Friday, November 17, 2017

11/17 Dr. Kruckeberg, spill response, Keystone spill, ocean energy, Colstrip, monument docs, big king, Kevin Van De Wege, Bill Nye

Dr. Kruckeberg [Kruckeberg Botanic Gardens]
Dr. Arthur Rice Kruckeberg
Dr. Kruckeberg retired in 1989 from the University of Washington as Professor Emeritus of Botany. He authored six books, including Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest and The Natural History of Puget Sound Country. Dr. Kruckeberg and his wife Maureen S. Kruckeberg founded the Kruckeberg Botanic Gardens in Shoreline. Dr. Kruckeberg died in 2016 at the age of 96. (Kruckeberg Botanic Gardens)

B.C. First Nation says it has created world-class spill response plan
A British Columbia First Nation has released a plan it says will give it a leading role in oil spill prevention and response on the province's central coast. A report from the Heiltsuk Nation calls for the creation of an Indigenous Marine Response Centre capable of responding within five hours along a 350 kilometre stretch of the coast. The centre proposal follows what the report calls the "inadequate, slow and unsafe" response to the October 2016 grounding of the tug the Nathan E. Stewart that spilled about 110,000 litres of diesel and other contaminants…. The report says the proposed centre, on Denny Island across from Bella Bella, and satellite operations dotted along the central coast, would need a total investment of $111.5 million to be operational by next summer. (Canadian Press)

Keystone Pipeline Leaks 210K Gallons Of Oil In South Dakota
TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in northeastern South Dakota, the company and state regulators reported Thursday. Crews shut down the pipeline Thursday morning and activated emergency response procedures after a drop in pressure was detected resulting from the leak south of a pump station in Marshall County, TransCanada said in a statement. The cause was being investigated. Officials don’t believe the leak affected any surface water bodies or threatened any drinking water systems from the spill onto agricultural land, said Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which has dispatched a staff member to the site. (Associated Press)

Researchers hope to harness ocean's power to light remote B.C. communities 
Dozens of remote towns on the B.C. coast, including Indigenous communities, still rely on diesel generators for power. A group of researchers at the University of Victoria is hoping to change that by harnessing energy from wind, waves and tides. Their goal is to reduce the need for noisy, smelly, carbon-belching generators — as well as the fuel barges that supply them…. The federal government has invested $1.4 million to establish the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery at UVic. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC) See also: Oceans May Host Next Wave Of Renewable Energy   Jeff Brady reports. (NPR)

Activists, Officials Demand Colstrip Closure Date
Climate change activists and elected officials in Washington state are criticizing Puget Sound Energy's new long-range power generation plan. They say the utility isn't moving fast enough toward 100 percent renewable energy sources. That includes stating definitively that Puget Sound will shut down the Colstrip electricity plant in 2025. Nathanial Jones, the mayor pro tem of Olympia, Washington, says rising sea levels due to climate change threaten billions of dollars worth of development in his city…. Jones is part of a campaign to move one of the northwest's largest utilities, Puget Sound Energy, to 100 percent carbon free power sources. Puget Sound Energy is part owner of the Colstrip coal-fired electricity plant. Doug Howell with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign says getting a closure date for Colstrip is a top priority. Eric Whitney reports. (Montana Public Radio)

Justice Department Won't Release National Monument Documents 
Documents possibly outlining legal justifications for President Donald Trump to shrink national monuments don’t have to be provided to an Idaho environmental law firm because they’re protected communications, federal officials say. The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit from Advocates for the West seeking the information…. The environmental law firm filed a public records request for documents on the national monuments earlier this year, and the Justice Department released more than 60 pages in May. The agency withheld 12 pages, however, contending they are protected by attorney-client privilege and intra-agency communication rules, making them exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

Check out this monster Chinook salmon just caught in B.C. 
Even in an area renowned as a mystical “lost world” of monster salmon — this salmon was particularly monstrous. When held aloft by Ted Walkus, a hereditary chief of the Wuikinuxv First Nation, its tail nearly brushed the ground. The animal’s jaws were large enough to encompass a human head. And it weighed in at 50 pounds (22.7 kg) — and that’s after two weeks of crash weight loss due to spawning. Tristin Hopper reports. (National Post)

Senator now chairs important natural resources committee
Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, was named the chair of Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks by fellow Democrats after a special election earlier this month that saw the Democrats pick up a seat and become the senate’s majority party. Many Fish and Wildlife bills get their start in this committee, and as chair, Van De Wege can hold hearings on legislation and determine (via committee vote) if they move forward. Van De Wege has sponsored bills that propose to regulate fishing guides, particularly out-of-state guides operating on steelhead and salmon rivers and streams. Michael Carman reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Bill Nye isn't just some science guy anymore
Famed science guy Bill Nye is looking a bit like Spock these days, with his long face and thick eyebrows that leap up at the outer edges. And much like the science officer on the starship Enterprise, Nye has a habit of drawing his mouth into a flat line when faced with illogical statements. But in the new documentary Bill Nye: Science Guy, the science evangelist comes off as more human than ever. Seattleite audiences were the first to make Nye’s acquaintance, thanks to his early stint with locally produced comedy show Almost Live! As a regular guest, he performed kooky science experiments and also had a recurring bit as Speed Walker, a dogged superhero in shiny shorts. Before landing that gig, Nye had worked as a mechanical engineer at Boeing, spending his weekends at Pacific Science Center as a volunteer “science explainer” and nights doing open-mic comedy. Brangien Davis reports. (Crosscut)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PST Fri Nov 17 2017  
GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH SUNDAY
 AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at  8 seconds. Scattered showers.
TONIGHT
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming S 10 to 20 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. A chance of showers.
SAT
 S wind 10 to 20 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 4 ft. W swell 5 ft at 7 seconds. A chance of rain.
SAT NIGHT
 S wind 15 to 25 kt rising to 25 to 35 kt after  midnight. Combined seas 6 to 7 ft with a dominant period of 8  seconds building to 8 to 10 ft with a dominant period of 9 seconds.
SUN
 S wind 30 to 40 kt becoming W 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon.  Combined seas 12 to 15 ft with a dominant period of 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

11/16 Drayton Harbor, WA fish farm ban, BC fish farm protest, Return to Salish Sea, whale film clip

Drayton Harbor [Puget Sound Restoration Fund]
Drayton Harbor
Drayton Harbor is a sheltered bay in Whatcom County partially enclosed by Semiahmoo Spit on the west. The site also includes the channel connecting Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Bay, the associated mudflats, and shallow marine waters north of the channel…. The sheltered nature of Drayton Harbor… make it a major wintering and migration staging area for aquatic birds. The extensive intertidal mudflats and shallow waters provide foraging habitat for large numbers of shorebirds and dabbing ducks. (Important Birding Areas of Washington)

Washington state senator says he’ll file bill to ban Atlantic salmon farming
Under fire after a collapse and massive escape last summer, Atlantic salmon net-pen farming would be banned in Washington under legislation that will be filed by Sen. Kevin Ranker this coming session. The legislation would allow existing state leases for the eight Atlantic net-pen farms now operating in Washington to run out by 2025. No permits for new farms would be granted, and no renewals for existing leases would be allowed. The bill also would require state agencies that regulate net-pen farming to keep a tighter watch on operations. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Sun)

