Wednesday, October 31, 2018

10/31 Wolf spider, sea lice, Gorst quarry, humpbacks, Tacoma LNG, auto emissions, Ruth Gates

Wolf spider [Wikipedia]
Wolf spider Hogna lenta
Wolf spiders are members of the family Lycosidae, from the Ancient Greek word "λύκος" meaning "wolf". They are robust and agile hunters with excellent eyesight. They live mostly in solitude and hunt alone, and do not spin webs. Some are opportunistic hunters pouncing upon prey as they find it or even chasing it over short distances. Some wait for passing prey in or near the mouth of a burrow.... Wolf spiders can be found in a wide range of habitats both coastal and inland. These include shrublands, woodland, wet coastal forest, alpine meadows, suburban gardens, and homes.... The Carolina wolf spider (H. carolinensis) is the official state spider of South Carolina, designated as such in 2000. South Carolina is the only U.S. state that recognizes a state spider. (Wikipedia)

Drug resistant sea lice ‘out of control’ on B.C. coast: report
Sea lice are “out of control” at salmon farms on the West Coast of B.C. this year because they have become drug resistant, says a new report by two environmental groups. The groups, Living Oceans and Raincoast Research, also claim that industry regulators have failed to protect wild juvenile salmon and other fish from the parasites. The report, “Lousy Choices,” released Tuesday, says sea lice at fish farms on Clayoquot Sound have evolved a resistance to SLICE, an emamectin benzoate drug, approved for use to eradicate the parasite in Canada. The researchers say some resistance to the drug has also been observed at fish farms in the Broughton area. Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Neighbors rally against Gorst quarry expansion
From her property high on a hillside above Gorst, Sally Harrison can hear the grinding and squealing of mining equipment. Some days she feels the rumble of underground blasts. For now, the Kitsap Reclamation and Materials quarry is a relatively distant nuisance for Harrison and many of her Sherman Heights neighbors. But if a proposed change is made to the county's comprehensive plan, mining operations could creep closer to their backyards. Kitsap Reclamation and Materials has applied for a mineral resource overlay to cover 69 acres northwest of the existing quarry, owned by Roland Culbertson. The designation would protect rock extraction as a use on the Culbertson property. Under a recommendation from county staff, a conditional use permit would still be required to approve mining projects on the property. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Three new humpback whales identified off east Vancouver Island
Three new humpback whales have been identified off the East Coast of Vancouver Island as that species makes a massive comeback in our waters. The non-profit group, Keta Coastal Conservation, launched a research trip to cover the Salish Sea from Nanaimo to north of Campbell River and it was packed with sightings of the massive whales. Skye Ryan reports. (CHEK)

Hundreds gather to speak during public hearing on proposed LNG plant
Hundreds gathered at the Rialto Theater in Tacoma to speak for and against the proposed LNG facility. The public hearing was held by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency after they released a draft of their environmental review of the proposed plant. Video by Joshua Bessex (Tacoma News Tribune)

Automakers fight Trump’s auto emissions rollback
Major automakers are pushing the Trump administration to abandon its plan to roll back climate change rules for cars. Companies had emphatically encouraged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) to undo the Obama administration’s plans to ratchet up greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency rules for cars through 2026.  But now they’re trying to stop the agencies from going too far in the other direction and freezing the standards in 2020. In a filing made with those agencies Friday — the deadline for comments —  General Motors Co. said the Obama administration standards are “not technologically feasible or economically practicable,” and would increase vehicle costs at the expense of jobs. But the Trump administration’s plan to completely stop those rules “is not the answer to these regulatory challenges,” GM added. “Rather, we prefer standards through 2026 that continue improving the fuel economy of gasoline powered vehicles at historic rates and policies that support American leadership in zero emissions vehicles.” Timothy Cama reports. (The Hill)

The World Loses A Top Coral Scientist And ‘Indomitable Spirit’
Her laugh was infectious. It’s the first thing many who knew Ruth Gates for years, or just a matter of minutes, will tell you. She was forever optimistic in a world pummeled by pessimism. Especially in her work over the past three decades as a marine ecologist, coral researcher and, most recently, director of the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology. Gates died Thursday at age 56, five months after being diagnosed with brain cancer. She dedicated her life to saving coral from the doom of climate change and inspired a younger generation to take up the fight. Nathan Eagle reports. (Civil Beat)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Wed Oct 31 2018   

TODAY  SW wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 8 ft at  9 seconds. Rain likely in the morning then a chance of rain in the  afternoon. 

TONIGHT  W wind to 10 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of rain in the  evening then rain likely after midnight.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

10/30 Decorator crab, climate kids, BC pipe, bird extinction, Stanley Park, 'Blob,' green crabs, tossing sockeye

Decorator crab [Central Coast Biodiversity]
Slender decorator crab Oregonia gracilis
Oregon gracilis is found intertidal and subtotal zones to a depth of 435 m (143o ft). I ti most common in shallow habitats with mixed composition bottoms. Its range stretches from the Bering Sea to Monterey, CA. It is also found in Japan. This crab decorates itself the most of all northern decorator crabs. (Biodiversity of the Central Coast)

Youth Climate Activists Rally At Courthouses Nationwide 
Dozens of youth climate activists and their supporters rallied outside the federal courthouse in Seattle on Monday. Their demonstration was one of more than 70 such gatherings planned around the country, in support of the 21 young plaintiffs in a landmark case against the U.S. government.    The young plaintiffs argue the federal government’s support of fossil fuels violates their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property and has failed to protect resources in the public trust for future generations. The landmark case was set to begin Monday in federal court in Eugene, but is on hold while the Supreme Court decides whether it should move forward. The U.S. government argued litigation costs for a trial would be too much. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Burnaby mayor-elect opposes Trans Mountain expansion over possible ‘boil over’
The mayor-elect of Burnaby, B.C., is taking up the fight against the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, citing concerns about fire safety at the proposed expansion to the oil tank farm in the city. Mike Hurley, a former firefighter, said a potential “boil over” at the Trans Mountain oil tank yard is behind his opposition to the project. A boil over is when a fire in a tank spills over to set fire to other nearby parked tanks, leading to the discharge of molten crude into areas as far as 600 metres away from the property. The issue was raised in a 2015 Burnaby Fire Department report about risks associated with the expansion of the pipeline. Mr. Hurley, who will be sworn in on Nov. 5, said it’s the doubling of the number of tanks near a residential area that worries him. “We just don’t have the resources in the city to fight something like that,” he said. Ian Bailey reports. (Globe and Mail)

Climate change is 'escalator to extinction' for mountain birds
Scientists have produced new evidence that climate change is driving tropical bird species who live near a mountain top to extinction. Researchers have long predicted many creatures will seek to escape a warmer world by moving towards higher ground. However, those living at the highest levels cannot go any higher, and have been forecast to decline. This study found that eight bird species that once lived near a Peruvian mountain peak have now disappeared.  Matt McGrath reports. (BBC)

