party leader calls on environment minister to resign
Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver is calling on Environment Minister Mary Polak to resign immediately. Weaver said British Columbians have ended up going to court too often to fight the government over environmental issues, like the Mt. Polley mine and the Shawnigan contaminated soil facility. He said it's likely that will happen again with the Bella Bella diesel spill. Richard Zussman reports. (CBC)

Soggy Northwest Breaks October Rainfall Records
The Pacific Northwest is certainly known for its rain, but the amount of rain that has fallen in October is one for the record books in more than a dozen Northwest cities -- and counting. There are still a few days days left in the month, but October is already the wettest on record in cities across Washington such as Seattle, Olympia, Colville, Pullman and Ephrata. Same for Kellogg and Priest River in northern Idaho. In Western Oregon, several airport weather stations such as Corvallis and Portland are on the verge of monthly rainfall records. Tom Banse reports. (KNKX)

Little Fish Tales: Micro Fishers Focus On The Species, Not Size
Catching the biggest fish usually comes with the biggest bragging rights, but now there's a new breed of anglers working to hook those at the other end of the spectrum, and while the catch might not be as big, the bragging rights are. As the owner of Tombstone Tackle bait shop in Columbia, Mo., Adam Wolf has a lot of ways catch fish. "Night crawlers, minnows, shiners, goldfish, and the frozen bait like chicken liver, turkey liver, shad guts, shad sides, skipjack herring, vacuum seal whole shad," says Wolf as his list of lures goes on…. As Wolf's list shows, there are many options for fishers looking for bait that the big fish will bite on, but when anglers are looking to land fish closer to the size of the bait in Wolf's shop a new sport rises. It's called micro fishing and it's growing in popularity. It's a hobby where instead of trying to catch the biggest fish, you target the smallest fish and the largest number of species, a process known as life-listing. It's like what birders do, but for fish caught with a rod and a reel.  Sebasti├ín Martinez reports. (KBIA-FM/KNKX)

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

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING SE 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 5 FT AT 10  SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE MORNING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN  THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT  AT 15 SECONDS BUILDING TO 9 FT AT 15 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN  THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SAT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT AT  14 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE  AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7  FT AT 13 SECONDS.
SUN
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT  12 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.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

10/27 Seastar wipeout, coal dust, geoduck farm, bag ban, Whatcom water, western toads, bad fishing, Navy toxins

Sunflower sea star (Dave Cowles, July 2000)
Sunflower sea star nearly wiped out by virus in B.C., Washington waters: report
There was once a galaxy of sunflower sea stars in the Salish Sea off the British Columbia and Washington state coasts, but a new study says their near disappearance from the ocean floor should be of special concern. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, say a wasting disease that impacted many star fish from Alaska to Mexico was devastating for the sunflower sea star. Joseph Gaydose, one of the report's authors and the chief scientist with the SeaDoc Society, said the sunflower that covered the ocean floor in many areas off southern Vancouver Island and Washington state has been virtually wiped out. (Canadian Press)

Is coal dust from BNSF trains harming waterways? Trial set for next month
A federal judge in Seattle has found that BNSF Railway could be held liable in a lawsuit claiming that coal spilled from trains pollutes waterways if environmental groups can show at trial that such discharges actually occurred. Ruling in the case brought by seven environmental groups against the railroad, U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour said Tuesday that coal particles and dust that fall directly into waterways from passing trains are “point sources” of pollution under the federal Clean Water Act. However, Coughenour declined to immediately find BNSF liable for any violations, saying significant facts remain in dispute. He denied requests from both sides for summary judgment and set the case for a Nov. 7 trial. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Burley geoduck plan draws opposition
…. About 110 people attended a Tuesday evening meeting about Taylor's plan to convert an existing commercial clam and oyster bed into one of the region's largest geoduck-growing operations…. Taylor, the state's largest shellfish grower, currently "scatter seeds" the lagoon, a practice that requires less gear than intensive geoduck farming. Under Taylor's plan, about 25 acres of tideland would be covered in a grid of plastic tubes planted with geoduck, a large and long-lived clam that can sell for more than $100 per pound in Asia. The tubes and protective netting covering them would dramatically increase visual and environmental impacts, according to residents and groups opposed to the plan. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

County-wide bag ban approved
The San Juan County Council adopted the single-use plastic carry-out bag ban during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 25. (Journal of the San Juans)

Whatcom County temporarily halts work on new developments that depend on rural wells
Whatcom County has temporarily stopped accepting and processing new applications and permits for developments that depend on so-called exempt wells in light of an Oct. 6 state Supreme Court ruling against the county….  The County Council voted 6-1 late Tuesday, Oct. 25, to enact the emergency moratorium.… The council essentially agreed with county planners that more time was needed to evaluate what they called a surprising decision by the court and to come up with the next steps. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

State board rules in favor of Island County’s western toads
Island County needs to do a better job of protecting the western toad, a state board has ruled. The Growth Management Hearings Board again found the county’s comprehensive plan out of compliance with state rules regarding habitat protection of the western toad, which is a candidate for listing as a state species of concern. It’s the second time that the hearings board sided with the environmental group, Whidbey Environmental Action Network, or WEAN, over the toad issue. The hearings board ruled in the county’s favor on three other issues that WEAN challenged, finding that the county’s new protections for the “natural area preserve,” rare plants and prairies are adequate. Jessie Stensland reports. (Whidbey News-Times)

