Friday, June 30, 2017

6/30 BC gov't, WA budget, ship noise, climate winners, HC chum, fisher, microfiber, Site C, methane

Island marble butterfly [David Shaw/Butterflies of America]
Island Marble Butterfly
The Island Marble, Euchloe ausonides insulanus, a beautiful white butterfly with green ‘marbling’ on the underside of the wings, was discovered by early Canadian lepidopterists (butterfly specialists) in 1861 on Vancouver Island and it was last seen in 1908 on nearby Gabriola Island. No one saw it again for 90 years. It had never been found in the United States. In 1998, zoologist John Fleckenstein of the Washington Department of Natural Resources collected a butterfly at American Camp on the south end of San Juan Island. He was intrigued; he didn’t know what it was. It looked like a species of marble butterfly, but they were not known to occur in western Washington. It was only after he took the specimen to experts that the Island Marble, a butterfly believed to be extinct for almost 100 years, was correctly identified and officially “re-discovered.” ... After hundreds of surveys at potential locations in the San Juans, Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, Olympic Peninsula, and northern coastal Puget Sound, only a few small populations were found on San Juan and Lopez Islands. Because of its rarity and small population numbers, the governments of British Columbia, Washington, and the United States have identified it as a species of conservation concern. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

B.C. NDP asked to form government after Liberal defeat
B.C.’s New Democrats will return to power at the legislature for the first time in 16 years, after toppling Premier Christy Clark’s Liberals Thursday and being asked by the lieutenant-governor to form the next government. Rob Shaw reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: John Horgan will be B.C.'s new premier. What comes next?  NDP Leader John Horgan announced Thursday evening that he will become the next premier, following a tumultuous day that saw Christy Clark's B.C. Liberals fall in a 44-42 vote of non-confidence. (CBC)

Details of state budget plan released: Property tax, online retail sales tax among provisions
A bipartisan budget agreement that has taken months to reach and addresses a court mandate on education funding looks at a mix of resources: An increase to the statewide property tax earmarked for education, a new requirement for all online retailers to collect sales tax and the closure of a few tax exemptions. The details on the long-awaited plan were released in bits and pieces Thursday, a day after legislative leaders announced they had reached a deal between the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-led Senate. Rachel La Corte reports. (Associated Press)

Big Ships Asked To Slow Down To Reduce Noise For Iconic Whales
If you think trying to carry on a conversation in a noisy restaurant or bar is difficult, imagine how whales in the noisy waters of the Salish Sea feel. Whale scientists think rising levels of underwater noise are having a harmful effect on the Northwest's iconic killer whales. Now the Port of Vancouver, in British Columbia, is spearheading an experiment to temporarily slow down big ships to reduce noise. Tom Banse reports. (NW Nws Network)

Canadian Trail Looks to Minimize Vessel Underwater Noise for Endangered Southern Resident Orcas
The region's endangered southern resident orcas face a triple threat – the lack of sufficient Chinook salmon, contamination and underwater noise from vessels. While orca and chinook numbers continue to plummet, the Port of Vancouver will conduct a unique vessel experiment this summer. They're asking ships to slow down their speed by half. Orca researchers and the Port of Seattle are taking notice. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Currents)

Study: Climate Change Could Benefit Pacific Northwest Economies
If the world does nothing to limit carbon emissions, the US economy will suffer — but, according to a new study published Thursday in Science, the Pacific Northwest might actually benefit. The researchers looked at data about how weather affects mortality, agriculture, and other industries and economic indicators. They then combined that data with models showing what weather is expected in the future if no steps are taken to limit emissions. They found that climate change will benefit the regions that already have the strongest economies.   Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW) See also: Mapping The Potential Economic Effects Of Climate Change  Christopher Joyce reports. (NPR)

Hood Canal summer chum could be removed from Endangered List
Because no population of salmon has ever been taken off the Endangered Species List, nobody knows exactly how to go about it. Still, Hood Canal summer chum, a threatened species, could be proposed for delisting within about five years…. Hood Canal summer chum were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. By then, state and tribal officials had already taken actions to reduce commercial harvests of these fish and to boost production with temporary hatcheries. A federal recovery plan formalized actions and goals to restore the overall population. The plan also spelled out criteria for eventually removing summer chum from the Endangered Species List. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Furry fisher in South Cascades has a baby! Biologists say grainy photo shows kit
Biologists caught Lilly the fisher on camera and with a kit. Fishers were driven out of Washington decades ago, and biologists are attempting to reintroduce the members of the weasel family to the south Cascades. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

UW oceanography senior finds plastic microfibers are common on Puget Sound beaches
As the infamous floating “garbage patch” churns up bits of plastic in the tropical Pacific Ocean, a University of Washington undergraduate has discovered a related problem much closer to home: nearly invisible bits of plastic on Puget Sound beaches. As a year-long project toward a UW bachelor’s degree, the oceanography major visited 12 beaches around Puget Sound to tally the number of microplastics, generally classified as fragments between 0.3 and 5 millimeters (1/100 to 1/5 of an inch) or smaller than a grain of rice. Hannah Hickey reports. (UW Today)

Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear B.C. First Nations' Site C dam appeal
The Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear two appeals that sought to delay the Site C dam project in British Columbia. Two First Nations — the Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations —  had sought a judicial review of the mega-project, citing problems with how it was approved by the provincial and federal governments. The Site C dam is a controversial $8.5-billion hydroelectric project on the Peace River near Fort St. John in northeastern British Columbia. (CBC)

Oregon, Washington Threaten To Sue EPA Over Methane Rules
Fourteen states — including Oregon and Washington — are threatening to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating the Clean Air Act. In a letter to the EPA sent Thursday, the group argues Director Scott Pruitt broke the law when he ordered his agency to halt part of the rule-making process for regulating methane and other air pollution from oil and gas facilities. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix) See also: U.S. Air Pollution Still Kills Thousands Every Year, Study Concludes   Rob Stein reports. (NPR)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PDT Fri Jun 30 2017  
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds.  Patchy fog.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W  swell 5 ft at 10 seconds.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1  to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

6/29 Starving orcas, Skeena sockeye, postal crow, shellfish toxin, Chesapeake dead zones

American black bear [Steve Kazlowski]
American black bear Ursus americanus
American black bears are the most common and widely distributed  bears in North America. In Washington, black bears live in a diverse array of forested habitats, from coastal rainforests to the dry woodlands of the Cascades’ eastern slopes.... The statewide black bear population in Washington likely ranges between 25,000 and 30,000 animals. As human populations encroach on bear habitat, people and bears have greater chances of encountering each other. Bears usually avoid people, but when they do come into close proximity of each other, the bear’s strength and surprising speed make it potentially dangerous. Most confrontations with bears are the result of a surprise encounter at close range. All bears should be given plenty of respect and room to retreat without feeling threatened. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

