Monday, April 10, 2017

4/10 Urban streams, Van Is trail, gophers, Wolf Hollow, landslides, TransMtn, Exxon Valdez, happiness

[PHOTO: Mike Mercer/BirdNote]
Seabirds Drink Salt Water
How can they stand it? Seabirds have no problem drinking sea water. The salt they take in is absorbed and moves through their blood stream into a pair of salt glands above their eyes. The densely salty fluid is excreted from the nostrils and runs down grooves in the bill. As the drop gets larger, the bird shakes its head to send the salt back to the ocean. A seabird's skull has a pair of grooves for the salt glands right over the eyes. (Support BirdNote)

Urban streams: salmon in the city face development onslaught
Byrne Creek appears from nowhere. It has no glacial snowpack or lake from which to draw its waters. They just percolate through the ground and flow through storm pipes in south Burnaby until they form a short-lived stream that barely supports spawning salmon. That the creek exists at all surrounded by residential neighbourhoods and the industrial hubbub of south Burnaby, near the intersection of Marine Way and Southridge Drive, seems miraculous. Its beauty is no less unexpected, a 3.2-kilometre pedestrian pathway winding alongside and above the creek through a ravine thickly adorned with sword ferns and western red cedars. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. to complete purchases of land along Vancouver Island trail
The last parcels of private land along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail will be bought by the provincial government and preserved for public use and treaty settlements…. The trail is a rugged 47-kilometre seaside hiking route that starts west of Sooke and finishes near Port Renfrew. It takes four to five days to complete. The government said Thursday it intends to purchase 83 hectares along the trail from Marine Trail Holdings, but will not disclose the price until the deal is final. The province purchased another 99 hectares in December 2015 for $1.8 million. The parcels of land are between China Beach and Sombrio Beach. Sarah Petrescu reports. (Times Colonist)

Decisions ahead in Thuston County’s pocket gopher dilemma
Thurston County officials likely will make a couple of decisions regarding pocket gophers in coming weeks — one that would affect inspections and permitting for the coming season, and another that would shape policy for the next 30 years. The Board of Thurston County Commissioners met twice Thursday to discuss the impending decisions. In the morning, they discussed a draft habitat conservation plan that has been in the works for months, and in the afternoon they discussed 2017’s interim permitting strategy. The long-term conservation plan wouldn’t just protect the Mazama pocket gopher, which was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2014. It would conserve the habitat of 12 different species. Thurston County staff projects that 17,000 acres of habitat will be affected over the next 30 years, and that about 7,500 acres of that habitat will need to be mitigated. A draft habitat conservation plan estimates the county will need to pay $5.1 million a year for 30 years for mitigation. Amelia Dickson reports. (Olympian)

Wolf Hollow to accept stranded seal pups this year
Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island is reviving its seal pup program. Last summer, due to funding shortfalls, the nonprofit center was unable to take in seal pups in need for the first time in 32 years. Thanks to private donations, the program will resume this summer. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

New brochure alerts landowners to landslide hazards and what to do
Geology experts in Washington and Oregon have produced an easy-to-read brochure that can help people understand landslide risks, the underlying geology of slides and precautions that could avoid a disaster…. “A Homeowners Guide to Landslides for Washington and Oregon” … was produced by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

The Northwest may get its own Keystone XL, But it’s XXL 
You’ve heard of Keystone XL, the controversial pipeline rejected by the Obama administration but approved last month by President Trump. And you know all about Dakota Access. That’s the oil pipeline that became a rallying point for Native American rights and environmental activism. It’s expected to be up and running later this month. But have you heard of TransMountain, which could soon be the biggest pipeline of them all? There’s actually been a TransMountain Pipeline for decades, running from Canada’s interior to the Pacific coast. Kinder Morgan, the Houston-based energy infrastructure company that owns the pipeline, has plans to make it bigger. Much bigger. But environmentalists and British Columbia’s First Nations Indian tribes have launched lawsuits and promised North Dakota-style protests.  EilĂ­s O'Neill, Ken Christensen and John Rosman report. (EarthFix)

Kinder Morgan pipeline agreement includes investment deadline and hiring priorities
A deal reached between British Columbia and Trans Mountain reveals new details about Kinder Morgan’s timeline to approve investments for a proposed oil pipeline expansion and requirements to hire local workers. The agreement, signed April 6, says the Kinder Morgan board of directors must reach a final investment decision by June 30 with news communicated by July 2 for the project to go ahead. The project would twin an existing pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C., tripling its capacity and increasing tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet seven-fold. The company said last month the expansion would cost an estimated $7.4 billion, an increase from previous estimates in order to meet conditions imposed by the National Energy Board. (Canadian Press)

The role a melting glacier played in Exxon’s biggest disaster
In the wee hours of March 24, 1989, the channel connecting the Alaskan port of Valdez with Prince William Sound was riddled with icebergs shed from the deteriorating Columbia Glacier, a massive river of ice that had begun breaking apart only a few years earlier. With an inexperienced third mate guiding the massive, oil-laden tanker, the Exxon Valdez swerved out of its designated shipping lane to avoid the ice. It was a standard maneuver carried out hundreds of times before. But this time, on this night, before the third mate could correct course, the tanker careened into the rocky outcropping of Bligh Reef where it ultimately released roughly 11 million gallons of crude oil into the waters of Prince William Sound. Dino Grandoni, Asaf Shalev, Michael Phillis and Susanne Rust report. (LA Times)

Study links Puget Sound residents’ happiness to their interactions with nature
A new study of Puget Sound-area residents has found that engagement with nature can be linked to overall happiness — for middle-class people, anyway. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, found that along with the long-known roles that health, economic status and social relationships play in life satisfaction, Pacific Northwesterners’ interactions with the natural environment have a direct, if more subtle, relationship to their reported happiness…. The study, which drew on 4,418 responses to an online survey, was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency through a grant to the Puget Sound Institute at the University of Washington Tacoma… Derrick Nunnally reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  250 AM PDT MON APR 10 2017  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT THIS AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS. SHOWERS  LIKELY. A CHANCE OF TSTMS THIS AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  10 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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