Friday, January 31, 2020

1/31 Daffodils, weekend weather, snowpack, BC LNG, L41, ghost nets

Rijnveld daffodil
Early spring’s sprung on English Bay with 30,000 blooming daffodils
At English Bay, more than 30,000 daffodils are trumpeting the arrival of spring. They’ve started blooming bright yellow on two south-facing hillsides. One is close to the Inukshuk and the other, farther east near Sunset Beach. The star-shaped flowers are known as Rijnveld Early Sensation. They’re called trumpet daffodils because of their big, six-sided, star-shaped petals and dramatic funnel cup. Howard Normann, director of parks at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, loves them. “These ones are just so special because they’re out in January. I love them,” he said. Kevin Griffin reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Intense rain expected for Lower Mainland, much of Vancouver Island
A number of weather warnings are in effect across the B.C. South Coast, with heavy downpours in the forecast from the western coast of Vancouver Island through the eastern Fraser Valley. Up to 120 millimetres of rain are expected for much of the Island and the Valley, as well as Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. Howe Sound could see up to 130 millimetres before the weather system moves away on Saturday, according to Environment Canada.(CBC) Seattle broke a rain record this month, and we’re in for a blustery, wintry weekend Get ready for another little taste of winter this weekend, as winds whip through with gusts of up 60 miles per hour in some areas, temperatures tumble into the 30s and two rainy systems pass through the Puget Sound region.Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times)

Olympic snowpack above normal at end of January
Heavy precipitation in January has bolstered a once-diminutive Olympic Mountain snowpack. Snowpack was 120 percent of normal in the Olympics as of Thursday, up from 48 percent on New Year’s Day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Coastal GasLink opponents build new camp near pipeline route
Supporters of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs blocking a pipeline route near Houston, B.C., have built a third camp on disputed land covered by a court order. The camp's location — about 500 metres before an RCMP checkpoint — means visitors, including activists, can enter the area without being questioned or turned away by police. It's the third such site built by a group of people who call themselves "land defenders." All three camps were set up by the Gidimt'en clan. There are also several other camps around the contested land that have been set up by different clans. Betsy Trumpener reports. (CBC)

“He had a good life” – the story of a magnificent orca
Ken Balcomb, Founder and Senior Scientist, Center for Whale Research, writes: “My first acquaintance with the Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) we designated L41 was in 1977, the year after we began the annual Orca Survey of this population that continues to this day. His mother was L11, who was one of nine females to produce new babies that year following the cessation of captures in 1976. We watched the energetic young male baby as he grew up, and we had great hopes that he and his companions would fill in the youthful cohorts of the population that had been decimated by captures between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s...." (SeattlePI)

Helicopter Fishing For Ghost Nets In Hawaii
Nonprofits have banded together to explore a new way of removing abandoned fishing gear before it damages reefs or ensnares whales, dolphins, seals and turtles. Nathan Eagle reports. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PST Fri Jan 31 2020   
GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM PST THIS MORNING THROUGH  SATURDAY MORNIN    TODAY  SE wind 15 to 25 kt becoming S 25 to 35 kt in the  afternoon. Combined seas 11 to 13 ft with a dominant period of  13 seconds. Rain. 
 SW wind 30 to 40 kt. Combined seas 15 to 18 ft with a  dominant period of 12 seconds. Rain. 
 W wind 25 to 35 kt easing to 20 to 30 kt in the afternoon.  Combined seas 15 to 16 ft with a dominant period of 13 seconds.  Rain in the morning then a chance of rain in the afternoon. 
 W wind 25 to 35 kt becoming SW 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Combined seas 13 to 16 ft with a dominant period of  13 seconds. 
 SW wind 15 to 25 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 11 ft at 12 seconds.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

1/30 Italian arum, Navy hull scraping, BC pipes, Google AI tracking, Trump's bird kills, Trump's water rule, Pt Angeles clean up, Oly oysters, Miller Peninsula, no plastic

Italian arum [WA State NWCB]
Italian Arum Arum italicum
Italian arum is a nonnative perennial that was originally introduced as an ornamental plant. It has now naturalized in a number of counties in Western Washington and appears to be spreading more rapidly as additional infestations are being discovered. Due to it establishing in riparian areas and other habitats, its toxicity, and being very difficult to control once established, it is a Class C noxious weed to raise awareness and promote its control. Leaves emerge in the fall to late winter and die back in the summer. Leaf blades are arrowhead-shaped, green and may have cream, silver-gray or other colored veins and markings. Leaves on young plants may be more oval in shape. (WA State Noxious Weed Control Board)

Navy settles lawsuit, won't scrape ship hulls in Puget Sound
The U.S. Navy on Wednesday agreed to a 10-year moratorium on scraping the hulls of decommissioned vessels in Puget Sound. The deal, filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, settles a lawsuit filed by the Suquamish Tribe and two environmental groups, Washington Environmental Council and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined the lawsuit. In the settlement agreement, the Navy said it would not conduct further hull cleaning in Sinclair Inlet except to the extent it is required for hull integrity tests or to prepare the vessel to be put in dry-dock. It agreed the preferred method for cleaning vessel hulls is to do so in dry-dock where the pollution can be contained. (Associated Press)

B.C. Premier says court rulings on pipelines should be respected
Premier John Horgan has linked the battles over two major pipeline projects through British Columbia, saying once the legal fight is over, court decisions should be respected. Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Prince George, Horgan said he accepts that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has been approved by the courts after the province's recent defeat at the Supreme Court of Canada. In the case of Coastal GasLink's plans for a natural gas pipeline through northern B.C., he says he thinks hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en nation will come to the same realization on that project. (Canadian Press)

Google’s new AI model ‘listens’ to killer whales to help protect the species
Google‘s AI team has developed a new model to protect the endangered species of killer whales known as orcas in the Salish Sea. According to the Center for Whale Research, there are only 73 Southern Resident orcas — a subspecies of the killer whale — left in the world. So Google has teamed up with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to monitor their condition and alert experts in the event of sickness or accidents across 12 locations. Google‘s team trained its AI model using 1,800 hours of underwater audio and 68,000 labels that identified the origin of the sound. When the model “hears” sound of a whale, it displays its location on Rainforest Connection, an acoustic monitoring system for animals. Ivan Mehta reports. (The Next Web)

Trump Administration Moves to Ease Rules Against Killing Birds
The Trump administration will move as early as Thursday to weaken a century-old law protecting migratory birds by dropping the threat of punishment to oil and gas companies, construction crews and other organizations that kill birds “incidentally” in the course of their operations. The proposed regulation, if finalized, would cement a legal opinion that the Department of Interior issued in 2017. The agency’s top lawyer argued that previous administrations had interpreted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 too broadly, and that only actions explicitly intended to kill birds should be forbidden under the federal law. The death of a bird from an oil slick, the blade of a wind turbine or the spraying of illegal pesticides would no longer trigger penalties. Lisa Friedman reports. (BY Times)

