Sunday, July 22, 2018

7/23 Seastars, orca ESA, fish farms, BC pipe, grizzlies, Howe Sound, gravel mine, hatchery, quake, Teddy Bear Cove, flinging fish, animal tale

Puget Sound seastars [WikiMedia/lumpytrout]
Starfish continue to baffle researchers with mysterious disease
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "Five years after a mysterious disease began killing millions of starfish and turning their tissues to mush, the decimated population has yet to recover. Meanwhile, researchers continue to struggle to identify a cause for the disease, which appears to have uncertain ties to viruses and possibly environmental conditions. In Puget Sound, it’s not as easy as it once was to find a diseased sea star, which seems to be a promising sign until you consider how many have died. As I learned last week during an outing to Lofall in North Kitsap, the total number of starfish remains low compared to four years ago, and recovery has been minimal, if at all..."

Orcas have returned to Puget Sound, and they've never faced a bigger menace
Our endangered killer whales have returned for the summer, with the pods limping into Puget Sound the smallest they’ve been in 34 years. The federal government has chosen this precarious moment to gut the law that protects them. Danny Westneat reports. (Seattle Times)

'They are still using the ocean as a toilet': NDP Fisheries critic proposes removing fish farms from oceans
The federal NDP critic for Fisheries and Oceans is proposing legislation that would overhaul fish farming by moving open-net fish farms from the ocean to land in an effort to stabilize and grow dwindling wild sockeye salmon numbers.... Reports have shown that wild sockeye salmon that come into contact with fish farms are more likely to be introduced to a number of problems, including parasitic sea lice — which attach themselves to the fish, weakening and sometimes killing them — and the piscine reovirus (PRV). PRV affects salmon's ability to swim upstream, which makes it harder for them to return to their spawning grounds. Joel Ballard reports. (CBC)

Ottawa fails to secure new buyer for Trans Mountain pipeline by deadline
The Canadian government is set to become the official owner of the Trans Mountain  pipeline expansion after failing to quickly flip the project to another private-sector buyer. Pipeline owner Kinder Morgan had been working with the government to identify another buyer before July 22. But with that date set to pass without a deal, it was expected the pipeline company will now take Ottawa's $4.5-billion offer to purchase the project to its shareholders. Pending their approval, the sale, which includes the existing pipeline, the pumping stations and rights of way, and the Westridge marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C., will be approved sometime in August or September. Lee Berthiaume reports. (Canadian Press)

Burnaby plans to use courts, cops to raze anti-pipeline protest camp
The City of Burnaby plans to turn to the courts and police to dismantle an anti-pipeline protest camp on Burnaby Mountain, where protesters refused to obey a city eviction order Saturday. After the eviction order’s 72-hour deadline lapsed at 6 a.m. — with no police or city officials at Underhill Avenue and Shellmont Street to enforce it — protesters at “Camp Cloud” held a news conference where they reiterated their plan to stay put. On Wednesday, city officials ordered them to immediately remove all structures, trailers and vehicles, as well as put out fires, tear down a shower and leash their dogs. Nick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

House votes to block money to bring grizzlies back to North Cascades
The federal government would be barred from spending money to move grizzly bears into Washington’s North Cascades in the coming fiscal year, under an amendment approved Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has backed the effort to bring the bears back to the mountain range, saying in March they are “part of a healthy environment.” That gave new life to an Obama-era recovery study halted by the Trump administration. But the recovery effort in the North Cascades is opposed by Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Republican from Sunnyside, who inserted in a House appropriations bill the amendment banning federal money for reintroduction efforts. (Seattle Times)

