Wednesday, July 31, 2019

7/31 Vireo, Pebble Mine, Growler suit, plastics or people, tugboat spill, Shaw release

Hutton's vireo [Bob Steele/Audubon]
Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni
In woods of the Pacific Coast and the Southwest, this little vireo hops about actively in the oaks. The bird bears a surprising resemblance to the Ruby-crowned Kinglet (which is often more common in the same woods in winter); it even twitches its wings in kinglet style when it is excited. Hutton's has the most monotonous song of all the vireos, a single note repeated over and over. (Audubon)

Trump EPA yanks Obama-era proposal to restrict mine development in salmon-rich Bristol Bay region
The Environmental Protection Agency scuttled proposed development restrictions Tuesday on an open-pit mine in the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, which sustains the largest sockeye salmon runs in the world. The move by Chris Hladick, the EPA’s Seattle-based regional administrator, is part of a broader Trump administration push to proceed with a permitting review for the Pebble Mine, a world-class deposit of gold, molybdenum and copper that — due to its sensitive location — is among the most contested mineral-development projects in Alaska history. The proposed restrictions date to the Obama administration, and would have sharply limited the amount of wetlands and salmon streams that could have been damaged by disposal of mine wastes. The developer’s CEO — Tom Collier of Pebble Partnership — hailed the EPA action Tuesday as removing a “cloud of uncertainty” by reversing “outrageous federal government overreach.” Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Elected officials weigh in on lawsuit against Navy
Elected officials are weighing in on a lawsuit filed by the state attorney general against the Navy over its plans for expansion at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. In a letter to state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Oak Harbor Mayor Bob Severns condemned the lawsuit, calling it an irresponsible waste of resources and unjustifiable to the majority of his constituents. Severns, who has served four years as mayor, said he believes the public understands the importance of the Navy’s mission, and values it above the additional noise that will be caused by expansion... Helen Price Johnson, an Island County commissioner, said she’s frustrated by the rhetoric around this lawsuit, and what it’s actually alleging... Even if the state’s lawsuit is successful, it shouldn’t threaten the Navy’s plans for growth here, she said. It would merely require the Navy to perform a more detailed review of the potential environmental and health effects. “All (it is) doing is making the Navy follow the rules like any other agency,” she said... Her colleague, Commissioner Jill Johnson, opposes the suit. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Plastics Or People? At Least 1 Of Them Has To Change To Clean Up Our Mess
The avalanche of plastic waste that’s rolling over land and sea has inspired numerous potential solutions. Some involve inventing our way out of the mess by creating new kinds of natural materials that will harmlessly degrade if they’re thrown away. Others say it might be quicker to change people’s throwaway behavior instead. Christopher Joyce reports. (NPR)

Crews clean up oil spill after tugboat sinks at Railway Marina
Washington Ecology, the Coast Guard, and the Navy responded to a sunken 60-foot tugboat with 300 gallons of diesel at the Port Orchard Railway Marina on Monday afternoon. According to Ecology, a small oil skimmer was used and cleanup material was applied, gathering a large amount of spilled diesel fuel. The Navy placed hard boom around the sunken ship. Overnight Monday, the Coast Guard’s contractors plugged the boat’s fuel vents, which allow fuel to flow out when submerged. Jessie Darland reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Shaw Centre releases 70 salmon and a giant octopus back into the sea
A large shoal of 70 healthy salmon and a much loved octopus have been released back into B.C. waters, following a stay at Sidney’s aquarium. Assisted by volunteers, staff from the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea took the salmon down to Sidney Pier in special tanks, before releasing them into the ocean. The process was overseen by Chief Aquarist Kit Thornton, and was not without challenges as the fish were 2.5 years old and “substantially sized.” Nick Murray reports. (Victoria News)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  254 AM PDT Wed Jul 31 2019   
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 8 seconds. A slight chance of  showers. 
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming W to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 7 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

7/30 Pineapple weed, Tahltan Nation buy, reforestation, derelict boats, Tom Gibbs, seaweed bacon

Pineapple weed [Wikipedia]
Pineapple weed Matricaria discoidea
Matricaria discoidea, commonly known as pineapple weed, wild chamomile, and disc mayweed is an annual plant native to Northeast Asia where it grows as a common herb of fields, gardens and roadsides. The flowers exude a chamomile/pineapple aroma when crushed. They are edible and have been used in salads (although they may become bitter by the time the plant blooms) and to make herbal tea. Pineapple weed has been used for medicinal purposes, including for relief of gastrointestinal upset, infected sores, fevers, and postpartum anemia. The plant grows well in disturbed areas, especially those with poor, compacted soil. It can be seen blooming on footpaths, roadsides, and similar places in spring and early summer. In North America, it can be found from central Alaska down to California and all the way to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It has also become common and naturalised in Britain. (Wikipedia)

B.C. First Nation buys 5 per cent stake in clean-energy projects worth $2.5 billion
A First Nation in northwest British Columbia says an investment in clean-energy projects worth more than $2.5 billion represents a historic move toward its economic independence. The Tahltan Nation announced Monday the purchase of a five per cent stake in three run-of-river hydro-electric projects located in its traditional territories, which include the communities of Iskut, Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek. Tahltan Central Government President Chad Day said the deal marks a significant economic achievement for the nation as it will generate revenue and provide clean energy for decades. (Canadian Press)

Charred forests not growing back as expected in Pacific Northwest, researchers say
Camille Stevens-Rumann was a student of raging wildfires well before she began formally researching their impact on the environment. The Colorado-based forestry professor fought wildfires that swept through the region while pursuing an undergraduate degree, observing how they influenced the landscape.... Her research has taken her from the charred forests of America's Rocky Mountain ranges all the way to the Pacific Northwest, just south of the B.C. border. What she's found: certain tree species are having a tough time growing back in areas that have been affected by wildfires due to warming temperatures — a discovery that could have major implications for both the forestry sector and long-term climate change targets. Jon Hernandez reports. (CBC)

State could seize 100-foot boat stuck in Snohomish River
In April 2018, a rundown World War II-era commercial fishing boat called the Hannah Marie sank in Steamboat Slough. A few weeks later, its owner towed it into the Snohomish River to renovate it for a return trip to Alaska. Since then, the boat hasn’t moved. Last week, the Department of Natural Resources’ derelict vessels removal program gave the boat’s owner a 30-day notice to move it. If he doesn’t get it out of the river by Aug. 14, the state will take custody of the 100-footer and have it removed. In the event he is able to tow the Hannah Marie elsewhere, he’ll keep it. “I don’t see that happening,” Jerry Farmer of the DNR said. “(The owner) has been responsive, but nothing is moving forward.” If the boat is seized, the owner could take the issue to court for appeal. But the DNR could still remove and store the vessel while the case is under review. If given custody, Farmer said, the program could have the Hannah Marie out of the water by the end of August. Joseph Thompson reports. (Everett Herald) See also: Feds fund First Nations company to remove derelict boats as part of $1.2M cleanup plan  Salish Sea Industrial Services has received $364K to remove abandoned vessels around Pender Harbour and Sooke. Alex Migdal reports. (CBC)