West Coast Fisheries Hit Hard By Poor Ocean Conditions
United States commercial fisheries are doing fine overall, but fishermen on the West Coast are hurting.  An 2015 annual report out Wednesday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a stark fall-off in the big seafood money-makers in the Pacific Northwest…. NOAA Fisheries scientists are attributing the low West Coast returns to abnormal conditions in the Pacific that are linked to climate change.  Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Navy Admits to Having Released Chemicals Known to Injure Infants' Brains
For decades, the US Navy, by its own admission, has been conducting war game exercises in US waters using bombs, missiles, sonobuoys (sonar buoys), high explosives, bullets and other materials that contain toxic chemicals -- including lead and mercury -- that are harmful to both humans and wildlife. The Navy's 2015 Northwest Training and Testing environmental impact statement (EIS) states that in the thousands of warfare "testing and training events" it conducts each year, 200,000 "stressors" from the use of missiles, torpedoes, guns and other explosive firings in US waters happen biennially. Sonobuoys, which weigh from 36 to 936 pounds apiece and many of which can contain up to five pounds of explosives, are dropped from aircraft and never recovered; they're called "expended materials." The Navy is planning to increase its sonobuoy use from 20 to 720 annually, according to its Northwest Training and Testing 2014 document. This steep increase could have devastating impacts for humans. Dahr Jamail reports. (Truthout)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT THU OCT 27 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING
 
TODAY
 SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING S 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 10 FT AT 10  SECONDS SUBSIDING TO 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS. SHOWERS.  TONIGHT  E WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING SE 10 TO 20 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.

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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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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

10/26 Sunk tug, wave power, renewables, WA tribe demands, BC LNG sued, outdoor education

Why Leaves Change Color in the Fall
As the days get shorter and the temperature cools, the food-producing chlorophyll in a plant's green leaves breaks down and the green color disappears making the yellow and orange colors in the leaves more prominent. Other chemical changes may occur which may give rise to reddish and purple fall leaf colors. Where the stem is attached to the tree, a special layer of cells forms and gradually severs the tissues that support the leaf and the tree seals the cut. The leaf is blown off or falls of its own weight, leaving a leaf scar. (from Environmental Information Series)

Sunken B.C. tug's tanks now pumped out, thousands of litres of oil not recovered
More than 90,000 litres of diesel have yet to be accounted for after a group overseeing cleanup of a spill from a submerged tug on British Columbia's central coast said the tanks aboard the Nathan E. Stewart have been pumped out. Heiltsuk Nation Chief Marilyn Slett said members of her First Nation were on local beaches Tuesday trying to limit pollution after fuel soiled the shoreline along the renowned Great Bear Rainforest on B.C.'s central coast. "The crews have been raking the beaches physically with a rake to try and bring up the diesel that's trapped. We understand the diesel's trapped up to eight inches below the surface and then they flush it out with water and then they repeat that," she said. (Canadian Press) See also: Sinking of tug off B.C. coast prompts disaster-response rethink  (Canadian Press)

West Coast waves a world-class energy resource, researchers say
University of Victoria researchers say that as a future source of abundant renewable energy, the waves off Vancouver Island's west coast are really swell. The university's West Coast Wave Initiative is launching a fifth monitoring buoy next month to measure the energy potential off the coast of Vancouver Island. ​Brad Buckham, the director of the West Coast Wave Initiative, said the west coast of Vancouver Island is a world-class resource for future wave energy development. Deborah Wilson reports. (CBC)

Renewable energy capacity overtakes coal 
The International Energy Agency says that the world's capacity to generate electricity from renewable sources has now overtaken coal. The IEA says in a new report that last year, renewables accounted for more than half of the increase in power capacity. The report says half a million solar panels were installed every day last year around the world. In China, it says, there were two wind turbines set up every hour. Andrew Walker reports. (BBC)

Washington tribes call for better land protections amid Dakota Access Pipeline protests
American Indian tribes in Washington state on Tuesday called on President Barack Obama to overhaul the way the federal government consults with tribes on fossil fuel export and other projects. The Yakama Nation, Lummi Nation, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Spokane Tribe released a five-point plan they say will improve the consultation process, protect sacred sites and provide greater recognition of tribal rights. Among the provisions, the tribal leaders want the Army Corps of Engineers to do a regionwide environmental review of fossil fuel export proposals, one that takes into account the overall impact that individual projects will have on tribes in the region. They also want Obama to strengthen an executive order on Indian sacred sites by including language about the need for tribes to grant informed consent on infrastructure projects. (Associated Press)

Aboriginal, environmental groups to sue Canada over Petronas LNG project
Aboriginal and environmental groups will file lawsuits on Thursday against the government of Canada to overturn the permit for a controversial $27 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in British Columbia. The lawsuits will name Malaysian state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), which owns a majority stake in the project, as an associated party, representatives of the aboriginal and environmental groups told Reuters this week. Canada in September gave the green light for the Pacific NorthWest LNG project in northern British Columbia with 190 conditions, despite concerns it would destroy a critical salmon habitat and produce a large amount of greenhouse gases. A. Ananthalakshmi reports. (Thomson Reuters)

Oregon weighs whether all kids should get outdoor education
Each year, thousands of Oregon parents hug their kids goodbye and send them tramping into the wilderness for up to a week to learn about their state’s natural wonders. The Outdoor School program was groundbreaking when it started more than a half-century ago.… At the program’s heyday, 90 percent of sixth-graders spent the week testing water samples, studying fungi and digging through topsoil. Today, just half of Oregon’s 11- and 12-year-olds take part, mostly through a patchwork of grants, fundraising, parent fees and charitable donations…. Now, backers of a statewide ballot measure want to use a slice of lottery proceeds to guarantee a week of Outdoor School for all children. If it passes, the measure would make Oregon the only state with dedicated funding for outdoor education, including students in charter, private and home schools, said Sarah Bodor, policy director for the North American Association for Environmental Education.  Gillian Flaccus reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  245 AM PDT WED OCT 26 2016  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 
TODAY
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT. COMBINED SEAS 6 TO 9 FT WITH A  DOMINANT PERIOD OF 10 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 20 TO 30 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. SW SWELL 7 FT  AT 9 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 11 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS IN THE  EVENING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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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.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

10/25 Owl, sunk tug, pipe protest, BC sea gate, flushing, Duwamish Alive!, Edmonds Marsh

