Monday, March 28, 2016

3/28 Toxic orcas, whale noise, study glider, Vic sewer, DNR logging, renewable investment

Varied thrush (Paul Bannick/BirdNote)
Secretive Varied Thrush
Except in winter, when it gathers in loose flocks to move to lower elevations, this shy bird prefers solitude. The intricate pattern of color on its wings resembles dappled sunlight on the forest floor. Naturalist Louis Agassiz Fuertes called the song of the Varied Thrush, "... as perfectly the voice of the cool, dark, peaceful solitude which the bird chooses for its home as could be imagined." (BirdNote)

Another boy? Toxins may be behind boom of male orcas, scientist says
The high number of male babies in a group of killer whales living off the coast of British Columbia is cause for concern, researchers say. Of the nine calves born into the southern resident killer whale population since Dec. 30, 2014, only one has been confirmed as a female, which could spell trouble for the whales’ future. The Washington state-based Center for Whale Research has received confirmation that yet another of the calves is male….  Researchers are looking at why there are so many more males in the latest baby boom. (Canadian Press)

Will new guidance reduce hearing loss in whales and dolphins?
A new controversy is beginning to rumble over the potential injury to marine mammals from sounds transmitted in the water. The National Marine Fisheries Service, also called NOAA Fisheries, is moving closer to finalizing new “technical guidance” for assessing temporary and permanent hearing loss in whales and dolphins caused by human activities — including Navy sonar, seismic explorations and underwater explosions. The guidance will be used for approving “take” permits under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. Meanwhile, in another development, Navy officials have acknowledged that Navy personnel made a mistake by using sonar in Puget Sound without getting approval through the chain of command. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

University of Victoria researchers use underwater 'glider' to study B.C. whales
A project studying whales with a special undersea "glider" has begun off Flores Island in Clayoquot Sound, north of Tofino, with the hope of eventually reducing ship-whale collisions. The self-powered two-metre glider is being used to study whale movements by listening to and recording their sounds. The torpedo-shaped glider — which can also identify different species of whales — is part of the the Whales, Habitat and Listening Experiment (WHaLE), a partnership between researchers from the University of Victoria, Dalhousie University, and organizations across Canada. (CBC)

Diver in Victoria waters sees firsthand the need for sewage treatment
Allan Crow opines: "I’ve spent more than 35 years fishing and diving for a living in the receiving waters of the Capital Regional District’s untreated sewage discharges, and have witnessed their degrading effects. Saxe Point, for example, was a vibrant and diverse marine environment in 1977, the first time I dove there. Like many other places around Victoria, it is a highly degraded shadow of its former self, changes I attribute to the CRD’s sewage discharges. The sewage discharges appear on the local seabed, reefs and even the marine life itself in the form of a fine, greyish brown sediment with a grotesque “adhesive” quality. Visible accumulations appear about 50 feet of depth and intensify the deeper you go. Vast areas of the local seabed are contaminated, particularly where the conditions are favourable for the accumulation of sediments. An example is illustrated in my diving video entitled: “CRD sewage outfall pollution in Victoria BC” posted on YouTube. " (Times Colonist)

Clallam officials hear arrearage report: Murrelet, staffing, riparian zones faulted
The marbled murrelet, riparian zones and staffing levels are the main reasons why the state Department of Natural Resources failed to sell 92 million board feet of timber that was supposed to be sold in Clallam County from 2005 to 2014, a top DNR official told the Clallam County Trust Lands Advisory Committee on Friday. The 20-member panel is gathering information to determine whether Clallam County should reclaim management of 92,525 acres of DNR-managed forest lands in the county. Kyle Blum, DNR deputy supervisor for state uplands, explained the nuances of arrearage from the agency’s point of view in a four-hour, 40-minute meeting at the county courthouse. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

UN: 2015 record year for global renewables investment 
Global investment in renewable energy hit a record US$285.9bn (£202.3bn) in 2015, beating the previous high of $278.5bn set in 2011, a study shows. The 10th Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment also showed that investment in developing nations exceeded that in developed countries. In another first, more new renewables capacity than fossil-fuel generation came online during 2015. But it warned that much more had to be done to avoid dangerous climate change. Mark Kinver reports. (BBC) See also:  We've Barely Begun to Tap the Sun’s Mighty Power  Tim McDonnell (Mother Jones)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT MON MAR 28 2016  

TODAY  NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 15 KT DURING THE  MORNING. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8  FT AT 11 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 NW WIND 5 TO 15 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 6 FT  AT 11 SECONDS.

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