Friday, February 1, 2019

2/1 Helmet crab, WA sewage, Delta port, BC pipe cost, Columbia dams, salmon future, seal harvest, Colstrip cleanup

Helmet crab [Jeff Adams]
Helmet crab Telmessus cheiragonus
The helmet crab buries itself in sediment and hides in eelgrass or kelp beds. It is mostly subtotal, though it is found in intertidal and subtotal zones to a depth of 110 m. It is is most often found in soft-bottomed habitats, and occasionally may occur in rocky-bottomed areas. It's coastal North American range stretches from the Bering Sea to Monterey, California, and is most common north of Oregon. It is also found in coastal areas of Siberia, Japan and Korea. The helmet crab can often be mistaken for the invasive green crab. (Biodiversity of the Central Coast)

Petition seeks upgrades to Puget Sound sewage treatment plants
An environmental group, Northwest Environmental Advocates, is calling on the Washington Department of Ecology and Gov. Jay Inslee to invoke a 1945 law in hopes of forcing cities and counties to improve their sewage-treatment plants. In a petition to Ecology, the group says the state agency should require cities and counties to upgrade their plants to “tertiary treatment” before the wastewater gets discharged into Puget Sound. Such advanced treatment would remove excess nitrogen along with some toxic chemicals that create problems for sea life, according to Nina Bell, executive director of NWEA, based in Portland.... According to Nina, state law requires the use of “all known, available and reasonable treatment,” or AKART for short. Secondary treatment is the current AKART standard of treatment, she said, but tertiary treatment is known, available and reasonable — and it should become the new AKART standard. The petition to Ecology (PDF 793 kb), filed in November, was denied earlier this month. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Indigenous nations on both sides of border unite to oppose expansion of Delta port
The Lummi Nation is calling for a moratorium on additional ships entering the port at Delta, B.C., out of concern for marine life in the Salish Sea. The Vancouver Port Authority wants to expand the facility but a B.C. First Nation is backing the Lummi Nation — located west of Bellingham, Wash. — in making it clear they are not on board with the project.... Other Indigenous groups in Canada and the United States, like the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in B.C. and the Tulalip Tribes in Washington, are supporting the call for more investigation into the environmental impacts before any new container traffic is allowed. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC) See also: First Nations call for no new marine traffic in Salish Sea  Indigenous groups in Canada and the United States are calling for a study of how human activity has degraded the waters off British Columbia's coast before any new vessel traffic is allowed in the area, where port and pipeline activities are on the rise. Amy Smart reports. (Canadian Press)

Ottawa may have overpaid for Trans Mountain by up to $1B, parliamentary budget officer says
The federal Liberal government may have overpaid for the Trans Mountain pipeline project by up to $1 billion, the parliamentary budget officer estimates — and there's a risk its value could decline further if there are any other delays in the construction timeline. Even if Ottawa paid too much, however, the value of the project for Canada's oil producers — and in turn for government coffers — is considerable, as it will close a price gap that plagues the oilpatch, the Parliamentary Budget Office said in a report released Thursday.... "The government negotiated a purchase price at the higher end of PBO's valuation range. PBO's financial valuation assumes that the pipeline is built on time and on budget," says the report. John Paul Tasker reports. (CBC)

Washington state to regulate federal dams on Columbia, Snake to cool hot water, aid salmon 
Summer temperatures in portions of the Columbia and Snake rivers are up by 1.5 degrees Celsius since 1960 because of the combined effects of climate change and dams, according to a new draft analysis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Temperatures are so high, sometimes exceeding 70 degrees, that they kill migrating salmon. The state Department of Ecology on Wednesday initiated a public comment period on proposed new regulations on federal dam operations. Ecology’s goal is to for the first time initiate work toward meeting state water-quality standards, including temperature, at federal dams on the Columbia and Snake. Washington has long had an uppermost temperature limit of 68 degrees (20 degrees Celsius) in state waters, but it’s never been enforced at federal dams. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Local Salmon Face Dire Future Amid Effects Of Climate Change
At least two local salmon species in the Puget Sound region may be near the end of their ability to naturally reproduce. There’s little good news these days for salmon in the Lake Washington watershed, and new information from researchers paints an even bleaker future for some of Washington state’s most cherished animals. The number of kokanee salmon returning to spawn in the tributaries of Lake Sammamish was low again this year, prompting King County to start looking at ways to preserve this freshwater species. On top of this, local sockeye species that migrate to the Pacific Ocean hit record low numbers last year because an unknown disease, or combination of diseases, is wiping out the adult salmon when they return to Lake Washington. Aaron Kunkler reports. (Seattle Weekly)

Pressure mounts for First Nations seal harvest in B.C. waters
Pressure is mounting for a commercial seal harvest in British Columbia after the United States announced it will allow the killing of up to 920 sea lions a year in the Pacific North West to protect endangered wild fish stocks. The American lethal removal program, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump last month, for the first time allows American native tribes to kill sea lions that are threatening endangered salmon and steelhead runs to extinction.... “Canada needs to act immediately to stop the disaster in the Salish Sea that is destroying our salmon and endangering our whales,” said Roy Jones, an elder of the Haida Gwaii First Nations and chairman of the Pacific Balance Pinniped Society (PBPS). His society, which has the support of scores of First Nations across Canada and commercial and recreational fishing groups is calling for the controlled harvest of seals and sea lions, known as pinnipeds, for “First Nations socio-economic and cultural prosperity.” Fabian Dawson reports. (SeaWestNews)

Colstrip ash pond cleanup could cost $700M, Montana DEQ says 
Cleaning up Colstrip will cost as much as $700 million, maybe more, according to a legislative memo from state environmental regulators. Department of Environmental Quality officials have informed Dan Zolnikov, R-Billings, chairman of the House Energy Committee, that just cleaning up the three coal ash ponds fed by the power plant will cost $400 million to $700 million. It was the first time numbers had been put to the final cleanup costs of all three ponds.... DEQ told The Gazette Tuesday that ash pond cleanup estimates came from the power plant’s largest stakeholders, Talen Energy, which operates Colstrip and Puget Sound energy, which has the largest ownership share. The ponds have leaked contaminants into the local groundwater for decades. Tom Luted reports. (Billings Gazette)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  159 AM PST Fri Feb 1 2019   
 SE wind 10 to 20 kt becoming S 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 18 seconds.  Rain. 
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming W 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight. W swell 9 ft at 16 seconds. Rain likely in the evening  then a chance of showers after midnight. 
 W wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less in the afternoon.  W swell 9 ft at 15 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the  morning. 
 E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight. W swell 8 ft at 15 seconds subsiding to 6 ft at  14 seconds after midnight. 
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt rising to 20 to 30 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 6 ft at 13 seconds.

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