Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5/31 NDP-Green gov't, BC pipe, WA carbon, salmon smell, boat poop, safe seafood, oil spill data

Cabezon [Photo: Steve Lonhart, SIMoN/MBNMS]
Cabezon Scorpaenichtys marmoratus
One of the largest scuplins, ranging from Southeastern Alaska to Baja California, the cabezon can grow to over 30 inches and 15 pounds and is often encountered by divers in rocky areas near wrecks and in kelp beds. Adult spawns during winter; red eggs laid in large masses on rocks or seaweed, intertidal to subtidal. Juvenile (found near shore) is often splotched shades of pink and red; blends with pink encrusted algae. Feeds on isopods, crustaceans, fishes and mollusks. Hunted by scuba divers and anglers. Eggs are toxic. (Marine Life of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

NDP-Green alliance to focus on electoral reform, stopping Kinder Morgan and banning big money
British Columbia's NDP and Green parties have signed a detailed agreement outlining how they will work together in government for the next four years. The 10-page accord outlines dozens of policy issues that two sides will work on. Both parties have pledged to work to stop the federally approved $7.4-billion Kinder Morgan pipeline project that would triple the amount of bitumen moved from just north of Edmonton to B.C.'s coast…. The pact will only come into effect if Premier Christy Clark resigns, or if the Liberals are defeated in a confidence motion in the legislature. Richard Zussman and Karin Larsen report. (CBC)

Beginning of the end: a chastened Clark acknowledges her premiership is likely coming to a close 
Changes of government in Canada are often quick, dramatic affairs: Years of rule crashing down in a few hours, a contrite loser accepting democracy at one rally, an exuberant victor heralding the dawn of a new political era at another. This is not that. But 22 days after the votes were cast in British Columbia's seemingly never-ending provincial election, a turning point was reached. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC) And: Trudeau stands by decision on Trans Mountain pipeline despite B.C. result  (CBC)

Despite Trump rollbacks, Washington state moves ahead on pollution limits
Even as the Trump administration seeks to roll back Obama-era rules to curb greenhouse-gas emissions at coal-fired power plants, Washington state is forging ahead with its own rules to cap carbon pollution from big industrial facilities. But the state faces legal challenges as it begins requiring large polluters to gradually reduce carbon emissions over time to combat climate change. Four natural-gas utilities and eight industry groups are seeking to invalidate Washington’s so-called clean-air rule, which took effect in January and affects such facilities as power plants, fuel and natural-gas distributors, oil refineries and manufacturers. A Thurston County Superior Court judge is set to hear arguments Friday on one aspect of the case. Arguments on the merits of the challenge are expected later. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Salmon's sense of smell suffers as seas sour, Seattle scientists say
…. Salmon are starting to lose their sense of smell and their fear of predators, according to research from federal and university scientists in Seattle. Their preliminary work, presented in May at a symposium on ocean acidification at the University of Washington, documents yet another way carbon dioxide emissions are messing with the world's oceans. UW post-doc Chase Williams said changing ocean chemistry is making it harder for salmon to smell danger. Salmon use smell to navigate, to hunt and to avoid predators. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

President's EPA counsel calls meeting over boat discharge in Puget Sound
The Washington Department of Ecology is near the end of an effort to ban boats from discharging raw and partially treated sewage into Puget Sound. Except, the waters may soon muddy. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's senior counsel called a meeting with Ecology Director Maia Bellon Wednesday morning…. The Regional EPA director has already approved the designation of a "No Discharge Zone." The process is still awaiting a public comment period, and boats will get five years to comply…. President Donald Trump's EPA counsel is reacting to a petition from Washington maritime stakeholders. They're critical of the NDZ designation, arguing it will be too costly for maritime business and doesn't do much to stop pollution. It will require some boats spend $175,000 in upgrades for storage tanks. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Most Of The Imported Seafood We Eat Isn't Inspected 
Hawaii experienced a hepatitis outbreak last year due to tainted scallops and may be on the verge of another due to bad ahi….. The fact that tainted scallops and ahi made it into Hawaii’s food supply is hardly a surprise: The FDA lets in the vast majority of imported seafood without so much as a cursory inspection. Saddled with budget constraints, the FDA typically inspects less than 3 percent of the more than 5 billion pounds of imported seafood each year — and tests even less for pathogens like E. coli, hepatitis A and salmonella. Rui Kaneya reports. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Now Available: Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Data Summary
The Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force has just completed our Summary of West Coast Oil Spill Data for 2016. The Task Force began collecting data in 2002 on oil spills of 42 gallons or larger in AK, HI, WA, OR and CA. We have been compiling details on the volume, location, medium impacted and cause of crude and non-crude spills annually ever since. The data is compiled using the Task Force’s Data Dictionary, also available on our website.  In 2016, we began tracking the number of small spills (smaller than 42 gallons) and our first year of this data is provided on pg. 6 of the summary. View and download from the Oil Spill Task Force site. Sarah Brace reports. (Oil Spill Task Force)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT WED MAY 31 2017  

TODAY
 E WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING N IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1  FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 4 FT AT 15 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE  AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 NE WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING E AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1  FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 5 FT AT 14 SECONDS. SHOWERS LIKELY.

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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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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

5/30 Green-NDP coalition, BC pipe, Sound salmon, Lk Washington cleanup, dead minke, Hanford Reach

Northern lights over Victoria (Nic Annau/Times Colonist)
Stargazers catch rare glimpse of northern lights over Victoria
A few lucky astronomy enthusiasts caught a rare glimpse of the northern lights over Victoria on Saturday night. Nic Annau, an astrophysics student at the University of Victoria, took this photo of the northern lights at Phyllis Park near Cadboro Bay on Saturday night. Sarah Petrescu reports. (Times Colonist)

B.C. Green Party agrees to support NDP in the legislature 
The B.C. Green Party has agreed to support the NDP in the legislature, setting up the possibility of 16 years of Liberal rule coming to a dramatic end. NDP Leader John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver made the joint announcement Monday afternoon at the B.C. Legislature, saying they had reached a four-year agreement…. The deal gives the NDP the support of 44 MLAs — their 41 members plus the three Green MLAs — the minimum number required to have a majority of support in the 87-seat legislature. The Liberals have 43 seats. justin McElroy reports. (CBC) See also: Pipeline politics key to Weaver weaving historic deal with NDP  Vaughn Palmer reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Hundreds rally in Burnaby to oppose Trans Mountain pipeline expansion 
Hundreds of people gathered outside of Kinder Morgan's Westridge Terminal in Burnaby at the conclusion of a 75-kilometre protest march Sunday. Those who participated in the Walk for the Salish Sea, from Victoria to the Vancouver area, are opposed to twinning the company's pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC) See also: Anti-pipeline activists chain themselves to fence outside Kinder Morgan facility  Tereza Verenca reports. (Burnaby Now)

'A bold statement': Trans Mountain pipeline pushes forward despite B.C.'s uncertain political future
B.C 's uncertain political future isn't slowing down Kinder Morgan's efforts to push forward the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion — but experts say the project will still have to navigate a political minefield. On Thursday, Kinder Morgan announced construction on the project will begin in the fall, as long as it secures the necessary funding through its initial public offering. The company is currently aiming to raise $1.75 billion, offering 102.9 million shares for $17 each. Michelle Ghoussoub reports. (CBC) See also: Trans Mountain IPO to proceed despite B.C. Green-NDP deal  (Canadian Press)

