Thursday, January 31, 2019

1/31 Beaver, starfish, HB 1579, Tacoma LNG, BC pipe, snow, Scudder Pond, horse manure

Beaver [Wikipedia]
Beaver Castor canadensis
The North American beaver is one of two extant beaver species. It is native to North America and introduced to Patagonia in South America and some European countries. In the United States and Canada, the species is often referred to simply as "beaver"... Other vernacular names, including American beaver and Canadian beaver, distinguish this species from the other extant beaver species, Castor fiber, which is native to Eurasia. The North American beaver is an official animal symbol of Canada and is the official state mammal of Oregon. See also: The Gnawing Question of Saltwater Beavers  Scientists have long overlooked beavers in the intertidal zone. Now they’re counting on the freshwater rodents to restore Washington’s coastal ecosystems. Ben Goldfarb reports. (Hakai Magazine)

West Coast's biggest starfish vanishing amid disease, warming oceans, study finds
Once a common delight of every beachcomber, sunflower starfish — the large, multi-armed starfish sometimes seen underwater at the near shore — are imperiled by disease and ocean warming along the West Coast. The devastation occurred over just a few years, and even affected starfish in deeper water, according to research co-led by the University of California, Davis and Cornell University published in the journal Science Advances. At one time plentiful, the sea suns, or sunflower starfish, right now cannot be found off the California coast and are rare northward into Alaska, said Drew Harvell, the paper’s co-author and Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. The starfish have become so rare over the past three years the scientists consider them endangered in the southern part of their range. Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)

Better enforcement of habitat protection for endangered fish may be key to orca survival
If you want to keep Puget Sound's endangered orca whales from going extinct, you have to make sure they have enough to eat. That’s a key message from members of Gov. Jay Inslee’s orca recovery task force....House Bill 1579 is mostly about protecting fish habitat by enforcing existing law, so that the salmon have places to spawn and successfully reproduce once they come home. The habitat also is crucial for smaller forage fish that the salmon eat....The law at the heart of this is Washington state's hydraulic code, which is supposed to protect fish life from construction impacts in state waters.... Salmon habitat is still shrinking because of illegal construction and permit violations. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Tacoma's long-delayed natural gas plant has a community on edge
A proposed liquid natural gas plant on Tacoma's waterfront has attracted protests from residents, tribes and scientists — but whether Puget Sound Energy is listening remains unknown. Manola Secaira reports. (Crosscut)

Canada’s energy regulator reviews pipeline's impact on climate change 
This week, Canada’s energy regulator is listening to feedback on the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. It’s part of a two-step process to consider the possible effects of the expansion on climate change.   After an application from the environmental group Stand.earth, the National Energy Board has decided to ask if it has done enough to consider how the proposed pipeline expansion may affect greenhouse gas emissions. Craig McCulloch reports. (KNKX)

Vancouver could see snow after all, with flurries forecast for Sunday
The polar vortex expanding southward is expected to swing out west over the weekend, dropping the temperature below freezing this weekend and into next week. Harrison Mooney reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: ‘Maybe’s the key word’ for Whatcom County’s snow forecast  Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

If you like to watch: Warming in the stratosphere leads to cold winters
n the first week of January, the Arctic stratosphere suddenly warmed up, an occurrence known as “sudden stratospheric warming” (SSW). This phenomenon results in cold winter weather, just the kind we are facing now – ETH researchers have visualised the event that was observed before the current one –  in February 2018. Peter Rüegg reports. (ETH News]

Here’s why the water at Bellingham’s Scudder Pond is such an unnatural color
Nature is putting on an uncommon show at Scudder Pond, where the water is a bright rusty-pink. The unusual hue has stirred wonder as well as concern from nearby residents and visitors ambling through the 2-acre nature preserve of ponds and wetlands at the northeast end of Bellingham’s Whatcom Falls Park. The color covers about a third of the pond. What’s causing it? An aquatic fern called Azolla microphylla, which is synonymous with Azolla mexicana, according to Sara Brooke Benjamin, the environmental coordinator in the Natural Resources division of the city’s Public Works Department. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Saving streams from the manure of more than 3,000 horses
A new program addresses one of Snohomish County’s biggest water-quality concerns. The program helps horse owners keep manure under control, turn it into fertilizer and use it on their pastures. Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Everett Herald)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PST Thu Jan 31 2019   
TODAY
 SE wind to 10 kt becoming NE in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds. A chance of rain. 
TONIGHT
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  6 ft at 19 seconds. Rain.


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

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

1/30 Fur seal, fish flush, El Nino, stellhead fishery, Bellingham waste, Canadian resentment

Northern fur seal [Wikipedia]
Northern fur seal Callorhinus ursinus
The northern fur seal is an eared seal found along the north Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, and the Sea of Okhotsk. It is the largest member of the fur seal subfamily and the only living species in the genus Callorhinus. A single fossil species, Callorhinus gilmorei, is known from the Pliocene of Japan and western North America. (Wikipedia) See also: Northern fur seal pup rescued from waters near B.C.'s Hardwicke Island  Harrison Mooney reports. (Vancouver Sun)

'Fish flush' could be part of orca and salmon recovery
The state Department of Ecology is unveiling a proposal that would increase water spilled over Columbia and Snake river dams, to assist downstream migration of young salmon and ultimately help endangered killer whales. The expanded spring "fish flush" is part of Gov. Jay Inslee's bid to increase fish populations in order to boost survival of the critically endangered southern resident population of orcas off the Washington coast and in inland waters. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

So Far, El Niño Winter Brings Lessened Snowpack And Water Worries To Northwest
n the Northwest’s Cascades, there’s snow at high elevations, but it’s scored by vertical lines showing where rain has run downhill. This warm El Niño winter in the region is worrying water managers and farmers. Many Washington and Oregon reservoirs aren’t filling up like they should, and snowpack levels are below average in many areas. In Oregon, snowpack near Mt. Hood is 50 percent of normal. A little better at 70 percent of normal statewide. Some reservoirs in Eastern Oregon are at, or below 38 percent. In Washington, snowpack is around 79 percent of normal — which could be bad news for spring crops. Anna King reports. (KUOW)

Steelhead fishery set to open on Skagit, Sauk rivers
A catch-and-release steelhead fishery is set to open Friday on portions of the Skagit and Sauk rivers. The season marks the second opportunity for recreational fishermen to cast their lines for wild steelhead, which were protected from fishing from 2010 to 2017 due to concern about declining numbers of the fish. Wild steelhead have been listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act since 2007. The catch-and-release fishery was reopened for the first time since the closure in April 2018. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Bellingham wants to turn waste into something useful. Here’s how much that could cost.
Sewer rates will increase in the coming years to pay for an estimated $196 million project to replace the aging incinerators at the Post Point wastewater treatment plant with a proposed process that fits the city’s Climate Protection Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gasses. How much sewer bills will go up will be determined through a planned rate study. Construction could start in 2023 at the plant at 200 McKenzie Ave., and be completed in 2025. The City Council still must give final approval to the proposed project although it has been guiding it along the way. Members received a project update on Monday. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

A sense of resentment’: Most Canadians feel disrespected by other provinces, poll shows
In B.C., 57 per cent feel they're respected, and that number is 53 per cent in Ontario. The most disrespected feeling province is Alberta, landing at 74 per cent. Tyler Dawson reports. (National Post)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  154 AM PST Wed Jan 30 2019   
TODAY
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell 6 ft  at 15 seconds. 
TONIGHT
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 5 ft at  14 seconds.


