Friday, July 20, 2018

7/20 Gaper clam, SRKWs, ESA rework, climate kids, Tacoma LNG, Navy Growlers, food web, Site C dam

Fat gaper clam [Dave Cowles]
Fat Gaper or Horse Clam Tresus capax
There are also two species of Gaper in Puget Sound.  Capax or fat gaper is more common, however a southern cousin, Tresus nuttalli or Pacific Gaper, can be present in the same bed.... The Gaper clam weighs in from one to four pounds and the shell can be up to 8 inches long.  The Gaper clam burrows as it grows reaching the surface with long siphons. However the Gaper only goes around 25 inches into the sediment.  At the surface the tips of the siphons can be used to distinguish between the Gaper clam and the Geoduck clam, the tip of the geoduck is fleshy while the Gaper has hard valves on each side of the siphon opening. These clams are attacked by crabs, moon snails and the giant pink sea star. (David W. Jamison]

July 12-17 with Js and Ks
Orca Watcher Monika Weiland writes: "After another nearly two week absence, some of the Southern Residents returned to the Salish Sea on the morning of July 12. It was all of J-Pod, and this time they brought K-Pod with them for their first visit to the Salish Sea since March! I saw a few Js in the morning head north then south off Land Bank..." Check out the photos and story.

Interior Department Proposes a Vast Reworking of the Endangered Species Act
The Interior Department on Thursday proposed the most sweeping set of changes in decades to the Endangered Species Act, the law that brought the bald eagle and the Yellowstone grizzly bear back from the edge of extinction but which Republicans say is cumbersome and restricts economic development. The proposed revisions have far-reaching implications, potentially making it easier for roads, pipelines and other construction projects to gain approvals than under current rules. One change, for instance, would eliminate longstanding language that prohibits considering economic factors when deciding whether or not a species should be protected. The agency also intends to make it more difficult to shield species like the Atlantic sturgeon that are considered “threatened,” which is the category one level beneath the most serious one, “endangered.” Lisa Friedman, Kendra Pierre-Louis and Livia Albeck-Ripka report. (NY Times)

'Climate change kids' make stand in federal courtroom in Oregon
Attorneys for 21 young activists suing the federal government over climate change urged a judge Wednesday to allow their case to go to trial while government lawyers argued that a court can't direct national energy policy. The youths -- from 10 states and ranging in age from 11 to 22 -- assert a constitutional right to a "climate system capable of sustaining human life.'' They contend the president and eight federal agencies have violated that right and the public's trust. They've asked the court to order the government to prepare a "national remedial plan'' to phase out fossil fuel emissions, draw down excess atmospheric carbon dioxide and then monitor compliance. Maxine Bernstein reports. Lawyers for the government argued that the federal court has no jurisdiction to prescribe what the president does in his official duties. Congress created the Administrative Procedure Act as the sole method to challenge actions taken by federal agencies, they said. (Oregonian)

PSE’s gas plant studies have ‘significant technical issues,’ Puyallup tribe’s experts allege
The Puyallup Tribe of Indians has asked Tacoma to re-examine whether a Tideflats liquified natural gas plant — now under construction — is really safe. The tribe is armed with two reviews of Puget Sound Energy’s own safety studies: one from a U.S. Department of Energy-funded research facility and another from a 30-year veteran of the field. Together, the reports say the city’s environmental analysis, informed partly by PSE-funded studies, is not thorough enough and does not consider a worst-case scenario — a catastrophic blast called a “boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion.” Kate Martin reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Navy releases favored plan to increase Whidbey Growlers
The U.S. Navy plans to increase jets at their Whidbey Island Naval station. How this affects San Juan islanders is still up in the air. The good news is that the majority of low-flying jet practices would be moved from the northern end of the Whidbey Island to about 10 miles south, which is farther from San Juan County. The bad news is, an increase in practices would take off and land at the northern end of Whidbey — closest to San Juan County — and 36 more jets, known as Growlers, would be added to the station, overall, totaling 118. “If … the 36 more Growlers are active, there will be more noise everywhere,” said Cynthia Dilling, a member of Quiet Skies Over San Juan County. “[However] if the preferred plan is accepted, there is a chance San Juan County could get slightly fewer [low-flying practices], which could make a difference.” Haley Day reports. (San Juan Journal)

Getting lost in the tangle of connections called the Puget Sound food web
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "...If you really want to learn about why a species is doing well or poorly, you need to look beyond prey availability for your species of interest and find out what the prey are eating as well. Healthy prey must be abundant for any species to do well, so the prey of the prey must also do well. When we combine features of this prey base with varying conditions among predators and competitors, we begin to build a model of the food web...."

B.C.'s Site C dam project behind schedule, plagued by problems, expert claims
B.C.'s mammoth Site C hydroelectric project is seriously behind schedule, plagued by quality problems and marked by secrecy, according to an assessment by an international dam expert. E. Harvey Elwin — hired by a First Nation asking for a court injunction to aspects of the dam's construction — expresses concern about work at the job site in his 196-page report citing internal BC Hydro and government documents, many of them previously confidential.... In a letter accompanying a progress report to the B.C. Utilities Commission dated July 11, BC Hydro president Chris O'Riley said the project remains "on time and within budget." (Canadian Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  257 AM PDT Fri Jul 20 2018  


TODAY  W wind to 10 kt rising to 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 7 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 6 ft at 7 seconds. 

SAT  Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. 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 4 ft at 8 seconds. 

SUN  Light wind becoming N to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.

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