Monday, March 19, 2018

3/19 Chinook, free Tokitae, BC pipe, kayaktivists, herring, Little Campbell R., PSE, offshore drilling, Poulsbo park, Pruitt's plan

Chinook salmon [Pacific NW National Lab]
Chinook (King) Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Chinook salmon are the largest of the Pacific salmon, with some individuals growing to more than 100 pounds. These huge fish are rare, as most mature chinook are under 50 pounds. Most chinook spawn in large rivers such as the Columbia and Snake, although they will also use smaller streams with sufficient water flow. They tend to spawn in the mainstem of streams, where the water flow is high. Because of their size they are able to spawn in larger gravel than most other salmon. Chinook spawn on both sides of the Cascade Range, and some fish travel hundreds of miles upstream before they reach their spawning grounds. Because of the distance, these fish enter streams early and comprise the spring and summer runs. Fall runs spawn closer to the ocean and more often use small coastal streams. All chinook reach their spawning grounds by fall, in time to spawn. (WDFW)

New blog: Can the Endangered Orca Whale Save the Sound? 
Washington Governor Jay Inslee this week directed state agencies to get serious about orca whale recovery: “The destiny of salmon and orca and we humans are intertwined... As the orca go, so go we." Will we rise to the challenge?

Lolita may never go free. And that could be what’s best for her, scientists say.
…. [O]ften lost in the well-meaning attempts to return Lolita home is one central question: Is freedom really what’s best for her? The orca, now about 50 years old, remains the last known survivor of the group of more than 50 whales captured 47 years ago. Since her mate died of a brain aneurysm in 1980, she has become the only solitary orca in captivity, where she lives in the smallest killer whale tank in the nation. As the years have passed, the likelihood of her return to the sea — and her ability to adjust to that change — has become less likely, said Russ Rector, a long-time marine mammal advocate. Lolita’s identity as a living being has been usurped, he said. Chabeli Herrera report. (Miami Herald)

Protesters arrested at Trans Mountain pipeline protest in Burnaby, B.C.
Police officers arrested a group of protesters who they said were violating the terms of an injunction recently granted to Kinder Morgan for its Trans Mountain pipeline work site in Burnaby, B.C. The protesters were at the project's Burnaby Terminal, where an indefinite injunction prohibits them from entering within five metres of the work site. A few dozen more protesters were there in support of those who willingly violated the injunction. According to protesters, about 30 people were arrested by Burnaby RCMP Saturday afternoon. (CBC)

Kayak activists in Seattle protest oil pipeline, tanker project
A flotilla of kayak activists took to the waters of Seattle's Elliott Bay Sunday, calling for better safety regulations of oil barges in the Salish Sea and to block the Kinder Morgan's Puget Sound oil pipeline through Washington state. About 30 "kayaktivists" with the group Mosquito Fleet surrounded a large oil barge near the Port of Seattle and held a large banner that read "Stop Kinder Morgan." (KING)

Saskatchewan would support Alberta's decision to turn off oil taps
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he'll stand by Alberta if the province decides to restrict oil exports to pressure British Columbia to abandon its opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Moe said he would "absolutely" encourage Rachel Notley, his Alberta counterpart, to cut off domestic exports of its oil…. Though Saskatchewan isn't connected to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, the delays in getting the $7.4 billion expansion completed are affecting rail shipments of grain and other products in and out of the province because a lot of oil is moving by train, Moe said.  Elise von Scheel reports. (CBC)

