Wednesday, September 20, 2017

9/20 Orca deaths, Sound suit, Graham landfill, BC fish farm, imidacloprid, water trail, energy bill, coral reefs

Pacific cod [NOAA]
Pacific Cod Gadus macrocephalus
Pacific cod range from Japan to the Bering Sea and to Santa Monica, California, but are rare south of northern California. They are widely distributed in the cooler regions of the Pacific and adjacent seas.  Pacific cod are usually found near the bottom at water depths of 12 to 549 m (40-1,800 ft). Commonly caught off the Washington coast by commercial harvesters using otter-trawls and longline gear.  Recreational harvest within Puget Sound is now closed, with the exception of restricted fishing in the San Juan Islands and Strait of Juan de Fuca. (WDFW)

Starving Killer Whales Are Losing Most of Their Babies
The southern resident killer whales of the northeast Pacific are in trouble. Despite having special protections from both the Canadian and American governments, there are only 78 of these salmon-eating whales left. And as recent research shows, the southern resident population is set to slowly atrophy and ultimately disappear. On top of habitat degradation, climate change, and other challenges, the whales have another problem: they’re not having enough babies. In a recently published paper, University of Washington biologist Samuel Wasser and his colleagues report that from 2008 to 2014, nearly 70 percent of southern resident killer whale pregnancies failed, either in miscarriage or with the calves dying immediately postpartum. Danielle Beurteaux reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Judge OKs Lawsuit Seeking Better Protection of Puget Sound
Washington's Department of Ecology faces the possibility of losing millions of dollars in federal money after a judge Tuesday declined to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an Oregon-based environmental group. The lawsuit, by Northwest Environmental Advocates, of Portland, is designed to force the state to do more to protect Puget Sound from pollution or risk losing more than $3.5 million per year in federal support. The federal government is supposed to cut certain funding for states that don't have an approved plan for protecting coastal waterways from pollution related to farming, logging and other activities. Cutting the funding — a punishment dictated by Congress — is supposed to pressure states to control the pollution. According to the lawsuit, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration haven't approved Washington's plan, but they keep giving the state money anyway. The state's orcas, salmon and other species remain in peril. Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

Graham landfill sued for polluting Muck Creek, wetlands
A Graham-area landfill has been illegally polluting a nearby tributary of the Nisqually River for years, according to an environmental advocacy group’s lawsuit. The Puget Soundkeeper Alliance alleges polluted stormwater from the LRI Landfill discharges into the waterway, known both as Muck Creek and South Creek, as well as its unnamed tributary and wetlands adjacent to the facility. Alexis Krell reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

First Nations video shows ‘thousands’ of wild fish in B.C. salmon farm
Video shot at the Sonora Point salmon farm appears to show large numbers of wild fish inside the pens used to grow Atlantic salmon. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society posted footage shot by Hereditary Chief George Quocksister Jr. of the Laichwiltach Nation at a fish farm owned by Marine Harvest. In the video, a farm worker can be heard saying the pen is empty, while the footage shows large numbers of fish swirling just beneath the surface of the water. Underwater footage appears to show several species of fish that may have entered the pen through the netting. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

New report assesses environmental impacts of the pesticide imidacloprid
Oyster growers have requested a new permit from the Washington Department of Ecology to use the pesticide imidacloprid on burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Before considering the permit, Ecology has assessed the potential environmental impacts from the use of the pesticide on tidelands. Ecology has compiled its findings in a formal report, officially referred to as a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, and is seeking public review and feedback through Nov. 1, 2017. Two public meetings have been scheduled in October – one in South Bend and one in Olympia. See also: Lawsuit Filed to Stop Expansion of Aquaculture Industry that Decimates Marine Life   The Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a federal lawsuit to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from moving forward with an expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture on the Washington state coast without any water quality or marine life protections from pesticide use and habitat loss. (Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2017)

Salish Sea joins Canada’s Great Trail
A paddling route used for thousands of years between Vancouver Island and the mainland has officially become part of the Great Trail. In Nanaimo Saturday, a colourful flotilla of 150 kayaks and canoes celebrated the opening of the Salish Sea Marine Trail, paddling from Nanaimo Harbour to Newcastle Island. There, Snuneymuxw elder Lorraine White welcomed the paddlers to their traditional territory…. The route is part of the Great Trail, also known as the Trans-Canada Trail, a 24,000-kilometre cross-Canada network of multi-use land and marine trails. Louise Dickson reports. (Times Colonist)

The good and very bad of Cantwell-backed energy bill
…. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have teamed up to write an omnibus energy bill, the Energy and Natural Resources Act 2017. The bill would do some good things: it would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the country’s most successful conservation program; it would provide support for state and local governments efforts on energy efficiency and for further research development of alternative energy technologies. Nevertheless, the Energy and Natural Resources Act 2017 would be a disaster for our ability to curtail climate change — and our ability to stop projects like the Tacoma LNG. Over 350 green groups — including 350.org, Food and Water Watch, and Friends of the Earth — have signed on to a letter expressing explicit opposition to the bill…. The main reason for the concerted opposition to the bill is that the Energy and Natural Resources Act 2017 would facilitate the expansion of the gas industry — in Murkowski’s summary of the bill she states that it will “streamline pipeline permitting, facilitate LNG exports” — and gas is an absolute disaster for our climate. A crucial fact that Sen. Cantwell seems to be having a very hard time accepting. Alec Connon reports. (Crosscut)

Building a Better Coral Reef
As reefs die off, researchers want to breed the world’s hardiest corals in labs and return them to the sea to multiply. The effort raises scientific and ethical questions. Damien Cave and Justin Gillis report. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
 West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  240 AM PDT Wed Sep 20 2017  
TODAY
 NW wind to 10 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds. Isolated  showers.
TONIGHT
 SW wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  5 ft at 10 seconds.

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