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. EilĂ­s 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.

"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 15, 2017

6/15 Carbon tax, ship cleaning, suing BNSF, DAPL do-over, BC pipes, Cherry Pt study, tanker fumes, UP rail, Maine monument

Brittle star (Dave Cowles, Walla Walla University)
Brittle star Ophiopholis aculeata
Ophiopholis aculeata
is like Pisaster ochraceus (Ocher star), an echinoderm that exhibits extremely varied hues and patterns for no apparent reason. The variations of the arms, moreover, are independent of the design of the central disc. No two Ophiopholis aculeata have been found to be exactly alike. (The Intertidal Wilderness)

American white pelicans
Regarding yesterday's posting about American white pelicans coming north (Squadron of American white pelicans spotted across Vancouver Island), Heather from Burley Lagoon WA writes: "Maybe the pelicans ARE establishing a new migration route.  Nine of those beauties flew in to Pierce County's Burley Lagoon, stayed over a  week, then were tracked  farther southwest in South Puget Sound. While here, the pelicans feasted on forage fish, took long and daily naps in a group and slept on private beaches at night.  We have seen the occasional gray pelican, but never whites. It was a thrilling sight for all!"

Nature Conservancy weighs potential carbon tax measure in Washington
Saying there’s a huge opportunity to move forward on climate change, The Nature Conservancy is weighing a potential carbon-tax ballot measure to put before voters as early as next year. The Seattle-based conservation group on Monday filed three proposed initiatives to the people with the Secretary of State’s Office as it prepares the groundwork for a possible 2018 ballot measure. Mo McBroom, the group’s government relations director, said the group is in the early stages of research and planning. They’ll decide later this year or next year how to move forward with the boldest plan possible “at the soonest possible date,” she said Tuesday. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Tribe, groups to sue Navy over ship cleaning in Puget Sound
The Suquamish Tribe and two environmental groups have sued the U.S. Navy, alleging the Navy cleaned a decommissioned aircraft carrier in Puget Sound in violation of federal clean-water laws. The mothballed 60,000-ton USS Independence was cleaned in waters near Bremerton, Washington, in January and February before it was towed to Brownsville, Texas, this month to be dismantled. The tribe, Washington Environmental Council and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance say the Navy scraped the ship's hull and sent toxic copper-based paint, zinc and other pollutants into the water. They say Navy should have obtained permits under the Clean Water Act authorizing such discharges. (Associated Press)

Swinomish welcomes ruling in BNSF lawsuit
The Swinomish Tribe can move forward with a lawsuit against BNSF Railway over how it runs trains over the reservation. A U.S. District Court ruled June 8 that the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community’s lawsuit to enforce the tribe’s right-of-way easement agreement with BNSF can proceed despite the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act. The tribe sued BNSF in April 2015 for violating the terms of an easement agreement allowing trains to cross its reservation in Skagit County. In January, the court ruled there was no dispute that BNSF breached the easement when “BNSF neither apprised the tribe of its cargo nor obtained the tribe’s written agreement to an increase in the number of trains and the number of cars in those trains.” (GoAnacortes.Com)

Federal judge rejects Dakota Access Pipeline permits, calls for do-over 
In a dramatic turnaround, a federal judge has ruled that permits to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline must be reconsidered, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has demanded the flow of oil through the pipeline be stopped. Completion of the controversial pipeline was stopped by the Obama Administration last December, with a call for an environmental-impact statement to assess risks…. President Trump called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue the permits, which it did shortly after he took office. Completion of the pipeline swiftly followed, as contractors drilled under a lake formed by a dam on the Missouri River, to hook up the two ends of the pipeline. The flow of oil began June 1. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

