Tuesday, July 25, 2017

7/25 EPA budget, dead orca, pipe oversight, Custom Plywood, 4M souls, refinery safety, goat options

"Lively Woodpecker" [Jeff Anderson]
Bird Fest poster winner announced
Jeff Anderson has been named the winner of the 2017 Puget Sound Bird Fest Poster Art Contest with his entry “Lively Woodpecker.” The piece was selected by a jury from among 20 entries, and will be featured on the promotional poster for the annual fall event. The contest is held each spring to select a piece of original art to be used for the festival’s promotional poster. Sponsored by the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation, the winning artist is awarded a $200 prize. (Edmonds Beacon)

U.S. House votes to cut Puget Sound funding by $3 million
Bucking a proposed White House budget that would have cut EPA’s Puget Sound funding entirely, the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voted to approve $25 million for Puget Sound in fiscal year 2018. That still falls short of the $28 million budgeted by EPA for the region in fiscal 2017, amounting to a cut of more than 10%. The bill passed on a 30 – 21 vote and now goes to the Senate, which may revise the numbers further. The budget was part of a $31.4 billion appropriations bill for several federal agencies, including the EPA and the Interior Department. Overall, it would cut EPA’s yearly budget from 8.06 billion to 7.5 billion. That’s less than the 31% cut proposed by the Trump administration, but still steep according to some House Democrats. (Puget Sound Institute)

Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies
The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld’s former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company’s San Antonio park, SeaWorld said. Veterinarians were treating 3-month-old Kyara for an infection last weekend, but her health continued to decline, the Orlando-based company said in a news release. (Associated Press)

Trans Mountain pipeline gets Indigenous-led oversight committee
Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has a new Indigenous-led oversight committee, backed by the federal government, to monitor the controversial project's construction which is slated to begin in September. The Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee includes 13 Indigenous members, representing bands from Alberta to the B.C. coast, and six federal representatives including the National Energy Board, Indigenous leaders announced today…. Ottawa has pledged $64.7-million over five years to support the work of the committee, which starts meeting in August. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Group completes survey at Custom Plywood restoration site
Where Custom Plywood once churned out wood products, a variety of wildlife is now found clinging to the pebbles, nestled in the mud and floating in the water. On Monday, the Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee documented crabs, clams and other critters at the Fidalgo Bay beach site…. The volunteer effort Monday marked the third annual intertidal survey since thousands of tons of contaminated material were removed from the site in an effort to restore the beach. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Puget Sound area population climbs over 4 million h
The central Puget Sound region of Snohomish, King, Pierce and Kitsap counties gained another 82,000 people in the last year, reaching a total population well over 4 million as of April 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This was the second year in a row that population growth exceeding 80,000. The 2.9 percent growth rate that is among the fastest in the nation. (Everett Herald)

11 states sue Trump admin to reduce risk of chemical explosions
Eleven states including Washington have sued the Trump administration to improve safety at the nation’s refineries and chemical plants. The lawsuit aims to force the Environmental Protection Agency to revive safety rules enacted in the final days of the Obama administration. Within days of taking office, the Trump administration put the rules on hold as part of its push to de-regulate the U.S. economy. The chemical safety rules — amendments to EPA’s Accidental Release Prevention Requirements under the Clean Air Act — are in limbo until 2019. They were intended to reduce the risk of explosions that have killed workers and endangered communities in Anacortes and elsewhere in recent years. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Relocate, kill are among options studied for mountain goats
Olympic National Park officials are weighing several options to remove mountain goats from the park, including a plan to capture and relocate as many of the animals as possible and shooting others. In releasing a draft environmental review Monday, park officials say the plan will allow them to reduce environmental impacts and protect public safety. Mountain goats, which are not native to Washington's Olympic Peninsula, have long posed an environmental problem for the park. The fatal goring of a hiker in 2010 raised new concerns. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  238 AM PDT Tue Jul 25 2017  
TODAY
 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 5 ft at 7 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5  ft at 7 seconds.

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

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Monday, July 24, 2017

7/24 Tom Jay salmon, Seattle sewer, BC LNG, BC Hydro, WA green budget, forest fish, dam debate, loonie rise

Tom Jay's salmon
Tom Jay: "Salmon are the sea-bright silver shuttles that weave us all together."
Tom Jay's monumental salmon was dedicated at LaConner's Waterfront Park along the Swinomish Slough. You can slide down the salmon after walking up a ramp through a shape of a salmon. According to artist Tony Angell, Tom had been working on this piece for over a year and many others had helped him from time to time.  "I think this is a remarkable metaphor as Tom's works so evocatively suggest, for the entire community came together around the project and the profound and lasting meaning of its statement" said Tony. And, as Tom said, "Salmon are the sea-bright silver shuttles that weave us all together."

Troubled West Point Treatment Plant has problems with staff turnover, training
It’s not a new complaint at the West Point Treatment Plant — the cost of living is too high for operators to live near the Magnolia facility and the commute is a bear. The result is employees transfer elsewhere, leaving the largest and most complex treatment plant in the Pacific Northwest in the hands of less experienced and less trained crews. A recent report by AECOM, a contractor hired by King County to determine causes and contributing factors to the Feb. 9 catastrophic flood at West Point, found the facility had the highest turnover of employees among the three county plants and a lack of consistent training. The Seattle Times discovered these are long-standing problems the county has failed to solve. Christine Willmsen reports. (Seattle Times)

BC NDP to press on with LNG support; Green allies remain opposed
British Columbia's new NDP government will continue support for the development of a liquefied natural gas sector, despite its past criticisms of the former Liberal government's aggressive pursuit of the industry. Jen Holmwood, a spokeswoman for the NDP, said in a statement last week a more detailed outline of the new government's view on LNG will be upcoming, but she said the NDP will conditionally support the industry. The Liberals campaigned in the last two elections on an LNG sector becoming a major boon for the province, creating jobs and revenues…. But Adam Olsen, one of three BC Green Party members of the legislature who have committed to support the NDP as government, said the Greens remain opposed to LNG development. Ian Bailey reports. (Globe and Mail)

Not too late for LNG projects: B.C. LNG Alliance responds to criticism
The National Energy Board has described Canada as a "late entrant" to the liquefied natural gas industry in a recent report, sparking debate about when—if ever—was the right time to push forward with LNG projects. A little over four years ago, the B.C. Liberal government under Christy Clark promised the LNG industry would bring billions to the province by the year 2020. Now, there is a new government, no new plants under construction and LNG prices, in the words of the NEB, are "historically low." But David Keane, the president of the B.C. LNG Alliance, told CBC's Early Edition guest host Stephen Quinn he thinks it's entirely feasible to have a significant LGN industry going forward. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald fired
The BC Hydro board of directors has fired CEO Jessica McDonald as the new NDP government continues to make changes after being sworn into office earlier this week. On Thursday, Kenneth Peterson was appointed chair of the BC Hydro board, replacing former Liberal adviser Brad Bennett. "[Peterson] was given the direction to assess any changes that needed to be made and he clearly did that job," said Energy Minister Michelle Mungall. Karin Larson reports. (CBC)