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

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

1/29 Juniper, fossil-fuel moratorium, BC LNG violations, Brinnon protest, SeaWorld orca death

Common juniper [Arnstein Ronning]
Common juniper Juniperus communis
Common juniper was considered an important medicine for interior peoples but it was not widely used on the Northwest Coast.... Juniper berries are commonly used in European cooking as a flavoring for soups, stews, cordials and gin. The species name communis means 'common,' which this species is over much of the globe. Common juniper is the only circumpolar comfier in the northern hemisphere. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

King County Council approves 6-month moratorium on major fossil-fuel facilities 
The King County Council on Monday approved a six-month moratorium on building or expanding major fossil-fuel infrastructure, joining other local governments in the Northwest with similar measures that aim to use local zoning laws to restrict fossil-fuel pipelines, storage facilities and other infrastructure. The ordinance, introduced by Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, disallows permitting for fossil-fuel projects in unincorporated King County. It also directs the county executive’s office to produce a survey of existing facilities, study those facilities’ impacts on communities, analyze the existing regulations that apply to them, recommend changes to regulations and permitting, and evaluate county-owned facilities for health impacts. The ordinance also declares a state of emergency. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

BC First Nation members say pipeline company removed cultural property
The British Columbia government says it will inspect the site of a planned natural gas pipeline southwest of Houston following allegations that the company building the project is violating its permits. Members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and supporters have alleged that Coastal GasLink is engaging in construction activity without an archaeological impact assessment and also destroyed traplines and tents unnecessarily. The Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources says in a statement that joint site inspection will be conducted by the province’s Environmental Assessment Office and the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission next week. Amy Smart reports. (Canadian Press)

Brinnon Group protests Jefferson County commissioners’ development decisions
Barbara Moore-Lewis, Julia Cochrane and Lys Burden held a vigil outside of the Jefferson County Courthouse on Monday to bring attention to the decisions made by the county commissioners last year over the Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort in Brinnon. They are concerned about the development’s impact and the possible destruction of the Kettles, a natural formation of ponds that has cultural significance to the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

SeaWorld Orlando orca whale Kayla dies after illness
A 30-year-old orca whale has died after a brief illness at SeaWorld Orlando, the park announced on Monday. Kayla, who was born in captivity in Texas in 1988, was one of 20 whales still housed at the company's parks. SeaWorld said Kayla's condition had deteriorated on Sunday after she showed signs of illness on Saturday.... The whale's cause of death is still unknown, pending a post-mortem. (BBC)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  208 AM PST Tue Jan 29 2019   
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
  
TODAY
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 14 seconds. 
TONIGHT
 SE wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 17 seconds.


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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Monday, January 28, 2019

1/28 QT, BC pipe, Storming the Sound, armoring, orca lege, Stubbs, gull kill, fuel rule rollbacks, SB spill, forest fire carbon, fishing boats, carbon pricing, sea noise

QT [Laurie MacBride]
Seeing Red
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Yikes! That looks painful,” I thought, when QT, our oldest resident buck, came for his regular morning visit one day earlier this month. We’d seen him the previous afternoon, but since then he’d shed his antlers – revealing ruby-red, raw-looking mounting points (pedicles), each the size of an old-fashioned silver dollar... Columbian black-tailed bucks shed their antlers every winter, so I’m used to seeing “our boys” sans headgear for a few months each year. But I’d never seen such freshly exposed pedicles before. Thankfully, within a couple of days the mounting points lost their redness and seemed to harden up, looking like painless brown scabs rather than open wounds. Now, three weeks later, you can hardly notice them at all."

Trans Mountain pipeline work destroyed salmon habitat, scientist says
Work on a Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in a British Columbia stream has destroyed salmon habitat, raising concerns about the Crown corporation’s ability to build infrastructure through waterways if the expansion project proceeds, a scientist says. Mike Pearson says the “amateur hour” work on the Stewart Creek crossing in Chilliwack will reduce food sources for coho and chum salmon and limit their ability to hide from predators. The fish are part of the diet of endangered southern resident killer whales. “There was no consideration given whatsoever to the habitat, which is just not acceptable,” said Pearson, a biologist with 30 years’ experience.Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

Environmental education event marks 20 years
Students, educators and representatives from environmental groups met Thursday at La Conner’s Maple Hall for the 20th Storming the Sound. The daylong event brings together those with a common interest in environmental education to hear from experts in the north Puget Sound region. This year, presenters included members from local organizations including the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Skagit Land Trust, Skagit Watershed Council, Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group and North Cascades Institute.... The event drew about 160 attendees, Storming the Sound co-founder and planning team member Britta Eschete said. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Homeowners keep building walls around Puget Sound. Biologists are taking out more
Biologists have long pointed to seawalls, bulkheads and other protective structures known as “shoreline armoring” as a major environmental problem for Puget Sound. More than 660 miles, or about 29 percent, of the sound’s shoreline have been walled off over the decades, according to the Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency.... Efforts to remove armoring and restore more natural seaside habitats have had a hard time catching up to waterfront homeowners’ ongoing construction of new armor. Research by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife shows that single-family homeowners have built 68 percent of the armoring around Puget Sound over the past decade. Half the shoreline losses have been concentrated in just three counties: Mason, Island and Kitsap. But for the past two years in a row, more walls have come down around Puget Sound than have gone up, according to numbers released by the Puget Sound Partnership in December. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Whale-watching ban among bills introduced to protect orcas
Several bills have been introduced in the state legislature in response to the recommendations from the Governor's Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force. The task force addressed prey availability, vessel noise and pollution. Descriptions of HB 1578 & SB 5578; HB 1579; HB 1580 & SB 5577. (San Juan Islander)

B.C.'s oldest whale watching company packing up after 38 years as lease ends
British Columbia's first whale watching company is closing its doors at the end of the month after nearly four decades of business, because the company's lease is being terminated. Stubbs Island Whale Watching, located on northern Vancouver Island, was put up for sale at the end of last season. The owners had planned to keep running the tours until a like-minded buyer was found and say the changes to the lease with Telegraph Cove Resort were unexpected. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

To Help Salmon, Fish Advocates Want To Kill Gulls 
There are a lot of predators known to eat imperiled salmon, from sea lions to double-crested cormorants. For a long time, biologists thought gulls weren’t a big part of the problem. Now, they say that was a miscalculation. “When some analysis was done, the impact of gulls – just in the section from McNary (Dam) to Bonneville (Dam) – nearly 20 percent of the fish taken were taken by gulls,” said Blaine Parker, an avian predation coordinator with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.... The solution he proposes? Lethal control of specific problem gulls, along with non-lethal harassment.... Any killing of gulls — referred to as “lethal management” or “lethal control” by the government — is a tactic the Audubon Society of Portland vehemently opposes. “It’s a continuation of a very unfortunate pattern of killing wildlife to protect other wildlife,” said Bob Sallinger, conservation director at the society. It’s not the wildlife that’s the problem, Sallinger said, it’s the dams. Killing gulls, he said, is “pure scapegoating.” Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Broadcasting)

