Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2/28 Green crab, no oil terminal, no-fish zones, Andeavor permit, chinook size, BC pipe, Site C dam, Doug Ericksen, SeaWorld CEO, BC fuel spill

European green crab [P. Sean McDonald]
Invasive Species Awareness Week calls attention to problem
From European green crabs along the Padilla Bay shoreline to big-leafed knotweed growing along the upper Skagit River, invasive species can be found throughout Skagit County. Those plants and animals can wreak havoc on the environment and impact the economy. Invasive species have cost the state millions and the nation billions in crop and natural resource losses, as well as staff time monitoring and eradicating the species. In an effort to call attention to the widespread problem, the state and nation have designated this week as National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that can grow and multiply at fast rates, crowding out native species. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

No oil-train terminal on the Columbia River; Vancouver Energy gives up plan 
Vancouver Energy is ending a four-year quest to build the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal along the Columbia River and won’t appeal Gov. Jay Inslee’s rejection of the project. A company spokesman Tuesday also said it would terminate — a month early — a Port of Vancouver lease for the project, and donate the $100,000 savings in lease payments to community nonprofits…. The $210 million terminal would have handled up to four crude-oil trains a day carrying oil from the Bakken Shale oil fields of North Dakota and Montana. The oil would have been transferred to vessels that would have traveled down the Columbia River to make deliveries to West Coast refineries. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

No fish zones eyed to save killer whales along south coast
A proposal by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to halt and reverse the decline of endangered, salmon-eating killer whales is coming at the cost of the recreation fishery, say local anglers. The objectives of the proposed measures is to curtail sport fishing in feeding areas essential to the survival of the southern resident killer whales and to restrict fishing on specific chinook salmon populations that sustain the orcas, according to DFO. The plan also calls for minimizing “physical and acoustic” contact in key foraging areas. It would only limit recreational fishing vessels. Kevin Laird reports. (Goldstream Gazette)

Skagit County hears appeal concerning refinery project, will make decision in March
The Skagit County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday heard testimony regarding a multimillion-dollar project proposed for the Andeavor Anacortes Refinery. The hearing focused on the legality of a shoreline substantial development permit approved for the project. The commissioners are considering whether Skagit County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford made a mistake in approving the permit and whether he should have questioned the thoroughness of the Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, when considering the permit. They are set to make a decision March 9. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

No more 'Kings of the Columbia': Chinook salmon much smaller, younger these days, study finds
They used to tip the scales at 80 pounds: June Hogs they were called. The kings of the Columbia River. But the big chinook that used to lumber up and down the Columbia and cruise the northeastern Pacific from California to western Alaska have dwindled away over the past 40 years, researchers have learned. Published in the journal Fish and Fisheries, researchers have documented a trend in decreasing body size in chinook over the past 40 years. The trend was remarkably widespread, affecting both wild and hatchery fish in the northern Pacific from California to western Alaska. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Vaughn Palmer: Kinder Morgan opponents linked to militant activists
Columnist Vaughn Palmer writes: "At first hearing, the Action Hive sounds like something out of a kid’s role-playing game or perhaps the handle for a particularly aggressive group of beekeepers. But lately it has figured prominently in the B.C. Liberal challenge to Environment Minister George Heyman for dining out with anti-pipeline activists on Jan. 30, the very day he launched his regulatory drive against the Kinder Morgan project. In an effort to embarrass Heyman for getting cosy with the self-styled Kinder Morgan Strategy Group, the Liberals have been quoting from a trove of documents that expose its connection to militant environmental activism and intrigue. The key item in the paper trail is the KM Action Hive Proposal, calling for “ongoing coordination of organization support for mass action disrupting Kinder Morgan construction.” The proposal, which has circulated among some members of the anti-pipeline study group, leaves no doubt that the timing and objectives are mainly political. (Vancouver Sun)

Work on Site C suspended prior to First Nations lawsuit
Clearing for a power transmission line near the Site C dam in northeastern B.C. has voluntarily been suspended by BC Hydro after two First Nations filed a lawsuit alleging the mega-project infringes on their treaty rights. In January, the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations started legal action against the dam, claiming its construction violates Treaty 8 signed in 1899, as well as the Canadian Constitution. The Nations also filed a request for an injunction preventing any dam construction from proceeding until after the trial is complete. Andrew Kurjata reports. (CBC)

Records show Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen was appointed to $133,000 EPA job, but backed out
State Sen. Doug Ericksen turned down a $133,000-a-year job in the regional headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency after raising questions about how often he’d have to come to work in the Seattle office, records show. The back-and-forth saga of whether Ericksen, a Ferndale Republican and noted climate-change skeptic, would land a prominent EPA job went on for much of the last year. Ericksen and former state Sen. Don Benton were each named to temporary EPA jobs last year as part of the Trump administration’s transition efforts to reshape federal agencies. Both men got the jobs after running Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in Washington state. Benton was later named head of the Selective Service System. Jim Brunner reports. (Seattle Times)

SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby suddenly out as theme park attendance wanes
SeaWorld Entertainment's CEO is leaving the amusement park operator as it struggles to reverse the attendance slide sparked by scrutiny over its killer whales. Joel Manby stepped down effective immediately, the company said Tuesday. His exit ends a tenure that began in May 2015 when he was hired as an outsider to help get the company on track following a firestorm of criticism. While Manby earned tepid praise from critics for ending orca breeding and theatrical shows, SeaWorld has had a difficult time rehabilitating its image without major ad spending. Attendance at the company's theme parks in the 2017 fiscal year fell 5.5% to 20.8 million, the company said Tuesday. That's the lowest point since at least 2010, according to public filings. Nathan Bomey reports. (USA Today)

Questions raised following fuel spill in Strait of Georgia
There’s criticism tonight about how the Department of National Defense dealt with a fuel spill from HMCS Calgary into the Strait of Georgia this past weekend. A local First Nation says they only learned of the incident through the media. An environmental group says the response highlights how spill response should have a third party helping oversee it. Kendall Hanson reports. (CHEK News) See also: Less fuel spilled from HMCS Calgary than first reported  ....An updated incident report indicates that the Department of National Defence now estimates that 10,000 to 20,000 litres of F-76 fuel spilled from HMCS Calgary — as opposed to the 30,000 litres reported earlier. Lindsay Kines reports. (Times Colonist)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PST Wed Feb 28 2018  
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming E 25 to 35 kt in the  afternoon. Combined seas 6 to 8 ft with a dominant period of  12 seconds. Rain.
 SE wind 25 to 35 kt becoming S 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Combined seas 6 to 8 ft with a dominant period of  10 seconds. Rain.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2/27 Turn Is, light pollution, fish farms, fuel spill trial, Marysville trails, king penguins, protect orcas

