Thursday, May 31, 2018

5/31 Killdeer, BC pipe, oil transit, crab pots, ocean acid, eagle nests, bag ban

Killdeer [All About Birds]
Killdeer Charadrius vociferous
Widespread, common, and conspicuous, the Killdeer calls its name as it flies over farmland and other open country. Like other members of the plover family, this species is often found at the water's edge, but it also lives in pastures and fields far from water. At times, it nests on gravel roofs or on lawns. Many a person has been fooled by the bird's "broken-wing" act, in which it flutters along the ground in a show of injury, luring intruders away from its nest. (Audubon Field Guide)

Washington tribes vow to fight Canadian pipeline with "brothers and sisters in the north"
Tribal leaders on both sides of the border said Canada's purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline would not weaken their opposition to the pipeline's planned expansion. The project would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta tar sands through British Columbia and increase oil tanker traffic to refineries on Puget Sound. "We'll keep fighting with our brothers and sisters to the north," Swinomish tribal chair and fisherman Brian Cladoosby said from a boat on the Skagit River. “This is a huge mistake for our area.” John Ryan reports. (KUOW) See also: Canada cannot profess to be a climate leader if it's buying pipelines, say environmentalists  Liam Britten reports. (CBC) Corrected link: Inslee calls Canada pipeline 'profoundly damaging,' fears for orcas in surprise deal  Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Massive pipeline protest march scheduled for Thursday night in Victoria
Hundreds of protesters are anticipated tomorrow for a march against the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The “No Kinder Morgan Bailout! March from the Inner Harbour” is a joint venture between the Salish Sea Organizing Collective, the Protect the Inlet, Greenpeace Victoria, Rise and Resist Kinder Morgan, the Council of Canadians Victoria Chapter, Wilderness Committee, Dogwood BC, and Sierra Club BC....The protest starts with a rally in front of the Visitor Information Centre at 5:30 p.m., followed by a raucous march to Centennial Square. Nicole Crescenzi reports. (Goldstream Gazette)

Assessing Changes in U.S. Crude Oil Exports for West Coast
You could call it a black gold rush. Technological advances like hydraulic fracking have made harvesting oil profitable in the U.S. again and changed the global petroleum market. For decades, the U.S. was dependent on oil imports and banned crude oil exports to protect domestic reserves. This changed in 2015, when the U.S. lifted the 40-year export embargo on crude oil and gave the oil industry access to the global crude oil market. Just three years later, the U.S. is now the third largest crude oil exporter. Much attention has been given to the economic implications of this massive shift, without much thought to potential changes in oil transportation. Our question is this, how has crude oil transportation changed since the crude oil export ban was lifted in 2015? Valerie Cleland and Ian Hanna report. (UW School of Marine Affairs)

Thousands of derelict crab pots litter bottom of Puget Sound
Some boaters spent Tuesday, fishing in Guemes Channel, off the shores of Anacortes, not for fish but for derelict crab pots. Thousands of lost crab pots have littered the bottom of Puget Sound, posing dangers to crabs and other marine life. "It's probably about the highest density we've seen. It's a quite a big number," said Jason Morgan from the Northwest Straits Foundation. Michelle Esteban reports. (KOMO)

Ocean acidification may be twice as extreme in Puget Sound’s seagrass habitats, threatening Dungeness crabs
Ocean acidification could be up to twice as severe in fragile seagrass habitats as it is in the open ocean, according to a study published last April in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The conditions may threaten Dungeness crabs by 2050 and will be especially pronounced in the winter, the study says. (Salish Sea Currents)

Eagles Deck Out Their Nest With Kelp
Biologist Erin Rechsteiner braved the waters of Queens Sound in a small aluminum boat heading for Gosling Rocks, a remote archipelago on British Columbia’s central coast. It was February 2015 and she had come to study sea otters, a top marine predator in the region. But when she arrived, something else caught her attention—a bald eagle nest on top of a wind-stunted spruce about 2.5 meters high. Christopher Pollon reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Another Kitsap County city considers plastic bag ban
Kitsap County is weighing the appetite of city government officials to join its proposed ban on single-use plastic bags. The city of Port Orchard on Tuesday hosted a town hall forum to get the conversation started.... About 15 city residents attended the forum, where county solid waste officials fielded questions and comments from the public and city council members. South Kitsap Commissioner Charlotte Garrido attended. Chris Henry reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Thu May 31 2018   


TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. A slight chance of showers  in the afternoon. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance  of showers in the evening.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

5/30 Nootka rose, BC pipe, Lolita, BC fracking, Elwha green, brown pelicans, park erosion, Eliza Dawson

Nootka Rose [Sound Water Stewards]
Nootka Rose Rosa nutkana
Branches of all species of wild rose-- along with skunk cabbage leaves, fern fronds pine needles or salad-- were sometimes put in steaming pits, cooking baskets and root-storage pits. Cedar-root cooking baskets used for boiling foods often had rose leaves placed under and over food to flavor it and protect it from burning. In the spring, the tender young shoots era sometimes eaten. The branches or strips of bark were booed to make a tea used as an eyewash for cataracts or to enhance eyesight. The Makah mashed the leaves as a poultice for sore eyes and any type of abscess. The chewed leaves were applied to bee stings, and the ripe hips were steeped, mashed and fed to babies with diarrhea. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Vancouver protesters rally, vow to continue pipeline fight
Indigenous and environmental groups organized a flash rally in Vancouver Tuesday evening in reaction to the announcement the federal government is buying out the Trans Mountain pipeline. Hundreds of First Nations groups, environmentalists and other concerned residents gathered on the grounds of Science World to protest the federal government's plan. (CBC) See also: Ottawa now the top target for Trans Mountain opponents  Gordon Hoekstra and Rob Shaw report.(Vancouver Sun) And also: Trans Mountain pipeline: Did the Crown act 'honourably' toward First Nations?  Jason Proctor reports. (CBC) On Trans Mountain, Trudeau chose the least awful of his political options  Aaron Wherry reports. (CBC)

Inslee calls Canada pipeline 'profoundly damaging,' fears for orcas in surprise deal
An unprecedented deal between the Canadian federal government and Houston-based Kinder Morgan to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline poses grave risks for the critically endangered southern-resident killer- whale population, and drew a stiff rebuke from Washington’s governor, who called the pipeline “profoundly damaging.” The expansion, planned to bring bitumen oil from Alberta to the West Coast for sale to Asian markets, would increase by seven times the oil-tanker traffic in the transboundary waters between Washington and Canada, prime orca habitat. That would ramp up noise levels underwater that already are interfering with the whales’ foraging time for scarce chinook salmon. The whales have not managed a successful pregnancy in two years, in part because they are starving. The increase in traffic through tricky navigation channels by tankers also puts the J, K and L pods at risk of extinction in the event of an oil spill. The pipeline twins an existing line built in 1953 for more than 600 miles and will nearly triple capacity for the Trans Mountain to 890,000 barrels of bitumen oil per day. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Horgan still uneasy what's in pipeline, not who owns it
For Premier John Horgan the day began shortly before 6 a.m., with a pre-scheduled call from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing Ottawa’s plan to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline, lock, stock and expansion plan. “I reiterated to him that it didn’t really matter who owns the pipe,” the premier told CKNW broadcaster Jon McComb shortly afterward. “It was the product that was travelling through it and the potential negative consequences to our environment and our economy that I was concerned about.” Vaughn Palmer reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Canada to buy major pipeline to ensure it gets built  (Canadian Press)

