Friday, February 23, 2018

2/23 Sea otter, sea level rise, wine boycott, Pt Wells condos, Navy ops, salmon music, tidal power risks, Clean Water Act

Sea otters [Tony Trupp/Defenders of Wildlife]
Sea otter Enhydra lutris
Yesterday's item about river otters brought the following comment from Shawn Larson at the Seattle Aquarium and an editor of Sea Otter Conservation: "Sea otters do not come to land to give birth; they give birth in the water and never have to come to land even to rest although sometimes they do. They are true marine mammals with an amazing local history." From the book: "Sea otters are good indicators of ocean health. In addition, they are a keystone species, offering a stabilizing effect on ecosystem, controlling sea urchin populations that would otherwise inflict damage to kelp forest ecosystems. The kelp forest ecosystem is crucial for marine organisms and contains coastal erosion. With the concerns about the imperiled status of sea otter populations in California, Aleutian Archipelago and coastal areas of Russia and Japan, the last several years have shown growth of interest culturally and politically in the status and preservation of sea otter populations."

Northwest Coastal Wetlands Won't Survive High Sea Level Rise 
Over the next century, sea level rise is expected to wreak havoc on the U.S. coastlines – and a new analysis shows that the Northwest is not immune. Nearly all coastal wetlands in Oregon, Washington and California will be swamped at the highest predicted sea level change. Sea level rise is a byproduct of climate change. It happens as the world’s oceans warm and physically expand.  Melting glaciers and ice sheets are also contributing. New research from the U.S. Geological Survey gives the first ever insight to how specific bays, marshes and harbors will fare. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Alberta ends B.C. wine boycott after B.C. premier announces court action on pipeline standoff
The two-week boycott of B.C. wine by the Alberta government is over. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made the announcement on Thursday afternoon, an hour after B.C. Premier John Horgan said his government would turn to the courts on the question of whether it could implement a temporary ban on increased exports of bitumen from Alberta, the issue that sparked the disagreement. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Point Wells luxury condo project is running out of time
Snohomish County planners have signaled they might recommend against approving a controversial high-rise condo project at Point Wells, after denying the developer’s most recent request to extend a key deadline. A major decision about the project’s fate could wind up with the county hearing examiner, possibly in late spring. County planners have been asking BSRE Point Wells to resolve major issues with the 3,081-unit project. The developer has failed so far to show how it intends to meet requirements to double building height limits to 180 feet, planners said in October, and still needs to address parking and landslide concerns. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Navy to take feedback on special operations training plans through March 23 
The Navy has extended the public comment period on a draft environmental assessment for special operations training in Jefferson County to March 23. The comment period was set to expire Wednesday. On Tuesday, Jefferson County commissioners had agreed to send a letter requesting the comment period extension. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Tracking Salmon Migration Through Music
Salmon researchers are turning to sound to learn more about the fish they’re trying to understand. There is a lot of data about salmon out there, and that data is complex and hard to process. But researchers hope setting fish migration patterns into notes and tones can make it easier to analyze. Jens Hegg with the University of Idaho is the lead author of a study published in Heliyon. He wanted to distill the databases of salmon migration down to something that your brain can process more easily. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPB/EarthFix)

Measuring the Risks of Tidal Power
As the world seeks to cut its reliance on fossil fuels, scientists have been working to harness the forces of nature—from the sun and the wind to the waves and the tides—to produce reliable sources of renewable power. But just like the energy sources they seek to replace, such as carbon-spewing oil and coal, these new sources of green energy will inevitably cause some environmental damage. Skeptics and scientists have raised a range of hypothetical ways in which wave and tidal power infrastructure could hurt animals…. As with any new technology, it’s difficult to accurately gauge the actual threat posed by any of these imagined scenarios. That’s why Andrea Copping, an offshore energy expert at the US Department of Energy-funded Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, set out to assess the risks posed by common forms of ocean energy infrastructure. She finds that tidal turbine blades present the most immediate danger to wildlife, but impacts would be rare, and in most cases non-lethal. Ramin Skibba reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Federal waters rule gets batted around endlessly in the courtrooms 
Confusion is nothing new when it comes to figuring out whether federal agencies have jurisdiction over certain wetlands and intermittent streams under the Clean Water Act. And now the Trump administration has guaranteed that confusion will reign a while longer. Meanwhile, lawsuits — also nothing new to the Clean Water Act — continue to pile up at a rapid pace. Some argue that the confusion begins with the 1972 Clean Water Act itself, which requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue permits for any filling or dredging — which covers most development — within the “navigable waters” of the country. Congress defined “navigable waters” in a way that has generated much confusion and many lawsuits through the years: “The term ‘navigable waters’ means the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas,” the law states. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  838 PM PST Thu Feb 22 2018  
 S wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW 20 to 30 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 6 ft at 15 seconds. Rain  likely in the morning then rain in the afternoon.
 W wind 15 to 25 kt rising to 20 to 30 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 6 ft at 14 seconds  building to 9 ft at 10 seconds after midnight. Rain.
 NW wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 3 ft. W swell  12 ft at 11 seconds.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW 20 to 30 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 3 to 5 ft after  midnight. W swell 9 ft at 12 seconds.
 W wind 20 to 30 kt easing to 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 13 ft at 9 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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