UW professor's study links food scarcity to orcas' failed pregnancies
A team of researchers has isolated lack of food as the primary factor — bigger than vessel traffic, bigger than toxins — limiting recovery of resident killer whales. In a paper published Thursday in PLOS ONE, a team lead by Sam Wasser, professor of biology and director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington tracked the nutritional, physiological and reproductive health of southern resident killer whales — the J, K, and L pods of orcas that frequent the Salish Sea, including the San Juans and the waters of Seattle. The study links low reproductive success of the whales, with a total population of just 78 animals, to stress caused by low or variable abundance of their favorite prey: chinook salmon. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Orca researchers need all the poop they can get. These dogs help them find it  Craig Sailor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Skeena River sockeye returns at historic lows
This year's return of Skeena River sockeye is setting up to be the worst on record. As a result, First Nations along the river have agreed not to remove sockeye from the river, a decision made only once before when the same run returned in dismal numbers in 2013. The low numbers have also prompted Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to close the region's lucrative sports fishery to all salmon species until July 15. The ministry said it's still unclear how many sockeye it expects this year, but in 2013 the total estimated return was around 450,000. As of June 27, 2017, just shy of 13,000 sockeye had returned. By the same day in 2013 a total of more than 25,000 sockeye had made their way up the river. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

You've got mail: Canada Post restarts delivery in area where Canuck the crow injured mail carrier
An East Vancouver resident and his neighbours are getting their mail back after Canada Post temporarily suspended delivery over several crow attacks. Shawn Bergman said his landlord alerted him Tuesday to the mail delivery. "I was quite surprised," Bergman said. "I thought [Canada Post] would get in contact with me." (CBC)

Biotoxin closes all Whatcom beaches to recreational shellfish harvesting
All of Whatcom County, including all of Point Roberts and all of Larrabee State Park, is now closed to the harvest of molluscan shellfish due to the presence of paralytic shellfish poisoning biotoxin. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Chesapeake Bay Dead Zones Are Fading, But Proposed EPA Cuts Threaten Success
rive east from Washington and eventually you run smack into the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, the massive estuary that stretches from the mouth of the Susquehanna River at Maryland’s northern tip and empties into the Atlantic 200 miles away near Norfolk, Va. The Chesapeake is home to oysters, clams, and famous Maryland blue crab. It’s the largest estuary in the United States. And for a long time, it was one of the most polluted. Ari Shapiro and  Sam Gringlas report. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  223 AM PDT Thu Jun 29 2017  
 N wind to 10 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind waves  2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. 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 (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

6/28 WA streams, Roundup, Vancouver trash, NW quake, fed trust, tree programs, EPA bullying

Western trumpet honeysuckle
Western trumpet honeysuckle Lonicera ciliosa
Western trumpet honeysuckle (aka orange honeysuckle) is found in dry open forest, thickets and rocky ridges from southeastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands to California. The stems were used by interior peoples of British Columbia for weaving, binding and lashing. Saanich children liked to suck the sugar-filled nectaries at the base of the flowers but the berries, which may be poisonous, were not eaten. Hummingbirds feed on the flowers. The plant is known as “ghost’s swing” or “owl’s swing” in several Coast Salish languages. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Plans to scrap EPA rule could impact half of Washington streams
Washington environmental groups are criticizing the Trump Administration's push to rescind a federal clean water rule. The rule prevents polluters from dumping into small waterways that flow into larger lakes and rivers. The Environmental Protection Agency wants to drop it, in an effort to give more power to the states and limit regulations. It was enacted under the Obama Administration as a partial update to the Clean Water Act , which was adopted decades earlier. Paige Browning reports. (KUOW) See also: E.P.A. Moves to Rescind Contested Water Pollution Regulation  Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Weed killer ingredient going on California list as cancerous
Regulators in California took a pivotal step today toward becoming the first state to require the popular weed killer Roundup to come with a label warning that it’s known to cause cancer. Officials announced that starting July 7 the weed killer’s main ingredient, glyphosate, will appear on a list California keeps of potentially cancerous chemicals. A year later, the listing could come with warning labels on the product, officials said. However, it’s not certain whether Roundup will ultimately get a warning label. (Associated Press)

Vancouver looks to reduce the millions of weekly coffee cups in garbage
More than two million plastic bags, 2.6 million paper coffee cups, and countless foam takeout food containers are thrown out each week in Vancouver. As part of its push to become the greenest city in the world, Vancouver is looking at ways to reduce the number of single-use items that end up in landfills. In 2011, the city set a goal of reducing the amount of solid waste by 50 per cent from 2008 levels by the year 2020. The most recent data, from 2015, shows that total waste has decreased by 27 per cent, or 129,000 tonnes, since 2008. The city is also planning to become a zero-waste community by 2040. Jennifer Saltman reports. (Vancouver Sun) See  also: Vancouver's possible ban of coffee cups, foam containers unreasonable, industry says   A representative of the restaurant industry says a possible ban on disposable cups, plastic bags and take-out container waste in Vancouver is not realistic. (CBC)

Northwest earthquake risk data might be skewed by distant temblors
Can an earthquake under the Indian Ocean cause an underwater landslide off the coast of Washington? In 2012, a magnitude-8.6 Indian Ocean earthquake caused underwater landslides more than 8,000 miles away according to a study published earlier this month in the “Journal of Geophysical Research.” University of Washington oceanographer Paul Johnson was the lead author for the study. Craig Hill reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Would you trust the feds to make decisions about your land?
Ashley Ahearn for Terrestrial writes: "Why would a fourth-generation rancher who doesn't put much trust in the government choose to work with federal agencies to restore salmon runs on her property? After the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon last year, I had questions about the relationship between private landowners and the government, particularly in the West. As I asked around, I heard about a woman named Liza Jane McAlister…." (KUOW)

Tree programs take root
A host of tree canopy initiatives have popped up in recent years in Seattle and King County. While none seek to limit tree loss to development on private property, the increase in attention is good news for trees owned by the city, many of which are nearing the end of their lifespan and will need to be replaced. These programs include: The One Million Trees Campaign, The Green Seattle Partnership, City Habitats, The Urban Bird Treaty, Trees for Neighborhoods and Tree Ambassadors. Adiel Kaplan reports. (Investigate West) See also: Red Cedar asthma: B.C.’s official tree can be source of health problems  Pamela Fayerman reports. (Vancouver Sun)

