Tuesday, January 31, 2017

1/31 Pipeline protester, Snake R. dams, Colstrip cleanup, Friday Harbor bag ban

American Kestrel [Gregg Thompson/BirdNote]
A small falcon, hovering over a field ...
The American Kestrel is the smallest, most numerous, and most widespread North American falcon. This bird is built for speed, its long pointed wings often bent back at the tip. While hunting, kestrels hover above an open field. These days, the lack of suitable nesting cavities, which limits American Kestrel populations in some areas, has lead to public interest in installing wooden nest boxes. (BirdNote)

Jury selected in trial of man charged with breaking into pipeline facility
The trial of Kenneth Ward, who faces charges for trespassing and tampering with oil pipeline equipment at a facility west of Burlington, began Monday in Skagit County Superior Court. Ward, 60, of Corbett, Oregon, was one of three arrested for breaking into the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline facility Oct. 11. Charges against the other two were dropped. Ward is facing felony charges for sabotage and burglary, and a misdemeanor charge for trespassing on Kinder Morgan property, according to court records. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Snake River dams examined after decades of lawsuits
Scientists and power providers are scrutinizing the Snake River dams to see just how damaging they are for wild fish, in accordance with a federal judge’s orders. For the first time in about a decade, the public has a chance to weigh in on the future of the dams. It’s an issue that’s captivated the attention of former Idaho Fish and Game biologist, Steve Pettit. He spent years fishing the Clearwater River on his lunch breaks, so if anyone’s watched the waters change over 40 years, Petit says he has. “It’s pathetic. Can’t buy a fish,” he said. Pettit blames a bad memory that’s stuck like a persistent nightmare. He was there in 1975 when the Lower Granite dam held back the Snake River for the first time. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Legislators Debate Requiring Detailed Cleanup Plan For Colstrip Units 1 & 2
The state senator from Colstrip is asking lawmakers in Helena to consider a bill requiring a more detailed cleanup plan for when two coal-fired electric generators in his town shut down. On Monday, Republican Duane Ankney proposed the first of several bills he is bringing forward this legislative session directed at the future of Colstrip… Ankney says his bill would provide more guidelines as to what the operators of Colstrip power plant units 1 and 2 must do before shutting down operation, which will happen by 2022 at the very latest. Corin Cates-Carney  reports. (Montana Public Radio)

Town holds public hearing on plastic bag ban
San Juan County passed an ordinance to ban single-use, carryout plastic bags, last November, but it didn’t include the Town of Friday Harbor. “There’s county code and then there’s the town,” said Town Clerk Amy Taylor to The Journal. “Sometimes they overlap and sometimes they don’t.”… Two changes were made to the town ordinance draft by council; the start date of the ban was changed from April 1 to May 1 to coincide with the county’s adoption and retailers were given additional time to use already purchased non-complying bags until out of stock. Hayley Day reports. (Journal of the San Juans)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  249 AM PST TUE JAN 31 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH
 WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 E WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 NE WIND 10 TO 20 KT BECOMING E 20 TO 30 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT BUILDING TO 3 TO 5 FT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 12 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

1/30 Science funding, Trudeau, microplastics, 'Big One,' water law, invasives, enviro ed, Dyes poop, Columbia treaty

Amazon reef [Greenpeace/BBC]
Amazon Reef: First images of new coral system
The first pictures of a huge coral reef system discovered in the Amazon last year have been released by environmental campaigners. The Amazon Reef is a 9,500 sq km (3,600 sq miles) system of corals, sponges and rhodoliths, Greenpeace says. The reef is almost 1,000 km (620 miles) long, and is located where the Amazon River meets the Atlantic Ocean. (BBC)

UW scientists unsure of federal funds in Trump era
As confusing and conflicting tweets, leaks and directives fly from the new administration in Washington, D.C., many local researchers are unsure about what’s in store for their work and the role of science in America. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Trudeau ducks controversy in Lunar New Year visit to Vancouver
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau smiled and waved during his latest visit to Vancouver, but didn't stop to answer questions on a number of issues facing Canadians. Trudeau joined the city's Lunar New Year celebrations Sunday, participating in a blessing ceremony before a traditional lion dance, then leading a parade through Vancouver's historic Chinatown. (Canadian Press) See also: Trudeau got an earful during town hall tour: Here are the top concerns   Frequently asked questions centred on the economy, Indigenous affairs, climate change and immigration. John Paul Tasker reports. (CBC)

Microplastics found in supermarket fish, shellfish
Tiny pieces of plastic are making their way into fish and shellfish found at the supermarket, a new study has shown. The findings are part of a report prepared for the International Maritime Organization, the UN agency responsible for preventing marine pollution. It's not yet been established what effect these tiny particles of plastic will have on the humans who consume them, the report says. Brandie Weikle reports. (CBC) See also: Car Tires a Source of Marine Microplastics  (Marine Executive)

Washington's 30-year earthquake drill for the 'Big One': Order studies. Ignore them. Repeat. 
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered a new report on seismic danger, adding to a paper trail of recommendations that have largely been ignored for decades. Daniel Gilbert and Sandi Doughton report. (Seattle Times)

Competing bills target, affirm high court water decision
Some lawmakers are taking aim at a recent Washington Supreme Court decision that put the onus on counties to determine whether water is legally available in certain rural areas before they issue building permits. One bill sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, amends parts of the state law at the heart of the ruling, known as the Hirst decision. County officials, builders, business and farm groups are among supporting the measure, while environmental groups and tribes oppose it. A competing bill sponsored by Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, supports the court decision and sets up a program to help counties find ways to meet the requirements. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Invasive oyster drills react differently to predators than natives
Invasive saltwater snails, including dreaded oyster drills, seem to be far more leery of predators than native snails under certain conditions, according to a new study by Emily Grason, whose research earned her a doctoral degree from the University of Washington. Why non-native snails in Puget Sound would run and hide while native species stand their ground remains an open question, but the difference in behavior might provide an opportunity to better control the invasive species. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Event encourages environmental education, advocacy
Educators and students of all ages gathered Thursday at La Conner’s Maple Hall for Storming the Sound, a day of discussions about the importance of environmental education in the Salish Sea region. Speakers stressed the importance of continuing environmental science, education and advocacy work during the presidency of Donald Trump. kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley herald) See also: Local environmentalists share concern over Trump presidency  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

No-contact order for Dyes Inlet 
A no-contact advisory for Dyes Inlet is in effect through Friday because of a sewage spill into Mosher Creek, the Kitsap Public Health District announced in a news release Sunday afternoon. Signs are being posted at Anna Smith Park, Old Military Park and the Silverdale Waterfront Park. According to the Kitsap County Public Works Department, the spill began at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday at a pump station under construction near Conifer Drive. The 9,000-gallon sewage spill affected Mosher Creek, which feeds into Dyes Inlet in the Tracyton area. (Kitsap Sun)

