Thursday, August 30, 2018

8/30 Whales, BC pipe halted, farmed salmon, climate change, sewage, Hood Canal, PSP, dirty coal, plastics

Lopez orca vigil, Aug. 26 [PHOTO: Steve Horn]
A vigil for the whales
At Otis Perkins County Park on Lopez, Eastsound Waterfront Park on Orcas, Shaw County Park on Shaw and Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan, sympathetic community members gathered to join in solidarity with Tahlequah on Sunday, Aug. 26. Concerned citizens held a wake for the lost calf and a vigil for the remaining orcas of the Southern resident killer whale pods. At noon, everyone stood in silent reflection for 17 minutes, a minute for every day that Tahlequah carried her deceased calf. (San Juan Journal) See also: Hundreds crowd orca task force meeting in Anacortes  John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Federal Court of Appeal quashes construction approvals for Trans Mountain, leaving project in limbo  Indigenous groups had opposed $7.4 billion project John Paul Tasker reports. (CBC) Watch: First Nations press conference, 9:30 AM Pull Together Facebook 

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses Burnaby's case against Trans Mountain pipeline  (CBC)

Lessons from Clayoquot: What Pipeline Protesters Should Know   David Tindall, Joanna Robinson and Mark CJ Stoddart write. (TheTyee)

Trans Mountain pipeline construction underway with feds footing the bill  (CBC)

Struggling killer whale calf may need 2nd shot of antibiotics, scientists say  (CBC)

800,000 more farmed Atlantic salmon coming to Puget Sound before industry's permits expire  Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Climate change is interfering with internal clocks of birds, and humans should take heed Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Antiquated underground sewer system failures caused Navy sewage spill  (Kitsap Sun) See also: Should I Flush It? Most Often, the Answer Is No  Christina Caron reports. (NY Times)

Capitol Lake Hangs In The Balance As State Evaluates Future Management Options  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Navy secures restrictive easement for 2,800 acres along Hood Canal's eastern shoreline  (Kitsap Sun)

Tribe planning to restore a marsh along Swinomish Channel  Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Alexandra Morton and Sea Shepherd take water samples in PA Harbor  Al Bergstein writes. (Olympic Peninsula Environmental News)

PSP prompts closure of Fort Flagler, Mystery Bay to shellfishing  Leah Leach reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Port of Tacoma to study deepening waterways for megaships  (Tacoma News Tribune)

New maps project tsunamis hitting Port Angeles, Port Townsend  Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

E.P.A. Rule Change Could Let Dirtiest Coal Plants Keep Running (and Stay Dirty)  Eric Lipton. (NY Times) See also: State threatens challenge to coal plant proposal  Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Big oil asks government to protect it from climate change  Will Weissert reports. (Associated Press)

For Birds, Life Is Different in a Metropolis  Along bustling salmon streams, fat male Pacific wrens rule. Larry Pynn reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Kroger to phase out plastic bags at all stores  (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  214 AM PDT Thu Aug 30 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 11 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 10 seconds. A slight chance of showers after midnight. 

FRI  W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at  10 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the morning. 

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

SAT  Light wind becoming W to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 9 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind to 10 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 13 seconds. 

SUN  W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft. 

MON  Light wind becoming NW to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less.  W swell 5 ft.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

8/22 Boeing's PCBs, Trump's coal & gas, saving seabirds, Grapeview shore, restoration, eating Chinook

Salish Sea News and Weather will take a break and post when able to. Be back to a regular weekday schedule in September. Enjoy the rest of the summer. Be well! Mike Sato.

Groups sue Boeing over Duwamish River contamination
A new lawsuit says the Boeing aircraft company is poisoning the Duwamish River by pumping out pollution that is far and away above the legal limit. KOMO-TV reports environmental groups Puget Soundkeeper and Waste Action Project say the Military Delivery Center plant in Tukwila is a hotbed for highly toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which flow out as stormwater runoff and then enter the food chain. The groups are suing Boeing on grounds that it is violating the Clean Water Act. (Associated Press)

Trump’s August Assault on Climate Policy
This summer has brought record-breaking heat around the world, and no slowdown in the Trump Administration’s systematic undoing of climate regulations. On August 2nd, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration jointly proposed freezing the fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks that were adopted under President Obama. On Tuesday, the E.P.A. unveiled the Affordable Clean Energy (A.C.E.) rule, a proposal to neuter Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which was designed to decrease carbon emissions from coal-powered electric plants. Together, these policies are as abominable as they are unsurprising: they represent the fossil-fuel industry’s warmest fantasies, and a fulfillment, more or less, of various Trump promises. Carolyn Kormann reports. (New Yorker) See also: Cost of New E.P.A. Coal Rules: Up to 1,400 More Deaths a Year Lisa Friedman reports. (NY Times) And also: New Trump rule to aid coal-power plants unlikely to slow Northwest push for cleaner electricity   Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

We're Getting Better at Saving Seabirds After Oil Spills
A new study of brown pelicans after the Refugio oil spill in California shows how far oil rehabilitation techniques have come in the last few decades.... Perhaps the biggest advance oil-spill wildlife rescue has made in the last two recognizing that when a bird comes in covered in oil, cleaning isn't the first thing it needs. A bird like that hasn't been able to eat. Because seabirds get all of their water from their food—they can't drink seawater—it's dehydrated too. An oiled bird now first gets fluid, food, and heat to counteract the effects of oiling, which mats their feathers and exposes their skin to the cold. Francie Diep reports. (Pacific Standard)

Grapeview shoreline sale intended to protect salmon habitat
Great Peninsula Conservancy hopes that a small parcel in Grapeview will have a big impact on Chinook salmon. The nonprofit conservancy purchased 2.5 acres on McLane Cove near Grapeview in Mason County this month, a narrow strip that includes 1,200 feet of undeveloped shoreline that serves as a nursery for young Chinook and other salmon. Aria Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Policy pivot: A new emphasis on restoration to protect Puget Sound
For years, a commonly used tactic for protecting threatened and endangered animals in Puget Sound was to cordon off areas to fishing.... But protecting Puget Sound is not just about recovering certain species of fish. As the region continues to grow, it is also about protecting the livelihoods and diverse cultures of the people who live there, and balancing their needs with the needs of the natural world. A team of University of Washington researchers and their collaborators... found that policies are shifting toward restoration projects that include input from more groups and offer a range of benefits to Puget Sound, including flood control, salmon recovery, recreation and habitat protection. The researchers published their results online in June in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management. Michelle Ma reports. (UW Today)

Seattle chef Renee Erickson pulls king salmon from menu
A Seattle restaurateur has stopped offering chinook salmon at her restaurants. Renee Erickson, chef and owner of a group of restaurants, including The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard, said she made the decision after learning about the plight of J50, the young, ailing orca whale. Ruby de Luna reports. (KUOW)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  255 AM PDT Wed Aug 22 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind waves  2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 7 seconds. Smoke. 