E.P.A. Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony, Emails Show 
The Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff pressured the top scientist on the agency’s scientific review board to alter her congressional testimony and play down the dismissal of expert advisers, his emails show. Deborah Swackhamer, an environmental chemist who leads the E.P.A.’s Board of Scientific Counselors, was to testify on May 23 before the House Science Committee on the role of states in environmental policy when Ryan Jackson, the E.P.A.’s chief of staff, asked her to stick to the agency’s “talking points” on the dismissals of several members of the scientific board. “I was stunned that he was pushing me to ‘correct’ something in my testimony,” said Dr. Swackhamer, a retired University of Minnesota professor. “I was factual, and he was not. I felt bullied.” Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times) See also: On Capitol Hill, EPA chief gets an earful about Trump’s ‘downright offensive’ budget plan  Brady Dennis reports. (Washington Post)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  235 AM PDT Wed Jun 28 2017  
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves less than 1 ft becoming 2 ft or less in the afternoon. W  swell 5 ft at 8 seconds.
 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 4 ft at 8 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

6/27 WA budget, Ken Ward, Karl Kruger, hantavirus, crow attacks, steelhead, bycatch, carbon rise, orca ride

Black-backed woodpecker {Paul Bannick/BirdNote]
Instrumental Bird Sounds
Feathers and bills make fascinating music! Birds communicate with a fascinating array of instrumental sounds, and nearly all are made with their feathers or bills. The territorial drumming of a woodpecker - like this Black-backed Woodpecker - is one example. American Crows clatter their beaks to make rattling sounds. And the remarkable drumming of a Ruffed Grouse is produced by a rapid beating of its wings. (BirdNote)

After Marathon Weekend, Washington Lawmakers Inching Closer To Budget Deal
It’s do-or-die week in Olympia. It's cliché to say, but if lawmakers don’t pass a budget and send it to the governor for his signature before midnight on Friday, state government will go into partial shutdown. Washington lawmakers are optimistic that won’t happen. They hunkered down through the weekend heatwave and in the words of one lawmaker “things are really progressing.” House Democrats and Senate Republicans need to get agreement on how much the next budget will spend, where the money will come from and how the state will comply with a Supreme Court mandate on school funding.  (Northwest News Network)

Valve-Turning Activist From Oregon Won’t Serve Prison Time
A climate activist from Oregon will not serve jail time for his part in an oil pipeline protest last fall. A Washington judge instead sentenced the so-called “valve turner” to a month of community service and six months of probation. Ken Ward of Corbett was one of five activists who turned valves off on several pipelines bringing oil from Canada to the United States. A Skagit, Washington, jury convicted him of second-degree burglary earlier this month. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Wow, Just Wow: Puget Sound To Alaska Alone On A Standup Paddleboard
An Orcas Island, Washington, man has become the first person to complete the Race to Alaska on a standup paddleboard. Karl Kruger stroked 750 miles solo from Port Townsend up the Inside Passage, crossing the finish line in Ketchikan Sunday evening.  A crowd came down to the harbor in Ketchikan to see Kruger accomplish an athletic feat that quite a few people had called crazy, nutty or foolhardy.  Tom Banse reports. (Northwest News Network)

Hantavirus case reported in Skagit County
A Skagit County resident has contracted hantavirus, according to Skagit County Public Health on Monday. It is the first case in the county since 2003. Hantavirus, which is carried by deer mice and is found in their waste, can be deadly. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Canada Post suspends mail delivery after crow attacks 
Canada Post says it will only resume mail delivery to three addresses in East Vancouver when it's safe, after a mail carrier was attacked by a well-known neighbourhood crow. Shawn Bergman and his neighbours haven't received mail for more than a month after Vancouver's famous Canuck the crow repeatedly attacked a carrier. On one occasion, the carrier was left bleeding. Alex Migdal reports. (CBC)

Study reveals strong juvenile trout drop in the ocean
A new study tracking 35-year trends for more than 40 steelhead populations determined that declining numbers of steelhead trout in the rivers flowing through British Columbia, Washington state, and Oregon are linked to poor survival of young fish in ocean environments. The research study, carried out by scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (CJFAS), reveals that declining survival of juvenile steelhead in the ocean is strongly coupled with significant declines in the abundance of adults. (Fish Information & Services)

10 million tonnes of fish catches dumped back into oceans: study
Fishing fleets dump about 10 per cent of the fish they catch back into the ocean in an "enormous waste" of low-value fish despite some progress in limiting discards in recent years, scientists said on Monday. A decade-long study, the first global review since 2005 and based on work by 300 experts, said the rate of discards was still high despite a decline from a peak in the late 1980s. Discarded fish are usually dead or dying. Almost 10 million tonnes of about 100 million tonnes of fish caught annually in the past decade were thrown back into the sea, according to the "Sea Around Us" review by the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Australia. Industrial fleets often throw back fish that are damaged, diseased, too small or of an unwanted species. A trawler with a quota only to catch North Atlantic cod, for instance, may throw back hake caught in the same net. (CBC)

Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize
On the best days, the wind howling across this rugged promontory has not touched land for thousands of miles, and the arriving air seems as if it should be the cleanest in the world. But on a cliff above the sea, inside a low-slung government building, a bank of sophisticated machines sniffs that air day and night, revealing telltale indicators of the way human activity is altering the planet on a major scale. For more than two years, the monitoring station here, along with its counterparts across the world, has been flashing a warning: The excess carbon dioxide scorching the planet rose at the highest rate on record in 2015 and 2016. A slightly slower but still unusual rate of increase has continued into 2017. Justin Gillis reports. (NY Times)

Seattle father, daughter cycling cross-country to save Orcas
A Seattle father and daughter will pedal in a 3,400-mile, cross-country bike ride — all in an effort of raising awareness and funding to protect northwest Orcas. Orcas are critically endangered in the Puget Sound area and despite recovery efforts, their numbers are dwindling. Fourteen-year-old Olivia Carpenter, a lifelong enthusiast of whales and the Salish Sea, says it's her goal in life to protect and save them. (KIRO)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  220 AM PDT Tue Jun 27 2017  
 Light wind becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves less than 1 ft becoming 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 6 ft at 8 seconds.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 1 to 3 ft in the evening becoming less than 1 ft. W swell  5 ft at 8 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

6/26 Rockfish, False Cr., Gwen Barlee, green crab, shellfish closure, Skagit steelhead, LaCross, TransCanada, TrumpBash

Bocaccio [NMFS/NOAA]
Two rockfish species make a comeback as conservation limits pay off
For fishermen and seafood lovers, there is good news about two species of rockfish. Stocks of bocaccio and the darkblotched rockfish have been rebuilt after years of conservation restrictions to protect populations knocked down by a combination of poor ocean conditions and overfishing. The actions included major closures of some fishing areas and reductions in the numbers of these fish that could be caught — even accidentally — by commercial fleets. Recreational fishermen also faced reductions in harvests. Such protections helped to protect the stocks until years when survival rates of young fish improve dramatically for reasons that scientists are still trying to understand. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Keep False Creek doo doo free: Park Board, City of Vancouver offer free boat pump outs
The City of Vancouver is offering free pump outs to pleasure crafts this weekend and for the summer in an effort to keep False Creek clean. The city says with warm weather and increased boat traffic, E. coli counts from illegal dumping is on the rise in the waters surrounding the city. It says boat sewage is a key source of fecal bacteria in False Creek. (Canadian Press)

