Wednesday, August 3, 2016

8/3 Perseids, rising seas, Skokomish salmon, bird genes, boat poop, flying Yukon fish

Perseid shower (Space.com)
If you like to watch: In pursuit of the Perseids: Five things to know about August's meteor shower extravaganza
Every year in August the night sky is lit up by the Perseid meteor shower and this year promises a bigger show than usual. Those dazzling streaks of light aren’t literally shooting stars, obviously, so we asked astronomer Jaymie Matthews what they really are. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Climate change could leave 2,900 Whatcom homes under water - literally
Birch Bay and Blaine will be among the Washington communities most impacted if climate change continues unchecked, according to a new Zillow study. The online real estate company focuses on the negative equity of homes when it does studies about being “underwater.” This time, it turned its attention to how many U.S. homes would be lost to water if ocean levels rise six feet by 2100, as estimated by scientists in a recently published study in the journal Nature. Zillow estimates the Blaine/Birch Bay area will lose 1,825 homes if ocean levels rise six feet, ranking it third-highest in the state, trailing only Aberdeen (4,548 estimated homes lost) and Hoquiam (3,050). That would mean a loss of 16.2 percent of Blaine/Birch Bay’s current home inventory, costing an estimated $368 million. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Fishermen upset about new rules on Skokomish River
Typically, the start of August brings a flood of sport fishermen to Bill Hunter Jr.’s family farm along the Skokomish River in Mason County. Not this year. A controversial ruling by a federal official and the subsequent decision by the Skokomish Tribe have left sport fishermen having to watch the Chinook salmon run up river while tribal fishermen lay out their gill nets…. A ruling by the solicitor of the US Department of Interior proved favorable for the Skokomish Tribe and gave the tribe the right to decide what happens on the river -- from one side of the bank to the other. The ruling basically says the entire river is considered part of the Skokomish reservation, even though maps show the reservation boundary bordering just the north side of the Skokomish River. Matt Markovich reports. (KOMO)

Songbirds' dramatic migrations possibly controlled by tiny set of genes
Each year, songbirds head south for warmer climates, some of them travelling up to 15,000 kilometres. And yet, every spring, they return home — sometimes even to the same tree. A new study from the University of British Columbia's Department of Zoology has identified a small cluster of genes that could be responsible for this epic journey. "They undergo one of the most iconic migrations of all the organisms that migrate — because some of them are really small, like under 20 grams," said Kira Delmore, lead researcher on the project. Delmore's team studied the Swainson's Thrush — a bird commonly found in British Columbia.  Roshini Nair reports. (CBC)

City, port considering agreement to help keep boat sewage out of Puget Sound
A port/city partnership to put an offloading site next to Guemes Channel could help prevent sewage from recreational boats from entering the Puget Sound, according to Alan Wolslegel, manager of the state Parks Clean Vessel Program. The Port of Anacortes and the city could set up a site that allows mobile pump-out boats that collect sewage from moored vessels in remote locations to bring it here to be processed through the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Joan Pringle reports. (Anacortes American)

’New salmon run:’ Planes now fly in fish as Yukon chinook decline
Salmon no longer collect in the nets along the Teslin River where the Tlingit people have harvested them for thousands of years. Now, they come from the sky. “It’s the new salmon run,” Duane Aucoin, member of the Teslin Tlingit Council, said recently. “For the past few years, we’ve been flying in salmon. A lot of our young kids, they think that’s normal – ‘Oh, the plane’s flying over. The salmon are here.’ It is funny, but it’s also sad.”…. Up to 150,000 chinook – the richest and tastiest salmon species – returned to the Canadian side of the Yukon and its tributaries as recently as 15 years ago. This year will see about half that, federal biologist Mary-Ellen Jarvis said. Worse, the river’s productivity has sunk like a stone. Ed Weber reports. (Canadian Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  255 AM PDT WED AUG 3 2016  

TODAY
 LIGHT WIND...BECOMING W 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND  WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT...BECOMING 2 FT OR LESS IN THE AFTERNOON. W  SWELL 4 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING SW AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND  WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 4 FT AT 7 SECONDS.

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