Friday, October 4, 2019

10/4 Mountain ash, rockfish, Cheri Scalf, distressed animals, microplastics, PacifiCorp coal, oil by rail rule, Sandy Bendixen, Blanchard Mtn, sea turtle rescue, ocean trash boom, Trump's California feud, tuna, coffee

Sitka mountain ash [Fraser Valley Conservancy]
Sitka Mountain Ash Sorbus sitchensis
There are about 100-200 species of Sorbus in the Northern Hemisphere.  The genus Sorbus includes, Mountain Ashes (also known as Rowans), Whitebeams, and Service Trees.  True Ashes belong to the unrelated genus, Fraxinus.  The word Rowan is thought to be from a Norse word for tree, or a Germanic word meaning “getting red,” referring to its fall foliage color and berries.  Rowans were important trees in Celtic mythology; the wood was used for Druid’s staffs, magic wands and dowsing rods. (Native Plants PNW)

West Coast Rockfish Boom with the Blob
The high temperatures that came with the marine heatwave known as the Blob led to unprecedented mixing of local and subtropical species. There were, often with new and unpredictable outcomes. Out of that mix came one unexpected winner: West Coast rockfish. These bottom-dwelling species, which that had previously collapsed in the face of overfishing during the 2000s, thrived under the new conditions. Scientists from Oregon State University and NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center recount the boom in young rockfish in a new research paper in the journal Fisheries. It examines the effects of the Blob as documented by NOAA Fisheries offshore surveys. Scientists have been conducting the surveys for more than 20 years. The Blob years brought some of the most dramatic changes in marine life off the West Coast they’ve ever seen. (NOAA Fisheries)

‘Salmon godmother’ earns environmental award
Cheri Scalf has always been curious about nature, but she didn’t realize the endangered nature of salmon until she reached adulthood. When she learned about Salmon Creek and the watershed that flows directly to Discovery Bay, Scalf wanted to do something about it. That was in 1992. Today, Scalf is known to many as the “godmother of salmon,” a leader in volunteer salmon monitoring and restoration projects, said Sarah Doyle, the North Olympic Salmon Coalition stewardship coordinator. Scalf was honored Thursday with the 15th Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award during the Port Townsend Marine Science Center’s annual stewardship breakfast at The Commons at Fort Worden. Brian McLean reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Animals in distress alarm B.C. climate-change watchers
Photos of emaciated grizzly bears and the rescue of a distressed tropical turtle off B.C.’s coast have ocean watchers worried about the damage climate change is doing to local ecosystems. Rolf Hicker, a wildlife photographer and tour guide based in Port McNeill for the past two decades, recently posted photos to Facebook which show a malnourished grizzly sow with two cubs along the shore of Knight Inlet. The disturbing images were shared around the globe. Bicker said he’d never seen a grizzly in such dire shape. He is concerned they are suffering from the effects of climate change, particularly poor runs for salmon, a critical food source for the bears. Nick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

San Francisco microplastics study shows car tires biggest likely source
Driving is not just an air pollution and climate change problem — turns out, it just might be the largest contributor of microplastics in California coastal waters. That is one of many new findings, released Wednesday, from the most comprehensive study to date on microplastics in California. Rainfall washes more than 7 trillion pieces of microplastics, much of it tire particles left behind on streets, into San Francisco Bay each year — an amount 300 times greater than what comes from microfibers washing off polyester clothes, microbeads from beauty products and the many other plastics washing down our sinks and sewers. Rosanna Xia reports. (LA Times) See also: Plastic with your seafood? Same question goes for otters and orcas Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Portland-Based PacifiCorp Releases Plan To Cut Coal Power And Add Renewables
On Thursday, PacifiCorp released a 20-year power plan that cuts back on coal and adds renewable wind and solar energy. The Portland-based utility serves 1.9 million customers across six western states, including Oregon and Washington, and right now more than half of its power comes from coal. Environmental groups have been pressing PacifiCorp for years to close more of its coal plants sooner and speed up its transition to renewable energy. But leaders in states like Wyoming, where the utility’s coal plants are stationed, say the company would be hurting local economies and betraying their trust by closing coal plants early. The investor-owned utility is planning to shutter more than 75% of its coal fleet by 2038, cutting nearly 4,500 megawatts of coal-fired power at multiple plants in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Idaho and Utah. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

Refineries push back against Washington crude-by-rail law; IMO 2020 cited
n a letter to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) filed as part of a long series of comments by many made to the federal agency, Phillips 66, a leading refiner, brings up the impact on IMO 2020 if a Washington state law on crude by rail is allowed to stand. The Washington law, SB5579, which went into effect earlier this year, limits crude oil by rail deliveries into the refineries around Puget Sound through both a cap on off-loadings from existing facilities and limits on a technical specification known as Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP). The RVP limit is written to clearly target shipments of crude oil from the Bakken field of North Dakota and Montana by rail into Washington...By restricting offloadings of rail cars and sticking an RVP limitation on crude-by-rail that is aimed at Bakken crude oil, “Phillips 66 has drastically reduced the scheduled deliveries of crude oil to be unloaded at the Ferndale refinery rail rack for the remainder of the year,” Phillips 66 said in its letter to PHMSA...The problem then is that since meeting IMO 2020 regulations is a top priority for refiners as the oil market approaches the January 1 launch date, what replaces the shipments of crude oil by rail into Washington refineries? And that’s where Phillips 66 says that environmentally, the solution to that question will be worse than what advocates of the Washington law sought in the law’s  passage. John Kingston reports. (FreightWaves)