Longtime B.C. environmental activist Gwen Barlee dies of cancer
She was a successful environmental activist known for her research skills and ability to back up her claims, but while Gwen Barlee’s death Thursday is a blow to B.C.’s environmental movement, others will continue her work…. Barlee, 54, died after a year-long battle with cancer. A few months ago, she fulfilled a long-time goal, presenting a 40,000-signature petition at the legislature asking for the creation of a provincial endangered species law. Glenda Luymes reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Are we at a crossroads in the green crab invasion on Dungeness Spit?
State biologists are holding out hope that the European green crab invasion at Dungeness Spit can be contained. We may now be going through a critical period, which could result in a permanent infestation or possibly the final throes of the invasion. Green crabs, an invasive species known to displace native species and cause economic devastation to shellfish growers, were first discovered on April 12 in a marshy area on Graveyard Spit, which juts off from the larger Dungeness Spit in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The total number of green crabs caught in an ongoing intensive trapping program has reached 76. The weekly numbers have been declining… but biologists are quite reserved in their predictions. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Beaches closed to recreational shellfish harvest
The areas between the Lyre River to the Jefferson County line, Discovery Bay and McCurdy Point west to the Clallam County line are now closed to recreational shellfish harvesting. The closures were announced [Friday] after samples taken Wednesday found high levels of the marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in samples of shellfish. Sequim Bay and Kilisut Harbor including Mystery Bay are open to all but the harvest of butter clams and varnish clams, which can hold toxins for a year. (Peninsula Dally News)

Plan submitted for Skagit River steelhead fishery
Fisheries managers are considering a plan to reopen the popular wild winter steelhead fishery on the Skagit River. Anglers have been unable to fish for wild steelhead on the Skagit River since 2010, when the winter catch-and-release fishery was closed because of low numbers of the threatened fish species returning to area rivers. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries is reviewing a steelhead management plan submitted to the federal agency in November by the state Department of Fish & Wildlife and area tribes. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Sibling lawyers defend oil pipeline protesters, and protesters closer to home
Demonstrations last year against a North Dakota oil pipeline near sacred Native American land and tribal water sources drew protesters from around the country, and the protesters’ trials are drawing sibling criminal defense lawyers with deep roots in South Kitsap. Jeniece and David LaCross, who operate separate law firms in Port Orchard and defend clients accused of everything from murder to meth possession, traveled last month to North Dakota to defend people cited as part of the demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Andrew Binion reports. (Kitsap Sun)

TransCanada pushes ahead with $2-billion gas pipeline expansion
TransCanada Corp. is moving ahead with a $2-billion expansion to its pipeline system in Alberta and British Columbia as industry hopes for a boom in liquefied natural gas exports fade. Calgary-based TransCanada said on Wednesday that plans for new capacity on its Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) system are backed by firm contracts with producers to ship roughly three billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. The project adds to a $5.1-billion program aimed at boosting pipeline capacity in the Montney and Deep Basin exploration zones, where producers have been hampered by weak prices owing in part to shipping constraints. Jeff Lewis reports. (Globe and Mail)

Adopt a Beach pilot program set on Peninsula
…. A new Adopt a Beach program, spearheaded by Washington CoastSavers, encourages people to take ownership of a Clallam County park beach and clear it of marine debris at least three times a year. The individuals, families, groups or organizations who adopt a beach will have their names printed on a sign in the park. Proposed beaches include Salt Creek at 3506 Camp Hayden Road, Port Angeles; Cline Spit at 199 Cline Spit Road, Sequim; Dungeness Landing at 298 Oyster House Road, Sequim; Port Williams at 2499 Port Williams Road, Sequim; and Panorama Vista at 282 Buck Loop Road, Sequim. (Peninsula Daily News)

Schwarzenegger and Macron join forces in swipe at Trump
French President Emmanuel Macron has taken another swipe at Donald Trump over the US president's policy on climate change - this time backed up by the muscle of Arnold Schwarzenegger. In a video on social media, Mr Macron is joined by the Terminator star as he vows to "make the planet great again". (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  226 AM PDT Mon Jun 26 2017  
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 6 ft  at 8 seconds. Patchy fog in the morning.
 W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 6 ft at 8 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 (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Friday, June 23, 2017

6/23 Species at risk, WA shutdown, salmon hotspots, ferries, Pendrell Sound, Anderson Cr., Salish film

American vetch
American vetch Vicia americana
American vetch is a species of legume with trailing or climbing stems, compound leaves and bluish purple flowers. The name vetch is from vicia, which is thought to be derived from the Latin vincio ('to bind') in reference to the climbing habit and twining tendrils of the plant.

Species at Risk Act failing to protect critical habitat, study says 
This month marks the 11th nesting season of the Pacific Western painted turtle since it was designated an endangered species, yet it remains without the critical protections it is supposed to receive within a year of being listed. Fifteen years after Canada's Species at Risk Act was implemented, a new study shows the majority of listed species are in the same situation as painted turtles; waiting for legally mandated critical habitat designation. "We have a law on the books and we're not using it," University of British Columbia Okanagan biologist and associate professor Karen Hodges said. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

What happens in a government shutdown in WA 
Mass layoffs of state workers, disruptions to government health services, and a loss of child care assistance. That’s only some of what’s in store under a partial government shutdown if state lawmakers can’t reach an agreement on Washington’s next two-year budget and pass it by midnight on June 30. It’s a scenario top lawmakers say is unlikely, and one that has never happened before. Walker Orenstein reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

New study maps out salmon hotspots across B.C. for bears
The long term salmon-eating habits of British Columbia's bears have been documented in a new study by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the University of Victoria.  Published Thursday in the peer-reviewed open-access journal Ecosphere, the study determined which specific locations in B.C. over 1,400 black and grizzly bears had a salmon meal —  by collecting bits of their hair from single strand barb wire corrals. (CBC)

Ferry Chimacum welcomes Bremerton, and vice versa
Ferries are fun, kids came away from a welcoming ceremony believing. Youngsters by the scores roamed the new vessel Chimacum on Thursday at the Bremerton dock ahead of its official debut Friday. Topped by colorful balloon hats, they held chocolate chip cookies as big as their heads in one hand and bags of popcorn in the other…. The Chimacum will sail in the No. 2 position, beginning with the 6:20 a.m. departure from Bremerton, so it can work late when only one boat is running. Because it has a full complement of life rafts, it can carry 1,500 passengers then instead of 600 on the Kaleetan. Ed Friedrich reports. (Kitsap Sun) See also: Bremerton fast ferry sets sail July 10  Coral Garnick reports. (Puget Sound Business Journal)

