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.   EilĂ­s 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.

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