Monday, September 30, 2019

9/30 Elwha, BC climate action, Desimone Oxbow, Chinook gene, orca salmon future, Columbia closure, saving GBH habitat, mudsnails, Everett plastic ban, Swift Cr, grizzly plan

Elwha nearshore 9/27/19 [CWI]
Elwah nearshore 9/27/19
Anne Schafer of Coastal Watershed Institute writes: "Elwha nearshore ecosystem restoration is largely based on the re-connection of complex hydrodynamic and sediment processes. Here are few brief glimpses of what we mean. How many interactions do you see? Thank you to CWI for continuing to provide these photos of this important place and time. Celebrate the  (sometimes surprising) challenges of fall."

'We don't want to be here, we have to be here': Students strike for climate action in Vancouver
Protesters too young to vote made their voices heard by skipping school and gathering outside Vancouver City Hall on Friday to demand adults get serious about protecting their futures. The strike for climate justice was one of many events happening in cities across the world, timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Summit underway this week in New York. By 2 p.m. Vancouver's Cambie Street Bridge was completely shut down by police as protesters converged on Vancouver city hall. Police estimated the crowd to be about 100,000 people and described it as peaceful. (CBC) See also: Greta Thunberg after meeting Justin Trudeau: ‘He’s, of course, obviously not doing enough’  Mike Blanchfield reports. (Canadian Press)

Developer plans e-commerce warehouse on Duwamish River property coveted by salmon advocates
f a single parcel of land could tell a story of the Puget Sound region, and raise some of the biggest questions about its future, the Desimone Oxbow is it. The developer sees a trash-strewn, skid-marked parking lot along the heavily industrialized Duwamish River waiting to be cleaned up and put to more profitable use. Dermody Properties inked a long-term lease last year and recently filed plans to build a modern warehouse here, perhaps for Amazon or one of its competitors seeking scarce space for their goods close to customers in a growing city. Conservationists picture the land inside the oxbow as it may once have been — when the riversides were home to the Duwamish people for whom it is named — woven with side channels where the salt and fresh waters mingle. They have long coveted the property for its potential as a habitat for young salmon, and to help repair a fractured link in a food chain that has contributed to a perilous decline for southern resident orcas. Lynda Mapes and Benjamin Romano report. (Seattle Times)

'Early migration gene' tied to unique population of Chinook
Recent studies have shown that Chinook salmon that spawn in the spring are genetically distinct from varieties that spawn during fall months. Experts are confronting the resulting ecological, social and legal implications of that finding. Christopher Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

In California, orcas and salmon have become so scarce people have forgotten what once was. Will the Northwest be next?
In California, orcas and salmon have become so scarce people have forgotten what once was. Will the Northwest be next? ....The orcas, called southern residents for a reason, cruise all the way to California to feed on Central Valley salmon runs. L pod was off Monterey early this year. The oldest whale among all the southern residents, L25, born about 1928, led the way. She brought her whole family because her mother did before her, and her grandmother before that. In the southern resident pods, the matriarchs lead the search for food — particularly in times of scarcity. But was L pod chasing fish in California — or only L25’s memory of them? The fish have become so scarce, it is hard to know if the whales got any nourishment. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Columbia River Closed To Salmon And Steelhead Fishing
Most of the Columbia River will close to all recreational salmon and steelhead fishing, with the exception of the Hanford Reach. The Tri-City Herald reports the closure went into effect Thursday. Bill Tweit, special assistant with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, says it comes at the tail end of a challenging year on the Columbia that saw low returns for many salmon and steelhead runs. The commercial harvest on the Columbia River will have to be reduced by fishery managers in Washington and Oregon to account for the number of upriver bright Chinook caught during the fall season. (Associated Press)

‘Do it now,’ residents tell Bellingham as they push for reserve for these iconic birds
Residents are pushing the city to protect Bellingham’s only great blue heron nesting site by buying undeveloped land near the birds’ colony and creating a reserve for them. The colony is at the edge of Fairhaven, in a forested strip owned by the city of Bellingham. It’s between the Post Point Waste Water Treatment Plant and privately owned land that hasn’t been developed in south Bellingham. Fairhaven resident Jamie Donaldson is leading the effort to permanently protect the colony.This isn’t the first time she’s tackled the issue, she said, but this one was spurred by a proposal to develop land at 20 Shorewood Drive for housing. Donaldson and supporters, including birding and environmental groups North Cascades Audubon Society and the Mt. Baker Group of the Sierra Club, have signed petitions, written letters, met with Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville and implored the City Council over a number of months to buy the land and create the reserve. Kim Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Researchers take new look at longtime non-native snails in Padilla Bay
When low tide exposes the dark mud and green eelgrass of Padilla Bay, the shells of a critter that doesn't belong here are a more common sight than those of clams and crabs that do. It's the Japanese mudsnail, or Batillaria, which ranges in size and color but generally has a narrow, spiral shell about the size of a pen cap....These non-native Japanese mudsnails have found a home in Padilla Bay since around the 1930s, when they were inadvertently imported with Pacific oysters from Asia, according to various sources. While various agencies have documented the presence of the snails in Padilla Bay over the past nearly 100 years, little is known about their role in — or impact on — the natural environment. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Everett’s single-use plastic bag ban starts Monday
Fewer plastic bags will be floating around Everett. At least that’s the goal of a single-use plastic bag ban going into effect Monday. At check-out, shoppers will instead have to purchase a paper or thicker plastic bag for 5 cents — or bring their own sack, which is what the fee is designed to encourage. The ban also applies to restaurants and carry-out orders, except for bags used to prevent spillage. Dry cleaning and newspaper sacks will be permitted. Lizz Giordano reports. (Everett Herald) See also: Portland's New Plastics Policy Is Almost Here. Here's What You Should Know  Rebecca Ellis reports. (OPB)

Cleaning up: The slow slide into Swift Creek
Mention “landslide” and it usually conjures an image of a sudden and violent collapse of a mountain slope or hillside. Insert “Sumas Mountain” before that word and residents of eastern Whatcom County will recognize a slow slide that for decades has clogged and flooded Swift Creek. For many years the creek, which flows west to join the Sumas River, was dredged to manage the sediment and limit downstream flooding. But, several years ago, the 225-acre slide was found to contain naturally-occurring asbestos and metals – chromium, cobalt and nickel. When the sediment dries, the asbestos can become airborne and present a risk to human health and the environment. The metals can affect plants on land and aquatic life. Larry Altose writes. (WA Dept of Ecology)

Feds seek new comments on grizzly bear plans
Controversial proposals to reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades ecosystem are once again open for public comment. The plan, drafted by the National Park Service and U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, drew mixed responses from locals in 2017. It includes four options for grizzly bear recovery. Three would bring bears in from elsewhere to bolster the local population. The goal would be to reach 200 bears. A fourth proposal calls for continuing current efforts to keep habitat healthy, but would not bring in additional bears. Grizzlies were listed as a threatened species in the U.S. in 1975 and as endangered in Washington in 1980. Now, scientists do not have enough evidence to say there is any population in the North Cascades. Work on the proposals was halted by the Trump administration in December of 2017. Then-Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke ordered work stop on a key planning document — the environmental impact statement for the grizzly restoration project. He then restarted that work in 2018. The document is available for review online.  Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  253 AM PDT Mon Sep 30 2019   
 NE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at 16 seconds. 
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW after midnight. Wind waves  1 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at 16 seconds.