TONIGHT  SW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  3 ft at 8 seconds building to 6 ft at 7 seconds after midnight.  Patchy drizzle after midnight.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

8/21 Sea lettuce, J50, bad air, Trump;s EPA, bird smells, wolf kill, Fish Fest, bird fest, OR stormwater

Sea lettuce [Mandy Lindberg]
Sea Lettuce Ulva fenestrata
The green macroalga widely known as Ulva fenestrata is an important food source for a variety of microorganisms and herbivores, especially certain polychaetes, amphipods, and crabs, along the northeastern Pacific coast. It is often attached to shells, pebbles, rocks, or pieces of wood. Although it may always start out anchored like this, in quiet bays it may float about, except when it has been left behind by a receding tide. Floating specimens tend to grow larger than those that are attached to a substrate. The blades may reach a length of 1 meter and they are often extensively perforated, especially from Oregon northward. (Encyclopedia of Life)

Researchers to try to treat ailing orca J50 for worms
J50, the critically ill orca whale, may have worms and veterinarians want to give her a shot to kill the parasites. She has already received one shot of antibiotics under an emergency care and feeding program led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But she only got half a dose because the dart used to give her the shot fell out of her thick skin. Biologists want to try again and this time perhaps use a needle that’s tough enough for elephant hide. The goal also is to give her a shot of wormer. While the parasites she may have are no problem for a healthy animal, an orca as emaciated as J50 is at risk. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

'Unhealthy' air prompts stage 1 burn ban in 4 Western Washington counties
A stage one burn ban goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties because of unhealthy levels of wildfire smoke. Health officials issued the ban to reduce any additional harm from outdoor burning. Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO) And: Air quality plummets in Metro Vancouver as wildfire smoke blankets South Coast  The wildfire smoke blanketing Metro Vancouver has grown so thick that the air quality health risk hit the highest rating in some areas Monday. According to the B.C. air quality data map, Burnaby, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and other parts of northeastern and northwestern Metro Vancouver had a 10+ rating as of 11 a.m. PT. Monday. (CBC)

As Trump Dismantles Clean Air Rules, an Industry Lawyer Delivers for Ex-Clients
As a corporate lawyer, William L. Wehrum worked for the better part of a decade to weaken air pollution rules by fighting the Environmental Protection Agency in court on behalf of chemical manufacturers, refineries, oil drillers and coal-burning power plants. Now, Mr. Wehrum is about to deliver one of the biggest victories yet for his industry clients — this time from inside the Trump administration as the government’s top air pollution official. On Tuesday, President Trump is expected to propose a vast rollback of regulations on emissions from coal plants, including many owned by members of a coal-burning trade association that had retained Mr. Wehrum and his firm as recently as last year to push for the changes. Eric Lipton reports. (NY Times)

Oceanic birds can smell what the ocean is cooking kilometres away, says U.S. research scientist
You know it as the smell of the sea shore, but to wide-ranging oceanic birds with great sniffers, dimethyl sulfide is a sure sign of food ahead. As Gabrielle Nevitt explains, dimethyl sulfide is created when krill consume phytoplankton. And some birds in the order Procellariiformes — albatross, petrel, fulmar — are especially good at detecting dimethyl sulfide, perhaps up to 20 kilometres away. They are called “fishes of the air” because they widely roam the oceans and only come to land to breed. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Washington state approves killing of wolves that preyed on cattle in Ferry County 
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has approved the killing of members of the Togo wolf pack after the animals preyed on a rancher’s cattle several times in Ferry County, according to an agency news release. The Togo wolves have targeted cattle six times since November, according to the state wildlife agency. Three of those instances took place in the past 30 days, which is frequent enough that the state is allowed to approve lethal action under its 2011 wolf conservation plan. evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Cantwell, Franz address salmon, orcas, wildfires in Port Townsend appearance
The environment took center stage as U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz discussed ocean health, orcas and the wildfires burning across the state at the Jefferson County Democrats’ Fish Feast. Franz was the keynote speaker at the Sunday evening fundraiser at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, with 300 members of the party attending. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Parade marks launch of 27th International Ornithological Congress, 1st Vancouver International Bird Festival
How about starting your week in a bird costume and parading around on stilts? That's just what some Vancouver residents are planning to do to kick off a festival celebrating local birds — and to mark an international bird conference being held in the city.... The parade kicks off a week of activities centred around the world of birds, and marks the 27th International Ornithological Congress, which runs until Aug. 26 at the convention centre. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Nearly white bald eagle seen in Bay View
While bald eagles aren’t an uncommon sight along the shorelines of Padilla Bay or throughout the region, at least one with unusual coloring has been spotted this summer in the Bay View area. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service staff believe the eagle — which has an almost white, marbled appearance — has genetic mutations that prevent it from developing the brown hues seen on other bald eagles. These types of mostly white eagles, as well as eagles with spots of white, are called leucistic. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Oregon Settles Lawsuit Over Stormwater Pollution
Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has settled a lawsuit that environmental groups filed over the state’s regulation of stormwater pollution. When it rains, water runs over industrial sites and collects toxics like copper, lead and zinc, which then wash into rivers and streams. This kind of pollution has become a major source of contaminants across the country. The settlement adds special protections for rivers and streams that are already too polluted for salmon, drinking water or swimming. Previously, the state treated permits for those waters no differently than permits to discharge into cleaner rivers. Tony Schick reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  228 AM PDT Tue Aug 21 2018   

TODAY  E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming variable late. Wind waves 2  ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 10 seconds. Smoky. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 kt or less. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  3 ft at 10 seconds. Smoky.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

8/20 GBH, chinook closure, feeding salmon, saving whales, Tokitae, Longview coal, bug book, Theler wetlands, pipe protest, Acid Ball, saving oil, clean sand