‘Owl’ a captivating peek at the wise-looking birds
“You do not find owls,” writes Paul Bannick in his new book, “Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls.” Instead, “owls find you.” Bannick, a Magnolia resident and “fourth-generation Seattleite,” is a wildlife photographer whose work has won many awards and appeared in numerous books (including his own previous book, “The Owl and the Woodpecker”), newspapers, magazines and calendars. And he’s long been captivated by owls. Moira Macdonald reports. (Seattle Times)

Divers provide clearer idea of damage to sunken tug on B.C. coast
A report says two tanks containing oil or contaminants from a submerged tug west of Bella Bella, off British Columbia’s central coast, were either torn open or severely damaged when the vessel ran aground. Despite bad weather that has complicated salvage efforts, divers were able to check the bottom of the Nathan E. Stewart on Sunday, as it rests in nine metres of water in a channel about 500 kilometres north of Vancouver. A joint situation report issued by the American tug owner and federal, provincial and First Nations groups says divers found the lube tank torn and pumped out nothing but water on Sunday from the severely damaged bilge tank. (Canadian Press) See also: Coast Guard chief defends response to sunken tug in B.C.   Chris Brown and Chris Corday report. (CBC)

Police issue 99 trespass citations during pipeline protest on Parliament Hill
The Liberal government's conflicting climate and pipeline policies were thrown into sharp relief Monday as more than 200 protesters marched on Parliament Hill demanding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reject any new oilsands infrastructure. The protest resulted in the brief detention of 99 individuals, all of them issued citations by the RCMP for trespassing after climbing over police barricades near the foot of the Peace Tower. The immediate focus of the demonstration was the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., which the Liberals have said they'll decide upon by mid-December. Bruce Cheadle reports. (Canadian Press)

Vancouver eyes dikes, even a sea gate, to handle rising ocean levels
The City of Vancouver is floating the idea of constructing a sea gate — a storm surge barrier — under the Burrard Bridge to prevent future flooding of Granville Island and the False Creek Flats, from the coastline to Clark Drive. With the local sea level projected to rise by as much as a metre over the next century and the one-two punches of storm surges and king tides already hammering coastal infrastructure, staff are preparing options to present to councillors next month.  Those options range from doing nothing and hoping for the best to intricate and complex solutions. And the options vary by neighbourhood. The most significant among them would be a sea gate at the mouth of False Creek. Sea gates are large, complex, and often-expensive, barriers that can be closed as needed to hold back surging seas and protect valuable, low-lying land. The best-known examples are in the Netherlands, including its Oosterscheldekering, a three-kilometre-long structure that some herald as a wonder of the world. Matt Robinson reports. (Vancouver Sun)

To flush or not to flush?
Metro Vancouver is stepping up the fight to prolong the life of the region's sewer pipes by educating people who dump grease, fats and oil down the drain. "At this point, we don't consider anything flushable other than the three P's: pee, poo and toilet paper," says Devin Kiyonaga, a project engineer for liquid waste services at Metro Vancouver. Many products claim to be flushable, but the region says they can become costly problems, especially when combined with grease in sewer pipes. David Horemans reports. (CBC)

If you like to watch: See how hundreds of Duwamish Alive! volunteers gave TLC to our river & its watershed
So much happened in West Seattle this weekend … but we would argue, this is the most important. On the Duwamish River and in its watershed, hundreds of volunteers gathered to offer some help via the twice-yearly Duwamish Alive! habitat restoration and cleanup gatherings.  Leda Costa reports. (West Seattle Blog)

Mayor weighs in on marsh setbacks: Says 50-foot buffer ‘a real world solution’
Rebuffing the Edmonds City Council’s Sept. 28 vote, Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling on Monday announced that he has sided with the Washington State Department of Ecology in supporting a narrower buffer for the Edmonds Marsh. In a letter to Washington State Department of Ecology Director Maia D. Bellon, Earling said that the Ecology Department’s proposed 65-foot setback (50-foot buffer with a 15-foot building setback) is the best option for protecting the marsh. The city council by a 4-3 vote on Sept. 28 approved a 125-foot setback (a 110-foot buffer and a 15-foot setback). In taking that vote, the council rejected the Ecology Department’s requested change to the council-approved 100-foot buffer in the city’s original Shoreline Master Program (SMP), stating that a 50-foot buffer and 15-foot setback is more consistent with the Edmonds Marsh Category II wetland classification. (My Edmonds News)

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

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON PDT TODAY
 
TODAY
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING SE 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 13 TO 16 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  13 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 13 FT  AT 12 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 10 FT AT 11 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. A  SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS  AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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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.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

10/24 Squid eggs, spill fine, sunk tug, fracking sands, fish farm rule, Ocean Wise, bulkheads, Duckabush, quakes, bowheads

Squid eggs, Beach Lake shore, east Elwha delta (Anne Shaffer)
Squid eggs in wrack line along restored Beach Lake shoreline, 20 October
Anne Shaffer of Coastal Watershed Institute writes: "… We've not seen these in the Elwha nearshore before. Squid have historically been a very important food resource for our region's salmon and marine birds. They all but disappeared from our radar 15 or so years ago-but seem to have returned to the central Strait nearshore this summer and fall. An exciting new observation for Elwha nearshore that we hope is a harbinger for our future marine ecosystems."

Seattle judge fines Greek shipping companies $1.5 million for pollution, cover-up
A federal judge in Seattle on Friday ordered two companies owned by a Greek shipping magnate to pay $1.5 million after a jury found that a cargo ship deliberately pumped oil-polluted water into the ocean, then repeatedly lied and falsified records in an effort to deceive inspectors with the U.S. Coast Guard. Authorities hailed the sentence Friday as a rare success in holding corporate defendants accountable for pollution on the high seas, an offense they describe as notoriously difficult to detect and prove…. The vessel, the Gallia Graeca, arrived at the Pier 86 grain terminal on Seattle’s waterfront from China in October 2015 to pick up a $20 million shipment of soybeans. When Petty Officer Daniel Hamilton came aboard to conduct a general inspection, several things seemed off, he said Friday after the sentencing. Valves were misaligned, oil appeared where it shouldn’t have, and a device called the oil-water separator did not appear to have been maintained. Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