Turn Island [WA Dept of Ecology]
Turn Island
Initially it was thought by Wllkes to be a part of San Juan Island and was named Point Salsbury in honor of Francis Salsbury, captain of the expedition's vessel Top. In 1858 the British foundit actually to be an island (with adjacent dangerous rocks that are submerged except at low tide) and renamed it Turn Island and Turn Rocks to mark the proper channel. It is a 35-acre Washington state marine park. (Washington State Place Names)

Light Pollution Identified As Potential Issue For Threatened Puget Sound Chinook Salmon 
It’s been nearly 20 years since the federal government listed Puget Sound Chinook salmon as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The fish inhabit one of the most urbanized watersheds in the region. Local governments have just updated a 10-year recovery plan. One of the new priorities they’re addressing is a possible link between fish mortality and artificial light. On a cold winter’s night, a team of federal researchers has just pulled in a net from the south end of Lake Washington. They’re working at five sites along the shoreline. Here in the shallows at Renton’s Gene Coulon Park is where lots of baby Chinook swim from the Cedar River and spend several months growing before they head out to Puget Sound and then the ocean. The researchers are counting how many of the tiny fish gathered beneath lights they put up over the water, compared to spots where there was no light. After just two hours, the difference is pretty dramatic: six chinook in a dark spot, 60 beneath the first light they check. Belllamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Puget Sound region's Atlantic salmon fish farms could be headed for final harvest
The salmon-farming industry in the United States got its start right here in the Puget Sound region in the 1970s with experiments to raise salmon perfectly pan-sized or just right to fit the slot of a TV dinner. Union Carbide, then Campbell’s Soup, and a string of other entrepreneurs eventually decided docile, domesticated Atlantic salmon fattened up fastest and best in the open-water net pens they were test-piloting in Puget Sound. The industry really took off when federal fisheries scientists, with more than 1 million jilted Atlantic salmon eggs intended for restocking depleted East Coast streams, instead gave them to private industry. By the time Cooke Aquaculture Pacific came to Washington in 2016, the state was home to one of the largest marine finfish aquaculture operations in the country, with nine net pens producing as much as 17 million pounds of Atlantic salmon grown every year in Puget Sound. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Trial begins over fuel spill in English Bay, one defendant doesn’t show up
A trial for a vessel and a company that were charged after thousands of litres of bunker fuel spilled off British Columbia’s coast nearly three years ago began in provincial court today without one defendant attending the court hearing. The Greek shipping firm Alassia NewShips Management Inc. and the vessel MV Marathassa face 10 environmental related charges after 2,700 litres of fuel leaked into English Bay in April 2015. Alassia has previously denied ownership of the Marathassa and argued the ship’s master and captain Antonios Valakitsis worked on a contract. (Financial Post)

Marysville to build new trails at estuary and Whiskey Ridge
Two trail projects are scheduled this year to connect and expand popular paths. Marysville is set to add about 2.6 miles of trail total. More than $2 million in work is planned. One of the trail additions is near the restored Qwuloolt Estuary and the once-industrial waterfront the city aims to revamp for public use. The other would link the Bayview Trail on the east side of the city with the regional Centennial Trail. Kari Bray reports. (Everett Herald)

King penguins face warming challenge
King penguins are in deep trouble if nothing is done to constrain climate change, researchers say. The scientists have assessed the birds' fragmented population in the Southern Ocean and concluded that some island strongholds will become unsustainable. The problem is the continued movement away from key nesting sites of the penguins' favoured foraging grounds. And as the climate warms further, food will simply become too distant for many birds to fetch for their chicks. Jonathan Amos report. (BBC)

Captain Hobbes creates organization to protect orcas
After 15 years as a whale watch tour operator, Captain Alan “Hobbes” Buchanan’s passion for whales has led him to create a new organization titled Orca Protection and Rescue. The organization is dedicated to protecting the Southern resident killer whales and wildlife of the Salish Sea. Orca Protection and Rescue will focus on improving whale watch regulations and enforcement, as well as the removal of marine debris and plastics. “I’m done with too many whale watch and private boats around the whales at a time, not enough enforcement, some bad tour operators due to poor training, and ignorance around these majestic animals,” said Buchanan. (Islands Weekly)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  240 AM PST Tue Feb 27 2018  

 SW wind 15 to 25 kt becoming W in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 7 ft at 12 seconds. Rain in the morning  then a slight chance of showers in the afternoon.
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming S 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 8 ft at 11 seconds. A  slight chance of showers in the evening then a chance of showers  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, February 26, 2018

2/26 Sandfish, orca protection, fuel spill, BC pipe, ocean acid, Andeavor, sea otters, BC pollution, Governors Pt., plane fuel, global fishing, deer control, rodenticides, rising sea, Zinke revamp

Pacific sandfish [PHOTO: Pat McMahon]
Pacific Sandfish Trichodon trichodon
Pat McMahon writes; "Several years ago I found several sandfish on the beach at Makah Bay. They were mostly gravid females. What a treat as they are rarely seen. This is not  surprising as they like to be buried. And with that upturned mouth they have  a perfect ambush. I have seen juveniles while snorkeling in the kelp beds at Cape Flattery."

Sen. Kevin Ranker breathes new life into Orca Protection Act
The proposed Orca Protection Act, which was declared dead last week in the Washington State Senate, has sprung back to life with the addition of a budget provision that offers a new chance of passage. The newly resuscitated bill, approved by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, is nearly identical to the original bill, which includes special protections for the endangered Southern Resident killer whales. If approved by both houses, the legislation would impose new restrictions on boaters and drone pilots, increase on-water patrols by state law-enforcement officers and support studies regarding what people can do to save the whales. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Canadian navy ship spills fuel in Strait of Georgia
Officials with the Department of National Defence say one of its vessels in the Strait of Georgia — HMCS Calgary — spilled 30,000 litres of fuel on Saturday morning. The patrol frigate was sailing in the strait's shipping lanes between Nanaimo and Parksville when the spill occurred, said Commodore Jeff Zwick, commander of the Canadian fleet in the Pacific region…. The spill happened while crews onboard the vessel were transferring fuel internally. Zwick said about 30,000 litres of F-76 fuel was spilled. He said human error was likely a factor, although he noted that the investigation into the cause is still underway. F-76 is a naval fuel used in compression ignition engines, according to a NATO publication. It's also used in naval gas turbines and ships' boilers for steam raising. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Provincial power plays: B.C. and Alberta test the boundaries in pipeline debate
At the heart of the cooling dispute between Alberta and B.C. were two provinces flexing their muscles, testing the limits of their powers. Premiers Rachel Notley and John Horgan have both said they're working in the interests of the citizens they represent. But it's open to interpretation whether Alberta had the right to ban B.C. wine or if B.C. has the authority to restrict bitumen exports from the federally approved Trans Mountain pipeline. Those are questions for the court, and both provinces have strong arguments to make, a pair of UBC professors told CBC News. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Confronting Ocean Acidification in the Salish Sea: An Update on Washington’s Efforts 
Salish Sea Communications guest blogger Martha Kongsgaard writes: "Ocean acidification (OA) has long been a worry for the Salish Sea. And while the threat persists, we can take some solace in the progress we have made over many years of concentrated study and initiative. The last five years have been particularly important. Washington State has emerged as a global leader in the fight against ocean acidification, thanks to the leadership of Governors Gregoire and  Inslee and the work of cross disciplined scientists and industry leaders…." (read more)