Tom Gibbs, engineer who led historic Lake Washington cleanup, dies at 87
Anybody who swims, paddles or water-skis in Lake Washington this summer might spare a thought for Charles V. “Tom” Gibbs, the King County Metro engineer whose projects in the 1960s ended the constant flow of raw sewage into the lake and Puget Sound. He later led the startup of Metro Transit, helped write the federal Clean Water Act and served on boards including the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and the public-facilities district that oversees the Mariners’ baseball stadium. Mr. Gibbs died last month of cancer at age 87, and on Saturday a celebration of life was held in Seattle. Mike Lindblom reports. (Seattle Times)

Whatever happened to the sensational seaweed that supposedly tastes like bacon?
Oregon State University created something of a sensation back in 2015 when researchers announced they discovered and patented "seaweed that tastes like bacon." Four years later, the hard work of commercialization continues, but guilt-free bacon from the sea remains elusive. The common name for this red seaweed (Palmaria mollis) is dulse. In 2015, scores of stories flashed around the globe, such as "Dulse: The new, sustainable superfood." Headline writers crowed about "the next big thing," "the new kale," "the magical bacon unicorn of vegetables," or combined it all in one: "Move Over, Kale: Dulse is the Superfood of the Future." For now, kale growers need not be worried. The path to commercial success for farmed dulse is proving difficult and long despite the enviable publicity. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Tue Jul 30 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 8 seconds. 
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 8 seconds. A slight chance of  showers.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, July 29, 2019

7/29 Shrew, WQ rules, free Lolita, Wyland's orcas, Bears Ears, sewage spill, Roundup

Shrew [Wikipedia]
Masked shrew Sorex cinereus
The cinereous shrew or masked shrew is a small shrew found in Alaska, Canada and the northern United States. This is the most widely distributed shrew in North America, where it is also known as the common shrew. (Wikipedia)

EPA's move to ease state water quality rules welcomed by pulp industry
In what industry officials are calling good news for local pulp and paper mills, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed a proposal Tuesday to roll back “unattainable” water quality standards. Also known as the fish consumption rule, Washington’s clean water rule is intended to protect the health of people and fish and to manage pollution caused by industries and municipalities. The State Department of Ecology adopted the standards in 2016 after a four-year public process. However, the EPA disapproved of 143 standards and imposed stricter rules in their place. But in May, EPA reversed its disapproval of Ecology’s original standards. And on Tuesday the agency announced plans to start a public process to remove its own health and safety criteria from the state’s water rule. Mallory Gruben reports. (Daily News)

Lummi Nation could sue under repatriation act to free captive orca in Miami
In a new effort to release the last surviving southern resident orca in captivity, two Lummi Nation tribal members have notified a Miami theme park they will sue if the whale is not released and repatriated to her home waters within 90 days. The Miami Seaquarium, which has held the orca in captivity since August 1970, declined to comment on the notice of intent to sue. Lolita, also known as Tokitae, was recently renamed Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut by the tribe for the village at Penn Cove in Puget Sound where she was captured. She still performs twice daily for food for paying customers at the Seaquarium where she lives in the smallest tank of any orca in North America. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Wyland's 'The Orcas of Puget Sound' mural unveiled at The Edgewater
Renowned artist Robert Wyland's newest mural, "The Orcas of Puget Sound," was unveiled Friday at Pier 67 at The Edgewater. The artist, known for his large outdoor murals featuring sea life, began painting the mural earlier this week and wants to bring attention to the endangered orcas. The piece features the orca J-Pod. (KOMO)

Environmentalists and tribal leaders slam Bears Ears Monument plan allowing off-road vehicles
The U.S. government has decided to allow off-road vehicles access to archaeologically sensitive land at a Utah national monument that houses sacred tribal sites under a plan announced Friday. The Bureau of Land Management's plan for the Bears Ears National Monument says that certain historic sites most at risk will be off limits, but the agency chose an alternative that closes about 42 square miles to off-road vehicles. That's far less than a different option that would have closed nearly 184 square miles. The plan was met by immediate criticism from environmental and tribal organizations, who say it will leave sensitive lands and sites vulnerable to damage. (CBS)

West Point raw sewage discharge details emerge
The King County Wastewater Treatment Division has submitted its overflow report to the Washington Department of Ecology, which provides more detail about a July 19 power outage at the West Point Treatment Plant that resulted in the bypassing of millions of gallons of stormwater and sewage into Puget Sound. Seattle City Light reports a storm event early that morning caused a surge and resulting fire to break out on a power pole for the Canal Street substation. The pole broke off and struck additional power lines, cutting power to more than 10,000 City Light customers, including the West Point Treatment Plant in Magnolia. This caused equipment at the plant, including an intermediate pump station and an effluent pump station, to go offline. The report states the plant was taking in around 300 million gallons per day. An emergency bypass gate opened for 27 minutes due to high wastewater levels in the raw sewage pumps and influent control structure. King County reports about 80 percent of the discharge into Puget Sound was stormwater while the other 20 percent was sewage. A standby effluent pump station did activate, according to the report, “only to fall offline due to high vibration. Staff are investigating the cause of the vibration trip.” Brandon Macz reports. (Queen Anne News)

Judge cuts $2 billion award for couple with cancer to $86.7 million in Roundup lawsuit
A judge slashed 95 percent off the $2 billion awarded a California couple who developed cancer after using Roundup weed-killer. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Winifred Y. Smith on Thursday cut the couple’s damages to $86.7 million on the basis that the judgment handed down by an Oakland jury in May had vastly exceeded legal precedent. It’s the third time in less than a year that Bayer AG has had a jury award significantly reduced in a lawsuit alleging the world’s most widely used herbicide causes cancer. The German pharmaceutical and life sciences giant is appealing, or plans to appeal, all verdicts. Taylor Telford reports. (Washington Post)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PDT Mon Jul 29 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 4 ft at 7 seconds. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 7 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, July 26, 2019

7/26 Homestead barn, canoe journey, culvert cost, beach waste, grizzlies, rabbit disease, Fraser slide, orca icon

Krumdiack barn [Historic Barns]
Krumdiack Homestead Barn
Not all San Juan County barns are located on the four ferry-served islands (Lopez, Orcas, San Juan, and Shaw).  The Krumdiack Homestead Barn is a witness to a time when it was just as easy (or difficult) to live and farm on a (now considered) remote island because everyone was traveling throughout the San Juans by boat.  Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Krumdiack (1854-1936) was born in Hanorver Province, Germany, and emigrated to the Hawaiian Islands to work on a sugar plantation.  After a short time in Port Townsend working as a brewer,  he and his family moved with his sister and her husband to Waldron Island, where he filed for a homestead in 1890.  Krumdiack worked as a cordwood cutter and did subsistence farming on the place.... The Krumdiak Homestead, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a signal example of a pioneer family farm, and the barn is the centerpiece. Boyd Pratt writes. (Historic Barns of the San Juan Islands/100 Friends of Old Island Barns)

