Wednesday, March 29, 2017

3/29 Go Fish Go, dirty power, Campbell R estuary, coastal marten protection

Survive the Sound: Go Fish Go!
Long Live the Kings has launched an online opportunity allowing you to see the challenges facing Puget Sound steelhead making their way to the Pacific Ocean. "Survive the Sound translates the real experiences of 48 steelhead into a spectacular challenge. Sponsor or gift your favorite steelhead for $25 each, then invite friends to form a school of fish. On May 8th, you will watch your fish embark on a 12-day journey to the Pacific Ocean in a race for their lives! Along the way, you will learn about these amazing fish, the obstacles they face, and what we are doing to recover them…. Sponsor before April 5th and you’ll be entered in a raffle to win a trip to Alderbrook Resort, Hood Canal, and experience the research behind Survive the Sound!" Here's how to enter.

West Coast rejects Trump clean power rollbacks
The West Coast has lined up against President Donald Trump's rollback of the Clean Power Plan and will go its own way on energy, with the region's governors saying they will "assert our own 21st Century leadership and chart a different course."  The divisions of America, not on culture but on climate and energy, were on display Tuesday, as well as the values of the actors. Trump was carrying through his 2016 campaign pledge to revive the coal industry, as he issued an Executive Order to withdraw and rewrite the Clean Power Plan, a key climate initiative of the Obama administration. It required utilities to reduce emissions at power plants. The governors of Washington, Oregon and California -- plus mayors of the Coast's major cities -- said in a letter that action on climate is urgent, and healthy for the economy as well as people that live on the "Left Coast." Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com) See also: Planned Rollback of Climate Rules Unlikely to Achieve All Trump’s Goals  Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Geese flocking to Campbell River Estuary posing threat to sensitive ecosystem
A population of non-native Canada geese is wreaking havoc on the Campbell River Estuary, according to the results of a two-year goose monitoring study. Cynthia Bendickson, executive director of Greenways Land Trust which coordinated the goose banding project, said that 200 Canada geese were banded in the estuary and monitored for 18 months to track the birds’ migrating patterns. Results showed that the majority of the birds were non-native geese flocking to the estuary to lose and replace flight feathers, a process known as moulting. Kristen Douglas reports. (Campbell River Mirror)

Court Tells USFWS To Reconsider Protections For Coastal Martens
A federal court ruled Tuesday that wildlife managers must reconsider a decision to deny endangered species protections to the coastal marten. The American pine marten, a member of the marten family, is closely related to the rare coastal marten. The red-orange mink relative was once believed to be extinct — a victim of the fur trade. But small populations have been found in the coastal mountains of Southern Oregon and Northern California.   In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided the marten did not qualify for listing under the Endangered Species Act because the population was not small enough or isolated enough to be at risk of going extinct. But the Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center argued in court the coastal marten population is perilously low. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  317 AM PDT WED MAR 29 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT...BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES  3 TO 5 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 10 FT AT 15  SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 8 FT. RAIN IN THE MORNING THEN SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 9 FT  AT 14 SECONDS. A 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

3/28 BC pipe, Trump climate, BC LNG, tribal sovereignty, Site C, Canuck the crow, canary rockfish, gopher, Hero

Giant red sea cucumber [National Geographic]
Giant Red Sea Cucumber
The giant red or California sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) is the largest member of the family Holothuroidea, and reaches 30 inches in length and is bright red as an adult. They use their sticky tentacles to feed on detritus and small organisms in sediments on the sea floor. Sea cucumbers have a unique way of defending themselves by shedding their internal organs to entangle and confuse predators. They are harvested for food, primarily for markets in Asia, from the wild and in farms on the Pacific coast of North America. The creature and the food product are commonly known as bêche-de-mer (literally "sea-spade") in French, trepang (or trīpang) in Indonesian, namako in Japanese, balatan in Tagalog and loli in Hawaiian. In Malay, it is known as the gamat. (NOAA, Wikipedia)

B.C. appeal court rules against Burnaby in bylaw battle with Trans Mountain 
A legal battle between the City of Burnaby and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has ended with the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruling the National Energy Board can override municipal bylaws. The fight began in 2014 when Trans Mountain was set to begin field studies on Burnaby Mountain, which required it to cut down trees, drill boreholes and operate heavy machinery — activities that violate the city’s bylaws. (Canadian Press)

Trump puts anti-global warming projects on chopping block
President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday aimed at moving forward on his campaign pledge to unravel former President Barack Obama’s plan to curb global warming. The order will suspend, rescind or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels. As part of the roll-back, Trump will initiate a review of the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The regulation, which was the former president’s signature effort to curb carbon emissions, has been the subject of long-running legal challenges by Republican-led states and those who profit from burning oil, coal and gas. Matthew Daly and Jill Colvin report. (Associated Press) See also: New Trump Executive Order -- pointless grovel to polluters, a poke at our planet  Joel Connelly writes. (SeattlePI.Com)

Vancouver Island First Nation gives nod to proposed LNG facility
A First Nation on Vancouver Island has approved a proposed liquefied natural gas export facility on its traditional territories. Members of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation voted 70 per cent in favour of the development planned by Steelhead LNG at Sarita Bay, near Port Alberni. The First Nation says in a news release that it is the first in British Columbia to approve the co-management of the development of a liquefied natural gas facility. (Canadian Press)

How First Nations got ahead of the curve on clean energy
Haida Gwaii's John Disney couldn't help but notice how much wood waste was left behind by local loggers. "We've got waste coming out of our ears up here," said Disney, the economic developer of Old Massett Village. "They do a lot of logging, and none of waste goes anywhere because it's too expensive to ship!" Generally, the bulk of wood waste is either burned or left to decompose in the bush. But Disney and his partners recently came up with a plan to make use of it — by feeding it into a gigantic boiler that will heat all of the town's community buildings, and drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the process. Renewable energy projects like Disney's are on the rise in Indigenous communities across the country. And when it comes making the away from fossil fuels, some industry experts say First Nations are ahead of the curve. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Unpacking Government: What Is Tribal Sovereignty?
Protests over the last year that originated in North Dakota against the Dakota Access oil pipeline have once again highlighted the complex relationship among tribal governments and the United States. How exactly do these sovereign nations exist within the U.S.? And what does “sovereignty” even mean? Ariel Van Cleave reports. (KNKX)

Sierra Club predicts costs of Site C hydro dam will balloon further
A Sierra Club B.C. report released Monday argues that the Liberal provincial government is leaving taxpayers with a costly legacy of bad decisions, corporate subsidies, and failed LNG projects. The environmental group says that the $9-billion Site C dam — approved by the government without referring the issue of its need to the B.C. Utilities Commission — is already well beyond its 2010 budget of $6.6 billion. The cost is likely to balloon further, based on average cost overruns of 70 per cent at other hydroelectric projects around the world, even higher for larger projects, the group says. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Advocates back in court pursuing charges Mount Polley dam collapse  (Canadian Press)

