Friday, April 25, 2014

4/25 Starfish wasting, orca protection, tribes on climate, quake, Arctic spills, tribal lands, smoking fish, species procession

Wasted starfish (PHOTO: Nate Fletcher)
New blog: Watching Starfish Waste Away
(Bellingham) Those of us who might have wanted Dr. Ben Miner of Western Washington University to identify the mysterious disease that is killing starfish along the Pacific West Coast would have left his talk last Tuesday sadly unsatisfied after an hour or so. Real life and death isn’t like an hour’s episode of CSI...

Feds weigh protecting orcas off Pacific coast
NOAA Fisheries is weighing whether to protect endangered orcas in the waters off the West Coast. The federal agency said Thursday it would consider a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity seeking to expand the critical habitat for southern resident killer whales. NOAA has already designated inland waters of Washington as critical to orca conservation, but the group's petition says offshore areas from Cape Flattery, Wash., to Point Reyes, Calif., should now be added as critical habitat. Such a designation would require federal officials to limit activities that harm the whales. (Associated Press) See also: Fate of orcas? Depends on fish—and lately, both have been scarce  (San Juan Journal)

Washington state tribes ask for action on climate change
Representatives of nine Washington Indian tribes told Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Thursday that consequences of climate change are threatening their economies and cultures and that they need federal help to deal with intensifying climate-related problems. The tribes, with low-lying reservations on Washington’s ocean coast and along Puget Sound, said rising sea levels caused by global warming, ocean acidification and more severe weather patterns are endangering the natural resources on which their cultures are based. Rob Carson reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

After 6.6 quake, pressure’s on for Big One, seismologist says
The magnitude-6.6 earthquake that struck off the west coast of Vancouver Island on Wednesday night did nothing to release pressure off the Big One, said seismologist John Cassidy. “It was on a different fault,” said Cassidy, who works with Earthquakes Canada. He said the quake, which occurred about 94 kilometres south of Port Hardy 11 kilometres deep and had several aftershocks, occurred on the Nootka fault line... The quake — which the U.S. Geographical Survey initially said measured 6.7 — did not release any energy being stored in the Cascadia subduction zone, from California to the west coast of Vancouver Island, Cassidy said. “It’s completely locked,” he said. That means pressure for the Big One — a magnitude-9.0 megathrust earthquake — is building. Cassidy said there’s about a 30 per cent chance it could happen in the next 50 years. Sarah Petrescu reports. (Times Colonist)

U.S. not ready to deal with oil spill, marine accident in Arctic: NRC study
The United States is unequipped to handle an oil spill or any kind of marine disaster in Arctic waters even as melting ice encourages energy development, according to a new report by the National Research Council.  The report, requested by the American Petroleum Institute and other agencies, comes less than a month after Shell Oil announced it will not seek to drill this year in Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea.... the report noted, there is no safety/regulatory infrastructure in places like the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, where oil companies want to drill. Joel Connelly reports. (SeattlePI.com)

Interior secretary calls for more land to be placed in tribal trust status  (Paywall)
Earlier this year, the Suquamish tribe added 283 acres to its Port Madison Indian Reservation, expanding the reservation for the first time in 150 years. That’s a tiny fraction of the 242,703 acres that tribes nationwide have brought into trust status since 2009. Before the Obama administration leaves office in 2017, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell wants to see that number double. “My goal is to take 500,000 acres of fee lands into trust, and I encourage the tribes to continue to submit their applications and emphasize this administration’s commitment to processing these applications,” said Jewell during a tribal leadership summit in Suquamish on Thursday. Rachel Anne Seymour reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Caution urged over smoking salmon; cooking method may cause cancer
Two University of British Columbia researchers are trying to find out whether the way First Nations in British Columbia have been smoking salmon for generations is actually carcinogenic. But B.C.’s deputy provincial health officer is urging caution, saying one of the unintended consequences of such a study is to cause aboriginal people to mistrust their own traditional foods. A research project being led by David Kitts and Kevin Allen – food scientists in the food, nutrition and health program at UBC – is looking at the presence of cancer-causing chemicals in smoked salmon prepared in old-style wood smokehouses. Cooking wild game or fish in these smokehouses requires extreme heat, which can result in polyaromatic hydrocarbons tainting the fish. Previous studies have shown that high levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbons like benzo(a)pyrene – a cancer-causing chemical – are found in smoked fish. Nadim Roberts reports. (Globe and Mail)

Procession of the Species: 20 years and going strong
Procession of the Species founder Eli Sterling has long said that it was his aim to produce 20 of the annual events, which celebrate both the natural world and human creativity. The procession, which draws about 3,000 participants and 30,000 spectators each year, is a traveling spectacle of dancers and marchers in mostly handmade costumes as well as festive bands and human-powered floats. Saturday is the 20th procession. Sterling has met his goal. What’s next? Molly Gilmore reports. (Olympian)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT FRI APR 25 2014
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING E 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 15 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF
 SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF
 SHOWERS.
SAT
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
SAT NIGHT
SE WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING S 15 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS...BUILDING TO 2 TO 4 FT AFTER
 MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 6 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
SUN
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 11 SECONDS.

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