Friday, August 30, 2013

8/30 Mazama gopher, Buckley Dam, Fraser sockeye, crabbing close, Longview coal, megaquake, tanning whales

Nest Making (Chris Peterson)
If you like to listen: Here they come! Kindergartners are entering the Maxwelton Outdoor Classroom on Washington’s Whidbey Island to learn about birds. “It’s critical for our students to get into a practical application of what they’re learning in their classroom,” says Dr. Jo Moccia, Superintendent of the South Whidbey School District. “The Outdoor Classroom . . . is cared for by the Whidbey Watersheds group, and it’s really a win-win for our community.” BirdNote: Children Study Birds at Maxwelton Outdoor School

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is postponing a controversial decision on whether to list the Mazama pocket gopher as a threatened species in the South Puget Sound area. Washington State manager Ken Berg says his agency wants six additional months to consider input from upset landowners and affected counties. Berg says farmers and ranchers in Thurston County claim there are more pocket gophers than the government realizes and that they can co-exist with human activity. Tom Banse reports. Feds Delay Controversial Decision On Pocket Gopher Protection  

Right now there are tens of thousands of salmon dying at the base of an outdated dam on the White River east of Tacoma. Local tribes say the federal government is failing in its responsibility to transport the fish around the dams on this river, and into prime spawning habitat in the Mount Rainier watershed. The Buckley Diversion Dam is a small dam on the White River about 25 river miles from Tacoma. It was built in 1911 and hasn’t really been updated since. For tens of thousands of pink salmon, it’s the end of the road. Ashley Ahearn reports. Wash. Tribes Grow Impatient With Fish-Killing Dam

A Fisheries and Oceans spokesman says a population of Fraser River sockeye salmon that had dwindled to such alarming numbers it prompted a federal inquiry is showing signs of improvement. About 1.4 million to 1.6 million sockeye out of an estimated run of 10 million returned to the river in 2009, leading the federal government to call an inquiry led by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen. Jeff Grout, a regional Fisheries manager, says the offspring from the 2009 run are now making their own way back up the Fraser and the department estimates those numbers could hit four million. Fraser River sockeye numbers show signs of improvement

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is closing most areas of Puget Sound to recreational crab fishing beginning at sunset Monday. The only two areas to remain open after Labor Day will be marine areas 7-North and 7-South, near the San Juan Islands. Sport fishers crabbing in those two areas after Sept. 2 must record their catch on winter catch record cards. All sport fishers licensed to fish for Dungeness crab in the Puget Sound have through October 1 to submit summer catch reports to WDFW. Most of Puget Sound closing to crabbing Monday

The magic number for Millennium, the giant coal terminal proposed at Longview on the Columbia River, is not 44 million — that’s how many tons of coal would be shipped annually. It's 432. As in State Route 432, or at least the stretch of highway where traffic crossing the Lewis & Clark Bridge merges with the railroad tracks and streets that serve the busy Port of Longview and assorted major industries. “There’s no way you can put coal trains through Longview without fixing SR 432,” is the blunt assessment from Gary Lindstrom, marine consultant and former Port of Longview marketing director. “It’s a nightmare to me.” Floyd McKay reports. The elephant in the room on the Longview coal port  

It's been a busy summer on the high seas for researchers trying to figure out the inner workings of an ominous earthquake fault. The Cascadia subduction zone runs offshore from Vancouver Island to Northern California. When it rips, we could have a magnitude-9.0 catastrophe.  University of Washington geophysicist Paul Johnson led a nearly month-long research cruise to the likely epicenter for the Big One. His ship carried an unmanned mini-sub to probe the sea floor directly over the still somewhat-mysterious Cascadia earthquake fault. Tom Banse reports. Research Cruise Reveals New Findings about Megaquake Fault

Some pale whales appear to tan in order to protect themselves from sunburn, says a new study. An international team of scientists took mitochondrial DNA samples from blue whales, fin whales and sperm whales to check for genetic damage from ultraviolet rays. They found that higher melanin levels in the whale's skin correlated with lower levels of skin lesions and DNA damage, suggesting melanin protects the ocean mammals from sun damage. Dene Moore reports.  Scientists find some whales sun tan to protect themselves from sunburns

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI AUG 30 2013
TODAY
S WIND TO 10 KT THIS MORNING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS THIS MORNING. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS. AREAS OF FOG THIS MORNING. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS THIS MORNING.
TONIGHT
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT.
SAT
LIGHT WIND...BECOMING E TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG IN THE MORNING.
SAT NIGHT
LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS.
SUN
W WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

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