Monday, June 17, 2019

6/17 Cap't Sparrow, Lolita, BC pipe, anchovies, plastic shame, dead whales, Wyckoff cleanup, Meadowdale Beach, Manning mining, Prince of Whales, green crab

Captain Sparrow [Laurie MacBride]
That’s “Captain” to You, Matey!
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "On a recent boating trip we had a memorable encounter with Captain Sparrow, when we pulled into a marina for an overnight stay. This wasn’t the fictional Hollywood pirate, but his rakish charm, clowning antics, colourful plumage and confident swagger certainly spoke of that (in)famous character. Our true-life Captain was a loud, energetic bird – a House sparrow, I believe (hopefully a reader will correct me if I’m wrong)...."

Remembering Lolita, an orca taken nearly 49 years ago and still in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium
Lyla Snover can still hear the cries from the day the captors came for the southern resident orca whales at Penn Cove, in August 1970, separating families as they took their pick for aquariums all over the world. “It was agony, sadness, screaming, they felt the same way you would feel if someone kidnapped your children, and put them in a pen and you didn’t know where they were,” Snover said at a commemoration of the capture, at which more than 100 people gathered Friday evening at a Coupeville city park overlooking the cove. Of all the southern residents taken during a series of captures beginning in the 1960s and ending in 1976, in which more than a third of the orcas that frequent Puget Sound were taken, all are dead today but one: Lolita, still performing in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium. The Lummi Nation has for two years campaigned to retire her and bring her home. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Lummi Nation launches new campaign to save dwindling orca population  (KCPQ)

Federal cabinet to decide again on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion this week
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet will decide Tuesday whether to greenlight the Trans Mountain expansion project, amid political and legal uncertainty for the pipeline the government bought last year for $4.5 billion. The Liberal government was forced to put the project through a new consultation process after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed past cabinet approvals for the long-delayed project and halted construction last summer. The court said the government didn't do adequate consultation work with Indigenous peoples before it first approved TMX in November 2016. The court also said the National Energy Board (NEB) did not do enough to study the effects of this project on the marine environment in B.C.'s Lower Mainland. John Paul Tasker reports. (CBC) See also: No economic case for Trans Mountain expansion: ex-BC MP David Anderson  Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

Booming anchovy population helps salmon, orcas
Swarms of anchovy can be seen swimming through the South Sound. The population is booming, even impressing experts, who’ve studied the Salish Sea for years....Anchovies thrive in warmer water and feed off plankton. They make a good meal for salmon, which helps the southern resident orca population. Shelby Miller reports. (KIRO)

Store’s Bid to Shame Customers Over Plastic Bags Backfires
A Canadian store’s attempt to help the environment and gently shame its customers into avoiding plastic bags by printing embarrassing messages on them has not gone quite as planned. Far from spurring customers to bring their own reusables, the plastic bags — variously emblazoned with “Dr. Toews’ Wart Ointment Wholesale,” “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” or “The Colon Care Co-op” — have become somewhat of a surprise hit. “Some of the customers want to collect them because they love the idea of it,” David Lee Kwen, the owner of the store, Vancouver’s East West Market, told The Guardian newspaper. Anna Schaverien reports. (NY Times)

Puget Sound waterfront owners asked to house dead whales
A couple is housing a 40-foot dead gray whale on their waterfront property as a sort of final resting place for the mammal. Numerous of gray whale carcasses have washed up this year that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries has run out of places to take them. Now they’re asking waterfront landowners to volunteer their properties for the decomposition of gray whales up to 40 feet long. (KOMO)

