Friday, January 27, 2017

1/27 Chinook predators, EPA science, whale signs, Delta LNG, fish protection, Pope's climate, BC parks

Rosehip Alley [Laurie MacBride]
Rosehip Alley
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Years ago we made a little path through the dense and chaotic tangle of wild rose bushes on the southern edge of our property, so we could walk among the masses of delicately scented blooms that appear each June. But I love “Rosehip Alley” in winter as well, especially in the low-angle light of late afternoon…"

Study says predators may play major role in chinook salmon declines
Seals and sea lions are taking a major bite out of the threatened chinook salmon population in Puget Sound, and the competition for food could be having repercussions for endangered Southern Resident killer whales, according to a new study. Seals and sea lions are eating about 1.4 million pounds of Puget Sound chinook each year — about nine times more than they were eating in 1970, according to the report [ Estimates of Chinook salmon consumption in Washington State inland waters by four marine mammal predators from 1970 – 2015  ], published online this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

EPA science under scrutiny by Trump political staff
The Trump administration is scrutinizing studies and data published by scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, while new work is under a “temporary hold” before it can be released. The communications director for President Donald Trump’s transition team at EPA, Doug Ericksen, said Wednesday the review extends to all existing content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame. Ericksen clarified his earlier statements he made to The Associated Press, which reported that the Trump administration was mandating that any studies or data from EPA scientists undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public. He said he was speaking about existing scientific information on the EPA website that is under review by members of the Trump administration’s transition team. (Associated Prss)

The Whale Trail—from B.C. to Baja—great whale watching spots identified
Donna Sandstrom Executive Director of The Whale Trail talks about her passion for orca and whales of all varieties, and her organizations quest to install interpretive and identifying signage at key whale watching spots along the West Coast. Tom Wilmer reports. (KCBX/NPR) See: National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Announces Grant to Spotlight Endangered Marine Species; $50,000 will extend interpretive signage on the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale to northern California

Planned LNG terminal in Delta would employ strongest safety measures
Ships visiting a planned LNG terminal at Tilbury Island in Delta would employ two B.C. pilots and up to three tethered “high-power escort tugs” — the strongest such safety measures to date on the Fraser River and a reflection of concerns over movement of the product. California-based WesPac Midstream is not planning to submit its formal application to the province’s Environmental Assessment Office until at least this fall, but has already conducted extensive discussions and computerized bridge simulations with Fraser River Pilots. The $175-million project originally anticipated up to 122 ships, carrying up to 90,000 cubic metres of LNG, and 90 barges a year, carrying 4,000 cubic metres, for export and domestic use.  A revised estimate anticipates 48 ships up to 90,000 cubic metres, 42 ships up to 65,000 cubic metres, and 34 barges up to 7,500 cubic metres. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. government says Ottawa’s cuts left fish habitat unprotected
Spending cuts since 2012 have left B.C. with “almost no” federal oversight of activities by corporations, municipalities and individuals that could damage or destroy sensitive fisheries habitat, the B.C. government has told MPs considering changes to the federal Fisheries Act. “Compliance and enforcement of the Fisheries Act has become increasingly difficult after fisheries protection program staff members were cut,” Derek Sturko, deputy minister in the B.C. Agriculture Ministry, told the standing committee on fisheries and oceans in a written submission. “There has been almost no DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) field presence responding to occurrences or potential violations.” Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Federal Action Plan for Puget Sound released as Trump enters office
Two days before Donald Trump became president, the Puget Sound Federal Task Force released a draft of the federal action plan for the recovery of Puget Sound. The Trump transition raises uncertainty about the future of this plan, but at least the incoming administration has a document to work with, as described by Steve Kopecky of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Pope's picture spurs Republicans to shift climate views
After Pope Francis framed climate change as a moral issue in his second encyclical, conservative Republicans shifted and began to see that environmental dilemma in the same way, according to a new study led by Cornell communication researchers. “When Pope Francis issued his encyclical paper in June 2015, he emerged as a strong advocate for climate action,” said Jonathon P. Schuldt, assistant professor of communication. “He is in many ways uniquely positioned as a global moral authority – a religious authority – and his position is very visible.” Schuldt, along with Adam R. Pearson of Pomona College and Rainer Romero-Canyas and Dylan Larson-Konar, both of the Environmental Defense Fund, sought to understand a mechanism for changing public opinion about climate change. Their research, “Brief Exposure to Pope Francis Heightens Moral Beliefs About Climate Change,” was published online in the journal Climatic Change, Dec. 30. Blaine Friedlander reports. (Cornell Chronicle)

Nearly half of national park ecosystems rate as 'fair' or 'poor' in Parks Canada report
A federal report by Parks Canada shows that almost half of the ecosystems in the country's national parks remain in fair to poor condition, five years after a previous report with similar concerns. The report, called State of Canada's Natural and Cultural Heritage Places, was tabled in the House of Commons in mid-December…. The report finds that 29 of the 41 national parks and reserves measured had at least one ecosystem rated as fair or poor. Twelve of the parks or reserves had all of the areas measured rated as good. Susan Lunn reports. (CBC)

TransCanada makes new application for Keystone XL pipeline
The company behind the Keystone XL pipeline submitted a new presidential permit application today to the U.S. Department of State for approval. The project would move 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. (Associated Press) See also: 4 Key Impacts of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines  Heather Brady reports. (National Geographic)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST FRI JAN 27 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT  
TODAY
 SE WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  9 TO 10 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES  3 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 10 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
SAT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 11 FT AT  13 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 10  TO 12 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
SUN
 SE WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING AND BECOMING SW IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT SUBSIDING. W SWELL 7 TO 9 FT AT  13 SECONDS.

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