Friday, June 29, 2018

6/29 Swallow, SCOTUS on environment, greater Canada, saildorones, hogweed, plastics

Barn swallow [Audubon Field Guide]
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
One of our most familiar birds in rural areas and semi-open country, this swallow is often seen skimming low over fields with a flowing, graceful flight. It seems to have adopted humans as neighbors, typically placing its nest in barns or garages, or under bridges or wharves; indeed, it is now rare to find a Barn Swallow nest in a site that is not manmade. The species is also common across Europe and Asia, wintering to southern Africa and South America. (Audubon Field Guide)

Justice Kennedy’s Retirement Could Reshape the Environment
The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, announced Wednesday in a letter hand-delivered to President Trump, could bring about sweeping changes to U.S. environmental law, endangering the federal government’s authority to fight climate change and care for the natural world. With Kennedy gone, a more conservative Supreme Court could overhaul key aspects of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, legal scholars say. And any new justice selected by President Trump would likely seek to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency, curtail its ability to fight global warming, and weaken its protections over wetlands. Robinson Meyer writes. (The Atlantic)

Here are the ways Canada is indisputably better than the United States
Thanks to Donald Trump’s baffling decision to plunge us into a trade war, Canada Day this year will almost certainly feature a higher-than-average rate of passive-aggressive America-bashing. The United States remains our closest friend and ally, and continues to supply us with all our non-Drake entertainment. Nevertheless, in the spirit of informed jingoism, here is a quick (and obviously biased) guide to the ways in which Canada is indisputably superior to our southern neighbour. We fought Nazis earlier! No Civil War! No slavery! No vicious beatings in our parliament! No Indian Wars! We abolished the penny! No violent founding! We had way less Prohibition! We’re not as fat! We aren’t utterly crushed by debt! Our obnoxious reality TV star failed miserably at politics!Tristin Hopper writes. (Vancouver Sun)

Saildrones set out to monitor fish stock along West Coast
Two little orange robot ships sailed out on the tide from Neah Bay, Wash., on Tuesday on a mission to monitor fish stocks along the West Coast. The project will gather data on fish populations managed jointly between Canada and the U.S. to see if the robot vessels, called Saildrones, can potentially replace larger, manned research ships.... For 100 days, the wind- and solar-powered crafts will monitor conditions like air and water temperature, salinity, and carbon dioxide concentration and beam data back to researchers. Anna Dimoff reports. (CBC)

Canadians warned to look out for invasive giant hogweed that burns, blinds
Canadians are being warned to look out for a dangerous, invasive plant that can cause third-degree burns. The Nature Conservancy of Canada says giant hogweed is one of Canada's most dangerous plants.  The non-native plant grows up to six metres in height and has large clusters of white flowers at the top. Its clear, toxic sap can cause rashes, blistering, burns and even blindness if it touches the body and is then exposed to the sun. (Canadian Press)

China Has Refused To Recycle The West's Plastics. What Now?
For more than 25 years, many developed countries, including the U.S., have been sending massive amounts of plastic waste to China instead of recycling it on their own. Some 106 million metric tons — about 45 percent — of the world’s plastics set for recycling have been exported to China since reporting to the United Nations Comtrade Database began in 1992. But in 2017, China passed the National Sword policy banning plastic waste from being imported — for the protection of the environment and people’s health — beginning in January 2018. Now that China won’t take it, what’s happening to the leftover waste? According to the authors of a new study, it’s piling up. Sara Kiley Watson reports. (NPR) See also: Seattle's Ban On Plastic Straws And Cutlery Kicks In July 1, But Some Plastic Straws Remain  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  242 AM PDT Fri Jun 29 2018   

TODAY  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 4 ft at  10 seconds. A chance of showers. 

TONIGHT  W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 10 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the evening then a  chance of showers after midnight. 

SAT  W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at  9 seconds. A chance of showers. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind to 10 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. 

SUN  W wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 8 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, June 28, 2018

6/28 Quadra Is., BC fish farms, Dungeness crabs, eulachon grease, Brinnon resort, enviro injustice

Rebecca Spit [Quadra Island Tourism]
Quadra Island
Quadra Island is an island off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island and part of the Discovery Islands located within the Strathcona Regional District.... In area Quadra island comprises about 310 square kilometres (120 square miles). The population of island and surrounding mainland inlets, as of the 2006 federal census... was 2,472... In 1903 it was named after the Spanish navigator Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, who explored and settled the Vancouver Island area in the late 18th century.... The island has many beaches, trails, lakes, and parks. Main Lake Provincial Park is located on the northern part of the island, and Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park is on the eastern shore, near Heriot Bay. (Wikipedia)

B.C., First Nations formalize talks on concerns over future of fish farms
Some coastal First Nations in British Columbia will have a greater say about the future of fish farms on their territory, following a new agreement with the provincial government. The province says in a news release that it has a letter of understanding with three central coast First Nations that will formalize ongoing talks about salmon aquaculture in the Broughton Archipelago off Vancouver Island. The ‘Namgis, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis and Mamalilikulla First Nations and province will speak with various parties involved, including the fish farm industry, and come up with actions and recommendations over the next 90 days. The news follows an announcement by the province last week that the salmon farmers will have four years to show their open-net operations don’t harm wild salmon and to get approval from area First Nations to locate the operations in their territories. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser says the government has been speaking with First Nations since January to resolve their concerns about fish farms, and the agreement recognizes the need to work respectfully with Indigenous Peoples to protect wild salmon. (Canadian Press)

Swinomish tribe takes new look at Dungeness crab
Before winding up on a dinner plate alongside melted butter, Dungeness crabs pulled from the depths of Puget Sound or Washington’s coastal areas spend several months smaller than a thumb tack. Not much is known about how, after emerging from eggs, the tiny crabs settle on area beaches and go on to become the meaty crabs prized in Washington and beyond.... A long-term goal is to collect enough data to draw connections between the number of months-old Dungeness crabs seen in certain areas and the number of adult crabs caught during commercial harvests. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Central Coast First Nation preserves eulachon grease tradition as the fish returns to Bella Coola River
The Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola is seeing signs that its eulachon run is returning after 20 years. The fish traditionally harvested in the Bella Coola River had disappeared without any clear reason why, and the Nuxalk College is preparing for its recovery with an annual eulachon camp, where elders pass their knowledge on how to make grease from the small, silvery fish.... Eulachon grease is made by putting the fish in what's called a stink box, where the blood drains into cedar boughs laid on the bottom. The eulachon ferment for several days until their eyes turn red before they're moved to another box for cooking at a precise temperature that releases the grease.  This year is the second year the college has co-ordinated the eulachon project, producing grease to distribute to Nuxalk members. Audrey McKinnon reports. (CBC)

Petition filed against resort plans in Brinnon
The Brinnon Group has filed a land use petition in Kitsap County Superior Court hoping to invalidate the developer agreement and supporting ordinance for the Pleasant Harbor Marina and Golf Resort, a master planned resort. The Pleasant Harbor Resort is planned to be on 252 acres on the Black Point Peninsula, 2 miles south of Brinnon. It is designed to have 890 residential units and a nine-hole golf course, as well as a recreation center and a conference center. The petitioners, a nonprofit group with a mailing address in Granite Falls, Wash., believe that the developer, Statesman Group of Calgary, Alberta, will adversely affect the area, it said in the petition filed Monday. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

‘South Park and Georgetown have shouldered the burden of environmental injustice for decades’
A plume of black smoke stretched across South Seattle on Tuesday night as a fire burned on a barge of scrapped cars on the Duwamish River. It was a dramatic sight, but pollution isn’t new to this part of the city, and now Seattle officials want to boost two of the neighborhoods that line the river, Georgetown and South Park. Officials cite this statistic as a reason for a revamp: Life expectancy in South Park is 74. That's 13 years less than in wealthy, mostly white neighborhoods like Laurelhurst or Magnolia. The reasons for the discrepancy aren't entirely clear, but city officials want to tackle two of the key suspects: pollution and poverty. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  230 AM PDT Thu Jun 28 2018   

TODAY  W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of  showers. 

TONIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds. Showers likely 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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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

6/27 Raccoon, Growlers, PS salmon, shooting sea lions, Adams R. sockeye, NW Tribal PAC, BC pipe, Trump ocean policy

Raccoon [Ginger Hosler/WDFW]
Raccoon Procyon lotor
The raccoon is a native mammal, measuring about 3 feet long, including its 12-inch, bushy, ringed tail. Because their hind legs are longer than the front legs, raccoons have a hunched appearance when they walk or run. Each of their front feet has five dexterous toes, allowing raccoons to grasp and manipulate food and other items. Raccoons prefer forest areas near a stream or water source, but have adapted to various environments throughout Washington. Raccoon populations can get quite large in urban areas, owing to hunting and trapping restrictions, few predators, and human-supplied food.... As long as raccoons are kept out of human homes, not cornered, and not treated as pets, they are not dangerous. (WDFW)

Growler plans released: Navy’s preferred alternative calls for more flights at OLF Coupeville 
The majority of EA-18G Growler field carrier landing practices on Whidbey Island will occur at an airfield in rural Coupeville surrounded by farmland and homes under the preferred alternative identified by the Navy this week. The amount of practice necessary for Growler pilots to remain prepared to land on aircraft carriers decreased by 30 percent under the scenario, but it still means a four-fold increase over current activity at Outlying Field Coupeville. About 12,000 Growler touch-and-go passes, or 23,700 “operations,” would occur annually at Outlying Field Coupeville under the alternative, the Navy reported. An operation is defined as a takeoff or landing, so each pass accounts for two operations. Currently, about 6,000 operations occur annually at OLF Coupeville. Jessie Stensland reports. (Whidbey News-Times and Peninsula Daily News) See also: Navy announces preference for Growler increase at NAS Whidbey  Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Opening the black box: What’s killing Puget Sound’s salmon and steelhead?
“Ocean conditions.” In years past, those two words were given as the only explanation for why coho or Chinook salmon failed to return to Puget Sound in numbers predicted by salmon forecasters. Even in good years, when large numbers of salmon would leave the streams, there was always a great deal of uncertainty about how many would make it back home. Mystery surrounded what the fish were doing out in the saltwater. Were they starving or were they thriving?.... Studies by more than 200 scientists on both sides of the border have revealed a tangled food web involving a multitude of predators and prey surrounding their primary species of study: Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout. To survive, these salmonids must not only become capable predators, but they must also remain vigilant to avoid larger predators trying to eat them. Chris Dunagan reports in a multi-part series on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. (Salish Sea Currents)

US House Bill Says Shooting Hungry Sea Lions Is Fair Game
The U.S. House approved a bill Tuesday that makes it easier to kill a limited number of sea lions that threaten imperiled salmon and steelhead populations. The legislation was co-sponsored by Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. “What we currently have on the Columbia River is an ecosystem seriously out of balance,” said Herrera Beutler, who believes the bill is necessary to save fish runs on the brink of extinction. “Our salmon runs are now fighting for survival. It’s practically a miracle when a fish can make it upstream without getting caught between a sea lion’s teeth,” she added. The bill, which passed by a vote of 288-116, eases protections on sea lions currently in place under the U.S. Marine Mammals Protection Act of 1972. Through these conservation efforts, populations of California sea lions have rebounded to nearly 300,000. Molly Solomon reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Adams River sockeye catches face 'significant restraint' to save endangered Cultus Lake stocks
Fishermen who have been waiting four years to harvest the famous Adams River sockeye run on the Fraser River system could see their catches cut in half in an effort to save the endangered Cultus Lake sockeye. Only about 1,000 spawners are expected to return to Cultus Lake this summer. Because they are swimming with millions of sockeye headed further up the river system to the Shuswap area — about one-third to the Adams River — fishery managers may have to scale back harvests in the name of conservation.... The conservation goal is a maximum 20-per-cent harvest of Cultus Lake sockeye, which swim up the Vedder River, an area upstream of the bulk of fishing opportunities. First Nations further up the Fraser River could benefit under such a scenario. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Sweet celestial treat for Seattle moon watchers this week
Sky watchers in the Puget Sound area could be in for a sweet treat this week when June’s fat full moon makes a rosy appearance on Wednesday night. If the weather cooperates, that is. The first full moon of summer, which is traditionally called a Strawberry Moon, will likely have a pink cast and appear unusually large, according to Washington State University astronomers. Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times)

Pacific Northwest Tribes Pushing For Climate Action Launch New Political Action Committee
A newly formed coalition of tribal leaders and communities of color plans to put its combined weight behind the latest voter initiative to curb carbon pollution. Several tribal leaders launched a political action committee they have dubbed The First American Project. It aims to support public policies that protect the environment and human rights. Their first major effort will be passage of I-1631 to put a price on carbon. The initiative appears to be headed to statewide ballots this fall. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Buying Trans Mountain pipeline could add 36% to federal deficit, study predicts
A study by a sustainable energy research group predicts the federal government's purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline will add significantly to the deficit next year. The study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis says buying the Kinder Morgan Canada assets, plus planning and construction costs, will put $6.5 billion in unplanned spending on the books for the 2018-19 fiscal year. Study authors Tom Sanzillo and Kathy Hipple say that until the Ottawa clarifies how it plans to account for the spending, there's a risk the purchase could add 36 per cent to the projected $18.1-billion deficit. (Canadian Press)

Trump scraps Obama policy on protecting oceans, Great Lakes 
President Donald Trump has thrown out a policy devised by his predecessor to protect U.S. oceans and the Great Lakes, replacing it with a new approach that emphasizes use of the waters to promote economic growth. Trump revoked an executive order issued by President Barack Obama in 2010 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.... Trump's order downplays environmental protection, saying the change would ensure that regulations and management decisions don't get in the way of responsible use by industries that "employ millions of Americans, advance ocean science and technology, feed the American people, transport American goods, expand recreational opportunities and enhance America's energy security." John Flesher reports. (Associated Press)

Anacortes-based conservation nonprofit closing
A small conservation nonprofit that has been working out of an Anacortes office for the past several years will close its doors Saturday. Pacific Biodiversity Institute struggled to secure the funding needed to continue its work, which focused largely on areas of Washington and Argentina, Executive Director Phoebe Barnard said. In order to ensure the institute’s efforts continue, Barnard has gotten three larger organizations to carry on three of the institute’s programs.... The mission of the Pacific Biodiversity Institute was to develop research and conservation programs that provide information for environmental planning, policy and management in the Cascadia region, including Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, as well as across western North America and southern South America. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  238 AM PDT Wed Jun 27 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt rising to 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 8 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. 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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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

