Reducing toxics in fish involves politics, maybe more than science – Chris Dunagan

As usual, veteran reporter on Puget Sound, Chris Dunagan, gets it right. A good overview of the issues involved in getting cancer causing chemicals out of the Sound.

When it comes to eliminating toxic pollution from our waterways and the foods we eat, almost everyone agrees that the best idea is to track down the chemicals, find out how they are getting into the environment and then make decisions about how to handle the situation. It’s all common sense until politics comes into play. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

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Navy cargo ship towed into Port Angeles Harbor after losing power in Strait – PDN

Just the other day a friend was trying to tell me that the emergency tug was no longer being funded out in Neah Bay. It appears he was wrong. Even so, to be adrift for two hours, especially if it it happened in 30 knot winds and incoming tide, could have been a disaster.

A Navy Military Sealift Command cargo ship was towed into Port Angeles on Saturday after it lost power overnight in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The 685-foot Cape Intrepid was undergoing sea trials after a long period docked in Tacoma when it lost power about 2:30 a.m. Saturday north of Clallam Bay in Canadian waters, according to the Coast Guard. Clallam Bay is 50 miles west of Port Angeles. Coast Guard Lt. Ben Weber said the Cape Intrepid drifted about two miles before the emergency tug Jeffrey Foss reached it approximately two hours later. (Peninsula Daily News)

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Fishing amplifies forage fish collapses- UW Today

Important news for fisheries and our salmon stock, along with the forage fish they rely on it.

A new study shows for the first time that fishing likely worsens population collapses in species of forage fish, including herring, anchovies and sardines. Some of the largest fisheries in the world target these species, and these “baitfish” are also a key source of food for larger marine animals, including salmon, tuna, seabirds and whales. Scientists have long known about wide fluctuations in the abundance of forage fish, including the occasional population collapse. But they had not figured out whether collapses were entirely natural or related to fishing. The study, published April 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, implicates fishing in the collapse of forage fish stocks and recommends risk-based management tools that would track a fishery’s numbers and suspend fishing when necessary. Michelle Ma reports. (UW Today)

Fukushima radiation measured on B.C. shore for 1st time – CBC

We knew this day would come. Levels are still so low as to not be an immediate concern, but this does raise concerns that it will end up building up on the shores. This stuff does not ‘go away’.

Trace amounts of radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan have been detected on North American shores for the first time, but researchers say the amount of radiation is not a concern.  Radioactive forms of the element cesium that could only have come from Fukushima were detected in samples collected on Feb. 19 in Ucluelet, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, with the help of the Ucluelet Aquarium, scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported today. (CBC)

A new list of facts from the Citizens for Ebey’s Landing

The Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, the people who have been fighting the Navy’s expansion and noise issues on Whidbey Island for decades, put together this short list of facts that are worth noting. Those of us on the Olympic Peninsula, especially those who might be affected by the Navy’s latest expansion of electronic warfare training, should clearly understand what they are facing with the proposed expansion of the Whidbey base. We do have a choice, at least on paper, to stop this expansion. So here’s some facts to think about when the Navy (or our politicians) claims that they can ‘mitigate’ the noise.

