|"Northern" pinto abalone (WDFW/Josh Bourma)|
Abalone is the common name for a group of large marine snails (gastropod mollusks in the family classification Haliotidae). Abalone populations worldwide have been in serious decline due to over-harvest and habitat degradation. Pinto abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana) is an abalone species with a distribution ranging from Baja California, Mexico to Alaska. It is the only abalone species commonly encountered in Washington State, British Columbia and Alaska and is therefore also referred to as the "Northern" abalone. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)
Staunch supporter of Cherry Point coal project is Trump’s Interior secretary
Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, a staunch supporter of a proposed coal terminal in Whatcom County, won Senate confirmation on Wednesday as President Donald Trump’s Interior secretary. The nomination, approved by the Republican-controlled Senate 68-31, gives him oversight of 400 million acres of public land, mostly in the West. He also will oversee the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs. In Congress, Zinke advocated for the Gateway Pacific Terminal, a $600 million facility in Whatcom County that would export about 48 million tons a year of coal mined in western states to Pacific Rim markets. The much-debated project has pitted industry groups and unions against environmental and community groups, and two Indian tribes against each other. (Associated Press/Bellingham Herald)
State Senate passes bill to address 'Hirst' water rights decision
The state Senate has approved a bill that seeks to reverse a recent state Supreme Court decision involving water rights and the use of domestic wells. The legislation, billed as a fix to the recent court ruling known as the Hirst decision, would ensure so-called permit-exempt wells could be used for development. The measure passed on a 28-21 vote Tuesday night after it was amended on the Senate floor. It now goes to the House for consideration. Supporters say a legislative fix was needed after the Hirst decision prompted some counties to temporarily halt certain rural development and left hundreds of property owners who wanted to build homes in limbo. Opponents say the bill undercuts current state water law and allows development with little to no review of its impact on those with senior water rights. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)
Sen. Doug Ericksen to hold town hall meeting at Meridian High School Saturday morning
State Sen. Doug Ericksen will host a town hall meeting on Saturday, his office said. The Ferndale Republican will hold the meeting in the auditorium at Meridian High School, 194 W. Laurel Road, north of Bellingham, from 10 a.m. to noon. Ericksen’s 42nd District encompasses the cities of Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack and Sumas, and extends south into parts of downtown Bellingham…. In February, a group of 42nd District voters began a recall effort against Ericksen, saying he is unable to do his job as a state senator alongside his temporary position on President Donald Trump’s transition team in Washington, D.C. A court hearing for the potential recall is set for Thursday before Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis. Kyle Mittan reports. (Bellingham Herald)
Oregon clean air, beach monitoring programs targeted in Trump's sweeping EPA cuts
Federal programs that have been responsible for removing cancer-causing diesel soot from Oregon's air and keeping swimmers out of polluted water would be eliminated under sweeping cuts to environmental programs proposed by the Trump Administration…. The Trump budget, the basic outlines of which were revealed Wednesday, would cut the EPA's 15,000-person staff by 3,000 people and reduce its $8 billion budget by $2 billion. No state on the West Coast would escape the effects. The plan is not yet final, and the EPA's new administrator, Scott Pruitt, has cautioned that he will make changes. But it offers the first glimpse into President Trump's vision for an agency he has attacked as a job-killer. Rob Davis reports. (Oregonian)
Ancient glass sponges damaged by prawn traps in Howe Sound despite ban
Fisheries officials are investigating after a recreational prawn trap was seized in Howe Sound on Saturday, with a large piece of glass sponge attached. The delicate glass sponge reefs at the bottom of Howe Sound are thousands of years old, and can take hundreds of years to grow back when damaged, said Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Bottom-contact fisheries, such as prawn and crab traps, are banned near nine glass sponge reefs in the Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound, and an investigation is underway into the prawn trap, said fishery officer Eric Jean. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)
Oil spills every day in Washington. This time in Duwamish River
Washington's Department of Ecology has a robust response plan for oil spills. They have to, because there's an oil spill of some kind every day in Washington…. Diesel oil spilled [Tuesday morning] directly into the Duwamish, close to where the river flows under the West Seattle bridge. Officials say a tug boat ran into a barge, piercing the fuel tank in the barge and letting fuel leak out. Up to 1,200 gallons of diesel may have spilled into the west waterway, according to the Department of Ecology. Paige Browning reports. (KUOW)
Ecology solicits comments on net pen guidelines
When the state Department of Ecology kicked off the new year by soliciting early input on a net pen management project, it reawakened concerns among fish conservationists. Project coordinator Cedar Bouta sent out an email Jan. 4 inviting public input. The email explained that the departments of Ecology, Agriculture and Fish & Wildlife are replacing the state’s 30-year-old management recommendations for commercial marine finfish aquaculture, or net pens, in collaboration with the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science…. According to Bouta, the project’s goal is to update the state’s guidance for the industry and coastal managers – including state and local government regulators – and provide them with the most current scientific data and methods…. Comments due by March 4. Kirk Boxleitner reports. (Port Townsend Leader)
State sells oldest ferry
Washington State Ferries announced Wednesday the sale of its oldest ferry, Evergreen State. The 63-year-old vessel sold for $300,000 to Jones Broadcasting LLC. The new owners plan to use it for ferry service in the protected waters of the southern Caribbean. (Kitsap Sun)
Northwest Bats' Deadly Syndrome Has Scientists Scrambling For Answers
A tiny brown bat wriggles about John Huckabee’s gloved hands, voicing its displeasure with a high-pitched series of screeches and squawks. The wildlife biologist expertly grasps one of the bat’s wings and unfolds it. Bending close, he searches for telltale signs of infection…. This silver-haired bat is one of the lucky ones. But not long ago hikers discovered a sick bat in the forests east of Seattle. It was taken to PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood, Washington, where Huckabee was one of the first to see the patient…. Huckabee became suspicious. Could these be signs of the deadly bat disease, white-nose syndrome? Michael Werner reports. (OPB/EarthFix)
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST THU MAR 2 2017
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY S WIND 10 TO 20 KT RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT S WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING SW 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. RAIN.
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