Thursday, August 17, 2017

8/17 Wetlands, salmon or dams, Olympic goats, Trump's floods, WDFW sex, bad mussels, seastars, Bill Frank, Jr, oilpatch secrets

Three Tree Point
Three Tree Point
Three Tree Point is a low, gravelly, triangle-shaped spit jutting into the east side of Puget Sound. It is about the midpoint between Seattle and Tacoma. It is referred to on some navigation charts as "Point Pully", in recognition of crew member Robert Pulley of the Wilkes Expedition…. Three Tree Point is a densely populated residential area where much attention has been paid toward tree preservation. The surrounding waters are popular among scuba divers. (Wikipedia)

Gig Harbor Landowner Fined for Destroying Wetlands
A Pierce County landowner has been fined $90,000 after he destroyed forested wetlands that could take 50 years to restore. The Washington state Department of Ecology says Richard Leone (Lee-O-nee) of Gig Harbor hired a contractor in 2016 to illegally drain, clear and fill two protected wetlands in order to expand a housing development. Ecology manager Perry Lund said Wednesday that wetlands are critical to the overall health of Washington's watersheds. He says Leone documented the wetlands in a report submitted to Pierce County, so he was fully aware of their locations and took specific steps to destroy them. (Associated Press)

The Pacific Northwest faces an impossible choice: Salmon or dams?
Salmon in the Pacific Northwest have been brought to the edge of extinction, and conservationists argue hydroelectric dams along the Snake and Columbia Rivers are a major obstacle blocking salmon migration. Dam defenders point out the integral role this infrastructure plays in powering the region. The choice between the two will deeply affect the region's environment and economy. Ali Rizvi and Sohali Al-Jamea report. (McClatchy)

Officials present park, forest goat relocation plan
A two-year mountain goat relocation plan for Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest would start in July 2018 under a proposed project presented this week at the park’s visitor center in Port Angeles. Goats not relocated would be shot beginning in 2019 under the proposal, officials said. Any goats found in the park after that date would be eliminated. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Trump Rolls Back Obama-Era Flood Standards For Infrastructure Projects
President Trump’s astonishing press conference on Tuesday was, ostensibly, an announcement about infrastructure. But his brief remarks on the permitting process were entirely overshadowed by his defense of attendees at a white supremacist rally, among other remarks. But the president was, in fact, announcing a new executive order with serious repercussions. Among other things, he’s rolling back an Obama-era order that infrastructure projects, like roads and bridges, be designed to survive rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change. Camilia Domonoske reports. (NPR)

Another 'Sexualized Culture' Investigation At Fish And Wildlife Leads To Firings
Four Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife employees were fired this month after an investigation found an “extremely sexualized culture” at a fish hatchery on the Columbia River. One woman who worked at the hatchery told investigators she sought a seasonal job elsewhere to escape the “constant, daily sexual banter.” The misconduct at the Wells Hatchery near Pateros in Okanogan County follows a 2015 report that found a sexual climate among some members of the executive management team at Fish and Wildlife headquarters in Olympia. Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)

Water advocates say feds need to do more to prevent invasive mussels from moving into B.C.
So far this summer, B.C. conservation officers have flagged 1,100 boats coming into the province as high risk for carrying invasive mussels. And that has Tracy Gray, chair of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, worried. "Down in the U.S., where literally they have piles and mounds of these dead shells on their beaches that they have to shovel out," she said. (CBC)

Can sea stars make a comeback in Kachemak Bay? 
Sea star wasting syndrome, or disease as it has become known, hit Kachemak Bay hard in 2016, killing about 90 percent of sunflower and true star populations. Researchers eagerly waited for spring to roll around in hopes their numbers would rebound. As the days got longer, it quickly became apparent that wasn’t going to happen this year, but there is some hope the disease is waning. Aaron Bolton reports. (Alaska Public Media)

Washington state officials troubled by oilpatch secrets
Washington State officials have privately complained about a lack of information — vital for an oil spill response — on the ingredients of the diluent used to help Alberta bitumen flow through Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline. The data is crucial for spill response planning as the company proceeds with a proposed $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would triple the daily flow between Edmonton, Alta. and Burnaby, B.C. to 890,000 barrels. From the company’s Burnaby site, the oil would be shipped to Asian markets in tankers through Vancouver Harbour and then through the waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait shared by British Columbia and Washington State. The pipeline company has suggested in responses to National Observer that it has been transparent enough, publishing a list of 52 products that Transport Canada has approved for the pipeline, as well as components listed on crudemonitor.ca for various types of oil. It has told Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) it would quickly disclose ingredients in the event of a spill. Stanley Tromp reports. (National Observer)

If you like to watch: Recalling the voice and wisdom of Billy Frank Jr. in a new animated video
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "It is very nice to hear once again the distinctive voice of the late Billy Frank Jr. in a new animated video called simply “sčədadxʷ” — or “Salmon.” Billy was the voice for the Nisqually Tribe, for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, for native people everywhere and for the human race, which he believed holds a special relationship with salmon and all of nature’s creatures. The new video was produced by Salmon Defense, a nonprofit organization created by the 20 Western Washington treaty tribes to foster the welfare of salmon. The short animation was distributed by Northwest Treaty Tribes, the communications arm of the NWIFC…."

Regarding yesterday's item about Popeye the seal biting the hand that didn't feed him in Friday Harbor [Seal bites man in Friday Harbor; experts, victim say seal expects to be hand fed], Gene Helfman notes: "Maybe Popeye wasn't hungry but just pissed at the guy for catching undersize crabs.  See video around 1:10." Check out the size of the crabs.

