Wednesday, December 28, 2016

12/28 'Fight On,' Paul Bannick's 'Owls,' berry farm fine, Puget Sound habitat

Salish Sea News and Weather will take a break and return after the first week of the new year. Thank you, readers, for doing your part on behalf of the health of our Salish Sea.

Salish Sea Communications blog: “Happy New Year”-- No! “Fight On”-- Yes!
"It’s been difficult this holiday season to wish others “Happy New Year” without it sounding like a prayer. In closing out 2016, I need to focus on how I enter 2017. The Brexit vote for the UK to leave the EU was reported the morning I flew into Edinburgh in June…."

Listen up: Owls: The Otherworldly Creatures Who Need Our Help: A Conversation with Paul Bannick, Conservationist & Photographer 
“You do not find owls – owls find you. Their camouflage conceals them until you catch a fleeting glimpse of broad, soft wings illuminated by the setting sun or, more likely, the moon.” In this audio rich conversation with Paul Bannick, conservationist and photographer about his latest book, Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls, we hear the owl's message and what North America's 19 distinct species need to survive. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acre Radio)

Whatcom berry farmer fined for illegal water use
A Whatcom County berry grower was fined $102,000 for illegally watering raspberries and failing to submit records on water use. The Washington Department of Ecology fined Gurjant “George” Sandhu for separate violations on two farms he operates in Whatcom County. The first fine is $90,000 for illegally irrigating a 220-acre raspberry farm. The second is a $12,000 penalty for not submitting water use records for a 120-acre blueberry farm, according to the agency’s news release. At the raspberry farm, the department said Sandhu irrigated for at least two years without approved water rights. Ecology attempted to work with Sandhu to bring the farm into compliance, but he refused assistance, according to the news release. At the blueberry farm, Sandhu was required to submit accurate water use data as part of a settlement for illegal water use. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Federal action a great start on protecting Puget Sound habitat
CONGRESS and President Obama gave the Puget Sound a remarkable holiday gift. They made a historic commitment to protect and restore Puget Sound by authorizing $451 million worth of habitat restoration, as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. The president signed it Dec. 16. This tremendous milestone represents years of work by state and regional advocates who developed and prioritized projects supporting salmon restoration and biodiversity. Seattle Times Editorial Board writes. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST WED DEC 28 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON
   TODAY  W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING S 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 11  TO 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE MORNING...THEN RAIN  LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES BUILDING TO 2 TO  4 FT. W SWELL 12 FT AT 14 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 10 FT AT 14 SECONDS  AFTER MIDNIGHT. 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

12/27 Hilary Franz, Dabob Bay, paraquat, J34

(Ingrid Truemper CC/BirdNote)
One of the great events in birdwatching
n winter, flocks of wintering Snow Geese, Ross’s Geese, and Sandhill Cranes stop at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Just before sunrise, the geese are a mass of kinetic and potential energy, like a symphony orchestra tuning up for a big performance. Hunger might launch the flock. Or maybe the sunrise. And then — without warning— they take off. Although it lasts only seconds, geese launching is one of the great events in birdwatching. This pulse of ten thousand wings rumbles through your bones … and stays a while. (BirdNote)

Climate change, rural growth are priorities for new Washington lands commissioner
The state’s newly elected lands commissioner says her top priorities will be to find ways to strengthen local rural economies and to prepare state lands and communities to deal with climate change. Hilary Franz, an environmental attorney who beat out retired Navy commander Steve McLaughlin, will take over the helm at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in January from two-term commissioner Peter Goldmark. She will lead the state’s largest firefighting force, manage 5.6 million acres of state-owned lands and ensure revenues from logging, land leases and other operations for school construction and other projects. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

State order protects nearly 4,000 more acres of Dabob Bay
The outgoing commissioner of public lands has added nearly 4,000 acres to the Dabob Bay Natural Resource Conservation Area. Peter Goldmark signed on Thursday an executive order to expand the Dabob area by 3,393 acres. The order conserves mature coastal forests, streams, fish-spawning areas, eelgrass beds, native Olympia oyster beds and nearshore tidelands. (Peninsula Daily News)

Federal guidelines changing for herbicide paraquat
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is changing rules for paraquat, one of the most commonly used herbicides for agriculture and other landscape applications throughout the country, including in Skagit County. The federal agency announced last week that it is updating rules for labeling products that include paraquat, as well as rules for who can purchase and use those products. The changes are intended to reduce paraquat poisonings, according to a news release. Paraquat poisonings — most often from accidental ingestion — have resulted in hundreds of illnesses and some deaths across the U.S. from 1998 to 2013, according to a recent study that included information from 14 state and federal health agencies. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

What you can do – personally – to help save Puget Sound’s resident orcas
With the Southern Resident Killer Whale population down to 79 after the death of J34 in B.C. waters last week, many who love our orcas continue to wonder what can they personally do – if anything – to try to help keep the endangered whales from dwindling to extinction. Donna Sandstrom, the West Seattleite who founded and leads The Whale Trail, shares these thoughts. (West Seattle Blog)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST TUE DEC 27 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 
TODAY
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 12 FT AT  15 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 15 FT AT 15 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.  SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 15 FT  AT 14 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Friday, December 23, 2016

12/23 T.obama, J34 necropsy, poop-power, Skagit R., BC parcels, shellfish hatchery, BP EIS

T. obama (Richard Pyle/Bishop Museum/CBS)
New species of fish in Hawaii's waters named after Obama
When scientists discovered a new species of fish in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, they noticed a distinctive, colorful spot near the tail that bore a striking resemblance to President Barack Obama’s campaign logo, CBS affiliate KGMB reports. That’s one of the reasons why they decided to name the species after him. And as Obama’s second term as president draws to a close, scientists are hoping the species will symbolize his legacy for many years to come. Scientists from the Bishop Museum, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the Association for Marine Exploration on Wednesday published a description of the new species called “Tosanoides obama,” which was discovered during a NOAA expedition to Papahanaumokuakea in June. (CBS)

