Friday, February 28, 2020

2/28 Elwha, Big Bar, Columbia dams, BC herring, BC LNG, anti-Indigenous racism, Rayonier cleanup, whale sanctuary, 'Sounders,' treed city, Trump's gas & oil, big big bang

Elwha nearshore 2/26/20 [Coastal Watershed Institute]
Elwha nearshore, 2/26/20
Anne Shaffer at Coastal Watershed Institute writes: "A few lovely moments to remind us that spring is well on the way. After weeks of rain and wind the weather has settled for a bit. The in-river hydroograph has dropped dramatically and double digit Northwest swell has settled-for the moment. The Elwha nearshore? The lower river side channels are full and the fascinating and sediment dynamics continue, reminding us of the  work we have done and the restoration left to do."

Successful blast removes portion of Big Bar landslide obstructing salmon migration
The federal government has announced a successful initial blasting of the Big Bar landslide site. The rock slide in 2019 blocked the migration of sockeye and chinook salmon swimming upstream to spawn.  Planned blasting took place on Feb. 18 to remove a large portion of bedrock extending into the river at the site of the slide. Following the blast, there is a widened channel and more flow directed toward the east river bank, according to the provincial government. (CBC)

For first time in 20 years, feds take deep look at hydroelectric dam removal on Lower Snake River
...Federal agencies are set to release a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) of dam operations on Friday, opening a 45-day public comment period. On the table will be a range of alternatives for operation of 14 dams in the federal Columbia River hydropower system, including a preferred alternative. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Tensions rise ahead of B.C. herring fishery season
Wildlife advocates on Vancouver Island say their calls to close the province's last remaining herring fishery have never been so loud, as commercial fishing boats enter the Strait of Georgia for herring fishery season expected in early March. PacificWild's Ian McAllister said many people in B.C. are deeply concerned that the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is allowing the commercial fishery to open once again in 2020. This is despite government estimates that the total mass Pacific herring in the area will fall from 130,000 metric tons in 2016 to around 54,000 metric tons in 2020 — a  nearly a 60 per cent decrease over four years. Adam van der Zwan reports. (CBC)

Federal, B.C. ministers wrap talks for the day with hereditary chiefs who oppose gas pipeline
Hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en who oppose a B.C. pipeline sat down Thursday with senior government ministers to discuss the dispute that has caused protests across the country, shutting down freight and passenger rail services. Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and British Columbia Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser began the long-sought talks in the late afternoon and wrapped after about three hours, with a plan to resume Friday morning. Hina Alam reports. (Canadian Press)

Rise in anti-Indigenous racism and violence seen in wake of Wet'suwet'en protests
As protests in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary leaders continue to sweep Canada, hate experts say anti-Indigenous racism and violence is on the rise and should be addressed. There's a sea change at foot, with white supremacists and hate groups are re-directing their attention to Indigenous people, says Evan Balgord of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. Angela Sterritt reports. (CBC)

Opposition to Rayonier site plan pours in
Dozens of respondents to a cleanup plan that has been proposed for the former site of the Rayonier pulp mill want removal of all of the contaminated soil on the 75-acre waterfront site. But the option most desired by area residents is not required under state law, making it a difficult task to accomplish, a state Department of Ecology official said Thursday. Opponents include representatives of Port Angeles city, Clallam County and tribal governments, as well as 140 of more than 170 respondents to a proposed Rayonier cleanup plan that calls for capping Port Angeles Harbor sediments as well as upland pollutants instead of trucking them away. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Whale sanctuary, originally considered for the Pacific Northwest, to open in Nova Scotia
The Whale Sanctuary Project that was considering sites in Western Washington and British Columbia has announced it will not be setting up here anytime soon. It has chosen to start its work in Port Hilford, on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia. That location will be primarily dedicated to rehabilitating beluga whales that are retiring form marine parks and aquariums. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Local gray whales named ‘Sounders’ may hold clues to mystery of 2019 die-off — and scientists are investigating
...Puget Sound and its near-shore ghost shrimp may be a food refuge for grays in tough migration years...The work with the Sounders this spring should help scientists understand if the whales overall are in poorer condition. It also should help them learn whether the Sounders have developed a strategy to hedge their bets, and better cope with nutritional stress the rest of the population might be facing. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Can a Smart City Get Smart About Trees?
Rapid residential development in Seattle, the nation's top growing city, is resulting in the loss of thousands of mature trees. The Emerald City hasn't kept track, but tree advocates are sounding the alarm. They're calling for the city to update a tree protection ordinance last written in 2009. That was before trees were recognized for their ecosystem and public health benefits and as natural allies in a climate crisis Can density and trees co-exist? Martha Baskin reports. (PRX)

Judge voids nearly 1 million acres of oil and gas leases, saying Trump policy undercut public input
A federal judge in Idaho ruled Thursday that a Trump administration policy limiting public input on oil and gas leasing decisions was “arbitrary and capricious,” overturning the 2018 directive and voiding 1 million acres of leases out West that were auctioned off under the new approach. Juliet Eilperin reports. (Washington Post)

Scientists detect biggest explosion since Big Bang
Scientists have detected evidence for a colossal explosion in space - five times bigger than anything observed before. The huge release of energy is thought to have emanated from a supermassive black hole some 390 million light years from Earth. The eruption is said to have left a giant dent in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster. Researchers reported their findings in The Astrophysical Journal. (BBC)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  202 AM PST Fri Feb 28 2020   
 S wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 or 2 ft building to 2 to 4 ft. W swell 8  ft at 12 seconds. Rain in the afternoon. 
 W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell  10 ft at 12 seconds. Rain. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 12 ft at  12 seconds. A chance of rain in the morning. 
 NW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming N to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after  midnight. W swell 10 ft at 14 seconds. 
 N wind to 10 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 9 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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Thursday, February 27, 2020

2/27 Tardigrade, BC LNG meet, Columbia dams, shoreline armor, BP climate, Canadian rail crude, Puddles, giant hornet, bear banger, McKinley mill

Tardigrade [Live Science]
Tardigrades, known colloquially as water bears or moss piglets, are a phylum of water-dwelling eight-legged segmented microanimals. They were first described by the German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773, who called them little water bears. Rep. Alex Ramel (40th-Bellimgham) introduced legislation (HB 2747) to name the tardigrade the state microanimal. The bill has passed the House and has moved to the Senate.

