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  
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W  swell 3 ft at 10 seconds.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing late. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft,  subsiding. W swell 3 ft at 10 seconds.

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