Trump rollbacks for fossil fuel industries carry steep cost
As the Trump administration rolls back environmental and safety rules for the energy sector, government projections show billions of dollars in savings reaped by companies will come at a steep cost: more premature deaths and illnesses from air pollution, a jump in climate-warming emissions and more severe derailments of trains carrying explosive fuels. The Associated Press analyzed 11 major rules targeted for repeal or relaxation under Trump, using the administration’s own estimates to tally how its actions would boost businesses and harm society. The AP identified up to $11.6 billion in potential future savings for companies that extract, burn and transport fossil fuels. Industry windfalls of billions of dollars more could come from a freeze in vehicle efficiency standards that will yield an estimated 79 billion-gallon (300 million-liter) increase in fuel consumption. On the opposite side of the government’s ledger, buried in thousands of pages of analyses, are the “social costs” of rolling back the regulations. Among them:... Matthew Brown reports. (Associated Press)

How California's Worst Oil Spill Turned Beaches Black And The Nation Green
On January 28, 1969, an oil well off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., experienced a blowout. The result was an oil spill that at the time ranked as the largest in U.S. history. The disaster, which made headlines across the nation, helped create the modern environmental movement. It also led to restrictions on offshore drilling — restrictions the Trump Administration is trying to loosen. Jon Hamilton reports. (NPR)

B.C. forests contribute 'hidden' carbon emissions that dwarf official numbers, report says 
"Uncounted forest emissions" represent a major hole in B.C.'s climate plan and show the need for a provincial forest emissions-reduction strategy, according to a new report by an environmental group. Climate-warming carbon emissions released from B.C. forests in both 2017 and 2018 were more than three times higher than emissions from all other sources combined in 2016, the report from Sierra Club B.C. estimates. The vast majority of the estimated 237 million tonnes emitted by B.C.'s forests resulted from another record-breaking wildfire season that burned more than 13,000 square kilometres of land. Ryan Patrick Jones reports. (CBC)

Emissions from fishing vessels have quadrupled since 1950, UBC study shows
Even as the volume of seafood caught worldwide declines, greenhouse gas emissions from fisheries continue to rise, hitting levels much higher than previously thought, according to new research from the University of B.C. The study estimates marine fishing vessels released 207 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2016, about 30 per cent higher than previously estimated. That's despite the fact that overall catch has been dropping since the 1990s.... The paper, published in the journal Marine Policy this week, suggests that overall emissions from the world's marine fisheries more than quadrupled between 1950 to 2016. The scientists looked at each boat in fleets around the world and used their engine capacity to calculate how much carbon dioxide they release by burning fossils fuels. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Carbon Pricing, Explained With Chickens
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "If carbon pricing has you confused, it may be time to return to basics with a video featuring chickens as a way to understand the economic forces that could bring greenhouse gases under control. The video focuses on the two major pricing mechanisms — carbon tax and cap and trade...."  (EarthFix, 2016)

Oceans Are Getting Louder, Posing Potential Threats to Marine Life
Slow-moving, hulking ships crisscross miles of ocean in a lawn mower pattern, wielding an array of 12 to 48 air guns blasting pressurized air repeatedly into the depths of the ocean. The sound waves hit the sea floor, penetrating miles into it, and bounce back to the surface, where they are picked up by hydrophones. The acoustic patterns form a three-dimensional map of where oil and gas most likely lie. The seismic air guns probably produce the loudest noise that humans use regularly underwater, and it is about to become far louder in the Atlantic. As part of the Trump administration’s plans to allow offshore drilling for gas and oil exploration, five companies have been given permits to carry out seismic mapping with the air guns all along the Eastern Seaboard, from Central Florida to the Northeast, for the first time in three decades. The surveys haven’t started yet in the Atlantic, but now that the ban on offshore drilling has been lifted, companies can be granted access to explore regions along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific. And air guns are now the most common method companies use to map the ocean floor. Jim Robbins reports. (NY Times)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PST Mon Jan 28 2019   
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON
  
TODAY
 E wind 20 to 25 kt. Wind waves 3 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 13 seconds. 
TONIGHT
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Friday, January 25, 2019

1/25 Surfperch, EPA penalties, Canada's emissions, rethinking warming, children's climate, spill clean-up, Kauai solar, North Sound Stewards

Striped surfperch [Robertson/WDFW]
Striped surfperch Embiotoca lateralis
Striped surfperch range from Wrangell, southeastern Alaska to Point Cabras, Baja California, Mexico.  They occur in waters up to 21 m (69 ft) deep along rocky coasts, in kelp beds, and occasionally in sandy surf near rocks. Commonly caught by recreational harvesters within Puget Sound and in embayments along the outer coast. (WDFW)

Civil penalties for polluters dropped dramatically in Trump’s first two years, analysis shows
Civil penalties for polluters under the Trump administration plummeted during the past fiscal year to the lowest average level since 1994, according to a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data. In the two decades before President Trump took office, EPA civil fines averaged more than $500 million a year, when adjusted for inflation. Last year’s $72 million in fines was 85 percent below that amount, according to the agency’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online database. Cynthia Giles, who headed EPA’s enforcement office in the Obama administration and conducted the analysis, said the inflation-adjusted figures represent the lowest since the agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance was established. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post)

You’re all hypocrites: Why it’s a colossal cop-out to keep blaming Canada’s sky high emissions on Alberta
This week, the city of Victoria, B.C. announced plans to launch a class action lawsuit against the oil and gas sector. The idea is to tally up the various damages done to the city by climate change and send the bill to the likes of Suncor or CNRL. It’s the latest salvo of a movement that seeks to singularly blame the oil industry for climate change while conveniently ignoring the millions of daily consumer choices, often made by activists themselves, that contribute to Canada’s fossil fuel addiction. Below, a quick primer on how some of Canada’s most anti-oil, anti-pipeline corners seem to have no problem burning oceans of oil when it’s for stuff they like. Tristin Hopper writes. (National Post)

We need to rethink everything we know about global warming
For a while now, the scientific community has known that global warming is caused by humanmade emissions in the form of greenhouse gases and global cooling by air pollution in the form of aerosols. However, new research published in Science by Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Daniel Rosenfeld shows that the degree to which aerosols cool the earth has been grossly underestimated, necessitating a recalculation of climate change models to more accurately predict the pace of global warming.... With this new method, Rosenfeld and his colleagues were able to more accurately calculate aerosols' cooling effects on the Earth's energy budget. And, they discovered that aerosols' cooling effect is nearly twice higher than previously thought. However, if this is true then how come the earth is getting warmer, not cooler?... For Rosenfeld, this discrepancy might point to an ever deeper and more troubling reality. "If the aerosols indeed cause a greater cooling effect than previously estimated, then the warming effect of the greenhouse gases has also been larger than we thought, enabling greenhouse gas emissions to overcome the cooling effect of aerosols and points to a greater amount of global warming than we previously thought," he shared. (Science Daily)

Children's climate rallies gain momentum in Europe
Thousands of schoolchildren in Europe are expected to skip classes and rally for action on climate change. Children plan to stage a sit-in outside city hall in Basel, Switzerland, and similar protests are planned in Berlin and other German cities. They are inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. She is in Davos, urging the World Economic Forum (WEF) to ensure a greener future. On Thursday, 35,000 teenagers marched in Brussels against global warming. Thousands of school pupils went on strike in Switzerland a week ago to demand climate action. (BBC)

