Thursday, January 11, 2018

1/11 Nudibranch, Gregor Robertson, coast oil drill, rising seas, salmon genes, bad disease study, beaver kills

Opalescent nudibranch (Minette Layne/Flickr)
Opalescent Sea Slug (Hermissenda crassicornis)
Nudibranchs are snails without shells and without the coiled body of their near relatives. One of the more obvious nudibranchs along Pacific shores, including Puget Sound, this species can be found crawling slowly in tide pools and on pilings, dock floats, and even open bottom substrates. With its opalescent body adorned with an orange midline and red, white and blue markings all over, this beautiful little animal always attracts attention. Opalescent Sea Slugs grow to about 8 cm in length, although most encountered are smaller than that. They look as if they are four-horned, with a pair of large sensory tentacles (the simple eyes, composed of five cells each, are at the bases) followed by a pair of rhinophores. The rhinophores are specialized olfactory tentacles with corrugated surfaces to increase surface area for chemoreception…. Hermissenda is a fierce predator on hydroids, cruising over their colonies and nipping off the polyps. It also eats other colonial animals and even scavenges on carcasses. It is aggressive toward other sea slugs of its own species, perhaps to reduce competition for prey, but it also eats them! (Slater Museum of Natural History/University of Puget Sound)

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson not seeking re-election
In what he called "one of the hardest decisions of [his] life," Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has announced he will not run for re-election on Oct. 20. "Ten years is a long time in politics," he said, speaking at a press conference staged outside Vancouver City Hall on Wednesday. "An important part of leadership is to know when to make space for new voices and leaders." Robertson, 53, said the decision was "intensely personal" and that he would not remain in politics in any capacity: municipal, provincial or federal. He said he had no concrete plans for when his term ends at the end of October. (CBC)

Surprise oil fight may be part of the method to Trump's madness
Now they’re saying King Donald is mad. But is there maybe a method to what ails him? That’s the big question of the moment among environmental advocates around here, who admit they are reeling from the Trump administration’s unexpected announcement last week it plans to sell oil-drilling rights off the Washington and Oregon coasts. The idea is so off the charts almost nobody saw it coming. For starters the oil industry has shown no interest in the Oregon coast. And in Washington, where it’s believed there are some oil and gas deposits, the general area of drilling overlaps in large part with the 4,000-square-mile Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary — where oil drilling currently is barred. Danny Westneat reports. (Seattle Times)

Florida Is Exempted From Coastal Drilling. Other States Ask, ‘Why Not Us?’
At 5:20 on Tuesday evening, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tweeted a photo of himself at the Tallahassee airport with Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, announcing that he had decided, after meeting with Governor Scott, to exempt the state from a new Trump administration plan to open up most of the nation’s coastline to offshore oil drilling. It was a sudden and unexpected change to a plan that President Trump had celebrated just five days before, and it took lawmakers and governors from both parties by surprise. It also gave Governor Scott, a Republican who is widely expected to run for the Senate this year, a clear political boost in that race. Florida lawmakers of both parties have long opposed offshore drilling, especially after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill sent tarballs to the shores of a state where the economy relies heavily on tourism. Mr. Zinke’s sudden flip-flop on Florida drilling allows Governor Scott to tout the decision as evidence of his influence with the White House. Mr. Trump’s critics say the move highlights the president’s willingness to blatantly use the nation’s public lands and waters as political bargaining chips. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

OIL DRILLING Hearing, comments
You can comment online, regulations.gov/docket?D=BOEM-2017-0074, or attend a hearing from 3-7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Landmark Convention Center, Tacoma.

'Water in the streets': a glimpse of the Northwest's watery future
…. Across the Pacific Northwest, the sea's already at the doorstep of homes, businesses, infrastructure, and habitat - and the problem's only going to get worse as the sea continues to rise. In the winter, king tides give us a glimpse of what might be at risk.  In Washington and Oregon, nearly 40,000 people live in homes that are likely to get flooded during the next few decades. And it's not just houses that are at risk; it's billions of dollars of infrastructure. Sewage treatment plants in Olympia and other cities could be destroyed by salt water unless they are modified or moved.  EilĂ­s O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Salmon Are Losing Their Genetic Diversity. That's A Big Problem
Researchers had long suspected salmon have lost huge amounts genetic diversity over the years. But they’d never tested the hypothesis. Now, technology has finally caught up with scientists’ questions. Researchers were able to compare ancient salmon DNA to modern salmon. They collected a wide range of ancient bones to study the fish’s DNA. One sample about 7,000 years old — that’s  3,000 years older than the first pyramid. The most recent was about 150 years old. And thanks to the DNA from those samples, scientists are able to conclude that Columbia River chinook salmon have lost two-thirds of their genetic diversity since ancient times. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Radio/EarthFix)

Scientist pans fish disease review, says it lacked transparency
A conservation scientist is questioning the integrity of a federal review of salmon viruses and diseases, saying there wasn’t enough transparency around industry practices. Stan Proboszcz, science and campaign adviser for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, says scientists were not allowed to read a document on how fish-farm companies manage fish health — even though the document helped inform the Department of Fisheries and Oceans risk assessment of a deadly virus. “That’s contradictory to the peer review process, whereby scientists come together and review the information in detail with full transparency,” Proboszcz said. “To evaluate this at a scientific peer review level, peer reviewers need access to the details.” Proboszcz said he became concerned while serving on a DFO steering committee that gives scientific advice on various fish and habitat issues. Amy Smart reports. (Times Colonist)

Government Agency Says It Will Stop Killing The Beaver State's Beavers To Help Its Salmon
It took the threat of a lawsuit, but a federal agency is no longer killing the Beaver State’s beavers. Environmental groups had challenged the practice in Oregon because, they said, it’s a threat to more than just the state animal. Beavers just can’t help themselves — they have to build dams from sticks and mud. Those dams can create really good habitat for other species, like imperiled salmon. “The slow moving waters created by the beavers provide ideal cover and food for endangered fish,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. But Wildlife Services (a program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that deals with human-animal conflicts) has been culling Oregon’s beavers. The environmental groups said the program killed more than 400 Oregon beavers in 2016. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Radio/EarthFix)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  247 AM PST Thu Jan 11 2018  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
 
TODAY
 E wind 20 to 30 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. W swell 8 ft  at 18 seconds. Rain.
TONIGHT
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell  8 ft at 17 seconds building to 10 ft at 16 seconds after  midnight. Showers likely.

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