Trans Mountain pipeline 'for sale' on Craigslist
Ahead of news expected Tuesday that the federal government may use taxpayer dollars to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline outright from Kinder Morgan, a Craigslist user has listed the pipeline for sale. “For sale: one pipeline project, in fair condition. Comes with federal approval. (subject to 15 legal challenges, but it’ll be fine). Also comes with a vintage 1950s pipeline,” the post begins. “The vintage pipeline is a handyman’s dream project. It has been in place since the 1950s and has only had around 70 spills – a great fixer upper. “Nestled in a cosy right of way, with mountain, river and ocean views, and through prime agricultural and dense residential real estate in Vancouver’s red-hot housing market! Close to schools, day cares and community centres. (the neighbours can be a little loud, but we find it’s easiest just to ignore them) Patrick Johnston reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Elizabeth May pleads guilty to criminal contempt for pipeline protest
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has pleaded guilty in B.C. Supreme Court to criminal contempt for her role in a Trans Mountain pipeline protest. It was agreed by the special prosecutor and the politician's lawyer that she should pay a $500 fine. But — despite May's apology through her lawyer for her actions — Justice Kenneth Affleck said $500 was not enough. He ordered her to pay a $1,500 fine. The judge said May had exploited her office for media attention, so a stiffer penalty was warranted. Yvette Brend reports. (CBC)

Lummi prayers, songs in Miami just start of effort to free captive whale
After more than 3,000 miles, Lummi Nation tribal members delivered their songs and prayers for the release of Lolita the southern-resident killer whale at the Miami Seaquarium where she has been kept for 47 years. The Seaquarium would not allow tribal members any closer than the public sidewalk outside the facility where the whale performs twice a day for food. Undeterred, tribal members on Sunday walked in procession to the Seaquarium from a nearby park through a subtropical storm lashing wind and rain. At Seaquarium, they spoke to the whale in their language, and sang to her. As they sang, the sun came out. A member of L Pod, the whale was taken from her family in Penn Cove and sold to the theme park. About a third of the southern-resident population was taken from Puget Sound and sent to theme parks all over the world during the 1960s and 1970s. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Damaging audit of fossil fuel fracking in northern B.C. surfaces after 4 years
An audit looking into the practices of gas drillers in northern British Columbia has only just come to light since it was conducted more than four years ago. The report, put together by biologist Dan Webster in April 2014, found that oil and gas companies near Fort Nelson were not consistently following provincial rules to protect declining boreal caribou herds in the area. The Oil and Gas Commission suppressed those findings, alleges the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives who recently received a copy of the report. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

'Nature can do most of the work for you': Once-flooded Elwha land becomes forest
Josh Chenoweth pushes through trees grown 30 feet overhead and walks into a plush purple pool of blooming lupine, the flowers fragrant and abuzz with insects. It is hard to believe that as recently as 2011 this very spot was underwater, drowned by the reservoir behind the Elwha Dam. Now the site of the largest dam-removal project in the world, the Elwha is also home to a first-of-its-kind revegetation program, led by Chenoweth, for the National Park Service. The mission was to return more than 600 acres of the former lake beds at Lake Aldwell and Lake Mills, impounded by the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, to native forests. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Brown Pelicans Struggle To Find Food On Oregon Coast
The Wildlife Center of the North Coast has already cared for several starving young California brown pelicans this spring. Brown pelicans, which migrate north in the spring from nesting colonies off Southern California and Mexico, spent several decades on the federal endangered species list because of exposure to pesticides like DDT and other contaminants. Their delisting in 2009 was a success story, but concerns remain about the birds’ continued survival. Katie Frankowicz reports. (Associated Press and Daily Astorian)

Coastal Erosion Gnaws At One Of Northwest's Most Popular State Parks
Coastal erosion is chewing away at one of the Northwest's most popular recreation areas. It's threatening the main campground and other amenities at Cape Disappointment State Park, which has the second most camper visits in the Washington State Park system....Storm waves swallowed a barrier dune and claimed 10 oceanfront campsites out of more than 200. Trees killed by saltwater now litter Benson Beach. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Seattle Climate Rower Almost Ready To Start Race Of A Lifetime
Seattle Climate Rower Eliza Dawson is in California now, in the final phases of training for the Great Pacific Race. She is rowing with three other women whom she only met upon arrival in Monterrey. They're hoping to break a world record while raising awareness for climate change and plastic pollution. Eliza Dawson's team is called Ripple Effect. The course is 2,400 miles, "completely human powered by our determination," Dawson writes on her fundraising website, all the way to Hawaii. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  227 AM PDT Wed May 30 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. Patchy drizzle in the  morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

5/29 Cockscomb, $4.5B BC pipe, Scotch broom, spill claim, Lolita, whale watch, imidacloprid, red snow, bunny boom

Hich Cockscomb [Ron Wolf/Flickr]
High Cockscomb Anoplarchus purpurescens
The High Cockscomb is found in the Eastern Pacific: Pribilof Islands, Alaska to Santa Rosa Island and Trinidad Bay, southern California. Usually found in intertidal areas under rocks. May remain out of water under rocks or seaweed. Green algae is an important food item but may also feed on polychaete worms, crustaceans and mollusks. Breathes air and can remain out of water for 15-25 hours if kept moist. Spawning individuals are territorial. The female guards the egg mass deposited between rocks and shells by bending her body over the eggs. She fans the eggs by moving the posterior part of her body). (FishBase)

Liberal government to buy Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5B
The Liberal government will buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and infrastructure related to the expansion project for $4.5 billion. Finance Minister Bill Morneau is announcing details of the agreement reached with Kinder Morgan at a news conference with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa, and is carrying it live now. "Make no mistake, this is an investment in Canada's future," Morneau said. He said the government does not intend to be a long-term owner. Kinder Morgan will also hold a teleconference this morning. CBC News reported Monday that Morneau has reached an agreement in principle with Kinder Morgan, the company behind the project. (CBC)

Canada's oil feud could spill down to Washington state
Two Canadian provinces’ feud over an oil pipeline could boost gasoline prices and oil tanker traffic here in Washington state. British Columbia has been fighting a pipeline project that would triple the amount of tar sands oil piped from Alberta to the Canadian coast near Vancouver. The pipeline expansion, scheduled to be completed by 2021, could also lead to a quintupling of oil-tanker traffic through British Columbia and Washington state waters. The dispute over Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has led Alberta to issue a threat to British Columbia. It was no small threat: Those taps on the Trans Mountain pipeline control most of British Columbia’s oil. They also control the flow of between one-tenth and one-third of the crude oil processed by Washington state’s five refineries on the shores of Puget Sound. Disruption of the Albertan supply could boost gas prices on both sides of the border.John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Crews cleaning up oil spill at Kinder Morgan station north of Kamloops, B.C.
Crews using an emergency response trailer and vacuum trucks are working to clean up a crude oil spill at a Kinder Morgan station north of Kamloops, B.C. The provincial Ministry of Environment said a flow meter has leaked about 100 litres of crude oil into the ground at the Darfield station. It said no waterways have been affected, and the spill has been contained within station property. (Canadian Press)