Meeting of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, federal, provincial governments set after 'miscommunication' 
A proposed meeting between the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, the federal government and the British Columbia government is set to take place on Thursday, following word that talks for a meeting had fallen through Wednesday afternoon. In an interview with CBC News, Chief Na'Moks​​, also known as John Ridsdale, said the Office of the Wet'suwet'en received a call Wednesday night from someone representing the federal and B.C. governments saying news that the proposed meeting was cancelled was a miscommunication. Cory Correia reports. (CBC)

For first time in 20 years, feds take deep look at hydrodam removal on Lower Snake River
The futures of hydropower, salmon and orcas in the Pacific Northwest are at stake in the first assessment in 20 years of the environmental effects of dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Federal agencies are set to release a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) of dam operations on Friday, opening a 45-day public comment period. On the table will be a range of alternatives for operation of 14 dams in the federal Columbia River hydropower system, including a preferred alternative. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Shoreline armoring in Puget Sound gets new scrutiny from the Army Corps of Engineers
Shoreline bulkheads, which can damage beaches and destroy fish habitat, could come under more extensive review and permitting as the result of a revised shoreline policy announced last week by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The revised policy, which resulted from a federal lawsuit, now requires a Corps of Engineers permit for shoreline construction below the high-tide line. The previous line of jurisdiction was lower on the beach, effectively exempting most shoreline armoring from federal permits. One of the key results of the policy change is to bring shoreline armoring under the purview of the Endangered Species Act, said Amy Carey of Sound Action, one of three environmental groups bringing the lawsuit against the Corps. Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

BP is pulling out of three trade groups over climate policies
BP is withdrawing from three trade groups over climate policies, a move that comes after the company vowed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The oil giant is pulling out of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the Western Energy Alliance and the Western States Petroleum Association, the company said Wednesday. But BP will remain in the American Petroleum Institute, which has lobbied for the rollback of a wide array of environmental regulations aimed at addressing climate change. Steven Mufson reports. (Washington Post)

U.S. Rails Monitoring Canadian Crude
The derailment of two separate oil trains roughly two months apart near Guernsey, Sask., each spilling more than 300,000 gallons of crude onto the ground and one igniting into a smoldering inferno, plus the resulting 30-day mandatory speed limit on such trains imposed by Transport Canada (20 mph in urban areas, 25 mph elsewhere), have raised questions about not only the cause of those derailments, but also about the durability of the tank cars, and the volatility of the crude they were carrying. It should also raise questions, and awareness, about the transport of Canadian crude on the U.S. rail system. Bruce E. Kelly writes. (Railway Age)

Puddles the mussel-sniffing dog helps raise awareness about risks of invasive species
At a public boat launch on Black Lake, south of Olympia, Sgt. Pam Taylor holds dozens of small, dark black shells in the palm of her hand. At her side is an inquisitive white hound, barking enthusiastically...Puddles is arguably the cutest foot soldier in that public relations push. She’s the newest tool in a decades-long fight against a particularly egregious offender: freshwater mussels that often hitch a ride on boats entering the state from other parts of the U.S. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

The hunt is on in Whatcom for invasive, bee-killing giant hornets with painful stings
The state will set “sap traps” and ask people to make homemade bottle traps in an effort to find and destroy invasive Asian giant hornets and keep them from making a home in the Pacific Northwest. Trapping will occur in spring and summer as Washington State Department of Agriculture and other officials battle the new and unwanted pest, which was discovered in Blaine in December — making it the first time the invasive Asian giant hornet was discovered in Washington state. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

B.C. fisherman charged after throwing explosive into crowd of sea lions
A commercial fisherman from B.C. has been charged with throwing an explosive device toward a group of sea lions in the Strait of Georgia last year. Allen Marsden is facing three counts under the Fisheries Act and Explosives Act for tossing a small, explosive device known as a "bear banger" from his boat toward the crowd of animals on March 4, 2019. (CBC)

McKinley mill in Port Angeles making paper now
McKinley Paper Company is producing paper at a mill that had been dormant for three years, a representative for the state agency referring job applicants to the plant said Wednesday. “They are running paper,” Patrice Varela-Daylow of WorkSource Clallam County. WorkSource also has an office in Jefferson County. “If you look and see the steam, that’s kind of a good indicator,” Varela-Daylow said. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  224 AM PST Thu Feb 27 2020   
 S wind 5 to 15 kt becoming NE in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at 14 seconds. A chance of rain  in the morning then a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 9 ft at 13 seconds. A slight chance  of rain in the evening.

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

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

2/26 Crocus, methane 'burp,' SnoCo renewables, BC freighters, BC LNG, BP Cherry Pt, Surrey plastic, good gardens, SEAL training, Navy sensors, covering climate

Crocus [Crocus sativus]
In Classical mythology, Crocus was a mortal youth who, because he was unhappy with his love affair with the nymph Smilax, was turned by the gods into a plant bearing his name. In another variation of the myth, Crocus was said to be a companion of Hermes and was accidentally killed by the god in a game of discus. Hermes was so distraught at this that he and Chloris transformed Crocus' body into a flower. (Wikipedia)

Climate study shows methane ‘burp’ from melting Arctic tundra is unlikely
New research by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Rochester eases long-standing fears that thawing Arctic permafrost could belch out mass amounts of climate-warming methane gas. Scientists had warned of a scenario in which the thawing tundra could release enough methane to sharply accelerate global warming. However, the study published Friday in the journal Science found that permafrost that melted during a previous warm period between 18,000 and 8,000 years ago released little of the greenhouse gas. So it’s likely that the permafrost won’t contribute much methane during the ongoing warming period, they said. (Tribune News Service)

Snohomish County aims for all renewable energy by 2045
More than a decade ago, Snohomish County invested more than $1 million to turn canola and other crops into diesel for its heavy equipment. That biofuel venture sputtered to an end amid low oil prices. Now the county is taking a different, more ambitious approach to curb its carbon footprint, with the ultimate goal of being on 100 percent “clean, renewable” energy by 2045. A climate action advisory committee began meeting this month to help the government decide how best to get there. Transportation is still a focal point. Rachel Riley reports. (Everett Herald)

Freighter frustration grows for Southern Gulf Island residents
Some residents of the Southern Gulf Islands are becoming increasingly frustrated at the number of freighters anchored off their shores. Gabriola Island resident Suzanne Walters said the problem has existed since she moved to the island from Vancouver two years ago...As of Tuesday morning, 30 of 33 designated "overflow" anchorages around the Southern Gulf Islands were occupied. The sites are under the authority of Transport Canada but managed by the Port of Vancouver, which has 60 of its own anchorage sites. Port of Vancouver Harbour Master Cpt. Shri Madiwal said rail and port blockades across the country have increased port congestion because ships are being forced to wait longer than expected for their cargo. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Demonstrators arrested as police move to end blockades at Port of Vancouver  (CBC) See also: 14 people arrested Monday night at Gitxsan rail blockade in northern B.C.  (CBC)