Northern pike caught in Lake Washington could have impact on juvenile salmon 
While invasive species such as walleye being illegally introduced into Lake Washington have garnered much of the attention, another non-native fish is now making waves in Seattle’s largest urban watershed. The Mercer Island Police and Emergency Management team’s Facebook page posted a picture on Jan. 24 of a northern pike. These fish are also known predators that could have the potential to impact young juvenile salmon, trout and other native fish species in the lake. The fish was caught by a Muckleshoot tribal member who was working with state Fish and Wildlife in a sampling project on Lake Washington. Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

River Worth A Dam
A source of both inspiration and controversy for decades, the future of the Columbia River now hangs in the balance as the U.S. and Canada prepare to renegotiate a 53-year-old treaty on its use. Roy MacGregor reports. (Globe and Mail)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  303 AM PST MON JAN 30 2017  

TODAY
 EAST WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. WEST SWELL  7 FEET AT 12 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 NORTHEAST WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. WEST  SWELL 6 FEET AT 13 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

1/27 Chinook predators, EPA science, whale signs, Delta LNG, fish protection, Pope's climate, BC parks

Rosehip Alley [Laurie MacBride]
Rosehip Alley
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Years ago we made a little path through the dense and chaotic tangle of wild rose bushes on the southern edge of our property, so we could walk among the masses of delicately scented blooms that appear each June. But I love “Rosehip Alley” in winter as well, especially in the low-angle light of late afternoon…"

Study says predators may play major role in chinook salmon declines
Seals and sea lions are taking a major bite out of the threatened chinook salmon population in Puget Sound, and the competition for food could be having repercussions for endangered Southern Resident killer whales, according to a new study. Seals and sea lions are eating about 1.4 million pounds of Puget Sound chinook each year — about nine times more than they were eating in 1970, according to the report [ Estimates of Chinook salmon consumption in Washington State inland waters by four marine mammal predators from 1970 – 2015  ], published online this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

EPA science under scrutiny by Trump political staff
The Trump administration is scrutinizing studies and data published by scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, while new work is under a “temporary hold” before it can be released. The communications director for President Donald Trump’s transition team at EPA, Doug Ericksen, said Wednesday the review extends to all existing content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame. Ericksen clarified his earlier statements he made to The Associated Press, which reported that the Trump administration was mandating that any studies or data from EPA scientists undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public. He said he was speaking about existing scientific information on the EPA website that is under review by members of the Trump administration’s transition team. (Associated Prss)

The Whale Trail—from B.C. to Baja—great whale watching spots identified
Donna Sandstrom Executive Director of The Whale Trail talks about her passion for orca and whales of all varieties, and her organizations quest to install interpretive and identifying signage at key whale watching spots along the West Coast. Tom Wilmer reports. (KCBX/NPR) See: National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Announces Grant to Spotlight Endangered Marine Species; $50,000 will extend interpretive signage on the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale to northern California

Planned LNG terminal in Delta would employ strongest safety measures
Ships visiting a planned LNG terminal at Tilbury Island in Delta would employ two B.C. pilots and up to three tethered “high-power escort tugs” — the strongest such safety measures to date on the Fraser River and a reflection of concerns over movement of the product. California-based WesPac Midstream is not planning to submit its formal application to the province’s Environmental Assessment Office until at least this fall, but has already conducted extensive discussions and computerized bridge simulations with Fraser River Pilots. The $175-million project originally anticipated up to 122 ships, carrying up to 90,000 cubic metres of LNG, and 90 barges a year, carrying 4,000 cubic metres, for export and domestic use.  A revised estimate anticipates 48 ships up to 90,000 cubic metres, 42 ships up to 65,000 cubic metres, and 34 barges up to 7,500 cubic metres. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. government says Ottawa’s cuts left fish habitat unprotected
Spending cuts since 2012 have left B.C. with “almost no” federal oversight of activities by corporations, municipalities and individuals that could damage or destroy sensitive fisheries habitat, the B.C. government has told MPs considering changes to the federal Fisheries Act. “Compliance and enforcement of the Fisheries Act has become increasingly difficult after fisheries protection program staff members were cut,” Derek Sturko, deputy minister in the B.C. Agriculture Ministry, told the standing committee on fisheries and oceans in a written submission. “There has been almost no DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) field presence responding to occurrences or potential violations.” Peter O'Neil reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Federal Action Plan for Puget Sound released as Trump enters office
Two days before Donald Trump became president, the Puget Sound Federal Task Force released a draft of the federal action plan for the recovery of Puget Sound. The Trump transition raises uncertainty about the future of this plan, but at least the incoming administration has a document to work with, as described by Steve Kopecky of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Pope's picture spurs Republicans to shift climate views
After Pope Francis framed climate change as a moral issue in his second encyclical, conservative Republicans shifted and began to see that environmental dilemma in the same way, according to a new study led by Cornell communication researchers. “When Pope Francis issued his encyclical paper in June 2015, he emerged as a strong advocate for climate action,” said Jonathon P. Schuldt, assistant professor of communication. “He is in many ways uniquely positioned as a global moral authority – a religious authority – and his position is very visible.” Schuldt, along with Adam R. Pearson of Pomona College and Rainer Romero-Canyas and Dylan Larson-Konar, both of the Environmental Defense Fund, sought to understand a mechanism for changing public opinion about climate change. Their research, “Brief Exposure to Pope Francis Heightens Moral Beliefs About Climate Change,” was published online in the journal Climatic Change, Dec. 30. Blaine Friedlander reports. (Cornell Chronicle)

Nearly half of national park ecosystems rate as 'fair' or 'poor' in Parks Canada report
A federal report by Parks Canada shows that almost half of the ecosystems in the country's national parks remain in fair to poor condition, five years after a previous report with similar concerns. The report, called State of Canada's Natural and Cultural Heritage Places, was tabled in the House of Commons in mid-December…. The report finds that 29 of the 41 national parks and reserves measured had at least one ecosystem rated as fair or poor. Twelve of the parks or reserves had all of the areas measured rated as good. Susan Lunn reports. (CBC)

TransCanada makes new application for Keystone XL pipeline
The company behind the Keystone XL pipeline submitted a new presidential permit application today to the U.S. Department of State for approval. The project would move 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. (Associated Press) See also: 4 Key Impacts of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines  Heather Brady reports. (National Geographic)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST FRI JAN 27 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT  
TODAY
 SE WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  9 TO 10 FT AT 14 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES  3 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 10 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
SAT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 11 FT AT  13 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 10  TO 12 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
SUN
 SE WIND 20 TO 30 KT...EASING AND BECOMING SW IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT SUBSIDING. W SWELL 7 TO 9 FT AT  13 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

1/26 Ericksen's bill, Nisqually chum, Navy suit, methanol, carbon tax, oil pipes, septics, Trump's wall

Northern Pygmy-Owl (Mike Hamilton/BirdNote)
An Owl Is Mobbed
A pint-sized Northern Pygmy-Owl, not much bigger than a pine cone, hoots from a tree-top on a winter morning. Before long, this diurnal owl - a determined predator of small birds and mammals - will attract a mob of a dozen or more small birds. Mobbing may be a collective response to danger. But it's not certain if the "mobbers" hope to drive away the predator, or simply draw attention to the threat. (BirdNote)