Court orders end to occupation of B.C. fish farm, pending hearing
First Nation demonstrators at a B.C. fish farm are leaving — at least for now. Several Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw and Namgis members have been occupying Marine Harvest Canada's aquaculture site on Midsummer Island for more than two months. The fish farm is one of several in the Broughton Archipelago, east of Port Hardy. The demonstrators say they are concerned fish farms are hurting wild salmon in the area. They also say the aquaculture operations do not have permission to operate in their traditional territory. Marine Harvest is seeking an injunction to remove the protesters, citing safety concerns. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC)

Takeaways From 'Return To The Salish Sea'
Over the past three months, KNKX has hosted a series of weekly interviews about the iconic waterway that includes Puget Sound and extends into British Columbia. Return to the Salish Sea took listeners to locations all around the shores of this shared ecosystem to hear from people who are deeply connected to it and concerned about its future. Bellamy Pailthorp shares highlights. (KNKX)

Filmmaker wins bid to appeal aquarium injunction ordering removal of whale footage
The director of a film critical of the Vancouver Aquarium has been granted the right to appeal an earlier court decision alleging copyright infringement and breach of contract, and that ordered parts of the documentary cut from the finished edit. Gary Charbonneau's 61-minute film — Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered — was released in January of 2016. It examined the practice of keeping beluga whales and dolphins in captivity and, in part, used footage he shot as part of a school group in 2015. At the time he was warned by aquarium staff not to use the video commercially. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PST Thu Nov 16 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON PST TODAY
 
TODAY
 S wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 9  seconds becoming SW 6 ft at 9 seconds. Showers likely. A slight  chance of tstms in the afternoon.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 5 ft  at 8 seconds. A slight chance of tstms in the evening. 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

11/15 BC pipe, human warning, Ryan Calkins wins, Oly park, Blaine park, monarch b'fly, giant marlin age

English holly [King County]
English Holly 
English holly, Ilex aquifolium, is a broadleaf evergreen tree or shrub that is grown as a landscape plant in the northwestern United States and Canada but is also commonly found escaping into forests in this region. English holly's native range is the British Isles to southern and central Europe. It is grown commercially in the Pacific Northwest and commonly used in decorations and floral arrangements as well as in landscapes. In King County, English holly is classified as a Weed of Concern and its control is recommended in natural areas that are being restored to native vegetation and in protected forest lands. The City of Kirkland includes English holly on its list of prohibited plants that are prohibited from being planted on private property. (King County)

Editor's note: There has been quite a bit of spirited commentary following recent blogs by Pete Haase and Kathy Fletcher about Puget Sound recovery posted on Salish Sea Communications. Check them out and, if you have something to say, join the conversation.

Kinder Morgan appeals to energy regulator over Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Kinder Morgan has appealed again to the country's energy regulator, asking it to set up a process to resolve potential disagreements with provincial or municipal governments over its planned Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project. The request was made Tuesday after the National Energy Board last week rejected a proposal to expedite an earlier appeal to obtain permits from the city of Burnaby in B.C.'s Lower Mainland. The company claims the lack of permits from the city adds expensive hurdles to the $7.4-billion construction project. The company also said it is also asking the NEB to set up a process to make an "expedited determination" for such cases in future. (Thomson Reuters)

Oregon State Professor Writes Updated 'Warning To Humanity'
In November of 1992, more than 1,500 scientists put their signatures on an extraordinary document titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity,” imploring global leaders to save the planet from environmental disaster. Now, 25 years later, more than 15,000 scientists have signed an updated version of that historic plea, saying “time is running out.” “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” published Monday in the international journal BioScience, charts the progress — or lack thereof — on the issues highlighted in the original document and renews the call for urgent action. Bennett Hall reports. (Associated Press)

Port of Seattle commissioner John Creighton voted out after 11 years despite big fundraising advantage
John Creighton, the longest-serving Port of Seattle commissioner, has lost his re-election bid despite a huge fundraising advantage, as King County voters opted instead for progressive challenger Ryan Calkins. The latest ballot drop Tuesday left Creighton with 47.4 percent of the vote, trailing by more than 23,000 votes — a bigger margin than the number of ballots left to be counted. The result was somewhat surprising: Creighton, a Port commissioner for 11 years, won in a landslide four years ago. Four years before that, he didn’t even draw an opponent. Mike Rosenberg reports. (Seattle Times)

Olympia has 13 acres of undeveloped waterfront to play with. Any suggestions?
Imagine walking from West Bay Park in Olympia to Percival Landing without ever leaving a waterfront trail. It could happen, but it is still a few years away. The city bought 17 acres on the west side of West Bay back in 2007 from the Port of Olympia and BNSF Railway. Now officials want to hear from the community on what should happen there next. So far, 4 acres across from Brawne Avenue Northwest has been developed into West Bay Park in partnership with local Rotary clubs. Thirteen acres south of the park stretching down to the Fifth Avenue Bridge remain closed. There will be a public meeting on the project from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW. There also will be an online survey posted Wednesday through Nov. 30 at olympiawa.gov/westbaypark. Abby Spegman reports. (Olympian)

Company that dumped acidic wastewater into Blaine’s sewer system pays for city park
An organic food producer that was fined thousands of dollars in November 2016 for disposing acidic wastewater into Blaine’s sewer treatment system will now help the city buy land to be used as a public park, and restore a streambank. Nature’s Path Foods, a Richmond B.C.-based company that produces organic granola, cookies and cereal, will spend approximately $29,800 on an environmental package that includes five projects to benefit the Cain Creek watershed. The environmental package settles Nature Path’s appeal of a 2016 Washington State Department of Ecology penalty for $22,000 and an order of compliance for the acidic wastewater that came from the company’s Blaine location, according to Ecology records. The settlement was reached in late October. Denver Pratt reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Decode monarch butterfly migration mysteries, and you could win $50,000
Monarch butterflies can mesmerize their audience. Just ask Eli Moreno, Tacoma entrepreneur and founder of startup co-working spaces Surge Tacoma and Union Club. Fifteen years ago, Moreno and his family were vacationing in Mexico. “We stopped by a monarch butterfly reserve where they spend winter, and we were just overwhelmed by the natural beauty,” Moreno said. “It was an incredible site, and we felt we were walking on sacred ground. We came back and decided as a family we personally wanted to help.” Moreno has been a board member with the Monarch Butterfly Fund for the past seven years. The fund has launched a contest that will award $50,000 to the winner of its international technology design challenge to find a tracking technology to aid in learning more about monarch butterfly migrations. Debbie Cockrell reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

The Odd Story Of How A NOAA Scientist Calculated A Giant Marlin's Age
For the first time, a scientist has been able to discern the age of a marlin by measuring radiocarbon levels stemming from nuclear bomb detonations in the mid-1950s. The 1,245-pound, 12-foot blue marlin caught in waters near Honolulu in 2009 was a peculiar find because most large marlins are caught around Kona, said Allen Andrews, a fisheries research biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries division. Courtney Teague reports. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PST Wed Nov 15 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 
TODAY
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 11 ft  at 10 seconds. Rain in the morning then showers likely and a chance  of tstms in the afternoon.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming S 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less. SW swell 9 ft at 10  seconds. Showers and a chance of tstms.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

11/14 Orcas, storm salmon, suing fish farms, Tacoma Tideflats, blown up whale, flora climate, Trump's coal

