Wednesday, August 28, 2019

8/28 Mud snail, Tacoma LNG, transients, SRKW, Pender Harbour, Pt Susan salt marsh, Site C dam, big boat pollution, Trump's logging, WA tsunami, BP out of AK

Asian mud snail [Mary Jo Adams]
Asian mud snail Battlearia attramentaria
Although not native to the Pacific Northwest, this 2 inch (5 cm.) snail is present in large numbers along some Washington shorelines including Skagit County’s Padilla and Samish Bays.  Look for it in high and middle intertidal zones of muddy bays where large populations of up to 1000 individuals /square meter are possible.  The snail is gray in color with brown beading and has 8-9 whorls.  It feeds on diatoms. This species has also been known under the scientific names Batillaria cumingi, and B. zonalis.  Other common names include screw shell, false cerith snail, zoned cerith, and tall-spired shell. (Mary Jo Adams/Sound Water Stewards)

Readers: Salish Sea News and Weather will take a Labor Day break and return on Tuesday. Goodbye, summer; hello, fall.

‘Affront to human rights’ or ‘step in right direction’? LNG fight rages one more time
Compared with October’s LNG hearing, this one was a little more heated, and not just outside the venue. Those opposed, and, to a smaller extent, in favor of Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas facility on the Tacoma Tideflats spent a warm, sunny afternoon inside the Rialto Theater. The two sides were gathered for Tuesday’s hearing held by Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. The agency is considering an approval order for the LNG project’s facility construction permit. Debbie Cockrell reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Thriving transient orca population cause for concern off Vancouver Island: experts
Transient killer whales are thriving off Vancouver Island and human encounters with the majestic mammals are becoming increasingly common. A Campbell River man was kayaking on Aug. 19 near Sayward and Telegraph Cove when he was surprised by a transient whale swimming right beside him... Marine experts and whale researchers are stopping short of warning people that the whales will attack, but they are saying it's better to be safe than sorry...There are 350 whales in the transient population and that number has been growing by an average of 4.1 per cent per year since 2012. Alanna Kelly reports. (CTV)

Lummi Nation mourns lost Southern Resident orcas, renames those remaining
Earlier this summer, the Lummi Nation came to Seattle and launched a campaign to protect and revitalize the Salish Sea. The tribe is based near Bellingham, at the heart of that body of water, which extends from Puget Sound to Desolation Sound in Canada and out past Vancouver Island into the Pacific Ocean. The Salish Sea also is home to the region’s endangered Southern Resident killer whales, whom the Lummi view as family. A formal ceremony to honor the spirits of the three orcas, who scientists recently identified as missing and presumed dead, was the latest step in the Salish Sea campaign. Lummi leaders also held a naming ceremony for the remaining 73. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Pender Harbour residents step up to remove derelict boats because ‘no one else would’
Abandoned boats off B.C.’s coast can be environmental and navigational hazards, and they can also be particularly tricky to remove — just ask the Pender Harbour and Area Residents Association. For years, Pender Harbour residents, and boaters, have watched as a pair of abandoned trawlers in the area fell further and further into disrepair. One, the Lulu Island, is now submerged in nearly 10 metres of water in Gerrans Bay. The other, the Kwatna, is beached nearby on the shoreline of Dusenbury Island...In a bid to prevent further trouble, the association recently decided to step in and clean up the problem. But to do so, it first had to take ownership of the abandoned vessels, and liability for them. The small group of volunteers did so because, as association president Alan Stewart put it: “No one else would take it on.” Matt Robinson reports. (Vancouver Sun)

A salt marsh in recovery is gobbling carbon, gaining ground
From atop the dike at Port Susan, emerald farmland stretches to the left. To the right, a mosaic of greens and browns make up a coastal wetland. At points along the dike, the marsh looks slightly higher in elevation than the agricultural land across the mound. That slight difference is a success for scientists and conservationists working to restore former farmland back to estuarine habitat. Since removing a seafront dike in 2012, a 150-acre project area has gained about 8 inches in elevation and is capturing and storing twice the amount of carbon as surrounding marshes. The potato-shaped swath of land is just north of where the Stillaguamish River meets the sea. It lies in a 4,122-acre nature preserve, which The Nature Conservancy bought from a farmer in 2001. Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Everett Herald)

First Nations renew legal fight against Site C dam after talks end with B.C. government 
The West Moberly First Nations are moving forward with legal action aimed at stopping the Site C hydroelectric dam project after ending talks with the B.C. government. In February, the provincial Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation entered confidential discussions with BC Hydro, West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations. The talks were aimed at avoiding litigation, said Tim Thielmann, legal counsel for the West Moberly First Nations located in the northeastern corner of B.C. Nicole Our reports. (CBC)

Leviathans in the Harbor
...Recent research has also found that cruise travel makes an outsized contribution to climate change—and it begins before the ship leaves port. A single passenger flying from New York to Vancouver or Seattle (the two busiest departure ports for Alaska cruises) produces about a tonne of carbon dioxide. Double that if you’re flying round trip. Once on board the cruise ship, the climate cost soars. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a nonprofit research group with offices around the globe, found even the most efficient cruise ships emit three to four times more carbon dioxide per passenger kilometers than a jet. Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, a German NGO, found that a mid-sized cruise ship burns up to 150 tonnes of fuel per day, which releases as much particulate matter into the atmosphere as one million automobiles. Brian Payton reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Trump pushes to allow new logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest
President Trump has instructed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to exempt Alaska’s 16.7-million-acre Tongass National Forest from logging restrictions imposed nearly 20 years ago, according to three people briefed on the issue, after privately discussing the matter with the state’s governor aboard Air Force One. The move would affect more than half of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest, opening it to potential logging, energy and mining projects. It would undercut a sweeping Clinton administration policy known as the “roadless rule,” which has survived a decades-long legal assault. Trump has taken a personal interest in “forest management,” a term he told a group of lawmakers last year he has “redefined” since taking office. Juliet Eilperin and Josh Dawsey report. (Washington Post)

If you like to watch: Tsunami's devastating impact on Washington after potential 9.0 quake
Someday, a massive 9.0 earthquake will rupture off our coast, and when it does, it will unleash a massive tsunami into Washington -- both along the coastal and inland waters, new simulations show. Seismologists have for years been studying the Cascadia Subduction Zone and believe a quake along the lines of 9.0 magnitude happen every 300-600 years. This week, scientists with the Department of Natural Resources released new computer simulations that show the calculated height, speed and impacts of the ensuing tsunami along the coast, as well as zoomed in simulations for Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands. Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Oil giant BP to pull out of Alaska as sells business for $5bn
BP will no longer have any operations in Alaska after it agreed to sell its entire remaining business there to a private oil and gas firm. Hilcorp will pay $5.6bn (£4.5bn) to buy all of BP's interests in the US state. The firm has faced pressure from environmental groups to stop drilling in the area, but BP said its decision was not connected to this. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PDT Wed Aug 28 2019   
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 9 seconds. 
 E wind to 10 kt becoming S after midnight. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 8 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