Destinations: Pendrell Sound famously tepid
Pristine. Beautiful. Breathtaking. The upper reaches of Pendrell Sound is all those things. And maybe that should be enough to make the inlet famous. But it’s not really what sets it apart from nearby Desolation Sound. What makes Pendrell so unique is its warm water. It’s a quirk of nature and geography, a tidal zone near where the Johnstone and Georgia straits collide, deep but with limited water circulation and drainage — the warm water tends to stay in the sound, near the surface. The result is a year-round water temperature of more than 23°C (74°F), and summer temperatures hitting 25°C (80°F). Some say these are the warmest Pacific waters north of Mexico. (Three Sheets Northwest)

A trick question: Can you locate Anderson Creek?
Let’s talk about Anderson Creek in Kitsap County. Where exactly is that stream? If you were to say that Anderson Creek is a stream that spills into Hood Canal near Holly, you would be right. If you are thinking of another Hood Canal stream — the one that you cross north of Seabeck while traveling on Anderson Hill Road — that would be right, too. And nobody could complain if you believe that Anderson Creek is the name of the stream that flows into Sinclair Inlet near Gorst. Officially, they are all Anderson Creek, according to the Geographic Names Information System, the official database of true names. GNIS is maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Rich underwater world explored in new film
Artist and film-maker Sarama has seen a world that most of us will never experience – and it begins just down the street from his Gibsons home. It is the vast underwater world of the Salish Sea that stretches from Puget Sound in the U.S. north to Quadra Island. Seven million people live around this body of water that harbours rich productive ecosystems, from the microscopic plankton to the giant octopus and whales. Sarama’s film, This Living Salish Sea, was over four years in the making and will have its world premiere in Gibsons on Monday, June 26, presented by the Green Films Series. Jan DeGrass reports. (Coast Reporter)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  259 AM PDT Fri Jun 23 2017  
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 4 ft at  9 seconds.
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. SW swell 4 ft  at 13 seconds.
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at  15 seconds.
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. SW swell 3 ft  at 16 seconds.
 Light wind becoming NW to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 4 ft at 15 seconds.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

6/22 Orca gang, Dozer, lege news, Tesoro fined, Shelton Hbr, energy cuts, Meadowdale restoration

Big brown bat [Ty Smedes/WDFW]
Bats of Washington
More than 15 species of bats live in Washington, from the common little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) to the rare Townsend's big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii). Head to tail, bats range in length from the 2.5-inch-long canyon bat (Parastrellus hesperus), to the 6-inch long hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus). The hoary bat has a body approximately the size of a house sparrow and a wingspan of 17 inches. The species most often seen flying around human habitat include the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis), big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus), and California myotis (Myotis californicus). (WDFW)

Gangs of aggressive killer whales are shaking down Alaska fishing boats for their fish: report
The orcas will wait all day for a fisher to accumulate a catch of halibut, and then deftly rob them blind. They will relentlessly stalk individual fishing boats, sometimes forcing them back into port. Most chilling of all, this is new: After decades of relatively peaceful coexistence with cod and halibut fishers off the coast of Alaska, the region’s orcas appear to be turning on them in greater numbers. Tristan Hopper reports. (National Post)

Not just another pretty face
As Lauren Bacall leaves the room in “To Have and Have Not” she says to Humphrey Bogart, “You know how to whistle, don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.” It’s a sensuous scene, one of cinema’s most famous. Well, Dozer, the reasonably svelte and handsome 24-year-old Pacific walrus knows how to whistle and it’s part of his repertoire in wooing the three females at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma. Alan Berner reports, (Seattle Times)

With government shutdown looming, Olympia heads into a third OT session
With lawmakers gridlocked over on a new budget and education funding, Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday called a third special legislative session. Without a new budget, parts of the state government would shut down on July 1. Joseph O'Sullivan report. (Seattle Times) See also: B.C. Legislature set to return for first time since election  MLAs to elect speaker Thursday morning followed by government speech from the throne Richard Zussman reports. (CBC)

Ecology fines Tesoro Refinery, individual for pollution in 2016
The state Department of Ecology recently issued penalties for bacterial pollution released at March Point and for sediment that killed fish in the upper Samish River watershed in mid to late 2016. The Tesoro Anacortes Refinery at March Point was fined $5,000 for the release of excess fecal coliform bacteria in December. An individual who lives on Shaw Road in north Skagit County is being fined $4,000 for sending sediment into Barrel Springs Creek in August. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Simpson, Ecology agree to clean up Shelton Harbor
The Department of Ecology and Simpson Timber Company are beginning the process of cleaning up Shelton Harbor on Oakland Bay, after years of industrial activity has contaminated the harbor. The timber company has entered into an agreed order with the state agency to create, complete and submit a remedial investigation and feasibility study work plan, an interim action work plan, progress reports, a cleanup action plan and a final report to Ecology. Public comment on the agreed order and on the public participation plan will be accepted until June 26; the agreed order is available for viewing at the Shelton Timberland Library and online at Arla Shephard Bullreports. (Kitsap Sun)

WA Republicans join Democrats in opposing Trump energy budget cuts
Both Democrats and Republicans pushed back against cuts proposed for the U.S. Department of Energy when Energy Secretary Rick Perry came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Washington state Republicans criticized Trump administration proposals to lop one-fourth off efforts to clean up radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and sell off much of the Northwest’s high-voltage power grid. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Meadowdale Beach Park estuary restoration project would turn culvert into bridge
In a few years, Meadowdale Beach Park won’t end with railroad tracks and a culvert leading out to the beach. Instead, Snohomish County officials are planning to turn the area into an open estuary habitat with a more open access. The project has been in the works for a few years, county officials told a group of about 50 community members during an open house about the project on Wednesday night at Meadowdale High School. It is currently about 30 percent through its planning phase. Natalie Covate reports. (MyEdmondsNews.Com)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  243 AM PDT Thu Jun 22 2017  
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 6 ft at  9 seconds.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

6/21 Fir Island, Salish Eagle, military airstrips, Prince of Whales, saving orcas, port revenue

Deer mouse
Deer Mouse Peromyscus keeni
The northwestern deer mouse or Keen's mouse is a species of rodents in the family Cricetidae. It is found in British Columbia in Canada and in Alaska and Washington in the United States. It was named after the Rev. John Henry Keen in 1894. Deer mice may appear harmless, but they are known carriers of dangerous diseases such as hantavirus. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can develop from inhaling the virus when deer mouse urine or feces is disturbed. Utmost care should be employed when disposing of deer mouse droppings.

