Thursday, April 19, 2018

4/19 Madrone, inbreeding orcas, Vic pipe, Coast Seafood, ballast water, SEAL training, BC pipe

Pacific Madrone [The Wild Garden]
Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii)
Though it looks exotic, Pacific madrone—a beautiful broadleaf evergreen tree with a captivating and distinctive presence that transforms with the seasons—is endemic to the Pacific coast. Its exquisite characteristics of fragrant flower clusters, brilliant berries, glossy leaves, twisting branches, rounded crown, and rich cinnamon-red bark that peels from a satin-smooth trunk, please all of our senses. And for the wild ones attracted to this unique gem, its ecological gifts never disappoint. Madrona (after madroño, the Spanish name for a Mediterranean “strawberry tree”) is the name admirers in Washington give this member of the Ericaceae (heath) family, while those in California and Oregon call it madrone or Pacific madrone. British Columbians simply use the Latin genus name, Arbutus. (The epitaph, menziesii, is named after the naturalist Archibald Menzies, a naturalist for the Vancouver Expedition that explored the Puget Sound region in 1792.) (Real Gardens Grow Natives)

Southern-resident killer whales' inbreeding may devastate the population 
Just two male whales fathered more than half the calves born since 1990 in the population of southern-resident killer whales, a sign of inbreeding, scientists have learned. “It was a shocker to find out two guys are doing all of the work,” said Ken Balcomb, director of the Center for Whale Research and an author on a paper published this week in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Animal Conservation. The findings are based on a new genetic analysis of the whales that frequent Washington’s Salish Sea and Puget Sound. Already a small population of 76 animals, the southern residents are acting more like a population of only 20 or 30, with few animals breeding, said the lead author, Michael Ford, a conservation biologist at NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Onlookers watch sewer pipe being pulled through tunnel across harbour
People lined the security fences spread through James Bay on Tuesday as the process of moving a 940-metre sewer pipe into a subsea tunnel began. The tunnel for the pipe runs between Ogden Point and the sewage-treatment plant being built across Victoria Harbour at McLoughlin Point. Both are part of the region’s $765-million sewage-treatment project. Sections of the pipe, which was placed on rollers, were welded together over the past six weeks, with Niagara Street serving as the main staging area. Jeff Bell reports. (Times Colonist)

Coast Seafoods to appeal pollution suit
The Coast Seafoods Company is asking the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear a case in which the court sided with the Olympic Forest Coalition and remanded the case back to the U.S. District Court. The coalition is suing Coast Seafoods over its discharge of effluent from its oyster-growing facility into Quilcene Bay. On March 9, the 9th Circuit Court agreed with the U.S. District Court for Western Washington, Tacoma, which had concluded the seafood company needs to obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. That is what the Olympic Forest Coalition wants the company to do.... n its request, the company is arguing the court had ruled in another case that if an aquatic animal production facility does not meet the criteria to be classified as a concentrated aquatic animal production facility, it does not need a discharge permit. That is the crux of Coast Seafoods’ position – it does not need a NPDES permit. Allison Arthur reports. (Pt Townsend Leader)

Senate blocks bill to overhaul ballast discharge rules
Senators voted against advancing Coast Guard legislation this afternoon with a controversial provision to change the way ballast water discharges are regulated. The language was in S. 140, a package of measures related to Indian Country and authorizing the Coast Guard. The cloture vote, shortly after noon, was 56-42. The ballast provisions came from the "Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act," also known as "VIDA," S. 168, from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). It would put the Coast Guard in charge of setting standards for ballast water discharge instead of EPA. Ballast water is common in the hulls of cargo ships and provides stability for vessels in rough conditions but can also carry invasive species like zebra mussels. Ariel Wittenberg and Manuel Quinones report. (E&E News)

Public comments lead Navy to tweak SEAL training proposal
The Navy is sifting through hundreds of emails and letters of public input on a proposal to expand special operations training in the Northwest a few weeks after an extended comments period concluded on March 23. The Navy's vision for increased training operations in the region, outlined in a draft environmental assessment released in January, calls for more training cycles per year with an increased number of trainees who would practice a broader range of skills at more locations across western Washington. The proposal's preferred alternative seeks to bring more training activities outside of the fence lines of Naval Base Kitsap installations to better prepare trainees with more real world-like scenarios, said Navy Region Northwest spokeswoman Sheila Murray. Julieanne Stanford reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Kinder Morgan begins negotiations with Ottawa to save pipeline project
Kinder Morgan's chief executive told investors on Wednesday afternoon that negotiations with the federal government are underway to strike a deal and salvage the Trans Mountain expansion project, which continues to face opposition from the B.C. government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Sunday that his government could offer financial assistance to the Texas-based company and use legislation that would give Ottawa total control over the $7.4-billion project, which would stretch from Edmonton to the Vancouver area.... Investors asked several questions about what kind of deal the company was pursuing, but executives were tight-lipped.... Currently, the company describes the proposed pipeline as "facing unquantifiable risk" because the B.C. government is "asserting broad jurisdiction and reiterating its intention to use that jurisdiction to stop the project." Kyle Bakx reports. (CBC)

Carr downplays tanker traffic risk, says federal legislation not developed yet
Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the Trans Mountain pipeline will only increase tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia by one ship a day, downplaying the risks raised by environmental critics of the project. The federal Liberal government hasn’t yet “landed” on its promised legislative option to push the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion forward, says Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr. Justin Trudeau’s government is “actively pursuing” legislation that will reassert Canada’s constitutional authority to build and expand pipelines, the prime minister promised Sunday after an emergency meeting with the feuding premiers of B.C. and Alberta. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  843 PM PDT Wed Apr 18 2018   

THU  Light wind becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds.

THU NIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 5 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance of rain  after midnight.

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