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Friday, September 27, 2019

9/27Ahgykson Is, climate strike, Trudeau promises, Rayonier cleanup, Trump's CWA, climate change, marbled murrelet, Burke Museum

Ahgykson Island [Wikipedia]
Ahgykson (Harwood) Island
The island has long been called "Ahgykson" by the Tla'amin people who have lived in this territory for at least 8,000 years. In 1798, Captain Vancouver renamed it in his records as "Harwood Island." The traditional Tla'amin name was officially reinstated on 5 April 2016. (Wikipedia) Like many other locations in the Strait of Georgia, Harwood Island was named by George Vancouver during his exploration of the Puget Sound and Coastal BC in 1792. In this case, Harwood Island was named for Dr. Edward Harwood, a scholar and naval surgeon. Geologically, Harwood is pretty distinct. Its flat top is the result of glacial action in the region over 10,000 years ago. This is the same action that gouged out Powell Lake and the many inlets along the coast. At the turn of the 20th Century, it was logged. The second growth trees have grown to substantial size, but you can still find evidence of the past...Today, it is uninhabited and is a traditional and sacred place for the Sliammon [Tla'amin] First Nation. James J. Lutz writes. (Powell River Books Blog)

Here's why Vancouver teens are staging a climate strike Sept. 27
Young people in Vancouver and across the province are preparing to once again march out of class this Friday to protest government inaction on the climate crisis. The protests have been timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Summit underway in New York...In Canada, youth are calling on politicians to adopt a climate action plan to reduce carbon pollution to zero by 2050, similar to the Green New Deal championed by American progressives...Environmental youth groups and student associations have planned to meet at Vancouver City Hall at 1 p.m. on Sept. 27. They will then march across the Cambie Bridge to the intersection of Hamilton and Georgia, where there will be speeches in front of the Central Library Branch ending at 5 p.m.  Eva Uguen-Csenge reports. (CBC) See also: Canadian youth take calls from drastic climate action to the streets today  (Canadian Press)

Trudeau promises to boost environmental protection and teach more kids to camp
Justin Trudeau said today a re-elected Liberal government would protect a quarter of Canada's natural land and ocean habitats by 2025, and would become a global champion in setting international conservation targets. During a campaign event in Sudbury, Ont. after taking a morning canoe paddle around a local lake, the Liberal leader also promised today to launch a new program aimed at encouraging more youth and families to enjoy the great outdoors. The promised land and ocean conservation target — 25 per cent by 2025 — is an increase over the current target of 17 per cent for land protection and is nearly double the 12.4 per cent of Canada's land habitats currently being protected. Kathleen Harris reports. (CBC)

State presents proposed cleanup plan for abandoned Rayonier site
Creation of open space for potential — though only occasional — use is included in a proposed cleanup strategy for the abandoned, still-polluted Rayonier pulp mill site and adjacent Port Angeles Harbor. The voluminous three-part study, and options it includes for the 75-acre industrial parcel east of downtown Port Angeles, were presented Wednesday at an Olympic Medical Center meeting room where some participants wanted more than that...To address soil pollution, 10 acres would be excavated to 1 foot deep and 0.5 acres to more than 1 foot. An additional 10 acres would be capped. To address groundwater pollution, air sparging — or the injection of air to disperse pollutants — would be employed to oxidize ammonia and metals in phases starting near the shoreline. To address sediment pollution in Rayonier’s portion of the harbor cleanup area — several other parties including the Port of Port Angeles are cleaning the western harbor — a log pond near a soon-to-be-removed 4-acre dock would be dredged. Sand, silt and gravel would be used as fill for dredged areas and berth and approach areas. It and the remainder of a sediment remediation area would be topped by a sand layer “to address sediment contamination and to provide suitable habitat,” according to the Volume 3 report. Cleanup costs of $24 million under the proposed plan will be borne by the land owner, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Rayonier Advanced Materials.  Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

E.P.A. Accuses California of ‘Significant’ Air and Water Problems
The Trump administration on Thursday, pressing the president’s complaints about homelessness in California, demanded the state improve the way it deals with human waste, arsenic and lead in water as it escalated the administration’s war with the country’s most populous state. In a letter to Gov. Gavin C. Newsom of California, Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, accused the state of “deficiencies that have led to significant public health concerns” and issued a veiled threat that federal funding to the state could be at risk...California has sparred with Mr. Trump since the earliest days of the administration. But analysts said the newest skirmish is significant because it shows President Trump’s willingness to use obscure levers of policy to punish states that oppose him.  Lisa Friedman reports. (NY Times) See also: Trump Administration Blames Homeless For California's Water Pollution  Pam Fessler and Paolo Zialcita report. (NPR)

When it comes to acknowledging humans’ role in climate change, oil and gas industry lawyer says ‘that ship has sailed’
In a closed-door meeting of oil and gas executives this summer in Colorado Springs, industry lawyer Mark Barron offered a bold proposal: Energy companies must accept that fossil fuels are helping to drive climate change. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s real, or not real, or what the issues are,” said Barron, who heads the energy litigation arm of Baker Hostetler. “That ship has sailed from a political perspective.” Barron added that any American younger than 40 had grown up learning that climate change is “an existential crisis that we need to address.” The recording of the June 24 meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), which was obtained by The Washington Post, highlights a growing schism between the Trump administration and key players in the fossil fuel industry. Even as Trump officials work to repeal federal restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, some oil and gas executives say they have no choice but to press forward with plans to address climate change. Juliet Ellperin reports. (Washington Post)

State releases plan for protecting the marbled murrelet
After two decades of studying a small bird called the marbled murrelet that is found in coastal habitats of Washington including in Skagit County, the state has released a new management plan for the species. The management plan was drafted by and applies to lands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources. It is the outcome of a multiyear environmental impact statement, or EIS, process that weighed options for protecting the bird and supporting the state’s timber industry. The marbled murrelet is federally listed as threatened due to the loss of coastal forest habitat where it nests and raises its young. The once-abundant species is now estimated to be down to about 6,000 in the state, according to a news release. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Everything about the Pacific Northwest is on display at the new Burke Museum. Even the scientists.
Seattle has been undergoing a history museum renaissance, one demonstrating creativity in the art of exhibiting cultural treasures. Of three major projects in recent years, each has gone in a different direction, with one major common thread...The latest entrant is the new Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, which opens the weekend of Oct. 12-14. It is a treasure once hidden on the northwest corner of the University of Washington campus. The new museum is now visible from the street, with an entrance on 15th Avenue Northeast in the University District at Northeast 43rd Street. It’s an elegant, wood and glass box that makes a statement: it is part of the transforming U District, with light rail coming to Brooklyn Avenue Northeast just a couple of blocks away. Natural history is not hidden anymore; it’s part of the neighborhood. Knute Berger reports. (Crosscut)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  243 AM PDT Fri Sep 27 2019   
 NW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming W 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 9 ft at 9 seconds. A  slight chance of showers in the morning then a chance of showers  in the afternoon. 
 NW wind 15 to 25 kt becoming N 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 10 ft at 9 seconds  subsiding to 8 ft at 10 seconds after midnight. A slight chance  of showers. 
 N wind 15 to 25 kt becoming NE 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less in the  afternoon. W swell 7 ft at 10 seconds. 
 N wind to 10 kt becoming NE 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight. W swell 6 ft at 10 seconds. 
 NE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less in the afternoon.  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 (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

