Monday, December 4, 2017

12/4 Atlantic salmon, stormwater, Malahat LNG, BC spill, ANWR, nat'l monuments, mussel test, Chester, Skagit lobbyist, climate change, Beacon Hill air & noise, crows, Jo Bailey

Hope Island Marine State Park - Mason [Wash SP]
Hope Island State Parks
Need some hope? Here's two islands of hope. Hope Island Marine State Park-Skagit is a 200-acre marine park between La Conner and Whidbey Island on Skagit Bay. Most of the island is a nature preserve with four campsites, four mooring buoys, lovely beaches and a trail across the island. Hope Island Marine State Park-Mason is a 106-acre marine camping park in Mason County located near Hunter Point in Eld Inlet. This island is blanketed by Douglas-fir, cedar, hemlock, alder and maple trees and saltwater marshes.

Despite Agency Assurances, Tribes Catch More Escaped Atlantic Salmon in Skagit River
Even as state agency experts were assuring legislators that Atlantic salmon from a spectacular August escape are goners, tribal fishermen were catching Atlantics in the Skagit River, one of Washington’s premier salmon habitats. State lawmakers convened two weeks ago in a House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee work session on the salmon escape were assured by managers from the state departments of Fish & Wildlife and Ecology that the fish were wasting away and not showing up on the spawning grounds. But that is not what some tribal fish managers are seeing. “I can tell you they are free swimming and they are healthy and alive,” Scott Schuyler, Natural Resources Director for the Upper Skagit Tribe, told The Seattle Times on Thursday. He said tribal fish technicians keep on catching Atlantics as they fish with tangle nets for chum to gather broodstock for the tribal hatchery. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Video of infected fish waste spewing into B.C. waters roils fish-farming issue  Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) And also: B.C. fish farms: a tangled net  Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Stormwater Pollution: Less Than Half Of Puget Sound Cities And Counties In Compliance
Stormwater runoff is the largest source of pollution into Puget Sound. It comes from rain or snowmelt that travels over pavement and carries oil and other toxics into the water. New regulations under the federal Clean Water Act mean that 81 cities and counties around Puget Sound now have to update their building codes to address the problem. Two environmental groups just completed a scorecard to see how communities are handling this. Mindy Roberts is with the Washington Environmental Council, which teamed up with the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance to rate the communities. She said in many cases, contact from the environmental groups helped them improve their codes. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Malahat LNG project scrapped
The Malahat Nation and Steelhead LNG are no longer exploring the possibility of a liquefied natural gas project in the Saanich Inlet. Plans had called for construction of a floating liquefaction production and export facility at a 525-hectare site on Bamberton industrial land owned by the Malahat Nation.  The site, south of Mill Bay, is a former cement quarry with five kilometres of waterfront on the Saanich Inlet. Concerns had been raised about the project’s potential environmental impact. Michael D. Reid reports. (Times Colonist)

Sailor on watch admits 'I fell asleep' in report on fuel spill off B.C. coast
A crewmember who fell asleep during his watch was likely responsible for the grounding of a tug that caused thousands of litres of fuel to spill into the waters off Bella Bella, B.C., according to an American government safety agency. The second mate of the Nathan E. Stewart had been on watch for a little more than two hours when the tug ran aground in the Seaforth Channel in the early hours of Oct. 13, 2016, a marine accident brief from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Rescued barge adrift off B.C. coast to be towed to Alaska, First Nation relieved
A British Columbia First Nation is breathing a sigh of relief as a barge carrying millions of litres of fuel was removed from its harbour on the central coast. The barge broke away from a U.S.-registered tugboat, the Jake Shearer, southwest of Bella Bella last Sunday…. The barge was carrying 12.5 million litres of diesel and gasoline... four times the volume initially estimated. (Canadian Press)

Anniversary of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
December 6th is the anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, designated so in 1960. The Arctic coastal plain is probably the most important place in Alaska for the widest number of avian species - including [the] Pectoral Sandpiper - and the greatest number of birds. Ironically, that habitat type has the least protection in the entire state. From the American Birding Association to the National Rifle Association, groups are joining together in support of wildlife refuges. (BirdNote)

Senate votes to open up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling
The Senate has given a green light to opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. In a vote early Saturday morning, Republicans rejected an effort led by Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington to block drilling. The vote was 52-48. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska had pushed for oil and gas drilling in a 1.5-million-acre coastal plain within the refuge. The measure was attached to the bill to overhaul the nation’s tax code, which passed through the Senate early Saturday. By attaching the provision to drill to the tax legislation — which is tied to the budget process — backers didn’t have to muster the 60 votes that would have been needed to pass and overcome a filibuster that a stand-alone bill likely would have faced. The Senate still needs to reconcile the bill with the House. (Seattle Times and Associated Press)