Necropsy on dead killer whale shows animal suffered blunt-force trauma
A necrospy on a dead killer whale found floating off the coast of British Columbia showed the animal had blunt-force trauma to its head and neck, officials say. The male orca, found in the water off the Sunshine Coast north of Vancouver on Tuesday, also had a hematoma, indicating it was alive for a time after the injury, said Paul Cottrell, Pacific marine mammal co-ordinator with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He said the damage may have been caused by a vessel strike or other “heavy contact,” but investigators are waiting on tissue tests and other results to determine exactly what happened…. The 18-year-old orca, known as J34, was part of the endangered southern resident killer whale population, which live in the waters off southern British Columbia and Washington state. (Canadian Press)

Poop-powered cars could soon hit the road in Metro Vancouver
If it's yellow, let it mellow — goes the toilet etiquette saying — but if it's brown, flush it down... and it might end up in your gas tank. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have successfully converted sewage waste into a substance similar to crude oil. And Metro Vancouver will pilot the technology as it taps into thousands of flushing toilets across the region to fuel a new biocrude oil plant that will open in 2018. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC) See also: Sechelt treatment plant will have to be expanded as early as 2023  A controversial $25-million sewage treatment plant in Sechelt will have to be expanded as early as 2023 at a cost of $13 million, according to a project review by Deloitte LLP. The Water Resource Centre was designed to be a showcase for sustainability and innovation, processing the town’s sewage to a world-class standard and producing Class A compostable biosolids as a byproduct. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Skagit project moves forward in federal water bill
A project that would restore fish habitat along the north fork of the Skagit River on Fir Island has federal approval to move forward. President Barack Obama signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act on Friday…. Among the projects authorized in the bill are three from the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project that are expected to cost a combined $461.6 million for design and construction. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Four environmentally sensitive parcels of lands around B.C. to be protected 
Four properties have been added to British Columbia's collection of environmentally sensitive lands. They include a 64-hectare parcel of fish and wildlife habitat along the Fraser River near McBride, and 63 hectares of low-lying wetland in the same area southeast of Prince George. Smaller parcels include 3.2 hectares of forest in Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island and just over half a hectare containing a bird sanctuary, hiking trails, wetland and shoreline habitat near Cranbrook. The province acquired the land after financial difficulties forced the Land Conservancy of B.C. to transfer it to the Nature Conservancy of Canada last year. (Canadian Press)

Massive shellfish hatchery near completion on Sunshine Coast
 Construction is nearing completion at a massive land-based shellfish hatchery and research facility near Saltery Bay on the Sunshine Coast. The 34,000-square-metre facility is the first phase of a planned $40-million build-out south of Powell River that is expected to create 30 to 50 local jobs. Hummingbird Cove Lifestyles is a subsidiary of Linghai Shenziting Sea Cucumber Hatchery in China’s Liaoning province. Although construction was delayed by several months due to a lengthy government licensing process and an ongoing legal conflict with a local building contractor, the facility is set to open in February, according to Dan Dyble, a business consultant and spokesman for the firm’s owners. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Conservationists Press Army Corps To Complete Its Environmental Review Of Expansion At BP Refinery
Sixteen environmental groups have sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers with concerns about increasing oil tanker traffic in the Salish Sea. They say a final environmental impact statement for expansion of an oil refinery north of Bellingham is long overdue — and needed now more than ever.  BP added a second dock to its refinery at Cherry Point, near Ferndale, in 2001. Known as the North Wing, it was originally built without formal environmental analysis, though it doubled the facility’s capacity for receiving oil tankers. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Now, your Christmas weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST FRI DEC 23 2016  

TODAY  NE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
 NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING N AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF  RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SAT
 W WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
SUN
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT. W SWELL 6 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

12/22 Dead orca, Fed action plan, pipe protest, backyard salmon, wetland garden, Samish Bay, boat woes

(Mike Hamilton/BirdNote)
Hawk on a light pole? Could be a Red-tail!
Driving the freeway or a narrow country road, you may glance up at a light pole where a large hawk sits in plain view. If it's brown and somewhat mottled, and its small head and short tail make it appear football-shaped, it's probably a Red-tailed Hawk. During winter, many Red-tailed Hawks move south, joining year-round residents. (BirdNote)

Dead orca found off B.C.'s Sunshine Coast 
A deceased adult Orca was found floating off the shore of Sechelt, B.C., on Wednesday. The Vancouver Aquarium confirmed that members with its Marine Mammal Research Program are en route to Sechelt to work with the DFO in performing a necropsy…. The whale was originally spotted on Tuesday night, said Cottrell, but it wasn't until this afternoon that it could be safely secured and brought to shore. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Federal Action Plan coming together for Puget Sound
A draft of a Federal Action Plan to protect and restore Puget Sound is scheduled for completion before Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20, according to officials involved in developing the plan. The plan will help demonstrate that Washington state and nine federal agencies are aligned in their efforts to recover one of the most important waterways in the nation, according to leaders involved in a new Federal Puget Sound Task Force. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Trudeau cautions B.C. critics to keep pipeline protests legal
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in B.C. on Tuesday for the first time since approving a new $6.8-billion heavy oil pipeline to Burnaby, said he respects the rights of opponents to vigorously protest the project. But Trudeau also cautioned critics — some of whom, including Green party leader Elizabeth May, have threatened to engage in civil disobedience — to keep their protests within the parameters of Canadian law. Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

One back yard at a time, students work to save salmon
Every year, Ruth Blaikie waits for the visitors to return to Shell Creek. “Like clockwork, they come — between Halloween and Thanksgiving,” she said. “When the salmon return, they spawn in our back yard.” The creek has a natural run of chum salmon, and coho have been seen there, too. Members of the Students Saving Salmon club at Edmonds-Woodway High School wanted to know more about the creek’s salmon runs and began their work in the fall. Some of it involved going door to door to 28 homes, talking to Blaikie and her neighbors about the types of fish that could be seen in the creek. Sharon Salyer reports. (Herald of Everett)