Engineers create decision-making tool for oil spill clean-up
A team of Southwest Research Institute engineers has created an interactive decision tree aimed at finding the best solution for specific oil spill scenarios. Numerous chemical dispersant technologies are available to address different types of oil spills and countless variables and external conditions can play into the effectiveness of any given dispersant. SwRI's decision-making tool helps bridge this gap to determine how a dispersant technology will perform under different spill scenarios.... The interactive decision-making tree was created with the programming language Visual Basic for Applications in Microsoft Excel, with the aim of making it accessible to as many people as possible. It contains hundreds of scenario combinations, allowing a user to select certain environmental and oil conditions, and outputs the most efficient dispersant delivery approach and equipment to clean up the spill. (Phys.Org)

Kauai: World’s Biggest Solar Power Plant Relies On A Flock Of Sheep
A new solar generating plant capable of producing and storing power in daylight and then releasing it at night will be partially dependent on 300 sheep. The plant was commissioned Jan. 8 by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and pushes the utility over the 50 percent mark in terms of the amount of its power that comes from renewable sources. It’s the second such plant put in service by KIUC and, according to David Bissell, the co-op’s CEO, it is currently the largest such installation in the world. That’s a distinction which, in a rapidly evolving industry, it’s unlikely to have for long. KIUC believes it is now the most advanced utility in the country in the context of producing electricity from alternative sources that can serve customers virtually around the clock.  Allan Parachini reports. (Civil Beat)

Salish Sea Science
...Two years ago, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and the Whatcom MRC formed the North Sound Stewards, a program in which citizen scientists receive training to build a reliable stock of data on various plants and animals from local beaches and tidal zones. The goal is to inform Salish Sea recovery and protection efforts. For example, RE Sources is working with the Washington Department of Natural Resources to use citizen science data in updated management and oil spill response plans. “We need to make sure our elected officials and the public have both the information and motivation to act. Who better to help provide these than a voter who has also helped watch over our precious ocean ecosystems?” said Chris Brown, Whatcom Marine Resource Committee (MRC) member and citizen scientist. To learn more or to become a citizen scientist, visit re-sources.org/north-sound-stewards. Eleanor Hines writes. (Cascadia Weekly)


Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  211 AM PST Fri Jan 25 2019   
TODAY
 E wind to 10 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 14 seconds. 
TONIGHT
 Light wind becoming SE to 10 kt after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 13 seconds. 
SAT
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft  at 13 seconds. 
SAT NIGHT
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  8 ft at 14 seconds. 
SUN
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 7 ft  at 14 seconds.


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

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

1/24 Shaggy mouse nudibranch, orca lege, orca health, Swinomish-BNSF rail suit, BC farm rules, tidal forests, compost

Shaggy mouse nudibranch [Dave Cowles]
Shaggy mouse nudibranch Aeolidia papillosa (Linnaeus, 1761)
This large aeolid grows to about 120mm in length and its body is covered with close obliquely arranged rows of flattened cerata. Its size and relative abundance have made it a popular research animal with many studies on aspects of its biology, natural history and ecology. It appears to feed almost exclusively on sea anemones. Common on the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America and the Pacific coast of North America. Common on the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America and the Pacific coast of North America. (Sea Slug Forum)

The orca recovery plans that could become state law
After a year of task force meetings, it’s time to find out if the governor’s ambitious plans to save the endangered southern resident orcas will turn into state law. It’s in the hands of state lawmakers now as they introduced several bills in Olympia Wednesday. The legislation is based on several of the governor's orca task force recommendations. Some will be a harder sell than others. [Read about House Bill 1580 and Senate Bill 5577 which deal with aspects of vessel noise; House Bill 1578 and Senate Bill 5578 which deal with improving oil transport safety; House Bill 1579 and Senate Bill 5580 which increase habitat for Chinook and forage fish.]  Simone Del Rosario reports. (KCPQ)

Health assessments planned for two ailing orcas
Killer whale experts who are not employed by the federal government are preparing to assess the health conditions of two Southern Resident orcas that appear malnourished and may be dying. Any decisions regarding potential medical treatment would be made later. During a conference call on Tuesday, marine mammal biologists, veterinarians and other orca experts decided to take minimally invasive steps, such as collecting breath and fecal samples from the whales. “What came out was a unanimous decision that we should try to do something,” said Joe Gaydos, a veterinarian with SeaDoc Society who helped organize the meeting. “Everyone on the phone was saying, why should we say we can’t do anything without at least getting some health samples first.” Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Swinomish lawsuit against BNSF headed to appeals court
An ongoing lawsuit between the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and BNSF Railway will be heard by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The case centers around a right-of-way easement signed in 1976 by the tribe and BNSF that allows trains to cross tribal land to reach the oil refineries on March Point. The Swinomish sued BNSF in 2015, alleging the company violated the terms of the easement by failing to disclose the cargo of certain trains traveling through the reservation and not seeking approval for an increase in rail traffic, according to court documents. The original lawsuit sought an injunction to force BNSF to abide by the terms of the easement — one train a day in each direction and to have those trains be a maximum of 25 cars.... According to court documents, BNSF argues that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 means the rail company’s obligation to deliver goods to its customers supersedes its legal obligation to the tribe. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

New rules for B.C. farmers take aim at agricultural waste
B.C.'s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is announcing new rules for farmers, intended to protect water sources and "provide more clarity for the agricultural sector." According to the ministry, the rules will protect groundwater with proper manure and nutrient storage, ban direct discharges, allow increased monitoring in high-risk areas, and require record keeping.... The rules will come into effect at the end February, but a government release says "more complicated elements will be gradually phased in over the next 10 years." Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC)

Tidal forests offer hope for salmon
Can scientists bring back the lost tidal forests of Puget Sound? It could take generations but restoring this rare habitat will pay big dividends for Puget Sound’s salmon. Jeff Rice reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Cedar Grove again asks Legislature to limit odor lawsuits
A bill to shield composting operations from lawsuits is getting another look from state lawmakers. Cedar Grove, a composting firm with a history of odor-related disputes in Snohomish County, is behind the effort to amend state law to treat composting as an agricultural activity entitled to protection from nuisance suits. House Bill 1167 received its first hearing Wednesday in the House Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Committee. Virtually identical legislation passed out of this committee in 2017 and 2018 but did not advance further. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  230 AM PST Thu Jan 24 2019   
TODAY
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 7 ft  at 13 seconds. 
TONIGHT
 SE wind to 10 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 15 seconds. A slight 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

1/23 Rhino auklet, tidal anomalies, WA lege, BC oil pipe, BC LNG, glaciers, global warming, nitrate water

Rhinoceros auklet [Liron Gertsman]
Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata
Named for the vertical white plate at the base of its bill, the Rhinoceros Auklet is a bird of the coastlines and open seas of the north Pacific. The only member of its genus, it is closely related to puffins. The oldest recorded Rhinoceros Auklet was at least 28 years, 3 months old. It was banded in 1984 in British Columbia,and found in Oregon in 2010. (All About Birds)

Prepare For 'Tidal Anomalies' In Puget Sound Wednesday
Puget Sound is under multiple weather warnings and advisories, including a coastal flooding advisory that will coincide with high tides on Wednesday morning. As of Tuesday night, there was a flood warning (Mason County), winter storm warning (Cascades in King County), a winter weather advisory (eastern Cascades slopes), a small craft advisory (all of Puget Sound), and the coastal flooding advisory, which impacts places like Shoreline, Seattle, and Edmonds. The National Weather Service says to prepare for "tidal anomalies" in those areas on Wednesday morning as high tides peak between 5 and 8 a.m. The advisory is in effect until 10 a.m., however. Neal McNamara reports. (Patch)

