Wednesday, January 24, 2018

1/24 Urchin, orca protection, shellfish upgrade, PFAS, farm stink, no ocean drilling, Sanchi oil, military land use, Skagit eagles

Red sea urchin (Wikipedia)
Red Sea Urchin Strongylocentrotus franciscanus
The Red Sea Urchin is a Sea Urchin found in the Pacific ocean, from Alaska to Baja California. It lives in shallow waters from the low-tide line to 90 m deep, and is typically found on rocky shores that are sheltered from extreme wave action. The animals have a mouth with special jaws (Aristotle's Lantern) located on the bottom (oral) surface. Their preferred diet is seaweeds, kelp and algae, which they scrape off and tear up from the sea floor. During larval development, urchins use bands of cilia to capture food from the water column. Sea Urchins are often found living in clumps from five to ten. They have the ability to regenerate lost spines. Lifespan often exceeds 30 years, and scientists have found some specimens to be over 200 years old. (Puget Sound Wiki)

Mind Your Boat Speed, Leave Drone At Home Around Endangered Killer Whales
In Olympia, state lawmakers are considering stronger protections for the critically endangered population of resident killer whales. A proposal to require boaters to slow down to no more than seven knots within 400 yards of orcas drew universal praise during an initial public hearing Tuesday. Democratic Senator Kevin Ranker, the bill’s prime sponsor, said slower boats equal quieter boats…. Ranker's proposal would also forbid recreational aircraft and drones from approaching closer than 200 yards to an endangered orca. That's the same standoff distance required of whale watching boats. The state Senate bill also proposes to increase spending on marine patrols to enforce the distance and speed limits. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

These Birch Bay shellfish beds have been closed for 10 years. Here’s why they’re reopening
 The state has reopened 129 acres in Birch Bay to shellfish harvesting after years of work to clean up fecal coliform pollution. Harvesting in the water around the mouth of Terrell Creek had been closed to shellfish harvesting since 2008 because of high counts of the bacteria in the creek, according to the Whatcom County Public Works Department. Years of cleanup effort led the Washington state Department of Health to allow shellfish harvesting to once again occur year-round. The agency upgraded the shellfish beds on Jan. 16. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Washington Lawmakers Propose Banning Controversial Class Of Chemicals
The Washington state House Environment Committee hosted public hearings Tuesday on two bills that would restrict a class of chemicals found in everything from firefighting retardant to food wrappers. Perflourinated (PFAS) chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems, from endocrine disruption to cancer. For decades, PFAS chemicals have been used in firefighting foams on military air strips nationwide. One bill before legislators would ban the use of those chemicals in firefighting activities. Emily Schwing reports. (KNKX)

Farm blamed for sickening stink repeatedly violated environmental orders
A South Surrey farm at the centre of controversy over a mysterious odour has violated repeated orders under B.C.'s Environmental Management Act, according to the province. Infractions have been piling up against Border Feedlot Co. going back 20 years when the owners were first fined with polluting a nearby river. Since then, the Ministry of Environment has issued multiple warning letters to the operation on 172 Street and Eighth Avenue. Neighbours believe the pervasive odour permeating the community is harming their health and, in a complaint, say foul-smelling "diarrhea-coloured" effluent is hurting Little Campbell River. Tanya Fletcher reports. (CBC)

Council unanimously opposes coastal oil and gas drilling
The Ocean Shores City Council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution that opposes offshore oil and gas activities off the coast in response to a pending Trump administration proposal to permit drilling in most U.S. continental-shelf waters. “Our Washington coast is one of the most wonderful places in this entire world,” said Ocean Shores Mayor Crystal Dingler. “We need to be the protectors of our coast. We need the ones who pay attention because others may or may not do that.” Of particular concern is the use of so-called seismic airgun blasting in exploration. Angelo Bruscas reports. North Coast News)

The World Has Never Seen an Oil Spill Like This
Over the last two weeks, the maritime world has watched with horror as a tragedy has unfolded in the East China Sea. A massive Iranian tanker, the Sanchi, collided with a Chinese freighter carrying grain. Damaged and adrift, the tanker caught on fire, burned for more than a week, and sank. All 32 crew members are presumed dead. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities and environmental groups have been trying to understand the environmental threat posed by the million barrels of hydrocarbons that the tanker was carrying. Because the Sanchi was not carrying crude oil, but rather condensate, a liquid by-product of natural gas and some kinds of oil production. According to Alex Hunt, a technical manager at the London-based International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation, which assists with oil spills across the world, there has never been a condensate spill like this. Alexis C. Madrigal reports. (The Atlantic)

Jefferson commissioners worry over military, land-use bills
Jefferson County commissioners expressed concern Monday over state legislation they said would allow commanders of military bases to veto county and city land-use decisions…. The bills — House Bill 2341 and its companion, Senate Bill 6456 — apply to “lands where development may interfere with the installation’s ability to carry out its current or future mission requirements.” The House bill’s primary sponsor is Rep. Kristine Reeves, D-Federal Way. State Sen. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma, is sponsoring the Senate bill. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Though downsized, Skagit River bald eagle survey continues
Carrying maps, binoculars and data sheets, the U.S. Forest Service’s Tanya Kitterman and Phyllis Reed drove Friday along a scenic stretch of the Skagit River, making several stops to scan the trees for bald eagles….
The eagles are drawn to the Skagit and other area rivers in pursuit of chum salmon that swim upstream during the winter to spawn and die. Eagles are scavengers that pick the dead fish off the riverbanks. In recent years, the number of chum returning to the Skagit River to spawn has been low, and some floods early in the spawning season have washed the dead fish downstream. Forest Service and National Park Service staff said that’s why the past few winters more of the eagles have been found on the Nooksack River to the north and in the lower reaches of the Skagit River watershed. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  258 AM PST Wed Jan 24 2018  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM PST THIS MORNING
 
TODAY
 SW wind 15 to 25 kt in the morning becoming 5 to 15 kt.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft in the morning becoming 2 ft or less. SW  swell 9 ft at 10 seconds. Rain in the morning then a chance of  showers in the afternoon.
TONIGHT
 SE wind to 10 kt becoming S 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight. SW swell 8 ft at 10 seconds. Showers.

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