Ericksen’s bill seeks to undo expansion of Cherry Point aquatic lands
A Republican state lawmaker from Ferndale is seeking to reverse a recent state action that expanded protection of 45 acres of aquatic lands at Cherry Point. Senate Bill 5171 would reverse an order that expanded the boundaries of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve. Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark signed the order before leaving office this month. The move came a little more than three months after Lummi Nation requested Goldmark consider the change. Leaders of several tribes, including the Lummis, testified against the bill at a hearing Tuesday. The bill is sponsored Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who recently took a temporary position with President Donald Trump’s administration. Ericksen will act as communications director for the Environmental Protection Agency. (Associated Press/Bellingham Herald)

Nisqually tribe won't fish chum after historic decision
In a historic move, the Nisqually tribe is closing its most popular salmon season. After several years of fish declines, they believe it's necessary to save the fish from disappearing completely. "Our Indian people have been fishing. That's been our way of life, that's been our culture, our history, our traditions," said Willie Frank III, a member of the Nisqually tribe. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Navy hull cleaning sparks clean water lawsuit
The Suquamish Tribe and two environmental groups are suing the Navy over aircraft carrier cleaning practices that might be harming Sinclair Inlet. The tribe, Washington Environmental Council and Puget Soundkeeper on Wednesday issued a notice of intent to sue the Navy over alleged Clean Water Act violations. The Navy began scraping the hull of the decommissioned USS Independence this month. The Navy is preparing to tow the 1,070-loot-long carrier from Bremerton to Texas, where it will be dismantled sometime this year. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Climate change, jobs focus in second day of shoreline methanol hearings
A day after Northwest Innovation Works pitched its proposed Kalama methanol plant as environmentally friendly, opposition attorneys Tuesday argued that it would be a big source of greenhouse gas emissions and challenged its compliance with the state Shorelines Management Act. Northwest Innovation needs two shorelines permits for the $1.8 billion project, which underwent scrutiny Tuesday during the second of three days of public hearings on the permit application. Tuesday’s testimony included statements from opponents such as the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and proponents such as former Washington Gov. Gary Locke. Marissa Luck reports. (Longview Daily News)

Inside Inslee’s carbon tax: A gift for king coal
For years, protecting the climate has been Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature issue. And his 2017 legislative agenda is keyed heavily to passing a tax on the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. But one surprising new analysis suggests that adopting the tax as Inslee has proposed would at first actually increase the state’s production of greenhouse gases and favor the dirtiest fossil fuel: coal.  Unlike the carbon tax rejected by voters on the November ballot, Inslee’s tax carries a little-noticed exemption for the state’s only coal-burning power plant, which is located near Centralia and is owned by the Canadian energy giant TransAlta. Adiel Kaplan reports. (Investigate West)

Keystone XL could be Canada's last big oil export pipeline
…. With Trump's support for Keystone XL, Canada's oilpatch now has government approvals in place for three new pipelines, which raises the question whether Canada will ever need to construct another large-scale export pipeline again. After several years of battles between pipeline proponents and opponents, the construction of these three projects could put an end to the pipeline politics in Canada. On Nov. 29 the federal government rubber-stamped the expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline to the West Coast and the replacement of Enbridge's Line 3 to Wisconsin. Add Keystone XL to the list and the oilpatch is about to boost daily capacity by 1.79 million barrels. That is a considerable amount considering Western Canada currently produces about 3.7 million barrels per day of oil, all of which gets to market one way or the other. Kyle Bakx reports. (CBC) See also: For Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Leader, Revival of Keystone XL Upsets a Balancing Act  Ian Austen and Clifford Krauss report. (NY Times)

Trump's 'control-alt-delete' on climate change policy
Are the recent actions taken by the Trump team on the issues of climate and energy the opening shots in a war on knowledge? Or are they simply what you'd expect from a new administration of a different political hue? Matt McGrath examines. (BBC) See also: A Bad Day for the Environment, with Many More to Come  Bill McKibben reflects. (The New Yorker)

New board takes hard look at Thurston County’s new septic fee
A newly adopted and controversial plan that includes a $10 annual fee for about 42,000 Thurston County property owners with septic systems could soon be going down the drain. Interim county manager Ramiro Chavez said the Board of County Commissioners recently held a briefing with health staff members about the on-site sewer system management plan…. Board of Health and Board of County Commissioners chairman Bud Blake said he and his seatmates asked health staff to get more information on several “data points,” such as septic failure rates and how other counties are making state-required updates to their septic system management plans. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

How realistic is Donald Trump's Mexico wall?
President Donald Trump wants to build an "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall" between the US and Mexico. But how tall? How powerful? How beautiful? The Republican's big ideas can be small on detail, and the wall is no exception. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  255 AM PST THU JAN 26 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS
 AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 10 TO  12 FT AT 18 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  9 FT AT 16 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

1/25 Trump's pipes, DAPL pushback, oil fund shortfall, spill response, rising seas, EPA blackout, border wall, clam gardens, white men, TPP, Navy pier

Hairy Triton [NOAA]
Hairy Triton (Fusitriton oregonensis)
The hairy triton has a white shell covered by bristly periostracum, a thin organic coating or "skin" which is the outermost layer of the shell. It is mostly subtidal but often seen during very low tides. Feeds on a variety of marine animals including sea urchins. Males ride on females and defend against other encroaching males. Females brood and protect egg masses which resemble clusters of corn kernels. Growing up to 5 inches, it is the largest snail in local waters after the moon snail. (Marine Life of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

Trump acts to advance Keystone XL, Dakota Access pipelines 
President Donald Trump moved swiftly Tuesday to advance the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, signing executive actions to aggressively overhaul America’s energy policy and deal a sharp blow to Barack Obama’s legacy on climate change…. Trump, in his continuing effort to undo the past eight years of a Democratic president, invited the Keystone builder, TransCanada, to resubmit its application to the State Department for a presidential permit to construct and operate the pipeline. The company said it would reapply. Matthew Daly and Ken Thomas report. (Associated Press) See also: Trump’s advocacy of pipelines comes with a string: They must use U.S. workers and steel  Anita Kumar and Franco Ordonez report. (McClatchy) And also: Former SW Washington Lawmaker Aids Trump Team In Pro-Pipeline Decisions  Conrad Wilson reports. (OPB/EarthFix) And finally: Trump's EPA pick bumbles from Washington state onto national stage  Danny Westneat reports. (Seattle Times)