Washington Lawmakers Leave Enviros Feeling Shorted
Washington’s legislative session, the longest in state history, did not deliver the money environmentalists wanted for toxic cleanup, oil transportation safety, or natural resources. Going into the session, the Environmental Priorities Coalition — made up of more than twenty Washington environmental groups — had placed a priority on getting the state to spend more on environmental protection.  EilĂ­s O'Neill and Courtney Flatt report. (KUOW/EarthFix)

Forest battle continues over defining the upper bounds of fish habitat
A long-running battle over how to manage potential fish habitat on commercial forestland could be coming to a head — although it isn’t clear if the solution will satisfy either forestland owners or environmentalists. To be clear, there is not much argument about streamside buffers where salmon, trout and other fish are readily found, thanks to state and federal rules stemming from the landmark Forests and Fish Report. Buffers are designed to save trees that serve the needs of fish — including insects for food, shade for cool water and eventually down trees that form pools for resting as well as hiding places and spawning areas. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Red cloud: Environmental experts fear for fish as wildfires drive more fire retardant drops
With more than 700 wildfires burning through British Columbia's forests since this spring, environmental experts fear the rising use of chemical fire retardants may put wild fish at risk. The red plumes of the ammonia compound are a critical tool in aerial fire fighting, and it's expected to be needed more in coming decades if climate change causes more wildfires, according to B.C.'s Wildfire Management Branch. The B.C. Wildfire Service says air tankers have already dropped eight million litres of retardant. That's a lot, considering the yearly average in the province is 9.4 million litres over the course of the entire wildfire season. And B.C. pilots say sometimes it's accidentally dropped into streams and lakes. Yvette Brend reports. (CBC)

Debating Dams: What's The Best Way To Protect Salmon?
What’s the best way to ensure the return of salmon and steelhead to something like their historic numbers in the Columbia and Snake rivers? It’s been a hotly debated question for more than 20 years. And it’s getting a renewed look with a controversial option on the table: Removing the four lower Snake River dams. Last year, Federal District Court Judge Michael Simon rejected the government’s latest plan to protect threatened and endangered fish. The plan guides dam operations along the Columbia and Snake rivers. This was the fifth time it had been rejected. Simon wrote in his decision that the system “cries out for a new approach.” He told the federal government it needed to study the effects of removing or altering the Snake River dams. Courtney Flatt and MacGregor Campbell reports. (NWPR/EarthFix)

Canadian dollar taking aim at 80 cents US for first time in 2 years
The Canadian dollar is flirting with 80 cents US, a level it hasn't touched since the summer of 2015. The Canadian dollar finished last week just below the threshold, settling at 79.76 cents US when stock markets closed on Friday. Since bottoming out at the start of May, the loonie has gained almost 10 per cent, buoyed by a series of strong data points about the Canadian economy including a strong job market, booming retail sales and factories ramping up production. Peter Evans reports. (CBC)

They’ve fought an asphalt plant for decades. Now, they have to battle county government.
Howard Glastetter and his Nisqually Valley neighbors waged war against Lakeside Industries’ proposal to use recycled asphalt at its plant on Durgin Road when the company applied to open it in 1999. Over the years, there have been lawsuits, appeals and negotiations. Now, Thurston County commissioners have asked for a review of a policy that prohibits the use of recycled asphalt by asphalt plants the area. It’s one of the projects for the Comprehensive Plan amendments for 2017-18. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PDT Mon Jul 24 2017  
TODAY
 Light wind becoming NE 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 8 seconds.
TONIGHT
 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. W swell  6 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.
 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Friday, July 21, 2017

7/21 Tribal journeys, cap budget, BC fire, BC pipes, ESA rollback, slow ships, World Heritage sites

(Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Of the first water: Canoes on the move for a potlatch in British Columbia
The 2017 Canoe Journey is underway, and tribes from across Washington state and British Columbia are making their way to the Campbell River. North Olympic Peninsula tribes are joining the annual tradition throughout the next few days. By the time they reach the end of their journey at the Campbell River on the east coast of northern Vancouver Island on Aug. 5, the Quinault will have been joined by a flotilla of canoes. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Tribal Canoe Journey: Tribes depart Washington on epic voyage  Julian Brave NoiseCat reports. (CBC) And also: Annual Tribal Canoe Journey Stops At Alki Beach  (KNKX Public Radio & Jackson Main)

Washington state Legislature adjourns without capital budget
The House and Senate have official adjourned their third special session, but lawmakers left on a sour note after a dispute over a water-rights bill prevented a vote on a two-year capital budget. Legislative leaders had previously said they were likely to adjourn earlier in the day after negotiations broke down Wednesday on a water-rights bill that was tied to passage of a new construction budget for the state. Once it became clear that no progress would be made, the exodus began, first by the House Democrats, followed by other caucuses. (Associated Press) See also: Sewage Seeps In Washington Town Desperate For State Funds  Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)

No end in sight two weeks after B.C. state of emergency declared over wildfires
Today marks two weeks since raging wildfires that have displaced thousands of people British Columbia forced the province to call a state of emergency. On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan said he would extend the order for an additional two weeks since many of the 43,000 people who had to flee their homes in the province's Interior will not yet be able to return. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, who was sworn in Tuesday as part of B.C.'s new NDP government, says a $100 million fund established by the former Liberal government is enough to cover costs for now and the province is ready to spend more if necessary. (Canadian Press)

B.C.'s pipeline opposition strategy still under wraps while Trans Mountain forges ahead
Blocking Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.’s Trans Mountain expansion project was a key election promise made by the new NDP government, but Premier John Horgan’s cabinet hasn’t yet indicated what its first steps will be to honour that commitment. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Judge rules that NEB must reconsider B.C. natural gas pipeline jurisdiction 
A Federal Court of Appeal judge has ruled the National Energy Board must reconsider whether a proposed TransCanada Corp. natural gas pipeline in B.C. falls under provincial or federal jurisdiction….[Michael] Sawyer argued the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project, a roughly 900-kilometre proposed pipeline from Hudson's Hope, B.C., to a facility on the province's Lelu Island, required federal and not provincial approvals. The province has already green lighted the pipeline project, but it is waiting to receive a final commitment from Pacific NorthWest LNG, which will build and operate the Lelu Island facility, before starting construction. (Canadian Press)

