Wednesday, September 4, 2019

9/4 Wigeon, BC pipe, sewage nitrogen, climate change plans, Fraser slide, drought, BC forests, killer cats

American Wigeon, male [Lee Barnes]
American Wigeon Anas americana
In the summer, large inland marshes are the preferred habitat of the American Wigeon. During migration and in winter they frequent a variety of freshwater and saltwater wetlands. They are commonly found grazing on land, but also spend more time than other dabbling ducks in deep water. (Seattle Audubon)

Federal Court of Appeal to rule on whether to let pipeline challenges proceed
The Federal Court of Appeal is to reveal today whether a new set of legal challenges to the Trans Mountain pipeline project can proceed. Ottawa has twice approved a plan to twin an existing pipeline from Alberta's oilpatch to the B.C. coast. Last year, the Federal Court of Appeal tore up the original approval, citing both an insufficient environment review and inadequate consultations with Indigenous communities. (Canadian Press)

New permit could address excess-nitrogen threat to Puget Sound
Nitrogen from sewage-treatment plants, along with other nutrient sources, are known to trigger plankton blooms that lead to dangerous low-oxygen conditions in Puget Sound — a phenomenon that has been studied for years. Now state environmental officials are working on a plan that could eventually limit the amount of nitrogen released in sewage effluent. The approach being considered by the Washington Department of Ecology is a “general permit” that could apply to any treatment plant meeting specified conditions. The alternative to a general permit would be to add operational requirements onto existing “individual permits” issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES. The general permit would involve about 70 sewage-treatment plants discharging into Puget Sound. Theoretically, an overall nitrogen limitation would be developed for a given region of the sound. Treatment plant owners could work together to meet that goal, with the owner of one plant paying another to reduce its share of the nutrient load. The idea of a general permit is open for comments and discussion through Oct. 21. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Elizabeth Warren Unveils $3 Trillion Climate Plan, Embracing Inslee’s Goals
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts released an ambitious new climate change plan on Tuesday, embracing goals laid out by a former presidential rival and calling for $3 trillion in spending over a decade to combat human-driven global warming. Ms. Warren made her announcement on the eve of a CNN town-hall-style event on global warming, which 10 top Democrats in the 2020 field are scheduled to attend on Wednesday — the first time in a presidential campaign that the question of what to do about the heating planet has merited its own major forum on prime-time television. Senator Kamala Harris of California is expected to put forth a detailed climate change plan on Wednesday morning, and three other Democratic presidential candidates — Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Juli├ín Castro, the former housing secretary — have also released climate change plans since Sunday. Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman report. (NY Times) See also: Kamala Harris, other 2020 candidates offer climate change plans before CNN event  Chelsea Janes reports. (Washington Post)

'The fish can't get through': Tsilhqot'in issues salmon closure notice after Big Bar landslide
The Tsilhqot'in National Government has issued a salmon closure notice effective immediately due to extremely low levels of sockeye, chinook and coho salmon in the Chilcotin, Chilko and Taseko rivers.  At the beginning of August the Tsilhqoti'in Nation declared a local state of emergency because of a massive obstruction caused by a landslide in the Fraser River north of Lillooet, which is preventing salmon from going upstream. As of this week, just over 200 sockeye and only 26 chinook have been spotted near the spawning ground along the Chilko River, said Randy Billyboy, fisheries manager for the Tsilhqot'in National Government... On Tuesday, the province said salmon stuck at the obstruction point can now be transported upstream by truck after crews completed a successful test run over the weekend. An estimated 28,780 salmon have passed the slide on their own, while nearly 57,000 have been transported by helicopter.  However, the low returns seen by the Tsilhqot'in Nation have been "devastating" for the community, said Billyboy. Dominika Lirette reports. (CBC)

Drought conditions persist as summer winds down
The mostly sunny, 70-degree weather brought many to Skagit County beaches, lakes and riversides to savor the outdoors during the three-day Labor Day weekend. But as summer winds down, drought conditions persist. “We are having some drought impacts,” State Climatologist Nick Bond said during an Aug. 26 meeting about drought in the Pacific Northwest. “It turns out Washington state is in kind of, I think, the worst shape anywhere in the country. We actually have a few pockets of ... severe drought on the west side of the state.” Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Science looks beyond pine beetle to landscape of pests in B.C. forests 
While British Columbia’s timber industry is occupied with the mountain-pine-beetle infestation’s aftermath, forest managers haven’t lost sight of other pest problems looming among the trees in a changing climate. News this summer has been dominated by mill closures and production cuts as companies adjust to timber supplies depleted by the unprecedented infestation that killed off pine trees in up to 18,000 square kilometres of forests. At the same time, the province is closely watching an outbreak of spruce beetles chewing through trees across hundreds of square kilometres of forests to the north and east, Douglas fir beetles are wreaking havoc in Cariboo forests around Williams Lake and 100 Mile House along with other pests such as the spruce bud worm. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

What’s Killing Sea Otters? Scientists Pinpoint Parasite Strain
Many wild southern sea otters in California are infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, yet the infection is fatal for only a fraction of sea otters, which has long puzzled the scientific community. A study from the University of California, Davis, identifies the parasite’s specific strains that are killing southern sea otters, tracing them back to a bobcat and feral domestic cats from nearby watersheds. The study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, marks the first time a genetic link has been clearly established between the Toxoplasma strains in felid hosts and parasites causing fatal disease in marine wildlife. Kat Kerlin reports. (UC Davis)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PDT Wed Sep 4 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 14 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds.

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