Thursday, March 15, 2018

3/15 Wren, saving orcas, freeing Tokitae, feeding transients, plastic water, BC pipe, mussel watch, sea star disease

Pacific wren [Cameron Eckert/All About Birds]
Pacific Wren Troglodytes pacificus
Pacific Wrens are tiny brown wrens with a song much larger than themselves. One researcher deemed them a “pinnacle of song complexity.” This tinkling, bubbly songster is more often heard than seen within the dark understory of old-growth evergreen forests where they live. When Pacific Wrens sing they hold their tail upright and their entire body shakes with sound. [Pacific Wren sings] They move like mice through the forest understory, hopping along logs and upturned roots. (All About Birds)

New Washington directive aims to help endangered orcas
[Washington Governor Jay] Inslee said the orcas are in trouble and called on everyone in the state to do their part. His directive aims to make more salmon available to the whales; give them more space and quieter waters; make sure they have clean water to swim in; and protect them from potential oil spills. "The destiny of salmon and orca and we humans are intertwined,"…"As the orca go, so go we." Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

Humans aren’t the only ones to blame for dwindling salmon population in Puget Sound
As salmon populations dwindle in Puget Sound, natural predators from killer whales to bald eagles are on the hunt for the precious calories the fish bring. But some predators are taking more than ever. Seals and sea lions have hunted salmon for eons. And as their numbers in the Puget Sound area increase, they're taking more food than they have in the past 100 years. (KCPQ)

Freeing Lolita from the Miami Seaquarium is a ‘sacred obligation’ for this tribe
Supporters of releasing the Miami Seaquarium’s killer whale, Lolita, have a message for the theme park: We aren’t going anywhere. They now count among their ranks Florida gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine and the Lummi Nation tribe of Washington state, whose traditional territory in the Salish Sea also served as Lolita’s native waters. Chabeli Herrera reports. (Miami Herald) See also: Lummi Nation joins effort to bring Lolita home to Puget Sound  Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Herring season draws massive pods of transient orcas off Campbell River
Herring season is giving people on the mid-island a front-row seat to a seaside spectacle. A large pod of at least 20 orcas was spotted off Campbell River, heading south for lunch on Tuesday. "I think this is the largest gang we've seen come through this spring, yeah," said Nick Templeton of Campbell River Whale and Bear Excursions. The whales are transients likely heading back toward the herring run near Hornby and Denman islands, but not to snack on the fish. The killer whales are focusing their hunt on sea lions out looking for the herring, according to Templeton. (CTV News)

Plastic particles found in bottled water
Tests on major brands of bottled water have found that nearly all of them contained tiny particles of plastic. In the largest investigation of its kind, 250 bottles bought in nine different countries were examined. Research led by journalism organisation Orb Media discovered an average of 10 plastic particles per litre, each larger than the width of a human hair. Companies whose brands were tested told the BBC that their bottling plants were operated to the highest standards. (Read the full scientific report) David Shukman reports. (BBC) See also: Scientists discover microplastics in Vancouver water samples  (CBC)

Trans Mountain seeks permanent injunction against protesters in court
Social media posts suggest anti-pipeline activists are determined to continue blockades at two terminals in Burnaby, B.C., as they cause more irreparable harm to the Trans Mountain project, says a lawyer seeking a permanent injunction against the protests. Maureen Killoran told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck on Wednesday that activists have conspired to recently intensify blockades with the aim to disrupt construction projects at the Burnaby Mountain and Westbridge Marine terminals before a mid-March deadline to meet environmental standards. Affleck granted a temporary injunction on Friday, saying it would expire Wednesday and restrict protesters from coming within 50 metres of the facilities where protests began last November. (Canadian Press)

With the help of volunteers, mussels reveal pollutants 
On a dark night in February, three men in rubber boots set out down the Weaverling Spit beach and returned with a cage full of mussels. Three months earlier, the men had anchored the cage to the shore so the mussels inside could collect information about water contaminants as the tides came in and out, data the state Department of Fish & Wildlife uses to monitor pollution in urban areas throughout the Puget Sound. Wayne Huseby, Pete Haase and Tom Flanagan, all of Anacortes, are three volunteer citizen scientists who signed up to participate in the statewide mussel monitoring program. The Weaverling Spit monitoring site in Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserve is one of about 90 scattered throughout Puget Sound, all run by volunteers who set and retrieve the cages and then transport the mussel samples to Olympia for testing, Huseby said. Jacqueline Allison reports. (

More than one culprit is killing sea stars
Scientists are beginning to unravel the complicated connections among viruses, the environment, and wasting diseases among sea stars in the waters of the Pacific Northwest. As ocean temperatures rise and oceanic diseases proliferate, species like sea stars struggle to survive, and scientists are looking for underlying causes. To bring clarity to the sea star disease problem, the scientists propose giving the syndrome a more precise name. Previous work suggested that sea star-associated densovirus (SSaDV) was the best candidate pathogen responsible for sea star wasting disease (SSWD) among about two dozen species affected by it. But researchers noticed viruses didn’t correlate in some hard-hit species. “Disease among sea stars is likely caused by multiple factors, not just one factor like SSaDV or rising temperature,” says Ian Hewson, associate professor of microbiology at Cornell University and lead author of the paper in Frontiers in Marine Research. Blaine Friedlander reports. (Futurity)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PDT Thu Mar 15 2018  
TODAY  E wind 15 to 20 kt. Wind waves 2 or 3 ft. W swell 5 ft  at 10 seconds.
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6  ft at 11 seconds.

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

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