Trump’s new water rule: What it means for mines and pollution
Less federal oversight often means more local jobs. But it could also mean more water pollution. Whether that’s progress may depend on whether you live upstream or downstream from a project. Patrik Jonsson reports. (Christian Science Monitor)

Port Angeles Harbor cleanup discussed
Sediment cleanup in west Port Angeles Harbor will cost $34.4 million and take six years to complete under a proposal shared during an open house. State Department of Ecology officials presented recommended alternatives contained in a 941-page remedial investigation/feasibility study for the long-planned cleanup of toxic materials during a two-hour open house at Olympic Medical Center on Tuesday. The recommended alternatives for the three sediment management areas — or cleanup sites — would be a combination of dredging and capping and enhanced monitored natural recovery of the seafloor. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Native oysters make comeback, thrive again in Puget Sound
After more than a century of overharvesting and industrial pollution, the Pacific Northwest's only native oyster is making a comeback in Washington's Puget Sound. The tiny, but resilient, Olympia oyster, or "Oly," is becoming a delicacy again at seafood restaurants after almost being wiped out from 95 percent of its habitat along 2,500 miles of estuary shoreline...A 25-year restoration plan is attempting to bring back some of the dense, foot-deep oyster beds that once thrived over about 10,000 acres along the inlet bays of Puget Sound. Oyster bed ecosystems filter algae from seawater and provide habitat for numerous sea creatures...The Puget Sound Restoration Fund set a goal by 2020 to restore 100 acres of dense oyster bed habitat, and it has restored 84 acres so far. Jean Lotus reports. (UPI)

State resurrects Miller Peninsula plans
A proposal to create a destination park on Miller Peninsula is back on the planning table. Staff with the Washington State Parks system are moving forward with a master plan to develop a state park on more than 2,800 acres on the peninsula between Sequim and the Clallam/Jefferson county boundary. In 2005, the Washington State Parks system began a six-year project to establish one of Washington’s next destination state parks, shelved those plans with a lack of secure funding. Michael Dashiell reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Scientists Managed to Find Marine Animals that Weren’t Contaminated by Plastic
Whales, seabirds, turtles, crabs, and worms—all kinds of marine animals are afflicted with plastic pollution. But seals living in the eastern Canadian Arctic seem to have so far escaped this modern plight. When scientists examined the stomach contents of the Arctic’s ringed, bearded, and harbor seals, they found krill, fish, kelp, roundworms, and even rocks. But not plastic.  Richa Malhotra reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  237 AM PST Thu Jan 30 2020   
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  15 ft at 16 seconds subsiding to 13 ft at 15 seconds in the  afternoon. A slight chance of rain in the morning then rain in  the afternoon. 
 S wind 20 to 30 kt becoming SW 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 12 ft at 13 seconds. Rain in the evening then  rain likely after midnight.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

1/29 Caspian tern, L41 feared dead, TMX opposition, kids climate, B'ham salmon hatchery

Caspian tern [Jeff Poklan/BirdWeb]
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia
Caspian Terns use fresh- and saltwater wetlands, especially estuaries, coastal bays, and beaches. They are not usually found on open ocean, but prefer protected waters. Nesting usually takes place on low sand or gravel islands with sparse vegetation. In Washington, the birds have shifted their preferred habitat from natural sites inland to coastal, human-altered sites (often islands made from dredged material). They have also shifted from nesting in small groups mixed with gulls to large colonies of only Caspian Terns. (Seattle Audubon]

Another southern resident orca feared dead
Another southern resident orca, L41, is feared dead, according to the Center for Whale Research. The whale, born in 1977, was not seen during an encounter with its family by the center’s researchers on Friday. Because of his age, and the fact that he was thin when he was seen a year ago, “we fear he may be gone and will consider him missing unless he shows up unexpectedly in an upcoming encounter,” the center reported. If L41 remains missing, that would bring the population of southern resident orcas to only 72, the second-lowest since the center first began its population census 45 years ago. There were 71 southern residents in 1976 at the end of the capture era, when a third of the pods were taken for sale to aquariums around the world. Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)

Opposition to Trans Mountain pipeline expansion spikes 11 percentage points, survey suggests
A new poll suggests that an increasing number of Canadians are opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The Angus Reid Institute poll found that opposition has risen 11 percentage points since June 2018, shortly after the Liberal government purchased TMX from Kinder Morgan. Shortly after the purchase, support for TMX was 57 per cent, while 26 per cent were opposed. Now, opposition sits at 37 per cent. A slight majority (55 per cent) of Canadians still profess to support the $7.4-billion project, which would ship 890,000 barrels of crude per day from Alberta to the British Columbia coast. But in Quebec and Ontario and B.C., public opinion seems to have turned sharply against the pipeline. Over the past 18 months, opposition has risen by 18 percentage points in Quebec (from 37 to 55 per cent), by 13 points in Ontario (from 23 to 36 per cent) and by 13 points in B.C. (from 28 to 41 per cent). (CBC)

The kids who sued the U.S. over climate change and lost aren't giving up
Despite setbacks, the young activists behind the landmark suit say they'll continue their court battle to enforce climate mitigation. Hannah Weinberger reports. (Crosscut)

Pilot salmon hatchery project in Bellingham to aid orcas supported by this proposal
Republican state legislators have introduced a bill, which includes a pilot hatchery project in Bellingham, that they believe will help increase the salmon population and help the orca whales. Called the Salmon Repopulation Act, Senate Bill 6509 and House Bill 2741 were recently introduced and referred to committees. The bills would attempt to bring a public-partnership in state-approved hatcheries, and potentially build a new hatchery on Bellingham’s waterfront. In a news conference held in Olympia on Tuesday, Jan. 28, several Republican legislators talked about the need for this public-private model to get more fish in local waters.... The bill is being met with skepticism from some Democratic legislators. House Rep. Sharon Shewmake, D-Bellingham, wrote in a statement that while no doubt well-intentioned, the proponents of this project are asking for more than $500,000 in funding without addressing major questions about where it would even fit within the legal or scientific framework for fish management in Washington. Dave Gallagher reports (Bellingham Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  623 AM PST Wed Jan 29 2020   
 S wind 20 to 30 kt becoming W 15 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft subsiding to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 11 ft at 13 seconds building to 13 ft at  13 seconds in the afternoon. Rain. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 13 ft at 13 seconds building to 16 ft  at 18 seconds 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, January 28, 2020

1/28 Splitnose rockfish, trees for salmon, New Jersey climate, Milwaukie OR climate, hard-to-recycle

