Tuesday, April 11, 2017

4/11 Puget Sound, Chesapeake Bay, carbon tax, 'Witness Tree,' Great Barrier Reef, Northern Gateway, Skykomish R

Douglas squirrel [WikiMedia]
Tree Squirrels
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife: The Douglas squirrel  (Tamiasciurus douglasii) is found in stands of fir, pine, cedar, and other conifers in the Cascade Mountains and western parts of Washington. The Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) was introduced in Washington in the early 1900s and has been repeatedly released in parks, campuses, estates, and residential areas becoming the most common tree squirrels in urban areas. The increasing number of introduced Eastern gray squirrels is often said to be responsible for the decrease in Douglas squirrels in certain areas. However, given that these squirrels have different food and shelter preferences, it’s likely that increasing housing and other development, and loss of coniferous forests is responsible for any decline in Douglas squirrel populations. (WDFW)

Restoration of Estuaries and Waterways in Crosshairs of Proposed Federal Budget Cuts to the EPA: A look at what's in store for Seattle's Puget Sound
Deep cuts to the EPA and restoration programs in Trump's proposed federal budget have those tasked with maintaining water quality and protecting endangered species worried. Puget Sound near Seattle is no exception. The Sound is one of 28 estuaries of national significance designated by the National Estuary Program. In this feature we take a boat tour of the city's nearshore waters with the Puget Soundkeeper, a member of the nationwide “waterkeeper alliance”. Martha Baskin reports. (PRX/Green Acre Radio)

If you like to watch: In Chesapeake Bay Cleanup, a Larger Ecosystem at Stake
Julie Wall, Logan Jaffe and Guglielmo Mattioli report. (NY Times)

Will Washington State be first in taxing greenhouse gases?
Could 2017 be the year Washington emerges as the first state to tax emissions of a greenhouse gas? Barring some unusual turn of events as legislators finalize the state budget here, don’t count on it. But that assessment comes with an asterisk. There are signs that business opposition to the idea is softening. Meanwhile, environmentalists and their allies have made it clear that if the Legislature doesn’t act this spring, they’ll bring the issue to voters next year. Could that possibility — a tax on carbon dioxide, a tax that businesses and their legislative backers had no say in shaping — bring them to the bargaining table as the end of the regular 2017 session nears? Adiel Kaplan reports. (Investigate West)

In 'Witness Tree,' Seattle Times Writer Lynda Mapes Explores Climate Change Through Lens Of 1 Oak
Climate change is one of those issues that tends to turn people off. It’s not much fun to think about the consequences of the carbon pollution and the subsequent warming of the atmosphere. But Seattle Times Writer Lynda V. Mapes spent the better part of two years studying how it affected one tree while she was on a science fellowship in upstate New York. Her book about that experience is called "Witness Tree: Seasons Of Change With A Century-Old Oak." Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Great Barrier Reef: Two-thirds damaged in 'unprecedented' bleaching
Unprecedented coral bleaching in consecutive years has damaged two-thirds of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, aerial surveys have shown. The bleaching - or loss of algae - affects a 1,500km (900 miles) stretch of the reef, according to scientists. The latest damage is concentrated in the middle section, whereas last year's bleaching hit mainly the north. Experts fear the proximity of the two events will give damaged coral little chance to recover. (BBC)

‘We are very disappointed’: Loss of Northern Gateway devastating for many First Nations, chiefs say
Most aboriginal communities in northern British Columbia impacted by the Northern Gateway pipeline supported the $7.9 billion project and are angry Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected it, say representatives of three of the bands. Elmer Ghostkeeper of the Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement, Chief Elmer Derrick of the Gitxsan Nation, and Dale Swampy of the Samson Cree Nation said on the sidelines of a private meeting in Calgary on Friday with oilpatch leaders they are disappointed in the “political decision,” which they say was made without their input. They are now looking for ways to generate new energy development. Ghostkeeper said more than 30 of the 42 bands on the Alberta-to-West Coast pipeline’s right-of-way were looking forward to sharing in the construction and long-term benefits. Claudia Cattaneo reports. (Financial Post)

Washington river among the nation’s ‘most endangered’
It’s back. Actually, it never left. The Snohomish Public Utility District still has a plan to divert part of the South Fork Skykomish River above Canyon Falls, near Index, run it through turbines to generate 30 megawatts of power, and then return it to the river bed below Sunset Falls. Five years ago, the Sunset Falls proposal landed the South Fork Skykomish on American Rivers’ annual list of the nation’s most endangered rivers. The PUD’s preliminary permit extension has expired but the utility may file a construction permit application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The river protection group just returned the South Fork Skykomish to its list, at number three. Dan Chasan reports. (Crosscut)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  329 AM PDT TUE APR 11 2017  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE EVENING THEN A  CHANCE OF RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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