Community rallies behind Canuck the crow after suspected head injury
It was a tough weekend for Vancouver's famous bird and his human friends after Canuck the crow reportedly suffered a head injury while at a rec soccer game in the city. The crow has quite a reputation in Vancouver for its socializing with humans and its antics, which are regularly chronicled on social media, including a dedicated Facebook page, that now has 40,000 followers. Now his fans have rallied around Canuck with well-wishes for his health and given financial contributions. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

NOAA Fisheries delists canary rockfish in Puget Sound based on new findings  
NOAA Fisheries last week removed Puget Sound canary rockfish from the federal list of threatened and endangered species after a recent collaborative study found those fish are not genetically distinct from other canary rockfish on the West Coast. Although many state rockfish populations have declined in abundance, the agency determined that the canary rockfish population in Puget Sound and the inland waters of British Columbia does not qualify for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), because it is not “discrete from” the species as a whole. (San Juan Islander)

Thurston County couple at wit’s end over pocket gophers delaying new home
One Thurston County resident is considering a hunger strike after the county commissioners failed to vote on approving a building permit for her would-be farm south of Tumwater due to concerns surrounding the Mazama pocket gopher. Deborah McLain and her husband have been trying to build a home on a half-acre of an 8-acre plot south of the Thurston County town for around a year, but have not been able to due to the lack of a county-issued permit. The county could have offered her relief had they voted to approve a permit, but McLain said the commissioners did not bring it to a vote at their Tuesday meeting. Aaron Kunkler reports. (Centralia Chronicle)

A Forgotten Hero's Shipwreck Imperils Washington's Oysters 
Driving up the coast toward Bay Center, Washington, it’s obvious when you start to approach Willapa Bay. Fifteen foot high piles of shucked empty oyster shells began to appear on the side of the road. This is an oyster town. But it's also home to a sinking piece of history. Scott McDougall, the director of the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency, points out what remains of the Hero, an Antarctic research vessel from the 1960s. Molly Solomon reports. (KUOW/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  253 AM PDT TUE MAR 28 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 S WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING LATE. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4  FT...SUBSIDING LATE. W SWELL 11 FT AT 12 SECONDS. RAIN.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES  3 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 11 FT AT 16 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 9 FT AT  15 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

3/27 EPA power, orca water, Puget Sound $, cetacean ban, Growlers, Trump budget, BC pipe, KXL, Ecology café

Squirrelly [Laurie MacBride]
Cirque du Matin
Laurie MacBride in Eye On Environment writes: "Our morning coffee has been served up with entertainment over the past week: a small, lively and highly agile acrobat has been performing right outside our living room window…." (more photos)

EPA chief: Trump to undo Obama plan to curb global warming 
resident Donald Trump in the coming days will sign a new executive order that unravels his predecessor’s sweeping plan to curb global warming, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Sunday. EPA chief Scott Pruitt said the executive order to be signed Tuesday will undo the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The 2015 rule has been on hold since last year while a federal appeals court considers a challenge by coal-friendly Republican-led states and more than 100 companies. Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Pruitt said Trump’s intention is to bring back coal-mining jobs and reduce the cost of electricity. (Associated Press) See also: Earth Hour B.C.: residents flip the switch for electricity savings, halts on climate change  BC Hydro says British Columbians saved 24 megawatt hours of electricity and reduced the provincial electricity load by 0.3 per cent during Earth Hour Saturday night — the equivalent of turning off about 1.1 million LED lightbulbs. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC) And also: South Sound Climate Action Convention held in downtown Olympia on Saturday Amelia Dickson and Stacia Glenn report. (Olympian)

Plants providing limited wastewater treatment add to risk for orcas
Pity the poor orcas. They’re already stressed from pollution, noise from vessel traffic and lack of food because of declining salmon runs. And now scientists, in the first study of its kind, have identified a fourth risk factor: pathogens that could hurt the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population — possibly from human sewage. Down to 78 animals, the orcas are in an uphill battle for survival. In research over four years, scientists found yet another reason why, detected in their exhaled breath. In their paper published Friday in Nature’s Scientific Reports, scientists detailed their research using petri dishes extended on 25-foot-long poles to capture samples of orcas’ breath as they came to the surface in the wild and exhaled. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Bad breath: Study find array of bacteria when orcas exhale  Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press) And also: Seattle plant failure dumps millions of gallons of sewage  Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Trump is not the only one cutting Puget Sound funding
President Trump’s proposed $28 million cut of Puget Sound restoration funding has provoked an outcry. But Gov. Jay Inslee himself is proposing a $29 million cut to the program. Loss of federal funding for Puget Sound restoration is not the only cause for concern. State funding, which pays for a much larger share of the restoration costs, also is facing cuts. Citing loss of federal dollars and income from hazardous substance tax revenues, Inslee is proposing to spend $29 million less on the Sound cleanup and restoration than in the previous bi-annual budget. The Legislature is set to follow suit with cutbacks of its own. Adiel Kaplan reports. (Investigate West)

Gov. Inslee, Oregon governor vow to fight Trump environmental proposals
The Democratic governors of Washington and Oregon struck a defiant pose Saturday, vowing to fight proposals they expect soon from President Donald Trump that they say would weaken environmental protection. Govs. Jay Inslee and Kate Brown offered no new tax or policy announcements during their 21-minute news conference in downtown Seattle. They couched the coming showdown between the Trump administration and the Northwest as a third chapter, following Trump’s efforts to ban travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries that was blocked by a lawsuit by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and the proposal that failed in Congress on Friday to repeal Obamacare. Mike Lindblom reports. (Seattle Times)

Proposed cetacean ban could harm marine mammals, DFO says
The Vancouver Park Board's move to ban cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium could spell bad news for some of the stricken marine mammals that are saved by fishery and aquarium teams, says the aquarium. Each year, the federal fisheries department's Pacific Region receives more than 600 calls about distressed marine mammals, including whales, sea lions and porpoises. Some are sick or stranded or entangled in fishing net. John Ford, who heads marine mammal research for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), said if a proposed cetacean ban is approved, some types of rescue marine mammals might not be saved. (CBC)

