Monday, February 2, 2015

2/2 Crows, Polley mine, orca video, pipe protest, Shell train, Gulf BP spill, Illabot Cr., halibut, big storms

Crow funeral (Tony Angell/BirdNote)
Crow Funeral - with Tony Angell
Tony Angell, along with Professor John Marzluff of the University of Washington, wrote the book, Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans. Tony says, "A crow 'funeral' is where the deceased bird is surrounded by members of the same species, in significant numbers." Crows descend from the trees, and they walk around the bird on the ground. And then they fly off. It's very likely that the crows are learning from this experience. Is there danger here? What does the death of this particular crow mean to the social structure of that community of crows? It seems to be a little more complicated than just paying homage. (BirdNote)

Mount Polley: expert says misinterpreted test results led to massive breach
Why did the Mount Polley environmental disaster happen? According to an independent report released Friday, the mine was built upon a ticking time bomb 20 years ago. Its design failed to take into account the complexity of the unstable underlying glacial and pre-glacial layers under the retaining wall. A second report from B.C.'s chief inspector of mines will look at who should take the blame for the massive breach, but Jack Caldwell, a leading North American expert in the field of tailings dams, says it's clear that key questions remain unanswered. (CBC)

If you like to watch: B.C. orcas' rare beach-rubbing behaviour caught on video
An amateur videographer has captured rare footage of northern resident orcas rubbing themselves at a beach in B.C.'s Discovery Islands near Campbell River. Mike Clarke reports. (CBC)

Trans Mountain drops civil lawsuit against Burnaby Mountain defendants
Trans Mountain has dropped a civil lawsuit against all defendants in the Burnaby Mountain pipeline protests in November and December of 2014.

Friday’s blog: Failing Science, Eating Salamanders, and Seahawk Fever vs. Avian Flu
We’re not going to change the world, for the better we hope, if we don’t use best available science. And let’s not consider endangered species as delicacies for fat cat palates. And, oh, go ‘Hawks but wash your hands.

This UW Spinoff Wants To Make Marine Construction Less Of A Headache For Wildlife
A technology that emerged from University of Washington research has the potential to make undersea construction less of a headache for wildlife. Things that get built in the water, such as bridges or ferry docks, usually sit on piles — tubes driven into the floor of the sea, river or lake by gigantic hammers. That, of course, can get loud…. UW researchers, led by mechanical engineer Per Reinhall, tackled the problem backed in part by the Washington Department of Transportation. And they came up with a new invention: a double-wall pile. This a tube-within-a-tube lowers the volume about 20 decibels. The hammer strikes the inner tube, while the outer tube helps shield the sound waves. Gabriel Spitzer reports. (KPLU)

Testimony wraps up in appeal of Shell development permit
In the third day of testimony before Skagit County Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford, Shell Puget Sound Refinery presented witnesses Friday in the ongoing appeals case brought by six environmental groups. Northwest legal group Earthjustice is representing six environmental groups that banded together to appeal Skagit County’s State Environmental Policy Act mitigated determination of nonsignificance for Shell’s proposed rail offloading facility. Shell called five witnesses, including a wetlands specialist, a biologist, the vice president of an engineering and architecture firm, an expert in air quality and environmental noise and the senior environmental engineer at Shell’s Anacortes refinery.... Dufford said he will announce his final decision in about three weeks. Shannen Kuest reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Environmentalists hope Port reconsiders oil-related lease
They are protesting plans for a lease that would allow Shell to service vessels used in Arctic drilling. Port executives say the plan would provide hundreds of good jobs. Martha Baskin reports. (Crosscut)

Where did the missing oil go? New study says some is sitting on the Gulf floor
After 200 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, the government and BP cleanup crews mysteriously had trouble locating all of it. Now, a new study led by Florida State University Professor of Oceanography Jeff Chanton finds that some 6 million to 10 million gallons are buried in the sediment on the Gulf floor, about 62 miles southeast of the Mississippi Delta. "This is going to affect the Gulf for years to come," Chanton said. "Fish will likely ingest contaminants because worms ingest the sediment, and fish eat the worms. It's a conduit for contamination into the food web." (Science Daily)

Cattle ranchers help conserve ‘wild’ Illabot Creek
When Ken and Velma Perrigoue were looking for property in the 1980s where they could run a cattle farm, they settled on a 100-acre plot in the Rockport area. It’s remote, surrounded by the looming North Cascades, a creek runs through it and animal encounters are abundant. It sure is wild. Most recently, the 14-mile stretch of Illabot Creek that carves through the upper Skagit Valley was federally recognized for its value as a Wild and Scenic corridor. Around the same time, the Perrigoues sold development rights on their land to ensure their half-mile section of the stream would be protected from future development. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Higher catch limits for halibut recommended
The International Pacific Halibut Commission has recommended 2015 catch limits of 29.2 million pounds for the prized flat fish in U.S. and Canadian waters, a 6 percent increase from last year’s limits. The halibut are found off California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. They are harvested by sport fishermen and commercial fleets, as well as tribal fishermen. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Global warming won't mean more storms: Big storms to get bigger, small storms to shrink, experts predict
Atmospheric physicists predict that global warming will not lead to an overall increasingly stormy atmosphere, a topic debated by scientists for decades. Instead, strong storms will become stronger while weak storms become weaker, and the cumulative result of the number of storms will remain unchanged. (Science Daily)

Now, your (Groundhog Day) weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 300 AM PST MON FEB 2 2015
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT
TODAY
SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 14 SECONDS. RAIN LIKELY.
TONIGHT
SW WIND 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT 14 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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