Monday, June 4, 2018

6/4 Elwha, 'The Blob,' butterfly ESA, BC pipe, 'Orca,' canoe journey, plastics, PS Pilots, Pacific swim

Elwha  5/30/18 [Buck Turgidson, Tom Roorda, CWI]
'The Blob,' a marine heat wave, caused massive die-off of West Coast birds 
The tip-off that something had gone seriously wrong for a small gray sea bird called the Cassin’s auklet were the carcasses washing up on beaches by the thousands. That massive die-off of sea birds was caused by a marine heat wave known as The Blob, so named because of the shape of the enormous lens of unusually warm water parked off the West Coast. New research published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters has determined it was The Blob that killed the auklets, which starved to death. Carcass counts in Oregon and Washington began to increase in October 2014. By mid-December, thousands of carcasses were deposited over a short period of time throughout the region. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Endangered listing proposed for rare San Juan Island butterfly
The southern end of San Juan Island is home to a species more imperiled than the polar bears of the Arctic and the tigers of Asia. This species is also harder to spot than those large, iconic animals. It flits by unsuspecting islanders and tourists alike in a matter of seconds, a blur of white. It’s the island marble butterfly, an increasingly rare species that may soon become the 10th endangered species — and the second butterfly with that protection — in Washington state. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposes listing the island marble butterfly as endangered and designating 812 acres on the island as critical habitat for the species. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Ottawa takeover of Trans Mountain Pipeline not necessarily disruptive: experts
As the Trudeau government prepares to take over the controversial $7.4-billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, project management experts say it is critical that government oversight is handled properly. But the takeover of the project does not necessarily mean the public should be alarmed, according to those experts. A recent poll by Research Co. suggests a jittery public — three-quarters of those surveyed — is uncomfortable that the federal government is using taxpayer money to purchase the pipeline. David Barrett, an Ontario-based project management consultant and author, said that new ownership, regardless of whether it is public or private, does not have to effect the work that takes place at the project level. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)    See also: Will B.C.'s First Nations benefit or suffer from the Trans Mountain buyout? Depends on who you ask  Duncan McCue reports. (CBC)

No more 10-minute warnings for activists flouting pipeline injunction, says judge
A B.C. judge has agreed to allow Kinder Morgan to expand the powers of an injunction imposed March 15 to curb anti-pipeline activists trying to thwart construction at its Burnaby worksites. Lawyers for Kinder Morgan argued Friday in B.C. Supreme Court that they need to broaden the scope of a court injunction to limit the actions of anti-pipeline activists on company and other property. Kinder Morgan lawyer Maureen Killoran told the court that the company has learned activists are using a 10-minute warning that the RCMP gives before arresting people as a "work-around" to the legal injunction. Yvette Brend reports. (CBC)

Jason Colby’s ‘Orca’ offers personal and historical perspectives on orca captures 
Jason Colby has more than a historian’s perspective on the era when orca whales were trapped and sold for profit and entertainment all over the world: His father used to be a “cropper,” as the fishermen of these great mammals of the Northwest called themselves. Today an associate professor of environmental and international history at the University of Victoria, Colby, author of “Orca: How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean’s Greatest Predator,” was born in Victoria, British Columbia, but raised in the Seattle area, where he worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska and Washington. His is a Northwest story, born and bred, and he tells it with the depth and passion the topic deserves. Lynda Mapes reviews. (Seattle Times)

The healing touch of the Salish Sea celebration 
Two mighty canoes guided by skippers from the Swinomish Canoe Family and Samish Canoe Family glided through Bowman Bay, their passengers sinking pointed wooden paddles into the water. With every pull, the on-shore festivities of the 13th annual Salish Sea Native American Cultural Celebration receded further, the scent of cooking salmon all but a delicious memory. In the Swinomish canoe “Spirit of the Salmon Lady” sat Quinault Indian Nation member Becky Larsen. “We go out on the water because it’s the highway of our ancestors,” she said, squinting through her sunglasses. On Saturday, members of the Samish Indian Nation and Swinomish Indian Tribal Community put on their yearly event to raise money for their canoe families’ intertribal canoe journey. Leah Allen reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Whale that died off Thailand had eaten 80 plastic bags
A pilot whale has died off southern Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags, Thai marine officials say. The whale vomited five bags during a vain attempt by conservation officials to save it in a canal in Songkhla province. The bags, weighing about 8kg (17lbs), had made it impossible for the whale to eat food, a marine expert said. (BBC)

Puget Sound Pilots honored at ceremony marking 150 years of program
Elected officials joined Puget Sound Pilots officials, maritime advocates and educators in celebrating 150 years of the state’s marine pilotage program at the Northwest Maritime Center. Gathering to comment on the anniversary of the Washington Pilotage Act on Thursday were U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, State Sen. Kevin Van De Wege and Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson among others.... A pilot commission for Puget Sound was created by a territorial act in 1868, according to Peninsula Daily News historian Alice Alexander. It was repealed later and another act came into being, and in 1935 the Puget Sound Pilots organization was created to answer to the state of Washington’s requirement that all foreign vessels traveling on Puget Sound and adjacent waters, and U.S. ships engaged in foreign trade must have pilot services, Alexander has said. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

To Raise Awareness For Climate Change, 50-Year-Old Makes Bid To Swim Across Pacific
On Tuesday, 50-year-old swimmer Ben Lecomte will push off from a beach in Choshi, Japan, wearing a shark repellent bracelet and an armband to track radiation in the ocean. He hopes to reach San Francisco in six months as the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean. A successful 5,500-mile journey will be a feat of athleticism and a major scientific opportunity. Lecomte, a Frenchman now living in Texas, is traveling alongside a boat with a six-person crew. He'll swim eight hours per day on a route that includes the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the White Shark Migration Area. Scientific partners, including NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, have provided equipment for the swimmer's crew to conduct research on his body and the ocean along the way. They'll gather over 1,000 water samples, in part to gather data on pollution and plant life. Clare Lombardo reports. (NPR)

President Trump Orders Help For Coal And Nuclear Plants
President Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take immediate steps to help financially troubled coal and nuclear power plants. A draft plan marked “confidential” is being circulated around Washington. No one from the Trump administration has confirmed to NPR that the draft is an official document. Still, the White House issued a statement in response to news reports about the plan, saying the U.S. electric grid is at risk because of coal and nuclear plant shutdowns — called “retirements” in the industry.... Coal and nuclear plants are in trouble because across much of the country they’re having trouble competing with cheaper forms of electricity generated by natural gas and renewable energy. The draft plan would require power grid operators to buy electricity from struggling plants over the next two years to prevent more from shutting down. It relies on authorities given to the executive branch in the Defense Production Act of 1950 and the Federal Power Act. Jeff Brady reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PDT Mon Jun 4 2018   
 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 4 ft at 9 seconds. A chance of showers in the  morning then a slight chance of showers in the afternoon. 
 NW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming W to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.

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