Wednesday, February 20, 2019

2/20 Sea cuke, steelhead plan, Van Aqua cetacean ban, BC LNG jobs, Steelhead LNG, offshore drilling, orca sorrow, whale fall, libel law

White sea cucumber [CalPhoto/UCBerkeley]
White sea cucumber Eupentacta quinquesemita
The white sea cucumber grows to a length of about 4 inches, has spiny looking tube feet, and true to its name, it is white or cream colored.   The 8 large and 2 small tentacles are actually specialized tube feet and are used for food collection.   Watch for it in the middle to low intertidal zones in rock crevices, amongst mussel clumps, and on floats.   It lives subtidally in water up to 180 feet deep.   Several species of sea stars prey on this little sea cucumber.   Other common names for Eupentacta quinquesemita are stiff-footed sea cucumber and white sea gherkin. Mary Jo Adams. (Sound Water Stewards)

Feds release steelhead recovery plan
The National Marine Fisheries Service has drafted a recovery plan for Puget Sound steelhead, including those from the Skagit River. The fisheries service, which is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is taking public comment on the plan through March 28. A recovery plan is required for any species protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Puget Sound steelhead were listed as threatened under the act in 2007 after populations of the fish declined for several years in area rivers including the Skagit River — once a stronghold for the species. The plan provides guidance for the protection and recovery of Puget Sound steelhead, which are those originating in rivers from the Elwha east and north to the Nooksack. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Vancouver Aquarium to return to court over bylaw banning cetaceans
The British Columbia Court of Appeal has sent the Vancouver Aquarium back to court over its attempt to quash a park board bylaw banning whales and dolphins in city parks. The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation passed a bylaw amendment in May 2917 banning cetaceans being brought to or kept in city parks after two beluga whales died in captivity at the aquarium. The facility, which is located in Stanley Park, launched a judicial review seeking to set aside the amendment on four grounds, including that the park board’s licence agreement with the facility prevented it from applying the change. A B.C. Supreme Court judge agreed with the aquarium and declared the bylaw amendment void, but a panel of three Appeal Court judges overturned that ruling in a decision issued Tuesday. (Canadian Press)

First Nation 'deeply disappointed' after Steelhead LNG pulls out of Vancouver Island project
A Vancouver Island First Nation says it is "deeply disappointed" that a liquefied natural gas company has pulled out of a planned development just months after it was announced as a major milestone. In an open letter, Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis and hereditary Chief Derek Peters say the First Nation has been notified by Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG that it has "ceased current project work" on the Kwispaa LNG project. Steelhead LNG and the Huu-ay-aht announced in March 2017 that they would work together to develop the export facility at Sarita Bay on the west coast of Vancouver Island. (CBC)

Prospective workers outweigh protesters, claims pipeline company rep
The company behind a controversial gas pipeline project in Northern B.C. says, despite high profile opposition, the project has the support of many local workers. Coastal GasLink has been holding a series of job fairs and networking events this year in northern towns and Indigenous communities to connect job seekers with contractors involved in the pipeline's construction. Communications advisor Suzanne Wilton said the company is focusing on a 'local first' recruitment policy and there have been thousands of face-to-face meetings with prospective workers, some of whom have received job offers on the spot. Jennifer Wilson reports. (CBC)

Bill To Stymie Offshore Drilling Passes Oregon Senate
Oregon’s rugged coast is poised to grow even more inhospitable to oil and gas interests in coming days under a bill that passed the state Senate on Tuesday. Senate Bill 256 would permanently extend an existing ban on oil and gas exploration in the 3-mile-wide band of coastal water the state controls. That ban is scheduled to expire in 2020. More significantly, the bill also would prohibit any new infrastructure in Oregon-controlled waters that could aid drilling beyond the 3-mile point. That would make it difficult to do any drilling off the Oregon coast, even in federally controlled waters.  Dirk VanderHart reports. (OPB)

The Orca's Sorrow
A spate of new observations of grief in animals hints at why some species mourn and others do not. Barbara L. King reports. (Scientific American)

New tutorial ‘Whales in our Waters’ launched by BC Ferries
A new tutorial has been launched for mariners and the general public about whales in the Salish Sea. Nick Murray reports. (Nanaimo Bulletin)

A Whale’s Afterlife
Tow a dead whale out to sea, sink it to the seafloor and watch what happens. "Whale falls, as marine biologists call such events, create pop-up habitats that may serve as stepping stones for organisms migrating from methane seeps or hydrothermal vents to other parts of the ocean. Precisely how this works, and which species colonize the carcass as it degrades, were open questions that [marine biologist Greg] Rouse hoped to answer." Jeffrey Marlow reports. (The New Yorker)

Justice Clarence Thomas Calls for Reconsideration of Landmark Libel Ruling
Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday called for the Supreme Court to reconsider New York Times v. Sullivan, the landmark 1964 ruling interpreting the First Amendment to make it hard for public officials to prevail in libel suits. He said the decision had no basis in the Constitution as it was understood by the people who drafted and ratified it. “New York Times and the court’s decisions extending it were policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law,” Justice Thomas wrote.... Justice Thomas’s statement came in the wake of complaints from President Trump that libel laws make it too hard for public officials to win libel suits. “I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Mr. Trump said on the campaign trail. “We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.” Adam Liptak reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  245 AM PST Wed Feb 20 2019   
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance  of showers in the morning. 
 NW wind to 10 kt becoming E 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at 12 seconds.

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