Thursday, July 12, 2018

7/12 Newt, summer's here, Kavanaugh, 200m rule, Canada marine protection, BC pipe, toadlets, Skagit R erosion

Rough-skinned newt [Henk Wallays]
Rough-skinned Newt Taricha granulosa
The Rough-Skinned Newt is a medium to large-sized, stocky, brown salamander with a rounded snout, rough glandular skin, and a bright orange underside. At low elevation sites in western Washington, Rough-skinned Newts are active year round. Terrestrial forms can be observed migrating in streams and creeks to ponds starting in January. Courtship displays and pairs in amplexus are most obvious in March and April at low elevation sites. Newts that occur at higher elevations start breeding soon after snow and ice melt. Eggs are laid soon after mating takes place. Newts are the last of our salamander species to breed and the last salamander larvae to hatch.... The Rough-skinned Newt is one of only three Washington amphibians that lays single eggs and the only one that hides its eggs within vegetation. (WDFW)

Hot summer weather hits B.C. and it could last for weeks
The high pressure weather system building over B.C. could finally signal the start of a long, hot summer, according to CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe. Temperatures in Metro Vancouver are expected to hit the mid-20s today, and the pattern is expected to stick around for the next week and maybe longer. Mike Laanela reports. (CBC) See also: Hot week, burn bans signal de facto start to Puget Sound's summer  Get your fans ready, folks — the Puget Sound’s true, short season of summer begins now. Never mind what the calendar says, longtime residents of the region know you can only reliably count on an extended stretch of high temperatures and sunny skies from about July 12 to around the end of September or mid-October. Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times)

How Brett Kavanaugh Could Reshape Environmental Law From the Supreme Court
Long before President Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court on Monday, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh had already made a name for himself as an influential conservative critic of sweeping environmental regulations. During his 12 years on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, often regarded as the nation’s second-most powerful court, Judge Kavanaugh voted in a number of high-profile cases to limit Environmental Protection Agency rules involving issues like climate change and air pollution. In two key instances, his arguments were later embraced by the Supreme Court. Brad Plumer reports. (NY Times)

New 200m rule might not help save endangered killer whales
New whale watching rules came into effect Wednesday, but they may not do much to help the killer whales they aim to protect, according to some whale watchers and experts. "We are closing the barn door after this has all happened. This isn't going to help the southern residents at all," said Cedric Tower, the operator of Vancouver Whale Watch. That's because the critically endangered southern resident killer whales the new rules are designed to protect are rarely spotted anymore on whale watching trips, according to many in the industry. Mike Laanela reports. (CBC)

Is Canada Taking Shortcuts to Hit Its Marine Protection Targets?
The government is counting fisheries closures as protected spaces in order to hit a 2020 target. Many scientists argue this is not meaningful conservation. Erica Gies reports. (Hakai Magazine)

3 Reasons the Deadly Lac-M├ęgantic Oil Train Disaster Could Happen Again
In the five years since the oil train disaster in Lac-M├ęgantic, Quebec, claimed 47 lives, the world has learned much about the risks that hauling oil by rail poses. One of the clearest lessons is how little has been done to address those risks, which means that deadly event could easily happen again. To mark the anniversary, Kathleen Fox, chair of the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada, released a statement on oil-by-rail. "Much has been accomplished in the intervening years, but more remains to be done," she said. Fox is correct about one thing: More remains to be done. Much more. Justin Mikulka reports. (DeSmog)

Indigenous pipeline protesters take over B.C. park, displace campers
An Indigenous group calling itself the Tiny House Warriors has moved into the North Thompson River Provincial Park near Clearwater, B.C., in an effort to block the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Group spokeswoman Kanahus Manuel says they are reclaiming an ancestral village their people were forced from many years ago, while at the same trying to prevent the expansion of the pipeline through their traditional territory. (Canadian Press)

Conservationists struggle to save western toadlets making perilous migration in Chilliwack
It is one of the greatest, if tiniest, terrestrial migrations in North America, an estimated 100,000 western toadlets making their annual, overland trek from the pond of their birth in Chilliwack, across a farm pasture, and into a bordering forest. The distance is only a two-minute walk for humans. But for the brown toadlets — about the size of your thumbnail — the journey is fraught with dangers. There is the unknown number of invasive bullfrogs lurking in the pond, the field grasses rustling with predatory garter snakes, and, worst of all, the fast-moving motor vehicles on two lanes of asphalt in their path.... To improve the odds, in 2015, conservationists created a tunnel under Elk View Road in the Ryder Lake area, and put up 350 metres of black plastic fencing in an effort to direct the toadlets towards the tunnel — and safety. It doesn’t always work. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

County to purchase Lyman properties damaged by erosion
Skagit County will soon take ownership of three Lyman properties after residents were forced to leave their homes following flood-related erosion in November. Skagit County Watershed Planner Kara Symonds said purchase agreements have been signed with the owners of the three homes: Mark Harris, Michael Taxdahl, and Richard and Vicky Guidinger.... Taxdahl and his neighbors’ homes are being purchased by the county using Hazard Mitigation Grant Program money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as about $150,000 in state Military Department funds and about $150,000 from the county in the form of labor, project management and waste disposal. The three homes are being purchased for a combined $1.2 million, Symonds said. That’s their combined fair market value before the erosion occurred, according to Skagit County Assessor’s Office records. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  239 AM PDT Thu Jul 12 2018   


TODAY  Light wind becoming N 5 to 15 kt midday then becoming NW  15 to 25 kt during the afternoon. Wind waves less than 1 ft  building to 2 to 4 ft by mid afternoon. W swell 5 ft at 8  seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 6 ft at 9 seconds.

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