Ecology fines BP Cherry Point Refinery for these environmental violations
The Washington State Department of Ecology has fined BP Cherry Point Refinery $8,000 for environmental violations, the agency announced. The refinery northwest of Ferndale was penalized for having incomplete labels on dangerous waste containers, improper management of universal wastes, and missing inspection logs, according to Ecology. Universal waste refers to commonly generated hazardous wastes, such as used batteries and used fluorescent bulbs, which were the universal wastes involved in this case, according to Ecology spokesman Larry Altose. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Province isn't 'moving quickly enough', so Surrey plans its own plastic bag ban
The City of Surrey won't back away from banning plastic shopping bags, even though there will likely be much overlap with the B.C. government's own set of regulations that are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. A recent court ruling that struck down Victoria's ban on plastic bags also isn't making Mayor Doug McCallum reconsider the city's plan to introduce new bylaws on January 1, 2021...More than 76 million single-use plastic items from Surrey wind up in landfills each year, about a third of which are plastic bags, according to a city staff report. Jesse Johnston reports. (CBC)

How this garden, with native plants and canoe planters, can help save salmon, orcas
Gardens aren’t just for flowers. They can boost the recovery of salmon and orcas, too. That’s the concept brought to life at the Orca Recovery Garden on display Wednesday through Sunday at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show at the Washington State Convention Center. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

State parks to consider allowing Navy SEALs to train at 29 lands across Puget Sound
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is set to deliberate on a request from the Navy to allow SEAL teams to train at seafront park properties around Puget Sound. The Navy says the training exposes the elite sailors to a broad range of coldwater, amphibious terrains at Illahee State Park, Blake Island, Manchester State Park and Scenic Beach State Park in Kitsap County. But some environmental groups have disagreed throughout the Navy's assessment process, claiming SEAL training would be disruptive to park visitors and potentially damaging to coastal marine life. Josh Farley reports. (Kitsap Sun)

U.S. Navy Deploys Acoustic Sensors to Track Whales in Salish Sea
The U.S. Navy is adapting an acoustic sensor system in order to monitor marine mammals in the Nanoose Bay test range in the Strait of Georgia. The acoustic sensors will help in planning and conducting joint U.S.-Canadian naval testing activity to minimize impact on marine mammals, like the endangered southern resident killer whale. High-intensity underwater noise from military testing can harm marine mammals if they are too close. The system - Marine Mammal Monitoring (M3R) - uses hydrophones and computer algorithms to detect, identify, and track marine mammals that might be approaching Navy testing ranges. (Maritime Executive)

Covering Your Climate: An A-to-Z Guide to Emerald Corridor Climate Impacts
“Covering Your Climate: The Emerald Corridor,” a joint project by InvestigateWest and the Society of Environmental Journalists’ SEJournal, is meant to help journalists in the Pacific Northwest cover the impacts of climate change, as well as action taken to mitigate its worst effects and adapt to what can’t be stopped. Christy George writes. (InvestigateWest)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  253 AM PST Wed Feb 26 2020   
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft  at 12 seconds. Patchy fog in the morning. 
 W wind to 10 kt becoming SE after midnight. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds building to 9 ft at  15 seconds. A 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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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

2/25 Wolf eel, microplastics, BC LNG, whale hunt, carbon pricing, Teck pullout, Alaska ferry, toilet race, Hawaiian Chieftain

Wolf eel [Seattle Aquarium]
Wolf eel Anarrhichthys ocellatus
Wolf eels aren’t eels at all—they’re fish, and not the same as true eels. One key distinction is that wolf eels have pectoral fins behind their heads, which is characteristic of fish, not marine eels like morays...Adult wolf eels prefer enclosed spaces. They make their homes in dens—caves or crevices on rocky reefs or pilings (sometimes competing with octopuses for a desirable living space!)...Wolf eels may mate for life, and both male and female care for eggs as they develop. (Seattle Aquarium)

Scientists Gather In The PNW To Study Risks Of Microplastic Pollution
Tiny bits of broken-down plastic smaller than a fraction of a grain of rice are turning up everywhere in oceans, from the water to the guts of fish and the poop of sea otters and giant killer whales. Yet little is known about the effects of these “microplastics” — on sea creatures or humans...This week, a group of five-dozen microplastics researchers from major universities, government agencies, tribes, aquariums, environmental groups and even water sanitation districts across the U.S. West is gathering in Bremerton, Washington, to tackle the issue. The goal is to create a mathematical risk assessment for microplastic pollution in the region similar to predictions used to game out responses to major natural disasters such as earthquakes. Gillian Flaccus reports. (Associated Press)

Hereditary chiefs, protesters arrested at rail blockade in northern B.C., say witnesses
Several people, including at least two hereditary chiefs, were arrested at a railway blockade in northern B.C. Monday evening, according to witnesses. Members of the Gitxsan Nation set up the blockade near New Hazelton, north of Smithers, B.C., mid-afternoon, less than two weeks after a similar blockade at that site was dismantled on the promise of dialogue from federal and provincial politicians. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC)

As Makah press for new waiver to resume the whale hunt, public is invited to comment 
A little less than a month remains for public comment on a proposal to allow the Makah Indian Tribe to resume its hunt for gray whales. The Makah have been waiting for decades to exercise their treaty right to whaling, which is codified in the 1855 Treaty of Neah Bay. They resumed their hunt briefly in the spring of 1999, taking one whale, but then stopped because of international lawsuits. Now they're asking to take roughly two to three whales per year over the next decade, in Washington's coastal waters. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Federal carbon pricing law unconstitutional, Alberta Court of Appeal rules
The federal government's carbon tax has been ruled unconstitutional by the Court of Appeal of Alberta, on the grounds that it intrudes on provincial jurisdiction.  The 4-1 decision, released Monday, rejects Ottawa's argument that regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is an issue of national concern, citing the division of powers in the constitution that gives the provinces responsibility for non-renewal resources. The majority opinion called the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act "a constitutional Trojan horse" and that the national concern doctrine "is not a grand entrance hall into every head of provincial power." Michelle Bellefontaine reports. (CBC) 

Winners and losers from Teck's decision to pull the plug on Frontier oilsands project
The federal government had signalled this was the week cabinet would decide whether to approve, reject or delay the massive $20.6-billion Frontier oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta., but just days before the decision came down, even those who followed the project still didn't know which way it would go. Kyle Bakx reports. (CBC)

Steep budget cuts left Alaska with only one operating mainline ferry. Then it broke down.
A 30 percent budget cut imposed on the ferry system last year and unforeseen maintenance problems meant the Matanuska was the only mainline ferry operating on the Alaska Marine Highway System. Now it was broken down, presenting more than an inconvenience... Communities already reeling from service cuts faced a month with next to no ferries at all. Grocers are struggling to keep their shelves stocked; a woman had her labor induced so she could catch the last ferry home. Ian Duncan reports. (Washington Post)

Why America Is Losing The Toilet Race
I just got back from my first trip to Japan, and I'm now in love with the country. The ramen, yakitori and sushi. The gorgeous volcanoes. The fascinating people and culture. But of all the things I fell in love with, there's one that I can't stop thinking about: the toilets. Japanese toilets are marvels of technological innovation. Greg Rosalsky reports. (NPR)

Grays Harbor Seaport to retire tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain and put her up for sale
The future of Grays Harbor Historical Seaport’s Hawaiian Chieftain is in serious doubt after Coast Guard inspectors discovered significant problems with the steel in her hull and bowsprit. The tall ship is forbidden from operating in her current condition. Brandi Bednarik, executive director of Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, which owns and operates the tall ships Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain, said the Seaport is going to put the Chieftain up for sale and focus its attention on the Lady Washington and developing Seaport Landing, the Aberdeen property it acquired from Weyerhaeuser on the south bank of the Chehalis River. Thorin Sprandel reports. (Aberdeen Daily World)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  258 AM PST Tue Feb 25 2020   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  5 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of rain in the morning then rain in  the afternoon. 
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds building to  8 ft at 14 seconds. A chance of rain in the evening.

