Thursday, August 24, 2017

8/24 Salmon spill, Bears Ears, seabird suit, eagle raids, EFSEC, food rescue, Brennon resort, Redline Tacoma

Iceberg Pt [Flickr/chimera20007]
Iceberg Point
Dave Tucker in Northwest Geology Field Trips writes: "Iceberg Point protrudes westward from the south end of Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands. The isolated point is part of the San Juan Islands National Monument. The geology consists of young glacial deposits lying above slightly metamorphosed and sheared sandstone and mudstone. The point is a great destination for a part-day hike, with dramatic views across the water, windswept trees, and good rock exposures. You can spend a lot of time looking at details in the rock cliffs…."

Note: Salish Sea News will take a week's break to enjoy the end of summer  and return next Friday. You enjoy, too.

Spill of farmed Atlantic salmon into waters near San Juans bigger than initial estimates
The fish spill from an Atlantic salmon farm near Cypress Island is much bigger than initially thought, after the entire farm was destroyed over the weekend…. The company initially said Saturday that 4,000 to 5,000 of the nearly 2-year-old fish, weighing from 8 to 10 pounds, had escaped several damaged net pens in the farm. The farm held a total of more than 300,000 fish weighing some 3 million pounds. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Are they safe to eat? Debate continues over escaped Atlantic salmon
A Bellingham seafood company and other advocacy groups are warning people not to eat Atlantic salmon that escaped a fish farm Saturday after a net pen collapsed in the San Juan Islands. But the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has declared open season on the non-native salmon to prevent them from entering local rivers, saying the fish are safe to eat. A crew of anglers and videographers with Lummi Island Wild headed to Cypress Island Wednesday morning to document the damage to the Cooke Aquaculture net pens, which the company said held about 305,000 salmon before they collapsed Aug. 19. Jim Donaldson reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: Collapsed fish farm that released thousands of Atlantic salmon had structural problems last month  The Washington state fish farm that collapsed allowing many thousands of Atlantic salmon to escape into the Pacific showed signs of trouble last month, and was slated for upgrades. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC) And also: Cooke Aquaculture's standards questioned after salmon escape near B.C.  Shaina Luck reports. (CBC)

Parts of National Monument in Utah May Lose Federal Protection
Parts of this sprawling region of red-rock canyons, towering mesas and ancient Native American sites in southeastern Utah could lose their strict federal protection as a national monument, under a recommendation that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is expected to issue on Thursday. Shrinking the Bears Ears National Monument and reopening much of the land for possible mining and drilling would be widely seen as a direct blow to former President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy, and the first major test of a century-old conservation law. Julie Turkewitz and Lisa Friedman report. (NY Times) See also: Groups Make Last-Minute Push To Save National Monument Areas   Brady McCombs reports. (Associated Press)

Earthjustice files suit over DOT lights, imperiled seabirds
Conservation groups filed a lawsuit against the state [of Hawaii] today claiming it’s failing to address the harm to imperiled seabirds caused by bright lighting at its facilities in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Earthjustice said in a press release that the state Department of Transportation has failed to address injuries and deaths of three species of seabirds — the threatened Newell’s shearwater and the endangered Hawaiian petrels and band-rumped storm petrels — at state-operated airports and harbors on Kauai, Maui and Lanai. Nina Wu reports. (Star Advertiser)

Eagle raids blamed for sharp drop in Stanley Park heron survival
Biologists searching for the cause of a sharp drop in the survival rate of heron chicks in Stanley Park say the city's booming population of urban eagles may be to blame. Over the past ten years, the number of chicks surviving to the fledgling stage in the colony on the edge of Vancouver's West End has dropped from 258 in 2007 to just 61 this year. Mike Laanela reports. (CBC)

Tensions With Wash. AG May Have Led To EFSEC Chair's Resignation
At a time when the Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council is set to release a decision on the controversial oil terminal planned for Vancouver, the agency will soon be without a leader. Last week, EFSEC chair Bill Lynch announced he would be stepping down from his position at the end of September. Tensions between the council and the Washington Attorney General’s Office could be to blame, according to Lynch’s resignation letter submitted to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Molly Solomon reports.(OPB)

Food in motion: rescuing food - a moral win and a climate win for the planet  
It's no secret that food loss and food waste are big problems. At least 1.3 billion tons of food are lost or wasted every year – at restaurants and markets, in storage, in fields and during transport in industrialized and developed countries alike. Food waste that ends up in the landfill releases methane, a greenhouse gas that's 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. A non-profit in Seattle is doing its part to rescue food for those living on the streets. Last year they rescued over 900,000 pounds of food alone – a moral win and a climate win for the planet. Martha Baskin reports.

Jefferson County awaits final draft paperwork on development proposed in Brinnon
Jefferson County commissioners are awaiting final draft paperwork on the proposed Pleasant Harbor Resort in Brinnon, the county administrator said. The 252-acre resort was proposed in 2006 for Black Point, 2 miles south of Brinnon. The plan has been controversial for the past decade. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Environmental group RedLine Tacoma says it will change its name after charges of racism
Last week, an organizer for the environmental group RedLine Tacoma shared a post to the group’s Facebook page denouncing white supremacy, racism and the violence that had taken place in Charlottesville, Virginia, the previous weekend…. The post didn’t sit well with some members of the Tacoma community, instead stirring up a lingering resentment about the environmental group’s name. Some Tacoma residents, including many people of color, say it evokes a racist, discriminatory past and needs to be changed. Candace Ruud reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  243 AM PDT Thu Aug 24 2017  
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft  at 11 seconds.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5  ft at 10 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, August 23, 2017

8/23 Rough keyhole limpet, Atlantic salmon escape, BC salmon streams, island trash, kelp futures

Rough keyhole limpet [Ivar Dolph/Friends of Skagit Beaches]
Rough Keyhole Limpet Diodora aspera
The Rough Keyhole Limpet lives low on rocky beaches around Puget Sound. Shaped like a tiny volcano, the Limpet shell is 2 to 3 inches long and ridged with a hole in the center. The keyhole, used to eject water and waste, separates this limpet from the so-called "true" limpets, which look similar but whose biology is quite different. This hat-shaped critter is in the class of creatures called "Gastropods," which includes land snails and slugs. Limpets travel on a muscular foot and have a tongue-like "radula" studded with many tiny teeth. With this radula, they graze algae and colonial animals such as bryozoans and crust-like sponges. As the Limpet's front teeth wear out, back ones move up to replace them. (Friends of Skagit Beaches)

