Monday, March 6, 2017

3/6 Bluebirds, EPA, golf water, Ericksen, oil spill, Clear Cr., coal dust, Wild Oly, Elwha, bad water, forest friends

Western bluebird [Rick & Nora Bowers/Audubon]
What's up with bluebirds on San Juan Island?
Monika Wieland in Orca Watcher writes: "Last night [3/2] the San Juan Preservation Trust held a fireside chat about their western bluebird reintroduction project, which is entering its 11th year. Some people may wonder why this project is still going on and what it's future may hold. We learned answers to a lot of questions last night, and in case you weren't able to make it, I thought I would post a summary…."

New blog: Would You Shake Hands With A Groper?
Would you shake hands with a someone who groped women? Someone who disrespects judges and a free press? Someone who lies and bullies the vulnerable? I’ve been thinking about this civil act of shaking hands for the past month of the Trump presidency…. (Salish Sea Communications)

Puget Sound would be hurt by proposed EPA cuts
The Environmental Protection Agency’s funding for restoring Puget Sound would be almost wiped out under President Donald Trump’s proposed agency budget, according to a leaked memorandum documenting the cuts obtained by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. An EPA spokesman in Seattle on Friday declined to comment on the proposed budget cuts. Under the proposal the EPA funding would be slashed by 93 percent, dropping from nearly $28 million in the current fiscal year to $2 million. The money, in years past, has been used to help finance a wide range of projects to help restore the Sound, such as purchasing farmland to convert to wetlands, restoring floodplains and removing fish passage blockage. Hal Bernton and Jim Brunner reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Environmental programs face deep cuts under budget proposal   John Flesher, Matthew Daly and Catherine Lucey report. (Associated Press)

Critics say Trump water rule helps his golf links 
President Donald Trump’s recent executive order calling for a review of a rule protecting small bodies of water from pollution and development is strongly supported by golf course owners who are wary of being forced into expensive cleanups on their fairways. It just so happens that Trump’s business holdings include a dozen golf courses in the United States, and critics say his executive order is par for the course: yet another unseemly conflict of interest that would result in a benefit to Trump properties if it goes through. Jason Dearen reports. (Associated Press)

Hundreds turn out for Ericksen town hall to talk D.C. gig, Whatcom County jobs, more
Attendees packed state Sen. Doug Ericksen’s town hall Saturday, pressing the Ferndale Republican on issues including his temporary job in Washington D.C., Whatcom County job-growth and funding for social services. The town hall, in Meridian High School’s auditorium, attracted a crowd of hundreds that included both supporters of the senator and his critics. The seats filled well before the 10 a.m. event began, and staff removed a temporary wall to accommodate more standing room. Other attendees were turned away at the door after the room reached capacity. Kyle Mittan reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: Hometown crowd peppers Ericksen with EPA, environment questions  John Stang reports. (Crosscut) And also: Mr. Ericksen Goes to (the Other) Washington  Michael Riordan writes. (Whatcom Watch)

Emergency crews responding to diesel spill near northern Vancouver Island
Emergency crews are responding to a diesel spill at a fish farm near the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Officials say at least 1,500 litres of diesel overflowed from the Burdwood Fish Farm in Echo Bay, B.C., northeast of Port McNeill. Farm crews reported the smell of diesel to Emergency Management B.C. just before 5 a.m. PT, according to an official report. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says the spill was caused by a diesel pump that was left on overnight. Rhianna Schmunk reports. (CBC)

Kitsap's Clear Creek Revival
The new Clear Creek is acting a lot like the old. And that’s a good thing. A 10-month project to restore the Silverdale creek’s natural functions is finishing up this month, but it’s already been tested by heavy winter rains. Rather than flood and knock out trail sections, spill onto roads and threaten businesses as it has in the past, the creek simply stretched out a bit, moving into a floodplain that had been absent since Silverdale underwent heavy development. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

BNSF, watchdogs settle coal dust lawsuit
BNSF Railway and seven environmental groups have settled a lawsuit saying that coal spilled from trains pollutes waterways in Washington state. BNSF admits no wrongdoing in the settlement finalized Friday. The plaintiffs had argued that coal spilled from open-topped train cars is polluting the Columbia River and other waterways in the Pacific Northwest. BNSF will pay $1 million for environmental projects in Washington state to clean up areas in Bellingham, Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Spokane River. It will also conduct a study of the use of physical covers for coal and petroleum coke trains. (Associated Press)

Sen. Murray, Rep. Kilmer renew commitment to Wild Olympics legislation
Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Derek Kilmer last week re-introduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to “protect environmentally sensitive parts of the Olympic Peninsula, support outdoor recreation opportunities, and preserve and grow jobs on the Olympic Peninsula,” according to a statement by Murray’s office…. The Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act would designate 126,554 acres of existing federal land as wilderness in the Olympic National Forest and designate 464 river miles across 19 rivers and major tributaries on the Olympic Peninsula as Wild and Scenic Rivers. (Olympian)

Wild river creates hurdles for visitors, but freed Elwha now a better home for fish
Olympic National Park is in a fight with the Elwha River in its goal to maintain visitor access to the Elwha River valley. At the same time, officials are seeing the Elwha River provide a more hospitable welcome for fish. Jesse Major report. (Peninsula Daily News)

Unpacking Government: What Good Are Environmental Impact Statements?
Environmental impact statements are often in the news. They’re lengthy public documents that government agencies have to issue before taking actions that might cause harm to ecosystems or public health.  Most often, they’re required before permitting of major infrastructure, such as sports stadiums or export terminals. But projects can also be exempted or, as in the recent standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline, the process can be skipped over. So where do they come from and what good are they? Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Whidbey Island drinking-water wells polluted with firefighting chemicals near Navy airstrips 
A potentially hazardous chemical, found in firefighting foam, has been discovered in a few wells on Whidbey Island. While the Navy distributes bottled water and plans for expanded testing, homeowners worry about longlasting harm. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Group instrumental in protecting Anacortes forests celebrates 30 years
The Anacortes Community Forest Lands are a treasured playground for hikers and mountain bikers, a haven for naturalists and a tool for educators. This year a group instrumental in preserving these lands is reflecting on its 30 years of existence. “One of the things Friends of the Forest really did was galvanize and educate the public about the 20-acre logging cuts that were being done and the need to come up with another funding source to manage the forest,” Education and Outreach Director Denise Crowe said of the nonprofit’s early days. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  245 AM PST MON MAR 6 2017  

TODAY
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 8 FT  AT 10 SECONDS SUBSIDING TO 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.  SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING S AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS. SHOWERS IN THE  EVENING THEN SHOWERS LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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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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