Pro-pipeline expansion rallies held in five B.C. cities Saturday
Rallies were held Saturday in five B.C. cities to support the Trans Mountain pipeline project, as the deadline looms this week for Kinder Morgan to decide whether to build its $7.4-billion pipeline expansion. A group consisting of workers from the resource and business sectors called Suits and Boots held demonstrations in Langley, Kitimat, Fort St. John, Fort Nelson and Smithers. Speakers at the Langley event, which drew a crowd of around 150 people, included Liberal MLA Laurie Throness and Cheam First Nations Chief Ernie Crey, an outspoken advocate for the project. The rallies were held to bolster support for Kinder Morgan ahead of the Texas-based company’s May 31 deadline to receive certainty that the project can be built despite strong opposition in B.C. Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Indigenous chiefs, activists rally against Kinder Morgan pipeline in Montreal Three prominent Quebec-area Indigenous chiefs are denouncing Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. (CBC)

Battling Scotch broom along Olympic's Hoh River that threatens fish, forests
....Brought to the United States from the British Isles and central Europe as an ornamental and for erosion control, Scotch broom is a nuisance familiar to anyone in Western Washington, where it chokes pastures, roadsides, fencelines and any bare ground it can get ahold of. Here along the Hoh River and in other Olympic Peninsula salmon strongholds, it is threatening prime salmon habitat. The plant establishes a monoculture that grows 15 feet in height, and each plant every year can pump out 12,000 seeds viable for up to 90 years. Wiley and tough as wire, Scotch broom quickly occupies new areas, out-competing other plants and preventing normal growth of native species. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Vancouver files claim against owners of vessel that leaked fuel in 2015
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says the city has filed a claim in federal court against the owner of a vessel that spilled fuel off the city's coast in 2015. Robertson says three years after the MV Marathassa spilled 2,700 litres of bunker fuel into English Bay, the city still hasn't been paid back for about $550,000 it spent on response efforts. The claim, filed last month and announced today, is the latest step in the city's efforts to get compensation for its role in the response.(Canadian Press) See also: Pollution fund mum on why city was offered just 30% of spill cleanup tally  Denise Ryan reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. marine mammal expert says moving killer whale from Miami a death sentence
A B.C. marine mammal expert is throwing cold water on an idea to repatriate a southern resident killer whale to the waters off the West Coast, where it was was born. "I think this could be a very cruel and inhumane thing to do," said Andrew Trites, who is the director of the University of B.C.'s Marine Mammal Research Unit. "Lolita is not a young whale.".... On Saturday, members of Washington state's Lummi Nation, completed a journey to Miami with an 1,800 kilogram totem pole to display at the aquarium. It's part of an $8.5-million US effort to bring the whale back to the Salish Sea. Jewell James, a Lummi Nation carver says it's time Seaquarium gave up the animal, which he said has been forced for 48 years to perform twice a day. James describes the whale's tank as a prison cell. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

'It's the wild west out here': Gulf Islanders raise alarm over whale-watching fleet sizes
Some residents of the southern Gulf Islands are worried too many whale watching boats are chasing too few killer whales—stressing the already at-risk species....  Residents report they've seen fleets of up to 25 vessels chasing orca pods during the busy summer months when whale watching is at its peak. They say the problem is compounded because there are no regulations to govern the number of whale-watching boats permitted to track killer whales.Eric Rankin reports. (CBC) See also: Whale watchers update guidelines; Canada to restrict salmon fishing  Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Ghosts under the oyster bed: why the Washington Department of Ecology rejected a new pesticide for oyster farms
On April 9, 2018, the Washington State Department of Ecology (DoE) responded to a request from the Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA) to approve the use of the pesticide imidacloprid to control burrowing ghost shrimp in oyster beds. Specifically, the WGHOGA had applied for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, a key component of the national Clean Water Act which allows for the discharge of chemicals and wastewater into the environment. The DoE’s tentative decision to reject the permit application raises some questions about water quality standards, agricultural practices, and the future of shellfish farming in Washington, especially for members of the public who may not have been following the three-year process from permit application to the DoE’s rejection letter. Danielle Edelman reports. (School of Marine Affairs Currents)

WWU researcher continues watermelon snow project
Mount Baker and the surrounding North Cascades are known for their white-capped peaks and blue-toned glaciers, but there’s a lesser-known hue also found in the high-elevation snow. Algae can cast a light pink tint across large swaths of snow or form pinkish-red pockets and pools as the snow melts, making for a colorful display called watermelon snow. A research project inspired by watermelon snow on Glacier Peak in the North Cascades southeast of Darrington is now in its sixth year, and in that time it has grown substantially. Western Washington University biology professor Robin Kodner, who is leading “The Living Snow Project,” shared updates about the research Wednesday as part of the university’s annual “Science and the UniverCity” lecture series that is free and open to the public. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Richmond rabbit shelter at max capacity as problem bunnies run amok
A Richmond rabbit shelter that's trying to contain the city's swelling feral rabbit problem says its kennels are full. For years, feral bunnies have been munching on lawns, gardens, and farms in Richmond — much to the chagrin of local businesses and residents. According to the city, the bulk of the rabbits are descendants from rabbits that were released into the wild by owners or got loose from farms or homes — and have multiplied rapidly. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

Lack of Indigenous voices at Columbia River Treaty talks 'total slap in the face'
The leader of a B.C. First Nation says it's a "total slap in the face" that Indigenous peoples will not be at the table when Canada and the United States renegotiate the Columbia River Treaty. Chief Wayne Christian called it "quite disturbing" that the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and two other B.C. Nations won't be involved in next week's discussions. "With the prime minister's words of 'nation to nation' in the era of reconciliation and him talking to the world and the United Nations and the implementation of [the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples] and all of those things, he's basically been lying to the world," Christian told Daybreak South host Chris Walker. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  218 AM PDT Tue May 29 2018   


TODAY  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming NW 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft building to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 7 ft at 10 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 8 ft at 8 seconds. A  slight chance of showers after midnight.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

5/25 Pysht, BC pipe, Port Gamble, Chinook fishery, Seattle growth, artificial reef, Bonneville, Mt Kennedy

Pysht Tree Farm, Merrill & Ring [WFPA]
Pysht is an unincorporated community located on the Olympic Peninsula in Clallam County, Washington and sits near the mouth of the Pysht River. In Chinook jargon, push or pushy means "fish." In the 1920s the Klallam village of Pysht was demolished while the villagers were away working. When they returned, they found that European settlers had removed the village in order to build a lumber mill. Merrill & Ring, who first acquired land rights at Pysht in 1886, still owns much of the surrounding land. By the early twenty-first century the town numbered only a few buildings. (Wikipedia, Washington State Place Names)

As deadline nears, analysts doubt Kinder Morgan will get its ‘certainty’
With the clock ticking on Kinder Morgan’s May 31 deadline to get certainty that it can build its $7.4-billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, industry analysts doubt the company’s demands can be met. No new suitors have emerged, at least publicly, to share the risk of the project, despite federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s pitch in mid-May that plenty of investors would be interested in the pipeline because of Ottawa’s promise to indemnify the project against extra costs of politically motivated delays. Morneau had named the country’s pension funds as possible investors. And Alberta had talked earlier about taking a stake. “I think they will walk away and I wouldn’t blame them at all,” Roger McKnight, a petroleum analyst with Oshawa, Ont.-based En-Pro International said of Kinder Morgan. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Court throws out Trans Mountain pipeline challenge from City of Vancouver and Squamish Nation
B.C.'s Supreme Court has dismissed legal challenges to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion project from the City of Vancouver and the Squamish Nation. In a pair of rulings issued Thursday morning, Justice Christopher Grauer found the province of British Columbia acted reasonably in issuing an environmental assessment certificate to the company. As Grauer pointed out in his opening remarks to both cases, the decisions are not the end of the legal hurdles facing the pipeline. They dealt strictly with the question of whether the province could defend its actions in light of the National Energy Board's approval of the project. Jason Proctor reports. (CBC)

