Tuesday, August 9, 2016

8/9 Fraser sockeye, new boat, restored shore, marbled murrelet, sick water, Tacoma LNG, news matters

Williamson's sapsucker (Paul Bannick/BirdNote)
Woodpeckers Love Ants
Woodpeckers - such as this Williamson's Sapsucker - eat far more ants than do most birds. Although many other vertebrates avoid ants because of their stings or the foul taste, the Northern Flicker is known to have ingested over five thousand ants in one sitting! A woodpecker's sticky tongue can reach several inches beyond the tip of its bill, so it can lap up hundreds of ants from their nest. (BirdNote)

'Grim' Fraser River salmon runs even worse than forecast
This year’s Fraser River sockeye return, already forecast to be below average, has turned out to be even worse. One First Nation leader described the return as going from poor to grim. The forecast run this year — which has traditionally been one of the low-run years in the four-year cycle of sockeye — was 2.27 million. That was already below the average of the past half century of 3.9 million. The latest estimates from test fisheries and through sonar counts show that only about half of the expected sockeye had returned by last Friday: 400,000 to 500,000 of the anticipated 840,000, according to the Pacific Salmon Commission, a Canadian-American agency that helps manage fisheries. The peak of the remaining summer sockeye run is expected about mid-month, but there is little expectation that the numbers will change, said Pacific Salmon Commission executive secretary John Field. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Federal government expected to act on 2012 report examining Fraser River sockeye  (Canadian Press)

Check out speedy, new $2M boat that sniffs out bad waste water in Puget Sound
Every day, starting at 7 a.m., scientists with King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division head out to monitor Puget Sound’s water quality. Given that King County dumps more treated waste into the Sound than any other county in the state, that’s an important duty. Until recently, they traveled in a 40-year-old vessel named Liberty, which chugged along at 13 knots and spewed blue diesel smoke into the air and water. But in late July, they received a new, $2 million research vessel, SoundGuardian, a name inspired by the famous Seattle rock band Soundgarden. Erica Pandey reports. (Seattle Times)

Shoreline restoration project at Fort Townsend nears completion
Shoreline restoration providing easier access to a beach at Fort Townsend and habitat for shorebirds, forage fish and other marine animals is nearly complete. The $400,000 project, managed by the Northwest Straits Foundation, includes removing about 1,700 cubic yards of large rock and soil, which are being moved out by barge. The remaining small landing will be reshaped. “The purpose of this project first and foremost was to uncover habitat that had been buried by the fill pad,” said Lisa Kaufman, project manager for the Northwest Straits Foundation. “Also equally important was to improve public access.” Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Washington State Finalizing Long-Delayed Conservation Plan For Marbled Murrelet
When the marbled murrelet was first listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1992, so little was known about the elusive sea bird that the state postponed finalizing its long-term habitat conservation plan, opting instead for interim strategies until more scientific research could inform the best strategies. Now the Washington State Board of Natural Resources is completing that work. It’s considering six alternatives for how to manage forests on state trust lands to grow more habitat. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Study links global warming to rise in waterborne illnesses
Rising global temperatures are clearly linked to increasing waterborne food poisoning, particularly from eating raw oysters, along with other nasty infections, a new study shows. About a dozen species of vibrio bacteria make people sick from eating raw or undercooked seafood or drinking or swimming in tainted water. It also causes cholera, although that was not the focus of the research. Lab-confirmed vibrio infections in the United States have increased from an average of about 390 a year from the late 1990s to an average of 1,030 in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But most cases aren’t confirmed by tests and reported. (Associated Press)

Who Will Bear The Cost Of Tacoma's LNG Plant?
Plans for a terminal that would make and store liquefied natural gas at the Port of Tacoma are moving closer to reality.  But there’s still a question of how the costs should be divvied up.  Puget Sound Energy, the private utility hoping to build the plant, is in talks with state regulators over how to structure the corporate entity that would run the facility — essentially a chilled steel tank wrapped in three feet of concrete.  One question is which costs the utility’s customers should cover and which costs should fall to the utility’s investors and shipping companies that would buy some of the fuel. Will James reports. (KPLU)

HBO’s John Oliver gives a passionate pitch for local newspapers
On the most recent episode of “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver offered earnest support to local newspapers and the original reporting found therein. Watch it here. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT TUE AUG 9 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  4 TO 5 FT AT 8 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 KT OR LESS. WIND WAVES 1 FT OR LESS. W SWELL  4 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS IN THE EVENING.

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