Tuesday, April 24, 2018

4/24 Dead-nettle, Earth Day, kids for Salish Sea, Snake R dams, Vancouver parks, pyrosomes, oil $

Purple Dead-nettle [WikiMedia]
Purple Dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum)
Purple Dead-nettle and Common or Henbit Dead-nettle (Lamium amplexicaule) have similar ranges and habitat preferences; both are weedy introductions from Eurasia. These nettle-like plants are 'dead' in the sense that they don't sting when touched. The name 'henbit' comes from the fact that hens like to nibble at its leaves. Lamium is from the Greek laimos ('throat'), because of the constricted throat of petal tube. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)


America Before Earth Day: Smog and Disasters Spurred the Laws Trump Wants to Undo
A huge oil spill. A river catching fire. Lakes so polluted they were too dangerous for fishing or swimming. Air so thick with smog it was impossible to see the horizon. That was the environmental state of the nation 50 years ago.  But pollution and disasters prompted action. On April 22, 1970, millions of people throughout the country demonstrated on the inaugural Earth Day, calling for air, water and land in the country to be cleaned up and protected. And that year, in a bipartisan effort, the Environmental Protection Agency was created and key legislation — the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act — came into force. Now, the Trump administration has made eliminating federal regulations a priority, and an increasing number of environmental rules are under threat. Livia Albeck-Ripka and Kendra Pierre-Louis report. (NY Times)

New Kids Book Aims To Encourage Next Generation To Protect The Salish Sea
A new book is out that will likely be of interest to anyone who has just moved to the region and maybe even to some old-timers.   Explore The Salish Sea is a nature guide for kids. It’s about the unique marine ecosystem that connects Puget Sound with Canada. It’s aimed at fifth and sixth graders and based on a previous edition made for adults. Both books use lots of colorful photos and facts to showcase the abundant life that depends on the Salish Sea. Joe Gaydos from Orcas Island is co-author of the books and Chief Scientist at the nonprofit SeaDoc Society. Their first book came out of a paper he wrote with a colleague that attempted to catalog the hundreds of species in the Salish Sea. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Taking out the trash checked off Earth Day list of chores for divers in Commencement Bay
If there was a message in all the glass bottles divers brought up from the waters off Tacoma’s waterfront Saturday it might be this: Stop using Puget Sound as a garbage dump. The volunteer scuba divers divers brought up 47 pounds of garbage from the waters of Commencement Bay just off of Ruston Way. Most of that consisted of bottles. They also retrieved discarded fishing lines and hooks from the area near Les Davis Pier. Craig Sailor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Vote Expected Soon On Bill To Protect Snake River Dams
Some Eastern Washington lawmakers want the Snake River Dams to stay in place. They’ve crafted a bill to leave the dams as they are  — in response to a federal judge’s order to consider removing the dams to protect salmon. The bill, H.R. 3144, is expected to be voted on by the U.S. House this week. “Our legislation will keep in place the current collaborative framework that fosters fish recovery efforts while balancing the many economic contributions of our dams,” said Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse in a joint statement. Courtney Flatt reports. (OPB/EarthFix)


Ongoing work to 'rewild' Vancouver parks bring people close to nature
Driving through Stanley Park one morning, Vancouver park board biologist Nick Page came across a bizarre scene. Cars were abandoned haphazardly along the roadside as a crowd of people ran toward the seawall.... n fact, a grey whale had been spotted in the water near Siwash Rock. The incident confirmed an idea the park board had been working on, said Page. Parks shouldn’t only be about sports fields and recreation facilities, they should also be a place where people can experience nature.... In 2014, the park board began work to “rewild” parks and green spaces, identifying 28 biodiversity spots that should be protected, and educating people about their importance. The main goal of the plan was to encourage ecological literacy, said Page. Glenda Luymes reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Oregon Coast Pyrosomes Continue To Multiply
They’re back. A lot of them. And they’re reproducing. The invasion of the pyrosomes, gelatinous, translucent tube-like creatures ranging in size from less than an inch to a foot or more, continues in force off the coast of Oregon for a second year, baffling scientists. The creatures, made up of individual zooids — small, multicellular organisms — normally reside in warmer waters, like the tropics, and usually don’t travel farther north than the waters off southern California. But last spring, scientists pulled pyrosomes out of the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Oregon and Washington by the tens of thousands. The pyrosomes also wreaked havoc with the nets of commercial anglers, and they washed ashore by the millions, littering beaches. Steve Benham reports. (Associated Press)

Oil at $75 as Iran sanction fears mount
Oil prices hit $75 on Tuesday, the highest level in nearly three and a half years, as fears mounted over the prospect of new US sanctions on Iran. Brent crude jumped for the sixth consecutive day, trading as high as $75.27 before falling back slightly. The US will decide by 12 May whether to abandon a nuclear deal with Iran and re-impose sanctions. Such a move on the third-biggest oil producer in the Opec cartel threatens to further tighten global supplies. Oil prices have been rising since the 14 nations in Opec, as well as other producers including Russia, decided to restrict output last year. (BBC)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  144 AM PDT Tue Apr 24 2018   
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 1 PM PDT THIS AFTERNOON
  
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 8 ft at 15 seconds. 
TONIGHT
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft  at 14 seconds.

--
"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, April 23, 2018

4/23 Contest, Dogfish Cr, spill recovery, Woodway condos, pipe spill, BC pipe, Pruitt pre-EPA, whale ID

Kelp [Peter Naylor/SeaDoc Society]
Salish Sea in Focus
The SeaDoc Society has launched its first Salish Sea in Focus photography contest to showcase the Salish Sea marine ecosystem and will be accepting photo submissions from now until June 4th. The competition offers more than $6,000 in cash prizes including a $1,000 overall grand prize. The top 100 photos will be featured on an IMAX screen at a gala at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle on October 4. The contest is open to photographers of all skill levels. The contest will be judged by three of the region’s most celebrated photographers, Amy Gulick, Cristina Mittermeier and Kevin Shafer. For details, Salish Sea In Focus Photo Contest.