Orcas, climate, oil spills and more – can Inslee, Dems perform in just 105 days?
A sweeping array of Washington legislative proposals to counter climate change have their best chance to pass into law in 2019 than at any time in recent years. But it won’t be easy for majority Democrats and Gov. Jay Inslee, a climate action advocate, to get all they want in the 105-day session that began last week. The thrust to combat climate change comes on the heels of a new Crosscut/Elway poll finding that the number of Washington voters choosing the environment as their top issue doubled — to one out of six voters. Five times that many want action on preventing the smoky wildfires that scientists say will likely increase as the planet warms, the poll showed. 2019 marks the first year in seven that Democrats hold a significant majority in both the House and Senate. Yet Democrats are not guaranteed to be united. They have not fallen uniformly in line behind Inslee on climate policy in the past, assisting in killing a series of climate-policy losses on the governor’s part. Brad Shannon reports. (Investigate West)

B.C. files final argument to NEB against Trans Mountain Pipeline
The Government of British Columbia has filed its final argument in the National Energy Board's (NEB) reconsideration of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project. The submission recommends against approval of the project and outlines concerns about the impact an oil spill could have on the environment and coast, as well as the ability to effectively respond to a spill. "The province maintains the proponent has failed to prove the case that twinning the existing pipeline and significantly expanding current volumes of bitumen crossing B.C. is necessary," said a statement from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. The province's submission also highlights the potential impacts that increased oil tanker traffic would have on southern resident killer whales.... The NEB's final report has to be submitted to the federal cabinet by Feb. 22, 2019. (CBC)

UW research: Western glaciers losing ice at an increasing rate, but less so in Washington state
It appears a pattern of heavy storms in the Pacific Northwest may have obscured the effects of climate change over the past 20 years. Researchers here have identified a southern shift in the jet stream as a source of heavy precipitation that built up snow pack and glacier mass in Washington and Oregon, while they were declining elsewhere. David Shean, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington, uses high-resolution satellite images to get precise measurements of glaciers and ice mass. For a recent study, Shean teamed up with colleagues at the University of Northern British Columbia to assemble thousands of satellite pictures of North America's western glaciers. They mapped and modeled changes in the ice since 2000. Shean says they found a rapid increase in ice loss over the past 18 years overall, but less happening in the Pacific Northwest. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Concern About Global Warming Among Americans Spikes, Report Says
In 2018, Americans watched as California towns were incinerated by fires, hurricanes devastated coastal communities and a government report sounded the alarm about the impacts of a changing climate. All those factors contributed to significant changes in perceptions of global warming in the U.S., according to the authors of a new public opinion survey. The proportion of Americans who said global warming is “personally important” to them jumped from 63 percent to 72 percent from March to December of last year. There has also been an 8-percent rise in the number of Americans who are “very worried” about global warming – 29 percent said they feel that way, while 40 percent said they are “somewhat worried.” And 56 percent of Americans said their family will be harmed by global warming.  Ian Stewart reports. (NPR)

Some elected Aboriginal councils want LNG pipeline for better lives
It was a difficult decision to sign a benefit sharing agreement with Coastal GasLink that would allow for a natural gas pipeline through the Wet'suwet'en territory, but a necessary one, an elected band council member says. Joseph Skin is with the Skin Tyee band, a community of about 180 people within the Wet'suwet'en First Nation, and said many members live in "poverty" on the reserve and the agreement offered an opportunity for a better future.  Skin said he spent most of his life living in a home shared by three or four families. There was no running water in homes on the reserve until 10 or 15 years ago, he said.... Coastal GasLink has said it has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nations bands along the pipeline route from northeastern B.C. to LNG Canada's $40-billion export facility on the coast in Kitimat. Amy Smart reports. (Canadian Press) See also: Canadian musicians sign letter backing opponents of Coastal GasLink pipeline  Brent Jang reports. (Globe and Mail)

Study: Millions Of Americans Could Be Drinking Water High In Nitrates
More people than expected are drinking water that could be harmful to their health. That’s according to a new study that looked at a water contaminate that’s been an issue in one of the Northwest’s most productive farming regions. The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, found more than 5.6 million Americans may be drinking water that’s contaminated with nitrates. The study found Latino residents are disproportionately drinking water that’s often more contaminated than other areas. At high levels, nitrates can be harmful to infants, causing what’s known as “blue baby syndrome.” Lower exposure levels to nitrates can contribute to other health problems, like birth defects and some cancers, said Laurel Schaider, the study’s lead author and an environmental chemist at Silent Spring Institute. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Broadcasting)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  223 AM PST Wed Jan 23 2019   
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
  
TODAY
 SW wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt this morning  then becoming E 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft  subsiding to 1 to 3 ft. W swell 12 ft at 14 seconds. A chance of  showers in the morning then a slight chance of showers in the  afternoon. 
TONIGHT
 S wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  11 ft at 14 seconds subsiding to 9 ft at 13 seconds after  midnight.


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

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

1/22 Zebra mussel, BC pipe, punishing polluters. buying Colstrip, disaster communications, Seth Muir

Zebra mussels [USDA]
Zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha
Zebra mussels are native to the Caspian Sea, and were introduced into the Great Lakes in the mid 1980’s in ships ballast water. Zebra mussels have since spread to more twenty states, and two Canadian Provinces. Because the mussels can live out of water for up to a month if they are not subjected to heat or extreme drying conditions they may be easily transported on recreational boats.... Usually the zebra mussel is about the size of an adult fingernail, but can be as large as two inches, or as small as a sesame seed. Where introduced they threaten native fish and wildlife by consuming available food and smothering native species. They clog power plant and other water intakes, costing taxpayers millions. (WDFW)

Trans Mountain says significant environmental effects of marine shipping are justified
Serious impacts on the environment from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion are justified, according to the company. Trans Mountain made that argument to the National Energy Board last week as part of the Reconsideration process after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the project. The NEB will consider environmental effects on marine shipping from the Westridge terminal in Burnaby as part of the reconsideration process. Trans Mountain acknowledges conclusions already drawn by the NEB that the expansion will have serious environmental effects on the southern resident killer whales, Indigenous peoples traditional use of marine areas and culture, greenhouse gas emissions, Pacific salmon and steelhead trout, and environmental effects that could come from an oil spill. Lauren Boothby reports. (CityNews)

Punish polluters with jail if necessary: B.C. poll
British Columbians are almost unanimous in their disdain for polluters, even among industries that enrich us economically, according to a poll released Monday. More than 80 per cent support strong penalties — including jail time — for people and companies that damage our natural environment, according to a poll of 1,658 British Columbians conducted by McAllister Opinion Research. The poll was commissioned by the Real Estate Foundation of B.C., a philanthropic group directed by appointees from the real estate industry and government. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.41 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Similarly, 81 per cent want to see large companies finance a pool of funds that would pay for the full cost of restoration after logging, mining and oil and gas extraction. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Bill Would Empower The State To Buy Colstrip Power Plant
Lawmakers in Helena are starting to debate whether the state could borrow up to $500 million to buy the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip.  The future of the plant is up in the air. The West Coast consumers who Colstrip sends most of its power to are pushing away from coal-powered electricity due to climate change concerns. Coal power is also becoming more expensive relative to electricity generated by natural gas and renewables. "There’s many people that work at Colstrip asked me to introduce a bill to save their jobs,” Billings Republican Representative Rodney Garcia said. Garcia introduced the Montana Energy Security Act (HB 203), Monday. It would allow the state to sell bonds to finance the purchase of the coal-fired power plant, and allow plant workers to keep all the benefits they had under their private employer. Corin Cates-Carney reports. (Montana Public Radio)