Study explores how ancient First Nations gardened the ocean on B.C.'s coast 
An ancient wetland-gardening site unearthed during a road-building project in British Columbia is as culturally important as any other wonder of the world, says a member of the indigenous group who directed the excavation project. A study published Wednesday found that as early as 1,800 BC, ancestors of the Katzie First Nation in B.C.'s Lower Mainland were engineering the wetland environment to increase the yield of a valuable, semi-aquatic plant known as a wapato. The report describes the finding as the first direct archeological evidence  the cultivation of wild plants in the Pacific Northwest. Geordon Omand reports. (Canadian Press)

Samish Bay Pollution Impedes Tribal Harvest
Despite the efforts of the Clean Samish Initiative formed in 2009, tribal treaty rights to harvest shellfish in Samish Bay continue to be threatened by poor water quality, as documented in the treaty tribes’ State of Our Watershed Report. Five different tribes have reserved rights to collect fish and shellfish from the bay. Conditions have improved somewhat, but high counts of fecal coliform bacteria continue to keep most of Samish Bay’s commercial shellfish areas either conditionally approved (closed during high rain events) or prohibited (closed year-round) to shellfish growing. Only a small section in the north of Samish Bay is approved (open year-round) for shellfish growing and harvest. (Northwest Treaty Tribes)

Rash of derelict boats in South Sound strains response resources
When a boat is left neglected in Washington waters — tied up or anchored down for weeks — the way things are supposed to work is straightforward. The official or private citizen who spots the boat reports it to the state Department of Natural Resources to investigate and look for the owner. Eventually, the boat is either claimed or removed. Under state law, this policy governs boats in Puget Sound and inland lakes and rivers. It has led to the removal of about 600 boats in its 15 years.But over the past few months, a watchdog agency for Commencement Bay says the program hasn’t been effective at managing the derelict boats in Sound waters near Tacoma. Officials from the nonprofit Citizens for a Healthy Bay said they have watched and reported five boats since the beginning of October. Three of them either sank or ran aground before the state agency intervened. Derrick Nunnally reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST THU DEC 22 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT  
TODAY
 SW WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 11 FT  AT 14 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING NE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 10 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A SLIGHT 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

12/21 Solstice, oil lease ban, BC tow boats, pipeline, WA carbon, seawalls, Swinomish action

Stonehenge (Gail Johnson/Fotolia)
Winter Solstice, Dec. 21
Those living in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate the mark of increasingly longer days, those in the Southern Hemisphere will transition to shorter days, and those at the equator won't notice much of a difference at all…. For many ancient civilizations that struggled to subsist through harsh winter months, the winter solstice marked a time of spiritual rejoice and celebration…. Stonehenge — one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world — is an arrangement of rocks carefully positioned on a barren ground in southern England…. When the sun sets on the winter solstice, its rays align with what are known as the central Altar stone and the Slaughter stone — an event that … researchers believe was an important spiritual event for those responsible for creating the monument. (From LiveScience.com)

Obama bans future oil leases in much of Arctic, Atlantic 
President Barack Obama on Tuesday designated the bulk of U.S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean as indefinitely off limits to future oil and gas leasing. The move helps put some finishing touches on Obama’s environmental legacy while also testing President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to unleash the nation’s untapped energy reserves. The White House announced the actions in conjunction with the government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which also placed a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing in its Arctic waters, subject to periodic review. Kevin Freking reports. (Associated Press)

Trudeau promises two emergency towing vessels to protect B.C. coast
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says two emergency towing vessels that were promised as part of a federal plan to protect Canada’s oceans will operate on the West Coast. Trudeau toured a Canadian Coast Guard tug in Vancouver on Tuesday to highlight the announcement. The vessels will help the coast guard tow large commercial ships that are in distress and pose a hazard to navigation and the marine environment. This is the prime minister’s first visit to the city since his government announced its support late last month for the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to the Vancouver area. (Canadian Press) See also: Kinder Morgan: Justin Trudeau says pipeline part of climate plan  Scott Brown reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Environmentalists file court challenge of Ottawa's Trans Mountain pipeline approval
Conservation groups have filed a new court challenge to the federal government's approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline. The request for judicial review filed with the Federal Court of Appeal late Monday in Calgary is at least the eighth legal test of the controversial project, which will almost triple the capacity of an existing, 1,150-kilometre pipeline from near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. Bruce Cheadle reports. (Canadian Press) See also: Justin Trudeau still in strong position in polls, but recent drop suggests vulnerability  √Čric Grenier reports. (CBC)

Ecology Department Recommends More Stringent Targets For Carbon Emissions In Washington
The Washington State Department of Ecology is recommending more aggressive efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the state. The agency has submitted new targets to the Legislature. A law passed in 2008 set an initial goal of reducing Washington’s carbon emissions to half of what they were in 1990 by the year 2050. Now, the department says we need to get to an 80 percent reduction by that time. They also recommend getting to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2035. Air quality program manager Stu Clark says state law requires that the goals be regularly reviewed. And the new targets are in line with the latest science and recent international reports and agreements. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Seattle Seawalls No Longer a Shore Thing 
On a sunny autumn morning, an ebullient Pat Collier steps down to the beach and waves her hand at the expanse of sand below her Maury Island home. “Look how much I’ve gained!” the 80-year-old says. She’s referring to her beach, which has been expanding since 2006, when she removed most of her bulkhead—a retaining wall built to stop beach erosion. The beach is still 288 feet long, but it’s been transformed from a narrow strip of gravel to something much deeper and more natural-looking. Over time, a bulkhead, which blocks the erosion of bluffs, tends to create a rockier beach, starved of sediment. In exchange for more beach, the Sound has stolen some of her land, but she’s OK with that. The beach near the water is coarse and cobbled, but the new strand above it is soft sand, fringed with bleached driftwood logs, which form natural benches with a view of Mount Rainier. Collier says that friends who see the new beach often exclaim at her land loss, but many people, including her great-grandkids, prefer spending time on the beach rather than in her yard.  A former schoolteacher who retired to the island in 1992, Collier removed the bulkhead rather than repair it when it began to fail in 2006. “I had been learning more and more about the effects of bulkheads on this ecosystem,” she says. Maria Dolan reports. (Seattle Magazine)