9/26 Sea comb, Trump's ESA, Protectors of the Salish Sea, plastic ban fight, old 'Blob' relief, Skagit steelhead, electric BC Ferries, BC logging trucks

Sea comb [Jan Holmes]
Sea comb Plocamium cartilagineum
This beautiful red seaweed is profusely branched with the last order of branches resembling tiny combs (see close-ups).  Several stems, about 2mm wide, arise from a discoid holdfast and grow to a length of about 20 cm (8in).  Sea comb is found in the low intertidal and subtidal or in tide pools in exposed and semi-exposed areas. Jan Holmes writes.(Sound Water Stewards)

17 States Sue Feds Over Endangered Species Act Rules
Seventeen states sued the Trump administration Wednesday to block rules weakening the Endangered Species Act, saying the changes would make it tougher to protect wildlife even in the midst of a global extinction crisis. The lawsuit, in federal court in San Francisco, follows a similar challenge filed last month by several environmental groups, including the Humane Society and the Sierra Club. The new rules begin taking effect Thursday. They for the first time allow officials to consider how much it would cost to save a species. They also remove blanket protections for animals newly listed as threatened and make it easier for creatures to be removed from the protected list...The states challenging Trump's rules are California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The District of Columbia and New York City were also named as plaintiffs. Gene Johnson report. (Associated Press)

Indigenous-led group says it won’t leave the Capitol until Gov. Inslee meets 4 demands
Protectors of the Salish Sea, an indigenous-led group that walked 46 miles to the Capitol from the Tacoma area, has had a presence outside the Washington state Legislative Building since Tuesday to make their voices heard on environmental issues. An encounter with law enforcement overnight Tuesday resulted in one arrest, according to Washington State Patrol. Saanich tribal member Paul Chiyokten Wagner said Wednesday afternoon the group will not leave until Gov. Jay Inslee meets its four demands:
    That Gov. Inslee declare a climate emergency in Washington state;
    That he issue an executive order to stop fossil fuel expansion projects in the state ⁠— such as the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility being built at the Port of Tacoma;
    That he convene a special legislative counsel; and
    That he honor the treaties by meeting these demands. (Sara Gentzler reports. (Olympian)

Victoria wants to take plastic bag ban fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada
The mayor of Victoria says her city will seek a Supreme Court of Canada challenge as the next step in its effort to ban single-use plastic bags. Lisa Helps was speaking at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver. In July, the B.C. Court of Appeal quashed a lower court decision that allowed Victoria to enact a plastic bag ban. The court said the ban was based on environmental concerns and therefore fell under the jurisdiction of the province and the Ministry of the Environment. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Fisheries disaster money after 'Blob' just now being disbursed as new marine heatwave looms
The marine heatwave known as “The Blob” wreaked havoc on Northwest fisheries during 2015 and 2016, Ron Warren, fish policy director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told a Senate committee Wednesday. And before the federal government could even provide disaster relief for that event, another marine heatwave loomed, he said. The Blob stoked marine temperatures nearly 7 degrees higher than normal, according to his testimony. Fewer coho salmon returned. Those that did return were smaller. Fisheries had to be closed. Gov. Jay Inslee and representatives of several tribal governments in 2016 requested millions of dollars in federal fishing disaster funds to help offset the losses to fishing communities. Now, more than three years later, the fishing disaster money has only just arrived from the feds, Warren told senators. Evan Bush and Hal Bernton report. (Seattle Times)

Skagit steelhead fishery needs funding to keep going
The Skagit River catch-and-release steelhead fishery that was reopened in 2018 is at risk of being discontinued. The fishery is listed as part of a $26 million funding request the state Department of Fish & Wildlife submitted last week to the Legislature. According to Fish & Wildlife, if it doesn’t receive the funding it needs — including $2.5 million for monitoring salmon and steelhead fisheries during the Skagit River catch-and-release steelhead season — it will have to cut programs in 2021. The Skagit River steelhead fishery is one of the potential cuts. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

BC Ferries launching first wave of hybrid electric vessels
BC Ferries passengers travelling on shorter island routes could be riding on hybrid electric boats as early as next year. The six new vessels, known as Island Class ferries, use diesel fuel to generate electricity that is stored in batteries on board and they are all expected to be in operation by 2022, with the first two expected to be in service in 2020. The first two boats to launch will run between Powell River and Texada Island and from Port McNeill to Alert Bay and Malcolm Island. The next four will be in the water by 2022 and will run between Campbell River and Quadra Island and between Nanaimo and Gabriola Island. (CBC)

Convoy drives home message about dire state of forestry in B.C.
A convoy of logging trucks gained some attention as protesting drivers blew their horns while winding their big rigs through Vancouver streets on Wednesday. As many as 200 logging trucks left Merritt, nearly 300 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, Wednesday morning in a demonstration by owners and drivers to highlight the effects of dozens of mill closures and thousands of layoffs in B.C.’s forest industry. Dozens of trucks lined up for the chance to pass by the Vancouver Convention Centre, where local and provincial politicians are gathered for the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  245 AM PDT Thu Sep 26 2019   
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 9 ft  at 11 seconds. A slight chance of rain in the morning. 
 NW wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 11 ft at 9 seconds.

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

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

9/25 Broadleaf plantain, climate report, no turn-off-the-taps, WA oil spill response, Erich Hoyt, low-interest armor removal loans, humpback, first foods

Broadleaf plantain [E. Fogelfors]
Broadleaf plantain Plantago major
Plantago major (broadleaf plantain, white man's foot, or greater plantain) is one of the most abundant and widely distributed medicinal crops in the world. A poultice of the leaves can be applied to wounds, stings, and sores in order to facilitate healing and prevent infection. The active chemical constituents are aucubin (an anti-microbial agent), allantoin (which stimulates cellular growth and tissue regeneration), and mucilage (which reduces pain and discomfort). Plantain has astringent properties, and a tea made from the leaves can be ingested to treat diarrhea and soothe raw internal membranes. Broadleaf plantain is also a very nutritious leaf vegetable that is high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K. The young, tender leaves can be eaten raw, and the older, stringier leaves can be boiled in stews and eaten. Broadleaf plantain is not related to the fruit also known as plantain, which is a kind of banana. (Wikipedia)

Climate change: UN panel signals red alert on 'Blue Planet'
Climate change is devastating our seas and frozen regions as never before, a major new United Nations report warns. According to a UN panel of scientists, waters are rising, the ice is melting, and species are moving habitat due to human activities. And the loss of permanently frozen lands threatens to unleash even more carbon, hastening the decline. There is some guarded hope that the worst impacts can be avoided, with deep and immediate cuts to carbon emissions. Matt McGrath reports. (BBC) See also: New U.N. climate report: Massive change already here for world’s oceans and frozen regions   A definitive new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finds dangerous sea level rise and mass death of corals and other key ocean life has already been unleashed. Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post)