Pipeline explosions to protests: Companies need to communicate with public during crisis, urges consultant
Some natural resource companies in Northern B.C. are pre-emptively preparing in case disaster hits by coming up with a communication strategy for incidents from pipeline explosions to protests. Silence is the worst path a company can take during a crisis, according to communications consultant Martin Livingstone. "In this era of instant notifications and social sharing, companies in the crosshairs really need to act swiftly and decisively in responding to a crisis," said Livingstone, who works with the Vancouver-based Living Communications Inc. He's in Prince George this week, leading a workshop on crisis communication at the annual B.C. Natural Resources Forum. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

Muir steps down as Salish director
Seth Muir is stepping down after seven years at the helm of Salish Sea Expeditions, the nonprofit has announced. Muir’s last day as executive director was Jan. 16. He is leaving to become the executive director with Sail Sand Point.... The board for Salish Sea Expeditions has appointed Matt Eldridge as interim executive director while the organization conducts a national search for a new director. Previously, Eldridge served on Salish’s board and separately as its interim executive director. He also chaired the search committee that hired Muir in early 2012. (Bainbridge Review)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  215 AM PST Tue Jan 22 2019   
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
  
TODAY
 E wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds  building to 9 ft at 10 seconds in the afternoon. Rain. 
TONIGHT
 SE wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 9 ft at 10 seconds. Rain.


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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

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Monday, January 21, 2019

1/21 Witch hazel, Inslee's orcas, pinks, Tacoma LNG, eelgrass, Burnaby fire, plastic bans, sea lion cancers, Toxic Pearl, replacing Ranker, goshawks

Witch hazel Hamamelis virginiana
Witch Hazel: Queen of Winter
Imagine walking into your garden on a frosty midwinter morning. The sun is just peeking through the overhanging branches of a magnolia. You come across a small tree, barren of leaves but possessing a great multitude of curious golden yellow tufts. As the sun illuminates these tiny fists, suddenly wispy fingers unfurl in response to the new warmth: the shrub’s spidery flowers burst forth along the branches like tiny sulfur flames. Then your olfactory senses are treated to an intoxicating citrus scent. A smile crosses your face. Just maybe, you think, immersed in the sublime winter luminosity of a witch hazel, spring is not that far off. Earl Nickel writes. (Pacific Horticulture)

Orca task force is briefed on state budget
Gov. Jay Inslee is committed to saving the Southern resident orca population and has requested more than $1 billion to do so. Members of Inslee’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force attended a webinar hosted by the Washington State Office of Financial Management on Jan. 10 to get a breakdown of the proposed budget which contains several of its recommendations....Inslee’s orca budget allocates $66 million to operating costs, $594.8 million toward capital improvements and $408.7 million to transportation improvements. Financial management representatives hope that the budget is signed by Inslee no later than June so initiatives can begin. Mandi Johnson reports. (Islands Weekly) See also: Orcas, climate, oil spills and more – can Inslee, Dems make progress in just 105 days?  Brad Shannon reports. (Investigate West)

Scientists see another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon
Over the years, scientists have identified dams, pollution and vessel noise as causes of the troubling decline of the Pacific Northwest’s resident orcas. Now, they may have found a new surprising culprit: pink salmon. Four salmon researchers were perusing data on the website of the Center for Whale Research, which studies the orcas, several months ago when they noticed a startling trend: that for the past two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years. In a newly published paper, they speculate that the pattern is related to pink salmon, which return to the Salish Sea between Washington state and Canada in enormous numbers every other year — in odd-numbered years — though they’re not sure how. They suspect that the huge runs of pink salmon, which have boomed under conservation efforts and changes in ocean conditions in the past two decades, might interfere with the whales’ ability to hunt their preferred prey, chinook salmon. Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

Flood of response pushes completion of latest Tacoma LNG review to March
Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has slowed its time line for completing its review of comments on the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas facility planned for Tacoma. In an update emailed Friday (Jan. 19), the agency said its work is “ongoing and we do not anticipate completing it until March 29, 2019.” The agency had previously targeted Feb. 1 as its anticipated completion date. It’s been nearly a year since the agency called for the SEIS for greenhouse gas emissions analysis and impacts for the Tacoma LNG site. Debbie Cockrell reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Researchers probe into region's 'blue carbon'
The slender green leaves of eelgrass that sway in the waters of Padilla, Samish and Skagit bays are widely recognized as key habitat for species including salmon, crab and great blue herons.  Eelgrass meadows are also starting to be seen as sources of "blue carbon" — carbon dioxide found in plants and sediment in coastal habitats that if released could contribute to climate change. An effort is underway to document how much blue carbon coastal habitats, including those along Skagit County's shoreline, are capable of holding.  Understanding what's there and how fast it can accumulate is the first step toward encouraging preservation and restoration of coastal habitats to help limit the world's greenhouse gas emissions, according to scientists, government agencies and restoration advocates. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Burnaby Mountain fire lights concerns around Kinder Morgan tank farm
Opponents of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project said they are worried about fire risk at the Kinder Morgan tank farm on Burnaby Mountain, after flames from a dramatic fire on Saturday came within hundreds of metres of tanks storing petroleum products. "I'm glad there were no explosions because that tank farm that is just 250 metres from there is like a bomb waiting to go off in our community," said Elan Gibson with Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan. On Saturday, a fire broke out in a storage facility at a property owned by a demolition company on Aubrey Street near Pinehurst Drive. The facility is surrounded by forest, with a residential neighbourhood on one side and the tank farm on the other. It took 34 firefighters to keep the flames from spreading, while the structure was destroyed. (CBC)

Statewide bans on plastic bags, straws are on Dems' green to-do list in Olympia
As an Edmonds City Council member in 2009, Strom Peterson championed the city’s initiative to become the first municipality in Washington to ban plastic grocery bags. Ten years later, he’s the lead sponsor of a bill in the state Legislature to ban single-use plastic bags across the state. HB 1205, which is supported by the Washington Hospitality Association, would prohibit retail establishments from giving customers single-use plastic carryout bags, or paper bags that do not meet recycling requirements. With hefty majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, Democrats say the time is ripe for a shift away from the material that has polluted waters and clogged recycling centers. Jake Goldstein-Street reports. (Seattle Tims) See also: Edmonds bans single-use plastic containers  The city already prohibited plastic bags. It will target plastic straws and utensils next. Lizz Giordano reports. (Everett Herald)

Scientists Puzzled By High Cancer Rate Among West Coast Sea Lions
Erin Ross writes: "I watched a sea lion die last summer. The large animal was emaciated, its spine and ribs visible below its fur. Its hind limbs were immobile as it dragged itself from the shore to the water. Once in the harbor, without the use of its rear flippers, the sea lion struggled to stay afloat. It sank, resurfaced and sank again. I called a hotline, but it was too late. The animal never came back up. I later learned that it probably had an advanced form of cancer. This particular cancer starts in the genitals and then attacks the spine before spreading throughout the body. It’s extremely common — in fact, sea lions have one of the highest rates of cancer among all wild animals. Scientists are just beginning to understand the causes...." (OPB)