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  904 AM PDT Thu Aug 17 2017  
TODAY
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 to  7 ft at 12 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 to  6 ft at 12 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, August 16, 2017

8/16 Pt Roberts, Elwha mouth, free pump out, ocean laws, tree probiotics, seal bites man

Point Roberts [Bellingham Homes]
Point Roberts
Point Roberts is a land exclave of the United States that is located on the southernmost tip of the Tsawwassen Peninsula, south of Vancouver in British Columbia. Point Roberts was created when the United Kingdom and the United States settled the Pacific Northwest American-Canadian border dispute in the mid 19th century with the Oregon Treaty. Both parties agreed that the 49th parallel would delineate both countries' territories, however, the small area that incorporates Point Roberts was overlooked. (Wikipedia)

Coastal Watershed Institute seeking funding for Elwha River mouth project
The Coastal Watershed Institute’s project expanding accessibility to the Elwha River mouth and restoring a section east of the mouth is at a halt after the nonprofit has struggled to find funding. The nonprofit’s executive director, Anne Shaffer, said she doesn’t understand why funding through the Puget Sound Partnership for the project was denied this year when the project was the set as the top priority for habitat restoration projects in the state. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Free pump-out service helps Vancouver boaters dispose of sewage
Vancouver is offering a free mobile pump-out service to boaters aimed at helping to improve water quality. The city and park board say the pilot service will come directly to boats in False Creek to empty their sewage tanks. A statement said that will make it easier for boaters to pump — not dump — their waste. According to the city, untreated sewage from boats is the primary source of E. coli contamination in False Creek. The pump-out service is part of a strategy to make False Creek safe for swimming. (Canadian Press)

Watch This: What Are Oceans Laws Trying to Protect? 
These guys…. These are just a few of the residents living near the coast of California, in aquariums at the Catalina Island Marine Institute. In the surrounding waters, the state has designated marine protected areas that help wildlife like this propagate… Claire O'Neill and Matt Ruby write. (NY Times)

Study: Probiotics Can Help Trees Clean Up Toxic Waste
Humans like their yogurt and new research indicates the trees that clean up toxic waste stand to benefit from probiotics too. Poplar trees clean groundwater by taking up the carcinogen trichloroethylene, or TCE, and breaking it down into harmless salts. TCE is one of the most common groundwater pollutants in the country and is found in multiple sites in the Pacific Northwest, including the Duwamish River. But there’s a catch. “When the pollutant is at too high of a concentration or there are other mixed pollutants” then the poplars can become “stunted and don’t do well,” said Sharon Doty, a researcher at the University of Washington. That’s why Doty worked with other researchers to find a bacteria that could help poplars break down TCE. Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Seal bites man in Friday Harbor; experts, victim say seal expects to be hand fed
A Friday Harbor mainstay that's been attracting locals and tourists alike for two decades is in hot water. Popeye the popular one-eyed seal bit a fisherman's arm, causing severe injury. For the better part of 20 years, Popeye has been getting her fill of table scraps from people eager to feed her. Gerald Balmer says that’s what the seal appeared to want when she paid him and his friends a visit as they pulled into Friday Harbor after a long day of fishing last Thursday. “She used her flippers and was flipping water clear over the boat onto us—wanting something to eat,” Gerald remembered. But Gerald says when he didn’t oblige, Popeye helped herself. Joanna Small reports. (KIRO)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PDT Wed Aug 16 2017  
TODAY
 Light wind becoming W to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds. Patchy fog in the  morning. A slight chance of showers in the afternoon.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft  at 11 seconds. Patchy fog 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, August 15, 2017

8/15 Mapmaker, vessel poop, forage fish, OCNMS, grizzlies, boat job, park pass, fuel rules, media rules

Point No Point [US Lighthouse Society]
Point No Point
Point No Point is an outcropping of land on the northeast point of the Kitsap Peninsula…. It was the location of the signing of the Point No Point Treaty and is the site of the Point No Point Light. It was named by Charles Wilkes during the United States Exploring Expedition of Puget Sound in 1841. Wilkes gave the point its name because it appears much less of a promontory at close range than it does from a distance. (Wikipedia)

Return To The Salish Sea: Mapmaker Stefan Freelan
As a cartographer, Stefan Freelan lives a pretty routine life, teaching computer skills such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to students at Huxley College of the Environment in Bellingham. But one day nearly a decade ago, a Canadian-born colleague came knocking at Freelan’s door. Bert Webber, a professor of Geography and Environmental Social Sciences at the time, was trying to spread the word about a newly-named body of water. He asked Freelan to help him by making a map of the Salish Sea. “And specifically, he wanted a map that did not have a line right through the middle of his bioregion, i.e., the international border,” Freelan said. Bellamy Pailthorp and Madolyn Laurine report.  (KNKX)

Federal money targets water pollution from vessel sewage
Federal grants totaling $2.5 million has been awarded to prevent sewage pollution in Washington state waters. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants will be used to add more locations where recreational boaters and other vessels can pump out their vessel sewage. Washington State Parks, working with the University of Washington's Washington Sea Grant, plans to install new septic pump-out facilities, as well as educate boats and marina owners about clean water and proper sewage disposal. (Associated Press)

Healthy forage fish habitat imperative to salmon recovery
The Suquamish Tribe and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are updating the current state of forage fish spawning habitat in East Kitsap County. Healthy forage fish populations are essential for salmon recovery because salmon rely on them as a high energy food source…. Since 2016, the tribe, the state and Puget Sound Corps (PSC) have been collecting beach samples from more than 200 sampling points each month including East Kitsap beaches from Hansville to Yukon Harbor, and Blake Island. The state and PSC crew members then take the samples to Olympia to be processed for eggs, if present, and identify the species and development stages. The sampling effort, which is expected to last at least one calendar year, will help identify the beach locations and times of the year when surf smelt spawn. (NW Treaty Tribes)

Researchers to explore Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
A leading research team will explore the Quinault Canyon and other features of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary from Friday through Sept. 4. Anyone with an internet connection can follow the action as it unfolds at www.NautilusLive.org. Capt. Robert Ballard, who is best known for discovering the RMS Titanic in 1985, and his “Corps of Exploration” will lead the 2½ week study aboard the exploration vessel (EV) Nautilus. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

B.C. government announces ban on grizzly bear trophy hunt
The NDP government made good on a high-profile election promise Monday by announcing a B.C.-wide ban on the trophy hunting of grizzly bears, while allowing hunting to continue for meat. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson told a news conference that grizzly trophy hunting is “not a socially acceptable practice in 2017” and encouraged wilderness operators to look instead to the economics of bear viewing. Effective Nov. 30, 2017, the province pledges to “end grizzly bear trophy hunting throughout the province and stop all hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest,” Donaldson said. The timing of the ban allows hunts already scheduled for this fall to continue. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Washington state maritime labor headed for a retirement cliff
Water-transportation workers face an impending mass retirement of almost a third of the workforce. A lot of the jobs pay well, so why aren't young workers flocking to them? Scott Greenstone reports. (Seattle Times)