Stanley Park ecosystems and seawall at risk of rising sea levels 
Stanley Park is widely considered a gem of Vancouver's geography but the beloved seawall and surrounding wildlife are at risk of disappearing due to rising sea levels caused by climate change, according to a local sustainability specialist. Angela Danyluk says coastal residents can expect to see one metre of sea level rise by the year 2100, which would have serious effects on the ecosystem of Vancouver's shoreline. "That will cause the low tide mark to come up and shrink that habitat, that intertidal zone that is the nursery, home, and kitchen for many plants and animals," she told The Early Edition's Claudia Goodine. Anna Dimoff reports. (CBC)

The return of ‘The Blob’ ready to play havoc with Northwest weather
It’s almost as if the Earth knows that it is almost Halloween. A scary oceanic and atmospheric phenomenon, christened “The Blob” by Washington climatologist Nick Bond some five years ago, has returned. First observed in the northeastern Pacific Ocean in late 2013, the blob is a large area of warm water with temperatures 3 to 4 degrees above long-term averages. It persisted for about three years, and scientists believe it to be the cause of problems to the environment and economy of the Northwest and beyond. The pattern broke down in 2017 when a cooler and wetter regime returned for a year. But the blob is back. Paul Krupin reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Invasive green crabs poised to move to South Sound
Invasive green crabs continue to threaten Puget Sound's most fragile ecosystems. As the crabs poise to move southward, scientists are concerned their funding to stop the spread may disappear. "They look small, but they can be a really big problem," said UW Research Scientist Sean McDonald. In Maine, the crabs are an established invader that's destroyed eel grass, an important habitat for shellfish. Similar habitat is home to Dungeness crab in Puget Sound. Since the first spotting in 2016, green crab have now been located at seven different sites. McDonald and others are worried that the crabs will get more challenging to remove if they're able to make it to the south Sound, because the offspring in the area would likely stay in the area. They believe it would serve as an incubator for a species that needs no help reproducing. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Sockeye carcasses tossed on shore over two decades spur tree growth 
Hansen Creek, a small stream in southwest Alaska, is hard to pick out on a map. It’s just over a mile long and about 4 inches deep. Crossing from one bank to the other takes about five big steps. Yet this stream is home to one of the most dense sockeye salmon runs in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. Each summer, about 11,000 fish on average return to this stream, furiously beating their way up the shallow creek to spawn and eventually die. For the past 20 years, dozens of University of Washington researchers have walked this creek every day during spawning season, counting live salmon and recording information about the fish that died — for a salmon, death is inevitable here, either after spawning or in the paws of a brown bear. After counting a dead fish, researchers throw it on shore to remove the carcass and not double-count it the next day. The data collection is part of a long-term study looking at how bear predation affects sockeye salmon in this region. When this effort began in the mid-1990s, Tom Quinn, a professor in the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, decided that everyone should throw sockeye carcasses to the left side of the stream — facing downstream. They might as well be consistent, he thought, and who knows — maybe someday they could see whether the tossed carcasses had an effect on that side of the stream. Twenty years later, Quinn and colleagues have found that two decades of carcasses — nearly 600,000 pounds of fish — tossed to the left side of Hansen Creek did have a noticeable effect: White spruce trees on that side of the stream grew faster than their counterparts on the other side. Michelle Ma reports. (UW Today)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Tue Oct 30 2018   

TODAY  E wind to 10 kt becoming SE 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 9 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance  of showers in the morning then a chance of showers in the afternoon. 

TONIGHT  E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 6 ft at  10 seconds. Rain.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

10/29 Fall, climate kids, Tacoma LNG, orca comments, 1631, LNG Canada, BC pipe, fish cops, Dyes Inlet, Trump fracking

[PHOTO: Laurie MacBride]
Entering the Wet Season
Laurie MacBride in Eye On Environment writes: "After a long, welcome stretch of sunny October days, our all-too-familiar autumn rains have arrived – a signal of that dark, wet time of year here on the west coast which lasts until sometime in February. Yet even with our mostly-brown season closing in, there are fascinating things happening outdoors..."

Rallies planned across the nation in support of ‘climate kids’ case
Rallies are scheduled across the country on Monday in support of a youth-led climate case that’s on hold pending Supreme Court review. A trial in the case — known as Juliana v. U.S. — was scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 29, in U.S. District Court in Eugene. But proceedings are now temporarily suspended as the Supreme Court decides whether the case should move forward. A rally in Eugene is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon Monday outside the federal courthouse. Similar events will take place in 41 states, including California, New York, Washington and Colorado, and in Washington, D.C. The federal case was filed in 2015 by attorneys representing 21 youths, six of whom are from Eugene. The plaintiffs are now between 11 and 21. Jack Moran reports. (Eugene Register-Guard)

Citizens for a Healthy Bay, others critical of LNG plant’s review
A recently released draft of an environmental review of Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas plant, under construction on the Tacoma Tideflats, has attracted new criticism over its findings that the plant would provide lower greenhouse gas emissions if the fuel is sourced from British Columbia. This criticism comes during a 30-day public comment period for the review and before a public hearing on the review Tuesday at the Rialto Theater in Tacoma.... On Friday, the nonprofit Citizens for a Healthy Bay, which has spent nearly three decades advocating the cleanup and restoration of Commencement Bay, released a letter sharply critical of the review. In the letter sent to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the nonprofit, previously neutral on the $310 million project, said it was moving away from that position. Debbie Cockrell reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Southern Resident Orca Task Force Draft Recommendations Comment Deadline
Midnight Oct 29 is the deadline for public comment on the latest Task Force recommendations. Comment online here.  Read more: Orca Recovery Task Force Seeking Public Comment On Updated Draft Recommendations  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Oil refiners invest millions to fight carbon-fee initiative — and would see big payoff if their campaign wins
Four oil companies that operate Washington refineries have invested more than $25 million to defeat Initiative 1631, the carbon fee on the fall ballot. Should the initiative fail, that investment would have a big payoff. During the next decade, the companies would avoid what is likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars in fees assessed against greenhouse gases released from their Washington refineries, according to an analysis of state Department of Ecology records. These carbon-dioxide and other emissions result from the energy-intensive process of producing petroleum fuels, which requires large amounts of heat. BP, Phillips 66, Andeavor (now owned by Marathon Petroleum) and U.S. Oil and Refining Company campaign contributions represent more than 85 percent of the total raised in what has become the highest-spending opposition campaign in state history. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times) See also: How much would I-1631’s carbon fee cost you? That depends Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Liberals call for release of BC government's LNG Canada agreement
The B.C. government should make public the details of a tax agreement it has with the companies building the $40-billion LNG Canada project in Kitimat, say the Opposition Liberals. Finance Minister Carole James said her government is finalizing an “operating performance payment agreement” with the LNG Canada consortium, though very little is known about the deal, which has not been made public. James said Thursday the agreement centres on how government has agreed to exempt LNG Canada from the provincial sales tax on its construction, and then recapture that revenue over 20 years in new operational payments once the liquified natural gas terminal is online.... But the Liberals said in question period at the legislature that the government is not being transparent enough about negotiations that could contractually bind future governments to tax exemptions and revenue assumptions. James argued negotiations have not yet been completed. Rob Shaw reports. (Vancouver Sun)