8/27 Lady beetle, fire season, happy birthday SPEC, Hokkaido moth, pumice raft

Asian lady beetle [Wikipedia]
Asian lady beetle Harmonia axyridis Pallas
The multicolored Asian lady beetle was introduced from Asia both purposefully for classical biological control of arthropod pests and accidentally into the United States many times during the twentieth century. It finally became established and quickly spread over the entire United States sometime in the late 1980's and early 1990's. (Wikipedia)

Washington is usually ablaze with wildfires this time of year. What happened?
After choking down smoke and watching large swaths of forest burn the past two summers, much of Washington state braced for the 2019 wildfire season with N95 masks in hand and air purifiers waiting to kick in. But now it’s late August, when fire activity usually peaks, and we’re still waiting for the Big Fire.  Outside of a few large fires east of the Cascades, the blazes have been small and not as widespread compared with recent years.  Meanwhile, the Northwest so far has escaped the worst impacts of long-distance smoke from places like Alaska and Siberia. “Early in the season we were predicting pretty heavily above-average potential for large fires and above-average activity for most of the state,” says meteorologist Josh Clark of the Washington state Department of Natural Resources, “and we really haven't seen that manifest this year.” Hannah Weinberger reports. (Crosscut)

Vancouver environmental society hits 50-year mark trying to save planet through local action
For 50 years a Vancouver urban sustainability organization has been trying to save the planet with a tight budget, lots of volunteers, and a willingness to try anything to protect Earth. SPEC, or the Society for Promoting Environmental Conservation, has evolved from a protest outfit on the front lines of several anti-pollution campaigns to a humble, grassroots agency obsessed with teaching kids how to garden and showing people how to create less waste. It's among the oldest environmental organizations in Canada. In the last half century, it has scored several environmental wins, including persuading several municipalities in Metro Vancouver in the early 2000s to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

This pest was an uninvited guest and a first in the U.S.
He’s reportedly the first Hokkaido gypsy moth ever found in the United States, but he’s not welcome. The invasive insect whose natural range includes Japan, Russia and the Kuril Islands turned up in Woodway July 25. He looks a lot like his relatives, the perennial pest European and Asian gypsy moths that can cause massive destruction to plants and trees if not kept in check. It took DNA tests at labs in Tumwater and Massachusetts to confirm that the moth found in Woodway was the Hokkaido variety... The Hokkaido moth has caused extensive damage to Japanese Larch, but feeds on many types of trees and shrubs that can be found in the Pacific Northwest, according to Sven-Erik Spichiger, managing entomologist for the state Department of Agriculture’s plant protection division. Eric Stevick reports. (Everett Herald)

Vast 'pumice raft' found drifting through Pacific Ocean
A vast "raft" of volcanic rocks stretching over 150 sq km (58 sq miles) is drifting through the Pacific Ocean, scientists say. The sea of pumice - the size of 20,000 football fields - was first reported by Australian sailors earlier this month. Experts say the mass likely came from an underwater volcano near Tonga which erupted around 7 August according to satellite images. Sailors have been warned to stay clear of the potential hazard. Pumice is a lightweight, bubble-rich rock that can float in water. It is produced when lava goes through rapid cooling and loss of gases. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  238 AM PDT Tue Aug 27 2019   
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 10 seconds. 
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  3 ft at 10 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, August 26, 2019

8/26 Opossum, Tacoma LNG, Makah whaling, pink closure, AK dead salmon, Democrat no climate debate, coral bleaching, Pt Wells, mining Utah monument, handling manure

Opossum [Kim Chandler]
Virginia Opossum Didelphis virginiana
Opossums have adapted well to living close to people in urban and suburban environments. Except for higher elevations, opossums now occupy most human-occupied habitats in western Washington. Prior to European settlement of North America, the opossum was found only in Central America and the southeastern United States. During the 1900s, its range expanded northward and westward. Virginia opossums, also known as “possums,” first arrived in Washington in the early 1900s as pets and novelties. Some of these animals, or their offspring, later escaped from captivity or were intentionally released. (WDFW)

Day of LNG hearing also to include rally, march
Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas facility on the Tideflats faces a final public permit hearing on Tuesday, and both sides once again are ready to make their case for and against the project. The hearing, like the one held in October, is set to take place in two sessions: from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday at Tacoma’s Rialto Theater, 310 S. Ninth St. The two sessions will address Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s draft approval order for the LNG project’s facility construction permit. Debbie Cockrell reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Makah whaling hearing scheduled
A hearing before a federal administrative law judge that could lead to a resumption of Makah whaling has been postponed to Nov. 14. The hearing was originally scheduled for Aug. 12. Parties to the ongoing hearing process include the tribe, Joyce-based Peninsula Citizens for the Protection of Whales, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA, a Department of Commerce agency, recommended in April that the tribe be allowed to hunt Eastern North Pacific gray whales. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Low return of pink salmon forces fishery closure
The state Department of Fish & Wildlife has closed the marine fishery for pink salmon in Skagit Bay and surrounding waters.  The closure was prompted by low returns of the fish, which are making their way up the Skagit River to spawn. The closure is for Marine Area 8-1, which extends from Deception Pass south to include Skagit Bay and Saratoga Passage between Camano and Whidbey islands. Those waters are a major route for salmon making their way from the Pacific Ocean back to the Skagit River watershed to reproduce. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Heat stress that killed thousands of salmon in Alaska is a sign of things to come, scientist warns
Scientists believe heat stress killed thousands of salmon in an Alaskan river last month.  From July 7 to 11, communities along the Koyukuk River experienced sustained air temperatures of over 30 C, well above the seasonal average highs of less than 20 C.  Shortly after the heat wave, locals began reporting an unusual number of dead chum salmon washing up on the banks of the river.  Rhiannon Johnson reports. (CBC)

Democratic National Committee votes against allowing 2020 candidates to participate in climate change debate
Democratic National Committee members on Saturday voted down a resolution that would have resulted in single-issue debates among candidates -- including on the issue of the climate crisis. The language that was rejected -- inserted at the behest of climate change activists during a contentious Resolutions Committee meeting on Thursday -- said the DNC, "will continue to encourage candidates to participate in multi-candidate issue-specific forums with the candidates appearing on the same stage, engaging one another in discussion." Democratic presidential candidates are barred from appearing together on stage outside of DNC-sanctioned debates. The committee's approved language from Thursday "essentially lifted the ban on candidates being unable to appear together on a stage at a forum or a candidate gathering," Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski, a leader in the effort, told CNN. DNC members defeated the move to lift such a ban Saturday in a 222-137 vote. There were multiple observers from both sides who monitored the vote count. Adam Levy and Leyla Santiago report. (CNN)

Scientists bracing for major coral bleaching event
With warmer than average ocean temperatures, scientists are bracing for a major coral reef bleaching event sometime in the weeks ahead. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicate that ocean temperatures across Hawaii are extremely warm, at about 3 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal. At the same time, ocean temperatures this month have been about 1.5 degrees higher than the same time in 2015. The peak of summer temperatures, however, has yet to arrive in September. “If the ocean continues to warm even further as predicted, we are likely to witness a repeat of unprecedented bleaching events in 2014 and 2015,” said NOAA scientist Jamison Gove. Nina Wu reports. (Star-Advertiser)