Great Blue Heron, Squamish Harbor [Donna Fabian]
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
The Great Blue Heron is the largest of the North American herons with long legs, a sinuous neck, and thick, daggerlike bill.... Hunting Great Blue Herons wade slowly or stand statue-like, stalking fish and other prey in shallow water or open fields. Watch for the lightning-fast thrust of the neck and head as they stab with their strong bills. Their very slow wingbeats, tucked-in neck and trailing legs create an unmistakable image in flight. (All About Birds)

Environmental groups call for closure of chinook fisheries to preserve endangered southern resident orcas
The growing realization that southern resident orcas are starving to death has led green groups to urge stronger measures to save them. The David Suzuki Foundation and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation have called for an immediate closure of fishing for chinook salmon on B.C.'s coast. Orcas rely on chinook to survive and it's their preferred prey.... Under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, up to two million chinook are caught each year on both sides of the border. According to the environmental groups, the southern resident orca population requires about 1,400 chinook each day to remain alive. Charlie Smith reports. (Georgia Straight)

Dosed salmon, clipped fins, a 'dinner bell': How far is too far in helping starving orca? 
An emergency plan aims to medicate and feed J50, a struggling young southern resident killer whale scientists fear may not have long to live. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)  See also: Researchers say parasite may have caused orca's illness  (CBC)

Impassioned task force faces the challenge of saving endangered orcas
Passion for saving Puget Sound’s killer whales is driving an exhaustive search for ways to restore the whales to health and rebuild their population, but hard science must contribute to the search for workable answers. Chris Dunagan writes. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Flowers for Tokitae: Remembering Puget Sound’s captured orcas
Activists vow to bring the last surviving killer whale of the Southern Resident captures home. Patricia Guthrie reports. (Everett Herald)

Board Upholds Water Quality Permit Denial For Longview Coal Terminal
A state board upheld the denial of a key water quality permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminals project — a proposed $680 million facility in Longview, Washington, that would be the largest coal shipping terminal in North America. Senior Vice President of External Affairs Wendy Hutchinson said Wednesday Millennium plans to appeal the decision, The Daily News reported . (Associated Press)

What just crawled, waddled or flew by? WWU professor has your answer.
Have you ever watched a bug scuttle, crawl or fly by and wondered “what was that!?” Merrill Peterson’s new book, “Pacific Northwest Insects,” might help you identify it. It took Peterson, a professor in the Biology Department at Western Washington University, more than a decade to research, write and photograph the insects for his book. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

State, North Mason School District discuss transfer of Theler wetlands ownership
The North Mason School District is engaged in serious conversations with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to transfer ownership of the Theler wetlands from the district to the state agency.... For decades, the district leased the property to a nonprofit to manage a community center on site and the trails, but mismanagement led the district to take back control of the property in 2014. Arla Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Anti-pipeline protesters released days before week-long jail sentence ends
Several pipeline protesters were released from a British Columbia jail on Sunday, a few days before their week-long sentences were set to end. Seven protesters in all were sentenced to a week in jail term on Aug. 15, after pleading guilty to contempt charges in B.C. Supreme Court. Five who were released on Sunday issued a joint statement, saying they were imprisoned because of their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (CBC)

Marine mammals from distant places visit Puget Sound
The reasons for the surprise visits are unknown, but changes in environmental conditions here or elsewhere are one possibility. Chris Dunagan reports. (SalishSea Currents)

So, the Acid Ball has moved and Waypoint Park is open — what’s next on the waterfront?
On Aug. 14 the Port of Bellingham’s director of environmental programs, Brian Gouran, briefed the Port Commission on what’s happened and what’s on tap. That includes some changes, including a shift in priorities in what is being developed by Harcourt as well as timing on construction. Gouran touched on a variety of developments around the waterfront district, formerly home to Georgia-Pacific’s pulp and tissue mill operations near the downtown district. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

US says conserving oil is no longer an economic imperative 
Conserving oil is no longer an economic imperative for the U.S., the Trump administration declares in a major new policy statement that threatens to undermine decades of government campaigns for gas-thrifty cars and other conservation programs. The position was outlined in a memo released last month in support of the administration’s proposal to relax fuel mileage standards. The government released the memo online this month without fanfare. Ellen Knickmeyer reports. (Associated Press)

The Trump administration keeps losing environmental court cases
It turns out that unraveling Barack Obama’s environmental agenda is harder than it looks. Federal judges have ruled against the Trump administration three times in the last three days, arguing that the administration short-circuited the regulatory process in its push to reverse policies on water protections, chemical plant safety operations and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. In each instance, the courts either reinstated the existing rule or delayed the administration’s proposal from taking effect. Juliet Ellperin reports. (Washington Post)

How To Clean Sand: Volunteers Take On Microplastics At Oregon Coast
With the guidance of Seaside-based conservation group Sea Turtles Forever, about 50 volunteers gathered to clean the sand near Haystack Rock using unique screen filtration systems. Developed by Sea Turtles Forever founder Marc W. Ward, the systems look like a cross between a medical stretcher and a flour sifter. Dirty sand is piled on a sheet of fine mesh stretched between two long poles, and the mesh catches plastic and other foreign material while allowing the sand to fall through. According to Ward, a static charge in the mesh can catch plastic particles as small as 100 micrometers across. Jack Fisher reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PDT Mon Aug 20 2018   

TODAY  Variable wind 10 kt or less. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W  swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. Smoky. 

TONIGHT  Variable wind 10 kt or less. Wind waves 1 ft or less.  W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. Smoky.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

8/17 Dogwinkle, orca habitat suit, saving orcas, BC pipe, Keystone XL, wildfires, sunk tug, hot oceans

Frilled dogwinkle [David Cowles]
Frilled Dogwinkle Nucella lamellosa
Frilled Dogwinkle are found from the Aleutian Islands south to central California. It typically inhabits rocky shorelines from the low to mid intertidal zones, and is often found in mussel beds. This species is a predatory whelk that feeds on acorn barnacles and mussels by using its radula to drill through the shell of the prey. This creates a hole through which the whelk inserts a long proboscis to ingest the prey.... In the spring and summer the stalked, yellow egg cases of this species can be found attached to rocks by their stalks. They are often referred to as "sea oats." (Biodiversity of the Central Coast)

Environmentalists sue federal government in Seattle to protect endangered orcas 
An environmental conservation group has sued the federal government, alleging it failed to meet its obligation to protect the habitat of endangered southern-resident killer whales on the West Coast. The lawsuit was filed Thursday by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to hold the government accountable for allegedly violating the Endangered Species Act by not acting on a 2014 petition filed by CBD that sought to expand “critical habitat” areas for the orcas from Puget Sound waters to include the coastline down to near San Francisco. The organization has filed 82 other lawsuits against the Trump administration, demanding action to protect species from a type of giant fly native to California to the grizzly bear, but this is the first regarding orcas. Asia Fields reports. (Seattle Times)

