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.


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