Tuesday, September 3, 2019

9/3 Hummy, quake fault, methanol, methane, green crab, Trump's WQ, storm drain art, Canadian sewage, Fraser salmon, Samish chinook, Squamish pinks, Snake sockeye, killing sea lions, orca suit, wetland carbon, Princess Louisa Inlet, BC forests, Skagit biotoxin, wolf meetings

Hummy [Laurie MacBride]
Hummy on Watch
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Anna’s hummingbirds are year round residents at our home on Gabriola Island, providing us with daily entertainment. For months now, “Hummy”, an ever-feisty male, has been making good use of his favorite perch on a tiny branch of the Indian plum tree. He starts his watch around sunrise each day, keeping up a steady barrage of raspy chatter that seems to go on until dark. (Alas, hummers are not exactly the most melodic of singers in the bird world.) Read on...

(9/2) Fault line under Georgia Strait could cause magnitude 6.0 earthquake on Sunshine Coast
A B.C. researcher says he's identified a major fault line under the Strait of Georgia that could one day rupture and trigger a 6.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Vancouver. Reid Merrill, a PhD student at the University of British Columbia, says it could be similar to a 2001 earthquake in the Seattle area that caused up to $4 billion worth of damage. The fault's location near the Sunshine Coast municipality of Sechelt — around 50 kilometres northwest of Vancouver — was pinpointed by analyzing 30 years of data tracking a cluster of quakes to the southwest of Texada Island. Eva Uguen-Csenge reports. (CBC)

(8/30) New Study Says Proposed Kalama Methanol Refinery Will Not Increase Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions
A new report says a proposed methanol refinery in southwest Washington will not impact global greenhouse gas emissions, but local environmentalists worry the report downplays the climate impact in the state. The report released Friday by the Port of Kalama and Cowlitz County examined the plant’s construction, operations and broader environmental impacts, concluding it will not adversely impact global climate change, as the plant would supply Asian markets with less-carbon polluting fuel and mitigate 100% of greenhouse gas emissions that occur in Washington. Monica Samayoa reports. (OPB)

(8/29) E.P.A. to Roll Back Regulations on Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas
The Trump administration laid out on Thursday a far-reaching plan to cut back on the regulation of methane emissions, a major contributor to climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule aims to eliminate federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to detect and fix methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities. It would also reopen the question of whether the E.P.A. had the legal authority to regulate methane as a pollutant. Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport report. (NY Times)

9/3) This hungry crab has been found along Whatcom’s shores. Here’s why we don’t want it here
A hungry invader that poses a threat to the region’s marine life has been found in Whatcom County, most recently in Drayton Harbor where the shell of a European green crab was discovered in August. It’s not the first time one has been found within Whatcom, but scientists, tribes and volunteers are working to keep the non-native pests from making a home here and elsewhere in the state’s saltwater shorelines. Three live crabs were found in a trap in Chuckanut Bay in July, and the remains of one were found in Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham in May, marking the first confirmation of the invasive species’ presence in Whatcom County, according to Washington Sea Grant at the University of Washington. Kim Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

(8/30) Proposed EPA Rules Could Limit State And Tribal Power To Block Infrastructure Projects
The Trump administration is proposing new rules that would limit state and tribal power to block projects that they deem harmful to water quality. The rules specifically would restrict these non-federal governments’ authority to review the water quality impacts of projects that require a federal permit or license. These projects range from pipelines to hydropower facilities to dredging — any development that result in “discharge” into U.S. waters. Jes Burns reports. (OPB)

(8/30) Artists adorn Keyport storm drains with clean water murals
A mighty, giant red octopus swirls its tentacles, one of which grasps a key, looming over a storm drain. Nearby, dozens of colorful fish circle a drain cover, and orcas swim around a pair of drains. On another street, a seagull emblazoned on a sidewalk overlooking a watery scene and another stormwater grate pleads, “Please!! Keep it clean!” Five local artists made quiet streets in Keyport their canvases last week, painting up hard-to-miss, colorful reminders about keeping what goes into those storm drains clean and keeping pollutants out of the water. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

(9/1) Cities urge federal leaders to wade into wastewater debate
In Canada's largest city, raw sewage flows into Lake Ontario so often, Toronto tells people they should never swim off the city's beaches for least two days after it rains. Across the country in Mission, B.C., a three-decade-old pipe that carries sewage under the Fraser River to a treatment plant in Abbotsford is so loaded operators can't even slip a camera inside it to look for damage. If that pipe bursts, it will dump 11 million litres of putrid water from area homes and businesses into a critical salmon habitat every day it isn't fixed. While climate change is dominating the environmental conversations leading into the federal election campaign, politicians who show plans to stop the dumping of toxic, feces-laden sludge into Canada's waterways will be very welcome, particularly by the municipal governments for whom the problem is a daily fight.