EPA faults study on expanding Growler jets at Whidbey, seeks on-the-ground noise monitoring
The Environmental Protection Agency rates as “insufficient” a draft study of the impacts of adding up to 36 additional aircraft to the EA-18G Growler fleet at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. The EPA wants more information about what the expansion would do to the environment and local communities, and recommends a monitoring program to measure the noise effects of the Growler jets. The findings were conveyed to the Navy in a letter sent earlier this month from R. David Allnut, an EPA official in Seattle. According to the EPA policy manual, the final Navy study on the Growler expansion should include additional information on the noise impacts. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: State: Jet noise a public health concern  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Trump's Hiring Freeze Could Be Felt By Recreation Seekers On Public Lands 
The Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River rushes over 40 miles from the North Cascades down into Puget Sound. It’s a big river, with enough rapids and undercurrents that only expert kayakers can navigate it…. The Middle Fork Valley is publicly owned forest land less than an hour from downtown Seattle…. But, now, a newly paved road could bring tens of thousands — or even hundreds of thousands – of visitors to the valley every summer. But the valley might not be ready for them. That’s because, as more and more people use publicly owned lands for recreation, public agencies are struggling to keep up with the demand for rangers, trail maintenance – even the need to restock toilet paper in outhouses. And the problem could get even worse under President Trump’s hiring freeze. Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

B.C. reports 64 pipeline benefit deals with 29 northern First Nations
The British Columbia government says it has completed benefit agreements with 90 per cent of the eligible First Nations along four proposed natural gas pipeline routes across northern B.C. The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations says 64 natural gas pipeline benefits contracts have been signed with 29 First Nations and that most include financial payments worth over $1 million, although the ministry says only $13 million has been paid out so far. Most of the agreements also have separate milestone payments, covering when construction begins or gas starts to flow. (Canadian Press)

Trump approval for Keystone pipeline doesn’t guarantee it’ll be built
Completion of the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline is still far from a done deal, despite the Trump administration’s approval of a key permit on Friday that reversed a decision by the Obama administration…. But it’s still anything but clear when work can begin on uncompleted sections of the pipeline, which is designed to carry crude from the oil sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Nebraska Public Service Commission still must issue a crucial permit so the pipeline can cross state boundaries, and that decision may not come until September. Farmers, landowners and Native American tribes are battling the pipeline, as are national environmental groups and climate activists. They’ve pledged to deploy a variety of strategies – including litigation and civil disobedience – to derail the pipeline, as they did during the Obama administration. Stuart Leavenworth reports. (McClatchy)

Thurston County health inspectors rang up 75 points of high-risk violations in a February visit to the Department of Ecology cafeteria
About 900 workers file into the state Department of Ecology’s building in Lacey each day with a mission to — according to the agency’s website — “protect, preserve and enhance Washington’s land, air and water for current and future generations.” A February health inspection found imperiled segments of the food chain very near the workers’ desks. The Thurston County Health Department found 75 points of red-level “high risk factor” violations in the agency’s cafe — which is open to the public — on a routine surprise visit Feb. 14. Derrick Nunnally reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Event: Welcome the Whales Festival and Parade
Orca Network presents the annual, all-day welcome of the gray whales and celebration of all marine life on April 8, 11 AM - 5 PM, in Langley on Whidbey Island. Join in the whale parade, hear about saving Baja's San Ignacia Lagoon and its gray whales, and take part in the festivities. Info here.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival back on normal schedule
The tulips are set to bloom on time for the 34th annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which runs during the month of April. Warm winters have led to mid-March blooms the past two years, throwing off the festival’s schedule, said festival Executive Director Cindy Verge. That won’t be the case this year. Aaron Weinberg reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  338 AM PDT MON MAR 27 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT FROM THIS
AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE TONIGHT  
TODAY
 S WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  5 FT AT 10 SECONDS...BUILDING TO 10 FT. SHOWERS LIKELY.
TONIGHT
 SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  11 FT AT 11 SECONDS. 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

3/24 Herring, EPA, Keystone, Tacoma tideflats, Tesoro DEIS, deer mice, Victoria bags, woodpeckers

If you like to watch: Beauty and the Feast: When Herring Come to Spawn
Every spring, nature puts on a breathtaking display on the British Columbia coast. The waters turn milky white as millions of male herring release sperm, while the female fish lay billions of pinhead-sized eggs. Both the eggs and the fish themselves are a critical post-winter food source for animals from bears to bald eagles, whales to wolves, and herons to humans. Travel to the BC Central Coast to watch the show! (Hakai Institute)

Here's Why the Environmental Protection Agency Was Created
The Cuyahoga River burst into flames, while the Potomac stunk from the hundreds of millions of gallons of waste added to its waters every single day. As the Environmental Protection Agency becomes the subject of focus for major cuts under President Trump's proposed budget — and as the U.N. marks World Water Day on Wednesday — it's worth looking back at the moment in time when the EPA was first created, and why Richard Nixon saw a need for the agency to exist. Lily Rothman reports. (Time)

U.S., in Reversal, Issues Permit for Keystone Oil Pipeline
The Trump administration announced Friday that it would issue a permit for construction of the Keystone oil pipeline, a long-disputed project that would link producers in Canada and North Dakota with refiners and export terminals on the Gulf Coast. The announcement by the State Department reversed the position of the Obama administration. It followed a 60-day review that was set in motion as one of the first acts of President Trump’s tenure. (NY Times)

Rethinking The Future Of Tacoma's Industrial Tideflats
Tacoma has a decades-old reputation as an industrial city. But leaders say it’s time to rethink which specific industries are welcome. A City Council proposal would direct the Planning Commission to draft new land-use recommendations for Tacoma’s industrial tideflats area, which includes the Port of Tacoma. Neighbors of the tideflats have formed a vocal block of opposition to recent industrial projects, citing safety and environmental worries. Will James reports. (KNKX)

Draft EIS released for Tesoro refinery project
Skagit County released today a draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, for a proposed project at the Tesoro Anacortes Refinery. The draft EIS is open for public comment through May 8, according to a news release.  An open house and public hearing is set for 4 to 8 p.m. April 17 in the Anacortes High School gym and Brodniak Hall, at 1600 20th St. The proposal, called the Tesoro Anacortes Clean Products Upgrade Project, would enable the refinery to produce 15,000 barrels of xylene per day through the refining process and sell it as a product separate from its various fuel products. The proposal would also reduce the amount of sulfur in fuel products processed at the refinery and capture emissions from marine vessels at the refinery dock. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Deer mice: Cute, but potentially deadly carriers of hantavirus
The deer mouse might be cutest among our problematic rodents. The tiny creature sports big eyes, large ears and a white underbelly. But, it can be deadly, too. The tiny rodent is known to carry hantavirus, a rare, often fatal disease. Deer mice excrete hantavirus in urine, saliva and droppings, according to the Washington Department of Health (DOH). People most commonly contract the virus when those materials are stirred up and the virus becomes airborne. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Victoria mulls over a ban on plastic bags from stores — again
Victoria is considering following in the footsteps of Fort McMurray and Kenya, at least when it comes to trying to reduce the use of plastic bags. In 2015, city council voted to have staff look into a ban on single-use retail plastic bags. Since then, staff has presented numerous recommendations on the issue, but a ban has never been approved. Now, the idea is back before council and it's already raising concerns for some members of the local business community.  Jean Paetkau reports. (CBC)