State Supreme Court finds DNR not responsible for Port Gamble cleanup
The Department of Natural Resources isn't on the hook for the cost of cleaning up Port Gamble Bay, the Washington Supreme Court ruled this week. In a 6-3 decision, justices agreed with a 2015 Kitsap County Superior Court ruling which found DNR did not qualify as an "owner" or "operator" of the former Pope & Talbot sawmill in Port Gamble and was not liable under the state's Model Toxics Control Act for pollution caused by the mill. A state appeals court reversed the Superior Court decision in 2016. The Supreme Court opinion filed Thursday means DNR will not share cleanup costs with Pope Resources, the petitioner in the case. Pope Resources already spent roughly $20 million to remove contamination from the bay, under an agreement with the Department of Ecology. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Feds limit chinook fishery to help resident killer whale recovery
The federal government is closing some recreational and commercial chinook fisheries on the West Coast in an effort to help save endangered southern resident killer whales. Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Thursday that a lack of prey for the whales is one of the critical factors affecting their recovery.... The closures will be in the Juan de Fuca Strait and around portions of the Gulf Islands, the department said in the release. There will also be partial closures at the mouth of the Fraser River to protect key foraging areas for the whales. (Canadian Press)

114,000 more people: Seattle now decade's fastest-growing big city in all of U.S. 
.... The U.S. Census Bureau released new population figures for U.S. cities on Thursday, and they show that Seattle has toppled Austin, Texas, to become the nation’s fastest-growing big city this decade. Seattle moved into the top spot after registering yet another year of remarkable growth in 2017. The city’s population hit an estimated 725,000, gaining 17,500 people from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017. Our growth rate in that period — 2.5 percent — was second only to Atlanta among the 50 largest U.S. cities. Seattle has now been ranked in the top 4 for growth among major cities for five consecutive years — quite an impressive run. Add up all the population gains since 2010 and Seattle has grown by a staggering 18.7 percent, which ranks as the fastest rate of growth among the 50 largest U.S. cities. The Texas capital, which has seen growth cool down a bit recently, falls to second place. Gene Balk reports. (Seattle Times)

Remaking a reef: UW landscape architecture students to present design for new artificial reef at Redondo dive site
What makes a good artificial reef, for divers, and for marine life? University of Washington landscape architecture students have done designs for a state-funded project to replace the artificial reef at the Redondo Beach dive site. They will present and discuss their work in a public meeting May 30, in Des Moines. The landscape architecture studio class is taught by associate professor Iain Robertson, with lecturer and landscape designer Brooke Sullivan, who is working on her doctorate at the University of Melbourne. Both are with the UW’s College of Built Environments. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources and dive community will be removing debris from the underwater location, one of the most popular dive sites in the Puget Sound area. This will include removal of toxic material, as well as small boats and even a long-sunken Volkswagen “Beetle” that have over the years become a habitat for much marine life. The work also will include removing abandoned tires from established geoduck beds to compensate for any habitat loss due to reef construction. Peter Kelley reports. (UW News)

Port of Port Townsend decides against replacing south jetty this year
The Port of Port Townsend commissioners voted 2-1 to reject all bids for the South Jetty Breakwater Project. They voted to suspend the project, citing lack of funds to pay for the jetty and the port’s overall financial condition.... Eric Toews, director of planning for the port, has said that four construction firms submitted bid proposals. American Construction Co. of Tacoma was the apparent low bidder in the amount of $3.991 million.  Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Trump Administration Says It Won't Sell Off BPA Transmission Lines
The Trump administration has abandoned its bid to sell off the Pacific Northwest’s publicly owned utility transmission lines, according to Republican members of Congress who were briefed on the decision. The plan to privatize the Bonneville Power Administration’s lines had been decried by critics as a move that could also have raised rates for customers. The Trump administration has suggested selling off BPA’s transmission lines twice. Both times the proposal has been met with strong pushback from Northwest lawmakers. They expressed some relief this spring when Energy Secretary Rick Perry said he would not sell off BPA’s assets without congressional approval. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Broadcasting)

Whittaker film about second-generation climb on Mount Kennedy to debut at Telluride
Have you ever thought what it would be like to walk in your father’s footsteps? Leif and Bobby Whittaker, and Chris Kennedy have done just that, returning to climb Mount Kennedy in the Yukon, 50 years after their fathers, Jim Whittaker and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, made the first ascent of the newly named peak April 9, 1965. The documentary film, “Return to Mount Kennedy,” chronicles their climb and relationships with their dads and each other. Its world premiere will be today at the Telluride Mountain Film Festival to coincide with the anniversary of RFK’s death, June 6, 1968. “We’re premiering a film that I’ve been working on for several years,” said Leif Whittaker, a mountaineer and writer once based in Port Townsend and now living in Bellingham. Whittaker said it will be shown at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 2 at the Kirkland Performance Center. And, he said, he hopes it will be shown at the Port Townsend Film Festival (PTFF) this September. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  534 AM PDT Fri May 25 2018   


TODAY  W wind 10 to 15 kt, rising to 15 to 25 kt this afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 2 ft, building to 2 to 4 ft. W swell 5 ft at 10  seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt easing late. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft  subsiding late. W swell 4 to 5 ft at 10 seconds. 

SAT  W wind 10 kt or less, rising to 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves  1 ft or less, building to 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt easing late. Wind waves 3 ft or  less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. 

SUN  W wind 10 kt or less, rising to 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves  building to 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 to 6 ft at 11 to 13 seconds.
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

5/24 Moles, BC pipe, 'last best places,' plastics, Oly oyster, sea-level rise, rockfish, Columbia treaty, big 'shroom, Japanese beetle

Townsend mole [WDFW]
Though moles are the bane of many lawn owners, they make a significant positive contribution to the health of the landscape. Their extensive tunneling and mound building mixes soil nutrients and improves soil aeration and drainage. Moles also eat many lawn and garden pests, including cranefly larvae and slugs. Moles spend almost their entire lives underground and have much in common with pocket gophers—small weak eyes, small hips for turning around in tight places, and velvety fur that is reversible to make backing up easy. Moles also have broad front feet, the toes of which terminate in stout claws faced outward for digging. (The Chehalis Indian word for mole translates into "hands turned backward.") However, moles are predators of worms and grubs, while gophers are herbivores. (WDFW)

Youth walk out of class to protest Trans Mountain pipeline
Nearly 200 youth from a number of Metro Vancouver municipalities walked out of class Wednesday afternoon to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. "This is a chance to show our elected leaders and Kinder Morgan that our lands, livelihoods and future are more important than a pipeline," said Ta'Kaiya Blaney in a Facebook livestream before her friend rallied people to get up and leave their high school drama class at Sentinel Secondary in West Vancouver. The event was organized by Blaney and fellow high school student Eden Reimer in response to the recent political tangle over the expanded pipeline's future and the commitment from Ottawa to help fund the project, following an ultimatum from Kinder Morgan. Chantelle Bellrichard reports. (CBC)

