Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5/24 Budget, green crab, Chimacum, sea lion, quiet zone, oyster monitor, Glacier Park, big whale, bird kill

Sea pens [Chris Grossman/Encyclopedia of Puget Sound]
Sea Pen, Stylatula elongata
Sea pens are a type of octocoral, or soft coral, which are related to jellyfish and anemones… [and] can live to be 100 years old, glow in the dark and live in the soft sediments of Puget Sound. A sea pen is not one single animal, but a colony of many tiny animals called polyps. Each colony contains several types of polyps which contribute to its survival in different ways. (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound)

Trump budget slashes money from clean air and water programs 
The Trump Administration budget released Tuesday slashes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by nearly one-third, eliminating more than 3,800 jobs while imposing dramatic cuts to clean air and water programs. The White House’s proposed spending plan for the EPA amounts to $5.7 billion, a 31 percent cut from the current budget year. Adjusted for inflation, that would represent the nation’s lowest funding for environmental protection since the mid-1970s. The agency’s workforce would drop from 15,416 full-time employees to 11,611. Michael Biesecker reports. (Associated Press)

More invaders found: Invasive green crabs on the rise on Peninsula
The invasive European green crab count continues to rise on the Dungeness Spit. Researchers said 60 crabs had been caught by crews as of Thursday after they had quadrupled the number of traps placed in Dungeness’ waters. Lorenz Sollmann, deputy project leader at the Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, said staff and volunteers put out 108 traps multiple times last week. (Peninsula Daily News)

Chimacum rushing into emergency service
The new ferry Chimacum will make its debut in a temporary, emergency role Wednesday morning on the Bremerton route. Crews were expected to continue training and wrapping up final details until the 144-car boat made an expected June 25 appearance. Bremerton ferry Kitsap broke a crankshaft Sunday, however, and will be out indefinitely. The 90-car Sealth was pulled off of the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route to replace the 124-car Kitsap, leaving the triangle one boat short. That wasn't going to cut it over the busy Memorial Day weekend. Ed Friedrich reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Family of girl grabbed by sea lion deny trying to feed it
The father of a girl who was grabbed by a sea lion and dragged into the water from the Steveston docks in Richmond, B.C., says the girl and her grandparents have been falsely blamed for feeding the marine mammal. "There was somebody beside them that was trying to feed them. Also, they weren't trying to take pictures or anything," said the father…. On social media, people assumed it was the girl's family feeding the sea lion. Tina Lovgreen reports. (CBC)

Skagit County, Blanchard residents agree on quiet zone proposal
Blanchard residents reached an agreement Monday with Skagit County to proceed with establishing a railroad quiet zone. Quiet zones remove the requirement for train engineers to blow their whistles at each crossing, instead leaving it to their discretion. To establish a quiet zone, the average safety rating of a group of crossings must be better than the national average. This often requires construction of supplemental safety measures. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Volunteers sought for Olympia oyster monitoring in Quilcene Bay
The Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee is seeking volunteers to monitor Olympia oyster populations as part of a nearshore restoration project. The committee is in need of volunteers Friday to collect data on test plots set out last year and to collect baseline data on this year’s seed clutch in the state Department of Fish and Wildlife tidelands in Quilcene Bay, said Cheryl Lowe, marine resources committee (MRC) member, in a news release. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Mapping 50 Years of Melting Ice in Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is losing its glaciers. The flowing sheets of ice scattered throughout the Montana park shrank by more than a third between 1966 and 2015, according to new data from the United States Geological Survey and Portland State University. Using aerial and satellite imagery, researchers traced the footprints of 39 named glaciers in the park and surrounding national forest. They found that 10 had lost more than half their area over 50 years. Nadja Popovich reports. (NY Times)

How The Biggest Animal On Earth Got So Big
Whales are the largest animals on the planet, but they haven't always been giants. Fossil records show that ancient whales were much smaller than the currently living behemoths. So when did whales get so big, and how? A new study suggests it might be due to changes in climate that affected the food that some whales eat: krill and small fish. Instead of being spread throughout the ocean, lots of krill started being packed into a small area. Bigger whales were simply more efficient at eating the dense pockets of krill, and they beat out their smaller cousins. Madeline Sophia reports. (NPR)

Pushing For Tough Penalty In Albatross Killings
Christian Gutierrez, the adult defendant in the 2015 Kaena Point albatross killings, is expected to be sentenced by First Circuit Court Judge Jeannette Castagnetti on June 1. As the day nears, the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office and others are working quietly behind the scenes to make sure that the 19-year-old Gutierrez does not emerge with a clean record…. in the late evening and early morning hours of Dec. 27-28, 2015, at least 15 Laysan albatrosses were killed with a pellet gun, a machete and a baseball bat. Seventeen albatross nests and 17 eggs were also destroyed. The feet were cut off many of the birds to remove their identification tags. One of the perpetrators showed off the identification tags at a party.  The other two talked about killing the birds at the party on social media. Laysan albatrosses are internationally and federally protected seabirds. Debby Fawcett reports. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  255 AM PDT WED MAY 24 2017  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON
 
TODAY
 NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. W SWELL 9 FT  AT 8 SECONDS.
TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING SE 10 KT OR LESS. WIND  WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING. W SWELL 9 FT AT 10 SECONDS.

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