With spring comes the menace of the woodpecker
hey may be hungry, horny or busy building a nest for their young. Those are some of the reasons woodpeckers might be pecking against the walls of your home in spring, according to Ann Nightingale, a bird expert who works with the Rocky Point Bird Observatory in Victoria. Nightingale says woodpeckers are especially active in early spring so home owners shouldn't be surprised to hear drumming against their walls. Jean Paetkau reports. (CBC)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  248 AM PDT FRI MAR 24 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 
TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING S 15 TO 25 KT DURING THE  MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL  9 FT AT 9 SECONDS. SHOWERS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN  THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING SW 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL 9 FT AT 10 SECONDS.  SHOWERS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IN THE EVENING.
SAT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT  AT 10 SECONDS. SHOWERS IN THE MORNING THEN A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN  THE AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
 SW WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS.
SUN
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

3/23 Crude oil export ban, EPA cuts, OxyChem cleanup, Ediz Hook sand, burning oil, wild habitats

Cascade Oregon-grape (WA Native Plant Society)
Cascade Oregon-grape Mahonia (Berberis) nervosa
M. nervosa
is commonly found in second-growth, closed-canopy Douglas-fir forests. The tart, purple berries were eaten but generally not in quantity. Today they are used for jelly and some make wine from them. The shredded bark of the stems and roots were used to make a bright-yellow dye for baskets. The bark and berries were also used for liver, gall-bladder and eye problems. One Saanich woman said that eating the berries in quantity was the only antidote known for shellfish poisoning-- but great caution was used because the drug is very potent. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Whatcom Council approves second 6-month ban on crude oil exports
The fight over allowing new shipments of unrefined fossil fuels to go through Cherry Point again went before the Whatcom County Council, which approved another six-month moratorium. The council temporarily banned applications for new or expanded facilities for shipping unrefined fossil fuels out of Cherry Point by a vote of 6-1, after more than two hours of public input Tuesday night. The majority of people who went before the Council pushed for the new moratorium. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Big Trump cuts will gut EPA's "core mission" -- letter from 37 senators
The huge cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency budget, proposed by the Trump administration, , sparked protests from U.S. Senators in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, as well as a pro-EPA Seattle waterfront demonstration in the "other" Washington. EPA programs marked for extinction are "a critical piece of a coordinated effort" to clean up Puget Sound, as well as other waterways from San Francisco Bay to Chesapeake Bay, Dennis McLerran, former EPA Region X (Northwest, Alaska) told a rain-spattered crowd at Waterfront Park. The senators' letter, signed by all six senators from West Coast states of Washington, Oregon and California, used President Trump's own words in decrying the cuts. "During the President's February 28th address to Congress, he pledged to 'promote clean air and water'," they wrote.  "Such a pledge is meaningless when the President follows it by proposing a 31 percent cut to EPA's budget and 20 percent reduction in its staff. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com) See also: Advocates call on lawmakers to resist environmental cuts in Trump budget  Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) And also: Activists ask state to fund Puget Sound clean-up cuts   Alison Morrow reports. (KING) And: Former EPA Head Says Regulatory System Could Stand Reform, But Not Elimination  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Who Should Pay for Tacoma’s Last Big Clean-Up?
There’s a modern-day monster lurking under Tacoma’s industrial lands. Mixed in with the groundwater is a stew of pollution from a shuttered chemical plant: PCBs—toxic chemicals the EPA banned in 1979—and volatile organic chemicals so alkaline that the pollution is actually stronger than drain cleaner and can dissolve rocks into jelly. The core plume of toxic chemicals under the Tacoma tideflats is as tall as the Seahawks stadium and more than four times as big in area—and it may be inching its way toward the waters of Puget Sound. The cleanup for Occidental Chemical, or OxyChem as it’s known, is the last big remediation in Tacoma, a city that is undergoing a remarkable rebirth and transformation from its sometimes noxious past. But the company responsible may get away with a half-hearted treatment. Eric de Place reports. (Sightline)

Officials hope sand cap layer works as project restoration option at Ediz Hook
Officials are preparing to apply a 6-inch layer of sand to an inside portion of Ediz Hook to test whether a sand cap could be a potential restoration solution. Commissioners of the Port of Port Angeles, one of five members of the Western Port Angeles Harbor Group, approved the port’s portion of the costs for the project — up to $77,000 — on Tuesday. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Researchers Test Hotter, Faster And Cleaner Way To Fight Oil Spills
On a cold and windy day off the coast of Alabama, a team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts gathers, conducting the first test outside a laboratory for a potential new solution to a challenging problem: cleaning oil spills from water. The invention, the Flame Refluxer, is "very simple," says Ali Rangwala, a professor of fire protection engineering: Imagine a giant Brillo pad of copper wool sandwiched between layers of copper screen, with springy copper coils attached to the top. "The coils collect the heat from the flame and they transmit it through the copper blanket," Rangwala explains. The goal is to make a hotter, faster and more complete burn that leaves less pollution. Debbie Elliott reports. (NPR)

Learning to create small habitats in Kitsap, Thurston, Pierce counties
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes about Sarah Bruemmer, a habitat steward coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, who teaches people "how to turn small outdoor spaces — or large ones, if available — into functioning habitats. She coordinates a training program that addresses issues from soils, gardening and invasive plants to birds, butterflies and water quality." (Watching Our Water Ways)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  247 AM PDT THU MAR 23 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH
 LATE TONIGHT  
TODAY
 SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT  AT 9 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE MORNING THEN RAIN IN THE  AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. SW SWELL  8 FT AT 8 SECONDS BUILDING TO 10 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE  EVENING THEN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

3/22 Vic sewer, oyster norovirus, GE salmon fight, BC pipe $, talkin' orcas, bad clammers, clean air

Red sea urchin [Ed Bierman/WikiMedia]
Red Sea Urchin Stronggylocentrotus franciscanus
The Salish Sea's largest urchin, growing to 5 inches. Found in subtidal waters and in lower tide pools and surge channels on rocky shores. Feeds on pieces of drifting kelp which snags on its long, mobile spines. (Marine Life of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia) Uni (oo-nee) is the Japanese name for the edible part of the sea urchin. While colloquially referred to as the roe (eggs), uni is actually the animal's gonads (which produce the milt or roe). (Sushifaq.com)

Esquimalt, Songhees First Nations to reap millions for backing CRD sewage plan
Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations will receive millions of dollars for their support of the Capital Regional District’s sewage-treatment project. The “support agreements” negotiated with each nation provide for everything from paid liaison positions and guarantees of employment for band members to costs of re-interment of any ancestral remains discovered during construction. They also include money to operate a food truck and provide culinary arts training, and cash to supply water and sewage services to reserve housing. The largest payment is for Rock Bay land controlled by the two First Nations. The CRD will spend $600,000 annually for four years to lease the land, which will be used as a preparation area for the sewage project. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

B.C. oyster industry reeling after more than 300 consumers fall ill
The federal government has closed oyster farming at seven diverse locations in southern B.C. waters, and several other commercial growers have voluntarily stopped selling amidst the worst norovirus outbreak to ever hit the industry. To date, a total of 304 illnesses have been reported in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario from eating raw or undercooked oysters from the West Coast, said Darlene Winterburn, executive director of the Comox-based B.C. Shellfish Growers’ Association.