‘Bold actions’ to save Puget Sound salmon gain qualified support http://www.pugetsoundinstitute.org/2017/05/bold-actions-to-save-puget-sound-salmon-gain-qualified-support/
Native American tribes in the Puget Sound region are calling for “bold actions” to reverse the decline of Puget Sound Chinook salmon, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Such actions would include:
— Protecting all remaining salmon habitat in and around Puget Sound with more consistent and enforceable land-use regulations;
— Preventing water uses that would limit salmon recovery;
— Improving management of predators, including the seals and sea lions that eat Chinook; and
— Increasing dramatically the current spending on salmon recovery — some 50- to 100-fold — with perhaps additional new funding sources to be added.
The ideas were presented to the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council on Thursday by tribal representative Dave Herrera, speaking for the Puget Sound Tribal Management Conference. “The way we are managing lands is not working,” Herrera said. “It may be working for people, but it is not working for fish.” Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

How Lake Washington got cleaned up at the expense of area tribes
If you find yourself at Lake Washington this summer, breathe deeply. Matthew Klingle, author of "Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle," says you wouldn't have wanted to do that 60 years ago, when the lake was chronically polluted with sewage. He told Ann Dornfeld from KUOW's Race and Equity Team how Lake Washington got cleaned up — at the expense of a river sacred to local tribes. Ann Dornfeld reports. (KUOW)

Dead minke whale washes ashore at Long Beach Peninsula
In a relatively rare sighting, a dead minke whale, with its diaphragm pushed outside of its mouth, washed ashore Sunday on Long Beach Peninsula, Pacific County, about a quarter mile north of Klipsan Beach Approach. Janet Tu reports. (Seattle Times)

Trump threatens Hanford Reach; locals are unenthused
When President Bill Clinton created the Hanford Reach National Monument in Eastern Washington in 2000, some local officials objected. They wanted at least some local control of the 194,000-acre swath of quasi desert. Now, President Donald Trump is talking about abolishing more than two dozen national monuments, including Hanford Reach. But the suggestion has evoked little apparent excitement and some concern about the protection of the state’s most pristine quasi-desert land. John Stang reports. (Crosscut)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT TUE MAY 30 2017  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 3 FT  AT 17 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING THEN A CHANCE OF  TSTMS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 1 TO 3 FT SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 3 FT AT 16  SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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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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Friday, May 26, 2017

5/26 Walk 4 Salish Sea, Swinomish constitution, Grays Harbor whale

Pacific chorus frog [PHOTO: Mark Leppin]
Pacific Chorus Frog, Pseudacris regilla
Washington designated the Pacific chorus frog as the official state amphibian in 2007 (proposed by a third grade class at Boston Harbor Grade School in North Olympia, Washington). The Pacific chorus frog is a native amphibian found in every county of Washington state. The Pacific chorus frog (also called Pacific tree frog) can be brown, tan, grey or green, and produce their charming sound by puffing up their throat sacs to three times the size of their heads. They are beneficial by eating insects, including mosquitoes. (State Symbols USA)

Trans-Mountain pipeline foes to walk to Burnaby from Victoria
Opponents of the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion project will march from Victoria to Burnaby, beginning [Thursday]. Walk 4 the Salish Sea is a four-day, 75-kilometre walk from Mile Zero in Victoria to the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby. Organizer Bobby Arbess said participants want to show their support for the ecological values of the Salish Sea and solidarity with First Nations who have launched a legal challenge against the project. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Swinomish approve changes to constitution
Members of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community have approved amendments to their constitution, including a section on jurisdiction that has proven controversial with some residents, businesses and governments. The tribe said 60 percent of its members took part in the vote, and each of the 29 amendments was approved with at least 80 percent of the vote. Brian Cladoosby, tribal chairman, said the vote will bring the constitution into the 21st century by removing paternalistic language that was mandated by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The bureau has recently advised tribes to remove that language. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Whale to rot on Grays Harbor beach, Washington State Parks decides
Sorry, guys, put away the dynamite. That’s not how we handle these sorts of things in Washington. Washington State Parks rangers will be leaving a dead gray whale to decay on the beach near Twin Harbors State Park after it washed ashore Tuesday. Instead of blowing it up, like the Oregonians fatefully tried back in the 1970s. Kenny Ocker reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  246 AM PDT FRI MAY 26 2017  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT AND SAT
 NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W  SWELL 4 OR 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT AND SUN
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS.  W SWELL 3 FT AT 10 OR 11 SECONDS.  SUN NIGHT  W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. NW SWELL 2  FT AT 10 SECONDS.
MON
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 3 FT.

--
"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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Thursday, May 25, 2017

5/25 BC election, Partnership, Iceberg Pt, sea vents, tug tow, sea lion, Ericksen, NW grid, Blaine Marina, Cherry Pt

Vine maple
Vine Maple, Acer circinatum
Acer circinatum
is a species of maple native to western North America, from southwest British Columbia to northern California, usually within 300 kilometres of the Pacific Ocean coast, found along the Columbia Gorge and Coastal Forest. (Wikipedia) The wood, though limited in size, is very dense and hard, and it is flexible when fresh. It was used for snowshoe frames, drum hoops, and a variety of small implements, spoons and dishes. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest)

B.C. Liberals fall short of majority following final vote count
The final count of the B.C. election has concluded, and the result remains just as uncertain as it was on election night, with the Liberals just short of a majority.  With all absentee ballots counted in Courtenay-Comox, NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard has won by 189 votes over B.C. Liberal candidate Jim Benninger. It means the final seat count is 43 for the Liberals, 41 for the NDP, and 3 for the Green Party. It also leaves the Liberals one seat short of 44 seats — and a majority in the legislature — leaving a variety of scenarios in play, including a possible NDP government with the support of the Green Party. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC) See also: Vaughn Palmer: A Green deal can give Clark or Horgan keys to power  (Vancouver Sun)

Puget Sound Partnership improves, but some changes still needed
Puget Sound Partnership, created by the Legislature to coordinate protection and restoration of Puget Sound, has improved its operations over the past four years, according to a state audit report, which also makes recommendations for further improvements. One area where the Partnership is not meeting its legal mandate is to identify partner organizations — including state agencies and county governments — that are not living up to their responsibilities under the Puget Sound Action Agenda, which guides the overall restoration effort. Likewise, the Partnership has not been calling out partners that have made outstanding progress in their efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound, according to the audit, which was approved last week by state legislators who make up the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee, or JLARC. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Some islanders don't dig federal plan to dig in San Juan Islands monument
The Trump administration has given an initial thumbs-up to a plan to dig holes throughout a meadow of rare wildflowers inside the San Juan Islands National Monument. It’s not part of any effort to eliminate the monument: It’s part of local tribes’ efforts to improve their diets and revive old traditions…. But just because land is in a national monument doesn’t mean it’s protected from harm…. Iceberg Point at the rocky, southern tip of Lopez Island, is one of the bigger parcels in the 1,000-acre San Juan Islands National Monument, designated in 2013 by President Obama. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management runs this southernmost outpost of the San Juan Islands. It has called Iceberg Point an “Area of Critical Environmental Concern” since 1990. This month, the agency said its proposal to dig 100 to 190, possibly more, holes in the meadows and forests at Iceberg Point and conduct a three-week field school there would have no significant impact. Archaeologist Patrick McCutcheon from Central Washington University and up to 25 students would do the digging in July during a three-week field school. The plan has some islanders crying foul. Johh Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Government moves to protect sea floor mountain and thermal vents off B.C.'s coast
The federal government is taking the first step in protecting an area that contains rare, chimney-like hydrothermal vents off British Columbia's coast. The Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans announced Wednesday the Marine Protected Area would cover an area twice the size of New Brunswick, or about 140,000 square kilometres, west of Vancouver Island to the edge of Canadian waters, 200 nautical miles off the coast. The vents, which were only discovered in 1982, release minerals from the Earth's crust and are home to a variety of unique sea life and plants that have adapted to the harsh conditions created by the warm or saline water. (Canadian Press)

