Winter Solstice 2017 in the Pacific Northwest is at 8:23 AM PST. The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the official beginning of winter. The solstice itself is the moment the sun is shining farthest to the south, directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. The winter solstice is a major pagan festival, with rituals of rebirth having been celebrated for thousands of years. Every year revellers gather at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise on the shortest day. Many of the traditions we now think of as being part of Christmas - including Yule logs, mistletoe and Christmas trees - have their roots in the pagan celebrations of winter solstice. Sophie Curtis reports. (Mirror)
Ocean Acidification In Washington Still Getting Worse
It’s been five years since Washington first launched a strategy to tackle ocean acidification. A new report from the state says it’s still getting worse, but advances are being made on how to adapt and mitigate the problem. The state has renewed its commitment to those pursuits with the report, which updates the the strategic plan by outlining accomplishments over the past 5 years as well as areas of focus needed for continued progress. Called Ocean Acidification, From Knowledge To Action – Washington State’s Strategic Response, it was released on Wednesday. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)
Risk of viral transfer from B.C. fish farms to wild sockeye is low: study
New research released by the federal government Wednesday says there are minimal risks of farmed Atlantic salmon from B.C.'s Discovery Islands transferring a deadly viral disease to wild sockeye making their way to the Fraser River. This report looked specifically at one virus called Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV), a disease that affects fish raised in fresh and saltwater. Fisheries and Ocean Canada research scientist Kyle Garver says the virus occurs naturally in the north Pacific and occasionally spills over to Atlantic farmed salmon. But the findings show there is little chance of the virus transferring from farmed to wild fish. (CBC)
Province announces review of fish processing plants
B.C.'s environment minister, George Heyman, has announced the province will undertake an immediate review of fish processing plants to ensure wild salmon stocks are not impacted by any waste products from plants. "Today's announcement is to say, 'We've heard the public. We thank people who brought this to our attention," said Heyman. Specifically, Heyman thanked B.C. photographer Tavish Campbell, whose underwater images released last month drew attention to waste discharged from processing plants. (CBC)
Agreement Sets Pollution Testing Plan For Portland Harbor Superfund Site
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized the next big step in cleaning up the Portland Harbor Superfund site: inking an agreement for how pollution levels will be tested. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, which raised concerns about the agreement in October, says the plans will deliver some but not all of the data needed to track and clean up widespread contamination of a 10-mile stretch of the Willamette River. Four of the companies responsible for cleaning up contamination at the site took the lead in negotiating the agreement: Schnitzer Steel, Evraz, The Marine Group and Arkema. Until today, those names were being kept confidential. They represent a fraction of more than 150 public and private parties responsible for paying for the cleanup. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix) See also: As Portland Harbor Cleanup Progresses, City Wants Clearer Fish Advisories / Ericka Cruz Guevarra reports. (OPB)
Puget Sound Energy announces plans to reduce carbon footprint in half by 2040
Puget Sound Energy recently announced its plans to reduce its carbon emissions in half by 2040, which an environmental group is criticizing. The Bellevue-based utility company, which serves energy to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses in the Puget Sound area, said they will accomplish this through a variety of different initiatives. Their plan comes at a time when Washington state has agreed, under the Paris Climate Accords and through Gov. Jay Inslee’s goals, to reduce greenhouse gases by 80 to 95 percent across every sector of the state’s economy, including transportation, industrial processes and energy grids, by 2050. With the retirement of half the Colstrip Power Plant units in Montana by 2022 and the shutdown of the Centralia Power Plant in 2025, PSE estimates it will be “nearly 90 percent clean,” or non-coal generated, and on the path to 100 percent “clean” by the early 2030s…. However, the Sierra Club, an environmental group with a Seattle chapter, doesn’t buy it. “This is more smoke and mirrors than an actual commitment to get off dirty fossil fuels, reduce climate pollution and meet our state’s climate goals,” Doug Howell, a senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said. “Puget Sound Energy is likely to exceed this commitment under the status quo, as previous commitments to retire some of its dirty coal plants go ahead in the coming years.” Raechel Dawson reports. (Bellevue Reporter)
Beavers Emerge as Agents of Arctic Destruction
Even as climate change shrinks some populations of arctic animals like polar bears and caribou, beavers may be taking advantage of warming temperatures to expand their range. But as the beavers head north, their very presence may worsen the effects of climate change. The issue isn’t just that the beavers are moving into a new environment — it’s that they’re gentrifying it. Take the dams they build on rivers and streams to slow the flow of water and create the pools in which they construct their dens. In other habitats, where the dams help filter pollutants from water and mitigate the effects of droughts and floods, they are generally seen as a net benefit. But in the tundra, the vast treeless region in the Far North, beaver behavior creates new water channels that can thaw the permanently frozen ground, or permafrost. Kendra Pierre-Louis reports. (NY Times)
Death of young beaver in Port Moody draws call for investigation
The drowning of a young beaver in a Port Moody sewer last weekend is drawing calls for an investigation by a local wildlife group. According to a media release from the City of Port Moody, last Friday a city crew was “working to safely remove a beaver family, along with their den and food cache, from a city storm sewer pipe in Pigeon Creek, to prevent a potential blockage that could cause flooding and damage to property in and around Port Moody’s Klahanie neighbourhood.” During that effort, a young beaver became trapped in a pipe and was unable to escape as water levels rose after other beavers apparently blocked off a temporary drainage pipe. Patrick Johnston reports. (Vancouver Sun)
Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca- 241 AM PST Thu Dec 21 2017
TODAY S wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds.
TONIGHT S wind to 10 kt becoming E 5 to 15 kt after midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 15 seconds. A slight chance of rain in the evening then a chance of rain after midnight.
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