|'The Big Dark' [NASA]|
While stretches of weather systems that cross the North Pacific are not uncommon during the fall and winter, the atmospheric river that opened Seattle’s rainy season — dubbed “The Big Dark” by the National Weather Service in Seattle — was notably long. At times, the flow of moisture extended about 5,000 miles from Japan to Washington, according to an item posted on NASA’s Earth Observatory site Thursday. Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times)
B.C. coast killer whales to get 200-metre protection zone from boats
Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc says Canada will move to match a U.S. requirement that all boats stay at least 200 metres away from southern resident killer whales. Leblanc told reporters outside the House of Commons he heard loud and clear from scientists at a symposium on the whales in British Columbia earlier this month that more needs to be done — not just to protect them but also to help recovery efforts to boost the population. There are only about 78 southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea, the series of waterways off the southern coast of B.C. and northern coast of Washington state that includes the straits of Georgia, Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound. (Canadian Press)
Evaluating anthropogenic threats to endangered killer whales to inform effective recovery plans
….The population is fragile, with no growth projected under current conditions, and decline expected if new or increased threats are imposed. Improvements in fecundity and calf survival are needed to reach a conservation objective of 2.3% annual population growth. Prey limitation is the most important factor affecting population growth. However, to meet recovery targets through prey management alone, Chinook abundance would have to be sustained near the highest levels since the 1970s. The most optimistic mitigation of noise and contaminants would make the difference between a declining and increasing population, but would be insufficient to reach recovery targets. Reducing acoustic disturbance by 50% combined with increasing Chinook by 15% would allow the population to reach 2.3% growth. Authors: Robert C. Lacy, Rob Williams, Erin Ashe, Kenneth C. Balcomb III, Lauren J. N. Brent, Christopher W. Clark, Darren P. Croft, Deborah A. Giles, Misty MacDuffee & Paul C. Paquet (Nature)
Canada C3 expedition visits Saturna Island site of historic 1964 killer whale capture
More than half a century after the capture of the first killer whale in B.C. waters helped to change public perceptions forever, the Canada C3 expedition returned to Saturna Island on Wednesday to see how citizen science is trying to improve conditions for the species. “This is where everything shifted,” said C3 participant Mark Leiren-Young, the award-winning author of The Killer Whale Who Changed the World. “This is where we went from viewing them as monsters to loving them.” The Vancouver Aquarium had sought to kill and mount for public display a killer whale in 1964, but the male captured at East Point off Saturna Island survived for almost three months. During that brief time, the public got to see a different side of killer whales, which, at the time, were regularly shot because they were competitors for salmon. The captured whale became known as Moby Doll and helped to kickstart an era in which killer whales were captured for exhibit in aquariums. More recently, public sentiments have shifted again, this time against keeping killer whales in captivity at all. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)
Tacoma joining the Whale Trail worthy of some splash
With so many exciting projects on the near horizon at Point Defiance Park — the debut of the Pacific Seas Aquarium, and the opening of a pedestrian bridge to Ruston Way, among others — last weekend’s dedication of a modest new feature at Tacoma’s flagship park would be easy to overlook. As it happens, an overlook is exactly what we’re talking about: a whale-watching viewpoint, freshly identified and marked as a prime location to observe members of the Northwest’s majestic, mysterious and all-too-vulnerable cetacean population. Point Defiance now counts itself among 90 official spots on the Whale Trail, which hugs the Pacific coastline and inland waters from Southern California to northern British Columbia. An interpretive sign was unveiled in a ceremony last weekend. (News Tribune of Tacoma Editorial Board)
State reject lease plans related to coal-export terminal
A state agency has rejected a request to use state-owned aquatic lands for a major coal-export terminal along the Columbia River. The Department of Natural Resources nixed a proposal Wednesday by Northwest Alloys, which holds a lease with the state, to make construction changes related to the Millennium Bulk Terminal-Longview project in Longview. Northwest Alloys submitted the request in August months after DNR shot down its request to sublease the state's lands to Millennium. Northwest Alloys and Millennium have appealed that decision and a Cowlitz County judge is hearing arguments Friday. Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz told Northwest Alloys in a letter Wednesday that it is in the state's best interest to deny the request at this time. She cited several factors including that the state Department of Ecology's denied the project a water quality permit. (Associated Press)
Governor's town hall on climate change draws tribal protesters