Solar eclipse's tides blamed for broken net, up to 305,000 Atlantic salmon dumped into waters near San Juans 
It’s open season on Atlantic salmon as the public is urged to help mop up a salmon spill from an imploded net pen holding 305,000 fish at a Cooke Aquaculture fish farm near Cypress Island. Lummi fishers out for chinook on Sunday near Samish, south of Bellingham Bay, were shocked to pull up the spotted, silvery sided Atlantic salmon — escapees that turned up in their nets again on Monday. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging the public to catch as many of the fish as possible, with no limit on size or number. The fish are about 10 pounds each. No one knows yet how many escaped from the floating pen, but the net had some 3 million pounds of fish in it when it imploded about 4 p.m. Saturday, said Ron Warren, fish program assistant director for the WDFW. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Officials try to blame eclipse, tides for Atlantic salmon spill in Puget Sound  Courtney Flatt and John Ryan report. (KUOW/EarthFix) And also: A fishy excuse? Tribes say eclipse didn't cause Atlantic salmon escape  Mark Yuasa reports. (Crosscut)

DFO does not adequately monitor B.C. salmon spawning streams, study suggests
A new study suggests the Canadian government may not be doing enough to monitor its Pacific salmon stocks. The study from Simon Fraser University researchers found that visits by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to spawning streams have been steadily declining since the 1980s. But it's more than just budget cuts. Michael Price, a fisheries biologist at SFU and co-author of the study, says the DFO's approach has been inconsistent and poorly targeted. "Even given whatever budget they have, they haven't really taken a very strategic approach to monitoring," Price said. Matt Meuse reports. (CBC)

What do San Juan islanders do with their trash?
When writer Knute Berger was a kid in the 1960s, vacationing on Shaw Island, his family had a creative way of dumping some of their trash. “We’d take the cans and bottles, put them in our rowboat, row out into the middle of San Juan Channel and dump it overboard,” Berger said. “It was sort of justified in terms of saying we’re creating habitats for sea creatures, you know, places for crabs and barnacles to live.”  They also used a pellet gun. Caroline Chamberlain reports. (KUOW)

Scientists Hope To Farm The Biofuel Of The Future In The Pacific Ocean
The push for renewable energy in the U.S. often focuses on well-established sources of electricity: solar, wind and hydropower. Off the coast of California, a team of researchers is working on what they hope will become an energy source of the future — macroalgae, otherwise known as kelp. The Pacific Coast is known for its vast kelp forests. It’s one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth, and farming it requires no fertilizer, fresh water, pesticides, or arable land. “It can grow 2 to 3 feet per day,” says Diane Kim, one of the scientists running the kelp research project at the University of Southern California. Ari Shapiro and Monika Evstatieva report. (NPR) But see: Vanishing Kelp: Warm Ocean Takes Toll On Undersea Forests  Michael Casey reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  230 AM PDT Wed Aug 23 2017  
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. A chance of  showers in the morning then a slight chance of showers in the  afternoon.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  5 ft at 10 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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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

8/22 Hairy hermit, Elwha mouth, gorgeous solar, electric ferry, huckleberry harvest, glass sponge, coal health

Hairy hermit crab [Wikimedia]
Hairy hermit crab Pagurus hirsutiusculus
This common intertidal species is more abundant in protected waters, and can often be found in tidepools under rocks or seeking shelter from coralline algae and other seaweeds…. Its range extends from central Alaska to Monterey, California…. This species abandons its small shell quickly when disturbed or provoked. Instead of using the shell for protection, its main mode of defense against predators is its speed. (Biodiversity of the Central Coast)

Elwha River mouth work funding in state capital budget
Funding that would help the Coastal Watershed Institute continue its restoration efforts east of the Elwha River mouth is delayed as the state Senate has continued to fail to pass a capital budget. If the budget passes as recommended, state officials said Coastal Watershed Institute (CWI) is due to receive $668,652 in state Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP) funding, a program through the state Recreation and Conservation Office and state Department of Fish and Wildlife. The project is the eighth on the list and officials said they expect enough funding for the first 11 projects on the 2017 prioritized project list. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

One of the largest solar projects in the state just opened. And it’s gorgeous.
he Skokomish Tribe’s long-awaited community center features more than 400 solar panels on the roof — enough that it is expected to produce more energy than it uses. “It’s slated to potentially be the first net-zero building on tribal land in the United States,” said Daniel Glenn, principal with 7 Directions, the Seattle-based architectural firm that designed the building. The tribe, which is headquartered north of Shelton, plans to sell any excess solar energy that’s generated to Mason County Public Utility District No. 1, which serves approximately more than 5,200 electric customers. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

Sailing soon: an Orca-friendly, all-electric car ferry
Washington is poised to embark on an experiment in electric car ferries that could eventually transform the largest ferry fleet in the nation. And little Skagit County is leading the way, as it moves to replace its old diesel-powered Guemes Island ferry with a battery-powered, zero emissions model. That would make the run between Anacortes and the island the first all-electric car ferry in the nation, and one of the first in the world. Allegra Abramo reports. (Crosscut)

Tribe's Huckleberry Harvest Brings Fire (Or Something Like It) Back To The Forest 
…. Traditionally, the Tulalip ate huckleberries — at home and in ceremonies — brewed tea from the leaves, and used the juice to dye their clothes. Huckleberries were abundant thanks to forest fires, which opened up wetlands and meadows and made space for short, shrubby plants that need the sun—plants like huckleberry bushes. But, for decades the Forest Service has tried to put out fires as fast as possible, so there isn’t much huckleberry habitat left. That’s why the Tulalip Tribe is working with the Forest Service to recreate open patches in the forest. Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Looking for signs of life in B.C's rare glass sponge reefs
The first scientific exploration of two rare glass sponge reefs off British Columbia's coast has revealed one healthy reef and one mostly dead, ancient reef. A team of federal researchers and members of B.C.'s Kitsumkalum First Nation have been studying the recently discovered and extremely rare glass sponge reefs in Chatham Sound, near Prince Rupert, for the last week…. Glass sponge reefs are only found in B.C. and Alaska and are so fragile that even sediment stirred up by fishing gear or nearby development can damage or kill them. Ash Kelly and Carolina de Ryk report. (CBC)

