Wednesday, September 12, 2018

9/12 Dogfish, shrinking EPA, killing seals, boater rules, Sound plan, Haida Gwaii barge, spraying, mill cleanup

Spiny dogfish [Dennis Paulson]
Spiny Dogfish Squalus acanthias
This small shark (up to 130 cm) is a slender fish with two prominent dorsal fins, each with a spine at its front. These spines can inflict a toxic wound. Pectoral and pelvic fins are also conspicuous, but there is no anal fin. The caudal fin has an enlarged upper lobe, as in most sharks, very effective at propelling the shark through the water rapidly. There are scattered small white spots on its gray body. Like other sharks, Spiny Dogfish have a varied diet, but much of their food in Puget Sound consists of small schooling fish such as herring and sandlance. When feeding on the bottom, they take many crustaceans. They are eaten by larger sharks and marine mammals... Unlikely to be seen in the water, Spiny Dogfish are often pulled up by fishermen trying for more edible species. They are abundant in Puget Sound and, in fact, all over the world in cold waters at north temperate latitudes. They move into shallow coastal waters for the summer, migrating back into deeper waters (up to 1200 m) for the winter. (Slater Museum of Natural History)

With a shrinking EPA, Trump delivers on his promise to cut government 
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump vowed to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form. We’re going to have little tidbits left, but we’re going to take a tremendous amount out.” As president, he is making headway on that promise. During the first 18 months of the Trump administration, records show, nearly 1,600 workers left the EPA, while fewer than 400 were hired. The exodus has shrunk the agency’s workforce by 8 percent, to levels not seen since the Reagan administration. The trend has continued even after a major round of buyouts last year and despite the fact that the EPA’s budget has remained stable. Those who have resigned or retired include some of the agency’s most experienced veterans, as well as young environmental experts who traditionally would have replaced them — stirring fears about brain drain at the EPA. The sheer number of departures also has prompted concerns over what sort of work is falling by the wayside, from enforcement investigations to environmental research. Julie Eilperin reports. (Washington Post)

B.C. group wants to kill the seals to save the whales
Ken Pearce throttles back on his outboard motor, his boat slowing as it cuts through the waters of the lower Fraser River near Steveston, B.C. He's spotted a half-dozen seals swimming in a side channel.... Pearce views the animals as a major threat to migrating salmon and the endangered killer whales that feed on them. He wants tens of thousands of them killed in a commercial hunt. His group, Pacific Balance Pinniped Society, has support from some First Nations, commercial fishing groups and elements of the sport fishing industry. Greg Rasmussen reports. (CBC)

Lack of laws, enforcement leave boaters in the dark around killer whales
As the state watches the plight of a sick southern resident orca known as J50, environmental groups are gearing up to sue the Trump administration. Their hope is to establish a mandatory whale protection zone, or "no-go zone," along the west coast of San Juan Island. The no-go zone would limit vessel noise in an area that is critically important to the endangered southern resident killer whales. This type of proposal has been tossed around for years. There's already a voluntary whale protection zone in the area. Simone Del Rosario reports. (KCPQ)

Agency seeks comment on agenda for Puget Sound recovery
The Puget Sound Partnership is taking public comment on its draft Action Agenda for 2018-2022. The agenda is a road map for the recovery of Puget Sound, the largest estuary in the United States. It lists long-term and short-term goals, and projects proposed throughout the region that could help meet those goals.... The agency is accepting public comment on the latest Action Agenda through Oct. 15.  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Work underway to release fuel trapped in barge at Haida Gwaii
The Canadian Coast Guard says crews are working carefully to release gas that accumulated inside a barge carrying a fishing lodge that beached after it broke away from its anchorage at Haida Gwaii. Westcoast Resorts’ Hippa barge came loose from its mooring Saturday night and drifted for several hours toward Skidegate Inlet near the village of Queen Charlotte. The Canadian Coast Guard’s incident commander, Tim McCann, says crews inspected the barge hull Tuesday and used air quality monitors to ensure their safety because some potentially explosive gas is trapped in the body of the vessel from a possible ruptured fuel line. (Canadian Press)

Pope Resources delays herbicide spray while appeal is heard
Could goats work? Pigs? Burning the property? "We’re open to alternatives, but it has to be something that’s realistic on the scale that you can do at our level,” said Jon Rose, a vice president with timber company Pope Resources, at an at-times testy public meeting Monday at which the company defended to community members its plans to spray herbicides from a helicopter on 330 acres of its recently harvested timberland. The herbicides would kill off other vegetation to give the 120,000 seedlings the company has ready to plant, an advantage as they get established on the tree farm site, company representatives said. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Agency releases five-year review of mill site cleanup
Nearly a decade after cleanup of the former Scott Paper Mill industrial site and commercial waterfront, the state Department of Ecology is taking public comment on the status of remaining contamination. Public comment will be taken through Sept. 30 on a five-year periodic review for the cleanup of the former paper mill site along R Avenue from 17th to 20th streets. Dakota Creek Industries and MJB Properties are located there now, alongside the city’s Seafarers’ Memorial Park. According to Ecology’s five-year review, contaminants are still found in the soil and groundwater at the site, but in concentrations low enough that they do not require additional cleanup. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  225 AM PDT Wed Sep 12 2018   

TODAY  Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. A slight chance of  showers in the morning then a chance of showers in the afternoon. 

TONIGHT  W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 8 seconds. A slight chance of showers.

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