Constantine wants to leverage conservation fund to buy 65,000 acres of 'last best places'
Verdant farmlands with strolling cows, lush forests and fragile shorelines, even bits of green in the gray of the city: These are some of the last best places in King County. All would be protected forever from development under a King County conservation initiative that would buy 65,000 acres of open space targeted for acquisition over the next 30 years. The initiative, expected to be announced by King County Executive Dow Constantine on Wednesday at a news conference, will go to the Metropolitan King County Council for consideration Thursday. Constantine will introduce legislation that would allow King County to sell more bonds backed by the existing Conservation Futures tax, providing an ongoing source of revenue for conservation acquisitions. Over the next four years, the ordinance would generate $148 million to save open space most at risk of development. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

'Alarmingly high' amounts of plastic microbeads found in B.C. shellfish farming areas
Areas off the B.C. coast used for farming shellfish are becoming highly polluted by plastic microbeads, new research has found. According to a release from Simon Fraser University, researchers analyzed dozens of sediment samples from 16 sites around Lambert Channel and Baynes Sound off Denman Island — where 130 shellfish farms are located — and found "alarmingly high" amounts of plastic pollution. "We found microbeads in the smallest bits of sediment and in a concentration equal to the amounts of silt and organic matter," Leah Bendell, professor of marine ecology and ecotoxicology at SFU, said in the statement. Plastic pollution, Bendell told All Points West host Jason D'Souza, is a long-term problem.  Results from beach cleanups have found about 90 per cent of that plastic actually comes from the shellfish industry itself. She says what still remains unknown is how the plastic, when eaten by shellfish, affect both them and the animals that feed on them. For instance, are the plastics contaminated with heavy metals? (CBC)

Victoria eyes ban on foam containers, plastic drinking straws
Victoria, having already passed a bylaw banning plastic bags, has its eye on banning other items such as plastic straws and plastic-foam containers. “We started with plastic bags because it was low-hanging fruit, and for the rest of the single-use items, we’re going to take a comprehensive approach,” Mayor Lisa Helps said. “What our staff are doing right now is developing a single-use materials strategy as part of a comprehensive zero-waste program,” she said. “Really, what the aim is overall is to create strategies and programs to minimize all single-use materials — straws, Styrofoam cups, takeaway food [containers], other packaging so that really we do get to a zero-waste circular economy where there is no garbage,” Helps said. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Can Olympia oysters make a comeback in Quilcene Bay?
Many hands sought to make relatively light work out of an ambitious undertaking May 16 in Quilcene, as roughly a dozen volunteers assembled at the end of Linger Longer Road to take stock of the area’s remaining Olympia oyster population. Before over-harvesting and pulp mill pollution forced Pacific Northwest oyster farmers to turn to the Pacific oysters of Japan as a substitute, Olympia oysters were the dominant native species, and various environmental and oyster farming-affiliated groups are keen to see the molluscs make a comeback. Brian Allen, a marine ecologist with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF), instructed the volunteers who arrived at the Quilcene Boat Ramp to record not only where they found any Olympia oysters as the tide went out, but also where the oysters tend to aggregate. Kirk Boxleitner reports. (Port Townsend Leader)

New Hope To Stop—Or Greatly Slow—Seemingly Unstoppable Shoreline Erosion
Aptly nicknamed Washaway Beach, in Pacific County, Washington, has long suffered from the most extreme coastal erosion along the whole U.S. West Coast. Now a relatively low cost defense is raising hopes among property owners and nearby cranberry growers. The rate of coastal erosion on the north side of the Willapa Bay entrance has averaged an astonishing 100 feet or more per year. Over decades, ocean waves have taken a cannery, a lighthouse, school, Grange hall, post office and innumerable homes and vacation getaways.  Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Surrey hatching plan to buy out 400 Crescent Beach homes as sea levels rise
The City of Surrey is hatching a plan to buy out roughly 400 Crescent Beach homes to prepare for the prospect of rising sea levels. City of Surrey engineer Matt Osler says it may take decades before climate change floods Crescent Beach, but the city is already zeroing in on a "managed retreat" of homes and businesses as the preferred solution. "When you start to look 80 years into the future with the [predicted] one metre rise of sea level, the costs of maintaining an existing diking system start to grow exponentially," Osler told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko. (CBC)

Bait study aims to reduce accidental killing of protected rockfish
Rockfish in Puget Sound are disappearing at an alarming rate, down 70 percent over the last four decades. Scientists are now pairing up with recreational anglers to try to stop the trend. One study focuses on reducing rockfish bycatch when fishermen are out looking for other species. Rockfish are protected in Puget Sound and are not legal to take home, but fishers often accidentally catch them when trying to hook species that live at the same depths like lingcod. "Rockfish are a really important part of the Sound," said Captain Steve Kesling of Adventure Charters. Kesling's boat was the site of the latest fieldwork, testing three different kinds of lingcod bait to see which catches the least rockfish: frozen herring, live large flat fish or artificial lures. With frozen herring, they caught 16 rockfish and zero lingcod in 90 minutes. With live flat sanddabs, anglers caught just two rockfish and just three lingcod in the same 90 minutes. The artificial lures caught three rockfish and just one lingcod. Scientists plan a total of 42 fishing days to test the bait options. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

US, Canada Exclude Tribes From Renegotiation Of Columbia River Treaty
The United States and Canada next week will begin the official process of renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty, which expires in 2024. The 1964 agreement governs the upper reaches of the 1,200-mile Columbia River. The U.S. State Department is leading the renegotiation. In a statement, the department outlined key objectives that include flood control, hydropower and ecosystem management.... In addition to the State Department, the negotiating team includes representatives from the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But there’s still no tribal representative. In an email, a spokesperson said the State Department will consult with Northwest tribes as negotiations proceed, but the department has “no plans to change the composition of the team.” Emily Schwing reports. (NW News Network)

Chimacum man finds huge mushroom in his field
Doyle Yancey of Egg & I Farms in Chimacum was mowing the Glendale Farm field in Beaver Valley on Monday when he came upon something right in the path of his machine’s blades.... Yancey discovered a very large, bright white mushroom in his path. It was a oddity, its shape and size seemed out of place. He decided to cut the stem and put it into his truck. He finished mowing three hours later. Yancey did some research on the fungus. It’s a giant western puffball, Calvatia booniana, shaped like an egg and with large polygonal warts, measuring 20 inches long by 14 inches high. He was amazed when he put it on the scale. “It weighed exactly 20 pounds,” he said. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Invasive species of Japanese beetle discovered in Vancouver
There’s a bug going around Vancouver. The Japanese beetle, an invasive pest native to Japan, as its name suggests, has been discovered in the False Creek area. This is the second such sighting of the Japanese beetle in False Creek. The insect was first spotted in the area last August after it was found in a trap. Prior to that instance, it had only been discovered in Canada’s Eastern provinces.... In Japan, the beetle’s population is controlled by natural predators and local parasites. But without these protections against infestation, Japanese beetles can cause widespread damage to plant life, attacking the roots, leaves and fruit of a variety of crops and trees. Harrison Mooney reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  205 AM PDT Thu May 24 2018   

TODAY  SW wind to 10 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds. Isolated  showers in the morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 20 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

5/23 Decorator crab, BC pipe, shoreline protection, stormwater costs, San Juan Is battle