People and pets advised to stay out of Dogfish Creek in Poulsbo after sewage spill
People and their pets are being asked to stay out of the water of Dogfish Creek in Poulsbo through Monday after about 2,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled out of a manhole. The no-contact advisory for the creek, which runs through Poulsbo’s Fish Park, was issued Friday by the Kitsap Public Health District. The advisory lasts for three days and extends for the area between Highway 305 and Liberty Bay. The advisory recommends against swimming, wading or any activity that could result in water entering the mouth, nose or eyes. If the water contacts skin, the district recommends immediately washing with soap and water. Andrew Binion reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Years after oil spills, money still owed to Vancouver, aquarium and Heiltsuk Nation
Despite "polluter pay" laws in Canada, local governments and agencies are still waiting to recover costs incurred during two significant fuel spills off B.C.'s coast. The City of Vancouver and Vancouver Aquarium are collectively waiting on nearly $700,000 in losses related to a 2015 leak of bunker fuel, while the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bellla, B.C., continues negotiating over $200,000 in repayments for its response to a tugboat that ran aground in 2016. (Canadian Press)

County planners seek denial of Woodway-area luxury condos
Building height and traffic are among the reasons Snohomish County planners have asked that a project with 3,081-unit waterfront condos at Point Wells be denied. If the hearing examiner agrees during a scheduled May 16 meeting, that would end seven years of work by developer BSRE Point Wells and the county. Much of that time has been spent in a back-and-forth of reviews and recommendations. The proposal’s progress stalled in February, when the county signaled its intent to ask the examiner to deny the proposal. This week’s recommendation follows through. Ben Watanabe reports. (Everett Herald)

Pipeline Spills 76,000 Gallons of Crude Oil Emulsion in Northern Alberta
A pipeline owned by Paramount Resources Ltd. released an estimated 100,000 liters (approximately 26,000 gallons) of crude oil and 190,000 liters (approximately 50,000 gallons) of produced water near Zama City, in northwest Alberta, according to an April 11 incident report filed with the Alberta Energy Regulator. The release was discovered after company personnel looked into a low-pressure alarm from the company's leak detection system, the incident report states. The emergency status of the spill ended April 16. The report says that although "the release was initially believed to be minor," further investigation shows the spill to be around 290,000 liters and has impacted an area of 200 meters (approximately 656 feet) by 200 meters. Carol Linnitt reports. (EcoWatch)

400 B.C. businesses sign letter opposing Trans Mountain expansion
While many in the B.C. business community have thrown their support behind Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, others in the technology, green tech and tourism industries are less enthusiastic. Representatives from 400 businesses signed an open letter to Premier John Horgan this week asking him to continue his opposition to the project. Signees say the pipeline, if built, will prove disastrous for businesses in B.C. that rely on a clean, protected environment. (CBC)


Scott Pruitt Before the E.P.A.: Fancy Homes, a Shell Company and Friends With Money
.... At the E.P.A., Mr. Pruitt is under investigation for allegations of unchecked spending, ethics lapses and other issues, including his interactions with lobbyists. An examination of Mr. Pruitt’s political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have echoes in his past. Steve Eder and Hiroko Tabuchi report. (NY Times)

Researchers ID Whales By Genetic Bread Crumbs Left Behind
Researchers at Oregon State University have worked out a way to detect and identify whales long after they move on – just by sampling the water.  When whales swim they leave behind a plume of genetic material in the environment: skin, poop and bodily fluids. If you know what to look for, you can use that DNA to figure out what kind of whale went by. Scott Baker is associate director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. His research team tested this idea on orcas in the Salish Sea, collecting and testing water samples in their wake.... The research was published Friday in the journal Frontiers. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Vancouverites are good at recycling — just not when it comes to plastic bags
Over 2 million plastic bags are thrown in the garbage every week in Vancouver. Vancouver has one of the lowest rates of contaminated recycling in the country — but residents are still struggling to figure out where to put their plastic bags, according to the managing director of Recycling B.C. Vancouver boasts a contamination rate of just 4.6 per cent, a small figure when compared to cities like Toronto, at 26 per cent, and Edmonton, at 24 per cent, according to data obtained by CBC News. But the low number still falls short of provincial targets. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  243 AM PDT Mon Apr 23 2018   

TODAY  SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell 5 ft  at 12 seconds. 

TONIGHT  E wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft after midnight. W  swell 5 ft at 12 seconds building to 7 ft at 17 seconds 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

4/20 Abalone, culverts, Atlantic salmon, baby orca, dolphins, shellfish closures, BC pipe, marijuana

Pinto abalone [Jeff Bouma]
Pinto abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana)
Pinto abalone were once widely distributed throughout the waters of British Columbia and Washington state. In recent decades, populations have undergone sharp declines, likely in response to the combined stressors of overharvest, poaching, and sub-optimal environmental conditions (Campell 2000). Known for their large, muscular foot and their pearlescent oval shell, pinto abalone are slow-growing, long-lived marine snails and are typically found in nearshore rocky habitats in semi-exposed or exposed coastal regions. More than 60 abalone species are found worldwide but the pinto, or northern, abalone is the only species found in Washington State, where they range from Admiralty Inlet to the San Juan Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and are typically found at depths to about 20 m (Bouma 2007). (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound)

Supreme Court justices skeptical of Washington state over salmon habitat
The Supreme Court seems unlikely to allow Washington state to get out from under a court order to restore salmon habitat by removing barriers that block fish migration. The justices heard arguments Wednesday in a long-running dispute that pits the state against Indian tribes and the federal government. At issue is whether Washington state must fix or replace hundreds of culverts. Those are large pipes that allow streams to pass beneath roads but can block migrating salmon if they become clogged or if they’re too steep to navigate. See also: U.S. Supreme Court justices raise questions about culvert damage   Chris Dunagan writes. (Watching Our Water Ways) And also: State And Feds Battle In Supreme Court Over How To Fix Culverts  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

A Madrone Story
Rick Haley of Skagit County writes: "Once again I am compelled to comment on your excellent news service.  I am tickled to see in print the Oregon + California v. Washington v. BC split on Madrone/Madrona/Arubutus.  I have explained it exactly that way for years but I have no idea where I came up with it other than personal experience. When I was in eighth grade clear back when, we had a small group assignment in Social Studies to “Create a Utopia”.  How’s that for a 1970 assignment?  Our group decided on a Back to Nature utopia which gave us an excuse to go camping.  This is sort of pertinent because I spent a goodly portion of our time out in the woods carving fish hooks out of madrone wood, then angling in a (probably) fishless creek draining Spencer Butte south of Eugene, using snowberries for bait.  I was already a crazy-obsessed fly fisherman by then so I had no illusions about what I was doing, but it made for some good pictures for our report. We also ate dandelions.  I don’t recommend them."