Disabled tug towed into Port Angeles harbor
A disabled tug and its 320-foot barge is being towed into the Port Angeles Harbor [Wednesday night]. The Coast Guard coordinated assistance for the tug Mauna Loa which suffered engine failure and began to drift towards the Washington coast on Tuesday. The 113-foot Mauna Loa along with its 320-foot barge were met by the crew of tug vessel Lauren Foss of Neah Bay, which is towing the disabled vessel to Port Angeles…. The Lauren Foss is the current emergency rescue towing vessel (ERTV) based at Neah Bay. The ERTV is a state-mandated program funded by fees levied on vessels calling on Puget Sound. (Peninsula Daily News)

Lunging sea lion highlights need for stricter wildlife feeding rules: DFO
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says video of a sea lion dragging a young girl into the waters of Steveston, B.C. reinforces the need for changes to Canada's ill-defined rules around feeding wildlife. The video — which has been viewed online more than 20 million times — shows pieces of bread being thrown to the animal before it lunged at the child…. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has spearheaded efforts to end the practice in places like Victoria and Oak Bay, largely through education. (CBC)

Ericksen is out of the EPA. He says the work done there will benefit his constituents
State Sen. Doug Ericksen’s temporary job with the Environmental Protection Agency has ended and, at least for now, so has his employment with the federal government. In January, the Ferndale Republican accepted the appointment from President Donald Trump to serve as communications director for the EPA transition team. The 120-day post ended May 20…. “It was an honor to be selected by the president to serve on the EPA transition team. Working on this transition was a great experience. The people of the 42nd Legislative District and the people of Washington state will benefit from the work that was done,” Ericksen said in a statement to The Bellingham Herald. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Trump proposes selling Northwest's transmission grid
Buried among the revenue-generating ideas in President Donald Trump's new budget proposal is a plan to sell off publicly owned transmission assets, including those operated by the Bonneville Power Administration. For public power companies – and really all utilities in the Northwest – the proposal will ring alarm bells and resurrect a debate about the control of assets that were built with federal dollars but paid for by local ratepayers. Ted Sickinger reports. (Oregonian)

Port shows off cleanup at Blaine Marina
After 60 years of operation, fuel sales ended at Blaine Marina in 2015 – but the tanks and pipes remained, leaking oil and diesel fuel into the water. Residents got a closeup look at the cleanup operations Wednesday during a public tour led by the Port of Bellingham and the Washington State Department of Ecology. Part of the project was an ongoing restoration of more than 14 acres of eelgrass, which provides valuable habitat and is considered critical to the salmon recovery efforts, said Brian Gouran, environmental director for the port, which operates the marina. (Bellingham Herald)

Olympia will be port of call for cruise ship, port says 
About a year from now, a ship will sail into Olympia’s Budd Inlet carrying more than 100 tourists, instead of logs or a shipment of corn. That’s because the Port of Olympia announced Wednesday that American Cruise Lines, a company known for its cruises on the Columbia and Mississippi rivers, will make Olympia a port of call for the American Constellation, a new 175-passenger ship. Rolf Boone reports. (Olympian)

The Cherry on Cherry Point
Another long, long evening session last week, filled with diverse and thoughtful (and respectful) comments representing a broad swath of opinion, and Whatcom County Council at last—after more than a year of work—approved a series of amendments to govern future planning policy for the Cherry Point industrial zone. The amendments include provisions relating to future fossil fuel export projects; but more comprehensively, they re-weight and give improved standing to considerations of ecological function, environmental protection, historical use, stewardship and recognition of indigenous treaty rights alongside imperatives of economic development and industrial use in future planning for Cherry Point. Notably, the amendments require all permits that involve handling fossil fuels to be reviewed under the “Magnuson Amendment” to the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act; and very likely they foreclose forever on any future consideration of an additional shipping pier in Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve. Tim Johnson writes. (Cascadia Weekly)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  250 AM PDT THU MAY 25 2017  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR  LESS. W SWELL 7 TO 9 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  6 FT AT 9 SECONDS.

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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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5/24 Budget, green crab, Chimacum, sea lion, quiet zone, oyster monitor, Glacier Park, big whale, bird kill

Sea pens [Chris Grossman/Encyclopedia of Puget Sound]
Sea Pen, Stylatula elongata
Sea pens are a type of octocoral, or soft coral, which are related to jellyfish and anemones… [and] can live to be 100 years old, glow in the dark and live in the soft sediments of Puget Sound. A sea pen is not one single animal, but a colony of many tiny animals called polyps. Each colony contains several types of polyps which contribute to its survival in different ways. (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound)

Trump budget slashes money from clean air and water programs 
The Trump Administration budget released Tuesday slashes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by nearly one-third, eliminating more than 3,800 jobs while imposing dramatic cuts to clean air and water programs. The White House’s proposed spending plan for the EPA amounts to $5.7 billion, a 31 percent cut from the current budget year. Adjusted for inflation, that would represent the nation’s lowest funding for environmental protection since the mid-1970s. The agency’s workforce would drop from 15,416 full-time employees to 11,611. Michael Biesecker reports. (Associated Press)

More invaders found: Invasive green crabs on the rise on Peninsula
The invasive European green crab count continues to rise on the Dungeness Spit. Researchers said 60 crabs had been caught by crews as of Thursday after they had quadrupled the number of traps placed in Dungeness’ waters. Lorenz Sollmann, deputy project leader at the Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, said staff and volunteers put out 108 traps multiple times last week. (Peninsula Daily News)

Chimacum rushing into emergency service
The new ferry Chimacum will make its debut in a temporary, emergency role Wednesday morning on the Bremerton route. Crews were expected to continue training and wrapping up final details until the 144-car boat made an expected June 25 appearance. Bremerton ferry Kitsap broke a crankshaft Sunday, however, and will be out indefinitely. The 90-car Sealth was pulled off of the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route to replace the 124-car Kitsap, leaving the triangle one boat short. That wasn't going to cut it over the busy Memorial Day weekend. Ed Friedrich reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Family of girl grabbed by sea lion deny trying to feed it
The father of a girl who was grabbed by a sea lion and dragged into the water from the Steveston docks in Richmond, B.C., says the girl and her grandparents have been falsely blamed for feeding the marine mammal. "There was somebody beside them that was trying to feed them. Also, they weren't trying to take pictures or anything," said the father…. On social media, people assumed it was the girl's family feeding the sea lion. Tina Lovgreen reports. (CBC)

