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  
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 ft  at 8 seconds. Patchy drizzle in the morning.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. NW swell 4  ft at 8 seconds.

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