Monday, November 28, 2016

11/28 BC pipe, Aurora, Martha Kongsgaard, whale drone, volunteers, Skagit water, fish farm risks, women scientists

(Seattle Times)
‘It’s Standing Rock North’: Trans Mountain pipeline in Canada stirs strong opposition
Canada’s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion would nearly triple the amount of Alberta oil transported to the Vancouver-area port just across the water from this tiny First Nation reserve, where the Tsleil-Waututh people are battling a pipeline with far bigger capacity than the bitterly fought-over Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines in the U.S. The $6.3 billion expansion would position Canada to be the biggest oil producer in the Americas, and could be approved as soon as Monday by the Trudeau administration. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Sheriff unapologetic for tactics in pipeline protests (Associated Press)
 

Aurora, the Vancouver Aquarium's last beluga whale, dead at 30
Aurora, the last remaining beluga whale at the Vancouver Aquarium, passed away Friday night. The aquarium confirmed the 30-year-old whale passed away after having been sick for the past two weeks, showing symptoms of abdominal cramping, loss of appetite and lethargy. It comes nearly a week after her calf, Qila — the first beluga whale conceived and born in captivity at a Canadian aquarium — died at 21 years old.  Last week the aquarium said Aurora became ill the day after Qila died, experiencing the same symptoms as Qila. (CBC)

Chair Martha Kongsgaard resigns from the Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council
In a letter to Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, Leadership Council chair Martha Kongsgaard writes: "It is with no small measure of both accomplishment and regret that I ask you to accept this letter as my formal resignation from the Leadership Council of the Puget Sound Partnership. It has been my singular honor to serve two Governors on the Leadership Council for nearly a decade and as its Chair for well over half of that. The best management of any board of directors calls for an occasional leadership refresh, and I feel very comfortable now, at the end of 2016, to step away and allow for that...." Read the complete letter.

Humpback whale research: Drones fly through blow spray to take samples
Researchers are using a drone to obtain samples from the blow sprays of humpback whales on the B.C. coast and analyzing the contents as a way to measure health. Lance Barrett-Lennard, a whale scientist with the Vancouver Aquarium, said Saturday that a drone used last August off northern Vancouver Island flew three to four metres above humpbacks. In an interview at a marine mammal symposium at the University of B.C., Barrett-Lennard said that the drone is flown off a small motorized research vessel, first conducting flights at an altitude of about 45 metres to obtain images of the overall health of the whales. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

A New Way To Monitor Ocean Warming Without Harming Whales
As the Earth’s atmosphere warms because of greenhouse gas emissions, most of the heat gets trapped in the oceans. But measuring the change has proven difficult, especially at greater depths. A researcher at the University of Washington is proposing a new method that has some promise.  Measuring the surface temperatures of the world’s oceans is done primarily by satellite. The bigger challenge at this point is monitoring changes in their interior, because it’s expensive to maintain instruments used to take measurements at depth. A method called acoustic tomography was pioneered in the 1970s. It looked at the travel times of sound waves, which move faster as temperatures rise. But it was discontinued in 2006 because of concern that it was harming whales by interfering with their communication signals. Now a researcher at the University of Washington has developed a way to instead look at travel times of naturally occurring internal tidal waves.  These originate deep below the surface because of ridges or ‘bumps’ on the ocean floor.  Zhongxiang Zhao is an oceanographer in the UW’s Applied Physics Lab. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Conservation District honors environmental volunteers
Val Schroeder turned her back yard into a paradise for wild creatures. She’s watched eagles perch in nearby trees and otters shimmy down the stairs from her yard to the beach. In Lake Stevens, Terry Myer transformed her lawn into a garden that produces enough fruit and vegetables to stock the local food bank. She’s donated more than 2,000 pounds of produce this year. That includes 400 pounds of fresh tomatoes. At Olivia Park Elementary School in South Everett, 8-year-old Jasmine Kraus leads a group called Nature Kids in a quest to clean up litter. Dalila Habul, 12, visits the elementary school after her middle school classes so she can help in the school garden. The women and girls are among a dozen volunteers being recognized by the Snohomish Conservation District for their efforts to protect the environment. Kari Bray reports. (Everett Herald)

Skagit County releases annual water quality report
Skagit County’s annual water quality report shows a mix of improving and declining water quality in streams throughout the county — a finding that has been routine over the 12 years the monitoring has been done. The report for 2015 summarizes data collected from 40 sites in the county between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015. The county monitors water temperature, oxygen content and pollution information from the sites each week. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Risk and precaution: Salmon farming
Salmon farms in the region of the Discovery Islands generate greater than minimal risk of serious harm to Fraser River Sockeye Salmon. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the risk factors identified are specific to Fraser River Sockeye Salmon, as many of them apply to other areas and salmon species in the north eastern Pacific and globally. Alexandra Morton and Richard Routledge write. (Marine Policy)

Women in science pledge to combat hate
Almost 10,000 women working in science have signed an open letter pledging to combat discrimination and "anti-science sentiment" following the US election. A group of scientists drafted the letter with the initial aim of building a network of 500 women. In the six days since its publication, 8,800 researchers have signed the pledge, which rejects the "hateful rhetoric that was given a voice". Victoria Gill reports. (BBC)

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

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W  SWELL 12 FT AT 11 SECONDS... BUILDING TO 18 FT AT 12 SECONDS IN THE  AFTERNOON. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
 NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT...EASING TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W  SWELL 19 FT AT 16 SECONDS.

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