Coal Mining Health Study Is Halted by Interior Department 
The Interior Department has ordered a halt to a scientific study begun under President Obama of the public health risks of mountaintop-removal coal mining. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which was conducting the study, said in a statement Monday that they were ordered to stop work because the Interior Department is conducting an agencywide budgetary review. Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer report. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  235 AM PDT Tue Aug 22 2017  
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt this afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft building to 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft. W swell 4 ft at 11  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

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Monday, August 21, 2017

8/21 Gray whale, K-13, steelhead, culverts, eclipse, Dan Evans, Dana Lyons, WA terminal, BC oil, ocean plastic

Gray whale [Sealife Response Rehab Research/PDN]
Gray whale beached for three days lives to swim away
In a rare three-day beaching, experts say size saved the whale. A 1½-year-old gray whale stranded for three days on a remote beach in the area of Kalaloch in Olympic National Park was freed late Friday night using a pulley system and swam away. Wildlife veterinarian Lesanna Lahner said the 9,000-pound, 24-foot-long, likely male gray whale survived two days longer than an adult would under similar conditions. Sarah Sharp reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Where are the orcas? It’s hard to say, as the latest death is confirmed
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "I hate to say it, but summer is beginning to wind down. Even more disturbing for killer whale observers is an awareness that Puget Sound’s iconic orcas have pretty much avoided Puget Sound altogether this year. The patterns of travel and even the social structure of the endangered Southern Resident killer whales have been disrupted the past several years, and this year is the worst ever, according to Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research, who has been keeping track of these whales for the past 40 years…. The latest official count is 77 orcas among the three pods. That reflects the death of K-13, a 45-year old female named Skagit. Ken did not announce her passing, mainly because it is based on limited encounters. Ken tells me that K-13 was the only whale missing during an encounter with her close relatives in February in Puget Sound and then later off the coast…."

Steelhead struggling home in record low numbers 
Salmon and steelhead are in hot water — a problem scientists warn is going to get worse because of climate change. Steelhead returning this year to the Columbia and Snake rivers migrated out of the river during horrendous conditions in 2015, which included record low flows and high water temperatures. Those steelhead also were at sea during the so-called “blob” — a mass of warm water that began forming off the West Coast in 2013 and wreaked havoc in the ocean, including depressed food supplies for marine animals of all sorts. Now those steelhead are migrating back through reservoirs where water temperatures at some Columbia and Lower Snake River dams, thanks to a record Northwest heat wave, have been stuck this summer above 70 degrees for days on end — potentially lethal for salmon and steelhead. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

He took on Trump. Now he’s taking on tribes over salmon
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has made a name for himself this year by battling the Trump administration in court. Now he wants to take on tribal governments at the U.S. Supreme Court over salmon. Ferguson's office on Thursday appealed a court order to fix road culverts that now block hundreds of miles of salmon streams in Washington. Many culverts (big steel pipes or concrete tunnels that carry streams beneath roadways) are too narrow or too steep for salmon to swim through. A lower court in 2013 gave the state 17 years to fix 450 of its most-damaging culverts, work that could cost hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. A panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in May refused to hear the state’s second appeal of that decision. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

New blog: Total Solar Eclipse— At Least Once In A Lifetime
July 11, 1991, Honolulu, was my once in a lifetime (thus far) experience with a total solar eclipse. It began mid-morning and aunts and uncles and family friends gathered at my parents home in Manoa Valley. In the gradual darkening of the totality, I walked down the steep steps to the back yard to watch, using the proper protective lenses (which must have been sufficiently protective since I can still see)...

'A fitting tribute': Olympic Wilderness renamed for longtime outdoors advocate, former Gov. Dan Evans
With the Olympics resplendent behind him, former Republican Washington Gov. Dan Evans was honored Friday with the renaming of the wilderness here as the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness, a tribute to his years of public service and accomplishments protecting some of the most beloved landscapes in Washington. Three times Washington’s governor and a U.S. senator for Washington, Evans authored the Washington State Wilderness Act protecting 1.5 million areas of wild lands, and he was instrumental in creating North Cascades National Park, the scenic corridor in the Columbia River Gorge, and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. From a podium set outdoors at Hurricane Ridge, Evans told a crowd of more than 200 that when asked how much wilderness is needed, he always had this answer: “More.” Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Return To The Salish Sea: Songwriter Dana Lyons
Music that connects people to the land and sea has been with us for centuries. Recent singer-songwriters such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell have built on that tradition. Here in the Puget Sound region, you can add another name to that list: Dana Lyons. He's known for his songs about social issues, especially the environment. And the title track of his latest album is called “The Great Salish Sea.” Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Another Extension On Vancouver Oil Terminal Decision As Chair Steps Down
For the seventh time, a decision on a controversial Vancouver [WA] oil terminal has been pushed back. The Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, voted to extend the application deadline for the oil by rail project to Nov. 30. The additional extension allows EFSEC more time to make a decision on whether or not to recommend the project to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. In a surprise announcement, EFSEC Chair Bill Lynch will likely no longer be a part of that process.  After the vote to extend the deadline, Lynch told the council he would be stepping down. Lynch has served as council chair since 2013, when the Vancouver oil terminal project was first introduced. It’s not clear why Lynch is leaving, but it’s at an unusual time. The council is just months away from making a decision on the project. Molly Solomon reports. (OPB)

Amid Trans Mountain uncertainty, pro-pipeline Indigenous peoples make a pitch for development
Some Indigenous leaders in B.C. scored a major victory recently after they successfully lobbied Premier John Horgan to join a legal fight to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The $7.4 billion project, which got the green light from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last fall, now faces an uncertain future in the face of vehement opposition from some anti-pipeline protesters, which count many First Nations peoples among their ranks. But there are voices on the other side of the divide who want to stake their claim in this fractious debate: Indigenous peoples who are decidedly pro-development. These groups see pipeline projects as a potential boon for communities eager to lessen dependence on the federal government and its control over their financial destiny. John Paul Tasker reports. (CBC)

Ocean Life Eats Tons of Plastic—Here’s Why That Matters
Anchovies are known more as a pickled pizza topping than for their crucial place in the marine food chain. Now scientists have confirmed a disturbing new behavior by these tiny forage fish that could have larger implications for human health: anchovies are eating tiny pieces of ocean plastic, and because they, in turn, are eaten by larger fish, the toxins in those microplastics could be transferred to fish consumed by humans. Laura Parker reports. (National Geographic)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  230 AM PDT Mon Aug 21 2017  
 W wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt this afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. Patchy morning fog.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. 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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Friday, August 18, 2017

8/18 Huckleberry, whale protection, stranded whale, more dam water, Japanese beetle, safe clams