Nearly 100 canoes arrive at Lummi Nation – the final stop of annual Tribal Canoe Journey
Nearly 100 canoes arrived this week on the shores of the Lummi Nation Stommish Grounds — the final stop in the annual Tribal Canoe Journey. The Lummi Nation hosted this year’s event, dubbed Paddle to Lummi, for the first time since 2007. After final canoes landed on Wednesday, July 24, protocol, or the sharing of songs, tradition, ceremony and food, continues through Sunday night, July 28. Lacey Young reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Cost to replace salmon-blocking culverts running into billions, WSDOT says
The taxpayers’ cost to comply with a federal court order to improve salmon habitat by repairing state culverts has ballooned from $1.9 billion to $3.8 billion over the past dozen years, officials told legislators Thursday. At a work session, members of the House-Senate Transportation Committee said they are committed to meeting the court’s mandate, which is considered a critical element to protect endangered orcas who feed on chinook salmon. But some lawmakers questioned whether the state can reduce the estimated $500 million cost of designing replacements or repairs to culverts over the next 10 years.... WSDOT estimated the cost in 2007 at $1.9 billion by examining culverts completed from 2000 to 2006. The department updated the estimate in 2013 to $2.4 billion after a federal judge issued an injunction requiring the state to do the work. A federal appeals court upheld that decision and the U.S. Supreme Court last year left the ruling in place. In preparation for this year’s legislative session, WSDOT increased the estimate to $3.8 billion based, in part, on the costs of culvert projects that were completed in recent years and to anticipate additional culverts that may fail and have to be replaced. The injunction requires the state to restore 90 percent of potential salmon habitat blocked by culverts by 2030. James Drew reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Lasqueti Islanders collect record 2 tonnes of beach waste during annual Styrofoam Day
Organizers of the 4th Lasqueti Styrofoam Day say they've set a new record but not in a good way. This year's annual beach cleanup on the remote Gulf Island netted an estimated two tonnes of garbage, half a tonne more than last year. There was the usual flotsam and jetsam: tires, fishing gear, shoes, balls and plastic bottles. But mostly what they picked up was Styrofoam —  lots of Styrofoam — enough to fill two barges in fact. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Feds look again at reintroducing grizzly bears to North Cascades
The on-again, off-again effort to return grizzly bears to North Cascades National Park is back on. Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke surprised wildlife advocates last year when he announced he was a fan of the bear and supported reintroduction to the North Cascades. However, he stopped work on the plan last August, with no plan for how it would be resumed. That changed Thursday when the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the public-comment period has been reopened. A 90-day extension of the comment period on the draft grizzly bear recovery plan and environmental impact statement begins Friday and closes Oct. 24. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Deadly rabbit disease confirmed in the San Juans
The bunnies of the San Juan Islands are in danger. A case of Rabbit hemorrhagic disease was confirmed in a domestic rabbit on Orcas Island by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on July 18. Mandi Johnson reports. (Journal of the San Juans)

Crews tagging Fraser River salmon to track survival beyond landslide
Up to 1,000 salmon are being radio-tagged in British Columbia’s Fraser River to help biologists track how the fish survive through and beyond a massive rock slide in the river.... About 80 people are working each day to create a natural passage for salmon through the barrier, while they also explore alternative ways to transport the fish past the waterfall, including by helicopter, fish ladder and fish wheel... While helicopters have been successfully tested to move a small number of fish above the slide site, the province says it’s not a practical way of moving the millions of fish who are expected to pass the site along their migration route in the coming weeks. (Canadian Press)

How the orca became a poster child for protesters in Canada
Trans Mountain pipeline protests often feature posters, props and signs with images of whales. For many, they represent what the country stands to lose in the Salish Sea.  The risks of increased tanker noise and oil spills from tankers and at Trans Mountain pipeline sites pose a threat to killer whales and a principal food source, chinook salmon, said Jason Colby, an environmental history professor at the University of Victoria and author of Orca: How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean's Greatest Predator. Colby says orcas have become political poster children in B.C. because perceptions of the predator have changed significantly over the past six decades.  Laura Sciarpelletti reports. (CBC)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  240 AM PDT Fri Jul 26 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. Patchy fog in the morning. 
 SW wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4  ft at 8 seconds. A chance of showers. 
 W wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of  showers in the morning. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. 
 Light wind becoming NW to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 9 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

7/25 Poppy, BC pipe bid, salmon return, whale protection, gray whales, goat move, heat wave, sewage spill

California poppy [Wikipedia]
California poppy Eschscholzia californica
Occurs sporadically in spring-moist meadows and grassy openings at low elevations from southeastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, south to California. The genus is named for Johann Fredric Eschscholtz (1793-1831), a Russian scientist with Kotzebue's visit to California in 1816. 'Poppy' is from the Latin name for many poppies, Papaver. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Indigenous-led group submits unsolicited bid to buy Trans Mountain pipeline
Indigenous-led group Project Reconciliation has submitted a preliminary proposal to the federal government to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline. A federal government official confirmed to CBC News that the proposal has been received, but the government is not yet accepting formal bids. Project Reconciliation was founded by Delbert Wapass, a former chief of the Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan. The group is based in Calgary, and is proposing ownership of the pipeline be shared among participating Indigenous communities in Western Canada.  Sarah Rieger reports. (CBC)

Baker Lake sockeye returns lower than expected
The number of sockeye salmon swimming up the Skagit River toward Baker Lake is lower than expected, and lower than at least the past five years. The unexpected low returns became clear in mid-July, as the number of fish counted in a trap at the base of the Lower Baker Dam in Concrete remained in the hundreds each day, rather than thousands, and only one day exceeded 1,000, according to state Department of Fish & Wildlife data. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Salmon catch airlift to spawning grounds after rock slide blocks their way Canadian officials have started airlifting salmon past a rockslide that has largely blocked the fishes’ path up British Columbia’s Fraser River. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

SFU researchers developing warning system to protect killer whales from marine traffic
SFU researchers have teamed with regional partners to conduct critical research they hope will save and enhance the remaining 76 Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs) in B.C.’s Salish Sea. Their initial study, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, highlights the potential benefit of slowing marine vessels to protect the SRKW population from collisions and underwater noise. The SRKWs have protective status under Canada’s Species at Risk Act... They found that reducing underwater noise in and adjacent to the shipping lanes benefited the whales in regions that overlapped with foraging hotspots. Diane Mar-Nicolle writes. (Simon Fraser University News) See also: Oregon Aims To Avoid Whale Entanglements With Proposed Changes To Fishing Rules  (Associated Press)

Recent Birch Bay gray whale sightings worry wildlife experts
For about a month from mid-June to mid-July, at least one gray whale explored Birch Bay, feeding in the muddy, shallow waters. While the visit was exciting for those who spotted the whale breaching in the bay, it may be an ominous sign for the eastern North Pacific gray whale population... The whale that appeared in Birch Bay was likely trying to find more food before continuing its migration north, said Victoria Souze, principal investigator for the Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network (WWMSN)...The whale may have left Birch Bay – as of July 23, no one had reported a sighting in three days, but Souze cautioned that whales in the Salish Sea this late in the year are stressed and should be given plenty of space. Oliver Lazenby reports. (Northern Light) See also: Examination of gray whale deaths could answer bigger questions about the environment  John Calambokidis, a biologist who co-founded Olympia-based Cascadia Research Institute, has been trying to understand the whale strandings in Washington state. Kirsten Kendrick and Ariel Van Cleave report. (KNKX)

76 Mountain Goats In Olympic National Park Relocated In July
Officials say 76 mountain goats were successfully moved from Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest to the Cascade Mountains in July. Olympic National Park officials say 174 of the nonnative mammals have been rounded up and moved to the Cascades, where they belong, since September. Officials say five other goats died during capture efforts, three were euthanized because they were unfit for relocation, and one animal died in transit. Officials say four animals that could not be captured safely also were killed. (Associated Press)