Swinomish chairman tells residents not to fear
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman Brian Cladoosby told the Anacortes City Council on Monday night that local residents need not fear tribal action as portrayed in a recent letter written by Skagit County commissioners. The county released a letter in early December that said should the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs approve amendments to the Swinomish constitution, it could give the tribe regulatory power over the Anacortes refineries on March Point, erode the refineries’ ability to operate under consistent regulations and violate their constitutional rights to due process. Cladoosby, who spoke to the council for about a half-hour, said the county misrepresented what is really going on. The purpose of the amendments is to remove any need to have the federal bureau approve official actions made by the tribe’s governing body, he said.  Colette Weeks reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  238 AM PST WED DEC 21 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH
 THURSDAY AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 13 FT  AT 14 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 11 FT AT 15 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.  A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  12 FT AT 15 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN 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, December 20, 2016

12/20 Princess Louisa Inlet, Cherry Point, Navy jets, deer with orcas

Royal morning 0800 (Laurie MacBride)
Light and Shadow Play
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Over the three days we spent in Princess Louisa Inlet last summer, we watched a fascinating play of light and shadow. This steep-sided, narrow inlet is tucked far into BC’s Coast Mountain Range, so morning light is slow to arrive. When the sun finally makes it over the eastern peaks, it lights the tops of the mountains along the western shore first…." (Read on)

Whatcom Planning Commission to consider Cherry Point perspective in January
Since October, the Whatcom County Planning Commission has focused on refining policies for development at Cherry Point. The commission, at the direction of the Whatcom County Council, has been working on changes to the portion of the county planning document that guides land use at Cherry Point, the county’s industrial heartland. After two work sessions and two long meetings at which hundreds of people gave input on the amendments, the commission opted at the end of its Dec. 8 meeting to continue its work, with another session Jan. 12. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Navy to resume EA-18, F/A-18 flight operations
Naval Air Forces directed EA-18 Growler and F/A-18 Super Hornet squadrons to resume normal operations Monday after an operational pause was put into effect following a Growler ground mishap on an airfield at Whidbey Island last Friday. The EA-18 incident that resulted in injuries to the pilot and electronic warfare officer caused safety concerns that necessitated an operational pause for all EA-18s and F/A-18s. Both members of the aircrew of an EA-18G assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 132 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island sustained injuries during an unspecified incident on the flight deck at 11 a.m. Friday. (Peninsula Daily News)

Deer in water encounters killer whales off B.C. coast
A B.C. skipper stumbled on a rare sight Sunday: a young buck swimming right past a pod of killer whales lurking nearby. Mark Malleson was leading a whale-watching tour near East Sooke Park when he spotted four transient orcas. He thought he saw a moving tree nearby — but it was actually a deer's antlers. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  555 AM PST TUE DEC 20 2016  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM PST THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 W WIND 35 TO 45 KT...EASING TO 25 TO 35 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 12 TO 14 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  15 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 19 TO 20 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  12 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. SHOWERS IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS  LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
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 17 FT AT 14 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 15 FT AT  15 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. A SLIGHT 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, December 19, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM PST THIS MORNING

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

--
"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, December 16, 2016

12/16 Fish fall, Zinke's coal, Vic sewer, invasive species, Tristan Baurick

(UW Conservation Magazine)
Flying fish fries power for more than 170 Seattle City Light customers
More than 170 utility customers lost power when a fish fell on power lines.  The fish is believed to have been a salmon, according to Seattle City Light. A witness apparently saw the fish fall from a bird and hit the power lines. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Trump’s Interior pick could signal revival of Northwest coal export terminal
 Donald Trump’s nomination of Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to lead the Interior Department could signal the revival of a much-debated coal-export terminal in Northwest Washington state that’s pitted industry groups and unions against environmental and community groups, and two Indian tribes against each other. In Congress, Zinke has been a staunch supporter of the Gateway Pacific Terminal, a $600 million facility in Whatcom County, Wash., that would export about 48 million tons a year of coal mined in western states to Pacific Rim markets. Zinke also wants to lift a moratorium on new leases for coal extraction on federal lands, 90 percent of which takes place in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana. The Interior Department imposed the hiatus earlier this year. Curtis Tate reports. (McClatchy)

Here we go again: Sewage plant site needs Esquimalt rezoning after all
The proposed sewage-treatment plant site at McLoughlin Point will have to go through a rezoning process after all, meaning approval of the mega-project once again will be up to Esquimalt council. It’s an unexpected turn of events that’s made some local politicians uneasy, especially given Esquimalt council’s previous unanimous opposition to locating a plant at McLoughlin…. In May, with senior-government funding deadlines looming and the CRD spinning its wheels, B.C. Community Minister Peter Fassbender stepped in. He took the process out of the hands of local politicians and turned it over to an expert panel called the Core Area Waste Water Treatment Project Board, headed by chairwoman Jane Bird. After examining all the data and public input collected by the CRD, that panel again recommended a single regional treatment plant at McLoughlin Point. Bird told CRD directors Wednesday that it was originally believed McLoughlin would not need rezoning for the plant. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Invasive species need to be on Legislative agenda
With invasive green crabs entering Puget Sound from the north and invasive mussels discovered in Montana to the east, the Legislature will be called on to make some critical funding decisions to ward off potential invaders…. To fully address the threats through prevention and enforcement, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that $5.2 million per year is needed. That would move Washington ahead of Oregon and Idaho in addressing the problems. Each of those states spent about $1.3 million in 2014, while California spent about $10.7 million. Washington’s current budget for dealing with aquatic invasive species is one of the lowest in the country at $900,000 a year. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

State drains Capitol Lake to help fight invasive mud snails
The state Department of Enterprise Services began lowering the water level in Capitol Lake on Thursday to fight the New Zealand mud snails that have invaded the lake. The goal is to expose the tiny mollusks to the cold weather and reduce their population. The department expects that most of the lake’s bottom will be exposed to the elements Friday through Sunday, when temperatures are forecast to dip into the low 20s at night and hover just above freezing during the days. Andy Hobbs reports. (Olympian)

