Wednesday, January 11, 2017

1/11 Snake R dams, toxic algae, ship toxins, fuel exports, high tide, Times layoff, chem ban, gold v fish

(BirdNote)
The Duck in the Sailor Suit
Today, we celebrate Donald Fauntleroy Duck, first sighted in Hollywood in 1934. Despite nearly 80 years on the big screen and more than 150 films and countless comic books to his credit, Donald's plumage has never changed. Donald doesn't migrate, but resides year round in Duckburg. To our knowledge, longtime sweetheart Daisy has never made Donald a father. But he does show a strong paternal instinct for a trio of unruly nephews. While he means well, he tends to get in over his head, but he somehow overcomes the odds. And that perhaps is why Donald Duck is still loved after all these years. (BirdNote)

Environmental groups want work halted on Snake River dams
Environmental groups are asking a federal court to halt 11 infrastructure projects on four lower Snake River dams in Washington state that could ultimately be removed if a pending review determines the dams need to come out to help salmon. The 45-page notice filed late Monday in Portland, Oregon, estimates the cost of the projects at $110 million. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

Predicting Toxic Algae Blooms Just Got Easier
Scientists at Oregon State University have figured out a way to predict outbreaks of a dangerous neurotoxin called domoic acid in the Pacific Ocean. The toxin is produced during algae blooms and can make crab and shellfish unsafe to eat. A few years back, Oregon State University researcher Morgaine McKibben noticed that the ocean off Oregon had warmed considerably. It was part of a natural climate cycle called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Aircraft carrier cleanup sparks pollution concerns
The Navy’s fast-tracked preparations to dismantle an old aircraft carrier could be putting Sinclair Inlet’s health in peril. Environmental regulators and local groups are concerned that the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is scraping toxic amounts of copper-based paint directly into the water from the hull of the USS Independence. The Navy plans to tow the 1,070-foot-long carrier to Brownsville, Texas, where it will be handed over to shipbreakers. It was scheduled to leave Bremerton two months ago. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Fossil fuel exports in the NW: Down but not out
Environmentalists are celebrating the recent news that Peter Goldmark, Washington State’s public lands commissioner, decided against leasing state-owned land in Longview for Millennium Bulk Terminal’s proposed coal export facility. Many say it’s a fatal blow to Millennium’s plan to export up to 44 million metric tons of Powder River Basin coal each year…. By denying Millennium the critical piece of land that it needs to build the facility, did Goldmark hand a final victory to those fighting along the Thin Green Line? Not according to Bill Chapman, Millennium Bulk President and C.E.O. “The decision today has no effect on the project,” he said in a statement. Samantha Larson reports. (Crosscut)

Tides flood rail lines near Edmonds, delaying Sounder commuters
It’s a transportation mess that’s classically Puget Sound — high tides flooded rail lines on Tuesday afternoon, delaying the north line Sounder commuter trains. Tides peaked at 12 feet around noon, tide tables show. That happens a few times a year, but transit officials say high winds combined with the tides to wash over the railway, which mostly hugs the shore of Puget Sound. Mike Lindblom reports. (Seattle Times)

After Buyouts and Layoffs, Nearly Two Dozen People Will Leave the Seattle Times Newsroom
Some names of who leaves, other shoes waiting to fall. Heidi Groover reports. (The Stranger)

Clallam county lifts ban on herbicide use
After years of debate, Clallam County has lifted a 26-year ban on herbicides as one weapon in the fight against noxious weeds on county roadsides. County commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday to approve an ordinance that creates an “integrated weed management” chapter in the county code. The ordinance will be a blueprint for a publicly reviewed, annually updated noxious weed management plan that would allow the limited use of low-toxicity herbicides to control invasive plants that cannot be stopped by mowing, hand pulling, hydroseeding, introducing insects or other control methods. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Gold Vs. Fish: Groups Threaten To Sue Wash. State Over Suction Dredge Mining
A controversial recreational activity called “suction dredge mining” has led to moratoriums on the practice in California and Oregon. But Washington continues to allow it. Conservation groups have now threatened to sue the state unless new regulations are passed. Suction dredge miners use floating gas-powered vacuums to suck up gravel on the bottom of rivers and streams in search of gold flakes. Conservation groups say it’s destroying habitat for endangered salmon and steelhead. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Stormwater Rising
The Washington State Supreme Court continues to strengthen and clarify water standards. Last week, the high court declined to hear the appeal of a Skagit County water rights decision. Skagit had denied a building permit because the water source was in conflict with a state rule requiring water be left in streams to protect fish. Lower courts had upheld the county’s authority to make land-use decisions based on the availability of water, and their ruling stands. It is a mirror of a decision handed down by the state Supreme Court last fall, which found Whatcom County had not sufficiently exercised its authority to protect instream flows. Denial of further review in the Skagit decision sends clear signals the high court is not likely to reconsider its finding against Whatcom. In another decision earlier this month, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court finding that state “vesting” law does not apply to clean water standards. Justices unanimously rejected an effort by counties and developers to weaken a key permit designed to reduced toxic runoff and protect waterways including Puget Sound. (Cascadia Weekly)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  243 AM PST WED JAN 11 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT EASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. SW SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 4 FT  AT 10 SECONDS.

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