Appeal hearing Tuesday for refinery project
The Skagit County Board of Commissioners will hold an appeal hearing Tuesday regarding a multimillion dollar project proposed for the Andeavor Anacortes Refinery. The hearing will be 9 to 11 a.m. in the Commissioners Office, 1800 Continental Place in Mount Vernon. Environmental groups are appealing a permit approved for the refinery’s proposed Clean Products Upgrade Project. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

More on sea otters
Robert McFetridge writes: "The comment about sea otters seldom going ashore reminded me of a promotional video for the MV Uchuck tour in Nootka Sound on the west coast of the Island.  That includes some shots of large numbers of sea otters up on the rocks presumably taken in Nootka Sound.  I don't know if there are other records of frequent use of similar rocky points." And Forest Shomer writes: "Sea otter has also been identified as the prime vector for the dissemination of Opuntia fragilis, the only native cactus around the Salish Sea. The reproductive pods will attach to the sea otter, and when it returns to land on a nearby shore, dehisces and becomes a potential mother to a new colony. No other natural vector has been identified besides the sea otter. When last thoroughly surveyed, there were about 260 cactus sites on the islands and nearby shores of the Salish Sea—corresponding to the range of sea otters."

Ocean pollution tracked by scientists
From the beach just outside the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ lab in West Vancouver, the waters of Sandy Cove sparkle in the sunlight. But the picture-perfect scene masks a less pristine reality. Not far from this site, mussels on the shores of West Bay measured the highest levels of dioxin and furan contamination among 54 sites in coastal B.C. sampled by scientists with the Coastal Ocean Research Institute who work in the lab.  Nearby, mussels off Eagle Harbour ranked second for dioxin and furan contamination and most contaminated for hydrocarbons. A site in Burrard Inlet off Altamont ranked No. 1 for mercury levels. Pesticides, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants and synthetic chemicals used in soaps and industrial processes were other common contaminants found in local mussel and sediment samples. Jany Seyd reports. (North Shore News/Squamish Chief)

After five decades, ‘iconic’ Governors Point has a new owner – and possible public access
A Canadian business owner has bought Governors Point for $5.7 million and plans to build 16 homes on the peninsula while setting aside two-thirds of the land as a nature reserve. Randy Bishop bought the 125-acre property through his Governors Point Land LP. The sale closed Friday. It had been approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Washington. Roger Sahlin and his family, who have owned the land since the 1960s, were the sellers. The peninsula off Chuckanut Drive south of Bellingham has been part of bankruptcy proceedings since May 2015. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

New Maps Reveal Global Fishing's 'Vast Scope Of Exploitation Of The Ocean'
The fishing industry has long been hard to monitor. Its global footprint is difficult even to visualize. Much fishing takes place unobserved, far from land, and once the boats move on, they leave behind few visible traces of their activity. But this week, the journal Science published some remarkable maps that help fill that gap. John Amos, president of an organization called SkyTruth, which helped produce them, issued a statement calling the maps “a stunning illustration of the vast scope of exploitation of the ocean.” Dan Charles reports. (NPR) See also: Artificial intelligence shows unprecedented detail in global fishing activities   Cassie Williams reports. (CBC)

Planes dumped hundreds of tonnes of fuel over Canada in 2016
Commercial jet aircraft are dumping hundreds of tonnes of aviation fuel in Canadian airspace because of mechanical problems, medical and other emergencies, and even unruly passengers. Airlines typically dump fuel before premature landings, streaming it through nozzles near the trailing edges of wing tips, to ensure the plane is light enough to land safely. These pollution incidents fly under the public radar and raise no special alarms for Canadian aviation authorities, including for the environmental effects such as greenhouse gas emissions. “From a high altitude, fuel vaporizes and is not a hazard to the environment,” Transport Canada spokeswoman Marie Anyk said. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Oak Bay, B.C., moves ahead with experimental deer control program
The community of Oak Bay, on southern Vancouver Island, is moving ahead with an experimental project to control urban deer using a contraceptive that has been used on the wild horse population in Alberta. The district has partnered with the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society, which is overseeing the project. It aims to capture 20 does before fawning season begins in late March. The group is now sedating and putting collars on the animals, equipped with tracking devices. The team is also taking blood, fecal and DNA samples. Emily Brass reports. (CBC)

Vancouver park board orders review of use of rodenticides
The Vancouver park board is conducting a review of rodenticides after Postmedia News revealed that the placement of poisoned-bait boxes around restaurants and other park buildings could result in the secondary poisoning of owls and other wildlife attracted to parks…. The review will also determine how many of the boxes are currently out there with active bait and how many are no longer in use but have not been picked up. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Left to Louisiana’s Tides, a Village Fights for Time
For the community of Jean Lafitte, the question is less whether it will succumb to the sea than when — and how much the public should invest in artificially extending its life. From the series The Drowning Coast, a three-part special report about the ecological crisis facing Louisiana’s vanishing coast, and the people who live there. Kevin Sack and John Schwartz reports. (NY Times,, Times-Picayune of New Orleans)

US lands agency makeover would diminish Washington’s power 
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke disclosed Friday in an Associated Press interview that he’s revamping a sweeping overhaul of his department that’s supposed to speed up permitting for development on public lands, but Democrats asserted it was just a ploy to let the energy industry get its way. The changes follow complaints from a bipartisan group of Western state governors that Zinke did not consult them before unveiling a plan last month to decentralize the Interior Department. The agency oversees vast public lands, primarily in the U.S. West, ranging from protected national parks and wildlife refuges to areas where coal mining and energy exploration dominate the landscape. Matthew Brown and Dan Elliott report. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  229 AM PST Mon Feb 26 2018  
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 11  ft at 14 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the morning.
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  8 ft at 13 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the evening  then rain likely 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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Friday, February 23, 2018

2/23 Sea otter, sea level rise, wine boycott, Pt Wells condos, Navy ops, salmon music, tidal power risks, Clean Water Act

Sea otters [Tony Trupp/Defenders of Wildlife]
Sea otter Enhydra lutris
Yesterday's item about river otters brought the following comment from Shawn Larson at the Seattle Aquarium and an editor of Sea Otter Conservation: "Sea otters do not come to land to give birth; they give birth in the water and never have to come to land even to rest although sometimes they do. They are true marine mammals with an amazing local history." From the book: "Sea otters are good indicators of ocean health. In addition, they are a keystone species, offering a stabilizing effect on ecosystem, controlling sea urchin populations that would otherwise inflict damage to kelp forest ecosystems. The kelp forest ecosystem is crucial for marine organisms and contains coastal erosion. With the concerns about the imperiled status of sea otter populations in California, Aleutian Archipelago and coastal areas of Russia and Japan, the last several years have shown growth of interest culturally and politically in the status and preservation of sea otter populations."