B.C. wins injunction blocking Alberta's turn-off-the-taps legislation over oil 
The Federal Court has suspended Alberta's turn-off-the-taps legislation, aimed in part at the embattled Trans Mountain pipeline extension, granting British Columbia a temporary injunction blocking the law until the courts can decide whether it is valid. The legislation was passed — but never used — by Alberta's former NDP government to give its energy minister the power to pinch oil and crude exports to other provinces. It was perceived as a move that would punish B.C. over its continued challenges to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. B.C. challenged the law in court this spring, saying the bill was unconstitutional. Federal Court Justice Sébastien Grammond said Tuesday the law raised a "serious issue" that could hurt British Columbians. Rhianna Schmunk reports. (CBC)

State updating oil spill response plan
State oil spill rules that apply to pipelines, facilities and vessels are being updated. The state Department of Ecology began reviewing the state’s oil spill contingency plan in January and is accepting public comment on a draft update through Oct. 6. The update was prompted by the state Legislature, which in 2018 directed Ecology to update the plan by December 2019, including adding the latest knowledge of oils that may sink when spilled in water. The plan requires large commercial vessels, oil handling facilities and pipelines to have detailed plans and contracts in place for oil spill response equipment and trained personnel to respond. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

‘I’m always optimistic, I have to be.’ Author recalls early orca research amid book tour
Two pods of the scarcely seen Southern Resident orca population showed up in the waters off Seattle within just a few hours of author Erich Hoyt’s return to the Pacific Northwest for his book tour. Hoyt knew next to nothing about the iconic whales when he first started studying them in the 1970s, back when they were abundant in the Salish Sea. He says it took several years of coming back every summer before he really started to get a sense of how they live...Hoyt is the author of the book, "Orca: The Whale Called Killer," which recently was updated and expanded in a fifth edition. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

PSI study will look at potential of low-interest loans for armor removal
There are more than 45,000 residential properties along Puget Sound’s shoreline. Of those, almost half have some form of environmentally damaging shoreline armoring, researchers say. That makes private landowners a primary focus of state and federal armor removal efforts, but many landowners say they either lack funds or are unwilling to pay for sometimes costly beach restorations. Now, the Puget Sound Institute in collaboration with Coastal Geologic Services and Northern Economics is looking at ways to provide low-interest loans to homeowners for this purpose. (Puget Sound Institute)

A Humpback Whodunit
The whale on the beach has a story to tell and Stephen Raverty is here to extract it. The veterinary pathologist has traveled to British Columbia’s remote central coast on this sunny May Sunday to perform a necropsy on a male humpback that washed ashore on the surf-tossed west side of Calvert Island. Larry Pynn reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Tradition, environmental health central to Swinomish tribe's first foods project
From watching for camas flowers to bloom in the spring to seeing salmon return in the fall, indigenous groups including the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community have for thousands of years been tied to the land. The Swinomish tribe is now working to restore traditions and ensure knowledge is passed on to future generations about camas, salmon and other plants and animals considered traditional “first foods.” The tribe recently received a $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to expand an environmental education program focusing on first foods. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PDT Wed Sep 25 2019   
 E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming W to 10 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 9 ft at 13 seconds. 
 SW wind 10 to 20 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 8 ft at 12 seconds. A  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.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

9/24 WA birding, UN climate summit, Vancouver climate strike, Rayonier cleanup, poop fairies, Bowen humpbacks

Tufted puffin [Timothy Rucci/Audubon]
Great Washington State Birding Trail
The great state of Washington is too diverse to be encompassed by one birding trail, which explains why Audubon Washington has established a series of looping trails and mapped them independently. Seven loops cover the entire state. The outer coast of Washington hosts a wide array of migrating shorebirds, including huge flocks of western sandpipers and lesser numbers of Pacific Coast exclusives like surfbirds and black turnstones. Fog-shrouded forests that cover the coastal slope and the Olympic Peninsula echo with the ethereal whistles of varied thrushes, while richly colored birds like red-breasted sapsuckers, Townsend’s warblers, and chestnut-backed chickadees hide in the shadows. Ascending toward the high peaks of the Cascades, you’ll find black-backed woodpeckers, gray jays, and many other birds of northern affinities lurking in the forest. East of the mountains, the landscape changes abruptly to drier settings, with different birds. Rock wrens bounce and chatter along the edges of craggy arroyos, while long-billed curlews stalk. Kenn Kaufman writes. (Audubon)

At U.N. Climate Summit, a Call for Action Yields Few Commitment
The United Nations Climate Action Summit on Monday was meant to highlight concrete promises by presidents, prime ministers and corporate executives to wean the global economy from fossil fuels to avoid the worst effects of global warming. But despite the protests in the streets, China on Monday made no new promises to take stronger climate action. The United States, having vowed to pull out of the Paris Agreement, the pact among nations to jointly fight climate change, said nothing at all. A host of countries made only incremental promises. The contrast between the slow pace of action and the urgency of the problem was underscored by the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, who excoriated world leaders for their “business as usual” approach. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you,” she said, her voice quavering with rage. “If you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.” Somini Sengupta and Lisa Friedman report. (NY Times) See also: Oil Giants, Under Fire From Climate Activists and Investors, Mount a Defense  Hiroko Tabuchi reports. (NY Times)

Youth lead the charge as more than 15,000 expected to attend Friday’s climate strike at Vancouver City Hall
Close to 50 businesses will close their doors Friday in support of Friday's for Future movement's climate change rally in Vancouver. Cheryl Chan reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: 'Watch us carefully and hold us accountable': Victoria mayor promises action at climate summit  (CBC)

Open house slated on $24 million cleanup of Rayonier site
The decades-old Rayonier pulp mill site cleanup is back on the public’s radar with an estimated $24 million cleanup plan. The state agency coordinating the effort to rid the parcel and adjacent waters of pollution is hosting an open house Wednesday on the most recent iteration of the industrial site’s future — and Rayonier officials will be in attendance. The 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. meeting is at Olympic Medical Center’s Linkletter Hall, 939 Caroline St., Port Angeles. Ecology will explore the agency’s newly devised cleanup options for the 75-acre upland area, a portion of which did not contain industrial buildings, and for the mill-stained waters of Port Angeles Harbor....The Cleanup Alternatives Evaluation Report, also called Volume 3 of a series of technical reports on the cleanup, will be the focus of Wednesday’s meeting. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

The poop fairies are gone — it’s time to bring a bag and clean up after your own dog
Whatcom Water Week, which celebrated local water resources across Whatcom County from Sept. 14-22, added something new to its calendar of events this year: the poop fairy. The poop fairy’s job was to visit a handful of parks around Whatcom County — including Hovander Homestead Park and VanderYacht Park in Ferndale — and educate the community on how picking up dog feces can help keep the community’s waterways clean. Lacey Young reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Humpback whales have a storied history in Howe Sound
We live in humpback habitat. Humpback whales were common in Howe Sound and the Salish Sea in the 1800s, but the advent of whaling steamships with explosive harpoons exterminated them by 1908. Whaling continued throughout the northeast Pacific until the 1960s, when the international community agreed to a moratorium. Since then, humpback and other whales have been slowly reclaiming their old territory along the B.C. Coast. In 2008, after a hundred year absence, a humpback whale was reported in Atl’ka7tsum –Howe Sound. Ever since, their visits have continued to grow. Bob Turner writes. (Bowen Island Undercurrent)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  310 AM PDT Tue Sep 24 2019   
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 8 ft  at 11 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  8 ft at 13 seconds.

