Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2/21 Oystercatcher, Vancouver port risks, net pens, marine mammals, BC pipe, kids sue WA state, offshore oil, Quendall Terminals superfund, NEPA, B'ham port, sewage spill

Black oystercatcher [USFWS]
Black oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani
Rocky coasts, sea islets. Found at all seasons along rocky shorelines, especially on small offshore islands where predators are fewer; chooses areas with abundant shellfish and other marine life. In winter, also commonly found on mudflats close to rocky coastlines, but uses mudflats less in summer. Still widespread along Pacific Coast, numerous in some areas. Vulnerable to effects of oil spills and other pollution in intertidal zone. Also very vulnerable to disturbance at nesting sites. (Audubon Field Guide)

Environment Canada strikes potential death blow to port’s expansion
Environment officials have struck a potential death blow to the Port of Vancouver’s $2-billion container expansion in South Delta, saying the risks to a significant migratory population of western sandpipers are simply too great for the project to proceed. A written response from Environment and Climate Change Canada to the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency (CEAA) describes the predicted impact of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project on hundreds of thousands of sandpipers as “potentially high in magnitude, permanent, irreversible, and, continuous.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Remember NAFTA? It might keep Atlantic salmon farms in Puget Sound
The Canadian owner of an Atlantic salmon farm that collapsed last summer near Anacortes vows to use the North American Free Trade Agreement to save its fish farms in Puget Sound. New Brunswick, Canada-based Cooke Aquaculture says it will pursue mandatory arbitration under NAFTA if the Washington legislature tries to phase out Atlantic salmon farming. Both chambers in Olympia have passed bills that would phase out farming of Atlantic salmon in Washington waters. If legislators reconcile the bills’ differences, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the phase-out of Atlantic salmon farming into law. Company vice president Joel Richardson said Cooke has been willing to compromise, even offering to raise only female fishes in order to prevent escaped Atlantic salmon from spawning and taking over wild salmon streams. John Ryan reports. (kUOW)

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. Tribal leaders as well as the Puget Sound Leadership Council, the governing body of the state’s Puget Sound Partnership, are calling for a study of “targeted management” of seals and sea lions that would include a look at potential revisions to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The resolution is spurred by recent scientific findings that say harbor seals are flourishing to the point that they and, to a lesser extent, sea lions may be harming the size of populations of young Chinook in Puget Sound. Derrick Nunnally reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Environment minister blasted for dinner with anti-pipeline activists
The B.C. Liberals are questioning whether the province’s environment minister shared information about the NDP government’s opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in a way that swung the stock market. The province announced on Jan. 30 that it would limit the amount of diluted bitumen that can be transported by pipeline or rail until it can do further research on spill cleanup. That same day, Environment Minister George Heyman ate dinner with a “Kinder Morgan Strategy Group” at a two-day retreat on Bowen Island, which was attended by opponents of the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain project. Nick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

13 kids sue Washington state for life, liberty and a livable climate
Thirteen kids are suing the state of Washington and its governor to protect their generation from climate change. The plaintiffs range in age from 7 to 17. Their suit, filed Friday in King County Superior Court, says Gov. Jay Inslee and state agencies are violating the constitutional rights of a generation by continuing to let dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide into the sky. "They are not taking nearly enough action to fight climate change, which my generation is going to suffer from," 16-year-old plaintiff Jamie Margolin of Seattle said. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Does Pacific Northwest have any offshore oil to drill for? 
The Trump administration’s plan to open up the Washington and Oregon’s outer continental shelf to offshore oil exploration has angered many Northwest officials, Republicans included. But a simple question has been lost in the rhetoric. Is there any recoverable oil there, and is it enough to attract oil companies? Much like everything with a political bent, one can find differing opinions to that answer. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) 2016 assessment estimates there’s about 400 million barrels of oil in the outer continental shelf off Washington and Oregon. It also estimates the same area contains 2.28 trillion cubic feet of gas. That seems like a lot, but they are small in light of U.S daily use of oil — about 20 million barrels — and by comparison to other suspected oil reserves: BOEM says there’s 120 times more oil as yet untapped in the Gulf of Mexico (48 billion barrels) and 25 times more untapped oil off the California coast (10 billion barrels). Jackson Hogan reports. (Daily News- Longview)

Renton’s Quendall Terminals On EPA’s Superfund Redevelopment Focus List
Superfund sites are a high priority for the Environmental Protection Agency under Administrator Scott Pruitt. He has put 21 of them on a Redevelopment Focus List, to accelerate cleanup. Two of those are in Washington and one is in the Puget Sound region, in Renton.  Quendall Terminals is the largest undeveloped waterfront parcel left on Lake Washington. It’s 22 acres on the southeastern shore, covered with blackberry bushes and alders, just south of the Seahawks training facility and just off Exit 7 of I-405. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

The Pentagon Is Using an Environmental Law Meant to Protect Us, Against Us
…. Karen Sullivan, a retired endangered species biologist, cofounded the West Coast Action Alliance, which acts as a watchdog of naval activities in the Pacific Northwest. Sullivan has compiled a document that she believes to be akin to a DOD "NEPA Playbook," which she shared with Truthout. The pattern Sullivan sees the DOD use to insure its operations or trainings are never held up or denied by NEPA begins with the military always finding, in its environmental assessments, that its activities will have "no significant impact" on the environment or civilians. Sullivan explained how in October 2017, she asked the Navy to provide examples within the last 10 years in the Pacific Northwest region where, during an environmental assessment (EA) process for any of their requests, impacts were determined to be significant. In such a case, the Navy would need to begin an environmental impact statement (EIS) process. Sullivan told Truthout that a Navy spokesperson told her, "There have been no regional Navy projects over the past 10 years that stopped an EA process, and elevated it to become an EIS process." (Truthout)

The Port has picked a waterfront design. Next stop: city approval
The Port of Bellingham has decided to make a public park a key feature of its new downtown waterfront design. Port commissioners voted 3-0 on Tuesday to approve the Waypoint Connection, a design that makes Waypoint Park the starting point for the secondary trail park that meanders south to Cornwall Beach. Port staff will now finish the changes in the form of an amendment to the waterfront plans and submit it to the city, which will go through its own review process. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Sewage overflow affects Port Washington Narrows
A no-contact advisory was issued Monday for Port Washington Narrows and Phinney Bay following a sewage spill in the area of Anderson Cove. A power outage caused a combined sewage and stormwater overflow in the city of Bremerton sewage system Sunday, according to a notice from Kitsap Public Health District. About 4,600 gallons were spilled. The no-contact advisory will remain in effect through Friday. Signs have been posted at public access points advising people to stay out of the water. Shellfish harvests are already closed in the area due to ongoing pollution. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  816 PM PST Tue Feb 20 2018  
WED  E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE to 10 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 14 seconds. A chance of  snow in the afternoon.
 E wind to 10 kt becoming NE after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 13 seconds. Snow likely in  the evening then a chance of snow after midnight.

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