Black huckleberries [Powell River Books Blog]
Black Huckleberry Vaccinium membranaceum
Black huckleberries are among the most delicious of all our Vaccinium species, and they are produced in great abundance on some sites, especially old burns that have only sparse tree regeneration. In parts of the Cascade Mountains the berries are picked for sale…. These juicy, flavorful berries were gathered from mid summer to fall and eaten fresh or cooked, mashed and dried into cakes…. The Kwakwaka'wakw cooked the berries with salmon roe, and the Sechelt smoke-dried them using the plant's own branches as fuel. (Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Smoothing the way for whale protection
In the wake of a confrontation between a whale-watching boat and the Royal Canadian Navy two weeks ago, both sides are working together to protect whales from underwater explosions. At a meeting Wednesday at CFB Esquimalt, Pacific Whale Watch Association spokesman Dan Kukat met with the navy’s environmental and demolition experts and base chief of staff Danielle Smith. The two sides agreed to streamline communications to allow Kukat to alert the navy immediately when whales are spotted near Bentinck Island in Race Passage, so blasting can be stopped. Navy ships from CFB Esquimalt often conduct exercises with explosives at Bentinck Island in Juan de Fuca Strait and follow protocols to stop blasting if boats or whales breach a one-kilometre buffer zone. Louise Dickson reports. (Times Colonist)

Three in five vessels honour Port of Vancouver go-slow request to protect killer whales
Almost 60 per cent of ocean-going vessels are so far honouring a request by the Port of Vancouver to go slow in critical habitat of endangered southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea, according to preliminary statistics for the program’s first week of operation. “We’re very encouraged, after week one, with those participation rates,” Orla Robinson, manager of the port’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation program, said in an interview. “They’re pretty impressive.” …. The port is asking ships this summer to voluntarily slow to 11 knots — up to about a 40-per-cent reduction — when transiting Haro Strait to reduce noise levels for the killer whales. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Juvenile gray whale stranded on remote Kalaloch area beach struggles to return to depths
A juvenile gray whale that stranded itself on a remote Kalaloch beach in Olympic National Park on Wednesday morning was struggling to stay alive late Thursday afternoon. Unrelenting waves on the remote Pacific Coast beach had pushed the 25-foot-long female, estimated to be 1 to 2 years old, 20 feet farther upland from where she was first spotted at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dyanna Lambourn, a state Department of Fish and Wildlife marine mammal biologist, said Thursday afternoon. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Northwest Scientists Make The Case For Spilling More Water Over Dams
On Wednesday, dozens of scientists made their case for spilling more water over dams in the Columbia River Basin. In a letter sent to Northwest lawmakers in Congress, they outlined and “reaffirmed” scientific evidence that more spill is critical to protecting threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. Earlier this year, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon ordered Columbia River dam managers to spill more water by 2018 to help fish protected under the Endangered Species Act. But several Northwest lawmakers are aiming to block that order with a bill they’ve introduced in Congress. Spilling more water over dams reduces the amount of hydropower produced and raises the price of electricity. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Invasive Japanese beetle spotted in False Creek
An invasive species of Japanese beetle never before seen in B.C. has popped up in False Creek. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), a live beetle was found in a trap put out by the City of Vancouver in July. It has since been identified as the Popillia japonica, which had previously only been spotted in eastern provinces. The beetle poses no risk to human health or food safety, but is known to attack the roots, leaves and fruit of a wide variety of plants, crops and trees. (CBC)

Shellfish harvesting is back on in Whatcom County
Whatcom County public beaches are once again open to shellfish harvesting. The Whatcom County Health Department said in a news release that biotoxin levels have dropped to a point that residents can now harvest molluscan shellfish, which includes clams, mussels, oysters and scallops. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  247 AM PDT Fri Aug 18 2017  
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 11 seconds. A slight chance of showers.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 9 seconds.
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 15 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.
 W wind 15 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 4 ft at 9 seconds.
 Light wind becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves less than 1 ft becoming 1 to 2 ft in the afternoon. W swell  4 ft at 10 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, August 17, 2017

8/17 Wetlands, salmon or dams, Olympic goats, Trump's floods, WDFW sex, bad mussels, seastars, Bill Frank, Jr, oilpatch secrets

Three Tree Point
Three Tree Point
Three Tree Point is a low, gravelly, triangle-shaped spit jutting into the east side of Puget Sound. It is about the midpoint between Seattle and Tacoma. It is referred to on some navigation charts as "Point Pully", in recognition of crew member Robert Pulley of the Wilkes Expedition…. Three Tree Point is a densely populated residential area where much attention has been paid toward tree preservation. The surrounding waters are popular among scuba divers. (Wikipedia)

Gig Harbor Landowner Fined for Destroying Wetlands
A Pierce County landowner has been fined $90,000 after he destroyed forested wetlands that could take 50 years to restore. The Washington state Department of Ecology says Richard Leone (Lee-O-nee) of Gig Harbor hired a contractor in 2016 to illegally drain, clear and fill two protected wetlands in order to expand a housing development. Ecology manager Perry Lund said Wednesday that wetlands are critical to the overall health of Washington's watersheds. He says Leone documented the wetlands in a report submitted to Pierce County, so he was fully aware of their locations and took specific steps to destroy them. (Associated Press)

The Pacific Northwest faces an impossible choice: Salmon or dams?
Salmon in the Pacific Northwest have been brought to the edge of extinction, and conservationists argue hydroelectric dams along the Snake and Columbia Rivers are a major obstacle blocking salmon migration. Dam defenders point out the integral role this infrastructure plays in powering the region. The choice between the two will deeply affect the region's environment and economy. Ali Rizvi and Sohali Al-Jamea report. (McClatchy)

Officials present park, forest goat relocation plan
A two-year mountain goat relocation plan for Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest would start in July 2018 under a proposed project presented this week at the park’s visitor center in Port Angeles. Goats not relocated would be shot beginning in 2019 under the proposal, officials said. Any goats found in the park after that date would be eliminated. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Trump Rolls Back Obama-Era Flood Standards For Infrastructure Projects
President Trump’s astonishing press conference on Tuesday was, ostensibly, an announcement about infrastructure. But his brief remarks on the permitting process were entirely overshadowed by his defense of attendees at a white supremacist rally, among other remarks. But the president was, in fact, announcing a new executive order with serious repercussions. Among other things, he’s rolling back an Obama-era order that infrastructure projects, like roads and bridges, be designed to survive rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change. Camilia Domonoske reports. (NPR)