Atlantic salmon, caught in Skagit 8 months after escape from pen, had eaten a fish
Upper Skagit tribal fishermen caught a lively Atlantic salmon more than 40 miles up the Skagit River Tuesday, eight months after Cooke Aquaculture’s Atlantic salmon net pen collapsed at Cypress Island and sent more than 300,000 Atlantics into the home waters of Washington’s Pacific salmon. The Atlantic caught Tuesday had bones in its stomach, indicating it had eaten some kind of fish. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Young orca spotted in Washington waters as new vessel guidelines Month-old orca calf spotted in Cowichan Bay, boaters urged to slow down
With boating season just around the corner, the Pacific Whale Watch Association is reminding people to go slow: there are children at play. The children of killer whales, that is. And to underscore the importance of keeping one’s distance when operating a vessel around whales, the PWWA has shared recently captured video footage of what’s at stake. A video taken by Ocean EcoVentures and videographer Tasli Shaw shows a young orca calf, probably less than a month old, making its way through the waters of Cowichan Bay. Harrison Mooney reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Bottlenose dolphins found off B.C. coast for first time, travelling with false killer whales
Common bottlenose dolphins, typically associated with tropical and warm-temperate waters, have been observed for the first time off Canada’s Pacific coast. About 200 of the dolphins were observed travelling with around 70 false killer whales on July 29 last year during a pelagic seabird and marine mammal survey from the Canadian Coast Guard research ship John P. Tully. The discovery, published Thursday in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records, occurred in waters that were 16.5 degrees Celsius, believed to be related to a period of warming in the eastern North Pacific. Biologist Luke Halpin, lead author of the paper, said it was “special and rare” to observe the two cetacean species travelling together in B.C. waters. A handful of northern right whale dolphins also swam close by. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Samish Bay again fails evaluation, won't get upgrade
Samish Bay has again failed the state evaluation for a shellfish harvest upgrade because of bacterial pollution in the Samish River. Pollution in the river exceeded state standards Tuesday following rain that brought a record-setting river flow that day, Skagit County Water Quality Analyst Rick Haley said. The incident is the second time since the evaluation began in March that shellfish harvest in the bay has been closed due to pollution. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: State may place shellfish harvest restrictions on Chico Bay
The state Department of Health plans to restrict shellfish harvests in a portion of Dyes Inlet this summer due to high bacteria levels recorded near the mouth of Chico Creek. Jean Frost with the department's shellfish program said a port reopened harvests in a large portion of Dyes Inlet in 2003. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun) And also: Pollution forcing shellfish restrictions in Henderson Inlet and 3 regional sites  Poor water quality in portions of four counties in Washington Shellfish harvesting will be restricted in Thurston County's Henderson Inlet, portions of Grays Harbor County near the Elk River, at Chico Bay in Kitsap County's Dyes Inlet, in Pierce County's Burley Lagoon. Lauren Smith reports. (Olympian)

First Nations court challenges continue to hang over $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
First Nations court challenges that allege inadequate consultation and seek to overturn federal and B.C. approval of the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion have been overshadowed by recent debate on federal and provincial powers to regulate oil transport. But legal experts say the First Nations cases have real implications that should not be overlooked or forgotten. When the Federal Court of Appeal in 2016 overturned approval of Enbridge’s $7.9-billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline, finding Ottawa had failed to properly consult First Nations, it all but signalled the end for the project. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Canada To Measure Marijuana Use By Testing Sewage
As a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana works its way through the Canadian Parliament, the government is gearing up to track cannabis consumption more closely than it has before. Statistics Canada has begun to do city-scale drug screening by monitoring what Canadians flush down the toilet. Six cities have agreed to contribute samples from the place where all drains congregate — their wastewater treatment plants. Toronto,Montreal, Edmonton, Alberta; Vancouver and Surrey in British Columbia; and Halifax, Nova Scotia, will participate. Ideally, Statistics Canada would like to estimate how much cannabis Canadians consume, in total, through the sewage measurements. It might be possible then to subtract legal sales and arrive at the amount of cannabis sold illegally...  But the route from a wastewater treatment plant to that kind of calculation gets really murky really fast. For starters, Peluso says, Statistics Canada has to consider some basic questions that get quite complex on a national scale: “The suburban users, are they peeing in the city but consuming in the suburbs?” Researchers say it’s relatively straightforward to detect marijuana traces, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Tests pick it up even in dilute wastewater. But there’s something more difficult: using the THC concentration in sewage to extrapolate back to the amount of pot consumed. Menaka Wilhelm reports. (NPR)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  251 AM PDT Fri Apr 20 2018   

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH  SATURDAY AFTERNOO    TODAY  Light wind becoming SE to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds building to 7 ft  at 13 seconds in the afternoon. Rain likely in the afternoon. 

TONIGHT  SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight. W swell 7 ft at 14 seconds. Rain. 

SAT  W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 10 ft at  10 seconds. A chance of showers in the morning then a slight  chance of showers in the afternoon. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 11 seconds. 

SUN  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 6 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

4/19 Madrone, inbreeding orcas, Vic pipe, Coast Seafood, ballast water, SEAL training, BC pipe

Pacific Madrone [The Wild Garden]
Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii)
Though it looks exotic, Pacific madrone—a beautiful broadleaf evergreen tree with a captivating and distinctive presence that transforms with the seasons—is endemic to the Pacific coast. Its exquisite characteristics of fragrant flower clusters, brilliant berries, glossy leaves, twisting branches, rounded crown, and rich cinnamon-red bark that peels from a satin-smooth trunk, please all of our senses. And for the wild ones attracted to this unique gem, its ecological gifts never disappoint. Madrona (after madroño, the Spanish name for a Mediterranean “strawberry tree”) is the name admirers in Washington give this member of the Ericaceae (heath) family, while those in California and Oregon call it madrone or Pacific madrone. British Columbians simply use the Latin genus name, Arbutus. (The epitaph, menziesii, is named after the naturalist Archibald Menzies, a naturalist for the Vancouver Expedition that explored the Puget Sound region in 1792.) (Real Gardens Grow Natives)

Southern-resident killer whales' inbreeding may devastate the population 
Just two male whales fathered more than half the calves born since 1990 in the population of southern-resident killer whales, a sign of inbreeding, scientists have learned. “It was a shocker to find out two guys are doing all of the work,” said Ken Balcomb, director of the Center for Whale Research and an author on a paper published this week in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Animal Conservation. The findings are based on a new genetic analysis of the whales that frequent Washington’s Salish Sea and Puget Sound. Already a small population of 76 animals, the southern residents are acting more like a population of only 20 or 30, with few animals breeding, said the lead author, Michael Ford, a conservation biologist at NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Onlookers watch sewer pipe being pulled through tunnel across harbour
People lined the security fences spread through James Bay on Tuesday as the process of moving a 940-metre sewer pipe into a subsea tunnel began. The tunnel for the pipe runs between Ogden Point and the sewage-treatment plant being built across Victoria Harbour at McLoughlin Point. Both are part of the region’s $765-million sewage-treatment project. Sections of the pipe, which was placed on rollers, were welded together over the past six weeks, with Niagara Street serving as the main staging area. Jeff Bell reports. (Times Colonist)

Coast Seafoods to appeal pollution suit
The Coast Seafoods Company is asking the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear a case in which the court sided with the Olympic Forest Coalition and remanded the case back to the U.S. District Court. The coalition is suing Coast Seafoods over its discharge of effluent from its oyster-growing facility into Quilcene Bay. On March 9, the 9th Circuit Court agreed with the U.S. District Court for Western Washington, Tacoma, which had concluded the seafood company needs to obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. That is what the Olympic Forest Coalition wants the company to do.... n its request, the company is arguing the court had ruled in another case that if an aquatic animal production facility does not meet the criteria to be classified as a concentrated aquatic animal production facility, it does not need a discharge permit. That is the crux of Coast Seafoods’ position – it does not need a NPDES permit. Allison Arthur reports. (Pt Townsend Leader)