Decorator crab [Vancouver Aquarium]
Decorator crab Oregonia gracilis
This crab decorates more liberally than any of the other decorator crabs in this area.   Will eat carrion.  Predators include Pacific halibut.  In Puget Sound area, eggs may be carried during most seasons.  Recently hatched eggs are orange-red; eggs nearly ready to hatch are reddish-brown. Range is Bering sea to Monterey,CA; found intertidal to 436 m deep. (Walla Walla University)

B.C. sues Alberta over turn-off-the-taps legislation
The B.C. government has filed a statement of claim in Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench over legislation that would allow Alberta to restrict oil and gas shipments to B.C. The legislation was passed last week in response to B.C.'s continued opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. If it is used, it could cause already high gas prices at B.C. pumps to spike. The statement of claim seeks a declaration that the Preserving Canada's Economic Prosperity Act is unconstitutional and can't be used. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC) See also: Alberta's Rachel Notley slams B.C. over Trans Mountain 'legal rope-a-dope,' says pipeline agreement close Emma Graney reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Lawsuit seeks more review of projects that 'armor' Puget Sound shoreline
.... Several environmental groups filed suit Monday in federal court seeking to expand permit review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to thousands of miles of shoreline when a new bulkhead or seawall is considered. The suit is intended to prevent more damage to the shoreline, even as work is underway to repair past destruction.... More protection is needed for the crucial zone where the land meets the sea, said Amy Carey, executive director of Sound Action, a nonprofit based in Seattle that serves as a watchdog on environmental permits for bulkheads, sea walls and other construction in the nearshore. More than 67 percent of Central Puget Sound has been hardened along the shoreline with rock and sea walls and bulkheads. Puget Sound-wide, more than a quarter of the natural shoreline similarly has been lost.... Sound Action joined with other environmental groups in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Monday for the Western District of Seattle by Earthjustice, seeking expanded environmental review of projects that wall off or harden the shore. Today the majority of shoreline-armoring projects in Puget Sound get no federal review. Not by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or by fish and wildlife agencies to protect threatened and endangered species. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Seattle ‘mega-project’ balloons by an extra $147M
A massive wastewater tunnel project that will stretch between Ballard and Wallingford will be $147 million more expensive than originally thought, Seattle officials said Tuesday. Where the Ship Canal Water Quality Project was once believed to cost around $423 million, it will now cost $570 million. The project is a joint effort between King County and the City of Seattle and is the first “mega-project” Seattle Public Utilities has ever undertaken. Seattle will be on the hook for about $95 million of the cost increase, with the County picking up the rest. In 2014, officials estimated it would cost the city and county $423 million, with Seattle absorbing 65 percent of the costs and the county paying for the rest. From the beginning, the project has driven up customer bills, which are slated to go up next year by about 8 percent for single family homes and nearly 9 percent for apartments. But in an interview Tuesday, Project Executive Keith Ward with Seattle Public Utilities said the higher project cost will not push utility bills higher. Seattle has long struggled with nasty overflows into the ship canal, Lake Union and Lake Washington. The current tunnels combine rainwater and sewage, diverting the two at a fork in the pipe. The system works fine in dry conditions, but in the wet months, the tunnels are less effective, leading to overruns. It all came to a head with a 2013 consent decree between the city, the state and the federal government to dramatically reduce sewage and wastewater runoff into Seattle area waters. David Kroman reports. (Crosscut)  See also: Cost rises for Port of Port Angeles stormwater treatment facility construction  The Port of Port Angeles’ Marine Terminal Stormwater Treatment facility, originally budgeted for $2.05 million, will cost $2.36 million to build and $2.73 million overall. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

If you like to watch: Epic battle between eagle, fox and rabbit on San Juan Island
Nature was on grand display on Washington's San Juan Island this month — and photographer Kevin Ebi was there to document it. He describes the scene as a 'dramatic act of thievery' when a bald eagle tried stealing a rabbit from a young red fox at San Juan Island National Historical Park. This battle went airborne - more than 20 feet at times - and the tussle was photographed from start to finish. The entire airborne battle lasted less than 8 seconds. Jennifer King reports. (KING)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  229 AM PDT Wed May 23 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 7 ft at 11 seconds. Patchy fog. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 7 ft at 11 seconds.
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

5/22 Mosquito, shorelines, Cohen fixes, Pender docks, megaquake, Glacier Peak, water test, stormwater, Pruitt's EPA, Pt Wells

Mosquito [National Geographic]
Few animals on Earth evoke the antipathy that mosquitoes do. Their itchy, irritating bites and nearly ubiquitous presence can ruin a backyard barbecue or a hike in the woods. They have an uncanny ability to sense our murderous intentions, taking flight and disappearing milliseconds before a fatal swat. And in our bedrooms, the persistent, whiny hum of their buzzing wings can wake the soundest of sleepers.... There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes, but the members of three bear primary responsibility for the spread of human diseases. ...  The only silver lining to that cloud of mosquitoes in your garden is that they are a reliable source of food for thousands of animals, including birds, bats, dragonflies, and frogs. In addition, humans are actually not the first choice for most mosquitoes looking for a meal. They usually prefer horses, cattle, and birds. (National Geographic)

Groups Challenge Army Corps of Engineers’ Refusal to Protect Puget Sound Shorelines
(News Release) A lawsuit filed today [Monday] against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) charges that the agency has refused to assert its Clean Water Act jurisdiction over most shoreline armoring in Puget Sound, and that endangered species and Sound shorelines are suffering the negative impacts of the Corps’ continued inaction. Washington Environmental Council, Sound Action and Friends of the San Juans filed the suit after the Corps rejected a science-based government recommendation to correct its unlawful definition of the Seattle District Corps’ jurisdiction over shoreline armoring projects. The coalition, represented by Earthjustice, is calling for federal oversight of shoreline armoring by raising what the Corps’ Seattle District considers the “high tide line” in order to better protect at-risk species and the shorelines themselves. The lawsuit also calls for a response to the groups’ 2015 petition asking for jurisdictional decisions on four shoreline armoring projects. The groups contend a strong federal policy to protect shorelines is critical to Puget Sound recovery. (Earthjustice)

Lots of talk but little action on Cohen recommendations to protect wild salmon, critics say
It's been just over a year since the last B.C. election and CBC News has tracked every promise the NDP made during the campaign. Implementing recommendations to protect dwindling wild salmon stocks was one of those campaign promises. "We will ensure that the salmon farming industry does not endanger wild salmon by implementing the recommendations of the Cohen Commission, keeping farm sites out of important salmon migration routes, and supporting research and transparent monitoring to minimize the risk of disease transfer from captive to wild fish," the 2017 NDP campaign platform reads. Critics say there's been a lot of talk about the issue since the NDP formed government, but not a lot of action. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC)

Unauthorized docks to be demolished in Pender Harbour
Two to three dozen private docks could be demolished in Pender Harbour as part of a new dock management plan negotiated by the provincial government and the shíshálh (Sechelt) First Nation. More than 320 owners of docks that have provincial permits will be able to re-apply for 10-year approvals from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development starting this September. Those applications will be subject to an archeological assessment and the approval of the shíshálh. But docks in the most sensitive parts of the harbour that do not have permits will be removed, according to the ministry. The government was not able to provide an estimate of the number of illicit docks, but local residents believe as many as 40 properties could be affected. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Cascadia Megaquake Risk Rises As 'Slow Slip' Event Begins
The chance of a Cascadia subduction zone megaquake is slightly higher right now - that's because the yearly seismic "slow-slip" seismic event has started, putting pressure on the tectonic plates along the Pacific Coast. Slow-slip - also called an episodic tremor and slip, or ETS - officially started May 8, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). During ETS, after 14 months of moving eastward, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate stalls and moves west, putting stress on the Cascadia subduction zone. Neal McNamara reports. (Patch)

