Tuesday, April 30, 2019

4/30 Trout, Cooke Aqua, plastic no-ban, dam removal, BC trees, food climate, BC pipe protest, Trump's clean water, refinery safety, gas price gouge, tribe fishing sites, oilsands bacteria, river person, spy hop whale

Rainbow trout [BBC]
Rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss
Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species, but rainbow are freshwater only, and steelhead are anadromous, or go to sea. Unlike most salmon, steelhead can survive spawning, and can spawn in multiple years. Rainbow trout are the most common and hence most popular species of trout in Washington. There are thousands of wild populations statewide but the main reason for their popularity is that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks millions of rainbow trout every year across the state for the specific purpose of providing recreational angling opportunities. Rainbow trout are an excellent game fish for their willingness to bite bait and lures, their scrappy nature when on the end of a fishing line, and the fact that they are excellent table fare. Steelhead are also highly regarded game fish and the steelhead is the state fish of Washington. (WDFW)

Cooke Aquaculture agrees to pay $332,000 fine after net pen failure
Cooke Aquaculture has agreed to pay the $332,000 fine for the negligent release of thousands of Atlantic salmon in August 2017, the state Department of Ecology announced Monday. The department says Cooke tried to appeal the penalty, "but in a legal settlement with Ecology, agreed to pay the full penalty." The settlement will divide the $332,000 payment, according to the department -- $265,600 to "an environmental project related to regional salmon enhancements or habitat restoration" and $66,400 to Ecology's Coastal Protection Fund. (KING) See also: Puget Sound Salmon Farm Dealt Loss in Clean Water Act Case  The Wild Fish Conservancy proved four of five Clean Water Act claims against an aquaculture operator stemming from the 2017 collapse of a Puget Sound salmon pen, a federal court ruled. Steven M. Sellers reports. (Bloomberg Environment)

Vancouver to postpone ban on straws, Styrofoam and other single-use items
With Styrofoam takeout containers, plastic straws and disposable coffee cups everywhere in the food industry, the speed of the move to ban single-use items in Vancouver is running into resistance. Last May, the city voted to eliminate these kind of single-use items as part of the Zero Waste 2040 strategy and was set to introduce a ban on June 1. But at a meeting Monday night, council approved a recommendation by city staff that the ban be postponed until April 2020. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

Washington Budget Funds Group To Study Snake River Dam Removal
Tucked into Washington’s $52.4 billion operating budget passed Sunday night by the Legislature is controversial funding for a “stakeholder group” tasked with looking into what would happen should the four Lower Snake River dams be removed or altered. Supporters say this group will make sure Washingtonian’s voices are heard in the often contentious conversation around dam removal. Critics say the effort is a waste of time and money – too similar to a discussion already happening at the federal level. Gov. Jay Inslee had asked for $750,000, following the recommendations of the state’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force, a group created by the governor to find ways to save the orcas. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Broadcasting)

B.C. forestry watchdog highlights 'major weaknesses and gaps' in report
British Columbia's forestry watchdog says there are "major weaknesses and gaps" in the way the province enforces logging rules and protects its natural resources. Last week the B.C. Forest Practices Board issued a report that highlights the challenges regarding enforcement for the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act, which govern logging and other forestry activities in B.C. Kevin Kriese, the watchdog's board chair, says one of his primary concerns is that natural resource officers, who are tasked with enforcing B.C. forestry laws, don't have time to proactively monitor logging operations before a problem occurs. Maryse Zeidler reports. (CBC)

From Apples to Popcorn, Climate Change Is Altering the Foods America Grows
The impact may not yet be obvious in grocery stores and greenmarkets, but behind the organic apples and bags of rice and cans of cherry pie filling are hundreds of thousands of farmers, plant breeders and others in agriculture who are scrambling to keep up with climate change. Drop a pin anywhere on a map of the United States and you’ll find disruption in the fields. Warmer temperatures are extending growing seasons in some areas and sending a host of new pests into others. Some fields are parched with drought, others so flooded that they swallow tractors. Kim Severson reports. (NY Times)

Protester, 71, climbs tree to stop Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
A 71-year-old man who was arrested last year for camping in a tree at Burnaby’s Westridge marine terminal to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion — has once again climbed a tree at the site. Terry Christenson, an Ontario grandfather of two, scaled the tree inside the terminal Monday morning and erected a mid-air camp to protest the proposed twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline. “I’m doing this for all of the grandchildren of the world. Climate change is an issue that will impact my grandchildren much more than it will impact me,” Christenson said in a news release. “Canada is already on the path to clean energy and we must continue to diversify our economy — not build more dirty pipelines. I’m here today to ensure Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hears this message loud and clear.” Scott Brown reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Trump order threatens WA's environmental authority
Washington state blocked what would have been the largest bulk coal terminal in the country. Trump's change to the Clean Water Act might make that harder in the future.
Carl Segerstrom reports. (High Country News)

Groups to hold forum on oil refinery safety
Environmental and labor groups will hold a public forum on oil refinery safety at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2. The presentation at the Burlington Community Center, 1011 Greenleaf Ave., will be hosted by United Steelworkers, the BlueGreen Alliance, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and Evergreen Islands. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Big oil refiners from Alberta price-gouging B.C. customers: Think-tank
Alberta’s oil industry is raking in “excess profits” by price-gouging B.C. customers, according to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Marc Lee, an economist at the CCPA and the author of the report, says: “Turn off the taps? Alberta already has Vancouver over a barrel,” and taxes aren’t to blame for record-high pump prices here — “Big Oil” in Alberta is. Lee’s report found Vancouver motorists are paying oil-refiners 20-30 cents more per litre than are customers in Calgary and Toronto. They’re also paying far more than they did just a decade ago. Suncor, Parkland Fuel and Imperial Oil, refiners that were specifically named by Lee, referred Postmedia News to the Canadian Fuels Association, an industry group to which all companies belong. Shell didn’t respond to a request for comment. Matt Robinson reports. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: Creek turned 'dumping ground' restored for salmon in West Seattle
KING 5 Environmental Reporter Alison Morrow [goes]to West Seattle to show a creek that has gone from drainage ditch to salmon habitat. [KING]

U.S. House Passes Bill To Improve Tribal Fishing Sites
On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide $11 million to improve unsafe and unsanitary living conditions at tribal fishing sites on the Columbia River.Over time, the federal government created 31 in-lieu fishing sites for Native American tribes to make up for the land that was flooded when the Columbia River dams were built. The tribes were also promised new housing to replace what was lost. But that promise still hasn’t been fulfilled. In the meantime, many tribal fishermen have created makeshift residences at the in-lieu fishing sites. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

