Tuesday, September 25, 2018

9/25 Steller sea lion, orca report, Whatcom oil pipe, BC big pipe, BC LNG, I-90 wildlife bridge

Steller Sea Lion [NOAA]
Steller Sea Lion Eumetopias jubatus
The Steller (or northern) sea lion is the largest member of the family Otariidae, the “eared seals,” which includes all sea lions and fur seals. Steller sea lions are named for Georg Wilhelm Steller, the German surgeon and naturalist on the Bering expedition who first described and wrote about the species in 1742. While they are the only living member of their genus, they share parts of their range with a smaller related species, California sea lions. Steller sea lions' impressive low-frequency vocalizations sound more like roars than California sea lions’ barks. They also share parts of their range with another otariid: northern fur seal. Historically, Steller sea lions were highly abundant throughout many parts of the North Pacific. Indigenous peoples and other settlers hunted them for their meat, hides, oil, and other products. In addition, they were killed for predator control and commercial harvests, causing their numbers to decrease.  Steller sea lions were first listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1990. In 1997 NOAA Fisheries recognized two populations, classifying the eastern population as threatened and the western population as endangered. The eastern population has since recovered and is no longer listed, which is a significant achievement under the ESA. The western population remains endangered. (NOAA)

Gov. Jay Inslee's orca task force draft report out for public comment
A governor’s task force on orca recovery has released its draft report on potential recommendations to save the southern resident killer whale from extinction. The 53-page report is a kitchen sink of possible fixes, touching on everything from dam removal on the Lower Snake River to changes in hatchery policy, habitat spending and environmental cleanup actions. The task force will take public comment on the potential recommendations until midnight Oct. 7. The task force has not agreed on the recommendations, or even ranked them by preference. The task force will consider the public’s comments on the possible recommendations at its next meeting on Oct. 17 and 18 in the Tacoma area. The venue has not yet been announced. The final report to the task force is due to Gov. Jay Inslee on Nov. 16. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Governor’s task force releases draft plan to save southern resident orcas Simone Del Rosario and Brett Cihon report. (KCPQ)

State demands spill response details for Whatcom portion of Trans Mountain Pipeline
State officials are not satisfied with the oil spill contingency plan for the Trans Mountain Pipeline that partly operates in Washington. The state Department of Ecology has asked the Canadian government to add more details for the 64-mile expanse that goes through northern Whatcom County, providing crude oil to the refineries in Ferndale and Anacortes. According to a news release from Ecology, more details are needed on how the Canadian government would respond, including the initial steps after a spill is discovered and if the oil were to spill into the ocean and sink to the seafloor. Ecology also wants details on what impact oil spills would have on orca whales, salmon and other natural resources. Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

First Nations leader suggests moving Trans Mountain pipeline terminal to Delta
The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations says the federal government would find it easier to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built if it moves the route and the marine shipping terminal to avoid Indigenous communities that are oppose the project. Perry Bellegarde said many Indigenous communities believe in the need to diversify export markets for Canadian resources through work to transition to a clean energy economy. However, he acknowledged there are some communities along the coast, notably the Squamish First Nation and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, that will never support the pipeline, which in its current format affects a marine terminal in the traditional territory of the Tsleil-Waututh, and would bring additional oil tankers through traditional waters of the Squamish. “So why not move (the terminal)? Why don’t you move it to Tsawwassen?” Bellegarde said in a wide-ranging interview Monday with The Canadian Press. (Canadian Press)

Mammoth LNG Canada project unaffected by Trans Mountain pipeline problems: CEO
The debacle over Canada’s oil pipeline nationalization and trade tensions with the U.S. won’t affect the final investment decision on Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s $40 billion (US$31 billion) liquefied natural gas project, according to the head of the venture. Shell-led LNG Canada proposes to export as much as 26 million tons per year to Asia, making it potentially the nation’s largest-ever infrastructure project and one that could transform Canada’s energy fortunes. Shell and its four partners — Mitsubishi Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd., PetroChina Co. and Korea Gas Corp. — are set decide whether to build the complex by the end of this year. (Bloomberg News)

'It's a long time coming': $6.2 million wildlife bridge over I-90 nears completion
It’s just a patch of barren earth not much wider than a basketball court, but conservationists, government workers and construction managers are pretty fired up about it. “This is going to be really amazing,” said Patty Garvey-Darda, a wildlife biologist in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. “It’s a long time coming.” The dirt surface spans a bridge structure across Interstate 90 near milepost 61 called an animal overcrossing. For decades, animals have had to contend with heavy traffic on I-90 that has squashed plenty of creatures and cleaved entire populations in two. No longer. The new $6.2 million overcrossing, which is still under construction near Price Creek, will soon provide safe passage for elk, bears and maybe even mountain goats, as part of an ambitious overhaul of I-90 to reconnect wildlife habitats in the north and south Cascades. Cars pass through two concrete archways underneath. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  345 AM PDT Tue Sep 25 2018   

TODAY  E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft  at 11 seconds. 

TONIGHT  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 5 ft at  10 seconds.

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