Another 'Sexualized Culture' Investigation At Fish And Wildlife Leads To Firings
Four Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife employees were fired this month after an investigation found an “extremely sexualized culture” at a fish hatchery on the Columbia River. One woman who worked at the hatchery told investigators she sought a seasonal job elsewhere to escape the “constant, daily sexual banter.” The misconduct at the Wells Hatchery near Pateros in Okanogan County follows a 2015 report that found a sexual climate among some members of the executive management team at Fish and Wildlife headquarters in Olympia. Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)

Water advocates say feds need to do more to prevent invasive mussels from moving into B.C.
So far this summer, B.C. conservation officers have flagged 1,100 boats coming into the province as high risk for carrying invasive mussels. And that has Tracy Gray, chair of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, worried. "Down in the U.S., where literally they have piles and mounds of these dead shells on their beaches that they have to shovel out," she said. (CBC)

Can sea stars make a comeback in Kachemak Bay? 
Sea star wasting syndrome, or disease as it has become known, hit Kachemak Bay hard in 2016, killing about 90 percent of sunflower and true star populations. Researchers eagerly waited for spring to roll around in hopes their numbers would rebound. As the days got longer, it quickly became apparent that wasn’t going to happen this year, but there is some hope the disease is waning. Aaron Bolton reports. (Alaska Public Media)

Washington state officials troubled by oilpatch secrets
Washington State officials have privately complained about a lack of information — vital for an oil spill response — on the ingredients of the diluent used to help Alberta bitumen flow through Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline. The data is crucial for spill response planning as the company proceeds with a proposed $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would triple the daily flow between Edmonton, Alta. and Burnaby, B.C. to 890,000 barrels. From the company’s Burnaby site, the oil would be shipped to Asian markets in tankers through Vancouver Harbour and then through the waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait shared by British Columbia and Washington State. The pipeline company has suggested in responses to National Observer that it has been transparent enough, publishing a list of 52 products that Transport Canada has approved for the pipeline, as well as components listed on for various types of oil. It has told Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) it would quickly disclose ingredients in the event of a spill. Stanley Tromp reports. (National Observer)

If you like to watch: Recalling the voice and wisdom of Billy Frank Jr. in a new animated video
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "It is very nice to hear once again the distinctive voice of the late Billy Frank Jr. in a new animated video called simply “sčədadxʷ” — or “Salmon.” Billy was the voice for the Nisqually Tribe, for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, for native people everywhere and for the human race, which he believed holds a special relationship with salmon and all of nature’s creatures. The new video was produced by Salmon Defense, a nonprofit organization created by the 20 Western Washington treaty tribes to foster the welfare of salmon. The short animation was distributed by Northwest Treaty Tribes, the communications arm of the NWIFC…."

Regarding yesterday's item about Popeye the seal biting the hand that didn't feed him in Friday Harbor [Seal bites man in Friday Harbor; experts, victim say seal expects to be hand fed], Gene Helfman notes: "Maybe Popeye wasn't hungry but just pissed at the guy for catching undersize crabs.  See video around 1:10." Check out the size of the crabs.

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  904 AM PDT Thu Aug 17 2017  
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 to  7 ft at 12 seconds.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 to  6 ft at 12 seconds.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

8/16 Pt Roberts, Elwha mouth, free pump out, ocean laws, tree probiotics, seal bites man

Point Roberts [Bellingham Homes]
Point Roberts
Point Roberts is a land exclave of the United States that is located on the southernmost tip of the Tsawwassen Peninsula, south of Vancouver in British Columbia. Point Roberts was created when the United Kingdom and the United States settled the Pacific Northwest American-Canadian border dispute in the mid 19th century with the Oregon Treaty. Both parties agreed that the 49th parallel would delineate both countries' territories, however, the small area that incorporates Point Roberts was overlooked. (Wikipedia)

Coastal Watershed Institute seeking funding for Elwha River mouth project
The Coastal Watershed Institute’s project expanding accessibility to the Elwha River mouth and restoring a section east of the mouth is at a halt after the nonprofit has struggled to find funding. The nonprofit’s executive director, Anne Shaffer, said she doesn’t understand why funding through the Puget Sound Partnership for the project was denied this year when the project was the set as the top priority for habitat restoration projects in the state. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Free pump-out service helps Vancouver boaters dispose of sewage
Vancouver is offering a free mobile pump-out service to boaters aimed at helping to improve water quality. The city and park board say the pilot service will come directly to boats in False Creek to empty their sewage tanks. A statement said that will make it easier for boaters to pump — not dump — their waste. According to the city, untreated sewage from boats is the primary source of E. coli contamination in False Creek. The pump-out service is part of a strategy to make False Creek safe for swimming. (Canadian Press)

Watch This: What Are Oceans Laws Trying to Protect? 
These guys…. These are just a few of the residents living near the coast of California, in aquariums at the Catalina Island Marine Institute. In the surrounding waters, the state has designated marine protected areas that help wildlife like this propagate… Claire O'Neill and Matt Ruby write. (NY Times)

Study: Probiotics Can Help Trees Clean Up Toxic Waste
Humans like their yogurt and new research indicates the trees that clean up toxic waste stand to benefit from probiotics too. Poplar trees clean groundwater by taking up the carcinogen trichloroethylene, or TCE, and breaking it down into harmless salts. TCE is one of the most common groundwater pollutants in the country and is found in multiple sites in the Pacific Northwest, including the Duwamish River. But there’s a catch. “When the pollutant is at too high of a concentration or there are other mixed pollutants” then the poplars can become “stunted and don’t do well,” said Sharon Doty, a researcher at the University of Washington. That’s why Doty worked with other researchers to find a bacteria that could help poplars break down TCE. Eilís O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Seal bites man in Friday Harbor; experts, victim say seal expects to be hand fed
A Friday Harbor mainstay that's been attracting locals and tourists alike for two decades is in hot water. Popeye the popular one-eyed seal bit a fisherman's arm, causing severe injury. For the better part of 20 years, Popeye has been getting her fill of table scraps from people eager to feed her. Gerald Balmer says that’s what the seal appeared to want when she paid him and his friends a visit as they pulled into Friday Harbor after a long day of fishing last Thursday. “She used her flippers and was flipping water clear over the boat onto us—wanting something to eat,” Gerald remembered. But Gerald says when he didn’t oblige, Popeye helped herself. Joanna Small reports. (KIRO)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PDT Wed Aug 16 2017  
 Light wind becoming W to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds. Patchy fog in the  morning. A slight chance of showers in the afternoon.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft  at 11 seconds. Patchy fog after midnight.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