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

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Monday, September 23, 2019

9/23 Climate strike, UN climate summit, Puyallup River pollution, oysters, Sierra Club BC, old-growth forests

Climate strike, 9/20/19, Bellingham [Amy Nelson]
Climate protests: Marches worldwide against global warming
Millions of people around the world held a global climate strike on Friday, inspired by activist Greta Thunberg. Protesters across continents waved placards and chanted slogans in what could be the biggest ever demonstration over global warming caused by humans. "Our house is on fire", Ms Thunberg said at a rally. "We will not just stand aside and watch." (BBC) See: Climate change: Impacts 'accelerating' as leaders gather for UN talks  The signs and impacts of global heating are speeding up, the latest science on climate change, published ahead of key UN talks in New York, says. The data, compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), says the five-year period from 2014 to 2019 is the warmest on record. Sea-level rise has accelerated significantly over the same period, as CO2 emissions have hit new highs. Matt McGrath reports. (BBC)

Climate change: UN summit opens without key leaders
Several key world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, will not take part in a special UN climate summit opening in New York. UN Secretary General António Guterres said countries can only speak at the summit if they come with action plans to reduce carbon emissions. Brazil and Saudi Arabia are also among the countries staying away. (BBC) See also: Who’s Speaking at the U.N. Climate Summit? Several Champions of Coal  Among the first countries to appear at the summit meeting on Monday will be India. The vast majority of its electricity comes from burning coal, and it continues to develop new coal mines and new coal-fired power plants, often with state subsidies, even as it ramps up renewable energy. Later in the morning comes Indonesia, the world’s biggest exporter of thermal coal. China, the world’s coal juggernaut, will follow later in the day. So, too, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kenya — three countries where Chinese state-owned companies are building, or want to build, coal-fired power plants. Somini Sengupta reports. (NY Times)

The Puyallup is the 2nd most polluted river in the Puget Sound area. Salmon runs at stake
The Puyallup is one of the most polluted rivers in the Puget Sound area, and the contaminants are hurting the river’s salmon. Scientists from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recently released their Vital Signs report, which details the health of different aspects of the Puget Sound area. In 2016 they measured a host of different indicators, including toxins in different fish populations. Juvenile chinook in the Duwamish River had the highest levels of PCBs, toxic chemicals which can impact the fish’s ability to grow and fight off diseases. Juvenile chinook in the Puyallup River had the second highest levels of PCBs. “The second most contaminated river in the whole Puget Sound area is the Puyallup,” said Sandra O’Neill, lead biologist at the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The researchers are planning a followup study focusing specifically on the Puyallup. They hope to determine the source of the river’s contamination. Kate Iida reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Baby oysters can't build healthy shells in Washington's acidified waters
Oysters are one of the iconic foods of the Pacific Northwest. But their survival is under serious threat thanks to ocean acidification, sometimes called the “evil twin” of climate change. Local shellfish growers are seeing the devastating impacts on oysters and other shellfish. Ruby de Luna reports. (KUOW) See: The tiny but mighty Olympia oyster regains a foothold in Washington waters  Five years ago, Chris Burns wandered the tidelands of Sequim Bay, searching for remnants of the native Olympia oysters that once carpeted shorelines throughout the Pacific Northwest. He found a few dozen individuals, scattered survivors hanging on against the odds. Today, tens of thousands of their descendants dot the bay bottom like small, brown nuggets — hard to spot at first, then impossible to miss. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

New book details 50 years of the Sierra Club in B.C.
In some ways, the British Columbia of 1969 had some striking similarities with the British Columbia of 2019: it was a time when many people in the province were concerned about the environment and had a desire to make real social change. It was against this background — fighting for the protection of wild spaces like the Nitinat Triangle and the West Coast Trail in the early 70s to the great logging battles on Vancouver Island culminating in the War of the Woods in 1993 — that the Sierra Club of B.C. developed as an influential force for environmental change in Western Canada. Diane Pinch, a Victoria, B.C.-based writer and long-time volunteer with the environmental club, has documented the club's history from its beginnings in the province in 1969 to present day in a new book called Passion and Persistence: Fifty Years of the Sierra Club in British Columbia. (CBC)

How restoring old-growth forest in Washington state could help fight climate change
Standing between nearly uniform rows of hemlock trees, scientist Tiara Moore clutched a tiny vial of evidence. Filled with dirt and no bigger than her pinkie finger, the vial contained traces of hundreds, perhaps even thousands of creatures that had oozed by, crawled past or fluttered into this tiny corner of the Ellsworth Creek Preserve. The microscopic flecks of DNA — from insects, amoebas and mushrooms — could help tell the story of a forest trying to regrow to its former might. These forest forensics, part of a fast-growing field called environmental DNA, will tell researchers what’s living here, which, in turn, tells forest managers if what they’re doing is working here. The soil where Moore dug for DNA was once rooted with old-growth trees common across the coastal Northwest, before decades of clear-cutting stripped them from the land. Restoring landscapes like these helps take up and store more carbon, part of the solution to reduce the impacts of climate change. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  315 AM PDT Mon Sep 23 2019   
 SW wind to 10 kt becoming SE in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds. A chance of  showers in the morning then showers in the afternoon. 
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds  building to 7 ft at 10 seconds after midnight. Rain in the  evening then rain likely after midnight.

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

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Friday, September 20, 2019

9/20 Deer, global climate strike, SRKW in PS, vanishing birds, marbled murrelet plan, Amazon carbon, BC fish farms, Skagit shellfish, Navy exemption, acid and coke, Roundup

Black-tail deer [NPS]
Columbian black-tailed deer Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
Black-tail deer are the most common deer subspecies. They occur from the crest of the Cascades west to the ocean, preferring brushy, logged lands and coniferous forests. Many of the physical characteristics of black-tailed deer are similar to those of the larger mule deer. The tail is broader and the backside of the tail is covered with dark brown hair that grades to black near the tip. When alarmed or fleeing from danger, the tail may be raised, displaying the broad, white underside. Adult black-tailed deer bucks weigh 140 to 200 pounds and adult does weigh 90 to 130 pounds. (WDFW) See: Hunting seasons and regulations  Find out how and when to hunt legally in Washington State. (WDFW)

'We're Young, But We're Not Dumb': Millions March In Global Climate Strike
Tens of thousands of demonstrators, including many young activists, turned out for rallies across Australia Friday, kicking off what is expected to be a worldwide series of protests to demand action on climate change.More than 800 marches were planned on Friday in the United States, expected to draw on thousands of young people skipping school. Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, the figurehead of the climate school strike movement, is expected to attend a rally in New York’s Thomas Paine Park. Scott Neuman reports. (NPR) See also: Young people across the Puget Sound region plan climate strikes to spur political action  Ashley Gross reports. (KNKX)