Chemical-eating bacteria could solve the oilsands’ big problem
UBC engineers are using directed evolution and genomic tools to encourage naturally occurring bacteria to eat the toxins in oilsands tailings ponds. Field trials on a “consortium” of bacteria that thrive on naphthenic acids are set to begin this summer in northeastern Alberta with a major oilsands bitumen producer. Heated water pumped into the ground to loosen the gooey bitumen absorbs dozens of different toxins, which require a huge amount of energy to remove, said Vikram Yadav, a professor of chemical and biological engineering. Bitumen can be processed into gasoline and other fuels in much the same way as conventional crude oil. While much of the water used in the process can be recycled, there are vast ponds full of contaminated water, silt and sand recovered from the extraction of bitumen. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

How a River Was Granted Personhood
For more than 700 years, the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, fought to maintain their spiritual connection to the Whanganui River. Mostly, it was a losing battle: Rapids were dynamited, gravel was extracted, and water was drained and polluted. Promises were broken. Generations of Maori looked on as awa tupua—their river of sacred power—was treated as a means to an end or, worse, as a dumping ground. Then, in 2017, something unprecedented happened. The New Zealand government granted the Whanganui River legal personhood—a status that is in keeping with the Maori worldview that the river is a living entity. The legislation, which has yet to be codified into domestic law, refers to the river as an “indivisible, living whole,” conferring it “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities” of an individual. Emily Buder reports. (The Atlantic)

Norway finds 'Russian spy whale' off Arctic coast
A beluga whale found off Norway's coast wearing a special Russian harness was probably trained by the Russian navy, a Norwegian expert says. Marine biologist Prof Audun Rikardsen said the harness had a GoPro camera holder and a label sourcing it to St Petersburg. A Norwegian fisherman managed to remove it from the whale. He said a Russian fellow scientist had told him that it was not the sort of kit that Russian scientists would use. Russia has a naval base in the region. The tame beluga repeatedly approached Norwegian boats off Ingoya, an Arctic island about 415km (258 miles) from Murmansk, where Russia's Northern Fleet is based. Belugas are native to Arctic waters. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PDT Mon Apr 29 2019   
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 10 seconds. 
 W wind to 10 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds.

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

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Friday, April 26, 2019

4/26 Skunk cabbage, Audubon, salmon fishing, hatchery fish, Kitimat refinery, MPAs, offshore drilling, drinking water standards, Cascades glaciers, retiring coal plants, sea star disease, Skagit farms, plastics

Western skunk cabbage
Western skunk cabbage Lysichiton americanus
Western skunk cabbage (USA), yellow skunk cabbage (UK), American skunk-cabbage (Britain and Ireland) or swamp lantern, is a plant found in swamps and wet woods, along streams and in other wet areas of the Pacific Northwest, where it is one of the few native species in the arum family. (Wikipedia)

Happy Birthday, John James Audubon
John James Audubon (born Jean Rabin; April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was an American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. Audubon identified 25 new species.

NW Charter Fishing Fleet Casts Wary Eye Toward Possible Cutbacks To Save Orcas
Pacific Northwesterners are undeniably fond of their endangered resident orcas. Many locals are also fans of salmon fishing, a hobby that sustains charter fishing fleets in coastal harbors from Neah Bay, Washington, to Brookings, Oregon. But now there is a chance that future fishing trips on the ocean could be curtailed to leave more food for the killer whales. Regulators are preparing to reassess the Pacific salmon harvest and an environmental lawsuit seeks more action to save orcas. The cross-currents of this quandary remain beneath the surface for most visitors to the sport fishing haven of Westport, Washington.  Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Hatchery Fish Are Less Successful at Reproducing in the Wild
Every spring, hatcheries in Alaska release more than a billion year-old pink and chum salmon. The fish spend a year out at sea growing up, before they return to be caught by the state’s fishing fleet. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Of the roughly 1.8 billion fish released each year in the state, about 100 to 200 million make it back from the ocean. Of those that survive to adulthood, fishers catch almost 99 percent. Inevitably, though, some salmon evade the nets and make their way into local rivers and streams to spawn alongside their wild relatives. There are concerns that these hatchery-raised fish might be negatively affecting wild salmon populations, either by disrupting their spawning, or by breeding with them and weakening the gene pool. “Wild returns in Alaska are stable, but there is evidence from the lower 48 that hatchery fish have reduced spawning success,” says Kyle Shedd, a geneticist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.... New research by Shedd and colleagues adds some discouraging evidence that backs up those fears. Based on research conducted over the past two years, hatchery fish appear to have reduced spawning success compared to wild fish. This means that they could be weakening the whole population when they breed with wild fish. Brian Owens reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Kitimat refinery trial balloon re-floated into shifting political wind
Victoria businessman David Black is pondering whether political winds might be blowing back in favour of his independent proposal to build an oil refinery near Kitimat, as opposed to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion to Burnaby. Federally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has been cold to the idea, Black said, and Premier John Horgan hasn’t been able to extend support. However, with Alberta premier-elect Jason Kenney preparing to take office and odds wavering over the possibility of a turnover in government at Ottawa after October’s election, Black is reflecting on the supportive comments he has heard from conservative camps. “There’s no question they’ll be supportive,” Black said Thursday. Black, whose regular job is owner of Black Press, first proposed his plan in 2012. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Canada to ban industrial activities inside marine-protected areas
Canada is banning industrial activities inside marine-protected areas (MPAs), including offshore oil and gas development and bottom-trawl fishing, but the prohibition won't automatically apply to activities in fisheries conservation areas designated as marine refuges. The decision, effective Thursday, also bans ocean mining and ocean dumping in MPAs, which are being created to help meet an international commitment to protect 10 per cent of Canada's ocean and coastal areas by 2020. Canada has reached 8.2 per cent of the conservation target. Paul Withers reports. (CBC)

Trump Administration Puts Offshore Drilling Plan On Hold After Setback In Court
The Trump administration is postponing controversial plans to greatly expand oil and gas drilling off of the nation’s coasts, following a recent setback in court and months of pushback from coastal communities. Last month, a federal judge in Alaska ruled that President Trump exceeded his authority when he signed an executive order to lift an Obama-era ban on oil and gas drilling in parts of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The decision immediately reinstated those protections, and was a major blow to the administration’s efforts to boost oil and gas development across the country. Nathan Rott reports. (NPR)

E.P.A. Proposes Weaker Standards on Chemicals Contaminating Drinking Water
After pressure from the Defense Department, the Environmental Protection Agency significantly weakened a proposed standard for cleaning up groundwater pollution caused by toxic chemicals that contaminate drinking water consumed by millions of Americans and that have been commonly used at military bases. Standards released by the agency on Thursday eliminated entirely a section that would have addressed how it would respond to what it has described as “immediate threats posed by hazardous waste sites.” Those short-term responses, known as removal actions, can include excavating contaminated soil or building a security fence around a toxic area. Eric Lipton and Julie Turkewitz report. (NY Times)

Glaciers ‘deflating’ with Cascades snowpack 28% below normal
Glaciers in the North Cascades could shrink for the seventh year in a row. That’s because snowpack, which acts as a shield against hot summer days, has been lower than normal this winter, according to recent measurements taken at six sites in the region. The pattern continued despite an extra-chilly February that brought historic amounts of snow to the lowlands. Snowpack is currently 28 percent below normal, the fifth-lowest measurement since record keeping began in 1984 and the lowest since 2015. And there’s little time left for more snow to make up the deficit.continue to recede. Zachariah Bryan reports. (Everett Herald)