Huge False Creek herring spawn surprises conservationists
Six years ago, Jonn Matsen of the Squamish Streamkeepers Society and his group hung 2.8-square-metre, artificial spawning nets from Fisherman’s Wharf in False Creek, after seeing dead herring eggs attached to the creosote-soaked pilings that had taken place of local eelgrass beds when the dock was built.  In January of this year, 300 million of the plankton-feeding fish hatched and in February, another 300 million hatched from a second wave of spawning. “We thought that would be the end of it, but we got 700 million eggs in March and there was still a school of herring looking to spawn yesterday,” said Matsen. Nick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Development ‘threatens’ productive Little Campbell River in Surrey
The Little Campbell River is a hidden natural gem in a bursting metropolis of 2.5 million people. Every year, more than 5,000 salmon annually return to its waters, muscling their way up from the river mouth at Semiahmoo Bay near White Rock, surging beneath the bustling Highway 99 freeway, and splashing their way through a watershed spanning 72 square kilometres. For more than six decades, volunteer club members — 800, at last count — have lovingly cared for the Little Campbell under an omnipresent cloud of human encroachment…. Yet it could also be lost in a flash with rampant development, he warns. “This whole thing is at risk. We’re trying to hold our finger in the dam right now and stop it from being destroyed.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Community Group Opposes PSE’s ‘Energize Eastside’ Transmission Line Upgrade Project
A major upgrade to the electric grid along the eastern shores of Lake Washington is facing public opposition. Puget Sound Energy has plans to build a new substation and improve about 18 miles of existing transmission lines from Redmond to Renton. Cost estimates for the project range from $150-300 million. A community group says it’s expensive and unnecessary. Puget Sound Energy’s upgrade is called “Energize Eastside.” The utility says the population has grown 8-fold since the last major upgrade there more than 50 years ago.  Opponents have organized a group called CENSE, which stands for Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sensible Energy. They say the costly upgrade would take out hundreds of mature trees to make room for the new lines. And they say it’s unnecessary because newer technologies such as batteries could be used instead to handle peak loads. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

TransAlta unveils plans for solar site south of Bucoda
The former site of a coal mine could be producing solar power by the end of 2020, according to plans unveiled Tuesday by electricity provider TransAlta. The Calgary-based company has owned the site just south of Bucoda since 2000. The mine shut down in 2006, with reclamation work beginning the following year to restore it to forest and pasture land. Now, TransAlta believes it’s a prime location for its solar project. The plan, if approved, would be the largest solar project in Washington, entailing 300 jobs during construction and creating four permanent solar technician jobs. It’s expected to generate 180 megawatts of electricity, a figure that could change as plans adapt. Alex Brown reports. (Centralia Chronicle)

Western U.S. states disregard Trump to form united front with B.C. in fight against climate change
Governments from western U.S. states have been meeting with B.C's provincial government for 10 years as part of an initiative called the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) — but this year the U.S. governors seem to be putting more value on this cross-border relationship. Following the leaders' meeting Friday morning, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was particularly vocal about the need for collaboration, given what he sees as a lack of leadership coming from the White House…. The Pacific Coast Collaborative is an agreement between B.C., the state of Washington, the state of Oregon, and the state of California to work together on protecting the environment, boosting their respective economies, and as of this year, responding to the overdose crisis. Natasha Frakes reports. (CBC)

Offshore Oil and Gas Operators Want Less Regulation, but Surprise Inspections Find Serious Safety Problems
Faced with questions about its commitment to safety, the Interior Department sent teams to the Gulf of Mexico last week to inspect giant cranes used in offshore oil and gas operations that are a significant source of accidents. More than 50 inspectors, traveling on helicopters, conducted surprise inspections on about 40 offshore platforms and drilling rigs, said Jason Mathews, the head of offshore safety management for the Gulf of Mexico at the department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. The results were still being compiled, he said, but the inspectors found serious problems, including some that were potentially life threatening. “There are still some major incidents that are occurring, and we need to figure out why,” Mr. Mathews said on Friday. Eric Lipton reports. (NY Times)

Poulsbo eyes undeveloped property for new waterfront park
A tangled mess of vines and brush near the head of Liberty Bay could someday by the site of a new waterfront park. The city of Poulsbo accepted a $400,000 grant from the state’s Wildlife and Recreation Program this week, which when matched with $400,000 of the city’s own funds, will be used in an attempt to acquire the property – which sits off 5th Avenue NW, just east of the new Olmsted's Nursery location on Viking Avenue. The city hopes to turn the 3-acre property into a park with water access, play areas, green space and wetland areas, according to a conceptual design submitted to the state as part of the city’s grant application. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s Rule-Cutting E.P.A. Chief, Plots His Political Future
The headline speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s annual showcase, the Ronald Reagan Dinner, have historically been rising stars in the Republican Party — firebrand pundits, prominent activists, future presidential candidates. Last month, it was Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. In the past year, Mr. Pruitt has emerged as a hero to President Trump’s supporters for his hand in rolling back environmental rules at an agency long disliked by farmers, the fossil fuel industry and the far right. And he has occasionally shocked his employees by criticizing the very agency he heads. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  231 AM PDT Mon Mar 19 2018  
TODAY
 Light wind becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 12 seconds.
TONIGHT
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3  ft at 11 seconds.

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