8/15 Mapmaker, vessel poop, forage fish, OCNMS, grizzlies, boat job, park pass, fuel rules, media rules

Point No Point [US Lighthouse Society]
Point No Point
Point No Point is an outcropping of land on the northeast point of the Kitsap Peninsula…. It was the location of the signing of the Point No Point Treaty and is the site of the Point No Point Light. It was named by Charles Wilkes during the United States Exploring Expedition of Puget Sound in 1841. Wilkes gave the point its name because it appears much less of a promontory at close range than it does from a distance. (Wikipedia)

Return To The Salish Sea: Mapmaker Stefan Freelan
As a cartographer, Stefan Freelan lives a pretty routine life, teaching computer skills such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to students at Huxley College of the Environment in Bellingham. But one day nearly a decade ago, a Canadian-born colleague came knocking at Freelan’s door. Bert Webber, a professor of Geography and Environmental Social Sciences at the time, was trying to spread the word about a newly-named body of water. He asked Freelan to help him by making a map of the Salish Sea. “And specifically, he wanted a map that did not have a line right through the middle of his bioregion, i.e., the international border,” Freelan said. Bellamy Pailthorp and Madolyn Laurine report.  (KNKX)

Federal money targets water pollution from vessel sewage
Federal grants totaling $2.5 million has been awarded to prevent sewage pollution in Washington state waters. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants will be used to add more locations where recreational boaters and other vessels can pump out their vessel sewage. Washington State Parks, working with the University of Washington's Washington Sea Grant, plans to install new septic pump-out facilities, as well as educate boats and marina owners about clean water and proper sewage disposal. (Associated Press)

Healthy forage fish habitat imperative to salmon recovery
The Suquamish Tribe and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are updating the current state of forage fish spawning habitat in East Kitsap County. Healthy forage fish populations are essential for salmon recovery because salmon rely on them as a high energy food source…. Since 2016, the tribe, the state and Puget Sound Corps (PSC) have been collecting beach samples from more than 200 sampling points each month including East Kitsap beaches from Hansville to Yukon Harbor, and Blake Island. The state and PSC crew members then take the samples to Olympia to be processed for eggs, if present, and identify the species and development stages. The sampling effort, which is expected to last at least one calendar year, will help identify the beach locations and times of the year when surf smelt spawn. (NW Treaty Tribes)

Researchers to explore Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
A leading research team will explore the Quinault Canyon and other features of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary from Friday through Sept. 4. Anyone with an internet connection can follow the action as it unfolds at Capt. Robert Ballard, who is best known for discovering the RMS Titanic in 1985, and his “Corps of Exploration” will lead the 2½ week study aboard the exploration vessel (EV) Nautilus. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

B.C. government announces ban on grizzly bear trophy hunt
The NDP government made good on a high-profile election promise Monday by announcing a B.C.-wide ban on the trophy hunting of grizzly bears, while allowing hunting to continue for meat. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson told a news conference that grizzly trophy hunting is “not a socially acceptable practice in 2017” and encouraged wilderness operators to look instead to the economics of bear viewing. Effective Nov. 30, 2017, the province pledges to “end grizzly bear trophy hunting throughout the province and stop all hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest,” Donaldson said. The timing of the ban allows hunts already scheduled for this fall to continue. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Washington state maritime labor headed for a retirement cliff
Water-transportation workers face an impending mass retirement of almost a third of the workforce. A lot of the jobs pay well, so why aren't young workers flocking to them? Scott Greenstone reports. (Seattle Times)

The remaining $10 national parks passes aren’t easy to find. But this place has ’em.
Are you 62 or older and enjoy getting outdoors? The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge still has a stash of $10 lifetime passes that can be used at national parks and federally operated recreation sites. Why is that a big deal? Beginning Aug. 28, the price for the lifetime passes will jump to $80. Bargain-hunting recreationalists have been flocking to parks this summer to sign up for the $10 deal. Lisa Pemberton reports. (Olympian)

Trump Administration Takes Key Step To Rolling Back Auto Fuel Standards
The Trump administration has begun the process of rolling back tough fuel standards for America’s car and light truck fleet. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department have opened the public comment period on the rewriting of standards for greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025…. Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules were first put into place after the OPEC oil crisis in the 1970s. During the Obama administration, the CAFE rules were toughened in the wake of the financial crisis and the car company bankruptcies. The new standards called for an increased reliance on electric vehicles. Low gas prices and sluggish sales of alternative fuel vehicles have made meeting those standards tough, especially for those companies more reliant on larger vehicles. Earlier this year, the EPA announced it would reconsider a decision late in the Obama administration to make the rules permanent. Sonari Glinton reports. (NPR)

How a Conservative TV Giant Is Ridding Itself of Regulation
The day before President Trump’s inauguration, the top executive of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation’s largest owner of television stations, invited an important guest to the headquarters of the company’s Washington-area ABC affiliate…. The invitation from David D. Smith, the chairman of Sinclair, went to Ajit V. Pai, a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission who was about to be named the broadcast industry’s chief regulator. Mr. Smith wanted Mr. Pai to ease up on efforts under President Barack Obama to crack down on media consolidation, which were threatening Sinclair’s ambitions to grow even bigger…. Within days of their meeting, Mr. Pai was named chairman of the F.C.C. And during his first 10 days on the job, he relaxed a restriction on television stations’ sharing of advertising revenue and other resources — the exact topic that Mr. Pai discussed with Mr. Smith and one of his business partners, according to records examined by The New York Times. Cecilia Kang, Eric Lipton and Syndey Ember report. (NY times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  220 AM PDT Tue Aug 15 2017  
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 10 seconds  building to 6 ft at 10 seconds 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, August 14, 2017

8/14 Shellfish suit, Pruitt's EPA, pesticides, new park, Tokitae, humpback, Felicity Ann, cit sci, Wallie Funk

Those clever ravens! [Paul Lantz/BirdNote]
How Raven Made the Tide
Long ago the tide stayed close to shore. The people went hungry because the clams lay hidden under water. Then Raven had a plan. He put on his cloak and flew along the shore to the house of the old woman who held the tide-line firmly in her hand. Raven fooled her, and she let go of the tide-line, and the tide rushed out. All the people joined Raven to feast on clams. Finally the old woman promised to let go of the tide-line twice each day. And that is how Raven made the tides. (BirdNote)

Lawsuit targets federal oversight of shellfish farming
A national food group is suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alleging it is allowing commercial shellfish aquaculture to expand in Washington state without adequate environmental scrutiny. The Center for Food Safety says the Corps violated federal laws when it approved a general permit in January for shellfish operations without fully considering cumulative environmental impacts of shellfish operations across the state. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Seattle.