Illness traced back to Samish Bay oysters
Part of Samish Bay is closed to commercial shellfish harvesting because of multiple reports of an oyster-related illness traced back to the area. According to the state Department of Health, the agency received several reports of shellfish consumers in King County having norovirus-like symptoms after eating oysters the weekend of March 10.  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Wild Salmon Allies: Tribes and Others Resist FDA Approval of GE Salmon
Wild salmon, an ecological keystone species in the Northwest, have played a central role in tribal life for generations. The quiet approval of genetically engineered salmon by the Food and Drug Administration doesn't sit well with tribes and fishing communities across the nation, who are rallying behind a lawsuit against the FDA which is making its way through the courts. In the Pacific Northwest, Coast Salish tribes and community allies held a wild-salmon cook out to bring attention to the issue, which they say is about food sovereignty and honoring of treaty rights. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acre Radio)

B.C. Liberals challenged to return donations from Kinder Morgan and 'associates'
Three environmental groups are calling on the B.C. Liberals to return hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from Kinder Morgan and groups and companies they say have a stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Dogwood Initiative, Stand.earth and Leadnow said Tuesday the B.C. Liberals have received "at least" $771,168 from Kinder Morgan, "its shippers and allied pipeline and petroleum associations." Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

Event: Washington State’s Regional Fishery Enhancement Groups: Making a Real Difference for Salmon (and Orcas)
The Whale Trail presents Jeanette Dorner of the Midsound Fisheries Enhancement Group speaking about working with private landowners an community partners to identify and carry out projects that increase the number of Puget Sound salmon, the main prey of endangered local orcas. The talk is on March 30, 7 PM, at C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave. SW, in West Seattle. $5 adults, children free; tickets


Orca whales return to Puget Sound, just in time for start of spring
Orca whales have officially returned to Puget Sound waters. On the second day of spring, KIRO 7’s Chopper spotted a group of orca whales, swimming above and below the water. (KIRO)

Shots fired on Vancouver Island over alleged illegal clam digging
Charges have been laid in connection with an alleged illegal clam digging operation on Vancouver Island that turned violent Friday. North Cowichan RCMP officers say they were called in after Department of Fisheries and Oceans officers reported shots fired at around 4:30 p.m. PT. The officers were patrolling a beach near the Chemainus River when they caught three people allegedly digging clams illegally…. Tom Hlavac, acting director of the DFO's Conservation and Protection program, said officers often encounter resistance to enforcement. (CBC)

Celebrating 50 years of clean air
Before the state established laws to protect air quality, smoke and ash billowed from industrial facilities, including some in Skagit County. The Northwest Clean Air Agency, which enforces air quality regulations in Skagit, Whatcom and Island counties, is celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the state's Clean Air Act. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  433 AM PDT WED MAR 22 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON PDT TODAY THROUGH
 THURSDAY AFTERNOON  
TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING SW 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL  7 FT AT 13 SECONDS. SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL  7 FT AT 11 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

3/21 MPAs, public lands, Gas Works Park, aquarium documentary, chem dump, gas pipe safety, poop bugs, King Lysen

Surf Scoter [Daniella Theoret/BridNote]
Surfing with Scoters
Surf Scoters are perfectly at home in the element they’re named for. They swim smack in the middle of what surfers call the impact zone: Just where the waves break with greatest violence. Why risk the harshest waves when there’s calmer water close by? Because the churning action of crashing waves can expose the small clams and crabs that scoters eat. And how do Surf Scoters avoid getting mashed by the sea? When a towering wave is about to crash down, the scoter deftly dives and swims under the crest of the foaming breaker, then pops up on the other side. (BirdNote)

Fish evolve quickly, benefit from marine protected areas: UBC study
Fish can quickly evolve to get more benefit from the protection offered by marine protected areas, according to research from the University of B.C. Variation in the natural range of large fish species means that some fish will spend much of their lives in or near areas protected from fishing, while others will range farther and face capture. Because they are less likely to be harvested, less mobile fish are more likely to survive and pass that trait on to their offspring. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Hunters And Anglers Cross Political Lines To Fight For Public Lands
Hunters, fishermen and environmental activists: it’s not often these groups are mentioned in the same breath. But recently they’re finding themselves standing shoulder to shoulder over the issue of public lands.  Despite having an avid hunter in Ryan Zinke leading up the Interior Department, which oversees the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service, there’s a sense that calls to sell off or transfer public lands are gaining traction.  Sportsmen and women consider hunting and fishing in these wild places to be their right – one that earlier generations led by President Theodore Roosevelt fought to secure more than a century ago.  Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Seattle's Gas Works Park About To Undergo Toxic Cleanup 
Kite flyers, picnickers, and Ultimate players treasure Seattle’s Gas Works Park, whose famous towers and pipes were once part of a coal gasification plant on the shore of Lake Union that lit up early Seattleites’ homes. But beneath the grass lies a more insidious legacy of the park’s industrial past: toxic waste. “Just offshore, the sediments are contaminated by oily substances that have oozed from the land into the lake,” says Ching-Pi Wang, with the Department of Ecology. And that’s not all: Benzene, arsenic, lead, and other substances pollute the soil, groundwater, and lake sediment.  Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Filmmaker challenges injunction on Vancouver Aquarium documentary 
A man who directed a low-budget documentary critical of the Vancouver Aquarium should not have been ordered to remove five minutes of footage by a judge, his lawyer told an appeal court Monday. But a lawyer for the aquarium called the lower-court judge's decision "balanced" and denied the facility was trying to silence criticism. Gary Charbonneau released the documentary, Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered, online in January, 2016. The 61-minute film examined the aquarium's practice of keeping beluga whales and dolphins in captivity.  Sunny Dhillon reports. (Globe and Mail)

$50,000 fine, two years of probation for Tacoma truck wash owner who dumped chemicals into sewer
The owner of a Tacoma truck washing company will pay $50,000 and spend two years on probation for dumping hazardous materials into the city’s water system, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office said Monday. Company owner Ryan Lewis pleaded guilty March 9 to gross misdemeanors for polluting water and illegally discharging hazardous chemicals, according to a news release from the attorney general’s office. He also pleaded guilty on behalf of his company, Cleaner Pressure Washing, to the same charges, along with a felony charge of defrauding a public utility. Walker Orenstein reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