Kitsap Sun journalist wins Connelly Award
Kitsap Sun reporter Tristan Baurick has been honored with the 2016 Dolly Connelly Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award for his story "River Delta's Rebirth."… The award honors Dolly Connelly, a longtime Northwest freelance writer and Time-Life correspondent. Her son is Joel Connelly of SeattlePI.com, who endowed the award. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  307 AM PST FRI DEC 16 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON PST TODAY
 
TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3  FT AT 12 SECONDS.
SAT
 SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT  16 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT NIGHT
 S WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 14 SECONDS.
SUN
 SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 13 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, December 15, 2016

12/15 RZinke, pipe spill, Bit spills, pipe poll, offshore drill, PS vital signs, deer control

Common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albs) occurs in dry woods and openings, generally at low elevations, from southern BC to California. The white, waxy-looking berries are considered poisonous by aboriginal peoples. They are given names like ‘corpse berry' or 'snake berry' in several languages. One Stl'atl'imx story identifies the berries as 'the saskatoon berries of the people in the Land of the Dead.' (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Trump Is Said to Offer Interior Job to Ryan Zinke, Montana Lawmaker
President-elect Donald J. Trump has offered the position of secretary of the interior to Montana’s freshman representative, Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL commander, two officials familiar with Mr. Trump’s decision confirmed on Tuesday. The appointment of Mr. Zinke would round out Mr. Trump’s choices to lead the four agencies that will shape the future of the nation’s energy and climate change policies. Last week, he named Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who has built a career out of suing the Environmental Protection Agency, to lead that office. On Tuesday, transition officials said he would name Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who vowed to eliminate the Energy Department, to run that agency. Mr. Trump has also chosen Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, to head the State Department, which negotiates international climate change agreements. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Pipeline 150 miles from Dakota Access protests leaks 176,000 gallons of oil
A ruptured pipeline has spilled more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a hillside and a Little Missouri River tributary about 150 miles west of Cannon Ball, N.D., where thousands of activists have spent months fighting construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, state officials said Monday. A segment of the Belle Fourche Pipeline near Belfield, N.D., began leaking earlier this month, contaminating nearly six miles of the Ash Coulee Creek before cleanup workers contained it, Bill Suess, an environmental scientist from the North Dakota Department of Health, told the Associated Press. Derek Hawkins reports. (Washington Post)

Review of 9,000 Studies Finds We Know Squat About Bitumen Spills in Ocean Environments
Nobody knows how a spill of diluted bitumen would affect marine life or whether a bitumen spill in salt water could be adequately cleaned up, because basic research is lacking, says a new study.The peer-reviewed paper, which will be published later this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, looked at more than 9,000 studies of the effect of oilsands products on the marine environment. Judith Lavoie reports. (DeSmogBlog)

Majority of B.C. supports Trans Mountain pipeline, industry poll finds
More than half of British Columbians polled on behalf of an association representing Canada’s oil and gas industry support Ottawa’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Fifty-four per cent of British Columbians polled said they support the federal government’s green-lighting of the Burnaby Mountain pipeline expansion, while 26 per cent opposed the project. The survey, which was conducted by Ipsos Canada for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, notes B.C.’s level of support for the Trans Mountain project is above the national average, which was recorded at 37 per cent. (Postmedia News)

West Coast Push Gets Under Way For Permanent Ban On Offshore Drilling
California Gov. Jerry Brown wants President Barack Obama to permanently ban new offshore oil and gas drilling in his state.  Brown says in a letter sent Tuesday to the president that allowing new drilling would be inconsistent with goals of reducing reliance on fossil fuels and combating climate change.  At an event launching the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification, a new organization to protect oceans, Brown said he plans to ask Oregon and Washington to help him convince the current Administration to act.  There haven’t been any off-shore oil and gas lease sales off the coast of Washington, Oregon and California since 1984. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Implementation Strategies will target Puget Sound ‘Vital Signs’
New EPA-funded Implementation Strategies are designed to target Puget Sound recovery in the most direct and coordinated way ever conducted by state and federal agencies. We report on how these strategies will affect Puget Sound’s Vital Signs for years to come, and why you should care (a lot). Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Vancouver Humane Society report critical of captive whale programs
A new report from a group seeking to end the practice of keeping whales in captivity challenges claims by the Vancouver Aquarium and others that research on captive whales helps whales in the wild. The report, from the Vancouver Humane Society, Toronto-based Zoocheck and the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada, asserts that research drawn from captive whales and other cetaceans amount to a small fraction of the wider research done on these animals in the wild.  Glen Schaefer reports. (Vancouver Sun)

State changes status of several bird species
The state Fish and Wildlife Commission decided Monday to change the status of several bird species, including removing bald eagles and peregrine falcons from the state's list of protected species. Since DDT, a pesticide harmful to birds, was banned in the 1970s, bald eagle and peregrine falcon populations have recovered steadily, according to a news release. (Skagit Valley Herald)

B.C. town considers deer contraceptive to control animals eating up gardens
Residents of a picturesque community on Vancouver Island have had enough of deer munching on their prized gardens, so a group is looking at whether birth control might help rein in the population. Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society is trying to obtain an injectable contraceptive from the United States in an effort to curb the number of deer roaming around yards and on roads in the Victoria suburb. He said 11 deer were killed in a cull last year, but that approach was divisive, with some residents proposing a more humane way to deal with the animals while others wanted culls to continue as a way of stopping deer from using their tulips, roses and hedges as buffets. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  221 AM PST THU DEC 15 2016  

TODAY
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 3 FT  AT 12 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 10 TO 20 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

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

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

12/14 Rick Perry, KM spill, sewage ban, diversity, smelt, Columbia cleanup, better net