The remaining $10 national parks passes aren’t easy to find. But this place has ’em.
Are you 62 or older and enjoy getting outdoors? The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge still has a stash of $10 lifetime passes that can be used at national parks and federally operated recreation sites. Why is that a big deal? Beginning Aug. 28, the price for the lifetime passes will jump to $80. Bargain-hunting recreationalists have been flocking to parks this summer to sign up for the $10 deal. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

Trump Administration Takes Key Step To Rolling Back Auto Fuel Standards
The Trump administration has begun the process of rolling back tough fuel standards for America’s car and light truck fleet. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department have opened the public comment period on the rewriting of standards for greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025…. Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules were first put into place after the OPEC oil crisis in the 1970s. During the Obama administration, the CAFE rules were toughened in the wake of the financial crisis and the car company bankruptcies. The new standards called for an increased reliance on electric vehicles. Low gas prices and sluggish sales of alternative fuel vehicles have made meeting those standards tough, especially for those companies more reliant on larger vehicles. Earlier this year, the EPA announced it would reconsider a decision late in the Obama administration to make the rules permanent. Sonari Glinton reports. (NPR)

How a Conservative TV Giant Is Ridding Itself of Regulation
The day before President Trump’s inauguration, the top executive of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation’s largest owner of television stations, invited an important guest to the headquarters of the company’s Washington-area ABC affiliate…. The invitation from David D. Smith, the chairman of Sinclair, went to Ajit V. Pai, a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission who was about to be named the broadcast industry’s chief regulator. Mr. Smith wanted Mr. Pai to ease up on efforts under President Barack Obama to crack down on media consolidation, which were threatening Sinclair’s ambitions to grow even bigger…. Within days of their meeting, Mr. Pai was named chairman of the F.C.C. And during his first 10 days on the job, he relaxed a restriction on television stations’ sharing of advertising revenue and other resources — the exact topic that Mr. Pai discussed with Mr. Smith and one of his business partners, according to records examined by The New York Times. Cecilia Kang, Eric Lipton and Syndey Ember report. (NY times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  220 AM PDT Tue Aug 15 2017  
TODAY
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 10 seconds  building to 6 ft at 10 seconds 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Monday, August 14, 2017

8/14 Shellfish suit, Pruitt's EPA, pesticides, new park, Tokitae, humpback, Felicity Ann, cit sci, Wallie Funk

Those clever ravens! [Paul Lantz/BirdNote]
How Raven Made the Tide
Long ago the tide stayed close to shore. The people went hungry because the clams lay hidden under water. Then Raven had a plan. He put on his cloak and flew along the shore to the house of the old woman who held the tide-line firmly in her hand. Raven fooled her, and she let go of the tide-line, and the tide rushed out. All the people joined Raven to feast on clams. Finally the old woman promised to let go of the tide-line twice each day. And that is how Raven made the tides. (BirdNote)

Lawsuit targets federal oversight of shellfish farming
A national food group is suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alleging it is allowing commercial shellfish aquaculture to expand in Washington state without adequate environmental scrutiny. The Center for Food Safety says the Corps violated federal laws when it approved a general permit in January for shellfish operations without fully considering cumulative environmental impacts of shellfish operations across the state. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Seattle.

Scott Pruitt Is Carrying Out His E.P.A. Agenda in Secret, Critics Say
When career employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are summoned to a meeting with the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, at agency headquarters, they no longer can count on easy access to the floor where his office is, according to interviews with employees of the federal agency. Doors to the floor are now frequently locked, and employees have to have an escort to gain entrance. Some employees say they are also told to leave behind their cellphones when they meet with Mr. Pruitt, and are sometimes told not to take notes. Mr. Pruitt, according to the employees, who requested anonymity out of fear of losing their jobs, often makes important phone calls from other offices rather than use the phone in his office, and he is accompanied, even at E.P.A. headquarters, by armed guards, the first head of the agency to ever request round-the-clock security. Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton report. (NY Times)

No end in sight for dispute over pesticide injury to salmon
It has been 15 years since a federal judge ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency and National Marine Fisheries Service must consider whether pesticides increase the risk of extinction for Northwest salmon populations. Since 2002, NMFS (also called NOAA Fisheries) has determined that some pesticides do indeed pose a significant risk to the ongoing existence of salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act. Yet, after all these years, permanent protective measures have not been imposed by the EPA, which is responsible for regulating pesticide use. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Neighborhood campaign creates 47-acre county park
One of Lou Ann Wood's favorite trails begins not far from her mailbox.  The path leads her through stands of maple, cedar and fir, and across hillsides blanketed in moss and sword ferns. Walking through the forest Thursday, Wood paused to soak in the silence…. And yet, up until recently, this 47-acre woodland in the heart of Silverdale's Olympic View neighborhood was on the chopping block. The state Department of Natural Resources, which owned the property, planned to log the trees. Dozens of Olympic View neighbors, including Wood, pushed back. Residents argued clear-cutting the land would generate stormwater runoff that could destabilize homes on the downhill bank separating the land from Hood Canal, while also decrying the loss of wildlife habitat and recreational space in the midst of their community. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Lummi Nation: Return Tokitae ‘to the place in her heart’
The new Coupeville whale bell tolled 40 times Tuesday, one for every orca captured or killed during the Puget Sound whale round-ups of the late 1960s and early 1970s. “We need to do something for these beautiful, spiritual creatures that sing these beautiful songs,” declared Douglas James Jr., one of a dozen Lummi Nation members who attended the annual event of remembrance and resolve sponsored by Orca Network. About 100 people heard updates about the plight of killer whales in captivity and those living in local waters. The day marked the 47th anniversary of a well-documented hunt in Penn Cove when seven young killer whales were taken and four babies, caught in herding nets, drowned. Patricia Guthrie reports. (Whidbey News-Times)

Humpback whale struck by boat spotted on a roll
A whale-watching company believes it has found the humpback whale struck by one of its Zodiacs near Race Rocks on Monday. Prince of Whales Capt. Mark Malleson returned Tuesday to the collision site and photographed a lone humpback that he is “fairly certain” is the whale that suddenly appeared and collided with the boat. “It looks as though it may have a minor scar on its left side ahead of its dorsal fin, which jives with the [Zodiac] master’s feeling that it was hit on its left side,” Malleson said in a statement. He said the animal was behaving normally. Katherine Dedyna reports. (Times Colonist)