Skagit County, Blanchard residents agree on quiet zone proposal
Blanchard residents reached an agreement Monday with Skagit County to proceed with establishing a railroad quiet zone. Quiet zones remove the requirement for train engineers to blow their whistles at each crossing, instead leaving it to their discretion. To establish a quiet zone, the average safety rating of a group of crossings must be better than the national average. This often requires construction of supplemental safety measures. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Volunteers sought for Olympia oyster monitoring in Quilcene Bay
The Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee is seeking volunteers to monitor Olympia oyster populations as part of a nearshore restoration project. The committee is in need of volunteers Friday to collect data on test plots set out last year and to collect baseline data on this year’s seed clutch in the state Department of Fish and Wildlife tidelands in Quilcene Bay, said Cheryl Lowe, marine resources committee (MRC) member, in a news release. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Mapping 50 Years of Melting Ice in Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is losing its glaciers. The flowing sheets of ice scattered throughout the Montana park shrank by more than a third between 1966 and 2015, according to new data from the United States Geological Survey and Portland State University. Using aerial and satellite imagery, researchers traced the footprints of 39 named glaciers in the park and surrounding national forest. They found that 10 had lost more than half their area over 50 years. Nadja Popovich reports. (NY Times)

How The Biggest Animal On Earth Got So Big
Whales are the largest animals on the planet, but they haven't always been giants. Fossil records show that ancient whales were much smaller than the currently living behemoths. So when did whales get so big, and how? A new study suggests it might be due to changes in climate that affected the food that some whales eat: krill and small fish. Instead of being spread throughout the ocean, lots of krill started being packed into a small area. Bigger whales were simply more efficient at eating the dense pockets of krill, and they beat out their smaller cousins. Madeline Sophia reports. (NPR)

Pushing For Tough Penalty In Albatross Killings
Christian Gutierrez, the adult defendant in the 2015 Kaena Point albatross killings, is expected to be sentenced by First Circuit Court Judge Jeannette Castagnetti on June 1. As the day nears, the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office and others are working quietly behind the scenes to make sure that the 19-year-old Gutierrez does not emerge with a clean record…. in the late evening and early morning hours of Dec. 27-28, 2015, at least 15 Laysan albatrosses were killed with a pellet gun, a machete and a baseball bat. Seventeen albatross nests and 17 eggs were also destroyed. The feet were cut off many of the birds to remove their identification tags. One of the perpetrators showed off the identification tags at a party.  The other two talked about killing the birds at the party on social media. Laysan albatrosses are internationally and federally protected seabirds. Debby Fawcett reports. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  255 AM PDT WED MAY 24 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 9 FT  AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SE 10 KT OR LESS. WIND  WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING. W SWELL 9 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5/23 BC pipe, Trump budget, sea lion, eating steelhead, BC wave power, US offshore wind

Two-tug oil tanker escort [National Geographic]
Watch this: What Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline will mean for B.C.'s coast
As British Columbians await final results from the May 9 vote, the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline hangs in the balance. The expansion project could bring billions in new revenue, but it would also mean an increase in coast-to-port tanker traffic, and with that, an increased risk of oil spills. We follow a tanker as it threads the needle from Burnaby to the open ocean. (Globe and Mail)

Connelly: Trump budget message: Don't clean up America's waters
The budget proposed by President Trump, set for release Tuesday, is clear from coast to coast to coast: Don't clean up the water. The budget not only zeroes out the Puget Sound cleanup, but programs from Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain to New England's Lake Champlain to the Great Lakes. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

'Unbelievable': Dozens swarm dock where sea lion grabbed girl, despite warnings
On Saturday, a girl was yanked off a dock in Richmond, B.C. by a California sea lion. Moments before, her family had thrown bread to the animal. Video of the incident has been viewed more than 14 million times. Marine experts and port officials have sent out a slew of warnings, reminding the public to keep a safe distance from the animals. However, many near the area seem to be doing just the opposite. On Monday, the Steveston Fisherman's Wharf was packed with cellphone-wielding tourists and locals trying to catch a glimpse of the celebrity sea lion. Children leaned over the dock's edge, craning for a look. (CBC)

Is it really OK to eat steelhead?
What does “good” mean? If you’re trying to be environmentally responsible while picking out a steelhead fillet to grill or saute or maybe steam with green onions and soy sauce, that’s less obvious than it may seem. Recently, Seafood Watch, a respected program of consumer recommendations for sustainable seafood issued by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, listed steelhead from the Hoh, Queets, and Quinault rivers on the western Olympic Peninsula as a “good alternative” choice. Dan Chasan reports. (Crosscut)

UVic researcher sees powerful future in waves
B.C. has some of the best wave-energy potential anywhere in the world and with better government support and jurisdictional clarity, this province could be a global leader in developing the industry. Those are some of the findings in a recent report out of the University of Victoria-led Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. There’s a lot going for wave power, as Bryson Robertson, the report’s lead author, explained in an interview this week. Matt Robinson reports. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: An ‘Awesome’ View at America’s First Offshore Wind Farm  Produced by Chang W. Lee, Logan Jaffe and Joshua Thomas (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  305 AM PDT TUE MAY 23 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON PDT TODAY THROUGH
 WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 6  FT AT 11 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG IN THE MORNING. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF  SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 20 TO 30 KT BECOMING NW 15 TO 25 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8  FT AT 10 SECONDS.

--
"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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Monday, May 22, 2017

5/22 Culvert, pipeline, EPA rollbacks, monuments, sea lion, marine map, Hood Canal shore, helpful plants, sewer repair, DNR harvest, microburst

Common horsetail
Horsetail, Equisetum arvense
Equisetum
is a "living fossil" as it is the only living genus of the entire class Equisetopsida, which for over one hundred million years was much more diverse and dominated the understory of late Paleozoic forests. Some Equisetopsida were large trees reaching to 30 meters tall. (Wikipedia) Ancient Romans ate young, common horsetail shoots as if they were asparagus. They also used them to make tea and as a thickening powder. Common horsetail is one of the most widespread plants in the world and often turns up as a bad garden week (sometimes called ‘devil guts’). It was the first vascular plant to send green shoots up through the debris of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Washington state loses big legal battle over salmon culverts
Washington state lost a major legal battle Friday that could force it to spend nearly $2 billion to restore salmon habitat by removing barriers blocking fish migration. A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year affirmed a lower court’s 2013 ruling ordering the state to fix or replace hundreds of culverts — large pipes that allow streams to pass beneath roads but block migrating salmon. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Trudeau reiterates support for Trans Mountain pipeline on B.C. visit
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he'll work with British Columbia and Alberta to move ahead with his government's agenda of creating jobs while transitioning toward a lower-carbon economy. Trudeau was asked on Friday about the possibility that B.C. could wind up with a government that opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. He suggested that the province's NDP and Greens, who oppose the project, are "wrong" in their position. Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press) See also: Protests, court challenges, B.C. recount: Trans Mountain IPO comes at awkward time for Kinder Morgan Ian Bikis reports. (Canadian Press)

How Rollbacks at Scott Pruitt’s E.P.A. Are a Boon to Oil and Gas
The new E.P.A. administrator has a long, helpful history with Devon Energy, going back to his days as attorney general of Oklahoma. Hiroko Tabuchi and Eric Lipton report. (NY Times)

Trump asked for input on monuments -- and he's sure getting it
At a rate of more than 100 to 1, comments are flowing into the Department of the Interior denouncing the effort to review, and perhaps undo, up to 22 national monuments. On the chopping block in this state is the Hanford Reach monument along the Columbia River. Danny Westneat reports. (Seattle Times)

