Monday, July 31, 2017

7/31 Hot weather, pesticides, aphids, winter chum, HR 2083, Taylor fined, Helena Star, Gorge Swim, Salish radio, mud shrimp, Octo Bella, sea drones

Pacific Coast termite
Pacific Coast Termite Zootermopsis augusticollis
Devourers of wet wood, the Pacific Coast termite live in wooded areas on rotting stumps and moist fallen tress from northern California to British Columbia. Colonies have no worker caste, only soldiers and three reproductive forms-- fertile males, 'first form' queens with small wing stubs, and secondary reproductives. Young serve as workers. These termites occasionally enter and destroy the rotting heartwood of old trees or wet pine timbers in buildings. (Audubon Field Guide to North American Insects & Spiders)

105 degrees? Heat watch in effect this week throughout Puget Sound  Melissa Santos reports. (Tacoma News Tribune) See also: Massive ridge of high pressure to bring hot, hot weather to B.C.'s South Coast  (CBC)

Seattle's pesticide phaseout lags: Potentially harmful products used in parks
Despite the city’s commitment to lower its use of pesticides, Seattle continues to apply thousands of gallons of pesticides to its parks and golf courses each year. And some parks the city branded “pesticide-free” have been treated with pesticides as recently as this spring. Maya Sweedler reports. (Seattle Times) See also: The surprising way climate change could worsen toxic algal blooms  A new study, out Thursday in the journal Science, suggests that increased rainfall in the coming decades may wash more agricultural nutrients and fertilizers — including nitrogen, a prime cause of toxic algae growth — into our waterways. Chelsea Harvey reports. (Washington Post)

Aphids flock to Vancouver's linden trees, create sticky mess
The glistening sap falling from trees onto Vancouver sidewalks and roads this summer is the work of aphids and their appetite for sucking juices from leaves. Aphids are tiny insects that feed by sucking sap from plants. In Vancouver, they've grown attached to linden trees, also known as tilias. The pests secrete a sticky substance that coats pavement and car windshields. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Winter chum salmon in South Puget Sound fail test for uniqueness
Sam Wright, who has been remarkably successful in getting various fish species protected under the Endangered Species Act, has learned that his latest ESA petition — possibly his final petition — has been rejected. Sam, who retired from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife after years of studying salmon and other fish, would like to get special recognition for a unique population of chum salmon that return to South Puget Sound in the winter. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Congress seeks to weaken the Marine Mammal Protection Act 
On Wednesday, July 26, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed 21 bills during a markup session. One, H.R. 2083, aims to protect salmon by allowing permit holders to kill California sea lions in the Columbia River. Critics caution the bill undermines federal protections such as the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and National Environmental Policy Act, without addressing the root causes of salmon declines, which include habitat destruction and dams. Maya L. Kapoor reports. (High Country News)

Taylor Shellfish to pay $160,000 to settle racial harassment case
One of the nation’s largest producers of shellfish has agreed to pay $160,000 to settle a racial harassment lawsuit involving a black maintenance mechanic. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission sued Taylor Shellfish last September, alleging that mechanic Jeremy Daniels faced demeaning comments and stereotypes about his race from the first week of employment at the company’s Samish Bay Farm in Washington state. (Associated Press)

Feds go after owners of Helena Star, sunken boat that spilled oil into Hylebos
It cost a lot to clean up the Helena Star after the 167-foot boat sank in 2013 and spilled oil into Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway. And the owners need to pay for it, the federal government said in a recent lawsuit. “The precise amount of unpaid removal costs and damages sustained by the United States presently exceeds $633,898.06,” the Department of Justice said in a complaint filed July 11 in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. Alexis Krell reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Gorge Swim Fest cancelled after sewage discovered in Esquimalt creek
Officials are working to contain and identify the source of a possible sewage spill or dump in a popular Victoria area waterway. The incident has lead to the cancellation of the Gorge Swim Fest scheduled for Sunday. The sewage was found in a creek that flows into the waterway in Esquimalt but much of the Gorge is in Victoria, including Banfield Park dock, where the Gorge Swim Fest was scheduled to take place. Officials have not determined if sewage presence was an accident or deliberate. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

Tune In: KNKX Launching Special Interview Series 'Return To The Salish Sea'
Residents of Western Washington and British Columbia likely recognize bodies of water like Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia. However, many people don’t realize that what were once perceived as individual waterways are now widely considered one ecosystem. That body of water is called the Salish Sea…. Our new series, Return to the Salish Sea, will highlight the intimate and personal efforts of residents throughout the ecosystem who have a stake in this place and are working to protect it. KNKX environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp hosts this new series of interviews, which will air every Monday on Morning Edition and All Things Considered and continue into November. (KNKX)

Native Shrimp Once Killed With Pesticides Now At Risk From Invasive Parasite
Oregon State University researcher John Chapman is knee-deep in mud and sinking deeper by the minute. The mudflat surrounding him in Newport’s Yaquina Bay is pocked with holes – some snaking down more than 6 feet underground. These are the burrows of the burrowing mud shrimp. “This is the last, biggest population in the world,” he said. “In San Francisco Bay, they’re extinct. In most of California, they’re extinct.” Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Padilla Bay aquarium staff, volunteers say goodbye to Bella
With a steady hand, scalpel and no fear of the stench, Samantha Russell cut into a dead octopus about the size of a banana Thursday at the Breazeale Interpretive Center aquarium near Bay View. The octopus, named Bella, died this week after nearly a year at the aquarium at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Russell, who works at the reserve, removed Bella’s beak in order to keep it for ongoing education purposes. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

5 Ways Underwater Drones Are Helping Citizens Save the Ocean
Later this year, an army of small swimming robots is set to plumb the mysteries of oceans around the world. Each one will have its own mission, as defined by citizen scientists interested in everything from reefs to "robomussels" that can self-monitor temperature. The underwater drones are the latest iteration of National Geographic Emerging Explorer David Lang's OpenROV project, an effort to accelerate marine discoveries by unveiling the ocean to more people via cameras on ROVs (remotely operated vehicles). With a grant from director James Cameron's Avatar Alliance Foundation and other supporters, the group will distribute 1,000 units of its newest drone, the Trident, over the course of the next year through the companion site OpenExplorer. In addition to citizen scientists, the free drones will go to nonprofit organizations and classrooms. Christina Nunez reports. (National Geographic)

Now, your tug weather--
851 AM PDT Mon Jul 31 2017
 Light wind becoming NW to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 8 seconds.   

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. W  swell 4 ft at 7 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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