State fines Cascade Natural Gas $1M over pipeline safety violations
 Cascade Natural Gas has agreed to pay $1 million to settle allegations it broke state and federal pipeline safety rules. The Washington state Utilities and Transportation Commission approved the settlement Monday. Under the agreement’s terms, the company could be fined an additional $1.5 million unless it completes a compliance plan, including validating the maximum pressure on its highest risk pipelines in Washington by the end of the year. (Associated Press)

These bugs could help Seattle's poop spill. But they're hibernating
Workers continue their efforts to get the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle up and running. The plant was crippled by a flood last month and it continues to spew solid waste into the Puget Sound every day. And restoring the plant's full treatment capacity relies on its tiniest workers – bugs: microorganisms that kill harmful bacteria and help in the treatment process. But there's a problem: These tiny little bugs are hibernating. Kate Walters reports. (KUOW)

King Lysen: A reformer in the Legislature who took on the old boys
King Lysen was a young man despised by his state's powerful old boys. As a state legislator, he challenged an out-of-control nuclear construction program that threatened to melt down the Northwest's economy. Lysen, who died last week at age 75, served 12 tumultuous years in the Washington State Legislature, from 1970 to 1982, eight years in the House and four in the State Senate. He had his district abolished out from under him in 1982. A product of O'Dea High and Seattle University, with a stint at the University of the Americas in Mexico City, Lysen brought a dose of Catholic social activism to Olympia. He was in the group of reformers, nicknamed the "Seattle 10" elected to the House of Representatives in 1970. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.com)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  239 AM PDT TUE MAR 21 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING
 
TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W  SWELL 4 FT AT 16 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE MORNING THEN SHOWERS IN THE  AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT  SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING E 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 15 SECONDS.  SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE EVENING THEN SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT.

--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) 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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Monday, March 20, 2017

3/20 Spring!, hydraulic permit, Ericksen, White Rock water, Trump cuts, Vancouver WA oil, DAPL, 'Reaching Blue,' fish labels, false killers, deer GPS

Spring equinox 2017: Five things about the beginning of spring
It's now safe to say that spring is here. Meteorological spring began March 1. And astronomical spring began today, March 20, 2017, with the vernal equinox. There are two equinoxes each year, one in the spring and the other in the fall. The fall equinox will be on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. The equinoxes nearly always fall within the same three-day period. Leigh Morgan reports. (Birmingham News)

Fish habitat protection program stirs controversy
Washington state’s hamstrung program for protecting fish habitat is overdue for a makeover. Facing potential budget cuts, lawsuits, and threats of more endangered fish species, the agency that runs the program is hoping 2017 will be be the year it gets stronger enforcement authority. Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Hydraulic Project Approval  program, often referred to by its acronym HPA, issues permits statewide for private, as well as government, building projects that might harm fish habitat. Established in 1943, it’s one of the state’s oldest regulatory permits, and one of its most underfunded and difficult to enforce. But the threat of legal action over the program’s jurisdiction, an attorney general’s opinion supporting Fish and Wildlife and the upcoming elimination of one of the program’s funding sources have given new momentum to a 74-year-old debate over the program’s authority. Adiel Kaplan reports. (Investigate West)

Records show Sen. Ericksen worked nearly full time at EPA while drawing state salary 
Sen. Doug Ericksen continues to say he doesn’t know how much he’s being paid for his temporary job with the Environmental Protection Agency, although records of his paychecks show it’s $77.58 per hour…. Records for the first month of the job show Ericksen was working full-time or nearly full-time for the EPA. He was paid for 72 hours of work between the two week period of Feb. 4-18, and 80 hours during the prior pay period — all while splitting time at the state Capitol. The federal government had paid Ericksen $11,792 for his work through Feb. 18. Kie Relyea and Walker Orenstein report. (Bellingham Herald and Tacoma News Tribune) See also: Washington Lawmaker Has 6-Figure Salary In Trump Administration, Documents Show  Tony Schick reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

White Rock gets millions to remove arsenic, manganese from water
White Rock has received the largest grant in its history to deal with elevated levels of arsenic and manganese in the city water supply. The money, almost $11.8 million, was announced Friday as part of a spending blitz by the federal and provincial governments aimed at water and waste water infrastructure projects in B.C. White Rock received $7.1 million from the federal government and $4.7 million from the province. Though details of the treatment plan have not been finalized, treating the city’s water is expected to cost $14.2 million, meaning White Rock will pick up $2.4 million. Jennifer Saltman reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Students get behind-the-scenes look at their water supply  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Environmentalists warn about Trump’s Puget Sound budget cuts
State officials, environmental advocates and others are warning of dire environmental and economic consequences if President Donald Trump’s cuts to Puget Sound and other environmental programs go through as proposed. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Washington Supreme Court Upholds Oil Terminal Process
The Washington Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Port of Vancouver regarding a controversial proposed oil terminal. Environmental groups had argued that the Port skirted state law by agreeing to a lease before exploring alternatives through the environmental review process. The state Supreme Court sided with lower court decisions that the Port’s lease with Tesoro Corporation and Savage Companies followed Washington law. The high court agreed there are sufficient contingencies in the lease to allow for possible alternatives. Bob Manning reports. (OPB)

Appeals court refuses to stop oil in Dakota Access pipeline 
An appeals court on Saturday refused a request from two American Indian tribes for an “emergency” order that would prevent oil from flowing through Dakota Access pipeline. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit means the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to a distribution point in Illinois could be operating as early as Monday, even as the tribes’ lawsuit challenging the project moves forward. (Associated Press) See also: Norwegian Pension Fund Divests From Companies Behind DAPL  Camila Domonoske reports. (NPR)

Film from former Port Townsend resident deals with Salish Sea, climate change
Former Port Townsend resident Ian Hinkle hopes his film “Reaching Blue” stirs discussion on climate change… The film, which Hinkle co-directed with Andy Robertson, focuses on changes happening in the Salish Sea due to climate change…. It was shown for the first time on the North Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend on Friday. About 225 people turned out to see the 45-minute film at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship sanctuary in Port Townsend, according to Kees Kolff, chair of the fellowship’s Green Sanctuary committee. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Fishy labels?: Ottawa considering steps to provide more detail on seafood labels
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it is looking at ways to improve labelling for seafood after a report by environmentalists gave current rules a grade of F due to a lack of consumer information. The report released Thursday by the Seachoice group, which includes the David Suzuki Foundation and the Ecology Action Centre, says that under existing rules Canadians often aren't receiving the same information as Europeans or Americans. The coalition is advocating for Canada to begin including more details on labels, including where the fish was caught, how it was caught and, in addition to the common name, a scientific name that helps consumers identify more precisely just what they're about to eat. Michael Tutton reports. (Canadian Press)

In Search of Hawaii's Mysterious False Killer Whales
Robin Baird was down at the docks before sunrise March 7, eager to get back out on the water to search for endangered false killer whales off the coast of Lanai. It was Day 7 of a 21-day field project funded by private donations, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Species Recovery Grant to the state of Hawaii. Baird, a research biologist with the Olympia, Washington-based Cascadia Research Collective, and his four-person crew had yet to see any false killer whales this trip as they boarded their chartered 24-foot Zodiac Hurricane. Nathan Eagle reports. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Problem deer get GPS collars ahead of Oak Bay birth control plan
Problem deer in Oak Bay, B.C.,  are are the subject a new study that will inform the district's population reduction strategy. About 20 deer will be outfitted with GPS tracking collars, while multiple surveillance cameras will be posted around the municipality to determine how large the population is, according to Steve Huxter of the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  252 AM PDT MON MAR 20 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 4 FT  AT 9 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A  CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE EVENING THEN RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.