NDP MPs renew vow to stop Trans Mountain pipeline at Vancouver townhall
NDP MPs in British Columbia are once again vowing to do everything they can to stop the TransMountain pipeline expansion project as the National Energy Board conducts a new environmental assessment. On Sunday, MPs Jenny Kwan, Don Davies and Nathan Cullen held a town hall at the Aboriginal Friendship Centre to discuss the project. A few dozen people attended. "How do you do proper consultation when you already have a decision?" said Jenny Kwan, NDP MP for Vancouver East. "It's absolutely a farce." (CBC)

'Fish cops' keep eyes on the water
When too much of a resource is taken from area bays and beaches — a common occurrence when it comes to clams and crabs — it can put the species at risk of declining or disappearing. Preventing that is an ongoing battle in the Puget Sound region and requires having eyes on the water. That's where state Department of Fish & Wildlife officers such as Ralph Downes and Taylor Kimball come in. "We're professional watchers," Downes said. They also refer to themselves as "fish cops." Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Barges in Dyes Inlet helping to improve ecology of Puget Sound
Workers on barges at different ends of Dyes Inlet are currently at work on projects to improve the environment, albeit in different ways. A tug and barge spread oyster shells in Chico Bay this week as part of a project to improve habitat for native Olympia oysters, which have disappeared across much of the Pacific Northwest.... Meanwhile, near Lions Park in East Bremerton, another barge moved in this past week to begin a project to restore a sewer outfall pipe that goes into the waters of the Port Washington Narrows. Josh Farley and Tad Sooter report. (Kitsap Sun)

Driven by Trump Policy Changes, Fracking Booms on Public Lands
... Reversing a trend in the final years of the Obama presidency, the Trump administration is auctioning off millions of acres of drilling rights to oil and gas developers, a central component of the White House’s plan to work hand in glove with the industry to promote more domestic energy production..... In total, more than 12.8 million acres of federally controlled oil and gas parcels were offered for lease in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, triple the average offered during President Barack Obama’s second term, according to an analysis by The New York Times of Interior Department data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group that advocates budget discipline. Eric Lipton and Hiroko Tabuchi report. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  203 AM PDT Mon Oct 29 2018   


TODAY  S wind to 10 kt becoming SW in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 12 ft at 12 seconds subsiding to 10 ft at  12 seconds in the afternoon. Showers likely in the morning then a  chance of showers in the afternoon. 

TONIGHT  SW wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  9 ft at 12 seconds. A chance of showers.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

10/26 Rockfish, voting, volcanoes, BC ferry, tribal rights, Site C, Euro bag ban, Marathon oil

Yelloweye rockfish and bocaccio [Claudia Makeyev]
Welcome to the first rockfish newsletter!
NOAA Fisheries West Coast has launched the first edition of its Rockfish Conservation Newsletter to update us about the work being done by NOAA and partners to conserve rockfish and their habitats. The first edition includes articles about counting rockfish, kelp conservation, and some news links about kelp.

Salish Sea Communications blog: I’m voting. Should you?
I got my ballot in the mail and I’m sure you got yours, too. I’m going to vote but the candidates won’t know why I voted so I think it’s important that I say what I mean with my vote.... if you and I stand together on what we want this country to do and to be, please vote, too. Otherwise, don’t vote. (read more)

Washington volcanoes remain among the most dangerous in the country, new report says
Four Washington volcanoes remain among some of the most dangerous in the country, according to an updated threat analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS’s National Volcanic Threat Assessment was updated for the first time since 2005 after it reassessed how volcanoes are scored and ranked. In all, 166 volcanoes were ranked with a threat level of very low, low, moderate, high or very high. While the change to ranking criteria resulted in a number of volcanoes being dropped, added or moved around the list, none of those changes affected the “very high” ranking of the state’s major volcanoes, including Mount St. Helens, which comes at No. 2, just behind Kilauea, which spewed lava on Hawaii’s Big Island for weeks earlier this year. Three other Washington volcanoes are ranked “very high”: Mount Rainier, ranked 3rd, Mount Baker, ranked 14th, followed by Glacier Peak at 15. Agueda Pacheco-Flores reports. (Seattle Times)

B.C. ferry snags fishing net, and small boat, near Nanaimo 
BC Ferries says it will be speaking with Fisheries and Oceans Canada after a ferry snagged a partially submerged fishing net Wednesday in waters off Nanaimo. Ferry corporation spokeswoman Deborah Marshall says the Queen of Alberni was travelling between the mainland and Duke Point, south of Nanaimo, when it caught a net near Entrance Island. Marshall says about 75 boats were taking part in a fisheries opening in the area and although the captain slowed the ferry to ensure safe passage, one net was poorly marked and became fouled in the ship’s propeller. No one was hurt and the propeller was not damaged but Marshall says the small boat that set the net was towed backward by the ferry until the line between the boat and the net snapped. (Canadian Press)

Seattle caught between tribal rights and protecting its water supply
By early fall, Chester Morse Lake is barely visible from the top of Rattlesnake Ledge. As the snowmelt runs dry, the lake recedes deeper into the Cedar River Watershed, settling behind the forests and foothills that lie east of Seattle and just south of I-90...[The] watershed is one of only five sources in the country so clean they do not require expensive filtration systems to strain out sediment and other impurities. While most of the region’s residents may only enjoy the watershed from a distance, the borders are slightly more porous for enrolled members of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. As part of a hard-fought settlement agreement between the tribe and the city in 2006, members are allowed limited access for traditional purposes — the gathering of firewood and other resources, as well as some hunting and fishing. This was their right, after all, guaranteed in treaties from the mid-1800s, and entrance was reaffirmed as part of a broader package of reparations in 2006. But 12 years after signing on to the agreement — seen at the time as historic in its focus and scope — the city and the tribe have still never fully defined the rights of entry for the Muckleshoot tribe. David Kroman reports. (Crosscut)

First Nations 'deeply frustrated' after B.C. Supreme Court dismisses Site C injunction
The West Moberly First Nations have lost a bid for an injunction order against B.C. Hydro's Site C dam project, meaning construction can continue. On Wednesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Warren Milman rejected the bid, saying an injunction order would send the project into "disarray." At the core of the case is West Moberly's argument that the multi-billion dollar BC Hydro dam will cause irreparable harm to its territory and way of life — rights protected under Treaty 8. The nation, along with Prophet River, has previously said it believes Site C constitutes a $1 billion treaty violation. (West Moberly is one of the few nations in B.C. that is party to a numbered treaty in Canada.) (CBC)

European Parliament Approves Ban On Single-Use Plastics
The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to enact a complete ban on some single-use plastics — such as drinking straws and disposable cutlery — across the European Union and a reduction on others in an effort to reduce ocean waste. Members of the European Parliament passed the measure overwhelmingly, by a vote of 571 to 53, with 34 abstentions. Before the legislation goes into effect, the European Parliament must negotiate with the European Council of government ministers from its member states. The council is expected to make a decision on Dec. 16. Emily Sullivan reports. (NPR)

Anacortes refinery operating under new ownership
The Marathon Petroleum refinery in Anacortes, which formerly operated as Andeavor, will see little change in its day-to-day operations following its merger with Marathon Petroleum Corporation, refinery spokesperson Matt Gill said. The sale was finalized earlier this month. The $23.2 billion sale of Andeavor to Marathon was first announced in April. The sale means the company will have a capacity of 3 million barrels of oil a day, Gill said, making it the top refiner by capacity in the United States. Together, operations span 41 states and parts of Mexico. Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  247 AM PDT Fri Oct 26 2018   


TODAY  SW wind 15 to 25 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt late this  morning. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 2 ft late this  morning. W swell 9 ft at 12 seconds. Showers likely. 