Family slammed for 'reckless behaviour' after sea lion drags girl into water in Richmond, B.C.
Port officials are lambasting the family of a young girl for "reckless behaviour" after she was dragged into the water by a sea lion off a dock at Steveston in Richmond, B.C. Robert Kiesman, chair of the Steveston Harbour Authority, said there are several signs posted at the popular tourist destination warning people not to feed the sea mammals that frequent the area…. Robert Kiesman, chair of the Steveston Harbour Authority, said there are several signs posted at the popular tourist destination warning people not to feed the sea mammals that frequent the area. Maryse Zeidler and Chad Pawson report. (CBC)

Culturally significant First Nations marine sites mapped
The Nuu-chah-ulth First Nation on Vancouver Island now has access to data concerning culturally and ecologically significant maritime sites, information that could prove vital in the event of an oil spill or other emergency. Fisheries and Oceans Canada funded an 18-month project that brought together researchers, elders and First Nations youth to catalogue vital coastal resources. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

Hood Canal property will compensate for Navy construction at Bangor
Hood Canal Coordinating Council has finally found some shoreline property to compensate for environmental damage from the Navy’s $448-million Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor.
The shoreline of a 6.7-acre property to be used for mitigation of the Navy’s Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor. // Photo: Hood Canal Coordinating Council The 6.7 acres of waterfront property — located near Kitsap County’s Anderson Landing Preserve on Hood Canal — becomes the first saltwater mitigation site in Washington state under an in-lieu-fee mitigation program. The $275,000 purchase was approved Wednesday by the coordinating council, which manages the in-lieu-fee program. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Volunteers tend plants to help endangered orcas
Plants taking root in a nursery northeast of Burlington could help save the region’s endangered orca whales. The plants will be used for salmon habitat projects throughout the Skagit River watershed, providing the fish with shade and a place to hide, as well as to attract bugs the fish can eat. The hope is that the plants will help increase the salmon population and thereby provide more food for the orcas. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Damage estimate soars to $57M, but insurers likely to pay in flood at West Point wastewater plant
The new price tag for the catastrophic Feb. 9 flood that crippled the West Point Treatment Plant is up to $57 million — more than double the previous estimate. But taxpayers may be off the hook for most of it. The Wastewater Treatment Division, in a letter Friday to the Metropolitan King County Council, updated its initial estimate of $25 million in damage, stating major repairs and replacement of equipment will continue through October and cost $49 million to $57 million. Christine Willmsen reports. (Seattle Times)

DNR: Sustainable harvest, murrelet plan due by end of 2018
 A pair of planning documents that will affect timber harvests on the North Olympic Peninsula for the next decade will be completed by the end of 2018, a senior state Department of Natural Resources official said. Angus Brodie, DNR deputy supervisor of uplands, said an agency review of 6,500 public comments and other factors have delayed the timeline for the 2015-2024 sustainable harvest calculation and long-term conservation strategy for the marbled murrelet. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Clean up continues from extreme storm in Thurston County
Cleanup continues around Tenino, East Olympia and parts of Lacey, where an extreme weather pattern known as a wet microburst struck on May 4. “It really reminded me of the movie ‘Twister,’ just without the comical cows flying around,” said Cheyanne McClune, a farmhand at Lattin’s Country Cider Mill on Rich Road. That’s where 22 jumbo trees fell, many pulling huge root balls right out of the ground. Seven others snapped in the middle during the storm. No people or animals were injured, but the farm’s power was knocked out for four days. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather--

TODAY  SE WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING NE IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG IN THE  MORNING.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 11 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Friday, May 19, 2017

5/19 Mount St. Helens, orca celebrations, Anna's hummingbird, fossil fuel export study

Mount St. Helens, July 1980 eruption [Jack Smith/AP]
Mount St. Helens erupted 37 years ago on May 18, 1980
It’s the 37th anniversary of when Mount St. Helens erupted, killing 57 people. The eruption on May 18, 1980, caused the largest landslide in recorded history, knocked down trees 17 miles away, stripped nearly all vegetation from more than 230 square miles and caused more than $1 billion in damages. Stacia Glenn reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma) See also: What 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens looked like from space  Benjamin Woodward reports. (Seattle Times)

Orca celebrations and environmental learning are filling our calendar
From killer whales to native plants, it’s a potpourri of activities and events I would like to share with you. June is Orca Month. But first, on Saturday, we can celebrate the 15th anniversary of the remarkable rescue of a young killer whale named Springer. Also coming in June are gatherings small and large, including a water-based festival in Silverdale later in the month. This Saturday, May 20, folks will come together to celebrate Springer — the lost baby orca who was rescued and returned to her home in British Columbia. The 15th anniversary of the rescue will be commemorated on Vashon Island, at the Vashon Theatre, 17723 Vashon Highway SW. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Anna's hummingbird named Vancouver's permanent city bird 
Results from the most important election held in B.C. this year have been announced: Anna's hummingbird has been named the City of Vancouver's official bird following an online vote. Anna's hummingbird beat out the northern flicker, spotted towhee and varied thrush for the title, taking 42 per cent of the vote. (CBC)

Why Whatcom Council wants $150K study into fossil fuel exports from Cherry Point
A study into what Whatcom County can and can’t do when it comes to fossil fuel exports moving through the community drew sharp criticism when it went before the County Council Tuesday night. Opponents, many of them refinery workers at Cherry Point, said it would hurt the ability to compete and ultimately lead to job loss. Council members said the proposal to spend $150,000 to study the county’s authority to limit negative impacts on safety, transportation, the economy and the environment from crude oil, coal, liquefied petroleum gases, and natural gas exports from Cherry Point was being misrepresented. Kie Rleyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  318 AM PDT FRI MAY 19 2017  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 5 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT  AT 5 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING NW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 6 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF  SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.
SAT NIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  4 FT AT 5 SECONDS.
SUN
 LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT  5 SECONDS.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

5/18 ESA Day, SRKW, Chinook release, Cherry Pt, Surrey coal, Coos Bay LNG, EPA rules, Samish fails, big tooth, whale ban, barn owls, Chimacum

[US FWS]
Endangered Species Day
On May 19, 2017 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will observe Endangered Species Day in order to recognize the national conservation efforts to protect our nation's endangered species and their habitats.

