Friday, May 23, 2008
By Sandi Doughton
Senate hearingon ocean acidificationSen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., will hold a field hearing in Seattle on Tuesday on "Climate Change and Ocean Acidification: Impacts on Puget Sound." The hearing will be from 10 a.m. to noon in the Seattle Aquarium's Puget Sound Great Room. For more information, call Cantwell's office at 206-220-6400.
Climate models predicted it wouldn't happen until the end of the century.
So a team led by Seattle researchers was stunned to discover that vast swaths of acidified seawater already are showing up along the Pacific Coast as greenhouse-gas emissions upset the oceans' chemical balance.
In surveys from Vancouver Island to the tip of Baja California, reported Thursday in the online journal Science Express, the scientists found the first evidence that large amounts of corrosive water are reaching the continental shelf — the shallow sea margin where most marine creatures live.
Off Northern California, the acidified water was only four miles from shore.
"What we found ... was truly astonishing," said oceanographer Richard Feely, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. "This means ocean acidification may be seriously impacting marine life on the continental shelf right now."
All along the coast, the scientists found regions where the water was acidic enough to dissolve the shells and skeletons of clams, corals and many of the tiny creatures at the base of the marine food chain. Acidified water also can kill fish eggs and a wide range of marine larvae.
"Entire marine ecosystems are likely to be affected," said co-author Debby Ianson, an oceanographer at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Though it hasn't received as much attention as global warming, ocean acidification is a flip side of the same phenomenon. The increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from power plants, factories and cars that is raising temperatures worldwide also is to blame for the increasing acidity of the world's oceans.
Normally, seawater is slightly alkaline. When carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves into the water, it forms carbonic acid — the weak acid that helps give soda pop its tang. The process also robs the water of carbonate, a key ingredient in the formation of calcium carbonate shells.
Since the Industrial Revolution, when humans began pumping massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Feely estimates the oceans have absorbed 525 billion tons of the man-made greenhouse gas — about one-third of the total released during that period.
By keeping some of the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, the oceans have blunted the temperature rise due to global warming. But they've suffered for that service, with a more than 30-percent increase in acidity.
The acidified water does not pose a direct threat to people. "We're not talking battery acid here," said co-author Burke Hales, an oceanographer at Oregon State University.
On the pH scale, which measures acidity, strongly alkaline materials such as oven cleaner measure about 13. Hydrochloric acid has a pH of 1. Seawater usually measures around 8.1. The most acidic water the scientists found off the Pacific Coast measured 7.6 on the pH scale. The numerical difference may seem slight, but it represents a threefold increase in acidity, Hales said.
Until now, researchers believed the most acidified water was confined to the deep oceans. Cold water, which holds more carbon dioxide, sinks. Deep waters also are naturally high in carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of the decay of plankton.
Feely and his NOAA colleague Christopher Sabine previously have shown that zones of acidified water are growing and moving closer to the surface as the oceans absorb more man-made carbon dioxide.
During surveys on the Pacific Coast last year, a team including Feely and Sabine discovered the natural upwelling that occurs along the West Coast each spring and early summer is pulling the acidified water onto the continental shelf.
"I think this is a red flag for us, because it's right at our doorstep on the West Coast," said Victoria Fabry, a biological oceanographer at California State University, San Marcos, who was not involved with the study. "It's telling us that we really need more monitoring to figure out what's going on."
Climate scientist Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University, said the finding underscores the limitations of computer models.
"This is another example where what's happening in the natural world seems to be happening much faster than what our climate models predict," he said. And there's worse to come, the scientists warn.
A network of currents shuffles ocean water around the globe. The acidified water upwelling along the coast today was last exposed to the atmosphere about 50 years ago, when carbon-dioxide levels were much lower than they are now. That means the water that will rise from the depths over the coming decades will have absorbed more carbon dioxide and will be even more acidic.
"We've got 50 years worth of water that's already left the station and is on its way to us," Hales said. "Each one of those years is going to be a little bit more corrosive than the one before."
Sandi Doughton: 206-464-2491 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The North Sound LEED User Group meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month
at noon at the PUD in Everett to talkabout LEED, the green building rating system operated by US Green Building Council.
May 21st - Thor Peterson from Cascadia Green Building Council will talk about their Living Building Challenge initiative.
June 18 - Alistair Jackson of O'Brien and Company will give a guided tour of "Going Green at the Beach" project, which has achieved LEED Gold.
July's Topic: Energy Modeling for LEED
August’s Topic: LEED Materials
September Topic: LEED Grocery Stores
Contact Scott Schreffler at Dykeman ScottS@Dykeman.net or 425-259-3161
Saturday, May 17, 2008
NOMINATION TO 2007 MOST ENDANGERED PROPERTIES LIST
Describe the current use and condition of the site.