Trump To Take Aim At Utah's National Monuments, Reversing Predecessors' Legacies
President Trump travels to Utah Monday where he’s expected to announce his administration will dramatically shrink the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The visit caps months of speculation and a controversial review of the boundaries of large national monuments that protect more than 100,000 acres of U.S. public land. The review, conducted by Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, originally looked at more than two dozen national monuments designated by presidential decree since the 1990s. Kirk Siegler reports. (NPR)

Mussels help measure contaminants in Puget Sound
Volunteers will spread out across Puget Sound on Friday night to install cages filled with mussels, which will help scientists track the health of the ecosystem. "They will be zip tied to sides of the cage, and they will sit there suspended above the bottom," said Puget Soundkeeper Alliance Executive Director Chris Wilke. A top cover keeps predators out, and for 90 days, water will flow through. It allows for scientists to record contaminants over a larger period of time and compare to past results. The mussels are donated by Penn Cove Shellfish and the cage placement is done almost entirely thanks to volunteers. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Necropsy suggests Chester the false killer whale died from infection
Chester the false killer whale likely died of a bacterial infection, according to the Vancouver Aquarium. The rescued cetacean died last week after a sudden change in his behaviour. A necropsy has been performed, and preliminary results suggest he was infected with Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, a bacteria that causes a disease called erysipelas, according to the aquarium's head veterinarian, Dr. Martin Haulena. (CBC) See also: Quebec walruses coming to Vancouver Aquarium  (CBC)

Concerns surround county contract with D.C. lobbyist
During the past 17 years, Skagit County has paid a Virginia lobbyist $261,000 to represent the county in Washington, D.C. The county is set to pay another $20,000 to Robert K. Weidner in 2018, according to its draft budget. The Skagit County commissioners say they hired Weidner to give them a voice in federal decisions that determine whether Skagit County receives revenue from federal timber lands or gets grants for local projects. However, some county residents have raised concerns about Weidner’s values and motives, as well as the commissioners’ reasons for hiring him. Jerry Eisner of Mount Vernon said he and others in the community became concerned earlier this year while looking into the county’s involvement with the organization American Stewards of Liberty, a group known for its anti-environmental and anti-federal control initiatives. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Credit Rating Agency Issues Warning On Climate Change To Cities
One of the largest credit rating agencies in the country is warning U.S. cities and states to prepare for the effects of climate change or risk being downgraded. In a new report, Moody’s Investor Services Inc. explains how it assesses the credit risks to a city or state that’s being impacted by climate change — whether that impact be a short-term “climate shock” like a wildfire, hurricane or drought, or a longer-term “incremental climate trend” like rising sea levels or increased temperatures. Also taken into consideration: “[communities] preparedness for such shocks and their activities in respect of adapting to climate trends,” the report says. Nathan Rott reports. (NPR)

Environmental Justice: Seattle’s Beacon Hill Addressing Air And Noise Pollution
Community leaders in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood have a two-year environmental justice grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to address health issues from air and noise pollution. They’re holding a meeting Saturday at the Centilia Cultural Center on the campus of  El Centro de la Raza.  Beacon Hill is one of the city’s largest and most-diverse neighborhoods. It’s also in a location that makes it one of the most polluted, says Maria Batayola with El Centro de la Raza. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Carmel wings and other crazy facts about crows
Why does that crow have blue eyes?… Not all crows are black…. #CrowOrNo …. What's with the bracelets?…. Ever see a crow's knees?…. No guacamole, please!…. Kaeli Swift shares photos and observations. (KUOW)

Jo Bailey (1928-2017) Gunkholing In The San Juans
Sailor and author Jo Bailey passed away in October (see obit). She coauthored several "gunkholing" guides to South Sound, the San Juans and British Columbia's Desolation Sound. For landlubbers who've never gone "gunkholing," the term describes cruising in shallow waters, roaming around, and overnighting in sheltered coves. Mud, or gunk, is what's found in "gunkholes" like coves, marshes and sloughs. Thanks, Jo, now we know.

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PST Mon Dec 4 2017  
TODAY
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft  at 11 seconds.
TONIGHT
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 13 seconds building to 6 ft at 13 seconds after midnight.

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