Industry and conservationists square off over B.C.'s Howe Sound
In some parts of the world, the island-studded fiord called Howe Sound would have been locked up as a national park long ago, given its astounding natural beauty on the edge of a metropolis of more than 2.5-million people. It’s a special place where steep-sided mountains plunge almost 300 metres into glacier-fed waters that are home to a wide range of marine life, including salmon, herring, whales, dolphins, porpoises, and fragile glass-sponge reefs. But full protection is not what happened to Howe Sound. Industry indelibly made its mark on the shoreline in 1904, with the opening of the Britannia mine, toasted as the “largest copper mine in the British Commonwealth.” The mine closed in 1974. But it lives on today as a national historic site and tourist attraction clinging to a hillside and as a continuing source of so much pollution that a treatment facility had to be built in 2006, with a budget of $3 million a year to remove an average of 226,000 kilograms of heavy metal contaminants each year. Over the decades, industry continued to come and go in the sound, including the Western Forest Products Woodfibre pulp mill, closed in 2006, on the same site where B.C. Sulphite Fibre Company began operations in 1912. The place remains a contamination nightmare. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Gravel mine application stirs North Shore Road neighbors
A Belfair business wants to mine 49 acres along the north shore of Hood Canal for gravel and sand, much to the outrage of local residents. Grump Ventures, owned by Russell Scott, has applied for permits from Mason County and the state departments of Natural Resources and Ecology to operate on 66 acres on North Shore Road, about five miles southwest of Belfair across from a Port of Allyn dock. Mason County is the lead agency handling the environmental, or SEPA, review of the application and opened up a 30-day comment period that ends Monday, July 23. Aria Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Renovations at Puyallup hatchery aim to bolster salmon population in Puget Sound
Construction of a $16.4 million project to renovate the Puyallup Fish Hatchery began this month after years of planning. The project benefits the Puyallup River basin and Puget Sound, according to Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials. “This (project) is critical for us in terms of providing harvest opportunity up and down the coast of Washington, and as we have that conversation about orca and our commitments to addressing the issues surrounding Puget Sound and meeting the needs of orca,” WDFW regional director Larry Phillips said earlier this month. Allison Needles reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Tremors shove Washington westward, offer clues into next big earthquake
Thousands of tiny tremors over the past few months have moved parts of Washington and Vancouver Island westward. It’s a near annual event that backs expectations by some scientists that a big earthquake may hit the Seattle area harder than their previous models suggested. This recent wave of activity began in May and appears to be dying off now, according to University of Washington earth-sciences professor Ken Creager. It’s a process, known as episodic tremor and slip, thought to increase stress on locked faults — areas where tectonic plates cannot move past each other. Earthquakes occur when the pressure on locked zones reaches the breaking point and the plates snap past each other. Scientists believe an episode of tremors could someday trigger a so-called megaquake on the offshore fault called the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The 700-mile-long fault runs from Vancouver Island to northern California, and can unleash earthquakes of up to magnitude 9.0. It’s one of the biggest of faults in the U.S. Sarah Wu reports. (Seattle Times)

You can sunbathe, tidepool or enjoy views from a bluff here  — but not in the buff
Teddy Bear Cove, just south of Bellingham, is popular year-round. It’s ideal if you don’t have a lot of time but want to squeeze in a hike that’s more challenging than just a pretty amble. In summer, it’s a nice place to do a little bit of sun-lazing or tide-pool gazing during low tide. Plus, it’s a truly pretty piece of this corner of the world. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

'It's surreal': Seattle's Pike Place Fish Market sold to fish-throwing employees
The technique of flinging fish from the display cases of the nearly 90-year-old Pike Place Fish Market to the scales hasn't changed for Anders Miller, Samuel Samson, Jaison Scott and Ryan Reese — who together have worked at the Seattle landmark for decades — but now they're the owners and not just the hired hands. Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times)

Oh deer: The surprising source of many of B.C.'s aggressive wildlife reports
.... it is deer that are responsible for the second-largest number of calls to conservation officers to report aggressive or threatening wildlife, after black bears, a CBC analysis has revealed. Tara Carman reports. (CBC) See also: B.C. Parks issues warning after seal attack near Canoe Islets  B.C. Parks has issued a warning about an aggressive habour seal in Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park, located on the west side of Queen Charlotte Strait near the north end of Vancouver Island. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  903 PM PDT Sun Jul 22 2018

MON  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 4 ft at 12 seconds. Patchy fog  in the morning. 

MON NIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 10 seconds.

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