Friday, February 26, 2021

Salish Sea News Week in Review February 26 2021


Aloha Skip the Straw Day!
On the fourth Friday in February, skip the straw. The National Park Service estimates Americas use 500 million drinking straws daily, many of which end up in five large areas of the ocean, called gyres, where plastic garbage collects and many end up in landfills. Plastics are mistaken for food by wildlife, break down into smaller microscopic pieces producing bisphenol A (BPA) which interferes with reproductive systems in marine life. You get the drift. Skip the straw.

A pipeline runs through it: Coastal GasLink is crossing hundreds of waterways in northern B.C.
A major B.C. pipeline will cross about 625 streams, creeks, rivers and lakes, many of them fish bearing, during construction of one of the largest private sector projects in Canadian history, according to the company building it.

Remembering the 6.8 Nisqually earthquake that shook Washington 20 years ago
On Feb. 28, 2001, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook western Washington causing billions of dollars in damage.

Biden administration will reconsider northern spotted owl forest protection rollbacks
The U.S. Interior Department is delaying and reviewing the Trump administration’s last-minute roll-back of federal protections for the imperiled northern spotted owl, which called for slashing protections from millions of acres of Northwest forests.

Winding down Puget Sound’s 2020 targets, as approved shellfish acreage keeps going up
In 2020, state health authorities upgraded six shellfish-growing areas in various parts of Puget Sound. Now, thanks to improved water quality, the harvest of clams and oysters can take place on these 309 acres for the first time in years, adding to an ongoing gain in harvestable acreage.

New research suggests 70% decline in diversity of B.C. sockeye salmon stock in past century
Scales from sockeye salmon harvested more than a century ago show the fish returning to the country's second largest watershed for salmon are 70 per cent less diverse than they were in 1913, according to a new study from Simon Fraser University's Michael Price.

Logging change in Puget Sound: Researchers use UW vessel logbooks to reconstruct historical groundfish populations
Researchers from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, UW Puget Sound Institute, NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have discovered an unconventional way to help fill in these gaps in data: using old vessel logbooks.

B.C. salmon farmers ask Ottawa for more time before closing fish farms
A report commissioned by the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association says millions of juvenile salmon and eggs will be destroyed because of a federal decision to phase out fish farms in British Columbia's Discovery Islands. T

Unique Skeena sockeye populations at risk of dying out, threatening biodiversity: study
There’s an urgent need to increase the biodiversity of sockeye salmon stocks in the Skeena watershed if they are to adapt to challenges like climate change, according to a study published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Scramble to re-issue permits for area shellfish farms underway following lawsuit
Shellfish farms in the state and the agencies that issue them operating permits are scrambling to complete farm-by-farm paperwork following litigation over whether a former permitting system ensured adequate protections for the marine environment.

‘This is something to celebrate’: B.C. defers logging in home of Canada’s last three wild spotted owls
In the absence of endangered species legislation in B.C., the provincial and federal governments have announced a new ‘nature agreement’ that includes pilot projects to protect at-risk species. It starts with logging deferrals in habitat where the existence of a pair of breeding spotted owls, thought extinct in Canada, was made public in 2020.

These news clips are a selection of weekday clips collected in Salish Sea News and Weather which 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 19, 2021

Salish Sea News Week in Review February 19 2021


Aloha Perseverance Friday!

NASA successfully landed its fifth robotic rover on Mars on Thursday, with the U.S. space agency confirming that Perseverance touched down safely on the red planet’s surface. The rover is the most technologically advanced robot NASA has ever sent to Mars. The agency aims to spend nearly two years using it to explore the surface. Perseverance is also carrying a small helicopter named Ingenuity, which NASA plans to use to attempt the first flight on another planet. (CNBC)

Washington State Parks Commission Changes Plan On Navy Usage For SEAL Training
Changes to a plan that would allow covert Navy training at certain Washington State Parks are further angering some park goers.

Judge overturns Trump’s lifting of mining ban in US West
A federal judge on Thursday overturned a Trump administration action that allowed mining and other development on 10 million acres (4 million hectares) in parts of six western states that are considered important for the survival of a struggling bird species.

New Sewage-Treatment Permit Would Be a Step to Curbing Nitrogen in Puget Sound
In an effort to stem the flow of excess nitrogen into Puget Sound, Washington Department of Ecology has proposed a new type of permit for some 60 sewage-treatment plants operating throughout the region.

