Thursday, September 14, 2017

9/14 Spiders, Atlantics, nuked fish, Tacoma tide flats, salmon PSAs, balloon ban, spill tracking

Garden cross spider [David Horemans/CBC]
Spider boom? Hot summer might have helped webs they weave
If you're suddenly seeing big fat spiders crafting delicate webs all over the place, you're not alone. Spider webs are a normal harbinger of fall, but this year, a Vancouver pest control company said they're getting an unusual number of calls about them. "Definitely an increase in the numbers of them and the amount of webs that people are seeing on their properties," said Mike Londry of Westside Pest Control. He credits the hot, dry summer, saying it made living easy for spiders. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

Washington State’s Great Salmon Spill and the Environmental Perils of Fish Farming
Just after the thrill of the total solar eclipse, a troubling nature story emerged from northwestern Washington State. On August 22nd, Cooke Aquaculture, a multibillion-dollar seafood company, reported that, three days earlier, extreme tides coinciding with the eclipse had torn apart its enormous salmon farm off Cypress Island, a teal idyll near the college town of Bellingham. More than three hundred thousand non-native Atlantic salmon, housed in a steel underwater pen, were at risk of escape. Tens of thousands of the fish had already spilled into Puget Sound, and some had begun to instinctively swim upstream, toward the mouths of local rivers, as if to spawn. E. Tammy Kim reports. (New Yorker) See also:  Escaped Atlantic salmon reported 250 km north of collapsed fish farm  (CBC)

Japan’s nuclear disaster didn’t affect fish or human health: B.C. scientist 
Radioactive contamination following a nuclear power-plant disaster in Japan never reached unsafe levels in the north Pacific Ocean for either marine life or human health, says a British Columbia scientist. Chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen of the University of Victoria has monitored levels of contamination from radioactive isotopes, used in cancer therapies and medical imaging, since the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011 following a tsunami triggered by an earthquake. Camille Bains reports. (Canadian Press)

Draft regulations could prohibit heavy industry on Tacoma tide flats 
The City of Tacoma’s planning commission held a public hearing Wednesday to receive feedback on a proposed draft of interim regulations that could in part prohibit certain types of heavy industry from coming to the tide flats, including coal and fossil fuel facilities. "We do need these interim protections simply because Tacoma is in the bullseye for new and expanded fossil fuels," said Mindy Roberts, Puget Sound director for the Washington Environmental Council. Melissa Malott, who is part of Citizens for a Healthy Bay, is in support of the interim regulations as Tacoma figures out what industry to welcome next in this area. Jenna Hanchard reports. (KING)

Pacific salmon star in new round of Hinterland Who’s Who
The Canadian Wildlife Federation has released a new set of three videos starring the Pacific salmon in the memorable style of Hinterland Who’s Who. The public service announcements are timed to promote awareness of a research project designed to explain the persistently poor returns of Chinook salmon in the Yukon River…. A 30-second version uses the same mini-doc style and haunting flute music that became indelibly stamped on the memories of Canadian children when the series was first aired in 1963. Other versions employ a modernized style with different music and a young female host. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Bainbridge bans balloon releases but stops there 
You can have a balloon on Bainbridge, but hold on tight. On Tuesday night, the City Council approved an addition to Bainbridge’s litter codes that bans releases of balloons, after it considered a broader ban of balloons last week. “No person shall release any balloon into the environment within or from the city of Bainbridge Island for any purpose, including but not limited to as part of a private, public, or civic event or celebration; promotional activity; or product advertisement,” the ordinance text states, noting that the ban doesn’t apply to human-piloted hot air balloons, or to balloons used in scientific or research projects. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

New Spill Tracker Enlists Crowd to Help Monitor Pollution After Hurricanes
After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, a nonprofit organization that uses satellite imagery to monitor the environment launched a tool for citizens to report pollution caused by flooding. Built on the crowdmapping platform Ushahidi, the Harvey Spill Tracker maps reports of oil, chemical, or hazardous waste spills and other incidents based on satellite images, eyewitness accounts, and National Response Center alerts. Later today the organization will release an updated version that expands the region covered to parts of the country impacted by Hurricane Irma. Jessica McKenzie reports. (Civic Hall)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  324 AM PDT Thu Sep 14 2017  
 SE wind to 10 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 8 seconds.
 W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 8 seconds.

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