Friday, July 19, 2013

7/19 Salish Sea health, safe shellfish, sewage, orca funding, 'Blackfish,' gray whale

Blackfish (Suzanne Allee/Magnolia Pictures)
A report featuring key environmental indicators for the Salish Sea shows mixed trends, with some indicators showing improvements, others declining, and others remaining steady. The Health of the Salish Sea Ecosystem Report, issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada, features indicators in four key areas: Air, water, animal species, and human well-being..... As a whole, the 2013 report showed positive trends in reducing pollution in the aquatic food web, but showed continuing declines across aquatic habitat and species based indicators. More specifically, the report shows improved air quality, improved freshwater water quality and reductions in persistent toxic chemicals in the aquatic food web. The indicators representing populations of wild species, including marine species at risk and Chinook salmon abundance, need more attention. Two habitat indicators sensitive to climate change, summer stream flow and marine water quality, are also showing declining trends. News release: Health of the Salish Sea Report shows mixed trends for key environmental indicators in Puget Sound and Northwest Straits  

Detecting pathogens in shellfish that are harmful to humans is currently laborious and time-consuming work, but a new robotic sensing unit could vastly improve the system, resulting in fewer people getting sick. Officials from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration introduced the Environmental Sample Processor on Thursday, July 18, at Taylor Shellfish Farms. The unit uses molecular probes to detect micro-organisms by their DNA, and it can be done nearly in real time, giving scientists a better chance to see an algal bloom (also known as a red tide bloom) as it is happening. Dave Gallagher reports. New machine could help predict red tide blooms in NW waters  See also: New robot helping keep Puget Sound seafood safe to eat

Red dye will be injected into treated wastewater on Monday and Tuesday at Joint Base Lewis McChord’s wastewater plant then monitored in a state health department study. The Washington State Department of Health, along with federal, tribal, state, and local agencies, are doing the study in the Puget Sound waters off Solo Point in Pierce County to see where shellfish are safe to harvest. The test will be on Monday and Tuesday. Red dye will likely be visible in the waters near the treatment plant. Tracking will include gauging the wastewater’s movement and dilution. Rita Robison reports. Puget Sound to turn red near Joint Base Lewis McChord on Monday and Tuesday  

Ronald Stansberry's septic business took illegal dumping to a new low. Stansberry, 62, last month admitted in court to unloading more than 6,000 gallons of human waste surreptitiously on a stranger's property south of Stanwood. Now the owner of Camano Septic is on the hook to pay restitution, pony up another $643 in legal penalties, and obtain proper permits before returning to any sewage-pumping work. If he doesn't comply, he could face nearly a year in jail. Noah Haglund reports. Septic firm fined for dumping waste

If whales could smile, they’d be happy to hear the news: New federal funding has been approved to help protect the Orcas that make Puget Sound their home. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed that more federal dollars have been approved under the Endangered Species Act to help protect the Southern Resident Orcas that live in our area annually from May to September. Sgt. Russ Mullins, with the department, said the federal grant will allow a two-pronged approach to help the whales. One will be through enforcement and educating boaters in operating their boats around whales. More money will also add more enforcement officers, to allow them to spend more time on the water. John White reports. Feds earmark money to protect Orcas

A group of at least five killer whales prowled Kitsap Peninsula waters on Thursday, drawing crowds as they passed a ferry, leaped out of the water near Keyport and cruised around Poulsbo's docks... Orca Network Director Howard Garrett said the whales are believed to represent three generations of one family. National Marine Fisheries Service biologist Brad Hanson said the family is part of a larger group of 19 transient killer whales that were seen Saturday near Seattle and then off Whidbey Island.  Killer whales visit Puget Sound

Unapologetically designed both to inform and affect, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s delicately lacerating documentary, “Blackfish,” uses the tragic tale of a single whale and his human victims as the backbone of a hypercritical investigation into the marine-park giant SeaWorld Entertainment. Denied on-camera interviews with park executives, who have strenuously taken issue with the film’s contentions in a lengthy news release, Ms. Cowperthwaite tells the distressing story of Tilikum, a 12,000-pound bull orca implicated in the deaths of three people. Through the rueful voices of former trainers and whale experts, a narrative driven by disillusion and regret unfolds as the trainers point to a gap between SeaWorld’s public image and behind-the-scenes reality. Jeannette Catsoulis reports. Do Six-Ton Captives Dream of Freedom? ‘Blackfish,’ a Documentary, Looks Critically at SeaWorld  

A gray whale was spotted Wednesday morning in Burley Lagoon, a backwater of Puget Sound that is about as far from the ocean as a whale can get. John Calambokidis, a whale expert with Cascadia Research, said the marine mammal is believed to be the same one that has been in the south Sound for the past four or five days. It was spotted Tuesday in Budd Inlet near Olympia. On Wednesday morning it showed up only a few feet from the shore in Burley Lagoon, a small body of water in northern Pierce County between Purdy and Wauna. Gray whale spotted in backwater of south Puget

Please do not avert your eyes because you see the words Olympia or Legislature. Yes, the double-overtime session was exhausting and exasperating, but lawmakers did talk about more than taxes and budgets. Important, if incremental, progress was made on various environmental fronts. Lance Dickie writes. Legislative budget battle didn’t block environmental progress

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI JUL 19 2013
TODAY
W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. NW SWELL 2 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT. NW SWELL 3 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
SAT
W WIND TO 10 KT...RISING TO 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
SAT NIGHT
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.
SUN
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NW 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. NW SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.

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

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