GOP targets Endangered Species Act as protections lifted 
Congressional Republicans are moving forward with legislation to roll back the Endangered Species Act, amid complaints that the landmark 44-year-old law hinders drilling, logging and other activities. At simultaneous hearings Wednesday, House and Senate committees considered bills to revise the law and limit lengthy and costly litigation associated with it. The bills come as a federal court lifted federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming and the Trump administration moved to lift protections for grizzly bears in and near Yellowstone National Park. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also is reviewing federal efforts to conserve the imperiled sage grouse in 11 Western states. Matthew Daly reports. (Associated Press)

Vancouver Port asks ships to slow down for orca research
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is asking vessels coming through Haro Straight to slow down, in order to study how underwater noise affects orcas' ability to echolocate.  All piloted commercial vessels transiting between Discovery Island and Henry Island between August 7 and October 6 will be asked to reduce their speed to 11 knots.  The average speed for a vessel transiting through the area typically ranges from 18 knots for a cruise or container vessel and 13 knots for a tanker or bulk carrier. Port authorities estimate the slowdown could cause delays of between 30 minutes to an hour to the total transit time between Boundary Pass and Brotchie Point. Michelle Ghoussoub reports. (CBC) See also: Scientists study orca’s response to underwater noise in BC  (Associated Press)

Island’s Salish Sea Trust searches for heritage site designation
It is no small feat to have your bit of the world designated as a World Heritage Site. The process can take between six and 10 years, and in the end, there is no guarantee your application will be approved and adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to join the 1073 such sites already in existence. But despite the daunting nominating process and the trials and tribulations of advocating a site for consideration, Laurie Gourlay, interim director of the Salish Sea Trust is confident that the Salish Sea will eventually be named to this prestigious and practically important designation. Tim Collins reports. (Victoria News)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  239 AM PDT Fri Jul 21 2017  
TODAY
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. SW swell 2 ft at  13 seconds. A slight chance of rain in the morning then a chance  of rain in the afternoon.
TONIGHT
 NE wind to 10 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind waves  1 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at 13 seconds building to W 4 ft at 8  seconds after midnight. A chance of rain.
SAT
 SE wind to 10 kt becoming W in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 7 seconds. A chance of rain.
SAT NIGHT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell  4 ft at 7 seconds.
SUN
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

7/20 WA budget, Fraser sockeye, Tesoro air, canoe journey, Navy jets, Springer!, Pressentin Park, plastics, Canuck, record kokanee

Tufted puffin [Gregg Thompson/BirdWeb]
Tufted Puffin Fratercula cirrhata
Tufted Puffins are medium-sized, stocky seabirds with rounded heads. They are solid brown-black overall, except for distinctive facial coloration. The outer wings are wider than the inner wings, giving the outstretched wing a hand-like appearance. The feet and bill are orange…. The Tufted Puffin is one of the most abundant and conspicuous seabirds nesting in the north Pacific. Many California populations, however, have disappeared or significantly declined. In recent years, potentially serious declines have occurred in Washington as well. (BirdWeb)

No deal on well drilling, so no deal on capital budget
The University of Washington lost out on more than $130 million in state construction money Wednesday due to legislative Democrats and Republicans being unable to resolve an unrelated water rights dispute. The capital budget also includes more than $900 million for school construction projects and another $100 million for mental health facilities. Legislative bargaining went south Wednesday afternoon as the Legislature prepared to end its third special session of the year on Thursday. Unless there’s some last-minute reversal or Gov. Jay Inslee calls a new session, perhaps later in the year, projects may be put on long-term hold or only have partial funding, such as from local governments. John Stang reports. (Crosscut)

Warm temperatures, low water flow could hurt Fraser River sockeye run
Following a record-low year for the Fraser River salmon run in 2016, fisheries officials are keeping a close eye on returns in a season already showing some signs of trouble. Last summer, Fisheries and Oceans Canada suspended all sockeye fisheries along the river after forecasting returns of just 1.1 million fish — the lowest number on record. It's still early in the season, but the 2017 season isn't shaping up to be quite so disappointing, according to the Pacific Salmon Commission's chief biologist, Mike LaPointe. "This year's return is forecast to be significantly better. It's supposed to be in the four million, 4.2 million range," LaPointe said. (CBC) See also: Big harvest and a buck a pound, Bristol Bay’s 2017 should be huge  Dave Bendinger reports. (KDLG/Alaska Public Media)

Air agency issues permit for Tesoro refinery project
The Northwest Clean Air Agency on Tuesday issued a permit for the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery's proposed clean products upgrade project. The permit is one of 18 the refinery needs from local, state and federal agencies in order to move forward with the project. The project would involve upgrading and building new equipment to reduce sulfur emissions from fuels it produces at the refinery and to extract the chemical compound xylene during the refining process. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Tribal canoe journey comes to Lopez, July 24
“To make a show of respect and peaceful intent when arriving by canoe, the crew executes a full counter-clockwise circle just in front of the hosts on shore. When the canoe is broadside, it is proper to go paddles-up, to lift paddles overhead with tips pointed skyward.” So says Lopezian Sam Barr, 27, of Samish descent, a member of the Samish Stewards Institute and co-founder with Erin Licata of the Coast Salish Stewardship Corps, as he describes traditional tribal protocols when arriving by canoe within the Salish Sea. Kai Sanburn writes. (Islands Weekly)

Ecology taking comment on NAS Whidbey jet proposal
The state Department of Ecology is taking public comment on a proposed increase in jet operations at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, according to a notice issued Wednesday. Ecology will take comments through Aug. 8. The Navy proposes increasing the number of EA-18G Growler jets at the base, increasing jet operations and bringing in more personnel. The goal is to expand NAS Whidbey’s electronic attack capabilities. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

"Celebrate Springer!"
The 15th anniversary of the orphan orca's rescue and recovery is celebrated this weekend at Telegraph Cove, BC. At 11 AM on July 22 visitors can hear “Springer’s Story,” a slide show narration by members of Springer’s rescue team, followed by a panel discussion. At 4 PM, the new Telegraph Cove Whale Trail sign will be dedicated and at 5:30 PM, the public is invited to join in for a salmon dinner on the Boardwalk. To top it all off-- celebrate the news of Springer's second calf.
 