Tour held at Fir Island restoration site
The state Department of Fish & Wildlife gave a tour Tuesday of the restoration work that has been done at the Fire Island Farms Reserve Unit. The tour showcased the intertidal habitat that was opened about a year ago. The Fir Island Farms restoration project, done by Fish & Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy and other partners, moved back levees built decades earlier to protect farmland. Moving the levees has allowed saltwater to reach 131 acres of fields during high tides over the past year, creating salmon habitat and refuge for many types of birds. (Skagit Valley Herald)

New ferry to be launched on Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands route
The Salish Eagle, the second of three new vessels joining the B.C. Ferries fleet this year, begins service Wednesday with a 9:10 a.m. sailing on the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands route. The Salish Orca was the first of the trio in service, starting in May on the Powell River-Comox route. The Salish Raven arrived in Victoria on June 7 and is due to start service in the fall, also in the Southern Gulf Islands. All three ferries are 107 metres long and can carry 145 vehicles and 600 passengers. They were built in Poland at an overall cost of $200 million and are all duel-fuel — able to run on natural gas or ultralow sulphur marine diesel. Jeff Bell reports. (Times Colonist)

Military Airstrips Are Poisoning People's Wells
…. [The Swanson family well on Whidbey Island is contaminated.] It has six times the Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory level of what are called perfluorinated chemicals. These are chemicals that have been linked to cancer, thyroid and liver problems, and low birth weight and other developmental problems. A 2009 study by the Washington Department of Ecology found these chemicals in waterways and wildlife in the Pacific Northwest--but the state’s plan to deal with the problem is six years behind schedule…. The toxic chemicals made their way into the Swansons’ well from fire-fighting foams dumped on a naval airstrip less than three miles away. The Swansons and their neighbors aren’t the only ones to find their drinking water contaminated this way. Wells near Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Tacoma and Fairchild Air Force Base outside of Spokane have also been contaminated. The same thing happened to the water supply in Issaquah, which has a fire training facility nearby. And the EPA and military have identified other contaminated sites across the country. Eilís O'Neill and Tony Schick report. (KUOW/EarthFix)

$3.5M whale-watching vessel launches for Victoria-Vancouver tours
Alan McGillivray has made a $3.5-million bet on Victoria and he may be considering a second one. The president of adventure-tour operator Prince of Whales said he believes in the city, its economy and its ability to draw millions of tourists each year, which is why he spent $3.5 million to design and build a new 95-passenger catamaran, the Salish Sea Dream. “I’m very bullish on Victoria. I grew up in Victoria and I have the ocean in my blood,” said McGillivray, who started his company in 1993 as a water taxi business in Sidney. Andrew A. Duffy reports. (Times Colonist)

Whales and Ships Shouldn't Mix
With more heavy vessel traffic going in and out of the Salish Sea, the greater likelihood of whales being hit. J34 was struck and killed late last year; an endangered fin whale was killed this Spring. Environmental engineer and project manager Krista Trounce discusses how the Vancouver BC Fraser Port Authority-led ECHO (Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation) Program is working to understand and manage the impact of shipping on Salish Sea whales. Certainly an important topic for ports, shippers and whale watchers. Krista speaks on June 22 at 7 pm at Dakota Park Place Building, 4303 Dakota Place SW, Seattle. Advance tickets at See also: Save the Whales Local efforts step up to protect Salish Sea orcas
Tim Johnson brings us up to date on local efforts. (Cascadia Weeekly)

New report says privatizing Canada's ports could generate significant revenue
A new report from the C.D. Howe Institute says changing the financial structure of Canada's major ports could raise much needed infrastructure money and benefit taxpayers. Canada's 18 ports are overseen by Canada Port Authorities, an arms-length organization overseen by the federal government. The port authorities manage safety and navigation services, permits, and leases for different terminal operators. In November, the federal government hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to review Canada's port system as part of a larger drive to increase private investment to raise money for infrastructure. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  321 AM PDT Wed Jun 21 2017  
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming W 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft. NW  swell 6 ft at 9 seconds.
 W wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less. NW  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 (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

6/20 Navy training, Navy suit, fern deaths, coral bleaching, oil spill robots, undersea drones

Rufous hummingbird [Conrad Tan/BirdNote]
A Rufous in the Rain
In a garden near the McKenzie River in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, a downpour pummels the landscape. Imagine a Rufous Hummingbird, like this male, out and about, extracting nectar, searching for gnats and aphids. A hummingbird's stamina against the heavy rain is marvelous. Consider this: its body is nine and a half centimeters long; the average raindrop is about four millimeters. That would be like a person 5'8" being pounded by a torrent of raindrops each three inches across. Incredible! (BirdNote.Org)

Navy reading public comments on Puget Sound training plan
Navy officials are in the process of reading comments from the public on its proposed special operations training in the Puget Sound area. Navy officials are reading the comments before drafting an environmental assessment, according to Sheila Murray, deputy public affairs officer for the Navy Region Northwest…. Murray said the Navy plans to have a draft of the environmental assessment published in late fall or early winter this year. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Navy skips permit for Bremerton boat scraping; environmentalists sue
Earlier this year, the Navy scraped the hull of the U.S.S. Independence to prepare it for dismantlement. That likely released heavy metals into the waters of Puget Sound, which is bad for salmon and orcas. The Navy didn’t get a permit for the work, so environmental groups sued this week. But in Bremerton? It's going to take more than that to shake this town's love of the Navy. Joshua McNichols reports. (KUOW)

Sword Fern Deaths In Washington's Seward Park Mystify Experts 
About a third of the sword ferns in a northwestern Washington state park have died and it’s not clear why. Officials tracking the forest dwelling sword ferns in the 300-acre (121-hectare) Seward Park in Seattle say the ferns have been dying at an accelerating rate in the last few years. Forest Steward Paul Shannon says studies found 3 percent of the park’s sword ferns dead in 2015 but that jumped to 33 percent in 2016. (Associated Press)

3-year global coral bleaching event easing, but still bad 
A mass bleaching of coral reefs worldwide is finally easing after three years, U.S. scientists announced Monday. About three-quarters of the world’s delicate coral reefs were damaged or killed by hot water in what scientists say was the largest coral catastrophe. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a global bleaching event in May 2014. It was worse than previous global bleaching events in 1998 and 2010. The forecast damage doesn’t look widespread in the Indian Ocean, so the event loses its global scope. Bleaching will still be bad in the Caribbean and Pacific, but it’ll be less severe than recent years, said NOAA coral reef watch coordinator C. Mark Eakin. Seth Borenstein reports. (Associated Press)

Robots roll out to help stop oil spills
It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. And when it comes to the expensive, claustrophobic and sometimes dangerous work of inspecting natural gas and oil pipelines, that somebody might be a robot…. According to the federal government, more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines supply the nation's energy needs. But aging and deteriorating pipelines pose substantial risks. In Northern California, a natural gas pipeline explosion killed eight people in San Bruno in September 2010. Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reports that since 2010, an average of about 200 crude oil spills a year are reported. While most of the leaks are small, it's been estimated that 8.9 million gallons have been spilled during that time. (