Washington's hidden Glacier Peak volcano is among the most dangerous
As Kilauea continues its rampage on Hawaii’s Big Island, the 38th anniversary this month of Mount St. Helens’ cataclysmic eruption is an uneasy reminder that the snow-capped volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest can awaken at any time. Yet one of Washington’s most dangerous volcanoes remains the least-monitored and the least-studied in the Cascade range. Tucked deep inside its namesake 566,000-acre wilderness a scant 70 miles northeast of Seattle, Glacier Peak is the state’s hidden volcano. At a modest 10,541 feet, its summit doesn’t tower over the landscape like Rainier, Baker or Adams. Settlers didn’t even realize it was a volcano until the 1850s, when Native Americans told the naturalist and ethnologist George Gibbs about a small mountain north of Rainier that once smoked. Geologists have since discovered that Glacier Peak is one of the state’s most active and explosive volcanoes, said Seth Moran, scientist-in-charge at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory. Its most recent eruption, about 300 years ago, was a small one. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Washington state to test drinking water for PFAS contamination linked to firefighting foam
The Washington Department of Health plans to test several hundred water systems in the state for trace contamination of more than a dozen chemicals found in some firefighting foams. The chemicals are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS. They already have been found in five Washington drinking-water systems at levels over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, as well as dozens of private drinking-water wells near firefighting training areas where the foams were used. Department officials will use the test results to help assess the scope of the problem as they work with the Washington State Board of Health to develop possible state standards for some of the chemicals. Washington drinking-water contamination is part of a much larger PFAS pollution problem at sites across the country. These chemicals are now undergoing a federal toxicology review that has drawn scrutiny from the White House, where an unidentified aide — in a January email released under the federal Freedom of Information Act — warned of a “potential public relations nightmare.” Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Stormwater mimics oil spill's effect on Pacific herring
Pacific herring exposed to stormwater in Puget Sound show some of the same effects as fish exposed to major oil spills. Symptoms include enlarged hearts and developmental problems.  After the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, studies found that Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) are particularly sensitive to crude oil exposure, compounding serious population declines in Prince William Sound that continue to this day. Even low exposure to oil can harm juvenile herring, and new research presented last month at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Seattle shows that stormwater can partially mimic some of the problems seen in large tanker disasters. Katie Keil reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Nothing Certain In Search For 'Regulatory Certainty' At EPA
As Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has moved to roll back a sweeping array of Obama-era regulations he’s relentlessly cited his goal of providing “regulatory certainty.” In his first address to career employees last year he told the gathered room at the EPA, “Regulators exist to give certainty to those that they regulate. Those that we regulate ought to know what we expect of them, so that they can plan and allocate resources to comply.” He’s cited this in his efforts to delay, repeal or roll back the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the U.S. Rule, and a string of other measures. But some argue that many of his actions as EPA administrator are having the opposite effect, and that they could be setting a troublesome precedent going forward. Nathan Rott reports. (NPR)

Testimony resumes on 30,000-condo development at Point Wells
To hear Snohomish County planners tell it, the developer trying to build thousands of condos along Puget Sound next to Woodway wants its project approved without showing how it meets relevant land-use requirements. County permitting supervisor Ryan Countryman urged the hearing examiner to turn down the proposal. Countryman said he’s been frustrated by a lack of information from BSRE Point Wells. The company, he testified last week, “has attempted to shape code to match the project.”...The planner went on to outline five areas of “substantial conflict” where BSRE’s plans for more than 3,000 condos fall short. Seven years and three deadline extensions after the permit application, he argued, it’s time to deny the project. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald) See also: Jefferson commissioners hear opinions from both sides on Brinnon resort  Jefferson County commissioners heard the results Monday of public remarks for and against the proposed Pleasant Harbor Master Plan Resort in Brinnon. Community Development Director Patty Charnas outlined the results of the public comment period that started Feb. 7, went through to April 9 at the public hearing and closed April 13.... More than 300 individual comments were received — 282 written statements in addition to 75 verbal remarks recorded during the hearing. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  247 AM PDT Tue May 22 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 10 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 10 seconds.
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

5/21 Chipmunk, BC pipe, BC fish farm, eelgrass, welcome salmon

Townsend's chipmunk [Slater Museum]
Chipmunks come close to being birdwatchers’ mammals. They are active during the day, with an emphasis on the “active,” they are brightly marked, they are territorial, they vocalize frequently, and they come readily to bird feeders. They vary from very shy to very inquisitive, even tame where they encounter people regularly. They are still basically brown, but their conspicuous stripes make them easily recognizable as chipmunks. Basically seed eaters, chipmunks will take anything that comes along, including fruits, fungi, and arthropods. They are accomplished nest robbers. taking bird eggs whenever they can find them. During the fall, they busily gather seeds in cheek pouches and cache them in their protected nests. They can then hole up for the winter and feast on these caches without leaving their protected shelter. Caches can contain tens of thousands of seeds. (Slater Museum)

B.C. eyeing oil shipments from Washington state if Alberta does turn off the taps
Should Alberta’s government use its new powers to throttle back oil shipments to British Columbia, the coastal province plans to be in court that same day to seek an immediate injunction, and is looking to source its oil needs from the State of Washington. B.C. Attorney General David Eby said Friday that Victoria’s primary response is to seek legal remedies to the law Alberta passed this week – which would allow politicians in Edmonton to control the flow of oil, natural gas and refined products out of province in response to B.C.’s opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion proposed by Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. British Columbia’s secondary plan is to backfill a shortage of fuels such as gasoline and diesel from the United States, and Eby said the provincial government is in discussions with Washington state in preparation. Geoffrey Morgan reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Ottawa confirms B.C.'s pipeline court case counts as a political delay that could cost taxpayers  Elise von Scheel reports. (CBC)

Kayakers take Kinder Morgan protest offshore in U.S.
More than 200 kilometres south of where the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is slated to end, environmental groups in the U.S. took to the water in Seattle on Sunday to add their voices to ongoing opposition to the project. While the roughly 1,200-kilometre pipeline won't cross into the U.S., protesters are concerned about an increase in oil tanker traffic, which would depart from the terminal in Burnaby, B.C., and navigate across the Salish Sea. Mosquito Fleet was among several environmental groups, including Greenpeace USA and the Sierra Club, that organized the rally on the water in Elliott Bay and in a city park along the coast. About 80 people launched kayaks from the rocky shore and paddled toward Kinder Morgan's marine terminal. With a police boat stationed nearby, they unfurled banners protesting the pipeline project. Briar Stewart reports. (CBC)

Two Indigenous protesters ordered to end occupation of B.C. fish farm
Fish farming company Marine Harvest says the B.C. Supreme Court has ordered two Indigenous protesters, who have occupied the company’s houses and dock at Swanson Island for months, to leave by Saturday evening pending an upcoming hearing. Marine Harvest says the court also ordered them not to board or interfere with any of Marine Harvest’s salmon farms operating in the area. It says the order is pending a June 25 hearing of an application by Marine Harvest for a broader injunction order. Court documents filed by Ernest Alfred and Karissa Glendale, who are named as defendants, say they and many others from the ‘Namgis First Nation and surrounding First Nations are opposed to open-net fish farms in ocean waters in their traditional territories. (Canadian Press)

