Friday, June 15, 2018

6/15 Chuckanut rocks, lowest tide, bag ban, Hood Canal, big catfish, bailouts, rower, TransAlta, chlorpyrifos, Pruitt's EPA

Chuckanut Formation frond [Wikipedia]
Chuckanut Formation
The Eocene Chuckanut Formation consists of a phenomenally thick sequence (9000 m!) of alluvial sandstone, conglomerate, mudstone, and coal, originally deposited in flood plains in subsiding basins near the coast of Washington- or at least, where the coast was around 50,000,000 years ago. Sediment sources were the highlands of the Rocky Mountains and the southern interior of  British Columbia.  Deposition was prior to growth of the Cascade arc or subduction-accretion of the Crescent Terrane (broadly, the Olympic Peninsula rocks). Orogeny of the Cascade Range effectively shut off the sediment supply. Docking of the Crescent Terrane deformed the Chuckanut sedimentary rocks. Most people know that Chuckanut rocks are found in west-central Whatcom County. However, scattered units of these rocks also extend along the Darrington-Devil’s Mountain fault zone through Skagit and Snohomish Counties. (Northwest Geology)

Puget Sound's lowest tide of the year is Friday
Grab your galoshes – it’s tide pool time. The lowest tide of the year will occur Friday at Puget Sound beaches. In the Seattle and Tacoma areas, Friday’s low tide will be -3.7 feet at 12:42 p.m., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. A combination of factors causes tides to be lower than normal right now: a perigean tide is occurring, we’re close to the summer solstice, and weather patterns are changing.  Allison Sundell reports. (KING)

La Conner bans plastic bags
The town of La Conner has become the first town or city in Skagit County to ban businesses from providing customers with plastic carryout bags.The La Conner Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the use of plastic bags at businesses in town. The ban is an effort to reduce the use and disposal of plastic bags in favor of reusable bags.... he ban will take effect Aug. 1, with businesses able to apply for extensions up to Jan. 1, La Conner Town Administrator Scott Thomas said. Extensions will be provided on a case-by-case basis to businesses that may face hardships during the transition from plastic bags. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: McDonald's to ditch plastic straws  The fast food giant will swap plastic straws for paper ones in all its UK and Ireland restaurants. (BBC)

Hood Canal changes color again, thanks to plankton bloom
Hood Canal has changed colors again, shifting to shades of bimini green, as it did in 2016, when satellite photos showed the canal standing out starkly among all other waters in the Northwest. The color change is caused by a bloom of a specific type of plankton called a coccolithophore, which shows up in nutrient-poor waters. The single-celled organism produces shells made of calcite, which reflect light to produce the unusual color. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

'Oh my god': Giant 45-pound catfish caught in Green Lake
After his friends doubted him, Ahmed Majeed set out to catch something really, really big in Green Lake. But even he was surprised to hook a 45-pound channel catfish. Sean Quinton reports. (Seattle Times)

Largemouth bass
Yesterday's feature of the Largemouth bass brought the following response from Byron Rot, San Juan County Salmon Recovery Coordinator: "[Y]our description of Largemouth bass leaves way too much out.  For those of us trying to recovery salmonids, it’s a serious invasive species in riverine systems with accessible lakes. Unfortunately WDFW is still stocking them in lakes.  Old-guard WDFW, that manages warmwater fisheries, is tone-deaf to ESA. An example of an issue is Ozette Lake in Clallam County.  Ozette is the location of the ESA-listed Ozette sockeye, and lo has largemouth bass.  I assume WDFW is no longer stocking them, but they are particularly difficult to eradicate once established.  And they are predators of young salmon. Long Lake on Kitsap Peninsula.  Suquamish Tribe is trying to recovery salmonids in that watershed, Long Lake should be high quality rearing habitat.  Unfortunately WDFW still stocks that lake with bass. We have to limit stocking to isolated lakes that have no connection to a fish bearing stream or river." And, from Wendy Scherrer: "Lot of research done, some here in Whatcom County. Predation of bass on salmon fry in the Squalicum Creek watershed has been document in a Master's Thesis by Mark Downen, in the early 2000s. They are in Lake Padden and we've found them in Padden Creek, by Fairhaven Park. They are in Lake Whatcom, Bug Lake, Sunset Pond, see WDFW list of lakes below, and there are annual fish derbies to catch them. They had been introduced to lake by fishers in buckets. Then they move upstream and downstream. They need to be managed, how to manage the bass is the question!"