Southern resident orcas, including newest baby, visit Puget Sound 
J and K pod orcas visited local waters Thursday, including the newest baby born to the endangered southern residents. The littlest J pod whale wagged her tiny pectoral fins as her mother playfully pushed her through the waves near the south end of Whidbey Island. The whales spyhopped and leapt, looking playful and sleek, as the last rays of summer sun shone on their dorsal fins. Their puff and blow was primal, powerful, a sound like something from the beginning of time. It was a rare visit this year as the orcas have been spending most of their time on the outer coast of Washington, where the federal government has proposed expanding the whales’ critical habitat. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Southern resident orcas spotted in Puget Sound  Jessie Darland reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Birds Are Vanishing From North America
The skies are emptying out. The number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29 percent since 1970, scientists reported on Thursday. There are 2.9 billion fewer birds taking wing now than there were 50 years ago. The analysis, published in the journal Science, is the most exhaustive and ambitious attempt yet to learn what is happening to avian populations. The results have shocked researchers and conservation organizations. In a statement on Thursday, David Yarnold, president and chief executive of the National Audubon Society, called the findings “a full-blown crisis.” Carl Zimmer reports. (NY Times)

State's long-awaited conservation strategy for mysterious marbled murrelet moves forward
For more than 20 years, mysteries surrounding an endangered seabird have suspended logging activities on about 170,000 acres of state trust lands in Washington. Now, the state Department of Natural Resources says it’s learned enough about the marbled murrelet to protect its habitat and free up some of the lands that were previously tied up. The agency releases its final environmental impact statement (EIS) for a long-term conservation plan on Friday. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Bezos commits Amazon to rapidly cut fossil fuels, be carbon neutral by 2040 
Jeff Bezos committed his company to cut all its net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2040 — a goal that would appear to put Amazon in the vanguard of corporations reducing carbon pollution ahead of the schedule scientists say is necessary to stave off the worst impacts of global climate change. The company also announced it was ordering 100,000 electric-delivery vehicles, calling it the largest such order of its kind, and establishing a $100 million fund for reforestation projects in an effort to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The reductions described by Bezos will be an enormous challenge for a company whose main businesses are energy intensive – Amazon has fleets of trucks and jets, as well as a global network of data centers — and steadily growing. Amazon said its 2018 greenhouse gas emissions totaled 44.4 million metric tons in 2018, the first time it has disclosed its carbon footprint. Benjamin Romano reports. (Seattle Times)

Salmon farm decommission in B.C.'s Broughton on track, says premier
Premier John Horgan says industry, government and Indigenous nations on northern Vancouver Island are collaborating on a four-year program to transition away from marine-based salmon farms. Horgan says the health of British Columbia's wild salmon stocks depends on the joint work being done in the Broughton Archipelago to improve environmental conditions and move away from open-net farms. Three area First Nations, two aquaculture companies and the government reached an agreement earlier this year to establish Indigenous oversight of salmon farms in their traditional territories as they transition away from the open-net away pens. (Canadian Press)

Biotoxin, concern over bacteria impact harvesting of shellfish
While some commercial shellfish harvest restrictions remain in place in Samish Bay due to summer algae blooms, a surge in the flow of the Samish River on Sunday prompted a full closure for about 24 hours. The state Department of Health closes shellfish harvesting in the bay when the river’s flow increases a certain amount following rain. That’s because of a correlation between heavy rain and high concentrations of potentially harmful bacteria associated with human and animal feces. While the Samish River’s flow increased steadily last weekend, water samples did not show an increase in fecal coliform bacteria that would warranting a continued closure. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Navy range exempted from proposed orca protection measures
U.S. protections for the waters that a group of endangered orcas call home could soon expand beyond the Seattle area to encompass much of the West Coast, from the Canadian border to central California.... National security concerns exempt a large area in and around the U.S. Navy’s Quinault Underwater Tracking Range, which conducts underwater testing in western Washington. The potential protection zone also overlaps with tribal fishing rights in Washington state, but that area is not exempted, said [Lynne] Barre of NOAA Fisheries. Sally Ho reports. (Associated Press) [Usually shortened by NAVSEA to just the “Quinault Site,” the rectangle-shaped range lies off the Washington coast near Destruction Island and has been used for Navy testing since 1981. The shallow waters (less than 400 feet) helped researchers test and perfect the reverberation-tolerant SFSK (Space pulsed Frequency Shift Keying) tracking. It lies within the borders of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, but researchers avoid using explosives there. (Navy Times)]

Acid and Coke: A Dangerous Combo for Marine Life
Like the rivers of eastern England and the Mediterranean Sea near Greece, Brazil’s coast is contaminated with cocaine. Proven toxic to shellfish and other sensitive marine animals, the drug imperils species living close to shore where it’s highly concentrated. New research, led by Lorena da Silva Souza, a doctoral candidate in marine and coastal management at Spain’s University of Cadiz, shows for the first time that ocean acidification, another burgeoning coastal danger, threatens to amplify the effects of cocaine. Jess Mackie reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Banish Roundup From the Farm? It’ll Take More Than Lawsuits
From his farm in northwestern Wisconsin, Andy Bensend watched as first one jury, then another and another, delivered staggering multimillion-dollar verdicts to people who argued that their use of a weedkiller sold at nearly every hardware and home-improvement store had caused their cancer. Mr. Bensend has been using that product, Roundup, on his 5,000 acres for 40 years, but he said that those blockbuster awards would not alter his farm practices one whit. Neither would the 20,000 lawsuits still pending. “Roundup is still a fabulous tool,” said Mr. Bensend, who grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa. He relies on Roundup’s key ingredient — glyphosate — to easily kill weeds, helping increase his yields and reduce his costs. Patricia Cohen reports. (NY Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  301 AM PDT Fri Sep 20 2019   
 SE wind to 10 kt becoming N in the afternoon. Wind waves  2 ft or less. NW swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 12 seconds. 
 SW wind to 10 kt becoming N in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 12 seconds. A chance of rain. 
 SE wind to 10 kt becoming E 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 12 seconds. 
 E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming W 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 2 ft building to 2 to 4 ft in the afternoon. 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.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

9/19 Japanese eelgrass, orca protection, Thunberg tour, climate health, Trump's emissions, Canada election, ocean fish farms, Anacortes cleanup, mountain goats

Japanese eelgrass [Hyun-tae Kim]
Japanese eelgrass Zostera japonica
This species is occasionally seen in Southern British Columbia and Washington.  Also known as dwarf eelgrass and narrow-bladed eelgrass, Japanese eelgrass belongs to the family Zosteraceae.  It is nonnative to the West Coast of North America.  With a blade length not exceeding 8 inches (20 cm.) and blade width of only 1/8th inch (2-3 mm.), this species is smaller than the native Z. marina.  In addition, it grows in the mid intertidal zone while Z. marina is found in low intertidal and subtidal zones.  Like Zostera marina, it is found on beaches with a soft substrate, i.e. sand or mud.  Zostera japonica has also been known under the scientific names Z. nolti, Z. nana, and Z. americana. (Mary Jo Adams/Sound Water Stewards) See also: Washington Department of Ecology: Update to general permit that helps remove noxious weeds  Removing Zostera japonica from Willapa Bay Commercial Clam Beds (WA Ecology)