NW Utility PacifiCorp Considers Early Retirement For Some Wyoming Coal Operations
An energy company with hundreds of thousands of Oregon and Washington customers is considering the early retirement of some of its coal-burning operations. PacifiCorp released a new economic analysis Thursday that says its customers could save about $248 million over 20 years if the company decides to retire four of its Wyoming coal units by 2022. That would mean closing one coal-fired plant and reducing another plant’s capacity by half. PacifiCorp spokesman Bob Gravely said any electricity production lost from the retirement of coal operations would be made up in other ways, possibly with energy from wind, solar and natural gas. David Steves reports. (OPB)

The Unexpected Winners from Sea Star Wasting Disease
Since the darkness of sea star wasting disease fell upon the Pacific coast of North America in 2013, scientists have been working overtime to shed light on the consequences to the area’s complex marine ecosystem. At least 20 species of sea stars from Mexico to Alaska were affected by the disease, but the sunflower star, an aggressive predator with 24 arms, was hit the hardest. Sea star wasting disease rendered it into a pile of goo and spines. A new, decade-long study, which began six years before the outbreak and concentrated on two species at five intertidal sites in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, adds depth to the data. The study confirms that sea star species suffered unequally during the outbreak, and reveals that at least one species benefitted from diminished competition. The study tracked the changing abundances of the purple, or ocher, sea star, and the mottled sea star. Larry Pynn reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Agriculture census shows how farms changing in Skagit
Skagit County is losing farms, especially medium-sized ones, but is seeing new small farms sprout up. That’s according to 2017 data released this month from the Census of Agriculture, a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey conducted every five years. As of 2017, there were 1,041 farms in Skagit County, 33 fewer since the last survey in 2012, according to the results. The smallest operations, those with 1 to 10 acres, grew by 59, while the number of farms ranging from 10 to 500 acres decreased. Jacqueline Allison reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Reducing plastic's carbon footprint
From campaigns against microplastics to news of the great Pacific garbage patch, public awareness is growing about the outsized effect plastic has on the world’s oceans. However, its effect on the air is far less obvious. Plastic production, use, and disposal all emit prodigious amounts of greenhouse gasses, but scientists haven’t had a firm grasp on the scope.Now researchers at UC Santa Barbara have determined the extent to which plastic contributes to climate change, and what it would take to curb these emissions. The results appear in the journal Nature Climate Change. (UC Santa Barbara)

Heading out on B.C. waters? Keep your distance from marine mammals 
Planning to head out on the water this season? Remember to be mindful of your aquatic neighbours. Close encounters between British Columbians and whales, sea lions and other marine animals are well documented in viral videos and photos but it’s important to remember the mammals are protected by law, no matter how cute or amazing your photo op might be. Here are a few reminders on how to safely observe marine mammals. Stephanie Ip reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  253 AM PDT Fri Apr 26 2019   
 W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming 20 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 7 ft at 9 seconds. 
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 8 ft  at 7 seconds. A slight chance of showers. 
 W wind 20 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 7 ft at  7 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the morning then a  chance of showers in the afternoon. 
 W wind 20 to 25 kt becoming NW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 ft after midnight.  W swell 8 ft at 9 seconds. 
 SE wind to 10 kt becoming E 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

4/25 Swallow, bad air, pipeline, toxic waste fund, restoriation, feeding orcas, hatcheries, gray whales, spill cleanup, seafloor map

Violet-green swallow [Glenn Bartley/Audubon]
Violet-Green swallows Tachycineta thalassina
Violet-green Swallows breed in open evergreen and deciduous woodlands, especially woodlands with standing dead trees that feature woodpecker holes or other natural cavities. They breed across the western United States from sea level to as high as 11,500 feet elevation.... Violet-green Swallows feed on flying insects such as flies, leafhoppers, leafbugs, aphids, beetles, and winged ants that they catch and eat in midair. They skim low over water bodies and fields snatching up insects, but they also forage high above the ground.... Violet-green Swallows are common throughout the West, but populations experienced a decline of about 28% between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.  (All About Birds)

‘State of the Air' report gives failing grades to Washington for sooty particulate pollution
Warmer weather and wildfire smoke are causing more air pollution in Washington. Three metropolitan areas in the state have the worst air pollution in the nation. They made the top-15 list for particle pollution in this year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association, which looks at both particle pollution and ozone. The main cause driving the rising levels of short-term particulate, or soot, here is smoke from wildfires. Yakima came in sixth-worst, Seattle-Tacoma came in ninth and the Spokane Valley-Coeur d'Alene area tied with Sacramento-Roseville, California, for 15th place. California is the only other state with more than one area on the top-15 list; it has seven. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX) See also: Oregon's Air Is Getting Worse, According To American Lung Association  (OPB)

Trans Mountain CEO says expansion will make waters safer even if tanker traffic spikes
Even when oil tanker traffic increases after the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, CEO Ian Anderson says the marine environment around Vancouver will be safer because of measures to protect orcas. “There will no doubt be measures taken that will make the transit and the understanding of the marine environment better than it was before,” Anderson said in a podcast interview with ARC Energy Research Institute, the investment analysis arm of an energy-focused private equity fund. “There will be incremental benefits to the whole value chain of marine traffic in the Salish Sea." Anderson, Trans Mountain Corp.'s president and chief executive officer, was referring to measures recommended by the National Energy Board (NEB) to mitigate "significant" adverse environmental impacts on Southern resident killer whales (orcas) and on Indigenous cultural use related to them. Alastair Sharp reports. (National Observer)

Can Alberta really ‘turn off the taps’ to B.C.? Here’s what we know about Jason Kenney’s plan
Jason Kenney, the soon-to-be premier of Alberta, rode to victory vowing to implement policies that would empower the province to fight back against its foes. Among them was Kenney’s promise to “turn off the taps” to British Columbia. He vowed to proclaim legislation into law that would enable him to squeeze the supply of oil and gas going into B.C., as part of a larger United Conservative strategy to exert pressure on the province and the federal government in order to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built. The stalled pipeline is widely seen as a key component of Alberta’s economic recovery. But the question remains: How would “turning off the taps” work? Is it even constitutional? Tyler Dawson reports. (National Post)

