Friday, January 29, 2016

1/29 Oil spill rules, seal cull, methanol plants, bird adaptation, safer crab pots

Nurse log (PHOTO: Laurie MacBride)
Saying OK to Decay
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "Not unlike me, the old nurse log that rests on the edge of our southern pond seems to be getting lower to the ground and wider in the hips with each passing year. What used to be a round, high and solid surface is now soft, spongy and low enough to step over, even with my short legs. The nurse log supports a variety of colonizing mosses, and the roots of neighbouring firs, hawthorns and willows amble through it…."

If you like to watch: Octopus fights caught on tape reveal signals before battle
Octopuses, long considered solitary creatures, may have more complex social lives than previously thought — including signals to tell the competition whether they're picking a fight or backing down. Researchers watched more than 50 hours of video of shallow-water octopuses in Jervis Bay, Australia, and found intriguing patterns, they report in a new paper published today in Current Biology. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

New blog: The Future of The Puget Sound
“The” Puget Sound. Does reading or hearing that make your skin crawl, your ears ring? How about riding “the” Metro? Go to “the” Husky Stadium to watch the Huskies play? Blame those Californians for polluting the Puget Sound stylebook; they should go back to where they came from. Maybe then we can go back to calling this place "Whulge."

Push to protect Puget Sound from oil spills may stall in Legislature
Citing increasing use of what they call risky practices when boats haul oil across Puget Sound, environmentalists are making a bid for a new law regulating marine vessels to match 2015’s stricter controls on the boom in oil transport by railroads. But they may have reached their high-water mark for action by the 2015-16 Legislature. Scientists say Puget Sound — in failing health for decades and beset by a litany of insults, including toxic pollution and shoreline development — could be dealt an ecological death blow by an oil spill in its poorly flushed waters. Think of it like drowning a person who already had been dying of the proverbial thousand cuts. Last year, Democrats and Republicans in Olympia eventually made common cause on a hard-fought bill to better regulate trains hauling explosive new varieties of crude oil across land. But the compromise angered environmentalists because similar measures for on-water oil transport had been stripped from the bill. Robert McClure reports. (Investigate West)

Seal cull not yet warranted despite large salmon diet say researchers
Harbour seals off B.C.'s South Coast may consume up to 60 per cent of the Strait of Georgia's young chinook and coho salmon every year, according to UBC research. Growing concerns about B.C.'s salmon numbers has focused on orca populations and rising water temperatures in the past, but this study suggests the dramatic increase in the harbour seal population in recent decades may play a role as well. Still, the connection between low salmon stocks and a large harbour seal population is not clear enough to warrant a seal cull, scientists warn. (CBC)

Gov. Inslee Says Questions About Wash. Methanol Plants' Water Usage Are Legitimate
There are legitimate questions about proposed multi-billion dollar methanol plants at the ports of Tacoma and Kalama, according to Gov. Jay Inslee. He said the plants offer benefits but their water usage and possible pollution need to be carefully considered.  These are projects Inslee touted in January 2015 at an economic forecast conference in Seattle. At the time, he said he had met with the company, Northwest Innovation Works, which is backed by the Chinese government, to secure their commitment to build the methanol plants in Tacoma and Kalama. Ashley Gross reports. (KPLU)

The Surprising Way Birds Are Trying To Dodge Climate Change
New research shows that some birds are moving faster than ever to keep up with shifting climates. Here’s where they’re going. Purbita Saha reports. (Audubon)

How to help crabs survive when you lose a crab pot
A simple alteration to recreational crab pots could save thousands of crabs from going to waste each year, all because crabs are unable to escape from lost crab pots that keep on working, according to a new study. The Crab Pot Escapement Study, commissioned by the Northwest Straits Foundation, is the first to measure how well crabs use the escape routes provided in the design of every crab pot sold in Washington state. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST FRI JAN 29 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 

TODAY
 SE WIND RISING TO 20 TO 30 KT EARLY...BECOMING W 15 TO 25 KT  IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 TO 4 FT. W  SWELL 13 FT AT 16 SECONDS. RAIN IN THE MORNING...THEN SHOWERS IN THE  AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 SW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING W AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 14 FT AT 14 SECONDS. SHOWERS.

SAT
 SW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 13 FT AT  13 SECONDS...SUBSIDING TO 11 FT AT 12 SECONDS IN THE AFTERNOON.  SHOWERS.

SAT NIGHT
 SW WIND TO 10 KT. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  10 FT AT 12 SECONDS.

SUN
 S WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 9 FT AT  11 SECONDS.

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