Monday, June 25, 2018

6/25 Giant hogweed, saving orcas, BC pipe, train oil spill, slow ships, kayak trail, toxic algae, rising CFCs

Giant hogweed
Giant hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum
Giant hogweed is a noxious weed that forms dense canopies outcompeting native species and increasing soil erosion. It exudes a clear watery sap which sensitizes the skin to ultraviolet radiation, resulting in severe burns to the affected area causing blistering and painful dermatitis. It can be confused with cow parsnip, Heracleum lanatum, a native plant in Washington and except for its size, has a similar appearance to giant hogweed. Thanks to Wendy Scherrer for passing along a YouTube video showing the difference. (Washington State Noxious Weed Board)

Canadian government announces $167.4M to help save key whale species
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced $167.4 million to support the recovery of three key whale species in Canada, particularly B.C.'s southern resident killer whale population. "The whales need our help," Garneau said. "We must act now because the whales can't wait." For the orca population in the Salish Sea, in particular, the federal government is focusing on improving prey availability, reducing underwater vessel noise and better monitoring of pollution. (CBC) See also: Why do we keep loving our orcas — to death?  Knute Berger writes. (Crosscut)

NEB approves modified Burnaby Terminal plans for Trans Mountain project
The National Energy Board says it has approved modified plans for the Burnaby Terminal of the Trans Mountain pipeline project, clearing a final regulatory hurdle for construction to start. The regulator says the approved variance application will significantly improve safety at the terminal, which is the end point for the controversial pipeline the federal government has agreed to buy as part of a $4.5-billion acquisition of Kinder Morgan Canada's core assets. The new plans reduce the diameter of five of the 14 tanks and the overall capacity of the facilities by about 320,000 barrels, increase the space between the tanks, and reconfigure the secondary containment system at the tank farm to reduce fire risk. The NEB says its approval of the variance and Kinder Morgan Canada's fulfillment of certain conditions allows it to begin construction at the Burnaby Terminal, subject to any other permits or authorizations which may be required. (Canadian Press)

Crude oil pours into river from derailed train in US 
Around 30 train carriages came off the tracks, which are thought to have been weakened by recent flooding in Iowa state. (BBC)

Call Goes Out Again To Big Ships To Slow Down For Killer Whales
The call is going out again to the operators and pilots of big ships to slow down in the shared border waters between Washington and British Columbia. The idea is to reduce underwater noise that could bother endangered killer whales. The voluntary vessel slowdown zone covers the length of Haro Strait, a busy shipping channel separating Victoria and Washington's San Juan Islands. The strait is also a vital summer feeding area for endangered orcas. The Port of Vancouver, Canada, is leading the charge to reduce the impacts of vessel noise on the killer whales. A two-month trial slowdown last summer and fall demonstrated how cutting ship speeds to 11 knots could significantly reduce the racket underwater. Noise interferes with whale feeding success. Beginning next month through September, the port authority is again asking cargo ships, tankers, cruise ships and ferries to slow down, but this time only when whales are confirmed in the area. That should result in fewer vessel delays.  Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Proposed kayak trail between B.C.'s Discovery Islands doesn't float with Quadra Island official
A recent proposal by a group of kayaking enthusiasts to set up a marine trail throughout B.C.'s Discovery Islands has been met with skepticism from local leaders The B.C. Marine Trails Network Association hopes to create a path for kayakers and other small vessels by connecting a chain of campsites and launch areas between Powell River, Campbell River, Sayward and the Discovery Islands — located between Campbell River on Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland. John Kimantas, the association's Discovery Islands project manager, spent the last week presenting the trail idea to the affected towns. But a representative of Quadra Island — an island off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island and part of the Strathcona Regional District — isn't convinced the marine trail is a good idea for his community. (CBC)


Warming Drives Spread Of Toxic Algae In Oregon And Beyond, Researchers Say
The words blasted to cellphones around Oregon’s capital city were ominous: “Civil emergency . prepare for action.” Within half an hour, a second official alert clarified the subject wasn’t impending violence but toxins from an algae bloom detected in Salem’s water supply. Across the U.S., reservoirs that supply drinking water and lakes used for recreation are experiencing similar events with growing frequency. The trend represents another impact of global warming and raises looming questions about the effects on human health, researchers say. Tom James reports. (Associated Press)

In a High-Stakes Environmental Whodunit, Many Clues Point to China
Last month, scientists disclosed a global pollution mystery: a surprise rise in emissions of an outlawed industrial gas that destroys the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer. The unexpected increase is undermining what has been hailed as the most successful international environmental agreement ever enacted: the Montreal Protocol, which includes a ban on chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, and which was expected to bring a full recovery of the ozone layer by midcentury. But the source of the pollution has remained unknown. Now, a trail of clues leads to this scrappy industrial boomtown in rural China. Interviews, documents and advertisements collected by The New York Times and independent investigators indicate that a major source — possibly the overwhelming one — is factories in China that have ignored a global ban and kept making or using the chemical, CFC-11, mostly to produce foam insulation for refrigerators and buildings. Chris Buckley and Henry Fountain report. (NY Times)


Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  237 AM PDT Mon Jun 25 2018   


TODAY  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds.  Numerous showers. 


TONIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 11 seconds. A slight  chance of showers in the evening.

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