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

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Friday, March 17, 2017

3/17 'Not For Any Price,' Trump budget, climate report, poop woes, coal port, marine monuments, Site C, pub radio

"Not For Any Price"
Not For Any Price
Watch this new 15-minute documentary about how the Lummi Nation put their treaty rights on the line to protect natural resources for everyone. (NW Treaty Tribes)

Trump budget would gut science, environment programs
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would gut programs for science and the environment, reflecting the Republican’s rejection of mainstream science. Trump has frequently called climate change a “hoax,” and his EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, said last week he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. Trump’s proposed budget would cut the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 31 percent — nearly one-third — and eliminate more than 3,200 jobs. That amounts to 20 percent of the agency’s current workforce of 15,000. White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the Trump administration is cutting spending for climate change efforts because “we consider that to be a waste of your money.” Matthew Daly reports. (Associated Press)

Lead author on forthcoming UN climate report admits it's time for action, not reports
A Simon Fraser University professor says the world needn't wait for an upcoming United Nations report on climate change to start acting to limit global warming. Kirsten Zickfeld is a professor of geography and a lead author of a special report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report aims to examine the feasibility of limiting global warming to 1.5 C — one of the more ambitious goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which was backed by Canada and nearly 200 other countries. The Paris Agreement seeks to limit the rise in average world temperatures to "well below" 2 C above pre-industrial times, but ideally limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 C. (CBC)

Trump proposes budget to hobble the EPA
President Donald Trump wants to decimate the Environmental Protection Agency with a budget that would hobble federal programs to safeguard air and water. Trump’s budget proposal released Thursday would slash more than a third of EPA’s funding. Polluter enforcement would be reduced and communities would lose federal help in cleaning up contaminated sites. Sean Cockerham reports. (McClatchy) See also: Puget Sound hits bottom in Trump EPA budget proposal: zero  ....The White House wants to eliminate more than 50 programs at the Environmental Protection Agency. Programs to be terminated include EPA grants for Puget Sound. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Regulators Take On Dual Roles Dealing King County’s Broken Wastewater Treatment Plant
The breakdown last month of Seattle’s wastewater treatment plant has poured hundreds of millions of gallons of untreated stormwater and raw sewage into Puget Sound. Repairs alone will cost an estimated $25 million. And it’s expected to take till the end of April to get the West Point Treatment Plant back to normal. Until then, the broken wastewater facility will be violating its permit and polluting Puget Sound. The state’s Department of Ecology has a dual role to play as it works with the county to help it get back in compliance, which is the ultimate goal. But it will also levy penalties against the county’s Wastewater Treatment Division for all the illegal pollution it continues to release since the catastrophic event on Feb. 9, when stormwater overwhelmed the facility. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Judge to decide if environmental groups can intervene in coal-export lawsuit
 A Cowlitz County judge will decide this month whether three environmental groups can intervene in a lawsuit brought against the state by developers of a coal export terminal in southwest Washington. Millennium Bulk Terminals and Northwest Alloys last month appealed the state’s denial of an aquatic lands lease for the project. The company wants to build a dock at the site, which would be a critical factor in the terminal ultimately getting built at the site of the former Reynolds Metals Co. aluminum plant. (Bellingham Herald)

Site C: B.C. Hydro gets enforcement order related to sediment runoff
B.C. Hydro has received yet another enforcement order from the province’s Environmental Assessment Office related to a contractor’s work at the $9-billion Site C dam project that poses a threat to fish stocks. The order from Chris Parks, senior compliance and enforcement officer, states that on Feb. 28, 2017, he received a report from the project’s Independent Environmental Monitor. The report indicated that on Feb. 16, 2017, staff employed by project contractor Peace River Hydro Partners pumped sediment-laden water from a flooded work area to a ditch that connects directly to a fish-bearing watercourse identified as L3. The report also identified ongoing erosion and sediment transport non-compliance in the L3 ravine since Nov. 8, 2016. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

GOP Could Reverse Protection Of Papahanaumokuakea
The Republican who chairs the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources has teamed up with a congresswoman from American Samoa to lobby President Donald Trump to open all marine monuments, including those in the Hawaii area, to commercial fishing. Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah and Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen of Amercian Samoa wrote to Trump on March 7 asking him to remove all fishing prohibitions from the monuments…. At the hearing conducted by the House Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans, three advocates for commercial interests were asked to testify, compared to one environmental advocate. Spokesmen for the fishing and energy industries framed the topic as an issue of economic development and job creation. Kirstin Downey reports. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Public Broadcasters Fear ‘Collapse’ if U.S. Drops Support
Public radio and television broadcasters are girding for battle after the Trump administration proposed a drastic cutback that they have long dreaded: the defunding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The potential elimination of about $445 million in annual funding, which helps local TV and radio stations subscribe to NPR and Public Broadcasting Service programming, could be devastating for affiliates in smaller markets that already operate on a shoestring budget. Michael Grynbaum and Ben Sisario report. (NY Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  256 AM PDT FRI MAR 17 2017  

TODAY
 SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT BECOMING E TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A SLIGHT  CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE MORNING THEN RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
 E WIND TO 10 KT BECOMING SE AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN.
SAT
 W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT  10 SECONDS BUILDING TO 8 FT AT 10 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON. RAIN  IN THE MORNING THEN SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
 SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  8 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SUN
 LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 6 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 (@) 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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Thursday, March 16, 2017

3/16 Poop woes, Port Gamble restored, Trump budget, climate plan undo, carbon tax, dead coral reefs

Elwha 3/14/17 [Tom Roorda/Coastal Watershed Institute]
Silence reigns as sewage spews into Puget Sound. Here’s why.
It’s the proverbial tree that fell in the forest without making a sound, or perhaps the raw sewage that spewed into Puget Sound without making a splash. Since the region’s largest wastewater-treatment plant was disabled in a catastrophic flood last month, the Metropolitan King County Council and Regional Water Quality Committee between them have held multiple public hearings on the disaster. Not a single person from an environmental group or the public turned out to testify or demand action on the crippled West Point Treatment Plant, or even take notice of one of the largest local public infrastructure failures in decades. Tons of solids are pouring into Puget Sound every day because the plant is too broken to treat wastewater properly. Yet council members say they’ve barely heard a peep from environmental groups. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