Scott Pruitt Is Carrying Out His E.P.A. Agenda in Secret, Critics Say
When career employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are summoned to a meeting with the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, at agency headquarters, they no longer can count on easy access to the floor where his office is, according to interviews with employees of the federal agency. Doors to the floor are now frequently locked, and employees have to have an escort to gain entrance. Some employees say they are also told to leave behind their cellphones when they meet with Mr. Pruitt, and are sometimes told not to take notes. Mr. Pruitt, according to the employees, who requested anonymity out of fear of losing their jobs, often makes important phone calls from other offices rather than use the phone in his office, and he is accompanied, even at E.P.A. headquarters, by armed guards, the first head of the agency to ever request round-the-clock security. Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton report. (NY Times)

No end in sight for dispute over pesticide injury to salmon
It has been 15 years since a federal judge ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency and National Marine Fisheries Service must consider whether pesticides increase the risk of extinction for Northwest salmon populations. Since 2002, NMFS (also called NOAA Fisheries) has determined that some pesticides do indeed pose a significant risk to the ongoing existence of salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act. Yet, after all these years, permanent protective measures have not been imposed by the EPA, which is responsible for regulating pesticide use. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Neighborhood campaign creates 47-acre county park
One of Lou Ann Wood's favorite trails begins not far from her mailbox.  The path leads her through stands of maple, cedar and fir, and across hillsides blanketed in moss and sword ferns. Walking through the forest Thursday, Wood paused to soak in the silence…. And yet, up until recently, this 47-acre woodland in the heart of Silverdale's Olympic View neighborhood was on the chopping block. The state Department of Natural Resources, which owned the property, planned to log the trees. Dozens of Olympic View neighbors, including Wood, pushed back. Residents argued clear-cutting the land would generate stormwater runoff that could destabilize homes on the downhill bank separating the land from Hood Canal, while also decrying the loss of wildlife habitat and recreational space in the midst of their community. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Lummi Nation: Return Tokitae ‘to the place in her heart’
The new Coupeville whale bell tolled 40 times Tuesday, one for every orca captured or killed during the Puget Sound whale round-ups of the late 1960s and early 1970s. “We need to do something for these beautiful, spiritual creatures that sing these beautiful songs,” declared Douglas James Jr., one of a dozen Lummi Nation members who attended the annual event of remembrance and resolve sponsored by Orca Network. About 100 people heard updates about the plight of killer whales in captivity and those living in local waters. The day marked the 47th anniversary of a well-documented hunt in Penn Cove when seven young killer whales were taken and four babies, caught in herding nets, drowned. Patricia Guthrie reports. (Whidbey News-Times)

Humpback whale struck by boat spotted on a roll
A whale-watching company believes it has found the humpback whale struck by one of its Zodiacs near Race Rocks on Monday. Prince of Whales Capt. Mark Malleson returned Tuesday to the collision site and photographed a lone humpback that he is “fairly certain” is the whale that suddenly appeared and collided with the boat. “It looks as though it may have a minor scar on its left side ahead of its dorsal fin, which jives with the [Zodiac] master’s feeling that it was hit on its left side,” Malleson said in a statement. He said the animal was behaving normally. Katherine Dedyna reports. (Times Colonist)

New chapter for a famous boat: Felicity Ann to be used for maritime education
The Community Boat Project in Port Hadlock is taking over the restoration of the historic Felicity Ann, a vessel made famous by Ann Davison, the first woman to sail solo across the Atlantic in 1953. The boat was donated to the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in 2003 and dozens of students and faculty worked to restore the 23-foot sloop. On Wednesday, the boat was handed off to the Community Boat Project, which will finish the restoration and the Felicity Ann will be added to the Community Boat Project’s fleet, used for maritime education programs. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Program takes citizen scientists out to sea
As waves rocked the boat, a group of citizen scientists watched lines take shape on a computer screen. The blue, red and black lines represented temperature, salinity and depth, which were measured by a device called a CTD as it was lowered into the water from the back of the boat. The group aboard Western Washington University’s research vessel Magister on Aug. 1 was getting a look at how scientists gather data used to study the marine environment. The day trip was an extended education opportunity the university is offering at its Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Hansville weather enthusiast shares his view of the sky with the world
Each morning Greg Johnson gets up, makes his coffee and pans for gold in the mudroom of his Hansville home. Sitting at his computer, he reviews what his ever-rolling webcams have captured in the overnight hours. For Johnson, the man behind the popular weather webcam, the gold pieces he’s looking for come in the form of a meteor, the Northern Lights, perhaps even an UFO: Interesting flashes in the night missed by most during sleeping hours. The array of cameras that power the website regularly capture the wide variety of both human and natural activity in Johnson’s backyard: Skunk Bay. With a little editing, he crunches the video into timelapses that tell stories. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Wallie V. Funk dies at age 95 
Wallie V. Funk Jr. of Anacortes, a longtime newspaperman, photographer and local historian, died Saturday. He was 95. Born and raised in Anacortes, Funk was a former co-owner of the Anacortes American and later the Whidbey News-Times and the South Whidbey Record in Island County. Known for his local photography and large collection of other photographers’ works, Funk’s collection of photos is housed at the Anacortes Museum, Island County Museum in Coupeville and at Western Washington University. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT MON Aug 14 2017  
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. NW swell 6 ft at 10 seconds. Patchy fog in  the morning.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. NW swell 5 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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Friday, August 11, 2017

8/11 Blackberry, Trans Mountain, Elwha fish, BC humpback, brown Trump, NW ice age

Blackberries [Woodinville Patch]
Blackberry Season: The Delicious Scourge Of Puget Sound Is Here To Stay
Every year toward the end of every summer, right between giant spider season and wildfire season, we get blackberry season. It's the time of year when forearm-thick canes covered in thorns stretch out over sidewalks and hiking paths bearing bundles of tart blackberries…. According to Steven Burke, manager of King County's noxious weed program, blackberries were brought to the Pacific Northwest over 100 years ago from Europe. There are two main species of blackberry here: the "parent" that came from Europe, and a hybrid of that European blackberry and the native Pacific Northwestern blackcap and trailing varieties. Neal McNamara reports. (Woodinville Patch)