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

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Monday, February 24, 2020

2/24 Jervis Inlet, BC LNG, Dept of Ecology, fed dams EIS, new fish rules, Teck quits, Appalachian Trail pipe, derelict vessels, Skagit potatoes, 'anti-Greta'

Jervis Inlet [Laurie MacBride]
Never the Same Twice
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Most of my travels over the years have been by boat, with the bulk of them here on BC’s south coast – relatively close to home. Yet even though I’ve been to some places over and over again, they’ve had something different to offer every time. Take, for example, the view in the photo above, looking up Prince of Wales Reach, the first of three long reaches that make up Jervis Inlet, which extends deep into the Pacific Ranges of BC’s Coast Mountains..."

Coastal GasLink sent back to the table with Indigenous leaders
Coastal GasLink must consult further with Indigenous communities along a stretch of its pipeline route at the heart of the Wet'suwet'en conflict, say B.C. officials.  Until then, construction cannot take place along the key, 18-kilometre portion. The company has been given 30 days by the province's Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) to hold those talks before resubmitting its final report for approval. Tanya Fletcher reports. (CBC) Trudeau says time for blockades to end, Indigenous leaders to work with government  Teresa Wright reports. (National Post)

Feb. 23, 1970 Governor signs the bill establishing the new agency into law
50 years ago, February 23, Governor Dan Evans signed a bill into law to create the Department of Ecology. We opened for business on July 1, 1970, several months before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did likewise on December 2. The Department of Ecology bill was part of a package of environmental legislation and other bills Gov. Evans acted on that day. All came out of a 32-day special session that he convened on Jan. 12, devoted to environmental issues. Larry Altose writes. (Dept of Ecology)

Impact statement draft will usher in next chapter of how to save Northwest’s fisheries 
A significant step in the long debate over how best to save and recover Snake River salmon and steelhead populations will begin to play out in the near future. The Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are set to release their draft environmental impact statement looking at the operation of 14 federal dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers and how they impact threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead runs. Eric Barker reports. (Lewiston Tribune)

New fishing rules increase limits on warm-water fish to indirectly help orcas
In an effort to protect young salmon from predation, new fishing rules will allow anglers to double their catch of some warm-water predatory fish found in 77 lakes across Washington state. Reducing the population of salmon-eating bass, catfish and walleye is one of many ideas promoted by the governor’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force, which considered various strategies for increasing the number of Chinook salmon. Declining numbers of Chinook — a primary prey of the endangered orcas — is considered a leading cause of the dwindling population of southern resident orcas. Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Vancouver-based Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine in Alberta
Teck Resources Ltd. says it’s withdrawing its application for a massive oilsands mining project just days ahead of an expected government decision, citing the political discourse over climate change. The company says it will take a $1.13 billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta...In a letter to the federal environment minister, Teck CEO and President Don Lindsay says investors and customers increasingly want jurisdictions to have a framework in place that reconciles resource development and climate change. He says that “does not yet exist here today,” and that the growing debate around the issue has placed Frontier and the company “squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved.” The proposed $20.6 billion project was expected to create an estimated 7,000 construction jobs, 2,500 operating jobs and about $12 billion in federal income and capital taxes, but was also expected to produce about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year over 40 years. (Canadian Press)

U.S. Supreme Court to decide winner in case of gas pipeline vs. Appalachian Trail
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline begins in West Virginia and is planned to cross some of the most mountainous scenery in central Virginia before completing its 600-mile path in North Carolina. Work in Virginia has been halted for more than a year as the builders contend with a host of setbacks handed down by federal courts. None is more crucial than the question of whether the U.S. Forest Service has authority to grant the pipeline right of way under the Appalachian Trail in the George Washington National Forest. Gregory S. Schneider and Robert Barnes report. (Washington Post)

Group continues to pull sunken, abandoned wrecks from Salish Sea
Two more boats that were destined to sink or end up on abandoned on the beach were pulled out of Salt Spring Island waters on Monday. That brings the total number of derelict, abandoned and wrecked boats taken out of waters in the Capital Regional District into the 70s. The latest came from Ganges harbour and Montague (Galiano). Travis Paterson reports. (Vancouver Island Free Daily)

Skagit County potato farmers recovering from losses
Potato farmers in Skagit County suffered big losses last fall after they were unable to harvest some of their crops as a result of early and heavy rainfall. An estimated 2,000 acres of potatoes — valued at $3,000 to $5,000 an acre — went unharvested this season, said Don McMoran, director of the Washington State University Skagit County Extension. He estimates farmers’ losses added up to between $5 million and $10 million. Jacqueline Allison reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

The anti-Greta: A conservative think tank takes on the global phenomenon
For climate skeptics, it’s hard to compete with the youthful appeal of global phenomenon Greta Thunberg. But one U.S. think tank hopes it’s found an answer: the anti-Greta. Naomi Seibt is a 19-year-old German who, like Greta, is blond, eloquent and European. But Naomi denounces “climate alarmism,” calls climate consciousness “a despicably anti-human ideology,” and has even deployed Greta’s now famous “How dare you?” line to take on the mainstream German media. Desmond Butler and Juliet Eilperin report. (Washington Post)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  255 AM PST Mon Feb 24 2020   
 W wind 25 to 35 kt becoming W 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 4  to 6 ft subsiding to 1 to 3 ft. W swell 14 ft at 13 seconds  subsiding to 11 ft at 12 seconds. 
 W wind to 10 kt becoming SE after midnight. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance of rain  after midnight.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

2/21 Quillback, BC LNG, 'unlawful' search, net-farm phase out, WA parks training, farming for climate, WA DNR climate plan, Jordan Cove delay, snow and ice