Climate change: Current heating 'unparalleled' in 2,000 years 
The speed and extent of current global warming exceeds any similar event in the past 2,000 years, researchers say. They show that famous historic events like the "Little Ice Age" don't compare with the scale of warming seen over the last century. The research suggests that the current warming rate is higher than any observed previously. The scientists say it shows many of the arguments used by climate sceptics are no longer valid. Matt McGrath reports. (BBC)

King County Board of Health to examine recent sewage spill that closed beaches around Puget Sound 
After a 3-million-gallon sewage spill shut down five beaches around Puget Sound last week, King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles is calling for a briefing to the county Board of Health, which she chairs. The board is planning to discuss the spill at its next meeting, Sept. 19, Kohl-Welles said Wednesday afternoon. She especially wants to hear more from Seattle City Light, as officials say the spill came as a result of a power failure at the West Point Treatment Plant. Elise Takahama reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Thu Jul 25 2019   
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 2 ft at 11 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 8 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

7/24 Bat, orca food, Tahlequah,Tacoma LNG, coast fish, coral reefs, condors, Vashon shores

Hoary bat [Daniel Neal]
Hoary Bat Lasiurus cinereus
The hoary bat is the largest bat in Washington. The fur is a mixture of yellowish-brown, dark brown, and white, giving it a distinctive frosty or “hoary” appearance... Hoary bats have the broadest geographic distribution of any bat in the New World, including much of North America and South America, as well as Hawaii... In Washington and elsewhere, hoary bats are mainly associated with a variety of forest types, but also occur in open cover types (e.g., grasslands, deserts, clearcuts, meadows), particularly when foraging and migrating... The only dietary data for the Pacific Northwest come from Oregon, where several studies suggest a preference for moths, with leaf hoppers, true bugs, mosquitoes, and other insects consumed in lesser amounts. In other regions, hoary bats also feed on beetles, grasshoppers, dragonflies, wasps, termites, midges, and other flies. (WDFW)

Toxic food, toxic water: What's killing B.C.'s killer whales?
Poisoned bodies, dangerous blobs and dissolving snail shells: The threats facing the killer whale family J pod read like a horror film. The resident orcas of British Columbia's South Coast have no natural enemies, but the toxins in their environment are creating unnatural threats that could wipe out the entire population of the Salish Sea's top predator, scientists say. J pod is one of three orca families that belong to the endangered southern resident group. They are among the most-studied whales in the world and scientists say pollutants in the ocean, and the water itself, could be what's killing them. Bridgette Watson reports. (CBC) See also: Could B.C.'s chinook-loving orcas adapt to a new food source? It's not unthinkable  Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Mother orca Tahlequah and her dead calf, one year later. How did she change the conversation?
It was a year ago Wednesday that mother orca Tahlequah rallied attention to the plight of endangered southern resident killer whales and their struggle for survival....So on her anniversary, the [Seattle] Times asked readers if they still think of her. And took stock of some of what’s changed since her journey, for better and for worse. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Critics appalled as controversial Tacoma LNG plant moves closer to final approval
Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas project on Tacoma’s Tideflats is one step closer to completion. On Monday, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said it reviewed the project’s Notice of Construction Application and “made a preliminary determination that the proposal meets all the requirements of Agency Regulations I, II and III and should be approved.” The announcement sets the clock ticking on a public-comment period and August public hearing in Tacoma at the Rialto Theater over the final air permit for the project — the last major permitting milestone. Debbie Cockrell reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Fisheries innovations credited with West Coast groundfish recovery
The dramatic recovery of many groundfish species along the West Coast is a testament to the innovation, cooperation and persistence by fisheries managers and fishermen alike under the landmark Magnuson-Stevens Act of 1976. One of the latest innovations, formally approved last month by the National Marine Fisheries Service, is “electronic monitoring,” which allows the use of video and other equipment in place of the human observers needed to ensure the accuracy of harvest reports. The faster-then-expected recovery of depleted populations — including canary rockfish, bocaccio, darkblotched rockfish, and Pacific Ocean perch — has led to dramatically increased harvest limits this year. NMFS estimates that increased fishing will add 900 jobs and $60 million in income this year alone. Recreational anglers are expected to go fishing an additional 219,000 times, mostly in California with some of those outings in Oregon and Washington, according to a news release. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Before you play in the water at Whatcom County beaches, read this report on water quality
Before you play in the water at a Whatcom County beach, you might want to check out this new study about fecal bacteria contamination along its shores. Titled “Safe for Swimming? Water Quality at Our Beaches,” it was based on an analysis of bacteria samples that were taken from beaches in 29 coastal and Great Lakes states as well as Puerto Rico.... Environment America and the Frontier Group conducted the study. Among the report’s findings: ▪ In Washington state, 89 of 215 beach sites — or 41 percent — that were sampled were possibly unsafe for swimming at least one day in 2018. ▪ Whatcom County had the highest percentage of potentially unsafe beach days, on average, in the state. That came in at 12%. The next four were Island County at 7%; King County at 6%; Clallam County at 5% and Skagit County at 5%. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Study shows that management and evolution give hope to coral reefs facing the effects of climate change
A new study released July 1 in Nature Climate Change gives hope for coral reefs. Launched by the nonprofit Coral Reef Alliance, with lead and senior authors at the University of Washington, the study is one of the first to demonstrate that management that takes evolution and adaptation into account can help rescue coral reefs from the effects of climate change. Importantly, the results show that by making smart decisions to protect reefs today, conservation managers can generate the conditions that can help corals adapt to rising temperatures. (UW News)

The largest bird in North America was nearly wiped out. Here’s how it fought its way back.
... In 1982, when just 22 California condors were left in the world and the species’ obituary was being written in advance, scientists captured the remaining population to breed the scavenger birds in captivity. Nearly four decades later, a consortium of government agencies and nonprofit groups announced a miraculous milestone: 1,000 California condor chicks hatched since the official rescue program began. Reis Thebault reports. (Washington Post)

King County preparing for rising sea levels on Vashon Island
King County is working on its comprehensive plan for 2020 and that plan involves potentially pushing back future land development and remodeling from the Vashon Island coast to protect buildings from a rise in sea level.... Jim Simmonds, project manager for issues dealing with sea level rise for King County, says the future increase in water along the Pacific Ocean and in the Puget Sound will affect coastal properties, like the ones on Vashon. Nick Popham reports. (KOMO)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Wed Jul 24 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 7 seconds. A slight  chance of showers in the morning. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 2 ft at 8 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

7/23 Sea cuke, nighthawk, Fraser slide, sewage, Tacoma LNG, butterflies, herring, Brinnon resort

Giant sea cucumber [Kathy Bouic/Dive Bums]
Giant sea cucumber Parastichopus californicus
Our larges sea cucumber, averaging 16 inches long. Very common sub tidally; often seen in low tide pools or crevices of rocky beaches... Moves on tube-feet in three rows along lower body. Can rear up and swim with slow undulations when approached by Sunflower Star. Cleans detritus from mop like tentacles surrounding the mouth. (Marine Wildlife of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

Reader Rick Haley writes about yesterday's item about killdeer: "Killdeer are OK at the distraction thing, but a common nighthawk’s display to lure you from the nest puts the killdeer to shame.... If a killdeer has one broken wing, a nighthawk has two broken wings, messed up legs, and just flops around in the dirt (but leading you away from the nest) until you get close, when it suddenly takes flight vertically right in front of you."

