Friday, January 11, 2019

1/11 Mandarin duck, LNG pipe, oil pipe protections, SRKW, chum salmon kill, Wheeler to EPA, warm ocean, Columbia dams, fish farm suit

Mandarin duck [John Preissl/CBC]
'The weirdest bird I've ever seen': Sighting of flamboyant duck brightens birders'
When Christopher Deane first caught a glimpse of the mandarin duck in the Lower Mainland, he knew it wasn't from around here. The mandarin duck is native to East Asia, but has made appearances in the Lower Mainland. Dean spotted one in Stanley Park last year, and in Burnaby just a few days ago. In fact, recent sightings in Deer Lake Park have prompted dozens of wildlife and nature photographers to crowd the lake in hopes of catching a glimpse. Jon Hernadez reports. (CBC)

Deal reached between Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and RCMP over road access for pipeline company 
After three days of talks with the RCMP, the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs say an agreement has been reached over the enforcement of an interim injunction order to allow pipeline workers into the nation's traditional territory. Hereditary​ chiefs met Thursday in Smithers, B.C., with the RCMP and representatives from Coastal GasLink. They have agreed to allow the company access to do pre-construction work as specified in the interim injunction order for the time being, following arrests on Monday. "We are adamantly opposed to this proposed project and that will never change, but we are here to ensure the safety of our people," said Chief Na'Moks who attended Thursday's meeting. Chantelle Bellrichard reports. (CBC)

NEB wants marine protection program from Trans Mountain pipeline builder
The National Energy Board would require the creation of a marine mammal protection program for the Trans Mountain pipeline in a series of draft conditions it has laid out before it considers the project. The focus of the review is to apply the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Species at Risk Act to project-related marine shipping, the board says in the document. The conditions mitigate potential risks to the environment and protect the public, it says. Releasing these draft conditions and recommendations is not an indication of the board's forthcoming recommendation to the federal government to either approve or deny the project, it says. The board, which has to have its final recommendations in by Feb. 22,  also recommends a number of measures be taken to offset the increased underwater noise and potential risk posed by ship strikes of marine mammals including southern resident killer whales. (Canadian Press)

Southern resident orcas spotted in Central Puget Sound; no news on pregnancies
What a day for orca sightings in Central Puget Sound. The southern resident K pod got it started  Thursday morning, cruising south toward Vashon Island at about 8:45 a.m. Then transient, or Bigg’s killer whales, came into view, with the T137s following close behind the Ks. Finally, much of L pod was also seen. The transients soon headed north; the two types of killer whales don’t intermingle. “They got out of there,” said Howard Garrett, of Orca Network. In all, more than 40 whales were seen in a wide swath of Central Puget Sound from Vashon Island to Point Defiance in Tacoma to Three Tree Point in Burien to Bainbridge Island, Garrett said....So far there is no confirmation on a sighting of a baby. Several southern residents were observed to be pregnant last September but there’s no report yet as to any babies — or pregnancies lost. Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)

'Random act of foolishness' kills 700,000 chum salmon on Sunshine Coast
The manager of a salmon hatchery north of Vancouver says it will take years to recover from vandalism that led to the deaths of 700,000 fish. Shane Dobler, hatchery manager for the Powell River Salmon Society, says vandals broke into the Duck Lake hatchery in late December. They turned off valves and removed pipes, which cut water to incubation tanks filled with newly hatched chum salmon. Dobler says 90 per cent of the tiny fish were deprived of oxygen and died, and the rest only survived because they had already been moved to different tanks that still had some water flow. Dobler believes the vandalism was a "random act of foolishness." (Canadian Press)

Trump nominates acting EPA head, an ex-coal lobbyist, to run agency
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to run the agency permanently, the White House said, placing a former energy lobbyist at the helm of the nation’s top environmental regulator. The widely anticipated nomination provides Trump another avid supporter of his deregulatory and pro-fossil fuels agenda, but without the constant criticism over alleged mismanagement that plagued Wheeler’s predecessor, Scott Pruitt. The decision pleased Republican lawmakers and industry groups eager for less onerous federal environmental oversight, but drew criticism from environmental groups critical of the EPA’s direction under Trump.  Lisa Lambert reports. (Reuters)

Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds 
Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters. A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. The researchers also concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years. “2018 is going to be the warmest year on record for the Earth’s oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, an energy systems analyst at the independent climate research group Berkeley Earth and an author of the study. “As 2017 was the warmest year, and 2016 was the warmest year.” Kendra Pierre-Louis reports. (NY Times)

Federal agency trims timeline for court-ordered review of Columbia River dams 
The Army Corps of Engineers has trimmed a year off the timeline for its court-ordered environmental review of the 14 dams and reservoirs in the Columbia River system. The agency is now aiming to sign off on a decision for how to manage the system and its impacts on endangered salmon by the end of September 2020. The environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Columbia River system is underway because of lawsuits filed by environmental groups, who say the facilities for hydropower, irrigation, navigation and flood control are harming endangered salmon and orcas. Bellamy Paithorp and Kari Plog report. (KNKX)

The Dzawada’enuxw First Nation files lawsuit against Canada on fish farms dispute
Dzawada'enuxw First Nation community members, including matriarchs, elected and traditional leaders, and artists, were in Vancouver Thursday to announce their decision to sue the Government of Canada. The First Nation, from Kingcome Inlet, B.C., filed a statement of claim in federal court in Vancouver on Thursday, arguing the federal government authorized licenses for fish farms operating in their waters, without their consultation or consent. The claim says the fish farm operations pollute and poison wild salmon and infringe on the nation's constitutionally protected rights. Their case is the first ever rights-based challenge to the federal licensing process that fish farm companies rely on to operate along the coast of B.C. (National Observer)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  900 PM PST Thu Jan 10 2019   
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 11 ft at 12 seconds. A  chance of showers in the morning. 
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 10 ft at 12 seconds. 
 SE wind 15 to 20 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 8 ft at 12 seconds. 
 E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 7 ft at 11 seconds. 
 SE wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 7 ft at 23 seconds.

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