Save the orcas? We'll have to do this one, radical thing
.... Ultimately, to save the orcas, we may have to face the prospect that many policymakers have studiously avoided: not just modifying some Columbia River system dams but removing them. Salmon advocates have long argued that ultimately, the only way to restore salmon runs in the Columbia’s main tributary, the Snake, is to breach the four Lower Snake River dams. Taking out those dams would allow salmon to migrate into millions of acres of spawning habitat in the Idaho wilderness — habitat that may become increasingly critical to the fish as climate change warms habitat at lower elevations. But that’s a politically sticky proposition: The dams provide some 4 percent of the region's hydroelectric generating capacity. They also create pools that allow some farmers to irrigate crops without the heavy pumping lifts that lower water levels would require. And the locks attached to them enable barge traffic to reach Lewiston, Idaho, allowing farmers to ship grain to Portland. Daniel Jack Chasan writes. (Crosscut)

NEB allows Trans Mountain to begin construction on parts of pipeline expansion
The National Energy Board says Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC can start construction on sections of its pipeline expansion in Alberta and British Columbia. The NEB says in a statement that Trans Mountain has met all applicable pre-construction condition requirements for so-called segments one to four from the Edmonton terminal to its Darfield pump station near Kamloops, B.C. The board says it has approved more than 96 per cent of the detailed route for these pipeline segments. The NEB says Trans Mountain can begin construction, including clearing right of way — subject to other government permits and regulations. (Canadian Press) See also:  Burnaby protest camp torn down after RCMP move in  Cassidy Olivier & Gordon Hoekstra report. (Vancouver Sun)

KEYSTONE XL: Court orders Trump admin to study new route's impacts
The Keystone XL pipeline hit another legal snag last night after a federal court ordered the Trump administration to take a closer look at environmental impacts. The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana ruled that the State Department must conduct a fresh analysis of the contentious oil pipeline's new route through Nebraska. The agency approved a critical cross-border permit for Keystone XL shortly after President Trump took office, but Nebraska state regulators later in 2017 approved a revised route for the Canada-to-U.S. project. The State Department had argued that the route change did not require the agency to revisit the 2014 National Environmental Policy Act analysis underpinning the cross-border permit because it had already been issued. The Montana court disagreed. Ellen M. Gilmer reports. (E&E News)

Federal Officials Outline New Plan To Lower Wildfire Risk
Federal officials have announced a new plan that’s meant to help lower the risks of mega-fires. Northwest lawmakers are helping roll out the strategy to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called the plan a “real game plan for reducing the 80 million acres of hazardous fuels that constitutes the backlog on Forest Service lands. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Forest Service would work closely with state and local officials to identify the best areas to treat using thinning, prescribed fire and “unplanned fire in the right place at the right time,” said Vicki Christiansen, interim chief of the Forest Service. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPB/EarthFix) See also: As smoke hangs over Northwest, study shows air pollution was already high   Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times) And also: Air quality 'high risk' for parts of B.C. due to wildfire  (CBC)

Capsized tug now out of the water at the mouth of B.C.'s Fraser River
A tug that capsized and sank a the mouth of the Fraser River off Vancouver has now been pulled from the water. The 19-metre-long George H. Ledcor went down Monday night while hauling a loaded gravel barge on the north arm of the Fraser River not far from Vancouver International Airport. David Hoff with Ledcor Group, the operator of the tug, says the vessel was lifted out of the water this morning [Thursday] and crews are now preparing to drain potentially contaminated water from its hull. The tug has the capacity to carry 22,000 litres of diesel fuel, but officials said it was unclear how much was in its tanks when it sank. (Canadian Press)

Not just land heat waves: Oceans are in hot water, too
Even the oceans are breaking temperature records in this summer of heat waves. Off the San Diego coast, scientists earlier this month recorded all-time high seawater temperatures since daily measurements began in 1916.... Between 1982 and 2016, the number of “marine heat waves” roughly doubled, and likely will become more common and intense as the planet warms, a study released Wednesday found. Prolonged periods of extreme heat in the oceans can damage kelp forests and coral reefs, and harm fish and other marine life. Christina Larson reports. (Associated Press)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PDT Fri Aug 17 2018   

TODAY  Variable wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W  swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt, becoming SW 10 kt or less. Wind  waves 3 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. 

SAT  Variable wind 10 kt or less. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W  swell 5 ft at 8 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  5 ft at 8 seconds. 

SUN  NW wind 10 kt or less. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5  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, August 16, 2018

8/16 Canary grass, sunk tug, bee killer ban, kids' climate, pot trash, pipe protest, Skagit gravel, Skagit logging, beavers, Mt Polley mine, AK gold mine, Canada geese

Reed canary grass []
Reed Canary Grass Phalaris arundinacea
Phalaris arundinacea, sometimes known as reed canary grass, is a tall, perennial bunchgrass that commonly forms extensive single-species stands along the margins of lakes and streams and in wet open areas, with a wide distribution in Europe, Asia, northern Africa and North America.... The Halq'emeylem and probably other Salish groups used the stems for decorating baskets. The stems were cut while still pliable and green in May and early June (when the wild roses bloom)... It is not clear whether reed canary grass is entirely introduced or whether it is indigenous in arts of the coast and has extended through human influence. Phalaris many be called 'canary' grass either because P. canariensis is the source of canary seed or because the genus was first described from the Canary Islands. (Wikipedia, Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Efforts to right and raise the capsized George H. Ledcor are taking longer than expected, coast guard says
Efforts to raise the sunken and overturned George H. Ledcor tugboat on the Fraser River are taking longer that expected, while environmental officials claim impacts from the diesel spilled from the wreck have been minimal. According to Phillip Murdoch, the superintendent of environmental response for the Canadian Coast Guard, the 20 metre tugboat has now been righted but remains underwater. He said the next step was to lift and de-water the vessel, although windows of opportunity to proceed with the operation were small due to the complications of river currents and tides. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Canada to phase out pesticides linked to bee deaths, sources say
The federal government will begin phasing out the outdoor use of nicotine-based pesticides beginning in 2021, part of an effort to stem the mysterious decline of honey bee colonies around the world. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Canada will announce Wednesday a three-year phaseout of two of the three main neonicotinoid pesticides currently approved for use in the country, sources close to the decision tell The Canadian Press. The agency has already announced plans to phase out the third pesticide in all outdoor uses, meaning it can't be sprayed or used to pretreat seeds before planting. Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike to manage pests like aphids and spider mites. Scientists blame the chemicals for weakening bees, making them more susceptible to disease and bad weather. (Canadian Press) See also: New pesticides 'may have risks for bees'  (BBC)