(9/3) B.C. salmon can be transported over Fraser River landslide by truck
The B.C. government says salmon stuck at a massive landslide on the Fraser River north of Lilooet can now be transported upstream by truck, as crews conducted a successful trial run on Sunday. The province says rock scalers have also moved two large boulders as part of ongoing efforts to create a natural passage for fish to swim past the slide on their way to spawning grounds. To date, an estimated 28,780 salmon have passed the slide on their own, while nearly 57,000 have been transported by helicopter. (Canadian Press)

(10/30) Samish River chinook, Skagit River coho bring fishing opportunities
Skagit River pink salmon aren’t returning in numbers strong enough for a marine or river fishery, the Baker Lake sockeye return was lower than expected and several other local salmon runs are forecast to be too low for fisheries this year. Yet in the area there are still some opportunities for fishermen underway and on the horizon. Anglers are beginning to catch Samish River chinook in a fishery open between the mouth of the river and Interstate 5, and a Skagit River coho fishery will open Sunday. On the Samish, two hatchery chinook may be kept per day. Wild salmon must be released. That fishery opened Aug. 1, but fish only recently began returning in numbers, drawing anglers to the river’s banks. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

(9/2) Squamish River pink salmon fishery should be closed, say local conservationists
A mid-August decision to limit pink salmon fishing to catch-and-release only on the Squamish River should have happened much earlier, say local environmentalists. "We're watching the extinction of Pacific salmon, but our regulating bodies aren't doing the assessments or collecting the data needed to prove it," said Francesca Knight, president of the Squamish River Watershed Society. "Our pink fisheries have been struggling since 2015, and as predicted, this year's run has been a disaster." Alastair Spriggs reports. (CBC)

(8/29) Snake River sockeye salmon from Springfield hatchery returns 
The first Snake River sockeye salmon raised in a $14 million hatchery that opened in 2013 returned to the Sawtooth Valley on Wednesday. A sockeye that was placed in Redfish Lake Creek in the spring of 2017 from the Springfield Fish Hatchery in eastern Idaho returned this week after living two years in the Pacific Ocean. Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists solved a three-year mystery in 2017 why hundreds of thousands of sockeye were released from the hatchery and no fish returned from the Pacific. They watched thousands of the 230,000 salmon smolts released that spring die immediately from shock. Then biologists discovered the young salmon smolts had been dying after their release because of stress caused by its different water chemistry. Rocky Barker reports. (Idaho Statesman)

(8/29) Public Can Comment On Killing Sea Lions In The Columbia River
Three Northwest states’ request to lethally remove sea lions from the Columbia River is now open for public comment. This comes after state fish and wildlife agencies in Oregon, Washington and Idaho applied for federal authorization to kill California sea lions and Steller sea lions that are preying on salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River.... A study by the National Marine Fisheries Service found sea lions were eating between 20% and 43% of the spring chinook run of salmon on the Columbia River. Monica Samayoa reports. (NPR)

(9/1) Freighter traffic frustrates Gulf Islands residents
Jeff Tarris was thrilled to be able to see the sunrise from his Gulf Island home on Thursday because he is used to having a freighter parked directly in his sightline. Tarris, who has lived on South Pender Island for 16 years, says freighter traffic in Plumper Sound has ramped up in recent years and is negatively affecting the quality of life for locals. Tarris told CBC's The Early Edition in a phone interview that freighters can pull in to anchor and unload cargo onto barges at anytime of day or night — and they make a tremendous amount of noise when they do. (CBC)