Southern resident killer whales to be recognized on Endangered Species Day
Southern Resident Killer Whales will be recognized in a display on the San Juan County courthouse and council chamber lawns on Endangered Species Day, Friday, May 19. There will be 86 orca whale dorsal fins displayed representing the 78 living free members of the Southern Resident Killer Whale J, K and L pods, plus the one living in captivity (L-25, Tokitae aka “Lolita”) and the 7 that died in 2016-17. (San Juan Journal) See also: Help people watch whales at Westside Preserve  (San Juan Journal) And: Events will mark 15th anniversary of Springer, the orphaned Northern Resident killer whale’s rescue  Celebrate Springer! May 20, 1 PM, Vashon Theater

Over 220,000 young Chinook to be released to help B.C.'s endangered orcas
It's a project started by a group of B.C fishermen that could produce big results in just a few years. By the end of May, the first batch of around 220,000 young Chinook salmon will be released into the ocean to help feed B.C.'s endangered orcas. The project, long in the works, is privately funded and was approved by the federal government last year. It involved catching wild fish and facilitating their reproduction in a hatchery — and now the smolts are set to be released off the docks of the Sooke Harbour Resort and Marina. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Whatcom Council OKs new policies for development at Cherry Point
The Whatcom County Council has approved new policies for development of heavy industry at Cherry Point that include limiting new piers and conducting a study that will delve into what the council can and can’t do regarding unrefined fossil fuels moving through the community. Council members approved the measures 6-1 Tuesday night after hours of public comment from opponents and supporters of the changes to the county’s comprehensive plan that are related to Cherry Point. Council member Barbara Brenner voted no. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Environmental lawyers ask court to quash Surrey coal transfer facility
The Federal Court heard Wednesday from environmental lawyers that are trying to overturn the Vancouver Port Authority's approval of a coal transfer facility on the Fraser River. The project would see four million tonnes of thermal coal pass through the Lower Mainland every year. The coal would be brought in from Wyoming, barged to a site on Texada Islands and then exported to Asia. Tina Lovgreen reports. (CBC)

Coos County Voters Reject Measure Targeting LNG Facility
Coos County voters rejected a measure Tuesday designed to prevent a liquefied natural gas plant from being built on Oregon’s coast. Measure 6-162 would have essentially blocked an LNG export terminal and pipeline proposed by Canadian company Veresen. The measure failed with 75.91 percent of voters opposed and only 24.09 percent of voters in favor, according to election results released by Coos County. Ryan Haas reports. (OPB)

EPA public comments favor environmental protections for air and water
Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency put out a call for comments about what regulations are in need of repeal, replacement or modification. The effort stemmed from an executive order issued by President Trump earlier this year instructing agencies to reexamine regulations that “eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation” and/or “impose costs that exceed benefits.” More than 55,100 responses rolled in by the time the comment period closed on Monday — but they were full of Americans sharing their experiences of growing up with dirty air and water, and with pleas for the agency not to undo safeguards that could return the country to more a more polluted era. Brady Dennis reports. (Washington Post)

Samish Bay fails spring pollution evaluation 
Just days after a visit from Gov. Jay Inslee to discuss progress being made in cleaning up bacterial pollution in Samish Bay, the bay failed an annual state evaluation. Rain during Inslee's visit Monday increased the flow of the Samish River, prompting water sampling and a precautionary shellfish harvest closure on Tuesday. Skagit County Water Quality Analyst Rick Haley said Wednesday afternoon that the amount of bacteria in the water samples was about 10 times the limit set by the state Department of Health. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

A big find: Locals stumble upon mammoth molar on Sequim beach
Sequim residents Lori Christie and Dean Flowers were taking their regular walk along a Sequim public beach when they stumbled upon a rare find: a Columbian mammoth molar weighing just over 10 pounds. Christie, a managing broker at JACE Real Estate in Sequim, said she is a regular hiker and hikes about 20 miles a week. She and Flowers were looking for petrified wood and rocks along a local beach — where it is permissible to pick up objects — when they saw something different from the surrounding rocks. (Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Vancouver Aquarium 'will fight to the end' on cetacean ban
The Vancouver Aquarium is vowing to fight the new Vancouver Park Board bylaw which prevents it from bringing in new cetaceans.  "We will fight to the end to preserve our programs," said John Nightingale, long-time CEO of the aquarium.  Nightingale didn't rule out taking legal action, saying they were "keeping all options open."  Tina Lovgreen reports. (CBC) See also: Vancouver park board worries whale fight could sour relations with aquarium  Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Dramatic video shows killer whales hunting sea lion in Salish Sea
A whale watching group caught dramatic video of killer whales hunting a sea lion in the Salish Sea. Traci Walter with Western Prince Whale Watching says the family group is called the T123's. The group includes a 32-year-old mother, Sidney, her 17-year-old son, Stanley, and 5-year-old daughter, Lucky. (KOMO)

Vehicles, lack of hunting and nesting sites threaten urban barn owls
One of Canada's largest populations of barn owls may be more aptly named bridge or overpass owls because they're losing normal roosting spaces and struggling to adapt to urbanization, a new study says. It was based on owls around Metro Vancouver and found that habitat loss, road deaths and rodent poison have a lethal impact on the birds but changes to green-space policies and public education could mitigate the loss. Terri Theodore reports. (Canadian Press)

Ferry Chimacum preparing for Bremerton debut
State ferry workers continued to put the Chimacum through its paces, spinning doughnuts and slamming on brakes in Elliott Bay. The third of four Olympic-class vessels is preparing for a June 25 debut on the Seattle-Bremerton route. Washington State Ferries accepted the Chimacum from shipbuilder Vigor on April 7, outfitted it, is now conducting sea trials and on Friday will begin training its four 15-person crews. Pulling away from Colman Dock Tuesday, the new boat accelerated quietly, like an electric car. Ed Friedrich reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  314 AM PDT THU MAY 18 2017  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING W AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

5/17 Monument responses, oil spill land plan, Seatttle seawall, fin whale, birds & climate

Spot shrimp [WDFW]
Spot Shrimp Pandalus platyceros
Spot shrimp have a deep pink/red or pink/orange body with white lines on the head and two pairs of white spots on the tail end. Spot shrimp are most common in Hood Canal, the San Juan Islands, and northern and central Puget Sound. This is one of the most important shrimp species for both sport and commercial harvesters. Shrimp are found primarily on or near the bottom, but make daily migrations through the water column in search of food. They have been found at depths greater than 1,000 feet, but are most frequently captured at depths of 30 to 300 feet. (WDFW)

Trump's Review Of National Monuments Panned In Public Comments
The Trump administration’s review process for 29 national monuments, including the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, is sparking some outrage. The official public comment period began Friday, and more than 15,000 comments about the proposal flooded into the federal government within the first four days. Letters are running more than 100 to 1 against making any changes in use or boundaries of the 29 sites, all of which had previously been declared historically or environmentally significant. Kirstin Downey reports. (Civil Beat) See also: Save our monuments! Trump getting mail from Washington state on that and other topics  State Sen. Kevin Ranker’s letter, co-signed by hundreds and urging President Donald Trump not to roll back any of America’s national monuments, is only the latest of many letters sent from Washington state over Trump administration actions. Joseph O' Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)

State plan would help prepare for train, pipeline oil spills along Sumas River
State officials released plans Tuesday for how best to respond to oil spills along several train routes and pipelines in Washington state, including along the Sumas River. Five out of 11 new draft plans in Western Washington will address areas of potential spills from pipelines and railroads. Six other plans will cover areas on the east side of the mountains along oil train routes. The 79-page Sumas plan plan covers 53 square miles in Whatcom County, including the cities of Everson and Nooksack, and is the only such designated route here. (Bellingham Herald)

Can Seattle’s Seawall Defend The City And Protect Salmon, Too?
Thousands of tourists migrate to Seattle’s waterfront each year to experience the ferry rides, kitschy stores and sweeping views of Elliott Bay. Jeff Cordell says they’re overlooking something that makes the waterfront even more special: filamentous microalgae…. The brown scum is growing on Seattle’s newly constructed seawall, a $410 million infrastructure project that’s doubling as a massive science experiment. Cordell is testing whether coastal cities can better coexist with fish by building marine habitat into their shoreline defenses. (KCTS/EarthFix)

Helpin' Out Volunteers Aid Orcas and Salmon at Native Plant Nursery
Join Whale Scout volunteers to care for native plants this Saturday at the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group Native Plant Nursery in Burlington from 10 AM to 1 PM. These plants will create rearing habitat in the Skagit River for juvenile salmon, a key food source for resident orca populations. For more info, go to Whale Scouts. Click here to RSVP.
 