Crews to blast away huge rock in Fraser River to help migrating salmon
Work crews around the site of a massive rock slide in the Fraser River will be blasting away a large overhanging rock in an effort to avoid future slides. A joint information bulletin from the B.C. government and Department of Fisheries and Oceans says a rock-scaling crew has drilled 50 holes in the rock to facilitate the controlled detonation. It says the blast has been carefully designed to restrict the size of rocks that will detach, which prevents harming the fish that may be in the river below. (Canadian Press)

Vancouver Park Board targets untreated sewage in waterways
Vancouver's desire to be considered one of the greenest city's in the world appears to be threatened by its dirty secret — untreated sewage in its waterways. On Monday night, the park board voted to request the City of Vancouver to prioritize sewer infrastructure plans within 10 years to improve water quality in Burrard Inlet, False Creek, the Fraser River and other waterways. As the city hits prime warm weather, four beaches have been closed due to high E. Coli bacteria levels. (CBC) See also: Clallam County health board hears objections to proposed septic fee  Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News) And:  Discovery Park, Kitsap beaches reopen Monday after sewage spills  Elise Takahara reports. (Seattle Times)

Public encouraged to weigh in on Tacoma's LNG facility
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has approved a permit application for the new liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the Tacoma Tide Flats. Puget Sound Energy said the $300 million plant will help control greenhouse gas emissions by providing cleaner fuel alternatives. The Puget Sound Energy Tacoma LNG facility would receive natural gas and chill it to produce between 250,000 and 500,000 gallons of LNG daily... Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said the proposal for the LNG facility “meets all of the Agency Regulations.”... The public is invited to weigh in on the facility from July 22 to Sept. 9. (KING)

Data being gathered on alpine butterflies
Butterflies of orange, white and blue that hovered above the wildflowers on Sauk Mountain last week caught the eyes of hikers on the trail to the mountain’s peak. A group of five members of the Cascades Butterfly Project, with long white nets at the ready and the occasional call of “Butterfly!,” also drew the attention of passersby....The volunteers with the Cascades Butterfly Project are involved with research that aims to study how butterfly species and their numbers in the alpine meadows of the Cascade Range change as the global climate warms. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Ancient harvests: A history of Salish Sea herring
For many decades, archaeologists, anthropologists, and ethnographers working in Puget Sound, the Salish Sea, and the Northwest Coast would have said that salmon were by far the most crucial food resource for those who lived in this region. So ingrained was this idea that Canadian archaeologist Gregory Monks coined the term “salmonopia” to describe the narrow focus on salmon and how it had long biased researchers away from herring and other foods. Recently, though, a shift has started to occur as researchers have begun to expand their vision beyond the Northwest’s most famous food. In 2014, an international team released a study that examined 171 archaeological sites spanning the past 10,700 years of human history. Herring were the most numerous fish specimen in 55 percent of the sites and the most commonly found fish, occurring in all but two of the sites, which ranged from Puget Sound to southeast Alaska. The researchers concluded that herring were “both widespread across the coast and a mainstay of ecological and socio-ecological systems over the Holocene.” David B. Williams writes. (Salish Sea Currents)

Amendments pass for Master Planned Resort near Brinnon
The Jefferson Board of County Commissioners approved an amendment to the Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort on Monday to adhere to a Kitsap County Superior Court’s reversal last March. The amendment added a community center and a nine-hole golf course to the plan, as well as other minor editing changes and wording updates....The MPR is a source of controversy within Jefferson County, as multiple citizens have been vocal about their disapproval of the resort. In April 2018, more than 70 members spoke during at public hearing and an additional 200 submitted written comments against the creation of the resort for a variety of reasons. Zach Jablonski reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  256 AM PDT Tue Jul 23 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 3 ft at 7 seconds. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 6 seconds. A slight chance  of showers after midnight.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, July 22, 2019

7/22 Killdeer, BC pipe, WA rail law, BC gasoline, coast strawberry, orca act, J34, Trump Swamp, sewage spill, bunny boom, Strait swim

Killdeer [Phil Gilston]
Killdeer, Master of Distraction
Since Killdeer don’t always pick the safest places to lay their eggs, they’ve developed a clever way to protect their young. They use the art of distraction. When it spots a predator close by, the Killdeer parent will pretend it has a broken wing - calling loudly and limping along as it stretches out one wing and fans its tail. (BirdNote)

Trans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permits
The National Energy Board has cleared the way for construction to resume on portions of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project by re-validating all the orders and decisions it enjoyed before its permits were overturned last year. The NEB, Canada’s pipeline regulator, announced late Friday that “decisions and orders issued prior to the Federal Court of Appeal decision will remain valid,” meaning that 73 per cent of the detailed pipeline route has been approved and 64 of 98 pre-construction conditions for the project have been fully satisfied. Geoffrey Morgan reports. (Financial Post) See also: Hundreds of landowners still haven't signed agreements with Trans Mountain for pipeline expansion  Chantelle Bellrichard reports. (CBC)

Montana, N. Dakota seek to block Washington state rail law
Attorneys general for North Dakota and Montana asked the Trump administration on Wednesday to overrule a Washington state law that imposed new restrictions on oil trains from the Northern Plains to guard against explosive derailments. In a legal petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and North Dakota's Wayne Stenehjem said federal authority over railroads pre-empts the state law. Matthew Brown reports. (Associated Press)

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill
A Calgary judge has denied British Columbia’s attempt to block Alberta legislation that would allow that province to stop oil shipments to the coast. In a decision released Friday on the so-called Turn Off the Taps bill, Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Hall said that B.C. doesn’t have the right to take Alberta to court in Alberta over legislation passed by the Alberta legislature. (Canadian Post) See also: Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa is open to proposals from the private sector for a refinery in British Columbia, as a public inquiry into the province's soaring gas prices reviews possible solutions.(Canadian Post) And also: Here’s how the Whatcom executive candidates see the debate over Cherry Point industry  One of the key issues in this year’s race for Whatcom County executive is the future of development in the Cherry Point industrial zone west of Ferndale — a 7,000-acre tract that’s home to two oil refineries, an aluminum smelter and some of the area’s highest-paying jobs. Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Heald)

Reader Don Norman writes about the Coast Strawberry:
"The beach or coast strawberry, mentioned Friday, has become a favorite of landscapers because it is so drought tolerant and can be walked on easily.  But the real interesting story about this species is that it revolutionized the commercial strawberry industry.  In my childhood, strawberries were a local early summer favorite because they bloomed in the spring and that was the crop for the year.  But the F. chiloensis blooms year-round and that trait was easily bred into the commercial varieties, and that single trait doomed thousands of small businesses.  Kids would get out of school to pick the strawberries.  No more. The protection of germplasm, or the genetic traits of plant (and animal!) species related to those of commercial importance is an important argument for biodiversity conservation.  Despite the revolution in genetics (GMOs and the like), simple horticultural cross-pollination is still the best source for pest resistance and strain improvement.  Yet where do you hear about "in-situ" germplasm protection?"