Judge dismisses kids' lawsuit seeking to protect the climate they'll inherit
A judge in Seattle has dismissed a lawsuit from a group of children seeking to protect their generation from climate change. The kids' lawsuit said Washington state's efforts to reduce carbon emissions are "grossly inadequate" if their generation is to have a bearable climate to live in. The group of 13 youths, represented by Our Children’s Trust, asked the court to come up with a plan to nearly eliminate emissions statewide by mid-century.... King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott agreed that climate change is an urgent and devastating problem. But he ruled that tackling it is a job for the political branches of government, not the courts. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Garbage from Washington state's booming pot industry clogs gutters, sewers and landfills 
Washington state’s penchant for getting high is trashing the place. Plastic “doob tubes” and small Mylar bags used to package pot are moldering in gutters, bleaching out in landfills and bobbing in waterways. Concentrated nutrients and fertilizers left over from cannabis growing operations are being dumped in public sewers and making their way past wastewater treatment plants into Puget Sound. And millions of pounds of weed harvest waste that could be composted are instead getting trucked to landfills. This, in a part of the country that prides itself on being environmentally friendly. Kristen Millares Young reports. (Washington Post)

Injunction-itis in Kinder Morgan debate gives rule of law a black eye
Once again, with the regularity of clockwork it seems, the B.C. Supreme Court is back at the old game of ordering police to do their job and of insulating politicians from accountability. Usually, it’s to remove First Nations from some logging or mining road. This time it is to get rid of Camp Cloud, which was established to oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. Last week, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Gomery granted Burnaby an injunction ordering all structures, shelters and vehicles be removed from outside the company’s tank farm within 48 hours. He also ordered a sacred fire burning in the camp be extinguished. The protesters ignored him. For more than a quarter century, this injunction two-step has occurred with regularity as one level of government or another, or some giant resource company, uses the court to transform civil disobedience into contempt of court. The result, I think, is a black eye for the rule of law. Ian Mulgrew writes. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Burnaby RCMP poised to remove Camp Cloud protesters  Alex Migdal reports. (CBC)

Gravel mine case gets extension
Skagit County and Miles Sand and Gravel were given until mid-September to discuss a settlement regarding the possible expansion of a gravel mine northeast of Burlington. The company is seeking a special use permit to convert 68 acres of forestland it owns into a gravel mine. Residents have voiced concerns that the expansion would lead to more truck traffic and they are afraid for children, pedestrians and bicyclists who navigate the narrow roads and blind intersections in the area. The county denied the company a permit on April 5, prompting the company to appeal to the county hearing examiner. Both parties met in May and have since been discussing a settlement. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Logging in Upper Skagit River watershed put on hold as Seattle has ‘grave concern’
.... Much of the Skagit’s headwaters are protected by Canadian parks. But, to preserve historic mining rights, the B.C. government set aside a forested area the size of Manhattan that’s surrounded by parkland. It’s known now as the “donut hole.” Crews this summer began to fell trees inside the donut hole at the behest of British Columbia’s government. Conservationists who once fought to keep Seattle from flooding the area now worry that B.C. will allow the valley to be hollowed at its center. Logging could threaten Ross Lake bull trout and disrupt possible grizzly-bear recovery efforts, some say. They fear logging, and road construction, will open the door further to mining, which they argue represents a grave threat to Puget Sound salmon on the horizon. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Everyone wants to live in Seattle. Especially beavers
Seattle, you may have noticed some new neighbors around lately. Not the ones who moved here to work at Amazon — that’s another story entirely. We’re talking about beavers, which were all but eradicated from the region just over 100 years ago. But now they’re back.  Amy Rolph reports. (KUOW)

B.C. lake infested with hundreds of goldfish just months after pets released into wild
Residents of a small B.C. lakeside community say they're dealing with a goldfish infestation after someone dumped their unwanted pets in the water. Pinecrest Lake, which is located about halfway between Squamish and Whistler, had no goldfish in its waters last year — but now they number in the hundreds, according to the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council. "People have been observing schools of 30 to 40 fish schooling together at a time. They vary in sizes, some small, some up to five inches [13 centimetres] big," said Clare Greenberg, the council's executive director. Cory Correia reports. (CBC)

Appeal challenges discharge of Mt. Polley mine effluent to Quesnel Lake
The B.C. Environmental Appeal Board will hear a challenge of a provincial permit that allows Imperial Metals’ Mt. Polley mine to discharge mine effluent into Quesnel Lake. An amended permit was issued by the B.C. Environment Ministry in April of 2017 to allow the discharge of mine waste water that has been treated at a filtering plant as part of a long-term water management plan at the Interior B.C. gold and copper mine. The long-term plan is a requirement of the mine operating after a dam that held back mine effluent in its tailings pond collapsed in August 2014. The earth-and-rock dam has since been rebuilt. The appeal, launched by Christine McLean, a member of Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake, is set for a three-week hearing in Victoria beginning at the end of January 2019. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Proposed Gold Mine Acquires 2 Permits From Federal Agencies 
A massive gold mine proposed in western Alaska has cleared a regulatory hurdle, acquiring permits from federal agencies. The Donlin Gold Mine received permits Monday from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Land Management after about six years of environmental review, Alaska's Energy Desk reported . The project required a permit from the Corps because it will affect thousands of acres of wetlands. The project also includes a 315-mile (507-kilometer) gas pipeline planned to cross federal land, requiring BLM approval. The conventional open-pit mine is planned for a site 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of the village of Crooked Creek in the Upper Kuskokwim River drainage. Representatives from the mining industry and Native Corporations joined federal officials at an Anchorage office to commemorate the signing of the permits Monday. (Associated Press)