On point: Rival high-rise condo critics look to join forces
After years of tussling over a prime piece of waterfront, the cities to either side may be on the verge of forging an alliance. Leaders from the town of Woodway and the city of Shoreline on Friday announced that they’re hammering out an agreement for a united front when it comes to the fate of Point Wells, industrial land on Puget Sound where a real estate company wants to build thousands of luxury condos. BSRE Point Wells’ plans call for buildings of up to 17 stories in an area surrounded by single-family homes. A draft agreement could come out early next month, with open discussions possible at each city’s Sept. 23 council meeting. The pact would put the cities on the same page when it comes to issues that have caused neighbors the greatest anxiety: traffic increases, blocked views and landslide hazards. Allowing public access to the waterfront, which is closed off now, is another area they’ll take up. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

New Grand Staircase plans greenlight mining on lands Trump stripped from Utah monument
Hundreds of thousands of acres inside what used to be Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will be opened to mining and drilling under a plan the Bureau of Land Management released Friday, renewing charges that President Donald Trump’s executive action reducing the 23-year-old preserve was engineered to promote energy extraction in some of America’s most scenic landscapes. The plans also greatly expand access for recreation on lands remaining in the monument, with expanded visitor services and signs, group size limits lifted to as many as 50 people, and allowing competitive sporting events, such as next month’s Grand to Grand Ultra footrace, which currently is routed outside the monument. Friday’s release comes on the heels of the final management plan for Bears Ears National Monument, the other big preserve Trump eviscerated a year into his presidency. Brian Maffly reports. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Trials show hope for handling manure at Washington dairies
Washington's besieged dairies are testing several promising systems for recycling cow manure, turning it into fertilizer and clean water. To do that, engineers are using processes that range from oversize bins of worms to cutting-edge technologies to reduce and reuse the nitrogen and phosphorous found in manure. The stakes are huge. In recent years, the state's $1.1 billion dairy industry has been the target of an onslaught of government regulations and private lawsuits, most of which targeted surface and groundwater pollution linked to manure. In the past year, the five publicly subsidized manure projects have faced financial, technical and regulatory challenges. Some have struggled to meet their goals. Nevertheless, final reports submitted last month to the State Conservation Commission suggest progress — and offer hope that the dairies can find an economically feasible way to handle manure. Don Jenkins reports. (KING)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  251 AM PDT Mon Aug 26 2019   
 Light wind becoming E to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds. 
 Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 4 ft at  11 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Friday, August 23, 2019

8/23 Skokomish R, Longview coal, BC pipe, Keystone, geoduck, spraying, Forest Service rule change, salmon rebound, Dead Boats Society

[PHOTO: Mark Filteau/Flickr]
Skokomish River
The Skokomish River is a river in Mason County, Washington. It is the largest river flowing into Hood Canal. From its source at the confluence of the North and South Forks the main stem Skokomish River is approximately 9 miles long. The name of the area's resident Indian tribe is based on two of their dialect words -- s'kaw, meaning 'fresh water,' and mish, meaning 'people.' (Wikipedia, Washington State Place Names)

Appeals court deals blow to big coal export terminal proposed for Longview, Washington
Would-be builders of a massive coal export terminal, to be located along the Columbia River at Longview, suffered a severe setback Tuesday in court. The Washington State Court of Appeals ruled that the Department of Natural Resources had a valid reason when it refused to lease state-owned aquatic lands to Millennium Bulk Terminals. The DNR had noted the bankruptcy of Arch Coal, one of Millennium's owners, and the developer's initial failure to disclose that it wanted to build the largest coal terminal on the West Coast. The terminal would receive as many as 16 coal trains a day from the Powder River and Unita Basins in Wyoming, for shipment to Asian markets. Joel Connelly reports. (

Trans Mountain pipeline construction set to restart within a month
Construction on the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline project is set to restart within a month. In a statement released Wednesday, the company said it had directed its main contractors to begin the hiring and mobilization process necessary to restart the expansion project. The “Notice to Proceed” directive gives contractors 30 days to get equipment and supplies in place, hire crews and develop detailed construction plans. A total of 4,200 workers are expected to be working on the pipeline by the end of 2019...Construction is to resume immediately at the Burnaby Terminal tank farm and at the Westridge Marine Terminal on Burrard Inlet, both sites of high-profile protests in the past. Work is also expected to begin throughout August and September, with construction set to resume in the area between Edmonton and Edson and around the Greater Edmonton area. Stephanie Ip reports. (Vancouver Sun)   

Keystone XL Pipeline Plan Is Approved by Nebraska Supreme Court
Nebraska’s highest court approved the Keystone XL oil pipeline’s planned path through that state on Friday, resolving a permitting battle that has stretched on for more than a decade as the project became a proxy for a national debate between environmentalists and the energy industry. Keystone XL, which would carry crude oil from Canada to southern Nebraska, has been the subject of political maneuvering and litigation since it was proposed in 2008. The project, which was rejected by the Obama administration, was revived under President Trump. Mitch Smith reports. (NY Times)

The demand for luxury shellfish is polluting the ocean with plastic
The federal government has given the West Coast shellfish industry a green light to expand farming practices of the lucrative geoduck to meet demand from Hong Kong and the rest of China. Leah Bendell reports. (The Narwhal)

State: No expectation of pollution at spraying
A spokesperson for the state Department of Agriculture said the agency expects reports to find no runoff into the watershed or water supply following rain showers in areas where herbicides were sprayed from a helicopter earlier this week.... Environmentalists have adamantly expressed their concerns at several public meetings this month about the chemicals, not only for the potential to harm pollinators and wildlife but for human health if they get into the water supply. Brian McLean reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Environmental Scrutiny Could Be Reduced For Projects On Public Forests
The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to reduce the public’s role in shaping the way it applies federal environmental laws to projects on public lands. The agency says the changes would help land managers “make timelier decisions based on high quality, science-based analysis.” Environmental groups are calling the proposed changes a giveaway to the timber industry that will allow projects on national forests to be approved with far less involvement from the public. Jes Burns reports. (OPB)

King salmon rebounds in California
Trolling off the California coast, Sarah Bates leans over the side of her boat and pulls out a long, silvery fish prized by anglers and seafood lovers: a wild-caught chinook. Reeling in a fish “feels good every time,” but this year has been surprisingly good, said Bates, a commercial troller based in San Francisco. Bates and other California fishermen are reporting one of the best salmon fishing seasons in years, thanks to heavy rain and snow that ended the state’s historic drought. Terence Chea reports. (Associated Press)

Dead Boats Society moving towards 100 wreckages removed from the Salish Sea
The Dead Boat Society was back at it this week hauling derelict and abandoned boats from the Salish Sea. Combining money and resources from a long list of partners, the crew pulled out one boat from Bedwell Harbour at Pender Island, five from Port Browning, two from Montague Harbour at Galiano Island and a dock full of marine debris from Hawkins Island (an uninhabited island between Prevost and Mayne islands that hosted an oyster farm). John Roe helped found the Dead Boat Society three years ago. He credits MP Sheila Malcolmson for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, who tabled the bill with the federal Liberal government. The society has accessed grant money and have removed 60 abandoned boats submerged and beached in the Capital Regional District.  Travis Paterson reports. (Victoria News)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  247 AM PDT Fri Aug 23 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 3 ft at 9 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 8 seconds building to 5 ft at  11 seconds after midnight. A slight chance of showers. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft  at 10 seconds. A chance of rain in the morning then a slight  chance of showers in the afternoon. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds. 
 Light wind becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. 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 (@) 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

