Monday, November 20, 2017

11/20 Lidar, orca food, marbled murrelet, Nooksack poop, ocean acid, Site C, Dungeness crab

Landslides, Pierce Co [WDNR bare-earth lidar]
Washington’s geology like you’ve never seen it before
Washington, our Department of Natural Resources has made a very, very cool thing. “The Bare Earth” is a multimedia tour of Washington’s geologic features. It is simply beautiful. sing images made with laser mapping equipment, DNR geologists were able to peel back the Earth’s top layer with all its messy life and show what the geology that undergirds our state’s geography.  Levi Pulkkinen reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

Orca quandary: Other protected species are eating their food in Puget Sound
Booming populations of seals, sea lions and other marine mammals are eating so much chinook salmon, they may pose a bigger challenge to the survival of hungry local orca whales than fishermen do, a new study has found. The findings also helped researchers quantify yet another pressure on protected chinook- salmon runs: the voracious appetites of recovering populations of predators. Consumption of chinook by protected marine mammals other than southern-resident killer whales jumped 150 percent from 1975 to 2015, researchers found. That’s such an increase that commercial and recreational fishermen, facing tighter and tighter catch limits, have watched their share of chinook crater by 41 percent during the same time period, while seals, sea lions and northern populations of killer whales feast. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Endangered orcas compete with seals, sea lions for salmon  Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

State: Plan could protect threatened bird and timber revenue
A plan taking shape to manage the state's coastal forests will protect a threatened bird species while also ensuring Skagit and other counties don't lose significant amounts of timber revenue, according to the state Board of Natural Resources. The board, which manages policy and transactions for forest lands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources, recently recommended a plan for balancing marbled murrelet conservation and timber harvest on state trust lands.  The marbled murrelet is a small seabird that uses large trees along the West Coast for nesting and raising its young. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Cows may not be to blame for bacterial contamination in Bellingham Bay and Nooksack River
An Environmental Protection Agency and Lummi Nation report shows no evidence that cows are to blame for bacterial contamination in the Nooksack River and Bellingham Bay, Whatcom Family Farmers said in a news release. No fecal material from cattle was found in DNA testing of any of the water samples collected, the report indicated. The Whatcom County Health Department also reports significant improvements in water quality that could allow the Lummi’s Portage Bay shellfish beds to re-open for much of the year, according to the news release. The testing in Bellingham Bay and Nooksack River “showed low levels of DNA from ruminant and avian sources as well as undetermined sources,” according to the group’s website. Ruminant refers to animals that chew their cud, including sheep, goats and deer. Bellingham Herald)

Salmon Industry Wants To Prepare For More Acidic Oceans
Carbon emissions are making the oceans more acidic. That’s long been known to harm shellfish, but new research shows more acidic water could take a toll on salmon as well. “We want to have a future on the water, but we need our fish out there to do it,” says Amy Grondin, a commercial salmon fisher who trolls for chinook and coho off the coasts of Washington and southeast Alaska. That’s why Grondin is partnering with researchers to learn more about what more acidic oceans could mean for those species. “Fishermen really do know a lot,” she explains. “We’re on the water 24/7 observing.” So far, the news has not been good.  Eilis O'Neill reports. (KUOW/EarthFix)

B.C. Utilities Commission admits mistakes in Site C report but says conclusions still valid 
The B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) says it has discovered errors in some price forecast calculations made in its preliminary report on the Site C dam but maintains "the corrections do not change the panel's findings." The admission comes in response to a letter containing several questions sent Nov. 15 to the BCUC by the provincial deputy ministers responsible for energy and finance. The letter asks for information on the commission's findings alternative energy projects could be as good or better for B.C. ratepayers and that BC Hydro's projected energy needs are "excessively optimistic." Andrew Kurjata reports. (CBC)

Washington's Dungeness Crab Season Delayed By Algae Bloom
Officials in Washington state say they’re delaying the start of Dungeness crab season by two weeks because of harmful algae. KING-TV reports that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Friday that the opening of the season on Washington’s coast is being moved from Dec. 1 to Dec. 16. Officials say the crabs contain domoic acid that can build up in crabs and is like poison for the brain for anyone who consumes the crabs. They say it can lead to short-term memory loss and even death. Officials also say the crabs are low in meat and need more time to grow. (Associated Press) See also: Toxic algae on the rise despite government spending   John Flesher And Angeliki Kastanis report. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  253 AM PST Mon Nov 20 2017  

TODAY  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell  10 ft at 10 seconds subsiding to 8 ft at 10 seconds. A slight  chance of rain in the morning.
 S wind to 10 kt becoming E 15 to 25 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after midnight. SW  swell 7 ft at 9 seconds. A slight chance of rain after midnight.

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