Canada Geese often not given credit for being smart and adaptable
Canada geese are rarely given credit for their intelligence and ability to adapt to life in the city, according to a wildlife biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Nathan Clements says the growing number of Canada geese in Vancouver are an example of a species exploiting a niche in an urban environment. “Canada geese are so adaptable,” he said. “A lot of people don’t give them credit for how smart they are. Canada geese have found the perfect location in urban settings.” He suggested that Canada geese have moved into grassy areas in parks such as English Bay, Sunset Beach and Granville Island because they are not surrounded by natural predators such as bald eagles, raccoons and dogs. Kevin Griffin reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PDT Thu Aug 16 2018   


TODAY  SW wind 10 kt or less, becoming W 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 3 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt, becoming SW 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves  2 to 4 ft subsiding late. W swell 5 ft at 11 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

8/15 Nudibranch, Fraser spill, shipyard sewage, native stewards, bad smoke, strong bees, BC pipe, oil-tanker spills, 'king-of-the-salmon,' bat kill

Opalescent nudibranch [Monterey Bay Aquarium]
Opalescent nudibranch Hermissenda crassicornis
Opalescent nudibranchs are one of the prettiest and most colorful species of nudibranchs. Though their colors vary, they always have bright orange areas on their backs and blue lines along each side. Cerrata (fingerlike projections) on their backs are brownish yellow, with white and gold tips. These "sea slugs" eat hydroids and anemones, which are armed with nematocysts (stinging capsules). These nematocysts don't harm the nudibranch; in fact, the animal transfers some of its prey's unfired nematocysts to the tips of its own cerrata, where they become part of the nudibranch's defense system. Some experts believe that nudibranchs' gaudy colors warn predators of these potent weapons. (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Crews plug vents, stop release of fuel from capsized tugboat in Fraser River
Crews have surveyed a capsized tug in the Fraser River, plugged its fuel vents and stopped the release of fuel from its tanks, according to Emergency Management B.C. The George H. Ledcor, a tugboat with the capacity to carry 22,000 litres of diesel on board capsized late Monday night near Vancouver's Deering Island, on the north arm of the Fraser River.  How much fuel has spilled still isn't known, however there was a sheen visible in the surrounding waters and the odour of diesel in the air, local residents say. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Health officials warn public to avoid contact with Sinclair Inlet after shipyard sewage spill
Health officials have warned the public to avoid contact with the water in Sinclair Inlet after 80,000 gallons of sewage from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard spilled during a two-week period. The spill occurred between July 30 and Aug. 14, according to a notice from the Kitsap Public Health District. The notice did not state the cause of the spill and Navy officials were unavailable for comment Tuesday afternoon. Julianne Stanford reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Indigenous Stewardship Of The Salish Sea In the Spotlight At Seattle Public Library
Beyond the Frame – To Be Native is the name of a series of exhibits around the region, honoring the 150th birthday of Seattle photographer Edward S. Curtis. Curtis is a controversial figure. He sought to document Native American cultures, based on the belief that they would soon vanish.  This year’s exhibits are revisiting his iconic photographs by exploring contemporary native identity. The project is led by The Seattle Public Library, where a small exhibit focuses on indigenous stewardship of the Salish Sea. Protecting x̌ʷəlč (pronounced roughly "hull-ch") is the name of the exhibit, which is tucked between the stacks in a gallery on the library’s eighth floor.  x̌ʷəlč is the native Lushootseed word for saltwater, or the Salish Sea. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Breathing Wildfire Smoke Every Summer Could Have Long-Term Consequences
The skies across much of the Northwest are choked with smoke from wildfires. Air quality east of the Cascade Mountains has deteriorated as wildfires burn across Oregon and Washington. In Southern Oregon, the air is hazardous. In Central Washington, air quality is unhealthy for everyone.... While the air might be annoying on a day-to-day basis, doctors say chronic exposure to smoke, year-in and year-out can lead to long-term health problems, especially for people with underlying heart and lung problems, children and senior citizens. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPB/EarthFix)

Only the strong survived: resilient bees to pass strong genes onto next generation
Last year's fire season was hard on honey bees, but for those that survived, one beekeeper wants to pass on their strong genes via artificial insemination. Diane Dunaway, an apiary inspector and beekeeper at Soda Creek's Bee Happy Honey, north of Williams Lake, said last year was the first time in 20 years that she was without a surplus of honey. The bees refused to fly in the heavily smoky conditions so they ate through a portion of their food supply leaving the colonies short on nutrients for winter, she said. Dunaway estimates she suffered about an 80 per cent loss of her colony last year, but the honey bees that survived are a hardy bunch with genes that are valuable to future generations. Anna Dimoff reports. (CBC)

Metis Nation of Alberta members vote to support expansion of Trans Mountain pipeline through B.C.
An organization that represents Metis in Alberta says it supports the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline through B.C. The Metis Nation of Alberta says members voted in favour of the resolution at a conference on Sunday. President Audrey Poitras says solid economic investment, including pipelines like the Trans Mountain, is the right way to go. (Canadian Press)

Human errors are behind most oil-tanker spills
In January, the oil tanker Sanchi collided with a cargo vessel in the East China Sea, 300 kilometres off Shanghai, China. The tanker caught fire, exploded and sank, killing all 32 members of its crew and spilling or burning more than 100,000 tonnes of petroleum products. In May, China’s Maritime Safety Administration gave its final verdict: both vessels had violated navigational protocols and watch-keeping codes.... Even as the quantity of oil and gas transported by sea has doubled since the 1970s, there have been fewer spills greater than 7 tonnes — down from roughly 80 per year to about 7 per year. Double hulls and fire-fighting systems that use inert gases have helped.Two trends in the past decade threaten those improvements. First, the accident rate for major tankers (those that carry more than 15,000 tonnes, with and without spills) almost tripled between 2008 and 2017: from 1 accident for every 40 tankers to 1 in every 15. Second, to cut costs, substandard ships with poor maintenance records and unqualified personnel are increasingly registered in countries that have lax regulation. The chance of a major spill occurring in a region that is unable to cope could rise, putting fragile coasts at risk. Zheng Wan and Jihong Chen report. (Nature Magazine)

Rare 'King-of-the-Salmon' fish washes up in Deception Pass
A Monroe couple was shocked to find a rare species of ribbon fish on Chris Leone and Kristin Baerg were walking on the beach near Deception Pass recently when something out of the ordinary caught their eye. “[It was] just a flash of silver,” Baerg said. “I didn’t know if it was a metal pan or what.” It turned out to be a 6-foot-long fish with an eye the size of a human fist. Leone’s first thought was, “That’s a freaky looking fish.” Its official name is Trachipterus altivelis, but most people know it as “King-of-the-Salmon.” According to Makah legend, the ribbon-like fish leads the salmon to their spawning grounds every year. It was forbidden to kill one for fear of disrupting the salmon run. Giuliana Viglione and Alison Morrow report. (KING)