Giant plumose anemone [Phil Edgell/Vancouver Aquarium]
Giant Plumose Anemone Metridium farcimen
You can often find this species attached to the sides of docks, floats, and pilings…. This large anemone can reach 1 m in height, and has more than 200 thin, relatively short tentacles.  It is usually white, but can also be brown, tan, or pinky-orange…. This species is reportedly the world's tallest polyp. Dense colonies defend their territory against each other and other anemone species with acontia. The acontia do not noticeably sting human skin, but do not let them near your eyes or mouth as these areas are more sensitive. This species is preyed upon by the shaggy mouse nudibranch and the leather star. (Biodiversity of the Central Coast)

Where have all Puget Sound's orcas gone?
Every day this summer, Jeanne Hyde scanned the waters off the west side of San Juan Island, hoping that the killer whales would show up. All night, she streamed the underwater sounds from microphones submerged along the shoreline, waiting for the whales’ distinctive trills, chirps and whistles to wake her up. Too often, she slept through the night. Allegra Abramo reports. (Crosscut)

If you like to watch: Salmon swim across flooded Washington state road
Almost every year, when rains are heavy, salmon cross the road in the Skokomish Valley on the Olympic Peninsula. This year’s spectacle did not disappoint. Mason County resident Alissa Joy Ewing captured a shoal of salmon churning floodwaters on the shoulder of road Sunday night, and again on Monday morning. Benjamin Woodard reports. (Seattle Times)

Suit filed over Atlantic salmon farm escape 
Atlantic salmon spilled into Puget Sound last summer appear to be gone — but the spill is far from forgotten as conservationists file suit. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Environmentalists cheering change that would limit growth of current Tideflats businesses
Proposed six-month land use restrictions for the Tideflats will be before the Tacoma City Council on Tuesday, and environmentalists as well as port of Tacoma businesses are expected to show up in force — again — to plead their case on either side. The latest draft of the interim regulations holds a significant change that environmental advocates are cheering and some businesses are decrying: Existing heavy industrial uses would be allowed, but instead of the potential for unlimited growth, they would only be allowed to expand by up to 10 percent of their storage, production, or distribution capacity during the interim period, and would need a conditional-use permit. Candice Ruud reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

If you like to watch: There Is Now Better Footage of That Time Oregon Blew Up a Whale With Dynamite
Reader Rick Haley pointed out that this past weekend was an anniversary of an epic day on the Oregon coast. We'll let Sophia June tell the story from a news article posted last year: "On November 12, 1970, the Oregon Department of Transportation blew up a dead whale that had washed up on a Florence beach. In what was called a "controlled explosion," they used a half-ton of dynamite. It didn't go well. Chunks of dead whale blubber ended up all over both bystanders and the beach, flying out as far as a nearby parking lot where the flying flesh severely damaged at least one car. The decision to publicly dynamite an enormous mammal has become one of Oregon's all-time most bizarre moments…" (Willamette Week)

UW Climate Change Study Shows Effect On Mount Rainier Wildflowers
If you trek to Mount Rainier National Park every summer to catch the spectacular display of wildflowers, take note: In the future, some flower species may bloom earlier while others could disappear altogether, according to a study from the University of Washington. The study shows climate change could have a dramatic affect on wildflowers and wildlife in the park. UW researchers report in a paper published online on Oct. 11 in the journal Ecology that they made their discovery because of the unusual weather in the Pacific Northwest in 2015. Paula Wissel reports. (KNKX)

Protesters Jeer as Trump Team Promotes Coal at U.N. Climate Talks
The Trump administration made its debut at a United Nations conference on climate change on Monday by giving a full-throated defense of fossil fuels and nuclear energy as answers to driving down global greenhouse gas emissions. The forum — the only official appearance by the United States delegation during the annual two-week climate gathering of nearly 200 nations — illustrated how sharply the administration’s views are at odds with those of many key participants in the climate negotiations. Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer report. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  642 AM PST Tue Nov 14 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 10 ft  at 10 seconds. Rain and isolated thunderstorms.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming E 20 to 30 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. SW swell 10 ft at 9 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 (@) 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, November 13, 2017

11/13 PSP, Joe Gaydos, KM fence, 'blob,' fish farms, BC beaver, Tacoma fuel, Interior 'hostages,' truck pollution, Site C, bag ban, Van Is rocks

Morning Glory [Laurie MacBride]
Finding Beauty Close to Home
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Over the past four summers we’ve focused our boating adventures on waters close to home, here on the south coast of British Columbia – unlike in previous years, when our younger, adventurous spirits were lured north by the promise of wilder, more remote destinations. The south coast holds most of BC’s population, and it’s where my husband and I have lived and boated most of our lives. So in setting off these past few summers, we had some concerns. One was whether we’d find safe, quiet spots to anchor – places where we could be, if not totally alone, at least not cheek-to-jowl with other boaters.  Another was whether we’d miss that sense of adventure we’d felt when cruising up north…. (read more)

Guest Blog-- Pete Haase: Hello? Puget Sound Partnership?
Do you suppose you could take a little break from meetings and planning and strategizing and round up some ammunition to send my way? I am a volunteer, a “Salish Sea Steward.” I’m just one of probably thousands like me, all over the greater Puget Sound region, on the very front lines of the daily battle for the protection and betterment of our special environment…. (read more)

Return To The Salish Sea: SeaDoc Society Senior Scientist Joe Gaydos
The Salish Sea is home to more than three thousand species. Among them are 253 fish, 172 birds, 38 mammals and two reptiles. “Believe it or not we’re actually within the range for green and Pacific leatherback sea turtles,” Joe Gaydos tells me in an email.  A large-animal vet by training, Gaydos is the Science Director at the SeaDoc Society on Orcas Island and a wealth of information about the flora and fauna of the region. He co-authored of a glossy coffee table book called The Salish Sea – Jewel of the Pacific, which contains those statistics along with hundreds of color photos. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Kinder Morgan erects razor wire fence around Trans Mountain terminal in Burrard Inlet
Bob Putnam was going for one of his routine kayaks when he noticed crews setting up a long fence around Kinder Morgan's marine oil terminal in Burnaby, B.C…. "It's about 10 feet high, heavy-duty chain-link fence, industrial strength, with razor wire on top," he told CBC News. "It's quite a substantial structure." According to a Kinder Morgan spokesperson, the fencing is called a construction safety boom. It's meant to enclose the facility as construction crews work to expand the facility as part of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. The boom, which was set up just days after kayakers staged a protest flotilla outside the facility, will shelter workers from marine wildlife and boat traffic, according to the oil company. (CBC)

Blob is gone, but not forgotten for scientists studying decline in B.C. fish stocks
The “blob” is gone, but it’s left a troubling legacy on B.C.’s Pacific coast. The blob is the popular name for a huge patch of warm water that featured record temperatures — in some cases, three to four degrees Celsius above normal — in the Northeast Pacific starting in 2013 and running through late 2015 and early 2016. Scientists are now concerned that young fish feeding at sea during the blob’s presence did not have enough nutritious food to eat — and that could translate into reduced adult fish to harvest going forward. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Salmon-farming operations face protests, occupations in B.C., legislative scrutiny in Washington state
A showdown is brewing over Atlantic salmon net-pen farming on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. Marine Harvest, a major producer of farmed Atlantic salmon in British Columbia, is seeking a court order to evict First Nations women who have occupied one of its fish farms, an order it intends to enforce by police action if necessary, said Ian Roberts, spokesman for the company. Marine Harvest operates 11 open-water Atlantic salmon net-pen farms in the Broughton Archipelago alone, at the northeast end of Vancouver Island…. Meanwhile, in Washington state, lawmakers will hold their first work session Wednesday in Olympia to discuss the collapse of Cooke Aquaculture’s Atlantic salmon net-pen farm at Cypress Island last August. Sure to be discussed is not only the ongoing state investigation of the loss of more than 100,000 Atlantics into Puget Sound, but a possible move by several lawmakers to end net pen farming of Atlantics in Puget Sound. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Protesters vow to continue B.C. fish farm protest amid court action  (Canadian Press)