Senate blocks bill to overhaul ballast discharge rules
Senators voted against advancing Coast Guard legislation this afternoon with a controversial provision to change the way ballast water discharges are regulated. The language was in S. 140, a package of measures related to Indian Country and authorizing the Coast Guard. The cloture vote, shortly after noon, was 56-42. The ballast provisions came from the "Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act," also known as "VIDA," S. 168, from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). It would put the Coast Guard in charge of setting standards for ballast water discharge instead of EPA. Ballast water is common in the hulls of cargo ships and provides stability for vessels in rough conditions but can also carry invasive species like zebra mussels. Ariel Wittenberg and Manuel Quinones report. (E&E News)

Public comments lead Navy to tweak SEAL training proposal
The Navy is sifting through hundreds of emails and letters of public input on a proposal to expand special operations training in the Northwest a few weeks after an extended comments period concluded on March 23. The Navy's vision for increased training operations in the region, outlined in a draft environmental assessment released in January, calls for more training cycles per year with an increased number of trainees who would practice a broader range of skills at more locations across western Washington. The proposal's preferred alternative seeks to bring more training activities outside of the fence lines of Naval Base Kitsap installations to better prepare trainees with more real world-like scenarios, said Navy Region Northwest spokeswoman Sheila Murray. Julieanne Stanford reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Kinder Morgan begins negotiations with Ottawa to save pipeline project
Kinder Morgan's chief executive told investors on Wednesday afternoon that negotiations with the federal government are underway to strike a deal and salvage the Trans Mountain expansion project, which continues to face opposition from the B.C. government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Sunday that his government could offer financial assistance to the Texas-based company and use legislation that would give Ottawa total control over the $7.4-billion project, which would stretch from Edmonton to the Vancouver area.... Investors asked several questions about what kind of deal the company was pursuing, but executives were tight-lipped.... Currently, the company describes the proposed pipeline as "facing unquantifiable risk" because the B.C. government is "asserting broad jurisdiction and reiterating its intention to use that jurisdiction to stop the project." Kyle Bakx reports. (CBC)

Carr downplays tanker traffic risk, says federal legislation not developed yet
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the Trans Mountain pipeline will only increase tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia by one ship a day, downplaying the risks raised by environmental critics of the project. The federal Liberal government hasn’t yet “landed” on its promised legislative option to push the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion forward, says Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr. Justin Trudeau’s government is “actively pursuing” legislation that will reassert Canada’s constitutional authority to build and expand pipelines, the prime minister promised Sunday after an emergency meeting with the feuding premiers of B.C. and Alberta. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  843 PM PDT Wed Apr 18 2018   

THU  Light wind becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds.

THU NIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 5 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance of rain  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 (@) 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


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

4/18 Junco, culverts, BC pipe, sea cucumbers, stink bugs, plastic eaters, Sound tunnel, tangled whale

Dark-eyed Junco [Mike Hamilton/BirdNote]
Suburbs, Juncos, and Evolution
Birds have been living near humans for a long time. But only during the past 5,000 years have birds and humans shared space in cities and towns. “What we’ve done is create a new place where birds are under intense natural selection — from our activities,” says John Marzluff, Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington in Seattle. Marzluff says evolutionary changes can happen in just a few decades of living with humans. In his book, Welcome to Subirdia, he cites as evidence a study of Dark-eyed Juncos conducted by Pamela Yeh.
(BirdNote)

Supreme Court showdown: Washington's attorney general vs. tribes over salmon habitat
A 20-year battle over salmon-blocking road culverts lands in the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, in a historic showdown pitting the Washington state attorney general against the U.S. government and Washington tribes defending their treaty right to fish. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson — widely regarded as a liberal champion for his crusading lawsuits for immigration rights and other causes — will oppose the tribes in oral argument before the court. At issue is whether the state must replace road culverts that block salmon passage. Tribes insist, and courts have affirmed, that the tribes’ treaty right to fish also means the state must not destroy the habitat that healthy fish runs need. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Support for Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion grows in B.C.: new poll
The proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline has the support of more than half of British Columbians, but with plenty of caveats, including the minimal impact of threats from Alberta, according to a new poll. In an online survey conducted Monday and Tuesday of 2,125 Canadian adults — half from British Columbia — the Angus Reid Institute has found that support in B.C. for the project is up to 54 per cent, a considerable jump from the 48 per cent in a similar survey conducted in February. This support runs through all part of the province, with 50 per cent of Metro Vancouver in favour, 54 per cent on Vancouver Island and 60 per cent of respondents in the rest of B.C. Patrick Johnston reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Guilty Plea In Sea Cucumber Scam
The owner of a seafood processing company in Pierce County, Washington, has pleaded guilty in a case involving the illegal sale of sea cucumbers, leathery creatures that are considered a delicacy to eat in some cultures. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Hoon Namkoong ran Orient Seafood Production. He was charged with underreporting by a 250,000 pounds the amount of sea cucumbers he bought from tribal and non-tribal fishermen in Puget Sound. Austin Jenkins reports. (KNKX)

Stink Bugs Taking Over Puget Sound Area
Researchers for Washington State University are being deluged with reports of brown marmorated stink bugs, especially from western Washington. Entomologist Michael Bush says he has received 300 reports in three weeks about the smelly creatures. He says the majority of stink bug sightings are from King, Pierce and Thurston counties, with sporadic reports coming eastern Washington. Bush says the bugs move indoors during the winter months, and now are trying to get back outside. Marmorated stink bugs gorge on vegetables, fruit trees, nuts and ornamental plants. Grant McHill reports. (AP)


Plastic-eating enzyme could help fight pollution, scientists say
Scientists in Britain and the United States say they have engineered a plastic-eating enzyme that could in future help in the fight against pollution. The enzyme is able to digest polyethylene terephthalate, or PET — a form of plastic patented in the 1940s and now used in millions of tons of plastic bottles. PET plastics can persist for hundreds of years in the environment and currently pollute large areas of land and sea worldwide. Researchers from Britain's University of Portsmouth and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory made the discovery while examining the structure of a natural enzyme thought to have evolved in a waste recycling centre in Japan. (Thompson Reuters)

