Wednesday, October 19, 2016

10/19 Wet spots, protect Puget Sound, Vic sewer, NW tribes inspire, frankenfish, rockfish boom, bar pilot

What is the wettest place on Earth?
Those who live along the "wet coast" – which is what people living in Puget Sound or the lower mainland of British Columbia and Vancouver Island affectionately call their home – might think that they live in the wettest place on Earth. Then again, people living in the Amazon rain forest might think that there lush and beautiful home is the dampest place in the world. But in truth, all these places come up dry (pun intended!) compared to the one place that has held the title for wettest point on Earth many times in its history. And that place is none other than Mawsynram, India, which experiences an annual average rainfall of 12 meters. And yet, this curious region in northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent is an exercise in extremes, either drowning in rainwater, or starving for it. Matt Williams reports. (Universe Today/Phys.Org)

Obama administration steps up efforts to protect Puget Sound
The Obama administration on Tuesday stepped up efforts to protect Puget Sound, including forming a new federal task force to identify priorities for restoring one of the nation's largest estuaries. The task force of federal agencies will work with tribal governments and others to come up with an action plan to better coordinate programs focused on Puget Sound. The federal action represents the latest in a string of efforts over the decades to tackle pressing environmental problems in the region, including dwindling salmon runs, water pollution and the rapid loss of wetlands and other wildlife habitat. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Sewage plant plans moving too fast, says Esquimalt mayor
Esquimalt is worried plans to break ground on the new sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in February will overload their municipal staff. Mayor Barb Desjardins is calling the timetable “incredibly aggressive” given the workload it puts on Esquimalt municipal staff…. Esquimalt councillors this week received a letter from sewage treatment project board chair Janet Bird outlining the next steps to getting Esquimalt’s approval of the sewage treatment plant so construction can start. In her letter, Bird offered resources and consultants, and to pay legal fees to help Esquimalt process the application. Bill Cleverley report. (Times Colonist)

United in fossil-fuel fight, NW tribes inspire N.D. pipeline foes
In a historic tribal gathering in North Dakota, members from more than 300 native nations have joined the effort to block construction of a $3.8 billion oil pipeline through the Standing Rock Sioux’s ancestral lands. Among those protesters is Bill James, the traditional tribal chief of the Lummi Tribe in northwest Washington, who traveled to the camp in North Dakota recently with more than a dozen fellow tribal members and a trailer full of salmon caught in their traditional waters. The Lummi also provided something else: an example of tribal success in battling fossil-fuel energy projects. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Groups challenge federal approval of genetically modified salmon in court
Environmental groups head to court today [Tuesday] to challenge a Federal Court ruling which upheld the government's earlier approval of genetically modified salmon…. In 2013, Environment Canada approved the production of genetically modified salmon eggs by the biotechnology company AquaBounty in a facility in P.E.I. AquaBounty claims its genetically modified Atlantic salmon egg — which uses genes from the eel-like ocean pout  — allows the fish to grow twice as large. (CBC)

Record number of juvenile yellowtail and black rockfish recorded
For a full week this September, the underwater rock walls and kelp forests of the San Juan Islands swarmed with clipboard-carrying scuba divers taking part in an annual study co-sponsored by SeaDoc and The Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). Among all the fish and invertebrates encountered during 100 survey dives, the drysuited citizen scientists and expert critter counters were blown away by how many YOYs they found. Young-of-the-Year, or YOY, is marine biology speak for baby fish, and what the dive teams saw weren't just any old fingerlings, but juvenile yellowtail and black rockfish…. Rockfish baby booms, called "jackpot recruitment events," happen sporadically and likely only when water temperature, climate, predator abundance, and other conditions are just right. Researchers haven't yet been able to correlate jackpot events to subsequent increases in adult fish populations, but with our Salish Sea rockfish populations on the ropes from overfishing, the more babies they pump out the better. Bob Friel writes. (Islands Sounder)

The Dangerous Life Of A Columbia River Bar Pilot
Imagine a stretch of water so dangerous even huge ships can’t cross it safely. A place sailors call the “graveyard,” where hundreds of boats have sunk and thousands of people have drowned. Now imagine this place is crucial to the global economy, and like it or not, shipping vessels must enter it every day to keep things moving and avoid economic collapse. Such a place exists in the Pacific Northwest. The Columbia River Bar, located at the intersection of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, is considered one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world. (EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PDT WED OCT 19 2016  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT  
TODAY  SE WIND 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT  13 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.
TONIGHT  SE WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 8 FT AT  12 SECONDS. RAIN.

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