Tuesday, March 14, 2017

3/14 Gray whales, salmon disease, "Big One," poop woes, EPA cuts, Arctic drilling, carbon tax, frog call, sea lion cancer

[PHOTO: Jill Hein, Mystic Sea Charters]
Gray whales return to Puget Sound
Things just got a little grayer in Seattle, but not in the way many would expect. This past weekend marks the start of the gray whale migration to Puget Sound. Sarah Hank with the whale tour company Puget Sound Express says the beloved whales are now in the Puget Sound, feeding on ghost shrimp off the Snohomish Delta near Everett in very shallow water, about 10 feet deep. Shelby Barnes reports. (KING) See also: Scientists predict whale paths to reduce collision risks with large ships  Scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have developed a program to predict where whales will be, giving vessel operators a greater chance to avoid collision. Dene Moore reports. (Globe and Mail)

Deadly disease diagnosed in B.C. salmon
A deadly disease has been diagnosed in B.C. farmed salmon and linked to a widespread virus. The study, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, is the first to find heart and skeletal muscle inflammation, or HSMI, in salmon at B.C. fish farms. The disease can wipe out up to 20 per cent of a farmed population. Researchers also showed a correlation between HSMI and piscine reo-virus, suggesting the two might be linked. Emiliano Di Cicco, co-author of the study, said the findings could have negative consequences for B.C.’s salmon farming industry, which had an estimated net value after marketing costs of $476 million in 2013. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Northwest States Write Up Wake Up Call For 'The Big One'
The report cards are in and it's not pretty if you worry about how you'll fare after a Magnitude 9 Cascadia megaquake and tsunami. Washington and Oregon's emergency management divisions have now published after-action reviews of last June's multi-state disaster drill called Cascadia Rising. The four-day simulation was the largest earthquake and tsunami exercise Northwest states have ever staged -- more than 20,000 people participated. The upshot in one sentence is that governments at all levels are ill prepared and ill equipped for The Big One. Tom Banse reports. (NWNews)

What caused sewage plant's huge mess? King County Council launches its own look
A disastrous flood at the West Point wastewater-treatment plant will be getting an independent, third-party review, the Metropolitan King County Council decided Monday. The review, approved on a unanimous vote, is intended to look at what occurred in the lead-up to and aftermath of the Feb. 9 flood that destroyed half the plant. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Proposed EPA Cuts Could Pose Big Problems For Tribes
Tribal environmental programs, like water quality monitoring, could be hard hit under proposed cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Courtney Flatt reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Opening Arctic for Drilling Is Trump Priority, Key Senator Says 
Senator Lisa Murkowski said President Donald Trump is interested in opening up new coastal waters for oil and gas drilling and reversing Obama-era policies that restrict energy development in Alaska. Both Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are weighing ways to expand opportunities to drill in Arctic waters though the changes could take years to accomplish administratively, Murkowski said in an interview on the sidelines of the CERAWeek conference in Houston.  Jennifer A Dlouhy and Catherine Traywick report. (Bloomberg)

Carbon Tax Floated As Possible Replacement To Inslee's 'Clean Air Rule'
Polluting industries in Washington state don’t like Gov. Jay Inslee’s cap on carbon emissions -- and they don’t think it’s legal. Inslee’s clean air rule was unveiled last September and went into effect in October. It’s been called a first-of-its-kind rule that caps and reduces carbon pollution by requiring polluters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions over time…. Representatives of affected industries testified that the cap on carbon emissions would have unintended consequences, including a loss of jobs. Matthew Cohen, a lawyer who represents the Association of Washington Business, told a panel of state lawmakers that Inslee’s carbon cap rule “is a beached whale.” Cohen told the House Environment Committee that the governor pushed through a “badly flawed rule” without legislative authority that should now be replaced. But with what? Cohen floated the idea of a tax on carbon. “A carbon tax is certainly one plausible alternative to what’s in the Clean Air Rule, it’s another swipe at the problem,” Cohen said. Austin Jenkins reports. (KNKX)

How Traffic Is Drowning Out Frogs' Mating Calls
Chances are you’ve heard the Pacific chorus frogs’ call before. Its classic “rib-bit” is featured in basically any movie that needs frog noise. The Pacific chorus frogs’ call is ubiquitous in the Northwest. But the amphibians are having more and more trouble hearing themselves. Traffic is drowning them out. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPR/EarthFix)

Sea lion necropsy unearths surprising cancer finding
Old age beached a Steller sea lion that was euthanized after it was found dying on shore in January, but a finding during the animal’s necropsy has led researchers into another investigation. A cancer of the penal sheath found in the animal is the first reported case in a Steller sea lion, according to Dyanna Lambourn, marine mammal research biologist and the lead investigator into the case of the sea lion found dying on a beach at the Nippon Paper Industries USA mill near Ediz Hook. The animal, which had been beached for a week, was euthanized Jan. 14. The cancer did not contribute to its dying, she said. Leah Leach reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  230 AM PDT TUE MAR 14 2017  

TODAY
 E WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING SE. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W  SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.  TONIGHT  SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 OR 2 FT. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 11 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.

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