Protesters at Gov. Jay Inslee’s town hall on climate change at the University of Washington in Seattle said the governor’s actions don’t live up to his stirring words. “I think that he knows how to sound pretty,” Pamela Chelalakem Bond of Bothell said. The Snohomish tribal member and other protesters in cedar hats and “No LNG in 253” T-shirts played Native drums and rattles before Inslee spoke and shouted back angrily at him as he did. Inslee called climate change an “existential threat to civilization as we know it.” Despite the Trump administration’s dismantling of federal action on climate change, the governor said he is optimistic. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)
Kinder Morgan Canada appeals to regulator after it fails to gain Burnaby, B.C., permits
Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. said Thursday that it has been unable to gain permits from the coastal city of Burnaby, B.C., for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and is appealing to the national regulator for construction approval. Burnaby has long opposed the expansion over environmental concerns, and the lack of permits from the city adds to the hurdles facing the $7.4-billion expansion, as North American energy projects face increasing opposition from activists. The company, a unit of Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc., said in a statement it is also asking the National Energy Board (NEB) regulator to set up a process to make an "expedited determination" for future such cases. (Thomson Reuters)
Seasonal hunt ends; after finding 96 green crabs, trapping to resume in April
The hunt in Dungeness for the invasive European green crab is over for the season. Resource managers report that since April, they’ve caught 96 green crabs on the Dungeness Spit and one in Sequim Bay. Lorenz Sollmann, deputy project leader at the Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, said researchers opted to extend the search for green crab after finding a few more of the invasive species, but in their last few days of trapping Oct. 16-18, no green crabs were caught. Matthew Nash reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Group finds more invasive green crabs over summer Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Abandoned, sunken ship in B.C. underscores need for updated law: MP
A New Democrat member of Parliament from British Columbia is criticizing the federal government for failing to act quickly enough to deal with derelict vessels. The complaints come days after the 27-meter Anapaya, a wooden fishing boat, sank in Ladysmith Harbour on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Nanaimo-Ladysmith New Democrat MP Sheila Malcolmson spoke during Question Period Tuesday calling the sinking the “latest example of the Liberal’s failed boat-by-boat approach on abandoned vessels.” Malcolmson says the boat was identified as a “vessel of concern” by Transport Canada in 2014. (Canadian Press)
Brazilian free-tailed bat discovered within Salt Spring Island nature reserve
Its name is reminiscent of steamy South American jungles. But through determination and an amazingly swift flight, the Brazilian free-tailed bat has made its way to Salt Spring Island — a Canadian first — and in doing so is also shedding light on climate change. Participants on the final leg of the Canada C3 150-day, 23,000-kilometre voyage around Canada’s three coastlines learned of the medium-sized bat during a series of presentations Thursday by Salt Spring islanders. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Bob Weber reports. (Canadian Press) See also: Deadly bat fungus ‘within a couple hundred kilometres of Vancouver’ Canadian scientists are racing to test a remedy that they hope will save bats from a deadly fungus that has already killed millions of the winged mammals across the continent. “We are feeling a real sense of urgency because that fungus is within a couple hundred kilometres of Vancouver,” said Cori Lausen, a biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. “It’s very likely that that disease will show up there this spring.” Bob Weber reports. (Canadian Press)
Do sasquatch exist? Bigfoot believer takes B.C. government to court
A sasquatch tracker from Golden aims to take the provincial government to court to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt (or a guy in a gorilla suit) that the legendary creature roams the B.C. wilderness. In a civil lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, Todd Standing accused the B.C. Ministry of Environment and B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch of “dereliction of duty pertaining to the interests of an indigenous wildlife species.” The Bigfoot researcher said he will provide physical evidence, video and eyewitness accounts to prove the hairy primate’s existence and asked the court to require a government biologist to accompany him into “known sasquatch habitat” for three months to further prove his claims. Glenda Luymes reports. (Vancouver Sun)
Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca- 230 AM PDT Fri Oct 27 2017
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING
TODAY E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft at 13 seconds.
TONIGHT E wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 10 to 20 kt after midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 8 ft at 20 seconds. Patchy fog after midnight.
SAT E wind 5 to 15 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind waves 2 ft or less in the morning becoming less than 1 ft. W swell 8 ft at 18 seconds. Patchy fog in the morning.
SAT NIGHT Light wind becoming E to 10 kt after midnight. Wind waves less than 1 ft becoming 1 ft or less after midnight. W swell 7 ft at 16 seconds.
SUN E wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 16 seconds
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