B.C. hereditary tribal leader aims to fight Pacific NorthWest LNG project 
A Federal Court case has cast the spotlight on a hereditary tribal leader’s battle against a liquefied natural gas project in northern British Columbia. Donnie Wesley argues that he has the rightful claim to be recognized as hereditary head chief of the Gitwilgyoots tribe – one of nine allied tribes of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation. Mr. Wesley, a vocal critic of Pacific NorthWest LNG, is asking Federal Court to clear the way for a judicial review into whether Ottawa acted properly last year in approving the proposal to build an $11.4-billion liquefaction terminal on Lelu Island in the Port of Prince Rupert. Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Kinder Morgan may still offer pipeline ownership to Indigenous groups
The chief executive of Kinder Morgan Canada said Wednesday he tried behind the scenes to allow Indigenous groups in British Columbia to have an ownership stake in a new multi-billion-dollar oil export pipeline, but such a deal never came together. Ian Anderson was discussing the company's proposed Trans Mountain expansion project, which would transport oil and other products from Edmonton to Vancouver. Construction is slated to begin in September, although some Indigenous and political leaders want to delay the project. Kyle Bakx reports. (CBC)

What’s up with Whatcom Council’s $150K study of fossil fuel exports from Cherry Point?
A controversial $150,000 study into what Whatcom County can and can’t do when it comes to fossil fuel exports moving through the community will begin once an outside law firm has been hired for the project…. A list of possible firms has been narrowed to Cascadia Law Group, environmental attorneys with offices in Seattle and Olympia, although a contract hasn’t been signed. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Burping Tankers Spread Sulfurous Fumes
The smelly cloud of sulfurous fumes that wafted over Bellingham Saturday evening, June 3, was apparently not that unusual an occurrence. It happened due to an overpressure on the Italian oil tanker Mare Siculum, which was then anchored east of Vendovi Island, awaiting unloading at the BP Refinery at Cherry Point, northwest of the city. Standard procedure under these conditions is to vent the built-up gases and relieve excess pressure on the tanker holds, according to US Coast Guard Lieutenant Krysta Zangle of its Foreign Vessel Branch in Seattle. “The smell of the fumes is indicative of cargo vapors being released as a result of pressure build-up within the cargo tanks,” she explained in a email. “This is a normal occurrence that ensures the safety of the tanker and our waterways.” Michael Riordan reports. (NW Citizen)

Board Affirms Oregon County's Denial Of Railroad Expansion
An Oregon county had substantial evidence when it denied Union Pacific Railroad’s proposed track expansion along the Columbia River where an oil train derailed last year, a board ruled Tuesday. The Columbia River Gorge Commission upheld the findings by Wasco County commissioners who cited concerns about the project’s impacts on the treaty rights of Native American tribes in rejecting the railroad’s application last November. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

US Interior chief 'comfortable' keeping Maine land public
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke praised the beauty of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument on Wednesday and said he's "comfortable" with the National Park Service property remaining in public hands. With flies buzzing and Mount Katahdin as a backdrop, Zinke sounded optimistic about the future of special land designation granted by President Barack Obama last summer with a goal of giving an economic jolt to the region. Patrick Whittle reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PDT Thu Jun 15 2017  
 E wind rising to 15 to 25 kt this morning becoming SE  this afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 7 ft at 9 seconds.  Rain.
 S wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 8 ft at 9 seconds.  Showers in the evening then showers likely 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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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

6/14 Pelicans, Tacoma waterways, Grovers Cr Preserve, WA climate, ECHO, slug video

American white pelicans, Parksville BC (Peter Koughan/CBC)
Squadron of American white pelicans spotted across Vancouver Island
A squadron of rare American white pelicans has been spotted across Vancouver Island over the last few weeks.  "They have been spotted all over the Island in the last 10 days or so," said Birder Ann Nightingale. "Everywhere from the Victoria golf course over Prospect Lake, Tofino, Parksville, Cowichan Bay — really travelling over the Island." Nightingale said the pelicans could be developing a new migration route. (CBC)

Tacoma’s Cleaned Up Waterways Need Legislative Attention, Advocates Say
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent over the last few decades to clean up toxic pollution from the region’s industrial past. In Tacoma, a prime spot for manufacturing and processing is the waterfront area in the center of town. The City of Destiny no longer suffers from the notorious “Tacoma aroma” of its past. But some of the less-visible cleanup work is vulnerable because of budget cuts before the state legislature. Advocates from two environmental groups have been hosting boat tours of the Tacoma waterways, to call attention to how far the city has come in cleaning up its pollution. Bellamy Pailhorp reports. (KNKX)