Splitnose rockfish [Seattle Aquarium]
Splitnose rockfish Sebastes diploproa
Splitnose rockfish are distributed from the northern Gulf of Alaska (Prince William Sound) to central Baja California and occur at depths between 91-795 meters. Adults are the most abundant between British Columbia and southern California at depths from 215 to 350 meters (Fishsource)

Fallen trees sought to help restore salmon streams
A Vancouver Island non-profit society is looking for more than 1,000 pieces of wood and fallen trees in its project to restore salmon habitat in rivers around the island. Megan Francis, operations manager with Central Westcoast Forest Society, says natural timber that falls into rivers is an extremely important part of fish habitat... The non-profit is working on placing timber pieces in specific streams throughout Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds with the intention of increasing salmon habitat quality. They're seeking conifers like western hemlock, Sitka spruce, balsam fir, Douglas fir, and cedar between five to 12 metres long, and greater than 20 centimetres in diameter. (CBC)

With 130-Mile Coast, New Jersey Marks a First in Climate Change Fight
New Jersey will become the first state to require that builders take into account the impact of climate change, including rising sea levels, in order to win government approval for projects, Gov. Philip D. Murphy announced on Monday. The move by Mr. Murphy, a Democrat, is part of a widening effort by states to use regulations to address worsening climate conditions and to aggressively counteract the Trump administration’s push to roll back environmental regulations. New Jersey’s initiative is believed to be the broadest, and most specific, attempt to leverage land-use rules to control where and what developers can build, and to limit the volume of emissions that are spewed into the air. Tracey Tully reports. (NY Times)

Milwaukie Becomes 1st City In Oregon To Declare A Climate Emergency
Milwaukie has become the first city in Oregon to declare a climate emergency. Mayor Mark Gamba and city council members unanimously passed the resolution last week. Among other things, it speeds up by five years the city’s timeline for achieving the goals it previously adopted in its Climate Action Plan. The resolution also calls for the city to become carbon neutral by 2045. Monica Samayoa reports. (OPB)

How a Seattle startup is revolutionizing recycling
What started as a father-and-son recycling project between Ryan Metzger and his 8-year-old son, Owen, has now turned into Ridwell, a recycling collection service used by over 4,500 Seattleites and counting. The company found its niche by collecting hard-to-dispose-of items that are not accepted in the city's curbside collection like light bulbs, electronics, plastic wrap and single-use plastic bags, which the city stopped accepting as of Jan. 1. For $10-14 each month, customers are given a bin, reusable bags, and access to biweekly pickups of their items. The items are then distributed to the appropriate source where they can take on a new life. For example, Styrofoam and plastic film gets taken to a plant in Kent to make composite decking and new trash cans. Electronics get taken to 1 Green Planet in Renton for recycling or destruction. Callie Craighead reports. (SeattlePI)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  247 AM PST Tue Jan 28 2020   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E to 10 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 10 ft at 11 seconds. Showers  and a slight chance of tstms in the morning then a chance of  showers in the afternoon. 
 SE wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at 12 seconds. A slight  chance of 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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Monday, January 27, 2020

1/27 Giant wrymouth, Green Apple, sewage spill, Big Bar clean up, orca research, Duwamish people, sand mine danger, BC fish farm certification, BC LNG protest, Trump's raw sewage

Giant wrymouth [Seatte Aquarium]
Giant wrymouth Cryptacanthodes giganteus
The Giant wrymouth, is a species of wrymouth found in the northeastern Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea to northern California where it is believed to spend most of its life buried in soft areas at the bottom of the ocean at depths of from 6 to 128 metres(20 to 420 ft). This fish can reach a length of 117 centimetres (46 in). Like the wolf eel, giant wrymouths are easily mistaken for eels but are considered fish instead because of their lack of pectoral fins. (Wikipedia)

Whatcom County, Ericksen push to revive proposed renewable diesel plant near Ferndale
Whatcom County is reaching out to the companies behind a proposed, but recently scrapped, renewable diesel plant near Ferndale to see if the project can be revived. Phillips 66 and Renewable Energy Group Inc. announced on Tuesday, Jan. 21, that they were withdrawing from the project, surprising regulators and an environmental group. A release blamed “permitting delays and uncertainties” for the decision. Phillips 66 and Renewable Energy Group had formed Green Apple Renewable Fuels to build the plant...Newly elected County Executive Satpal Sidhu indicated in a release on Friday, Jan. 24, that the county has reached out to both companies to see if there is anything it can do to help resolve those uncertainties.... “We appreciate the many efforts that folks are taking to look for some resolution. We’ll certainly be open to those conversations,” Tim Johnson, director of Public and Government Affairs for the Phillips 66 refinery near Ferndale, said to The Bellingham Herald on Friday. In a previous interview, Johnson said what was at issue was the determination of significance recently issued by the Washington State Department of Ecology and Whatcom County government, which in turn triggered a requirement for an environmental impact statement. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

82,000-gallon sewage spill reported in Bremerton
An 82,000-gallon combined sewage spill resulted in a no-contact advisory for the Port Washington Narrows and Sinclair Inlet on Thursday — the latest in a series of waste spills reported in Bremerton this winter.  The Kitsap Public Health District is advising residents to avoid contact with water in the affected area, recommending against swimming, wading or direct skin contact with water. The no-contact advisory remains in effect through Wednesday, according to a press release Thursday afternoon. Bremerton Public Works reported the sewage spill involves approximately 82,400 gallons. Austin Macalus reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Cold weather both helping and hindering Big Bar landslide clean up
Winter weather has proven to be both advantageous and problematic as crews work to clean up the Big Bar landslide site. Cold temperatures have meant less water coming down from the mountains, so lower water levels on the site, making it easier for excavators to work in the river. That said, the cold snap B.C. experienced mid-January meant it was too cold for equipment or people to function. "We're through some of that really, really cold weather and people are on the site now working," B.C. Forest Minister Doug Donaldson told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce. Right now, crews are working to clear enough of the fallen rock to create a passage for fish before spring freshet and rising river levels in March. Donaldson said workers will be drilling into rock and moving it elsewhere to allow water to flow more easily, without creating such a dramatic drop that the fish aren't able to manoeuver it. Courtney Dickson reports. (CBC)

Orca research extends lower into food chain
In an effort to identify more pieces of the puzzle affecting endangered Southern Resident orca whales, a nonprofit research group is looking to examine the stomach contents of chinook salmon caught in areas of the Salish Sea. For the third year, the group, Kwiaht: Center for the Historical Ecology of the Salish Sea, will have a presence at the annual Resurrection Derby in Anacortes to help clean fish in exchange for obtaining stomach samples and other data for ongoing research. The derby is scheduled for Feb. 1-2, with weigh-ins at the Cap Sante Marina. “The fishing derbies in particular are a great resource for collecting scientific data,” Kwiaht wildlife biologist Christian Oldham said, explaining that the researchers would rather use fish being caught for consumption than catch and harm more fish for their work. “The salmon derbies that are already happening offer a great opportunity to partner with local fishermen. The fish are going to be consumed, so they are going to be used anyway.” Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