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe prepares to push back against Trump's Dakota Access Pipeline order  …. Jan Hasselman, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, said Tuesday the tribe would push back with a lawsuit defending the decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to undertake a full environmental impact review that includes looking at alternative routes for the 1,100-mile oil pipeline through four states. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Washington Lawmakers Want To Fix $4M Shortfall In Oil Spill Prevention Budget
Democrats in the Washington Legislature are looking to bolster the state’s oil spill prevention efforts. An expansion of a Kinder Morgan oil pipeline through British Columbia is expected to increase oil tanker traffic in Washington’s Salish Sea sevenfold. Meanwhile, Washington’s Department of Ecology estimates a shortfall of $4 million in its oil spill prevention program. Companion bills introduced by Sen. Reuven Carlyle and Rep. Jessyn Farrell, both Seattle Democrats, hope to plug that gap by increasing a tax on oil shipments and extending the tax to cover oil transported by pipeline. Tony Schick reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Reduced oil spill response times on B.C. coast a step closer to reality
A ramped up oil spill response could mean more jobs for Vancouver Island and Vancouver. With the approval of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline at both the federal and provincial levels, plans for seven new oil response stations are closer to becoming reality. Michael Lowry is the communications manager for the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation and he says Trans Mountain asked the company to do assessments on reducing oil spill response times. "And what that looked like is basically reducing the upper planning standards for response times in Vancouver harbour from six hours today, down to two hours," said [Michael] Lowry [communications manager for the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation]. For the southern shipping route along Vancouver Island, Lowry says the goal is to have a response time of six hours, what he calls a "drastic" reduction…. "In the Gulf Islands, you are looking at a maximum 18-hour response, and then as you get to the west side, over at Port Renfrew, the current planning standards are up to 72 hours." Jean Paetkau reports. (CBC) See also: Oil-spill risks rising in Salish Sea — are we ready? Samantha Larson reports. (Crosscut)

One of the last Obama-era climate reports had a troubling update about the rising seas
A new report, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the last day of Barack Obama’s presidency, presents a series of updated estimates for future sea-level rise, both in the United States and worldwide. It suggests that, under extreme future climate change, global sea levels could rise by more than eight feet by the end of the century — one of the highest estimates yet to be presented in a federal report.  The report also contains a series of regional estimates, suggesting that many parts of the United States will experience sea-level rise at a rate well above the global average. Chelsea Harvey reports. (Washington Post)

Trump admin orders EPA contract freeze and media blackout 
The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants, part of a broader communications clampdown within the executive branch. Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press detailed specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts. Michael Biesecker and John Flesher report. (Associated Press)

Trump moving forward with border wall, weighs refugee cuts
President Donald Trump will begin rolling out executive actions on immigration Wednesday, beginning with steps to build his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to two administration officials. He’s also expected to target so-called sanctuary cities and is reviewing proposals that would restrict the flow of refugees to the United States…. Trump is said to still be weighing the details of plans to restrict refugees coming to the U.S. Julie Pace, Vivian Salama and Rachel Zoll report. (Associated Press)

Gulf Islands seeing return of traditional First Nations clam gardens
A Parks Canada project is reviving the traditional practice of clam gardening in the Gulf Islands. Clam Garden Project coordinator Skye Augustine explained how First Nations along the B.C. coast altered beaches over centuries for aquaculture…. Parks Canada is working on a five-year project with the Hul'q'umi'num and Saanich First Nations to revive clam gardens in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

Secret meetings between tribes, state divide fishing advocates
Fishermen continue to rally to stop private meetings between the state and tribes, but the movement is creating a rift in the fishing community…. Those meetings start soon, and they'll divide up salmon between tribal and non-tribal fishermen. They're secret meetings between tribal and state wildlife officials. No one else is allowed to attend. The meetings have prompted a petition with nearly 1,500 signatures, all demanding the process be open to the public. It's dividing fisherman among commercial and sport fishing advocates, as many commercial fishermen are speaking out against the movement in support of the tribes. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Trump’s Cabinet So Far Is More White and Male Than Any First Cabinet Since Reagan’s
President Trump’s cabinet is shaping up to have a smaller percentage of women and nonwhites than the first cabinets of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George Bush. If Mr. Trump’s nominees are confirmed, women and nonwhites will hold five of 22 cabinet or cabinet-level positions. He has not yet named the nominee for one additional position. Jasmine Lee reports. (NY Times) See also: From Lying to Leering: Donald Trump’s fear of women  Rebecca Solnit writes. (London Review of Books)

Washington Trade Advocates Disappointed By Trump's Withdrawal From Pacific Trade Deal
Trade advocates in Washington state are feeling disappointed after President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is a trade pact between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries, including Canada and Japan. Simone Alicea reports. (KNKX) See also: Donald Trump just forfeited in his first fight with China  Matt O'Brien writes. (Washington Post) And also: How much truth is there in Trump's TPP claims?  Karishma Vaswani reports. (BBC)

Navy gets permit for pier off Ediz Hook 
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given the Navy permission to remove a jetty at Ediz Hook for a 425-foot submarine-escort-vessel pier that will jut into Port Angeles Harbor and require pile-driving to construct. The Corps determined late Monday that the jetty’s removal on the grounds of Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles will not harm efforts by the city of Port Angeles and the Corps to control erosion on the Hook, Corps spokeswoman Patricia Graesser said Tuesday in an email. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  257 AM PST WED JAN 25 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT FROM THIS
 EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 E WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  3 FT AT 10 SECONDS BUILDING TO 6 FT AT 15 SECONDS. A SLIGHT  CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  BUILDING TO 12 FT AT 20 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

1/24 Trump wiki, EPA takeover, Skagit water, green priorities, Nisqually Reach, Site C, whale ban

(PHOTO: Washington Native Plant Society)
Oregon Grape (Mahonia/Berberis nervosa)
Common in second-growth, closed-canopy Douglas-fir forests. The tart, purple berries were eaten but not in quantity. Often mixed with salal or other sweeter fruit. Used today for jelly and some winemaking. The shredded bark of the stems and roots was used to make a bright yellow dye for blanket materials. The bark and berries were also used medicinally for liver, gall bladder and eye problems. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Local techies launch fact-focused Trump wiki site
Jan Miksovsky was worried about how citizens will be able to keep up with the Donald Trump administration. So, in a bout of entrepreneurial spirit, he helped build a tool to address the matter. The longtime Seattle software engineer, who spent 16 years at Microsoft before founding two Seattle startups, helped gather the crew of developers and writers behind Presterity.org, a web portal pitched as a Wikipedia-like chronicle of the Trump administration. The aim isn’t nonpartisan. “We’d like to create what you might call a reference desk for people to try to resist the damages of the Trump administration,” Miksovsky said.  Matt Day reports. (Seattle Times) See also: With no evidence, Trump claims that up to 5 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote  Michael D. Shear and Emmarie Huetteman report. (NY Times)