‘This land has had an amazing transformation’
Brothers John and Doug Helton have many memories of helping their grandfather Edward Niemeier clear brush on the old stump farm he bought in the late 1940s. They remember wandering the property as young boys in search of old fragments of yellow and blue blasting wire — a reminder of the dynamite that was used to dislodge big, old-growth stumps…. The Helton brothers inherited the land in 2000 and considered options for its future. Having previously worked with conservation groups in both Washington and Montana to conserve land, it was an easy decision for them to sell their 80 acres to Great Peninsula Conservancy to protect forever. Now part of the conservancy’s 280-acre Grovers Creek Preserve, the land is home to bear, beaver, steelhead, coho, cutthroat trout, and countless birds. (Kitsap Daily News)

Washington’s biggest businesses aim to fill climate void left by Trump
It’s rush hour in Wallingford, and commuters are stepping off a bus, closing up their laptops and heading into the evening sun. It’s not public transit. It’s a Microsoft Connector bus. The buses eliminate nearly 12 million miles of driving a year, saving stress and exhaust. The fleet of white and green buses is one of Microsoft’s more visible efforts to lower its impact on the global climate. John Ryan reports. (KUOW) See also: Seattle City Council Wants Puget Sound Energy to Stop Using Coal-Fired Facility  A resolution sponsored by Mike O’Brien upholds the Paris climate accord goals and takes it a few steps further. Hayat Norimine reports. (SeattleMet)

ECHO Program Aims to Reduce Impact on Whales From Vessels in the Salish Sea
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

If you like to watch: 'Cute' slug unlikely star of viral timelapse video
As viral animal videos go, slugs may not appear strong contenders alongside furry classics like sneezing baby panda or massaging kittens. But they clearly have their fans — as demonstrated by the 2.1 million views a munching B.C. slug has garnered on Facebook in the past few days. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  238 AM PDT Wed Jun 14 2017  
 S wind to 10 kt becoming SE in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of showers.
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5  ft at 10 seconds. A slight chance of rain in the evening then  rain likely 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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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

6/13 Kalama gas, Bears Ears, net rule nixed, BC pipe $, squirrel, Tesoro, oil cleanup, HI seabirds

"Riley" [PHOTO: Laurie MacBride]
The Life of Riley
Laurie MacBride in Eye On Environment writes: 'On those all too-rare occasions when she was able to kick back and do nothing other than enjoy the day, my mother always had one thing to say: “Well, ain’t this the life of Riley!” I’m reminded of this on sunny days in June, when I run across Red-legged frogs lounging in our pond – as if they have no worries or cares in the world (not even any concern that they’re a species at risk)….'

Climate Activists in Pacific Northwest Fight Construction of World's Largest Methanol Refinery
Climate activists in the Pacific Northwest have rallied against a tsunami of fossil export proposals over the last five years:  coal, oil and the latest, petrochemical projects. The fight against a proposal to build the world's largest methanol refinery on the banks of the Columbia River using fracked gas may be their biggest fight to date. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Currents)

Interior Head Suggests Reducing Bears Ears National Monument
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Monday recommended that the new Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be reduced in size and said Congress should step in to designate how selected areas of the 1.3 million-acre site are managed. Zinke made the recommendation as part of an interim report to President Donald Trump on the scenic swath of southern Utah with red rock plateaus, cliffs and canyons on land considered sacred to tribes. (Associated Press)

US cancels new protection for endangered West Coast whales 
The Trump administration on Monday threw out a new rule intended to limit the numbers of endangered whales and sea turtles getting caught in fishing nets off the West Coast, saying existing protections were already working…. The rule would have applied to fewer than 20 fishing vessels that use mile-long fishing nets to catch swordfish off California and Oregon. The change would have shut down the drift gillnet fishing for swordfish for up to two seasons if too many of nine groups of whales, sea turtles or dolphins were getting caught in the nets. The Pacific Fishery Management Council, which includes representatives of the fishing industry as well as state and tribal governments and federal regulators, had proposed the rule in 2015. Ellen Knickmeyer reports. (Associated Press)