(9/1) Companies wary of latest boat traffic lawsuit over orcas
Legal battles over regulating boat traffic in an effort to protect endangered Southern Resident orca whales continue, and local companies and nonprofits say the latest lawsuit is misguided. The litigation involves a proposal to regulate primarily fishing and whale watching boats in an area west of San Juan Island. Representatives of each say the proposal wouldn’t help the whales because whale-watching boats voluntarily avoid the area, fishing boats are present for a short period each year, and researchers rely heavily on reports and photos of the orcas provided by naturalists aboard whale watch tours. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

(9/1) Study shows wetland restoration increases carbon accumulation
Framed by tall grasses and patches of cattails, John Rybczyk and Katrina Poppe pulled a white tube from the ground Monday and pushed a nearly-black cylinder of mud and roots from its bottom. The two Western Washington University researchers, who specialize in studying estuaries, were showing how they gathered salt marsh sediment from throughout The Nature Conservancy’s Port Susan Bay Preserve in 2016. After collecting dozens of such samples — called core samples — up to a meter long and analyzing how much carbon they contained, the researchers concluded in a report this year that the portion of the preserve restored to the tides in 2012 is excelling at preserving carbon. In fact, the roughly 150 acres is locking up carbon twice as fast as marshes outside the restored area.

(8/30) Australia Says Great Barrier Reef Has 'Very Poor' Outlook, Climate Change To Blame
A major Australian government report is warning that the time to take action to protect the Great Barrier Reef's long-term future is now. The Australian federal government says the overall outlook of the reef to "very poor," a downgrade from the "poor" grade assigned to the reef in 2014, the last time Australia released this type of report.... The biggest threats to the reef remain the same as in 2014: climate change, runoff from the land, coastal development and some kinds of fishing. Merritt Kennedy reports. (NPR)

(8/30) Crowdfunding campaign raises $3 million to protect Princess Louisa Inlet property
The fundraising campaign to buy a swath of remote coastal wilderness on the Sunshine Coast has been a success. The B.C. Parks Foundation, an independent charity that works with B.C. Parks, was able to raise $3 million to buy 800 hectares in Princess Louisa Inlet from a private seller. The inlet is about 100 kilometres northwest of Vancouver. The last amount of the money needed came in at the last minute, right on Tuesday's deadline. (CBC)

(8/29) British Columbia’s 'irreplaceable' forest could disappear after decades of clear-cut logging
An ancient rain forest, nestled at the northern edge of the Rocky Mountains, has flourished for thousands of years. But this isn’t just any forest. Towering with western red cedars, western hemlock, spruce and subalpine fir, British Columbia’s inland temperate rain forest has all the hallmarks of a coastal rain forest, yet it is nearly 1,000 km (621 miles) inland. It’s one of the rarest ecosystems on the planet. Stretching for more than 200,000 hectares along the Upper Fraser Watershed, this diverse and ecologically sensitive forest is home to a vast array of flora and fauna. The interior cedar hemlock ecozone is not only home to thousand-year-old western red cedars, but also mountain hemlock, Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir. These damp, surprisingly lush forests support habitat for black bears, grizzlies, wolverines, pileated woodpeckers, owls and many other animal species. But this trove of biodiversity that few people know about is now under threat from recent clear-cut logging. Daniel Mesec reports. (Crosscut)

(8/29) Biotoxin closes shellfish harvest throughout Skagit County
Due to the growing presence of a marine biotoxin, shellfish harvesting is closed throughout Skagit County. Skagit County Public Health announced Thursday a closure to recreational shellfish harvesting due to potentially dangerous levels of the biotoxin found in shellfish samples taken from area beaches. On Wednesday, the state Department of Health closed all commercial shellfish harvesting in Samish Bay. The commercial harvesting of geoduck clams has been closed since the last week of July. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

(8/29) Fearing violence, officials cancel public meetings on managing Washington wolf packs
State officials have canceled a series of public meetings about possible changes to the state’s wolf-management policy, citing fear of violence. The Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife had planned 14 public meetings from Spokane to Montesano to kick off a yearslong process of creating a new wolf-management policy, once wolves are no longer protected under the state and federal endangered species acts. Instead, the department is hosting online webinars. The dates have not yet been announced. Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  251 AM PDT Tue Sep 3 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 3 ft at 19 seconds building to 5 ft at  17 seconds in the afternoon. A slight chance of rain in the  morning. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 6 ft at 15 seconds.

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

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