Man convicted in pipeline break-in gets new trial
A man convicted of burglary for breaking into the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline facility west of Burlington in 2016 has been granted a new trial. In June 2017, Kenneth Ward, 63, was sentenced in Skagit County Superior Court to community service after a two-day trial that ended in him being convicted for second-degree burglary. A second charge of criminal sabotage resulted in a mistrial because the jury failed to reach a verdict. It was the second time Ward of Corbett, Oregon, had been tried on those charges — the first trial earlier that year ended in a mistrial. Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Big Oil aims to kill tax increase to fund toxic site cleanups
While newly empowered Democrats and environmentalists are winning passage of many pro-environment bills, big oil companies are laboring mightily to defeat one proposal that would speed cleanups of toxic waste sites by increasing a tax on crude oil brought to Washington refineries. The Senate proposal – SB 5993 – would roughly double the state’s hazardous substances tax. The proceeds would pay for cleanups that have been put on hold or slowed due to large fluctuations in global oil prices and legislative budgeting maneuvers after the Great Recession that in effect stole voter-approved cleanup funds for other uses. As the Legislature nears the end of its regular session, the state’s oil refiners, agriculture and business lobbyists are joining Republican lawmakers in pushing to halt any tax increase. Meanwhile, environmental advocates and local government lobbyists are pressing for additional funding to speed the state’s cleanup of some 6,000 remaining toxic waste sites. Brad Shannon reports. (Investigate West)

Duckabush restoration promises major benefits for five species of salmon
An ecosystem-restoration project that would replace two bridges across the Duckabush River and restore a 38-acre estuary on the west side of Hood Canal has moved into the design phase with funding from state and federal governments. The project, which would improve habitat for five species of salmon along with a variety of wildlife, is the subject of a design agreement between the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Saving salmon
David Beatty agrees with Kenneth Pritchard's comments about how salmon protection and restoration opportunities have been lost because of misallocation of funding. "Kenneth Pritchard is correct on the Skagit Salmon Story. Too much has been  spent (money and time) on failed watersheds for wild salmon, e.g. the Duwamish/Green River. Instead focus on Wild Salmon Strongholds, e.g., the Skagit River and major Tributaries." And check out the TEDx talk on Salmon Strongholds. 

A pod of orcas is starving to death. A tribe has a radical plan to feed them
Bobbing on the gray-green waters west of Washington state’s San Juan Island, Sle-lh’x elten Jeremiah Julius lifted a Chinook salmon from a 200-gallon blue plastic fish box. He carried the gulping fish to the boat’s rail and slid it into the sea, where it lingered a moment, then disappeared in a silver flash. It was a quietly radical act. This sea once teemed with the giant salmon, which in turn sustained thriving pods of orca. Today wild Chinook fisheries are in decline, and the orcas are starving. Julius is the chairman of the Lummi Nation, a tribe pushing an unorthodox policy. They are feeding salmon to the wild whales.  Levi Pulkkinen reports. (The Guardian)

Hatching new campaign
For 30 years, wild fish advocates have been framing hatchery produced salmon as the biggest obstacle to wild salmon recovery, and throwing their money, lobbying muscle, and legal expertise behind a concerted move to remove all hatchery fish from the rivers of the Northwest. However, sport anglers say that many of the promises and claims made by the conservation groups about the recovery of wild fish have not materialized, and now a coalition of sport anglers are pushing back. Armed with several new scientific studies that cast doubt on the arguments used against hatchery fish in the past, they are organizing to get their message out. The coalition centers around Hatchery Wild Coexist. The group is promoting a return to using responsible hatchery practices and putting fish back in our rivers. Terry Otto reports. (Columbian)

Why Are Gray Whales Washing Up Dead On Northwest Beaches?
An unusually large number of gray whales are washing up dead on their northbound migration past the Oregon and Washington coasts this year. The peak stranding time for gray whales in the Pacific Northwest is normally April, May and June. But the federal agency NOAA Fisheries has already logged nine dead whales washed ashore in Washington and one in Oregon. That’s on top of 21 strandings on California beaches since the beginning of the year. There were a total of 25 dead gray whale strandings on the entire West Coast in all of 2018. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Former brewery building to be removed as part of oil spill cleanup in Tumwater
Boston Street Southwest in Tumwater was closed Wednesday as crews continued to clean up after an oil spill at the former Olympia Brewing Co. property. Crews this week plan to remove a building located next to the site of the transformer that leaked oil into the Deschutes River and Capitol Lake in February. The building houses other transformers. Boston Street was closed between Custer Way Southwest and Deschutes Way Southwest. The closure could last into Friday depending on how long the work takes.In late February, the transformer was damaged by vandals and spilled oil containing a low concentration of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, which can accumulate in bodies of water and reach harmful levels in fish. (Olympian)

Salish seafloor mapping identifies earthquake and tsunami risks
The central Salish Sea of the Pacific Northwest is bounded by two active fault zones that could trigger rockfalls and slumps of sediment that might lead to tsunamis, according to a presentation at the 2019 SSA Annual Meeting. These tsunamis might be directed toward the islands of San Juan Archipelago, Vancouver Island and low coastal areas of the United States including Bellingham, Washington. (Science Daily)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  258 AM PDT Thu Apr 25 2019   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft  at 10 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

4/24 Tiger rockfish, WA clean energy, saving salmon, crude oil vapor, nature time, herring DNA, Navy training, Deepwater Horizon spill

Tiger rockfish [A. Harding/Race Rocks]
Tiger rockfish Sebastes nigrocinctus
Tiger rockfish range from Kodiak Island and Prince William Sound, Alaska, to Tanner and Cortes Banks in southern California. They occur at water depths between 18 and 298 m (60-984 ft). Adult fish live on rock outcrops that have caves and crevices. They are rarely observed in the open during the day. Tiger rockfish can grow up to 61 cm (24 in) in length. Maximum age is 116 years old.

Washington State Passes Law Requiring 100% Clean Energy by 2045
Washington state’s Senate on Monday gave the final vote of approval to a law requiring 100 percent clean energy by 2045, joining three other states — New Mexico, California and Hawaii — with similar legislation on the books. A new Puerto Rico law requires 100 percent renewables by 2050. Governor Jay Inslee (D), who is running for president on a climate change platform, has championed the Washington bill. It now goes to his desk for signature. Like other states, Washington’s legislation leaves technologies such as nuclear and carbon capture and sequestration on the table. In addition to requiring 100 percent clean energy, Washington’s law mandates a coal phaseout by 2025 and requires that utilities ratchet up their clean-energy commitments over time. Coal accounted for 13 percent of the state’s mix in 2017. Emma Foehringer Merchant reports. (Green Tech Media)

Survive the Sound: Clock ticking for salmon-saving projects in Mason County
The clock is ticking for several projects in Mason County that could help our endangered salmon and Puget Sound orcas. Residents and elected leaders say the problem is lip service: the Legislature and governor not putting enough money where their mouths have been.  Mason County has plenty of great habitat for salmon, but the one thing this rural county doesn’t have a lot of is money. Folks in Mason County say they’ve been dealing with a river in crisis for more than a decade. The Skokomish River is the most flood-prone in the whole state. The river is the biggest source of fresh water into Hood Canal. The massive natural waterway which is critical to a healthy Puget Sound. Tim Joyce reports. (KCPQ)

Skagit salmon story
Yesterday's news story about the plight of salmon in the Skagit River [Skagit River has lost half of important habitat for salmon that orcas depend on] prompted reader Kenneth Pritchard to write: "When salmon recovery was young, I knew we were going to waste money by spending too little here and too little there and too much for hardly nothing over there.  It’s as if first aid responders came to a train wreck wasting time patching a cut finger, putting ice on someone’s forehead and doing CPR on a couple other people.  Meanwhile, 3 or 4 people are left unattended going into shock and slowly bleeding to death. I suggested to those who would listen that we try to save the big systems that are still worth saving (like the Skagit) by creating salmon trust lands.  And rich communities like King County and Seattle would contribute their share.  The first step would be to buy as many as the development rights as possible and allow the land to be farmed under highly restrictive salmon friendly covenants, lease land for ultra green housing, close down certain roads and do habitat restoration on a large scale where practicable. It was politically unfeasible. Well, now the money is mostly gone and no one cares about salmon anymore and few see the connection between inland habitat and orca habitat.  Meanwhile, agency people tour restoration sites on the Duwamish or in suburban Bellevue where land value is 10 times what it was in the Skagit and they nod their heads as if we are making progress. End of story."