  • The Navy has never had a requirement for engine noise in the design of engines for jet aircraft.
  • Low-level Growler flight noise exceeds ALL National & State standards for noise emissions. Third party noise testing at real sites under real jets proves just how loud these jets really are.
  • Growler afterburners increase jet noise levels by 5 to 10 dB. These occur during touch & goes.
  • Aircraft noise exposure is a hazard that poses a significant public health risk for hearing loss, hypertension and stress. University of Washington researchers conducted a survey of articles on Aircraft Noise and Adult Health Impacts.  They found that noise causes hearing loss, stress hormones, immune toxicity, psychosocial impacts and cognition, cardiac implications such as, heart attacks and death.
  • The Navy’s Auditors found:
    • According to Navy evaluators, the EA-18G emits, a maximum of 150 dBs. Anything greater than 84 dBs is considered hazardous! According to DOD Instruction 6055.12, at a noise level of 150 dB, the maximum daily exposure time with hearing protection is only 8.9 seconds before permanent hearing loss occurs!
    • The Navy did not attempt to mitigate jet noise hazard in the initial design and development of the aircraft, did not follow required guidance relating to risk levels and risk acceptance authority levels, and have not tracked the flightline/deck jet noise hazard and its residual mishap risk.
    • These conditions may contribute to a hazardous environment of high noise exposure associated with jet aircraft that, according to the Naval Safety Center, increases the likelihood of permanent hearing loss. Mitigation of these known noise levels was not pursued, as noted in this report, because of the costs to retrofit these aircraft with chevrons.
  • According to Navy personnel Growler Hush Houses only hush about 120 operations out of 76,000 operations at NASWI. As a result, the San Juan’s get blasted with Growler noise, day & night.
  • Chevrons cut Growlers noise ONLY by about 2.5 to 3dB and the financial cost is HIGH! The JSF Joint Program Office initiated a study to investigate reducing the F-35 near-field personnel noise and far-field community noise. It was the conclusion of the study that … at best they only offer a few decibels (dB) of reduction and even less for the peak noise at a distance of 1,000ft from the aircraft.
  • The Navy wants 122 to 136 Growlers at NASWI. Flight paths are getting bigger, more jets fly more hours & noise is more constantAdd P8 training and Cumulative Noise becomes a bigger problem.
  • Growlers are conducting Electronic Warfare Training over Whidbey and the Olympic National Forest – the ONLY stationary electromagnetic emitter is at OLF & it could be affecting your health.
  • The “Navy was here first” claim is not only wrong but also a misrepresentation of facts. Even if “first” were to be logical and establish a cast-in-stone priority of sorts, the aboriginal population of Whidbey Island would be first, the European settlers second, and the historic town of Coupeville third, the Navy being a relative Johnny-come-lately, not arriving until the 1940s.
  • There are many alternative fields for the Navy to use as a super-jet training site and/or for FCLP training. For 11 months the Navy used alternative sites – they could do this training elsewhere.
  • The Navy’s Northwest Training & Testing Center along with Growler’s live-fire testing will severely impact birds, fish and mammals in Puget Sound, including our critically endangered Orcas.
  • The facts are there — to show the millions of dollars that will be lost to tourism, outdoor recreation, the arts, agriculture and other sectors of the economy as a result of Growlers & unprecedented Navy expansion.

Western Drought Response Kicks Into Higher Gear – KUOW

We cannot be too complacent. The snowpack in the Olympics is very low, and we are likely to be drawing water from the reservoir lake much earlier this year than prior years. The PT paper mill has committed to reducing their water usage by 2 million gallons a day, but if the rivers run too low, that will be an optimistic projection.  California, meanwhile is in crisis, and will face a very long hot summer. Life as they knew, will not be the same this year. But since CA produces a vast amount of the nations’ food, there are much more critical concerns than whether they can maintain golf courses (many of which already use recycled water).

California Governor Jerry Brown ordered statewide mandatory water saving measures Wednesday. Water managers are preparing for drought in Oregon and Washington state as well. Washington and Oregon’s governors have already declared drought emergencies in select counties where farmers depend on runoff for irrigation. In Olympia, a drought and water supply committee that has been dormant for years has been reconvened. Tom Banse reports. (KUOW)

Sand shrimp may be unavailable due to whales – Everett Herald

The battle for ocean resources finds a new issue to add to the ever growing list.

Herring, sand shrimp, Power Bait, cured roe, nightcrawlers. Eliminate any of those baits and you’ve made a major portion of the western Washington sport fishing public very unhappy. So expect howls of outrage when the word gets around that sand shrimp may be unavailable — or at least hard to find — for anglers anticipating fishing that big run of pinks due this summer in our local rivers. Or steelhead, Dolly Varden, cutthroat, and several other species…. The problem stems from the fact that leases to harvest sand shrimp on public beaches along parts of Saratoga Passage were cancelled last summer by the Washington Department of Natural Resources…. But whales have entered the picture…. Recently, questions have been asked, often by folks in the Langley area, about whether or not commercial shrimp harvest is negatively impacting whale behavior. Wayne Kruse reports. (Everett Herald)


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