Thursday, August 22, 2019

8/22 Crane fly, Jay Inslee, climate change, salmon disaster, estuaries, BC Ferries' cameras, beach clean, Arctic 'riches'

Crane fly
Mosquito Hawk? Skeeter Eater? Giant Mosquito? No, No, and No
That inch-long, gangly-legged insect that sneaks into your house and bounces around the walls and ceiling is a crane fly, and despite rumors to the contrary, it is neither a predator of mosquitoes nor a colossal mosquito. And it’s harmless... The 15,000 or so known true crane flies in the family Tipulidae also share a somewhat similar appearance to mosquitoes. They have a narrow body with two long and slender wings, as well as six stilt-like legs that can be twice as long as the body. Crane flies are diverse in wing pattern, color, and size. Leslie Mertz reports. (Entomolgy Today)

Jay Inslee exits presidential race; plans run for 3rd term as governor
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ended his presidential run Wednesday evening, announcing it had become clear that his climate change-focused campaign would not succeed. The Associated Press, citing two people close to Inslee, reported that he plans to run for a third term as governor. Since launching his campaign in March, Inslee has laid out a series of ambitious plans to combat climate change, calling it the preeminent issue the next president must tackle. Those plans drew praise from activists, environmentalists and even his fellow candidates, but Inslee was unable to catch on with voters in early polls. David Gutman, Joseph O’Sullivan, and Asia Fields report. (Seattle Times)

Activists Push Democrats On Climate Change, A New Priority For Party's Base
Democratic National Committee officials will vote today on whether to hold a presidential primary debate focused only on climate change. Amid a rise in extreme weather events and increasingly dire scientific reports, the issue has already received more attention than in all debates combined in the last presidential election. But activists with a group called the Sunrise Movement think it deserves more and have campaigned for a climate debate. Jeff Brady reports. (NPR)

'They're flat broke': Salmon fishermen demand disaster relief for failed season
With some of this year's salmon runs projected to be the lowest on record, West Coast salmon fishermen are demanding disaster relief from the federal and provincial governments. The Pacific Salmon Commission is forecasting a total return of only 447,000 sockeye salmon to the Fraser, one of the world's richest salmon rivers, this year. "This is the lowest run size ever estimated since estimates began in 1893, and lower than the previous record for lowest run size of 858,000 observed in 2016," its report read. Just nine years ago, in 2010, the forecasted return of sockeye salmon to the Fraser River was 34.5 million. The United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union says those with salmon-only licenses have been devastated. Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

Many Of The American West's Estuaries Have Vanished: Here's Why That Matters
Most of the West Coast’s estuary habitat has vanished, according to a new study, the most thorough of its kind. The mapping project found that, today, less than 15% of historic estuaries remain along the Washington, Oregon and California coastlines. Estuaries form where fresh water from rivers and streams meets the salt water of the ocean. They take the form of salt marshes, tidal forests, beaches and steep river mouths. They are among the most productive and diverse ecosystems on Earth. Estuaries are also among the most endangered habitats on the planet. The study found that, at one point, salt marshes covered roughly 2,800 square miles of the West Coast. That’s an area larger than the state of Delaware. But today, that number has been reduced by more than 85%. Other research indicates rising seas caused by climate change could soon drown much of the little estuary habitat that remains. Erin Ross reports. (NPR)

BC Ferries installs underwater thermal imaging cameras to monitor threatened whales
B.C. scientists are trying to get a better look at one of the South Coast's most threatened marine mammals using thermal imaging cameras installed off Galiano Island, B.C.  The cameras were installed underwater at the Sturdies Bay terminal in June and are part of a year-long pilot project aimed at improving detection of southern resident killer whales in the heavily trafficked Salish Sea. In a written statement, BC Ferries said federal scientists are trying to determine if the use of thermal imagery together with visual and acoustic surveillance is a reliable way to detect whales in the Salish Sea which is used by commercial ships and supports several passenger ferry routes. The cameras are able to "see" whales by detecting temperature differences between marine mammals, ships and the surrounding water, even at night. (CBC)

Beach clean-up helps turn the tide on pollution in east Drayton Harbor
At low tide, the beach at east Drayton Harbor reveals what cannot normally be seen: piles of marine debris, from house shingles to pieces of linoleum and even golf balls. Nets tangle with rocks, and tires sink into the mucky shore. As a North Sound Steward – a citizen scientist – Margarette Grant is responsible for surveying the beach every month, and has done so since last September. She reports her findings of debris to the University of Washington’s Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST)... Surrounded by friends and neighbors from her block, who she called to action with an explanatory letter posted on their doors, Grant rapidly gathers shingles and linoleum pieces. She smiles as she unearths one of the larger pieces of litter she’s noticed before while walking on the beach, a length of aqua-colored PVC pipe... Equipped with gloves, other volunteers stoop to pick up smaller pieces of plastic litter and building materials that can be loaded into garbage bags. A neighbor, Mary Amsberry, brought her grandchildren along to the clean-up, who delighted in collecting golf balls found on the shore. Kira Erickson reports. (Northern Light)

The White House Saw Riches in the Arctic Refuge, but Reality May Fall Short
When the Trump administration first pushed to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration, it predicted that drilling would generate a windfall for the federal Treasury: $1.8 billion, by a White House estimate. But two years later, with the expected sale of the first oil and gas leases just months away, a New York Times analysis of prior lease sales suggests that the new activity may yield as little as $45 million over the next decade. Even the latest federal government estimate is half the figure the White House predicted. The lofty original projection was just one element of a campaign within the administration to present in the best possible light the idea of opening the refuge’s coastal plain after decades of being stymied by Democrats and environmentalists, according to internal government communications and other documents reviewed by The Times. Henry Fountain and Steve Eder report. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  254 AM PDT Thu Aug 22 2019   TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 6 ft at 9 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 9 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

8/21 Sorrel, subduction tremors, recycling woes, Salish Sea love, Snohomish sunken boats

Redwood sorrel [Gerry Carr]
Redwood sorrel Oxalis oregano
Redwood sorrel grows in moist, forested sites of low to moderate elevations, communion Washington and Oregon. The Cowlitz, Quileute and Quinault of western Washington ate the leaves. The plants contain oxalic acid, which gives them a sour, tangy taste and is potentially harmful. (Plants of the Northwest Pacific Coast)

Puget Sound Seismic Tremor Event Has Begun, Seismologists Say
You likely won't feel anything, but a major seismic event has begun underneath Puget Sound that will bring dozens of tiny tremors to the region — and perhaps raise the chance of a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake. On Tuesday, seismologists with the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network said that the 2019 slow-slip event — also called an episodic tremor and slip, or ETS — has begun. ETS happens about every 14 months when small tremors migrate through the region. According to the PNSN, the 2019 ETS began around Aug. 11 near San Juan Island, and the tremors were heading west-south-west. Neal McNamara reports. (Patch) See also: Seismic sensors to be increased on Peninsula, elsewhere  (Peninsula Daily News)