Plan to help Chinook salmon, orcas dismissed as unfairly targeting sports fishermen
As the federal government hears feedback on a new plan to protect orcas, local fishermen and fishing groups say another recently announced action will impact local economies and question whether proposed actions to help orcas are unfairly targeting sports fishermen. Last week, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced what it was doing to help declining Fraser River Chinook salmon. That included non-retention of Chinook in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Southern Strait of Georgia until July 31. Conservationists say it's a necessary move for Southern Resident killer whales. Darren Wright, owner of the Island Outfitters in Victoria says they have halibut fishing gear on display because that’s basically all they can sell. He expects business to slow down, and warns the measures will have a big and widespread impact. Bhinder Sajan reports. (CTV)

Salmon Conference Calls For Innovative Solutions To Protect Fish
What to do with the four Lower Snake River dams and how to best protect imperiled salmon have been a tough questions for decades. They were the focus at a conference on salmon Tuesday at Boise State University’s Andrus Center for Public Policy. Bonneville Power Administration’s top official said removing the dams would be a difficult task. Elliot Mainzer, the head of BPA, said he’s doing “significant due diligence” to understand the best path forward to protect salmon, while still keeping energy costs low. He said the administration must adapt and change. “We’ve got to try to lean in a bit more for the fish,” Mainzer said. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Broadcasting)

Crude-by-rail vapor standards bill heads to Washington governor's desk 
A bill that could dramatically impact roughly 150,000 b/d of crude-by-rail traffic to refineries in the Pacific Northwest has been sent to Washington Governor Jay Inslee's desk to be signed into law, but it remains unclear what the governor plans to do.... By law, the governor has five days to decide whether to sign the bill into law. The bill prohibits a facility, including Washington's five refineries along the Puget Sound, from loading or unloading any crude from a rail tank car unless the oil has a vapor pressure of less than 9 psi. The state senate Monday approved changes to the bill made by the House of Representatives March 12, which establishes the 9 psi standard only after a refinery increases its crude-by-rail imports by more than 10% from 2018 reported volumes. The changes essentially place a cap on a refinery's imports of crude shipped by rail through the state. North Dakota has threatened to sue Washington if the bill becomes law. The changes "do nothing to change this bill, or make it more palatable to the state of North Dakota or the oil and gas producers," said Kari Cutting, vice president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. "It is still the same bill, just a few different amounts. The State of ND still plans to litigate this bill as a violation of interstate commerce law."  Brian Scheid reports. (S&P Global)

Prescribing nature: State Parks program to kick off Sunday
Prescribing time in nature is becoming popular among medical providers, with time outdoors shown to improve health. In partnership with the nonprofit Park Rx America, National Parks and Washington State Parks are gearing up for the first National Park Rx Day on Sunday. The day will involve events at parks across the state and nation. “Doctors and other health professionals are realizing the healing power of being outdoors and have taken to prescribing parks and other natural areas to their patients using ParkRxAmerica.org to address diabetes, obesity, hypertension, depression and anxiety, among many other lifestyle-driven diseases,” Park Rx America founder and pediatrician Dr. Robert Zarr said in a news release. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Scientists search for genetic code behind herring spawn
All hands are on deck at Sitka Tribe of Alaska when herring spawn. Every year, employees and volunteers from across a variety of departments drop their regular responsibilities to set hemlock branches and collect as many herring eggs as possible. But that’s not the only thing the tribe is collecting this year. They’re also gathering genetic samples from herring and working with University of Washington researchers to uncover the code that dictates when and where herring spawn. Jeff Feldpausch is head of STA’s Resource Protection Department. In the many years that he’s harvested for the tribe, he’s seen fewer and lesser quality herring eggs on the branches he pulls for awaiting elders. Enrique PĂ©rez de la Rosa reports. (KCAW)

Navy extends deadline for public comment on training proposal
The Navy has extended the public comment period by another 15 days on its new report seeking to continue training and testing on the North Olympic Peninsula and elsewhere beyond 2020. Public comments may now be submitted on the draft supplemental Northwest Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement until June 12 for consideration in the final supplemental EIS/OEIS. The original deadline was May 28. Comments can be submitted online at www.nwtteis.com  (Peninsula Daily News)

Nine Years Later, the BP Oil Spill’s Environmental Mess Isn’t Gone
Nine years ago, BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, causing the worst oil spill in US history. The disaster on April 20, 2010 killed 11 workers as the flaming rig sank into the Gulf of Mexico. It took nearly three months to stem the flow of oil from the ruptured undersea well. By then, four million barrels of crude had seeped into the surrounding water, endangering marine wildlife and throwing local ecosystems out of balance.  The cleanup effort in the aftermath of the explosion was expansive and expensive. At its peak, more than 47,000 people worked on the response effort in the summer of 2010. By 2018, BP estimated that the spill had cost the company nearly $65 billion in legal fees, settlements, and funds for clean-up and restoration. Although much of the oil was recovered or dispersed in the ocean, the surrounding ecosystems still have not fully recovered. Some may never recover. Annie Ma reports. (Mother Jones)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  242 AM PDT Wed Apr 24 2019   
 E 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 6 ft at 11 seconds. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming E to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 6 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

4/23 Horsetail, Skagit salmon, WA legislature, WA Ferries, un-development, beavers

Horsetail [F. Lamiot]
Horsetail Equisetum
Equisetum (horsetail, snake grass, puzzlegrass) is the only living genus in Equisetaceae, a family of vascular plants that reproduce by spores rather than seeds. Equisetum is a "living fossil", the only living genus of the entire class Equisetopsida, which for over 100 million years was much more diverse and dominated the understory of late Paleozoic forests. Some Equisetopsida were large trees reaching to 30 meters tall. The genus Calamites of the family Calamitaceae, for example, is abundant in coal deposits from the Carboniferous period. The pattern of spacing of nodes in horsetails, wherein those toward the apex of the shoot are increasingly close together, inspired John Napier to invent logarithms. Despite centuries of use in traditional medicine, there is no evidence that Equisetum has any medicinal properties. (Wikipedia)