Grief or instinct? Interpreting a mother orca's actions
It was as if she wanted people to see her in mourning. A mother orca, known as J35, pushed the corpse of her dead calf in a funeral-like procession through 1,600 kilometres of Pacific Ocean for 17 days last summer in what scientists and journalists called 'a tour of grief.' J35's procession attracted attention to the fragility of her family, J pod, one of three critically endangered groups of killer whales living in waters off the coast of British Columbia and Washington State. Those who encountered the orca with her dead calf say they saw a grieving mother with a message. Science says humans could have been projecting emotion on an animal acting purely on instinct. Bridgette Morgan reports. (CBC) See also: Why are orcas called killer whales?  They're the apex predators of the sea, but many feel their long-used common name demonizes them. Tamara Baluja reports. (CBC)

Questions linger after Canada releases report about 2016 death of endangered orca J34
As long expected, the Canadian government confirmed Thursday blunt force trauma killed southern resident orca J34 in December 2016, as was initially reported, raising new questions about what took so long to release the findings. Lynda Mpaes reports. (Seattle Times)

Trump’s Labor Pick Has Defended Corporations, and One Killer Whale
Eugene Scalia, whom President Trump intends to nominate as labor secretary, is often hired by companies when they are sued by workers, or when they want to push back against new employment laws and regulations.... Mr. Scalia, who is the son of the deceased Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, is perhaps best known for his opposition to a regulation that would have mandated greater protections for workers at risk of repetitive stress injuries. But he played a role in several other prominent cases, representing the financial industry and companies like UPS and SeaWorld. Here are three important issues he worked on. Noam Sheiber reports. (NY Times)

EPA’s watchdog is scrutinizing ethics practices of agency’s former air policy chief
A key architect of the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken federal climate rules is under scrutiny by a federal watchdog for his dealings with industry players who lobbied the government to ease carbon pollution limits. It is the third inquiry into whether Bill Wehrum, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency’s air policy division from November 2017 until last month, violated federal ethics rules. Juliet Eilperin reports. (Washington Post)

Trapped spawning salmon to be flown over Fraser River rock slide in B.C.
Tens of thousands of spawning salmon stuck behind a rock slide on the Fraser River in a remote part of British Columbia will be flown over the barrier by helicopter. The solution was made public Saturday by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the B.C. government after weeks of speculation over how to help the trapped fish. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

3 million gallons of untreated sewage spill into Puget Sound, state officials investigating 
The state Department of Ecology is investigating after failures at King County’s two largest sewage treatment plants led to beach closures in Puget Sound. About 3 million gallons of untreated sewage spilled into the Puget Sound Friday morning after a failure at the West Point Treatment Plant, according to a statement from the Department of Ecology. For a half-hour, sewage spilled into the water near North Beach in Discovery Park. The spill occurred after backup pumping systems failed during a Seattle City Light power outage, according to King County. Asia Fields reports. (Seattle Times) See also: No-contact advisory issued for Bainbridge shoreline after 3 million gallon spill  Health officials have issued a no-contact advisory for the east shoreline of Bainbridge Island north to Indianola because of a spill at a King County sewage treatment plant early Friday. The advisory runs through Sunday, the Kitsap Public Health District said. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun) See now: Several Seattle area beaches scheduled to reopen after Puget Sound sewage spill   Elise Takahama reports. (Seattle Times)

Sediment libraries show marine ecosystems are accumulating oil pollution faster than ever
Marine sediments tell the history of an environment, including oil spills. By "reading" sediments from the past century, a research team has now determined how much oil hydrocarbon is accumulated in different vegetated coastal habitats of the Arabian Gulf and the significance of this for environmental management. (

Notice a bunny boom? Here are some reasons for the Seattle area's recent rise in rabbits 
The bunnies are booming. Love them for their small paws and big ears, or loathe them for their habit of wreaking havoc on gardens, the number of rabbits in the Seattle area has grown in the past few years. They’ve been spotted hopping around parks, backyards and the concrete sidewalks of Amazon’s headquarters campus. Wildlife experts, animal-welfare managers and rescue advocates say they’ve seen an increase in both wild eastern cottontails and domestic bunnies. Paige Cornwall reports. (Seattle Times)

Currents force Strait swimmer to call off attempted crossing 
It was the currents — not the cold or distance — that prevented Port Angeles native Rob DeCou from completing his swim across the Strait of Juan de Fuca over the weekend. Currents Saturday forced DeCou to swim 31.25 miles instead of the planned 18.3 miles and as he came within 670 feet of the Canadian shore currents swept him back. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  253 AM PDT Mon Jul 22 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 3 ft at 8 seconds. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 2 ft at 9 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

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Friday, July 19, 2019

7/19 Strawberry, canoe journey, shaming, state of emergency, hottest June, tiny toads, chlorpyrifos, ag tour

Coastal strawberry [Portland Nursery]
Coastal Strawberry Fragaria chiloensis
Haida people say that the coastal strawberries used to be much more plentiful before deer were introduced to the Queen Charlotte Islands... The Saanich and Mainland Comox steeped the fresh leaves to make a sweet tea. The Mainland Comox often added fresh thimbleberry and trailing wild blackberry leaves to this tea. The Quilcene chewed the leaves and applies them as a poultice on burns. The Skokomish made tea from the entire plant for diarrhea. The Haida used coastal strawberry leaves as an ingredient in a female tonic. Strawberry leaves are well known for their use in anti-diarrhea medicines, especially for children. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Northwest tribes land at Alki during annual canoe journey
The water was nearly calm as the canoes rounded Alki Point and came into view. “The canoes are coming!” a young girl cried from the crowd of onlookers. “They’re right there!” The 20-odd canoes approached Alki Beach  just before noon Thursday as part of the “Paddle to Lummi” — or Sqweshenet Tse Schelangen (“honoring our way of life”) — a journey through the Salish Sea toward the Lummi Nation, this year’s host. During the annual Tribal Canoe Journey, tribes and nations from throughout the Pacific Northwest join up with one another on the way toward Lummi, starting from different points but picking up new canoes along the way.  Brian Contreras reports. (Seattle Times)

First Nation places ads in Texas newspaper shaming company for tugboat fuel spill
Residents of Houston, Texas had likely never heard of the Heiltsuk Nation until they read their morning paper Thursday. The First Nation, located on B.C.'s Central Coast, placed ads in the Houston Chronicle shaming Houston-based Kirby Offshore Marine Corp. after the company pleaded guilty to a fuel spill from a tugboat that sank in Heiltsuk fishing territories in October 2016. Kirby Corp. was fined $2.9 million in penalties on Tuesday in provincial court, but the nation has also filed a civil suit and launched a public relations campaign that included the ads on Kirby's home turf. Bridgette Watson reports. (CBC) See also: ‘We’re in a state of emergency,’ Lummi Nation secretary says of dispute with Canada  The Lummi Nation announced in a press release Thursday, July 18, that it has requested a meeting with Candian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss an international dispute over Canadian projects Lummi says is harming its territory in the Salish Sea. David Rasbach reports. (Bellingham Herald)

World experienced hottest June on record in 2019, says US agency
The world experienced its hottest June on record last month, with an average temperature worldwide of 61.6F (16.4C), according to new data. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the average global temperature was 1.7F warmer than the 20th Century average. The heat was most notable in parts of Europe, Russia, Canada and South America, it said. (BBC)

