Monday, August 21, 2017

8/21 Gray whale, K-13, steelhead, culverts, eclipse, Dan Evans, Dana Lyons, WA terminal, BC oil, ocean plastic

Gray whale [Sealife Response Rehab Research/PDN]
Gray whale beached for three days lives to swim away
In a rare three-day beaching, experts say size saved the whale. A 1½-year-old gray whale stranded for three days on a remote beach in the area of Kalaloch in Olympic National Park was freed late Friday night using a pulley system and swam away. Wildlife veterinarian Lesanna Lahner said the 9,000-pound, 24-foot-long, likely male gray whale survived two days longer than an adult would under similar conditions. Sarah Sharp reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Where are the orcas? It’s hard to say, as the latest death is confirmed
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "I hate to say it, but summer is beginning to wind down. Even more disturbing for killer whale observers is an awareness that Puget Sound’s iconic orcas have pretty much avoided Puget Sound altogether this year. The patterns of travel and even the social structure of the endangered Southern Resident killer whales have been disrupted the past several years, and this year is the worst ever, according to Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research, who has been keeping track of these whales for the past 40 years…. The latest official count is 77 orcas among the three pods. That reflects the death of K-13, a 45-year old female named Skagit. Ken did not announce her passing, mainly because it is based on limited encounters. Ken tells me that K-13 was the only whale missing during an encounter with her close relatives in February in Puget Sound and then later off the coast…."

Steelhead struggling home in record low numbers 
Salmon and steelhead are in hot water — a problem scientists warn is going to get worse because of climate change. Steelhead returning this year to the Columbia and Snake rivers migrated out of the river during horrendous conditions in 2015, which included record low flows and high water temperatures. Those steelhead also were at sea during the so-called “blob” — a mass of warm water that began forming off the West Coast in 2013 and wreaked havoc in the ocean, including depressed food supplies for marine animals of all sorts. Now those steelhead are migrating back through reservoirs where water temperatures at some Columbia and Lower Snake River dams, thanks to a record Northwest heat wave, have been stuck this summer above 70 degrees for days on end — potentially lethal for salmon and steelhead. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

He took on Trump. Now he’s taking on tribes over salmon
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has made a name for himself this year by battling the Trump administration in court. Now he wants to take on tribal governments at the U.S. Supreme Court over salmon. Ferguson's office on Thursday appealed a court order to fix road culverts that now block hundreds of miles of salmon streams in Washington. Many culverts (big steel pipes or concrete tunnels that carry streams beneath roadways) are too narrow or too steep for salmon to swim through. A lower court in 2013 gave the state 17 years to fix 450 of its most-damaging culverts, work that could cost hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. A panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in May refused to hear the state’s second appeal of that decision. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

New blog: Total Solar Eclipse— At Least Once In A Lifetime
July 11, 1991, Honolulu, was my once in a lifetime (thus far) experience with a total solar eclipse. It began mid-morning and aunts and uncles and family friends gathered at my parents home in Manoa Valley. In the gradual darkening of the totality, I walked down the steep steps to the back yard to watch, using the proper protective lenses (which must have been sufficiently protective since I can still see)...

'A fitting tribute': Olympic Wilderness renamed for longtime outdoors advocate, former Gov. Dan Evans
With the Olympics resplendent behind him, former Republican Washington Gov. Dan Evans was honored Friday with the renaming of the wilderness here as the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness, a tribute to his years of public service and accomplishments protecting some of the most beloved landscapes in Washington. Three times Washington’s governor and a U.S. senator for Washington, Evans authored the Washington State Wilderness Act protecting 1.5 million areas of wild lands, and he was instrumental in creating North Cascades National Park, the scenic corridor in the Columbia River Gorge, and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. From a podium set outdoors at Hurricane Ridge, Evans told a crowd of more than 200 that when asked how much wilderness is needed, he always had this answer: “More.” Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Return To The Salish Sea: Songwriter Dana Lyons
Music that connects people to the land and sea has been with us for centuries. Recent singer-songwriters such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell have built on that tradition. Here in the Puget Sound region, you can add another name to that list: Dana Lyons. He's known for his songs about social issues, especially the environment. And the title track of his latest album is called “The Great Salish Sea.” Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Another Extension On Vancouver Oil Terminal Decision As Chair Steps Down
For the seventh time, a decision on a controversial Vancouver [WA] oil terminal has been pushed back. The Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, voted to extend the application deadline for the oil by rail project to Nov. 30. The additional extension allows EFSEC more time to make a decision on whether or not to recommend the project to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. In a surprise announcement, EFSEC Chair Bill Lynch will likely no longer be a part of that process.  After the vote to extend the deadline, Lynch told the council he would be stepping down. Lynch has served as council chair since 2013, when the Vancouver oil terminal project was first introduced. It’s not clear why Lynch is leaving, but it’s at an unusual time. The council is just months away from making a decision on the project. Molly Solomon reports. (OPB)

Amid Trans Mountain uncertainty, pro-pipeline Indigenous peoples make a pitch for development
Some Indigenous leaders in B.C. scored a major victory recently after they successfully lobbied Premier John Horgan to join a legal fight to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The $7.4 billion project, which got the green light from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last fall, now faces an uncertain future in the face of vehement opposition from some anti-pipeline protesters, which count many First Nations peoples among their ranks. But there are voices on the other side of the divide who want to stake their claim in this fractious debate: Indigenous peoples who are decidedly pro-development. These groups see pipeline projects as a potential boon for communities eager to lessen dependence on the federal government and its control over their financial destiny. John Paul Tasker reports. (CBC)

Ocean Life Eats Tons of Plastic—Here’s Why That Matters
Anchovies are known more as a pickled pizza topping than for their crucial place in the marine food chain. Now scientists have confirmed a disturbing new behavior by these tiny forage fish that could have larger implications for human health: anchovies are eating tiny pieces of ocean plastic, and because they, in turn, are eaten by larger fish, the toxins in those microplastics could be transferred to fish consumed by humans. Laura Parker reports. (National Geographic)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  230 AM PDT Mon Aug 21 2017  
 W wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt this afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. Patchy morning fog.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4  ft at 9 seconds.

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