6/26 Jellies, sea star disease, troubled pikas, NOAA 'vision,' beaver benefits

Moon jelly metropolis [Laurie MacBride]
Mysterious Worlds at Hand
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "On a magical morning a few weeks ago, I watched in awe from our boat as a virtual metropolis of luminous moon jellies and other planktonic creatures drifted through our anchorage. As the long, waving curtain of strange and wonderful life forms pulsated alongside and past me, the effect was like watching an underwater aurora – an extraordinary moving light show in slow motion.... (read more)"

Sea Stars Started Dissolving. What Helped Some of Them Survive?
In the summer of 2013, the ochre sea stars of the California coast fell victim to a deadly plague.... More than 80 percent of the ochre sea stars on the northern coast died as a result of that outbreak of sea star wasting syndrome, as the disease is called. In the wake of the devastation, Dr. Schiebelhut and her colleagues looked at the survivors and wondered: Did they have something that the dead did not? In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they report a detectable difference between the genes of sea stars before the epidemic and the survivors. Genetic tests also show that new generations of sea stars have more in common with the survivors than with past generations — the events of 2013 seem to have left an indelible mark on the sea star’s gene pool. Veronique Greenwood reports. (NY Times)

Washington's pikas are in even more trouble than scientists thought
Pikas are little rabbit-like mammals that could fit in the palm of your hand. They’re often seen scurrying around rocky alpine slopes with their mouths full of wildflowers. Pikas like it cold, so, as the climate has warmed, they’ve disappeared from lower elevations where they used to live. For years, scientists thought pikas were adapting to climate change by moving uphill. But new research indicates the news is even worse than that. Pikas aren’t adapting to climate change by moving uphill. In fact, because of the way they move around the landscape, they’re not adapting to climate change at all. Michael Russello and his fellow researchers at the University of British Columbia used DNA sequencing to track the movements of pikas in the North Cascades. What they found was, when young pikas strike out on their own, they tend to move downhill to look for living space. And, once they get there, they’re dying off instead of establishing lower-altitude populations. Eilis O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Ocean science agency chief floats removing ‘climate’ from mission statement and focusing on trade deficit
A recent presentation by the acting head of the United States’ top weather and oceans agency suggested removing the study of “climate” from its official mission statement, focusing the agency’s work instead on economic goals and “homeland and national security.” Critics say this would upend the mission of the $5.9 billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But the administration disputes that interpretation, saying the presentation did not intend to create a change of direction at a vast agency that tracks hurricanes and atmospheric carbon dioxide, operates weather satellites, manages marine reserves and protects endangered ocean species, among other functions.... But in a presentation at a Commerce Department “Vision Setting Summit” this month, Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, the agency’s acting administrator, suggested a change to that mission statement, as well as a new emphasis on tripling the size of the U.S. aquaculture industry within a decade and moving to “reduce the seafood trade deficit.” Chris Mooney and Jason Samenow report. (Washington Post) See also: Trawling for data: NOAA research ship surveys salmon, other ocean fish  Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

The Bountiful Benefits Of Bringing Back The Beavers
Few species manipulate their surroundings enough to make big ecological changes. Humans are one. Beavers are another. At one point, the rodents numbered in the hundreds of millions in North America, changing the ecological workings of countless streams and rivers. As settlers moved West, they hunted and trapped them to near extinction. Now there are new efforts across the Western U.S. to understand what makes them tick, mimic their engineering skills, boost their numbers, and in turn, get us more comfortable with the way they transform rivers and streams. Luke Runyon reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  221 AM PDT Tue Jun 26 2018   

TODAY  Light wind becoming W 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves less than 1 ft becoming 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W swell  6 ft at 10 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W 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.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

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Monday, June 25, 2018

6/25 Giant hogweed, saving orcas, BC pipe, train oil spill, slow ships, kayak trail, toxic algae, rising CFCs

Giant hogweed
Giant hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum
Giant hogweed is a noxious weed that forms dense canopies outcompeting native species and increasing soil erosion. It exudes a clear watery sap which sensitizes the skin to ultraviolet radiation, resulting in severe burns to the affected area causing blistering and painful dermatitis. It can be confused with cow parsnip, Heracleum lanatum, a native plant in Washington and except for its size, has a similar appearance to giant hogweed. Thanks to Wendy Scherrer for passing along a YouTube video showing the difference. (Washington State Noxious Weed Board)

Canadian government announces $167.4M to help save key whale species
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced $167.4 million to support the recovery of three key whale species in Canada, particularly B.C.'s southern resident killer whale population. "The whales need our help," Garneau said. "We must act now because the whales can't wait." For the orca population in the Salish Sea, in particular, the federal government is focusing on improving prey availability, reducing underwater vessel noise and better monitoring of pollution. (CBC) See also: Why do we keep loving our orcas — to death?  Knute Berger writes. (Crosscut)

NEB approves modified Burnaby Terminal plans for Trans Mountain project
The National Energy Board says it has approved modified plans for the Burnaby Terminal of the Trans Mountain pipeline project, clearing a final regulatory hurdle for construction to start. The regulator says the approved variance application will significantly improve safety at the terminal, which is the end point for the controversial pipeline the federal government has agreed to buy as part of a $4.5-billion acquisition of Kinder Morgan Canada's core assets. The new plans reduce the diameter of five of the 14 tanks and the overall capacity of the facilities by about 320,000 barrels, increase the space between the tanks, and reconfigure the secondary containment system at the tank farm to reduce fire risk. The NEB says its approval of the variance and Kinder Morgan Canada's fulfillment of certain conditions allows it to begin construction at the Burnaby Terminal, subject to any other permits or authorizations which may be required. (Canadian Press)

Crude oil pours into river from derailed train in US 
Around 30 train carriages came off the tracks, which are thought to have been weakened by recent flooding in Iowa state. (BBC)

Call Goes Out Again To Big Ships To Slow Down For Killer Whales
The call is going out again to the operators and pilots of big ships to slow down in the shared border waters between Washington and British Columbia. The idea is to reduce underwater noise that could bother endangered killer whales. The voluntary vessel slowdown zone covers the length of Haro Strait, a busy shipping channel separating Victoria and Washington's San Juan Islands. The strait is also a vital summer feeding area for endangered orcas. The Port of Vancouver, Canada, is leading the charge to reduce the impacts of vessel noise on the killer whales. A two-month trial slowdown last summer and fall demonstrated how cutting ship speeds to 11 knots could significantly reduce the racket underwater. Noise interferes with whale feeding success. Beginning next month through September, the port authority is again asking cargo ships, tankers, cruise ships and ferries to slow down, but this time only when whales are confirmed in the area. That should result in fewer vessel delays.  Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Proposed kayak trail between B.C.'s Discovery Islands doesn't float with Quadra Island official
A recent proposal by a group of kayaking enthusiasts to set up a marine trail throughout B.C.'s Discovery Islands has been met with skepticism from local leaders The B.C. Marine Trails Network Association hopes to create a path for kayakers and other small vessels by connecting a chain of campsites and launch areas between Powell River, Campbell River, Sayward and the Discovery Islands — located between Campbell River on Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland. John Kimantas, the association's Discovery Islands project manager, spent the last week presenting the trail idea to the affected towns. But a representative of Quadra Island — an island off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island and part of the Strathcona Regional District — isn't convinced the marine trail is a good idea for his community. (CBC)