After environmental restoration, quiet has returned to Port Gamble
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "Twenty-five years ago, I stood and watched as a screaming buzz saw tossed clouds of sawdust into the air while slicing through thick logs of Douglas fir at the Pope & Talbot sawmill in Port Gamble. Last week, I walked across the vacant site of the old mill, which was torn down years ago. Along the edge of Port Gamble Bay, I could hear nothing but the sound of the wind and an occasional call of a seagull. I came back to the old mill site to see how things looked following completion of the $20-million-plus cleanup of Port Gamble Bay…." (read more)

Trump budget slashes agencies to focus on wall, defense
President Donald Trump unveiled a $1.15 trillion budget on Thursday, a far-reaching overhaul of federal government spending that slashes many domestic programs to finance a significant increase in the military and make a down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Trump’s proposal seeks to upend Washington with cuts to long-promised campaign targets like foreign aid and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as strong congressional favorites such as medical research, help for homeless veterans and community development grants. Andrew Taylor reports. (Associated Press)

Trump is poised to issue a sweeping order dismantling Obama’s climate plan this week
President Trump could issue a sweeping executive order within days aimed at reversing his predecessor’s climate policies, a measure that energy industry officials and environmentalists have been anticipating for weeks. The directive will instruct members of the Cabinet to rewrite regulation restricting carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants, lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and revise the way climate change is factored into federal decision-making — all key elements of the Obama administration’s effort to address climate change. It will also reverse an executive order former president Obama issued that instructs agencies to incorporate climate change into the National Environmental Policy Act reviews it applies to federal actions, according to individuals briefed on the order. Juliet Epstein reports. (Washington Post)

Washington Businesses Slam Carbon Tax
During a public hearing Tuesday, businesses said on a proposed carbon tax in Washington state would cost jobs and hurt the state’s economy. The measure would impose an escalating tax on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and electricity. A provision in the bill would set aside some of the money raised to help fossil fuel workers who lose their jobs…. [T]he sponsor of the bill, Democrat Joe Fitzgibbon, chair of the House Environment Committee, said he’s frustrated by a lack of action on climate change. Austin Jenkins reports. (NWNews)

Scientists race to prevent wipeout of world’s coral reefs
SOUTH ARI ATOLL, Maldives >> There were startling colors here just a year ago, a dazzling array of life beneath the waves. Now this Maldivian reef is dead, killed by the stress of rising ocean temperatures. What’s left is a haunting expanse of gray, a scene repeated in reefs across the globe in what has fast become a full-blown ecological catastrophe. The world has lost roughly half its coral reefs in the last 30 years. Scientists are now scrambling to ensure that at least a fraction of these unique ecosystems survives beyond the next three decades. The health of the planet depends on it: Coral reefs support a quarter of all marine species, as well as half a billion people around the world. “This isn’t something that’s going to happen 100 years from now. We’re losing them right now,” said marine biologist Julia Baum of Canada’s University of Victoria. “We’re losing them really quickly, much more quickly than I think any of us ever could have imagined.” Even if the world could halt global warming now, scientists still expect that more than 90 percent of corals will die by 2050. Without drastic intervention, we risk losing them all. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  448 AM PDT THU MAR 16 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 
TODAY
 SW WIND 10 TO 20 KT RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 9 SECONDS.  SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 S WIND 15 TO 25 KT BECOMING SE 5 TO 15 KT AFTER  MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS AFTER  MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 9 FT AT 10 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.

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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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

3/15 Grizzlies, flood insurance, 'whale wave,' poop spill, Great Blue Herons

[PHOTO: Dan Streiffert/BirdNote]
Why Birds Sing
Why do birds sing? Ornithologists have learned that the longer hours of light that come with spring trigger the release of hormones in birds. These hormones prompt the enlargement of the birds' gonads which, in turn, stimulate male birds to sing. Male birds - like this Black-headed Grosbeak - can then attract mates and fulfill nature's imperative to engender new life. Spring. Song. Romance! (BirdNote)

Comment period for grizzly restoration extended
he public has another 45 days to comment on the options being considered for grizzly bear recovery in the North Cascades. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Park Service announced Monday that comments will be accepted through April 28. The federal agencies are taking comment on a draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, for restoring grizzly bears to the North Cascades. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Border-crossing bears? U.S. proposal to transplant B.C. grizzlies gets huge response  Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

As FEMA maps show rising base flood elevation, cost of flood insurance is spiking for coastal homeowners
When Julia Lundblad lies in bed at night in her Titlow Beach home, she can hear the water sloshing up under her house. It took some getting used to, but she loves it. And she said her neighbors are used to a little water flooding into their kitchens when conditions are right…. Because the small community lies in such intimate proximity to the Puget Sound, homeowners with mortgages have to carry flood insurance. But the cost of that insurance, if you can get it, can be exorbitant. Some homeowners said they’ve been told to expect their monthly premiums to see huge spikes over the next several years. Also recently, flood maps that FEMA uses to determine flood risk — and help inform insurance rates — have changed in Tacoma’s coastal areas, with base flood elevation levels rising up to several feet. FEMA’s new flood maps went into effect in Tacoma earlier this month. Candace Ruud reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Mysterious 'whale wave' observed in humpbacks on B.C. Coast
A decade of observation in a fjord on B.C.'s North Coast has uncovered an intriguing pattern among the thriving humpback whales that feed there each summer. Researchers call it a "whale wave," in a peer-reviewed study published this week in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series. Each year, as hundreds of humpbacks arrive in the Kitimat fjord system, near Hartley Bay, B.C., they follow a seasonal pattern, as observed in visual surveys by the Gitga'at First Nation and North Coast Cetacean Society. The whales start in outer waters and move into the inlet and Douglas Channel — but it's not clear why. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Sewage spill closes Port Orchard waterfront, Ross Creek
Kitsap Public Health District issued a no-contact advisory Tuesday for the Port Orchard waterfront and Ross Creek following a sewage spill. The city reported the spill occurred Tuesday morning at a lift station off Old Clifton Road, near the Highway 16 interchange, according to a news release. The spill was estimated at 27,500 gallons. The seven-day advisory covers the shore of Sinclair Inlet, from Anderson Creek to the end of Rockwell Street in downtown, and Ross Creek from Old Clifton Road north. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Pacific great blue herons return to nest in Stanley Park
The heron cam at Vancouver's Stanley Park is buzzing with activity as the park's majestic Pacific great blue herons have come back to nest for the summer. The birds have claimed nests in their chosen spot above the parking lot at 2099 Beach Avenue. This year. the herons arrived March 11, three weeks later than last year. Greg Hart, a biologist with the Stanley Park Ecological Society, says that's largely due to the colder weather. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 230 AM PDT WED MAR 15 2017

TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
TONIGHT
W WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS. 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 (@) 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