Tuesday, February 26, 2019

2/26 Nettles, salmon secrets, WA power grid, ferry noise, WA clean fuels, Seattle Weekly

Stinging nettle [Wikipedia]
Stinging nettle Urtica dioica
The stinging hairs are hollow and each arises from a gland containing formic acid. As the brittle tips are broken, acid is secreted causing an irritating rash on contact with the skin. Nevertheless, the leaves can be cooked and eaten as greens when young. Called 'Indian spinach,' the young leaves and stems were eaten by both coastal and interior tribes, but it is questionable whether this was a traditional use or whether it was introduced by Europeans. The plants were, however, an important source of fibre for making fish nets, snares and tumplines. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Secret Lives of Salmon: There’s more than one kind of fish in the sea
Scientists aboard the Russian research vessel Kaganovsky didn’t really know what to expect when they dropped their net in the Gulf of Alaska, but the ocean delivered a smorgasbord. Two test sets in coastal waters yielded three species of squid and assorted fin fish but no salmon, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) researcher Chrys Neville. “It felt like a party where everyone was congregated in the kitchen, except instead of holding drinks, we had forceps, measuring boards, data sheets, sampling bags and vials in our hands,” said Laurie Weitkamp, a biologist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center.... Weitkamp and Neville and 19 other scientists from around the Pacific Rim are aboard the Kaganovsky for a five-week grid search of the Gulf, where they hope to learn about the secret lives of the five Pacific salmon species during their years in the open ocean. Randy Shore continues to follow an international coalition of scientists investigating the mysteries of a troubled resource. (Vancouver Sun)

What Washington’s fight over climate-friendly power grid is all about
Washington legislators are moving to reshape the state’s electricity grid in a dramatic way that favors renewable energy over the next three decades, and environmentalists are rejoicing that climate change is finally a top legislative priority. And with climate-focused Gov. Jay Inslee urging action by like-minded Democrats in charge of the Legislature, passage seems likely for legislation aimed at reducing the effect of Washington’s electric grid on global warming.... Yet, private utilities, Republican lawmakers and others skeptical of the greenhouse gas cuts envisioned by Democrats are urging a go-slow approach. The question is whether they can secure some leeway in deadlines to cut off climate-warming emissions. Brad Shannon and Robert McClure report. (Investigate West)

B.C.’s ferry services, whale watching threaten endangered whales, National Energy Board says
The B.C. government will continue with plans to expand its ferry routes even though the National Energy Board concluded last week that ship noise, including that generated by BC Ferries, is threatening the endangered southern resident killer whales. The NEB is recommending noise reduction measures for the B.C. government’s ferry fleet to help offset the impact on the endangered whales of increased oil tanker traffic associated with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. But the B.C. government says connecting coastal communities is more important than shipping more Alberta oil through the Salish Sea. Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

Washington Clean Fuels Bill Clears Its 1st Big Hurdle
Washington could soon join the ranks of its West Coast neighbors, requiring fuels at the pump that produce less carbon pollution. A low-carbon fuels bill passed its first big test Monday, moving out of the House Appropriations Committee. Democrats passed the bill with a 19-14 party-line vote. It now heads to the full House. Supporters said the fossil fuel-based gas and diesel you put in the tank of your car or truck are the biggest sources of greenhouse gasses and air pollution in the state. Opponents said the requirement to use more plant-based or bio-fuel to replace or blend with petroleum fuels could end up costing you more at the pump. And that could place a disproportionate burden on rural and low-income drivers and farmers. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Broadcasting)

Seattle Weekly to cease print publication
Sixteen months after the Seattle Weekly laid off most of its staff in a Hail Mary effort to remain viable, the paper will publish its final printed issue this week, according to multiple sources. The decision ends a more than 40-year run of city and regional coverage and leaves Seattle without a true alternative weekly. The decision to close the paper comes at the end of the fiscal year for Sound Publishing, which publishes 49 papers around the region and 17 in King County, including the Weekly. Seattle Weekly's final paper will hit stands this Wednesday, Feb. 27. Three staff members have been let go.  In a statement to Crosscut, President and Publisher of Sound Publishing Josh O'Connor said the Weekly will switch to "web only" format beginning March 1. The company will retain two employees to manage the website as well as a "multimedia sales consultant." The content will be all freelance work, plus crossposts from the company's other papers. David Kroman reports.

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  301 AM PST Tue Feb 26 2019   
 E wind 20 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 3 ft  at 9 seconds. 
 E wind 20 to 30 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 3 ft  at 11 seconds.

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