New chapter for a famous boat: Felicity Ann to be used for maritime education
The Community Boat Project in Port Hadlock is taking over the restoration of the historic Felicity Ann, a vessel made famous by Ann Davison, the first woman to sail solo across the Atlantic in 1953. The boat was donated to the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in 2003 and dozens of students and faculty worked to restore the 23-foot sloop. On Wednesday, the boat was handed off to the Community Boat Project, which will finish the restoration and the Felicity Ann will be added to the Community Boat Project’s fleet, used for maritime education programs. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Program takes citizen scientists out to sea
As waves rocked the boat, a group of citizen scientists watched lines take shape on a computer screen. The blue, red and black lines represented temperature, salinity and depth, which were measured by a device called a CTD as it was lowered into the water from the back of the boat. The group aboard Western Washington University’s research vessel Magister on Aug. 1 was getting a look at how scientists gather data used to study the marine environment. The day trip was an extended education opportunity the university is offering at its Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Hansville weather enthusiast shares his view of the sky with the world
Each morning Greg Johnson gets up, makes his coffee and pans for gold in the mudroom of his Hansville home. Sitting at his computer, he reviews what his ever-rolling webcams have captured in the overnight hours. For Johnson, the man behind the popular weather webcam SkunkBayWeather.com, the gold pieces he’s looking for come in the form of a meteor, the Northern Lights, perhaps even an UFO: Interesting flashes in the night missed by most during sleeping hours. The array of cameras that power the website regularly capture the wide variety of both human and natural activity in Johnson’s backyard: Skunk Bay. With a little editing, he crunches the video into timelapses that tell stories. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Wallie V. Funk dies at age 95 
Wallie V. Funk Jr. of Anacortes, a longtime newspaperman, photographer and local historian, died Saturday. He was 95. Born and raised in Anacortes, Funk was a former co-owner of the Anacortes American and later the Whidbey News-Times and the South Whidbey Record in Island County. Known for his local photography and large collection of other photographers’ works, Funk’s collection of photos is housed at the Anacortes Museum, Island County Museum in Coupeville and at Western Washington University. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT MON Aug 14 2017  
TODAY
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. NW swell 6 ft at 10 seconds. Patchy fog in  the morning.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. NW swell 5 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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Friday, August 11, 2017

8/11 Blackberry, Trans Mountain, Elwha fish, BC humpback, brown Trump, NW ice age

Blackberries [Woodinville Patch]
Blackberry Season: The Delicious Scourge Of Puget Sound Is Here To Stay
Every year toward the end of every summer, right between giant spider season and wildfire season, we get blackberry season. It's the time of year when forearm-thick canes covered in thorns stretch out over sidewalks and hiking paths bearing bundles of tart blackberries…. According to Steven Burke, manager of King County's noxious weed program, blackberries were brought to the Pacific Northwest over 100 years ago from Europe. There are two main species of blackberry here: the "parent" that came from Europe, and a hybrid of that European blackberry and the native Pacific Northwestern blackcap and trailing varieties. Neal McNamara reports. (Woodinville Patch)

Trans Mountain pipeline work stopped before it starts in British Columbia 
 The British Columbia provincial government has monkey-wrenched the start of construction for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, announcing Thursday that it is taking legal and administrative steps to stop the project. At issue is inadequate consultation by developer Kinder Morgan with First Nations, said George Heyman, Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister, in a news conference in Victoria. The company must complete consultations with First Nations on several environmental aspects of the project not yet addressed, and may not begin work on public land until it does so, Heyman said. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: B.C. joins legal battles against Trans Mountain pipeline expansion  Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun) And also: B.C.'s impending Kinder Morgan challenge is another straw on a very beleaguered camel  Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Fish recolonizing areas upriver of former dam sites on Elwha River
Josh Geffre has watched with awe as salmon return to the uppermost reaches of the Elwha River. Geffre, a fisheries technician for Olympic National Park, started monitoring the fish for the park in 2014 and has marveled as he’s seen most species swim upstream of the former Glines Canyon Dam. “It’s very satisfying to know the fish are recolonizing into areas upriver of the former dam sites,” he said during a recent trip to collect data on the fish. “It’s exciting to watch them.” Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Elwha fish by the numbers  (Peninsula Daily News)

If you like to watch: Humpback whale greets ship off Cortes Island 
Peter Hamilton of the environmental group Lifeforce captured a close encounter with a curious humpback whale off Cortes Island in the Strait of Georgia. “Seeing whales in the wild is an incredible experience,” Hamilton told Postmedia’s Larry Pynn, noting this humpback took the initiative to approach his vessel as he was documenting behaviour for research. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Environmental Penalties Down Under President Trump
Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July….  That’s significantly less than the number of cases prosecuted and the penalties collected under the same six month period by the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. Greg Allen reports. (NPR)

What was Washington state like during the last ice age?
Seattle was carved by ice. A mere 17,000 years ago, a massive glacier the height of five Space Needles covered what is now Seattle and a large part of western Washington. It carved out Puget Sound and Lake Washington as it advanced and retreated. And Seattle’s hilly neighborhoods — including Queen Anne, Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill — were etched by the glacier’s icy underbelly. The Cordilleran Ice Sheet was big — towering 3,000 feet high in the spot where Seattle stands today. But just how much land did it cover?  And was anyone around to see it back then? Amy Rolph reports. (KUOW)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  248 AM PDT Fri Aug 11 2017  
TODAY
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 3 ft at 10 seconds. Patchy smoke in the morning.
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. SW  swell 3 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance of showers after  midnight.
SAT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft  at 11 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the morning.
SAT NIGHT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at 11 seconds.
SUN
 E wind to 10 kt becoming W 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 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

8/10 Patos Light, clearing skies, Trans Mountain, Trump salmon, Robert Wielgus, toxic tuna, jellies

Patos Light [Keepers of the Patos Light]
Patos Island Light
Patos Island Lighthouse is an active aid to navigation overlooking the Strait of Georgia at Alden Point on the western tip of Patos Island in the San Juan Islands, San Juan County, Washington, in the United States. The station is the northernmost in the San Juan Islands and marks the division point between the eastern and western passages into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (Wikipedia) See also: Keepers of the Patos Light  On Sunday, August 27th, the Birthday Boat will depart from Orcas Island to Patos at 7:45 AM! We will celebrate the 124th Lighthouse Birthday Party, this time in the AM…returning to Orcas by noon. Cost will be $50 per person for the boat.

