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]
Mosquitoes
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.
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