TONIGHT  W wind to 10 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 9 ft at 11 seconds. 

SAT  E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE 20 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 8 ft at 10 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  SE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 2 ft after  midnight. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds. 

SUN  SW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 9 ft at 11 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

10/25 Chanterelle, wet surge, saving orcas, oil $, AK offshore oil, Gulf oil, EPA's Wheeler, crab poacher, Yutu

Yellow chanterelle Cantharellus cibarius
Yellow chanterelles are found in late summer to early fall, often under Douglas firs, hemlocks or spruce in old or second-growth forests. They are one of the best-known and best-liked mushrooms of the West and elsewhere. They are tender and of good quality, often growing in great abundance year after year in the same woods. (The New Savory Wild Mushroom)

'Moisture Surge' Coming To Puget Sound Thursday
A storm system will bring a "moisture surge" to Puget Sound beginning early Thursday and lasting through Friday, according to the National Weather Service. This will be the first major rain event in a while, capable of dropping several inches of rain in some spots. Neal McNamara reports. (

Draft recommendations for orca recovery include permit system for whale-watching, millions in funding
A governor’s task force published a new draft report Wednesday outlining options to help save beleaguered southern resident orcas. Among its potential suggestions: open season on walleye, bass and catfish, a permit system for whale-watching and spending millions on habitat restoration. The report offers 36 draft recommendations. Most are centered on three broad initiatives: To increase the abundance of chinook salmon — orcas’ favorite food, to reduce noise and disturbance from sea vessels and to reduce orcas’ exposure to harmful pollutants. The task force is accepting public comments on its draft recommendations through Oct. 29. The task force will meet again on Nov. 6 in Puyallup and release a final report for its first year on Nov. 16. The report is intended to inform the governor’s requests for the coming legislative session, as well as executive orders. The draft outlines some costs the state and other stakeholders will face in trying to rehabilitate ailing orca populations. The task force recommends spending an estimated $60 million over two years to fully fund existing programs to restore nearshore habitat, paying millions to increase fish-hatchery production and committing hundreds of thousands of dollars toward surveys and research on topics like chinook salmon prey and zooplankton. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Deluge of oil money aims to block Washington carbon fee
The oil industry has pumped more than $28 million into stopping Washington voters from adopting the nation's first fee on carbon pollution. A gusher of cash from out-of-state oil companies including BP, Phillips 66, Andeavor, Valero and Chevron has made the campaign against the carbon fee initiative the costliest “no” campaign in state history. The unprecedented sum has also unleashed a deluge of political advertising that critics, including Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, say is misleading. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Lasqueti Island
Yesterday's profile of Lasqueti Island brought the following appeal by islander Sheila Harrington, a co-author/coordinator of the 2006 book, Islands in the Salish Sea: "Salish View is a Lasqueti Island Nature Conservancy (LINC) project to purchase 28-acres of endangered old-growth Douglas-fir forest & rocky bluff habitat next to Squitty Bay Provincial Park on Lasqueti Island. We are nearing our goal of acquiring public ownership of this biologically important salmon watershed area. We have raised $170,000 of the required $250,000, with only $80,000 to raise by December 21st, this year. Please help us protect and conserve this key property. If you send a donation to the Islands Trust Conservancy, dedicated to the Lasqueti Acquisition Fund, they will match it up to $4500 or call 250-405-5186. Or donate to LINC by cheque, e-transfer:, on-line at CanadaHelps, or by donating appreciated securities tax free. For further info see" The campaign has less than 60 days to raise the remaining funds. A generous donation will conserve Salish View today.

The Trump Administration Approves the First Offshore Oil Facility in Federal Waters Off of Alaska
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on Tuesday announced the approval of the first offshore oil production facility in federal waters off the coast of Alaska.... The DOI's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued the conditional approval to Hilcorp Alaska LLC, which plans to build an artificial, oil-producing island in the Beaufort Sea five miles offshore. Former President Barack Obama banned oil exploration in the Arctic in 2016, citing the unique risks of drilling in the pristine, icy environment and the threats to the endangered animals that live there. Kate Wheeling reports. (Pacific Standard)

A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history
An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history. Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever. Darryl Fears reports. (Washington Post)

Trump says EPA acting chief 'doing well,' may become permanent
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, was doing a good job and could be nominated to permanently take on the role.... In Wheeler, Trump has seen another strong supporter of his deregulatory agenda and advocate for the fossil fuels industry, but without the constant criticism over alleged mismanagement that plagued Pruitt. (Reuters)

WDFW police seize crab from suspected poacher in Blaine
A boat and 1,100 pounds of crab was seized from a fisherman who is accused of stockpiling recreationally-caught crab in the Blaine area to resell during the commercial season, which started for most regions in the Puget Sound on October 1.... “Through the investigation, it came to light that the crabber had an extensive closed season plan where he had stockpiled crab in multiple garbage cans,” read a statement on the WDFW Facebook page. “He also admitted to stealing crab from the tribal pot and using galvanic ‘pop ups’ to set over 10 pots in advance of the season.” Popups are devices that allow the crab floats to be held underwater for varying amounts of time; following galvanic action, the line and float are released to return to the surface. The crab was sold to a wholesale dealer, WDFW said. Stefanie Donahue reports. (Northern Light)

Super Typhoon Yutu, 'Strongest Storm Of 2018,' Slams U.S. Pacific Territory
A massive typhoon slammed into a U.S. territory in the west Pacific, lashing the Northern Mariana Islands with gusts of Category 5 intensity Wednesday night local time. Super Typhoon Yutu brought to bear maximum sustained winds of about 180 mph — much more powerful, in other words, than the historically powerful storm that hit Florida several weeks ago. The islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota remain under typhoon warnings from the National Weather Service, while Guam and several smaller islands have been placed under a tropical storm warning. And the NWS expects typhoon conditions to continue through late Thursday morning local time. Colin Dwyer reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  156 AM PDT Thu Oct 25 2018   


TODAY  SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 12  ft at 13 seconds. Rain. 