The Duwamish people were here first. Should Seattleites pay them rent?
To help right the wrongs of history, thousands of people are paying rent each month to the Duwamish Tribe. Called “Real Rent Duwamish,” the all-volunteer effort — in partnership with the tribe — facilitates monthly “rent” payments to the tribe. Launched in 2017, Real Rent Duwamish has had 4,524 donors so far, now totaling around $20,000 a month. The struggles of the Duwamish Tribe, Seattle’s original people, are a microcosm of the experience of many Native tribes in the U.S. Naomi Ishisaka reports. (Seattle Times)

Triangle trouble: Neighbors worry Bainbridge sand mine endangers their water
As the rain dumps on them, islanders Nick Masla and Mike Sherry stand along Fletcher Bay Road and peer at a muddy property a short walk from their homes. They can only shake their heads at it. The site is known, appropriately, on the island as the “triangle property,” with its three boundaries the portions of Bucklin Hill Road, Fletcher Bay Road and Lynwood Center Road. In recent months, it's been activated as a small sand mine. Heavy equipment rumbles there. Trucks roll in with fill material and roll out laden with sand, according to neighbors. “It’s ugly,” Masla said. “And it’s a residential zone.” Over the last few months the activity has drawn the attention of neighbors like Masla and Sherry concerned about their drinking water, which comes from a well drawing on an aquifer estimated to sit about 50 feet beneath the surface of the site. Nathan Piling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Green collaboration nets B.C. fish farm certification milestone
Every active Atlantic salmon farm in B.C. is either certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council or in the assessment process, putting the industry on the verge of meeting its pledge to certify every farm in the province. The milestone is the result of a unique made-in-B.C. collaboration between the aquaculture industry, First Nations, and environmental organizations to create a standard that is being adopted worldwide. ASC certification requires that each farm meet 150 criteria from sustainable feed composition and minimizing use of antibiotics and pesticides to preventing escapes and protecting the marine environment. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Indigenous youth chant 'stand up, fight back' at B.C. anti-pipeline protest
Chanting Indigenous youth gathered at the British Columbia legislature in support of hereditary Wet'suwet'en chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline project running through their traditional territory. The protest comes two days after Indigenous youth occupied a B.C. government Energy and Mines Ministry office that ended when Victoria police arrested 13 people...About 100 people attended the legislature protest urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan to respect Wet'suwet'en laws. Horgan has said the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline project has the approval of the courts, the province and elected Indigenous governments along the route and it will be built. (Canadian Press)

E.P.A. Is Letting Cities Dump More Raw Sewage Into Rivers for Years to Come
The Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for cities to keep dumping raw sewage into rivers by letting them delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems, according to interviews with local officials, water utilities and their lobbyists. Cities have long complained about the cost of meeting federal requirements to upgrade aging sewer systems, many of which release untreated waste directly into waterways during heavy rains — a problem that climate change worsens as rainstorms intensify. These complaints have gained new traction with the Trump administration, which has been more willing to renegotiate the agreements that dictate how, and how quickly, cities must overhaul their sewers. The actions are the latest example of the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back nearly 95 environmental rules that it has said are too costly for industry or taxpayers. Christopher Flavell reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PST Mon Jan 27 2020   
 S wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 12 ft at 15 seconds. A  chance of showers in the morning then showers likely in the  afternoon. 
 E wind 20 to 30 kt becoming SE 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft subsiding to 1 to 3 ft after  midnight. W swell 10 ft at 14 seconds. Rain.

"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, January 24, 2020

1/24 Salamander, crab acid, mussel water, Jordan Cove, Pebble Mine fight, Trump's San Juans, Trump's science, doomsday clock, financial meltdown

Western red-backed salamander [Gary Nafis]
Western red-backed salamander Plethodon vehiculum
The western red-backed salamander is a species of salamander in the family Plethodontidae. The species is found in extreme southwestern Canada and the northwestern United States. The western red-backed salamander is found in temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. It is considered widespread in the region and is not strictly associated with a specific habitat type. (Wikipedia)

Crab larvae off Oregon and Washington suffering shell damage from ocean acidification, new research shows
Ocean acidification is damaging the shells of young Dungeness crab in the Northwest, an impact that scientists did not expect until much later this century, according to new research. A study released this week in the journal Science of the Total Environment is based on a 2016 survey of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia coastal waters that examined larval Dungeness. The findings add to the concerns about the future of the Dungeness as atmospheric carbon dioxide — on the rise due to fossil-fuel combustion — is absorbed by the Pacific Ocean and increases acidification. “If the crabs are affected already, we really need to make sure we start to pay attention to various components of the food chain before it is too late,” said Nina Bednarsek, the lead author among 13 contributing scientists. The study was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Mussels provide insight to marine water quality
With headlamps glowing and rubber boots crunching across the beach, a group of four volunteers led by the state Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Mariko Langness ventured in the darkness Monday night toward the Guemes Channel shoreline at N Avenue Park. “Let’s see what we’ve got,” Langness said as they set out. The group was retrieving a cage holding 100 native bay mussels that had been in the water since the last week of October. The cage was one of dozens put out in the fall in an ongoing effort to learn more about water contamination along the state’s marine shorelines. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Jordan Cove Energy Project Withdraws Application For Key Oregon Permit
The Jordan Cove Energy Project has abruptly withdrawn its application for a key permit from the state of Oregon. In a letter dated Jan. 23, the project told the Oregon Department of State Lands that the company was withdrawing the application effective Friday. No reason was given, but earlier this week, the department had denied Jordan Cove’s request for a fifth deadline extension for the application. It’s not immediately clear what the withdrawal means for the Jordan Cove project. Liam Moriarty reports. (Jefferson Public Radio)

Tribes stand united in fight to protect Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine
Leaders from five Coast Salish tribes joined a delegation from the United Tribes of Bristol Bay in Seattle this week to formally unveil a Bristol Bay Proclamation. It demands that the U.S. government protect the tribes' way of life, as “people of the salmon,” by halting the permitting process for the so-called Pebble Mine in Southeast Alaska. And it’s a pledge of unity in a fight that has been an uphill battle. The tribes say the land and water of three native peoples near the proposed mining area could be devastated by the Pebble Partnership’s efforts to extract copper, gold and other minerals.   Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Recreation over preservation? Residents and Natives worry the San Juan Islands could be ‘loved to death’
The federal government helped make the islands a national monument. But locals worry a Trump-era focus on making public lands productive could be their undoing. Levi Pulkkinen reports. (Crosscut)