Northwest Coastal Wetlands Won't Survive High Sea Level Rise 
Over the next century, sea level rise is expected to wreak havoc on the U.S. coastlines – and a new analysis shows that the Northwest is not immune. Nearly all coastal wetlands in Oregon, Washington and California will be swamped at the highest predicted sea level change. Sea level rise is a byproduct of climate change. It happens as the world’s oceans warm and physically expand.  Melting glaciers and ice sheets are also contributing. New research from the U.S. Geological Survey gives the first ever insight to how specific bays, marshes and harbors will fare. Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Alberta ends B.C. wine boycott after B.C. premier announces court action on pipeline standoff
The two-week boycott of B.C. wine by the Alberta government is over. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made the announcement on Thursday afternoon, an hour after B.C. Premier John Horgan said his government would turn to the courts on the question of whether it could implement a temporary ban on increased exports of bitumen from Alberta, the issue that sparked the disagreement. Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

Point Wells luxury condo project is running out of time
Snohomish County planners have signaled they might recommend against approving a controversial high-rise condo project at Point Wells, after denying the developer’s most recent request to extend a key deadline. A major decision about the project’s fate could wind up with the county hearing examiner, possibly in late spring. County planners have been asking BSRE Point Wells to resolve major issues with the 3,081-unit project. The developer has failed so far to show how it intends to meet requirements to double building height limits to 180 feet, planners said in October, and still needs to address parking and landslide concerns. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Navy to take feedback on special operations training plans through March 23 
The Navy has extended the public comment period on a draft environmental assessment for special operations training in Jefferson County to March 23. The comment period was set to expire Wednesday. On Tuesday, Jefferson County commissioners had agreed to send a letter requesting the comment period extension. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Tracking Salmon Migration Through Music
Salmon researchers are turning to sound to learn more about the fish they’re trying to understand. There is a lot of data about salmon out there, and that data is complex and hard to process. But researchers hope setting fish migration patterns into notes and tones can make it easier to analyze. Jens Hegg with the University of Idaho is the lead author of a study published in Heliyon. He wanted to distill the databases of salmon migration down to something that your brain can process more easily. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPB/EarthFix)

Measuring the Risks of Tidal Power
As the world seeks to cut its reliance on fossil fuels, scientists have been working to harness the forces of nature—from the sun and the wind to the waves and the tides—to produce reliable sources of renewable power. But just like the energy sources they seek to replace, such as carbon-spewing oil and coal, these new sources of green energy will inevitably cause some environmental damage. Skeptics and scientists have raised a range of hypothetical ways in which wave and tidal power infrastructure could hurt animals…. As with any new technology, it’s difficult to accurately gauge the actual threat posed by any of these imagined scenarios. That’s why Andrea Copping, an offshore energy expert at the US Department of Energy-funded Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, set out to assess the risks posed by common forms of ocean energy infrastructure. She finds that tidal turbine blades present the most immediate danger to wildlife, but impacts would be rare, and in most cases non-lethal. Ramin Skibba reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Federal waters rule gets batted around endlessly in the courtrooms 
Confusion is nothing new when it comes to figuring out whether federal agencies have jurisdiction over certain wetlands and intermittent streams under the Clean Water Act. And now the Trump administration has guaranteed that confusion will reign a while longer. Meanwhile, lawsuits — also nothing new to the Clean Water Act — continue to pile up at a rapid pace. Some argue that the confusion begins with the 1972 Clean Water Act itself, which requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue permits for any filling or dredging — which covers most development — within the “navigable waters” of the country. Congress defined “navigable waters” in a way that has generated much confusion and many lawsuits through the years: “The term ‘navigable waters’ means the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas,” the law states. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  838 PM PST Thu Feb 22 2018  
 S wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW 20 to 30 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 6 ft at 15 seconds. Rain  likely in the morning then rain in the afternoon.
 W wind 15 to 25 kt rising to 20 to 30 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 6 ft at 14 seconds  building to 9 ft at 10 seconds after midnight. Rain.
 NW wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 3 ft. W swell  12 ft at 11 seconds.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW 20 to 30 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 3 to 5 ft after  midnight. W swell 9 ft at 12 seconds.
 W wind 20 to 30 kt easing to 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 13 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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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

2/22 River otter, Rainier glaciers, PSE coal, tar sands oil

River otter [USFWS]
River otter Lutra canadensis
River otters have long, streamlined bodies, short legs, webbed toes, and long, tapered tails—all adaptations for their mostly aquatic lives. Their short thick fur is a rich brown above, and lighter, with a silvery sheen, below. Adult male river otters average 4 feet in length, including the tail, and weigh 20 to 28 pounds. Female adults are somewhat smaller than males. Although seldom seen, river otters are relatively common throughout Washington in ponds, lakes, rivers, sloughs, estuaries, bays, and in open waters along the coast. In colder locations, otters frequent areas that remain ice-free in winter—rapids, the outflows of lakes, and waterfalls. River otters avoid polluted waterways, but will seek out a concentrated food source upstream in urban areas. River otters are sometimes mistaken for their much larger seagoing cousin, the sea otter (Enhydra lutris). However, male sea otters measure 6 feet in length and weigh 80 pounds. Sea otters are acclimated to salt water, and come to shore only for occasional rest periods and to give birth. In comparison, river otters can be found in fresh, brackish, or salt water, and can travel overland for considerable distances. (WDFW)

See how Mount Rainier glaciers have vanished over time, with this eye-opening photo project
A series of panoramic photographs taken during the Great Depression is offering a new view of ecological change across the Pacific Northwest, including the dramatic retreat of glaciers on the region’s most iconic peak. In 1934, when a young Forest Service photographer lugged his 75-pound camera to Anvil Rock high on the southern flank of Mount Rainier, the vista he captured showed the curling sweep of the Cowlitz Glacier snaking down the valley below. When Wenatchee-based photographer John F. Marshall re-created the same image with modern equipment 83 years later, the valley stretched out bare and empty of ice. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Activists Protest Puget Sound Energy Plan To Keep Using Coal
About one hundred activists gathered Wednesday to protest Puget Sound Energy’s plan to keep producing electricity from coal until 2035. PSE is the company that likely keeps your lights and Wifi on if you live in the Puget Sound area but not in Seattle. The activists’ main concern was climate change. Unlike Seattle City Light, which relies on hydroelectric dams, PSE gets about a third of its energy from coal — and activists have been trying to change that for years. They enjoyed partial success when the company agreed to shut down its two dirtiest Montana coal plants by 2022. But that plan leaves two coal plants still online. EilĂ­s O’Neill reports. (KUOW/EarthFix) See also: Coal states Montana and Wyoming push back on Washington state proposed carbon tax  Tom Lutey reports. (Billings Gazette)