A vehicle tunnel from Seattle to Bainbridge? Retired civil engineer has a proposal
Bob Ortblad has a pet idea he’d like to see buried deep, hundreds of feet below the surface of Puget Sound. To dive into it: Ortblad, a retired civil engineer and Capitol Hill resident, sees a future in which instead of crossing on a ferry atop Puget Sound, commuters would cross underneath it, driving through a tunnel that would stretch from Seattle’s Smith Cove over to Highway 305 on Bainbridge Island. To stretch the idea even further, a parkway could cross the island and connect to a long-discussed bridge across to the Bremerton area. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Gray whale tangled in fishing gear for days finally freed in Puget Sound  
A gray whale entangled in fishing gear swam in the Puget Sound for days until it was finally freed in an unusual chain of events, according to NOAA Fisheries. A Washington State Ferries captain north of Seattle first spotted the gray whale with fishing gear trailing behind it on Friday. (KIRO)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  842 PM PDT Tue Apr 17 2018   

WED  SE wind to 10 kt becoming E 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 11 seconds. A chance of  showers in the morning then a slight chance of showers in the  afternoon.
WED NIGHT  NW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming W to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds.
--
"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, April 17, 2018

4/17 Isopod, BC pipe, Navy jet noise, Zinke's land, J.T. Wilcox

Isopod [PHOTO: Pat McMahon]
Pat McMahon writes: "Several years ago while fishing in the Western Strait of Juan de Fuca I caught a three foot long Lingcod. After I returned to shore I noticed a large parasitic isopod on the back of the Lingcod. It was 1.5" long so I am guessing it was a female. The compound eyes and segmented antennae were especially interesting. The isopod was not visible when I caught the fish so it may have been attached under the operculum at the gills and crawled out reattaching on the back when I took the fish out of the water. Even parasites can be beautiful."

Alberta unveils bill that could wreak havoc on B.C. gas prices in trade war
Alberta's minister of energy will have sweeping discretionary powers to limit exports of crude, natural gas and gasoline to B.C. under much-anticipated legislation introduced Monday. Bill 12, titled Preserving Canada's Economic Prosperity Act, gives the Alberta government the ability to retaliate against the B.C. government for any delays to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, by driving up gas prices or slapping restrictions on shipments of other energy products. Michelle Bellefontaine reports. (CBC) See also: Legislation limiting Sask. energy exports to B.C. coming within days, says Premier Scott Moe  Adam Hunter reports. (CBC) See also: B.C. threatens to sue Alberta as all sides in Trans Mountain dispute dig in  (CBC)

Kinder Morgan delivers pipe after announced suspension of non-essential spending
Even as Kinder Morgan announced it had suspended all non-essential spending on the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, pipe for the project was delivered to a staging area last week in New Westminster. Kinder Morgan’s suspension announcement a week ago Sunday was part of an ultimatum in which the Houston, Texas-based company said it needed certainty by May 31 that the project can be built or it will walk away. The environmental group Wilderness Committee snapped photos of the pipe delivery last Thursday, just four days after the ultimatum. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Navy Growler Noise Spurring Community Action Beyond Whidbey Island
Community groups are building coalitions region-wide, aiming to stop expansion plans by the U.S. Navy. Operating since 1942, the naval air station on Whidbey Island is not new. But the recent replacement of its electronic warfare aircraft has upset many residents in the area. They say the new Growler jets are too loud. And plans to add more of them to the fleet at NAS Whidbey have prompted legal action. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Ryan Zinke Is Opening Up Public Lands. Just Not at Home.
When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was a state senator from this idyllic mountain town, he drove a Prius, sported a beard and pushed President Barack Obama to make clean energy a priority. Today, the beard and Prius are gone, and Mr. Zinke has emerged as a leading figure, along with Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the environmental rollbacks that have endeared President Trump to the fossil fuel industry and outraged conservationists. In the last year, Mr. Zinke has torn up Obama-era rules related to oil, gas and mineral extraction and overseen the largest reduction of federal land protection in the nation’s history, including an effort to slash the size of Bears Ears National Monument. Julie Turkewitz reports. (NY Times) See also: Ryan Zinke’s Great American Fire Sale  Carolyn Kormann reports. (New Yorker)

Politics and chicken farming: Meet the new GOP leader in Washington's state House
Between greeting a mob of murmuring chickens and sharing thoughts on ancient Greek history, state Rep. J.T. Wilcox compares the difficulties of legislating to running a family farm. For Wilcox, part-owner of a fourth-generation 1,500-acre farm, family business and legislative politics share some of the same challenges…. First elected to the House in 2010, Wilcox has helped shape the state GOP’s message in an era when Republicans and Democrats have fought fiercely over control of the closely divided Legislature. As minority leader he replaces Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, who announced his retirement in March. Kristiansen had a reputation as a mediator between the parties when tensions ran high in Olympia. Joseph O'Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  222 AM PDT Tue Apr 17 2018   
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM PDT THIS MORNING
  

TODAY
 W 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 in the  afternoon. W swell 10 ft at 10 seconds subsiding to 7 ft at 9  seconds in the afternoon. A chance of showers in the morning then  showers likely in the afternoon. 

TONIGHT
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming S to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 9 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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Monday, April 16, 2018

4/16 Octopus, stocking fish pens, BC pipe, offshore blasting, geoduck diver, bottom trawl, GOP dam water, air pollution permits

Giant Pacific octopus [NOAA]
Giant Pacific octopus: Smart and delicious
Giant Pacific octopus are known to grow up to 156 pounds, though those canned in Pacific County are typically much smaller. They live in coastal waters all along the northern Pacific Rim, from California north to Alaska and across to eastern Russia, northern Japan and Korea. Their abundance is unknown, but they aren’t protected by international conservation laws. Giant Pacific octopus are protected by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at seven sites in Puget Sound, after public outcry about the controversial sport harvest of one near Alki Point in West Seattle about five years ago. Giant Pacific octopus have relatively long lives compared to many other octopus species — they live three or four years, compared to one or two years for most other species. (Coast River Business Journal)

Restocking Atlantic salmon pens blocked by court
Cooke Aquaculture will not be allowed to restock its Cypress Island net-pen farm with Atlantic salmon, a Thurston County Superior Court Judge has ruled. The company’s license to operate the farm was terminated by Hilary Franz, the Commissioner of Public Lands, after a catastrophic collapse last August led to the release of more than 300,000 Atlantic salmon. Cooke had sought a preliminary injunction to restock the pen while it worked to overturn the termination with a lawsuit against the department. But Judge John Skinder on Friday sided with the department, which insisted the farm remain fallow. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Canada will take financial and legislative action to make pipeline happen: Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government has the authority to ensure the Trans Mountain pipeline is built and is taking the financial and legislative actions needed to make it happen. "I have instructed the minister of finance to initiate formal financial discussions with Kinder Morgan, the result of which will be to remove the uncertainty overhanging the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project," Trudeau said after meeting with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier John Horgan in Ottawa Sunday. Trudeau said the financial discussions with Kinder Morgan will not be in public but that "construction will go ahead." (CBC) See also: Trudeau, Notley launch talks to invest in Kinder Morgan pipeline  (Postmedia News)