An Important New Book Describes How the WA Shellfish Industry is Poisoning our Shoreline Environment
Cliff Mass writes; "In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote a book, Silent Spring, that documented the profound harm of the pesticide DDT on the natural world.  This book led to the of banning of DDT and energized the U.S. environment movement. During the past week, an important new book has been published, one that may well join the ranks of Silent Spring.  The book, Toxic Pearl,  describes the poisoning of Washington State's shorelines by some politically connected and highly irresponsible members of the shellfish industry.  Toxic Pearl documents the spraying of herbicides and pesticides over State shorelines from Puget Sound to Willapa Bay, the careless spread of plastic pollution, and the physical destruction of shorelines areas by some members of the shellfish industry more concerned with profit than the environment...." (Weather and Climate Blog)

County officials may be excluded from Sen. Ranker's seat
The state Democratic Party has determined that two candidates to replace Sen. Kevin Ranker are ineligible because they serve on county boards that will vote on the appointment. Anna Berch-Norton, acting chair of the 40th District Democrats Executive Board, said the state party reached its conclusion after being provided a legal opinion by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.... The state party’s determination means Whatcom County Councilman Rud Browne and San Juan County Councilman Jamie Stephens cannot be appointed to fill Ranker’s seat, Berch-Norton said. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Haida Gwaii home to a distinct but vulnerable pocket of northern goshawks
Haida Gwaii's population of northern goshawks are the last remnant of a highly distinct genetic cluster of the birds, a new study by University of British Columbia researchers has found. Researchers estimate the population of birds may have been evolving separately on Haida Gwaii for 20,000 years — right around the last time the glaciers melted, causing the sea levels to rise and potentially separating the birds from their kin. While the birds can fly long distances — with goshawks from Michigan and Manitoba travelling as far away as the central United States — they don't seem to like travelling over water, which could account for their long-term isolation, said study co-lead Armando Geraldes. Hina Alam reports. (Canadian Press) See also: Six Vancouver Island bald eagles dead, six in treatment due to poison  (Vancouver Sun)


Now, your tug weather--
855 PM PST Sun Jan 20 2019
  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM LATE MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH
 TUESDAY AFTERNOON
MON
 W wind to 10 kt becoming S in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft. NW swell 6 ft at 5 seconds. 
MON NIGHT
 S wind to 10 kt becoming SE 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. NW swell 6 ft at 5 seconds. A  slight 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, January 18, 2019

1/18 Teal, salmon dollars, Navy hazardous dumping, BC oil pipe, 100 percent clean energy, orca rescue, whale age

Green-winged teal [All About Birds]
Green-winged teal Anas carolinensis
The green-winged teal (Anas carolinensis or Anas crecca carolinensis) is a common and widespread duck that breeds in the northern areas of North America except on the Aleutian Islands... This dabbling duck is strongly migratory and winters far south of its breeding range. It is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks. In flight, the fast, twisting flocks resemble waders. This is the smallest North American dabbling duck. (Wikipedia)

After 20 years and $1 billion spent on Washington state salmon programs, fish still declining, new report says
After 20 years and nearly $1 billion spent on Washington state salmon recovery programs, most salmon are still in decline, a state report has found. The 2018 State of the Salmon report by the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office is a sobering read: Across the state, and in its jewel, Puget Sound, salmon are struggling to survive despite efforts of every kind to prevent extinction. The news isn’t all bad: some runs, such as summer chum on the Hood Canal and fall chinook in the Snake River are doing better and near their recovery goals. And habitat restoration, from taking out dikes to fixing highway culverts that block salmon migration boosts salmon populations, the report found. The problem is that more habitat is being destroyed, more quickly than it can be fixed as the state continues a turbocharged growth spurt that is chewing up salmon habitat with roads, pavement, housing and commercial development. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Navy dumps hazardous substances including copper, zinc into Puget Sound, Washington state AG says
The U.S. Navy dumped the equivalent of 50 dump truck loads of solid material, including copper and zinc, into Puget Sound and must be stopped before it does so again, according to Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The Navy provides dock space at Naval Base Kitsap for decommissioned, nonoperational vessels to be dismantled, recycled and disposed of. While cleaning the ship Independence at the yard in January 2017 before shipment to Texas for disposal, the Navy dumped the scraped-off paint into Sinclair Inlet, in violation of state and federal laws, according to a news release issued by Ferguson....Ferguson’s office notified the Navy on Thursday of the state’s intent to join a suit in federal court to ask the Navy to clean up the mess and to require the Navy to stop scraping ships at Navy Base Kitsap and dumping the material in Sinclair Inlet. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

National Energy Board rejects Burnaby's bid to stop work at Trans Mountain pipeline terminal
The National Energy Board has rejected a request by Burnaby, B.C., that it rescind orders allowing the company building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to conduct work at the city's terminal. The Metro Vancouver city had asked that the board cancel the orders after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed government approval for the expansion project. Burnaby had argued the terminal work was primarily related to the project, but the board said in a written decision Thursday that it's upholding the orders, allowing Trans Mountain Corp. to do infrastructure work at the Burnaby Terminal. (Canadian Press)

State senator puts Inslee's clean energy bill on fast track 
Gov. Jay Inslee is pushing to get Washington state to 100 percent clean energy by 2045. And he's not alone. Dozens of environmental groups, labor organizations, local governments and clean energy businesses also support the idea.  The 100 percent clean energy bill would phase out all coal from the state’s grid by 2025. It would set interim targets for 2030, and increase investments in renewable sources and energy efficiency to get to carbon-free electricity by 2045. The Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee held its first hearing on the measure (Senate Bill 5116) Thursday morning. As he opened up public testimony, Democratic Sen. Reuven Carlyle, the committee's chairman, said he's aiming for a vote on the bill next week. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Tribe calls for NOAA to help rescue two ailing orcas, but scientists sent home during government shutdown
The Lummi Nation urged federal officials Wednesday to launch an emergency response to help two ailing southern-resident killer whales — but how do you call for help? The unprecedented government shutdown, continuing into its fourth week, has stymied any attempt by the tribe or veterinarians ready to help killer whales K25 and J17, among the 75 remaining southern residents that frequent Puget Sound. The policy makers and scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who would approve and coordinate any such response, such as for the emergency rescue plan for J50 last summer, are unavailable during the shutdown. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse: How To See It In Puget Sound 
A supermoon and total lunar eclipse will coincide Jan. 20-21 in a rare celestial occurrence that will be visible across North America. Whether you'll be able to see this event — also known for reasons we'll get into later as a "blood moon" and a "wolf moon" — in the Seattle area is dependent on the weather, of course. Can you guess what our forecast calls for this weekend? From the National Weather Service: Sunday Night: Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38. Monday Night: Rain likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 40. Neal McNamara reports. (Patch)

Thar She Grows: A New Way to Tell a Gray Whale’s Age
If you see a gray whale cruising offshore, it’s fairly easy to guess, based on little more than its size, whether it’s an adult or a juvenile. But without digging through a dead whale’s earwax or examining its ovaries, determining age is surprisingly difficult. A Canadian researcher has now discovered a novel method to eyeball a gray whale’s age that is much less invasive than existing techniques. By analyzing the relationship between whales’ sizes and their ages, Selina Agbayani, a master’s student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, has plotted growth curves that describe in detail how gray whales change in length and weight as they age. Larry Pynn reports (Hakai Magazine)


Now, your weekend tug weather--
240 AM PST Fri Jan 18 2019   
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE SATURDAY NIGHT
  
TODAY
 S wind 20 to 30 kt becoming E 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. SW swell 13 ft at 13 seconds. A  chance of showers in the morning then rain likely in the  afternoon. 
TONIGHT
 E wind 20 to 30 kt becoming S after midnight. Wind  waves 3 to 5 ft. SW swell 10 ft at 12 seconds. Rain. 
SAT
 SW wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 12 ft  at 11 seconds building to W at 13 seconds in the afternoon.  Showers likely in the morning then a chance of showers in the  afternoon. 
SAT NIGHT
 SW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming S to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 16 ft at 13 seconds subsiding to 14 ft at  12 seconds after midnight. 
SUN
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 11 ft  at 12 seconds subsiding to 9 ft at 11 seconds in the afternoon.