Gulf Island beavers temporarily saved from euthanization
A death sentence has been temporarily suspended for a colony of beavers living in the Gulf Islands after a group of concerned citizens threatened to take action. Residents of South Pender Island, where the beavers have been busy building dams in Greenburn Lake, had planned a blockade to save their long-toothed friends.  Parks Canada administers the area as part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. It was planning to euthanize the rodents, whose work is threatening an earthen dam. Wendy Scholefield, a South Pender Island Trustee opposed to the cull, said she got an email from Parks Canada saying the decision has been put off — for now.  (CBC)

Port of Tacoma could ban fossil fuel export projects on its property
For more than a year, Port of Tacoma commissioners have said they won’t allow any international fossil fuel exporting projects on its publicly owned land. The statements came after criticism from residents following the failed effort to place a methanol manufacturing plant at the port, but nothing was adopted as official policy. Now the commission is poised to formalize its position before the end of the year, in a policy document called the “Comprehensive Scheme for Harbor Improvements.” Kate Martin reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Democrats holding interior nominees ‘hostage,’ Zinke says
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says Senate Democrats are holding the department’s nominees “hostage” to a political agenda that includes opposition to his review of presidentially designated monuments. In a sharply worded letter to Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Zinke said it’s unfortunate that Democrats have placed holds on four Interior nominees, including the department’s top lawyer and budget chief. The nominees “have nothing to do with this monument review, yet they have been forced to sit on the sidelines” for months, Zinke wrote Thursday. “As a former Navy SEAL, this is not the type of hostage situation I am accustomed to.” (Associated Press)

EPA proposes reversing stricter pollution rules for heavy-duty trucks with older engines
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule Thursday to repeal tighter emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks with older engines, an Obama-era regulation aimed at controlling soot and other pollutants along with greenhouse-gas emissions linked to climate change. Major trucking groups and engine manufacturers supported the 2016 rule, which was set to take full effect in January. But it was fiercely opposed by a handful of companies that manufacture truck components called gliders and trailers. A glider, or body, is the front of a truck, including the cab, which fits over the engine. Trailers are the storage components that make up most of the length of a truck. Juliet Eilperin reports. (Washington Post)

The heat is on over Site C, says Horgan, as consultations begin
The fate of the largest public project in British Columbia’s history, the Site C hydroelectric dam, will be the focus of intense scrutiny this week as provincial cabinet ministers travel north for last-minute consultations. The New Democrats promised to decide Site C’s fate by the end of the year after a review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, the province’s independent energy regulator, concluded the dam is over budget and behind schedule. Dirk Meissner reports. (Canadian Press)

Port Angeles council discusses idea of plastic bag ban
The Port Angeles City Council may consider banning plastic bags next year to help protect the environment. Five of the seven council members agreed Tuesday to discuss at a future meeting a prohibition of plastic bags at stores in the city. The discussion was prompted by two young girls who raised concerns about plastic bags during the public comment portion of the meeting. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Why Vancouver Island rocks are building big projects and freeways in Los Angeles
Traffic, shipping costs and the quality of rock and sand available in the northern reaches of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island have made it economical to ship the construction materials nearly 1,500 oceangoing miles to feed L.A.’s construction needs. James Rufus Koren reports. (LA Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  236 AM PST Mon Nov 13 2017  
GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 
TODAY
 S wind 30 to 40 kt easing to 25 to 35 kt in the  afternoon. Combined seas 8 to 11 ft with a dominant period of  9 seconds building to 15 to 16 ft with a dominant period of  12 seconds in the afternoon. Rain.
TONIGHT
 SW wind 30 to 40 kt becoming S 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Combined seas 15 to 16 ft with a dominant period of  13 seconds subsiding to 11 to 12 ft with a dominant period of  12 seconds after midnight. Showers.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Friday, November 10, 2017

11/10 The Blob, snow geese, septic loans, ANWR drilling

Pectiatella magnifica [Peer Scobie/CBC]
The Stanley Park blob is gone. But for how long?
The year of the blob is over. After mystifying visitors to Stanley Park all summer, the gooey, gelatinous colonies of tiny creatures known as bryozoans are dying off in Lost Lagoon. Just like the monster in the classic 1958 B-movie, The Blob, the fatal weakness for these little blobs is the cold. "As the seasons change, as things get wetter and colder, those individual little animals that used to live on the outside are now dying off," Celina Starnes of the Stanley Park Ecology Society told CBC News. (CBC)

Snow geese numbers continue to soar out of control in Fraser Delta
The snow geese are back, and their numbers continue to soar nearly out of control. Sean Boyd, a federal bird biologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said Thursday that last year’s population in the Lower Fraser peaked at about 108,000, the most since he has been involved in photo counts starting in 1987. There is every indication that this year’s numbers are as high or even higher, based on reports of good conditions on the birds’ breeding grounds at Wrangel Island in Russia. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Watershed advocates promote septic loans
A failing septic system is usually an expensive problem, but Mason County residents looking to upgrade their old or deficient septic systems may be eligible for a loan to fix their problem. The Lower Hood Canal Watershed Coalition wants to encourage residents to fix their septic systems, especially in areas that could compromise shellfish and harm water quality. The coalition invited Terry Hull, program manager with the Craft3 Clean Water Loan Program, to a meeting in Belfair earlier this month to talk about the benefits of the loan and to strategize ways the coalition can move more Mason County residents into compliance with their septics. Arla Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun/Mason County Life)

Murkowski bill calls for at least two major lease sales in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska) released legislation Wednesday that would open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling for the first time in a generation by calling for at least two major lease sales over the next decade. The budget measure directs federal officials to auction off mineral rights in areas encompassing at least 400,000 acres each in the refuge’s coastal plain, also known as its “1002 area.” The measure requires at least a 16.67 percent royalty rate and dictates that the revenue would be evenly split between the federal government and Alaska. Surface development on the coastal plain must not span more than 2,000 acres, according to the bill. Juliet Eilperin reports. (Washington Post)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  228 AM PST Fri Nov 10 2017  
TODAY
 E wind 10 kt or less. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  6 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the morning.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 10 kt or less. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W  swell 4 to 5 ft at 8 seconds. A slight chance of showers.
SAT
 SE wind rising to 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves building to 1 to  3 ft. W swell 3 ft at 8 seconds. A chance of rain.   

SAT NIGHT  SE wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3  to 5 ft at 8 seconds.
SUN
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft  at 8 seconds.

