Wednesday, October 10, 2018

10/10 Nudibranch, gas pipe rupture, pipeline protest, barge fire, Growlers, Skagit logging, ferries noise, whale scare, flatfish

Hooded nudibranch [Jan Cocian]
Hooded nudibranch Melibe leonina
The hooded nudibranch is the most bizarre of sea slugs. It has a large, inflated 'oral hood.' A fringe of stiff hairs point in toward the center of the hood, helping it to trap tiny amphipods and other small crustaceans. The hood also closes to trap air, helping the nudibranch drift from place to place. The bluish, almost transparent body reaches 4 inches. They are usually found on eelgrass. (Marine Life of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

Enbridge pipeline ruptures, sparks fire near Prince George
Most residents are being allowed back into their homes after a gas pipeline ruptured north of Prince George, sparking a massive blaze. RCMP say the explosion happened at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and forced about 100 members of the nearby Lheidli T’enneh First Nation from their homes. Officials say it was from an Enbridge natural gas pipeline in Shelley, about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George. Police say residences within several kilometres were evacuated as a precaution, but the evacuation zone has now been reduced to residences within a one kilometre radius of the explosion site. They say there are no injuries and no reported damage other than to the pipeline itself. (Canadian Press) See also: Puget Sound Energy customers asked to conserve gas, electricity after pipeline rupture  About two-thirds of all of the natural gas supply to the Puget Sound region has been compromised, supply managers say. Jake Whittenberg reports. (KING)

Minnesota judge acquits pipeline protesters from Seattle
A judge in Clearwater County has acquitted three pipeline protesters from the Seattle area just hours into the first day of testimony. The surprise outcome followed several developments that appeared to doom the defense's case. Emily Johnston, Annette Klapstein and Ben Joldersma faced felony charges stemming from the 2016 attempt to shut down two Enbridge oil pipelines in the county. Judge Robert Tiffany found that prosecutors failed to prove they had actually damaged the pipeline when they used a bolt-cutter to unlock a valve and turn off the flow. Enbridge had already shut down the line as a precaution following a heads up from the protesters. The defense had intended to mount a necessity defense, arguing that the action was justified in order to prevent greater harm from climate change. Dan Kraker reports. (Minnesota Public Radio)

Barge fire in Surrey partially extinguished
A Surrey barge fire that spewed thick, black smoke visible throughout much of Metro Vancouver was partially extinguished as of Tuesday evening. Asst. Fire Chief Chris Keon with Surrey Fire Services said the Fraser River barge fire was likely to be completely snuffed out after crews attacked the flames from a fireboat and from the shore. Keon said the fire was first reported shortly before 5 p.m. PT at the Schnitzer Steel facility just east of the Patullo Bridge. There were no injuries and no one was on the barge at the time of the fire, he said. Metro Vancouver said it was monitoring the situation for any air quality dangers but as of 7 p.m., had issued no warnings. Liam Britten reports. (CBC)

Whidbey residents rally against military jet noise
Nearly 500 people crowded into Central Whidbey’s historic Crockett Barn and spilled out into the surrounding grass during a rally against military jet noise last week. Sound Defense Alliance held three simultaneous events in protest of the Navy’s plans to bring 36 more EA-18G Growlers to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and to increase the amount of practice at the Outlying Field Coupeville by as much as 370 percent. Jessie Stensland reports. (Whidbey News Group)

U.S. conservation groups decry B.C. decision to allow logging in Skagit River system
The B.C. government, which opposes the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline because of the potential threat to the Salish Sea’s marine environment and its endangered killer whales, is putting those same waters at risk by approving logging in a sensitive watershed, a coalition of U.S. conservation organizations says. The Skagit River system flows south from B.C. through Washington State and into Puget Sound, including waters that are critical to chinook salmon – the primary source of food for the southern resident killer whales. “Washington State has spent hundreds of millions of dollars restoring one of the largest chinook runs in the Salish Sea. Why mess with that?” said Michelle Connor, past co-chair of the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission. Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

B.C. Ferries spending spree could be good news for orcas 
B.C. Ferries plans to retire 18 aging vessels over the next 12 years and that is likely good news for the southern resident killer whales that share the waters with the ferry fleet. The Crown corporation will spend $2 billion on 22 new vessels, with the next round of new vessels to begin service in 2020. New ferry construction will prioritize noise reduction through improved propellers, quiet military design features, wake management and engine noise dampening. A typical ferry operating at service speed generates sound at about 185 decibels, which dissipates slowly over long distance, according to B.C. Ferries noise mitigation plan. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Woman Calls 911 As Whales Surround Boat On Puget Sound 
A Lynnwood family is sharing a whale of a tale after they had a close encounter with a few humpback whales on out Puget Sound recently. The whales were right under the Lucianna family's boat, and one woman on board - very freaked out - ended up calling 911 on the giant mammals. "I'm out in Puget Sound and there's three gray whales and I'm a afraid we might get flipped over and I'm really scared," the woman tells the 911 dispatcher. After a few minutes of watching the whales, the family decide to leave the scene.  Neal McNamara reports. (Patch)

These freaky fish use their fins to 'walk' across the seafloor
A flatfish scuttles along the seafloor with no legs, yet it takes its cue from the world’s leggiest animal. New video analysis reveals that the creature’s unusual gait is strikingly similar to that of a millipede. It’s one more weird fact about flatfish, which look like regular fish flipped on their sides and levelled with a rolling pin. The animals begin their lives looking like typical fish, but soon undergo a Picasso-esque metamorphosis. Bones and cartilage in the skull twist and shift, and one eye migrates across the head to join the other. The changes make flatfish—a group that includes flounder, sole, and halibut—the “most asymmetrical organisms on Earth,” says Claire Fox, a doctoral student studying fish locomotion at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. These oddities are adaptations to life on the seafloor. The animals have long, finger-like fin rays sticking out from the edges of their flattened bodies that somewhat resemble the many legs of a millipede. To move forward, they simply bunch up a few of their fin rays to form a “fin-foot,” which they use as a contact point to push against the seafloor, Fox and her colleagues report this month in the journal Zoology. Erica Tennenhouse reports. (National Geographic)


Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  247 AM PDT Wed Oct 10 2018   

TODAY  S wind to 10 kt becoming E in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 12 seconds. 

TONIGHT  Light wind becoming S to 10 kt after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds. Areas of fog  after midnight.


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