Where Do Worms Go in Winter?
Some earthworms choose to live their whole lives in the ground's upper layer of soil and leaves. These earthworms never burrow deep into the soil, so cold winter temperatures kill them. To keep their species alive, however, they lay eggs in tiny sacks that protect the eggs from freezing or drying out during the winter. In the spring, the eggs hatch and a whole new group of worms is born to repeat the life cycle. Other earthworms, such as the night crawlers often used as fish bait, live close to the surface in warm weather and down deep in cold weather. When winter hits, these worms burrow down below the frost line. (Wonderopolis

Trump taps former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head Energy Department he once vowed to abolish
President-elect Donald Trump has picked Rick Perry to head the Energy Department, said two people familiar with the decision, seeking to put the former Texas governor in control of an agency whose name he forgot during a presidential debate even as he vowed to abolish it. Perry, who ran for president in the past two election cycles, is likely to shift the department away from renewable energy and toward fossil fuels, whose production he championed while serving as governor for 14 years. Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson report. (Washington Post)

'No such thing as an oil spill clean up': is the Trans Mountain Pipeline a ticking time bomb?
Despite assurances from Canada's minister of transport that Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline is safe, environmentalists in B.C. fear the expansion is an environmental disaster waiting to happen.  Christianne Wilhelmson, the executive director of the Georgia Strait Alliance, said that B.C.'s current spill responses is not effective even for the ships currently operating in the region. "There is no such thing as an oil spill clean-up. There is no such thing as world class spill response. These are two terms that we use a lot that are actually meaningless," she said. The expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, whose approval by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was announced in late November, will bring almost 300 extra oil tankers to the Port of Vancouver every year.    Michelle Ghoussoub reports. (CBC)

EPA backs ban on sewage release in Puget Sound
A proposed ban on releasing sewage from vessels in Puget Sound got a big boost this week. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday endorsed a state plan that would make the sound a 'no-discharge zone' for ship and boat sewage, whether treated or untreated. Proposed by the state Department of Ecology, the plan needs the EPA's approval under Clean Water Act guidelines. The EPA will accept public comment until Dec. 7. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Bias Hinders Diversity in Hiring for Environmental Organizations
Diversity at the leadership level in the environmental sector remains low despite a high proportion of well-educated and qualified people of color in the United States, according to a report released last Thursday. The problem: systemic bias in the hiring process, but also environmental organizations’ unwillingness to mandate diversity when using a search firm. Diversity Derailed: Limited Demand, Effort and Results in Environmental C-Suite Searches, produced by Green 2.0, found that nearly 90 percent of search consultants – which are frequently used by mainstream environmental NGOs and foundations – have encountered bias on the part of the organizations using them during their search for senior-level positions…. The result? People of color account for just 12 to 16 percent of the staff at mainstream environmental organizations. And there’s even less diversity in upper management, according to Green 2.0 executive director Whitney Tome. Anthony Advincula reports. (New American Media)

Meat and potatoes of the marine food system’ returns
Smelt, a tiny fish with big importance, is the latest species to show rapid recovery after the fall of the Elwha River dams. The marine waters near the Elwha's mouth have experienced a 20-fold increase in surf smelt abundance since the dams were removed two years ago, according to a study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Surf smelt are a schooling fish that grow a bit bigger than sardines. They and other forage fish, such as herring and sand lance, are key food sources for seabirds, marine mammals and salmon. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Columbia River Cleanup Bill Passes Congress
Cleaning up and monitoring toxics in the Columbia River Basin could now be a little easier. Congress recently passed a bill that would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to start a voluntary grant program for environmental cleanup in the Columbia River system. The Columbia River Basin, which was named as a “large aquatic ecosystem” in 2006, was the only system of that sort that didn’t receive dedicated funding to reduce toxins. Others included Puget Sound, the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes. Courtney Flatt reports. (OPB)

Fishermen Team Up With Scientists To Make A More Selective Net
Some New England fishermen are pinning their hopes on a new kind of trawl net being used in the Gulf of Maine, one that scoops up abundant flatfish such as flounder and sole while avoiding species such as cod, which are in severe decline. For centuries, cod were plentiful and a prime target for the Gulf of Maine fleet. But in recent years, catch quotas have been drastically reduced as the number of cod of reproductive age have dropped perilously low. Fred Bever reports. (Maine Public Broadcasting/KNKX)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST WED DEC 14 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 25 KT BECOMING 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 NE WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

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

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

12/13 Canadian sewage, JManning, marbled murrelet, orcas, oil pipe, DSuzuki, KMRogers, public lands

Do Fish Hibernate?
Fish are ectothermic, and so, by definition, cannot hibernate because they cannot actively down-regulate their body temperature or their metabolic rate. However, they can experience decreased metabolic rates associated with colder environments and/or low oxygen availability (hypoxia) and can experience dormancy…. Other animals able to survive long periods with no or very little oxygen include the goldfish, the red-eared slider turtle, the wood frog, and the bar-headed goose. However, the ability to survive hypoxic or anoxic conditions is not the same, nor closely related, to endotherm hibernation. (Wikipedia)

Billions of litres of raw sewage, untreated waste water pouring into Canadian waterways
More than 205 billion litres of raw sewage and untreated waste water spewed into Canada's rivers and oceans last year, CBC News has learned, despite federal regulations introduced in 2012 to try to solve the problem. Toilet paper washes up on beaches near small towns in Newfoundland and Labrador. In Victoria, B.C., divers report sick kelp and polluted scallops near sewage discharge pipes. In fact, the amount of untreated waste water, which includes raw sewage and rain and snow runoff, that flowed into Canadian rivers and oceans last year would fill 82,255 Olympic-size swimming pools — an increase of 1.9 per cent over 2014. Elizabeth Thompson reports. (CBC)

Gov. Inslee names Jay Manning as Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council Chair
Governor Jay Inslee has named Jay Manning as Chair of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council. Originally appointed to the Leadership Council in 2013, Manning succeeds Martha Kongsgaard in the lead role. The Puget Sound Partnership is a non-regulatory state agency charged with mobilizing community, regional, state and federal efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound. The Leadership Council serves as the state agency’s seven-member governing body. (San Juan Islander)