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

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

1/17 Lugworm, green Washington, BC oil pipe, EPA's Wheeler, fish traps, Skagit steelhead. razor clam digs, stewards program, Puget Sound herring

Pacific lugworm [Dave Cowles]
Pacific lugworm Abarenicola pacifica
Lives in an L-shaped burrow, head down.  It everts its esophagus then pulls it in, thus ingesting mud and feeding on organisms such as nematodes within it.  Periodically it backs up to near the surface to defecate, forming the characteristic mound around its burrow.  The mound will often have coils of castings roughly 1/2 cm in diameter.  The lugworm pulses its body while within the burrow to bring in oxygenated water. Japan, Pacific coast from Alaska south to Humboldt Bay in northern California. (Walla Walla University)

Poll: After 2018's smoke and dead orcas, voters want environmental action
While Washington has a reputation as a greener-than-average state, voters have a history of giving less priority to the environment when it’s pitted against other issues like education and homelessness. From 2009 to 2018, no more than 7 percent of respondents in Elway polls chose “the environment” as a top priority. But in a new Elway/Crosscut Poll released this month, the environment doubled its support to earn its highest marks since 2001, when interest was at 15 percent. Elway Research President Stuart Elway says it’s rare for environmental interest to break single digits. Manola Secaira reports. (Crosscut)

Nearly 6 in 10 Canadians call lack of new pipeline capacity a 'crisis,' poll suggests
A slight majority of Canadians are calling the lack of new oil pipeline capacity in the country a "crisis," according to findings from a recent survey by the Angus Reid Institute. The institute surveyed 4,024 Canadian adults between Dec. 21 and Jan. 3, and found that 58 per cent affirmed that the lack of new oil pipeline capacity constitutes a crisis, while 42 per cent said it does not.  But responses varied widely though across the provinces, with a high of 87 per cent of Albertans polled calling it a crisis while, at the low end, only 40 per cent of Quebecers had a similar sentiment. (CBC)

Republicans Praise, Democrats Grill Andrew Wheeler In EPA Chief Confirmation Hearing
Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who has been serving as the acting EPA administrator since July, faced Senate lawmakers on Wednesday for his first confirmation hearing to lead the agency. He defended his record on rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations as Democrats assailed his ties to business and his lack of urgency on the issue of climate change. “The Trump Administration has proven that burdensome environmental regulations are not necessary to drive environmental progress,” Wheeler said. “I am very proud of the work I did.”  Daniella Cheslow reports. (NPR)

Banned Fish Trap Returns To Columbia As Sustainable Way To Catch Salmon
About half the salmon swimming up the Columbia River come from hatcheries — raised to be caught by fishermen. The rest are wild. And many of those salmon are protected under the Endangered Species Act. For years, Oregon and Washington have been searching for the best way to catch more hatchery fish while letting the wild fish return unharmed to their spawning grounds. Now, one group says they’ve found it. Fish traps were banned on the Columbia more than 80 years ago. But advocates with the Wild Fish Conservancy are revisiting the idea as a new, sustainable way to separate hatchery salmon from wild fish. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

Government shutdown likely to delay Skagit steelhead fishery
The partial shutdown of the federal government likely will delay the state’s plan to open a special catch-and-release fishery for native steelhead on the Skagit and Sauk rivers. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife and tribal leaders are seeking federal permission to open portions of the rivers for steelhead catch and release during daylight hours starting Feb. 1 and continuing until April 15. The approval is necessary because the Skagit’s native steelhead run is threatened, meaning it’s protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. But the request for continuing a special sport fishing season is sitting under a pile of paperwork on the desks of furloughed workers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s unclear when NOAA employees will get back to work and when they will consider the 2019 special season. Mike Benbow reports (Everett Herald)

Government shutdown leads to cancellation of Kalaloch razor clam digs
At the request of Olympic National Park, the state Department of Fish & Wildlife has canceled razor clam digs scheduled for Kalaloch beach Saturday through Monday. “We are going to cancel that and we will send out a media release later this morning,” Lee Taylor, Olympic National Park acting superintendent, said Wednesday. Taylor declined to discuss the park’s reasoning behind the cancellation. Fish & Wildlife and Olympic National Park co-manage razor clam digs at Kalaloch, which is located within the park. Fish & Wildlife coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres said the request came as a result of the government shutdown. Michael Carman reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Applicants sought for Salish Sea Stewards program
The Skagit Marine Resources Committee is accepting applications for its Salish Sea Stewards program. The program, which is in its sixth year, offers 40 hours of classroom and field-based training on the region’s marine resources in order to prepare volunteers for various research, monitoring and outreach efforts. The training will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, March 19 to May 21, at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 10441 Bayview-Edison Road.... Applications for the 2019 program are being accepted through March 1. Participation requires a $12 fee for a background check. The application is available at skagitmrc.org and can be submitted by email to tracya@co.skagit.wa.us, or by mail to: Skagit County Public Works, Attn: Tracy Alker, Skagit MRC Coordinator, 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon, 98273-5625. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Puget Sound Once Teemed with Herring. Can the Industry Be Revived?
“If there is no fish, even herring is a fish,” goes an old Yiddish saying. No matter how bad things got, herring was plentiful — a last resort, but one that made its way into the canon of Jewish cuisine (and to the butt of more than a few Jewish jokes). Herring’s prominence in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine comes from its ability to flourish in the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea, explains Gil Marks in his Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. The Jews of Europe ate it with black bread and boiled potatoes and served it for Shabbat Kiddush and to break their fasts. When they immigrated to the United States, they brought the tradition with them, and herring — once a poor man’s food — shows up at lavish Shabbat spreads. However, Jews weren’t the only immigrants with attachments to the small, fatty fish. The large Scandinavian population that landed in Seattle also relied on them, as did tribal communities for thousands of years prior. And until about 40 years ago, Puget Sound teemed with herring. Naomi Tomky writes. (Jewish in Seattle Magazine)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  809 PM PST Wed Jan 16 2019    GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT   
THU
 E wind 25 to 35 kt. Combined seas 9 to 11 ft with a  dominant period of 17 seconds. Rain. 
THU NIGHT
 E wind 25 to 35 kt becoming SW after midnight.  Combined seas 13 to 15 ft with a dominant period of 15 seconds.  Rain.


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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told