40,000 tiny toads on the move in annual Whistler migration
An annual migration involving tens of thousands of creatures is underway in Whistler, B.C., but observers could miss it if they don’t look down. Up to 40,000 tiny western toadlets are climbing out of Whistler’s Lost Lake where they hatched as tadpoles and are moving into the surrounding forest. The dime-sized toads, which are native to British Columbia and listed as a species of special concern, grow to full size in wooded areas before returning to the lake to breed. (Canadian Press) See also: Bear sightings on the rise in the Lower Mainland, officials say  (CBC)

E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems
The Trump administration took a major step to weaken the regulation of toxic chemicals on Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not ban a widely used pesticide that its own experts have linked to serious health problems in children. The decision by Andrew R. Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, represents a victory for the chemical industry and for farmers who have lobbied to continue using the substance, chlorpyrifos, arguing it is necessary to protect crops. Lisa Friedman reports. (NY Times)

Seattle senator who angered ag tours farms 
State Sen. Rebecca Saldana, who has introduced bills reviled by farm groups, toured Lewis County farms Wednesday and asked a dairyman what policymakers could do for him. Ross McMahan didn't hesitate. "I don't feel as policymakers you can do anything. The marketplace is bigger than all of us," he said. As Saldana and others on the tour left his milking barn, McMahan said he hoped they took away "some understanding of the position we're in." "We have to be able to succeed on our own and not by them helping us," he said. Later, Saldana talked about her reaction to McMahan's answer. "I'm like, 'That's an honest thing,'" she said. But as for government not intervening as a rule, Saldana said, "I'm definitely not someone willing for that to be the truth." Saldana, a Seattle Democrat, was one of five state lawmakers who accepted an invitation from the Lewis County Farm Bureau to spend several hours on a bus and visit four farms. Don Jenkins reports. (Capital Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  257 AM PDT Fri Jul 19 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the  morning. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  5 ft at 9 seconds. 
 NW wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at  9 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 9 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

7/18 Tomcod, orcas, B'ham Bay cleanup, parasites, blocked Fraser, vineyard snail, pay-per-mile, BC old growth, train fire, Strait swim

Pacific tomcod [John Merck]
Pacific tomcod Microgadus proximus
Pacific tomcod can be found from the Bering Sea to Pt. Sal, California. They are a schooling fish that live on or near soft bottoms of mud, silt or find sand. As adults Pacific tomcod are found at water depths of 27 to 219 m (90-720 ft). Caught incidentally in the commercial fishery off the Washington coast with otter-trawls. Rarely caught by recreational harvesters in Puget Sound. Pacific tomcod can grow up to 30 cm (12 in) in length. (WDFW)

Killer collapse
For the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, killer whales are traditionally seen as messengers from the other side, appearing in B.C.'s Burrard Inlet just before the death of an important leader. The Lummi people of Washington state call them “Qwe ‘lhol mechen,” roughly translated to “our relations below the waves.” But this deep cultural significance is just one reason members of both Nations are alarmed by the current troubles facing the southern resident orca population, which seems to be struggling to find enough food. They also worry that the loss of these beloved whales could signal a downward spiral for marine ecosystems along the West Coast. Beth Lindsay reports. (CBC) See also: Salish Sea Orcas are going elsewhere for fish  It looks like endangered Orcas that reside around Puget Sound… may be residing somewhere else. Anna Boiko-Weyrauch reports. (KUOW) And: Inslee visits Whale Trail site  Gov. Jay Inslee visited a new site Wednesday along what is known as The Whale Trail when he made a stop at West Beach in Deception Pass State Park. The trail has about 100 sites from British Columbia to Southern California.(Skagit Valley Herald)

State accepting public comment on central waterfront cleanup plan in Bellingham
It’s been more than a dozen years since the Georgia Pacific pulp mill on Bellingham’s waterfront shut down and the local port district took ownership of 137 heavily polluted acres. Residents recently got a chance to tour the central waterfront parcel and learn about a new cleanup plan that they hope will ultimately lead to revitalization. Near the railroad tracks, not far from Bellingham Bay, a couple dozen people gathered on a paved lot to see what the City of Bellingham and its port are doing to clean up more than 100 years' worth of pollution. Right now, it appears not much is happening around this site, geographically at the heart of the waterfront. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

'Packed full of worms': Parasites wriggling in fish no cause for panic, experts say
Cassandra Coates is still squirming with disgust after pulling dozens of tiny white wriggling worms from a raw fillet of wild sockeye salmon.... Coates, who purchased the fillet from Save-On-Foods in south Edmonton on Saturday, complained to store management and posted a video to social media showing her pulling dozens of the worms out with a fork.... But experts say the worms are unwittingly eaten by plenty of seafood lovers and only pose a health risk if alive.  The parasites, anisakid nematodes, sometimes called herring worms or cod worms, are among the most common parasites found in fish and the majority of wild salmon are infected, said Michael G√§nzle, Canada Research Chair in food microbiology and probiotics at the University of Alberta. Data cited by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control suggests 75 per cent of wild Pacific salmon are infected with the parasite. (CBC)

'We're losing time': Tl'azt'en First Nation very concerned about rock slide blocking salmon run
A rock slide blocking a narrow part of Fraser River just west of Clinton, about 100 kilometres northwest of Kamloops, has members of the Tl'azt'en First Nation very concerned that salmon that are already endangered won't be able to migrate to Northern B.C. this summer. The province discovered the rock slide late June and has since been trying to decide on a solution to help get the salmon past the blocked area in the river. So far, rock scalers have been working on stabilizing the area above the slide, but no concrete plan on how to move the salmon past the obstruction has been announced. Dominika Lirette reports. (CBC)

Fighting invasive snail a slow go for Port of Tacoma
The Port of Tacoma has been waging a slow war against (wait for it) a snail for more than a decade. Somehow, the Mediterranean vineyard snail found its way from Europe to the port. Since 2006, port and agriculture officials have been trying to make sure this slow-moving but fast-reproducing invader doesn't spread and threaten Washington crops and exports. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Washington drivers might be charged by the mile to make up for lagging gas-tax revenue
Washington state would move toward replacing the gas tax with a pay-per-mile system under a proposal the state Transportation Commission is expected to vote on late this year. The commission expects to receive a report in October from a panel that has studied the new type of tax. The time line calls for commission members to debate the details and vote Dec. 17 on its recommendations to the Legislature, which convenes on Jan. 13, 2020. It’s too early to say how the commission will vote, said chairman Jerry Litt. He said he expects many state residents would pay more under a pay-per-mile tax, which the state calls a “road usage charge.” James Drew reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Dozens of B.C.'s largest old-growth trees now on the protection list
The British Columbia government is protecting 54 of the province's largest and oldest trees along with a one-hectare buffer zone surrounding each of the giants. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson says the announcement is also the start of a broader conversation about the future of old-growth management in the province. The trees are on the University of B.C.'s Big Tree Registry that has identified 347 of the largest of each species in the province. (Canadian Press)

