Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What I'm Looking For In 2014

Forget all the pundit wisdom as 2013 ends; the story continues and the end's not in sight so any conclusions others might wish to draw are, well, masterful or maybe not so masterful self gratification.

Since the story goes on, I'll be watching how Governor Jay Inslee figures out how to get something done with a GOP-led state Senate and whether there's any real political muscle in getting rid of turncoat Democrats like Rod Tom and Tim Sheldon.

Watch with me how much more of a threat is posed to Puget Sound and the Salish Sea as oil shipments by rail and pipeline ramp up, and vessel traffic numbers get tossed around for oil tankers and coal cargo ships.

I really don't know what's happening to the star fish and why they are wasting away along the West Coast and in the Salish Sea. Until the biologist figure out what's happening, it's hard to be sanguine about the health of our waters. I hope we figure out what's happening soon in 2014.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of the Boldt decision which recognized Washington treaty tribes as co-managers of fish harvest in their usual and accustomed tribal areas. I'll be watching for some fine words being written and spoken.

I'll also be watching and listening for some news from the Puget Sound Partnership and its Leadership Council on the real work that's being done and needs to be done to make Puget Sound fishable, swimmable and diggable. There's a lot of money being spent and, if making meaningful progress by 2020 is no longer a goal, then let's have a public discussion on what's the real timeline.

Looks like it'll be an interesting year. Stick around and see how the stories unfold. Thanks for reading.

--Mike Sato

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It’s “King” Tide Time Again

If you live in Puget Sound, the first “king” tides will be occurring this weekend, beginning December 6. The Strait of Juan de Fuca shorelines have already had their first round of these seasonal extra-high tides this week. The tides will also be high at the end of December and early January in Puget Sound.

These extra-high tides occur several times a year when the moon and sun enter into a special alignment with the Earth increasing their gravitational pull on the earth’s oceans.

Where and when will the tides be the highest? Check out the regional Washington beaches here and select the dates when the highest tides will occur.

Later “king” tide dates in the Strait of Juan de Fuca are Dec. 30-31, 2013 and Jan. 1-2 and Jan. 30-31, 2014. Puget Sound dates at Dec. 30-31, 2013 and Jan. 4-8, 2014.

The Washington Department of Ecology is again asking folks to photograph and share their “king” tide pictures here.

Properly documented, these photos provide good snapshots of what sea level rise due to global warming will bring the Puget Sound region. It’s been pretty mild this first week of December but, coupled with a storm surge, these extra-high tides can be destructive to low-lying properties and facilities.

California’s King Tides Initiative: Snap the shore, see the future has a nice, robust web site worth checking out.

BTW, readers seem to love the subject. The Salish Sea News and Weather’s blog posting that featured EarthFix reporter Katie Campbell’s story on “king” tides in December 2011 is the blog post with the all-time highest number of ‘hits.’

Of course, that’s dwarfed by visitors who are interested in Watching the Grass Grow. That’s far and away the all-time ‘hit’ leader.

--Mike Sato