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--


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