Science ranks grow thin in Trump administration
Dozens of government computers sit in a nondescript building here, able to connect to a data model that could help farmers manage the impact of a changing climate on their crops. But no one in this federal agency would know how to access the model, or, if they did, what to do with the data. That’s because the ambitious federal researcher who created it in Washington quit rather than move when the Agriculture Department relocated his agency to an office park here last fall. He is one of hundreds of scientists across the federal government who have been forced out, sidelined or muted since President Trump took office. The exodus has been fueled broadly by administration policies that have diminished the role of science as well as more specific steps, such as the relocation of agencies away from the nation’s capital. Annie Gowen, Juliet Eilperin, Ben Guarino and Andrew Ba Tran report. (Washington Post)

Squamish lands low-carbon startup Nexii to bolster clean-tech cred
Nexii Building Solutions, the Vancouver-headquartered startup selling the construction sector on an alternative, lower-carbon building system, is proposing to produce its materials in Squamish, the company said Thursday. That is a welcome development for the District of Squamish, home to clean-tech poster case Carbon Engineering and a growing cluster of environmentally friendly businesses. “Squamish is clearly charting a future to reach carbon neutrality, so I believe these companies want to be part of that journey with us,” said Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott. “There is a lot of alignment with the vision were creating and people like Carbon Engineering and Nexii see for their companies.” Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

The End May Be Nearer: Doomsday Clock Moves Within 100 Seconds Of Midnigh
Two years after moving the metaphorical minute hand of its Doomsday Clock to within two minutes to midnight — a figurative two-minute warning for all humanity — the science and security board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
revealed Thursday that it has moved that minute hand another 20 seconds closer to the midnight hour. “It is 100 seconds to midnight,” declared the Bulletin‘s president and CEO, Rachel Bronson, at a Washington, D.C., news conference as a black cloth was lifted to reveal the clock. Never since the clock’s 1947 Cold War debut has it come so close to the putative doomsday annihilation represented by the 12 a.m. hour. David Welna reports. (NPR)

Climate Change Could Cause the Next Financial Meltdown
Climate change has already been blamed for deadly bush fires in Australia, withering coral reefs, rising sea levels and ever more cataclysmic storms. Could it also cause the next financial crisis? A report issued this week by an umbrella organization for the world’s central banks argued that the answer is yes, while warning that central bankers lack tools to deal with what it says could be one of the biggest economic dislocations of all time. The book-length report, published by the Bank for International Settlements, in Basel, Switzerland, signals what could be the overriding theme for central banks in the decade to come. Jack Ewing reports. (NY Times)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  229 AM PST Fri Jan 24 2020   
 SE wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SW 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 10 ft at 10 seconds.  Showers in the morning then showers likely in the afternoon. 
 S wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE after midnight. Wind  waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 10 ft at 15 seconds. A chance of showers  in the evening then rain likely after midnight. 
 SE wind 10 to 20 kt becoming W to 10 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 8 ft at 14 seconds. Rain in the  morning then rain likely in the afternoon. 
 E wind to 10 kt rising to 15 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft building to 3 to 5 ft after  midnight. W swell 8 ft at 13 seconds. 
 NW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW 20 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 4 to 5 ft building to 5 to 7 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 8 ft at 17 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, January 23, 2020

1/23 Hemlock, Cooke steelhead, Puget Sound health, Trump's clean water, oil spill cost, coal terminal suit, BC LNG protest, chemical pollution, Guemes Is water

Western hemlock [Tree A Day]
Western hemlock  Tsuga heterophylla
A large evergreen coniferous tree native to the west coast of North America, the western hemlock tree is the largest species of hemlock (growing an average of 50 - 70 meters tall, and sometimes to 78 meters) with a trunk diameter of up to 2.7 meters. The western hemlock lives a long life (trees over 1200 years old are known). Washington's abundant evergreen forests are the basis for its unofficial nickname; "The Evergreen State." Washington designated the western hemlock as the official state tree in 1947. State Symbols USA)

Cooke Aquaculture gets approval from state wildlife agency to farm steelhead in Puget Sound
Cooke Aquaculture Pacific has been granted a five-year permit to farm steelhead in Puget Sound. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the company’s permit Tuesday, allowing Cooke to transition its net pens from Atlantic salmon to all-female, mostly sterile steelhead. After hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon escaped a Cooke net-pen structure in 2017, the company faced some $332,000 in fines over water quality. Following the escapes, the Legislature in March 2018 voted to phase out farming of nonnative fish — including Atlantic salmon — in Washington waters. The company’s pivot to steelhead could allow it to continue operating in Washington waters, something opponents of the fish-farming industry have promised to fight. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Partnership explores revised measures of Puget Sound health, as 2020 deadline arrives
Chris Dunagan in Our Water Ways writes: "It is the year 2020. You could say that the time has run out for restoring Puget Sound to a healthy condition. But time marches on. When the Legislature created the Puget Sound Partnership in 2007, lawmakers included this sentence in state law: “It is the goal of the state that the health of Puget Sound be restored by 2020.” The Partnership then proceeded to establish “Vital Signs indicators” to measure progress along the path to restoration, along with “targets” that describe the conditions that should be observed by 2020. While a healthy Puget Sound is still a distant goal, restoration work continues throughout Puget Sound. Today, scientists better understand what it will take to achieve a healthy ecosystem, and they will soon unveil some new ways of measuring progress — which I will touch on later in this blog post..."

Trump rolls back US water pollution controls
The Trump administration is set to scrap protections for America's streams and wetlands, repealing Barack Obama's Waters of the United States regulation. The move, expected Thursday, will dismantle federal protections for more than half of wetlands and hundreds of small waterways in the US. The White House says the change will be a victory for American farmers. But critics say the change will be destructive - part of Mr Trump's wider assault on environmental protections. (BBC)

The Cost of a Salish Sea Oil Spill? We Still Don’t Know
An oil spill in the Salish Sea could be ecologically devastating. That’s widely accepted. But how much would it cost? Apparently, no one knows...[A] November 2019 study commissioned by California’s Office of Spill Response and Prevention....finds that a spill of heavy persistent oil—the type of crude that is often transported in the Salish Sea—could cost up to $70,386 per barrel for spills between 100 and 10,000 barrels, which works out to a potential cost of more than $700 million for a 10,000-barrel spill. Eric de Place and Paelina DeStephano report. (Sightline)

Wyoming asks Supreme Court to decide challenge to blocked Washington coal terminal
Gov. Mark Gordon announced Tuesday that Wyoming will take legal action against Washington state over its blocking of a key coal export terminal, a decision long awaited by state lawmakers who see the west coast terminal as crucial to bringing Powder River Basin coal to international markets. Wyoming has joined Montana in asking the U.S. Supreme Court for a hearing on the dispute. By blocking the construction of the largest coal export terminal on the west coast, Washington sought to regulate interstate commerce and thereby violated the Dormant Commerce Clause and Foreign Commerce Closure of the U.S. Constitution, the two coal-producing states allege.  Camille Erickson and Nick Reynolds report. (Casper Star-Tribune)