When will it end? Rain could clear smoky South Coast skies

A rainy summer weekend in Vancouver? Bring it on. Environment Canada says a change is coming that could clear smoke-filled skies on the South Coast and possibly help with wildfire-fighting efforts in the B.C. Interior. The first step is forecast for Friday, where winds from the south are forecast to blow the lingering smoke inland and away from the coast. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC) See also: This is not a drill: Seattle's hazy smoke from B.C. wildfires could finally lift on Friday  Jessica Lee reports. (Seattle Times)

B.C. hires outside counsel to begin legal challenge of Trans Mountain pipeline project
B.C. has announced it has hired outside counsel to begin its legal challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. On Thursday, B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby said the province has hired lawyer Thomas Berger to provide advice to the government. Berger is a former Supreme Court justice. (CBC)

Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules
A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. Known as the “God squad” because its decisions can lead to extinctions of threatened wildlife, it has only gathered three times — the last 25 years ago during a controversy over spotted owl habitat in the Northwest. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

Outspoken WSU wolf researcher says university, lawmakers silenced and punished him
By a slow slide of river deep in Washington’s wolf country, Robert Wielgus laughs at the tattoo on his arm of Four Claws, the grizzly that almost killed him. “I would rather face charging grizzly bears trying to kill me than politicians and university administrators, because it is over quickly,” said Wielgus, director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Some Tuna Can Carry Up To 36 Times The Toxic Chemicals Of Others. Here's Why
A new study may prompt hand wringing among you tuna poke and sushi lovers. When it comes to pollutant levels, researchers now say where your tuna was caught matters. In a first-of-its-kind global study, scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego analyzed 117 yellowfin tuna taken from 12 locations worldwide, measuring the contaminant levels of each. They found yellowfin tuna caught closer to more industrialized locations off North America and Europe can carry 36 times more pollutants — including pesticides, flame retardants and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) — than the same species caught in more remote locations, like in the West Pacific Ocean. Clare Leschin-Hoar reports. (NPR)

When Oceans Give You Jellyfish Blooms, Turn Them Into Tasty Chips
…. there’s some evidence that climate change is causing a rise in jellyfish populations. And if that’s true, it may soon become hard to ignore these creatures. The scale of the problem is scientifically hard to gauge, as historical data is in short supply (see the above link), and seasonal blooms are a natural part of jellyfish life cycle. But in localized situations there is no question that large smacks of jellyfish can wreak havoc on things like fishing nets and nuclear power plants, where they’ve caused shut-downs by clogging the pipes that bring cool water into the facilities. What to do? Open your mind and your mouth, says Mie Thorborg Pedersen, a gastrophysicist at the University of Southern Denmark. Sidsel Overgaard reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  855 AM PDT Thu Aug 10 2017  
TODAY
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 10 seconds. Areas of  fog in the morning. Patchy smoke.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 ft at 10 seconds. Patchy smoke.

--
"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, August 9, 2017

8/9 Salmon recovery, whale hit, crab bill, closed harvest, marine trail, Nooksack tribe, sage grouse, ship noise, rail oil, Colstrip

Magic mushrooms [Jill Bliss]
Magic Mushrooms: Jill Bliss turns wild fungi into vibrant works of art
Jill Bliss is an artist, naturalist, self-proclaimed nature nerd living in the islands of the Salish Sea – a network of coastal waterways stretching between British Columbia and America’s Pacific North West. (Happy)

Are we making progress on salmon recovery?
In recent decades, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to restore habitat for Puget Sound salmon. In this article, we look at how scientists are gauging their progress. Are environmental conditions improving or getting worse? The answer may depend on where you look and who you ask. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Whale-watching boat hits humpback near Victoria, B.C., 2 injured
One person remains in hospital after a whale-watching boat hit a humpback whale near Victoria, B.C., on Monday. It happened near Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, an outcropping to the south of Metchosin, around 2:45 p.m. PT. A zodiac vessel operated by Prince of Whales Whale Watching struck the humpback, after it unexpectedly surfaced right in front of the vessel. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Bill That Could Stabilize West Coast Crab Industry Heads To Trump's Desk
Lawmakers in Congress passed a major win for West Coast crab fishermen that now goes to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. The bill permanently extends a tri-state fishery management agreement in Washington, Oregon and California. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., introduced the measure in 2014 and received bipartisan support, including a companion bill in the House of Representatives sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican who represents southwest Washington. Molly Solomon reports. (OPB)

Shellfish harvests closed in Liberty Bay, Kingston, Bainbridge
Health officials closed shellfish harvests Tuesday in Liberty Bay, the east shore of Bainbridge Island and the east shore of the Kitsap peninsula from Point No Point to Point Jefferson.  Harvests were closed due to risk for paralytic shellfish poisoning, a biotoxin that can be deadly to humans, according to a Kitsap Public Health District bulletin. Warning signs are being posted at public beaches. (Kitsap Sun)

Salish Sea Marine Trail will hold grand opening at the end of this summer
B.C. Marine Trails Network Association’s vision of a water trail for kayakers is coming to fruition. The Salish Sea Marine Trail will be a part of the Trans-Canada Trail, linking Vancouver to Vancouver Island via a 257-kilometre paddling route, which will include areas in Nanaimo and Gabriola Island. John Kimantas, marine trail project manager, said the trail isn’t fully complete, but functionally complete. Karl Yu reports. Nanaimo News Bulletin)

Disenrolled Nooksack member: 'They're playing Russian roulette with my life' 
Over the past few weeks, dozens of tribes across the Pacific Northwest have been paddling canoes 200-400 miles on the salty waters between Washington and Vancouver Island. Deborah Alexander led about a dozen young paddlers on the annual canoe journey along traditional trade routes. Alexander’s canoe was filled with many people, including herself, who have been disenrolled from their tribe. Emily Fox reports. (KUOW)

