Monday, December 11, 2017

12/11 Grand fir, Site C dam, Puget Sound report, Skagit Atlantics, king tides, crow talk, Portland Superfund

Grand fir [PHOTO: Coniferous Forest]
Grand Fir Abies grandis
Stately and beautiful, this is every bit a grand species, prized for its use as an ornamental and timber tree. This evergreen is found in two regions: the Pacific coast from British Columbia to California, and in the interior, from Alberta to Idaho. Hardy to USDA zone 6, this species is found most commonly at low elevations on north-facing slopes…. The Grand Fir has gained popularity as a winter holiday tree in recent years and makes a fine display before being planted out. (Hansen's NW Native Plant Database)

B.C. government to announce Site C decision on Monday
The government of B.C. says it will announce its decision about the controversial Site C project on Monday morning. According to a release from the province, Premier John Horgan will make the announcement to either continue or stop the construction of the $8.8 billion hydroelectric dam at 11:30 a.m. in Victoria. The NDP promised a decision by the end of 2017 after conducting an independent review of the project earlier this fall. It's a project more than 60 years in the making, first proposed in the mid 1950s. BC Hydro says the dam, slated to be built on the Peace River near Fort St. John in northern B.C., would produce about 4,600 gigawatt hours of electricity each year — enough to power about 400,000 homes. (CBC)

Puget Sound report tells the environmental story that took place in 2016
The year 2016 may be regarded as a transition year for Puget Sound, coming between the extreme warm-water conditions of 2014 and 2015 and the more normal conditions observed over the past year, according to the latest Puget Sound Marine Waters report. The report on the 2016 conditions was released this past week by the Marine Waters Workgroup, which oversees the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP). The report includes data collected in 2016 and analyzed over the past year. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Atlantic salmon still being caught in Skagit River
More than three months after being released during the collapse of a fish farm near Cypress Island, Atlantic salmon are being caught about 40 miles up the Skagit River. “Virtually every time we have done work in the river we have encountered Atlantics along the way,” Upper Skagit Indian Tribe Natural Resources Director Scott Schuyler said. Since the Aug. 20 collapse, Schuyler said Upper Skagit fishermen and fisheries crews have caught the nonnative fish in Mount Vernon, near Lyman and east of Hamilton while pursuing native salmon. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

‘King tides’ are rising, so groups span globe to monitor it
 The tide watchers start patrolling whenever the celestial forces align. From coast to coast, hundreds of tide watchers come out with their cameras to record the latest ‘king tides,’ brief episodes of tidal flooding that could become the norm, with expected sea-level rise. King tides are a colloquial term for the highest tides of the year. They occur when the moon is closest to the earth at moments when the sun, moon and Earth are in alignment, increasing the gravitational forces at play. A decade ago, few had heard of “king tides,” much less waded through them in galoshes. Now, Miami regularly floods. So does Myrtle Beach, Charleston and other U.S. cities. And more than ever, groups of citizens are out there photographing the results, uploading the pics and debating what the future will bring. Stuart Leavenworth reports. (McClatchy)

Deciphering the 'caw-caw-caw' of crows: biologists study bird talk
The caw-caw-caw of crows is a familiar fall sound around British Columbia and, until now, their cacophony has been indecipherable. Researchers at University of Washington Bothell, north of Seattle, want to change that and determine what all the noise is about. "As humans, we're just fascinated by other intelligent creatures," said biologist and lead researcher Douglas Wacker. "[Crows] are constantly cawing and we really want to find out what all those caws mean." The research team has placed recording equipment on the roof of the university's science building to study the sounds, Wacker told CBC host of On The Coast Stephen Quinn. He estimates the campus is home to roughly 16,000 crows this time of year. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

EPA Targeting Portland Harbor Superfund Site For 'Immediate, Intense' Attention
The Environmental Protection Agency says its targeting the Portland Harbor Superfund Site in the Willamette River for immediate attention. The EPA announced Friday that the Portland Harbor Superfund Site is one of 21 sites it plans to target across the country. In a statement, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says he’s asking Superfund Task Force staff to immediately develop plans for cleanup at the sites, though environmentalists say they want more information about what the cleanup process will look like. Ericka Cruz Guevarra reports. (OPB)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PST Mon Dec 11 2017  
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 5 ft  at 13 seconds.
 E wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 13 seconds.

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