Wednesday, May 15, 2019

5/15 Loon, tanker ban, dying cedars, Blanchard Mtn., Green R dam, plankton bloom, Arctic heat, toxic lake

Pacific loon [Greg Lasley]
Pacific loon Gavia pacifica
This loon is hardly "Pacific" in summer -- its breeding range extends across northern Canada as far east as Hudson Bay and Baffin Island. However, the great majority of these birds head west to the Pacific Coast to spend the winter. Its diet includes fish, crustaceans, insects. Diet varies with place and season. Apparently eats mostly small fish when these are available, especially in winter and on ocean. Also eats crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic insects, and some plant material, especially during breeding season. (Audubon)

Garneau says he's open to amendments as opposition to B.C. tanker ban bill mounts
Transport Minister Marc Garneau told the Senate committee studying the Liberal government's B.C. oil tanker ban bill today that he is open to amendments to Bill C-48 as long as they preserve the bill's stated purpose: to stop virtually all crude oil shipments from ports along B.C.'s northern coast. Faced with criticism from industry, First Nations and provincial leaders, Garneau did not rule out accepting amendments from committee members — including a proposal that would demand a mandatory review of the ban every 3, 5 and 10 years and a proposed change that would tie the bill's enactment to completing the Trans Mountain expansion project. As written, the legislation bans the vast majority of crude oil shipments from the region indefinitely. John Paul Tasker reports. (CBC)

Western red cedars die off as extended dry spells continue, say experts
Some Western red cedars are struggling after repeated periods of drought and experts say the tree could vanish for good in spots with shallow, dry, rocky soil if current climate patterns continue. When Nick Page started posting pictures of dead Western red cedars that had turned from verdant green to rust red he was overwhelmed by how many people chimed in or sent more disturbing images. Page, a biologist, says this has been long warned and predictions seem to be coming true in many parts of the Lower Mainland. Trees on sunny slopes with poor soil are the first to go. Yvette Brend reports. (CBC)

Inslee signs bill to protect Blanchard Mountain core
With Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature last week, a plan to permanently conserve recreation lands in the state forest on Blanchard Mountain is one step closer to being realized. The plan is to transfer the trust fund status of forests on Blanchard to forests in other areas of Skagit County. This would ensure the local beneficiaries of those Blanchard trust lands don’t lose timber revenue. Trust lands managed by Natural Resources on Blanchard Mountain benefit local taxing districts, including the Burlington-Edison School District, Skagit County Emergency Medical Services and cemetery districts. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Puget Sound dam jeopardizing salmon, endangered orcas
The Green River is cut in half by two dams that keep adult salmon from going upstream to spawn and juveniles from migrating down to the ocean. The current state of one of the dams is threatening three endangered species. The first dam has been blocking fish habitat for about a century. Tacoma Headworks Diversion Dam east of Ravensdale is how the City of Tacoma gets its water. Tacoma Water was tasked with building an upstream trap-and-haul facility and finished construction in 2005. The facility should allow Tacoma Water to transport adult salmon above its dam and Howard A. Hanson Dam, which is three miles upstream. To this day, that hasn't happened because the Howard Hanson dam is incomplete. Simone Del Rosario reports. (KCPQ)

Plankton bloom spotted in Puget Sound between Tacoma and Edmonds
A large plankton bloom can be seen spread across Puget Sound from Tacoma to Edmonds, the Washington Department of Ecology said. They tweeted out photos taken from a helicopter over the non-toxic bloom. This bloom is earlier than usual, the department said, but last week's sunny weather provided the algae with a better environment to grow. (KING)

It was 84 degrees near the Arctic Ocean this weekend as carbon dioxide hit its highest level in human history
Over the weekend, the climate system sounded simultaneous alarms. Near the entrance to the Arctic Ocean in northwest Russia, the temperature surged to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius). Meanwhile, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eclipsed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history. By themselves, these are just data points. But taken together with so many indicators of an altered atmosphere and rising temperatures, they blend into the unmistakable portrait of human-induced climate change. Saturday’s steamy 84-degree reading was posted in Arkhangelsk, Russia, where the average high temperature is around 54 this time of year. The city of 350,000 people sits next to the White Sea, which feeds into the Arctic Ocean’s Barents Sea. Jason Samenow reports. (Washington Post)

Dog dies after exposure to toxin at Anderson Lake
A dog that was exposed to a toxin in the water at Anderson Lake has died and its owner was exposed. The death Sunday was the third dog death recorded since 2006, when two died and forced weekly testing of the lake the following year. Clue, an Australian kelpie less than 2 years old, was on a leash on the trail system Sunday when she made contact with the water. Brian McLean reports.(Peninsula Daily News)

Port might invoke eminent domain over Kimberly-Clark site
The agency wants to expand maritime freight and ship maintenance, but it isn't the only interested party. Noah Haglund and Lizz Giordano report. (Everett Herald) [Paywall]

Dialing in the temperature is saving fish, gaining notice
After restoring five miles of habitat, the PUD needed to warm the Sultan River near a dam. Liz Giordano reports. (Everett Herald) [Paywall]

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  232 AM PDT Wed May 15 2019   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 4  ft at 15 seconds. A slight chance of rain in the afternoon. 
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell  4 ft at 14 seconds. Rain likely in the evening then a chance of  rain after midnight.

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