EarthCorps crew preps Pressentin Park for project
An EarthCorps crew is battling invasive blackberry vines in Pressentin Park this week in preparation for a Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group restoration project. With the sun beating down and scratches accumulating on their arms, the crew worked Tuesday to remove the sprawling, thick-stemmed blackberry plants at the Skagit County park in Marblemount. The six-member EarthCorps crew is removing invasive blackberry from a section of the 55-acre park this week by cutting the plants back and digging up the roots. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Plastic Is Everywhere And Recycling Isn't The End Of It
Few inventions in modern history have been as successful as plastic. It’s in vehicles and building materials and most of our electronic devices. We wrap stuff in it and even wear it. Now a research team has tallied up how much plastic has been produced and where much of it has gone. Turns out, it’s literally almost everywhere. Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says no one had tallied how much plastic people have manufactured since its invention. When he did it, he was shocked at what he found. “Eight point three billion metric tons of plastics produced so far. That’s just really a staggering amount.” Christopher Joyce reports. (NPR)

Canuck the Crow’s fame grows as beloved bird stars in new documentary
Canuck the Crow has really padded his resume this summer. In addition to picking up a full-time job at the PNE, Vancouver’s unofficial official bird is now a full-fledged movie star after picking up his first film credit in the Telus original documentary, Canuck & I. The 20-minute short film is an in-depth look into Canuck’s life, as well as his unlikely friendship with East Vancouverite Shawn Bergman, who finds Canuck waiting at his front door every morning to accompany him to the bus stop.  Harrison Mooney reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. man caught world record fish with his bare hands before eating it
The world's largest recorded kokanee salmon was caught, smoked and eaten before anyone realized what a prize fish it was. Government biologists recently confirmed DNA testing that shows the 5.4-kilogram fish caught in British Columbia shatters the previous record (3.9 kilograms) held since 2010 by Oregon fisherman Ron Campbell. "We were thinking it was a big rainbow [trout]. We never even thought that it was a kokanee," said Denis Woodcox, who landed the beast with his bare hands. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  238 AM PDT Thu Jul 20 2017  
TODAY
 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. SW  swell 2 ft at 14 seconds. A chance of showers.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at  14 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

7/19 New BC gov't, Seattle sewer, methanol, crab catch, sea stars, BC farmland, Swinomish border

Pacific hagfish [Wikipedia]
Pacific hagfish Eptatretus stoutii
The Pacific hagfish is a species of hagfish. It lives in the mesopelagic to abyssal Pacific ocean, near the ocean floor. It is a jawless fish, a throwback to the Paleozoic Era when fish evolved.... The hagfish is notorious for its slimy skin. When disturbed, it oozes proteins from slime glands in its skin that respond to water by becoming a slimy outer coating, expanding it into a huge mass of slime. (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound) Hagfish are not often eaten, owing to their repugnant looks and sliminess. However the inshore hagfish, found in the Northwest Pacific, is valued as food in Korea.... The inshore hagfish, known as kkomjangeo or meokjango in Korean and nuta-unagi in Japanese, is the only member of the hagfish family with a seasonal reproductive cycle. (Wikipedia)

B.C.'s new NDP government sworn into office
After a historic provincial election that took nearly two months to resolve, the B.C. NDP has officially taken power. John Horgan has been sworn in as British Columbia's 36th premier, along with his cabinet. Horgan, 57, replaces Christy Clark as premier and ends 16 years of Liberal rule in B.C.  Richard Zussman & Justin McElroy report. (CBC)

West Point treatment plant ill-prepared in growing Seattle region, contractor finds after flood
A contractor hired to investigate February’s catastrophic flood at the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle found inadequate training, lack of redundant treatment capacity and backup systems, and flaws in a new $40 million automated control system. Lynda V. Mapes and Christine Willmsen report. (Seattle Times)

Sierra Club Challenges Washington's Green Governor on Plans to Build Fracked- Gas-to-Methanol Refinery
Since the plan to build what would become the world's largest fracked-gas-to-methanol refinery on the banks of the Columbia River was proposed, environmentalists and Governor Jay Inslee, considered one of the nation's greenest, have held opposing views. For Inslee the proposal by a subsidiary of the Chinese government, spells trade and “low-carbon energy”. But for the Sierra Club, 350 Seattle and others, the refinery, which would release methane, a powerful warming gas, is one they say neither the state or planet can afford. Martha Baskin reports.

Dungeness crab numbers decline in south sound
Islander John Cushing has gone crabbing for the Pacific Northwest’s famed Dungeness crab two times this year, and unlike in previous years when he quickly caught his limit, this year he has come away nearly empty handed — and concerned about the state of the fishery…. Don Velasquez, fish and wildlife biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) summed the situation up succinctly. “What you see is a big drop in the harvest,” he said recently. While the numbers of Dungeness crabs in the north sound were predicted to be high this season, the declining numbers are evident in this area of Puget Sound. In Marine Area 11 — Vashon waters — and Marine Area 13 — south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the harvest was predicted to be low before the season opened, based on early testing. In Marine Area 12, south of the Hood Canal bridge, the picture is mixed, Velazquez said, with the northerly portion showing higher harvest numbers and the southerly portion also showing a substantial decrease. Susan Riemer reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

The wasting of the stars: A look into the largest ocean epidemic in recorded history
A look back on Sea Star Wasting Disease and where things now stand.  Peter Arcuni reports. (Peninsula Press)

Can you identify these marine mammals seen in South Puget Sound?
Who the heck are these guys featured in this video posted on Facebook by meteorologist Nick Allard of KIRO-7 TV? Pacific white-sided dolphins? Common dolphins? Dall’s porpoises? Harbor porpoises? Based on the conflicting comments on Nick’s Facebook page, as well comments on reposts, a lot of people are insisting that they know what these animals are. But even some longtime Puget Sound residents got it wrong. Annie Douglas of Cascadia Research took a look at the video, posted here with Nick’s permission. These creatures, she said, are long-beaked common dolphins. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Abbotsford eyes farmland for industrial growth
How much land can Abbotsford propose to remove from the Agricultural Land Reserve before its “city in the country” slogan no longer fits? In advance of a public hearing Monday night, opponents of a city-led proposal to remove 115 parcels from the ALR to make way for industrial growth are questioning council’s commitment to food security…. If passed, a proposal to remove 283 hectares (or 2.8 square kilometres) in two different parts of Abbotsford will go to the Agricultural Land Commission for approval. It’s not the first time the commission has been asked to weigh the value of agricultural land against industrial needs, and with a recent report showing Metro Vancouver has the lowest availability of industrial land in North America, it’s unlikely to be the last. Glenda Luymes reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Feds’ assurances on Puget Sound tribe’s reach pleases farm group
A Washington farm group says it’s relieved federal officials have made clear that a north Puget Sound tribe’s new constitution doesn’t expand the tribe’s jurisdiction to privately owned farmland, a concern that the tribe’s chairman says was overblown. The Interior Department approved July 7 a proposal by the Swinomish Indian tribe to delete references in its constitution to reservation boundaries set in 1873. Instead, the constitution will more generally describe the tribe’s territory to include “accustomed fishing grounds.” Bureau of Indian Affairs Northwest director Stanley Speaks told the tribe in a letter that the constitutional amendment won’t expand the tribe’s territory. The letter responded to concerns of farmers, homeowners, businesses and Skagit County commissioners that the tribe would use the new description of its authority to gain control over land outside its 7,000-acre reservation. Don Jenkins reports. (Capital Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  537 AM PDT Wed Jul 19 2017  
TODAY
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at 10 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. SW  swell 2 ft at 14 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the  evening then a chance of showers after midnight.