Skagit River has lost half of important habitat for salmon that orcas depend on
The Skagit River Valley has lost more than 50 percent of its floodplains and Chinook salmon runs are just 10 percent of what they once were. It is on rivers like the Skagit where scientists are trying to figure out a balance: produce food for hungry humans and for hungry whales. The Skagit River is one of Puget Sound's most important rivers for Chinook salmon and the killer whales who depend on them. Last week, KING 5 visited a fish trap that looks like a floating hut. Each morning, state wildlife technicians check to see what's been caught. "We operate from January through mid-July to catch juvenile salmon as they are migrating towards Puget sound," said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Clayton Kinsel. Kinsel's team is mostly counting chum salmon right now, some 3,000-4,000 each night. Southern Resident killer whales do eat chum, but scientists believe their diet depends on Chinook salmon. Those salmon are dwindling like the whales who depend on them, and the fish trap is helping scientists figure out how to stop that. Alison Morrow reports. (KING) See also: Saving the orcas  Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

What's happening the last week of the Washington Legislature's session
A capital gains tax, I-1000, a $50 billion-plus budget — Democrats are negotiating with Democrats on these and other issues coming into the last week of the Washington Legislature’s session. Angela King and Austin Jenkins report. (KUOW)

Washington State Ferries announces plan to reduce emissions, protect whales
Washington State Ferries is working to go even greener. That's the message in WSF's new two-year Sustainability Action Plan, which they released Monday in honor of Earth Day. The plan outlines goals and actions the organization plans to satisfy the state's Department of Transportation's commitment to sustainability, as well as the goals set out in Gov. Jay Inslee's Executive Orders 18-01 and -02, regarding environmental and orca protections. That includes six areas of focus, including greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, biodiversity, water, waste, and community impacts and engagement. Specifically, the plan outlines a goal to reduce ambient ferry noise throughout the system, remove dangerous creosote-coated timber from Puget Sound, and further develop an electric hybrid ferry program. The department also plans to further implement "operational efficiencies to reduce fuel consumption." Zosha Millman reports. (SeattlePI)

Un-development: Buildings are coming down — and staying down
Crews started pulling apart a barn and outbuildings in February. Instead of slapping up a McMansion on this partially wooded land along 58th Avenue SE, Snohomish County doesn’t plan to build anything. The idea is to make it a better home for wild flora and fauna, particularly fish that swim through Little Bear Creek on the south end of the property.... For the county, the project represents a new way of doing business. It’s meant to offset environmental damage from road projects that have yet to be built — things like widening two-lane roads to four. Federal, state and local regulations require environmental improvements, also known as mitigation, to make up for harm that construction does to habitat. The county calls this project “advance mitigation.” Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Leave it to beavers, seriously
Seattle city planners had an idea for Magnuson Park: To support wildlife, they would create a few ephemeral wetlands – habitats that would be wet in the spring and dry up in the summer. Seattle city beavers had another idea. You see, beavers really are eager builders. They can’t stand the sound of running water. It’s a nagging, innate thing they have to fix. “People have done some really cool studies where they’ve even taken a radio with the sound of running water and put it in a field. Beavers will come out and build a little circular dam over the top of the radio,” said Ben Dittbrenner, executive director of Beavers Northwest. So, yeah, the beavers in Magnuson Park threw out the plans and threw up some dams. They took over part of the park and changed the hydrology of the entire site. Those ephemeral ponds became permanent. Chris Morgan and Matt Martin report. (KUOW)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  237 AM PDT Tue Apr 23 2019   
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 9 ft at 12 seconds  subsiding to 7 ft at 12 seconds in the afternoon. A slight chance  of showers in the morning. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 7 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 (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

4/22 Song sparrow, Kalama methanol, Fort Worden, Squamish Nation, SnoCo solar, Uncertainties Matrix

Song sparrow [Tom Grey/BirdNote]
If you like to listen: Patterns in Songs of the Song Sparrow
Heidi Hoelting, a musician, listens carefully to the songs of birds. In her piano studio at her home in the woods, she wrote down several variations of the different sounds a Song Sparrow makes. In this BirdNote, Nancy Rumbel plays some of those variations on a bamboo whistle. Listen to all thirteen variations, as played by Nancy. (BirdNote)

For Plastics Or Fuel? A Controversial Methanol Plant May Be Misleading The Public, Regulators
Nearly four years ago, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee touted a new company that was coming to Kalama to revolutionize the methanol market. On that sunny August day on the banks of the Columbia River, Inslee spoke alongside city and county leaders, business people and executives from NW Innovation Works (NWIW), a Chinese-backed company looking to build three massive natural gas to methanol plants in southwest Washington.... The governor praised the creation of hundreds of family-wage jobs, millions of dollars in local tax revenue, and the plant’s biggest selling point: the methanol it created from natural gas could help clean up China’s plastics industry. The project has been pitched by its developers and the governor as one way to combat climate change. They say making methanol from natural gas in plants that use renewable power could eventually displace many of China’s dirtier coal-based plants.... But the climate change-crusading governor currently running for president may not have know that NWIW was selling a different story to investors — one less focused on producing cleaner methanol for plastics and more on an opportunity to buy into a new methanol supply chain to fill China’s insatiable appetite for fuel. Documents obtained by OPB show that NWIW is saying one thing to state regulators while eyeing China’s fuels market. As recently as January 2019, PowerPoint presentations shown to potential investors in the Kalama facility detailed the company’s apparent intent to burn their methanol for fuel in China. Molly Solomon reports. (OPB)

State parks hears public on Fort Worden changes /
The state Parks and Recreation Commission is in a pre-design phase on a project at Fort Worden that would remove the boat launch and questions what to do with the pier. About 75 people attended a public meeting Thursday night at the Fort Worden Commons to provide input on three alternatives. One would rehabilitate the pier and add an elevated boat launch. Another would relocate the pier and require the Port Townsend Marine Science Center to build on land. A third option would remove both the boat launch and pier without replacing them; it also would require the Marine Science Center to move. Brian McLean reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

The little-known history of Squamish Nation land in Vancouver
The Squamish Nation's proposal to build up to 3,000 apartment units southwest of the Burrard Bridge is shedding light on the historic ejection of members from their traditional territory in the area more than 100 years ago. The area in question is west of the Molson Brewery site, near Vanier Park on the False Creek waterfront, in Kitsilano. Some controversy erupted online last week after some Kitsilano residents were quoted as saying they wanted to consult with the Squamish Nation about the development. But some Indigenous people have pointed out that the Squamish people were never consulted when they were removed from the same piece of land in 1913. Angela Sterritt reports. (CBC)