State raises endangered species status of bird
A seabird that could soon disappear from Puget Sound was granted top-tier status on the state's endangered species list. The state Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday unanimously approved moving the marbled murrelet from "threatened" to "endangered" species status. Efforts to save the tiny seabird have had little success…. The "uplisting" raises the murrelet's profile but it comes with no added protections or funding. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales: Species in the Spotlight
The Whale Trail presents Lynne Barre, NOAA Fisheries in a talk about Species in the Spotlight, focusing on the Southern Resident Orcas at C&P Coffee on Dec. 15…. Lynne will highlight some recent recovery and conservation efforts for Southern Resident killer whales called for in the Species in the Spotlight Action Plan. This is the first of the 2016/17 Orca Talk series hosted by The Whale Trail in West Seattle, with help from Seal Sitters. $5 suggested donation; kids free; tickets at brownpapertickets.com (West Seattle Herald) See also: Oil tankers could doom Puget Sound’s orcas  Nick Turner reports. (Crosscut)

From Standing Rock to Trans Mountain, dissent is in the pipeline
The high-profile protest at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline has galvanized Canadian indigenous communities, who watched as one community stood up against an oil company and its powerful backers. The Standing Rock tribe was empowered by thousands of allies – indigenous and non-indigenous alike – who flooded into the area from both sides of the border to stand with the Sioux. They faced threats of rubber bullets, attack dogs and water cannons in frigid weather. Shawn McCarthy and Justine Hunter report. (Globe and Mail)

David Suzuki says economy cannot trump environment 
David Suzuki is not hiding his displeasure with the federal approval of the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipeline expansion projects. The renowned environmentalist told CBC's The Early Edition the economic arguments for the projects don't make sense. "We always allow the economy to be the determining factor that limits or allows certain activities to go on. It makes no sense," he said…. Suzuki compared the building of the pipelines to cod fishing in Newfoundland after the cod ran out, or the continued selling and exporting of asbestos despite evidence showing it was a dangerous material. Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

Trump's potential Interior Secretary pick worries environmental groups
Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers met with President-elect Donald Trump for the second time in recent weeks, as national media reports she’s Trump’s top pick for the Secretary of the Interior. Her office has not confirmed nor commented directly on the reports, but Rep. McMorris Rodgers told NBC she walked away from the meeting reminded Trump is “a man of action.”… Reports of McMorris Rodgers as the Interior Secretary choice has drawn mixed reaction from local environmental advocates and concern from progressive environmental groups. “Hopefully she’ll represent the values of our state, and people in the state care about the environment. But, her record, so far, doesn’t show a good record in terms of public lands,” said Joan Crooks, CEO of Washington Conversation Voters. McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranking Republican in the U.S. House, received a score of only 4% from the League of Conservation Voters, based on her congressional record. That includes her support of a proposal to sell certain federal lands, as well as a past vote to expand drilling off shore and on public lands. Natalie Brand reports. (KING)

It’s Our Land. Let’s Keep It That Way.
The Statue of Liberty stands on a piece of federal land, but “federal” doesn’t mean it belongs to Washington…. The National Park Service administers it, but it doesn’t belong to that agency. It belongs to a schoolteacher in Vermont, a coal miner in West Virginia, a waitress in Las Vegas, a tattooist in San Francisco, and to you, and to me, and to every other American citizen. Liberty Island is public land. Those facts are worth remembering now amid the postelection clamor about shrinking the federal government and — among other constrictions — its role in land stewardship. Sell off the federal lands, some critics urge, or give them away to the states! Unload, transfer to local control, privatize! David Quammen comments. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST TUE DEC 13 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT  12 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 20 KT BECOMING 15 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 16 SECONDS.

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato 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, December 12, 2016

12/12 Dylan's Nobel, McMorris Rodgers, Growlers, water rights, KM pipe threat, fish money, bird count

Barred owl (Laurie MacBride)
The Surprise Visitors 
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "When you live on the Gulf Islands, you get used to having summer visitors, usually family members or old friends. But every once in awhile, unexpected characters drop by. Such was the case one evening last summer when we heard an unusual sound outside: a series of drawn-out whistling hisses, slightly ascending in pitch. It was late, but there was just enough light to make out a pair of Barred owls: one on each end of our raspberry trellis, just 15 feet from the back door…."

Listen and be moved: A Transcendent Patti Smith Accepts Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize
Patti Smith’s performance of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” to orchestral accompaniment, moved some audience members to tears. Read the story, watch and listen to the eight-and-a-half minute clip, and be moved.  Amanda Petrusich reports. (The New Yorker)

Eastern Washington Rep. McMorris Rodgers Emerges As Trump's Interior Choice
Eastern Washington lawmaker Cathy McMorris Rodgers is emerging as President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead natural resources policy as interior secretary…. Such an appointment would ensure that a Washington state resident remains at the helm of the Interior Department, which includes the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. But it would mark a philosophical shift from that of President Obama’s outgoing Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, a Seattle Democrat and former CEO of REI. (KUOW)