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

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

11/9 Surge Narrows, 2020 goal, SRKW & Chinook recovery, Tuesday orcas, sea rise, B'ham waterfront, BC pipe lawsuit, Pt Roberts

Surge Narrows Provincial Park
Surge Narrows Provincial Park is located on the south end of Maurelle Island, east of Quadra Island off central Vancouver Island. With its high tidal changes and many reefs, this park has ideal conditions for marine life. Sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sea stars and anemones flourish in these prime conditions. These tidal currents are also notorious for their strength, particularly at Surge Narrows on the east and Seymour Narrows on the west. (BC Parks)

Guest Blog-- Kathy Fletcher: Throwing In the Towel on Puget Sound’s 2020 Goal
The Puget Sound Partnership has now officially thrown in the towel on the goal of restoring Puget Sound to health by the year 2020. From press accounts of this latest report, one might have concluded that the 2020 goal was set only 10 years ago, when the current version of the Partnership was established. Actually, the goal was set more than 30 years ago by Washington State, in 1985 legislation that created the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority…. (read more)

Officials: Salmon, orca recovery important as ever 
As the number of endangered southern resident orca whales continues to decline and threatened Puget Sound chinook salmon remain imperiled, officials say the need to save the two species is becoming more dire. The leadership council for the state’s Puget Sound Partnership passed a resolution last week recognizing the connection between the fish and whales, and committed to accelerating the recovery of both iconic species.... While Skagit River chinook populations appear to be increasing or at least holding steady, the overall salmon population throughout Puget Sound is about one-third what it was 100 years ago, according to the Puget Sound Partnership…. Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council Chair Jay Manning told the Skagit Valley Herald he believes the expertise of local organizations, including the Skagit Watershed Council, will be key in moving salmon and orca recovery forward…. Skagit Watershed Council Executive Director Richard Brocksmith said several habitat restoration projects benefiting chinook salmon have been done in the Skagit River estuaries, floodplains and stream-side forests. By some estimates, the work has achieved 25 percent of the goal set in the Skagit Chinook Recovery Plan, which is to restore enough habitat to support 1.35 million more young chinook salmon throughout the watershed. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

If you like to watch: Live your best life and watch these orcas in Puget Sound
Ben Maud on Tuesday captured on video from West Seattle some orcas passing near Vashon Island. Josie Hollingsworth and Dahlia Bazzaz report. (Seattle Times)

Sea level maps show coastal communities like Vancouver in race against time 
Metro Vancouver’s urban waterfronts are a beacon for condo developers, tourists and everyone in between. But even in best-case scenarios for global warming, a new series of interactive maps that illustrate the impact of rising sea levels suggest Metro, an indeed much of coastal Canada, is facing a mind-boggling challenge to keep such popular and often historic neighbourhoods from becoming lost at sea. John Clague, an earth sciences professor at Simon Fraser University, says thanks to global warming, our oceans are getting an average of 3.3 millimetres higher every year, up from 2 mm a year in the latter half of the 20th century. (Canadian Press)

Sparks fly at Port meeting over plans for the Waterfront District
A discussion about the latest waterfront design got a bit heated at Tuesday night’s Port Commission meeting. Port of Bellingham Commissioner Mike McAuley used the last few minutes of the meeting to strongly criticize the latest plans for the Waterfront District, which includes the former Georgia-Pacific property on Bellingham’s waterfront. He made it clear he was not voting for the latest design, saying “this is not close to what the public asked us to provide.” Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Democracy Watch drops B.C. pipeline lawsuit over bankruptcy worries
A non-profit group has abandoned a legal challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline project in British Columbia, saying losing the case could bankrupt the organization. Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch says the advocacy group decided to withdraw its legal action after the B.C. Supreme Court judge assigned to the case suggested from the bench the premier was not responsible for the decision to grant environmental approval to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion. The original court action alleges that the decision to sanction the $6.8-billion project was “tainted” by political donations made by its proponents to former premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberal party. (Canadian Press)

New book explores Point Roberts
The more local history buff Mark Swenson learned about Point Robert’s unique place in the history of the Salish Sea, the more he thought, “There’s a book here.” “Point Roberts Backstory: Tales, Trails and Trivia of an American Exclave” is a whopping 593 pages long, with 100 images, 900 footnotes and 10 maps. The two-pound book includes a 16-page historical timeline to accompany eight chapters that take readers on a tour of different sections of the Point, telling their stories. Meg Olsen repairs. (Northern Light)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PST Thu Nov 9 2017  
TODAY
 E wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 8 ft  at 10 seconds. Showers likely.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  7 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of showers.

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

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

11/8 Oystercatcher, fossil fuel votes, salmon recovery, algal bloom, plastics, green bylaw, aquatic reserve

Oystercatcher [Matthew Hull/BirdNote]
The Oystercatcher's World
Black Oystercatchers prey on shellfish in the wave zone, especially mussels and limpets. The waves cause mussels to open often, making them easier to eat. The Black Oystercatcher nests on ledges just off shore, and its eggs and young suffer far less predation by mammals. Contrary to their name, oystercatchers rarely eat oysters. (BirdNote)

Don Orange Wins Vancouver Port Race In Referendum On Oil Terminal
Don Orange will be the next Port of Vancouver commissioner. Initial results Tuesday night show Orange won 64.58 percent, beating candidate Kris Greene. Orange’s victory is likely a death knell for a massive oil terminal that’s been proposed at the port for years. Molly Solomon reports. (OPB) See also:  Spokane Voters Say No To Local Coal, Oil Train Regulation  Voters in Spokane, Washington, are saying no to an initiative regulating coal and oil shipments through the heart of the city. The initiative would have fined companies that ship uncovered coal and certain types of oil through the city. Emily Schwing reports. (NW News Network)

Bold action needed for salmon recovery
Frustrated with the lack of progress in salmon recovery — especially Puget Sound chinook — treaty tribes in western Washington have proposed seven bold actions to jump-start those efforts. Puget Sound chinook were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1999 but continue to hover at about 10 percent of their historical population. We are calling on the Leadership Council of the Puget Sound Partnership – the state agency created in 2007 to serve as the regional salmon recovery organization for Puget Sound – to adopt these actions when it meets this month. The Partnership’s Salmon Recovery Council already has approved the actions.  Lorraine Loomis, Chair of NW Indian Fisheries Commission, writes. (North County Outlook)

Skokomish Tribe Monitors Harmful Algal Blooms in Hood Canal
The Skokomish Tribe is measuring the amount of toxins in harmful algal blooms in Hood Canal as part of an early warning system for shellfish poisoning. While the state Department of Health and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s SoundToxins program monitors shellfish and algae regularly for toxin levels, the tribe is adding another level of precaution…. Toxins associated with algal blooms can cause sickness and even death when contaminated shellfish are eaten. (NW Treaty Tribes)

Plastics industry says people, not plastic bags, are the problem
A plastic bag ban could be coming to the City of Victoria and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association says it's a huge mistake.  City council approved a motion last month to consider a bylaw that would stop retailers from providing single-use plastic bags. The plastics industry says it is not the bags that are the problem, it's the people who don't recycle them…. Craig Foster, a sustainability consultant for the CPIA, told On The Island host Gregor Craigie B.C. has a highly efficient recycling system and encouraging people to make better use of it would help reduce plastic waste. (CBC)

Saanich scraps environmental development bylaw: ‘It simply isn’t workable’ 
An environmental development bylaw that divided Saanich residents and council was rescinded Monday in a 5-4 vote. The decision to scrap the controversial Environmental Development Permit Area bylaw ratifies a vote taken Oct. 28 following an intense public hearing. Mayor Richard Atwell supported rescinding the bylaw, saying it should have been done more than two years ago. Cindy E. Harnett reports. (Times Colonist)

