Thursday, March 20, 2014

3/20 Clam secrets, tribal water, Skagit shores, SJI Monument, Quadra Is park

Spotted Towhee (Steve Ting/All About Birds)
Vernal Equinox - West
If you like to listen: Ahhh, the first day of spring . . . at last! And the birds know somethin' is up. Both science and folklore tie Spring to the renewal of nature, as the world awakens from the long cold winter. Here's a Virginia Rail, usually unseen but hardly unheard, ringing in the new season. Spring has sprung. The birds declare it official. (BirdNote)

B.C. clams reveal an ancient secret (with video)
First Nations “clam gardens” dramatically increase the survival, growth rate and size of shellfish using materials as simple as boulders and crushed shells, according to a new study by researchers at Simon Fraser University and the University of Washington. A collaborative project by marine ecologists and archeologists studied clam growth in ancient stone-walled beach terraces created over the last few thousand years. The team recorded four times as many butter clams and twice as many littlenecks in clam gardens compared with unaltered beaches. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Lummi, Nooksack dispute local water rights
Litigation from local tribes could have serious consequences for farmers and many others in Whatcom County. When the U.S. government signed its treaties with the Washington tribes in the mid-1800s, some of the finer details were left a bit ambiguous. In the past few decades, those tribes, along with state and federal governments, have been trying to sort it all out.... 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the Boldt decision, and Whatcom County is the arena for the most recent litigation. This time, it’s about water rights.  In 2011, the Nooksack and Lummi tribes filed a petition with the U.S. Department of the Interior to seek a legal declaration of their water rights, a move that may have wide-ranging impacts both locally and throughout the region. Nathan Dalla Santa reports. (Northern Light)

Plan update generates concern over shoreline access
The Skagit County Planning Commission spent the majority of its Tuesday meeting debating public access requirements in the county’s shoreline master program update. “The definition of public access needs to be worked on, in my opinion,” Commissioner Jason Easton said. He described it as a very controversial issue in Skagit County, “at the front of (shoreline) owners’ minds” from the beach in Anacortes to the dikes along the Skagit River. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Monument: premium placed on partnerships
The amount of acreage in the newly created San Juan Islands national monument totals just about 1,000. But that number itself does little justice to the character or landscape of the monument–the only one in Washington state, by the way. That’s because the monument is comprised of no fewer than 31 small islands and 40 different groups of rocks and reefs, some of which nearly disappear at high tide. It stretches from the northernmost corner of San Juan County (Patos Island) to one of the southernmost (Iceberg Point), as well as from its westernmost (Turn Point) to beyond the county’s eastern border to include low-lying rocky features and the tip of several islands in Whatcom and Skagit counties. Scott Rasmussen reports. (Journal of the San Juans)

Years of talk finally yield new park on Quadra Island
After years of negotiation, collapsed deals and local fundraising campaigns, the B.C. government has signed an agreement to save waterfront land on Quadra Island from logging and turn it into a provincial park. Rob Shaw reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT THU MAR 20 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING NW 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A
 CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
--
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