TONIGHT  SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  11 ft at 13 seconds. Rain.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

10/24 Lasqueti Is., harbor porpoise, tracking whales, BC 'stink' pipe, offshore drilling, East Island, hot rivers

Lasqueti Island []
Lasqueti Island
Lasqueti Island lies in the Georgia Strait, north of French Creek (on Vancouver Island), and southwest of Texada Island. It is approximately 8 km wide and 22 km long, with an area of 73.56 km. About 425 permanent residents call Lasqueti home (2011 census). It is accessible by foot passenger ferry service only, or by private boat or plane. The roads are unpaved and the island has no public transportation. There are no public camp grounds. Lasqueti is not serviced by B.C. Hydro. Residents live either without electricity or with alternative sources of power like solar or micro-hydro. There is very little industry and no bustling economy.... Residents are accused of trying to put the clock back, living a self-sufficient lifestyle reminiscent of an earlier century. Lasqueti ís the place where the conversation is more likely about solar panels or composting toilets than about microwaves or toasters -- foreign objects for most of the 400 residents. (

Harbor porpoises become increasing players in the Puget Sound food web
An explosive growth in the number of harbor porpoises in Puget Sound could be creating a ripple effect through the food web, with potential consequences for salmon, seals and even orcas. Harbor porpoises are notoriously difficult to study, and diet studies so far suggest that young salmon are not normally on their menu. But experts acknowledge limitations in the diet studies, and some believe that these marine mammals might well be consuming young salmon. In any event, harbor porpoises do appear to be eating large numbers of so-called forage fish, which are key prey for salmon that ultimately feed the endangered Southern Resident killer whales. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

U.S. Coast Guard will help researchers track whales along the West Coast
The Oregon crab industry is putting up money to launch a new research study on where whales swim and feed along the Pacific Coast. The study stems from growing concern West Coast-wide about whales getting tangled in fishing gear. Many of the confirmed entanglements in the last few years involved whales snagging crab pot lines. The Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to underwrite the first year of a three-year aerial survey of humpbacks, gray whales and blue whales off the coast.  Oregon State University researcher Leigh Torres said the Marine Mammal Institute, which she leads, and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife hope to win a federal grant to cover years two and three. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Trans Mountain pipeline expansion 'a real stinker,' Indigenous leaders say
B.C. First Nations leaders and environmental activists gathered in Vancouver on Tuesday morning to slam the federal review process for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said he was "astounded" by the new process for reviewing the $7.4-billion proposal after a federal court quashed Ottawa's earlier approval. "It's more flawed than the process we fought so hard against," Phillip told reporters. Last month, the federal government gave the National Energy Board 22 weeks to review the project to consider the impact on the marine environment, after an August decision from the Federal Court of Appeal... Phillip and other leaders who spoke Tuesday said that timeline is too short, and the scope of the review too narrow, to adequately consider the impact of the project. The review will only consider the impact of tanker traffic within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) of the B.C. coastline, and it will not cover the effects on climate.   Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Oregon's Governor Will Sign an Executive Order Banning Offshore Drilling
Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a plan to block offshore drilling off the state's coast on Monday.... In January, the Trump administration released a five-year plan to expand oil exploration and drilling along the United States' continental shelf, opening up 90 percent of the nation's offshore oil reserves to industry. Brown asked Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to exempt the state's coast from the administration's proposal, citing a lack of oil reserves and the risks of drilling near the Cascadia fault. Zinke granted Florida Governor Rick Scott's exemption request in January, but had not yet granted one to Oregon. "Time is up," Brown said Tuesday. Kate Wheeling reports. (Pacific Standard)

This Remote Hawaiian Island Just Vanished
Hurricane Walaka, one of the most powerful Pacific storms ever recorded, has erased an ecologically important remote northwestern island from the Hawaiian archipelago. Using satellite imagery, federal scientists confirmed Monday that East Island, a critical habitat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles, was almost entirely washed away earlier this month. “I had a holy shit moment, thinking ‘Oh my God, it’s gone,’” said Chip Fletcher, a University of Hawaii climate scientist. “It’s one more chink in the wall of the network of ecosystem diversity on this planet that is being dismantled.” Fletcher was doing research in July on East Island, which is part of French Frigate Shoals in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. He said he knew East Island would eventually be underwater; he just thought it would take another 100 years for rising seas to swallow it up. Instead, a Category 4 hurricane eliminated it overnight. Nathan Eagle reports. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

West’s rivers are hot enough to cook salmon to death. Will this court ruling keep them cool?
It might be the most gruesome element of the drought conditions that have gripped the West in recent years: salmon being cooked to death by the thousands in rivers that have become overheated as water flows dwindle. Now a federal judge in Seattle has directed the Environmental Protection Agency, in a ruling with implications for California and the Pacific Northwest, to find a way to keep river waters cool.... The ruling comes at a tense time. Environmentalists and state officials throughout the West are trying to grasp the implications of a memorandum President Donald Trump signed last week to streamline environmental regulations in order to increase water deliveries to farms and cities in the region. Dale Kasler reports. (Sacramento Bee) See also: Trump issues order on Columbia and Snake River dams. He wants fewer regulations  Annette Cary reports. (TriCity Herald)

Single-use plastics ban approved by European Parliament
The European Parliament has voted for a complete ban on a range of single-use plastics across the union in a bid to stop pollution of the oceans. MEPs backed a ban on plastic cutlery and plates, cotton buds, straws, drink-stirrers and balloon sticks. The proposal also calls for a reduction in single-use plastic for food and drink containers like plastic cups....The measure still has to clear some procedural hurdles, but is expected to go through. The EU hopes it will go into effect across the bloc by 2021. The UK will also have to incorporate the rules into national law if the ban becomes a fully-fledged directive before the end of a Brexit transition period. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PDT Wed Oct 24 2018   

TODAY  SE wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 11 seconds. A slight  chance of showers in the morning. 

TONIGHT  SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  8 ft at 12 seconds. A chance of rain in the evening then rain  after midnight.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

10/23 Merlin, BC gas, microplastics, Fidalgo Shoreline Academy, freighters, vessel noise, orca data, Princess Sophia, coyotes

Merlin [Gregg Thompson/BirdNote]
Here Come the Merlins
Smaller than a pigeon — but fierce enough to knock one from the air — are the powerful, compact falcons known as Merlins. Climate change is pushing ranges of many birds farther north, but more and more Merlins have been nesting farther south, in towns and cities across the northern United States. Merlins will take over old crow nests, especially in conifer trees, in parks, cemeteries, and neighborhoods.(BirdNote)

B.C.'s natural gas supply could be reduced as much as 50% this winter
FortisBC is warning customers that the gas pipeline explosion earlier this month will reduce natural gas supply between 20 and 50 per cent of normal levels going into the winter. "The natural gas system will be challenged in times of high demand throughout the winter," a statement from the energy company warns. FortisBC is asking all British Columbians to conserve energy wherever possible. The news comes after an Enbridge pipeline exploded and caught fire northeast of Prince George on Oct. 9. The cause of the explosion is still unknown. (CBC)

Microplastics Find Their Way Into Your Gut, a Pilot Study Finds
In the next 60 seconds, people around the world will purchase one million plastic bottles and two million plastic bags. By the end of the year, we will produce enough bubble wrap to encircle the Equator 10 times. Though it will take more than 1,000 years for most of these items to degrade, many will soon break apart into tiny shards known as microplastics, trillions of which have been showing up in the oceans, fish, tap water and even table salt. Now, we can add one more microplastic repository to the list: the human gut. In a pilot study with a small sample size, researchers looked for microplastics in stool samples of eight people from Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and Austria. To their surprise, every single sample tested positive for the presence of a variety of microplastics. Douglas Quenqua reports. (NY Times)