Gray whales learn daring feeding strategy in Puget Sound: Digging for ghost shrimp at high tide
Every spring, a small group of about a dozen gray whales pauses along an epic migration from calving lagoons in Baja California to their feeding grounds in the Artic.

Feds fund removal of more derelict boats from waters off Vancouver Island
.... It’s been a steady clip of work for Salish Sea Industrial Services and its barge crews, divers and sub-contractors, who have removed more than 100 dead boats over the past three years from the waters around Greater Victoria and the Gulf Islands.

B.C. approves single-use plastics bans in four more municipalities
The B.C. government has approved single-use plastics bans in four more communities. Surrey, Nanaimo, Rossland and Esquimalt are the latest municipalities to implement bans based on their particular needs.

New orca baby born to southern resident L pod 
A new baby has been born to the L pod family of southern resident killer whales, scientists reported. Ken Balcomb, founding director of the Center for Whale Research, confirmed the birth Wednesday.

Warming seas could wipe out Snake River chinook by 2060, scientists predict
Snake River spring-summer chinook could be nearly extinct by 2060 and interventions are “desperately needed” to boost survival in every stage of their lives, scientists warn.

OSU-led wave energy project moves a step closer to construction
The federal government this week approved a lease for a wave energy test site off the Oregon Coast.

Site C: Experts urge government to lift secrecy around $10-billion mega dam
Key details about the future of Site C, the province’s largest public infrastructure project and one that grows more contentious by the day, remain hidden from the public according to experts speaking at a town hall Thursday night.

Seattle’s Skagit River dams hurt salmon, orcas and Native American culture, agencies say

Citizens of Seattle enjoy some of the most affordable electricity in the country, but the city-owned utility that generates that power is accused of harnessing cost-effective electricity on the backs of Puget Sound salmon, killer whales and the way of life for Native American tribes in the Skagit Valley.

Decades of cuts to salmon monitoring leave B.C. scientists uncertain of fish populations
Less than 10 per cent of spawning habitat on B.C.’s central and north coast is being monitored by creekwalkers, the people who count salmon one by one.

These news clips are a selection of weekday clips collected in Salish Sea News and Weather which 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 12, 2021

Salish Sea News Week in Review February 12 2021


Billy Frank, Jr.

Aloha Boldt Decision Friday!
On February 12, 1974, Federal Judge George Boldt issues an historic ruling reaffirming the rights of Washington's Indian tribes to fish in accustomed places. The "Boldt Decision" allocates 50 percent of the annual catch to treaty tribes, which enrages other fishermen. At the same time Judge Boldt denies landless tribes -- among them the Samish, Snoqualmie, Steilacoom, and Duwamish -- federal recognition and treaty rights. Western Washington tribes had been assured the right to fish at "usual and accustomed grounds and stations" by Federal treaties signed in 1854 and 1855, but during the next 50 years Euro-American immigrants -- armed with larger boats, modern technology, and the regulatory muscle of the state -- gradually displaced them. The campaign to reassert Native American fishing rights began in 1964 with "fish-ins" on the Puyallup River led by Robert Satiacum (1929-1991) and Billy Frank Jr. (1931-2014), who defied Washington state attempts to regulate their fishing. (History Link)

Small fish, big barriers: A county confronts climate change
Island County doesn’t need a canary in the coal mine to warn of advancing climate change. It already has sea lance and surf smelt.

Whale watch companies say licensing system should be voluntary because of COVID-19
New licensing requirements for whale watch boats working in Washington waters take effect March 1...  But this week, state lawmakers began considering changes that would weaken those rules.

B.C.’s ‘dirty secret’: more than 100 contaminated mine sites threaten water, wildlife and communities 
New research finds lax provincial regulations allow companies to discharge toxic wastewater with metal concentrations hundreds of times higher than what’s considered safe for aquatic life.

DNA analysis being used to identify sources of bacterial pollution in area watersheds
The continued search for where the bacterial pollution found in the Samish and Padilla Bay watersheds comes from has turned to DNA analysis for help.

GOP congressman pitches $34 billion plan to breach Lower Snake River dams in new vision for Northwest 
For nearly three decades, the region has been stuck in unending litigation and spiraling costs as salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers decline toward extinction. But in a sweeping $34 billion proposal from an unlikely source, at an auspicious moment, comes a chance for a fresh start.

