Wednesday, January 2, 2019

1/2 Elwha, Fraser habitat, fish farm permits, hatchery volunteers, Port Townsend regs, 'rights of nature,' climate campaign

Elwha nearshore, 1/1/19 [Anne Shaffer/CWI]
DFO investigating critical fish habitat destruction in B.C.'s 'Heart of the Fraser'
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has ordered the owners of two islands in B.C.'s Fraser River to take "corrective measures" after they allegedly destroyed fish habitat in a crucial area for the survival of salmon, steelhead, and endangered white sturgeon. Carey Island and Herrling Island are owned by two B.C. companies that want to develop farmland and grow crops like blueberries on the islands, which are in the middle of the Fraser River between Chilliwack, B.C., and Hope, B.C. Environmental groups have been railing against the development, saying the companies have already significantly clear cut cottonwood forests that previously covered the islands which they say are crucial to the health of dozens of species of fish that migrate, feed and spawn there. Chris Corday reports. (CBC)

State updates permits to regulate Atlantic salmon farming until 2022 ban
The Department of Ecology is taking action to strengthen the water quality permits for existing Atlantic salmon farming operations in Puget Sound. Farming Atlantic salmon in net pens is officially banned from Puget Sound starting in 2022. Until then, these operations must protect Puget Sound’s water. Ecology is using the investigation from the 2017 Cypress Island net pen collapse to mandate more protective permit requirements. Cooke Aquaculture, the only company farming Atlantic salmon in Washington, has applied to renew its water quality permits for four existing net pen operations. Cooke is required to have updated National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits for its operations near Hope Island and in Rich Passage near Bainbridge Island. (San Juan Journal)

Midwives of the river: The volunteers who keep B.C.’s salmon coming back
Wendy Lane slits open the belly of a coho salmon with a practised swipe of her blade, spilling about 2,000 fiery orange eggs into a stainless steel bowl. A crew of volunteers fertilize, wash and settle the fragile eggs in their artificial nest. They’ll be tended for 18 months until, as young fish, they are ready to be released back into Goldstream River to make their way to the Pacific Ocean. Restoring British Columbia’s declining salmon stocks has fallen in large measure upon the shoulders of volunteers such as Ms. Lane. She is part of a crew of more than 90 regulars at the Howard English Hatchery near Victoria. In British Columbia and Yukon, there are an estimated 30,000 volunteers working to boost salmon populations. But that reliance on a system built almost entirely on free labour and donations could change in the New Year. Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

Port Townsend to take steps to reconcile critical areas regulations
The state Department of Ecology has announced its final action approving the City of Port Townsend’s Shoreline Master Program amendment, effectively creating two sets of rules for critical areas. The city sought to bring the city’s Shoreline Management Program in line with its Critical Areas Ordinance, which the city adopted May 21, but because of Ecology’s revisions late in the process there are now two different sets of rules. The Critical Areas Ordinance became effective June 4 for areas outside the SMP’s jurisdiction. Officials said that had Ecology not missed the deadline for commenting on the Critical Areas Ordinance, the city could have included the state’s recommendations before adopting the rules. “It’s a bit of a complication,” said Mayor Deborah Stinson. “Right now we have these two sets of regulations we’ll have to follow.” Stinson said the city will work through the issue and that “it’s not that big of a deal.” Jess Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

'Rights of nature' movement expands locally to help protect endangered orcas, Salish Sea
Environmental law in the U.S. regulates pollution, but often doesn’t protect the things we love.  A movement to change that by securing so-called "rights of nature" is taking hold globally – and locally, too. A group called Legal Rights for the Salish Sea formed last year in Gig Harbor. Their goal is to fundamentally change the law, first by moving away from the idea of nature as property, says co-founder Kriss Kevorkian. “It’s giving rights to a species, to a river, to a mountain – to say that nature, has the right to thrive, has the right to have a healthy habitat,” Kevorkian said. “We give rights to corporations, to people, even to ships. But we don’t give rights to other living things.” Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Turning up the heat on climate change: Group pulling B.C. communities into activist campaign
When news broke this month that Vancouver city officials were considering joining a campaign demanding that oil companies pay for costs associated with climate change, it marked the second time in just a few days that a little-known activist group had stirred up national media attention. West Coast Environmental Law, an activist organization based in Vancouver, is the architect of a recent campaign in which municipalities write letters to 20 of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, “demanding accountability” for their contribution to climate change. Jesse Snyder reports. (Canadian Press) See also: For now, optimism is hard to find in Western Canada's natural gas business
 Until Shell Canada's new export facility is built in 5 years, industry seems stuck with low prices. Kyle Bakx reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  239 AM PST Wed Jan 2 2019   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 20 to 30 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 3 to 5 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 8 ft at 14 seconds. A chance of rain in the  morning then rain in the afternoon. 
 S wind 25 to 35 kt. Combined seas 11 to 14 ft with a  dominant period of 14 seconds. Rain.

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