FERC Commissioners Agree: No Grid Emergency Exists to Justify Coal, Nuclear Bailout
Members of the U.S. Senate’s energy committee may be split over the Trump administration’s plan to force Americans to buy power from uncompetitive coal and nuclear power plants — even if support is largely limited to senators representing coal states.  But none of the five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agree that the country’s power grid faces a dire enough emergency to justify a Trump administration plan to invoke national security to save the plants. On Tuesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee met to discuss FERC priorities. Much of the discussion was centered on an Energy Department proposal that doesn’t officially exist yet — a plan to use DOE’s authority under the Defense Production Act of 1950 and the Federal Power Act to direct system operators “to purchase or arrange the purchase of electric energy or electric generation capacity from a designated list of Subject Generation Facilities (SGFs)” deemed essential to national security.  Jeff St. John reports. (GreenTech Media)

Seattle Climate Rower Unharmed As Team Retires From Great Pacific Race
Less than a week into an event that was expected to last well into July, Seattle climate rower Eliza Dawson is back on land. All are safe, but strong Pacific winds ultimately thwarted her four-woman team’s attempt to travel 2,400 miles across the Pacific, on human-power alone. Dawson and her team, Ripple Effect, faced steady high winds and waves for five days. They traveled more than 150 nautical miles and were among the top two teams when they ran into trouble. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (KNKX)

Major Coal-Fired Power Plant in Washington to Go Solar 
It was once Washington state's largest coal pit, a terraced, open-to-the-sky strip mine, five miles from the city of Centralia and halfway between Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Today, the coal beds are quiet and blanketed in green, but an adjacent TransAlta power plant with three tall stacks still churns out electricity the traditional way, with coal now supplied from Wyoming.... When the Centralia power plant's smokestacks quit spewing in 2025, it will mean a loss of 1,340 megawatts of energy. (Of that, it currently supplies about 380 megawatts to area homes via Puget Sound Energy, or PSE, the largest power supplier in the state.) To help fill that gap, TransAlta is converting about 1,000 acres of its former mine site to a solar farm. In homage to the old pioneer town of Tono that once stood where the mine now craters the earth, Tono Solar will be the land's next incarnation. Starre Vartan reports. (EcoWatch)

Ige Signs Law Banning Widely Used Pesticide
Hawaii is banning a pesticide scientists have found could hinder the development of children’s brains. Gov. David Ige on Wednesday signed legislation banning chlorpyrifos. Ige and state lawmakers say Hawaii is the first state to ban the substance. Chlorpyrifos is among the world’s most widely used pesticides. It’s commonly sprayed on citrus fruits, apples and other crops. The state may issue exemptions for three years to allow agriculture businesses time to adjust. The law takes effect in January. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last year reversed an effort by President Barack Obama’s administration to bar its use on fruits and vegetables. The Obama administration acted after peer-reviewed academic studies found even tiny levels of exposure could hinder child brain development. (Associated Press)

As The Scandals Mount, Conservatives Turn On Scott Pruitt
Amid an unceasing series of revelations about alleged ethical misconduct, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is rapidly losing support with influential Republican lawmakers and conservatives who, until now, have strongly backed Pruitt and the pro-fossil fuel deregulatory agenda he’s implemented. In recent days, new reports have emerged showing that Pruitt repeatedly used his position to seek employment and business opportunities for his wife, and had agency staffers doing personal errands on his behalf — both allegations that could run afoul of federal ethics laws. At least a dozen investigations are underway into various aspects of Pruitt’s conduct. Brett Neely and Peter Overby report. (NPR)




Now, your weekend tug weather--


West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Fri Jun 15 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. 

TONIGHT  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 8 seconds building to 7 ft at 9 seconds  after midnight. 

SAT  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 5 ft at  8 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 5 ft at 13 seconds. 

SUN  E wind 5 to 15 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 14 seconds.

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