Putting the Pebble Mine to Rest
Weary Alaska communities are seeking permanent protections for the Bristol Bay watershed.

Meet the frackers: B.C.’s top 10 fracking companies, their subsidies, profits and taxes, revealed
They industrialize farmland. They pump out greenhouse gas emissions. They permanently contaminate water. They benefit from millions in taxpayer-funded subsidies and pay a lot less in royalties than they used to. So who are B.C.’s biggest frackers?

B.C.’s old-growth forest nearly eliminated, new province-wide mapping reveals
As old-growth logging continues unabated in most unprotected areas of B.C., one conservation organization decided to spend a year creating a detailed map that shows the province’s original forests have all but disappeared under pressure from industrialization.

Vancouver Island First Nations leaders want freighter anchorages lifted in the Salish Sea
A number of south Island First Nations have made a joint request aimed at ending the current practice of freighter anchorages in the southern Salish Sea.

Shell pays $191,000 fine for 2015 refinery incident
Shell Oil Products U.S. has paid a $191,000 fine for the release of pollutants from its Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Skagit County nearly six years ago.

Rayonier site cleanup plan upgraded
The Rayonier pulp mill property, zoned for multiple uses, will be cleaned of pollutants to an unrestricted-use standard with contaminants capped but remaining on the property, according to the Department of Ecology. However, cleanup of the 75-acre parcel east of downtown, owned by Rayonier Advanced Materials, could take an estimated seven to 10 years.

Seattle Public Schools commits to weaning off fossil fuels over next 20 years
Nearly two years after scores of its students missed class to demand action on climate change, Washington state’s largest school district now has a 2040 deadline to run on 100% clean and renewable energy.


These news clips are a selection of weekday clips collected in Salish Sea News and Weather which 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 5, 2021

Salish Sea News Week in Review February 5 2021


Aloha Western Monarch Day!

Once, millions of monarchs overwintered along the Pacific coast in California and Baja, Mexico—an estimated 4.5 million in the 1980s. But by the mid-2010s, the population had declined by about 97%, and starting in 2018, monarch butterflies had tough seasons in their migratory and breeding grounds in the western states. (Xerces Society)

Climate change disasters in B.C. likely to increase if industrial logging continues unchecked: report
A report commissioned by Sierra Club B.C. says keeping healthy, mature forests safe from industrial logging will help protect the province from catastrophic flooding, wildfires, droughts and heat waves caused by climate change.

Hearing examiner denies Point Wells high-rise condo proposal
A plan to build a high-rise condo development at Point Wells has once again been rejected by the Snohomish County hearing examiner, who ruled on Friday that the decade-old proposal still fails to meet legal requirements.

Settlement agreement tackles water pollution caused by farming practices
As part of a legal settlement, state officials have agreed to develop “best management practices” for agricultural operations, while encouraging Washington farmers to take actions to improve water quality in streams and bays.

Seattle City Council passes measure to end most natural gas use in commercial buildings and some apartments
The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously approved changes to energy codes that will further clamp down on natural gas use in new commercial and apartment buildings taller than three stories.

B.C. allows logging in nine ‘protected’ old-growth areas
The BC NDP has consistently stated it placed protections on 353,000 hectares of old-growth forest, yet a recently unearthed document shows logging will continue in 100,000 hectares of these ostensibly protected areas.

B.C. salmon restoration projects get $4-million boost
Four B.C. salmon projects will share $4 million in funding to reach their goals of habitat restoration.

King County ordered to fix power supply problems at sewage plant
There’s new pressure to fix problems at the West Point Treatment Plant after millions of gallons of partially treated sewage spilled into Puget Sound.

Ban on cruise ships until 2022 deals another blow to businesses relying on tourism
On Thursday, federal officials announced that the current ban on cruise ships arriving in Canada will be extended until February 2022, meaning another season will be completely wiped out.

337 illegal crab traps pulled from Boundary Bay in 5 day operation
A record 337 illegal commercial crab traps have been seized in Boundary Bay in a five day joint venture between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard, potentially saving thousands of crabs from being sold on the black market.

These news clips are a selection of weekday clips collected in Salish Sea News and Weather which is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate

Follow @savepugetsound

Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told