For the second time this year, a passing train started fires along Highways 9 and 12
A train started six small fires along a 2-mile stretch of railroad tracks near Old Highway 9 and Highway 12 Tuesday, according to the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. It’s the second occurrence of its kind along that stretch so far this year. A similar incident occurred on April 30, when fire was reported in six places along tracks in the same general area. In April, wind spread the fire and it reached about 3 acres. This time, Fire Chief Russ Kaleiwahea told The Olympian each “spot fire” was roughly 100-feet-by-100-feet or smaller. He said one tree ignited, but firefighters from his department and the state Department of Natural Resources extinguished the fires before they caused any damage to structures. Sara Gentzler reports. (Olympian)

Swimmer to attempt long route across Strait 
A Port Angeles native aims to be the 14th known person to have swum across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Rob DeCou, an ultra-endurance athlete now living in Los Angeles, plans to swim more than 18 miles across the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Saturday, starting at the Dungeness Spit and ending at Ogden Point in Victoria. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  259 AM PDT Thu Jul 18 2019  
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 7 ft at 13 seconds. A slight  chance of showers. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6  ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of showers.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

7/17 Bee, Vic sewer, tug spill, heat wave, plastic ban, Roundup, Trump's EPA, BC volcano, Fraser rockslide

Honey bee [WSU]
Honey bee Apis mellifera
Honey bees collect pollen from many different plant groups. Over a season, honey bees may visit upwards of 90 different plant groups. Some of the most frequently visited are smartweed, sunflower, white clover, squash, borage, tomatillo, oregano, cilantro, and sow thistle. (A Field Guide to Common Puget Sound Native Bees/WSU)

Operating costs rise by millions for new sewage treatment plant: staff report
Costs to operate and maintain the Capital Regional District’s new sewage treatment project will be millions of dollars a year more than originally forecast, CRD directors are being told. The approved budget for operation and maintenance costs for 2021, including sewage treatment plant operations, residuals treatment, capital costs, debt servicing and asset replacement/maintenance reserves is $40 million.  But a report going to the CRD’s sewage committee has increased that estimate to $42.7 million — a seven per cent increase. That seven per cent would be closer to 12 per cent, except the operating budget proposes deferring a $2-million annual allocation to an asset replacement reserve. Bill Cleverly reports. (Times Colonist)

U.S. company fined nearly $3M for 2016 fuel spill in B.C. First Nation's fishing territory
A Texas-based company has been fined over $2.9 million in penalties after pleading guilty to a diesel spill from a tugboat that ran aground and sank in a First Nation's fishing territory on B.C.'s Central Coast. The decision against Kirby Offshore Marine Corp. was handed down Tuesday in Bella Bella, B.C. The Nathan E. Stewart tugboat spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016. Last year the Transportation Safety Board found that a crew member missed a planned course change because he fell asleep while alone on watch. (CBC)

Widespread, dangerous heat wave to expand across much of the U.S.
A stifling heat wave has begun to take shape across large portions of the United States, with millions likely to see temperatures creep toward the century mark, along with even higher heat indexes by this weekend. The heat wave is already generating excessive heat watches in the central United States, and by Wednesday the national weather map is likely to feature a blanket of heat advisories from the National Weather Service. The combination of sultry dew points and scorching air temperatures approaching will help make this event a dangerous one from a public health perspective. Cities including Chicago, St. Louis, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Nashville and Kansas City, Mo., are likely to see at least three days with temperatures between 95 degrees and 100 degrees, along with dew points — a measure of the amount of moisture in the air — above 70 degrees. Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow report. (Washington Post)

Majority of Canadians support a ban on single-use plastics: poll
Canadians are heavily in favour of a ban on single-use plastics such as cutlery and straws, and most would be willing to pay a small premium for environmentally sustainable products, a new Nanos Research survey has found. Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government announced a plan to regulate plastic waste as part of a national strategy to limit the amount of plastics that are polluting Canada’s environment. Janice Dickson reports. (Canadian Press)

Judge Reduces $80M Award In Roundup Case; Cancer Patient, Monsanto Both Consider Appeal
A federal judge in San Francisco on Monday reduced an $80 million award levied against Monsanto Co. to $25 million for a Sonoma County man who claimed the company’s Roundup weedkiller caused his non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria upheld a jury award of approximately $5 million in compensatory damages to Edwin Hardeman, 70, of Santa Rosa, but said guidelines set by the U.S. Supreme Court required him to reduce the jury’s $75 million in punitive damages to $20 million.... Chhabria said a punitive award is appropriate because evidence at the trial “easily supported a conclusion that Monsanto was more concerned with tamping down safety inquiries and manipulating public opinion than it was with ensuring its product is safe.” The judge said there is evidence on both sides as to whether or not glyphosate, the main ingredient of Roundup, causes cancer, but Monsanto’s behavior showed “a lack of concern about the risk that its product might be carcinogenic.”

E.P.A. Plans to Curtail the Ability of Communities to Oppose Pollution Permits
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to weaken rules that for the past quarter-century have given communities a voice in deciding how much pollution may legally be released by nearby power plants and factories. The changes would eliminate the ability of individuals or community advocates to appeal against E.P.A.-issued pollution permits before a panel of agency judges. However, the industrial permit-holders could still appeal to the panel, known as the Environmental Appeals Board, to allow them to increase their pollution. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Canada's biggest underwater volcano is just off B.C.'s coast — and scientists are finding new species there
Canada's largest underwater volcano is off the coast of British Columbia and, over the next two weeks, a team of national scientists will be doing a deep-sea exploration mission of the area.  The team from Fisheries and Oceans Canada set off Monday on the deep-ocean journey to research the Explorer Seamount ⁠— an underwater mountain west of Vancouver Island. "The biodiversity and the abundance of life we see there is much like a tropical rainforest, except you just replace the birds with fish and the grizzly bears with a shark," said Cherisse Du Preez, a deep-sea marine ecologist. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

Rock scalers making 'considerable progress' clearing area above Fraser River rock slide
Rock scalers are making "considerable progress" stabilizing the area above a rock slide that is blocking a narrow part of the Fraser River, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. The slide, which happened in a remote area west of Clinton — about 100 kilometres northwest of Kamloops — has created a five-metre waterfall. It has been blocking salmon from migrating upstream and spawning since late June, grabbing the attention of provincial and federal politicians. According to a written statement from the ministry, rock scalers removed about 20 dump trucks worth of material from the rock face between July 4 and July 11. (CBC)

Florida's Corals Are Dying Off, But It's Not All Due To Climate Change, Study Says
Brian Lapointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, has spent his career studying corals at the Looe Key Reef, in a National Marine Sanctuary in the Florida Keys. Over that time, he’s witnessed an alarming trend. In the past 20 year, half of Florida corals have died off... Lapointe is lead author on a new paper in the journal Marine Biology. It analyzes 30 years of data he’s collected. When he started his research, in 1984, coral covered 33% of the Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation area, 5.3 square nautical miles of protected ocean at the southern tip of the Florida Keys. By 2014, the coral cover had dropped to just 5%. But the news may not be entirely bad. Lapointe thought his study would show that warming temperatures were killing off corals. Instead, the data show that the coral’s biggest problem has been another human source: nitrogen. Pien Huang reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  256 AM PDT Wed Jul 17 2019   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 4 ft at 18 seconds. Rain. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 5 ft at 18 seconds  building to 7 ft at 14 seconds after midnight. A slight chance of  rain in the evening then a chance of showers after midnight.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told