Experts talk research at Fidalgo Shoreline Academy
Experts from as far away as Rhode Island visited Anacortes on Saturday to share their knowledge of critters and plants that call the region home during the seventh annual Fidalgo Shoreline Academy. The academy is a day-long event hosted by the local nonprofit Friends of Skagit Beaches. The event aims to showcase research, inform the community about environmental issues and raise money through registration fees to support the nonprofit’s programs, volunteer Matt Kerschbaum said. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Freighters in Paradise
Satellite Channel shimmers in the autumn sun, while grebes and cormorants break the cellophane-like surface and gentle waves lap the shoreline of Cowichan Bay off Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Mid-channel, disrupting the sightline to Saltspring Island, three red-and-black freighters up to 300 meters long await their turn to dock in Vancouver, just across the Strait of Georgia.... Bulk freighters, mainly grain carriers, are a long-accepted fixture on the Vancouver skyline and a symbol of the city’s enduring history as a working port. But the sudden presence of those same ships anchored in the picturesque passes between British Columbia’s southern Gulf Islands—as little as a one-hour ferry ride from the mainland—is raising the ire of local residents. Larry Pynn reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Federal government announces new monitoring of vessel noise impacts on endangered whales
The federal government says it will monitor underwater ship noise in British Columbia's Salish Sea to help develop measures to support the recovery of endangered southern resident killer whales. Terry Beech, parliamentary secretary to the transportation minister, announced the measures Monday as his government is set to face new scrutiny of the impacts of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on the threatened species....Beech said Transport Canada will work with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program, which is looking at ways to reduce underwater noise in key areas for the whales. It will deploy an underwater hydrophone, or listening device, at Boundary Pass in the Salish Sea, to collect individual vessel and mammal noise profiles, he said. The department will also carry out a four-year project with support from the National Research Council of Canada to better predict propeller noise and hull vibration of a vessel. (The) $1.6M project is part of a previously announced $167.4M Whales Initiative Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

Sightings of southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea 1976−2014: the importance of a long-term opportunistic dataset
A 2018 paper in the journal Endangered Species Research analyzes southern resident killer whale sightings in the Salish Sea between 1976 and 2014. A recently published manuscript by scientists at the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor shows how more than 40 years of opportunistic sightings were used to look at habitat use and establish baseline patterns of endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. Effort corrected data were used to highlight a few key ‘hot spots’ in the Salish Sea and to establish an overall pattern of consistent presence in the Central Salish Sea during the summer months and a presence in Puget Sound proper during the fall and early winter months. A surprising shift in SRKW presence in Puget Sound documented in the late nineties supports the hypothesis that the movement patterns of these whales may be driven by prey availability and highlights the importance of long-term monitoring. Jennifer K. Olson, Jason Wood, Richard W. Osborne, Lance Barrett-Lennard, Shawn Larson authors. (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound)

The worst shipwreck in Northwest history happened a century ago
If you can spare some time for contemplation, you might devote a few minutes to the people of the steamship Princess Sophia, who departed Skagway for Seattle and ports between, on a threatening October day 100 years ago. The story needs to be part of our cross-border culture, Ken Coates insists. He's a Canadian historian who has spent years researching the worst shipwreck in the history of the Northwest. Coates and fellow historian Bill Morrison co-authored the definitive book on the Princess Sophia disaster: The Sinking of the Princess Sophia: Taking the North Down With Her (University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks; Oxford University Press, Don Mills, Ontario). Bob Simmons writes. (Crosscut)

Why are coyote sightings spiking in Tacoma and elsewhere?
This time of year people all around King and Pierce counties are reporting seeing more coyotes. “There’s 211 members as of now,” said Ana Sierra who started the “Tacoma Coyotes” Facebook group a week ago. “They’re sharing pictures and questions,” said Sierra. She says after talks with neighbors revealed she’s not the only one who has seen coyotes in the north end of Tacoma, she decided starting a page would help people share sighting information to keep the neighborhood on alert....The department of Fish and Wildlife says coyotes are all around us, in urban and suburban neighborhoods and we just have to get used to living with them.  Tatevik Aprikyan reports. (KCPQ)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PDT Tue Oct 23 2018   

TODAY  NE wind to 10 kt becoming E 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds. Areas of fog  in the morning. A chance of rain in the afternoon. 

TONIGHT  SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 11 seconds.  Rain likely in the evening then a chance of showers after  midnight.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, October 22, 2018

10/22 Shrew, quakes, pine bunting, saving orcas, youth climate, Capitol Lake, fish farms, recycling, Point Wells, evil urchin

Vagrant shrew [UCal Berkeley]
Vagrant shrew Sorex vagrans
Shrews (Sorex spp.) are Washington's smallest mammals; the pygmy shrew is no bigger than your entire thumb. Shrews are also one of our most common mammals, inhabiting areas from sea level to high mountain meadows.... Nine species of shrews are found in Washington. The 4-inch long vagrant shrew is the most widespread species and is found in marshes, wet meadows, forests, streamsides, and gardens throughout the state. Shrews prefer moist environments because their high metabolic rates create high moisture requirements and they can easily become dehydrated. Moist environments also tend to have a diverse and abundant food supply. Shrews are preyed on by owls, snakes, and Pacific giant salamanders. Domestic cats, opossums, foxes, and similar-size mammalian predators kill but may not eat shrews, presumably because, when frightened or agitated, shrews produce a musky odor from their anal glands. (WDFW)

Several earthquakes strike off Vancouver Island, with no reports of damage
A series of three large earthquakes have struck off the coast of British Columbia, according to the United States Geological Survey. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the quakes. The first struck just before 11 p.m. PT Sunday, around 190 km southwest of Port Hardy, a town on the northeast end of Vancouver Island. The first quake, reported as a magnitude 6.5, was followed by another, with a magnitude of 6.8, around 40 minutes later. The third quake was reported at magnitude 6.5 just before midnight, near the same area as the previous two. (CBC)

Pine bunting
Regarding the article last week about the pine bunting sited on Vancouver Island ['A really, really significant sighting': Vancouver Island birdwatchers aflutter over unusual arrival], Charles Easton writes: "I observed a pine bunting at Waterfront Park on Bainbridge Island, Winslow, about a month ago. It was actually next to the boat launch. What seemed so odd, was how close I could get to it, almost tame.... I did note that the range did not include our area. At the same time, I was very confident in my identification because he was foraging on the ground 10 feet away from me for such a long period of time."

Orca Task Force Meeting #5: What the draft recommendations look like now
Monika Wieland in Orca Watcher writes: "With another task force meeting – this one a 2-day marathon – in the books, I thought it would be worth posting an update about how the package of draft recommendations is looking....I thought it would be worth posting an update of what looks likely to be moving forward at this time. It’s unclear how much more in terms of prioritization will happen; actions will likely still be ranked to some degree, but it’s not clear if the task force will pitch everything to the governor, or will try to narrow it down to a “Top 10” or something like that. Here is a summary of the actions as they stand now, down from ~50 to ~30...."