Monitoring the Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve
In Puget Sound a few miles west of Oak Harbor are two islands and an aquatic reserve that need special permission to visit. The Citizen Stewardship Committee, composed of members from Whidbey Watershed Stewards and Whidbey Audubon Society, is one of the few with such access. Without the group, there wouldn’t be any scientific data collected on the thriving ecosystem that is the Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve…. The reserve is the only aquatic reserve that borders Whidbey Island, and is also managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a National Wildlife Refuge. It spans 36,300 acres of tidelands and seafloor habitat, an area that contains the largest kelp forest in the state. The reserve surrounds both Smith and Minor Islands, and human access is limited. Trespassing can result in a fine, according to Baker. Kyle Jensen reports. (South Whidbey Record)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PST Wed Nov 8 2017  
GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 
TODAY
 E wind 15 to 25 kt rising to 25 to 35 kt. Combined seas  8 to 9 ft with a dominant period of 11 seconds, building to 10 to  12 ft with a dominant period of 12 seconds. Rain.
TONIGHT
 E wind 25 to 35 kt easing to 15 to 25 kt. Combined  seas 8 to 11 ft with a dominant period of 12 seconds. Rain.

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

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

11/7 Pyrosomes, SOS, Deschutes R., Samish Bay, Tom Wooten, BC pipe, whale watch, BC salmon, Ty Stubblefield

Pyrosomes [OPB/EarthFix]
If you like to watch-- Pyrosomes: Mysterious, Pickle-Shaped Visitors Of The Deep
A sea creature normally found in the tropics has suddenly exploded in the ocean off the Oregon coast. Scientists are baffled by this massive bloom of pickle-shaped pyrosomes that are clogging the nets of researchers and fishermen. No one knows exactly why they’re here, but many suspect it has something to do with a blob of warm water that’s been hanging out off the West Coast for the past several years. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

Report reveals struggles and strategies to recover Puget Sound ecosystem
As always, the biennial State of the Sound report (PDF 60.2 mb), issued this week by the Puget Sound Partnership, reveals mixed results for efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound. It’s been 10 years since the Washington Legislature created the Partnership with an urgent mission to restore Puget Sound to a healthy condition by the year 2020. That 2020 deadline, which was the idea of then-Governor Chris Gregoire, has always been a double-edged sword. The clear time frame has created a sense of urgency — which was Gregoire’s goal. But now, with 2020 looming just three years away, the second edge of the sword threatens to create a sense of failure. Chris Dunagan writes. (Watching Our Water Ways) See also: Little Progress Made Towards A Puget Sound "Fishable, Swimmable, Diggable," Says Partnership After 10 Years

Lawsuit Challenges EPA’S Two-Year Stall of Deschutes River Clean-Up Plan
NWEA has challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s unlawful stalling of Washington’s Deschutes River clean-up plan. NWEA filed the lawsuit because EPA has failed for nearly two years to approve or disapprove the Deschutes Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) clean-up plan even though the Clean Water Act requires EPA to act within 30 days of a state’s submission. The Washington Department of Ecology submitted the TMDL to EPA for approval nearly two years ago, in December 2015. The Deschutes River is a tributary to Puget Sound, discharging to Capitol Lake and then the marine waters of Budd Inlet in Olympia. Rivers and streams in the Deschutes watershed violate state water quality standards for temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, fine sediment, fecal coliform, and bacteria. Budd Inlet has suffered for decades from low levels of dissolved oxygen and Capitol Lake is filled with algae from nutrient pollution. (NW Environmental Advocates)

Change should mean fewer Samish Bay closures
Shellfish farms in Samish Bay should now face fewer closures thanks to a change that took effect Wednesday. The state Department of Health recently changed the Samish River flow thresholds for closing shellfish harvesting in the bay. Scott Berbells, the agency’s shellfish growing area section manager, said the change was made due to progress reducing bacterial pollution in the watershed…. The bay has been closed to harvesting for 16 days in 2017 during which growers, including Taylor Shellfish Farms and Blau Oyster Co., were unable to harvest their products even though pollution did not reach the state’s limit of 4.7 trillion bacteria entering the bay per day…. The recent change has doubled the threshold for flows in the months of December, January, February and April…. Monitoring on Friday showed that the amount of fecal coliform bacteria entering the bay exceeded the state’s limit... Samish Bay was closed to shellfish harvest and has not yet reopened. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Return To The Salish Sea: Tom Wooten, Chairman, Samish Indian Nation
The culture  of the Samish Indian Nation aligns closely with the Salish Sea. Its headquarters are on Fidalgo Island, near Anacortes, and its people are scattered throughout the area, on both sides of the border between the U.S. and Canada. Historically, they lived on five islands in the central Salish Sea:  Fidalgo, Guemes, Lopez, San Juan, and Samish. Due to a clerical error, the Samish tribe lost federal recognition in 1969 and only regained it in 1996, but they have been rebuilding. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Squamish Nation challenging B.C.'s approval of Kinder Morgan project in court
The Squamish Nation says it was not given adequate information about the safety risks associated with Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain expansion project. It's taking that argument to the B.C. Supreme Court this week in hopes of stopping the expansion. The court is holding a provincial judicial review of the B.C. government's decision to approve the project. (CBC)

Whale-watching industry endorses new viewing distances
The Pacific Whale Watching Association has endorsed the federal government’s intention to keep boats farther from whales. The industry group represents 32 ecotourism operators in the Pacific Northwest, including many whale watching companies. A statement forwarded to the Peninsula News Review said that “in the spirit of being precautionary and proactive the PWWA is updating its comprehensive operational guidelines to immediately reflect a 200-metre approach distance to SRKWs in the Canadian portion of the Salish Sea.” Hugo Wong reports. (Victoria News)

'Extremely close to being gone forever': B.C. fisheries manager says feds failing Interior steelhead
An iconic fish could soon disappear from British Columbian waters, according to the province's fisheries manager, who worries Thompson River steelhead may be on the brink of collapse.  Mike Ramsay, assistant director of B.C's Fish and Game branch, said if management practices in the federally regulated commercial salmon fishery don't change, Thompson steelhead may not be able to recover from low returns. Officials estimate a record low number of steelhead — just 290 — will return from the ocean to the Fraser River and eventually into the Thompson watershed this year. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

'They have to be magnificent animals to put up with what we throw at them': Chinook return to West Vancouver
Streamkeepers in West Vancouver are rejoicing at a "magical story" happening in their backyard — chinook salmon have found their a way up a local creek they don't usually use for spawning. Streamkeepers say the arrival of the fish is a glimmer of hope after a season of record-low salmon returns in a number of fisheries. Chinook are not native to Brothers Creek but Fisheries and Oceans Canada has been trying to introduce a self-sustaining chinook sport fishery in that area. According to the West Vancouver Streamkeepers Society (WVSS), the chinook likely originated from the federally-run Capilano River Hatchery. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

His Fellow Conservatives Call Him A ‘Green Decoy’
Ty Stubblefield self-identifies as a “red blooded conservative,” but he’s also an avid hunter who is frustrated with the Republican party’s efforts to transfer public lands out of federal control. So, he’s fighting back. Stubblefield grew up in a logging town in southwestern Oregon, the kind of place where the government is viewed with a healthy dose of suspicion. When he started hunting as a kid, politics were far from his mind, but as the years went by and his obsession and devotion to hunting — bow hunting elk in particular — grew, he realized that the public lands where he hunted were increasingly at risk of being sold off. Stephanie Joyce reports. (Terrestrial)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PST Tue Nov 7 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING

GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
 WEDNESDAY EVENING  
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 3 ft  at 10 seconds.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming E 20 to 30 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 5 ft at 11 seconds  building to 8 ft at 12 seconds after midnight. 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

11/6 SnoCo water, Whatcom dairy, Saanich enviro rule, Yukon rights, beavers, AK cod, Trump coal, eelgrass rot, Edmonds marsh, Vic Harbour, Euro orcas, walrus ESA, Cooke pens

Cratena peregrina [Gabriella Luongo/NY Times]
When This Sea Slug Eats, It Prefers the Turducken of the Sea
In a study published Wednesday in Biology Letters, a team of scientists from Britain and Italy described how the sea slug Cratena peregrina practices “kleptopredation,” which means it prefers to prey on organisms that have themselves just eaten. Steph Yin reports. (NY Times)

County settles lawsuit over water-quality issues
Snohomish County has settled a federal lawsuit that a water quality watchdog filed last year. The county finalized the agreement with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance on Wednesday. As part of the arrangement, the county pledged to retrofit drainage projects near Little Bear Creek and to host events promoting stormwater management practices known as low-impact development. The county must reimburse some of the nonprofit’s legal expenses. Elected officials also have started making technical amendments to the county’s stormwater rules. Both sides called the agreement cooperative. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Whatcom dairy farmer fined $8,000 for allowing manure runoff to pollute water
A Whatcom County dairy farmer has been fined $8,000 for allowing manure runoff from his Snook Brook Farms to get into ditches at Grandview and Kickerville roads. The Washington State Department of Agriculture issued the fine Oct. 24 to Seth Snook for the dairy at 6804 Kickerville Road, northwest of Ferndale. Subsequent water quality tests showed elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Controversy swirls around proposal to cut stormwater surcharge
Budget season and flood season have run together in interesting ways this year for Snohomish County. A recent idea to save some south county homeowners a few dollars in annual stormwater fees has created a political tempest of sorts. When Councilwoman Stephanie Wright suggested getting rid of a surcharge that costs homeowners in urban unincorporated areas about $32 per year, it met with a stormy reaction from other quarters…. Wright’s idea comes as the council works on next year’s budget. Paring down tax increases for county services has been a focal point, as many property owners cope with hikes to pay for mass transit and state schools funding…. County Executive Dave Somers said Wright’s stormwater proposal would doom or delay a dozen projects to address the worst areas for urban flooding — particularly in her district covering southwest Snohomish County. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Group plans rally to keep Saanich’s environmental bylaw
A group of Saanich residents is hoping to persuade Saanich to reverse course on its decision to kill the Environmental Development Permit Area bylaw. The group, calling itself Homeowners for Saanich’s EDPA, is calling on residents to rally in support of the EDPA at Saanich Municipal Hall at 6:30 p.m. Monday. After a heated public hearing last weekend, Saanich councillors voted 5-4 to scrap the EDPA. The bylaw was passed in 2012 with the goal of protecting sensitive ecosystems on about 2,200 private properties. The decision still has to be formally ratified. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Canada legal fight may ‘destroy the faith’ in First Nations treaties
The indigenous groups thought they had reached a deal: A vast landscape in the north of Yukon Territory would be mostly set aside for preservation, with only a small percentage allotted to industrial development. But then the Yukon government decided to push aside this recommendation agreed to by a joint government-indigenous commission. Instead, it favored far more development in the wilderness, which has huge deposits of coal, gas and minerals, including 18 billion tons of iron ore claimed by Chevron, the U.S. petroleum giant. Now the 26,000 square miles of the Peel Watershed — an area larger than the state of West Virginia where mountain sheep graze on the sides of snow-capped peaks, and grizzlies and wolves hunt caribou and moose along the banks of six pristine rivers — is at the heart of a legal battle before Canada’s Supreme Court. Dan Levin reports. (NY Times)

Saving Oregon's Beavers From Federal Wildlife-Killing Agency Will Help Salmon Survive: Lawsuit
The beaver may be Oregon’s official state animal but that status is not shielding it from being killed by the hundreds by a federal agency. The killing could end, though, if two environmental groups prevail with their new lawsuit challenging the practice. They contend that it’s harming more than just the state’s marquee mammal. Beavers can create a lot of environmental benefits to a landscape. They build dams from sticks, mud, and rocks. That creates ponds, which provide habitat for lots of wildlife , including the federally threatened Oregon spotted frog and Oregon coast coho salmon. “Beavers are such amazing little creatures,” said Collette Adkins, with the Center for Biological Diversity. “They’re nature’s engineers.” That’s why the center and Northwest Environmental Advocates on Thursday filed a formal notice of intent to sue Wildlife Services — a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Courtney Flatt reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Climate change preview? Pacific Ocean 'blob' appears to take toll on Alaska cod
Gulf of Alaska cod populations appear to have nose-dived, a collapse fishery scientists believe is linked to warm water temperatures known as “the blob” that peaked in 2015. The decline is expected to substantially reduce the Gulf cod harvests that in recent years have been worth — before processing — more than $50 million to Northwest and Alaska fishermen who catch them with nets, pot traps and baited hooks set along the sea bottom. The blob also could foreshadow the effects of climate change on the marine ecosystem off Alaska’s coast, where chilly waters rich with food sustain North America’s richest fisheries. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Anger over Trump support for coal at UN climate talks
Plans by the Trump administration to promote coal as a solution to climate change at a major UN meeting have angered environmentalists. An adviser to the president is expected to take part in a pro-coal presentation in Bonn this coming week. Separately, a group of governors will say that the US is still committed to climate action despite Mr Trump's rejection of the Paris agreement. The talks begin on Monday and aim to flesh out the rules for the Paris pact. This meeting, officially known as COP23, will be the first full gathering of climate negotiators since President Trump vowed to take the US out of the Paris treaty. Matt McGrath reports. (BBC)

Researchers document eelgrass wasting disease in Skagit, San Juan counties
Squatting on a muddy beach on the north end of Fidalgo Island, Morgan Eisenlord untangled several slippery strands of eelgrass. Most of the strands were a shiny green, similar to giant, damp blades of grass. Some bore patches of brown — a sign of eelgrass wasting disease. Eisenlord — a Cornell University doctoral student doing her dissertation at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs — is searching for the disease in areas on Fidalgo Island and on the San Juan Islands. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Edmonds plans study to evaluate health of marsh
One of the city’s landmarks is its 28-acre fresh- and saltwater marsh. Visitors can spot up to 225 species of birds there. Its cattails and wetlands are remnants of what was once a 100-acre marsh, stretching from what is now Marina Beach Park north to Brackett’s Landing. Now the city wants to know more about the marsh’s health, analyzing issues such as the impacts of stormwater, how the marsh could be affected by different buffer requirements, and how plans to daylight Willow Creek, which flows into the marsh, will impact it, City Council member Mike Nelson said. Sharon Salyer reports. (Everett Herald)

Harbour cleanup to remove hazardous material
Cleanup work to remove hazardous substances from Victoria Harbour is scheduled to begin this month. Transport Canada has awarded a $5.3-million contract to Milestone Environmental Contracting Inc. to remove hazardous materials from the seabed around Laurel Point Park.  The cleanup is part of a remediation project to help restore the bay and foreshore areas, said Annie Joannette, spokeswoman for Transport Canada. About 1,200 cubic metres of contaminated sediments will be dredged, Joannette said. Michael D. Reid reports. (Times Colonist)

