Friday, January 19, 2018

1/19 Peanut worms, Van Aqua cetaceans, WA capital budget, MMPA, BC pipes, warmest year, farm fish escape, Brinnon resort, Trump's environment, Way of Whales

Agassiz's Peanut Worm (Dave Cowles)
Critter of the Month - The Peanut Worms
These animals are commonly called “peanut worms” because some have the general shape of peanuts (although we think cashew worms would be more fitting)…. Peanut Worms belong to the phylum Sipuncula (sy-PUN-kyoo-lah), meaning "little tube or siphon.” Recent genetic work, however, suggests that they might actually belong within, or closely related to, annelids…. Sipunculans are exclusively marine, with most species living in shallow water (we have collected them from depths ranging from 2-270 meters). Our Puget Sound species grow to be just a few centimeters long, but some species can reach half a meter in length…. Although sipunculans probably don’t taste anything like peanuts, there are parts of the world where they are considered a delicacy. In the Philippines, sipunculans are cooked with vinegar and spices, and in the town of Xiamen in the Fujian province of China, peanut worms are harvested on beaches and made into a street food called “sea worm jelly.” (WA Dept. of Ecology)

Salish Sea Communications: Are You Worried About The Bomb? I Am.
If the debacle of last Saturday’s nuke attack alert false alarm in Hawaii had happened a week earlier, we’d have been on the way to the airport to fly back to the Northwest. Makes me think about what I’d have felt in the 38-minute interval before the alert was rescinded….

Vancouver Aquarium will no longer keep whales, dolphins in captivity
The Vancouver Aquarium is giving up its fight to keep whales and dolphins in captivity, saying the heated public debate on the issue is hindering its conservation work. Staff at the non-profit attraction learned Thursday morning of the decision to end the cetacean program, according to CEO John Nightingale. "We absolutely believe in the value of whales and dolphins in engaging people," he told CBC News. "But you also have to be realistic, and it has gotten to the point where the debate in the community, with the lawyers, with the politicians ... is debilitating our work on our mission." Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Lawmakers pass water bill, $4 billion in construction
The state Legislature approved more than $4 billion in construction projects across the state after reaching a deal on a contentious water issue that had stalled the capital budget for months. The Senate and the House passed legislation Thursday night aimed at addressing issues in the state Supreme Court decision known as Hirst involving the use of domestic wells in rural areas. Lawmakers also approved a $4.2 billion construction spending plan that includes money for major projects across the state, including affordable housing, K-12 school buildings, mental health beds and public work projects. Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the measures. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Study would explore changes to protections for seals and sea lions
As wildlife managers work to recover Puget Sound’s diminished Chinook population, a proposed white paper is expected to review the impacts of some of the salmon's chief predators. The study would include a section on potential management of seals and sea lions, prompting open discussion of a long taboo subject: Could officials seek to revise the Marine Mammal Protection Act — or even conduct lethal or non-lethal removal of seals and sea lions in some cases? Such actions are hypothetical, but we look at some of the ongoing discussions around the issue as prompted by a new resolution from the Puget Sound Leadership Council. Derrick Nunnally reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

New dispute resolution rules for Trans Mountain pipeline permits company to skirt local rules, says critic
An environmental lawyer says the National Energy Board's new process for resolving permitting issues gives Kinder Morgan the ability to circumvent local rules for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.  The NEB said Thursday it has established a process to resolve future permitting issues between the builders of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and provincial and municipal authorities. Lawyer Eugene Kung with West Coast Environmental Law described the announcement as disappointing, but said it fits into a pattern of the NEB accommodating Kinder Morgan's demands. Kung said the request for an expedited process shows the company is expecting difficulties in the future. Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

TransCanada forges ahead on B.C. gas pipeline, hits resistance
TransCanada is forging ahead with a revamped plan to build a $1.4-billion North Montney Mainline gas pipeline despite the death of the LNG project in northwest B.C. that had underpinned its construction. The pipeline project — now aimed at the North American market — enters National Energy Board hearings next week. Following the hearings in Calgary and Dawson Creek, scheduled to end on Feb. 1, the NEB can take about three months to make a decision. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

2017 'warmest year without El Niño' 
Manmade climate change is now dwarfing the influence of natural trends on the climate, scientists say. Last year was the second or third hottest year on record - after 2016 and on a par with 2015, the data shows. But those two years were affected by El Niño - the natural phenomenon centred on the tropical Pacific Ocean which works to boost temperatures worldwide. Take out this natural variability and 2017 would probably have been the warmest year yet, the researchers say.  Roger Harrabin reports. (BBC)

‘Fouling’ creatures are new suspects in great Atlantic salmon escape
Washington state officials are looking at some new suspects in the collapse of an Atlantic salmon farm: sea creatures clogging the floating structure’s nets. Nets from the fish farm off Cypress Island were heavy with marine life like mussels, sea anemones and algae, according to eyewitness accounts and underwater videos obtained by KUOW. Such “biofouling” can amplify the force of tidal currents as they push through the mesh of underwater net-pens. The salmon farm broke away from its moorings on two occasions in July after strong tidal currents swept past Cypress Island. It collapsed altogether in August, letting 160,000 Atlantic salmon escape into Puget Sound. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Draft plan reviewed for proposed Brinnon resort
The Jefferson County commissioners and planning commissioners took a look at a draft developments agreement for the long-planned resort in Brinnon this week. The proposed Pleasant Harbor Resort, which would be on 252-acres on the Black Point Peninsula 2 miles south of Brinnon, has been controversial since it was first proposed in 2006. The plan has been reduced for environmental and cultural concerns, said Patricia Charnas, director of the county Department of Community Development. “The original Master Planned Resort shrunk from 1,200 [residential] units to the 890 you see,” she told commissioners Tuesday. “The golf course was reduced from 18 holes to nine.” Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

One year in, Trump's environmental agenda is already taking a measurable toll
…. One year into the Trump administration’s unrelenting push to dilute and disable clean air and water policies, the impact is being felt in communities across the country. Power plants have been given expanded license to pollute, the dirtiest trucks are being allowed to remain on the roads and punishment of the biggest environmental scofflaws is on the decline…. under EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the air and the water are already being affected as the administration tinkers with programs obscure to most Americans, with names like “Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for Steam Electric Power Plants” and “Air Quality Designations for Ozone.” Evan Halper reports. (LA Times)

Way of Whales Workshop 2018
Orca Network's annual Ways of Whales Workshop will be held this Saturday, 10:00 am until 4:30 pm at the Coupeville Middle School Performing Arts Center, 501 S. Main St, Coupeville, Whidbey Island, WA. On Sunday a special ‘Solutions to Captivity’ program will be held at Langley Whale Center 105 Anthes Avenue, from 11:00 to 12:30 pm. The event features Orca Network’s Howard Garrett who will discuss plans for Lolita/Tokitae’s retirement into a seapen; and Clive Martin from Orca Rescues Foundation, U.K. who will highlight developments with the Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary and the possible imminent release of captive dolphins to this project. Orca Network.

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  232 AM PST Fri Jan 19 2018  
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 19 ft  at 15 seconds subsiding to 15 ft at 14 seconds in the afternoon.  Showers.
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell  15 ft at 14 seconds. Showers.
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 14 ft at 14 seconds  subsiding to 11 ft at 13 seconds in the afternoon. Showers  likely.
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell  9 ft at 12 seconds building to 13 ft at 11 seconds after  midnight.
 S wind 10 to 20 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 14 ft at 11 seconds.

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

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