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
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)

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