Quillback rockfish [Alchetron]
Quillback rockfish Sebastes maliger
Quillback rockfish range from the Kenai Peninsula in the Gulf of Alaska to Anacapa Passage in southern California. They can be found from subtidal waters to depths of 274 m (900 ft). Juveniles are usually shallower than adults and can be found on bull kelp-covered rocky outcrops, while adults tend to live in deeper water as solitary individuals. They are bottom dwellers that prefer high-relief, broken rock with flat-bladed kelps. In Puget Sound animals living on high relief areas have a very limited home range and have a high fidelity to their home sites. Quillback rockfish can grow up to 61 cm (24 in) in length. Maximum age is 95 years old. (WDFW)

'Not an option': B.C. premier rejects calls to halt or cancel Coastal GasLink pipeline
B.C.'s premier has categorically put to rest any notion of pulling provincial support for the Coastal GasLink pipeline. "That's not an option, no," John Horgan answered when asked point-blank about calls to halt or cancel the natural gas project altogether. It was his shortest response during Thursday's press conference at the B.C. Legislature as he took question after question about the ongoing tensions in northwestern B.C. surrounding hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation who oppose construction of a natural gas pipeline to feed a liquefied natural gas plant on the coast. Tanya Fletcher reports. (CBC)

Report finds stop checks, searches of protesters ’unlawful’: Watchdog
A civilian police watchdog has released what Indigenous advocates in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are calling an “explosive” letter condemning RCMP actions against Indigenous protesters. The B.C. Civil Liberties Association filed a complaint with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP alleging Mounties unlawfully restricted access to a remote logging road in northern British Columbia before they enforced an injunction this month on behalf of Coastal GasLink. (Canadian Press)

Trudeau government backpedals on election promise to phase out B.C. open net salmon farms by 2025
Following an outcry from the salmon farming industry, the Trudeau government has backed away from its election campaign commitment to phase out open net pen salmon farming on B.C.’s West Coast by 2025. Jane Deeks, press secretary for Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, confirmed in an email to The Narwhal that a transition plan will be developed by 2025 but open net pen salmon farms will not be removed by that date.  Sarah Cox reports. (The Narwhal)

Navy proposes special operations training in area State Parks
State Parks is reviewing a proposal from the Navy to expand its use of parks in Western Washington for special operations training from five locations to 29. Public comments are being accepted and a public meeting will be held May 6 in Port Townsend. Staff will provide a report to the State Parks Commission on March 12 during a meeting in Chelan, which will be streamed online. The Navy has its sights set on parks in seven counties, including Skagit. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Farming to help the climate: Two bills in Olympia promote “regenerative agriculture”
Agriculture and deforestation are responsible for nearly a quarter of global emissions of greenhouses gases that are unnaturally warming the planet. “We need to be doing more to allow the landscape to absorb carbon we’ve already emitted into the atmosphere,” says Adam Maxwell, head of government relations for the environmental group Audubon Washington.  Farming could play a starring role. Two bills currently under consideration in the Washington Legislature would fund additional soil research and provide grants to farmers who try new methods to sequester carbon or cut greenhouse gas emissions. Katherine Long reports. (Investigate West)

Washington state agency releases climate-change plan, with calls for more renewable projects
Saying her agency was “on the front lines of climate change,” Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz this week outlined the Department of Natural Resources’ plan to mitigate climate change and prepare for a warmer future. The department published its “Plan for Climate Resilience” this week in a 96-page document long on ambition but short on specifics in some areas. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Jordan Cove Decision Delayed By Feds After Oregon Denies Key Permit
Federal energy regulators have once again delayed their decision on the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline project. At a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission meeting Thursday morning, commissioners voted 2-1 not to move the project forward. The delay followed a decision Wednesday by the state of Oregon to deny a permit that state officials say is necessary for the project to move forward. Kimberly Freda and Jes Burns report. (OPB)

Alia Khan’s Global Quest for Snow and Ice
Each week between the end of February and Earth Day in late April, Western [Washington University] will reveal a new story about how its faculty, staff and students are working to combat global climate change, from the peaks of the world’s highest mountains to the vast expanses of the open ocean. This week's story: Alia Khan, an assistant professor of Environmental Sciences in Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment, is on a mission to find the whitest snow and ice on the planet. John Thompson reports. (Western Today)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  225 AM PST Fri Feb 21 2020   
 Light wind becoming W to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 13 seconds. 
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming S 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft after  midnight. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds. A slight chance of rain in  the evening then a chance of rain after midnight. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 13 seconds building to  10 ft at 14 seconds in the afternoon. A chance of rain in the  morning then a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. 
 W wind to 10 kt becoming SE 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight. W swell 9 ft at 14 seconds. 
 S wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SW 20 to 30 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 8 ft at 14 seconds  building to 12 ft at 11 seconds in the afternoon.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

2/20 Marmot, WA lege, oil gas threat, climate poll, TMX support, BC LNG, Native Tribe climate, Chimacum Valley, Boston Hbr, stormwater

Olympic marmot [Helen Rickard/Wikipedia]
Olympic marmot Marmota olympus
The Olympic marmot is a rodent in the squirrel family, Sciuridae; it occurs only in the U.S. state of Washington, on the middle elevations of the Olympic Peninsula. The closest relatives of this species are the hoary marmot and the Vancouver Island marmot. In 2009, it was declared the official endemic mammal of Washington. (Wikipedia)

Legislative update: What's moving forward — and what's not — on the environment beat
Members of Washington's Environmental Priorities Coalition say they're making good progress on the legislative agenda they set for this session. The agenda comes out of annual cooperative agreements between more than 20 organizations statewide. With the cutoff deadline looming Wednesday afternoon, the coalition’s lobbyist Clifford Traisman says two of the four bills they supported are moving forward. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Oil and Gas May Be a Far Bigger Climate Threat Than We Knew
Oil and gas production may be responsible for a far larger share of the soaring levels of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, in the earth’s atmosphere than previously thought, new research has found. The findings, published in the journal Nature, add urgency to efforts to rein in methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry, which routinely leaks or intentionally releases the gas into air. Hiroko Tabuchi reports. (NY Times)

Climate Change Rises as a Public Priority. But It’s More Partisan Than Ever
Protecting the environment and tackling climate change have climbed up the list of Americans’ political priorities this year as economic concerns have faded, according to a new report from Pew Research Center. Nadja Popovich reports. (NY Times)

As cost rises, support falls for Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, survey finds
Support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion across Canada has dropped to its lowest levels in nearly two years, according to a new survey by the Angus Reid Institute. The poll cites the growing price tag — which has ballooned from $5.4 billion to $12.6 billion — as the biggest cause for the deflating public support. When first asked whether they were in favour of the pipeline, 55 per cent of respondents across Canada agreed. However, after being informed of the rising bill picked up by the taxpayer, that support dropped to 48 per cent. Opposition to the project climbed from 38 per cent to 45 per cent when the cost was disclosed. (CBC)

