Monday, November 4, 2013

11/4 Dolphins, starfish deaths, bad bulkheads, ocean acid, coal train health, BC 'fracking,' hydro harm fish, sunfish

Pacific white-sided dolphins (NOAA/NMFS)
If you like to watch: 1,000 dolphins swim beside ferry off Gulf Islands
Passengers aboard a BC Ferries vessel were treated to a rare sight on Friday, as a pod of about 1,000 Pacific white-sided dolphins swam next to the boat for several minutes. Rob Maguire caught it on video.

Widespread starfish deaths reported on West Coast
Marine scientists are finding a large number of dead starfish along the West Coast stricken with a disease that causes the creatures to lose their arms and disintegrate. The starfish are dying from "sea star wasting disease," an affliction that causes white lesions to develop, which can spread and turn the animals into "goo." The disease has killed up to 95 percent of a particular species of sea star in some tide pool populations.... Even starfish in an aquarium at the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary visitor center in San Francisco died from wasting disease after water was pumped in from the ocean in September.

Are bulkheads bad for Puget Sound?
Enviros and waterfront owners have argued the question for years. UW biologist Megan Dethier is out to find the answer. Puget Sound has more armor than the Tower of London — 600-plus miles of concrete, rock and timbers enclosing about 26 percent of its total shoreline. And it’s still spreading: According to data collected by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, a little over a mile of concrete and riprap gets laid along the Sound each year, 76 percent of it on residential property. This trend may accelerate as climate change proceeds and sea levels rise, spurring waterfront owners to seek more protection. Eric Scigliano reports.

Sea Change: Can sea life adapt?
The violet bottom-dwelling, prickle-backed spheres wriggling in the tank in Gretchen Hofmann’s lab aren’t really known for their speed. But these lowly sea urchins adapt so quickly they’re helping answer a question that’s key to understanding ocean acidification: As fossil-fuel emissions disrupt marine life, will evolution come to the rescue? Craig Welch reports.

Coal trains cause air quality issues, local researcher says
New research by a University of Washington-Bothell professor finds coal and diesel trains in our region pose air quality issues and could impact the health of people living near the railroad tracks. Dr. Dan Jaffe, Ph.D., tested the amount of diesel exhaust and coal dust escaping from more than 500 trains over the span of one month. He tested air quality levels in a house in North Seattle and at a location in the Columbia River Gorge. For people living near the railroad lines, Dr. Jaffe's data suggests that there is a concern with air quality from diesel exhaust. He says coal trains appear to release some larger particulate matter, which is likely to be coal dust. Jake Wittenberg reports.

Day of the Dead ~ 4th Annual Tribute
Orca Watcher Monica Wieland blogs: "Every year I write a blog post to honor and remember the Southern Residents who passed away during the previous year. As I was preparing for this post, I was flipping through my ID guides, looking at the family groups of the whales we've lost. As I did this, it struck me just how many elder whales have died in recent years. While no longer reproductive, older female whales likely play an extremely important role in Southern Resident Killer whale society, both as leaders and carriers of cultural information. Both last year and this year we have lost three females born before 1970. J2 Granny and L25 Ocean Sun are now the only living whales that were adults when photo ID studies began in the early 1970s..."

B.C. premier's home 'fracked' by protesters  
The home of B.C. Premier Christy Clark was 'fracked' on Sunday, when anti-fracking activists set up a fake rig on her lawn, to protest the premier's support of hydraulic fracturing for liquefied natural gas (LNG). Protesters with Rising Tide-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories argue exploiting northeastern B.C.'s shale gas resources is too dangerous for the environment and want Clark to reverse her LNG strategy. Clark made LNG exports a central plank of her re-election campaign earlier this year and has just returned from a tour of North America and Asia to promote the export of B.C.'s natural gas.

Most run-of-river B.C. hydro projects can harm fish
Almost 100 per cent of private run-of-river power projects studied in B.C. are located on streams where they could affect fish, an interim study for the Pacific Salmon Foundation has found. Foundation president and CEO Brian Riddell said in an interview that while “most people sort of assume” that these hydro projects are located in stretches of river away from fish habitat, the reality is quite different. Larry Pynn reports.

Biologist thinks jellyfish may have lured 300-pound sunfish to Puget Sound
A 300-pound sunfish caught off Elliott Bay earlier this week has created quite the buzz around town after the owner of Sunfish Fish & Chips put the massive catch on display Wednesday...According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, sunfish sightings in the Puget Sound are pretty rare but have, on occasion, happened in the past. "It may have gotten entrained in a warm cell and found itself in the Sound following its food supply," said Bob Pacunski, a marine fish biologist with Fish and Wildlife. The sunfish is known to primarily munch on jellyfish, and Pacunski said it wouldn't surprise him if that's what this particular specimen was after. Kiersten Throndsen reports.

Ian Mulgrew: Land Conservancy founder says creditor protection move ‘appalling’
The move by TLC — The Land Conservancy of B.C. — to seek creditor protection threatens to do irreparable harm to charities and the land-trust movement, according to its founder Bill Turner. The man who led the TLC for most of its life before leaving in 2012 to set up a similar organization, Turner says the legal manoeuvre “is an appalling attempt to change the rules” and the government should intervene.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON NOV 4 2013
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON PST TODAY THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY
E WIND 10 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 5 FT AT 15 SECONDS. A
 CHANCE OF RAIN THIS MORNING...THEN RAIN LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT
E WIND 20 TO 30 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 17 SECONDS. RAIN.
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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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