12 arrested in Victoria during occupation of provincial government offices over Coastal GasLink pipeline
Victoria police say its officers took 12 people into custody following an occupation protesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline project. The group had started a sit-in in the lobby at 11 a.m. PT at the provincial government building in the 1800-block of Blanshard Avenue on Tuesday. The youth are supporting Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who oppose the 670-kilometre LNG pipeline project from B.C.'s northeast to Kitimat on the coast. Coastal GasLink has signed benefit agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the route. But the hereditary chiefs argue band councils only have jurisdiction over reserve lands, not unceded territories. (Canadian Press)

What’s in Puget Sound? New technique casts a wide net for concerning chemicals
The waters of Puget Sound support many species, including mussels, salmon and killer whales. But researchers know that runoff from land in the urbanized areas might contain chemicals that could harm these creatures, even if it’s not always clear which chemicals are the most harmful. Existing methods track specific chemicals of known concern. Until recently, however, there was no way to find out what other potentially harmful compounds might be present in the water. Using a new “non-targeted” approach, researchers at the University of Washington and UW Tacoma screened samples from multiple regions of Puget Sound to look for other concerning chemicals. The team identified 64 chemicals never detected before in this waterway. Eight chemicals were at potentially hazardous concentrations that will need further investigation. The team published these results Dec. 30 in Environmental Science & Technology. Sarah McQuate reports. (UW News)

Planning commission hears arguments on Guemes Island water issues
Advocates of changes to water policy on Guemes Island spoke Tuesday evening during a public hearing in front of the Skagit County Planning Commission.  Because of the increasing threats of limited groundwater and seawater intrusion in wells, members of the Guemes Island Planning Advisory Committee has proposed amendments to the county's comprehensive plan to relax regulations on using rainwater as a domestic water source and to enforce county code that requires pre-approval to dig new wells. In late December, county planning staff recommended against approving the two proposed amendments, instead suggesting tweaks or re-interpretations of existing code. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  229 AM PST Thu Jan 23 2020   
 S wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 10 ft at 10 seconds.  Rain in the morning then rain likely in the afternoon. 
 E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at 14 seconds. Rain.

"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, January 22, 2020

1/22 Puffin, Ferndale plant, BC LNG, planting trees, wolverines, plastic Coke, Starbucks climate

Tufted puffin [Otto Plantema/Buiten-Beeld/Minden Pictures]
The Secret of This Puffin’s Big Beak
At the height of summer, Hannes Schraft scaled the muddy slopes of Alaska’s Middleton Island, trying to get as close as possible to its most majestic residents: tufted puffins...chraft’s interest in the birds’ beaks was motivated by a hypothesis—that puffins dissipate excess heat through their bills—posited by Kyle Elliott, an ecologist at McGill University in Quebec. Bird beaks are highly vascularized, with large amounts of blood pumping through their many vessels...Schraft’s study shows that puffins do the same thing, using the wide surface of their bill to dispense the immense amounts of energy generated during flight. Their heat output, according to some back-of-the-envelope calculations by Elliott, is equivalent to that generated by a light bulb. Greg Noone explains. (Hakai Magazine)

Plans to build a renewable diesel plant near Ferndale have been scrapped.
The two companies behind a proposed renewable diesel plant on the Phillips 66 refinery near Ferndale announced Tuesday, Jan. 21, that they will not build the project. Phillips 66 and Renewable Energy Group Inc. were behind the proposal and had formed Green Apple Renewable Fuels to build the plant. A release blamed “permitting delays and uncertainties” for the decision to withdraw the project. Specifically, it was the determination of significance recently issued by the Washington State Department of Ecology and Whatcom County government, which in turn triggered a requirement for an environmental impact statement, according to Tim Johnson, director of Public and Government Affairs for the Phillips 66 refinery near Ferndale...That requirement added two years for permitting and that placed the project at risk for not being online until 2024 — putting the project at a competitive disadvantage to other renewable projects out of state, Johnson said. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Indigenous pipeline supporters slam human-rights advocates over Coastal GasLink stance
A collective of First Nations who support the liquefied natural gas industry in British Columbia say human rights advocates failed to do their research when they called for the Coastal GasLink pipeline project to be halted. The First Nations LNG Alliance has issued open letters to the B.C. human rights commissioner and the United Nations Committee to End Racial Discrimination over statements they made about the pipeline. The commissioner and committee both called for the project to be stopped in the face of opposition from Wet'suwet'en hereditary clan chiefs, who say the project has no authority without their consent. (Canadian Press)

How planting trees can help in the fight against climate change
Trees suck Earth-warming carbon out of the atmosphere far more efficiently than any machine. A foundation responsible for planting millions of new trees around the world has inspired hope that trees could become an even more potent weapon in the battle against climate change. The group is part of a growing constellation of campaigns that seek to reforest every continent except Antarctica. Ben Guarino reports. (Washington Post)

Where Have All The Wolverines Gone? Apparently Not On The Endangered Species List
Wolverines are the largest members of the weasel family, but they look more like small bears with bushy tails. Conservation groups say the animals need to be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Ten groups want to force the federal government to protect the elusive wolverines. The groups estimate there are around 300 wolverines left, sparsely scattered across the Mountain West, including Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Their young depend on snowy, high altitude habitat that could disappear as the climate warms. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW News Network)

People still want plastic bottles, says Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola will not ditch single-use plastic bottles because consumers still want them, the firm's head of sustainability has told the BBC. Customers like them because they reseal and are lightweight, said Bea Perez. The firm, which is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste, has pledged to recycle as many plastic bottles as it uses by 2030...The drinks giant produces about three million tonnes of plastic packaging a year - equivalent to 200,000 bottles a minute. Daniel Thomas reports. (BBC)

Starbucks announces new sustainability push, aiming to slash waste, water use and carbon emissions
In yet another sign of corporate America’s growing focus on environmental sustainability, Starbucks has launched an ambitious plan to cut its waste, water use and carbon emissions in half by 2030. The plan, announced Tuesday by Starbucks CEO and President Kevin Johnson, appears to be driven by a mix of government regulation, activist pressure and internal concerns about the Seattle-based company’s image as the public pays closer attention to environmental issues. Paul Roberts reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PST Wed Jan 22 2020   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft building to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 13 ft at 13 seconds subsiding to 10 ft at  12 seconds in the afternoon. Rain. 
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell  8 ft at 10 seconds. Rain.