Stop work on Coastal GasLink to allow meaningful dialogue on B.C. pipeline project, says Indigenous leader
A B.C. Indigenous leader says the prime minister needs to immediately come to the table with Indigenous leaders who oppose the construction of a pipeline in northern B.C. and the project should be halted while conversations take place. The Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is opposed by the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, has mobilized both Indigenous and non-Indigenous protesters across the country to blockade ports, railways and roads in solidarity. (CBC) Protesters block traffic near Commercial Broadway SkyTrain Station  Traffic blocked at Broadway-Commercial, Clark and East 1st Avenue during 2 hour protest (CBC) And: 'It's none of their business': The Wet'suwet'en people who want the protesters to stop  (CBC)

How Native Tribes Are Taking the Lead on Planning for Climate Change
With their deep ties to the land and reliance on fishing, hunting, and gathering, indigenous tribes are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Now, native communities across North America are stepping up to adopt climate action plans to protect their way of life. Nicola Jones reports. (Yale 360)

Hundreds of acres are under water
On a peaceful Wednesday morning in the Chimacum Valley, a flock of ducks glided over still water, their reflections rippling below them until they descended with a splash into the flooded pasture of Short’s Family Farm. It was a picturesque scene, but the lake that was once a viable pasture is not so beautiful to the farmers who work the land for their livelihood...Currently, nearly 800 acres of farmland in the Chimacum Valley are under water from the flooding of Chimacum Creek, according to Short’s Family Farm. The flooding that happens every year in the valley is a natural occurrence, but this year it has been exacerbated by invasive reed canary grass and beaver dams filling the creek bed, turning the Chimacum Valley into one large clogged drain. Lily Haight reports. (Pt Townsend Leader)

Retreat or adapt: A city that flourished by the ocean is now preparing for rising seas
Famous for its role in America’s war for independence, this city is now fighting the rising seas. Boston is raising streets, building berms and even requiring that new high-rise condominium developments on its harbor acquire “aqua fences” — portable metal barriers that can be dragged to the street and anchored to the pavement to deflect incoming waves. Steve Mufson reports. (Washington Post)

New project to tackle Puget Sound's growing polluted stormwater
Local researchers say at least 14 to 94 million pounds of contaminants like oil, grease and toxic metals get mixed with stormwater in Puget Sound every year. Now a new public-private partnership is tackling the growing problem. The runoff from the Aurora Bridge is the target for a new project. Nonprofits like The Nature Conservancy are working together with local companies like Stephen C. Grey & Associates and Boeing to address the issue. Even the Washington State Legislature approved $500,00 to help with this project. Abby Acone reports. (KOMO)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  227 AM PST Thu Feb 20 2020   
 E wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft  at 13 seconds. 
 SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell  6 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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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

2/19 Beach knotweed, 'The Blob,' WA salmon bill, warm winters, BC LNG, Colstrip, Wild Olympics Act, transient 'Jack,' Everett waterfront, roads dangers, WA plastics ban

Beach knotweed [Mary Jo Adams]
Beach knotweed Polygonum paronychia
This plant belongs to the knotweed or buckwheat family (Polygonaceae).  It has a low lying form with woody stems, tiny white or pale pink flowers that bloom from April to September, and 1–inch-long leaves with margins that roll under.  Beach knotweed is found on coastal dunes and sandy beaches from northern California to southern Vancouver Island.  It is native in the Pacific Northwest.  Other common names for it are black knotweed and smartweed. (Mary Jo Adams/Sound Stewards)

Feared return of 'The Blob' fizzles as storms churn, chill Pacific Ocean
It looked big. It looked bad. But the marine heat wave that threatened much of the West Coast in the fall of 2019 has mostly dissipated, at least at the surface. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Salmon bill aimed at restoring salmon habitat wins state senate approval
A bill aimed at restoring salmon habitat for Puget Sound orcas struggling to find enough food to survive was approved by the Washington State Senate today by a vote of 32-16. SB 6147, sponsored by 32nd District Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), would require the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to consider less environmentally disruptive alternatives when property owners look to repair or replace seawalls and bulkheads. (Mountlake Terrace News)

How Warming Winters Are Affecting Everything
Winters are warming faster than other seasons across much of the U.S. While that may sound like a welcome change for those bundled in scarves and hats, it’s causing a cascade of unpredictable impacts in communities across the country. Temperatures continue to steadily rise around the globe, but that trend isn’t spread evenly across the map or even the yearly calendar. “The cold seasons are warming faster than the warm seasons,” says Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “The colder times of day are warming faster than warmer times of day. And the colder places are warming faster than the warmer places.” auren Sommer, Mose Buchele, Molly Samuel, Patty Wight, Michael Elizabeth Sakas, Amy Mayer, Nat Herz report. (NPR)

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs won’t talk with Trudeau and Horgan until Mounties leave
On Sunday, Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, sent a letter to Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs asking to meet as soon as possible to “talk about finding a peaceful resolution to the blockades across the country and other issues arising from the concerns of Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.” However, on Tuesday afternoon Chief Woos of the Grizzly House said all hereditary chiefs agreed they would not meet with government until the RCMP removed their mobile command unit across the bridge from the Unist’ot’en camp on the forest road that links Houston to a Coastal GasLink work camp. David Carrigg reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Pipeline approval record reveals conflict with Wet'suwet'en years in the making  Jason Proctor reports. (CBC) See also:  Demonstration linked to Wet'suwet'en pipeline fight blocks traffic in East Vancouver Supporters of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' fight against a natural gas pipeline blocked traffic briefly in East Vancouver on Tuesday afternoon. (CBC)

Washington state eyes investigation into Colstrip coal contract
The latest coal contract for Colstrip Power Plant has prompted calls for investigation in Washington state, where researchers have questions about new details. Three of Colstrip Power Plant's five monopoly utility owners do business in Washington, which as a state consumes more electricity from the coal-fired southeast Montana generator than any other. Now researchers for Washington’s Utility and Transportation Commission want to know whether customers are overpaying for the 10-square-mile expansion of Rosebud Mine, while also not benefiting from a substantial tax credit. Tom Luted reports. (Billings Gazette)

Controversial Wild Olympics Act passes U.S. House
The divisive Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday, some eight years after it was first introduced by Sen. Patty Murray and then-Congressman Norm Dicks in 2012. The Act, which designates more than 126,000 acres of the Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 464 Olympic Peninsula river miles as Wild and Scenic, has undergone numerous modifications over the years and had never made it to a vote in either chamber until Wednesday’s passage. Dan Hammock reports. (Aberdeen Daily World)

Injured transient orca swimming successfully near Anacortes
An orca that was injured when its transient pod passed through Kitsap in August is now in seemingly good health. Jack, also known as T137A, suffered an injury to his tail that resulted in the whale swimming slowly and acting strangely in August. When researchers from the Center of Whale Research observed the transient orcas by boat, Jack wasn’t diving, stayed close to the surface and sometimes would fall nearly a mile behind the rest of the group. Erin Gless, lead naturalist at Island Adventures in Anacortes, said she saw Jack on Saturday swimming successfully with his family. Jessie Darland reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Growing up in Snohomish County: How Everett's waterfront is taking shape
Up to 660 apartments, condos, and townhomes are planned for Everett's waterfront, along with 10 restaurants, an amphitheater, as well as office and retail space. Eric Wilkinson reports. (KING)