Feds seek expanded habitat protection as salmon, orcas battle climate change, habitat degradation
Most of the outer coast of Washington, Oregon and California would become protected habitat for southern resident orcas under a federal proposal released Wednesday. The new designation, if approved would greatly expand the area considered “critical” for the survival of the endangered orcas that frequent Puget Sound. Since 2006, the inland waters of the Salish Sea have been considered critical habitat for the southern residents. The designation requires review of federal actions within the areas that could affect southern resident killer whales, providing additional oversight by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Greta Thunberg, on Tour in America, Offers an Unvarnished View
These are some of the things that Greta Thunberg has learned on her American tour. New York City smells. People talk really loudly here, they blast air conditioning and they argue over whether or not they believe in climate change, while in her country, Sweden, they accept it as fact. Also, American lawmakers would do well to read the latest science on the threats posed by climate change. That’s what Ms. Thunberg, 16, told members of Congress on Wednesday, when she was asked to submit her testimony into the record. She submitted a report issued last October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, spelling out the threats of global temperature rise. “I don’t want you to listen to me,” she said. “I want you to listen to the scientists.” Somini Sengupta reports. (NY Times)

How climate change threatens our health in the Pacific Northwest
Around this time last year, news outlets blared alarming headlines: Breathing the air outside was as bad as smoking several cigarettes. Wildfire haze blotted out the sun and turned the moon orange. Weather apps simply listed the forecast as “smoke.” Just because this summer has been clear, though, doesn’t mean that the environment is doing just fine. While smoke from wildfires might be climate change’s most obvious impact in Washington, other threats still loom. Ryan Blethen reports. (Seattle Times)

Washington lawmakers, environmental groups criticize Trump's car emissions rule 
Washington is one of 13 states that follow California's fuel economy standards. Clean air and environmental advocates say cars and trucks are a huge source of pollution in our state and we need to reduce that. They’re criticizing the Trump Administration's decision to block states and their ability to regulate more stringent vehicle emissions standards. Governor Jay Inslee responded in a statement saying Washington deserves better: “If the Administration refuses to accept the scientific reality of climate change, they need to get out of the way and let states like Washington lead on this issue. Washingtonians deserve better than Trump’s dangerous anti-environmental policy,” Inslee said. Suzanne Phan reports. (KOMO)

Most Canadians want a change in government: Poll 
If change becomes a driving force in this election, Justin Trudeau could be in trouble. Asked whether it is time for a change, almost twice as many Canadians say it is time to change the government compared to those who feel we should stay the course, according to a DART & Maru/Blue Voice Canada poll. The poll — conducted exclusively for the Toronto Sun — found a full 51% of Canadians said they believe it is time for a change in who leads the federal government, while just 27% say it is not time for a change. Those saying they did not know or were not sure came in at 22%. Brian Lilley reports. (Toronto Sun) See also: Justin Trudeau: Canada PM in 'brownface' 2001 yearbook photo  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologised for wearing "brownface" make-up at a gala at a private school where he taught nearly two decades ago. (BBC)

The Battle Over Fish Farming In The Open Ocean Heats Up, As EPA Permit Looms
Americans eat an average of 16 pounds of fish each year, and that number is growing. But how to meet our demand for fish is a controversial question, one that is entering a new chapter as the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to approve the nation’s only aquaculture pen in federal waters. Fish farming has been positioned by its boosters as a sustainable alternative to wild-caught seafood and an economic driver that would put our oceans to work. So far, restrictions on where aquaculture operations can be located have kept the U.S. industry relatively small. In 2016, domestic aquaculture in state-controlled waters accounted for about $1.6 billion worth of seafood, or about 20 percent of the country’s seafood production...Now the tide could be turning. On Aug. 30, EPA issued a draft permit for a pilot aquaculture project in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. The project, despite its small scale, would be a watershed moment in the debate surrounding ocean aquaculture, which has divided environmental groups and pitted fishermen who catch wild fish against those who farm. It is also the latest chapter in a long battle about which agency should regulate ocean aquaculture. Leah Douglas reports. (NPR)

Next Anacortes waterfront cleanup being planned
Plans are taking shape for the next waterfront cleanup in Anacortes, at a 0.8-acre property nestled between Commercial Avenue businesses and the waterfront along the northern tip of Fidalgo Island. That property, at 202 O Ave., is called Quiet Cove and has been owned by the Port of Anacortes since 2013. As the port prepares to clean up the site next summer, the state Department of Ecology is taking public comment on the port’s plan. The comment period runs through Oct. 11. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Second year of mountain goat relocations complete
After a second summer of mountain goat relocations, federal, state and tribal partners have successfully moved 275 of the animals from the Olympic Peninsula to the North Cascades. While 51 more didn’t make it to new homes in the North Cascades — some died in capture or transport and some were taken to zoos — wildlife managers are hoping those that did make it will fare better in the naturally saltier Cascades mountain range and help boost populations there. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  259 AM PDT Thu Sep 19 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 10 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of showers after midnight.

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

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

9/18 Orange jelly 'shroom, Trump's emissions, BC pipe, dead trees, Chinook future, aquaculture future, Denman Is, Pt Hudson, Cokie Roberts

Orange jelly [Gary Emberger]
Orange jelly mushroom Dacrymyces palmatus
This is one of the Pacific Northwest's commonest jelly fungi, usually not appearing in abundance until the weather has become decidedly cool, in late fall. Only young specimens are firm enough to be considered for eating. [The New savory Wild Mushroom]

Trump administration to revoke California’s power to set stricter auto emissions standards The move sets up a major court fight with the nation’s most populous state.
The Trump administration plans this week to revoke California’s long-standing right to set stricter air pollution standards for cars and light trucks, the latest step in a broad campaign to undermine Obama-era policies aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, two senior administration officials said. The move threatens to set in motion a massive legal battle between California and the federal government, plunge automakers into a prolonged period of uncertainty and create turmoil in the nation’s auto market. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post)

Court of appeal tells B.C. to reconsider Trans Mountain environmental conditions
The B.C. Court of Appeal has instructed the province to reconsider its environmental assessment certificate and conditions issued for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. In their challenges, the Squamish Nation and the City of Vancouver argued the certificate should be quashed because it was based on a flawed report and approval from the National Energy Board that was later quashed by the Federal Court of Appeal. After the National Energy Board reviewed the project for a second time, the federal government again approved the $7.4-billion expansion of the pipeline that runs from Alberta to the B.C. coast.The B.C. Court of Appeal did not opt to quash the provincial certificate and instead said it's "remitting" it back to the province to reconsider, "in light of the changes in the National Energy Board's report." The court ruled against the parties on the other argument put forward regarding duty to consult. The court found that the province met its duty to consult with the Squamish Nation on the project. The question of consultation is still before the courts at the federal level and the legal actions include several B.C. First Nations. Chantelle Bellrichard reports. (CBC)

'Dead tree after dead tree.' The case of Washington's dying foliage
When Jim and Judy Davis moved to their property in Granite Falls two and a half years ago, the trees in their 25-acre forest were healthy. Then the hemlocks started to turn brown. Now, “if we were to walk this path completely -- it’s about a quarter of a mile -- this is what you would see,” Jim Davis said, “just dead tree after dead tree. “It’s just a feeling of sadness and helplessness." Eilis O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