Benton, Ericksen part of Trump's political "beachhead" takeover team at EPA 
The Trump administration's political "beachhead team" taking over at the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration is led in part by two pro-development, pro-oil politicians from Washington, State Sen. Doug Ericksen and ex-Sen. Don Benton, E & E News reported Monday. The report, confirmed by SeattlePI.com, indicates that Benton and Ericksen will be rewarded for outspoken support of Donald Trump in last year's campaign. The Republican candidate spoke to a Lynden crowd in Ericksen's district last May and had fulsome praise for the lawmaker. Benton was later warm-up act for Trump at an August rally at Xfinity Arena in Everett. The "beachhead teams" as noted by E & E News, are groups of campaign supporters and aides who temporarily move in on federal agencies, but may later be invited to stay on.  The director of EPA's Region X, headquartered in Seattle, is a major federal appointment in the region. Ericksen is best known for introducing legislation to create a new felony crime of "economic terrorism" that would allow prosecution of demonstrators who nonviolently block transportation (e.g. coal and oil trains) threaten jobs and put public safety in jeopardy. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

State makes wells legal for section of west Skagit County
The state Department of Ecology has relaxed a controversial rule, making wells a legal water supply for properties in a section of west Skagit County. The 2001 instream flow rule has essentially restricted residents in the Skagit River basin from putting in wells for residential use in order to preserve water levels for fish populations. But Ecology identified a 56-square-mile area of Skagit County from Bayview south to La Conner and as far east as Sedro-Woolley where the department believes drawing water from wells does not have an impact on the river’s flow. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Washington Environmental Groups Set Legislative Agenda For 2017 Session
Each year, as lawmakers get to work in Olympia, the state’s largest environmental groups agree on legislative priorities. This session, the Washington Environmental Council and the Washington Conservation Voters are focused on water rights, oil transportation safety and cleaning up toxics.   About 23 groups set the agenda for the Environmental Priorities Coalition.  Topping their list this session is a recent decision from the state Supreme Court that says new housing development can only be approved when it won’t take too much water from existing homes, farms and rivers. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Nisqually Reach purchase protects salmon habitat
Some of the last undeveloped shoreline along Puget Sound has been added to the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve. The acquisition of 17.6 acres expands Jacobs Point Park on Anderson Island to 100 acres, making the Nisqually reserve the largest protected marine park in South Puget Sound…. The Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve extends from the Nisqually River Delta across Nisqually Reach. It includes all state-owned aquatic lands in these areas, plus state-owned bedlands and beaches surrounding Anderson, Ketron and Eagle islands to the shores of McNeil Island. The new acreage will be accessible to the public via a trail network. Jacobs Point provides public access to more than 1,600 feet of shoreline. Jerre Redecker reports. (The Olympian)

Federal Court of Appeal dismisses First Nations’ challenge of B.C.’s Site C dam
The Federal Court of Appeal has rejected a legal challenged filed by two British Columbia First Nations that argued the $8.8-billion Site C dam project violated their treaty rights. The Prophet River First Nation and the West Moberly First Nation appealed a Federal Court judge's decision to deny an application for a judicial review of the federal government's approval of the project. A three-member panel issued a unanimous decision Monday to uphold the earlier ruling, which rejected the First Nations' claims that the environmental review and ensuing government approval should have assessed their treaty rights and determined whether the project infringed on those rights. Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

Vancouver Park Board asks for options before deciding on cetacean plebiscite
The Vancouver Park Board has delayed a decision about a possible plebiscite regarding whale and dolphin captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium. Commissioners have referred the issue to staff, asking for further options. Those could range from seeking the plebiscite on Vancouver's civic ballot in 2018 to proposals that some commissioners believe could provide quicker results than a vote that is almost two years away. A staff report on the matter is expected to be presented to the board next month. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  252 AM PST TUE JAN 24 2017  
TODAY
 LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT  12 SECONDS SUBSIDING TO 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W  SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

1/23 Merlin, Trump facts, climate, Navy pier, FDA seafood, urchins, Tesoro air, whale ban, paper folds

Merlin (PHOTO: Gregg Thompson/BirdNote)
A Merlin "Warbles" - An Angel-wing Stretch
Early in December, photographer Gregg Thompson made a trip to Edison, a small town on the Samish Flats, north of Seattle. He was looking for a Merlin. And he found it, fairly low in a tree next to the road.  Gregg Thompson writes and photographs. (BirdNote)

Fact Check: Trump starts on familiar note — with exaggeration
Donald Trump’s inaugural address held familiar echoes of the campaign speeches that led to his presidential win: downbeat about the state of the nation, to the point of hyperbole. (Associated Press) See also: Kellyanne Conway says Donald Trump’s team has ‘alternative facts.’ Which pretty much says it all. Out: “Fake news.” In: “Alternative facts."  Aaron Blake reports. (Washington Post)

With Trump in Charge, Climate Change References Purged From Website  Within moments of the inauguration of President Trump, the official White House website on Friday deleted nearly all mentions of climate change…. That also included a page devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Permit holds up Navy pier project at Ediz Hook
The cost and timeline for the Navy’s $25.6 million pier and uplands construction project at Ediz Hook is being re-evaluated while the Navy awaits permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to remove thousands of cubic yards of erosion controlling rock, a Navy spokeswoman said last week. Corps spokeswoman Patricia Graesser said the agency would notify the Navy on Monday of the Corps’ decision. Paul Gottlieb report. (Peninsula Daily News)

FDA Issues New Seafood Advice For Moms-To-Be. Not Everyone Is Thrilled
For many pregnant women, understanding what seafood is safe and healthy, and what should be avoided because of mercury concerns comes with a lot of hand-wringing. In part, that's because the federal government's advice on the matter, first issued in 2004, has long been criticized as unclear. That guidance has included advice on how much seafood to eat, and which species pregnant and nursing women should avoid over concerns about mercury contamination. But critics say the government advisory has done more harm than good, scaring many pregnant and nursing women (and let's be real — pretty much everyone else) away from eating seafood altogether. Clare Leschin-Hoar reports. (NPR)

From 'zombie' urchins to seafood gold? Studies test sea urchin farming in Canada
Federal scientists and others are exploring the possibility of sea urchin farming in Canada, with at least six pilot studies using Norwegian technology that proponents hope will turn "zombie" urchins which can denude kelp beds into profitable seafood. The first of the studies, conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is expected to start next week in waters off Vancouver Island, with others planned for Newfoundland, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Wild urchins are harvested in B.C. and elsewhere, but aren't farmed commercially anywhere in Canada — yet. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Tesoro refinery fined $325,000 for Clean Air Act violations
The Tesoro Anacortes Refinery paid the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $325,000 in late 2016 for violating the Clean Air Act. The fine is one of several the refinery has faced for state and federal environmental violations in recent years. The EPA notified the refinery of the violations in April 2016, and issued the penalty in September. According to EPA documents regarding the Clean Air Act violations, the agency discovered several shortfalls in the refinery’s risk management plan following inspections at the March Point facility in January 2011 and October 2011. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Vancouver Park Board may initiate vote on banning whales in captivity
The Vancouver Park Board will decide Monday whether to recommend a public plebiscite on whether the city's aquarium should keep whales and cetaceans in captivity, with its author suggesting it will likely pass. But other parks commissioners say it's too soon to say how things will play out when they gather to consider the proposal, a motion which calls for including a question on the issue on the ballot for the 2018 municipal election. Ian Bailey reports. (Canadian Press)

