Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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

Lasqueti Island [vancouverisland.com]
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. (lasqueti.ca)

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.


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