How Long Before These Salmon Are Gone? ‘Maybe 20 Years’
Warming waters and a series of dams are making the grueling migration of the Chinook salmon even more deadly — and threatening dozens of other species. Jim Robbins reports. (NY Times)

Aquaculture industry is headed for a sea change
Planning a salmon barbecue? Your options will be limited this year. With a complete 2019 closure on Fraser River sockeye, due to dismal returns, your options are to buy Alaska sockeye or farmed Atlantic salmon. And, as the world’s population grows, and wild-capture fisheries either are maxed out or declining, farmed seafood options will become an increasingly important source of animal protein, according to a new Nature Conservancy and Encourage Capital report. Towards a Blue Revolution is largely aimed at the investment community and lays out the opportunities and risks, noting that certain next-generation systems such as land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) or ocean-based fish farms will require impact investors to take the lead before more risk-averse investors follow. Nelson Bennett reports. (Times Colonist)

Annual Denman Island shoreline cleanup set to tackle growing debris
After 15 years of cleaning up the beaches of Denman Island, Liz Johnston knows the amount of plastic in Baynes Sound is not going away. That’s why the co-ordinator of the Association for Denman Island Marine Stewards annual Denman Island Community Beach Cleanup is again looking for volunteers to assist in the annual cleanup from Sept. 21 to 28...Due to local winds and tides, a huge amount of shellfish growers’ gear and equipment is driven onto Denman Island’s western shores. This includes oyster trays, anti-predator netting, plastic fencing, plastic net bags, plastic floats, styrofoam floats for rafts as well as thousands of pieces of rope. Erin Haluschak reports. (Comox Valley Record)

Could Point Hudson be headquarters for Nat’l Heritage Area?
Cities across the Puget Sound are vying to become the headquarters of a new Maritime National Heritage Area, and Port Townsend is gearing up to join the battle. The Maritime Washington National Heritage Area Act was signed into federal law on March 12 as part of a larger public lands package that includes a number of public lands priorities across the nation. The bill, which was fostered by Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-WA, seeks to highlight all maritime landmarks within one-quarter mile of the shoreline around the Puget Sound. The area spans 13 counties, including Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, San Juan, Island, King, Pierce, Thurston, Mason, Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam and Grays Harbor counties. It will include 19 Native American Tribes, 32 cities and 30 port districts, including the Port of Port Townsend. Lily Haight reports. (Port Townsend Leader)

Cokie Roberts, Pioneering Journalist Who Helped Shape NPR, Dies At 75
Veteran journalist Cokie Roberts, who joined an upstart NPR in 1978 and left an indelible imprint on the growing network with her coverage of Washington politics before later going to ABC News, has died. She was 75. Roberts died Tuesday because of complications from breast cancer, according to a family statement. A bestselling author and Emmy Award winner, Roberts was one of NPR's most recognizable voices and is considered one of a handful of pioneering female journalists — along with Nina Totenberg, Linda Wertheimer and Susan Stamberg — who helped shape the public broadcaster's sound and culture at a time when few women held prominent roles in journalism. Bobby Allyn and Scott Neuman report. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PDT Wed Sep 18 2019   
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 8 ft  at 11 seconds. A slight chance of tstms. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. 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 (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

9/17 Jaegers, Growlers sued, SnoCo water, Hood Canal pollution, Covering Climate Now, shrub-steppe ecosystem

Jaeger in pursuit [Jeff Poklen]
Jaegers Give Chase in September
A tern or gull plunges headfirst into the water, then bounces aloft grasping a small fish in its bill. But before the bird can swallow its catch, a Parasitic Jaeger swoops in. The jaeger nips the bird's wing, and it drops its hard-won fish. The pirate catches the fish in mid-air and gulps it down. The jaeger (German for hunter) is built for sprinting speed and predatory feats. (BirdNote)

Whidbey Island residents sue over expansion of Navy training flights
When Marge Plecki and her husband built their retirement home on Whidbey Island in 2002, they were aware the Navy conducted training flights at a small airstrip nearby. The noise was bearable, though, and she planned around it by running errands or doing other chores while the jets roared. That changed dramatically in March, when the number of EA-18G Growlers in the skies vastly increased. The noise has sent Plecki and more than three dozen other residents of Whidbey Island's Admiral's Cove neighborhood to court, filing a lawsuit that seeks compensation for what they say is their inability to use their property. The neighborhood is a small enclave less than one mile from the end of the landing strip, just beneath the final approach and take-off path for the jets. Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

Residents asked: Is county water getting better or worse?
Of the 5,700 miles of rivers and streams in Snohomish County flowing to Puget Sound, 73% are in fair to poor condition, according to a new study. Released last week, data from the “State of Our Waters” program showed 27% of river and stream sites and 77% of lakes tested by Snohomish County Public Works are considered in good to excellent health. Some of the poorest water quality was found in Crystal Creek, McGovern Creek and a marshland stream east of Everett. Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Everett Herald)

As Hood Canal pollution program progresses, leaders look for sustainable funding
A years-long pollution clean-up program around Hood Canal is starting to see the fruits of its labor: restored shellfish harvesting areas, some of which are starting to reopen. The Hood Canal Coordinating Council wrapped up the third phase of its Pollution Identification and Correction program last month. The regional program — started in 2012 — coordinates efforts between Kitsap, Jefferson and Mason counties and the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Skokomish tribes to find and correct fecal pollution sources in the Hood Canal region. In the past five years, the PIC team has surveyed more than 130 miles of shoreline, inspected 1,158 parcels and identified 131 sewage system failures, which can seep bacterial pollutants into surrounding waterways. A recently released report shows nearly 100 failed systems have been repaired. Austen Macalus reports. (Kitsap Sun)

A new beginning for climate reporting
....It is report that the press may at last be waking up to the defining story of our time. At the end of April, the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation launched Covering Climate Now, a project aimed at encouraging news organizations, here and abroad, to raise their game when it comes to climate coverage. We weren’t going to tell people what to write or broadcast; we just wanted them to do more coverage, and to do it better. Close the gap, we urged them, between the size of the story and the ambition of your efforts. Try it for a week, then report back on what you learned...Our week of focused climate coverage began yesterday and will continue through next Monday, September 23, the day of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York. Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope write. (Columbia Journalism Review) Seattle's Jamie Margolin is 17 and a climate activist. On Wednesday she testifies before Congress.  Jim Brunner reports. (Seattle Times) Greta Thunberg To U.S.: 'You Have A Moral Responsibility' On Climate Change  Bill Chappell reports. (NPR) 'Americans are waking up.' Two-thirds say climate crisis must be addressed  Oliver Milman reports. (KUOW)

Saving the 'missing puzzle piece' to a world of biodiversity, hidden in grass and sagebrush
Once dominant on the landscape, Washington has lost most of its shrub-steppe ecosystem. But a new land acquisition could help the flora and fauna that rely on it survive. Emily McCarty reports. (Crosscut)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PDT Tue Sep 17 2019   
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less in the  afternoon. W swell 5 ft at 8 seconds. Rain. Isolated tstms in the  afternoon. 
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  7 ft at 9 seconds. Showers likely and isolated tstms in the  evening then a chance of showers after midnight.

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