U.S. Recycling Industry Is Struggling To Figure Out A Future Without China
The U.S. used to send a lot of its plastic waste to China to get recycled. But last year, China put the kibosh on imports of the world’s waste. The policy, called “National Sword,” freaked out people in the U.S. — a huge market for plastic waste had just dried up. Where was it all going to go now? In March, executives from big companies that make or package everything from water to toothpaste in plastic met in Washington, D.C. Recyclers and the people who collect and sort trash were there, too. It was the whole chain that makes up the plastic pipeline. It was a time of reckoning. Christopher Joyce reports. (NPR) See also: More U.S. Towns Are Feeling The Pinch As Recycling Becomes Costlier (NPR)

40 BC authors collaborate on new book celebrating the islands of the Salish Sea
Marion Cumming’s hilltop property near McNeil Bay, with lush native plants and colourful flowers, was the perfect setting for a recent garden party to launch a book that celebrates the uniqueness of island life in the Salish Sea... The book, Love of the Salish Sea Islands is a collection of new essays, memoirs and poems by 40 island writers including Linda Rogers, Briony Penn, Jack Hodgins, William Deverell, Nancy Turner, Stephen Hume and many others. As an anthology, it is designed as a ‘treasury of writing celebrating the beauty, community, and importance of our archipelago.” It lives up to that billing, and more. Ivan Watson reports. (Goldstream Gazette)

Another sunken boat in Snohomish River — this one’s leaking oil
While the state closes in on ridding the Snohomish River of one eyesore, another has surfaced. As state preparations continued this week for removing the Midas, a long abandoned WW II-era commercial fishing boat, other agencies now are dealing with a newly sunken 50-foot sailboat north of the Langus Park boat launch. A sheen in the water caused the state Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection Agency to send contractors out Tuesday to contain the oil spill. Joseph Thompson reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  301 AM PDT Wed Aug 21 2019   
 SE wind 10 to 20 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. SW swell 6 ft at 8 seconds  building to W 8 ft at 12 seconds in the afternoon. Rain. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming S after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance  of showers in the evening.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

8/20 Ribbon worm, whale-watch rules, sockeye DNA, hot water, Canada green funding, Trump's ESA, mosquitoes, reef rubble, Pope spraying

Purple ribbon worm [Mary Jo Adams]
Purple ribbon worm Paranemertes peregrina
Paranemertes is a ribbon worm that grows to about 5 inches long. It is dark purplish brown with a cream colored underside. Watch for this predator in rocky areas and also areas of muddy sand. Don't let the fragile appearance of this species fool you. Paranemertes is a voracious predator known to attack, kill, and consume polychaete worms larger than itself. Mary Jo Adams writes. (Sound Water Stewards)

Conservation groups sue to restrict whale-watching near southern resident orcas
Conservation groups sued the Trump administration Monday for ignoring a legal petition to create a no-go zone for boats in the prime fishing areas of endangered southern resident orcas. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington by the Center for Biological Diversity and Orca Relief Citizens Alliance (ORCA). The suit comes after three more orcas were presumed dead this summer, dropping their population to 73. The proposal calls for a rule to exclude vessels from the orcas’ prime feeding areas — a designated “whale protection zone” — from April-September each year to protect the orcas from noise and disturbance. A “no wake” speed limit would apply to any vessels exempted from the exclusion, such as government vessels. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Judge Strikes Down San Juan Islands Ballot Measure On Orca Watching Distance Rules
Whale watch tour companies have knocked a proposed orca protection initiative off the November ballot in San Juan County, Washington. The ballot measure would have asked voters to greatly increase the stand-off distance between boats and endangered orcas... The ballot measure sought to create a 650-yard buffer zone around endangered resident orcas when they are present in San Juan County waters in order to reduce vessel disturbance to the animals. That distance rule would have roughly doubled the recently expanded no-go zone set by the Washington Legislature. Earlier this year, state lawmakers voted to increase the viewing distance from 200 yards to 300 yards. In addition, boats are now forbidden from following closer than 400 yards behind a pod of endangered orcas. On Thursday, a judge in neighboring Skagit County granted a request from four whale watching companies to strike down the proposed initiative. The case was heard in Skagit County because San Juan County was named as a defendant. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Genetic study of sockeye salmon in B.C. river suggests 75% decline since 1913
A new study that suggests sockeye returns have dropped by three-quarters in the Skeena River over the last century should serve as a "wake-up call" for B.C., the lead researcher says. The paper, published in the journal Conservation Letters, used genetic tools to trace the historical trends in sockeye populations in the country's second largest watershed for salmon. It pushes estimates of sockeye abundance all the way back to 1913 — previously used data only began in the 1960s — suggesting a much more dramatic decline. The research indicates annual sockeye returns to the Skeena have dropped from about 1.8 million to 469,000 in the last 100 years, an overall decline of about 74 per cent. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

'Hot Water Reports' use government's own data to highlight unsafe conditions for fish
When salmon and steelhead don't get the cold water they need, it costs them more energy to survive.  Their reproductive success can be diminished and they become more vulnerable to disease. “And in the worst case, when water temperatures get too high, it can lead to death,” says Joseph Bogaard, executive director of the Seattle-based nonprofit Save Our wild Salmon Coalition. That’s what happened in the hot summer of 2015, when temperatures all over the Northwest spiked and about 250,000 adult sockeye died in the Columbia River Basin. Many scientists refer to that year as a dress rehearsal for climate change. Bogaard says that's why they started highlighting the issue with their weekly "Hot Water Reports," which track the temperatures in all eight reservoirs of the Lower Snake and Columbia Rivers, using the federal government's own data on the dams in that system. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX) See also: How Much Hotter Are The Oceans? The Answer Begins With A Bucket  Rebecca Hersher reports. (NPR)

Environment minister met by protesters as she announces conservation funding
Canada's minister of environment and climate change was in Oak Bay on Monday to announce federal funding for 49 conservation projects across the country, including three on Vancouver Island. The funding is part of a $4.3-million investment by the Liberal government over the next three years to support community work to protect endangered and at risk species... McKenna’s announcement was punctuated with shouts from protesters representing Extinction Rebellion, an international environmental activist group started in the United Kingdom that has held protests around the world to call attention to the climate crisis. Roxanne Egan-Elliott reports. (Times Colonist)

'The administration is doing real damage': Trump proposal could threaten Washington species
Scientists, conservationists and state regulators warn that changes to the Endangered Species Act could make species and habitat recovery more difficult. Hannah Weinberger reports. (Crosscut)

'It's like an apocalypse': Mosquitoes ruining quality of life for some Vancouver Islanders
Adria Cowan says she and her husband moved into their dream house near Miracle Beach on Vancouver Island a year ago.  But the dream has since become a nightmare. Cowan says the area's summer mosquito problem has reached the point where she and her two children can hardly step outside... The first reports of an over-abundance of mosquitoes in the Comox Valley occurred in 2015. Two years later, a report conducted by the company Current Environmental found the Black Creek salt marsh channel near Miracle Beach was prime habitat for breeding mosquitoes. The company recommended that a pest management plan be created if complaints continued. Now, residents say the swarm has moved to inland grassy areas. Adam van der Zwan reports. (CBC)