B.C. issues Trans Mountain pipeline permit update as premier heads to Ottawa
British Columbia's government has issued a progress report on permits for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, just as Premier John Horgan readies to travel to Ottawa for a meeting on the controversial project. The Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Ministry says the $7.4-billion project requires 1,187 provincial permits, many of which involve Indigenous consultations. The ministry says in a statement that 587 permit applications have been submitted to various permitting agencies and of those, 201 have been approved and issued while another 386 are under review. (Canadian Press)

UBC law professor questions Ottawa's jurisdiction on planned pipeline expansion
An environmental expert in B.C. says Ottawa may not have sole jurisdiction to push through approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, despite the prime minister's vow Sunday that the project will proceed.nJocelyn Stacey, an environmental law professor at the University of British Columbia, said there are jurisdictional questions when it comes to the environment, and the possible effects an expanded pipeline might bring. Cathy Kearney reports. (CBC) See also: Pipeline protesters plan to ramp up activities following Trudeau announcement  Denise Ryan reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Environmentalists 'red-wash' their fight against pipeline, First Nation chief says
Cancellation of the Trans Mountain pipeline would cost B.C. First Nations hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits, job training, and employment and business opportunities, according to Cheam Chief Ernie Crey. Crey has emerged as a leading voice for the First Nations that stand to benefit from the project, calling out environmentalists for “red-washing” their fight against the $7.4 billion expansion of the pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby…. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has joined public protests against the expansion, but that does not mean all First Nations oppose it, Crey said. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

New rules would make it easier to find offshore oil – and noisier for whales
The search for offshore oil begins with a boom. Before the oil rigs arrive and the boring begins, operators need to fire intense seismic blasts repeatedly into the ocean to find oil deposits. For decades, environmental rules that protected whales and other marine life from this cacophony have limited the location and frequency of these blasts — preventing oil companies from exploring, and therefore operating, off much of the nation's coasts. Now those safeguards are being dismantled. Rosanna Xia reports. (LA Times)

The Geoduck Diver
Hozoji Matheson-Margullis is widely recognized for her pummeling drum chops. But at 37, the emerging marine biologist is making waves at the forefront of Native American STEM in an age of climate change and Trump. Brian Anderson reports. (Motherboard)

Conservationists, West Coast bottom fishermen embrace 'grand bargain'
People who love fresh Northwest seafood and the sea should take note of what happened recently in a hotel conference room by Portland’s airport. There, the Pacific Fishery Management Council approved a plan to protect more coral, sponges, reefs and other sensitive animals and formations from the nets of bottom trawlers who work off the West Coast. The measure also offers something for fishermen: a reopening of some prime fishing areas that had been off-limits. The end result is intended to be greater marine conservation protection and more fresh fish flowing into regional markets. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Grisly new undercover footage shows the toll of ‘death nets,’ activists say  (Washington Post)

Republicans criticize spill of dam water to help salmon
Republican Congress members from the Pacific Northwest are upset with a federal judge's order to spill water from four Snake River dams to help speed migrating salmon to the Pacific Ocean. They say the water could be saved for other uses and are denouncing the spill, which began April 3, and a push by environmentalists to remove the four dams to increase wild salmon runs…. McMorris Rodgers and Newhouse have introduced a bill that would prevent any changes in dam operations until 2022. The measure was co-sponsored by Republican House members from Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Nevada, along with Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon. It passed the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday and heads to the floor in coming weeks. Nicholas K. Geranios reports. (Associated Press)

Trump orders faster issuance of air pollution permits
President Donald Trump prodded federal regulators Thursday to quicken processing of air quality permits for businesses, saying it would boost economic growth and job creation but drawing criticism from environmentalists who described the move as a green light for polluters. Among steps outlined in a White House memorandum to the Environmental Protection Agency were deadlines for acting on Clean Air Act permit applications, a search for changes in rules or procedures that would expedite permit decisions and giving state agencies greater authority to deal with air pollution. John Flesher and Laurie Kellman report. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  834 PM PDT Sun Apr 15 2018  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM PDT MONDAY THROUGH
 LATE MONDAY NIGHT  
MON
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 7 ft at  12 seconds. A chance of showers.  MON NIGHT  W wind 20 to 30 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 9 ft  at 11 seconds. A chance of showers.

--
"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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Friday, April 13, 2018

4/13 Tulip time, BC pipe, War in the Woods, US park fees, Stanley Park, Skagit steelhead, shellfish traffick, industrial shellfish aquaculture suit

Is it Tulip Time, yet? Here's when the blooms should reach their peak in 2018
All the early tulips currently are blooming, Tulip Town assistant farmer Matt Usyk said Monday, with the "mids" just starting to come into bloom. All told, Usyk estimated about a third of the Tulip Town fields are in bloom. "This weekend should be near the peak," Usyk said. "This weekend and next are usually the best." David Rasbach reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Trudeau calls B.C., Alberta premiers to meeting as pipeline dispute escalates
The escalating battle over the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline has prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cut short a trip to Peru and fly back to Ottawa for a weekend meeting with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Trudeau's pipeline dilemma: lose seats in B.C., or lose a lot more elsewhere  Éric Grenier reports. (CBC)

'So many people giving a damn':
War in the Woods resonates 25 years later with new environmental battles on B.C. coast…. At its peak in 1993, the War in the Woods drew celebrities and focused international attention on the ancient forests of Clayoquot Sound, 265,000 hectares of old-growth rainforest that surrounds the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet. It also galvanized B.C.’s environmental movement and inspired a new generation of environmentalists who are now fighting an emotional battle against a pipeline expansion through the province. Many of the people and groups who put Clayoquot Sound on the map are applying their knowledge and connections to the fight against Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC) See also:  Three arrested as protests resume on Burnaby Mountain  Dylan Waisman reports. (National Observer)

Interior backs off tripling fees at national parks, plans $5 increase
With the Trump administration’s withdrawal of huge fee increases at national parks, attention has turned to finding a needed long-term solution to address the parks’ $12 billion maintenance backlog. A plan announced in October to triple entrance fees at the country’s most popular national parks during peak visiting season, including Mount Rainier and Olympic, was met with howls of public outcry. On Thursday, the National Park Service instead announced the U.S. Department of the Interior’s new plan to implement minor increases to fees at all 117 National Park Service sites that collect fees, amounting generally to no more than a $5 increase. That scaled-back proposal is expected to raise about $60 million per year. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Work begins on $4.5-million Stanley Park seawall restoration
Work to restore Vancouver’s popular, but weather-battered, seawall around Stanley Park is underway. The first phase of the $4.5-million project is expected to be complete in August, during the busy summer tourist season. But park board officials don’t expect any closures on the seawall this summer because of the repair work. Instead, the cycling and walking path will merge for a 100-metre stretch at the entrance near Beach Avenue, so cyclists will have to dismount and walk their bikes. Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Panel explores digital tech’s role in Salish Sea recovery
Bridging the gap between nature and technology might be a challenge for the Puget Sound region, but tech leaders could play an important role in protecting and restoring the ecosystem, according to a panel of experts at last week’s Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Seattle. Christopher Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents) #SSEC2018