Examiner says ‘goodbye’ after 22 years  In May 1995 a group of community-minded journalists unveiled a special preview edition of The Coupeville Examiner, a newspaper they hoped to launch to give Central Whidbey the voice it was seeking.…. This month, Whidbey News Group Publisher Keven Graves announced the Jan. 19 edition of The Whidbey Examiner will be its last. (Whidbey Examiner)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST MON JAN 23 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM
 PST THIS MORNING  
TODAY
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT...EASING TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 10 FT AT 11 SECONDS SUBSIDING TO 9 FT.
TONIGHT
 W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT  AT 13 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Friday, January 20, 2017

1/20 Waxwing, Whale Trail, stream health, oil train, who's Native, Issaquah Press, Vashon, Storming the Sound

Bohemian waxwing, 1/9 [Joe Meche/Bellingham Herald]
Rare visitor from northern Canada returns for second year
A short-tailed songbird that’s rarely seen locally is visiting Whatcom County for the second winter in a row. Local birder Joe Meche posted a photo of a Bohemian waxwing on a birding-oriented social media page after encountering a small flock of them as he was observing shorebirds at Semiahmoo recently…. A second flock of about 20 birds is hanging around Little Squalicum Park, Meche said. Bohemian waxwings are similar in shape to the cedar waxwing but are larger and have different coloration, said Meche... He said habitat loss and other environmental changes have turned the Bohemian waxwing into more of an Eastern Washington bird, where it visits from the boreal forests of Canada. Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Preserve, Protect, and Defend
As Trump takes office, there is every reason to be on guard against a President whose attachment to constitutional norms seems episodic at best. David Remnick writes. (The New Yorker)



Whale Trail Awarded Grant To Expand Public Engagement
The Whale Trail has been awarded $50,000 from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness grant. “The Whale Trail Northern California” will add interpretive signage on the northern California coast focusing on the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale. These interpretive signs will highlight orcas in the coastal areas near northern and central California sanctuaries, extending the trail of signage already found in the area around Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.  Complementary educational materials and events will help engage the public in understanding the plight of Southern Resident Killer Whales and what people can do to aid in the recovery of this species. (National Marine Sanctuary Foundation)

 

Healthy stream, healthy bugs
Many groups have been formed around the goal of saving salmon, but few people talk about a concerted effort to save microscopic creatures. Whether or not a pro-bug movement catches on, future strategies to save salmon are likely to incorporate ideas for restoring streambound creatures known as benthic invertebrates. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Half of Washington’s crude-by-rail went through Whatcom County last quarter
Half of the crude oil that moved through Washington state by train went to or through Whatcom County last quarter, according to a new report state officials released Thursday. Whatcom County refineries got about 273.4 million gallons of light crude from North Dakota from October through December 2016, according to data in the report. That’s about 91 trains, if they were each hauling 105 tank cars. Another 35.9 million gallons of heavy and medium crude oil from Alberta passed through Whatcom County on its way to Skagit County refineries, which means Whatcom County rails saw half the state’s nearly 618 million gallons of crude-by-rail reported that quarter. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Who Decides Who Counts as Native American?
Four years ago, the Nooksack in Washington State announced that they were expelling hundreds of members, setting off a bitter debate over tribal identity. Brooke Jarvis reports. (NY Times)

Issaquah Press shutting down in February 
The Issaquah Press will print its final issue next month, ending the Eastside newspaper’s 117-year run and bringing the latest wave of job cuts to Seattle-area news outlets. The Sammamish Review, the SnoValley Star and the Newcastle News will also cease publication in February. All are owned by the Issaquah Press Group, a subsidiary of The Seattle Times. Matt Day reports. (Seattle Times)

Storming the Sound
The 18th regional gathering of environmental educators takes place January 26 from 9 AM to 4:30 PM at Maple Hall in La Conner. The annual event brings together 120 NW Washington environmental educators, K-12 teachers and students for a day to learn about classroom resources, programs and opportunities for collaboration. Keynote speaker is Dr. John Stein, recently retired Director of the NW Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries. Register here.

A new president, a new predator and a liberal island worried about its way of life
Shortly after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president last summer, a cougar swam across a salt-water channel to this island oasis amid Seattle and its suburbs. At the time, many people here viewed the candidate and the big cat as interlopers, soon to be exposed and expelled. But both are still around — and one is clearly causing more concern than the other on this increasingly anxious island…. If Seattle is the predictably Democratic capital of the Pacific Northwest, Vashon, just 20 minutes away by ferry, is one of the region’s experimental laboratories, a place where new strains of environmentalism and progressivism flourish, unencumbered by mainland reality. It presents an increasingly rare constituency: rural but not red. William Yardley reports. (LA Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST FRI JAN 20 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 14 FT AT  16 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 12 FT AT 16 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. A  CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT. W SWELL 11 FT  AT 16 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
SAT
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 15 FT AT 18 SECONDS.  SHOWERS LIKELY.
SAT NIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 14 FT AT 16 SECONDS.
SUN
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 11 FT AT  14 SECONDS.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

1/19 Puget Sound 2020, KM on MLK Day, Tarboo Bay forest, hot earth, Rick Perry, cleaner cars

Lingcod, Ophiodon elongates (University of Washington)
Lingcod
Lingcod are common on or near reefs or kelp beds. In winter the female lays eggs on or under rocks in shallow water. Male guards, fans and cleans pink egg masses for about 7 weeks. Juvenile feeds on plankton; adult is voracious predator on many fishes, crabs, octopus and smaller lingcod. Lingcod are sought by anglers and scuba divers and catch is regulated. Grows to five feet, over 80 pounds. (Marine Wildlife of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

Report: It's time to shift the deadlines for Puget Sound restoration
Restoring Puget Sound to a healthy condition by the year 2020 is an unrealistic goal that needs to be addressed by the Puget Sound Partnership, according to the latest performance audit by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee…. Puget Sound Partnership, the organization created by the Legislature to coordinate the restoration of Puget Sound, is on the right track in many ways, according to the preliminary audit report. But the Partnership needs to address several “structural issues” — including coming up with realistic goals for restoration. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

San Juan Islanders protest Kinder Morgan on MLK Day
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, protests against the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline took place on Lopez, Orcas, Shaw and San Juan Islands. Liza Michaelson and Mara Lawrence organized the event, and Friends of the San Juans contributed. The Canadian government approved the expansion in November. Friends of the San Juans members previously told The Journal, the expansion will increase the number of ships carrying crude oil past the San Juan Islands, as well as the possibility of spilling a heavy, sinkable oil that is almost impossible to clean up. Haley Day reports. (San Juan Journal)

DNR buys forested slopes above Tarboo Bay for long-term conservation
The Dabob Bay Natural Area has been expanded by 159 acres. Pope Resources sold 159 acres to the state Department of Natural Resources for $899,000 on Dec. 29. The area is now part of a state-managed conservation area above Tarboo Bay. “This parcel is an important addition to the natural area and will help provide long-term protection to Dabob Bay’s water quality, shellfish beds and wildlife habitat,” said Peter Bahls, a biologist and director of the Northwest Watershed Institute, a conservation group that helped with the acquisition. (Peninsula Daily News)

