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   
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 7 ft  at 13 seconds. 
 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.

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