New Technology Could Turn Tar Sands Oil Into 'Pucks' for Less Hazardous Transport
A new technology has the potential to transform the transportation of tars sands oil. Right now, the already thick and slow-flowing oil, known as bitumen, has to be diluted with a super-light petroleum product, usually natural gas condensate, in order for it to flow through a pipeline or into a rail tank car. However, scientists at the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering inadvertently found a way to make tar sands oil even more viscous, turning it into "self-sealing pellets" that could potentially simplify its transport. "We've taken heavy oil, or bitumen, either one, and we've discovered a process to convert them rapidly and reproducibly into pellets," Ian Gates, the professor leading the research, told CBC News in September. Justin Mikulka reports. (EcoWatch)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  838 PM PST Wed Feb 21 2018  
 NE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE to 10 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds.
 NW wind to 10 kt becoming SW after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 17 seconds.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2/21 Oystercatcher, Vancouver port risks, net pens, marine mammals, BC pipe, kids sue WA state, offshore oil, Quendall Terminals superfund, NEPA, B'ham port, sewage spill

Black oystercatcher [USFWS]
Black oystercatcher Haematopus bachmani
Rocky coasts, sea islets. Found at all seasons along rocky shorelines, especially on small offshore islands where predators are fewer; chooses areas with abundant shellfish and other marine life. In winter, also commonly found on mudflats close to rocky coastlines, but uses mudflats less in summer. Still widespread along Pacific Coast, numerous in some areas. Vulnerable to effects of oil spills and other pollution in intertidal zone. Also very vulnerable to disturbance at nesting sites. (Audubon Field Guide)

Environment Canada strikes potential death blow to port’s expansion
Environment officials have struck a potential death blow to the Port of Vancouver’s $2-billion container expansion in South Delta, saying the risks to a significant migratory population of western sandpipers are simply too great for the project to proceed. A written response from Environment and Climate Change Canada to the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency (CEAA) describes the predicted impact of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project on hundreds of thousands of sandpipers as “potentially high in magnitude, permanent, irreversible, and, continuous.” Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Remember NAFTA? It might keep Atlantic salmon farms in Puget Sound
The Canadian owner of an Atlantic salmon farm that collapsed last summer near Anacortes vows to use the North American Free Trade Agreement to save its fish farms in Puget Sound. New Brunswick, Canada-based Cooke Aquaculture says it will pursue mandatory arbitration under NAFTA if the Washington legislature tries to phase out Atlantic salmon farming. Both chambers in Olympia have passed bills that would phase out farming of Atlantic salmon in Washington waters. If legislators reconcile the bills’ differences, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the phase-out of Atlantic salmon farming into law. Company vice president Joel Richardson said Cooke has been willing to compromise, even offering to raise only female fishes in order to prevent escaped Atlantic salmon from spawning and taking over wild salmon streams. John Ryan reports. (kUOW)

Study would explore changes to protections for seals and sea lions
As wildlife managers work to recover Puget Sound’s diminished Chinook population, a proposed white paper is expected to review the impacts of some of the salmon’s chief predators. The study would include a section on potential management of seals and sea lions, prompting open discussion of a long taboo subject: Could officials seek to revise the Marine Mammal Protection Act — or even conduct lethal or non-lethal removal of seals and sea lions in some cases? Such actions are hypothetical, but we look at some of the ongoing discussions around the issue as prompted by a new resolution from the Puget Sound Leadership Council. Tribal leaders as well as the Puget Sound Leadership Council, the governing body of the state’s Puget Sound Partnership, are calling for a study of “targeted management” of seals and sea lions that would include a look at potential revisions to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The resolution is spurred by recent scientific findings that say harbor seals are flourishing to the point that they and, to a lesser extent, sea lions may be harming the size of populations of young Chinook in Puget Sound. Derrick Nunnally reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Environment minister blasted for dinner with anti-pipeline activists
The B.C. Liberals are questioning whether the province’s environment minister shared information about the NDP government’s opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in a way that swung the stock market. The province announced on Jan. 30 that it would limit the amount of diluted bitumen that can be transported by pipeline or rail until it can do further research on spill cleanup. That same day, Environment Minister George Heyman ate dinner with a “Kinder Morgan Strategy Group” at a two-day retreat on Bowen Island, which was attended by opponents of the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain project. Nick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

13 kids sue Washington state for life, liberty and a livable climate
Thirteen kids are suing the state of Washington and its governor to protect their generation from climate change. The plaintiffs range in age from 7 to 17. Their suit, filed Friday in King County Superior Court, says Gov. Jay Inslee and state agencies are violating the constitutional rights of a generation by continuing to let dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide into the sky. "They are not taking nearly enough action to fight climate change, which my generation is going to suffer from," 16-year-old plaintiff Jamie Margolin of Seattle said. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Does Pacific Northwest have any offshore oil to drill for? 
The Trump administration’s plan to open up the Washington and Oregon’s outer continental shelf to offshore oil exploration has angered many Northwest officials, Republicans included. But a simple question has been lost in the rhetoric. Is there any recoverable oil there, and is it enough to attract oil companies? Much like everything with a political bent, one can find differing opinions to that answer. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) 2016 assessment estimates there’s about 400 million barrels of oil in the outer continental shelf off Washington and Oregon. It also estimates the same area contains 2.28 trillion cubic feet of gas. That seems like a lot, but they are small in light of U.S daily use of oil — about 20 million barrels — and by comparison to other suspected oil reserves: BOEM says there’s 120 times more oil as yet untapped in the Gulf of Mexico (48 billion barrels) and 25 times more untapped oil off the California coast (10 billion barrels). Jackson Hogan reports. (Daily News- Longview)

Renton’s Quendall Terminals On EPA’s Superfund Redevelopment Focus List
Superfund sites are a high priority for the Environmental Protection Agency under Administrator Scott Pruitt. He has put 21 of them on a Redevelopment Focus List, to accelerate cleanup. Two of those are in Washington and one is in the Puget Sound region, in Renton.  Quendall Terminals is the largest undeveloped waterfront parcel left on Lake Washington. It’s 22 acres on the southeastern shore, covered with blackberry bushes and alders, just south of the Seahawks training facility and just off Exit 7 of I-405. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

The Pentagon Is Using an Environmental Law Meant to Protect Us, Against Us
…. Karen Sullivan, a retired endangered species biologist, cofounded the West Coast Action Alliance, which acts as a watchdog of naval activities in the Pacific Northwest. Sullivan has compiled a document that she believes to be akin to a DOD "NEPA Playbook," which she shared with Truthout. The pattern Sullivan sees the DOD use to insure its operations or trainings are never held up or denied by NEPA begins with the military always finding, in its environmental assessments, that its activities will have "no significant impact" on the environment or civilians. Sullivan explained how in October 2017, she asked the Navy to provide examples within the last 10 years in the Pacific Northwest region where, during an environmental assessment (EA) process for any of their requests, impacts were determined to be significant. In such a case, the Navy would need to begin an environmental impact statement (EIS) process. Sullivan told Truthout that a Navy spokesperson told her, "There have been no regional Navy projects over the past 10 years that stopped an EA process, and elevated it to become an EIS process." (Truthout)