Boeing makes plans to use undersea drones as another growth opportunity
Boeing’s recently announced underwater drone manufacturing partnership with Huntington Ingalls Industries brings together two of the U.S.’ biggest defense contractors in an emerging market. But the combination of the world’s largest airplane maker and the U.S’ largest military shipbuilder is more than just about name recognition, Boeing defense segment CEO Leanne Caret told a Defense One-hosted event Wednesday morning in Washington. Ross Wilkers reports. Washington Technology)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  351 AM PDT Tue Jun 20 2017  
 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 5  ft at 10 seconds. Scattered showers in the morning.
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. 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 (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

6/19 Pyrosomes, 'normal' Sound, eeelgrass, BC climate, water rights, Daisy, orca video, pipelines, Papahanaumokuakea

Pyrosomes, Nootka Sound [Matt Stabler/CBC]
Massive Bloom Of Pickle-Shaped Sea Creatures Fills The Pacific
Millions of tubular sea creatures called pyrosomes have taken over the Pacific Ocean in an unprecedented bloom that has scientists baffled. These bumpy, translucent organisms look like sea cucumbers that range in size from six inches to more than two feet long. But they’re actually made up of hundreds of tiny animals knit together with tissue into a filter-feeding cylinder. And they’re everywhere, filling the waters off the West Coast all the way up to Alaska, and washing up on beaches. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix) See also: Millions of tropical sea creatures 'blooming' off B.C. coast  Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

Everything 'normal' in Puget Sound after disastrous wastewater spill
Four months after a disastrous wastewater spill in Puget Sound, water quality levels are normal. Hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage and stormwater spilled from the West Point treatment plant near Discovery Park. Local lawmakers called it a disaster, and it cost King County millions of dollars in repairs. King County's Wastewater Treatment Division has been checking the water quality every week, watching bacteria levels, the amount of solids, nutrients, dissolved oxygen and more. Paige Browning reports. (KUOW)

Eelgrass declines pose a mystery
Scientists want to know why eelgrass is on the decline in some areas of Puget Sound and not others. The answer will affect future strategies for protecting one of the ecosystem’s most critical saltwater plants. Rachel Berkowitz reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Climate change cost: What will be B.C.'s price tag?
Studies suggest that climate change could cost Canada billions by 2020, while a recent UN report says for many countries, the cost of adapting to climate change could hit $500 billion per year by 2050. B.C.'s portion could be hefty — but there will be variables. For example, the cost of living for average British Columbians could go up if agricultural crops that the province typically imports from elsewhere fail. Infrastructure costs might rise due to new climate events, like rising sea levels. (CBC)

Dems, GOP sit down for serious talks on water rights law
Negotiations on new state rules for drilling wells began this week, ending the longest political stand-off in the Legislature this year. Representatives of the Democrat-controlled House, Republican-led Senate and governor’s office sat down Wednesday for their first face-to-face talks on a response to the Supreme Court ruling effectively ending the ability of homeowners to drill a well without a permit. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

Daisy, harbour porpoise rescued in 2008, dies at Vancouver Aquarium
Preliminary necropsy results indicate that Daisy the harbour porpoise had pulmonary disease, Vancouver Aquarium officials said Friday as they dealt with the death of one of the aquarium’s three remaining cetaceans. The death, announced late Thursday night, comes in the midst of ongoing debate over the future of cetaceans at the facility, and on the same day the aquarium launched a legal challenge against a recently enacted bylaw banning cetaceans like Daisy. Stephanie Ip reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Curiosity and openness distinguish new video on captive killer whales
British broadcaster Jonny Meah assumes an attitude of natural curiosity as he takes a close look at the question of whether killer whales should be kept in tanks for public display. In a video he produced and edited, Meah visits Marineland of Antibes in the French Riviera, where he lays out the best case possible for each side of the argument. “Inside the Tanks” is Meah’s first-ever documentary production, and he is not afraid to put himself in the middle of the debate, expressing his own feelings as he weighs each side. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Trans Mountain pipeline's necessity questioned as tanker traffic slumps
Crude exports via supertanker from the Port of Vancouver fell 40 per cent between 2014 and 2016, a decline that has led critics of the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to challenge the need for the project. In its report last year recommending approval of the Kinder Morgan project, the National Energy Board cited the company's figures when it said the terminal typically loads five crude tankers a month. It forecast that, with the proposed pipeline expansion, that number could climb to 34 a month depending on demand from shippers. Shawn McCarthy, Justine Hunter and  Kelly Cryderman report. (Globe and Mail)

Judge won’t allow Trump to be added to pipeline lawsuit
A judge says he’s inclined to let a group of individual members of American Indian tribes join a lawsuit over the Dakota Access oil pipeline, but only if they agree to not add President Donald Trump as a defendant. Any action against the president whose administration pushed through the pipeline’s completion would need to come in a separate lawsuit, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said. The group’s lead attorney said that’s still a possibility. The pipeline began shipping oil to customers on June 1. (Associated Press)

Oil’s pipeline to America’s schools
…Decades of documents reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity reveal a tightly woven network of organizations that works in concert with the oil and gas industry to paint a rosy picture of fossil fuels in America’s classrooms. Led by advertising and public-relations strategists, the groups have long plied the tools of their trade on impressionable children and teachers desperate for resources. Jie Jenny Zou reports. (Center for Public Integrity)

535 Scientists Want Trump To Leave Hawaii's Marine Monument Alone
Responding to an executive order from President Donald Trump, 535 marine scientists, climatologists and others have signed a letter in support of marine reserves, citing the role they play in protecting fish populations and other marine life. The letter sent Wednesday to U.S. senators highlights the extensive scientific literature that the scientists say has provided compelling evidence that strongly protected reserves conserve biodiversity while boosting the economy. Mark Hixon, a University of Hawaii biology professor, was among the scientists who signed the letter. He pointed at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the biggest of all the reserves that Trump has ordered the Department of Interior to review. Nathan Eagle reports. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PDT Mon Jun 19 2017  
 E wind to 10 kt becoming N in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. Patchy fog.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds. A slight chance  of rain after midnight.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

6/16 Sea lice, DNR plan, whale talk, Scott Pruitt, climate action, shooting birds, big duck, Iceberg Pt