Booms fixed after wind spreads diesel fuel from tug sunk near Bella Bella
The booms containing spilled diesel from a sunken tug 20 kilometres west of Bella Bella have been fixed, but delays allowed the fuel to spread, along with fears for endangered abalone and other ocean wildlife. Gale-force winds and three-metre waves hampered efforts to fix the failed booms, but officials say they've replaced the containment system. It's unclear how much diesel fuel has spilled, but the tug had 220,000 litres on board when it ran aground on Oct.13. Less than half of that has been recovered, and that's fanned fears the fuel will threaten efforts to reintroduce endangered abalone in the spill area, according to the Heiltsuk First Nation. Yvette Brend reports. (CBC) See also: Owner of stricken tugboat apologizes for diesel spill  (Canadian Press)

Hundreds show dissent for shipment of fracking sands to Port of Olympia
About 250 people gathered at Olympia’s Port Plaza on Saturday, carrying signs reading, “Protect Mother Earth,” “Olympia WA stands with Standing Rock Sioux,” “Fossil Fuel expansion is war,” and “Our port supports oil fracking with our tax $.” The demonstration came about a month after the Port of Olympia received a shipment of ceramic proppants, also known as fracking sand. The product is sent to North Dakota to aid in the removal of Bakken oil. The September shipment was the first since January 2015, with shipments ceasing due to the drop in oil prices. Amelia Dickson reports. (Olympian)

Bainbridge plan severely limits fish and shellfish grows
The city of Bainbridge Island has crafted some of Puget Sound's most restrictive rules on fish and shellfish farming. Awaiting final approval by the state, Bainbridge's aquaculture ordinance would ban the use of plastics in all marine farming, restrict commercial clam and oyster growing operations to just five acres and cap the number of floating fish farms to the one already operating off the island's south end. Additional provisions protecting marine grasses and fish habitat would severely limit where shellfish farming could occur. It's not an outright ban but it may have the same effect, keeping the fast-growing shellfish industry from taking root on the island's shores. City leaders say the science is clear: industrial fish and shellfish farms hurt marine ecosystems. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise program has no enforcement; official partners still sell 'unsustainable' seafood  

The Vancouver Aquarium boasts Ocean Wise as a program to help businesses and consumers make environmentally friendly, sustainable seafood choices — from barnacles to barramundi — harvested locally or around the world. What’s less evident is that restaurants, supermarkets and seafood suppliers can become official partners — paying up to $5,000 annually to display the Ocean Wise logo — for carrying as little as one certified-sustainable seafood, even if they sell far more species on the program’s list of seafoods to avoid.  “They don’t have to be 100 per cent,” confirmed Ann-Marie Copping, the Ocean Wise program manager. The program works with partners to increase their offerings of sustainable products in hopes of reaching full compliance. Ocean Wise — which is a growing operation — also offers no ongoing enforcement and monitoring of its partners. “In terms of auditing their operations on a regular basis, we don’t,” Copping said. “Our program is about education, training and doing proper (species-at-risk) assessments.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Foot by foot, shoreline bulkhead removal outpaces construction
Christopher Dunagan writes: "It’s always nice when I can report a little good news for Puget Sound recovery. For the second year in row, we’ve seen more shoreline bulkheads ripped out than new ones put in. After officials with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife completed their compilation of permit data for 2015, I can say that 3,097 feet of old armoring were removed, while 2,231 feet were added…." (Watching Our Water Ways)

Hood Canal estuary eyed for federal project
A Hood Canal estuary has topped a long list of Puget Sound restoration projects that could get a powerful dose of federal funding. The Army Corps of Engineers ranked the Duckabush River estuary south of Brinnon as one of three priority projects out of 500 sites considered in Puget Sound. If approved by Congress, about $63 million would be spent reconnecting the river to its floodplain and tidal wetland. Highway 101 has cut off the river from the estuary for nearly a century. The project would remove road sections, culverts, berms and small bridges and construct an elevated 1,100-foot-long bridge upstream from the estuary. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Washington state's plan for megaquake 'grossly inadequate,' review finds
The largest disaster drill ever conducted in the Pacific Northwest found that, despite decades of warnings, the region remains dangerously unprepared to deal with a Cascadia megaquake and tsunami. During the four-day “Cascadia Rising” exercise in June, 23,000 participants grappled with a hypothetical catastrophe that knocked out power, roads and communications and left communities battered, isolated — and with no hope of quick relief. Washington state officials called their own response plans “grossly inadequate,” according to a draft report and records reviewed by The Seattle Times. The report warns that “the state is at risk of a humanitarian disaster within 10 days” of the quake. Sandi Doughton and Daniel Gilbert report. (Seattle Times)

White sturgeon meant to showcase Bass Pro Shops aquarium in Tsawwassen mall is dead
It was supposed to be the star of the Bass Pro Shops’ “education aquarium” at the new Tsawwassen Mills shopping mall. But the metre-long-plus white sturgeon just didn’t look right from the beginning, floating at an angle with its nose above the surface. And now it’s gone for good. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: Stunning drone footage reveals bowhead whales feeding, swimming patterns
Bowhead whales like their afternoon siestas. That's what UBC's Sarah Fortune realized after she and her fellow researchers gathered and analyzed stunning drone footage of the mammals in the eastern Canadian Arctic. … She and the team spent four summers in Cumberland Sound, Nunavut — just a few kilometres shy of the Arctic Circle — studying the whales. Tamara Baluja reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT MON OCT 24 2016  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH TUESDAY
 MORNING  

TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS. A  CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE  AFTERNOON.  TONIGHT  E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...RISING TO 30 TO 40 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 8 TO 9 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  14 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 12 TO 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  12 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...  THEN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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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, October 21, 2016

10/21 Into the fjord, GP West cleanup, Campbell R. dam, pipeline protest, Kalama methanol

Into the fjord (Laurie MacBride)
Cruising into the Mountains
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "I knew Princess Louisa Inlet would be gorgeous, since I’ve been hearing about its virtues pretty much all my life. But what I didn’t know or expect was the incredible beauty of the three long arms of water that lead up Jervis Inlet to Princess Louisa. It’s a long journey in a slow boat, and your timing has to be right to safely navigate the narrow tidal pass that leads into Princess Louisa (more on that in another post, later). We had calculated when we’d need to reach the pass, and left the dock at Egmont at 0600 hours, giving ourselves lots of extra time, to allow for some dawdling along the way…."