Our nomination involves two aspects of an interconnected site: a bridge and the street below.
The railroad bridge is on a main Amtrak Line and BNSF freight line where
The street portion is a City owned approximately one-half acre of right-of-way that has been crudely fenced off since 2001 as part of past policies and concerted efforts by the Port and BNSF to close the docks to the public while eliminating traffic conflicts with the trains. Currently, the area is an unsightly mess complete with chain link fencing, broken pavement, tall weeds and windblown garbage.
The setting provides a panoramic view of the commercial activity that has been and continues to be one of the hallmarks of
What is the historical significance of the property? Has it been placed on a national, state or local register? If not, has it been determined eligible for the National Register?
The bridge is an increasingly rare steel girder bridge and in fact may be the last surviving one in Everett, a town known as the place where rail meets sail.
For hundreds of years native people spent summers at this site since fresh water flowed down nearby Forgotten Creek and in an unnamed stream that flowed down
Originally paved in locally manufactured red brick,
Give a brief history of the property and tell us why it continues to be important to your community.
For all of the reasons mentioned above, this site reminds people of the City’s connection to the waterfront, and their own relationships to the people who lived before. Of what it must have been like to be a new person in the last of the American Frontier. Considering its blue collar origins - what an exciting place
Why do you consider the property to be endangered? Please be specific about impending threats to the property.
No reason has ever been given for the need for replacement, but on October 2, 2006 BNSF made application to the City of
construction of the berm and demolition of the bridge. Mitigation was minimal and allowed only for landscaping of the berm, a vaguely described pedestrian walkway in the berm and a viewing stand to be placed alongside the tracks. In their environmental review, BNSF attached no historic value to the site or the structure.
What is currently being done currently to save the property? Who is involved and what resources, financial or otherwise have been directed toward this effort.
We have filed an appeal with the City challenging the Final MDNS. A group has formed consisting of prominent citizens, business people, The Pt. Gardner and Bayside Neighborhood Associations, property owners in the immediate vicinity and Historic Everett. The neighborhoods have agreed to adopt the site and will apply for Office of Neighborhoods matching grants funds to help with restoration and maintenance. We have participated in meetings with City Planning Staff. We are working with Parks and Recreation Staff. And they have assured us they will help with the design, construction and maintenance of the site as a park. Both local newspapers, The Daily Herald and The Everett Tribune, have written supportive articles about preserving the site and the attendant history as recently as December 2006.
What is your long term goal for this property?
Immediate preservation of the steel plate bridge along with continued maintenance. Preservation of the turn of the 20th Century brick street. To create a more visually pleasing setting on the publicly owned property. Honor the place with historical markers that educate the public about the early railroad, the Everett Massacre and the original industrial waterfront and its connection to Downtown. Create open space for the people who live and work in the increasingly dense downtown core. Ensure visual and physical public access to the waterfront and related shorelines of statewide significance.
From decades past
The west end of Hewitt still reflects the city's working-class, mill-town roots.
Four one-time tavern buildings remain between the bridge and Marine View Drive. The Anchor occupies a classic "flatiron" brick building, which opened as an office in 1906, then converted one year later to Mulligan's Saloon. It has been the Anchor since 1934; the actual anchor on its sidewalk dates to its founding.
Seamen based at nearby Naval Station Everett "borrowed" the anchor several months ago, then returned it with a new blue-and-yellow paint job.
Two storefronts up, a Hawaiian restaurant that relocated from the downtown core has taken over an historic two-story wooden building that once housed another saloon.
And Anchor regular David Williams, a 26-year-old artist, remembers a childhood spent skateboarding past the old Blue Diamond, in a small building that now houses a Thai restaurant.
He would make faces through the window, he recalls, prompting pub patrons to come outside and watch him skate down the block and beneath the trestle.
"This is Everett," he said, nodding at the industrial-looking bridge. "It's been here forever; why take it down?"
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
By Michelle DunlopHerald Writer
EVERETT -- If you're planning to do construction work for the state or federal government, you might want to brush up on your green skills."It's getting easier to build green," said Scott Schreffler, a project designer with Dykeman, an architecture and design firm in Everett.Building green is in demand, participants at the Green Conference, held Tuesday in Everett, found out.
Private companies and individual home buyers are looking for environmentally friendly elements in their buildings. Governments -- including the city of Mukilteo and the state of Washington -- increasingly are incorporating green standards into their new projects.
Reporter Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454 or email@example.com.