Monday, June 16, 2014

6/16 Sea stars, data boats, seal cam, Fraser sturgeon, BC pipe, CG push, logging OK, B'ham cleanup, recreation budget, Taylor's checkerspot

If you like to watch: Smart Birds Open Doors
Grant Hughes shares a look at smart swallows at the University of Victoria.

Laura James reports sea star die-offs in Hood Canal. Sund rock stars   Meanwhile, Scientists Close In On The Cause Of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome
Drew Harvell peers into the nooks and crannies along the rocky shoreline of Eastsound on Orcas Island. Purple and orange starfish clutch the rocks, as if hanging on for dear life.... Scientists have been working for months to find out what’s causing the massive die-off and now Harvell and others have evidence that an infectious disease caused by a bacteria or virus, may be at the root of the problem. The disease, they say, could be compounded by warming waters, which put the sea stars under stress, making them more vulnerable to the pathogen... While scientists are reluctant to assign blame to climate change, Harvell explained that as oceans warm, outbreaks like this are more likely to occur. Katie Campbell and Ashley Ahearn report. (EarthFix)

New blog: “When You Go To Victoria, Don’t Flush”
Two years ago in these pages we heralded what we thought was the light at the end of Victoria’s sewer discharge pipe after the Canadian government, the province of British Columbia and the Capital Regional District put $782 million down for a long-awaited sewage treatment system. Alas, we were wrong....

Fishing boats become salmon labs in Puget Sound
More than 40 scientists in U.S. and Canadian waters are catching batches of young salmon to find out why they can be so healthy in the rivers but begin to die off in Puget Sound. Studies show some species die at a rate of 80 percent from the time they leave their native river and get through the Sound to The Pacific Ocean. There are similar concerns all the way through the northern Strait of Georgia, which, when combined with Puget Sound, forms the Salish Sea. Gary Chittim reports. (KING)

MV Salish ferry now equipped with device to gather Admiralty Inlet data
The state ferries system has attached a device to the hull of the MV Salish on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route to provide data on low-oxygen water and ocean acidification from Admiralty Inlet.... During a recent servicing, Washington State Ferries crews attached the sensor, an acoustic doppler current profiler, to the bottom of the Salish, which makes 11 daily crossings between Port Townsend and Coupeville on Whidbey Island. The sensor gathers data during the crossings of the area known as Admiralty Inlet, or Admiralty Reach, the gateway to the Puget Sound, where salt and fresh water merges. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Seal cam at Fisherman's Wharf opens new world under the sea
...Since October, an underwater camera installed at Fisherman’s Wharf has been feeding live footage to online users who tune in. More than 35,000 viewers from 110 countries have taken a peek at Sammy and other sea creatures below the surface, said Mike Irvine, founder of SubEye Technologies, who built waterproof housing for the camera. For Irvine, it’s about sharing his love of ocean life.... Live feeds are available at subeye.ca or eaglewingtours.com. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Giant sturgeon caught on Fraser river...again
A 19-year-old angler from Atlanta, Ga, fishing with his father for the first time, is the fourth person in less than two years to catch a giant Fraser River sturgeon. On Thursday, Paul Jarvis, and his dad, Don, were on the first day of a three-day father-son fishing trip when Paul hooked into one of the largest white sturgeon ever caught on the Fraser River. The giant fish measured more than three-and-a half metres long and one-and-a-half metres in girth. Since it was never removed from the water, its weight was calculated, based on a mathematical formula, at 400 kilograms. (CBC)

Northern Gateway opponents prepare for provincial referendum
Resigned, perhaps, that federal government approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline is inevitable, opponents of the project are formulating a plan to make sure British Columbia's politicians remain opposed to the project. For months now, members of the Dogwood Initiative have been preparing for a provincial referendum akin to the vote that forced the Liberal government to repeal the harmonized sales tax in British Columbia. Should Ottawa give the pipeline the go-ahead by this Tuesday's deadline and the province issues the necessary permits and authorizations, spokesman Kai Nagata said his group will be ready. (CBC)

States worry about Coast Guard’s new power push
New rules proposed by the U.S. Coast Guard might dilute states’ power to prevent and prepare for oil spills — for instance, by overriding Washington’s requirement that tugboat escorts accompany supertankers into Puget Sound. The controversy is prompted by a Coast Guard effort to assert federal authority over maritime issues. State officials in Washington, California and New York have asked the Coast Guard to withdraw rules it proposed in December. They say the rules would limit the states’ role in protecting citizens from vessel accidents and pollution. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Judge permits timber harvest that environmentalists claim threatens marbled murrelet in Clallam and Jefferson counties
A Jefferson County judge has rejected a request for a temporary injunction against a state-approved harvest of 234 acres of timber on the West End adjacent to habitat of the threatened marbled murrelet. After an hourlong presentation last week from attorneys on both sides of the issue, Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper ruled against the plaintiffs, permitting the timber harvest by Interfor, which has mills in Forks and Port Angeles. The judge ruled Friday that the area in question is outside of the murrelet’s habitat and that the plaintiffs could have filed an action in advance of the beginning of the logging operation, which had been scheduled to begin Saturday. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Bellingham waterfront cleanup, new walkway still waiting for Lummi Nation approval
Two key waterfront projects are still waiting for federal permits that have been stalled because of environmental and treaty fishing rights issues raised by Lummi Nation. Those projects are the Port of Bellingham's $37 million environmental cleanup project in Whatcom Waterway at the mouth of Whatcom Creek, and the city's $6.5 million over-water walkway that would link Boulevard Park to the park planned for the Cornwall Beach landfill site to the north. Neither project can move ahead without permits from the Seattle office of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. Because of past federal court rulings upholding tribal treaty fishing rights, the Corps routinely submits permit applications in and around the fishing grounds to area tribes for review. Lummi Nation has raised objections to both projects. John Stark reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Recreation funding advocates lay out list of priority projects for Legislature in 2015
he Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition has released its annual list of projects that is is asking Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature to include in the 2015 state capital budget. The price tag is $97 million, higher than recent levels, but this reflects growing needs spurred by a growing population and also rising costs for construction and to buy lands, according to Peter Dykstra, president of the bipartisan group’s board.... The coalition request includes money for 220 proposals in 34 of the state’s 39 counties. That includes 21 multi-use trails, 37 farmland conservation easements, 45 projects to preserve or conserve habitat, and 114 projects for outdoor recreation including state and local parks and public access to waterways. Brad Shannon reports. (Olympian)

Endangered butterfly seems to like Clallam the best in quest for survival
An endangered butterfly is holding its own in Clallam County, where seven of 11 known clusters of the Taylor’s checkerspot still exist. Named for its orange-and-white checkered appearance, the 2-inch butterfly once flourished in Western Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. More than 80 populations, or isolated groups, were documented by wildlife experts before a loss of habitat threatened to wipe out the colorful critter. The Taylor’s checkerspot was listed in October 2013 on the Federal Register as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PDT MON JUN 16 2014
TODAY
W WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 5 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER
 MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 9 SECONDS. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
--
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