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

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

7/18 Death caps, BC pipe, Tacoma politics, octopus, Aurora borealis

Death cap [PHOTO: Adolph Ceska/CBC]
Death cap mushrooms beginning to return to Victoria
Lethal death cap mushrooms [Amanita phalloides] are beginning to return to Victoria for the summer. The fungi pop up in the capital city and around Vancouver every year, usually around August. Experts on Vancouver Island said a couple stumbled on a cluster of deaths caps in the Uplands near Victoria on Sunday, the first reported sighting of the season. (CBC)

What is the Trans Mountain pipeline? 
It may have taken some time but eventually B.C. Premier Christy Clark gave the green light to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline. Now, with a new NDP government taking power on Tuesday, pipeline politics could once again come to the forefront with B.C. and Alberta on opposing sides.  Premier-designate John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver are opposed to the project. In announcing their alliance, both have said they would use every tool they can to stop it. On the other side is  Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and the federal government who say the expansion of the pipeline is in the national interest.  Tamara Baluja reports. (CBC)

Tacoma Mayoral Hopefuls Answer To A Growing Environmental Movement
Environmental activists are the most vocal group in Tacoma politics today. That's a new development in a city known as a hub of heavy industry. But growing concerns about fossil fuels and pollution are already shaping the race for the next mayor. Protests by Tacoma environmentalists helped kill plans for a methanol refinery in the city last year. Activists have since set their sights on a planned liquefied natural gas plant. Will James reports. (KNKX)

Guess what’s new at the Marine Life Center in Bellingham
There’s a new resident in the Marine Life Center at the Port of Bellingham. It’s a giant Pacific octopus, a female that was caught in a commercial shrimp pot and brought to the center for display, said Casey Pruett, center director. Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

If you like to watch: Hansville webcam captures Aurora Borealis views 
Hansville’s Greg Johnson, who runs a weather webcam website called SkunkBayWeather.com, captured a great view of the early morning lights. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  240 AM PDT Tue Jul 18 2017  
TODAY
 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 2 ft at 8 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 2 ft at 7 seconds.

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

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Monday, July 17, 2017

7/17 Springer's second calf, no rain, WA capital budget, Seattle Aquarium expansion

Springer with new calf [PHOTO: Lisa Spaven, DFO, Canada]
Springer, once a lonely orphan, gives birth to her second baby orca
Springer, the killer whale, has borne a second calf some 15 years after she was rescued as a young orphan swimming alone near Vashon Island in Puget Sound. Springer’s rescue and return to her family in British Columbia is one of the all-time-great orca stories. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways) See also: Rescued orca Springer has had a second calf – join the celebration  Candace Calloway Whiting reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

No Rain In Sight For Puget Sound: Week-Ahead Forecast
Monday will be the 30th consecutive day with no precipitation in Western Washington - and the trend isn't stopping soon. Neal McNamara reports. (Patch.com)

Olympia in deadlock as lawmakers battle over water rights, construction
Capital construction budgets and water-policy legislation sometimes draw yawns in the political world. They’re important, necessary and not always exciting. Not this year. Lawmakers in Olympia, who have pushed themselves into a record-long legislative season, remain deadlocked over a two-year capital budget and a bill to address the state Supreme Court’s Hirst ruling over rural water rights. Senate Republicans effectively want to roll back the Hirst decision, which stopped drilling of certain domestic water wells and put the damper on some rural home construction. Joseph O'Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)

Big aquarium expansion to boost capacity, transform waterfront
A massive, $100 million expansion will drastically increase the Seattle Aquarium's attendance and continue the transformation of the city's waterfront. The Ocean Pavilion, scheduled to be completed in 2023, will be situated next to the existing aquarium building on Piers 59 and 60. Aquarium leaders and Seattle-based LMN Architects are still hashing out a final plan, but early designs call for a 350,000-gallon warm-water tank as the centerpiece of the new structure. Stephen Cohen reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Now, your tug weather--
 West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PDT Mon Jul 17 2017  
TODAY
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 6 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 3 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

7/14 BC fire, green crab, nat'l monuments, phthalates, pesticide suit, ravens plan, eel slime, hot earth, dinos

Pileated woodpecker [Marcus Sharpe, All About Birds]
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens. (Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds)

B.C. Wildfires Live: Strong weekend wind expected to fan the flames
Strong winds forecast for Saturday are expected to fan the flames and play havoc with firefighting efforts in B.C.’s Southern Interior. There are more than 3,100 B.C. firefighting personnel, along with 392 firefighters and support workers from out-of-province, battling 188 active fires — including 22 of wildfires of note that are either highly visible or which pose a potential threat to public safety — burning across the province. Scott Brown and Patrick Johnston report. (Canadian Press)

Invasive green crab count hits 87 on Dungeness Spit
As crabbing season reaches its midpoint in the area, state and federal resource managers report they’ve caught 87 of the invasive European green crabs on the Dungeness Spit. The most recent totals from July 6 show they’ve trapped 51 males and 36 females, said Allen Pleus, Aquatic Invasive Species coordinator for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and that their sizes indicate they came from the same larvae group. Dr. Emily Grason, Crab Team project coordinator through Washington Sea Grant, said in a recent blog post that the crabs’ sizes show they are a new population and likely floated to Sequim in 2016 but where they are coming from is still not determined. Matthew Nash reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Hanford Reach, Craters Of The Moon Keep National Monument Status
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryane Zinke announced Thursday that the Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington and Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho won’t lose their federal designation. The Trump Administration issued an executive order in April to review the monument status of nearly 30 sites across the country…. Still to be reviewed is the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument outside of Ashland, Oregon. Anna King reports. (NW News Network)

Phthalates found in powdered mac-and-cheese mixes
Potentially harmful chemicals that were banned from children’s teething rings and rubber duck toys a decade ago may still be present in high concentrations in your child’s favorite meal: macaroni and cheese mixes made with powdered cheese. The chemicals, phthalates, can disrupt male hormones like testosterone and have been linked to genital birth defects in infant boys and learning and behavior problems in older children. The chemicals migrate into food from packaging and equipment used in manufacturing and may pose special risks to pregnant women and young children. Roni Caryn Rabin reports. (NY Times)

States Band Together to Sue EPA After Agency Backtracks on Pesticide Ban
In late March, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt decided that his agency would not place an outright ban on a pesticide manufactured by Dow Chemical called chlorpyrifos. The decision came after a federal court ordered the EPA to make a final decision on whether or not to ban the pesticide, which the Obama administration had proposed banning in 2015. The chemical has been on the market in the United States since 1965 under the brand name Lorsban and indoor use of the chemical has been banned for more than a decade. In its decision to allow the pesticide to continue being used in the United States, the EPA went against its own agency’s findings that the pesticide presented unnecessary risks to American citizens. And while Pruitt’s EPA officials did not deny those findings, they did claim additional studies on the chemical were still needed before they could ban it, thus allowing the product's continued use. Farron Cousins reports. (DeSmog Bulletin)

