Wednesday, April 18, 2018

4/18 Junco, culverts, BC pipe, sea cucumbers, stink bugs, plastic eaters, Sound tunnel, tangled whale

Dark-eyed Junco [Mike Hamilton/BirdNote]
Suburbs, Juncos, and Evolution
Birds have been living near humans for a long time. But only during the past 5,000 years have birds and humans shared space in cities and towns. “What we’ve done is create a new place where birds are under intense natural selection — from our activities,” says John Marzluff, Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington in Seattle. Marzluff says evolutionary changes can happen in just a few decades of living with humans. In his book, Welcome to Subirdia, he cites as evidence a study of Dark-eyed Juncos conducted by Pamela Yeh.

Supreme Court showdown: Washington's attorney general vs. tribes over salmon habitat
A 20-year battle over salmon-blocking road culverts lands in the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, in a historic showdown pitting the Washington state attorney general against the U.S. government and Washington tribes defending their treaty right to fish. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson — widely regarded as a liberal champion for his crusading lawsuits for immigration rights and other causes — will oppose the tribes in oral argument before the court. At issue is whether the state must replace road culverts that block salmon passage. Tribes insist, and courts have affirmed, that the tribes’ treaty right to fish also means the state must not destroy the habitat that healthy fish runs need. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Support for Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion grows in B.C.: new poll
The proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline has the support of more than half of British Columbians, but with plenty of caveats, including the minimal impact of threats from Alberta, according to a new poll. In an online survey conducted Monday and Tuesday of 2,125 Canadian adults — half from British Columbia — the Angus Reid Institute has found that support in B.C. for the project is up to 54 per cent, a considerable jump from the 48 per cent in a similar survey conducted in February. This support runs through all part of the province, with 50 per cent of Metro Vancouver in favour, 54 per cent on Vancouver Island and 60 per cent of respondents in the rest of B.C. Patrick Johnston reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Guilty Plea In Sea Cucumber Scam
The owner of a seafood processing company in Pierce County, Washington, has pleaded guilty in a case involving the illegal sale of sea cucumbers, leathery creatures that are considered a delicacy to eat in some cultures. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Hoon Namkoong ran Orient Seafood Production. He was charged with underreporting by a 250,000 pounds the amount of sea cucumbers he bought from tribal and non-tribal fishermen in Puget Sound. Austin Jenkins reports. (KNKX)

Stink Bugs Taking Over Puget Sound Area
Researchers for Washington State University are being deluged with reports of brown marmorated stink bugs, especially from western Washington. Entomologist Michael Bush says he has received 300 reports in three weeks about the smelly creatures. He says the majority of stink bug sightings are from King, Pierce and Thurston counties, with sporadic reports coming eastern Washington. Bush says the bugs move indoors during the winter months, and now are trying to get back outside. Marmorated stink bugs gorge on vegetables, fruit trees, nuts and ornamental plants. Grant McHill reports. (AP)

Plastic-eating enzyme could help fight pollution, scientists say
Scientists in Britain and the United States say they have engineered a plastic-eating enzyme that could in future help in the fight against pollution. The enzyme is able to digest polyethylene terephthalate, or PET — a form of plastic patented in the 1940s and now used in millions of tons of plastic bottles. PET plastics can persist for hundreds of years in the environment and currently pollute large areas of land and sea worldwide. Researchers from Britain's University of Portsmouth and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory made the discovery while examining the structure of a natural enzyme thought to have evolved in a waste recycling centre in Japan. (Thompson Reuters)

A vehicle tunnel from Seattle to Bainbridge? Retired civil engineer has a proposal
Bob Ortblad has a pet idea he’d like to see buried deep, hundreds of feet below the surface of Puget Sound. To dive into it: Ortblad, a retired civil engineer and Capitol Hill resident, sees a future in which instead of crossing on a ferry atop Puget Sound, commuters would cross underneath it, driving through a tunnel that would stretch from Seattle’s Smith Cove over to Highway 305 on Bainbridge Island. To stretch the idea even further, a parkway could cross the island and connect to a long-discussed bridge across to the Bremerton area. Nathan Pilling reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Gray whale tangled in fishing gear for days finally freed in Puget Sound  
A gray whale entangled in fishing gear swam in the Puget Sound for days until it was finally freed in an unusual chain of events, according to NOAA Fisheries. A Washington State Ferries captain north of Seattle first spotted the gray whale with fishing gear trailing behind it on Friday. (KIRO)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  842 PM PDT Tue Apr 17 2018   

WED  SE wind to 10 kt becoming E 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 11 seconds. A chance of  showers in the morning then a slight chance of showers in the  afternoon.
WED NIGHT  NW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming W to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 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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