Wind Farms Want Permission To Kill More Bats — A Lot More
Wind turbines are proving to be more of a menace than expected to opeapea — endangered Hawaiian hoary bats, the islands’ only native land mammal. As a result, three wind energy farms are requesting increases in the amount of bats they are allowed to “take.” “Take,” according to the Endangered Species Act, includes harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing or collecting the animals. In 2012, the farms received federal and state permits that allowed them to take a designated number of the bats. Two of permits were supposed to be in effect for 20 years, the third for 25. Combined, they were allowed to take 92 during those periods, but they have already exceeded that number.... Each wind energy project submitted its own take request, but if all are approved, the original limit of 92 would increase to 483. Madison Lee Choi reports. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  243 AM PDT Wed Aug 15 2018   

TODAY  SE wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds.  Haze. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 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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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

8/14 Yellowjacket, feeding J50, saving orcas, dtich water, Camp Cloud, marine worms, drought times

Yellowjacket [Gary McDonald/BugGuide]
Yellowjacket Vespula pensylvanica
The western yellowjacket is native to regions of North America, largely in areas with northern temperate climates. Its reproductive behavior is constrained by cold weather, which successfully reduces the number of western yellowjackets in cold months. However, in the absence of cold weather, this wasp's population can explode.... The western yellowjacket is often a pest to humans.... Concentrated garbage has become an alternative food supply, and colonies have emerged in and around areas of human impact, such as recreational parks and resorts. Though they tend not to sting unless a violent struggle occurs, they nonetheless violently protect their nests and can sting repeatedly. (Wikipedia) See also: As Oregon's Yellow Jacket Population Peaks, Expert Urges Safe Co-Habitation Brian Bull reports. (KLCC)

Scientists attempt to feed live chinook to ailing orca J50, but did she eat?
In an unprecedented intervention with a wild, free-swimming whale, federal scientists on Sunday attempted to feed live hatchery chinook salmon to a starving orca. The result of the effort Sunday afternoon was inconclusive. Scientists could not tell what happened to the fish. And the orca appeared to take no note of them. The orca, J50, is a 3 1/2-year-old member of the J Pod of the southern resident clan of killer whales, and believed to be dangerously malnourished. Yet she did not change her swimming pattern or in any other way seem to take note of, let alone eat the salmon, said Brad Hanson, wildlife biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s NW Fisheries Center in Seattle. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: 'This type of thing has never been tried before,' says biologist on effort to help 3-year-old orca  Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Task force narrows list of ideas to save killer whales from extinction
The term “no silver bullet” has been heard again and again as dozens of experts from throughout the state examine ideas that might help avoid extinction for Puget Sound’s beloved orcas. The Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force, created by the governor, is considering short-term actions — such as increasing hatchery production of Chinook salmon to help feed the whales. But it is becoming uncomfortably clear that there are no easy answers, no “silver bullet,” as the task force heads toward the finish line for drafting an emergency recovery plan.... Whether it comes down to small forage fish or any number of other issues — from hatcheries to habitat recovery — task force members say improving the food supply for Puget Sound’s endangered orcas continues to remain as complex as it is urgent. The Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force is scheduled to meet again on August 28th in Anacortes, Washington. Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Whatcom County agricultural and conservation communities unite in a rescue mission
During the Dog Days of August, water is worth its weight in gold to the local agriculture community. Without water, most crops won’t grow. So what would cause Twin Brook Creamery owners Larry Stapp and Mark Tolsma to voluntarily take water away from their own fields by turning off their irrigation and instead pump water into a stream north of Lynden? Would you believe fish? That’s exactly what they did, according to a Sunday press release by Whatcom Family Farmers, in an effort to save coho salmon, steelhead, resident trout, stickleback and other marine life, including muscles and crawdads, that were stranded along the east side of Double Ditch Road close to the Canadian border. The agriculture community worked alongside the conservation and environmental community Monday to help relocate the fish and agricultural wildlife to the other side of the road, where water was still free flowing. David Rasbach reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Anti-pipeline protesters in Burnaby refuse to douse sacred fire and dismantle camp
Occupants of Camp Cloud, the longtime anti-pipeline protest encampment in Burnaby, say they will continue to ignore a court-ordered injunction to dismantle the site and douse the flames of their sacred fire. Camp spokesperson Kwitsel Tatel said about a dozen protesters have not complied with a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that structures, shelters and vehicles had to be dismantled and the fire put out by Sunday night. Tatel said she has advised the remaining protesters to do whatever they consider as their safest option and that some of the protesters have offered to tie themselves to structures in anticipation of police intervention. Behdad Mahichi reports. (Vancouver Sun)   

Marine Worms Are Eating Plastic Now
On land, earthworms chow down on dead leaves and fungi and poop out tiny bits of organic matter that enrich the soil. In the sea, it turns out that some marine worms chew on floating plastic and poop out microplastics—a troubling discovery brought to light in new research by scientists in South Korea. Concerned about the effects of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems, scientists from the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology collected eight discarded buoys that were adrift off the Korean coast. The plastic buoys were made out of expanded polystyrene, better known as styrofoam, and the researchers wanted to see if anything was living on them. Led by environmental chemist Sang Hee Hong, the team found all sorts of organisms on the surface of the buoys, from seaweed and sea squirts to crabs. But when they took the buoys apart, they were surprised to find marine worms living inside. Buried deep within the buoys, polychaetes were chowing down on plastic. Michael Allen reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Washington Is Abnormally Dry This Year, Oregon Even More So
The U.S. Drought Monitor says the entire state of Washington is abnormally dry. In Oregon, nearly 90 percent of the state is facing moderate to severe drought. “What we’re experiencing is part of what the entire Western United States is experiencing,” Kristin Johnson-Waggoner said. She’s a communications manager with the Water Resources Program in Washington Department of Ecology. Last winter, snowpack in Washington was exactly where it needed to be so that when it melted, there was plenty of water in rivers and streams. But in May, the weather was unseasonably warm and dry. “That sort of depleted that reservoir that we would have depended on, Johnson-Waggoner said. Emily Schwing reports. (Northwest News Network)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  243 AM PDT Tue Aug 14 2018   