Warming Drives Spread Of Toxic Algae In Oregon And Beyond, Researchers Say
The words blasted to cellphones around Oregon’s capital city were ominous: “Civil emergency . prepare for action.” Within half an hour, a second official alert clarified the subject wasn’t impending violence but toxins from an algae bloom detected in Salem’s water supply. Across the U.S., reservoirs that supply drinking water and lakes used for recreation are experiencing similar events with growing frequency. The trend represents another impact of global warming and raises looming questions about the effects on human health, researchers say. Tom James reports. (Associated Press)

In a High-Stakes Environmental Whodunit, Many Clues Point to China
Last month, scientists disclosed a global pollution mystery: a surprise rise in emissions of an outlawed industrial gas that destroys the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer. The unexpected increase is undermining what has been hailed as the most successful international environmental agreement ever enacted: the Montreal Protocol, which includes a ban on chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, and which was expected to bring a full recovery of the ozone layer by midcentury. But the source of the pollution has remained unknown. Now, a trail of clues leads to this scrappy industrial boomtown in rural China. Interviews, documents and advertisements collected by The New York Times and independent investigators indicate that a major source — possibly the overwhelming one — is factories in China that have ignored a global ban and kept making or using the chemical, CFC-11, mostly to produce foam insulation for refrigerators and buildings. Chris Buckley and Henry Fountain report. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  237 AM PDT Mon Jun 25 2018   

TODAY  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds.  Numerous showers. 

TONIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 11 seconds. A slight  chance of showers in the evening.

"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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Friday, June 22, 2018

6/22 Islands, BC ocean pact, fire-fighting foam, orcas, BC gas, Hamilton Slough, monument mining, NEPA

Deadman Island and Deadman Reef [Phil Green/The Nature Conservancy]

An Update on Remote San Juan Islands Left to Nature
A 2017 report with photos by Phil Green, The Nature Conservancy's Yellow Island Steward, on Goose, Deadman and Sentinel Islands.

Trudeau and B.C. North Coast First Nations announce ocean protection agreement
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined First Nations leaders Thursday to announce a partnership with 14 B.C. North Coast First Nations in managing and protecting marine ecosystems along two-thirds of B.C.'s north coast. The press conference, held in Prince Rupert, was scheduled to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day. The agreement  which falls under the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, and was framed as a step toward Indigenous reconciliation. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Federal study lays out risk levels for firefighting-foam chemicals in drinking water 
 Two firefighting foam chemicals — when they find their way into drinking water — pose health risks at much lower levels than the current safety guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a draft federal study released Wednesday. These chemicals are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS. They have been found in five Washington drinking-water systems at levels above the EPA guidelines, as well as dozens of private drinking- water wells near firefighting training areas where the foams were used. The new study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will be reviewed by the state Department of Health, which is preparing to test several hundred other drinking-water systems in Washington to help assess the scope of the problem. The state also is considering whether to set its own standards for PFAS contamination in drinking water. Hal Bernton reports.(Seattle Times)

If you like to listen: 3 fascinating orca facts we didn't know before
In honor of Orca Awareness Month in Washington state, here are three facts about orcas we didn't know before, courtesy of a talk by Prof. Jason Colby of the University of Victoria. "Captivitiy helped orcas," "Puget Sound orcas bounced back - but not for long," and "Puget Sound orcas only have one food source left." John O'Brien reports. (KUOW)

Don't blame taxes for high gas prices, blame oil companies: Economist
When oil prices crashed at the end of 2014 — from a high of $110 per barrel to roughly half within a few months, and eventually bottoming out at about $35 in early 2016 — a funny thing happened with Vancouver’s gas prices. They went down a little, but not nearly the same as the bulk base price. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives economist Marc Lee has taken a look at how gas prices have tracked over the past few years and found data that broke down where the increases were coming. While the price of oil globally fell by 68 per cent, the price of gas in the Lower Mainland fell just 18 per cent. And now local gas prices are actually higher than they were during their 2014 peak, while the global price of oil remains two-thirds of its 2014 peak. What Lee found was that the growth in prices was heavily tied to the resurgent price of crude, but also due to increased profits for refineries. Taxes, which some have said is the big problem, have actually only gone up a comparatively small amount. Patrick Johnston reports (Vancouver Sun)

Design of Hamilton slough project to begin
After three years of input from Hamilton community members, the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group is prepared to design a project to improve fish passage at the slough that encloses much of the low-lying and frequently flooded town. Skagit Fisheries restoration ecologist Sue Madsen said during a community meeting Tuesday that the project the group is set to design using a state Salmon Recovery Funding Board grant will improve fish passage under several town and county roads that cross the slough. Though it will also mean more water on some agricultural lands near the slough during flooding, that water is expected to drain more quickly and therefore the project has the blessing of the property owners, she said. Still, doing the work will require additional grant funding, and that process can take several more years. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Firm Prepares To Mine Land Previously Protected As A National Monument
A Canadian mining firm says it will move forward with plans to mine minerals from land that was previously part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. Last December, President Trump removed nearly half of the Grand Staircase-Escalante from protection, as well as part of the Bears Ears National Monument, which is also in Utah. The move was the largest reversal of national monument protections in U.S. history. Glacier Lake Resources Inc., a Vancouver-based copper and silver mining firm, says it has acquired the Colt Mesa deposit, an approximately 200-acre parcel of land located about 35 miles southeast of Boulder, Utah. Because it was nationally protected, the area was previously off limits to development and mining. In a press release the company noted that the deposit “recently became open for staking and exploration after a 21 year period moratorium.” Shannon Van Sant reports. (NPR)

CEQ Requests Comments on Changes to NEPA Review Process Governing Infrastructure Projects
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)—the US federal agency responsible for coordinating and overseeing federal agency implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)—moved one step closer on June 20 towards revising its longstanding NEPA-implementing regulations. Those regulations, which last underwent a major revision in 1986, govern the environmental review process for all “major federal actions,” including Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license reviews for hydroelectric projects and certificates for natural gas facilities. Now, in an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), the CEQ signaled that it is ready to receive public comments on potential revisions that it hopes will “ensure a more efficient, timely, and effective NEPA process consistent with the national environmental policy stated in NEPA.” Comments are due July 20, 2018. (Lexology)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  238 AM PDT Fri Jun 22 2018   

TODAY  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 9 seconds. Patchy drizzle. A chance of showers. 

TONIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  3 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the evening. 

SAT  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 3 ft at 10 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. 