Ecology taking comments from public on portion of GP West cleanup site until Nov. 1 
The public has a chance to comment on a plan to move mercury-contaminated soil that’s been sitting on the Bellingham waterfront to an approved landfill. The plan addresses only a portion of the contaminated Georgia-Pacific West site at 300 W. Laurel St., said Krista Kenner, a Washington State Department of Ecology spokeswoman. A feasibility study to explore options for cleaning up the entire site is expected to go out for public comment in early 2017, Kenner said. The work for this plan is scheduled to be complete in March and is expected to cost about $1.5 million, according to Ecology. Half of that comes from the Model Toxics Control Act, which is a tax on hazardous substances that move through the state, Kenner said. The Port of Bellingham will cover the other half. Kyle Mittan reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Dam failure a quake risk for Campbell River
Officials in Campbell River are urging residents to prepare for massive flooding when the 'Big One' hits. While many areas on the coast risk inundation from the sea, the danger in Campbell River will come from inland, where there are two large dams to the west of the city. "It is predicted by BC Hydro that our old dams will not survive a catastrophic earthquake," Shaun Koopman, the protective services coordinator for Strathcona Regional District, said in an interview with On the Island's Gregor Craigie. Deborah Wilson reports. (CBC)

Methanol opponents appeal environmental study
A trio of environmental groups is appealing the final environmental impact statement on the proposed methanol plant in Kalama. The legal challenge could introduce new delays in Northwest Innovation Works’ plans to build a $1.8 billion methanol plant. Columbia Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity announced Thursday their appeal of the study to the Cowlitz County Hearing Examiner. Marissa Luck reports. (Longview Daily News)

Three arrested for oil pipeline 'sabotage' in Skagit County include two filmmakers
Three people were arraigned in Skagit County Superior Court Thursday on charges related to Oct. 11 demonstrations against oil pipelines.  A lawyer said two of those people are journalists who did nothing to warrant the criminal charges. Amy Radil reports. (KUOW)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  852 AM PDT FRI OCT 21 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT FROM THIS
 AFTERNOON THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON  

TODAY
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  10 FT AT 14 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 11 FT AT 13 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO  9 FT AT 13 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE  MORNING.
SAT NIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E 15 TO 25 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS...BECOMING NW 6 FT AT  12 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SUN
 E WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 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.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

10/20 Sunk tug cleanup, First Nations fishing, Hood Canal honors, Port Angeles CSO

Painted turtles (NW Nature Notes)
There are no sea turtle in the Salish Sea but…
There are no sea turtle in the Salish sea but there are two native freshwater turtles in the Pacific Northwest. The Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) are seen basking on logs and rocks in lakes in summer. The Western Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata), once widespread in western Washington and Oregon, has disappeared from much of its range north of the Columbia River. The Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta) is an introduced species, discarded by households tired of having the turtle as a pet. (From Northwest Nature Notes)

New blog: Since The First Time I Voted For President
This year, I’ll vote for Hillary and, having said that, won’t tell you how to vote but will tell you about the first time I voted for president… (read more)

Stormy weather puts clean-up operations on hold for sunken B.C. tug
Stormy weather has paused the operation to remove thousands of litres of diesel from a sunken tug off British Columbia’s central coast. Salvage crews have recovered more than 88,000 of the estimated 200,000 litres of fuel from the Nathan E. Stewart, which ran aground and sank last week in Seaforth Channel, about 20 kilometres west of Bella Bella. The latest joint situation report says more fuel is scheduled to be emptied Wednesday, but smaller boats working on the operation have been told to stand down because of predictions of gale- to storm-force winds. Other parts of the operation, including shoreline clean-up assessment, wildlife observations and environmental sampling were also put on hold because of the forecast. The local Heiltsuk First Nation says in a news release that responders are concerned the tug may move in the storm, causing fuel to spill. (Canadian Press)

First Nations leaders say 'frustration is mounting' over fishing negotiations
First Nations on Vancouver Island are calling out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a lack of action on fishing rights. Several court rulings have upheld commercial fishing rights for five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations on Vancouver Island's west coast, but negotiations over the past seven years that would allow them to take part in the industry have stagnated. At a Wednesday meeting in Vancouver, they and other Indigenous leaders used the one-year anniversary of the federal Liberals being in power to express their frustrations. Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

Hood Canal awards honor local efforts to improve ecosystem
Mike Anderson, chairman of the Skokomish Watershed Action Team, and Thom Johnson, a leading expert in the recovery of Hood Canal summer chum salmon, have been named recipients of this year’s Hood Canal Environmental Awards. Other recipients of the awards, which are sponsored by Hood Canal Coordinating Council, are Shore Friendly Mason and Shore Friendly Kitsap, two programs that actively enlist waterfront property owners in the protection and restoration of their shorelines. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Port Angeles, Combined Sewer Overflow system builder in $1 million dispute
A $1 million dispute centered on building delays and construction costs has bubbled up between city officials and the builder of key components of the city’s new $47 million Combined Sewer Overflow system, the priciest public works project in the city’s history. An auditing firm will review Bellingham-based TEK Construction Inc. records today for the city, Public Works and Utilities Director Craig Fulton told City Council members at their regular meeting Tuesday. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  900 PM PDT WED OCT 19 2016  

THU  SW WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 8 FT AT 9 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN  IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
THU NIGHT
 S WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT  AT 11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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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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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

10/19 Wet spots, protect Puget Sound, Vic sewer, NW tribes inspire, frankenfish, rockfish boom, bar pilot