Trans Mountain pipeline work stopped before it starts in British Columbia 
 The British Columbia provincial government has monkey-wrenched the start of construction for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, announcing Thursday that it is taking legal and administrative steps to stop the project. At issue is inadequate consultation by developer Kinder Morgan with First Nations, said George Heyman, Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister, in a news conference in Victoria. The company must complete consultations with First Nations on several environmental aspects of the project not yet addressed, and may not begin work on public land until it does so, Heyman said. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: B.C. joins legal battles against Trans Mountain pipeline expansion  Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun) And also: B.C.'s impending Kinder Morgan challenge is another straw on a very beleaguered camel  Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Fish recolonizing areas upriver of former dam sites on Elwha River
Josh Geffre has watched with awe as salmon return to the uppermost reaches of the Elwha River. Geffre, a fisheries technician for Olympic National Park, started monitoring the fish for the park in 2014 and has marveled as he’s seen most species swim upstream of the former Glines Canyon Dam. “It’s very satisfying to know the fish are recolonizing into areas upriver of the former dam sites,” he said during a recent trip to collect data on the fish. “It’s exciting to watch them.” Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Elwha fish by the numbers  (Peninsula Daily News)

If you like to watch: Humpback whale greets ship off Cortes Island 
Peter Hamilton of the environmental group Lifeforce captured a close encounter with a curious humpback whale off Cortes Island in the Strait of Georgia. “Seeing whales in the wild is an incredible experience,” Hamilton told Postmedia’s Larry Pynn, noting this humpback took the initiative to approach his vessel as he was documenting behaviour for research. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Environmental Penalties Down Under President Trump
Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July….  That’s significantly less than the number of cases prosecuted and the penalties collected under the same six month period by the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. Greg Allen reports. (NPR)

What was Washington state like during the last ice age?
Seattle was carved by ice. A mere 17,000 years ago, a massive glacier the height of five Space Needles covered what is now Seattle and a large part of western Washington. It carved out Puget Sound and Lake Washington as it advanced and retreated. And Seattle’s hilly neighborhoods — including Queen Anne, Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill — were etched by the glacier’s icy underbelly. The Cordilleran Ice Sheet was big — towering 3,000 feet high in the spot where Seattle stands today. But just how much land did it cover?  And was anyone around to see it back then? Amy Rolph reports. (KUOW)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  248 AM PDT Fri Aug 11 2017  
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 3 ft at 10 seconds. Patchy smoke in the morning.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less after midnight. SW  swell 3 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance of showers after  midnight.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft  at 11 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the morning.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at 11 seconds.
 E wind to 10 kt becoming W 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.

"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, August 10, 2017

8/10 Patos Light, clearing skies, Trans Mountain, Trump salmon, Robert Wielgus, toxic tuna, jellies

Patos Light [Keepers of the Patos Light]
Patos Island Light
Patos Island Lighthouse is an active aid to navigation overlooking the Strait of Georgia at Alden Point on the western tip of Patos Island in the San Juan Islands, San Juan County, Washington, in the United States. The station is the northernmost in the San Juan Islands and marks the division point between the eastern and western passages into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (Wikipedia) See also: Keepers of the Patos Light  On Sunday, August 27th, the Birthday Boat will depart from Orcas Island to Patos at 7:45 AM! We will celebrate the 124th Lighthouse Birthday Party, this time in the AM…returning to Orcas by noon. Cost will be $50 per person for the boat.

When will it end? Rain could clear smoky South Coast skies

A rainy summer weekend in Vancouver? Bring it on. Environment Canada says a change is coming that could clear smoke-filled skies on the South Coast and possibly help with wildfire-fighting efforts in the B.C. Interior. The first step is forecast for Friday, where winds from the south are forecast to blow the lingering smoke inland and away from the coast. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC) See also: This is not a drill: Seattle's hazy smoke from B.C. wildfires could finally lift on Friday  Jessica Lee reports. (Seattle Times)

B.C. hires outside counsel to begin legal challenge of Trans Mountain pipeline project
B.C. has announced it has hired outside counsel to begin its legal challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. On Thursday, B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman and Attorney General David Eby said the province has hired lawyer Thomas Berger to provide advice to the government. Berger is a former Supreme Court justice. (CBC)

Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules
A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. Known as the “God squad” because its decisions can lead to extinctions of threatened wildlife, it has only gathered three times — the last 25 years ago during a controversy over spotted owl habitat in the Northwest. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

Outspoken WSU wolf researcher says university, lawmakers silenced and punished him
By a slow slide of river deep in Washington’s wolf country, Robert Wielgus laughs at the tattoo on his arm of Four Claws, the grizzly that almost killed him. “I would rather face charging grizzly bears trying to kill me than politicians and university administrators, because it is over quickly,” said Wielgus, director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Some Tuna Can Carry Up To 36 Times The Toxic Chemicals Of Others. Here's Why
A new study may prompt hand wringing among you tuna poke and sushi lovers. When it comes to pollutant levels, researchers now say where your tuna was caught matters. In a first-of-its-kind global study, scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego analyzed 117 yellowfin tuna taken from 12 locations worldwide, measuring the contaminant levels of each. They found yellowfin tuna caught closer to more industrialized locations off North America and Europe can carry 36 times more pollutants — including pesticides, flame retardants and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) — than the same species caught in more remote locations, like in the West Pacific Ocean. Clare Leschin-Hoar reports. (NPR)

When Oceans Give You Jellyfish Blooms, Turn Them Into Tasty Chips
…. there’s some evidence that climate change is causing a rise in jellyfish populations. And if that’s true, it may soon become hard to ignore these creatures. The scale of the problem is scientifically hard to gauge, as historical data is in short supply (see the above link), and seasonal blooms are a natural part of jellyfish life cycle. But in localized situations there is no question that large smacks of jellyfish can wreak havoc on things like fishing nets and nuclear power plants, where they’ve caused shut-downs by clogging the pipes that bring cool water into the facilities. What to do? Open your mind and your mouth, says Mie Thorborg Pedersen, a gastrophysicist at the University of Southern Denmark. Sidsel Overgaard reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  855 AM PDT Thu Aug 10 2017  
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 10 seconds. Areas of  fog in the morning. Patchy smoke.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 ft at 10 seconds. Patchy smoke.

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