Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2/14 Elwha, Tides, DAPL, octo sex, eelgrass, forage fish, Blanchard Mtn, water war, Ericksen, Trudeau-Trump, banned chemicals

Elwha nearshore 2/11/17 (Tom Roorda/CWI)
At the mouth of the Elwha River, Washington state's newest sandy beach
High overhead, a new forest rises where just five years ago there was a lake. The former Lake Aldwell is but a memory as the Elwha River and forest reclaim their place. Already, thick terraces of gray sediment along the river, rinsed down by the Elwha, are thick with alder trees. Animal tracks mark fresh winter snow: Raccoons have been out exploring, the prints of their front paws a telltale of their passing. The river pushes fast downstream, alive with blues and green, and clear enough to see its cobbled bottom. The sediment that choked it gray is long gone, stacked now on the banks, layered on the bottom, and rinsed out to sea. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

New blog: Voyage On The Tides With Jonathan White
It was quite a treat last week during the snowstorm that again gripped us northern Salish Sea folks to voyage with Jonathan White, author of the newly published book, Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean. It’s a great read— travelogue, science, personal reflection— the kind of book I finished and wanted to sit with the author to hear more and to share my “tides” stories.... (read on)

Judge denies request to halt Dakota Access pipeline work
A federal judge on Monday refused to stop construction on the last stretch of the Dakota Access pipeline, which is progressing much faster than expected and could be operational in as little as 30 days. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled after an hourlong hearing that as long as oil isn't flowing through the pipeline, there is no imminent harm to the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes, which are suing to stop the project. But he said he'd consider the arguments more thoroughly at another hearing on Feb. 27. Sam Hananel and Blake Nicholson report. (Associated Press) See also: Charges being considered in I-5 protest over Dakota oil pipeline  Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Octopus sex act is cancelled, again http://crosscut.com/2017/02/seattle-octopus-sex-act-cancelled-again/
The Seattle Aquarium’s octopuses aren’t getting lucky this Valentine’s Day. For the second year in a row, the annual octopus mating event, or “blind date,” has been cancelled. As it turns out, the female octopus, Raspberry, is already fertilized. Aquarium staff made the discovery this morning. Tess Riski reports. (Crosscut)

Port to plant eelgrass gardens off Tsawwassen ferry terminal
The Port of Vancouver is proposing to plant vast gardens of eelgrass on the ocean floor this year to benefit marine life ranging from fish to crabs near the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. The project would create a total of four hectares of eelgrass habitat on the southeast side of the terminal at two ocean-bottom sites that were formerly dredged. Documents posted on the province’s Environmental Assessment Office website show that a perimeter berm would be created with riprap rock extending up to three metres above the existing seafloor to protect the eelgrass. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Forage fish beach protections might need a boost
Shoreline protections for a small but critical fish species are not nearly big enough, according to a recent assessment by state wildlife managers. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing to quadruple the beach occupancy standard for surf smelt, a forage fish species that serves as a key food source for salmon and other marine animals. The beach occupancy standard is used to identify stretches of shoreline that need to be protected during the construction of bulkheads, piers, docks and other shoreline structures. The current standard limits work in a 1,000-foot-wide buffer around documented smelt spawning sites. The department is proposing to expand the buffer to nearly 4,160 feet. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Push continues to save 1,600 acres on Blanchard Mountain from logging
A state trust land exchange could be used to protect all of a 1,600-acre piece of Blanchard Mountain in Skagit County from being logged. That’s what state Reps. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, and Kris Lytton, D-Anacortes, said during a telephone town hall recently as they updated callers on the issue, which has generated great interest because the mountain draws hikers, mountain bikers, hang-gliders and horseback riders. Popular recreation areas within those 1,600 acres include Oyster Dome, a beloved trail with breathtaking views at the top that take in Samish Bay, the San Juan Islands, Skagit Valley and Georgia Strait. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

With thousands seeking to build rural homes, will Legislature cut off water for fish?
Zach Nutting throws a stick. His two big black dogs streak after it into the trees on the five-acre lot he purchased in August. Nutting expected to be building a five-bedroom house here by now. He needs it – a place to accommodate his family, which with a baby due soon is about to outgrow his current two-bedroom house a few miles down the road. But for now, all he can do is bring the dogs out here…. It’s all because Nutting can’t get permission to drill a water well. Nutting and his family are emblematic of a controversy that has imperiled the plans of thousands of Washington residents to build homes in the countryside and sent state legislators scrambling to help them – possibly by making changes in the Growth Management Act. Adiel Kaplan reports. (Investigate West)

Oil-backed climate skeptic could get key EPA job in Pacific Northwest
The man interested in the job of protecting the Northwest's air and water under President Donald Trump makes quick work of some bedrock tenets of the modern-day environmental movement. The scientific consensus on human-caused climate change? "There definitely could be an impact from humans on climate," said Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen. "Is it as big as people say? We'll find out." The environmental campaign to keep oil in the ground? "Not a realistic thing to talk about." The work of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? It raises "the cost of operations so high that too many businesses are closing and too few new businesses are opening up." Rob Davis reports. (Oregonian)

Trudeau, Trump find common ground on economic growth, border security
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump found common ground on key issues such as boosting commerce and military co-operation, but the two leaders staked out very different stands on immigration policy. During a joint news conference following the pair's debut meeting, Trudeau carved out Canada's position as open and welcoming to refugees and immigrants without compromising security, while Trump defended his own hard-line approach to close the door. Asked whether he believes the northern border of the U.S. is secure, Trump said, "You can never be totally confident." (CBC)

Banned chemicals persist in deep ocean
Chemicals banned in the 1970s have been found in the deepest reaches of the Pacific Ocean, a new study shows. Scientists were surprised by the relatively high concentrations of pollutants like PCBs and PBDEs in deep sea ecosystems. Used widely during much of the 20th Century, these chemicals were later found to be toxic and to build up in the environment. The results are published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. Paul Rincon reports. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST TUE FEB 14 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST THIS MORNING

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM PST THIS MORNING THROUGH
 WEDNESDAY MORNING  
TODAY
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT RISING TO 25 TO 35 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  COMBINED SEAS 5 TO 8 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 13 SECONDS. A  CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT. COMBINED SEAS 8 TO 10 FT WITH A  DOMINANT PERIOD OF 13 SECONDS BUILDING TO 11 TO 13 FT WITH A  DOMINANT PERIOD OF 12 SECONDS. RAIN.

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