Supreme Court Suspends Proceedings In Youth-Led Climate Case In Eugene
The U.S. Supreme Court has suspended proceedings in a youth-led climate case scheduled to go to trial in Eugene beginning Oct. 29. The brief order issued Friday by Chief Justice John Roberts says only that discovery and trial in U.S. District Court in Eugene are on hold pending receipt of a response from the plaintiffs, who include 21 youths — six of whom are from Eugene.... Under Roberts’ order, the plaintiffs have until next Wednesday to file a response to a motion filed Thursday by the government to halt the case. After the response is reviewed, either Roberts or the full court will issue another order. Jack Moran reports. (Eugene Register Guard/OPB)

Final Chance For Public Input On Scope Of State’s Study For Capitol Lake’s Future
Olympia’s Capitol Lake was designed to be an ornamental reflecting pool to compliment the dome of the legislature. But the lake is in trouble.  A $4-million dollar study of options to fix it is underway. Public comments on what should be included in the study will be heard Monday at a meeting in Olympia. Capitol Lake was created when the Deschutes River was dammed in 1951 and has been filling up with sediment ever since.  It now holds about 60 percent less water. It’s violating water quality standards because of high levels of phosphorus that cause algae blooms. It’s been closed to recreation since 2009 because of invasive mud snails. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Growing pains as companies try to move fish farms from ocean to land
Each time the food dispenser starts up at Golden Eagle Aquaculture, the water boils with supple, perfect coho salmon. They are Ocean Wise recommended and a Seafood Watch green light best choice — a conservationist’s dream. The flesh is invitingly red, delicious and rich in omega-3s.Land-based tanks are dimly lit to simulate winter light levels in order to trick the fish into growing faster, while delaying sexual maturity. It is one of many tricks needed to grow salmon outside the ocean, its natural environment. Consider the difficulties of raising cattle underwater while keeping their living space and air pristine and you get a sense of the challenges faced by land-based fish farms growing coho, tilapia and especially Atlantic salmon. Most Atlantic salmon are grown in net pens in the ocean, drawing criticism from First Nations and environmentalists. Washington state’s decision to end net-pen farming gave some hope that a breakthrough in B.C. could be at hand. But fish farmers say a large-scale move is not commercially feasible. (Vancouver Sun)

Why some Washington counties may stop recycling plastic
Since China stopped buying recycled waste that it deems too dirty, a lot of recyclables in Washington end up in the landfill. Now, Washington state regulators are making a big ask when it comes to recycling: They're asking each county to stop recycling certain products — or at least consider it — if there's no market for it. Dave Danner is chair of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, which sent a letter to each county on October 18. "We're asking them if there's no market for this commodity, we want them to really think about whether it should be collected or not," Danner said. That could include glass, shredded paper and certain plastics. Danner said they won't restrict what counties and their solid waste companies can collect. But, he says if products can't be sold for profit, recycling companies are asking the state to approve higher rates on consumers. Already, solid waste companies are increasing rates in 30 service areas. Otherwise they're losing profit that they used to get from selling recyclables. Paige Browning reports. (KUOW)

Woodway readies possible annexation of Point Wells
The town of Woodway could soon move to annex Point Wells, the waterfront property where a developer has been trying, unsuccessfully, to build high-rise condos up to 17 stories tall. There’s a rival suitor, though, with the city of Shoreline also taking steps to claim the unincorporated piece of land in Snohomish County that’s an ongoing source of neighborhood anxiety. Woodway has scheduled a hearing at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 about starting the annexation process.... The proposed Point Wells high-rise development, with more than 3,000 condo units, has suffered major setbacks this year. A hearing examiner denied the project in June and declined to give developer BSRE Point Wells more time to work on it. The County Council upheld the decision earlier this month. For now, the project is dead. BSRE could try to revive it by appealing in court. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

California’s Underwater Forests Are Being Eaten by the ‘Cockroaches of the Ocean’
Early on a gray summer Saturday, an unusual assemblage — commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, neoprene-clad divers — gathered for a mission at Albion Cove, a three-hour drive north of San Francisco. “Our target today is the purple urchin,” said Josh Russo, a recreational fishing advocate who organized the event. “The evil purple urchin.” Five years ago, assigning wickedness to the purple urchin, a shellfish the size of a plum with quarter-inch spikes, would have been absurd. That was before the urchins mowed down Northern California’s kelp forests. Kendra Pierre-Louis reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PDT Mon Oct 22 2018   

TODAY  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 6 ft at  15 seconds. 

TONIGHT  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 6 ft at  13 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, October 19, 2018

10/19 Pine bunting, breaching dams, Sally Jewell, Port Alberni LNG, Hamilton town

Pine bunting [Maury Swoveland/BC Rare Bird Alert]
'A really, really significant sighting': Vancouver Island birdwatchers aflutter over unusual arrival
The B.C. birding community — in fact, the North American birding community — is aflutter over a sighting so rare it's sending birders flocking to Vancouver Island.  As birder and Rocky Point Bird Observatory volunteer Ann Nightingale puts it: "On a scale of 1 to 10, this is like a 100." The cause of all the excitement is the rare sighting of a pine bunting. The bird, which is native to temperate regions across Asia, was spotted in Uplands Park in Oak Bay in the Greater Victoria area. It's thought to be the first sighting in B.C. It also marks the first time the bird has been spotted south of Alaska, Nightingale said.  Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

Breaching dams to save Northwest orcas is contentious issue
Calls to breach four hydroelectric dams in Washington state have grown louder in recent months as the plight of critically endangered Northwest orcas has captured global attention. Some argue the best way to get more salmon to the starving whales is to tear down four dams on the Lower Snake River, a tributary of the Columbia River, to help migrating fish. But federal agencies and others have pushed back, saying the dams provide benefits to the region in low-cost hydropower, navigation and recreation. Breaching the dams has long been contentious, but it’s gained renewed attention as the orcas have hit the lowest numbers in more than three decades. The whales struggle from pollution, boat noise and lack of chinook salmon, which have been declining because of dams, habitat loss and overfishing. Just 74 animals remain in the small group. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will guide UW's new climate initiative
Sally Jewell, the Obama-era interior secretary and former CEO of REI, is throwing her weight behind a new University of Washington institute that aims to tackle climate change by having faculty scientists plan for a warming world. Jewell served for nearly 12 years on the UW’s governing board of regents, so she knows a thing or two about how academics often fail to serve up practical solutions for real-world problems — even though they have the know-how. Providing that know-how is the goal of the new institute, called EarthLab. Katherine Long reports. (Seattle Times)

Port Alberni LNG plan submitted to provincial environmental office
The Kwispaa LNG project proposed for Port Alberni took a step forward Wednesday as its proponents submitted a project description to the provincial environmental assessment office. The filing will allow the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and its provincial equivalent to determine whether an environmental assessment is required and to provide information to any parties who may be affected by the project.  The Kwispaa LNG export facility, a joint project between Steelhead and Huu-ay-aht First Nations, is to feature floating production and storage units and is proposed to be built at Sarita Bay off land owned by the Huu-ay-aht First Nation. The final investment decision for the project is scheduled for 2020 and, if it clears all regulatory hurdles, the 24-million-tonne capacity facility is expected to be operational in 2024. (Times Colonist)

Community reacts to plan to extend Hamilton onto drier ground
Town officials and the nonprofit Forterra are bringing the community of Hamilton into discussions about building a new portion of the town outside the Skagit River floodplain. A crowd of about 35 — mostly town residents — packed a meeting room Wednesday at Town Hall to ask questions and share opinions. The town and Forterra, which invests in environmentally conscious land-use projects in Washington, have partnered to determine how the town’s urban growth area could be transformed into an extension of the town where residents who are tired of being affected by floods could relocate. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PDT Fri Oct 19 2018   

TODAY  Light wind becoming NW to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 12 seconds. Areas of fog in  the morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 12 seconds. Areas of fog after midnight. 