NOAA: 'The Reefs Weren't Damaged, They Were Just Gone'
In October, Hurricane Walaka literally wiped East Island off the map, and with it the primary nesting grounds of thousands of threatened green sea turtles in French Frigate Shoals. But until now it wasn’t clear what happened to the surrounding reefs and sea life in this remote stretch of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, about 550 miles from Honolulu. Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and their partner scientists returned this week from a 22-day expedition in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Divers discovered devastating damage to the coral at French Frigate Shoals, an atoll featuring a crescent-shaped reef. Photos show rubble not recognizable as the former coral reef, one of the most significant reef systems in the nearly 600,000-square-mile monument, NOAA officials revealed Thursday. Nathan Eagle reports. (Civil Beat)

Residents tell Jefferson commissioners to stop Pope’s herbicide spraying
About a dozen Jefferson County residents spoke out at the Jefferson commissioners meeting Monday against the aerial spraying of herbicides containing glyphosate by Pope Resources. Those who spoke at public comment were a mix of members of the Jefferson County Environmental Coalition, the Kitsap County Environmental Coalition and concerned residents, but all of those who spoke on the topic were opposed to Pope Resources conducting aerial spraying within Jefferson County... Members of the community have been speaking out against Pope’s chemical spraying at the weekly county commissioners meetings since the first meeting this month on Aug. 5. Zach Jablonski reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Protesters push back on aerial spraying in Jefferson County About two dozen people gathered along state Highway 20 on Monday, protesting the aerial spraying of glyphosate, a chemical used in herbicide. Several of the activists dressed in costumes including a hazmat suit and raised signs to passing cars just south of Anderson Lake Road as they anticipated a helicopter Pope Resources confirmed was planned for the day to be used in spraying. Brian McLean reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PDT Tue Aug 20 2019   
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less . W swell 3 ft at 13 seconds. 
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight. W swell 3 ft at 14 seconds. A slight chance of rain in  the evening then rain after midnight.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Monday, August 19, 2019

8/19 Gadwall, Fraser fishing, sea lion hunt, tsunami, LIsa Lefeber, tug oil spill, river otters, park woes, Bay Day, fish tube

Gadwall [WikiMedia]
Gadwall Anas strepera
Ponds and marshes are the preferred habitat of the Gadwall, which is often found in deeper water than many other dabblers. In western Washington, it is associated with developed and cleared areas and, on Puget Sound, shows a preference for urbanized habitats over less developed areas. Gadwalls are often found at sewage ponds. (Seattle Audubon)

'What fishing season?': Local First Nations worry about state of fishing in Fraser River
With mounting pressure on local salmon stocks, fishery closures and restrictions, and a landslide blocking migration paths, 2019 hasn't been ripe for fishing opportunities — in fact, some local First Nations are calling it the worst fishing season in history. Les Antone, councillor and fisheries manager at Kwantlen First Nation, described the fishing season so far this year as a "disaster." "What fishing season?" he said ruefully. "We finally got out last week, we had a six-hour opening for our Lower Fraser First Nation." The Kwantlen First Nation community fishes by McMillan Island, in the South Fraser near Fort Langley. Most years, they'd be in the water by April or May, but this year they waited until mid-August. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

First Nations group keeps pressure on DFO over seal and sea lion hunt
First Nations members advocating a seal and sea lion hunt to protect salmon are renewing pressure on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to allow commercial sales of products from the animals in light of low returns this summer... The First Nations are acting on the premise there is an overpopulation of harbour seals, California and stellar sea lions, that are decimating coastal salmon stocks, but could be controlled through hunting... Many First Nations have rights to hunt seals and sea lions for food, ceremonial and social purposes...but they need DFO’s co-operation for sales and export of products from the animals. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

If you like to watch: Simulation shows what would happen when a tsunami hits Washington state
For the first time, we are seeing in detail how large tsunami waves would roll out along the coast and through the inland waters of Washington state. The simulations from the Washington Geological Survey are based on scientific modeling programs. They show how a large tsunami would play out in Puget Sound and how much time we have before a tsunami reaches us. Glen Farley reports. (KING)

Century-old Port of Everett names its first female CEO
The 101-year-old Port of Everett will welcome its first female CEO this fall. A unanimous vote of the port’s three-member commission approved Lisa Lefeber, the port’s current deputy executive director, for the top leadership post. Lefeber replaces current CEO Les Reardanz, who is leaving to focus on his aging parents and expanded military duties. She will take the helm on Oct. 16. Janice Podsada reports. (Everett Herald)

B.C. judge rules multi-million dollar Inside Passage fuel spill fine go to Heiltsuk Nation
A B.C. judge has ruled that close to $3 million in fines imposed on the operator of a tug that hit a reef and sank in the Inside Passage in 2016 be handed to the Heiltsuk Nation. In a reasons for judgment released last week by provincial court judge Brent Hoy, he said the combined fines of $2.7 million issued under the Fisheries Act, $200,000 under the Migratory Birds Convention Act and $5,000 under the Pilotage Act be put into an environmental damage fund administered to benefit the Heiltsuk Nation. The Nathan E. Stewart, an American articulated tug-barge travelling the Inside Passage from Alaska to Vancouver, ran aground and sank on a reef next to Athlone Island in the Seaforth Channel close to Bella Bella in the early hours of Oct. 13, 2016. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

What can otters tell us about watershed pollution?
... [Heide] Island, a comparative animal behaviorist from Pacific University in Oregon, has been studying North American river otters on Whidbey Island for the past year. Through studying the otters, she can learn about pollution in the surrounding watershed. Otters are an “ecological canary in the coal mine,” Island said. The health of otters is indicative of the health of the watershed, and they’re the first to die if their habitat is contaminated.... Starting last September, Island’s days began around 4 a.m. to catch otters out and about. They’re most active at dawn and dusk. She followed some 30 otters as they traversed Whidbey Island. She got to know one particular group, called a romp, best. Julia Grace-Sanders reports. (Everett Herald)

Unhappy trails, packed parks, crowded campgrounds: Parks are being overrun
Want a parking spot and a picnic table at a Lower Mainland park on a sunny summer weekend? Better have a game plan. Take it from the locals enjoying Cultus Lake at 8 a.m. on a recent long weekend. There’s no sleeping in if you want calm water and a quiet beach. “You learn tricks to avoid the rush,” said Danielle Henderson, coffee cup in hand. “On a sunny afternoon, don’t even bother.” Glenda Luymes reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Fidalgo Bay Day
Skagit County Marine Resources Committee celebrates the 16th annual Fidalgo Bay Day on Saturday August 24, 11AM- 3PM, at the Samish Nation's Fidalgo Bay Resort, 4701 Fidalgo Bay Road in Anacortes. Along with many educational exhibits and activities, enjoy a salmon BBQ lunch and and shellfish samples. For more information,