Sandy Bendixen’s cool job piloting massive vessels in Puget Sound 
Meet Sandy Bendixen, a marine pilot who boards large ships navigating Puget Sound, directing their captains and moving their massive ships in precise ways to ensure the vessels’ safe passage. At 37, Bendixen is one of the youngest pilots on the job — and the state’s first female pilot. Michelle Archer reports. (Seattle Times)

Final land transfer to preserve Blanchard Mountain approved
With state Board of Natural Resources approval of a land transfer Tuesday, the long-sought conservation of recreation areas on Blanchard Mountain became official. The final steps toward conserving the 1,600-acre area called the Blanchard Core — where popular trails, campgrounds and lakes are found — are being paid for with $10 million allocated by the state Legislature in 2018. That money is allowing the state Department of Natural Resources to make a one-time payment of $9.2 million to the fund that supports school construction statewide and use $626,000 to purchase forest lands to be managed by Natural Resources for timber revenue. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Rare tropical sea turtle rescued in waters near Port Alberni
A rare tropical sea turtle is now recovering from a dangerously low body temperature after being rescued in the chilly waters near Port Alberni earlier this week. The male olive Ridley sea turtle was found by passersby in the Vancouver Island community Sept. 30 and transferred by officials to the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (MMRC), where it remains in recovery under constant watch. The turtle, now named Berni, is gradually being exposed to warmer temperatures...The male turtle, which weighs 26.9 kilograms, registered a dangerously low body temperature of 11 C when it was rescued, compared with the species’ usual temperature of more than 20 degrees. Stephanie Ip reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Ocean cleaning boom between California and Hawaii is now working, Dutch inventor says
After a series of setbacks, a system for catching plastic floating in the Pacific between California and Hawaii is now working, its Dutch inventor said today. Boyan Slat, a university dropout who founded The Ocean Cleanup nonprofit, announced that the floating boom is skimming up waste ranging in size from a discarded net and a car wheel complete with tire to chips of plastic measuring just 1 millimeter. The results are promising enough to begin designing a second system to send to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of floating plastic trash twice the size of Texas, Slat said. (Associated Press)

A ‘Chilling Message’: Trump Critics See a Deeper Agenda in California Feud
President Trump’s political feud with California has spread collateral damage across more than a dozen other states, which have seen their regulatory authority curtailed and their autonomy threatened by a Trump administration intent on weakening the environmental statutes of the country’s most populous state. When the administration last month revoked California’s authority to set state-level standards on climate-warming tailpipe emissions, it simultaneously stripped that power from 13 other states that follow California’s standards and ensured that no other state could set fuel-efficiency standards in the future. The Environmental Protection Agency last week followed up with letters to California that threatened to wield rarely used provisions of environmental law to withhold federal funding from the state if it did not take specific steps to clean its air and water. Coral Davenport report. (NY Times)

Mechanical trouble stalls train in Mount Vernon for few hour
A BNSF Railways train stopped on its tracks through Mount Vernon for about two hours Thursday morning snarled traffic across several major roads and caused backups on Interstate 5. Mount Vernon police Lt. Greg Booth said the southbound train's engine was stalled just south of Fir Street, leaving Fir Street, Riverside Drive, East College Way and Hoag Road blocked. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

We're Pulling Tuna Out Of The Ocean At Unprecedented — And Unsustainable — Rates
If you’re in the mood for a tuna poke bowl or an old-school tuna ni├žoise salad, here’s a tip: Don’t hit up the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland. It has been nearly six years since chef Jonathon Sawyer became a “tuna evangelist” after attending a meeting of like-minded chefs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was there that he made the decision to forgo tuna — both in his personal life and on the menus at all four of his restaurants. Clare Leschin-Hoar reports. (NPR)

What Your Coffee Says About Your Politics
Partisan divide creates different Americas, separate lives.  Robert B. Talisse explains. (Civil Beat)


Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  234 AM PDT Fri Oct 4 2019   
TODAY
 E wind 15 to 20 kt becoming N 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 3 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less in the  afternoon. W swell 5 ft at 11 seconds. A chance of showers. 
TONIGHT
 SW wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  5 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of showers. 
SAT
 SW wind to 10 kt becoming N in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. A chance of showers in  the morning. 
SAT NIGHT
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  3 ft at 11 seconds. 
SUN
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at  11 seconds.



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