What is the wettest place on Earth?
Those who live along the "wet coast" – which is what people living in Puget Sound or the lower mainland of British Columbia and Vancouver Island affectionately call their home – might think that they live in the wettest place on Earth. Then again, people living in the Amazon rain forest might think that there lush and beautiful home is the dampest place in the world. But in truth, all these places come up dry (pun intended!) compared to the one place that has held the title for wettest point on Earth many times in its history. And that place is none other than Mawsynram, India, which experiences an annual average rainfall of 12 meters. And yet, this curious region in northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent is an exercise in extremes, either drowning in rainwater, or starving for it. Matt Williams reports. (Universe Today/Phys.Org)

Obama administration steps up efforts to protect Puget Sound
The Obama administration on Tuesday stepped up efforts to protect Puget Sound, including forming a new federal task force to identify priorities for restoring one of the nation's largest estuaries. The task force of federal agencies will work with tribal governments and others to come up with an action plan to better coordinate programs focused on Puget Sound. The federal action represents the latest in a string of efforts over the decades to tackle pressing environmental problems in the region, including dwindling salmon runs, water pollution and the rapid loss of wetlands and other wildlife habitat. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Sewage plant plans moving too fast, says Esquimalt mayor
Esquimalt is worried plans to break ground on the new sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in February will overload their municipal staff. Mayor Barb Desjardins is calling the timetable “incredibly aggressive” given the workload it puts on Esquimalt municipal staff…. Esquimalt councillors this week received a letter from sewage treatment project board chair Janet Bird outlining the next steps to getting Esquimalt’s approval of the sewage treatment plant so construction can start. In her letter, Bird offered resources and consultants, and to pay legal fees to help Esquimalt process the application. Bill Cleverley report. (Times Colonist)

United in fossil-fuel fight, NW tribes inspire N.D. pipeline foes
In a historic tribal gathering in North Dakota, members from more than 300 native nations have joined the effort to block construction of a $3.8 billion oil pipeline through the Standing Rock Sioux’s ancestral lands. Among those protesters is Bill James, the traditional tribal chief of the Lummi Tribe in northwest Washington, who traveled to the camp in North Dakota recently with more than a dozen fellow tribal members and a trailer full of salmon caught in their traditional waters. The Lummi also provided something else: an example of tribal success in battling fossil-fuel energy projects. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Groups challenge federal approval of genetically modified salmon in court
Environmental groups head to court today [Tuesday] to challenge a Federal Court ruling which upheld the government's earlier approval of genetically modified salmon…. In 2013, Environment Canada approved the production of genetically modified salmon eggs by the biotechnology company AquaBounty in a facility in P.E.I. AquaBounty claims its genetically modified Atlantic salmon egg — which uses genes from the eel-like ocean pout  — allows the fish to grow twice as large. (CBC)

Record number of juvenile yellowtail and black rockfish recorded
For a full week this September, the underwater rock walls and kelp forests of the San Juan Islands swarmed with clipboard-carrying scuba divers taking part in an annual study co-sponsored by SeaDoc and The Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). Among all the fish and invertebrates encountered during 100 survey dives, the drysuited citizen scientists and expert critter counters were blown away by how many YOYs they found. Young-of-the-Year, or YOY, is marine biology speak for baby fish, and what the dive teams saw weren't just any old fingerlings, but juvenile yellowtail and black rockfish…. Rockfish baby booms, called "jackpot recruitment events," happen sporadically and likely only when water temperature, climate, predator abundance, and other conditions are just right. Researchers haven't yet been able to correlate jackpot events to subsequent increases in adult fish populations, but with our Salish Sea rockfish populations on the ropes from overfishing, the more babies they pump out the better. Bob Friel writes. (Islands Sounder)

The Dangerous Life Of A Columbia River Bar Pilot
Imagine a stretch of water so dangerous even huge ships can’t cross it safely. A place sailors call the “graveyard,” where hundreds of boats have sunk and thousands of people have drowned. Now imagine this place is crucial to the global economy, and like it or not, shipping vessels must enter it every day to keep things moving and avoid economic collapse. Such a place exists in the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia River Bar, located at the intersection of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, is considered one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world. (EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT WED OCT 19 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT  
TODAY  SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT  13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT  SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT  12 SECONDS. RAIN.

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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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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

10/18 Tug sinking, oil spilling, Tacoma LNG promises, promises

(PHOTO: Crystal Green/BirdNote)
Where Birds Go to Die
Birds seem to be all around us. But we rarely come across those that have died. And why? When birds suffer from illness or injury, they often seek safe, secluded places — hidden from view and potential predators. So when death comes, a bird’s body is hidden. And it doesn’t persist for long. Scavengers salvage what they can. Nutrients from the body return to the earth, enriching the soil. And small animals may consume the bones, a rich source of calcium. Soon, all that’s left are the feathers — reminders of the bird’s grace and beauty during its lifetime. (BirdNote)

B.C. government’s lack of progress on oil spill response highlighted by tug accident
In 2012 the B.C. government set out five conditions that must be met before the province supports two proposed pipelines that would greatly increase tanker traffic on the West Coast. No.2 on that list is the establishment of a “world-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery system.” Last week the lack of progress on that point was underlined in dramatic fashion when U.S.-registered tug Nathan E. Stewart ran aground while pushing a huge fuel barge in a narrow passage just north of Bella Bella. Fortunately for the Great Bear Rainforest and the Heiltsuk people who live there, barge DBL 55 was empty. But an incident report filed in 2011 by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation gives a sense of how bad the accident could have been, had the 91-metre fuel barge been loaded. On Dec. 21 that year, the same tug and barge combination went adrift after an engine failed near Cape Fairweather, in the Gulf of Alaska. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail) See also: Diesel spill near Bella Bella an 'environmental disaster,' says nearby First Nation  (CBC)