Coalition urges banks to deny financing for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain
A coalition of interest groups is calling on Canada's six biggest banks and others to back away from providing funding for Kinder Morgan Canada's controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The coalition of 20 Indigenous and environmental groups says in an open letter that it will use its influence to urge local and foreign governments to divest from banks that ignore its opposition to the pipeline. It names a total of 28 banks as potential targets for its campaign, including 14 that underwrote the recent initial public offering for Calgary-based Kinder Morgan Canada. (Canadian Press)

New species of flying squirrel discovered in Pacific Northwest
The northern flying squirrel can be found throughout British Columbia — but a new study has found that those living on the coast are a completely different species from those found inland for about a million years. The authors of the study analyzed the DNA of flying squirrel specimens collected throughout the Pacific Northwest, previously thought to be the exclusive domain of the northern flying squirrel. But those found on the Pacific coast between southern B.C. and northern California turned out to be genetically distinct from those found further inland. Matt Meuse reports. (CBC)

L&I to contest judge's order to vacate $2.4 million fine against Tesoro
The state Department of Labor & Industries will request a full review of a judge’s order to vacate a $2.4 million fine the department issued against the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery for the 2010 explosion that killed seven workers, according to a news release. Aaron Weinerber reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Magnetic Nanoparticles Will Help Clean Oil Spills
Cleaning up oil spills is a difficult, dirty job, and even with modern techniques it's still hard to remove every last drop. Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin believe that they can fill that gap: they're using a technique that targets and sucks up leftover minuscule oil droplets using electrostatic attraction and a magnet. In the future, a similar method could be used to clean lead and other contaminants from our drinking water, they say. Lisa Cumming reports. (Motherboard)

Lights Out for Hawai‘i’s Seabirds 
Scientists hope lasers can save endangered seabirds from power line collisions. Ashley Braun reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Now, your tug weather--
 West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PDT Tue Jun 13 2017  
 W wind 10 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell 5 ft  at 11 seconds. A slight chance of rain.
TONIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4  ft at 10 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the evening.

"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 12, 2017

6/12 Tesoro, Hilary Franz, PSE coal, climate, green crab, Pt Gamble Bay, tribe hunting, Foss Waterway, BP spill

Turkey vulture [Pat Gaines/BirdNote]
Turkey Vultures and Gas Pipelines
Do vultures detect carrion by sight or by smell? The lightbulb moment came to ornithologist Kenneth Stager when a Union Oil employee told him of vultures congregating at the spots along pipelines where gas leaks were occurring. Why would they do that? Because a key ingredient in the odor of carrion is ethyl mercaptan. The same substance companies added to odorless natural gas in their pipelines, so they could smell if there was a leak. (BirdNote)

Judge rules to vacate $2.4 million penalty against Tesoro
A $2.4 million fine against the Anacortes Tesoro Refinery stemming from the 2010 explosion that killed seven workers was vacated Thursday by a State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals judge. The proposed order, which must still be approved by the board, was a blow to the state Department of Labor & Industries, which alleged 45 violations in handing down the fine. In the proposed order, Judge Mark Jaffe was critical of much of Labor & Industries’ case. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Lands commissioner fields barrage of questions during Port Angeles gathering
 The state Department of Natural Resources’ newest leader visited Port Angeles last week to unveil her agency’s newest initiative: a competitive technical staff assistance program to help rural communities develop their DNR assets. What recently elected state Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz received Thursday at a Clallam County Courthouse meeting packed with about 80 participants was an earful on topics ranging from unpredictable timber revenues to developing scuba-diving recreation opportunities. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Puget Sound Energy seeks to extend contract with two coal-fired Montana plants
Puget Sound Energy is negotiating a coal-supply contract for two Montana power plants that would extend through 2029, but includes provisions for an earlier exit from the deal. The contract talks come as PSE faces increasing pressure to move from coal to cleaner sources of energy by the middle of the next decade. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Town That Helped Power Northwest Feels Left Behind In Shift Away From Coal  Nate Rott reports. (NPR)