Diving deeper to understand eelgrass wasting disease
As tides fall and mudflats are exposed in the Salish Sea, you can glimpse a puzzle that has left scientists and policy makers perplexed. In healthy environments, mats of green eelgrass will often stretch across the shallows, providing vital but fragile habitat for all manner of nearshore species, from Dungeness crabs to salmon. The aquatic plant is considered a fundamental link in the food chain, creating nursery habitat for young fish, stabilizing sediment, and filtering water. It can also inexplicably decline and rebound through space and time. Scientists are looking at a variety of factors for these changes as they work toward a state goal of expanding eelgrass populations by 20% in Puget Sound. Among their concerns is eelgrass (or seagrass) wasting disease, a disease that leaves eelgrass blades covered in lesions and has triggered historical, devastating die-offs along eastern US and European coasts. Robin McLachlan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Eat. Pray. Truck. How a Northwest tribe brings salmon home
The Puyallup Tribe welcomed the first salmon of the year back to the Puyallup River in Tacoma on Tuesday. Strangely, perhaps, that chinook's epic journey from mid-Pacific Ocean to a Puyallup fishing net begins with a sloshing tanker truck. Tribes from Alaska to California have held annual "first salmon" ceremonies for centuries to thank the wide-raging fishes for coming home after years at sea. But some years, the Puyallup River barely has enough chinook salmon to support a ceremony, let alone a tribe whose diet used to be mostly salmon. Threats to the biggest species of salmon's survival abound. Yet this year, the Puyallups have at least one reason to hope chinook could make a big comeback. Follow the Puyallup River upstream from Tacoma and it’ll take you to the slopes and glaciers of Mount Rainier. That is, if a dam doesn’t stop you. On a branch called the White River, two dams have been giving fish trouble for more than 70 years. The dams have also given birth to another longstanding tradition for the Puyallups: The tribe and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trap fish heading upstream and take them for a 10-mile drive in a tanker truck. It’s the only way fish can get around the upper dam, a 400-foot-high flood-control structure called the Mud Mountain Dam. John Ryan reports. (KU)W)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Mon May 21 2018   
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 10 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 9 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

5/18 Hummers, BC pipe, farm salmon, spartina, Kitsap bridges, warm waters, feeding whales

Hummingbird nesting [Laurie MacBride]
Hummingbird's Choice
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Although both Anna’s and Rufous hummingbirds frequent our place, their nests have been elusive over the years. Two or three times we’ve found one on a Western redcedar bough, but otherwise, nothing. Seems these tiny birds are masters in the art of camouflage when it comes to nesting. Until now. To our surprise, a female Rufous has built her nest on one of the metal wind spinners hanging from the eaves along the north wall of our house, allowing us a clear, almost eye-level view (keeping a respectful distance, of course)...."

Backstop deal may be last hope for TransMountain pipeline, says former oil executive
The federal government's plan to financially backstop the TransMountain pipeline project may be the last, best option to salvage the proposal, says a former Alberta pipeline executive. Ottawa announced Wednesday it would secure Kinder Morgan against losses related to political opposition to the project — just weeks ahead of the company's self-imposed drop-dead date. The offer may be the only solution that can save the beleaguered project, said Dennis McConaghy, former executive vice-president of corporate development at TransCanada Corporation. (CBC)

State denies request to move juvenile Atlantic salmon to Bainbridge net pens
Washington state fish managers have denied a request by Cooke Aquaculture to move thousands of juvenile Atlantic salmon from its hatchery to marine net pens in Kitsap County. The Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday it rejected the company's application because the move would increase the risk of fish disease transmission both within and outside the pens.... Tests taken from samples of fish that would have been transported showed they had a form of the fish virus PRV that has not been known to occur in Washington waters. WDFW fish health manager Ken Warheit called it an "exotic strain" that differs from the variety that had been present in the eastern Pacific Ocean, creating an "unknown risk that made it unacceptable." (Associated Press)

State honors Lummi Nation for its emergency response to escaped Atlantic salmon 
State officials awarded the Lummi Nation tribe this week for its emergency response to the escape of thousands of Atlantic salmon from a net pen at Cypress Island. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recognized the tribe with its Director’s Award. In August, the failure of Cooke Aquaculture’s net pen at Cypress Island sent more than 150,000 Atlantic salmon into the Salish Sea. The fish, at 10 pounds, infiltrated Puget Sound rivers. As both Cooke Aquaculture, the owner of the pen, and the WDFW struggled to manage the spill, the Lummi Nation launched an emergency response. Tribal fishermen dropped their work to launch a 24-hour fishery on the Atlantics, declaring a state of emergency to provide a rapid response. Tribal fishers captured 43,522 of the invasive species — 90 percent of all the fish recovered. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Spartina eradication starts June 1
The Washington State Department of Agriculture will begin this year’s treatment for Spartina on June 1 with the treatments continuing through November. Eradication efforts of the aggressive, noxious weed will take place in Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, Hood Canal, Puget Sound, the north and west sides of the Olympic Peninsula and at the mouth of the Columbia River. Spartina, also known as cordgrass, can disrupt saltwater ecosystems, and if left unchecked outcompetes native vegetation and converts ecologically healthy mudflats into solid Spartina meadows. (KXRO)

New bridges provide improved habitat in two Kitsap County creeks
Contractors are putting the final touches on two new bridges in Kitsap County, both of which are expected to improve the local environment. One is a 150-foot bridge that crosses the Carpenter Creek Estuary on West Kingston Road near Kingston. The other is a 50-foot bridge that crosses Big Anderson Creek on Seabeck-Holly Road near Holly. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Warming Waters Push Fish To Cooler Climes, Out Of Some Fishermen's Reach
The oceans are getting warmer and fish are noticing. Many that live along U.S. coastlines are moving to cooler water. New research predicts that will continue, with potentially serious consequences for the fishing industry. Fish can be as picky about their water temperature as Goldilocks was about her porridge. Ecologist Malin Pinsky of Rutgers University says a warming climate is heating up their coastal habitats. “Here in North American waters,” he says, “that means fish and other marine animals, their habitat is shifting further north quite rapidly.” Pinsky studied 686 marine species ranging from bass and flounder to crab and lobster. He projected how much warmer oceans would get over the next 80 years, using various scenarios for emissions of greenhouse gases and the rate of global warming. Then he projected how fish species would probably react to that based on what they’ve been doing already. “And [with] about 450 of those,” he says, “we have high certainty in terms of how far they are going to shift in the future.” Christopher Joyce reports. (NPR)

Open house highlights efforts to restock salmon — and feed the whales
Anglers and whale watchers are hosting a Saturday event to highlight the upcoming release of 280,000 young salmon into the ocean — part of ongoing efforts to rebuild chinook runs and provide food for orcas. The public can take a look at the fish during a 1-3 p.m. open house at the Sooke Harbour Resort and Marina, where another 220,000 chinook smolt were released this past week.  Salmon are an important food source for the Salish Sea’s endangered southern resident orcas. The population has dropped from 96 in 1993 to 76. Dan Kukat of Spring Tide Whale Watching & Eco Tours said help for the orcas is necessary. (Times Colonist)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  237 AM PDT Fri May 18 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 3 ft at 9 seconds. 

TONIGHT  NW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 ft at 8 seconds. A  slight chance of evening showers. 

SAT  W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 4 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance of showers. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 10 seconds. 

SUN  W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds.
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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