"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, January 21, 2020

1/21 Ruff, shore fixes, house on fire, Site C Dam waste, snowpack, BC Ferries protest, illegal marinas, plastic ban

Ruff in the rough [Laurie MacBride]
It's Been Ruff Out There
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Most mornings our six-member deer family gathers on the lawn outside our kitchen window for an hour or so, browsing, ruminating, grooming and relaxing in our dog-free zone (one of very few in our neighbourhood). But for several days this week, something was decidedly wrong. Reddy the fawn was there with his mom, Scarlet, but his twin brother Ruff was missing. Winter is tough on fawns and only about half survive their first year.... (read more)"

Lawmakers urge fish-friendly fixes to seaside properties
One year after Washington state lawmakers stiffened restrictions on shoreline “armor” that drew bitter opposition from the building industry, Democrats have put forward what amounts to a soft sell for softer shores on Puget Sound. Legislation introduced last week would require Sound-side homeowners to consider fish-friendly fixes before rebuilding aging concrete seawalls to protect their land from erosion. While no new penalties or standards would be created by the bill, the proposal has been described as overly restrictive by industry groups already fighting other regulations aimed at seaside property owners. Shoreside concrete walls — “bulkheads” to defenders, “hard armor” to detractors — stifle the flow of sand and gravel from the seaside onto beaches that nourish the tiny fish that are a key part of the food chain. Without that supply of new sand flowing downhill to the shore, the beach beyond a wall grows steadily steeper, shrinking the sandy, cobbled tideland that supports nesting by small fish that feed juvenile chinook salmon. Chinook are the main prey of the endangered orcas that frequent Puget Sound. Levi Pulkkinen reports. (Investigate West)

Greta Thunberg’s Message at Davos Forum: ‘Our House Is Still on Fire’
Greta Thunberg on Tuesday punched a hole in the promises emerging from a forum of the global political and business elite and offered instead an ultimatum: Stop investing in fossil fuels immediately, or explain to your children why you did not protect them from the “climate chaos” you created. “I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing the climate chaos you knowingly brought upon them?” Ms. Thunberg, 17, said at the annual gathering of the world’s rich and powerful in Davos, a village on the icy reaches of the Swiss Alps. Somini Sengupta reports. (NY Times)

‘A colossal waste’: BC Hydro report hints at cost overruns at Site C dam
The troubled Site C dam project is poised for more cost overruns and schedule delays despite repeated assurances from B.C.’s NDP government that the project will be delivered on time and within its revised budget of $10.7 billion.  Details are found in BC Hydro’s unusually frank quarterly report to the B.C. Utilities Commission, filed on Jan. 15, which reveals significant problems with the publicly funded dam amidst the typically positive project updates. Some of the more serious issues include “significant cost pressures and/or budget increases” since the NDP government approved an additional $2 billion for the project two years ago and a September cost risk analysis showing that the revised Site C dam project budget is already “under pressure.” Sarah Cox reports. (The Narwhal)

Snowpack boosted by storms
Snowstorms last week have boosted snowpack in the North Cascades from 64% of normal at the end of 2019 to 95% Monday. Snowpack is important in the state because as it melts it supplies water for streams and rivers during the summer. Having ample snow in the mountains come spring means a better chance of keeping the flow of rivers, including the Skagit, healthy for fish and robust enough to support communities, farms and industry that rely on the rivers for water. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

BC Ferries sailings delayed after protesters block access to Swartz Bay ferry terminal
The Swartz Bay ferry terminal near Victoria has reopened after a protest blocked access and delayed a number of sailings early Monday. The demonstration began before dawn, delaying 7 a.m. crossings from Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for more than an hour. The sailing from Tsawwassen eventually left the terminal around 8:10 a.m., but a later crossing was cancelled altogether. A statement from a group, which did not identify itself, said the demonstration is in support of Wet'suwet'en members opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. The terminal reopened as the protest ended around 9 a.m., and traffic started flowing again. BC Ferries said all sailings leaving Swartz Bay would be delayed until traffic on Highway 17 has cleared. (CBC)

Out of sight, illegal marinas grow into hazard on Snohomish
They sit in hidden places. Like tucked away north of the U.S. 2 trestle, down a gravel road, behind a locked gate on a property that resembles a junkyard. Signs along the barriers warn “No Trespassing” and “Beware of Dog.” There, illegally stored houseboats, tugs and bayliners float — and sometimes sink, causing headaches for state and local agencies charged with protecting marine life and restoring salmon habitat. Of the dozen or so such marinas identified by the state Department of Natural Resources in recent years, about half were on the Snohomish River, where out-of-the-way estuaries and aging docks provide the ideal camouflage for such operations, department officials say. Joseph Thompson reports. (Everett Herald)

What the plastic bag ban would mean for Seattle, the pulp and paper industry
Washington lawmakers are moving to pass a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags — legislation that would supersede Seattle’s local ban and increase the paper-bag fee to 8 cents. The ban failed to make it through the Legislature last year, but lawmakers are trying again. The Senate passed the bill 30-19 last week, with two Republican lawmakers crossing party lines, and the bill now moves to the state House of Representatives. Currently, 37 jurisdictions in Washington — most west of the Cascades — prohibit retail stores from distributing such bags, according to Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the sponsor of Senate Bill 5323. Twelve of these local ordinances were passed just last year, most of them allowing for paper bags for 5- or 10-cent fees at customers’ requests. SB 5323’s 8-cent fee on paper and durable plastic bags is a 2-cent decrease from last year’s proposed legislation. Lawmakers say the fee will act as a partial “cost recovery” for retailers who have to move away from cheaper plastic bags. Claudia Yaw reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  232 AM PST Tue Jan 21 2020   
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 11 ft  at 14 seconds building to 13 ft at 16 seconds in the afternoon.  Showers. 
 SW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 15 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 15 ft at 13 seconds.  Rain.

"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, January 20, 2020

1/20 MLK Day, youth climate, CO2 model, BP carbon pricing, surf smelt success, Big Bar slide, Skagit steelhead, plastic bans, Jumbo Glacier deal, Newhalem dig, BC ferry, Whatcom hornet, Argosy

[PHOTO: Rolls Press/Popperfoto / Getty Images]
Federal appeals court tosses landmark youth climate lawsuit against U.S. government
A federal appeals court on Friday threw out a 2015 lawsuit by nearly two dozen young people to force the U.S. government to take more aggressive action on climate change, saying that the children did not have legal standing to bring the landmark case. Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote that the plaintiffs had “made a compelling case that action is needed” to slash the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. But the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled 2 to 1 that the courts were not the place to compel such action. “We reluctantly conclude, however, that the plaintiffs’ case must be made to the political branches or to the electorate at large, the latter of which can change the composition of the political branches through the ballot box,” Hurwitz wrote. Brady Dennis reports. (Washington Post)