TODAY  E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. NW swell 4 ft  at 7 seconds. Haze and areas of smoke in the morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind to 10 kt. 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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Monday, August 13, 2018

8/13 Ketron Is., J35, BC pipe protest, Monsanto fined, Vancouver E coli, shellfish theft, Smith Is habitat, Bill McKibben

Ketron Island [Tacoma News Tribune]
Where is Ketron Island? Who lives there?
Ketron Island, the site of a crash of a hijacked Alaska Airlines plane taken from Sea-Tac Airport sits in the South Puget Sound. The privately owned island is reachable only by ferry and is served by the Anderson Island-Steilacoom ferry run by Pierce County. The population listed in the 2010 U.S. Census was all of 17 people. The 221-acre island was supposed to be named for William Kittson of the Hudson’s Bay Company, who supervised the construction of Fort Nisqually in 1833, according to the book Washington State Place Names. The name was bungled while transcribed to a map, giving the island its name. Kenny Ocker reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma]

After 17 days and 1,000 miles, mother orca Tahlequah drops her dead calf
Tahlequah the mother orca is no longer carrying her dead calf. “J35 frolicked past my window today with other J pod whales, and she looks vigorous and healthy,” Ken Balcomb, founding director of the Center for Whale Research, wrote in an email to The Seattle Times. “The ordeal of her carrying a dead calf for at least seventeen days and 1,000 miles is now over, thank goodness.” J35, also known as Tahlequah, is part of the critically endangered southern-resident killer-whale population. Balcomb said J35 probably has lost two other offspring since giving birth to a male calf in 2010.... Another member of the population, a 4 ½ year-old known as J50, also is ailing. Biologists were working over the weekend to monitor her condition. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

An orca mom’s mourning adds new clue to another mysterious death
t has been heart-breaking to follow the story of the 20-year-old orca mom named Tahlequah (J-35), who has been carrying her dead newborn calf for nearly three weeks. But Tahlequah’s travails might add new insight into the mysterious death of a 3-year-old orca, who washed up on the Long Beach Peninsula in 2012. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Judge approves eviction of protesters from camp near pipeline construction site
A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has granted the City of Burnaby an injunction forcing pipeline protesters to leave their camp outside a Kinder Morgan tank farm. Justice Geoffrey Gomery says all structures, shelters and vehicles must be removed from the site known as Camp Cloud within 48 hours of an order being issued, which could occur as early as today. The judge also ordered that a sacred fire burning under very dry conditions and near several large tanks containing petroleum products must be extinguished. However, the judge says peaceful protesting is still permitted and individuals are allowed on the site as long as they do not build more structures. (CBC)

US jury orders Monsanto to pay $290mn to cancer patient over weed killer
A California jury ordered chemical giant Monsanto to pay nearly $290 million Friday for failing to warn a dying groundskeeper that its weed killer Roundup might cause cancer. Jurors unanimously found that Monsanto—which vowed to appeal—acted with "malice" and that its weed killers Roundup and the professional grade version RangerPro contributed "substantially" to Dewayne Johnson's terminal illness. Following eight weeks of trial proceedings, the San Francisco jury ordered Monsanto to pay $250 million in punitive damages along with compensatory damages and other costs, bringing the total figure to nearly $290 million. Johnson, a California groundskeeper diagnosed in 2014 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma—a cancer that affects white blood cells—says he repeatedly used a professional form of Roundup while working at a school in Benicia, California. Glenn Chapman reports. ( See also: Monsanto weedkiller case: Bayer shares tumble after payout  (BBC)

E. coli prompts no-swimming advisories at three more Vancouver beaches
Vancouver Coastal Health has issued three additional warnings for Vancouver beaches due to high levels of E. coli bacteria. As of Saturday, Aug. 12, English Bay, Jericho Beach and Sunset Beach have been added to the list of beaches where swimming and direct contact have been deemed unsafe. Stephanie Ip reports. (Vancouver Sun)

More enforcement coming to Sunshine Coast as region deals with complaints of illegal shellfish harvesting
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is sending another enforcement officer to its Sunshine Coast base after members of the public flooded the department with complaints about illegal shellfish harvesting in the area. It's a problem the region sees every summer, but officials and locals alike say this year has been particularly bad.... ​l​llegal harvesting happens when licensed fishermen either take too much shellfish, harvest in closed areas or use illegal gear. Others are simply unlicensed fisherman picking through the beach. DFO says harvesters are taking oysters and clams.

To expand salmon habitat, county floods farmland
Excavators chomped through the earthen berm at low tide. A few hours later, saltwater flowed from Union Slough to flood former farmland on Smith Island for the first time in 85 years. Friday’s breakthrough marked a major milestone toward restoring chinook salmon habitat in the Snohomish River delta. Snohomish County has been at it since 2002, when it started acquiring land in the area.... The Smith Island Restoration Project originated from the 1999 listing of Puget Sound chinook as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Somers, a fish biologist by training, worked on salmon recovery planning in the early 2000s. He helped set restoration goals that the county, the Tulalip Tribes and other governments are now starting to realize. The biggest need was restoring rearing habitat for juvenile salmon before they migrate out to Puget Sound. The county project, along with work by the city of Everett, will provide 377.5 acres of new habitat south of Union Slough and east of I-5. That’s about a third of the land they’re hoping to restore in the Snohomish estuary. Projects by the tribes, the city of Everett and the Port of Everett are meeting the rest of the target. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Sedro-Woolley, Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group launch park project 
East of Sedro-Woolley’s dog park and fewer than 1,000 feet from the Skagit River sits about 12 acres of unused city-owned land — much of it overrun by blackberry brambles. Through a first-time partnership, the city and Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group have plans to transform 7 acres into an extension of the dog park and neighboring Riverfront Park. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

If you like to listen: A novel idea from an environmental activist: Secession 
Northwesterners and people around the world have been inspired by Bill McKibben’s prolific environmental activism.... McKibben was a staff writer for The New Yorker for several years before his move to more rural climes upstate. His first book, “The End of Nature,” introduced many people to the concept of climate change. He later started the mass environmental movement McKibben is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Lannan Literary Award and the Gandhi Peace Prize. He spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on November 20, 2017. John O'Brien reports. (KUOW)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  245 AM PDT Mon Aug 13 2018   

TODAY  E wind to 10 kt becoming NE in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. Haze and areas of smoke. 

TONIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds becoming NW at  8 seconds after midnight. Haze and areas of smoke.

"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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