SUN  NW wind to 10 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 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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Thursday, June 21, 2018

6/21 Solstice, BC First Nations, Nautilus, right whale, James Hansen, Asarco cleanup, water supply, squirrels

Lapland Larkspur [BirdNote]
The Longest Day of the Year
On the summer solstice, birds nesting near Juneau, Alaska take advantage of almost 18 1/2 hours between sunrise and sunset. This day in south Texas is considerably shorter, so the Altamira Oriole has only 14 hours to sing. Seattle's Song Sparrows see 16 hours of daylight; Sacramento's only 15. Birds nesting north of the Arctic Circle have six weeks with almost 24 hours of daylight every day. So this Lapland Longspur has a work-day that's about as long as it gets. (BirdNote)

Dzawada'enuxw First Nation to push for removal of fish farms
A coastal First Nation in B.C. is vowing to challenge the B.C. government's new approach to fish farm tenures, which would give First Nations a say over where these operations can set up on the West Coast. The province announced Wednesday that starting in 2022, fish farms will need First Nations approval to renew their tenures. ​That's not soon enough as far as the Dzawada̱╩╝enux̱w First Nation is concerned. Chantelle Bellrichard reports. (CBC) See also:  Trudeau's talk of nationalizing pipeline frustrates some Cheam First Nation members  Angela Sterritt reports. (CBC)

Nautilus submarine ‘can send your soul to the bottom’ — Bob Ballard
Exploration Vessel Nautilus, with its remotely operated submarines Hercules and Argus, has been exploring deep-sea vents off Oregon the past few days, marking the beginning of a six-month expedition along the West Coast and around Hawaii. The ROVs were launched Sunday as the weather allowed, and the mother ship is now moving up the coast. [Watch at Nautilus Live] Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Coast guard crew makes rare sighting of right whale off Haida Gwaii
For the third time this decade, one of the world's rarest whales has been spotted off the B.C. coast, but scientists say it's too early to know if the species is recovering from being hunted to near extinction. The crew aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Vector caught sight of the young North Pacific right whale while doing a shellfish survey west of Haida Gwaii earlier this month, according to whale biologist John Ford of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Listening to James Hansen on Climate Change, Thirty Years Ago and Now
Thirty years ago, James Hansen, a scientist at NASA, issued a warning about the dangers of climate change. The predictions he and other scientists made at the time have proved spectacularly accurate. Elizabeth Kolbert reports. (New Yorker)

Hundreds of yards polluted by Asarco smelter still need cleanup. Here's this year's plan
Remember the Asarco Smelter and the toxic plume of arsenic and lead emittedfrom its smokestack that settled onto and polluted thousands of yards in Ruston, Tacoma and on Vashon Island? The state Department of Ecology is still working to clean up those yards. This year, thanks to the state Legislature's passage of a capital budget in January, the department can get back to a more aggressive schedule for doing so. "We are breaking ground, removing dirt and moving forward on cleanup of 39 yards in north Tacoma and 16 yards on Vashon-Maury Island," the department announced this week. Candice Ruud reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Water fuels Seattle’s growth. But in North Bend, activists say water could be running out
Seattle is surrounded by water. It’s one of the reasons why people move here. But even in rainy, water-abundant Seattle, the region’s astronomical growth has given rise to new conflicts over water rights for people and salmon.  One of the most visible signs of that growth is a 212-unit apartment building to be built on the banks of the Snoqualmie River. And local environmental activists are demanding to know whether that building would put new strain on an already-overburdened waterway. Joshua McNichols reports. (KUOW)

Drowning squirrels is cruel, an animal control officer says, so here's what she's doing
A Whatcom County animal control officer is suing to stop people from drowning squirrels that are nuisances and to bar the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife from telling people they can do so on residential property. Rebecca Crowley's lawsuit said drowning squirrels was an "indisputably cruel method." Bellingham attorney Adam Karp, who specializes in animal law, filed the lawsuit in Whatcom County Superior Court. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  222 AM PDT Thu Jun 21 2018   

TODAY  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 10 seconds. Occasional drizzle in the morning. 

TONIGHT  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. A slight chance  of showers after midnight.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

6/20 Giant sea nymph, BC fish farms, plastic bans, illegal clamming, Oly mountain goats

Giant sea nymphs [Jeff Adams]
Giant Sea Nymph Nereis sp.
.... Sea nymphs are large (some very creepily so!) worms that stretch out of their burrows and use inordinately fierce looking jaws to grab a nibble of algae or maybe a soft invertebrate. However, when the moon and tides and light are right, they have a different priority. Kind of like a werewolf, their bodies change with the coming of the full moon. The once burrow-dwelling omnivore becomes an actively swimming, gutless baby-making machine called an epitoke. On full moons in the winter and summer, the males epitokes will vigorously swim from their holes and rise into the water column, shedding sperm as they go. Once the females sense the males in the water, they follow closely spewing eggs. The sperm and eggs are often released through ruptures in the body wall (ouch!). The close proximity of eggs and sperm help ensure many of the eggs will become fertilized, but mom and dad contribute to the next link in the food chain. Jeff Adams blogs. (Puget Sound Blogs)

B.C. government sets new 2022 deadline for coastal fish
The B.C. government will not cancel provincial tenures for 20 coastal open-pen fish farms, instead giving the industry and its thousands of jobs a four-year reprieve while the province waits for Ottawa to take the lead on the issue. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham is expected to announce that the B.C. government will allow 20 provincial tenures for fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago to expire today, and then automatically renew them month-to-month until 2022. That’s when federal licences that control the location of those farms come up for renewal. The idea is that the two governments will act then together in the renewal process. Popham will announce that, after 2022, the province will only approve renewals or new fish farm licences that meet two strict conditions: a stipulation from the federal Fisheries Department that the farm won’t endanger B.C. wild salmon and consent from local First Nations. Rob Shaw reports. (Vancouver Sun)

City of Victoria wins court battle over right to ban plastic bags
Victoria has won a court battle over its right to ban plastic bags, meaning the bylaw approved last winter has the green light to roll out next month. The Canadian Plastic Bag Association (CPBA) challenged the bylaw in B.C. Supreme Court in January, saying the city didn't have the authority to enact the ban. On Tuesday, the court rejected that challenge. (CBC) See also: Plastic-straw ban hits Seattle next month  An exemption to the city's ban on plastics expires at the end of the month. That means, get used to paper straws. Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times)
1,400 pounds of clams destroyed after illegal Key Peninsula harvest
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife police destroyed 1,400 pounds of clams that had been illegally harvested earlier this month in the Lakebay area on the Key Peninsula, officials said. A resident tipped off Fish & Wildlife officials June 2 to an illegal harvest along Carr Inlet, Fish & Wildlife police Sgt. Ken Balasz said. The area is closed to commercial harvesting. The responding officer arrived to find two men with 21 commercial-sized bags of clams on the beach and were still harvesting more, Balasz said. The men had a commercial license, but they didn't have certifications for the beach they were on or tags for the clams they were harvesting. The officer was able to determine that a Shelton-based company hired the two men to harvest the clams, Balasz said, but the owner initially denied involvement and said the men were supposed to be on a beach near Belfair. Kenny Ocker reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Olympic National Park to start capturing mountain goats this summer
Olympic National Park will begin capturing mountain goats late this summer now that the Park Service has released its record of decision for the Mountain Goat Management Plan, officials said Tuesday. Olympic National Park plans to relocate the majority of mountain goats to U.S. Forest Service land in the North Cascades national forests and to kill the remaining mountain goats that evade capture in Olympic National Park. The park will begin capturing goats during a two-week period this summer at Hurricane Hill, said Louise Johnson, chief of resources management for the park. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  253 AM PDT Wed Jun 20 2018   


TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 5 ft at 12 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt late. Wind  waves 2 to 4 ft. N swell 4 ft at 11 seconds. A slight 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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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

6/19 Bumblebee, BC pipe, fish fraud, BC transients, Kukutali Preserve, Pruitt's EPA, lamprey, MPAs, Tagro

Western bumble bee [Stephan Ausmus/USDA]
Western bumble bee Bombus occidentalis
The western bumble bee was once very common in the western United States and western Canada. The workers have three main color variations. These bees can still be found in the northern and eastern parts of their historic range, but the once common populations from southern British Columbia to central California have nearly disappeared. This bumble bee is an excellent pollinator of greenhouse tomatoes and cranberries, and has been commercially reared to pollinate these crops. In the past, it has also been an important pollinator of alfalfa, avocado, apples, cherries, blackberries, and blueberry. (Xerces Society) See also: Bumblebee Blues: Pacific Northwest Pollinator In Trouble  Hundreds of citizen scientists have begun buzzing through locations across the Pacific Northeast seeking a better understanding about nearly 30 bumblebee species.... Researchers hope to accumulate enough information to recommend ways to conserve bumblebees and their habitat. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

Western Tiger Swallowtail
Yesterday's fauna feature prompted the following comment from Helen Engle: "I know you’ll hear from the Butterfly People (not quite as numerous as the Bird People, but equally critical about IDs and Correct names!! About 60 years ago I planted a cottonwood seedling so I’d have the preferred “obligate tree” for the most common of the butterflies I had seen on our piece of Puget Sound Real Estate. And every year the Western Tiger Swallowtail is here right on time to spend the summer flitting back and forth on my acre of garden.  Robert Michael Pyle’s “The Butterflies of Cascadia” is THE AUTHORITY on this subject and pages 115-127 have wonderfully detailed photos and text on our Western Swallowtails."

First group of Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters guilty of criminal contempt of court
The first trial of protesters accused of violating a court injunction at Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project ended Monday with guilty verdicts for the nine accused. The protesters, arrested March 17 at the Burnaby work site, had pleaded not guilty to criminal contempt of court at the outset of their trial last week in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. During the trial, prosecutors showed video evidence of the protesters — some of whom had strapped themselves to an entry gate at the site — being taken into custody by RCMP. Lawyers for the accused argued that the police had no grounds to make the arrests but B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck, the trial judge, did not agree with that argument. Keith Fraser    reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Think you’re getting the fish you ordered? Oh, snapper, not always
A quarter of all fish samples from Metro Vancouver restaurants, sushi bars and stores was of a different species than advertised, the result in some cases of “intentional” fish fraud, according to researchers. The UBC study, the largest done in Vancouver, shows that governmental changes are needed to stop the fraud, including better labels and ability to track where fish comes from, its lead author, Yaxi Hu said. “We have a lower rate (of mislabelled fish) compared to some inland cities, but it’s still high, especially because we are a city by the ocean,” Hu said. Almost all of the fish labelled snapper or red snapper tested by researchers turned out in the lab to be something else, usually tilapia, said Hu, a PhD candidate student in the food nutrition and health program of UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Susan Lazaruk reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Timely tide attracts another pod of transient orcas to Victoria harbour
A pod of orcas has made a brief visit to Victoria Harbour, the second excursion by a group of killer whales in as many weeks. Jackie Cowan, who lives on a boat in the harbour and is also a captain on a whale-watching vessel, says the pod cruised in on Sunday evening. She identified them as transient orcas, which prey mainly on seals, sealions and dolphins. (Canadian Press)

Beach restoration planned for Kukutali Preserve
For nearly 100 years, a gravel road hugged by boulders has provided access from Snee-Oosh Road to Kiket Island. That road was built on a beach called a tombolo: a long, sandy mound stretching from the mainland to the island, with intertidal beaches sloping away from it to the north and south. Now, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community that manages the Kukutali Preserve in partnership with State Parks plans to remove the gravel road and boulders along its edges to reveal the natural beach. “There’s natural beach on the bottom there,” Swinomish Environmental Director Todd Mitchell said while standing next to the road. “It’s really just a removal project.” The goal of the project is to restore the natural functions of 300 feet of the tombolo and a 3.4-acre lagoon northeast of it, according to project documents. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Fear And Frustration Over EPA Move To Kill Chemical-Disaster Protections
The Environmental Protection Agency intends to block a proposal that would effectively shield companies from scrutiny about how they prevent and respond to chemical disasters. At a hearing Thursday, agency officials got an earful from dozens of people who live and work near refineries and chemical facilities across the country. Grandmothers, teachers, firefighters and community activists traveled to Washington, D.C. to urge the agency to block the proposal. Representatives from industry groups countered that they’re already doing enough to keep people safe and that companies don’t need more oversight. Obama-era rules require companies to routinely disclose which hazardous chemicals they use, share information with emergency planners, submit to outside audits and publish reports on the root causes of explosions and leaks. The regulations were supposed to take effect in March 2017, but earlier that year groups representing the chemical and petroleum industries petitioned the EPA to reconsider. Last month, after delaying the rules, the agency announced that it intends to block most of them from ever taking effect. But that decision isn’t final pending public comment. Rebecca Hersher reports. (NPR)

Record Lamprey Return A Cultural Win For Native Tribes
When Aaron Jackson was growing up in eastern Oregon, he’d never seen a lamprey in the Umatilla River. Tribal elders remembered harvesting the fish there for ceremonies. But by the time Jackson was a kid, 40 years ago, lamprey were gone. Now, Jackson is the lamprey biologist for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. He’s overseeing one of the many efforts throughout the Columbia Basin in Washington and Oregon that aims to restore lamprey runs. Jackson hopes, one day, tribal members will be able to harvest lamprey from the Umatilla River — and that the fish will be self-sustaining. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPB/EarthFix)

Marine Protected Areas Are Important. But Are They Working?
You can think of a marine protected area like a boost of vitamin C taken at the onset of a cold. It may not cure you, but it can help you bounce back. “A [protected] ecosystem tends to be more resistant to disturbance and it's more resilient—it comes back faster,” says Jane Lubchenco, now a marine ecologist at Oregon State University and formally the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It's not unlike your body. If you are immunocompromised, you're much more likely to come down with a cold or flu.” These protected ocean spaces, when defended well, won't solve all the problems in the world's oceans, but they might give us a fighting chance against afflictions like climate change or overfishing. Studies have shown that completely closing a portion of the ocean off to activities like fishing and drilling helps keep wildlife populations healthy and increases biodiversity. (National Geographic)

'We need more Super Bowl Sundays,' says man who turns what Tacoma flushes into soil
More Tacoma poop needed for this wastewater treatment plant Dan Eberhardt says he could use a few more Super Bowl Sundays. Eberhardt’s official title is biosolids supervisor for the City of Tacoma’s environmental services department. That means he’s in charge of making Tagro. Matt Driscoll reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  257 AM PDT Tue Jun 19 2018   

 NW wind 10 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell 5 ft  at 12 seconds. 