Earth sets hottest year record for third-straight time
Earth sizzled to a third-straight record hot year in 2016, government scientists said Wednesday. They mostly blame man-made global warming with help from a natural El Nino, which has since disappeared. Measuring global temperatures in slightly different ways, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that last year passed 2015 as the hottest year on record. NOAA calculated that the average 2016 global temperature was 58.69 degrees (14.84 degrees Celsius) — beating the previous year by 0.07 degrees (0.04 Celsius). NASA’s figures, which include more of the Arctic, are higher at 0.22 degrees (0.12 Celsius) warmer than 2015.  Seth Borenstein reports. (Associated Press)

‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood
When President-elect Donald J. Trump offered Rick Perry the job of energy secretary five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state. In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal. Two-thirds of the agency’s annual $30 billion budget is devoted to maintaining, refurbishing and keeping safe the nation’s nuclear stockpile; thwarting nuclear proliferation; cleaning up and rebuilding an aging constellation of nuclear production facilities; and overseeing national laboratories that are considered the crown jewels of government science. Coral Davenport and David Sanger report. (NY Times)

Trump EPA could thwart West Coast climate action
Efforts to rein in planet-warming pollution in Washington state could be hindered by federal officials once Donald Trump becomes president. At his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, declined to say whether he would let individual states, led by California, continue to require cleaner cars…. Washington and Oregon are among the 12 states that have adopted California's stricter vehicle-emission standards. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Dozens Of False Killer Whales Mysteriously Strand Themselves In Florida
Scientists are trying to determine why a group of at least 95 false killer whales stranded themselves on a remote coast in Florida's Everglades National Park. At least 82 of the animals have died, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "This is the largest mass stranding ever for this species in the United States," NOAA Marine Biologist Erin Fougères said, "And one of the largest mass strandings we've ever had in the southeast."   Merrit Kennedy reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST THU JAN 19 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT  
TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. SW SWELL 12 FT AT 12 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. SW SWELL 13 FT AT 14 SECONDS.  SHOWERS LIKELY.

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

1/18 KM suit, DAPL, oil jobs, ESA, Growlers, Colstrip, salt runoff, norovirus, fish season, ferry chief

Ruby sea dragon Phyllopteryx dewysea (Zoe Della Vedova)
Newly discovered ruby sea dragon seen alive in wild for 1st time
Australian researchers have observed two specimens of a rare sea dragon that's never before been seen alive. Nicole Mortillaro reports. (CBC)

'It is our Standing Rock:' First Nations announce legal actions against feds, Kinder Morgan
Three First Nations have announced they're taking legal action challenging the federal government's approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Representatives from the Coldwater Indian Band near Merritt, along with the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nation held a joint news conference in Vancouver. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC) See also: B.C.-Kinder Morgan revenue sharing deal tears Canada’s national fabric  (Canadian Press)

Dakota Access company seeks to block pipeline study
The company building the Dakota Access oil pipeline wants a federal judge to block the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from launching a full environmental study of the $3.8 billion pipeline’s disputed crossing of a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota. Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Tuesday to stop the Corps from publishing a notice in the Federal Register announcing the study. Boasberg scheduled a hearing for Wednesday. ETP wants any further study put on hold until Boasberg, in Washington, D.C., rules on whether ETP already has the necessary permission to lay pipe under Lake Oahe — the reservoir that’s the water source for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. (Associated Press)

Oil-spill response upgrades mean jobs
The increased oil-spill response capabilities that are written into all the conditional approvals of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion make some people blanch, since they suggest catastrophe in the offing. But they also suggest a significant marine-employment boom on the coast. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been committed for big upgrades in marine response throughout the Salish Sea, and a lot of it requires people to run and maintain the new systems. Les Leyne writes. (Times Colonist)

GOP targets landmark Endangered Species Act for big changes
In control of Congress and soon the White House, Republicans are readying plans to roll back the influence of the Endangered Species Act, one of the government’s most powerful conservation tools, after decades of complaints that it hinders drilling, logging and other activities. Over the past eight years, GOP lawmakers sponsored dozens of measures aimed at curtailing the landmark law or putting species such as gray wolves and sage grouse out of its reach. Almost all were blocked by Democrats and the White House or lawsuits from environmentalists. Now, with the ascension of President-elect Donald Trump, Republicans see an opportunity to advance broad changes to a law they contend has been exploited by wildlife advocates to block economic development. (Associated Press) See also: Federal Report: Environmental Safeguards Provide Billions In Economic Benefits  Farron Cousins reports. (Desmog)

Growler Shock
Reader Tony Angell commented on the article More public comment allowed on Growler jets at Whidbey 
"The idea that the existing levels of Growler jet activity will be increased without fully assessing the current level of human and general environmental impact is absurd.  For one thing a consideration of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the San Juan Islands seeking the region's peace and tranquility is a start.  Then too the extent to which the ear shattering and physically disturbing flight paths of these machines over protected San Juan Conservation Areas impacts the breeding and resident wild life there,  begs to be evaluated.  What are the consequences to our economy when visiting folks, both regional and from throughout the world, seeking an experience with northwest nature,  are advised to go elsewhere because of the extreme and frightening decibel levels of jet engines overhead.  Having experienced these Growler intrusions over the years I can tell you my response as an artist and  island land owner, is to run for cover. May I suggest the Salish Sea News include an email or land based mailing address wherein we can voice our objections to this activity and recommendations that it be conducted outside of these last remaining sacred areas of the northwest's natural heritage." To comment, go to: Draft EIS comment 

Puget Sound Energy may pull plug early on aging, polluting Montana coal plants
Puget Sound Energy is giving out signs it may accelerate the shutdown of two 40-year-old, polluting, coal-fired Montana power plants as the Bellevue-based utility moves to replace coal with natural gas. The company filed a rate case Tuesday with the Washington Utilities Commission, saying that its Colstrip 1 and 2 plants in Montana will be offline by the announced date of 2022 but could shut down as soon as 2018 if its co-owner, Riverstone Holdings, agrees. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Road salt runoff has conservationist worried about salmon
Sand and salt were used on Metro Vancouver's roads in exceptional quantities this year and now much of that material is finding its way into local waterways. John Templeton, chair of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee, says all that road salt could hurt local salmon. (CBC)

Norovirus threatens health of oyster industry, farmer says
A shellfish farmer expects his industry to take a financial hit, if an outbreak of norovirus linked to raw oysters continues. Steve Pocock, who operates Sawmill Bay Shellfish on Read Island, says the impact on business has been small since the outbreak was first reported in early December. But sales will fall following last week's health warning for consumers to cook oysters thoroughly, he said. About 80 per cent of B.C. oysters are sold for raw consumption, Pocock said. Deborah Wilson reports. (CBC)

