Friday, March 18, 2016

3/18 Harbor porpoise, First Nation sewer, green rules, orca capture, eulachon drones, toxic shellfish

Sound seeing increase in harbor porpoise numbers
The stubby gray fin of the harbor porpoise is popping up again among the waves of Puget Sound. In what scientists are calling a small but hopeful sign of the sound's recovery, the harbor porpoise is making a startling comeback after a nearly complete disappearance from local waters more than 40 years ago. An annual aerial survey conducted by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife over the past 20 years shows the marine mammal began making a rapid return about 10 years ago. Tristan Baurick reports.(Kitsap Sun)

Tsawwassen First Nation completes $27 million sewage plant 
The Tsawwassen First Nation has reached a milestone in its ambitious plans for more than $1 billion in industrial, commercial, and residential development on its land. A key piece of infrastructure  — a new $27 million sewage treatment plant — is now up and running.… The new plant sits in the middle of a broad swath of land — flat fields now being dug up by dozens of heavy construction machines, as developments begin to take shape, forever changing the 480-member community.  Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC News)

Saanich keeps contentious ecological bylaw, pending review
Disgruntled homeowners who wanted Saanich council to scrap a controversial ecosystem-protection policy will have to live with the status quo for the time being. Councillors voted 5-4 to leave 2,200 single-family homes in the Environmental and Development Permit Area until they see a report by a consultant yet to be hired. They voted unanimously to define the parameters of a consultant’s review by April 30. Mayor Richard Atwell said the review could be a year in the making. Katherine Dedyna reports. (Times Colonist)

Puget Sound’s Dark Role In Orca Captures
SeaWorld says it will end its killer whale breeding program and will stop making the mammals perform tricks for stadium crowds. It’s a historic about-face from the days when SeaWorld hired people to capture wild killer whales in Puget Sound.  Tacoma native Ted Griffin wrangled orcas for aquariums in the mid-to-late 1960s.  “We were flying in helicopters and float planes, we got sea boats running up and down Puget Sound at 70 miles per hour,” Griffin said in an interview with KUOW in 2002. But attitudes about orca captures changed in 1970, when Griffin and business partner Don Goldsberry herded a pod of orcas into Penn Cove off Whidbey Island. Five whales, including four calves, drowned in the operation. “The public became enraged beyond anything you can imagine,” Griffin said, adding that he knew at that moment his days as an orca hunter were numbered. Kathy Cuchamp reports. (KPLU) See also: Remembering Namu The Killer Whale As Breeding Program Ends  Feliks Banel reports. (KUOW)

Researchers use drones to track Skeena River eulachon run
Drone technology is opening up the world of the eulachon to fisheries researchers on the Skeena River. Over the next three weeks, researchers will test the use of aerial videography to track the eulachon and gain a deeper understanding of their migration patterns…. The eulachon, a type of smelt found along the coast of the Pacific Northwest, is an important part of the traditional Metlakatla diet. Sullivan said the goal of the project is to determine exactly how and where the eulachon enter the Skeena River and ensure productive spawning runs can continue in the future. Matt Meuse reports. (CBC News)

Volunteers help monitor toxins in shellfish
A group carrying shovels, buckets and shellfish identification sheets set out Tuesday along the beach behind Shell Puget Sound Refinery. Some in the group were experienced recreational shellfish harvesters, others were novice diggers, and all were with the Marine Biotoxin Volunteer Monitoring Program coordinated by the state Department of Health, the Skagit County Public Health Department and the Skagit Conservation District. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  238 AM PDT FRI MAR 18 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
 

TODAY
 E WIND 20 TO 30 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 5 FT. W SWELL 3 FT AT  12 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING SE TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. SW  SWELL 3 FT AT 13 SECONDS...BUILDING TO W 5 FT AT 15 SECONDS AFTER  MIDNIGHT.

SAT
 NE WIND TO 10 KT IN THE MORNING...BECOMING LIGHT. WIND WAVES  1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 7 FT AT 13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.

SAT NIGHT
 LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. W SWELL 7 FT AT  13 SECONDS.

SUN
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING NE TO 10 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT AT 13 SECONDS.

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