Wednesday, February 14, 2018

2/14 Stormwater, Trump's budget, steelhead extinction, beating Big Oil, bitumen, sperm whale, Kelly's Pt, sewage spill

Leafy hornmouth [Univ. of California]
Leafy Hornmouth Ceratostoma foliatum
Distinctive snail found on rocks in areas of strong currents. Outlandish shell has three leafy wings extending along the body, especially near the opening. Grows to three inches; feeds by drilling into barnacles and mussels. (Marine Life of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

Polluted Stormwater Damages Fish's Ability to Survive
Each time it rained during an eight-week period in the winter of 2015, someone from Jenifer McIntyre’s team drove up to Seattle and collected stormwater near the Highway 520 bridge across Lake Washington. It was a rainy stretch, so that meant 25 trips. After each trip, McIntyre says, “we would bring the dirty runoff to the fish” — the larval fish the team was rearing in Indianola on the eastern side of Puget Sound  — “and expose them to that for 24 or 48 hours.” The researchers were trying to figure out whether or not stormwater affects fish even before they hatch. And they learned that it does: When fish grow up in stormwater instead of clean water, they go out into the world less equipped to survive. The study, published this week in Scientific Reports, a Nature research journal, found that fish reared in stormwater emerged from their eggs with fewer of the hair-like sensors they rely on to sense predators and prey. Eilis O'Neill reports. (KUOW/EarthFix)

Trump Budget Would Zero Out Funding For Puget Sound Recovery, Again 
Members of Congress who represent Puget Sound are pushing back against the Trump administration’s budget for 2019 in part because it would zero out all federal funding for cleanup and recovery of the iconic ecosystem. The proposal cuts all funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s geographic program for Puget Sound, as well as for a national estuary program and for Pacific salmon recovery through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries. The administration says it wants local governments to take on the responsibility and continue recovery efforts. The missing money totals more than $30 million, says Sheida Sahandy, Executive Director of the state’s Puget Sound Partnership, which coordinates cleanup.  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Two B.C. steelhead runs at imminent risk of extinction
The Chilcotin and Thompson River steelhead trout are at “imminent risk of extinction,” according to a committee of scientists that advises the federal government. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has recommended an emergency listing order under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). Both runs have been assessed as “endangered.” This year, 57 steelhead reached spawning grounds in the Chilcotin River system and 177 in the Thompson. The COSEWIC assessment employed a seldom-used fast-track process to expedite their recommendations to Catherine McKenna, the federal minister of environment. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

How A Grassroots Effort In Vancouver Fought Big Oil — And Won 
Early this year, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said no to a massive oil-by-rail terminal proposed in Vancouver, Washington. The $210 million Vancouver Energy project, a joint venture from Tesoro and Savage, would have brought up to 360,000 gallons of crude oil a day on trains traveling along the Columbia River. The proposal would have been the largest oil-by-rail terminal in the country. The companies have spent the last four years working through the state’s regulatory process. Along the way, they’ve encountered a wave of local, grassroots opposition. Such opposition is common against fossil fuel ventures on the West Coast, but what sets Vancouver apart is the community’s ability to keep up the pressure for years. Molly Solomon reports. (OPB)

B.C.’s plan to restrict the transport of bitumen not illegal — yet: legal expert
B.C.’s plan to restrict the transport of bitumen in the province, impacting Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline project, is not illegal — at least not yet — a University of B.C. legal expert said Tuesday. Jocelyn Stacey, assistant professor in the Peter A. Allard School of Law, noted that the details of the NDP government’s plan are not yet known, but said it could ultimately be challenged by the Alberta government or Kinder Morgan before the National Energy Board. Stacey said the B.C. government could bring a “reference case” to the courts in this province, a way of obtaining a legal opinion on the constitutionality of its restriction. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Canada will do what it must to keep B.C. from blocking Trans Mountain: Carr   Mia Rabson reports. (Canadian Press)

Sperm whale spotted in B.C. strait for 1st time in decades
The booming clicks coming from an underwater microphone placed in the waters of B.C.'s Johnstone Strait could only have been one animal — a sperm whale. When cetacean ecologist Jared Towers and his colleagues first heard the calls from the mammal travelling through the strait several days ago, they were shocked. The last time a sperm whale was confirmed on Vancouver Island's eastern coast was an audio recording in 1984. "Personally, I've worked and lived in this area almost all my life, over 30 years, and I've never known of a sperm whale sighting in this area or in any coastal waters of British Columbia," Towers told CBC News. But experts at Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed it was indeed a sperm whale, and on Monday Towers saw the young male cetacean in the flesh, hanging out near a group of transient killer whales. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Skagit Land Trust buys Guemes Island's Kelly's Point
A Guemes Island beach and bluff property that showcases the region’s geology will be permanently conserved thanks to a Skagit Land Trust campaign that recently raised the $1.4 million needed to purchase it. Upon learning last year that the owner of the 27 acres of Guemes Island shoreline encompassing Kelly’s Point and Yellow Bluff was putting the property up for sale, the land trust began seeking money to cover the cost of buying and maintaining it. The trust wanted to prevent development on the property and keep the beloved pebble beach open to the public, as the owners had for many years. KImberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Sewage spill prompts advisory for Sinclair Inlet
Health officials are advising people to avoid contact with the water of Sinclair Inlet after 1,000 gallons of untreated sewage was spilled at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. The spill occurred between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, according to a notice from Kitsap Public Health District. The no-contact advisory remains in effect through Friday. Shellfish harvests are already closed in the inlet due to ongoing pollution.  (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  303 AM PST Wed Feb 14 2018  
TODAY
 NW wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 7 to  9 ft at 14 or 15 seconds. A slight chance of showers.
TONIGHT
 W wind 10 to 20 kt, becoming NE 10 kt or less. Wind  waves 1 to 3 ft, subsiding to 1 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 11  seconds.

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