Thursday, November 29, 2018

11/29 Elwha, tribes on BC pipe, WA bag ban, Scott Hinch's salmon, Protection Is., Tennant Lk., Ranker rise, BC otters

Elwha nearshore [John Gussman/CWI]
King tides and 12,000 cfs at the Elwha nearshore 27 November 2018
Anne Shaffer of Coastal Watershed Institute writes: "Over the course of the summer we're often asked of the west delta: 'Does this area really connect to the river?' Here is the answer. With the season's first high river flows and the years highest tides the entire west delta is reactivated, allowing fish, including juvenile coho, Chinook, steelhead, and adult bull trout, cutthroat, and (hopefully) returning chum to move freely thru the reconnected side channels. Except of course west of the Place dike, which is instead teeming only with stickleback. The reconnected hydrodynamic sediment engine of the nearshore Elwha is complex, critically important, and visually spectacular. The resulting size of the area has gotten so big it's now almost impossible to capture in one frame."

‘Our way of life in its last hour,’ Tsawout tell pipeline hearings
A way of life is at risk if the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline goes ahead. That sentiment was made clear through what was an emotionally charged testimony provided to the National Energy Board by Indigenous leaders from the Saanich Peninsula Wednesday. “This is our last hour to say no to tanker traffic … our way of life is in its last hour,” an impassioned Chief Harvey Underwood of the Tsawout First Nation told the board. The board has been hearing oral traditional evidence from Indigenous groups in Victoria this week. As part of its new review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the board has been on the road for the past 10 days hearing oral traditional evidence. The hearings, which will shift to Nanaimo next week, are the result of the Federal Court of Appeal striking down approval of the pipeline expansion project, citing inadequate Indigenous consultation and the energy board’s failure to review the project's impacts on the marine environment. Andrew Duffy reports. (Times Colonist)

Washington tribes say Canadian pipeline will harm orcas, way of life
Several U.S. tribal leaders told Canadian energy regulators Wednesday that increased tanker traffic from a proposed pipeline expansion project would harm endangered orcas, natural resources and their cultural way of life. The contentious Trans Mountain project would nearly triple the flow of oil from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific Coast, and increase tanker traffic from about 60 to more than 400 vessels annually through the Salish Sea — the inland waters of Canada and U.S. that are also critical feeding grounds for the endangered orcas. Leaders from four Native American tribes in Puget Sound, Washington, traveled to Victoria, British Columbia, to testify before Canada's National Energy Board as the panel reconsiders the impact of marine shipping from the pipeline project, as ordered by a Canadian court. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Washington state lawmakers propose ban on single-use plastic bags
Democratic lawmakers in Washington state said Wednesday that they plan to pursue legislation to ban single-use plastic bags, like the ones used in grocery and retail stores. The measure would eliminate all plastic bags used for purchases and levy a 10-cent fee on paper bags, backers of the bill — Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, and Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds — announced in Seattle on Wednesday. They plan to introduce their bill in the Legislature’s next session that starts in January. The bill’s passage in Washington, where Democrats control both chambers of the Legislature as well as the governorship, would make the state second in the U.S., after California, to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. State politicians regularly boast of having some of the strictest environmental regulations in the nation, but they’ve also been criticized by environmental groups for not doing enough. Hannah Rodriguez reports. (Seattle Times) See also: State lawmakers want to ban plastic bags Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Vancouver salmon researcher receives national nod
The numbers floating around Scott Hinch’s mind are daunting, if not impossible, to fathom. Infrastructure costs that veer into seven digits. Thousands of kilometres of water. Tens of millions of fish.  A forestry professor with the University of B.C.’s Forest and Conservation Sciences department, Hinch is responsible for heading up first-of-its-kind research into salmon tracking and health monitoring.  His work was formally recognized on a global scale this week, having received the Exceptional Leadership – Professor designation from the national non-profit group Mitacs. The basis for Hinch’s award is rooted in a seven-year study he recently wrapped up that tracked the migration patterns and survival rates of millions of sockeye and steelhead spanning from the Interior of B.C., down the Fraser River and across Vancouver Island.  John Kurucz reports. (Vancouver Courier)

Volunteers complete study of Protection Island wildlife
Off the coast of Cape George is a 370-acre island, uninhabited by humankind, teeming with wildlife. It only takes a quick boat ride to get to Protection Island from the Cape George Marina, but no boats are allowed within 200 yards of the island’s shore, and kayakers are barred from landing on shore. Protection Island is the home of 70 percent of the Puget Sound’s nesting seabirds, and it’s one of the two places in the Puget Sound that supports nesting areas for rare tufted puffins and rhinoceros auklets. To protect nature, the small piece of land was designated a Wildlife Refuge in 1982. Then, in 2010, the Department of Natural Resources designated 24,000 acres which surround the island as an Aquatic Reserve. Despite the lack of humans, there is still a lot of work that goes into preserving the refuge. Much of that work is done by volunteers who are part of the Protection Island Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee, a group of citizen scientists who do everything from counting birds and marine mammals, to observing intertidal biota, to driving boats and writing down data. Lily Haight reports. (Port Townsend Leader) See also: Bird watchers’ paradise  Lily Haight reports. (Port Townsend Leader)

Lake Love. Forty years and counting
The brochure for the Tennant Lake Interpretive Center’s boardwalk resembles a treasure map, but instead of leading its followers to a secret cache of gold coins or pirate’s booty, the colorful artwork by Margaret M. McCandless uncovers the riches of the natural world. The map posits that those who choose to follow the roundabout path from the historic Nielsen house on the outskirts of Ferndale through the lake’s swampland, marshes, wetlands and sloughs should be on the lookout for a variety of creatures—from bald eagles to yellow warblers, beavers, cedar waxwings, wood ducks, a couple of different species of frogs, meadow mice, dragonflies and great blue herons. While these seasonal sights will likely be hidden by darkness by the time the Friends of Tennant Lake and Hovander Park host a reception celebrating the center’s 40th anniversary on Fri., Nov. 30, those who’ve traversed the acreage during daylight hours are likely already aware of its status as a gem of Whatcom County. Amy Kepferle reports. (Cascadia Weekly)

Ranker chosen to chair new Senate Environment & Tourism Committee and lead on environmental budget
Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) was selected by his peers in the Senate Democratic Caucus to chair the new Environment & Tourism Committee in the 2019 Legislative Session.... Recognizing the incredible environmental opportunities before us, the Senate is restructuring environmental oversight by establishing a new committee with general oversight of environmental protection and policies. The committee members will also work to boost our state’s tourism industry. A 2015 study showed that Washington’s outdoor recreation industry generates more than $20 billion annually. (San Juan Islander)

River otters fatten up on bite-sized, at-risk sturgeon
A handful of hungry river otters have added juvenile sturgeon to their diet and it's directly impacting a Vanderhoof sturgeon recovery project. "Downtown Vanderhoof, we have the last three or four years had six or seven very healthy otters that seem to like Nechako white sturgeon as part of their dining habits," said Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative chair Wayne Salewksi. Salewski said the initiative is trying to help the fish avoid being eaten by predators that like small fry by growing the fish larger before releasing them. Audrey McKinnon reports. (CBC) See also: As koi fall victim to an otter, Chinese community sees loss of cultural symbol  Alex Migdal reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  248 AM PST Thu Nov 29 2018   

TODAY  E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 9 ft  at 13 seconds. 

TONIGHT  Light wind becoming SW to 10 kt after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 12 seconds. A slight chance  of showers.

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