Season set for Skagit River steelhead
Starting Saturday, anglers will be allowed to fish for Skagit River steelhead — an opportunity they haven’t had since the fishery closed in 2010 in order to protect the decreasing fish population. The state Department of Fish & Wildlife announced Thursday that it has set dates for a brief catch-and-release season on the Skagit and Sauk rivers. Fish & Wildlife was able to set the dates after National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries approved this week the five-year Skagit River steelhead management plan. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Illegal shellfish trafficking ring caught on video  

Illegal shellfish trafficking ring caught on video
Pierce County prosecutors have charged several men in a seafood trafficking case, including the former Natural Resources Director for the Tulalip Tribes. According to case documents, Joseph Hatch Sr. and his son, Joseph Hatch Jr., poached at least a thousand pounds of Dungeness crab and shrimp, selling the shellfish over several months in 2015. Hatch is a Tulalip tribal member and was serving in his role as head of natural resources while officers monitored his movement over five months. Though officers report observing the men poaching shellfish for some time, it was a set of crab filled containers on one night in particular that led to Pierce County's case. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Conservation Group to Sue State to Demand it Protect Coastal Shorelines by Ending Permitting Exemption for Industrial Shellfish Aquaculture 
Protect Zangle Cove, the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and Wild Fish Conservancy filed suit today against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ("WDFW"), demanding an end to the improper exemption of industrial shellfish aquaculture projects from state standards designed to protect fish and marine habitats. Most construction projects in or near Washington waters must receive an Hydraulic Project Approval ("HPA"), which requires that they have safeguards in place to protect fish and their habitat.  WDFW has exempted commercial aquaculture from this statutory requirement for many years, meaning aquaculture projects go forward without these crucial environmental safeguards. The lawsuit filed in Thurston County Superior Court contends this exemption has no legal basis and asks the court to direct WDFW to apply the HPA law consistently to shellfish aquaculture projects. The suit also asks the court to halt development of a geoduck farm planned for Zangle Cove, a near pristine estuary in South Puget Sound, until it receives an HPA permit. (News release on PR Newswire)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  238 AM PDT Fri Apr 13 2018  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming S 20 to 30 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 11 ft at 14 seconds.  Rain.
TONIGHT
 SW wind 20 to 30 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 12 ft at 12 seconds. Rain in the evening then a  chance of rain after midnight.
SAT
 S wind to 10 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at 11 seconds. A slight  chance of rain in the morning then a chance of rain in the  afternoon.
SAT NIGHT
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  10 ft at 14 seconds.
SUN
 NE wind to 10 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at 15 seconds.

--
"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, April 12, 2018

4/12 Butterfly ESA, sport chinook, BC pipe, coast drillling, ship talk, Pruitt's EPA, P-I cuts

Island marble butterfly [Sue Vernon/WDFW]
Rare butterfly recommended for endangered species list
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has proposed listing the island marble butterfly, which is found only on San Juan Island, as an endangered species. Since a state biologist discovered the butterfly fluttering across a field on San Juan Island in 1998, several efforts have been made to protect it and prevent the species from disappearing. Despite two decades of work, the species has declined, according to a news release. Fewer than 200 adult butterflies were counted during a survey in 2017. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Fish council OKs sharp cut in sport chinook harvest off Washington
The sport anglers’ catch of chinook salmon off Washington’s coasts will drop sharply this year under a measure approved Tuesday by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The overall harvest for recreational fishermen off Washington will be capped at 27,500 fish, a nearly 40 percent drop from the past year. This conservation measure results, in part, from the difficult ocean conditions that the chinook faced as juveniles in 2015 and 2016 when a rise in ocean temperatures off the Northwest coast knocked back their prime food supplies and reduced their survival rates. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

'A tough lesson': Do First Nations hold trump card on Trans Mountain debate?
Between boycotts, showdowns, shareholder action and emergency cabinet meetings, it's easy to overlook the lack of a crucial perspective in the white noise currently surrounding Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion project. But if Indigenous voices are missing from this moment's very public pipeline debate, it's not because they're not speaking. Or because John Horgan, Rachel Notley, Justin Trudeau and Steven Kean have drowned them out. They're still making themselves heard where it's likely to matter most: the courts. Jason Proctor reports. (CBC)

Interior Secretary Downplays Possibility Of Drilling Off Of Oregon, Washington Coasts h
In congressional testimony Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said he has heard the strong opposition from the West Coast to the Trump administration's plan for offshore oil and gas drilling. He expressed doubt drilling would ever happen along the Pacific Northwest coast. Zinke appeared before a House Appropriations subcommittee for a review of the Interior Department's budget. Olympic Peninsula Congressman Derek Kilmer, D-Washington, quizzed Zinke on offshore drilling. "I'm hoping I can ask you today if you are prepared to announce that you'll withdraw our state from consideration,” Kilmer said. Zinke said he would keep all coastal states in the planning process until it plays out. But then he basically said don't worry about it. Tom Banse reports. (KNKX)

The Secret Language of Ships    

Signs and symbols on the sides of ships tell stories about an industry few outsiders understand. Erin Van Rheenen reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Scott Pruitt’s Idea to Update an E.P.A. Keepsake: Less E.P.A., More Pruitt
When Scott Pruitt wanted to refashion the Environmental Protection Agency’s “challenge coin” — a type of souvenir medallion with military origins that has become a status symbol among civilians — he proposed an unusual design: Make it bigger, and delete the E.P.A. logo. Mr. Pruitt instead wanted the coin to feature some combination of symbols more reflective of himself and the Trump administration. Among the possibilities: a buffalo, to evoke Mr. Pruitt’s native Oklahoma, and a Bible verse to reflect his faith. Other ideas included using the Great Seal of the United States — a design similar to the presidential seal — and putting Mr. Pruitt’s name around the rim in large letters, according to Ronald Slotkin, a career E.P.A. employee who retired this year, and two people familiar with the proposals who asked to remain anonymous because they said they feared retribution. Lisa Friedman and Kenneth P. Vogel report. (NY Times)

More layoffs at the already depleted Seattle P-I
SeattlePi.com, the remaining lifeboat from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s dramatic 2009 collapse, will lose a third of its already depleted editorial staff. In what its owner, the Hearst Corporation, views as a reorganization, two employees were laid off and one resigned, according to a source close to the recent events. One other employee recently departed and a fifth will leave at the end of the week, Crosscut was told. When the dust settles, the local news website will have just seven remaining staff. It’s another chapter in the outlet’s decline from around 160 staffers in 2009, to about 20 who moved to SeattlePi.com when the newspaper folded, to the skin and bones team still remaining. David Kroman reports. (Crosscut)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  245 AM PDT Thu Apr 12 2018  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT  
TODAY
 S wind to 10 kt becoming NE 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at 13 seconds. Showers  likely.
TONIGHT
 SW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SE after midnight. Wind  waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 12 ft at 15 seconds. Showers 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter.