New climate models suggest Paris goals may be out of reach
New climate models show carbon dioxide is a more potent greenhouse gas than previously understood, a finding that could push the Paris treaty goals for capping global warming out of reach, scientists have told AFP. Developed in parallel by separate teams in half-a-dozen countries, the models—which will underpin revised UN temperature projections next year—suggest scientists have for decades consistently underestimated the warming potential of CO2. Vastly more data and computing power has become available since the current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections were finalised in 2013. "We have better models now," Olivier Boucher, head of the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace Climate Modelling Centre in Paris, told AFP, adding that they "represent current climate trends more accurately". Marlowe Hood reports. (Phys.Org)

New BP ad campaign calls on Washington Legislature to put a price on carbon pollution from fossil fuels
Declaring that the “findings of climate scientists are real, and the world is on an unsustainable path,” energy giant BP is launching a public relations campaign this weekend to promote putting a price on carbon pollution in Washington state. This latest chapter in BP’s political activism comes less than two years after the company spent nearly $13 million to defeat Washington Initiative 1631, a carbon-pricing ballot measure the company criticized because it included oil refiners, but exempted many other polluters. BP sent a statement Tuesday to legislators calling for passage of Senate Bill 5981, which would place an overall cap on state carbon emissions.  This would be lowered over time and — through the sale of pollution allowances — raise funds to invest in energy efficiency, low-income assistance and other projects. Hal Bernton and Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times0

Surf smelt eggs a sign of success at restored Bowman Bay beach
After five years of scooping up samples from the beach at Deception Pass State Park’s Bowman Bay and finding only sand and pebbles, a group of volunteers made an exciting discovery. Surf smelt eggs were found in some of the samples collected during the summer, providing a sign that restoration work has brought surf smelt, a kind of small fish eaten by salmon and other marine animals, back to these shores. The Northwest Straits Foundation, which led the restoration work, is calling the new find a sign of success. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

New fisheries minister visits B.C. slide site, says it’s her ‘top priority’
Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of a massive landslide in British Columbia’s Fraser River on Friday in her first official trip since being appointed to the role late last year. She says the disaster at Big Bar, northwest of Kamloops, is her top priority and has been a key issue for the government since it was discovered in June because it threatens crucial salmon runs. Jordan says the slide is the size of a building that is 35 storeys tall and 18 storeys across and it was “spectacular” to see the ongoing work by provincial, federal and First Nations authorities. (Canadian Press)

No Skagit River steelhead fishery this spring
The catch-and-release steelhead fishery held on the Skagit River the past two years will not be held in 2020 due to a forecast indicating a low number of fish may return to spawn. The state Department of Fish & Wildlife announced this week the decision not to hold the fishery. Wild steelhead in the Puget Sound region are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. After being listed as threatened in 2007, Fish & Wildlife closed fishing for steelhead from 2010 to 2017. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Poulsbo moves toward banning plastic bags as legislators consider statewide ban
As the city of Poulsbo moves toward becoming the final city in Kitsap County to ban single-use plastic bags, legislators in Olympia are considering the same move statewide. Last week Poulsbo City Council members advanced a bag ban proposal in a committee that would mirror the ban that went into effect in unincorporated Kitsap County at the beginning of 2020, city officials said. Kitsap County, Bremerton and Port Orchard bans went into effect Jan. 1, and Bainbridge Island has had one on its books since 2012. Poulsbo City Council members are expected to vote on the measure in February, Mayor Becky Erickson said. The city ordinance would give businesses a transition period to adapt to the new rules, she said. Nathan Piling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Single-use plastic: China to ban bags and other items
hina, one of the world's biggest users of plastic, has unveiled a major plan to reduce single-use plastics across the country. Non-degradable bags will be banned in major cities by the end of 2020 and in all cities and towns by 2022. The restaurant industry will also be banned from using single-use straws by the end of 2020. China has for years been struggling to deal with the rubbish its 1.4 billion citizens generate. (BBC)

Jumbo Glacier deal enshrines Indigenous protected area, consigns mega-resort to history
Conservation has won in the 30-year battle over the $1 billion Jumbo Glacier resort with an agreement to extinguish the developer’s tenures and turn the area into a First Nations protected area, the Ktunaxa First Nation announced Saturday. The Ktunaxa began an effort last year to buy out proposed resort owner’s tenures for Jumbo to turn the land into a conservation area that they call Qat’muk, backed in part by $16.1 million in funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canada Nature Fund and $5 million from private foundations. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Illegal dig under investigation in Newhalem area
The National Park Service is investigating the desecration of an archaeological site in the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, and the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe is hoping to bring those responsible to justice. “From the tribe’s perspective, when we first heard about what happened, we were shocked and dismayed that someone would do something like this at a cultural site,” Scott Schuyler of the Upper Skagit said. “Some of these places are thousands of years old, and the fact that someone would want to come in and purposely destroy, damage or steal, it’s just unbelievable.” Over the summer, evidence of digging was found at the Newhalem Rock Shelter camp used by the ancestors of the Upper Skagit tribe. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Clallam County seeks to spur Ecology to act on dump site, permits
Clallam County commissioners will consider Tuesday a letter to the state Department of Ecology seeking support for the remediation of the Midway Metals site east of Port Angeles. The proposed letter to Ecology Governmental Relations Director Denise Clifford also questions the agency’s decision to issue Phase II stormwater permit coverage on “a bunch of gutters and ditches” on two small unincorporated areas outside of Port Angeles, Code Enforcement Officer Diane Harvey said. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

B.C.'s first hybrid electric ferries to arrive Saturday in Victoria
Two hybrid electric ferries are set to arrive at Ogden Point in Victoria, B.C., Saturday morning — the first of BC Ferries' new Island Class vessels. The ships, each with a capacity to hold 47 vehicles and up to 450 passengers, use diesel fuel to generate electricity that is then stored in batteries, according to a statement from BC Ferries.  The technology will "[bridge] the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in B.C.," the statement says. Adam van der Zwan reports. (CBC)

Whatcom County Faces Unprecedented Hornet Invasion 
[1/14/20 BELLINGHAM] World’s largest hornet threatens vulnerable local honeybee populations Erasmus Baker reports. (Western Front)

After century-long odyssey, Argosy washes ashore in Tulalip
She had survived nearly 100 years on the water. After a sometimes rocky odyssey, the Argosy may have reached her final resting place. Earlier this week, the 55-foot-long yacht washed ashore on Mission Beach in Tulalip. Kim Heltne noticed the wooden ghost ship floating in Possession Sound on Sunday, as a snow storm moved in. Days later, the Argosy had settled in the sand near Heltne’s home. It’s not clear yet what will happen with the boat. Because the vessel is on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, state agencies don’t have permission to move the yacht, said Troy Wood, derelict vessel program manager for the state Department of Natural Resources. Stephanie Davey reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PST Mon Jan 20 2020   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E to 10 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at 15 seconds. Rain. 
 SE 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 10 ft at 15 seconds. Rain.

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