Wednesday, April 11, 2018

4/11 Arthur Foss, no discharge, BC pipe, Pleasant Harbor, Dungeness oyster farm, Sunset Falls, ocean heat, oil eater, LIDAR, Vancouver waste, Pruitt's threats

The Arthur Foss [Gabriel Campanario]
Meet the Seattle tugboat that made history across three centuries: the Arthur Foss
How much do you know about this vessel?….. Just consider its resume. It towed sailing ships on the Columbia River in the 1890s, transported supply barges to mining camps in Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush just before the turn of the century, and served in the Pacific during World War II, just to name a few highlights. Oh, and it provided service during the construction of landmark transportation projects like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Lake Washington floating bridges.  Seattle Sketcher Gabriel Campanario writes and sketches. (Seattle Times)

New Rule Bans Vessels From Releasing Sewage Into Puget Sound
Recreational and commercial vessels will not be able to release treated or untreated sewage into Puget Sound waters under new rules approved by the state. The Department of Ecology on Monday officially designated a new "no discharge zone" in Puget Sound to improve water quality and protect shellfish beds and swimming beaches from harmful bacteria. Under rules that begin May 10, boats will not be allowed to pump sewage, whether treated or not, into waters in an area that extends from near Sequim to south Puget Sound to the Canadian border. Lake Washington is included. Boats would need to use a pump-out station or wait until they are out of the zone. There are dozens of such zones across the country, but this is the first in Washington state. (Associated Press)

Trans Mountain pipeline: Politicians feud, Alberta says it's prepared to take over project
The Trudeau government held an emergency cabinet meeting Tuesday aimed at salvaging the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion but did not come up with plan — at least not one ministers are prepared to talk about yet. Hours earlier, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley upped the ante, saying Alberta is not only prepared to invest in the pipeline, it is prepared to take it over entirely if need be. But federal ministers had nothing to say about how their government might convince — or force — British Columbia to back off and allow the pipeline to proceed. (Canadian Press)

Jefferson commissioners hear views on Pleasant Harbor Resort at public hearing
Jefferson County commissioners heard an earful at a public hearing on the proposed 265-acre Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort development agreement. Close to 70 residents of Brinnon, Quilcene, Port Ludlow and Port Townsend, along with area tribal members, voiced their opinions to the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners during a meeting Monday night in the Superior Court courtroom that lasted more than 3½ hours, with about 120 people in attendance. No action was taken on the controversial project proposed for the Black Point Peninsula 2 miles south of Brinnon that has been under consideration for a decade. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Concerns raised over Dungeness Spit oyster farm application
New concerns over the possible permitting of an oyster aquaculture farm within the Dungeness Spit Wildlife Refuge have been raised by the Department of the Interior, which manages the refuge. In a letter written to Steve Gray, the Clallam County Deputy Director and Planning Manager, Jennifer Brown-Scott, the Project Leader for the Department of the Interior,has raised significant questions about issues concerning the application. Of concern to the Department are a number of issues relating to wildlife in the refuge. Al Bergstein writes. (Olympic Peninsula Environmental News)

No Hydropower At Sunset Falls: Controversial Skykomish River Project Canceled
A hydroelectric project that threatened to diminish scenic waterfalls on the South Fork of the Skykomish River near Index will not be built. "We are not filing the final license application," confirmed Snohomish County PUD spokesman Neil Neroutsos. Controversy had swirled around the Sunset Falls hydro project since it was first proposed by the PUD seven years ago. Signs with the slogan “No Dam Way” went up around the area in Index as locals banded together to oppose it. And the environmental group American Rivers listed the South Fork of the Skykomish as one of the nation’s most endangered rivers in 2012 and 2017. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Ocean heat waves becoming more common, longer, new study finds
Heat waves in the planet's oceans are happening more frequently and lasting longer than they did a century ago, a new study shows. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, brought together scientists from Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia to examine ocean temperature data dating back to 1900. Marine heat waves occur when temperatures are higher than expected and remain high over a period of at least five days. Frances Willick reports. (CBC)

Oil-eating bacterium could help slurp up spills
Cleaning up oil spills is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Now, that somebody might turn out to be a hungry little bacterium named Alcanivorax borkumensis, which is known to chow down on the hydrocarbons that make up oil. Researchers at the INRS in Canada have isolated the key enzymes that A. borkumensis uses, and put them to work cleaning soil samples in the lab. Michael Irving reports. (New Atlas)

Skagit County has new view of local geology thanks to maps
Skagit County announced Monday the release of lidar [light detection and ranging] maps of the area. They were produced in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey. The county and USGS collected data from 2016 to 2017 to produce the maps, according to a news release. Lidar data is collected by plane. The lidar data could help the county with flood modeling and understanding the risk of landslides — which became of heightened interest following the nearby deadly Oso landslide in 2014. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Vancouver seeking public input to reduce plastic bags, straws and coffee cups
If the City of Vancouver has its way, plastic bags and disposable take-out containers could soon be just a distant memory. The municipality is holding an open house Tuesday night to share its Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy,  part of a plan to reduce items such as plastic bags, straws and coffee cups…. Each week, more than two million plastic bags and two million disposable cups are thrown in the garbage in Vancouver. Single-use items cost Vancouver taxpayers about $2.5 million per year to collect from public waste bins and to clean up as litter, the city estimates. A draft of the city's waste reduction strategy was recently published. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

E.P.A. Assesses Threats on Twitter to Justify Pruitt’s Spending
The Environmental Protection Agency has been examining posts on Twitter and other social media about Scott Pruitt, the agency’s administrator, to justify his extraordinary and costly security measures, which have included first-class travel and full-time protection even on personal trips to Disneyland, the Rose Bowl and college basketball games, according to interviews and agency and congressional documents. The social media efforts have come under scrutiny by some Democratic lawmakers, as well as senior officials at the E.P.A., who said the review had uncovered individuals sounding off against Mr. Pruitt but had found no actionable threats against him. One top E.P.A. official said in an interview that he had objected to the efforts when they were first discussed last year, to no avail.  Eric Lipton, Lisa Friedman and Kenneth P. Vogel report. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  223 AM PDT Wed Apr 11 2018
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT  
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 2 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 10 ft at 12 seconds. Rain in the morning then  showers and a chance of tstms in the afternoon.
TONIGHT
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell 10  ft at 12 seconds. A chance of tstms in the evening. Showers  likely.

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