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.

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