Monday, August 5, 2019

8/5 Newt, Mt Polley mine, overfished list, Port Renfrew, Alcoa air, big melt, sewage woes

Rough-skin newt [UICN red list]
Rough-skin newt Taricha granulosa
The rough-skin newt is found along the Pacific coast of North America, with a range extending from Santa Cruz County, California, south of San Francisco Bay, into southeastern Alaska north to Juneau. Within this range, it is found at elevations from sea-level to 2743 m, or 9000 ft, and is found on many islands off the coast, including Vancouver Island... Little is known about the longevity of T. granulosa, but marked specimens have been recaptured after 17-18 years... Because of the extreme toxicity of rough-skinned newts, they have only one known predator, common garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis), which seem to be immune to tetrodotoxin. (Animal Diversity Web)

Mount Polley mine disaster five years later; emotions, accountability unresolved
People are swimming and fishing in Quesnel Lake five years after the largest environmental mining disaster in Canadian history, but residents of Likely, B.C., are still struggling with unresolved emotions about what happened and who will be held accountable for the dam collapse at the Mount Polley mine. A five-year deadline for federal Fisheries Act charges expired Sunday, while the possibility of other charges under the same act remains with no timeline for a decision. British Columbia missed the three-year deadline to proceed with charges under both the province's Environmental Management Act and Mines Act. Dirk Meissner reports. (Canadian Press)

NOAA adds to overfished list
Changes in the environment, including warming waters, are prompting the U.S. government to add eight populations of fish — including three populations of coho salmon in Washington state — to its federal overfished list, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. The annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries issued Friday said two populations of chinook salmon, including those in the Columbia River basin, and three populations of coho salmon — in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, off the Washington coast near Queets and near Snohomish in Puget Sound — will be added to the list. The agency is also adding Atlantic big eye tuna, Atlantic mackerel of the Gulf of Maine and Cape Hatteras and blue king crab of Saint Matthew Island, Alaska, to the list.  (Associated Press)

Port Renfrew looks to reinvent itself in the wake of tough fishing restrictions
.... In April, after most spring and summer fishing charter and local accommodation bookings had been made, Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced sweeping restrictions to commercial and recreational chinook salmon fisheries around B.C.’s south coast due to plummeting stocks...  The changes mean that chinook caught this summer must be released and the total annual limit has been reduced from 30 to 10 chinook per person. The commercial chinook fishery is also closed until Aug. 20. It typically opens in June. The restrictions are part of a federal government effort to reverse drastic declines in Fraser River chinook populations and make more fish available for endangered southern resident killer whales, whose preferred diet is chinook. But they have left Port Renfrew, a village of 150, struggling to reinvent itself after earning a reputation as the fishing capital of southern Vancouver Island, with “some of the best salmon and halibut fishing in North America,” according to the town’s website. Judith Lavoie reports. (The Narwhal)

Alcoa, Ecology agree on plan to comply with new air quality standards
Alcoa’s aluminum smelter near Ferndale is on track to install equipment that will meet tougher air quality standards by reducing sulfur dioxide releases by the end of 2022. Following a public comment period Intalco Works and the Washington State Department of Ecology signed off on a plan to install a wet scrubber to reduce emissions of the gas, which is known for a sharp smell and causing breathing and other health issues. According to the agreed order signed July 25, design work is scheduled to begin next year with construction starting in January 2022. It’s scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31, 2022. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Greenland lost 11 billion tons of ice in one day. How does that melt compare to the past?
Greenland has been in the news a bit lately. From Huskies seemingly walking on water, to temperatures soaring to 20℃ above average for the time of year, to predictions of the vast ice sheet being lost entirely, what is going on? At its most simple: ice melts when it gets too warm. Of course, some ice melts every time summer rolls around, but the amount of Arctic ice that melts each summer is growing, and we’re waiting to see whether this turns out to be a record-breaking year for Greenland ice melt. No part of the planet is free from the impacts of human-caused climate change. But Greenland, and the Arctic more generally, is experiencing the impacts particularly severely. Temperatures in the planet’s extreme north are rising twice as fast as the global average. Nerilie Abram reports. (PBS) See also: Russian Land of Permafrost and Mammoths Is Thawing  Neil MacFarquhar reports. (NY Times)

Cumberland to appeal $85,000 fine for sewage troubles
 The Village of Cumberland is planning to appeal an $85,000 fine from the province for problems with its sewage-treatment system — the first fine of its kind for a municipality under the Environmental Management Act. The initial fine was for $185,000, but was pared down after the village noted that it had spent millions of dollars from grant programs to try to deal with the problems.  Sewage from the village is mechanically broken down and then further processed in a pair of sewage ponds before entering Maple Lake Creek. From there, the wastewater flows to the Trent River and then to Baynes Sound. Problems cited by the Ministry of Environment include exceeding maximum flows and not meeting water-quality standards. Too much phosphorous in the outflow is one of the concerns. Jeff Bell reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  259 AM PDT Mon Aug 5 2019   
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 ft at 6 seconds. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 ft at 12 seconds.

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