 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 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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Monday, June 18, 2018

6/18 Swallowtail, Crewser death, BC wild salmon, fish farm leases, green crabs, BC pipe, Blanchard Mtn, Elwha vegetation

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly [Wikipedia]
Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio regulus
The Western Tiger Swallowtail is a common swallowtail butterfly of western North America, frequently seen in urban parks and gardens, as well as in rural woodlands and riparian areas....It is a large, brightly colored and active butterfly, rarely seen at rest; its wingspan is 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in), and its wings are yellow with black stripes, and it has blue and orange spots near its tail. It has the "tails" on the hindwings that are often found in swallowtails. (Wikipedia) See also: ‘Attract Butterflies to Your Garden’ workshop at Edmonds Demo Garden June 23  (My Edmonds News)

Orca death brings southern resident whale population to lowest level in 34 years
An orca whale is missing and presumed dead, bringing the local killer whale population to its lowest point in three decades. The Center for Whale Research said Saturday an adult male known as L92 has not been seen since November 2017 and was “conspicuously absent” from recent coastal sightings of other whales. The whale, nicknamed Crewser, was 23 years old. The animal was a member of the L pod — the largest of three groups, along with the J and K pods, that make up the southern resident group of killer whales, which typically travel between the inland waters of Washington state and southwestern British Columbia for most of the year. It was the second-to-last member of the L26 matriline — the only surviving whale is now its aunt, known as L90. The loss brings the total southern resident population of orcas down to 75, the lowest since 1984. The population has fluctuated in recent decades, reaching a peak of 98 whales in 1995. Just two years ago, there were 83 orcas here. Mike Rosenberg reports. (Seattle Times)

B.C. introduces advisory council for wild salmon protection
The B.C. government is putting together an advisory council to deal with its at-risk wild salmon stocks. The council will develop recommendations this summer for a provincial wild salmon strategy, the province announced Friday.... Fourteen experts make up the council. They come from Indigenous, community and labour groups, NGOs, and recreational and commercial fisheries. (CBC)
It's wild salmon health vs. money and jobs as B.C.'s fish farm fight comes to a head
For some, salmon farms are a blight on the landscape. Not for the way they look, but because of the threat they believe these large aquaculture operations pose to wild salmon. "We're pretty confident this place will have to be dismantled," says Ernest Alfred, pointing at the farm from the boat. "And I'll be here to watch it." The government is currently reviewing the leases of 20 fish farms that expire on June 20. Alfred and other opponents are upping the pressure on the NDP leadership in hopes they will commit to ending fish farming in the ocean. But supporters of the farms say that would be a huge blow to an industry worth billions of dollars to the province. Alfred is a hereditary chief of the Namgis First Nation in Alert Bay, B.C., and he has the support of elected bands and councils in the area that oppose the farms. He says the land and waters were never ceded, and he believes First Nations will ultimately gain control of the area. It's a long-term battle still being fought in the courts and in negotiations with the federal and provincial governments. Greg Rasmussen reports. (CBC)
Green crabs entrenched at Dungeness Spit, but new issues are emerging
Dungeness Spit on the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Sequim remains a hot spot for the invasive European green crab, which first showed up in Puget Sound during the fall of 2016. The green crab, one of the most dreaded invasive species in the world, brings with it the potential to destroy shellfish beds and disrupt key habitats essential to native species in Puget Sound. Thankfully, except for the Dungeness Spit, new findings of green crabs have been almost zero since a massive volunteer trapping effort resumed in April throughout most of Puget Sound. Chris Dunagan reports.(Watching Our Water Ways)
Indigenous protesters in Washington state declare Trans Mountain won't be built
Cedar George-Parker remembers the moment he decided to devote his life to defending Indigenous people and their traditional territories. It was the one-year anniversary of a shooting at his high school that killed four of his classmates in Marysville, Wash. “I dropped to my knees and I said, ‘I’m going to make a change in the world,’ ” he recalled. George-Parker is among the Indigenous protesters in Washington state promising to fight the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Activists call the project the Standing Rock of the north, comparing it to the fierce Standing Rock Sioux protests that stalled the Dakota Access Pipeline for months.... Many Indigenous activists trace their roots to both sides of the border. George-Parker’s father is from North Vancouver’s Tsleil-Waututh Nation and his mother is from Washington’s Tulalip Tribes. He travels to B.C. often and in April disrupted a speech by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Vancouver. (Canadian Press)
State seeks comment on Blanchard land transfer proposal
The state Department of Natural Resources has proposed a trust land swap to protect the popular recreation areas on Blanchard Mountain. The proposal is open for public comment through June 29. The two-part proposal would involve changing the status of some state trust lands in Skagit County and using $10 million in state funding to purchase new trust lands. Natural Resources is responsible for logging state trust lands in order to provide revenue to various state and local beneficiaries. The purpose of the proposed trust land swap is to put part of the state forest on Blanchard Mountain into conservation status without losing state trust land timber revenue that goes toward public services in Skagit County and schools statewide. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Leader of revegetation effort revels in growth on the Elwha River
Josh Chenoweth stood in a cobblestone field full of blooming Oregon Sunshine in the lake bed of the former Lake Aldwell as he marveled at the diversity of plant life that has flourished because of the Elwha revegetation project. The project and Chenoweth’s job heading the reffort both come to an end this fall, but in many ways the transformation of the valley is just beginning, he said. Now it’s time for Chenoweth — botanical restorationist for the National Park Service in charge of the revegetation effort — and the dozens of others who have helped with the project to step back and let nature take its course. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

These meat and fish choices hurt the environment most
Which food type is more environmentally costly to produce—livestock, farmed seafood, or wild-caught fish? The answer is that it depends, according to a new study. But in general, industrial beef production and farmed catfish are the most taxing on the environment, while small, wild-caught fish and farmed mollusks like oysters, mussels, and scallops have the lowest environmental impact, according to a new analysis. The authors of the study, which will appear in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, believe it is the most comprehensive look at the environmental impacts of different types of animal protein production. Michelle Ma reports. (UW/Futurity)

After sex harassment reports, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife has a new director
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife — recently troubled by reports of sexual harassment, including a former manager convicted of rape — announced Saturday that Kelly Susewind has been appointed director of the agency.... The Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to appoint Susewind after interviewing seven candidates in May and narrowing the finalists to three candidates. Susewind will earn $165,000 a year and take over Aug. 1, according to a news release. Rolf Boone reports. (Olympian)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  258 AM PDT Mon Jun 18 2018   

TODAY  E wind to 10 kt becoming W in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 13 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  5 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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Friday, June 15, 2018

6/15 Chuckanut rocks, lowest tide, bag ban, Hood Canal, big catfish, bailouts, rower, TransAlta, chlorpyrifos, Pruitt's EPA

Chuckanut Formation frond [Wikipedia]
Chuckanut Formation
The Eocene Chuckanut Formation consists of a phenomenally thick sequence (9000 m!) of alluvial sandstone, conglomerate, mudstone, and coal, originally deposited in flood plains in subsiding basins near the coast of Washington- or at least, where the coast was around 50,000,000 years ago. Sediment sources were the highlands of the Rocky Mountains and the southern interior of  British Columbia.  Deposition was prior to growth of the Cascade arc or subduction-accretion of the Crescent Terrane (broadly, the Olympic Peninsula rocks). Orogeny of the Cascade Range effectively shut off the sediment supply. Docking of the Crescent Terrane deformed the Chuckanut sedimentary rocks. Most people know that Chuckanut rocks are found in west-central Whatcom County. However, scattered units of these rocks also extend along the Darrington-Devil’s Mountain fault zone through Skagit and Snohomish Counties. (Northwest Geology)