SAT  SW wind to 10 kt becoming E in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds. Areas of fog in the  morning. 

SAT NIGHT  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 6 ft  at 11 seconds. 

SUN  Light wind becoming E to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

10/18 Cup&Saucer, Camano culverts, warm water, low water, 'son of blob,' harbors bill, Octo Eleanor, World Heritage, green crabs, quake warning

Cup and saucer [Joel White]
Cup and Saucer Constantinea simplex
Cup and saucer seaweed is a whimsically-shaped perennial red algae, with thick blades that somewhat resemble cups and saucers or inside-out umbrellas, depending on the time of year.... The species grows on rocks in the low intertidal and shallow subtidal areas along exposed coastlines. Its range extends form the Kamchatka Peninsula, Commander Islands and Aleutian Islands east to northern Alaska and south to southern California. (Central Coast Biodiversity)

Guest blog: Waiting for the Tide to Turn …
Guest blogger Pete Haase writes: "It has been a pretty rough spring and summer for most of us volunteer folks who spend some of our time working to help protect and restore the Salish Sea - one bad news report after another...." (read more)

New Camano Island culverts open 1.6 miles of fish habitat
After more than 15 years of planning, Barbara Brock finally saw the installation of a set of fish-friendly culverts along Kristoferson Creek on the east side of Camano Island. The project opened up about 1.6 miles of critical habitat for several species of salmon.... Kristoferson Creek, a small coastal stream, begins at Kristoferson Lake and flows under East Camano Drive eventually reaching Triangle Cove, a pocket estuary. These habitats provide refugee for young salmon where they spend months growing before heading out to the ocean.  Lizz Giordano reports. (Everett Herald)

Federal judge orders EPA to protect salmon from warm temps in Columbia River basin
A federal judge has ordered protection for salmon in the Columbia River basin from warm water temperatures that have been lethal to salmon and steelhead as the climate changes. The U.S. District Court for the Western District at Seattle in a 16-page ruling Wednesday ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead from dangerously warm water temperatures in the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Climate change has exacerbated a long standing problem with water temperature in reservoirs behind hydropower dams on the rivers, increasing the number days in which temperatures exceed what can be tolerated by salmon and steelhead, which are cold-water species. In 2015, 250,000 adult sockeye salmon died when the Columbia and Snake rivers became too warm. Hot water pushed survival rates for critically endangered Snake River sockeye to only 4 percent in 2015. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

'Unprecedented low water levels' in northern, central B.C. raise fears for future of wildlife
October's long dry spell in the northwest of British Columbia may be coming to an end with rain in the forecast, but the prolonged drought — which reached a level 4 warning in some areas — is already having adverse effects on wildlife in the region. At the beginning of the week, Prince Rupert had seen only a couple of days of rain in October — which is highly unusual for the typically soggy city... The dry conditions are particularly affecting salmon in the Upper Skeena region, according to Mark Cleveland, head biologist for Gitanyow Fisheries. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

'Son of the blob': Unseasonably warm weather creating new anomaly off B.C. coast
The blob is back. A meteorologist says unseasonable conditions in B.C. are likely once again causing a large area of the Pacific Ocean to heat up, emulating a phenomenon from past years called the "blob." That mass of warm water was blamed for warmer weather on land, poor feeding conditions for salmon and even dead whales. Now, Armel Castellan with Environment and Climate Change Canada says it appears a warm-water patch dubbed the "son of the blob" is establishing itself off B.C.'s coast. Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

Congress Passes Key Harbors and Waterways Bill
This year's edition of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) has passed the U.S. House and Senate as part of a larger package, and now awaits the president's signature. The final version of the America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018 authorizes investments in the nation’s ports, waterways, dams, and public drinking water systems. It passed the Senate by 99-1, with Senator Mike Lee of Utah providing the lone dissenting vote.... AWIA authorizes the construction of three navigation projects at the ports of Seattle, Galveston and San Juan, Puerto Rico. It also approves modifications to previously-authorized projects in Savannah, Norfolk, and Sault St. Marie/Soo Locks. It also expedites planning for projects at the Port of Tacoma, the Port of New York and New Jersey, the port of Nome, Alaska, and ports in Houma, Baptiste Collette and Bayou LaFourche, Louisiana.... AWIA also contains a raft of licensing policy modifications for dams, which will shorten the approval timeline for dam projects and "provide regulatory incentives for investments at existing hydropower facilities," according to the American Hydropower Association. It also provides additional resources for drinking water projects - motivated in part by Flint, Michigan's lead contamination problem - and doubles the size of a state loan assistance program for water utilities. (Marine Executive)

Meet Eleanora, PT Marine Science Center’s new Giant Pacific Octopus
She’s friendly, but reserved. She likes to play, but she’s also dignified. She’s a lady, but she also likes to eat fish popsicles.  Her name is Eleanora, and she’s a Giant Pacific Octopus.... Eleanora, who is roughly 2 years old, originally came from the area around Whidbey Island. She had been living at the Friday Harbor Laboratories, where she was helping researchers study the intelligence of the Giant Pacific Octopus.  Lily Haight reports. (Port Townsend Leader)

Salish Sea misses Canada’s tentative list for World Heritage Sites
The Salish Sea, regarded as some of the most biologically diverse and important waters in the world, did not make the cut for Canada’s tentative list for World Heritage Sites. In August 2016, Canadians were invited to nominate the country’s most exceptional places to be future candidates for the UNESCO recognition. Although a petition supporting the Salish Sea application garnered more than 1,000 signatures, the Ministerial Advisory Committee tasked with reviewing the 42 applications received did not endorse it. (Sooke News Mirror)

Green crab numbers dwindle in Dungeness
Resource managers at Dungeness’ Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge are happy to find less of what they were hunting. Lorenz Sollmann, deputy project leader at the refuge, said the group caught 69 of the invasive European green crabs on the Dungeness Spit from April through Oct. 7, with all but four of those found on Graveyard Spit. That’s down from 96 last year during approximately the same time span.... In Jefferson County, a green crab was found Sept. 8 at Kala Point Lagoon during routine monthly trap sampling as part of the Crab Team’s early detection network. Intense trapping led by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife staff led to a second green crab to be trapped in Scow Bay between Indian and Marrowstone Islands. After catching 34 green crabs in a short span last season in Neah Bay, resource managers through Makah Fisheries Management and community partners captured 1,030 this year in the Wa’atch River and Tsoo-Yess River.... Along the Salish Sea, volunteers found green crab in June on Whidbey Island’s Lagoon Point, two at Westcott Bay and a molt in Fidalgo Bay on San Juan Island. Matthew Nash reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

West Coast quake warning system now operational, with limits
Automated alerts from the fledgling West Coast earthquake early warning system are ready to be used broadly by businesses, utilities, schools and other entities but not for mass public notification, officials said Wednesday.... The system being built for California, Oregon and Washington detects that an earthquake is occurring, quickly analyzes the data and sends out alerts that may give warnings of several seconds to a minute before strong shaking arrives at locations away from the epicenter. That can be enough time to automatically slow trains, stop industrial processes, start backup generators, pause a surgery or send students scrambling for protection under desks and table. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Thu Oct 18 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 13 seconds. Areas of fog  in the morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 13 seconds. Areas of fog  after midnight.

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