Ravens Surprise Scientists By Showing They Can Plan
As recently as 10 years ago, humans were thought to be the only species with the ability to plan. Recent studies on great apes showed the ability is not uniquely human. Now, scientists in Sweden have come to the surprising conclusion that ravens can also deliberately prepare for future events. "It is conservative to conclude that ravens perform similarly to great apes and young children," the researchers write. However, monkeys have failed similar experiments. Merrit Kennedy reports. (NPR)

Eels, slime coat Oregon highway after wreck
Slime everywhere. Everywhere. A truck carrying live eels for export overturned on U.S. Highway 101 near Depoe Bay along the Oregon coast Thursday afternoon, according to the Oregon State Police, spilling its load of eels across the road. Kenny Ocker reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

The Uninhabitable Earth 
When Will Climate Change Make the Earth Too Hot For Humans? Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think. David Wallace-Wells reports. (NY Magazine)

When Dinosaurs Roamed North Dakota
On a blisteringly hot June day in the North Dakota Badlands, there are very few signs of life outside of birds, snakes and wandering livestock. The landscape is tall, stark and punishing, with loose rocks to trip you and serrated cliffs to cut you when you fall. Conical peaks rise from the ground, each striated layer full of potential discovery. This was once a land of savannas and plains, with rivers and lakes. Unrecognizable creatures — with disproportionate limbs, spikes, shells, horns, unfathomable teeth — roamed freely, feeding on the tall grass and, oftentimes, one another. Hillary Richard reports. (NY Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  257 AM PDT Fri Jul 14 2017  
TODAY
 W wind 10 kt or less, rising to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less, building to 1 to 3 ft. W  swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell  4 ft at 9 seconds.
SAT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 8 seconds.
SAT NIGHT
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell  3 ft at 8 seconds.
SUN and SUN NIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W  swell 3 ft at 7 seconds.

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

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

7/13 BC fire, Edmonds energy, Blaine shoreline, transient orcas, oil robots, simple spill cleanup

Garter snake Thamnophis sirtalis [Jon McGinnis]
Garter Snakes of Washington
Three species of garter snakes occur in Washington. Small garter snakes eat earthworms and slugs; larger snakes include amphibians, small rodents, nestling birds, and fish in their diet. Garter snakes survive in suburbia and towns because they give birth to live young, and so do not require safe places for their eggs. Their name comes from their alleged resemblance to the garters once worn by men to hold up their socks. When disturbed, garter snakes will try to escape, but if threatened they may strike, bite, and smear foul-smelling anal secretions on your hands. A bite from one of these nonvenomous snakes may be alarming, but will rarely break the skin. (Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife)

Calmer weather helping B.C. firefighters, but winds expected to return
The B.C. Wildfire Service says a break in the weather has allowed firefighters to reduce the number of wildfires in the province to 183, but gusty wind in the forecast for Saturday is becoming a concern. On Wednesday afternoon, Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Prince George area, but called it down after a few hours. Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said the overall pattern is for continuing hot, dry conditions but for now the situation has calmed down from the weekend, when more than 100 fires a day were breaking out. Mike Laanela and Liam Britten report. (CBC)

Edmonds Again Takes Environmental Lead With Clean Energy Pledge
Edmonds is well-known as the first city in the state to ban disposable plastic bags. Now it’s taking concrete steps to more aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The community north of Seattle has pledged to get all buildings and homes within city limits off of electricity from fossil fuels in less than a decade. The Edmonds City Council plans to get all of the city's electricity from clean and renewable sources by 2025. Most other localities have put off that goal until at least 2030. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX) See also: Edmonds takes clean-energy pledge, but is that achievable?  Dan Catchpole reports. (Everett Herald)

Waterfront property in Blaine changes hands after some 29 years. What will it become?
 The Whatcom Land Trust and some partners have bought 11-1/2 acres off Drayton Harbor Road to help restore the habitat that is part of an estuary there and to improve public access to the shoreline. The purchase price was $405,000 for what’s being called the California Creek Estuary property in Blaine. The seller was Doreen Myring of Surrey, B.C. The land was investment property that had been in the family for about 29 years, according to Doreen’s son John Myring. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Transient orca sightings on the rise near San Juan Islands
The village of Eastsound was treated to a rare sight on the fourth of July when a few transient orcas swam through the sound…. The occurrence is likely to become more common given that the transient orca population is steadily growing. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s June 2015 study shows the population of the transient whale population is increasing. Mandi Johnson reports. (San Juan Journal)

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. Rob Nikolewski (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Simple, inexpensive system to remove spilt oil from sea that can destroy marine ecosystems
Scientists have developed a simple, cheap and environment-friendly system that can effectively remove spilt crude oil from sea that can pollute and even destroy marine ecosystems. Marine oil spills are disasters that cannot be completely avoided as long as we drill for oil or transport it across the ocean, researchers said. An effective measure would be to remove spilt oil slicks by absorption into a separable solid phase. Now, scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala have found that congelation of the oil to a rigid gel within impregnated cellulose and scooping the particles out is possible. (Financial Express)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  620 AM PDT Thu Jul 13 2017  
TODAY
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W  swell 3 ft at 10 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing late. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft,  subsiding. W swell 3 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

7/12 Big berg, BC LNG, net pens, Columbia R., Pebble Mine, Canuck the Crow, plant power, KOMO talk

Odhner's dorid [Steve Lonhart]
Odhner's dorid Doris odhneri
Doris odhneri
can be found from Kenai Peninsula, Alaska to Point Loma, California; it is the largest nudibranch on the California coast, measuring up to 20 cm. It is completely white in color with no markings, however anomalies with a yellowish hue have been described in the Puget Sound region. A conspicuous characteristic of this nudibranch is its gill. It is also often referred to as Odhner's dorid to honor Nils Hjalmar Odhner, the scientist it is named after. (Wikipedia)

Giant iceberg splits from Antarctic
One of the biggest icebergs ever recorded has just broken away from Antarctica. The giant block is estimated to cover an area of roughly 6,000 sq km; that's about a quarter the size of Wales. An US satellite observed the berg on Wednesday while passing over a region known as the Larsen C Ice Shelf. Jonathan Amos reports. (BBC)

Proposed LNG project would emit 360 million metric tonnes of CO2, expert warns
An environmental protection group fighting to overturn federal approval of a $36-billion LNG project in B.C. says it will hurt Canada's chance of hitting climate change targets far more than forecast, with a 360 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions over its lifetime. Earlier this year, a group of international climate change experts spoke out against the Prince Rupert B.C., project, warning it would become one of Canada's top greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters if built, making it impossible for B.C. to meet GHG emissions targets.  Yvette Brend reports. (CBC)