Climate change in B.C.: Here's how 2050 could look
Climate change has been blamed for raging forest fires, devastating floods and shrinking glaciers, but scientists have determined the effects will look different in various regions of B.C.  Their severity depends on how successful humans are in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Under a middle-of-the-road scenario that assumes that in the future greenhouse gas emissions are halved, the average annual temperature in B.C. would increase by 2.5 C by 2050, according to the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium. Tara Carman reports. (CBC) See aslo: See also: Shifting climate baselines in B.C: Get ready for the new normal  Johanna Wagstaffe reports. (CBC)  And also: Americans 'under siege' from climate disinformation – former Nasa chief scientist  Fake news spread by those with a profit motive is leaving many people oblivious to the threat of climate change, says former head of US space agency. Hannah Devlin reports. (Guardian)

Washington state keeps its cool for the first five months of this year
For the first five months of this year, Washington state has stood out as the only state in the U.S. with a below-average temperature. While most of the country was experiencing warmer-than-normal temperatures, we here in Washington were going outside to temperatures that averaged nearly 1 degree F. below normal. In fact, the contiguous 48 states recorded the second-warmest January-through-May period on record, despite cooler conditions in Washington.  Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Green crab count rises to 72 on Dungeness Spit
Trapping efforts continue at Graveyard Spit on the Dungeness Spit as federal and state resource managers continue to find the invasive European green crab. Lorenz Sollmann, deputy project leader at the Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, said that crews have caught 72 European green crabs — 45 male and 27 female — as of Friday. Previous counts were 69 crabs as of last Wednesday and 64 crabs as of May 23. Matthew Nash reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Celebration marks completion of Port Gamble Bay cleanup
Two S'Klallam canoes launched from the beach at Point Julia Thursday and glided west toward Port Gamble. Paddling across the choppy stretch of water separating the tribal reservation from the historical mill town, the canoe crews passed a stretch of shoreline that would have been nearly unrecognizable two years ago, before the start of a monumental restoration project…. For the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, the two-year cleanup was important both to restore the health of the bay and to reclaim the tribe's natural heritage. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Collision between Indigenous hunting and oil development rights set for legal showdown in B.C. court
The Blueberry River First Nation (BRFN) is fighting to draw a legal line to stop the incremental erosion of its land — and by extension its treaty rights. A civil case launched in 2015 revolves around a 38,000-kilometre patch of the province, that while tucked in B.C.'s far right corner, north of Fort St. John, is at the epicentre of provincial oil and gas development…. Last week, the First Nation lost a legal bid to stop any new industrial permits in the area, but a court ruling agreed that industry was causing "irreparable" damage. Yvette Brend reports. (CBC)

Ammonia leaks into Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma, Ecology says
Ammonia spilled into the Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma earlier this week when a pipe sprung a leak at a waterfront warehouse, the state Department of Ecology confirmed Friday. A leaky pipe in the ceiling of the SuperValu distribution center at 1525 E. D St. was reported about 7 p.m. Wednesday, Ecology spokesman David Bennett said. “It was not huge,” Bennett said. “But any spill is critical.” Craig Hill and Kenny Ocker report. (Tacoma News Tribune)

7 Years After BP Oil Spill, Oyster Farming Takes Hold In South
Eight miles down a dirt road through the swamps of southwest Alabama, Lane Zirlott has 1.8 million oysters in the water at his family's farm in Sandy Bay. The Murder Point oyster farm covers about two and half acres in the bay. The name changed from "Myrtle Point" in 1929, after a deadly dispute over oyster territory. Debbie Elliot reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PDT Mon Jun 12 2017  
 Light wind becoming W 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves less than 1 ft becoming 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W swell  5 ft at 8 seconds.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds. A slight chance  of showers.

