Thursday, September 28, 2017

9/28 Fuel export ban, BC sockeye, farm fish, haz waste, Coldwater win, seaweed, green crab, wolf kill

Red alder [King County]
Red Alder Alnus rubra
Red alder is a fast-growing but short-lived hardwood tree, attaining heights of 75 feet and living to 50 years. A coastal tree, it grows no more than 100 miles inland on poor, moist soils and on steep slopes.  Red alder wood is considered the best wood for smoking salmon and its wood is still used to make bowls, masks, and rattles. Its bark is used to make a red or orange dye. Red alder roots fix nitrogen at a rate of 40-300 lbs per acre, (compared to 105 lbs per acre for soybeans), which is why alder forests have rich understories of grasses, sedges and ferns but no acid-loving plants like blackberry or salal. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest/Northwest Plants)

Whatcom Council approves third 6-month ban on unrefined fossil fuel exports
The Whatcom County Council has approved a third six-month moratorium on new shipments of unrefined fossil fuels through Cherry Point. The council voted 6-1 to do so after a long public hearing Tuesday night in which opposing sides made the same arguments as they have previously. Council member Barbara Brenner opposed extending the moratorium. Council members have said they needed more time to consider land use rules and find out what they can legally do to protect people and the environment as demands push in on the county. They hope to get some direction from a $150,000 study. The moratorium doesn’t affect current refining and shipment of products through BP Cherry Point and Phillips 66 refineries. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

B.C. sockeye is a climate change loser
A new study from UBC analyzed more 1,000 aquatic species for vulnerability to the effects of climate change, and the news for three B.C. food fish is not good. William Cheung — an associate professor at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries — brought together biological data relevant to adaptability and applied “fuzzy logic” to the computations. The exercise identified 294 marine species worldwide that are most at-risk due to climate change by 2050. Here are some highlights for species native to B.C. waters… Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Value of farm-raised salmon climbing fast, industry report says
The value of B.C. farmed fish rose 37 per cent between 2103 and 2016, according to a report commissioned by the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association. Under pressure from activists and First Nations who question the industry’s impact on the environment and wild salmon, salmon farmers have increased production by only 12 per cent since 2010. The biggest gains have been made in the market value of B.C. Atlantic salmon, said association executive-director Jeremy Dunn. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Toxic 'Superfund' cleanups languish in Northwest
Dozens of the worst hazardous-waste sites in the Northwest are not being cleaned up, for lack of personnel to do the job, according to a report from the inspector general of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The federal watchdog singles out Seattle's lower Duwamish River as a contaminated site where work has been delayed. People who work on the Duwamish say its cleanup is right on schedule. According to the inspector general — as well as a series of reports from various government auditors – the EPA has a long history of not putting people where they’re most needed, with some regions, including the Northwest, getting the short end of the stick. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Court of appeal rules against Kinder Morgan, federal government on existing Trans Mountain Pipeline
The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled against Kinder Morgan Canada and the federal government in relation to the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline. Tuesday's ruling states the federal government failed in its legal obligation to act in the best interests of the Coldwater Indian Band when it neglected to modernize the terms of a 1952 decision that allowed Kinder Morgan to use Coldwater's reserve for the pipeline. Coldwater Indian Band, which is located about 12 kilometres south of Merritt, B.C., has about 860 members, half of which live on the reserve. (CBC)

Northwest Researchers Look To A New Biofuel: Seaweed
There’s a new type of biofuel in the works — and it could one day reduce the use of fertilizers, farming land, and power your car. Northwest researchers are looking to seaweed as the next big thing in biofuel. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have a big plan for growing seaweed in the open ocean. “The open ocean covers 70 percent of the world’s surface area but provides only 1 percent of the world’s food (or biomass) supplies. So clearly there is a massive frontier out there that could be explored for growing biomass and not competing with biomass production for food,” said Michael Huesemann, an engineer at at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory based in Sequim, Washington. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPR/EarthFix)

Dungeness hunt for green crab winding down for winter
In the coming week, resource managers on the Dungeness Spit look to wrap up their season’s hunt for the invasive European green crab. The crabs were discovered last April on Graveyard Spit north of Dungeness Landing. Researchers have found a total of 93 green crabs — 54 males and 39 females — as of last Thursday. Matthew Nash reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Washington State Ends Wolf Killing After 2 Months Without Cattle Attack
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says efforts to kill members of a wolf pack north of Spokane have ended. The agency said Tuesday that wolves from the Smackout pack have shown no signs of preying on livestock in Stevens County since July when state wildlife managers trapped and killed two of its members. Agency wolf manager Donny Martorello says the wolves killed were a 30-pound female and a 70-pound female. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
 West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Thu Sep 28 2017  
 E wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 10 seconds.
 NW wind to 10 kt becoming NE after midnight. Wind waves 1  ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds. A slight chance of rain  after midnight.

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  1. Re Red Alder... a 50 year life cycle is kinda short. I think that, in the places where it's happiest and where it was mostly found- before clear-cuts- it can live far longer.
    In 1996 a big one at the mouth of a canyon behind our house came down in a storm. It had a solid center, and I counted rings-- 127 years old. My neighbor & I talked about it a little, and, a few weeks later 3 guys from the Daybreak Star Center in Seattle showed up to see if they could take some of it back to their workshop, to make ceremonial vessels (& maybe masks) out of this alder. We said "sure"... and they broke out some 4'-5' pieces with a fro and packed it off. They said that these old alder were the ones they used, historically, for ceremonial "bowls" (or more like a long hollow platter-- like a mini-dugout canoe).
    Anyhow, there are other old alder here & there... and 50 years is not giving them time to really mature. ^..^

    1. Thank for the comment. I should go out and cut down the red alder below the orchard and count its rings. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coasts writes, "Red alder is an aggressive, fast-growing, but short-lived hardwood (old at 50 years)..." So it's not accurate to say 'it lives to 50 years.' My misread, thanks for correcting. But let me know if you get sick: "Alder bark is highly valued for its medicinal qualities. A solution of the bark was used against tuberculosis and other respiratory ailments and as a tonic, and it has been credited with saving many lives. It was also used as a wash for skin infections and wounds, and is known to have strong antibiotic properties."