Friday, August 17, 2018

8/17 Dogwinkle, orca habitat suit, saving orcas, BC pipe, Keystone XL, wildfires, sunk tug, hot oceans

Frilled dogwinkle [David Cowles]
Frilled Dogwinkle Nucella lamellosa
Frilled Dogwinkle are found from the Aleutian Islands south to central California. It typically inhabits rocky shorelines from the low to mid intertidal zones, and is often found in mussel beds. This species is a predatory whelk that feeds on acorn barnacles and mussels by using its radula to drill through the shell of the prey. This creates a hole through which the whelk inserts a long proboscis to ingest the prey.... In the spring and summer the stalked, yellow egg cases of this species can be found attached to rocks by their stalks. They are often referred to as "sea oats." (Biodiversity of the Central Coast)

Environmentalists sue federal government in Seattle to protect endangered orcas 
An environmental conservation group has sued the federal government, alleging it failed to meet its obligation to protect the habitat of endangered southern-resident killer whales on the West Coast. The lawsuit was filed Thursday by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to hold the government accountable for allegedly violating the Endangered Species Act by not acting on a 2014 petition filed by CBD that sought to expand “critical habitat” areas for the orcas from Puget Sound waters to include the coastline down to near San Francisco. The organization has filed 82 other lawsuits against the Trump administration, demanding action to protect species from a type of giant fly native to California to the grizzly bear, but this is the first regarding orcas. Asia Fields reports. (Seattle Times)

Save the orcas? We'll have to do this one, radical thing
.... Ultimately, to save the orcas, we may have to face the prospect that many policymakers have studiously avoided: not just modifying some Columbia River system dams but removing them. Salmon advocates have long argued that ultimately, the only way to restore salmon runs in the Columbia’s main tributary, the Snake, is to breach the four Lower Snake River dams. Taking out those dams would allow salmon to migrate into millions of acres of spawning habitat in the Idaho wilderness — habitat that may become increasingly critical to the fish as climate change warms habitat at lower elevations. But that’s a politically sticky proposition: The dams provide some 4 percent of the region's hydroelectric generating capacity. They also create pools that allow some farmers to irrigate crops without the heavy pumping lifts that lower water levels would require. And the locks attached to them enable barge traffic to reach Lewiston, Idaho, allowing farmers to ship grain to Portland. Daniel Jack Chasan writes. (Crosscut)

NEB allows Trans Mountain to begin construction on parts of pipeline expansion
The National Energy Board says Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC can start construction on sections of its pipeline expansion in Alberta and British Columbia. The NEB says in a statement that Trans Mountain has met all applicable pre-construction condition requirements for so-called segments one to four from the Edmonton terminal to its Darfield pump station near Kamloops, B.C. The board says it has approved more than 96 per cent of the detailed route for these pipeline segments. The NEB says Trans Mountain can begin construction, including clearing right of way — subject to other government permits and regulations. (Canadian Press) See also:  Burnaby protest camp torn down after RCMP move in  Cassidy Olivier & Gordon Hoekstra report. (Vancouver Sun)

KEYSTONE XL: Court orders Trump admin to study new route's impacts
The Keystone XL pipeline hit another legal snag last night after a federal court ordered the Trump administration to take a closer look at environmental impacts. The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana ruled that the State Department must conduct a fresh analysis of the contentious oil pipeline's new route through Nebraska. The agency approved a critical cross-border permit for Keystone XL shortly after President Trump took office, but Nebraska state regulators later in 2017 approved a revised route for the Canada-to-U.S. project. The State Department had argued that the route change did not require the agency to revisit the 2014 National Environmental Policy Act analysis underpinning the cross-border permit because it had already been issued. The Montana court disagreed. Ellen M. Gilmer reports. (E&E News)

Federal Officials Outline New Plan To Lower Wildfire Risk
Federal officials have announced a new plan that’s meant to help lower the risks of mega-fires. Northwest lawmakers are helping roll out the strategy to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called the plan a “real game plan for reducing the 80 million acres of hazardous fuels that constitutes the backlog on Forest Service lands. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Forest Service would work closely with state and local officials to identify the best areas to treat using thinning, prescribed fire and “unplanned fire in the right place at the right time,” said Vicki Christiansen, interim chief of the Forest Service. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPB/EarthFix) See also: As smoke hangs over Northwest, study shows air pollution was already high   Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times) And also: Air quality 'high risk' for parts of B.C. due to wildfire  (CBC)

Capsized tug now out of the water at the mouth of B.C.'s Fraser River
A tug that capsized and sank a the mouth of the Fraser River off Vancouver has now been pulled from the water. The 19-metre-long George H. Ledcor went down Monday night while hauling a loaded gravel barge on the north arm of the Fraser River not far from Vancouver International Airport. David Hoff with Ledcor Group, the operator of the tug, says the vessel was lifted out of the water this morning [Thursday] and crews are now preparing to drain potentially contaminated water from its hull. The tug has the capacity to carry 22,000 litres of diesel fuel, but officials said it was unclear how much was in its tanks when it sank. (Canadian Press)

Not just land heat waves: Oceans are in hot water, too
Even the oceans are breaking temperature records in this summer of heat waves. Off the San Diego coast, scientists earlier this month recorded all-time high seawater temperatures since daily measurements began in 1916.... Between 1982 and 2016, the number of “marine heat waves” roughly doubled, and likely will become more common and intense as the planet warms, a study released Wednesday found. Prolonged periods of extreme heat in the oceans can damage kelp forests and coral reefs, and harm fish and other marine life. Christina Larson reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PDT Fri Aug 17 2018   

TODAY  Variable wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W  swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt, becoming SW 10 kt or less. Wind  waves 3 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. 

SAT  Variable wind 10 kt or less. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W  swell 5 ft at 8 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  5 ft at 8 seconds. 

SUN  NW wind 10 kt or less. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5  ft at 8 seconds.


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