Fin whale was searching for krill feast but met cargo ship before washing up in Commencement Bay
The fin whale that washed up in Commencement Bay after being impaled by a cargo ship was young, healthy and feeding when it was killed, according to a necropsy report. Officials performed the necropsy Saturday, a day after the 52-foot-long endangered whale was found dead and a cargo ship captain reported the bow of his ship might be to blame. The whale was feeding on krill in the Strait of Juan de Fuca when it was hit by the underwater bow of the ship, KIRO reported. Stacia Glenn reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Climate change alters the start of springtime, and these birds can't keep up
In 1962, Rachel Carson warned that pesticides, particularly DDT, would lead to springs without birdsong, as she wrote in her book “Silent Spring.” Carson's forecast kick-started an environmental movement and was instrumental in the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to ban the pesticides 10 years later, so her descriptions of deathly quiet did not come to pass. But the danger of a silent spring, according to ecologists who study birds, did not evaporate with DDT. The looming threat is not chemical but a changing climate, in which spring begins increasingly earlier — or in rare cases, later — each year.  Ben Guarino reports. Washington Post)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  233 AM PDT WED MAY 17 2017  

TODAY
 SW WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

--
"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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

5/16 Springer, transients, cetacean ban, RAC ban, BNSF coal appeal, Inslee's oyster, Pacific plastic

Creeping buttercup
Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens
Creeping buttercup is a low-growing, perennial species of buttercup originally from Europe and now found throughout North America and many other parts of the world. This competitive plant spreads by stolons and forms thick carpets on wet, poorly drained soils everywhere from farms to city gardens to natural wetlands. Creeping buttercup is not on the Washington State Noxious Weed List. However, in King County, this non-native invasive buttercup species is classified as a Weed of Concern. (King County Environmental Services)

Springer, an Orca Success Story
The rescue of an orphaned orca was the first time a baby orca had been returned to its family in the wild. Nicknamed Springer, the orca's rescue from Puget Sound to her family off northern Vancouver Island, became an overnight success story. 15 years later it remains a good news story for a whale species that's endangered in the US and threatened in Canada. Martha Baskin has the story. (Green Currents Radio)

West Coast Transient Orcas Are Booming While Resident Orcas In Salish Sea Struggle
New research shows some of the orca populations that visit the Salish Sea are booming while the orcas who spend most of their time there are suffering. It comes down to what the different orcas eat. Orcas known as southern residents spend most of their time in the Salish Sea — Washington’s Puget Sound, British Columbia’s Georgia Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca separating the U.S. and Canada. Resident orcas in this inland sea only eat salmon. And, since salmon populations are declining, those orcas are starving. Other orcas travel up and down the West Coast. They eat seals and sea lions, and their numbers have been increasing. Gary Wiles, a researcher for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife who wrote a report about the status of the orcas of the Salish Sea, says that’s thanks to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.  Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Vancouver Park Board officially ends display of new cetaceans at aquarium
The Vancouver Park Board has approved bylaw amendments officially banning the Vancouver Aquarium from bringing in new dolphins, whales and narwhals. Commissioners approved changes to the Parks Control bylaw that would prevent the aquarium from bringing in the animals known as cetaceans — a group that includes narwhals, dolphins, porpoises, killer whales and beluga whales — and bans "a show, performance or other form of entertainment, which includes one or more cetaceans." Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Citizen Advisory Groups React To Trump Administration Suspension
President Donald Trump’s administration has signaled it wants local residents to have more say in decisions about public lands in their backyard. But earlier this month the Interior Department canceled upcoming meetings of local citizen groups that give input to the Bureau of Land Management on how to manage public lands. Most people have never heard of these groups because much of their work is done behind the scenes. They’re called Regional Advisory Councils — or RACS. The volunteer groups meet a few times a year to discuss how the BLM manages public lands, and they then make recommendations to the agency about best practices. They provide input on everything from how to deal with invasive weeds on rangeland to how to manage overpopulated wild horses to how much the BLM should charge rafters to float Hell’s Canyon. The RACS are made up of people who are invested in public lands, including ranchers, environmentalists, tribal leaders and county administrators. Amanda Peacher reports. (OPB)

BNSF appeals review of Longview coal-terminal project 
BNSF Railway has appealed an environmental review of a coal-export terminal in Washington state, arguing it miscalculated or overstated the risk of cancer for some residents. Millennium Bulk Terminal-Longview has long wanted to build a facility along the Columbia River near the city of Longview to handle up to 44 million tons of coal a year. Trains would carry the coal from Montana, Wyoming and other states, which would be loaded onto ships headed to Asia. The environmental study by the state Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County found diesel particulate emissions from trains serving the terminal would cause “an unavoidable increase” in the cancer-risk rate for residents in one neighborhood… (Associated Press)

Gov. Inslee tours Samish Bay shellfish farm
Eating raw oysters comes with a risk, but that didn't stop Gov. Jay Inslee from enjoying one Monday fresh from the mudflats of Samish Bay at Taylor Shellfish Farm. Inslee, farm spokesman Bill Dewey and Skagit County officials gathered at the farm to discuss ongoing efforts to reduce fecal coliform bacteria in the Samish River and Samish Bay. When eaten raw, oysters contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria — which is associated with human and animal feces — can cause illness. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Millions Of Pieces Of Plastic Are Piling Up On An Otherwise Pristine Pacific Island
More than 37 million pieces of plastic debris have accumulated on a remote island in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest city, according to estimates from researchers who documented the accumulating trash. Turtles get tangled in fishing line, and hermit crabs make their homes in plastic containers. The high-tide line is demarcated by litter. Small scraps of plastic are buried inches deep into the sandy beaches. It's the highest density of debris reported anywhere in the world, scientists say. Their research on trash accumulated at Henderson Island, largest of the the Pitcairn Islands, was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.   Camila Domonoske reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  302 AM PDT TUE MAY 16 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS IN THE  AFTERNOON. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS. SHOWERS IN THE MORNING  THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 9 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS  IN THE EVENING.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

5/15 Tanker ban, Stand Up To Oil, sewage, geese, Pebble mine, Hoh R, Springer, Bears Ears, gopher, Salish Sea Stewards, Sinclair TV

Elwha 5/12/17 [Tom Roorda/Coastal Watershed Inst.]
Trudeau details partial tanker ban off northern B.C. coast
Days after a tight election made the Green party a power broker in Canada’s westernmost province, Justin Trudeau’s government is introducing a bill to ban crude oil tankers from using ports along the northern coast of British Columbia. The move, long signalled by Trudeau, is more political than of any immediate consequence. The area affected stretches from British Columbia’s border with Alaska down to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Most existing traffic happens south of the island, and projects for gas export plants and refineries on the province’s northern coast would hardly be affected or not at all. The proposed act will prohibit tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude or persistent oils, such as partially upgraded bitumen and bunker fuel, from stopping at ports in the region, according to a government statement. The move won’t affect fuels like liquefied natural gas, gasoline and jet fuel, according to the statement. Natalie Obiko Pearson and Josh Wingrove report. (Bloomberg)

