Wednesday, November 12, 2014

11/12 Climate deal, gull diet, pipeline leak, BC salmon, logging landslide, Klipsun Beach, LA coal, film fest

(Phil Hart/BirdNote)
If you like to listen: Why Bird Poop Is White
Birds brighten our lives. They connect us with nature. But sometimes they connect us a bit too directly with nature. Park under the wrong tree - where a flock of starlings or grackles comes to roost - and nature may cover your car so thickly that it takes a trip or two through the carwash just to see through the windshield again. And why is most of the bird poop we see white? The answer is that birds, unlike mammals, don't produce urine. Instead they excrete nitrogenous wastes in the form of uric acid, which emerges as a white paste. Owners of red cars, look out! A study in England found that red cars are most likely to be the target of bird droppings! (BirdNote)

U.S., China strike ‘major’ climate deal
A groundbreaking agreement struck Wednesday by the United States and China puts the world's two worst polluters on a faster track to curbing the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. With the clock ticking on a worldwide climate treaty, the two countries sought to move beyond their troubled history as environmental adversaries and spur other nations. Josh Lederman reports. (Associated Press)

Gulls switch to trash-diet as fish stocks run low
Gulls tucking in to discarded food or flocking around landfills has become a familiar sight. Now data spanning 149 years has shown that substituting fish for less nutritious food is linked to population declines and lower fertility in glaucous-winged gulls (Larus glaucescens). Louise Blight from the University of British Columbia and her colleagues looked at 270 gulls' feather samples from museums, taken between 1860 and 2009. Using the ratios of heavy isotopes of carbon and nitrogen, the team pieced together the dietary habits of these seabirds, all of which had lived in the Salish Sea region off the coast of south-western Canada and the north-western US. They found a decline in heavier carbon isotopes, indicating that the gulls shifted from a fishy source of carbon to a terrestrial source. Sandhya Sekar reports. (New Scientist)

Olympic Pipeline shut at Burlington station for leak
The state Department of Ecology and personnel from the Olympic Pipeline Co. are responding to an oil spill at a pipeline pump station south of the Burlington Country Club. Olympic Pipeline Co. first reported the oil to Ecology Oct. 29 after discovering a sheen on water in an excavation pit, Ecology said in a news release. The pipeline was closed that day and state and pipeline personnel responders have been monitoring the site since then to determine the source, type and location of the oil and to plan cleanup strategies. (Skagit Valley Herald)

BC wild salmon tested and certified free of three diseases: federal agency
A two-year investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has found no evidence of three diseases in wild salmonids on the B.C. coast. A total of 8,006 samples of trout and salmon species collected in 2012 and 2013 showed no evidence of infectious salmon anaemia. Of that number, 6,734 were also tested for infectious pancreatic necrosis and 1,272 for infectious haematopoietic necrosis — and all tests were negative. CFIA said in a news release it also evaluated existing surveillance data for farmed salmon in B.C. and found no current or historical evidence of ISA or IPN in these populations. The 2006-to-2011 data came from provincial and federal programs as well as from routine monitoring and testing by industry. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Wash. Forest Practices Board Mulling New Guidelines After Deadly Oso Slide
How to prevent unsafe logging on steep slopes that could cause future landslides will be at the center of discussions in Olympia Wednesday. In the wake of the Oso tragedy, the state’s Forest Practices Board is in the process of updating permitting guidelines.  The board is rewriting the section of its manual that deals with unstable slopes based on the latest and best advice from a panel of geologists. State forester Aaron Everett says while the guidelines are not binding, they should make it harder for companies seeking to log in unsafe areas. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

City Approves $12.5 Million Park Plan At Cornwall Beach
Bellingham City Council this week approved the master plan for the city’s newest park on 17 acres along the northeastern shoreline of Bellingham Bay. As envisioned in this planning document, the park may be the single largest open-space component of the redevelopment strategy for Bellingham’s central waterfront and strongly tie into Boulevard Park and trail systems to the south. Consultants estimated the cost of the park, including upland improvements, at approximately $12.52 million. An additional $7 million is required for habitat restoration under the plan. In August, Kelli Linville notified Lummi Nation that the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board had selected “Klipsun Beach” as the official name for the 14-acre park. More than 300 names had been suggested by the public. Tim Johnson reports. (Cascadia Weekly)

Coal terminal fight strikes familiar chords
A community has filled its yards with signs and packed meeting rooms to oppose a coal terminal. Residents have appealed for more opportunities for public comment. They worry about coal dust blowing off the open coal cars headed to the proposed terminal. The land around the site is environmentally sensitive and needs to remain undisturbed, opponents say. Whatcom County? In this case, I’m referring to Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, La. Talk about wetland restoration. The delta that comprises the parish naturally blunts the force of hurricanes making landfall from the Gulf of Mexico. A coastal restoration project is planned there, to bolster that line of defense and improve habitat. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday, Nov. 10, issued a permit for a coal terminal in the parish that would export 6 or 8 million tons of coal a year, depending on which report you read. The terminal would be the third in Plaquemines Parish alone. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)

If you like to watch: Wild & Scenic Film Festival comes to Victoria November 13th
Georgia Strait Alliance presents the Wild & Scenic Film Festival this Thursday at St. Ann’s Academy, Victoria. Wild & Scenic films educate, inspire, and motivate people to go out and make a difference in their community and around the world. Eight films are featured at the Festival, including award winning films STAND & North of the Sun. Canadian standup paddleboarder and adventurer Norm Hann, star of STAND, will be on hand to speak about his experience paddleboarding the 400km tanker route from Kitimat to Bella Bella. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST WED NOV 12 2014
GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING
TODAY
E WIND 30 TO 40 KT. SEAS 6 TO 8 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 17 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
E WIND 30 TO 40 KT...EASING TO 25 TO 35 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 6 TO 8 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 16 SECONDS.

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1 comment:

  1. Tony Angell writes: "... Frankly, I didn't think that the glaucous winged gulls had suffered a significant decline in population but certainly other gull species have including mew, Bonapartes, Heerman's and western gulls. If anything, I would suggest that the glaucous winged surged in population over the last half century with its feeding in open dumps and frequenting other points of debris and garbage access. They may have peaked by now and what we're seeing is a decline from historical increases. Like crows, the glaucous is aggressive, and adaptable so it exploits the resources we leave in abundance. They are the park and shopping center gull and the ones that line up behind the ferry to catch French fries."

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