Thursday, March 22, 2018

3/22 Flicker, BNSF derail, net-pen ban, BC pipe, toxin ban, marine protected areas, grizzlies, whale tales, port air, plastic bag ban

Northern flicker [Montana Fish & Game]
Northern flicker Colaptes auratus
The northern flicker is a medium-sized bird of the woodpecker family. It is native to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands, and is one of the few woodpecker species that migrate. (Wikipedia) Its ringing calls and short bursts of drumming can be heard in spring almost throughout North America. Two very different-looking forms -- Yellow-shafted Flicker in the east and north, and Red-shafted Flicker in the west -- were once considered separate species. They interbreed wherever their ranges come in contact. On the western Great Plains, there is a broad zone where all the flickers are intergrades between Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted. (Audubon Field Guide)

'The most important thing is nobody was injured and no product was released'
A string of three railroad cars derailed off an industrial track early Wednesday on the Ferndale Alcoa Intalco Works property, according to BNSF Railway director of public affairs Gus Melonas. "The most important thing is nobody was injured and no product was released," Melonas said. BNSF was pulling the string of cars at 3 mph on the customer's track at about 3 a.m. when the incident occurred, Melonas said, resulting in two cars ending up on their sides and the third leaning. By 8:30 a.m., crews were in place to pick up the cars, and Melonas said that process continued Wednesday afternoon. The derailment, which did damage the track, occurred approximately eight miles off the main line, and Melonas said it did not impact the average of 15 trains that travel through Whatcom County daily. David Rasbach reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Eyman takes on Atlantic salmon net-pen ban, seeks referendum
Tim Eyman has filed documents with the Washington secretary of state calling for a public vote on legislation phasing out Atlantic salmon net-pen farming in Washington. Gov. Jay Inslee is scheduled to sign the bill into law Thursday. One referendum puts the entire bill, HB 2957, up for a public vote. Another would put on the ballot portions of the bill calling for a phaseout of the industry by 2025, and further study on environmental effects of Atlantic salmon net-pen farming. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Pipeline pressure: Experts divided on whether Trans Mountain expansion would lower gas prices
As Metro Vancouver gas prices approach record highs, protesters continue to be arrested for opposing the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Burnaby. But could that very pipeline be the solution to the Lower Mainland's chronically high prices at the pumps? It depends who you ask. Experts generally agree that expanding the pipeline would have some downward effect on regional gas prices. But Mark Jaccard, a sustainable energy economist at Simon Fraser University and former chair of the B.C. Utilities Commission, says it would be far from an overnight fix. Matt Meuse reports. (CBC)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Signs Nation's 1st Law Banning Certain Chemicals In Food Packaging
Washington will soon phase out nonstick chemicals in its food packaging. Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Wednesday that will eventually restrict perfluorinated chemicals.Inslee said Washington is now the first state in the nation to ban these chemicals in food packaging…. Perfluorinated chemicals are used to make paper food packaging nonstick. They’re found in things like microwave popcorn bags, fast-food wrappers and pizza boxes. Rep. Joan McBride, D-Kirkland, sponsored the bill…. Scientists aren’t certain exactly how these chemicals may harm people. But they could be linked to certain cancers, thyroid problems and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPB/EarthFix)

Designing Marine Protected Areas in a Changing Climate
Climate change is throwing a wrench into conservation. In the ocean, water is warming and becoming more acidic. At the poles, sea ice is melting. And across the globe, currents are changing pace or direction…. Climate change is making the standard method of protecting vulnerable species—closing their critical habitat to destructive human activities such as fishing or oil drilling—much more complicated. Erica Gies reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Ryan Zinke Coming To Washington To Talk Grizzly Bear Recovery After Program's Suspension
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is heading to the North Cascades Friday to speak on reintroducing grizzly bears in that part of Washington. His agency had previously suspended controversial efforts to bolster the bears in the area. Scientists think there are fewer than 10 grizzly bears left in Washington’s North Cascades. The federal government looked at options to help the population. They’ve ranged from a do-nothing approach to reintroducing grizzlies to the area. The plans proved controversial. After public meetings across Washington, the government was in the midst of reviewing nearly 127,000 public comments. Then in December the Interior Department abruptly halted the program. The media advisory about Zinke’s visit to Washington did not elaborate on what he would announce, other than to say he will “provide remarks on the grizzly bear restoration efforts.” Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPB/EarthFix)

B.C. scientists 'horrified' as they watch 1st documented killer whale infanticide
Marine scientists in B.C. have for the first time seen a killer whale drown a baby of the same species. The researchers watched the orca infanticide as it unfolded off the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island on Dec. 2, 2016, and published their findings in the journal Nature this week. Cetacean ecologist Jared Towers remembers heading out on the water with two colleagues after underwater microphones picked up some transient killer whale calls that seemed a bit strange. The researchers tracked down the whales, identified and photographed them and were about to leave when they noticed some splashing — it looked like the orcas might have found some prey. "That's when we realized that the calf — it was a brand-new calf in the group — it wasn't surfacing at all," Towers told CBC News. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC) See also: Gray Whale Sightings Up Off Northwest Coast  Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix) And WATCH: Sea lions ward off attacking orcas  (KING)

You can breathe cleaner around Puget Sound ports, report finds
The air is generally getting cleaner around Puget Sound ports, which over the decades have been a significant source of pollutants that increase the risk of respiratory problems and cancer. A new report finds that seven different air pollutants declined by amounts ranging from 9 to 97 percent in 2016 compared to 2011. The improvements result from a mix of voluntary investments in greening port operations and new regulations that require lower emissions and cleaner fuels, according to a report scheduled for release Thursday by the Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum. But those efforts, over the past five years, didn’t do much to change greenhouse-gas emissions — mainly carbon dioxide. These fossil-fuel emissions, which scientists say are driving climate change, have declined by 1 percent since 2011. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Port Angeles council tables plastic bag ban
City lawmakers have tabled a proposal to ban single-use plastic bags in Port Angeles. The City Council was considering two versions of a plastic bag policy Tuesday, one of which would require grocery stores to charge customers at least a nickel for a recycled paper bag at checkout. Councilman Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin floated a third option Tuesday, a “fee/ban hybrid” that would include a 5 cent minimum fee for all carryout bags except thin plastic bags, which would be prohibited…. Later in the meeting, the council voted 7-0 to approve Schromen-Wawrin’s motion to table the plastic bag policy, add Version C to the council packet, send an email alert and extend a third public hearing to the next council meeting April 3. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  137 AM PDT Thu Mar 22 2018  
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W  swell 5 ft at 11 seconds. Rain turning to showers.
 S wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 or 2 ft building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight. W swell 7 ft at 12 seconds. Showers.

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