Monday, August 10, 2015

8/10 Humpbacks, BC salmon, pinks, tribal fish, derelict gear, Hood Canal deal, shrimp spray, no tankers, mine waste

Humpback whale (NOAA)
If you like to listen: It Took A Musician's Ear To Decode The Complex Song In Whale Calls
Humpback whales don’t just sing songs — they compose with the whales around them, singing a song that changes, and evolves over time. Scientists didn’t know that until they started recording whale sounds in the 1960s and spent years listening…. Katy Payne, a researcher in acoustic biology at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and her husband Roger were the first scientists to realize that the intricate and eerie calls of some humpback whales are actually songs. Bill McQuay and Christopher Joyce report. (NPR)

Mountain School makes the magic of the wilderness real for kids
The three-day mountain camp strives to give school children a visceral connection to the Northwest wilderness. Ron Judd reports on the 25-year-old program by the North Cascades Institute. (Seattle Times) See also: Kids get outdoors in ‘Experience The Wild’ camp There is a summer camp where campers climb to the top of a mountain, then descend to the shores of the sea over the course of five days. Vince Richards reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

New blog: Into The (Sort Of) Wild
"I spent parts of this past weekend at Deception Pass State Park with a thousand or more campers. But with the right camera angles, it can still be remembered as a few days in a wildness of sorts. But what was the experience?…"

Salmon on Vancouver Island threatened by heat wave
River levels in Southern B.C. are at record lows and water temperatures are at record highs. This is threatening the millions of salmon coming home to spawn and the billion-dollar freshwater fishing industry that depends on healthy rivers. Greg Rasmussen reports. (CBC News)

Crews to prep Dungeness River this week for huge run of pink salmon
Work could begin this week on creating as hospitable an environment as possible for hordes of pink salmon expected to return to the Dungeness River later this month. A preseason prediction that 1.3 million pinks will return to the Dungeness this year may not come to pass, said Mike Gross, biologist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, who is based in Montesano. That estimate was based on a run of 400,000 pinks in the Dungeness two years ago. (Peninsula Daily News)

Court upholds Suquamish’s right to share fishing with Tulalips
A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court’s decision that recognized the Suquamish Tribe’s rights to fish in Port Gardner and other nearby waters. The result is that the Tulalip Tribes, who had filed the appeal, will have to share those fishing grounds with the Suquamish, who are based across Puget Sound in Port Madison. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 27 that the Tulalip Tribes did not provide ample evidence that fishing grounds on the east side of Puget Sound should not be shared with the Suquamish. Chris Winters reports. (Everett Herald)

Traditional fishing revival launched by First Nations man
Almost a century after fishing practices unique to First Nations in B.C.'s Salish Sea were outlawed, members paddled canoes back to traditional waters and dropped their full-sized reef net. It was the start of a long-term mission to revitalize the once-celebrated technique for gathering food and bonding community for the Strait Salish people. The web-like net — about the length of a city bus — was suspended between two canoes in an endeavour by a University of Victoria doctoral student who envisions bringing his nation's fishing style "back to life." Tamsyn Burgmann reports. (Canadian Press)

Initiative’s feat: Ridding waters of nets
Knowing the deadly consequences abandoned fishing nets pose for marine life, a nonprofit has worked to remove 550 from Puget Sound this year alone. That brings to 5,600 the number of derelict nets the Northwest Straits Initiative and its partners have dragged out since 2002. The effect: restoring 800 acres of marine habitat. The group’s efforts to remove nets identified in shallow Puget Sound waters concluded in June. A celebration is scheduled Thursday in Everett to commemorate the milestone. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

State won’t audit shoreline deal Navy got at half the $1.7M value
The acting state auditor has turned down a request by two state senators asking for an audit of a Hood Canal land-lease deal between the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Navy. As her reason, Auditor Jan Jutte cited a Jefferson County Superior Court judge’s opinion in May that said DNR had authority to grant the shoreline lease and that the way the agency determined its $720,000 value “was not arbitrary, capricious or unlawful.” (Seattle Times)

Back to the drawing board for control of oyster-killing shrimp
They’ve tried smashing, cementing, shocking and shaking them, but now that pesticides are off the table — at least temporarily — what’s the option for ridding oyster beds of ghost shrimp? Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times) Meanwhile: Shellfish spraying in Willapa Bay continues — on clam beds  After neurotoxin controversy, oyster growers aren’t spraying to kill shrimp. But herbicide applications to kill nonnative eel grass are still allowed. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

Gabriola Island residents rally against tanker moorage proposal
Concerned residents of B.C.'s Gulf Islands are planning to round up their boats near Gabriola Island today to draw attention to a proposal to moor large vessels in the area….. The proposal comes from the Pacific Pilotage Authority of Canada, which says the new anchorage space is needed, partly because ships are getting larger… the authority's CEO Kevin Obermeyer says the authority is currently gathering more research on the issue and will hold a meeting with Gabriola Island residents in early 2016, after which they'll have 90 days to respond. (CBC)

EPA Says It Released 3 Million Gallons Of Contaminated Water Into River
In an event that has led to health warnings and turned a river orange, the Environmental Protection Agency says that one of its safety teams accidentally released contaminated water from a mine into the Animas River in southwest Colorado. The spill, which sent heavy metals, arsenic, and other contaminants into a waterway that flows into the San Juan National Forest, occurred on Wednesday. The EPA initially said that 1 million gallons of wastewater had been released, but that figure has risen sharply.  (NPR, KUNC)

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