Oceanspray [WSU]
Oceanspray, Creambush
Oceanspray Holodiscus discolor is commonly called 'ironwood,' a name reflecting the hardness and strength of its wood. The wood is made even harder by heating it over a fire; if was then usually polished with horsetail stems. It was used to make digging sticks, spear and harpoon shafts, bows and arrow shafts by virtually all coastal native groups. The Saanich, Stl'atl'imx and other groups steeped the brownish fruiting clusters of oceanspray in boiling water to make an infusion that was drunk for diarrhea, especially in children. This solution was also drunk for measles and chickenpox, and as a blood tonic. Before the use of nails, oceanspray pegs were used in construction. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Salmon farms should be more worried about a 2nd species of sea lice, researcher says
Migrating young sockeye salmon that are highly infected with parasitic sea lice grow more slowly, according to a new study from Simon Fraser University researchers. That matters, the experts said, because growing quickly can be the difference between life and death for vulnerable juvenile salmon…. Salmon farms do have measures to monitor and control one species of sea louse, but nearly all the lice found on this study's juvenile salmon were a different species — which isn't targeted in current measures.  Rhianna Schmunk reports. (CBC)

DNR boss to appoint forest panel; focus on marbled murrelet, 10-year sustainable harvest
The state Department of Natural Resources will assemble a panel of experts to help plan for the future of state forests, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said. Franz, who was elected as DNR’s top official last November, will appoint representatives of the forest industry, environmental community, trust beneficiaries and others to help address social, economic and environmental impacts of the final Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for the marbled murrelet, agency officials said. That will affect the 10-year sustainable harvest calculation.  Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Vancouver Aquarium launches legal challenge of cetacean ban
The Vancouver Aquarium has launched a legal challenge to overturn the Vancouver Park Board's recent ban on cetaceans. In a statement issued Wednesday the aquarium said it has applied to the B.C. Supreme Court for a judicial review of the bylaw amendment banning dolphins and whales from the Stanley Park facility. The aquarium is challenging several aspects of the ban, including the park board's statutory power to enact the ban with a bylaw amendment. It also challenges the board's refusal to hear aquarium representatives concerning the amendment, the "vague" language of the amendment, its impact on the aquarium's $100 million expansion plan and its impact on the aquarium's marine mammal rescue program. (CBC)

County officials discuss how to protect orcas
San Juan County officials are brainstorming local ways to protect Southern resident killer whales. Suggestions at the June 6 council meeting ranged from more enforcement of current state boating regulations to a 10-year moratorium on catching Chinook salmon in the county. “If we keep doing things the same way, we’ll get the same result,” said Kendra Smith, manager of the San Juan County Environmental Resources Department about orca conservation efforts. “It’s important for us to look at ourselves and ask ‘What have we done so far?’ and ‘What do we think is working?’” Haley Day reports. (San Juan Journal)

Grant program supports orca projects
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is taking proposals for grant funding to support orca whale conservation through its Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program. Since its start in 2015, the program has invested about $1.9 million in orca conservation, primarily through research and restoration to help the endangered southern resident orcas that live in the Salish Sea. The grant program supports work to increase food for the orcas — primarily chinook salmon — as well as improve habitat and fill research gaps. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Emails reiterate EPA chief's ties to fossil fuel interests
Newly obtained emails underscore just how closely Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt coordinated with fossil fuel companies while serving as Oklahoma’s state attorney general, a position in which he frequently sued to block federal efforts to curb planet-warming carbon emissions. The latest batch of Pruitt’s emails, provided to The Associated Press on Thursday, runs more than 4,000 pages. They include schedules and lists of speaking engagements from the years before Pruitt became the nation’s top environmental watchdog, recounting dozens of meetings between Pruitt, members of his staff, and executives and lobbyists from the coal, oil and gas industries. Many of the calendar entries were blacked out, making it impossible for the public to know precisely where Pruitt traveled or with whom he met. Michael Biesecker and Adam Kealoha Causey report. (Associated Press)

Canada's climate leader no more: how B.C. fell from the top
2007 was supposed to be the green turning point in British Columbia. That year, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a memorandum of understanding on climate change and pledged to lead the West Coast into a brave new green world…. Fast forward ten years and California — with some of the strictest climate regulations in the United States — continues to forge ahead…. In the meantime, B.C.'s ambitious carbon tax plan stalled.  Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

Polls show support for state action on climate change — near and far
If the U.S. government fails to take action on climate change, a majority of Americans would like their states to pick up the ball and run with it. Some 66 percent of those participating in a national survey agreed with the statement: “If the federal government fails to address the issue of global warming, it is my state’s responsibility to address the problem.” Residents of Washington state appear to feel even stronger about the need for state action, according to a survey by The Nature Conservancy, which is preparing for a statewide initiative to be placed on the 2018 general election ballot. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Seabirds Disappear In The Midst Of Plans To Shoot Them
For the second year in a row, thousands of cormorants have vacated their nesting grounds at the mouth of the Columbia River, derailing a plan to shoot and kill the seabirds to protect fish. East Sand Island is usually packed with around 15,000 nesting cormorants this time of year; but right now there are none – just a handful of abandoned nests and broken eggs. As managers watch for the missing birds, advocates with the Portland Audubon Society are calling for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revoke the permits that allowed officials to shoot the birds in the first place. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shot and killed 248 double-crested cormorants in April as part of a plan to cut the size of the seabird colony by more than half and reduce its impact on imperiled salmon and steelhead. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Tacoma’s gigantic rubber ducky is ruffling feathers in Canada
The gigantic rubber duck plying the waters of Tacoma for the Festival of Sail is bird non grata in Canada…. The controversy started when the Liberal Party government in Ontario announced that it granted $120,000 (about $90,000 U.S.) to rent the duck from Festival of Sail organizer Craig Samborski. The idea is to use it to celebrate Canada 150 — the country’s 150th anniversary in late June and early July. The opposition Conservative Party saw a lame duck and took aim. Craig Sailor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

San Juan Islands archaeological dig postponed after islanders have their say
The Bureau of Land Management will not allow an archaeological dig at Iceberg Point in the San Juan Islands this summer after officials got an earful from residents concerned about possible impacts to the popular area. The federal agency announced Wednesday that it needs more time to evaluate the 80 or more substantive comments it received in May on a proposed archaeological field school at the southernmost point of Lopez Island. For the past four years, Iceberg Point, a coastal hiking spot with sweeping views of Puget Sound, has been part of the San Juan Islands National Monument. The BLM has called it an “Area of Critical Environmental Concern” since 1990. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Starting July 12, you’ll need to bring your own bags to stores in Tacoma
Tacoma’s idea of BYOB will kick in next month. Starting July 12, you’ll need to bring your own bags when you shop anywhere in the city limits. The City Council passed the Bring Your Own Bag ordinance July 12, 2016. Debbie Cockrell reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Fri Jun 16 2017  
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 7 ft  at 9 seconds. A chance of showers in the morning.
 NW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming W to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. SW swell 6 ft at 9 seconds.
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds.
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NE to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E in the afternoon. Wind waves  2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.

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