The Nihilistic Euphoria of the Fish Tube
In a video  that went viral over the weekend, a man in a bright-yellow rubber suit, standing chest-deep in the Columbia River, in Washington State, grabs a hefty salmon from the water and loads the fish into a chute. The fish suddenly shoots upward, through a rubbery, translucent sleeve—the “fish tube,” as the Internet decided to call it, which is a contraption that evokes a rollercoaster and a luge, if those things were constructed out of a slippery, rubbery material, kind of like the silicon used to make nonstick cookware. Rachel Riederer reports. (The New Yorker) See also: More than a viral sensation, the Salmon Cannon could bring the species back to the Upper Columbia after 90 years  Eli Francovich reports. (Spokesman-Review)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PDT Mon Aug 19 2019   
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 9 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Friday, August 16, 2019

8/16 Gambier Is, BC grey water, warming Lk Washiington, Frasier slide, Puyallup salmon, Haida Gwaii cedars, Trump ESA, cyanide bombs

Gambier Island [Future of Howe Sound]
Gambier Island
Gambier Island is an island located in Howe Sound near Vancouver, British Columbia. Squamish people called the island Cha7élkwnech, in reference to its deep protected bays. The island was named by Captain Richards in 1860 for James Gambier, Admiral of the Fleet who had a distinguished career in the British navy, was a Governor of Newfoundland and served as a negotiator of the Treaty of Ghent ending The War of 1812 between Britain and the United States. There are around 125 long-term residents on Gambier, but the population swells to more than 600 in the summertime due to the island's summer holiday homes. (Wikipedia)

Cruise Ships Dump 90% Of Grey Water In BC
1.54 billion liters of grey water were generated by ships off the British Columbia coast in 2017 - the equivalent of more than 600 Olympic-size swimming pools, said a study. World Wildlife Fund Canada says cruise ships traveling between Washington state and Alaska are responsible for dumping "the vast majority" of the potentially toxic grey water that ends up off the B.C. coast each year. Cruise ships accounted for 1.37 billion (almost 90%) of the 1.54 billion liters of grey water generated off the B.C. coast in 2017, the study revealed. Shailaja A. Lakshmi reports. (Marine Link)

Lake Washington is heating up because of climate change
Average annual temperatures in Lake Washington, which sits between Seattle and the Eastside, continue to rise. Scientists say Lake Washington is already starting to show effects from climate change. Last year the average annual temperature was just over 51 degrees Fahrenheit, up from 47.9 degrees in 1963, according to data collected by University of Washington scientists. Anna Boiko-Weyrauch reports. (KUOW)

No end date in sight for crews working at Big Bar landslide in B.C. 
Officials working at a landslide northwest of Kamloops say they don't know how long efforts to rescue spawning salmon will take on the Fraser River... The slide in late June at Big Bar created a five-metre waterfall and is blocking the majority of hundreds of thousands of chinook salmon from migrating upstream to spawn. Corino Salomi, the environmental unit lead for the federal government, says crews are moving rocks and boulders to create passageways for the fish. He says they are using portable hydraulic rams and airbags, chippers, drills and small, low velocity explosives to further break the rocks and create the passageways. Salomi says the team is also considering building a road around the slide so fish can be transported in trucks. So far, the fish have primarily been transported by helicopters with more than 14,000 fish moved. (Canadian Press)

Salmon at ‘scary’ low levels in area rivers as fishing season opens on the Puyallup
... Tara Livingood, the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s area biologist for Pierce County, is less positive about the salmon forecast. Around 1,800 wild chinook are expected to come back to the Puyallup this year, along with 13,000 hatchery chinook. The forecast for pink salmon, she said, is especially low this year. “We’ve projected around 48,000,” she said, but added that the number could go up to about 100,000. She said it’s concerning to see numbers that low, especially when several years ago, around 380,000 pink salmon were predicted to return to the Puyallup River. Kate IIda reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

The battle for Haida Gwaii’s cedars
On islands renowned for their towering trees, the cedars that define Haida culture are being cut down, triggering renewed opposition to logging on the archipelago — where some of the most important battles for Indigenous rights and forest protection were first fought. Ben Parfitt reports. (The Narwhal)

How rollbacks to the U.S. Endangered Species Act could impact conservation in Canada
... On Monday, the Trump administration made some of the most significant changes to the act in decades, ending automatic protections for threatened species and removing directives that basically put wildlife conservation ahead of economic development. "The timing of this decision is completely off," said James Snider, vice-president of science, research and innovation at WWF Canada. "It's a move in the wrong direction, in stark contrast in terms of what wildlife and, arguably, nature and people need at this time." And, as with many actions taken south of the border, Canadians who work in conservation say the changes will have an impact here. Stephanie Hogan reports. (CBC)

E.P.A. Backtracks on Use of ‘Cyanide Bombs’ to Kill Wild Animals
The federal Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday withdrew its support for the continued use of so-called cyanide bombs to protect livestock from predators, reversing course amid strong opposition to the practice. The E.P.A. administrator, Andrew R. Wheeler, said he was withdrawing an interim reauthorization for the use of M-44 devices, which are used to kill coyotes, foxes and other animals that prey on livestock. The agency, he added, would re-evaluate the highly criticized practice.  Neil Vigdor reports. (NY Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PDT Fri Aug 16 2019   
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 16 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 15 seconds. 
 S wind to 10 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 12 seconds. 
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 15 seconds. 
 SW wind to 10 kt becoming W in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 10 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Thursday, August 15, 2019

8/15 Thistle, orca babies, humpbacks, PSP, sockeye disaster, Rayonier cleanup; Salish Sea resilience

Canadian thistle [Greg Jordan]
Canadian thistle Cirsium arvense
The thistle (probably not this species) is the national flower of Scotland, adopted as far back as the 8th century AD. Legend has it that an invading Danish army was creeping, barefoot, towards a Scottish encampment when a soldier stepped on a thistle. He yelled so loud that the Scots awoke and defeated the Danes. The thistle was thereafter considered to be the guardian of Scotland and acquired the motto nemo me impune lacessit ('no one shall provoke me with impunity,' or in Scottish 'wha duar meddle wi me') as the emblem of that dour land. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Both orca babies alive, all 3 southern resident pods seen in Canadian waters
Researchers documented this week that both babies in the southern resident killer whale pods are still alive. That was welcome news for the population of endangered orcas that dropped to just 73 this month, with three adults missing and presumed dead: J17, K25 and L84. The southern resident population has been in steady decline and is the lowest since the end of the live capture era in Washington waters in 1976. On Sunday, researchers with the Center for Whale Research, which tracks the southern resident population, photographed both babies, alive and seemingly well. Orca calves have a 50 percent chance of surviving their first year of life in the best of circumstances. So the persistence of the babies — J31’s new calf, J56, and L124, the calf born to L77 in January — is encouraging. Researchers have confirmed J56 is female. The gender of L124 is not yet known. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

12-year old Washington girl fights to save endangered orcas
Alison Morrow at KING reports: "While covering the Southern Resident orcas, I've met a lot of passionate people. Among all the adults, I regularly run into a 12-year-old girl who refuses to give up. London Fletcher has dedicated her young life to saving the whales. 'We can't lose such an important part of Washington, of our life, we just can't let them go without a fight,' Fletcher said."