The Port has picked a waterfront design. Next stop: city approval
The Port of Bellingham has decided to make a public park a key feature of its new downtown waterfront design. Port commissioners voted 3-0 on Tuesday to approve the Waypoint Connection, a design that makes Waypoint Park the starting point for the secondary trail park that meanders south to Cornwall Beach. Port staff will now finish the changes in the form of an amendment to the waterfront plans and submit it to the city, which will go through its own review process. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Sewage overflow affects Port Washington Narrows
A no-contact advisory was issued Monday for Port Washington Narrows and Phinney Bay following a sewage spill in the area of Anderson Cove. A power outage caused a combined sewage and stormwater overflow in the city of Bremerton sewage system Sunday, according to a notice from Kitsap Public Health District. About 4,600 gallons were spilled. The no-contact advisory will remain in effect through Friday. Signs have been posted at public access points advising people to stay out of the water. Shellfish harvests are already closed in the area due to ongoing pollution. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  816 PM PST Tue Feb 20 2018  
WED  E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE to 10 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 14 seconds. A chance of  snow in the afternoon.
 E wind to 10 kt becoming NE after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 13 seconds. Snow likely in  the evening then a chance of snow after midnight.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

2/20 Midshipman, BC pipe, Ryan Zinke, Tarboo Cr planting, seismic surveys, ocean plastics, invasive mussels

Plainfin midshipman [USGS/Watching Our Water Ways]
The secret to the midshipman’s song
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "Among the wonders of nature in Puget Sound is a chunky little fish with bulging eyes called a plainfin midshipman. The species includes two very different types of males, and one type tries to attract a mate by emitting a continuous humming sound for up to an hour before stopping. An hour-long mating call is rather remarkable, considering that most animals use short intermittent bursts of sound followed by periods of rest. Until recently, scientists were not sure how the midshipman could keep its call going so long…."

'Science is being ignored': prominent Alberta professor sides with B.C. on pipeline
Despite the tough stance from Alberta Premier Rachel Notley about Kinder Morgan Canada's pipeline expansion, a prominent Alberta academic is taking British Columbia's side in the dispute. David Schindler, professor emeritus of ecology at the University of Alberta, says he thinks B.C.'s concerns about the Trans Mountain pipeline are legitimate. The issue is one of science and not politics, he argues. "Somehow, science is being ignored in all this," he told CBC Early Edition host Stephen Quinn. "I think the questions [about spills] are very legitimate." Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

Turmoil Marks Ryan Zinke's 1st Year In Charge Of Interior Department
A year of upheaval at the U.S. Interior Department has seen dozens of senior staff members reassigned and key leadership positions left unfilled, rules considered burdensome to industry shelved, and a sweeping reorganization proposed for its 70,000 employees. The evolving status quo at the agency responsible for more than 780,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) of public lands, mostly in the American West, has led to praise from energy and mining companies and Republicans, who welcomed the departure from perceived heavy-handed regulation under President Barack Obama. But the changes have drawn increasingly sharp criticism from conservationists, Democrats and some agency employees. Under President Donald Trump, the critics say, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has curbed outside input into how the land is used and elevated corporate interests above the duty to safeguard treasured sites. Matthew Brown reports. (Associated Press)

Thousands more trees planted on Tarboo Creek during Plant-A-Thon
In one day, 180 volunteers planted 4,300 native trees and shrubs along Tarboo Creek. The Northwest Watershed Institute’s Plant-A-Thon, an annual event since 2005, was held this year on Feb. 4. Volunteers from area schools worked to restore salmon and wildlife habitat, as well as reduce climate change impacts, by planting 2,300 native trees, and installing 2,000 live stakes of willow and other native shrubs along Tarboo Creek, said Jude Rubin, director of stewardship and public involvement for Northwest Watershed Institute (NWI). The Plant-A-Thon has become the largest environmental service project in East Jefferson County, Rubin said. (Peninsula Daily News)

Seismic Surveys Planned Off U.S. Coast Pose Risk To Marine Life
Animals that live in the ocean communicate with sound — humpback whales, for example. But these voices could soon be drowned out by powerful sonic booms from vessels searching for oil and gas. President Trump is opening up the Atlantic Coast to companies to explore for fresh reserves. And to explore, they will be making some of the loudest sounds ever heard in the ocean — sounds that, according to recent research, could harm marine animals from whales to plankton. Five companies are currently applying for permits to use seismic air guns to survey thousands of miles of the seabed along the Atlantic Coast. If they get the permits, they could start later this year. Christopher Joyce reports. (NPR)

Ocean plastic tide 'violates the law'
The global tide of ocean plastic pollution is a clear violation of international law, campaigners say. They have been urging for a new global treaty to tackle the problem. But a new report - to be presented to a Royal Geographical Society conference on Tuesday - says littering the sea with plastics is already prohibited under existing agreements. The report urges those governments that are trying to tackle the issue to put legal pressure on those that are not. Roger Harrabin reports. (BBC)

US scientists try crowdsourcing to stop invasive mussels
The invasive quagga and zebra mussels have a $100,000 bounty on their "heads." The U.S. government is offering the six-figure prize for the best suggestion on how to stop their relentless and destructive spread because scientists say they are stumped. "We might as well give it a try," said Sherri Pucherelli, a biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. "Open water. That's really where the challenge is. Nothing has been developed right now that causes complete eradication in a large water body." Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  835 PM PST Mon Feb 19 2018    

TUE  SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E 15 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 4 ft at 16 seconds. A slight chance of snow in  the afternoon.  
TUE NIGHT  E wind 15 to 20 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 14 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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2/19 Octo week, salmon pen problems, orca bill dies, BC pipe, Mandt's black guillemots, Native sovereignty

Octopus at Seattle Aquarium [Alan Berner/Seattle Times]
Octopus Week at Seattle Aquarium
One octopus was being released into the Window on Washington Waters exhibit Friday at the Seattle Aquarium as part of Octopus Week. On Saturday, the aquarium will release another octopus into Puget Sound at noon. Alan Berner reports. (Seattle Times)

Cooke Aquaculture inspection finds problems at 2 other Atlantic salmon pens 
Deficiencies have been found at Cooke Aquaculture’s Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound by an independent inspector, the state Department of Natural Resources reports. Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz ordered inspections of all nine of Cooke’s net pens after a catastrophic collapse of one of its net pens at Cypress Island in the San Juans last August, allowing more than 200,000 Atlantic salmon to escape into the Salish Sea. The latest inspections from the contractor hired by the state, Mott MacDonald of Edmonds, found deficiencies at Cooke’s operations at its Hope Island and Rich Passage facilities, according to the reports released Friday. Problems included poor condition and deterioration of some anchor lines, surface rust and corrosion on parts of the facilities and concern about whether anchors were inside the boundaries of the net-pen leases. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Orca protection bill stumbles and dies on state Senate floor
State legislation that would increase protection for Puget Sound’s killer whales died this week amidst confusing action on the Senate floor. Now, orca advocates are pushing a narrower bill approved by the House to limit remote-controlled aircraft around whales, while they also hope for a $3-million budget appropriation to support other orca protection measures. Whether people should be allowed to fly a drone around the endangered Southern Resident orcas seems to be the issue stirring up the most attention in the Legislature — although it is a small part of the overall effort. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