Net Pen Application & Public Hearing scheduled for Clallam County
Al Bergstein writes: "So here we go folks. Your waters, your voice. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to save and restore wild salmon, now we are expected to trade off the known downsides of net pens for our wild salmon. Net pens are disease vectors, they pollute the waters with feces of millions of fish, and the antibiotics and other drugs that are needed to protect the herded fish from disease. They are a breeding ground for sea lice which then attach themselves to migrating fish from the entire Sound that will passing by the pens. This is an incredibly bad idea that will only profit a small shareholder class and the tiny number of workers employed by them. Is this really what we want? This is your chance to speak out. It’s not happening, “somewhere else.”  This is here in our waters right offshore." Read the legal notice details. (Olympic Peninsula Environmental News)

More natural Columbia River flow would aid Northwest, tribal study says
Allowing the Columbia to flow more like a natural river would help the region financially, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits to local communities, Northwest tribes say. In a 150-page study, the tribes make a financial case for modernizing dam operations in the Columbia Basin and releasing more water during dry years to aid struggling salmon runs. Even modest changes could add up to $19 billion annually in economic benefits for the region, the study said. Becky Kramer reports. (Spokesman Review)

EPA taking comments on lifting proposed mine restrictions 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken the first step toward reversing its proposed restrictions on large-scale mining near the headwaters of a major salmon fishery in southwest Alaska. As part of a legal settlement reached in May with the Pebble Limited Partnership, the EPA pledged to initiate a process for withdrawing the proposed restrictions. EPA announced Tuesday that it would hold a 90-day comment period on the intended withdrawal. Becky Bohrer reports. (Associated Press) See also: The Deep Industry Ties of Trump’s Deregulation Teams  Danielle Ivory and Robert Faturechi report. (NY Times)

Caws for celebration: Canuck the Crow lands a paying gig at PNE
IT specialists probably think they’ve heard it all, but Loredana Udovicic has a new one for them: The crow stole my keyboard. Well, not the entire keyboard, but the manager of food and beverage at the Pacific National Exhibition has had to repeatedly ask her IT department for a replacement keyboard after Canuck the Crow flew through an open window into her office and made off with one of the keys…. Canuck has been visiting the PNE ever since he learned to fly a couple of years ago. Staff began treating him like an honorary employee. This year, the Exhibition decided to make him a full-time employee, fitting since tens of thousands of youngsters got their first paying job at the PNE over its 107-year history, according to the fair. Gordon McIntyre reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Plants Turn Caterpillars into Cannibals
It is not unusual for insect pests to feast on each other as well as on their staple veg, but it's now been shown that tomato plants can team up to directly push caterpillars into cannibalism….. Herbivorous pests often turn on each other when their food is of poor quality or it runs out. And some plants are known to affect the behaviour of their pests by making them more predatory towards other species. But until now it was unclear whether plants could directly cause caterpillar cannibalism.  Laura Castells reports. (Scientific American/Nature America)

Coming soon to KOMO: More editorials from ex-Trump official
Seattle, meet Boris Epshteyn. You’re about to see a lot more of him. Epshteyn is many things: a banker, a communications flack for Republican campaigns, a surrogate for President Donald Trump’s campaign and, briefly, a member of his administration. In recent months, he’s become something else: The Senior Political Analyst for Sinclair Broadcast Group — the media giant that owns 170 local news stations nationwide and functions with a widely accepted hard-right lilt. Among those stations is Seattle’s KOMO news. David Kroman reports. (Crosscut)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  304 AM PDT Wed Jul 12 2017  
TODAY
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 9 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3  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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

7/11 Leque Is,, xylene, race pollution, orca hormones, ocean acid, news boom, fast ferry

Hardhack [Fourth Corner Nurseries]
Hardhack Spiraea douglasii
Spiraea douglasii
is a species of flowering plant in the rose family native to western North America. Common names include hardhack, hardhack steeplebush, Douglas' spirea, douglasspirea, steeplebush, and rose spirea. (Wikipedia) Native deciduous shrub grows to 6-12′ tall with showy pink flowers. Prefers wet habitats, spreading vigorously by rhizomes. Competes favorably with reed canary grass. Tolerates salt spray in shoreline plantings. (Fourth Corner Nurseries)

Project on Leque Island in Stanwood all for salmon, wildlife
Several hundred flood-prone acres that were used as farmland for more than a century are being transformed into a saltwater marsh. Work is set to start this month on a project that, over the next few years, is meant to carve out tidal channels, build earth mounds and remove levees around Leque Island, located between Stanwood and Camano Island. Leque is closing to the public starting July 17 for the first phase of the roughly $6 million project. The closure is expected to last until the middle of October. Kari Bray reports. (Everett Herald)

Final study released for Tesoro refinery xylene project
Skagit County reached no new conclusions in the final environmental impact statement it released Monday for a project proposed at the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery at March Point. Skagit County Planning and Development Services has determined the project would have no significant environmental impacts that would require mitigation. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

How is pollution connected to race and inequality?
The Trump administration has proposed cutting the EPA's budget by 30 percent. What does that mean for polluted communities in the U.S.? The effects of pollution and climate change don’t affect us all equally. Those hit hardest often belong to communities of color and are cash poor — what Majora Carter describes as “low status” communities. She’s an urban revitalization strategist who has focused on environmental justice throughout her career. Carter was raised in the South Bronx, a hub of urban blight. Ashley Ahearn and Ashley Cleek report. (terrestrial)

Orca hormones linking pregnancies to prey will go into medical files
Hormones found in the feces of killer whales are providing unique insights about the health of Southern Resident orcas — including pregnancy status and stress levels. Fortunately, such information can be gathered with little disturbance to the animals. The latest information about hormones will soon be incorporated into a new health-status database with individual medical reports being compiled for each whale in the Southern Resident population. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Climate change turns Puget Sound acidic and region’s signature oysters struggle to survive
Bill Taylor’s first memory is of falling out of a boat at about age 3. Taylor’s father was working the family shellfish farm in the chill waters of Puget Sound, Washington’s scenic inland sea, with his young son in tow. It all happened pretty fast, but fortunately Taylor’s dad plucked him out of danger’s way. Nearly 60 years later, Bill Taylor is trying to figure out how to rescue his family’s fifth-generation shellfish-farming operation from an ocean that’s turning more acidic due to global climate change. This save is going to be a lot harder. It’s a calamity that threatens Washington state’s $270-million-a-year shellfish industry. And it has the Taylors — after a century-plus producing shellfish in the Evergreen State — exploring every potential angle to steel their mollusks against the corrosive effects of ocean acidification. Lisa Stiffler reports. (Investigate West)

