Wednesday, December 13, 2017

12/13 Tanager, net pens, BC steelhead, chum run, Snake salmon, EPA grants, #StopSucking, youth suit, pyrosomes

Summer tanager [Ho-Melissa Hafting/Canadian Press]
Rare and off-course bird turns up in Vancouver
Bird watchers are flocking to British Columbia's Lower Mainland after a wayward summer tanager was spotted pecking at peanuts on a south Vancouver balcony over the weekend. Saturday's sighting was the first time a summer tanager has been recorded in the Metro Vancouver area, and only the sixth time for all B.C., said Melissa Hafting, who runs a blog on rare birds. "He's bringing a lot of joy to birders in the area," Hafting said in an email. "He has a small bill deformity but is eating very well." Summer tanagers typically winter from central Mexico to Bolivia and Brazil, and their summers are usually spent around the southeastern United States. (Canadian Press)

Net pens, climate dominate as Clallam commissioners take testimony on draft shoreline plan
Clallam County commissioners were flooded with public testimony on net pens, climate change and other parts of the draft shoreline plan Tuesday. Seventeen of 28 speakers objected to in-water net pen aquaculture, which would be allowed as a conditional use under the proposed update to the 1976 county Shoreline Master Program. Others who testified in a three-hour hearing said the 258-page draft falls short in addressing climate change. Commissioners took no action on the proposal Tuesday, opting to review the testimony and to seek further information from staff.  Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Actor William Shatner calls for 'immediate action' on declining steelhead population
Canadian actor William Shatner is calling on the federal government to take action on the declining steelhead salmon population in the Thompson River watershed in B.C's southern Interior. Shatner sent a letter to Dominic LeBlanc, federal minister of fisheries, calling out "gill nets and other non-selective fishing methods" for contributing to this particular population of steelhead being unable to reach their spawning grounds. "It is difficult to imagine that the Canadian government would stand idly by, allowing a 'business as usual' approach to prevail when a species is facing extinction," Shatner said in his letter. "Thompson steelhead, an international treasure, need and deserve your immediate action." Courtney Dickson reports. (CBC)

Two reasons why the chum salmon run was off this fall
A sharp decline in chum salmon returns to Whatcom County this year is likely cyclical and isn’t an immediate cause for concern, a Bellingham fisheries scientist said. “The chum run was really low this year,” said Sara Smith, an instructor in fisheries and aquaculture sciences at Bellingham Technical College…. “It looks like a really drastic decline but salmon runs are naturally highly variable from year to year,” she said. “It’s not a dire situation, but it was pretty darn low.” Smith said it was difficult to cite a reason for this year’s decline, but she said that she and other scientists think a likely cause is the “warm blob” of Pacific Ocean water off the Western Washington, Canadian and Alaskan coastlines.  Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)

'A Lot More Work To Do' To Recover Snake River Chinook, Steelhead
One of Idaho’s struggling salmon species could eventually become self-sustaining in the wild under the federal government’s new recovery strategies. The two new recovery plans are meant to help three species of Snake River Basin fish that are considered to be threatened with extinction under the Endangered Species Act. While they point to a number of  ways to improve conditions for salmon and steelhead, the plans stop short of suggesting breaching any of the four dams on the lower Snake River in southeastern Washington. Among the three species, the Snake River’s fall chinook are faring the best, said Ken Troyer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northern Snake Branch chief. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Radio/EarthFix)  See also: New plans for some threatened salmon are insufficient, feds say  Rocky Barker reports. (Idaho Statesman)

Area tribes awarded EPA grants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday $2 million in grants for dozens of projects planned by Pacific Northwest tribes to manage water quality. About $1 million is for nonpoint pollution projects, according to a news release. Nonpoint pollution comes from fields, roads and other sources. The other $1 million will go toward projects that will restore and protect water quality, according to the release. Projects range from controlling invasive species and water temperature to improving fish passage and habitat. The Samish, Sauk-Suiattle, Stilliguamish, Swinomish and Upper Skagit are among the tribes awarded grants. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

If you like to watch: Lonely Whale Foundation's #StopSucking PSA
We use 500 million plastic straws every day in the U.S. Many of those plastic straws end up in our oceans, polluting the water and harming sea life. If we don’t act now, by 2050 plastics in the ocean will outweigh the fish. One small change can have a big impact: #stopsucking on plastic straws. Take the challenge: stopsucking.strawlessocean.org Want more? Watch Sucker Punch #StopSucking and Help Create a #StrawlessOcean  (Lonely Whale Foundation)

Climate Change Suit Filed By 21 Youths Hits 9th Circuit Appeals Court
Attorneys for a group of youths suing the U.S. government over climate change were back in court Monday, arguing before a federal appeals court that it should reject a government request to dismiss the case and instead allow it to go to trial in Eugene, Oregon. While Monday’s hearing happened in San Francisco before a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, some of the plaintiffs’ biggest fans gathered in a lecture hall on the University of Oregon campus to watch a live feed of the proceedings…. Plaintiffs in the federal case include 21 youths ages 10 to 21, along with well-known climate scientist James Hanson. Six of the plaintiffs are from Eugene; 11 of them are from Oregon. Jack Moran reports. (Register-Guard/EarthFix)

Thousands Of Pickle-Shaped Pyrosomes Washing Up On Oregon Beaches
The pyrosome invasion continues. Thousands of the strange, pickle-shaped gelatinous creatures continue to wash up on Clatsop County beaches months after ocean biologists first recorded masses of them drifting offshore during a research cruise in the spring. Very little is known about pyrosomes or why they have shown up in force now. Research into what they eat and what it means to have them in the ecosystem is ongoing. Pyrosomes have been seen in Oregon and Washington state waters before but never in such large numbers. This spring, there were enough floating in the water column to clog up fishing gear on commercial shrimp boats. Katie Frankowicz reports. (Daily Astorian/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  213 AM PST Wed Dec 13 2017  
TODAY
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 or 2 ft. W swell 6 ft at  13 seconds.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  7 ft at 15 seconds.

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