B.C. to appeal NEB ruling on Trans Mountain bylaw
British Columbia's government is appealing a decision that allows Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass local regulations in constructing its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The National Energy Board ruled in December that the company is not required to comply with two sections of the City of Burnaby's bylaws on land and tree clearances. Kinder Morgan had argued the bylaws were unconstitutional because they hindered its ability to go ahead with the federally approved project. The provincial government said in a statement Saturday that it has filed leave to appeal the board's ruling with the Federal Court of Appeal. Gemma Karstens-Smith reports. (Canadian Press) See also: Burnaby seeks appeal over tree-cutting permits involving Trans Mountain pipeline The City of Burnaby wants to appeal a National Energy Board decision that exempts Kinder Morgan from local land and tree clearance bylaws in the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. (Canadian Press)

Alberta’s Notley wants action on B.C. pipeline impasse by next week
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she wants progress soon in the impasse between her province and British Columbia over the Trans Mountain pipeline or she will ratchet up the pressure. “We’d like to see some evidence of progress next week or you will hear more from us about other strategies that might be going forward,” Notley said Friday. “(In the meantime) we’re giving everybody space to have conversations.” Dean Bennett reports. (Financial Post)

The Study Of One Bird, 43 Years In The Making 
George Divoky is a scientist in Seattle, at least most of the year. But don’t expect to find him around here during the summertime. He’ll be on a small, flat little island in the Arctic Ocean, off the Alaska coast, called Cooper Island. Back in 1975, Divoky was doing survey work there, when he came across a colony of arctic birds called Mandt’s Black Guillemots. They’re little pigeon-sized birds with bright red legs, and they’re one of the few seabird species that depend year-round on sea ice. Gabriel Spitzer & Kevin Kniestedt report. (KNKX)

Tribes call on Washington to respect Native sovereignty
The federal tax overhaul passed in December is "completely unacceptable" to Native Americans, just another example of what can happen when tribes are not included in federal decision-making, a tribal leader said Monday. National Congress of American Indians President Jefferson Keel said in the annual State of Indian Nations address that the government-to-government relationship between tribes and Washington is even more important now, as the federal government pushes more control toward the states. (Cronkite News)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  416 AM PST Mon Feb 19 2018  
 NE wind 10 to 20 kt becoming light. Wind waves 1 to 3  ft subsiding to less than 1 ft. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds.
 SE wind 10 kt or less. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W  swell 5 ft at 14 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, February 16, 2018

2/16 Kingfisher, freeze, BC pipe, illegal pesticides, BC LNG, toxic transport, 'coons, drugged mussels, SMP

Belted Kingfisher [Pat Hare/All About Birds]
Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfishers spend much of their time perched alone along the edges of streams, lakes, and estuaries, searching for small fish. They also fly quickly up and down rivers and shorelines giving loud rattling calls. They hunt either by plunging directly from a perch, or by hovering over the water, bill downward, before diving after a fish they’ve spotted…. They nest in burrows that they dig into soft earthen banks, usually adjacent to or directly over water. Kingfishers spend winters in areas where the water doesn’t freeze so that they have continual access to their aquatic foods. (All About Birds)

Extreme Cold, Snow, Wind To Hit Puget Sound This Weekend
The entire region will get a winter blast starting Friday, including the coldest temperatures of this winter so far. Nel McNamara reports. (Patch) Vancouver Weather: Rain/wet snow for Metro Vancouver, snow alert for Whistler  Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun)

NEB clears Trans Mountain to begin pipeline tunnel work at Burnaby Mountain 
he National Energy Board says work can begin on construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline's tunnel entrance at Burnaby Mountain — as long as the company has permits from three levels of government. The NEB issued three decisions Thursday afternoon that allow workers on the Kinder Morgan project to do clearing and grading on the oil and gas giant's Westridge Marine Terminal property. In an emailed statement, Trans Mountain said it was pleased with the decision, which will allow it to begin construction before migratory birds return to the area in the spring. (CBC) See also: B.C. residents still split on Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion: poll  Tiffany Crawford reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Amazon, EPA reach $1.2 million settlement over online sales of illegal pesticides 
Seattle-based Amazon has agreed to pay more than $1.2 million in administrative penalties as part of an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the agency says will protect consumers from hazards of illegal and misbranded pesticides sold by the online retail giant. In an announcement made Thursday, the EPA said the agreement settles allegations that over the past five years Amazon committed nearly 4,000 violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act by allowing third-parties to sell and distribute imported pesticide products from Amazon warehouses even though the pesticides were not licensed for sale in the United States. Christine Clarridge and Lynda Mapes report. (Seattle times)

Premier John Horgan says he wants to keep LNG door open
NDP Premier John Horgan insists he supports "every corner" of the province despite criticism from some northern municipalities he is not championing the oil and gas industry of northern British Columbia. Horgan's comments came as the trade dispute with Alberta over the Kinder Morgan pipeline project entered its second week, and the day after a throne speech that made no mention of liquefied natural gas. LNG was a central feature of the platform of the previous B.C. Liberal government. Andrew Kurjata reports. (CBC)

Toxic metals from plastic left on the beach are leaching into the ocean's ecosystems: B.C. study
Simon Fraser University researchers say something as innocuous as a kid's toy left on a beach can play host to toxic metals that end up leaching into the ocean's ecosystems. Professor Leah Bendell and Bertrand Munier said their study shows even tiny plastic particles less than five millimetres in size can ferry traces of metals like zinc, copper and cadmium into the food chain. (CBC)

Meet The Friendliest Raccoons In The Northwest, Who Are Actually A Serious Problem
If you visit Tacoma's Point Defiance Park most any afternoon, you'll see raccoons lounging about the trails by day, often next to signs warning visitors to not feed them. If you drive slowly enough through the park's roads, they might rush out of the misty old-growth forest to greet you, tiny paws outstretched for food. If you're on a bike, they might scurry after you for a stretch. They've even learned to wait on the driver's side of the one-way road through the park, because they know every car has a driver and some drivers have snacks. Will James reports. (KNKX)

Mussels on drugs found near Victoria sewage outfalls
Drug tests on sea life near the sewage outflow pipes around Victoria are giving new meaning to the old expression "happy as a clam." Monitoring by the Capital Regional District has found high concentrations of antidepressants, as well as other pharmaceuticals and personal care products in shellfish near the sewage outfalls around Victoria. Chris Lowe, who supervises environmental monitoring programs for the CRD, said the region has been collecting wastewater samples since 2003 to monitor pharmaceuticals. Testing expanded to sediment and mussel tissue samples as the ability to detect and analyze those compounds improved in recent years. Deborah Wilson reports. (CBC)