Trump era boosts shares for major newspapers, while local papers face famine
Trump’s famous #failingnytimes hashtag has driven more traffic to the news site than halted it. Furthermore, major newspapers directly criticizing Trump are soaring in share prices, leaving local newspapers with a fight to stay afloat. Gerry Smith reports. (Bloomberg News)

New fast ferry debuts, cutting Seattle-Bremerton commute in half
A new ferry service is now carrying passengers between Bremerton and downtown Seattle. Kitsap Transit launched the passenger-only Bremerton Fast Ferry with early sailings Monday morning. The ferry can carry about 118 passengers. The crossing time is about 28 minutes. The ferry runs on weekdays and Saturdays. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  306 AM PDT Tue Jul 11 2017  
TODAY
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W swell 3 ft at 9 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Monday, July 10, 2017

7/10 BC fire, orcas & salmon, hummingbirds, WA budgets, Andeavor, knotweed, bag ban, corals

Elwha nearshore 7/5/17 [Tom Roorda/CWI]
More evacuations in B.C. Interior as winds whip up flames
Residents in the town of 100 Mile House were ordered to leave their homes Sunday evening as winds picked up and fanned the flames of the many wildfires in the tinder-dry B.C. Interior. Authorities are urging evacuees to head north to Prince George — not to go south to Kamloops, which is already struggling to meet the needs of evacuees from other parts of the province. (CBC)

Fate of Pacific Northwest orcas tied to having enough Columbia River salmon
Just one of the three pods of endangered southern resident killer whales has shown up this year in the Salish Sea near the San Juan Islands northwest of Seattle, their summer home as long as researchers have followed them since 1976. Deborah Giles, research director of the Center for Whale Research, said she isn’t concerned yet for the other two pods of fish-eating orcas. But she worries about what the next decade holds for the beloved sea mammals that share the Puget Sound with millions of people, thousands of boats and just a fraction of the salmon that historically were the orcas’ main food source. Rocky Barker and Brittany Peterson report. (Idaho Statesman) See also: Northwest salmon are the stuff of legends. Despite millions, the species struggles to survive. Can we save them — and at what price?  Rocky Barker reports. (Idaho Statesman)

Legal Battle Drives Dam Managers To Extraordinary Salmon Research
…. By stretching a net across the river below Bonneville Dam, researchers are intercepting the fish swimming toward the ocean to see what they’ve been eating. What they really want to know is whether the fish are eating bugs that came from marshes restored for their benefit. That’s key to proving habitat restoration is helping the fish grow and survive. Federal agencies have spent millions of dollars restoring salmon habitat on the lower Columbia River as part of a massive effort to save salmon from the impacts of hydroelectric dams. In the Columbia Basin, 13 species of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead are navigating a river system loaded with 14 dams. The federal plan to help them has been challenged and rejected in court five times in more than 20 years. In that plan, the agencies told the court that restoring marshes in the estuary will help save threatened and endangered fish. The court’s response has been along the lines of: Oh yeah? Prove it. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Insecticide found in same B.C. hummingbirds that are in decline
Some species of North American hummingbirds are in severe decline and a British Columbia research scientist says one possible cause might be the same insecticide affecting honey bees. Christine Bishop with Environment and Climate Change Canada said researchers started looking at a variety of factors that may be responsible, ranging from habitat loss to changes when plants bloom. To try and find some answers, researchers began collecting urine and feces from the birds for testing…. Bishop said the concentration found in the urine is relatively high at three parts per billion.  Terri Theodore reports. (Canadian Press)

Inslee Vetoes Plan To Give All Manufacturers The Boeing Tax Rate
In a move certain to anger Republicans, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday vetoed a tax break for manufacturers that lawmakers passed last week as part of a budget deal to avoid a July 1 government shutdown…. The preferential tax measure would have given all manufacturing businesses in Washington the same low business and occupation tax rate that Boeing pays—0.2904 percent down from 0.484 percent. Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)

Water ruling debate holds up state capital budget
All might seem quiet now that the state Legislature has passed and Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a two-year operating budget. While the operating budget might be in place, $4 billion in construction projects — including projects in Clallam and Jefferson counties — are waiting on the approval of the state’s capital budget…. Senate Republicans said they won’t pass the capital budget without approval of legislation to overturn a recent state Supreme Court ruling known as the Hirst decision. The ruling limits the use of new domestic water wells in some rural areas when it harms “senior” water rights — water rights already established. Nark Swanson reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Tesoro changing its name
The oil and natural gas company that operates the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery at March Point is changing its name, according to a June 1 news release. On Aug. 1, Tesoro Corp. will become Andeavor, and Tesoro Logistics LP will become Andeavor Logistics LP. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Navy, Kitsap County at war against noxious weeds
The Navy has joined with Kitsap County to expel aggressive invaders from local bases. Their target Thursday towered 10 feet high and was dug in along the Naval Base Kitsap-Keyport shoreline. Knotweed. The tall, bamboo-like plants arrived from Asia as early as 1890, and were sold in Sears catalogs as a naturally growing fence, said Dana Coggon, the county's noxious weed control coordinator. Like many of the 168 plants on the state's noxious weed list, they escaped the garden and are now going wild. Ed Friedrich reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Tacoma's plastic bag hoarders readying for city's ban
Matt Driscoll writes: "Most were quick to admit it. “I’m a bag hoarder,” Leslie Ann Rose told me bluntly. The admission came in response to a search I undertook — initially via Facebook — looking for anyone who might be dreading the July 12 implementation of Tacoma’s Bring Your Own Bag ordinance. (Tacoma News Tribune)

While Corals Die Along The Great Barrier Reef, Humans Struggle To Adjust
Nearly a hundred miles off the shore of Port Douglas, Australia, tourists jump into the water of the outer reef. On their dive, they see giant clams, sea turtles and a rainbow of tropical fish, all swimming above brightly colored coral…. It turns out a reef filled with neon coral is not normal. Healthy coral is usually earth-toned. The bright pinks, blues and yellows these tourists saw in their dive along the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef are the first signs that coral is dying. And then, says marine biologist John Edmondson, “You see it going white.” That’s the second sign of dying coral, says Edmondson, who runs Wavelength Reef Cruises, a tour operator on the reef. “That’s when it’s most dramatic looking,” he says, pointing to a bleached brain coral that is hundreds of years old. “But you don’t know if it’s going to die or it’s going to recover. … And when you start to see the coral actually dying, getting covered with algae and looking horrible, that is when it really hits home.” Rob Schmitz reports. (NPR)



Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  307 AM PDT Mon Jul 10 2017  
TODAY
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 ft  at 8 seconds. Patchy drizzle in the morning.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. NW swell 4  ft at 8 seconds.

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