Trump Administration Revises Conservation Plan For Western Sage Grouse
A task force is recommending changes that could loosen protections for the greater sage grouse, a Western bird species renowned for its elaborate mating dance. The report comes out of a review by the Trump administration of a massive Obama-era conservation plan for the bird which is imperiled by loss of habitat. The administration says the revisions are aimed at giving states more flexibility. But critics argue that the changes favor mining and petroleum companies and could hurt the bird’s long-term prospects. Nathan Rott reports. (NPR)

Study begins in the Salish Sea as time runs out for whales
Voluntary study started this week to gauge slower vessel speeds’ impact on whales…. Humans use their eyes; on the most part, whales and other cetaceans use their hearing. Marine traffic (the ships engines and propellers) produce low frequency sounds that travel for very long distances, reverberating through the ocean and masking cetacean communication and the whale’s ability to locate food sources. In response to this situation, the Port of Vancouver, with the cooperation of 52 marine shipping organizations , along with Washington State Ferries, have undertaken a voluntary study to focus on the relationship between slower vessel speeds, underwater noise levels and the effects that noise has on killer whales. Tim Collins reports. (Victoria News)

Astoria opposes oil-by-rail project
The Astoria City Council on Monday night joined other cities along the Columbia River in opposing a proposed oil terminal project, but only after City Councilor Bruce Jones did some reading and rewrote the resolution. Environmental advocacy group Columbia Riverkeeper and local activists had asked the council in July to adopt a resolution against the Tesoro Savage terminal project proposed for Washington’s Port of Vancouver, saying it threatens the health of the Columbia River estuary. They said the project could “dramatically increase” the danger of an oil spill. Katie Frankowicz reports. (Daily Astorian)

Talen changes Colstrip exit plans, plans to stay for foreseeable future
Once headed to the exits, Colstrip Power Plant operator Talen Energy has informed co-owners it will keep the coal-fired facility running for the foreseeable future. Spokesmen for some of the six utilities that co-own the southeast Montana power plant confirmed separately this week that Talen’s offer had been accepted, but final details were still being worked out. The reversal comes roughly a year after Talen informed its co-owners that the Pennsylvania-based energy company said it was “not economically viable” to continue operating Colstrip. Talen Energy did not respond to interview requests placed over two weeks. Tom Lutey reports. (Billings Gazette)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  849 AM PDT Wed Aug 9 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 3 ft at 9 seconds. Patchy fog in the morning.  Smoke.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 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. Smoke. Patchy fog 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

8/8 Forest fires, current & future climate, Trump's gas pipes, Navy blasts

Black-Backed Woodpecker [Lyann Comrack]
Let Forest Fires Burn? What the Black-Backed Woodpecker Knows
A scientific debate is intensifying over whether too much money and too many lives are lost fighting forest fires…. The black-backed woodpecker is one of the rarest birds in California, and lately it has become something more: a symbol of a huge scientific and political debate over the future of fire in American forests. Justin Gillis reports. (NY Times)

Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on U.S.
The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration. The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited. Lisa Friedman reports. (NY Times)

Think it's hot now? Here's what climate models say about the future of the Pacific Northwest
Some parts of Washington state, like Walla Walla County, could see dozens more 95-degree-plus days if only modest action is taken on climate change, according to an analysis of climate models. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Seattle's 'amazing transition' from wet to dry probably just a coincidence, scientists say  Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Trump now has the votes to feed U.S. fracking frenzy with new gas pipelines
Before leaving town, the U.S. Senate handed President Donald Trump and the oil industry two long-sought regulatory appointments that could expedite construction of natural gas pipelines nationwide. Since February, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has lacked a quorum to decide on new projects, frustrating the oil and gas industry, which lobbied Trump and the Senate to fill vacant seats. Just before its August recess, the Senate delivered, approving the nominations of Republicans Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to serve on the commission, commonly known as FERC. Stuart Leavenworth reports. (McClatchy) See also: Secrecy and Suspicion Surround Trump’s Deregulation Teams  Danielle Ivory and Robert Faturechi report. (NY Times)

Victoria whale watching company blasts navy over loud training exercises
Whale watching companies in Victoria are upset with the Royal Canadian Navy, claiming loud training exercises went ahead even though a pod of endangered southern resident killer whales was nearby. Navy ships from CFB Esquimalt often conduct exercises with explosives at Bentinck Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and follow protocols to stop blasting if boats or whales breach a one-kilometre buffer zone…. But the navy says it has looked into the incident and disagrees that the whales were too close. It says the whales were outside of the one-kilometre buffer zone; a sentry boat keeps watch and advises range operators if marine mammals are detected nearby. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  254 AM PDT Tue Aug 8 2017  
TODAY
 Light wind becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. Smoke patchy fog  and drizzle in the morning then patchy smoke in the afternoon.
TONIGHT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. Patchy smoke  in the evening then smoke patchy drizzle and fog 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, August 7, 2017

8/7 Trump coal, Mt Polley dam sockeye, Bert Webber, Intalco fined, citizen science, FEMA weather

Canary
Canary in a Coal Mine. And why a canary?
Beginning in 1911, miners in Great Britain carried a canary in a cage with them down into the mines. Why? Carbon monoxide can build to deadly levels, and it has no smell. If the canary weakened or stopped singing, miners knew to get out of the mine — and quickly. Why use a bird instead of, say, a mouse? It all had to do with the birds’ breathing anatomy: canaries get a dose of air when they inhale and when they exhale, thus a double dose of toxic gases. Thankfully, in 1986, more humane electronic warning devices replaced them. (BirdNote)

Under Trump, Coal Mining Gets New Life on U.S. Lands
The Trump administration is wading into one of the oldest and most contentious debates in the West by encouraging more coal mining on lands owned by the federal government. It is part of an aggressive push to both invigorate the struggling American coal industry and more broadly exploit commercial opportunities on public lands. The intervention has roiled conservationists and many Democrats, exposing deep divisions about how best to manage the 643 million acres of federally owned land — most of which is in the West — an area more than six times the size of California. Not since the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion during the Reagan administration have companies and individuals with economic interests in the lands, mining companies among them, held such a strong upper hand. Eric Lipton and Barry Meier report. (NY Times)