Living close to major roads leads to higher risk of Parkinson’s and dementia: UBC study
The results of a UBC study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Environmental Health in January 2020 suggest air pollution and living close to major roads is connected to a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Karin Olafson reports. (The Narwhal)

Washington considers banning disposable plastics in restaurants and grocery stores
Amid worries about the mounting environmental and public-health costs of disposable plastic, Washington lawmakers are considering forcing the state’s takeout industry to go compostable-only. Proposed legislation would create a phased-in ban on plastic “food-service products” accompanying ready-to-eat food — a lengthy list of items including containers, bowls, bottles, meat trays, produce sacks, utensils, tea bags and sandwich wrap. House Bill 2656 would also impose a penny-per-item fee on disposable goods to fund a multi-million-dollar upgrade of composting facilities in the state, most of which can’t process compostable utensils and containers. Levi Pulkkinen reports. (InvestigateWest)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  222 AM PST Wed Feb 19 2020   
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 13 seconds. 
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft  at 14 seconds.

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

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

2/18 Grass widow, BC LNG, Growlers, fireworks for eagles, Trump's mercury pollution

Grass widow [Nature Niche]
Grass widow Olsynium douglasii
Grass widow is one of the earliest-blooming springtime flowers. A member of the Iris Family, grass widow is a tufted perennial arising from a short rootstock. This native can be found in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. Its ecology is rocky bluffs and meadows that are vernally wet at low and mid elevations. [With thanks to Rick Haley.] (The Nature Niche)

Trudeau to address the House as anti-pipeline blockades continue
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address the House of Commons this morning on the anti-pipeline blockades that have paralyzed rail lines across the country. Large swaths of the country's freight and passenger traffic have been disrupted by protests by people showing solidarity with the hereditary Wet'suwet'en chiefs opposing the planned construction of a $6.6-billion natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia called Coastal GasLink...AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde is also set to address the ongoing protests at a news conference in Ottawa at 9:30  a.m. ET. (CBC) See also: Government hopes for breakthrough in Wet’suwet’en blockades this week  (Vancouver Sun)

Group asks for injunction regarding Growler flights
The Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER) is asking a federal judge to require the Navy to roll back the number of EA-18G Growler practice flights at Outlying Field Coupeville to pre-2019 levels until a lawsuit over the number of Growler flights is settled. COER and private citizen Paula Spina filed a motion for a preliminary injunction Thursday. According to the motion, since March 2019 the Navy has increased the number of Growlers at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and shifted most of its Growler operations to Outlying Field Coupeville, which is near the Reserve and the town of Coupeville. (Skagit Valley Herald)

King County wants to shoot fireworks at bald eagles
King County wants to shoot fireworks at bald eagles. This is not a proposal for some Fourth of July-gone-berserk rah-rah display of uber-patriotism. Our national emblem, that majestic symbol of freedom and liberty that appears on every quarter and dollar bill, crowning the Great Seal of the United States — loves garbage. And the garbage eagles are a nuisance. David Gutman reports. (Seattle Times)

The EPA is about to change a rule cutting mercury pollution. The industry doesn’t want it.
For more than three years, the Trump administration has prided itself on working with industry to unshackle companies from burdensome environmental regulations. But as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to finalize the latest in a long line of rollbacks, the nation’s power sector has sent a different message: Thanks, but no thanks. Juliet Ellperin and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  212 AM PST Tue Feb 18 2020   
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft  at 13 seconds. 
 E wind 15 to 20 kt becoming 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 12 seconds.

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

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Monday, February 17, 2020

2/17 Seadragon, BC population, stalled ships, BC LNG, eelgrass restoration, Alana Quntasket, Sultan steelhead, Russian quake

Weedy seadragon [Birch Aquarium/AP]
Rare Weedy Seadragons Hatch At California Aquarium
After years of trying, a Southern California aquarium has two very tiny — and very rare — bundles of joy. Two weedy seadragons recently hatched at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. The delicate creatures resemble bits of seaweed and are distant cousins of the seahorse. And they're notoriously difficult to breed. Jordan Pacale reports. (NPR)

B.C.’s population grew by 70,000 last year
The population of B.C. continues to grow and it’s the city of Surrey leading the way. B.C.’s population rose by more than 70,000 people last year, hitting 5,071,336 as of July 1, 2019 according to B.C. Statistics’ 2019 population estimates. This is an increase of 1.7 per cent over 2018. Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said he wasn’t surprised to see that B.C. Stats had pegged growth at 2.9 per cent in his city, which was the largest hike in the number of residents year over year of any single B.C. community, at 16,382 people. Susan Lazaruk reports. (Vancouver Sun)

More than 60 shipping vessels stalled off B.C. coast due to rail blockades
At least 66 shipping vessels are stalled in British Columbia's waters, according to the maritime shipping industry, as rail blockades continue in support of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Chamber of Shipping of B.C., says Canadians will eventually notice consequences from the backlog...The vessels move commodities like consumer goods, food and raw materials between Canada and international destinations. (CBC)

Who is behind solidarity action for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs?
A grassroots campaign organized on social media, not large non-governmental organizations, is behind B.C. demonstrations in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, say people on the front lines. This week, demonstrators blockaded the Port of Vancouver, the B.C. legislature and a CP Rail yard. They occupied Attorney General David Eby’s constituency office, shut down major intersections and a bridge in Vancouver, and picketed B.C. government buildings. Similar actions are happening across Canada in response to the arrests of demonstrators and a standoff with RCMP at a Wet’suwet’en camp in northern B.C. over Coastal GasLink’s routing of a natural gas pipeline though traditional territory. Front line activists say participants have joined because of grassroots organizing that relies on social media, not large non-governmental organizations. Nick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Why Coastal GasLink says it rejected a pipeline route endorsed by Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs
As rallies spring up across Canada to support Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs fighting the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C., an increasing number of people are wondering: Why doesn't the company use an alternate route to avoid opposition? Former NDP MP Nathan Cullen raised the idea several times when he was still an elected representative for the region. More recently, Green Party MP Paul Manly returned from a January visit to the region with the idea — one he said came from the hereditary chiefs themselves. "The Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs provided alternative routes to Coastal GasLink that would have been acceptable to them as a pipeline corridor," he said in a statement last month. "Coastal GasLink decided that it did not want to take those acceptable options and instead insisted on a route that drives the pipeline through ecologically pristine and culturally important areas." Andrew Kurjata reports. (CBC)

