Thursday, February 8, 2018

2/8 Coot, BC pipe, cetacean capture ban, WN Seaport clean air, PS herring, ocean acid, bag ban, melting permafrost, Yamashita film

Coot feet [Ken Slade/BirdNote]
American Coots settle onto lakes and estuaries, forming rafts of hundreds, even thousands, of birds. They like to feed on aquatic vegetation, and sometimes they lumber ashore to nibble at grasses and agricultural crops. The coot's lobed toes help it swim and maneuver under water. To get airborne, the coot requires a long, running takeoff. (BirdNote)

Kinder Morgan president wants quick resolution to B.C.-Alberta trade dispute
The president of Kinder Morgan Canada says he never wanted to be in the middle of an interprovincial trade dispute. Speaking the day after Premier Rachel Notley announced Alberta would no longer import B.C. wine — in reaction to British Columbia's restriction of diluted bitumen shipments — Ian Anderson said he hoped the standoff would be solved soon so that his company's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project could continue apace…. "I drink B.C. wine myself so I'm not going to be having any anytime soon if this continues." Christine Coulter reports. (CBC)

Trudeau government will insist on ultimate authority over fate of pipeline in B.C
As the governments of Alberta and British Columbia clash over oil and wine, federal officials are carrying a forceful message in their discussions with the two provinces. "The key message [is] that we want to help bring the temperature down," a senior Liberal, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CBC News, "but ultimately the federal government will not allow any province to impinge on its jurisdiction over the national interest. Full stop." Aaron Wherry reports. (CBC)

Ottawa to ban capture of dolphins, whales
As part of its sweeping overhaul of fisheries legislation, the federal government will ban the capture of cetaceans, marine mammals like whales, dolphins and porpoises. The change, just one sentence buried in the 76-page fisheries reform bill, is a victory for animal welfare activists who have long argued holding these highly intelligent creatures in a tank is cruel and a perverse form of entertainment. While others, including the Marineland amusement park in Niagara Falls, Ont., have said such a move would devastate attendance — and threaten conservation efforts — at theme parks where these animals are on display…. Bill C-68, introduced on Tuesday, allows the minister to make exemptions for cetaceans that are injured and those that need to be rehabilitated. There are only two facilities in Canada, Marineland and the Vancouver Aquarium, that currently hold these mammals. The Vancouver Aquarium, which has long maintained captivity serves both scientific and educational purposes, recently said it would no longer display whales or dolphins at its facility as protests over captivity have become a "distraction" for the business. John Paul Tasker reports. (CBC)

Port Extends Clean Air Compliance Deadline After Testimony From Short-Haul Truckers
Clean air regulations that have been in the works for a decade are proving too tough to implement for thousands of short-haul truckers who call on the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma. In a unanimous vote Tuesday, The Northwest Seaport Alliance extended the deadline for compliance. Dozens of short-haul truckers stayed away from work and instead packed the joint meeting of port commissioners to explain their concerns. The drivers were supposed to meet federal clean air rules by the start of this year with engines that date from 2007 or later. But about half of the more than 4,000 drivers here have not done so. The port commissioners extended the deadline to April 1. Drivers can also get an extension until the end of the year by showing they’re in the process of upgrading. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

New Puget Sound herring research
Herring may not be the most charismatic species in Puget Sound. They don’t breach dramatically out of the water. Fish mongers don’t throw them through the air at Pike Place Market. They find their strength in numbers, schooling around by the thousands and serving as food for other creatures like seabirds, salmon and seals. But if it weren’t for these small, unsung fish, the Salish Sea might be a very different place. Herring and other so-called forage fish — named for their role as important food (forage) for other species — are foundational to the Salish Sea food web. They are so critical that the Puget Sound Partnership has identified them as a ‘Vital Sign’ for the health of the ecosystem. And that is why many scientists are worried. Some populations of Puget Sound herring are in dangerous decline. There are also major gaps in our knowledge of their ecology and life history. (Puget Sound Institute)

Acid Test: UW focuses on climate change and ocean acidification
Everyone in an entire building at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Labs on San Juan Island is focused on one thing: ocean acidification. They call it the OA lab, and it's currently using a small ocean observatory in the harbor to monitor the acidification of the water, everything from carbon dioxide in the water to oxygen to temperature. It turns out the inland waters of the Northwest, often collectively referred to as the Salish Sea, are naturally one of the more acidic parts of the oceans, and is considered a good place to learn about the unfolding problem of acidification, and how it affects marine life. Ocean acidification is tied to climate change, because as more carbon pours into the atmosphere, some of it is absorbed into the world's oceans, making it more acidic. (KING)

Port Angeles City Council considers plastic bag ban
Let the plastic bag debate begin. The Port Angeles City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to direct staff to develop a proposal to ban plastic bags at stores within the city limits. The council will consider the ordinance after holding two public hearings on dates to be determined. A first reading of the ordinance is tentatively scheduled for March 6, City Clerk Jennifer Veneklasen said Wednesday. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Melting Arctic Permafrost Could Release Tons of Toxic Mercury
Scientists have uncovered another hidden threat buried in the icy frozen north—massive natural reserves of mercury, a toxic heavy metal that in some forms can build up in fish and other animals and cause serious health problems in humans. A study published Monday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters reports that the amount of natural mercury bound up in Arctic permafrost may be 10 times greater than all the mercury humans have pumped into the atmosphere from coal-burning and other pollution sources over the last 30 years. As climate change warms the land, this thawing permafrost could release significant quantities of mercury back into the environment, potentially allowing far more of the pollutant to build up in the atmosphere and the food web. Craig Welch reports. (National Geographic)

Film documents immigrant’s rescue of state’s oyster industry
What was supposed to be a short historical tribute to retired oysterman Jerry Yamashita, 95, of Seattle, took on a different meaning once Leaping Frog Films got into the project. “Ebb & Flow — A Japanese family, an oyster and how they influenced Pacific Northwest history,” a 77-minute film,“is the evolution of a much bigger story. It’s a life story, a family story, and a historical look at something that could have been lost,” said Shelly Solomon, co-founder of Leaping Frogs Films with Kent Cornwell….The film tells the story of the Yamashita family, its struggles and triumphs, and its role in the West Coast shellfish industry. It will be screened at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Little Theater on the Peninsula College campus at 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles. Keith Thorpe reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  239 AM PST Thu Feb 8 2018  
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 6 ft  at 11 seconds. A chance of rain in the morning then a chance of  showers in the afternoon.
 W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming NW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 8 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of showers  in the evening.

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