|“Spineless” Susan Middleton|
As we stand on the thin crust of this watery planet, our gaze tends to roam from horizon to heavens. We often neglect the riot of life that seethes and thrives below us, especially in the still mysterious depths of our oceans. When we focus on sea life at all, our fancies turn to the vertebrate exhibitionists — whales, sharks, dolphins — or the delicious fish on our plates. But as the photographer and writer Susan Middleton tells us in her ravishing new book, “Spineless,” marine invertebrates make up more than 98 percent of the oceans’ known animal species. As she writes, “Beneath the ocean waves, hidden from our view, a spectacular profusion of life flourishes.” Dana Jennings reports. (NY Times)
Lemon shark dies at Point Defiance Zoo
A lemon shark believed to be the oldest in any North American aquarium died over the weekend at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Lizzie, 30, developed lesions three weeks ago on her gill slits, around her pectoral fins and in her mouth, zoo officials said Monday. Veterinarians have been monitoring the 450-pound shark and noticed she changed her swimming patterns and was having trouble breathing Thursday. Stacia Glenn reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)
Victoria eyes back-to-basics approach on sewage treatment
….Victoria has hired consultants and begun working with Saanich and Oak Bay staff to explore local or sub-regional treatment options since the collapse last summer of the Capital Regional District’s plan to locate a plant at Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point. In a report going to councillors Thursday, municipal staff present a strategy to begin in January to outline to the public:… Bill Cleverley and Amy Smart report. (Times Colonist)
Pregnant killer whale J-32 was starving, necropsy reveals
Questions remain after a necropsy revealed a young female orca in the endangered southern resident population was malnourished when she died before giving birth to a full-term calf. Preliminary necropsy results released by the Center for Whale Research indicate that J-32 had a thin layer of blubber and had not been feeding adequately for an extended period of time. But the report also concluded the 19-year-old female likely died because she could not expel a nearly full-term fetus from her body, and that the fetus might have been dead for some time. "The question is why did the fetus die, and why are we having so much trouble with reproductive success in this population?" said Kenneth Balcomb, the executive director of the center. (CBC)
Illabot Creek awaits president’s pen to become wild and scenic
After a half-dozen years of trying, Skagit County’s Illabot Creek is a pen-stroke away from being designated a Wild and Scenic River. Congress passed a National Defense Authorization Act Friday that includes the designation. All that remains is President Obama’s signature. The designation has been a goal for conservation groups, local and state officials for many years, but efforts to pass it as separate legislation have previously failed. This time, it was added to the $585 billion Defense bill. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Ocean acidification a culprit in commercial shellfish hatcheries' failures
The mortality of larval Pacific oysters in Northwest hatcheries has been linked to ocean acidification. Yet the rate of increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the decrease of pH in near-shore waters have been questioned as being severe enough to cause the die-offs. Now, a new study of Pacific oyster and Mediterranean mussel larvae found that the earliest larval stages are sensitive to saturation state, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) or pH (acidity) per se. Saturation state is a measure of how corrosive seawater is to the calcium carbonate shells made by bivalve larvae, and how easy it is for larvae to produce their shells. A lower saturation rate is associated with more corrosive seawater. Cheryl Dybas reports. (PHYS.ORG)
B.C. government decision on Site C dam expected
The province is expected to announce a decision on the controversial Site C dam on Tuesday. Provincial Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett has called a news conference in Victoria on Tuesday to make what his ministry said is a major announcement. If given the go-ahead, the $8.5-billion project would dramatically alter a large chunk of northeastern B.C. by putting it underwater for the hydroelectric project. (CBC)
Inslee outlines plan to pump $2.3 billion into education
Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday said he wants to give public schools and colleges a $2.3 billion boost in the next budget. He’s proposing to put in enough money to amply fund basic education as ordered by the Supreme Court, prevent a tuition hike for college students and give teachers a nearly 5 percent pay hike over the next two years. But he’s not sticking in enough to cover the cost of the smaller class size initiative passed by voters last month. And on Monday he wasn’t saying how he will pay for his proposal. That answer won’t come until Thursday when he issues his proposed spending plan for the biennium that begins July 1, 2015. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST TUE DEC 16 2014
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 TO 20 KT THIS MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 3 FT. NW SWELL 6 FT AT 13
SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
SE WIND 10 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 2 FT. NW SWELL 6 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.
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