Monday, April 3, 2017

4/3 EPA, Chinook, sea lice, clean streams, oil spill rule, Hood Canal, quake fault, Ranger Rick, critter kills, coal tribes

Spiny dogfish
Spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias
Our most common local shark, most often seen near the surface at dawn or dusk or when herring are gathered before spawning. Dogfish have two dorsal fins and no anal fin and can grow to five feet in length. Although it is not considered dangerous, its teeth and spine are sharp and dogfish should be handled with caution if hooked. It feeds on small crustaceans, sand lance and other small fishes. (Marine Life of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia.)

EPA: Emergency cleanup of abandoned biofuels plant near Ferndale could cost $1 million
The Environmental Protection Agency is leading an emergency cleanup of an abandoned biofuels processing plant northwest of Ferndale after regulators found hazardous substances leaking from containers. TreOil Industries Biorefinery, 4242 Aldergrove Road, has been a concern for regulators since the 1980s. It has been on the state Department of Ecology’s list of hazardous sites in Whatcom County since 2001 and attempts to get business and property owner Jagroop S. Gill, of Delta, B.C., to clean up the site, including a concerted effort since 2015, have been unsuccessful, officials said. The emergency cleanup could cost $1 million. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

'Job-killing regulations' mantra and reality 
Regulations don’t kill jobs as much as shift them around. That doesn’t mean rules can’t cause pain locally. But an ill-advised rollback of regulations likely wouldn’t create many jobs, though it would increase dangers to health and the planet. Jon Talton writes. (Seattle Times)

New EPA documents reveal even deeper proposed cuts to staff and programs
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a new, more detailed plan for laying off 25 percent of its employees and scrapping 56 programs including pesticide safety, water runoff control, and environmental cooperation with Mexico and Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement…. The spending plan, obtained by The Washington Post, offers the most detailed vision to date of how the 31 percent budget cut to the EPA ordered up by President Trump’s Office of Management and Budget would diminish the agency. The March 21 plan calls for even deeper reductions in staffing than earlier drafts. It maintains funding given to states to administer waste treatment and drinking water. But as a result, the budget for the rest of EPA is slashed 43 percent. Juliet Ellperin, Chris Mooney and Steve Mufson report. (Washington Post)

Finding a strategy to accelerate Chinook recovery
As threatened Chinook populations in Puget Sound continue to lose ground, the state is looking to new strategies to reverse the trend. In the Skagit watershed, the scientists — and the fish — are among those leading the way.  Bob Friel reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

New research suggests local perch species could control sea lice
Two local species of Pacific perch are showing aptitude as “cleaner fish” for salmon aquaculture, which could reduce the need for chemical treatments of sea lice on ocean-based fish farms. Preliminary trials in 2016 showed that both kelp perch and pile perch clean lice from infested salmon. But a recent series of trials by Shannon Balfry — research associate at the B.C. Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences — have produced spectacular results. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Shellfish beds opened, stream advisories lifted as water quality improves
Kitsap Public Health District has lifted health advisories for three streams in the county after water samples showed reduced levels of bacteria. The state Department of Health also approved 57 acres of shellfish beds near Indianola for commercial harvest in a report published this week, a sign of improving environmental health in the area. A water quality report released by the health district in March showed pollution problems persist in some waterways. But Senior Environmental Health Specialist Shawn Ultican said the overall trend in the county is positive. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Oil Transport Safety Bill Clears Key Washington State House Committee
A House bill aimed at increasing the safety around oil transportation on land and water has cleared a key committee. The House Finance Committee on amended and passed House Bill 1611. It awaits a vote by the full House. The version that passed Thursday would raise the tax that is collected on crude oil received by vessel or trains by 2.5 cents a barrel, from 4 cents to 6.5 cents. (Associated Press)

Hood Canal nominated as Sentinel Landscape with ties to military
Hood Canal and its surrounding watershed have been nominated as a Sentinel Landscape, an exclusive designation that recognizes both the natural resource values and the national defense mission of special areas across the country. If the designation is approved, it will bolster applications for federal funding to protect and restore important habitats and to maintain working forests in and around Hood Canal. Given the uncertain budget for environmental programs under the Trump administration, it wouldn’t hurt to have the Department of Defense supporting the protection of Hood Canal. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Active fault line identified beneath Greater Victoria
A fault line running a few kilometres from downtown Victoria could be active, new research has found. The Leech River crustal fault, which runs from Sombrio Beach through Royal Roads University and offshore of downtown Victoria, was long believed to have been inactive for millions of years. But it has caused at least two major earthquakes in the past 12,000 years, lead researcher Kristin Morell said. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Ranger Rick celebrates 45 years with state parks
Millions of people call Deception Pass State Park home, albeit for a day, maybe two, or perhaps a week. For assistant park manager Rick Blank, the rocky coastline, swirling salty waters, old-growth forest and iconic bridge have constituted his home for 27 years. Blank has been an employee of Washington State Parks for 45 years and is the longest-tenured ranger in the field — he arrived at Deception Pass in 1990. Vince Richardson reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

More than 300 B.C. grizzly bears killed by hunters yearly: David Suzuki data
Nearly 14,000 grizzly bears have been killed in B.C. since the government started tracking mortality records for the species in 1975, the vast majority by hunters, according to provincial data compiled by the David Suzuki Foundation. Of those bears – an estimated 329 each year – 87 per cent have been killed by licensed hunters, with other kills attributed to causes including the shooting of problem bears by conservation officers, illegal poaching and collisions with cars and trains. A total of 13,804 grizzly bears have been killed by humans from 1975 to 2016, the group says. Wendy Steuck reports. (Globe and Mail) See also: Japan's Annual Antarctic Expedition Returns With 333 Whale Carcasses  Colin Dwyer reports. (NPR)

Tribes that live off coal hold tight to Trump's promises 
Some of the largest tribes in the United States derive their budgets from the fossil fuels that President Donald Trump has pledged to promote, including the Navajo in the Southwest and the Osage in Oklahoma. Julie Turkewitz reports. (NY Times)

Tiny fish with a funny name could help with opioid crisis
A tiny fish with a funny name may help solve one of our biggest problems — the opioid crisis. Opiods like morphine are addictive, have side effects and aren't that effective. Newer synthetic ones, like oxycodone and fentanyl, have the same issues and don't solve chronic pain. The unpredictability of both have cost thousands of lives. The fang blenny, a fish found in the Great Barrier Reef, has potent venom that acts the same way as opioid drugs for killing pain. It could represent a new way to look at our most effective — and problematic — pain drugs. Torah Kachur reports. (CBC) See also: A Tiny Fish With Fearsome Fangs Uses An Opioid-Like Venom To Escape Enemie Madeline Sofia reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  302 AM PDT MON APR 3 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS
 AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 S WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING E IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 10 FT AT 15 SECONDS SUBSIDING TO 8 FT AT  14 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 NW WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

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