EPA to use injected cement to hold contamination in place at Bainbridge cleanup site
Hundreds of thousands of gallons of oily contamination in the ground at the Wyckoff Superfund site on Eagle Harbor’s south shore will be locked in a concrete tomb. The federal Environmental Protection Agency, which manages the cleanup of the old Wyckoff creosote treatment plant at Bainbridge Island’s Pritchard Park, announced this week it would move ahead with treating the site by injecting a cement slurry into the soil there to treat 267,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and groundwater. In the treatment, a large-diameter auger drills into the ground, along the way injecting the slurry in a column from the surface down deep into the soil, said Helen Bottcher, the EPA’s site manager. After about a month, the treated areas will become a solid, concrete monolith that prevents remaining contaminants from leaching out into groundwater. Roughly 650,000 gallons of oily contamination remain in the ground at the site — evidence of the old treatment plant that once operated there — the vast majority of which will be treated with the slurry, according to the EPA. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun) See also: EPA tweaks cleanup plan for Wyckoff site in Eagle Harbor  The current treatment system costs $750,000 a year to use but hasn't stopped all contaminants from reaching the harbor. (Daily Journal of Commerce-paywall)

Infusion of federal money propels Meadowdale Beach project
With a boost of federal money, a once-in-a-generation project is close to breaking ground, according to Snohomish County Parks. With about half the funds for construction secured, the county hopes to start work on a $16 million estuary restoration project along the shore of Meadowdale Beach Park..... The project got an infusion of federal dollars earlier this month, when a $3.5 million grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The federal grant money added to roughly $1.5 million the project had already attracted from various fish and estuary recovery funds, plus another $2.3 million from the county budget. That still leaves the county searching for more than $8 million to fully fund the work. Lizz Giordano reports. (Everett Herald)

Mine exploration on edge of Manning Park opposed by environmentalists
Environmental groups on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border are calling on the B.C. government to deny an application by Imperial Metals to explore for minerals in an area on the edge of Manning Park. The mining company behind the Mount Polley mine disaster has applied for a five-year permit to drill for mining deposits in an area known as the “donut hole” between Manning and Skagit Valley Provincial Parks, according to a document submitted to the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources. The company is proposing to drill one or two two-kilometre deep “mother holes,” with either settling ponds or a water-recycling machine to deal with drill cuttings, along with access roads, air strips and boat ramps. The area is believed to contain gold and copper. In 2014, a tailings dam at the company’s Mount Polley mine broke, sending 24 million cubic metres of mining waste into waterways, including Quesnel Lake, the migratory pathway for more than one million sockeye salmon. Glenda Luymes reports. (Vancouver Sun)

A big fish tale: Calgary men catch 800-pound sturgeon
Three men from Calgary caught a fish that was thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis big. Like, really, astonishingly, very big.  Terry Jacobson, Tom Kirk and Alex Kirk were on the Fraser River near Chilliwack, B.C., guided by Steve Kaye from Sturgeon Hunter, when they hooked a fish that seems like something out of the Paleolithic Age.... The official measurement? Jacobson says it was 11 feet (3.3 metres) in length and five feet (1.5 metres) in girth. Kaye, he says, estimated the weight at a whopping 800 pounds (360 kilograms). (CBC)

B.C.’s Prince of Whales basks in attention from mistake in Trump tweet
All bow before the Prince of Whales. Or maybe toss him a salmon. Donald Trump inadvertently turned a global spotlight on a Victoria-based tourism business Thursday when he mistakenly included its name in a tweet meant to refer to Prince Charles. “I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day,” the president wrote. “I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Whales … ” Er, that should be Prince of Wales. The Prince of Whales is a whale-watching outfit. (Times Colonist)

New facts and findings about the European green crab invasion
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways recounts recent developments in the ongoing story of the European green crab invasion:
    -The somewhat mysterious finding of a partially eaten green crab on the Bellingham waterfront,
    -A “story map” that spells out much of what we know about European green crabs in Puget Sound, including maps, photos and videos.
    -Information about Harper Estuary in South Kitsap and other areas where groups of citizen scientists are on the lookout for green crabs, and
    -Reports of a new breed of European green crab in Maine that attacks people and may prove to be more destructive than the green crabs that have lived in the area for a very long time.

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PDT Mon Jun 17 2019   
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 12 seconds. A chance of drizzle in the morning. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 12 seconds. A slight chance of showers after midnight.

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