Monday, December 18, 2017

12/18 Pt Susan Bay, fish farm nixed, Andeavor permit, BC microplastics, Quadra leeches, Vic bag ban, big Sitka, bullet train $, Campbell freed

Port Susan Bay [The Nature Conservancy]
Port Susan Bay
Located in northwest Snohomish County, this Important Birding Area comprises the northeast portion of Port Susan, the mudflats of Livingston Bay, the Stillaguamish River Delta, and the surrounding fields…. This area contains extensive estuaries an tidal mudflats, providing critical habitat for large numbers of shorebirds, mostly Western Sandpipers and Dunins both in winter and during spring and fall migrations…. Large flocks of wintering ducks, primarily Northern Pintail, Mallard, American Wigeon and Green-winged Teal, use the estuarine sloughs and sheltered shallow waters. In winter, Trumpeter and Tundra Swans and large numbers of Snow Geese forage along the shoreline and also in the farm field of the floodplain. (Important Birding Areas of Washington)

Violations prompt Washington state to cancel Atlantic salmon farm lease at Port Angeles
Cooke Aquaculture Pacific has lost the lease for its Atlantic salmon net-pen farm in Port Angeles and must shut down and remove it, said Hilary Franz, state commissioner of public lands, who terminated Cooke’s lease. The farm, operated by a series of owners since 1984, currently holds nearly 700,000 Atlantic salmon. Franz said the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would work with other state agencies to enforce an orderly shutdown and complete removal of the farm. Franz said her decision is final. “There is no room for negotiation.” Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Environment groups appeal Skagit County permit for refinery project
A coalition of environment groups is appealing the Skagit County hearing examiner’s recent approval of a permit for a proposed Andeavor Anacortes Refinery project. The groups filed an appeal Thursday with the Skagit County Board of Commissioners. The appeal states the refinery project would potentially harm the environment, thereby affecting the members of the environment groups as well as the mission of each, “protecting the natural resources of Skagit County and the Salish Sea and safeguarding those natural resources from irreparable harm for future generations of Washingtonians.” Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Swimming in it: Microplastics abound in Sunset Beach water
The weather is gloomy, even by seasonal Vancouver standards. Dark clouds scud low overhead, a flash of torrential rain pelts down, and a hundred crows swirl around like black leaves scattered by the wind. The waters lapping Sunset Beach in Vancouver’s West End, however, seem gin-clear and pristine. A mere illusion, it turns out. Peter Ross, a marine researcher, wades in with gumboots and scoops up samples of surface water to be tested for tiny plastics, then pours them through sieves with the help of his lab manager, Megane Neauport. Microplastics are considered to be smaller than five millimetres. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Swarms of leeches on spawning salmon worry Quadra Island residents
People on Quadra Island, B.C., are concerned that leeches may be killing salmon in a spawning creek. Several dozen chum salmon that had not yet spawned have been found dead by residents. Bill Dubois, who has lived near Hyacinthe Creek for decades, says he has seen leeches on salmon who returned to spawn in the past. But he says he's never seen anything like what happened this year…. The leeches are believed to be a natural phenomenon, but the amount this year is concerning, said Lauren Miller, a director with the Quadra Island Salmon Enhancement Society. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC)

Ban on plastic bags to start in Victoria July 1 with range of fines
Victoria’s planned ban on single-use plastic bags is moving ahead and set to take effect July 1. City councillors have agreed to implement the new bylaw and set aside $30,000 from 2017 surplus funds for public education on the ban. Under the bylaw, businesses will be prohibited from providing customers single-use plastic bags. They will be allowed to provide paper or reusable bags to customers, for a minimum fee of 15 cents for paper bags and $1 for reusable bags, increasing to 25 cents and $2 respectively on July 1, 2019. Businesses could be fined for providing customers a bag without asking if they want one, or for providing a bag free of charge. Fines could range between $100 and $10,000 for corporate offenders and between $50 and $500 for individuals for every offence. Enforcement is not set to begin until 2019. Bill Cleverly reports. (Times Colonist)

Massive near-record Sitka spruce tree found on Vancouver Island
A forest advocacy group says it has discovered an unprotected old-growth forest that is home to a near-record sized Sitka spruce tree on Vancouver Island. The Ancient Forest Alliance says the 3.3-metre wide tree was found on lands owned by TimberWest Corporation, near the town of Port Renfrew, also known as Canada’s tall tree capital. According to the Big Tree Registry, the tree is the tenth widest Sitka spruce in Canada. Now the group, which lobbies to keep old-growth forests from being logged, is petitioning B.C.’s New Democrat government to buy the land from TimberWest. Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun)

'Astronomical' Cost Estimate For Portland-Seattle-Vancouver Bullet Train
A brand new feasibility study of bullet train service between Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, BC, puts a sky-high price tag on construction costs. But Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signaled he's not deterred and is asking the Legislature to pay for further study. A consultant hired by Washington state Department of Transportation examined several different train technologies that could whisk you along the I-5 corridor at 250 miles per hour or faster. The options reviewed include: high speed rail as found in Europe and East Asia; even faster magnetic levitation—or maglev—trains in limited use in Asia; and the still conceptual Hyperloop, which involves passenger capsules propelled through tubes or tunnels maintained in partial vacuum.  Consultant Scott Richman of the firm CH2M pegged the ballpark cost to acquire right-of-way and build a system at between $24 to 48 billion, which even he called "astronomical." Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

New lease on life for Vancouver Island sea lion
A California sea lion plunged into the ocean at a boat ramp near Sooke, B.C., on Friday, after a few barks and a quick look back over his shoulder at his rescuers. The animal — dubbed Campbell — was found emaciated and dehydrated on a beach near Campbell River in October…. Campbell was taken to the Vancouver Aquarium for two months of treatment for a fractured flipper and pneumonia in his lungs. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  258 AM PST Mon Dec 18 2017  
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less in the afternoon.  W swell 8 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance of rain.
 E wind to 10 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after midnight. W  swell 7 ft at 14 seconds. Rain.

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