Deal on Tacoma LNG plant would alter 2008 promise by PSE’s parent company
For more than a year, state utilities regulators have grappled with a simple question about the complex financial machinations attached to Puget Sound Energy’s proposed liquified natural gas plant: Will this put ratepayers at risk? After protracted negotiation, PSE, the Utilities and Transportation Commission staff and a handful of other parties say they have worked out a compromise that claims, repeatedly, that the answer is no. Their agreement lays out an intricate system of split ownership and management for the LNG plant between the utility and the private investor group that owns it. This week, the agreement goes before a judge, who will hear public comments and evidence about the deal before deciding whether he approves. If the deal wins approval, it will alter a pledge Puget Sound Energy’s Australia-based owners made to state and federal regulators to win permission to buy the utility in 2008. The regulators’ approval came with a written agreement that Puget Energy — the holding company that owns Puget Sound Energy — would not own or operate another business besides the utility company. The proposal to make and sell LNG as a subsidiary company would be barred under that agreement. Derrick Nunnally reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  242 AM PDT TUE OCT 18 2016  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8  FT AT 11 SECONDS. SCATTERED SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 SW WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT AT 12 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.

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Follow on Twitter.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

10/17 Storm?, sunk tug, coal trains, Burley 'duck, Elwha fish, school salmon, foul waters, TacomaLNG, dinofish

PHOTO: Port Townsend (Stuart @yrpstu/KOMO)
What the heck went wrong with the storm forecast?!?
Well, this storm certainly will go down as one meteorologists will be talking about for years... just not in the way it was expected. What was computed -- even as of Saturday morning -- to rank among the region's greats ended up woefully under developing. What was supposed to be a lion turned out to be something more along the lines of a lizard with maybe a bit of an attitude… Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO) See also: Tempest in a teapot as third storm fizzles on South Coast  Cheryl Chan reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Fuel to be removed from sunk tug boat in Bella Bella 
On Monday, crews hope to begin removing the remaining fuel aboard a tug boat that ran aground in the waters near Bella Bella — allowing the Nathan E. Stewart to be lifted from the ocean and onto a barge for transport…. The Nathan E. Stewart and the empty fuel barge DBL 55 crashed on Edge Reef, in Seaforth Channel near Athlone Island, just after 1 a.m. PT on Thursday. Both are owned by the U.S. company Kirby Offshore Marine and were heading south from Alaska when the accident occurred. While the fuel barge was empty, the tug leaked some of the nearly 200,000 litres of fuel it had left port with.
Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)
 

More coal trains? Company says it’s exporting to Asia through a B.C. port
A company with coal mines in Wyoming and Montana said Thursday, Oct. 13 that it’s begun exporting fuel to Asia through a Canadian port –pulling out of a planned export terminal in Oregon and potentially sending more coal trains through Whatcom County. According to the announcement from Lighthouse Resources, Inc., the company began shipping coal to power plants in South Korea this month through Westshore Terminals in Vancouver, B.C., a boost for a beleaguered industry that’s been in a prolonged tailspin. The company declined to give shipment volumes. (Associated Press/Bellingham Herald)

Agencies officially stop EIS work on Shell rail project
State and county agencies announced Thursday that environmental review work has officially stopped for the rail unloading facility project at Shell Puget Sound Refinery, a week after the refinery called off the project.A letter dated Oct. 11 from refinery project manager Burt Newbry to the state Department of Ecology and Skagit County Planning and Development asked the agencies to stop their work on an environmental impact statement for the project. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Department of Natural Resources reschedules public meeting to Tuesday on expansions of two conservation areas
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has rescheduled the public hearing for proposals to expand two DNR-managed conservation areas near Quilcene in Jefferson County due to travel safety advisories related to storm conditions in northwestern Washington. The public hearing will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. next Tuesday, Oct. 25 in the Quilcene High School multi-purpose room, 294715 U.S. Highway 101. (Peninsula Daily News)

Big geoduck farm planned in Burley Lagoon
A large shellfish farm proposed on a south Kitsap Peninsula lagoon will undergo special scrutiny over its potential impacts on water quality and wildlife. Taylor Shellfish, the state's largest shellfish grower, plans to convert existing commercial shellfish beds in Burley Lagoon to one of the region's largest geoduck-growing operations. The 25-acre tideland would be covered with a grid of plastic tubes and mesh that protect the large clam's seed during its first years. Plastic netting would be draped over the area as an added barrier to predators. The lagoon is in Pierce County, just south of the Kitsap County border and about 5 miles from Gig Harbor. The area Taylor wants to convert to intensive geoduck cultivation is scatter-planted with oysters and clams, and has much less of a visual and environmental impact, according to environmental groups opposed to geoduck farming. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

More Elwha fish find way to dam-free upper watershed
More sockeye, chinook and bull trout have made it above the former Glines Canyon dam site so far this spawning season than documented in any year since the unprecedented dam-removal project was completed on the Elwha River. The fish returns this season are an encouraging sign that blasting work in the river last summer to improve passage after initial dam removal has made a difference. Numbers aren’t yet final, but so far snorkel surveys and radio telemetry used by scientists to track and monitor fish throughout the Elwha show that from the end of July through the end of September, about 70 chinook salmon made it above the former Glines Canyon dam site. The farthest the fish have been seen upriver so far is at river mile 29. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Fauntleroy Creek Salmon in the Schools program will swim on
After months of not knowing if the Fauntleroy Creek Salmon in the Schools program would continue uninterrupted as it has for more than 20 years, word came late last week that it will. The program centers on coho fry released by schoolchildren. Ten elementary schools and three preschools in West Seattle receive coho eggs in January and students rear the fish while learning about biology, habitat, and the role of salmon in Pacific Northwest environment, commerce, and culture. Nearly 800 students came to the creek this past spring on release field trips, bringing 1,800 coho fry. Dennis Hinton reports. (West Seattle Blog)