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

4/11 Arthur Foss, no discharge, BC pipe, Pleasant Harbor, Dungeness oyster farm, Sunset Falls, ocean heat, oil eater, LIDAR, Vancouver waste, Pruitt's threats

The Arthur Foss [Gabriel Campanario]
Meet the Seattle tugboat that made history across three centuries: the Arthur Foss
How much do you know about this vessel?….. Just consider its resume. It towed sailing ships on the Columbia River in the 1890s, transported supply barges to mining camps in Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush just before the turn of the century, and served in the Pacific during World War II, just to name a few highlights. Oh, and it provided service during the construction of landmark transportation projects like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Lake Washington floating bridges.  Seattle Sketcher Gabriel Campanario writes and sketches. (Seattle Times)

New Rule Bans Vessels From Releasing Sewage Into Puget Sound
Recreational and commercial vessels will not be able to release treated or untreated sewage into Puget Sound waters under new rules approved by the state. The Department of Ecology on Monday officially designated a new "no discharge zone" in Puget Sound to improve water quality and protect shellfish beds and swimming beaches from harmful bacteria. Under rules that begin May 10, boats will not be allowed to pump sewage, whether treated or not, into waters in an area that extends from near Sequim to south Puget Sound to the Canadian border. Lake Washington is included. Boats would need to use a pump-out station or wait until they are out of the zone. There are dozens of such zones across the country, but this is the first in Washington state. (Associated Press)

Trans Mountain pipeline: Politicians feud, Alberta says it's prepared to take over project
The Trudeau government held an emergency cabinet meeting Tuesday aimed at salvaging the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion but did not come up with plan — at least not one ministers are prepared to talk about yet. Hours earlier, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley upped the ante, saying Alberta is not only prepared to invest in the pipeline, it is prepared to take it over entirely if need be. But federal ministers had nothing to say about how their government might convince — or force — British Columbia to back off and allow the pipeline to proceed. (Canadian Press)

Jefferson commissioners hear views on Pleasant Harbor Resort at public hearing
Jefferson County commissioners heard an earful at a public hearing on the proposed 265-acre Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort development agreement. Close to 70 residents of Brinnon, Quilcene, Port Ludlow and Port Townsend, along with area tribal members, voiced their opinions to the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners during a meeting Monday night in the Superior Court courtroom that lasted more than 3½ hours, with about 120 people in attendance. No action was taken on the controversial project proposed for the Black Point Peninsula 2 miles south of Brinnon that has been under consideration for a decade. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Concerns raised over Dungeness Spit oyster farm application
New concerns over the possible permitting of an oyster aquaculture farm within the Dungeness Spit Wildlife Refuge have been raised by the Department of the Interior, which manages the refuge. In a letter written to Steve Gray, the Clallam County Deputy Director and Planning Manager, Jennifer Brown-Scott, the Project Leader for the Department of the Interior,has raised significant questions about issues concerning the application. Of concern to the Department are a number of issues relating to wildlife in the refuge. Al Bergstein writes. (Olympic Peninsula Environmental News)

No Hydropower At Sunset Falls: Controversial Skykomish River Project Canceled
A hydroelectric project that threatened to diminish scenic waterfalls on the South Fork of the Skykomish River near Index will not be built. "We are not filing the final license application," confirmed Snohomish County PUD spokesman Neil Neroutsos. Controversy had swirled around the Sunset Falls hydro project since it was first proposed by the PUD seven years ago. Signs with the slogan “No Dam Way” went up around the area in Index as locals banded together to oppose it. And the environmental group American Rivers listed the South Fork of the Skykomish as one of the nation’s most endangered rivers in 2012 and 2017. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Ocean heat waves becoming more common, longer, new study finds
Heat waves in the planet's oceans are happening more frequently and lasting longer than they did a century ago, a new study shows. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, brought together scientists from Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia to examine ocean temperature data dating back to 1900. Marine heat waves occur when temperatures are higher than expected and remain high over a period of at least five days. Frances Willick reports. (CBC)

Oil-eating bacterium could help slurp up spills
Cleaning up oil spills is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Now, that somebody might turn out to be a hungry little bacterium named Alcanivorax borkumensis, which is known to chow down on the hydrocarbons that make up oil. Researchers at the INRS in Canada have isolated the key enzymes that A. borkumensis uses, and put them to work cleaning soil samples in the lab. Michael Irving reports. (New Atlas)

Skagit County has new view of local geology thanks to maps
Skagit County announced Monday the release of lidar [light detection and ranging] maps of the area. They were produced in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey. The county and USGS collected data from 2016 to 2017 to produce the maps, according to a news release. Lidar data is collected by plane. The lidar data could help the county with flood modeling and understanding the risk of landslides — which became of heightened interest following the nearby deadly Oso landslide in 2014. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Vancouver seeking public input to reduce plastic bags, straws and coffee cups
If the City of Vancouver has its way, plastic bags and disposable take-out containers could soon be just a distant memory. The municipality is holding an open house Tuesday night to share its Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy,  part of a plan to reduce items such as plastic bags, straws and coffee cups…. Each week, more than two million plastic bags and two million disposable cups are thrown in the garbage in Vancouver. Single-use items cost Vancouver taxpayers about $2.5 million per year to collect from public waste bins and to clean up as litter, the city estimates. A draft of the city's waste reduction strategy was recently published. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

E.P.A. Assesses Threats on Twitter to Justify Pruitt’s Spending
The Environmental Protection Agency has been examining posts on Twitter and other social media about Scott Pruitt, the agency’s administrator, to justify his extraordinary and costly security measures, which have included first-class travel and full-time protection even on personal trips to Disneyland, the Rose Bowl and college basketball games, according to interviews and agency and congressional documents. The social media efforts have come under scrutiny by some Democratic lawmakers, as well as senior officials at the E.P.A., who said the review had uncovered individuals sounding off against Mr. Pruitt but had found no actionable threats against him. One top E.P.A. official said in an interview that he had objected to the efforts when they were first discussed last year, to no avail.  Eric Lipton, Lisa Friedman and Kenneth P. Vogel report. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  223 AM PDT Wed Apr 11 2018
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT  
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 2 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 10 ft at 12 seconds. Rain in the morning then  showers and a chance of tstms in the afternoon.
TONIGHT
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell 10  ft at 12 seconds. A chance of tstms in the evening. Showers  likely.

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