Puget Sound's lowest tide of the year is Friday
Grab your galoshes – it’s tide pool time. The lowest tide of the year will occur Friday at Puget Sound beaches. In the Seattle and Tacoma areas, Friday’s low tide will be -3.7 feet at 12:42 p.m., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. A combination of factors causes tides to be lower than normal right now: a perigean tide is occurring, we’re close to the summer solstice, and weather patterns are changing.  Allison Sundell reports. (KING)

La Conner bans plastic bags
The town of La Conner has become the first town or city in Skagit County to ban businesses from providing customers with plastic carryout bags.The La Conner Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the use of plastic bags at businesses in town. The ban is an effort to reduce the use and disposal of plastic bags in favor of reusable bags.... he ban will take effect Aug. 1, with businesses able to apply for extensions up to Jan. 1, La Conner Town Administrator Scott Thomas said. Extensions will be provided on a case-by-case basis to businesses that may face hardships during the transition from plastic bags. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: McDonald's to ditch plastic straws  The fast food giant will swap plastic straws for paper ones in all its UK and Ireland restaurants. (BBC)

Hood Canal changes color again, thanks to plankton bloom
Hood Canal has changed colors again, shifting to shades of bimini green, as it did in 2016, when satellite photos showed the canal standing out starkly among all other waters in the Northwest. The color change is caused by a bloom of a specific type of plankton called a coccolithophore, which shows up in nutrient-poor waters. The single-celled organism produces shells made of calcite, which reflect light to produce the unusual color. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

'Oh my god': Giant 45-pound catfish caught in Green Lake
After his friends doubted him, Ahmed Majeed set out to catch something really, really big in Green Lake. But even he was surprised to hook a 45-pound channel catfish. Sean Quinton reports. (Seattle Times)

Largemouth bass
Yesterday's feature of the Largemouth bass brought the following response from Byron Rot, San Juan County Salmon Recovery Coordinator: "[Y]our description of Largemouth bass leaves way too much out.  For those of us trying to recovery salmonids, it’s a serious invasive species in riverine systems with accessible lakes. Unfortunately WDFW is still stocking them in lakes.  Old-guard WDFW, that manages warmwater fisheries, is tone-deaf to ESA. An example of an issue is Ozette Lake in Clallam County.  Ozette is the location of the ESA-listed Ozette sockeye, and lo has largemouth bass.  I assume WDFW is no longer stocking them, but they are particularly difficult to eradicate once established.  And they are predators of young salmon. Long Lake on Kitsap Peninsula.  Suquamish Tribe is trying to recovery salmonids in that watershed, Long Lake should be high quality rearing habitat.  Unfortunately WDFW still stocks that lake with bass. We have to limit stocking to isolated lakes that have no connection to a fish bearing stream or river." And, from Wendy Scherrer: "Lot of research done, some here in Whatcom County. Predation of bass on salmon fry in the Squalicum Creek watershed has been document in a Master's Thesis by Mark Downen, in the early 2000s. They are in Lake Padden and we've found them in Padden Creek, by Fairhaven Park. They are in Lake Whatcom, Bug Lake, Sunset Pond, see WDFW list of lakes below, and there are annual fish derbies to catch them. They had been introduced to lake by fishers in buckets. Then they move upstream and downstream. They need to be managed, how to manage the bass is the question!"

FERC Commissioners Agree: No Grid Emergency Exists to Justify Coal, Nuclear Bailout
Members of the U.S. Senate’s energy committee may be split over the Trump administration’s plan to force Americans to buy power from uncompetitive coal and nuclear power plants — even if support is largely limited to senators representing coal states.  But none of the five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agree that the country’s power grid faces a dire enough emergency to justify a Trump administration plan to invoke national security to save the plants. On Tuesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee met to discuss FERC priorities. Much of the discussion was centered on an Energy Department proposal that doesn’t officially exist yet — a plan to use DOE’s authority under the Defense Production Act of 1950 and the Federal Power Act to direct system operators “to purchase or arrange the purchase of electric energy or electric generation capacity from a designated list of Subject Generation Facilities (SGFs)” deemed essential to national security.  Jeff St. John reports. (GreenTech Media)

Seattle Climate Rower Unharmed As Team Retires From Great Pacific Race
Less than a week into an event that was expected to last well into July, Seattle climate rower Eliza Dawson is back on land. All are safe, but strong Pacific winds ultimately thwarted her four-woman team’s attempt to travel 2,400 miles across the Pacific, on human-power alone. Dawson and her team, Ripple Effect, faced steady high winds and waves for five days. They traveled more than 150 nautical miles and were among the top two teams when they ran into trouble. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (KNKX)

Major Coal-Fired Power Plant in Washington to Go Solar 
It was once Washington state's largest coal pit, a terraced, open-to-the-sky strip mine, five miles from the city of Centralia and halfway between Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Today, the coal beds are quiet and blanketed in green, but an adjacent TransAlta power plant with three tall stacks still churns out electricity the traditional way, with coal now supplied from Wyoming.... When the Centralia power plant's smokestacks quit spewing in 2025, it will mean a loss of 1,340 megawatts of energy. (Of that, it currently supplies about 380 megawatts to area homes via Puget Sound Energy, or PSE, the largest power supplier in the state.) To help fill that gap, TransAlta is converting about 1,000 acres of its former mine site to a solar farm. In homage to the old pioneer town of Tono that once stood where the mine now craters the earth, Tono Solar will be the land's next incarnation. Starre Vartan reports. (EcoWatch)

Ige Signs Law Banning Widely Used Pesticide
Hawaii is banning a pesticide scientists have found could hinder the development of children’s brains. Gov. David Ige on Wednesday signed legislation banning chlorpyrifos. Ige and state lawmakers say Hawaii is the first state to ban the substance. Chlorpyrifos is among the world’s most widely used pesticides. It’s commonly sprayed on citrus fruits, apples and other crops. The state may issue exemptions for three years to allow agriculture businesses time to adjust. The law takes effect in January. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last year reversed an effort by President Barack Obama’s administration to bar its use on fruits and vegetables. The Obama administration acted after peer-reviewed academic studies found even tiny levels of exposure could hinder child brain development. (Associated Press)

As The Scandals Mount, Conservatives Turn On Scott Pruitt
Amid an unceasing series of revelations about alleged ethical misconduct, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is rapidly losing support with influential Republican lawmakers and conservatives who, until now, have strongly backed Pruitt and the pro-fossil fuel deregulatory agenda he’s implemented. In recent days, new reports have emerged showing that Pruitt repeatedly used his position to seek employment and business opportunities for his wife, and had agency staffers doing personal errands on his behalf — both allegations that could run afoul of federal ethics laws. At least a dozen investigations are underway into various aspects of Pruitt’s conduct. Brett Neely and Peter Overby report. (NPR)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Fri Jun 15 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 5 ft at 8 seconds building to 7 ft at 9 seconds  after midnight. 

SAT  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 5 ft at  8 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 5 ft at 13 seconds. 

SUN  E wind 5 to 15 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 14 seconds.

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