SMP foes consider next step after state Supreme Court declines case
Opponents of Jefferson County’s Shoreline Master Program vowed Thursday to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court after the state Supreme Court declined to hear their case earlier this month. Jefferson County Commissioner David Sullivan said the state Supreme Court’s Feb. 6 decision not to hear the case shows the state’s highest court doesn’t see any value in reviewing a state Court of Appeals decision affirming the constitutionality of the county’s shoreline master program (SMP)…. The opposition to the SMP is largely because of its buffer zones, areas in which development is not permitted so as to protect waterways. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Guemes Channel Trail project raises concerns
The Guemes Channel Trail project has broad community support, but a proposal to build a paved section through the wetland buffer of a protected area has some residents concerned and has raised questions with the City Council. Some residents believe the Anacortes Parks & Recreation Department’s proposed route, which includes a paved section through the Ship Harbor Interpretative Preserve buffer, would harm critical wetland habitat. (Skagit Publishing)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  232 AM PST Fri Feb 16 2018  
 SW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds. Rain  in the morning then rain likely in the afternoon.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 15 seconds. A chance of  rain in the evening then rain after midnight.
 SW wind to 10 kt becoming W 25 to 35 kt in the afternoon.  Combined seas 6 to 7 ft with a dominant period of 14 seconds  building to 10 to 12 ft with a dominant period of 10 seconds in  the afternoon. Rain.
SAT NIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 14 ft at 11 seconds.
 NE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 13 ft at 12 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, February 15, 2018

2/15 Hobo, fish farm ban, BC activism, BC pipe & wine, Quinault trees, EPA science, dirty trucks, Billy Frank park

Hobo spider []
Hobo spider Eratigena agrestis
The hobo, or funnel-web spider is a common one found in houses of the Pacific Northwest region. While not nearly as venomous as black widows, their bites may cause moderate epidermal damage and flu-like symptoms. They are also quite aggressive. 1.6 to 2 inches in diameter, hobos are a brownish color with a light vertical stripe along their sternum. They live in funnel-shaped webs, usually in dank, dark places, like under rocks. Hobos are very similar in design to some harmless Northwest spider species, with only microscopic differences. (Sciencing.Com)

Washington state House votes to ban Atlantic salmon farms
The Washington House of Representatives has voted to phase out farming of non-native fish in state waters, drawing the end of Atlantic salmon farming in Puget Sound one step closer. The move comes one week after a similar vote by the state Senate. Both bills let existing salmon farms keep operating only until their current leases run out, in the next 4 to 7 years. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Panel to offer testimony from the front lines of environmental battles
The environmental and First Nations rights movements are evolving quickly as social media provides new and more democratic spaces for influence and organization. Vancouver Sun and Province environment reporter Larry Pynn will moderate presentations and an audience-involved discussion on the history of environmental activism in British Columbia with veterans from the front lines of B.C.’s  most iconic mass protests. “We can start with the formation of Greenpeace here in the early 70s and talk about the action with First Nations and environmentalists at Clayoquot Sound, which is still one of the biggest acts of civil disobedience in Canadian history,” said Pynn.  The Museum of Vancouver is hosting the event Thursday in conjunction with a photo-based exhibition about how mass demonstration have shaped Vancouver’s identity, called City On The Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Payback or coincidence? Pipeline tensions between Alberta and B.C. ramp up
Political hurdles in the form of delays, bans and tolls have been raised in British Columbia in the weeks since the province served notice that it would temporarily ban expanded shipments of bitumen on the Trans Mountain pipeline. While the federal and Alberta governments denied Wednesday they were moving in retaliation, B.C.'s Opposition Liberals are pointing to the coincidence of a steady stream of obstacles. B.C.'s decision to halt increased shipments of the diluted bitumen until further environmental studies are concluded saw Alberta cut off talks to purchase $500 million worth of electricity from B.C. and then ban the province's wine imports. Dirk Meissner reports. (Canadian Press) See also: King County Executive Dow Constantine: Buy B.C. Wines To Protect Local Waters  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

More than 100 giant trees snapped off their trunks at Lake Quinault in Olympic National Park by mysterious weather phenomenon
It came in the night, snapping trees like chopsticks. During the early hours of Jan. 27 more than 100 gigantic old growth trees fell on the north shore of Lake Quinault. The resulting thud at about 1:30 a.m. was strong enough to register as a small earthquake, according to a seismic monitor at Quinault. Fallen trees, their splintered trunks left pointing in the air, blocked North Shore Road and damaged utility lines along a 1,000-foot stretch. The sides of the blowdown area were about one half-mile long. Craig Sailor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Top EPA Science Adviser Has History Of Questioning Pollution Research
In 2015, the top toxicologist for the state of Texas, Michael Honeycutt, was interviewed on Houston Public Radio. At the time, the Environmental Protection Agency was pushing for tighter limits on ozone, a type of air pollution that is hazardous for people with asthma and other respiratory diseases. But Honeycutt said reducing air pollution could be dangerous…. Now, Honeycutt is the top science advisor for the EPA, a position that gives him potentially broad influence over how scientific data is incorporated into EPA policy. But many scientists say his comments on ozone and air pollution are one indication that he’s a poor choice for the position. Rebecca Hersher reports. (NPR)

How $225,000 Can Help Secure a Pollution Loophole at Trump’s E.P.A.
The gravel parking lot at the Fitzgerald family’s truck dealership here in central Tennessee was packed last week with shiny new Peterbilt and Freightliner trucks, as well as a steady stream of buyers from across the country. But there is something unusual about the big rigs sold by the Fitzgeralds: They are equipped with rebuilt diesel engines that do not need to comply with rules on modern emissions controls. That makes them cheaper to operate, but means that they spew 40 to 55 times the air pollution of other new trucks, according to federal estimates, including toxins blamed for asthma, lung cancer and a range of other ailments. The special treatment for the Fitzgerald trucks is made possible by a loophole in federal law that the Obama administration tried to close, and the Trump administration is now championing. Eric Lipton reports. (NY Times)

Port of Olympia commission votes to name trail and park for Billy Frank Jr. 
The Port of Olympia commission has unanimously approved a waterfront project that will name a trail and park for Billy Frank Jr., the legendary Nisqually tribal activist who died in 2014. The project is expected to begin with a dedication ceremony March 9, Frank’s birthday. Once complete, a trail that runs along East Bay, as well as a park at the north end of the port peninsula, will be named for him, port spokeswoman Jennie Foglia-Jones said. Rolf Boone reports. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  551 AM PST Thu Feb 15 2018  
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 8 ft  at 12 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the morning then a  slight chance of rain in the afternoon.
 SW wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft after midnight. W  swell 5 ft at 11 seconds. A chance of rain in the evening then  rain after midnight.

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