Future of Fraser River's 2nd largest sockeye population unclear 3 years after mining disaster
When the dam at the Mount Polley mine collapsed in August of 2014, it spilled 24 million cubic metres of toxic waste into Quesnel Lake, destroying important spawning beds and forcing an estimated 1.5 million spawning sockeye to swim through polluted waterways. Now, the future of the second largest sockeye run on British Columbia's Fraser River is in question and the federal fisheries critic is slamming the federal government for its lack of response. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

Return To The Salish Sea: Visionary Bert Webber
Bert Webber is the man who coined the phrase "Salish Sea." He is a professor emeritus from Huxley College at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Webber says while it may be easy to see the Salish Sea as separate waterways, those waterways actually make up one ecosystem that goes beyond political borders. "If you see something, a place that doesn't have a name, there's that old kind of rule of thumb that you can't know something that doesn't have a name," Webber said. "So this ecosystem needed a name." Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Ferndale’s Intalco fined for air quality violations
Intalco Works was dealt a $32,500 fine for air quality violations that took place last year. The violations stem from two different situations that took place at the aluminum smelter near Ferndale. One stemmed from a curtailment process that was underway around June 2016 before Alcoa reached an agreement with Bonneville Power Administration that saved the facility from being closed…. The smelter was also fined for emission violations following a fire in the bake oven in November. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Citizen scientists track effects of climate change in the Northwest 
Hikers, climbers and skiers are helping scientists collect the expansive data sets needed to explore climate change’s thorny questions over a wide territory. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Kids learn what it takes to be scientists  Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

FEMA offers daily email briefings on weather, emergency conditions
Chris Dunagan writes in Watching Our Water Ways: "One of the first emails I check out each morning is the “FEMA Daily Operations Briefing” issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. At a glance, I get an idea of significant weather events and emergency activities across the country. Often, I see nothing that seems significant to me, and I move on to other email. But if something stands out, I click on the link that takes me to the full briefing in PDF format…. Anyone can receive the briefings along with other information available by email by signing up on FEMA’s email-delivery page. Just scroll down and check 'FEMA Daily Operations Briefing.'"

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  308 AM PDT Mon Aug 7 2017  
TODAY
 Light wind becoming NW to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 7 seconds. Patchy drizzle and  fog in the morning. Smoke.
TONIGHT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 7 seconds. Smoke in the evening then patchy smoke and drizzle  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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Friday, August 4, 2017

8/4 Hood Canal, Gorge Cr. Sewage, pipeline spill, White Rock, Mt Polley dam, ozone rule, Keystone XL

Capinatator praetermissus [Royal Ontario Museum]
Spiky headed worm discovered in B.C. Burgess Shale fossils
Researchers at the Royal Ontario Museum and Yale University have discovered the fossil of a spiky-headed worm in B.C. that they believe would have struck fear in the hearts of other creatures swimming in ancient seas. “This new species would have been an efficient predator and a terrifying sight to many of the smallest marine creatures that lived during that time,” said Jean-Bernard Caron, senior curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Toronto museum. Some 50 specimens of the creature were found in the Burgess Shale fossil beds, a UNESCO World Heritage site in B.C.’s Yoho and Kootenay national parks. (Canadian Press)

Why is Hood Canal green? Meet Emiliania huxleyi
Swap the Douglas firs for palm trees this summer and Hood Canal would look a bit like the Caribbean. A phytoplankton bloom that began in mid-July has turned the water in Hood Canal a brilliant shade of aquamarine. The change is startling to anyone accustomed to the typical blue-gray hue of Puget Sound…. The microscopic organism causing the dramatic change in water color resembles a tiny ball of chrome-plated hub caps. Emiliania huxleyi is a species of coccolithophore, a single-cell phytoplankton that covers itself in shiny, round plates made of calcite. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Gorge Creek sewage contamination was from a septic tank, tests suggest
Sewage that forced the cancellation of the Gorge Swim Fest in Victoria on Sunday was from the contents of a septic tank dumped into a storm drain, test results suggest. The sewage was found in a tributary of Gorge Creek in Esquimalt, B.C., just outside of Victoria. The Township of Esquilmalt says tests found E. coli in the water, as well as a disinfecting chemical, which suggests the sewage may have come from a truck that cleans septic tanks…. The township has been unable to pinpoint exactly where the sewage entered the creek, but Miller said the Gorge Waterway  — much of which is in Victoria — is safe for swimming again. (CBC)

U.S. Oil-McChord Pipeline Spill
The underground pipeline leak discovered today (August 8) in Parkland, Washington, has been contained and fuel in the line has been isolated. As of 3:00pm (PDT), none of the leaked fuel has reached local surface water…. The McChord Pipeline, which is owned by U.S. Oil, shut down automatically when pressure dropped…. U.S. Oil & Refining Co., owner of the McChord Pipeline, calculated a maximum potential jet fuel release of approximately 25,000 gallons, which is the maximum amount of fuel in the pipeline between two shut-off valves…. As of this morning (August 3), 1,000 gallons has been recovered. No surface water impacts have been observed. (WA Dept of Ecology) [Thanks to Fred Felleman.]

Residents protest as White Rock considers parkade near waterfront 
A long-planned parkade near the main drag of White Rock’s West Beach is on its way to becoming a reality, much to the chagrin of many neighbours and the relief of nearby businesses. The proposal is for a five-storey, 280-space parkade on a city-owned site on the corner of Victoria Avenue and Vidal Street that’s comprised of four properties — two are occupied by a paved pay parking lot, one has a house and one is vacant. The estimated cost is between $9 million and $13 million, and construction is expected to commence next year. Jennifer Saltman reports. (Vancouver Sun)

No B.C. charges in Mount Polley dam collapse as federal investigations continue
There will be no provincial charges for a tailings dam collapse in British Columbia but the province's new environment minister says a mining company may still be held responsible through federal laws. A three-year deadline on charges will pass Friday in the midst of an ongoing investigation by B.C.'s Conservation Officer Service, but Chris Doyle, deputy chief of the agency, couldn't say what stage the probe was at. Camille Bains reports. (Canadian Press)

Penn Cove Orca Capture Anniversary Commemoration
On August 8, commemorate the 47th anniversary of the 170 PEnn Cove Orca Captures when over 100 Southern Resident killer whales were captured and delivered into marine parks around the world. Join Orca Network for the annual commemoration in Coupville on Whidbey Island. For more info, go to Orca Network.
 