Columbia River salmon fishing reform clears one hurdle, and Oregon decides Friday
Some of the most far-reaching sport and commercial salmon fishing reforms were approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife commission to begin this season along the Lower Columbia River. The nine-member state Fish and Wildlife commission panel – a citizen panel appointed by the governor – voted 7-2 in favor of the policy that includes a four-year transition period with full implementation planned for 2017 with time for modifications. While given the green light by Washington it still needs approval by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife commission, and there is buzz spreading around that they might not be riding on the same path as Washington. Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

Washington State Ferries gets new director
Washington State Ferries has announced its new director. Amy Scarton will replace Lynne Griffith, who is retiring Jan., 31, state Transportation Secretary Roger Millar said Tuesday. Scarton currently serves as the Transportation Department's assistant secretary for community and economic development. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  258 AM PST WED JAN 18 2017  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 1 PM PST THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING S 20 TO 30 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 11 TO 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  13 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 E WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  12 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE EVENING...THEN SHOWERS AFTER  MIDNIGHT.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

1/17 Portage Bay, orcas, Growlers, Swinomish suit, Huu-ay-aht appeal, Matt Horne, public lands, sea lion

[PHOTO: Laurie MaBride]
The Pond Creatures
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes; "Some strange and wondrous beings visited our backyard pond in recent days, taking advantage of the unusually cold weather we’d been experiencing. They disappeared last night, and I doubt I’ll see them again this year.  After a month of sunshine and extreme (for us) low temperatures, we’re finally getting back to our “normal” west coast winter: grey skies, rain and – mercifully – warmer temperatures…."

Lummi clammers, dairy farmers team up to clean bacteria-polluted bay, rather than fight
For more than two years now, Lummi Nation has been unable to reliably open its prime clam beds on its reservation for harvest because of bacterial pollution in Portage Bay near Bellingham. Now in an unusual leap of faith, tribal leaders and seven family dairy-farm operators in Whatcom County are launching a collaborative effort to clean up the bay. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Salish Sea Communications Guest Blog: Oil v. Orca
Shaun Hubbard writes: "The San Juan Islands, smack-dab in the middle of the Salish Sea, attract thousands and thousands of summer visitors – the two-legged kind. One of the main reasons they choose to visit the islands is to see our other summer visitors – the finned kind. The Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW), or orca whales, do not show up in the thousands however, but are fewer than 80 in number and, with the 7 reported dead or missing last year, are declining still…." (read more)

Killing the Killers: A Leading Indicator of Planetary Ecological Destruction
Mark Anderson writes: "There are two top predators on the planet…. While humans are clearly “in charge” on the planet, it turns out that the story is more complicated than that. Humans are the top predators on land, for example, but orcas (killer whales) are the top predators in the sea. And the sea is three-quarters of the planet’s surface area…." (Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance)

Drones are added to orca protection zone
Most San Juan Islanders know vessels and aircraft can’t be within 200 yards of the Southern resident orcas, thanks to a state law adopted in 2008, but what about drones? That’s the question San Juan County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord asked the Washington State Attorney General’s Office to clarify last spring…. The attorney general’s opinion, released on Dec. 30, clarified that drones are part of the statute’s ambiguous term of “other objects” prohibited from entering the 200-yard protection zone. Haley Day reports. (San Juan Journal)

More public comment allowed on Growler jets at Whidbey
The Navy has decided to extend, by 30 days, the public-comment period for a draft environmental study of the effects of adding up to 36 EA-18G Growler aircraft to the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island-based fleet. The new Feb. 24 deadline results from requests by Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Rick Larsen for more time for public review of the draft study. More than 80 Growler jets are based at Whidbey Island, where the Navy is a mainstay of the economy. The noise they emit during crew training has been a big concern for many residents who live near two landing strips and underneath the flight paths. In the San Juan Islands, a county website has received more than 6,500 noise reports since May 2014. (Seattle Times)

Court refuses to throw out Swinomish suit against BNSF
A U.S. District Court refused Friday to throw out a lawsuit filed by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community against BNSF Railway. The tribe sued the railway in April 2015, claiming that BNSF violated an agreement with the tribe by failing to disclose cargo of certain trains traveling through the Swinomish reservation, and by not correctly seeking approval for an increase in rail traffic, according to court documents. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Ottawa to appeal $13.8 million award to Vancouver Island First Nation
The federal government is appealing a decision by a special claims tribunal to award $13.8 million in compensation to a Vancouver Island First Nation over a historic logging dispute. The Huu-ay-aht First Nation, based in Anacla near Bamfield, received notice of appeal on Thursday. The specific-claims tribunal, which hears claims by First Nations against the federal government regarding past wrongs, found the federal government failed in its duty to the community relating to logging contracts between 1948 and 1969. Katie DeRosa reports. (Times Colonist)

Vancouver hires well-known environmentalist to guide green policy
The City of Vancouver has hired a well-known environmental advocate to help guide its quest to become the greenest city on the planet. Matt Horne, the former associate director of environmental think-tank the Pembina Institute and a member of B.C.'s climate leadership team, is the city's new climate change policy manager. Horne is specifically tasked with shepherding the city's "The Greenest City 2020 Action Plan" — adopted in 2011 — and creating further policies and plans to be implemented to make the transition. (CBC)

Rule easing public lands transfer concerns hunters, others
A change in U.S. House rules making it easier to transfer millions of acres of federal public lands to states is worrying hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts across the West who fear losing access. Lawmakers earlier this month passed a rule eliminating a significant budget hurdle and written so broadly that it includes national parks. President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Interior secretary, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, voted for the rule change as did many other Republicans. The Senate would have to weigh in on public land transfers as well. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press) See also: What's In Store For Public Land Under President Trump?  Emily Schwing reports. (NWNews/KNKX)

State and federal officials euthanize Steller sea lion beached in Port Angeles
State and federal officials have euthanized a suffering Steller sea lion that was beached at the Nippon Paper Industries USA mill near Ediz Hook since at least Jan. 6. It was a joint decision between the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network, said Melissa Williams, executive director for Feiro Marine Life Center…. By Saturday, when it was euthanized, the animal couldn’t lift its head and was hardly opening its eyes, she said. An aquatic animal veterinarian and a DFW biologist determined the sea lion to be beyond recovery and chose to end its suffering, Williams said. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

4 ways the Legislature can make Washington greener
Joan Crooks of the Washington Environmental Council writes: "There isn’t really a way around it — the 2016 national election was a big change for our country’s political calculus. President-Elect Donald Trump has nominated the most anti-environmental cabinet in the past century. But here at home, the changes we saw were mostly positive." (Crosscut)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  252 AM PST TUE JAN 17 2017  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 
TODAY
 SE WIND 25 TO 35 KT. COMBINED SEAS 12 TO 14 FT WITH A  DOMINANT PERIOD OF 14 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING S 15 TO 25 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 12 TO 13 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  13 SECONDS. RAIN.

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"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato at salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told