"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 9, 2017

6/9 BC pipe schedule, Kalama methanol, Vancouver WA oil, Vic sewer $, Ocean Wise, selling BPA

Goose neck barnacle [Biodiversity of the Central Coast]
Goose neck barnacle Pollicipes polymerusm
The goose neck barnacle is one of the more distinct-looking creatures found in the intertidal. This crustacean bears several whitish protective plates, including 5 large plates and numerous smaller ones…. Like most barnacles, this species dwells in the intertidal and subtidal on open, wave-exposed coasts to depths of 30 m or more…. Goose neck barnacles are edible — the flesh inside the stalk tastes similar to lobster — and have long been harvested by coastal First Nations. Currently the only commercial fishery in North America is found on Vancouver Island; this fishery is co-managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation, and is considered sustainable by Ocean Wise. The similar P. pollicipes is harvested in Spain and Portugal, where it is considered a delicacy and overharvesting and poaching are concerns, leading to imports from BC. (Biodiversity of the Central Coast)

Trans Mountain: Detailed construction plan shows work to begin Sept. 1 
Kinder Morgan’s schedule for the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion shows construction work is to start as early as Sept. 1. The detailed schedule was filed recently with the National Energy Board, one of 157 conditions that must be met in order for the Houston, Texas-based company to begin construction. It shows the large scope of the project where land clearing on some portions of the 1,150-kilometre pipeline route will begin in September. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Columbia River Methanol Plant Gets Approval On Two Washington Permits
Washington state regulators approved two permits Thursday for a proposed plant that would make and export methanol along the Columbia River in Kalama. The Washington Department of Ecology approved a permit allowing the Port of Kalama and its partner Northwest Innovation Works  to build on the shoreline. The permit was previously stalled because the state found some of the proposed site plans were out of date and missing key information, and that the applicants underestimated greenhouse gas emissions. Ecology also granted a certification stating it would comply with the federal Clean Water Act. Tony Schick reports (OPB/EarthFix)

Opponents Call Vancouver[WA] Oil-By-Rail Terminal 'Bad Plan' While Supporters Tout Jobs
More than 100 people testified before the Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council in Vancouver Wednesday. It was one of the last opportunities for the public to sound off on a proposed oil terminal there. The council heard more than seven hours of testimony from both critics and supporters of a controversial plan to build the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver. The hearing at Clark College was the last day for public comment on a draft notice of the construction air permit for the project. Molly Solomon reports. (OPB/EarthFix) See also: Supreme Court Rejects Port Defense Of Secret Meetings On Vancouver Oil Terminal  Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

One of CRD’s top earners hasn’t been on the job since 2015
Albert Sweetnam, former head of the Capital Regional District’s now-defunct Seaterra sewage treatment program, continued to be among the top earners at the CRD last year — for not being on the job. Sweetnam’s job wrapped up in September 2015, but according to just-released CRD financial documents, he continued to draw $224,121 in salary in 2016. It’s a bit of a drop from 2015, when Sweetnam was paid $283,089.53 in salary and expenses. And taxpayers can take heart — at least he filed for no expenses in 2016. Local governments are required to disclose salaries of employees making more than $75,000 a year by June 30. Bill Cleverely reports. (Times Colonnist)

Ocean Wise goes from sustainable seafood program to world conservation
Ocean Wise is going global. Already known to Canadians as the Vancouver Aquarium’s sustainable seafood program, a news release Thursday announced that Ocean Wise had expanded its goals, becoming “a new global ocean-conservation organization focused on protecting and restoring our world’s oceans.” Harrison Mooney reports. (Vancouver Sun)

21 U.S. senators blast Trump proposal to sell BPA power grid 
The Trump administration’s proposal to sell off the Pacific Northwest’s Bonneville Power Administration transmission grid is meeting bipartisan resistance from 21 Republican and Democratic senators who sent a letter on Wednesday to the Energy Department. The sale of BPA and other federal power-transmission assets would result in higher electricity rates that would “take money out of the pockets of consumers and businesses in our states,” the letter states. Those who signed the letter included Washington Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. (Seattle Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
 West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Fri Jun 9 2017  
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds. Showers likely. A  slight chance of tstms in the afternoon.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of  showers in the evening then a slight chance of showers after  midnight.
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of  showers in the morning then a chance of showers in the afternoon.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds.
 Light wind becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 8 seconds.

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