Tuesday, January 30, 2018

1/30 Owl, Howe Sound, no oil terminal, BC pipe, more souls, James Is, herring, climate, ancient midden, bees

Western screech owl [Ann Nightingale/CBC]
More screeching
Yesterday's posting about the precipitous decline of Victoria's western screech owls brought the following note from author Tony Angell: "When I wrote The House of Owls, documenting the twenty plus years western screech owls occupied my nesting box, these birds were already suffering under the predatory habits of the growing numbers of barred owls.  The barred, upon until a little more than half a century ago, exclusively occupied the midwest and eastern portions of North America.  Once it made its way across the continent it quickly occupied the niche formerly occupied by the screech owls, killed and ate them.  Unlike their close relative, the eastern screech owl, our western birds did not co-evolve with the barreds so never developed any strategies for avoiding their aggressive and rapacious relative.  We know the barred owl has had a similar effect on the spotted owls for some of the same reasons.  By the way, in my experience, screech owls not only eat enormous numbers of mice and rats but having an eclectic diet they also consume great quantities of carpenter ants and termites -- something any home builder can appreciate. I'm convinced that only by removing the barred owls will the western screech owl populations recover and be sustained here.  Of course, sustaining the riparian habitat favored by these incredibly engaging smaller owls will also be a factor in their future."

If you like to watch: Howe Sound Ballet A must-see beautiful piece by Bob Turner.

Washington governor rejects permit for oil-by-rail terminal
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday rejected a permit for a massive oil-by-rail terminal proposed along the Columbia River, saying the risks and impacts outweighed the need for and potential benefits of the project. Inslee said he agreed with the recommendation of a state energy panel, which unanimously voted in November to recommend that the Vancouver Energy project in southwest Washington be denied. The joint venture of Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies proposed to receive about 360,000 barrels of North American crude oil a day by trains at the port of Vancouver. Oil would temporarily be stored on site and then loaded onto tankers and ships bound for West Coast refineries. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

'I want the whole thing scrapped': NEB hearings on Kinder Morgan's proposed pipeline route resume
David Huntley isn't picking up any good vibrations. The 81-year-old is one of more than a dozen speakers who are raising concerns about the proposed route of Kinder Morgan's Transmountain Pipeline Expansion project at ongoing hearings in front of the National Energy Board. The hearings are set to resume Tuesday — but Huntley says he's been chasing down the oil company for answers since he found out the proposed route would run just metres away from his home on Burnaby Mountain. (CBC)

Seattle region will grow by 1.8 million people by 2050
Our region’s population hit 4 million people just over a year ago. Now, there’s a prediction that it will reach nearly 6 million by 2050. It’s the latest growth projection from The Puget Sound Regional Council. The numbers are expected to hold even though our big jobs engine, Amazon, plans to grow elsewhere. The Puget Sound Regional Council says we’ll continue to expand as a tech hub, gaining 1.2 million jobs by mid-century. That will bring an average of 55,000 people a year, which is actually slow growth compared to the last few years. Carolyn Adolph reports. (KUOW)

First Nation lawsuit claims private island worth a cool $54 million
A First Nation near Victoria is claiming ownership rights to the most valuable private island in British Columbia.  The Tsawout First Nation filed a civil lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court this month seeking title to James Island, a 400-acre property just off Island View Beach near Victoria. James Island, which is owned by Seattle Billionaire Craig McCaw's company, JI Properties, was assessed at a value of $54.4 million in 2017, according to the B.C. Assessment Authority. It features a main residence, about six guest homes, an 18-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus and a private airstrip. Deborah Wilson reports. (CBC)

Dispatches: Herring rescue
Tessa Francis writes: “Two days into the New Year I got a text at lunch from Vashon Island Nature Center staff with a picture of dozens of fish in a pool: ‘Wondering if you could tell what kind of fish these are? They seem to be trapped.’ They were in a tidal creek that had become isolated from the main Puget Sound at low tide. The staff was worried the tributary wouldn’t be reconnected at the next high tide, and were planning to manually move the small fish back to the open water. After seeing a close-up picture (and after confirming my ID with a WA Department of Fish and Wildlife colleague – better safe than sorry!), I told them they had Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) on their hands, probably 2-year olds, given the size. Historically, herring have spawned annually on Vashon Island, all along the shores of the Quartermaster Harbor bay, but their numbers have been very low in recent years. Work from a group I am co-chairing as part of the Ocean Modeling Forum suggests that when populations of herring are on average young (like these 2-year olds), they have a more difficult time finding their way back to their spawning grounds. In any case, it is just about the window of time when the Quartermaster herring start their spawning, and while it is not exactly clear whether these fish would be spawning this year (only about 1/2 of 2-year olds are mature), it was interesting to see them hanging around the island. The volunteers then moved 120 fish by hand, aiding them on their journey. If indeed these fish were making their way to the Quartermaster spawning site, they still had the circumnavigation of Maury Island ahead of them! Puget Sound Institute)

In climate change, heat extremes tell a bigger story than average temps
News reports about climate change often focus on how the average global temperature is rising, but perhaps more attention should be paid to some alarming trends in extreme temperatures — the conditions that are more likely to kill people and push species toward extinction. A new study published last week revealed that temperatures across the Earth’s surface went up an average of 0.19 degrees C (.34° F) each decade over the past 30 years, whereas the highest temperature recorded each year has gone up even more — an average of 0.25 degrees C (0.45° F) per decade. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Ancient midden found after Semiahmoo Nation pressed for archeological assessment
An ancient shell midden has been found on the site of a White Rock park expansion after the Semiahmoo First Nation pressed the city to assess the area for evidence of archeological significance. The ancient garbage heap discovered last week contains “shell, charcoal, and animal bones” — indications of long-term food processing on the site in Memorial Park. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Honeybees Help Farmers, But They Don't Help The Environment
Honeybees are amazing and adorable, and they suffer when people spray pesticides or mow down wildflowers. We've heard plenty in recent years about collapsing bee colonies. So Jonas Geldmann, at the University of Cambridge, says he understands how the honeybee became a symbol of environmental conservation. But he still doesn't like it…. When flowers are abundant, there is plenty of pollen for both honeybees and their wild cousins. But in many landscapes, or when an orchard stops blooming, farmed honeybees can compete with wild bees for food, making it harder for wild species to survive. Basically, a healthy environment needs bees — but not honeybees, Geldmann says. This week, he published a commentary in the journal Science trying to spread the word to a wider audience. "The way we're managing honeybees, in these hives, has nothing to do with nature conservation," he says. Dan Charles reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  241 AM PST Tue Jan 30 2018  

 SW wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 15 ft  at 14 seconds. Showers likely.
TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt easing to 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 2 ft after  midnight. W swell 13 ft at 13 seconds. Showers likely.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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