Look out, salmon: Storm pushes foul waste into Seattle waters
Wind and heavy rain could make this weekend tough for Puget Sound dwellers. The storm could be rough on the sound's underwater residents as well. Big storms mean big water pollution as heavy runoff carries toxic crud into local waters, and as city sewer systems can't keep up. Along shorelines in Seattle and Puget Sound, outfall pipes dump raw sewage and runoff whenever heavy rains, like those expected this weekend, overwhelm the sewer system.  By Friday morning, 12 of these "combined sewer overflow" pipes had begun dumping an unhealthy mix straight into Seattle waters, according to King County's real-time "combined sewer overflow" monitoring: five outfalls on the Duwamish River, two along the Seattle Ship Canal, two on Portage Bay, one at Carkeek Park, one on Elliott Bay and one in West Seattle. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

PSE drops one court fight against LNG records release, continues another
Puget Sound Energy on Friday dropped its court fight to keep safety studies of its proposed Tacoma liquified natural gas plant secret after The News Tribune published the records. In a filing with the state Court of Appeals, PSE said it was abandoning its lawsuit to block the public-records releases of the siting study and fire protection evaluation for its Tideflats LNG plant to three activists who requested them from government agencies. The utility company also sued to block The News Tribune from getting the documents via a public records request.  Derrick Nunnally reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Dinosaur-era 'swordfish' discovered in outback Australia
"Extremely rare" fossils from a swordfish-like creature which lived 100 million years ago have been discovered in the Australian outback. Two families on holiday unearthed the prehistoric predator at a free fossil-finding site in north-west Queensland. The remains are thought to be from the Australopachycormus hurleyi, a 3m-long ray-finned fish with a pointed snout. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  249 AM PDT MON OCT 17 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS
AFTERNOON  

TODAY
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 10 FT AT 11 SECONDS. NUMEROUS SHOWERS.  TONIGHT  SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SHOWERS  LIKELY.

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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, October 14, 2016

10/14 Bella Bella oil spill, orcas & coho, birds & I-732, foreign fisherman rule

Bob Dylan (Michael Ochs/Getty/New Yorker)
Let’s Celebrate the Bob Dylan Nobel Win
God is a colossal joker, isn’t She? We went to bed last night having learned that the Man Who Will Not Go Away was, according to the Times, no mere purveyor of “locker-room talk”; no, he has been, in fact, true to his own boasts, a man of vile action. The Times report  was the latest detail, the latest brushstroke, in the ever-darkening portrait of an American grotesque. Then came the news, early this morning, that Bob Dylan, one of the best among us, a glory of the country and of the language, had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Ring them bells! What an astonishing and unambiguously wonderful thing! David Remick reports. (The New Yorker)

Petroleum barge runs aground near Bella Bella on Canada’s west coast
The grounding of a petroleum barge near Bella Bella has local indigenous groups and activists concerned about the impact on marine food sources and the future of tanker traffic along the B.C. coast. The tug Nathan E. Stewart and barge DBL 55, owned by the Texas-based Kirby Corporation, ran aground at Edge Reef in Seaforth Channel just after 1 a.m. Thursday. The articulated tug-barge combo was on its way back to Vancouver from Alaska at the time and the 287-foot fuel barge was empty, but the tug quickly began leaking diesel into the water. The tug had about 50,000 gallons of diesel at the beginning of its trip. Seven crew members were on board, but no one was injured. Bethany Lindsay reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Clam beds at risk after sinking tug spills fuel near Bella Bella, says local First Nation  Megan Thomas reports. (CBC) If you like to watch: 10,000 Ton Texas Tanker traveling the B.C. Coast  The Nathan E. Stewart/DBL 54 is an articulated tug/barge" (ATB) and is owned by the Texas-based Kirby Corporation, which is one of the largest petroleum product ATB operators in the USA. It travels back and forth up the B.C. Inside Passage by “special waiver" which exempts it from Transport Canada shipping regulations.  Ingmar Lee and Pacific Wild report.

Orcas starting to follow chum salmon into Central Puget Sound
Chum salmon are beginning to make their way into Central and South Puget Sound, which means the orcas are likely to follow. Given this year’s dismal reports of chinook salmon in the San Juan Islands, we can hope that a decent number of chum traveling to streams farther south will keep the killer whales occupied through the fall. But anything can happen. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Birds, birds, birds and the threat they can't escape
Birds exist everywhere we do, so it's little wonder that they have been important to human culture from time immemorial. Their songs thrill along with their incredible display of speed and strength.  Audubon has been dedicated to ensuring their survival since it was  founded in 1905. From its work in stopping the sale of feathers of native birds for the fashion industry, to the ban of DDT in 1972,  the organization has been on the front lines of conservation and grassroots advocacy. In this bird rich radio feature, we take a look at Audubon's work in Washington state and why they support I-732, the carbon tax. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acre Radio)

State agency opposes rule change for foreign fishermen
A group of Hawaii residents want to change local rules for issuing commercial fishing licenses and make the process more transparent after an Associated Press investigation found that hundreds of undocumented fishermen work in the fleet. A federal loophole allows the foreign men to work but exempts them from most basic labor protections, and some residents are concerned that state rules offer little transparency and leave workers in the dark….The petition asks for rule changes that include certifying that license applicants understand and have read the paperwork they are signing, but a state agency recommends the changes not be implemented. The foreign fishermen who work in the fleet often do not read, write or understand English and therefore cannot legitimately agree to terms of the license, petitioners said Wednesday. In a document signed by Bruce Anderson, the administrator for the Division of Aquatic Resources, the department recommends denying the rule changes because the petition focuses on labor issues that are outside the department’s jurisdiction. (Associated Press)

Now, your thank-goodness-for-tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  258 AM PDT FRI OCT 14 2016  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING
 THROUGH THIS EVENING  
TODAY
 S WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING SW 20 TO 30 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 12 TO 14 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  15 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 16 TO 17 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  11 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING S TO 10 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. SW SWELL 19 FT AT 13 SECONDS...BECOMING W AT 13 SECONDS  AFTER MIDNIGHT. SHOWERS.
SAT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E 30 TO 40 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 10 TO 12 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  14 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN IN THE  AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
 E WIND 40 TO 50 KT...BECOMING SW 15 TO 25 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 10 TO 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  14 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 9 TO 10 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  13 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SUN
 S WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 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