Community solar comes to Snohomish County
Solar power can feel out of reach. Upfront costs are usually considerable and you need a sunny roof or open space where you can put the panels. Community solar projects make it more accessible, by allowing ratepayers to buy shares in an installation that’s financed and operated by a group of investors. Utilities around the state, including Seattle City Light and Avista, offer them. Now, Snohomish County PUD is getting in on the game — in a big way. The PUD's Arlington Microgrid Community Solar Project will be the largest in the state. It will generate enough electricity to power about 50 homes. The array has 1,620 panels and covers nearly 2 acres on a site owned by the PUD, near Arlington airport. Ratepayers can opt to pay for as little as one sixth of a panel, at a cost of $120 dollars. Those investors get credits on their bills for the 20-year life of the project. The utility expects it will take about eight years to pay off the upfront cost. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Puget Sound’s known unknowns: The Grand Uncertainties Matrix
According to the Puget Sound Institute's lead ecosystem ecologist Tessa Francis, "The Grand Uncertainties Matrix, or the “GUM” is essentially a way for us to keep track of the biggest questions that we have related to Puget Sound recovery, questions that arise while developing implementation strategies. It is a compilation of things that we are uncertain about. Gaps in our knowledge that come up during the process of working on these strategies.... We were talking through the process of building implementation strategies and we recognized that along the way there will be questions that arise, unknowns about how the Puget Sound social-ecological system works. Probably they will range from questions we don’t have the answers for immediately — but the answer is out there somewhere — to large science gaps that require research to resolve. We really wanted to be able to capture all of those, because all of them are barriers to progress in some way. We thought if PSI starts to collect those and rank them, we can start to address them and move the implementation strategies forward." Jeff Rice reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PDT Mon Apr 22 2019   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 10 seconds.  Showers. 
 SW wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  9 ft at 11 seconds. Showers in the evening then showers likely  after midnight.

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

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Friday, April 19, 2019

4/19 Pt Roberts, orca funding, HEAL Act, Earth Day, BC tanker ban, BC pipe consultations, oil-eating bacteria, spill dispersants

Point Roberts
Point Roberts
The point and community are at the tip of a two-and-one-half-mile=square peninsula cut off from the United States (Washington state) by the forty-ninth parallel on the north and by Boundary Bay on the east. Point Roberts was created when the United Kingdom and the United States settled the Pacific Northwest American-Canadian border dispute in the mid-19th century with the Oregon Treaty. Both parties agreed the 49th parallel would delineate both countries' territories, but they overlooked the small area that incorporates Point Roberts (south of the 49th parallel). The only entry is through Canadian and United States customs. It was named by Vancouver for the previous commander of the H.M.S. Discovery, Capt. Henry Roberts. (Washington State Place Names, Wikipedia)

Gov. Jay Inslee's orca-recovery agenda advancing, but billion-dollar funding yet to be seen
Gov. Jay Inslee’s orca agenda is advancing in the Washington state Legislature, but with the budget yet to be decided how much of the governor’s billion-dollar-bold ambition will be accomplished is yet to be seen. Budgets passed by the House and Senate so far contain no funding to continue the governor’s task force on orca recovery. There’s no agreement yet on funding the governor’s proposed panel to consider the affects of breaching the Lower Snake River dams. And revenue measures to help pay for everything, from increasing hatchery production to enforcement of habitat protections, have yet to be decided. There also were policy disappointments for the governor, who got no takers for his request for legislation to put a temporary stop on whale watching of southern resident killer whales; no lawmaker would introduce the bill. A vessel noise-reduction package will take years to implement with rule making yet to be done, and because U.S. Coast Guard regulations include important exemptions, including for commercial shipping that makes most of the noise that can disrupt orcas as they hunt. Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)

State House passes HEAL Act for environmental justice, a first for Washington
A bill that would address environmental justice is still alive in the state Legislature. The so-called Healthy Environment for All, or HEAL, Act passed the House in the nick of time, getting a last-minute bipartisan vote of 88-10 just after 5 p.m. Wednesday, to clear the cutoff deadline. The HEAL Act aims to improve health disparities in Washington through targeted investments in areas suffering worst from pollution. It would direct eight key state agencies to target their work using an environmental health disparities map that launched in January. It also would create a task force to oversee the implementation. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

13 Earth Day 2019 Events Happening In Puget Sound
One of the best things about Earth Day is that it's a holiday you can celebrate with little or no preparation. All you need is a little motivation, and maybe a rain jacket and a good pair of gardening gloves. There are countless events happening for Earth Day 2019 in Puget Sound, but here are just a few you can participate in....   Neal McNamara reports. (Patch)

First Nations divided on impacts of tanker ban at Northern B.C. Senate hearings
A Senate committee on transportation and communication holding public hearings in Northern B.C. this week heard competing arguments from First Nations about the impacts of a tanker ban. Bill C-48—the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act—would prohibit oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of certain types of oil from stopping or unloading at ports on the North Coast, from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border.  The bill, which has already received approval in principal in the House of Commons, resulted in the scrapping of the previously approved Northern Gateway Pipeline, fulfilling a Liberal election promise.  Laura Sciarpelletti reports. (CBC)

Trans Mountain consultation approach 'fatally flawed' even with extension, says First Nations leader
Even if the time period for consultation with Indigenous groups over the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is extended by a few weeks, "it still doesn't make up for the approach and the flawed way the consultations are being done," says one B.C. First Nations leader. Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, elected leader of the Neskonlith band and a member of the executive branch of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week in which she described the consultation process as "fatally flawed" and detailed several critiques of the process that's currently underway. Chantelle Bellrichard reports. (CBC)

Oil-Eating Bacteria Discovered In The Deepest Part Of The World's Ocean
The Mariana Trench is located in the Western Pacific Ocean, approximately 200 miles east of the Mariana Islands. The trench is nearly 36,000 feet below sea level (if Mount Everest was dropped into the trench, its peak would still be one mile below the ocean's surface). Academy Award-winning film director James Cameron famously descended to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in 2012, during which time he collected several new species including sea cucumbers, half-foot-long shrimp, and giant amoebas. And recently, a team of researchers from the United Kingdom, Russia, and China found that the Trench is also home to an enormous population of bacteria that can eat the hydrocarbon compounds found in oil. Priya Shukla reports. (Forbes)

New report examines the safety of using dispersants in oil spill clean ups
A multi-disciplinary team of scientists has issued a series of findings and recommendations on the safety of using dispersal agents in oil spill clean-up efforts in a report published this month by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. By measuring the level of a leading dispersal agent, dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, in sea life following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the team was able to establish how long the chemical lingers and what health effects it has on various organisms. The scientists found the risks associated with using DOSS were minimal, the team found that in areas where oil concentrations in water were more than 100 milligrams per liter did increase the toxicity, though they noted oil concentrations are typically much lower than that in most spills. (Phys.org)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PDT Fri Apr 19 2019   
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming W 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 8 ft at 12 seconds. A  chance of rain in the morning. 
 W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming NW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds building to 8 ft at  10 seconds after midnight. 
 NE wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 9 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 9 seconds. 
 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 9 seconds.

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

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

4/18 Skate, BC pipe, salmon fishing, Oyster Dome, shellfish closures, Adventuress, BC orcas, Green New Deal, Green-Duwamish R.