‘Today is a Milestone Day’: Groups Deliver One Million Petitions Against Coal and Oil Terminals to Gov. Inslee 
A coalition of environmental, labor, public health, first responder, faith, fishing, and business groups dropped a stack of heavy boxes inside Gov. Jay Inslee’s office in Olympia on Thursday: Printouts, petitions, and signatures representing over a million public comments against coal and oil-export terminals in Washington state. “It’s actually closer to 1.5 million,” says Rebecca Ponzio, director of the Washington Environmental Council’s Stand Up to Oil campaign. Sara Bernard reports. (Seattle Weekly)

Oregon port vote is latest local action on fossil fuels
Residents of a coastal community in Oregon are considering whether to try to derail a fossil fuel export project in their rural county, a decision that could put them at odds with the Trump administration. The ballot measure before Coos County voters Tuesday would block the $7.5 billion Jordan Cove Energy Project, a proposed liquefied natural gas port that would be the first of its kind on the U.S. West Coast. The vote comes weeks after a Trump adviser said the administration would approve the project. Federal regulators denied a permit for the export terminal and pipeline under President Barack Obama. (Associated Press)

Temporary fix in place at Bellingham plant that flooded with sewer water
Operations are almost back to normal at the Post Point wastewater treatment plant in Bellingham, nearly a week after a broken pipe caused a 3-foot-deep flood in an underground passage of the facility.... Over the days that followed sewer water was released into Bellingham Bay after going through basic treatment, but not the secondary stage, where bacteria removes pollutants from the water. By Thursday night workers had installed the first of four 12-inch pipes in a new, temporary bypass system. It could take days for secondary treatment to get up and running to full capacity again, and another four to five months for a more permanent solution, said Eric Johnston, assistant director of Public Works. In the meantime, Johnston emphasized the wastewater posed no public health risk when it was released into the bay over the past few days: all samples tested below 12 colony-forming units per 100 mL, whereas the rate considered acceptable by the state Department of Ecology is 200 to 400 cfu/100 mL. Caleb Hutton report. (Bellingham Herald)

'Been hissed at and chased at quite a few times': Can Canadians and Canada geese find peace?
…. With nesting season in full swing, and Canada geese in full protective mode over their nests, confrontations between birds and humans are predictably on the rise. And the populations of Canada geese are only getting bigger.  "No question, they're increasing all across Canada and all across North America," said Jim Leafloor, a biologist with the federal government's Canadian Wildlife Service. There are about seven million Canada geese in North America, but Leafloor said the problem isn't the numbers, it's their distribution across the country. Mark Gollom reports. (CBC) See also: See also: New book reveals best places for B.C. birdwatching  Bridgette Watson reports. (CBC)

EPA settlement could revive controversial Alaska gold mine project
The Environmental Protection Agency has reached a legal settlement with a Canadian company hoping to build a massive gold, copper and molybdenum mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, clearing the way for the firm to apply for federal permits. The settlement reached late Thursday between EPA and the Pebble Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., could revive a controversial project that was effectively scuttled under Barack Obama. And it underscores how President Donald Trump’s commitment to support mining extends far beyond coal, to gold, copper and other minerals. While the move does not grant immediate approval to the Pebble Mine project, which will have to undergo a federal environmental review and also clear state hurdles before any construction takes place, it reverses the agency’s 2014 determination that a large-scale mine in the area be barred because it would imperil the region’s valuable sockeye salmon fishery. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post) See also: Trump admin revives Alaskan gold mine to dismay of salmon netters  John Ryan reports. (KUOW) See also: Pebble Mine Settlement Worries Northwest Fishermen, Environmentalists  Simone Alicia reports. (KNKX)

Enviro Group Aims to Restore the Olympic Peninsula’s Hoh River
The Nature Conservancy has big plans for the Olympic Peninsula’s Hoh River. The conservation organization just acquired 7,000 new acres of land in the watershed from the Hoh River Trust. That adds to the 3,000-acre parcel the Nature Conservancy already owned. Its aim is to improve the health of the forest — and with it, the health of the river. Most of the watershed is in state or federal hands. But the lower portion that the Nature Conservancy now owns has been logged repeatedly and replanted with conifer trees instead of with the hardwood trees and shrubs that used to line the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula.  Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Celebrate Springer!
Join the 2002 Springer rescue team when they reunite to tell “Springer’s Story,” the first-hand accounts of how the orphan orca Springer was identified, rescued and rehabilitated 15 years ago and returned home from Puget Sound to Johnstone Strait. “Celebrate Springer!” will be held at 1 PM on Saturday, May 20, at the Vashon Theater and will also feature a dance performance by Le La La Dancers, who were present at Springer's release. The program will be followed at 5 PM by The Whale Trail sign dedication at the Point Robinson Lighthouse Park. Tickets are available in advance from Vashon Theater tickets

Divers propose building artificial reef with rocks from old jetty at Point Hudson
Members of the Washington Scuba Alliance want to build an artificial reef to provide marine habitat when the Point Hudson jetties are replaced. Members of the group met with Port of Port Townsend commissioners last week seeking permission to explore the creation of an artificial reef using the rocks from the Point Hudson jetties. Nam Siu, a diver and marine biologist for Marine Surveys and Assessments, said the jetties around Point Hudson are a popular site for divers because of the diversity of marine life, including giant Pacific octopus, that they shelter. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Battle Over Bears Ears Heats Up as Trump Rethinks Its Monument Status
Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, stepped into the desert last week at the edge of the 1.3-million-acre red-rock expanse that is roiling the West. Mr. Zinke had billed his visit as a listening tour, and a woman trailed with a camera phone, needling him to support her side. “Be nice,” he said, swinging around and shaking a finger at her in the view of those in the crowd, many in cowboy hats. “Be nice!” “Nice” has been difficult recently in this patch of America, where President Trump’s decision to reconsider one of the country’s newest national monuments has thrust southeast Utah back to the front line in the battle over how much control Washington should have over Western lands.  Julie Turkewitz reports. (NY Times)

Thurston County adopts interim rules regarding pocket gopher protections
Thurston County commissioners reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife last week on the updated interim review process for the endangered Mazama pocket gopher…. Under the newly adopted process, gopher inspections are reduced from three to two for projects with soils considered by wildlife officials to be highly preferred by the pocket gopher. Inspections will take place from June through October, the same timeframe as before, but the final inspection can occur as early as August. Graham Perednia reports. (Centralia Chronicle)

Diverse group of Salish Sea Stewards ready to put education into action
A diverse group of community members who share an appreciation for the region’s natural beauty and an interest in protecting it became Salish Sea Stewards this week. The group that graduated from the course Tuesday includes recent retirees, some who are new to the area, and some who are looking to further their academic studies or careers. With 34 graduates, it is the largest class for the volunteer Salish Sea Stewards program, which is in its fourth year. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Dozens of volunteers hit Cadboro Bay Beach to clean up derelict boats  Carla Wilson reports. (Times Colonist)

Sinclair requires TV stations, including KOMO, to air segments that tilt to the right
Eight current and former KOMO employees describe a newsroom where some have chafed at Sinclair’s programming directives, especially must-runs pieces, which they view as too politically tilted and occasionally of poor quality. Sydney Ember reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  303 AM PDT MON MAY 15 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM LATE THIS AFTERNOON
 THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING  
TODAY
 S WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT  AT 9 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING THEN RAIN IN THE  AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING W AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS. RAIN.

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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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told