|Surf smelt (top) and sand lance (WDFW)|
Puget Sound's little fish - the kind that school together near the shore - don't have the celebrity status of salmon or orcas. But as the populations of herring, smelt and other forage fish dwindle, so too may the sound's more iconic species. A bill by state Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, aims to improve what state regulators readily admit is a poor understanding of the small fish that serve as prey for the sound's larger predators…. Senate Bill 5166 would initiate the most comprehensive study of forage fish ever undertaken in Puget Sound. It would also require a recreational fishing license for smelt, a species typically caught with dip nets near the shore…. Sound Action, the Coastal Conservation Association and the National Audubon Society's Washington chapter are among the environmental groups that have spoken in favor of the bill. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun) If you like to watch: Sound Action - Forage Fish Matter
Fighting Over Herring—the Little Fish That Feeds Multitudes
The Pacific herring—an oily, silvery, schooling fish—is rarely high on the list of marine animals people fret about. But for the second straight year, the Canadian government has ignited a skirmish in British Columbia by moving to let fishing nets scoop up spawning herring, despite objections from scientists, Native people, and even commercial fishing groups. Pacific herring stocks are shadows of their former abundance. But the Canadian government wants to reopen fishing off British Columbia. Craig Welch reports. (National Geographic)
In memory of … Ticiang Diangson: A legacy of environmental justice
A pioneer in the field of environmental justice, Ticiang Diangson died peacefully on Jan. 29 at her home on Beacon Hill. The legacy of her work lives on in Seattle and in cities throughout the nation. (NW Asian Weekly)
Apartment complex using DNA to track down dog dropping offenders
Dog owners at the Monterra Apartment Homes in Tacoma are held responsible for pet droppings through a DNA matching system. KOMO reports owners are required to register their dog's DNA, which is taken with a mouth swab. When a dog pile violation is reported, a maintenance worker takes a small sample. A DNA lab matches it to the guilty pooch. The owner gets a $200 fine. (Associated Press)
Bills in Washington State Seek to End Use of Coal
Lawmakers hoping to wean Washington State off coal power are trying to ease the way for the state’s utilities to end the electricity they get from coal. Bills in the House and Senate would set favorable conditions for three private utilities if they decided to shut down a large coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana that provides power to a chunk of the Pacific Northwest. Supporters say the proposal gives the utilities the tools to begin divesting from coal power plants, including a way to issue bonds for a shutdown. But the Sierra Club and other critics say the proposal removes too much utility oversight, sets too long a timeline for closing a power plant and does not ensure that coal power would be replaced by something cleaner. (Associated Press)
Rescuers refloat 66 pilot whales stranded in New Zealand
Rescuers on Saturday refloated 66 pilot whales stranded on a remote beach in New Zealand as a race to save their lives continued. Nearly 200 whales were beached Friday in Farewell Spit on New Zealand's South Island. Scores got back in the water, only to return to land -- leaving more than 100 dead. Faith Karimi reports. (CNN)
Lummi Nation moves forward with plans for marina at Gooseberry Point
A marina for Lummi Nation fishermen at Gooseberry Point is still years away, but Whatcom County officials this year will begin working on a plan to accommodate the marina by altering the Lummi ferry dock. The county will not be required to relocate the dock, but it likely will need to be realigned, as outlined in the lease that allows the county to use Gooseberry Point as a ferry landing. The tribe’s preferred marina design includes a floating breakwater directly in front of the dock. Ralph Schwartz reports. (Bellingham Herald)
Cleaner air moves Pierce County, Tacoma off polluters list
Progress made by Tacoma and Pierce County in improving air quality has persuaded the federal Environmental Protection Agency to remove the area from its most-wanted list of polluters. Effective Tuesday, Tacoma and Pierce County no longer will be classified as a “nonattainment area,” a label that has been not only embarrassing for the city and county, but which also makes economic development more difficult. Rob Carson reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)
WWU marine center lets students plunge into science
It’s a drizzly, February day, but the spirits of the elementary school students at Western Washington University’s Shannon Point Marine Center are bright as they scour the beach for signs of marine life. Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON FEB 16 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 2 FT AT 10 SECONDS.
E WIND 10 TO 15 KT...RISING TO 15 TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 2 FT AT 12 SECONDS.
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