Friday, September 28, 2018

9/28 Goat relo, salmon disaster, polluted orcas, CSIS spying, Colstrip, Mt Polley dam, Norwegian Bliss, EPA science

Goat relo [Ramon Compor, Associated Press, Seattle Times
First round of mountain goat relocations complete 
The first efforts to move mountain goats from the Olympics to the Cascades wrapped up this week, with 98 of the animals being released into their new homes.  Dozens of those goats were released on the outskirts of Skagit County, with some being taken to Tower Mountain between Diablo and Winthrop and others being taken to Stillaguamish Peak and other areas near Darrington. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Disasters Declared For Salmon Fisheries Along West Coast
Federal officials have determined that commercial fishery failures occurred for salmon in Washington, Oregon and California, making those fisheries eligible for federal disaster assistance. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Tuesday also announced a commercial fishery failure for the sardine fishery in California but not for the state’s red sea urchin fishery. The governors from Washington, Oregon and California and multiple Native American tribes had requested the determinations between July 2016 and March 2018. Their requests noted unusually warm and poor ocean conditions that affected fish. The disaster determinations make salmon and sardine fisheries eligible for some portion of $20 million in NOAA Fisheries fishery disaster assistance. The Commerce Department is figuring out how to allocate that money to eligible fisheries. (Associated Press)

Half the World's Orcas Could Soon Disappear—Here's Why
They live in chatty groups, and can hunt in teams—sometimes working in tandem to create waves that dump unlucky prey off floating ice. Savvy orcas, with their splotchy two-tone flesh and rich family lives, have survived mass slaughter, being captured with nets and lassos, and being trucked and airlifted to marine theme parks. But new research published Thursday in the journal Science suggests more than half of the world's killer whale populations could face complete collapse in 30 to 50 years, thanks to a suite of toxic chemicals the world has already banned. Long-lived polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are organic compounds once used in capacitors, oil paints, and coolants, until they were deemed so dangerous that their manufacture was banned in the U.S. and other countries in the 1970s and 1980s. Yet today orcas across the northern hemisphere are among the most heavily contaminated animals on Earth. Even now, PCBs are believed to be altering orca behavior, damaging their immune systems, and harming reproduction so much that researchers suspect many families of killer whales (technically dolphins) may not survive the next few decades. Craig Welch reports. (National Geographic) See also: Pollution threatens the future of killer whales  Jonathan Amos and Victoria Gill report. (BBC)

CSIS spying on anti-pipeline activists? Feds try to pull cloak of secrecy over court case
Federal lawyers want closed-door hearings in a high-profile B.C. court case about allegations that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spied on anti-pipeline activists. The civil liberties group that filed the complaints against CSIS opposes the federal secrecy request, saying it blatantly violates the principle that justice must be seen to be done. The matter was argued Thursday in an open session of the Federal Court of Canada. The judge’s decision, expected in about month, will determine how much the public gets to see and hear when the court considers whether Canada’s spy agency overstepped the law in monitoring environmental activists. Jim Bronskill reports. (Canadian Press)

Coal power plant that feeds Puget Sound Energy is back on line 
A Montana coal-fired power plant that provides electricity for Puget Sound Energy is once again operating at full strength after a summer complicated by pollution problems. The Colstrip power plant in southeast Montana has four generating units. The two largest, units 3 and 4, were forced offline in June after failing to comply with a particulate matter limit established by the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standard. Earlier this month, the plant was able to demonstrate compliance with that standard to regulators, according to a statement released by Talen Energy, the plant’s operators. Currently, all four units are “fully operational and will run as electric system conditions dictate,” according to the statement. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)


Mount Polley engineers headed for disciplinary hearings
B.C'.s professional association of engineers says it will hold disciplinary hearings next year for three engineers related to the Mount Polley tailings dam collapse. Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia is alleging negligence or unprofessional conduct by Laura Fidel, Stephen Rice and Todd Martin in the course of their professional activities They were involved in the design, construction and monitoring of the tailings storage facility at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine. t was the site of one of the largest spills in the province's history when the dam collapsed in August 2014, sending 24 million cubic metres of mine waste and sludge into nearby waterways. (Canadian Press)

The Norwegian Bliss will dock at Canada Place on Sunday for the first time
The largest cruise ship ever to visit Vancouver will arrive this weekend. The Norwegian Bliss is about the length of three football fields at 333 metres and is capable of carrying nearly 6,000 guests. The new ship will dock at Canada Place in Vancouver on Sunday for the first time and has several more scheduled stops in Vancouver for the 2019 cruise season. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority says in a news release that the Bliss will pick up 4,000 passengers for the final leg of a cruise that began and ends in Seattle and includes stops in Victoria and Alaska. (Canadian Press)

Controversial oyster pesticide ruled ‘too risky’ for Washington waters
An aquatic pesticide that has pitted shellfish growers against environmentalists has been ruled “too risky” for Washington’s waters, the state Department of Ecology said Thursday. The neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid has been linked to several environmental concerns, including that it can hurt fish and birds by killing their food sources. In 2017, shellfish growers in Willapa Bay (the bay formed by Washington’s Long Beach peninsula) and Grays Harbor asked the state for a permit to spray the pesticide on oyster and clam beds to control native burrowing shrimp. Craig Sailor reports (News Tribune of Tacoma)

E.P.A. to Eliminate Office That Advises Agency Chief on Science
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to dissolve its Office of the Science Advisor, a senior post that was created to counsel the E.P.A. administrator on the scientific research underpinning health and environmental regulations, according to a person familiar with the agency’s plans. The person spoke anonymously because the decision had not yet been made public. The science adviser works across the agency to ensure that the highest quality science is integrated into the agency’s policies and decisions, according to the E.P.A.’s website. The move is the latest among several steps taken by the Trump administration that appear to have diminished the role of scientific research in policymaking while the administration pursues an agenda of rolling back regulations. Asked about the E.P.A.’s plans, John Konkus, a spokesman for the agency, emailed a prepared statement from the science adviser, Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, in which she described the decision to dissolve the office as one that would “combine offices with similar functions” and “eliminate redundancies.” Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)


Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  245 AM PDT Fri Sep 28 2018   

TODAY  E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 8 seconds. 

TONIGHT  E wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 2 ft at 8 seconds. 

SAT  SE wind 15 to 20 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 2 ft at 8 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  SE wind to 10 kt becoming NE after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 2 ft at 8 seconds. 

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


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