Monday, March 13, 2017

3/13 Kozloff, belugas, WA lege, poop news, microplastic, BC LNG, Drayton Hbr, stewards, whale guide, dog DNA, Tillerson, toxic tuna

Eugene N. Kozloff  (26 September 1920 - 4 March 2017) was an American marine biologist and botanist at Shannon Point Marine Center on Fidalgo Island, Washington. He was an emeritus professor of the Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington, and is best known for writing field guides for the Pacific Northwest Region of the United States.

Vancouver Park Board votes to end display of cetaceans at aquarium
In a unanimous vote, the Vancouver Park Board has decided to change its bylaws to end the display of live cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium. The Thursday night vote came at the end of a lengthy, emotional debate that spanned two nights and heard from more than 60 speakers. Ultimately, all seven commissioners voted in favour of a motion to amend bylaws "to prohibit the importation and display" of live cetaceans — porpoises, whales or dolphins — at the aquarium. (CBC)

Another lost year for kids' health in Olympia
In the wake of the lead-poisoning water scandal in Flint, Michigan, and with 10 Washington children a week being diagnosed with dangerously elevated lead levels, Washington lawmakers this year proposed several measures to focus attention on the state’s long-neglected lead contamination problems. But the two measures that would have done the most good have died. And state health officials say what they really need from the Legislature isn’t passing new laws — it’s getting the Legislature to put more money into the existing system to alert doctors, parents and others to the dangers. Adiel Kaplan reports. (InvestigateWest)

$700-million wastewater treatment plant to be built in North Vancouver
Metro Vancouver announced Saturday it has received joint funding for a new $700-million wastewater treatment plant on the North Shore. The new Lions Gate Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant will be constructed by 2020 on a 3.5-hectare site owned by Metro in the District of North Vancouver, while the plant currently operating at Squamish Nation, built in 1961, will be decommissioned in 2021. It aims to contribute to cleaner waterways across the region by enhancing secondary wastewater treatment and resource recovery, and is being designed in a way that will allow flexibility for any future upgrades or expansion, according to Metro. Nick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Sludge bugs: Sewage-eating microbes in peril at crippled West Point plant
A brown plume from the West Point Treatment plant shows the crippled plant’s limited capacity. A key to getting it working again will be the health of a suite of microbial life that handles much of the dirty work. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)w

B.C. researchers race to find the source of microplastics choking the world's oceans
Scientists are growing increasingly concerned about microplastics in water and in the food chain, but they face some daunting challenges in the race to uncover the sources of the problem. "We're encountering a pollutant unlike any pollutant we've ever seen before," says Dr. Peter Ross, director of ocean pollution research at the Vancouver Aquarium. "This is not a chemical pollutant, it's a structural pollutant." Recent samples his team have taken off the B.C. coast contained up to 25,000 plastic particles and fibres in just one cubic metre of water. Yes, some of it comes from plastic bags, foam packaging, cigarette butts and other remnants of the millions of tonnes of plastic debris slowly breaking down in the world's oceans.  But there are some surprising sources, too, like laundry. Greg Rasmussen reports. (CBC)

BC LNG: Delta plant says public safety paramount amid $400m expansion
The risks at the FortisBC liquefied-natural gas facility at Tilbury Island in Delta are so real that visitors are ordered not to take photos or even turn on their cellphones during a tour as a way to minimize the chance of electrical sparks creating an ignition source. Yet Doug Stout, the company’s vice-president of market development, insists that the plant’s excellent safety record to date will continue into the future during an ongoing $400-million expansion that will increase production capacity sevenfold…. Expansion of the Tilbury facility would have LNG ships travelling alongside residential communities such as Steveston in Richmond. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Shell ends development of Prince Rupert LNG project  Company still considering its other West Coast LNG option (Canadian Press)

Bringing the shellfish back: How Drayton Harbor overcame a legacy of pollution
After a long struggle with pollution, Drayton Harbor has reopened to year-round commercial oyster harvesting for the first time in 22 years. Here’s how the community cleaned up its act, potentially showing the way for shellfish recovery throughout Puget Sound. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents) See also: Hope is alive for restoration of Puget Sound shellfish beds  Officials in Washington state’s Shellfish Program have identified a clear pathway to meet a state goal of restoring 10,800 net acres of shellfish beds to a harvestable condition by 2020. The 10,800-acre target, established by the Puget Sound Partnership, was considered overly ambitious by many people when the goal was approved in 2011. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Volunteers prepare to join Salish Sea Stewards
It was an exciting day for volunteers at Bowman Bay as they netted 181 young chum salmon Thursday as part of an ongoing research project. The volunteers, including several Salish Sea Stewards, participated in a beach seine at a stretch of the bay at Deception Pass State Park. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Canadians produce mariner’s guide to whales; can U.S. follow?
If knowledge is power, officials in British Columbia have taken a strong step to protect whales by producing a booklet that can help ship captains reduce the threats to marine mammals. The “Mariner’s Guide to Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises of Western Canada” was compiled and published by the Coastal Ocean Research Institute, a branch of the Vancouver Aquarium. Financial support came from nearby ports. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Conservation group maps land protection strategy in 3 states
A conservation group has created maps identifying key landscapes in three Western states most likely to sustain native species amid climate change and is distributing money to protect private lands in those areas through use-limiting easements or outright purchases. The Nature Conservancy says it has $6 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation that it's now distributing among land trusts that must come up with five times the amount in matching funds for approved easements or acquisitions. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

Dog DNA tracking could reduce unscooped poop: West Vancouver councillor
West Vancouver district Coun. Mary-Ann Booth walks her Yorkie-Maltese, Gibson, down by the beach every day…. Toward the end of a long council meeting on Monday, Booth brought up the idea of cracking down on offending pet owners by creating a registry of local dogs' DNA, and sending unscooped poop samples to the lab to have them tested and matched to pets in the registry. Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC)

Rex Tillerson steps away from Keystone XL pipeline
The US secretary of state has stepped away from dealing with issues related to the controversial Keystone pipeline, because he used to run an oil company. Rex Tillerson, former boss of Exxon Mobil, recused himself from the matter in February, the State Department said. (BBC)

These two types of tuna are carrying more mercury
Mercury concentrations in Hawaiian-caught bigeye and yellowfin tuna are steadily rising and mirror increases in North Pacific waters that have been linked to atmospheric mercury emissions from Asia. Researchers compiled and re-analyzed data from previously published reports on yellowfin and bigeye tuna caught near Hawaii over the past four decades, then used a mathematical model to look for trends. They found that mercury concentrations in yellowfin tuna increased about 5.5 percent per year between 1998 and 2008. Levels in bigeye tuna increased about 3.9 percent per year from 2002 to 2008. Mercury concentrations tended to be greater in bigeye tuna than in yellowfin tuna. Jim Ericksen reports. (Futurity)

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