Marine Renewable Energy Seminar Series
Join experts from the University of Washington Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center August 8 for an evening seminar at the Padilla Bay Reserve about the ocean's potential contribution to future energy needs. The program is also offered to the public on the evening of August 15 at the Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks and on August 21 at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend. For more information, contact Meg Chadsey.

E.P.A. Reverses Course on Ozone Rule
The Trump administration said late Wednesday that it would not delay an Obama-era regulation on smog-forming pollutants from smokestacks and tailpipes, a move that environmental groups hailed as a victory. The Environmental Protection Agency decision came a day after 16 state attorneys general, all Democrats, filed a lawsuit challenging the delay with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. It reversed a decision that Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, made in June to put off an Oct. 1 deadline for designating which areas of the country met new ozone standards. Llsa Friedman reports. (NY Times)

Keystone XL survived politics but economics could kill it 
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline survived nine years of protests, lawsuits and political wrangling that saw the Obama administration reject it and President Donald Trump revive it, but now the project faces the possibility of death by economics. Low oil prices and the high cost of extracting Canadian crude from oil sands are casting new doubts on Keystone XL as executives with the Canadian company that wants to build it face the final regulatory hurdle next week in Nebraska. Grant Schulte reports. (Associated Press)

Deadly bat disease found in state; data, samples collected in Clallam
Biologists are gathering field data in Clallam County about bat populations as a deadly disease has made its mark on the West Coast starting near North Bend in King County…. White-nose syndrome is caused by a fungus that can grow on the nose, wings and ears of an infected bat during winter hibernation. Once the bat wakes from hibernation, the fuzzy, white appearance can go away, but the fungus invades deep skin tissues and causes extensive damage. Shelly Ament, Fish and Wildlife assistant district wildlife biologist for District 16 — including all of Clallam County and west Jefferson County — her supervisor Anita McMillan, agency staff and volunteers collected data on local bat populations earlier this month at the Dungeness Fish Hatchery, Salt Creek bunkers and a private residence west of Port Angeles where maternity bat colonies have been identified. (Olympic Peninsula News Group)

The Gulf Of Mexico's Dead Zone Is The Biggest Ever Seen
It has become a rite of summer. Every year, a "dead zone" appears in the Gulf of Mexico. It's an area where water doesn't have enough oxygen for fish to survive. And every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commissions scientists to venture out into the Gulf to measure it. This week, NOAA announced that this year's dead zone is the biggest one ever measured. It covers 8,776 square miles — an area the size of New Jersey. And it's adding fuel to a debate over whether state and federal governments are doing enough to cut pollution that comes from farms. Dan Charles reports. (NPR)

A Whaling Way of Life Under Threat
…. Fishermen from the small whaling village of Lamalera, on a sunbaked island in remote eastern Indonesia, have been hunting whales for centuries. They still do, now with permission from the Indonesian government, as long as it is for their own consumption and not for commercial sale. They may also hunt dolphins and mantas for their own use. But as the government cuts down on illegal fishing in the Savu Sea, trying to conserve a critical migratory route for whale and dolphin species, conservationists are calling for a strict regulation of Lamaleran hunting practices, too. Jon Emont reports. (NY Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  259 AM PDT Fri Aug 4 2017  
TODAY
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft  at 8 seconds. Smoke.
TONIGHT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 7 seconds. Smoke.
SAT
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 ft at 10 seconds. Smoke.
SAT NIGHT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell  2 ft at 13 seconds.
SUN
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind waves  2 ft or less. W swell 2 ft at 13 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


Thursday, August 3, 2017

8/3 White sturgeon, smoke, coal plant, Site C dam, bull trout

White sturgeon [Fisheries and Oceans Canada]
Fraser River White Sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus
A survivor from the age of the dinosaurs, white sturgeon can attain lengths in excess of six meters, weights of over 600 kilograms, and can live for over 150 years. … The white sturgeon is the largest and longest-lived species of freshwater fish in North America.  The ancient fish is at the top of the Fraser River food web, and one of the few year-round resident species of fish in the lower Fraser River. The population of white sturgeon in the lower Fraser River (downstream of Hell’s Gate) is a fraction of its historic levels. (Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society)

Wildfire Smoke From Canada Expected To Keep On Coming Into Washington And Oregon
Winds from the north and northeast have carried wildfire smoke from British Columbia over Washington and Oregon. And forecasts predict smoke will keep coming and continue to blanket Washington and Oregon throughout the weekend. In eastern Washington, the winds will shift and bring smoke from Montana. And, in western Washington and Oregon, the winds will bring back smoke that’s drifted over the Pacific.  Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW/EarthFix)

Environmental advocates call for Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy’s closure of Montana coal plant
Bellevue was flushed with green on Monday. Several state environmental groups and residents across the county packed Bellevue City Hall’s council chambers during a public hearing with the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commissioners. Their mission? To tell the commission to put Puget Sound Energy on a debt schedule that would close a coal plant in Montana by 2025. Raechel Dawson reports. (Bellevue Reporter) See also: US gives Montana $4.6 million for retraining coal workers  Bobby Caina Calvan reports. (Associated Press)

B.C. asks utilities commission to review $8.8-billion Site C dam megaproject
British Columbia's New Democrat government has asked the province's utilities commission to review the $8.8-billion Site C dam, throwing into doubt one of former premier Christy Clark's major accomplishments. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall says the regulator will be tasked with determining the economic viability of the megaproject, with interim results in six weeks and a final report in three months. Mungall says the commission has been asked to confirm whether BC Hydro is on target to complete Site C on budget and by 2024, and provide advice on whether to proceed, suspend or terminate it. (Canadian press)

Will Years Of Work To Save One Fish Run Be For Naught?
A chilly pool of water forms at the base of Clear Creek dam in Washington’s Cascade mountains. Somewhere — hiding in the depths of the water — are several bull trout. They’ve migrated up this creek and are hoping to make it to cooler waters at higher elevations. But they’re out of luck. “They’re just stuck down here,” said Jeff Thomas, a fish biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In their way is a big slab of concrete, a dam built in 1914. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Radio/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  301 AM PDT Thu Aug 3 2017  
TODAY
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. NW swell 4 ft  at 8 seconds. Smoke.
TONIGHT
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 8 seconds. Smoke.

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