Navy's Growler open houses draw hundreds
Open houses held this week on the proposal to bring more EA-18G Growler jets to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station drew hundreds, including 110 to one Thursday at Seafarers’ Memorial Park. The Navy held the five open houses to provide information and take public comments about the draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, that looks at the environmental impacts of bringing more Growlers to the base. The draft EIS was released Nov. 10, and public comments are being accepted through Jan. 25. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Some building halted as counties react to water rights case 
As counties across Washington respond to a far-reaching state Supreme Court decision involving water rights, angry and frustrated property owners are finding they cannot depend on groundwater wells to build new homes as they have in the past. In October, the court sided with four residents and the group Futurewise who argued that Whatcom County failed to protect water resources by allowing new wells to reduce flow in streams for fish and other uses. The court said counties must independently ensure water is legally available before granting new building permits. The decision is likely to affect thousands across the state and represents the latest struggle to balance competing needs of people and wildlife for limited water. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Pipeline expansion worries some on behalf of southern resident orcas
Environmental activists from the United States and Canada are expressing concerns over a newly approved expansion of a Canadian oil pipeline, saying it could threaten the Puget Sound’s southern resident orcas. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in November approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would drastically increase the amount of oil being transported from the oil sands in Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., a city just east of Vancouver. “It definitely will be a Canadian Standing Rock,” said Paul Magid, a member of the Jefferson County Stand with Standing Rock caravan, which recently returned from protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Skagit River fish projects net $900,000 in grant money
The state’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board announced Thursday that $901,833 in grant money will help further fish projects throughout the Skagit River watershed. The projects include planting vegetation along streams, removing barriers to fish passage and acquiring land in the floodplain. The projects were proposed by a variety of local organizations, including nonprofits, tribes and government agencies. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Bird-watchers get set to participate in annual count
The 117th annual Christmas Bird Count is approaching, and bird-watchers throughout the United States are encouraged to report the species they see to the National Audubon Society. The bird count will run Dec. 14 to Jan. 5. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  251 AM PST MON DEC 12 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 NE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 TO  7 FT AT 9 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 8 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING.

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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, December 9, 2016

12/9 Monsanto sued, Scott Pruitt, restore Kitsap, cruise ships, people power, Seattle Times cuts

Pileated woodpecker (Paul Bannick/BirdNote)
No Pounding Headache
The Pileated Woodpecker makes loud, hard whacks, as it leans back and then slams its bill into the side of a living tree. Sounds painful, if not downright disabling! How does the woodpecker's brain withstand it? All woodpeckers have an enlarged brain case, so the brain sits above the level of direct hammering impact. The skull's frontal bones - together with a set of muscles at the bill's base - act as a shock absorber. (BirdNote)

Washington state suing Monsanto over PCB pollution 
Washington says it’s the first U.S. state to sue the agrochemical giant Monsanto over pollution from PCBs. Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the lawsuit at a news conference Thursday afternoon. The chemicals, polychlorinated biphenyls, were used in many industrial and commercial applications, including in paint, coolants, sealants and hydraulic fluids. PCB contamination impairs rivers, lakes and bays around the country. The lawsuit, which seeks potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs, was filed in King County Superior Court and says Monsanto long knew about the toxic dangers PCBs posed. Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s Industry Pick for the E.P.A.
Garvin Isaacs, the president of the Oklahoma Bar Association, isn’t one for understatement, but he topped himself in his reaction to the news that Donald Trump is expected to nominate Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general, to run the Environmental Protection Agency…. Isaacs is a colorful and respected local litigator who has long been a thorn in the side of Oklahoma’s powerful. He claims the fossil-fuel industry “owns the whole darn state.” But his worries at the state level are now national. By choosing Pruitt, Isaacs said, Trump has outsourced his environmental policy to the Republican Party’s most powerful private donors—the oil-and-gas magnates who have funded Pruitt’s campaigns in Oklahoma. Jane Mayer reports. (New Yorker)

Fighters for Puget Sound pleased with Kitsap's work
Jay Manning walked along a wide and free-running stretch of Chico Creek that, until recently, had been girdled by a culvert and buried under a road. Manning and the other members of the Puget Sound Partnership's leadership council toured several Kitsap Peninsula stream and shoreline restoration sites Wednesday. The council, which oversees the state's Puget Sound recovery agency, held its winter meeting Tuesday in Port Orchard. It was the council's first visit to Kitsap in nearly a decade. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Cruise ships named in U.S. pollution case have stopped in Victoria
Four vessels which have visited Victoria in recent years were named in a pollution case against Princess Cruise Lines for illegal dumping of contaminated waste at sea. The Star Princess, Grand Princess, Coral Princess and Golden Princess have brought thousands of visitors to Victoria's busy Ogden Point cruise ship terminal through the summer months.  But a cruise ship industry expert expects Princess and its parent company, Carnival Corporation, will now have their images tarnished after entering a guilty plea to seven felony charges in a U.S. court earlier this month. Princess Cruise Lines was fined $40 million US last week for deliberate ocean pollution and intentional acts to cover it up. Deborah Wilson report. (CBC)

Put people at the center of conservation, new study advises
People must be part of the equation in conservation projects. This will increase local support and the effectiveness of conservation. That’s the main conclusion of a study published online Nov. 29 in the journal Biological Conservation. In it, an international group of scientists recognizes the need to consider humans’ livelihoods, cultural traditions and dependence on natural resources when planning and carrying out conservation projects around the world. Michelle Ma reports. (UW Today)

The Seattle Times plans staffing cuts as advertising revenue falls
The Seattle Times is planning more staffing cuts as Washington state’s largest daily newspaper faces falling advertising revenue – a journalism industry trend that has forced buyouts and layoffs around the country. “I want to be very honest: The impact of these cuts will be significant,” Executive Editor Don Shelton wrote in an email to Seattle Times editorial staff, obtained by the Puget Sound Business Journal. “This will be a different newsroom next year, and every one of our jobs will change as we reduce staff and move ahead with changing our culture to become more digital, more nimble and more reader focused.” Around this time last year, the newspaper announced staffing cuts as part of a 6 percent newsroom budget reduction. Ultimately, 14 newsroom employees took voluntary buyouts and the newspaper avoided layoffs. The Seattle Times currently has 178 people in the newsroom, making it the largest in the Pacific Northwest, according to Times spokeswoman China E. Levy. Ashley Stewart reports. (Puget Sound Business Journal)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST FRI DEC 9 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 
TODAY
 SE WIND 20 TO 30 KT... BECOMING SW 10 TO 20 KT. WIND  WAVES 4 TO 6 FT...SUBSIDING. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL  BUILDING TO 10 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN.
SAT
 S WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING W LATE. WIND WAVES 2 TO  4 FT. W SWELL BUILDING TO 13 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING LATE. WIND WAVES 3 TO  5 FT...SUBSIDING. W SWELL 12 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
SUN
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING NW 10 KT OR LESS. WIND  WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING. W SWELL SUBSIDING TO 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told