Monday, April 7, 2014

4/7 Herring, jellyfish, Vic sewer, Canada geese, slide pollution, Adventuress, Shell drill, Skagit fish, coal, ospreys

Herring (DFO/VENUS)
Fish affected by a legacy of pollution
Dipping a nylon mesh into a shallow tank of seawater here in late March, fish biologist Jim West prepared to capture herring eggs as they underwent in vitro fertilization. Biologist Andrea Carey slowly dribbled the herring eggs into the water, where they were instantly fertilized as they fell onto the plastic mesh. As they contacted the mesh, the sticky eggs cemented themselves onto the plastic, where they will stay throughout this experiment in Port Gamble Bay. Herring populations in the bay have declined dramatically in recent years, and biologists would like to know why. Placing fertilized embryos into the bay and examining their development could be the most direct way to tell how they are being affected by toxic chemicals. Christopher Dunagan (Kitsap Sun)

Puget Sound Jellyfish show up in areas of poor water quality
Pulsating gelatinous sea creatures, which float through the water like alien life-forms, appear to be on the increase in portions of Puget Sound. Jellyfish are not welcomed by most biologists, who have learned that these translucent creatures tend to show up when the ecosystem is troubled. They'll take a bite out of the lower portion of the food web, gobbling up plankton that could otherwise feed herring and other forage fish — which, in turn, are important prey for salmon, birds and marine mammals. Casey Rice of NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center said there is a lot to learn about jellyfish, but one thing seems clear. When the number of jellyfish is high, the number of forage fish, such as herring, is low. Chris Dunagan reports. (Kitsap Sun)

McLoughlin sewage-plant faces critical test in Esquimalt on Monday  
The Capital Regional District’s plan to build a sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point faces a major hurdle Monday as Esquimalt councillors sit to decide whether to rezone the site. The decision follows a round of public hearings that stretched over four sessions in February and March. Councillors heard about 117 presentations during the sessions, though some people spoke more than once. Of those, only one clearly supported the bylaw and one felt that the township had an obligation to support the bylaw, according to Bill Brown, Esquimalt director of developmental services. Bill Cleverely reports. (Times Colonist)

Canadian authorities looking to control Canada geese populations
Metro Vancouver residents may look overhead and marvel at a V-shaped gaggle of migrating Canada geese, but the on-the-ground antics of resident geese first introduced here decades ago have authorities brainstorming ways to control the exploding population. Environment Canada lists the geese as being “a significant safety threat” to aviation, and a problem in local parks, pastures, golf courses and any other grassy area. Nesting Canada geese can also get quite nasty — aggressive pairs can sometimes injure small children and pets. And goose droppings are expensive to clean up (although they haven’t been linked to any health concerns for humans, according to the federal department). Mike Hager reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Pollution Is Not The Top Priority At Oso Landslide Site, But It Is A Concern
As the search-and-rescue effort shifts gears into cleanup mode, officials are beginning to assess potential environmental and public health risks in the landslide zone near Oso, Wash. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

With 5 years of repairs complete, Adventuress is back at sea and ready for sailing programs
After a five-year, $1.2 million centennial renovation project, the schooner Adventuress is ready for another 100 years of adventures.... The 100-ton ship was strapped into a lift Friday at the Port Townsend Boat Haven and transported about 50 yards from its winter berth into the water. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Coast Guard Blames Kulluk Grounding on Shell Oil's Complacence, Risk Taking
A US Coast Guard investigation blames Shell Oil's complacence and risk-taking for an oil rig running aground on a remote Alaskan Island on New Year's Eve 2012. A single tugboat, the Aiviq, was towing an oil rig called the Kulluk to Everett, Wash., in late December when the tug's engines failed. Despite several attempts to corral the wayward rig, the Kulluk's 18 crew members had to be evacuated by helicopter, and the rig ran aground... The Coast Guard investigation found that Shell's decision to move its cone-shaped oil rig across the Gulf of Alaska in December was influenced by the millions of dollars in state taxes that Shell believed would kick in if the rig stayed in Alaska past the new year. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Skagit steelhead run hangs in balance of legal battle
Two years from now, an already restrictive winter steelhead season on the Skagit River may see even lower returns of hatchery fish to supply recreational and tribal fisheries, unless the state Department of Fish and Wildlife can resolve a legal battle that has been brewing with the Wild Fish Conservancy since early this year. Following a 60-day notice of intent to sue the state agency over its management of early winter steelhead hatchery programs, the nonprofit Conservancy filed a complaint Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, alleging Fish and Wildlife violated the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Coal port developers ask for support in Pacific Northwest
Developers said Wednesday they are politically outmatched in their battle to build two coal ports in Washington state, and they’re begging for help from Montana industry. That means letters, online comments and even trips to hearings in the Pacific Northwest, where regulators are conducting an “unprecedented” environmental review, developers said during Montana Energy 2014 in Billings. Erik Olson reports. (Missoulian)

Home upgrade for Chambers Bay ospreys
Bird-watchers who regularly visit Chambers Bay and the shoreline along the Pierce County-owned Chambers Creek properties in University Place may have noticed something new atop two wooden piles along the beach. Two metal cones recently appeared at the top of the aging piles in an attempt to block returning ospreys from making them their home this year. In place of the piles, the county built a telephone-like pole nearby with a platform where it hopes the ospreys will establish a new residence. Brynn Grimley reports. (News Tribune of Tacoma)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 202 AM PDT MON APR 7 2014
TODAY
SE WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
SW WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN AFTER MIDNIGHT.
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