Big skate [Marine Life Sanctuary Society]
Big state Raja binoculata
Big skate range from the Bering Sea and southeast Alaska to central Baja, California. They occur in coastal bays, estuaries, and over the continental shelf, usually on sandy or muddy bottoms, but occasionally on low strands of kelp. They feed on crustaceans and sculpins and other slow-moving fishes. Big skates can grow up to 2.4 m (8 ft), but rarely over 1.8 m (6 ft), in length, and 91 kg (200 lbs) in weight. Maximum age is 26 years old. (WDFW; Marine Life of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

Federal government extends deadline to make Trans Mountain decision to June 18
The federal government is delaying a decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to June 18. Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi says the extended deadline will give the government more time to complete its consultations with Indigenous groups. The National Energy Board endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Feb. 22, starting the clock on a 90-day period for Ottawa to make a decision. That would have set the previous deadline for a decision at May 23.  Construction of the pipeline expansion was put on hold last year after the Federal Court of Appeal ruled the board failed to consider marine impacts and the government needed to do more Indigenous consultation. (Canadian Press)

Salmon Fisheries Set As Managers Start Process To Protect Endangered Orcas
The organization that sets limits for commercial, recreational and tribal salmon fisheries in the Pacific Northwest wrapped up their work Tuesday at a meeting in Northern California. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council bases the limits on salmon run projections up and down the coast. While the chinook salmon catch will be slightly lower than last year, the coho fishery in Washington and northern Oregon will be much improved. Recreational anglers would benefit most from this. In addition, the council is starting work on plans to rebuild five Northwest fish runs considered to be “overfished,” a technical designation for when the three-year average of salmon returning to a river to spawn falls below a threshold set by fishery managers.... The overfished runs include fall Chinook from the Klamath and Sacramento rivers and coho from the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Snohomish and Queets rivers. Over the next few months, the council will determine if fishing limits should be adjusted next year to help increase the number of salmon. Jes Burns reports. (OPB) See also: Federal chinook salmon fishing restrictions get mixed reviews Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC)

Connelly: Preserving a pearl of a view -- Oyster Dome on Blanchard Mountain is saved
Views from Oyster Dome down to the Samish River, Skagit Valley and out over the San Juan Islands are to die for, once you have puffed up the trail that takes off just south of the Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive. Our Washington Legislature, at times known for its quiet misdeeds, is quietly doing a very good deed -- finalizing creation of a 1,600-acre natural area on Blanchard Mountain, at the south end of the Chuckanut Range where mountains reach tidewater. Two pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 5975 and House Bill 2119, will give Skagit County needed flexibility to distribute state land trust revenue to ensure the nearby Burlington-Edison School District is made whole. "It's the final piece of the land transfer process to preserve Blanchard Mountain for recreation and conservation," State Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz wrote Tuesday on her Facebook page. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Henderson Inlet shellfish harvest threatened by pollution, state says
Henderson Inlet north of Olympia is one of 18 commercial shellfish harvest areas in Washington threaten by pollution, according to the state’s Department of Health’s annual water quality evaluation. The area currently meets water quality standards but could face restrictions in the future due to bacterial pollution, according to the state. Other areas now listed as threatened include Annas Bay, Hood Canal near Union, North Bay, Oakland Bay and Pickering Passage in Mason County, and Poverty Bay near Dash Point, Henderson Bay, Vaughn Bay and West Key Peninsula in Dutcher Cove in Pierce County. The evaluation found part of Port Susan in Snohomish County does not meet public health standards and harvesting will be restricted there. (Olympian)

Adventuress launches with new deck 
As the scaffolding surrounding the Schooner Adventuress came down on the morning of April 12, Ken Greff, project co-manager of the Adventuress’ renovations, was effusive in his praise for Haven Boatworks. “They met the launch date they predicted six months ago,” Greff said. “We actually wondered whether it would be possible to do it all in six months, but Haven Boatworks really stepped up to the plate.” Haven Boatworks, located in the Port of Port Townsend’s Boat Haven, has spent the past 10 winters renovating the Schooner Adventuress, and this past winter saw the completion of what Greff called the ship’s “capstone” deck project. “It’s not just another spring launch for this ship,” Greff said. “Completion of this capstone project, which replaced the entire deck of Adventuress, represents a momentous occasion in maritime heritage.”... With the Schooner Adventuress readying to embark on its ongoing mission as “Puget Sound’s environmental tall ship” for the foreseeable future, Greff estimated the vessel hadn’t been in such good shape since it was first launched in 1913.  Kirk Boxleitner reports. (Port Townsend Leader)

Mama orca and sons spotted in Vancouver harbour, frequently in area hunting for seals 
The pod of orcas spotted swimming under a Vancouver bridge on Tuesday, deep in the inner harbour, are no strangers to the area. The family of transient killer whales, a mother and her three grown sons, came in close to the city looking for a meal of seals — something scientists say is becoming more common as the seal population steadies.... This particular family of whales are well-known to scientists on the West Coast.... The female, known as T-101, has been spotted off B.C.'s coast stretching back to 1973. The offspring she travels with are 35, 26 and 21 years old. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

Opinion | A Case for a Market-Driven Green New Deal
The best thing to come from the Senate’s floor debate on the Green New Deal late last month may have been these eminently sane remarks, calling on lawmakers of both parties to “move together” in order “to lower emissions, to address the reality of climate change, recognizing that we’ve got an economy we need to keep strong, that we have vulnerable people we need to protect, that we have an environment that we all care about — Republicans and Democrats.” Who said it? A Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who leads the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “My hope is we get beyond the high-fired rhetoric to practical, pragmatic, bipartisan solutions,” she said on the chamber floor. The path is there, if our leaders will only choose to take it. In 2011, Reinventing Fire, an energy study by Rocky Mountain Institute, where we work, showed how a business-led transition could triple energy efficiency, quintuple renewables and sustain an American economy 2.6 times larger in 2050 than it was in 2010 with no oil, coal or nuclear energy, and one-third less natural gas. The net cost was $5 trillion less than business-as-usual — or even more valuable if a price was put on carbon emissions. Amory B. Lovins and Rushad R. Nanavatty of Rocky Mountain Institute write. (NY Times)

Puget Sound river ranked one of country’s most endangered rivers
A river conservation group named the Green-Duwamish River one of the country's most endangered rivers of the year, coming in at No. 4 in a ranking released Tuesday. Each year, the group American Rivers ranks "America's Most Endangered Rivers." This year, the Gila River in New Mexico topped the list, followed by the Hudson River in New York and the Upper Mississippi River. The Green-Duwamish was last included on the list in 2016. American Rivers ranked it as the fourth most threatened river in the country this year, "citing the grave threat that outdated flood management poses to chinook salmon and river health." Simone Del Rosario reports. (KCPQ)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  245 AM PDT Thu Apr 18 2019   
 E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 6 ft at 13 seconds. Rain. 
 SW wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 7 ft at 12 seconds building to 9 ft at 13 seconds after  midnight. Rain.

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