Wet'suwet'en camps occupied, Coastal GasLink workers move through: First Nation
Pipeline opponents who support the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs say they have returned to camps along a road leading to a work site outside Houston, B.C. Jen Wickham, a member of the First Nation's Gidimt'en clan, says they went back to the camps where 28 people were arrested when the RCMP enforced an injunction this month. She says those at the camps are not blocking Coastal GasLink workers from using the road or accessing the work site, and workers have been freely moving through. (Canadian Press)

State proposes eelgrass restoration project in Westcott Bay
(2/13/20-SAN JUAN ISLAND) The Washington State Department of Natural Resources Aquatic Resources Division applied with the Washington Department of Ecology to perform a project to restore eelgrass beds at Westcott Bay and other locations throughout Puget Sound. (San Juan Journal)

Alana Quintasket brings new voice to Swinomish Senate
Alana Quintasket became interested in government and politics at a young age. At 10, her aunt and grandmother — at the time both Swinomish Indian Tribal Community senators — took her to watch the tribe’s annual meeting and general elections. Her aunt, Lona Wilbur, took Quintasket to the state Democratic Party headquarters in Seattle. And when she was 16, Quintasket attended the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians conference with Swinomish Chairman Brian Cladoosby. The 27-year-old is now the newest member of the Swinomish Tribal Senate, the governing body of the tribe. Elections were held Feb. 9. Jacqueline Allison reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Despite vanishing steelhead, state won’t delay fishing season
A count of wild winter steelhead on the Sultan River came in at an all-time low in 2018. State biologists counted just 28 of the fish, considered by the federal government to be a threatened species. County scientists thought they’d found a simple way to help the trout recover on this key tributary. The state could delay the summer fishing season on the Skykomish a few weeks, until the majority of the fish are done spawning and off to the ocean, out of anglers’ reach. But the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said fishing doesn’t make a large enough impact on the fish to delay the season. Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Everett Herald)

Russian quake causes false alarm on Washington coast 
At 3 a.m. Thursday morning, Grays Harbor County Emergency Management was notified of a 3.0 magnitude earthquake 34 miles north of Aberdeen and 35 miles deep underground. But a little while later, the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network “cancelled” the notification. The waves from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that occurred in the Kuril Islands of Russia were transmitted through the earth’s crust and that “fooled a sensor off the coast of Washington,” according to the Seismic Network. Thorin Sprandel reports. (Aberdeen Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  246 AM PST Mon Feb 17 2020   
 NW wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 14 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 14 seconds.

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

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Friday, February 14, 2020

2/14 Mink, hot Antarctica, BC LNG protests, TMX protests, wood chip barge, fisher release, oily tubeworms

American mink [Kurt Schlimmel]
American Mink Neovison vison
Mink are found throughout the United States, appearing in parts of every state except Arizona. They are also present in most of Canada, including an introduced population on Newfoundland. Only along the Arctic coast and some offshore islands are they absent. Although mink are found throughout North America, they tend to frequent forested areas that are in close proximity to water. Streams, ponds, and lakes, with some sort of brushy or rocky cover nearby are considered optimal territory. (Animal Diversity Web)

Temperature in Antarctica soars to near 70 degrees, appearing to topple continental record set days earlier
A weather research station on Seymour Island in the Antarctic Peninsula registered a temperature of 69.3 degrees (20.75 Celsius) on Feb. 9, according to M├írcio Rocha Francelino, a professor at the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil. The nearly 70-degree temperature is significantly higher than the 65-degree reading taken on Feb. 6 at the Esperanza Base along Antarctica’s Trinity Peninsula on Feb. 6. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is reviewing that reading to see if it qualifies as the continent’s hottest temperature on record. Andrew Freedman reports. (Washington Post)

2 in 5 Canadians support Wet'suwet'en solidarity protesters — but half say yes to pipeline, new poll finds
A new poll by a national non-profit research institute finds that two in five Canadians support the Wet'suwet'en solidarity protesters, who have shut down bridges, ports, roads and rail lines across the country.  The Angus Reid Institute survey paints a picture of a country divided along political, regional and economic lines over the protests, the Coastal GasLink pipeline itself and how the pipeline company might proceed...Thirty-nine per cent of people polled say they support the Wet'suwet'en solidarity protesters...On the flipside, the poll finds that just over half of people surveyed say they support the Coastal GasLink project itself. Clare Hennig reports. (CBC) See also: Protesters blocking West Coast Express say they're in it 'for the long haul'  A blockade on the Pitt River rail bridge forced cancellation of commuter trains beginning Thursday. (CBC) Also: Mission-Coquitlam bus bridge to replace West Coast Express after protest forces cancellation of trains  (CBC) And also: Injunction bars protesters from blocking legislature, amid plans to shut down government buildings in Victoria Wet'suwet'en supporters have planned to shut down all government buildings in Victoria. (CBC)

Trans Mountain confident court orders will protect against pipeline protests
A Trans Mountain Corp says it already has the court orders will prevent workers from being barred from its job sites along the route of its oil pipeline expansion project. Protests in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the gas pipeline have led to stoppages in service for Via Rail, freight rail traffic east of Prince Rupert, and blockades of Metro rail lines, port terminals and arterial roads. There have been numerous protests against the Trans Mountain pipeline over the years and spokesperson Allison Hounsell said the company is expecting more as construction to twin the line ramps up this spring. (Kamloops This Week)

Seaspan barge full of wood chips nearly tips off Vancouver Island coast
A Saanich mariner on his way to the Gulf Islands on Wednesday morning posted a photo of a Seaspan barge drifting sideways between Pender and Salt Spring islands. Ian Hinkle was headed to salvage a derelict boat with the Cold Water Divers crew when he first saw the barge at about 7:15 a.m. He tweeted a photo of the listing barge and some of its load, wood chips, floating in the Salish Sea. The tug boat operator was circling in an attempt to right the barge. Travis Paterson reports. (Coast Mountain News)

Final batch of fishers reintroduced in habitat near Darrington
four fishers were released  Thursday afternoon and "ran away really well" into habitat around Bedal Campground, about 15 miles Southeast of Darrington, said Jeff Lewis, lead biologist on the program with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Impact of oil contaminated water on tubeworms and brittlestars
A new study adds a new layer to understanding how an oil spill could impact marine life. A diverse community of worms and other marine organisms on the seafloor plays a large role in nutrient cycling, organic matter burial, and remineralization. The burrowing and feeding activities of these organisms or bioturbation helps in the oxygenation of the sediment. (Science Daily)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  236 AM PST Fri Feb 14 2020   
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell 13 ft  at 15 seconds. A chance of rain in the morning then a slight  chance of rain in the afternoon. 
 SW wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 10  ft at 14 seconds. Rain.  SAT  SE wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 8 ft at 13 seconds. Rain in the morning then a  chance of rain in the afternoon. 
 NW wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 9  ft at 11 seconds. 
 NW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming W 15 to 25 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft building to 2 to 4 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 9 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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