A last refuge for Europe's blighted killer whales
Europe's killer whales wowed in the BBC's Blue Planet II series but these animals face extinction. Chris Gibson travelled to the small Norwegian island of Kvaløya where the orcas retain a strong foothold. But for how much longer?…. Across Europe, these cetaceans are declining rapidly. In the Mediterranean and the North Sea, they have vanished. Elsewhere, there are now only eight killer whales in the NW Scotland-Ireland population, and only 36 left in the Strait of Gibraltar population. Scientists believe they are doomed to extinction due to harmful chemicals manufactured by man. (BBC)

On Thin Ice: Walruses Threatened After U.S. Declines To List As Endangered
Walruses are facing a “death sentence” after the Trump administration declined last month to list the Pacific walrus as endangered, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The conservation group, which took legal action starting in 2008 to get walruses on the list, says the White House’s decision puts the species in a dire state as it confronts the effects of climate change. Samantha Raphelson reports. (NPR)

Here’s what went down when that Atlantic salmon farm went down
Owners of the Atlantic salmon farm that collapsed in August have released a detailed timeline of that accident as well as an earlier accident it suffered in July. Though it has received little scrutiny, the July mishap was severe enough to snap nearly half of the football-field-sized farm’s 22 anchor lines and cause the entire steel structure to move "considerably" to the south. Neither Cooke Aquaculture nor Washington state officials conducted a formal investigation of the July accident…. “You could call it two accidents. I would say that it’s one big, long accident that took the span of 30 days,” said Tom Wooten, tribal chair of the Samish Indian Nation in Anacortes.  John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  231 AM PST Mon Nov 6 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH
 TUESDAY AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 E wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SE 15 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, November 3, 2017

11/3 Orcas & Chinook, Fraser pinks, climate, KM pipe, Andeavor permit, gr crabs, Zinke, WA wolves

Beaver [Ginger Holser/WDFW]
Beavers
Beavers (Castor canadensis) are the largest living rodents in North America, with adults averaging 40 pounds in weight and measuring more than 3 feet in length, including the tail….  Once among the most widely distributed mammals in North America, beavers were eliminated from much of their range in the late 1800s because of unregulated trapping. With a decline in the demand for beaver pelts, and with proper management, they became reestablished in much of their former range and are now common in many areas. (WDFW) See also: Spectacular full Beaver Moon rises one day shy of being super this weekend  Cathy Kearney reports. (CBC)

Plans being developed to save both orcas and Chinook salmon
Actions that could save Puget Sound’s killer whales from extinction have been placed on a fast track by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and the Puget Sound Partnership, which operates under a legal mandate to restore the health of Puget Sound. Hand in hand with an intensified effort to save the whales comes a revised strategy to reverse the decline of Puget Sound Chinook salmon, the primary food supply for the endangered orcas. In a special meeting Wednesday, the Puget Sound Leadership Council committed itself in a formal resolution to “both accelerate and amplify” efforts to recover Chinook runs on behalf of the orcas while meeting treaty obligations to native tribes. Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Fraser River pink salmon run half of prediction, after dismal sockeye returns
Salmon returns just keep getting worse on the Fraser River. End-of-season estimates show that fewer than 3.6 million pink salmon have returned to the Fraser, less than half the median pre-season forecast of 8.7 million fish and not enough for a commercial or sport fishery.  There was a one-in-10 chance that the pink returns would be as low as 4.4 million, but the results were even worse. “It was much less, obviously much poorer than expected,” Mike Lapointe, chief biologist with the Pacific Salmon Commission, said in an interview Thursday. The average pink run on the Fraser is closer to 12 million. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Massive Government Report Says Climate Is Warming And Humans Are The Cause
It is “extremely likely” that human activities are the “dominant cause” of global warming, according to the the most comprehensive study ever of climate science by U.S. government researchers. The climate report, obtained by NPR, notes that the past 115 years are “the warmest in the history of modern civilization.” The global average temperature has increased by about 1.8 degree Fahrenheit over that period. Greenhouse gases from industry and agriculture are by far the biggest contributor to warming. Christopher Joyce reports. (NPR) See also: Even Trump’s EPA says Obama’s climate plan would save thousands of lives each year  A sweeping Obama-era climate rule could prevent up to 4,500 premature deaths per year by 2030, the Trump administration has found in its analysis of the plan, projecting that the plan could save more lives than the Obama administration said it would. The Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency is moving to repeal the plan. Chris Mooney reports. (Washington Post)

Notley backs Kinder Morgan appeal to energy regulator over permit delays
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says her government will back Kinder Morgan in its appeal to the national energy regulator over permitting delays the company says it is facing from the B.C. town located at the terminus of its planned Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. "One jurisdiction does not have the right to obstruct a project of national importance, which is why we will take every legal measure necessary to protect Alberta's interests and see this pipeline completed," Notley said in a statement Thursday. (CBC)

Hearing being held for Andeavor refinery project permit
Dozens turned out today (Nov 2) to share with Skagit County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford their perspectives on Andeavor Anacortes Refinery's proposed Clean Products Upgrade Project. There was standing room only in the hearing room, and most seats were taken in the lobby of the building as well. The hearing may be extended into Friday, Dufford said. The hearing is for one of 18 permits Andeavor needs from county, state and federal agencies for the project. The permit that is the subject of this hearing is a shoreline substantial development permit. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Green crabs go wild near Sequim, but experts say control is still possible
Nearly 100 invasive European green crabs were trapped along Dungeness Spit near Sequim this past spring and summer — far more than anywhere else in Puget Sound since the dangerous invaders first showed up last year. Despite the large number of crabs found in this one location, green crab experts remain undeterred in their effort to trap as many of the crabs as they can. And they still believe it is possible to keep the invasion under control. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

The Teddy Roosevelt Legacy At Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
The Department of the Interior is outlining steps aimed at increasing energy production on federal lands. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says boosting production of resources like oil and gas creates jobs and enhances the nation’s energy security. It’s another pro-industry headline for a secretary touting himself as not only an avid outdoorsman, but a follower of the conservation ideals of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. If the manager of most of our federal lands is going find inspiration from someone, it would be hard to find a more appropriate muse. Dan Boyce reports. (Inside Energy)

New Era For Washington Wolves? State Wildlife Officials Think So
There could be big changes on the horizon for the way the state of Washington manages its wolf population to minimize the conflicts between wolves and livestock. For at least the last two summers, wildlife managers in Washington have had to shoot wolves that have killed or injured livestock. That practice has proven controversial, and in some cases dangerous for wildlife managers and ranchers. This spring, state legislators allocated $300,000 for projects to manage wolves that keep them alive. The money is available in the four counties where the majority of Washington’s wolves roam. The first call for applications for grants went out in mid-October. Emily Schwing reports. (NW News Network)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  254 AM PDT Fri Nov 3 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 6 ft  at 11 seconds subsiding to 4 ft at 11 seconds in the afternoon. A  slight chance of showers in the morning.
TONIGHT
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  3 ft at 15 seconds.
SAT
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft building to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 3 ft at 16 seconds. A chance of showers in the  afternoon.
SAT NIGHT
 E wind 20 to 30 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell  3 ft at 15 seconds.
SUN
 NE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 2 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 4 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 (@) 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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Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told