'Humpback comeback' delights whale watchers as researchers study surge and warn of risks
Humpback whales were once so numerous in the coastal and inland waters of the Pacific Northwest, there were whaling stations near Nanaimo, British Columbia, and Grays Harbor, Washington. These closed by 1925, after the regional population of humpback whales had been largely wiped out. A century later, humpbacks are resurfacing in big numbers in the Salish Sea, the Columbia River mouth and the Northwest coast. Along with excitement over the humpbacks' return comes concern about ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. The resurgence even has a catchy moniker: the "humpback comeback." When I booked a whale watching tour from Port Angeles earlier this month, Island Adventures lead naturalist Erin Gless said I'd have a 92 percent chance of seeing these large whales. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Meets Its Match
As climate change brings more red tides, a protein from the American bullfrog might provide protection from paralytic shellfish poisoning. Casey Rentz reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Disastrous year for sockeye predicted
Fishermen of all stripes – commercial, First Nations and recreational – should brace themselves for what could be an epic bad year for sockeye. The combination of closures on chinook, a major landslide on the Fraser River that is blocking the passage of returning chinook and sockeye and drastically lower than expected returns of sockeye are building up to what could be year of idle fishing boats. This year’s sockeye return is a sub-dominant year, so it was expected to be lower than last year’s dominant year returns. But in-season forecasts, based on test fisheries, are now suggesting that Fraser River sockeye returns will be so poor this year that a full closure can be expected. That includes First Nations food, social and ceremonial (FSC) fishing. Nelson Bennett reports. (Business In Vancouver)

Heavy equipment crews to dig test pits for soil samples
Crews will begin field surveys this month at the long-dormant Rayonier mill site for the eventual removal of the dock and jetty there and a cleanup of contaminated sediment in Port Angeles Harbor, state officials said. Rebecca Lawson, a toxics cleanup manager for the state Department of Ecology, said crews with heavy equipment will dig test pits to evaluate the subsurface conditions along the shoreline at the mill site east of downtown Port Angeles... Cleanup of the former Rayonier Inc. pulp mill site began in 2000. Rayonier operated a plant at the foot of Ennis Street from 1930 to 1997.  Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Study tests resilience of the Salish Sea to climate change impacts
What will the ecology of the Salish Sea look like in the year 2095? It's an important question for millions of people who live along and near the shores of this intricate, interconnected network of coastal waterways, inlets, bays, and estuaries that encompasses Puget Sound in Washington state and the deep waters of southwest British Columbia. A research team from PNNL found that the inner Salish Sea is resilient, and that future response to climate change—while significant—will be less severe than the open ocean. Mike Wasem writes. (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  256 AM PDT Thu Aug 15 2019   
 Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 16 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 16 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

8/14 Tick, extreme climate, Trump's clean power, RCMP spying, Skagit mining, ocean garbage, Kitsap plastic ban

Western black-legged tick [NW News Network]
Tick Ixodes pacificus
Ticks are small blood-feeding parasites that can transmit diseases to people. Some types of ticks perch on the edge of low-lying vegetation and grab onto animals, and people, as they brush past. Other ticks are associated with rodents and their nests and may only come out at night to feed. Once aboard, ticks crawl until they find a good spot to feed, then burrow their mouthparts into the skin for a blood meal. Their bodies slowly enlarge to accommodate the amount of blood ingested. Ticks feed anywhere from several minutes to several days depending on their species, life stage, and type of host. (WA Dept of Health)

2°C: Beyond the limit Extreme climate change has reached the United States: Here are America’s fastest-warming places
.... Over the past two decades, the 2 degrees Celsius number has emerged as a critical threshold for global warming. In the 2015 Paris accord, international leaders agreed that the world should act urgently to keep the Earth’s average temperature increases “well below” 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 to avoid a host of catastrophic changes. The potential consequences are daunting. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that if Earth heats up by an average of 2 degrees Celsius, virtually all the world’s coral reefs will die; retreating ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could unleash massive sea level rise; and summertime Arctic sea ice, a shield against further warming, would begin to disappear. But global warming does not heat the world evenly.  Steven Mufson , Chris Mooney , Juliet Eilperin and John Muyskens report. (Washington Post)

States Sue Trump Administration Over Rollback of Obama-Era Climate Rule
A coalition of 29 states and cities on Tuesday sued to block the Trump administration from easing restrictions on coal-burning power plants. The lawsuit, led by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, argued the Environmental Protection Agency had no basis for weakening an Obama-era regulation that set the first-ever national limits on carbon dioxide pollution from power plants. That rule, the Clean Power Plan, required states to implement plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2022, and encouraged that to happen by closing heavily-polluting plants and replacing those energy sources with natural gas or renewable energy. Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is a major contributor to global warming because it traps the sun’s heat. Lisa Friedman reports. (NY Times)

RCMP 'sitting on' watchdog report into alleged spying on anti-oil protesters: B.C. civil liberties group
The RCMP has been sitting for two years on a watchdog report into alleged Mountie surveillance of anti-oil protesters, a civil liberties group charges. In a letter this month to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association laments the "inordinate delay" that has effectively obstructed the report's release. The association lodged a complaint in February 2014 with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP. It alleged the national police force improperly collected and shared information about people and groups who peacefully opposed the planned Northern Gateway pipeline project and attended National Energy Board meetings. Jim Bronskill reports. (Canadian Press)

Groups oppose proposed mining
Twenty-nine conservation, recreation, wildlife organizations and businesses voiced their opposition Tuesday to proposed exploratory mining for gold and copper in the headwaters of the Skagit River in British Columbia. Together, they signed a letter sent to the chief inspector of mines for British Columbia’s Ministry of Energy Mines & Petroleum Resources... The letter by the Canadian and Alaska groups comes several months after others expressed opposition. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Ocean-surface garbage bins come to B.C.'s West Coast
It's a whole new kind of garbage bin. One that Brook Castelsky, chief operating officer of the Greater Victoria's Oak Bay Marine Group, says will make a significant step toward cleaning the area's ocean marinas of surface pollution. Last week, the company installed British Columbia's first ocean-floating trash bin at the North Saanich Marina on Vancouver Island. Called a Seabin by its manufacturers, it floats on the water's surface and gently pumps water into a catchment bin, filtering out pollutants like petroleum-based oils, plastics, and Styrofoam before pumping the water back into the ocean. Adam van der Zwan reports. (CBC)

Kitsap County next to ban single-use plastic shopping bags
Kitsap County is joining in on a world-wide effort to curb the consumption of single-use plastics by cutting its ties with plastic shopping bags. Kitsap County commissioners on Monday unanimously passed an ordinance to limit the distribution of thin, film-like plastic bags. The county will join the city of Bremerton in outlawing plastic bags beginning Jan. 1, 2020. Plastic bags have been the target of an environmental movement to reduce the pollution that single-use plastics have caused around the globe. Bans on single-use plastic bags are already in place in several jurisdictions, from countries like Madagascar and France, to the states of Hawaii and California, to cities like Seattle and Bainbridge Island. Jessie Darland reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  247 AM PDT Wed Aug 14 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon.  SW swell 3 ft at 15 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 16 seconds.

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

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow on Twitter. 

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told