Tuesday, May 1, 2018

5/1 Atlantic salmon, orca talk, species count, steelhead, spill drill, Andeavor, raising chinook

"Bob's Blue" [Laurie MacBride]
A Legacy in Bloom
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: 'Nestled between two large, bright pink-flowering rhododendron shrubs, our blue rhododendron isn’t flashy, at least from a distance. Its leaves and blossoms are small, so you have to get up close to appreciate it. But what “Bob’s Blue” lacks in stature or audacity, it makes up for in reliability – it’s always the first of our three varieties to bloom each April. “Bob’s Blue” is an award-winning rhododendron variety in North America, and popular enough nowadays that you’ll find it in many garden centres, as we did when we purchased our plant. It was developed here in British Columbia by the late Dr. Bob Rhodes, a highly respected name in the rhododendron world. But for me, there’s an even more local connection to this story....' (read more)

3 reasons we’re farming Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound
The difference between farming Atlantic salmon and farming Pacific species is like the difference between raising cattle and raising bison. Atlantic salmon are docile, they don’t get into fights in the pens, and they get fat fast. In other words, they’ve been domesticated. They’re the cows of the sea. In 1971, scientists from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center started to raise Atlantic salmon in the Pacific Northwest with the end goal of shipping the fish back east to restore Atlantic salmon runs in New England. Halfway through the project, fisheries officials back in New England decided they didn’t want the fish because of the possibility that viruses and parasites from the Pacific Ocean might be introduced into the Atlantic. So the fish never made it back to New England. Instead, they ended up in the hands of salmon farmers in the Pacific Northwest. And that’s how Atlantic salmon farming got its start in Puget Sound.As far as scientists know, Atlantic salmon can’t interbreed with native Pacific species. That means it’s less risky to raise them in Puget Sound.... It's still unknown whether or not Atlantic salmon compete with Pacific species for food. Eilis O'Neill report. (KUOW)

Orca Talk 5/1: "Current Research to Support Recovery Actions for Southern Resident Killer Whales"
With just 76 orcas in J, K and L pods, the Southern Resident Killer Whale population is nearing its all time low of 71 individuals. Is the population still viable - can they be saved? What have we learned over the past year that will help these orcas recover, and what are the most pressing questions still to be addressed? NOAA's Brad Hansen talks about current research to support recovery actions for Southern Resident killer whales. May 1, 7 PM, C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW, Brown Paper Tickets. Presented by The Whale Trail.

Volunteers are counting every species around Puget Sound
Kelly Brenner has documented over 40 species during the challenge. How many different plant and animal species exist in the Puget Sound region? That's what hundreds of volunteers have been trying to answer as part of the international competition known as the City Nature Challenge. One of them is Kelly Brenner, a naturalist and writer. She was at Alki Beach Sunday finding moon snails and sea stars. Casey Martin reports. (KUOW)

Virtual Reality Game Brings Feel Of Fantasy Football To Salmon Survival Studies
Saving salmon and steelhead in Washington state can seem like a mission with miserable prospects. But one nonprofit has made it into a game that they say is a lot like fantasy football, and schools are involved this year. The game is called “Survive the Sound. It’s focused on steelhead trout, Washington’s state fish – a special kind of rainbow trout that becomes a steelhead after it goes out to the ocean and comes back to spawn. But research ecologist Iris Kemp says, many aren’t. "Steelhead are having an issue out-migrating through Puget Sound Waters,” she said. Kemp is with the nonprofit Long Live the Kings. She’s working on a study called the Salish Sea Survival Project and says Steelhead pose one of the biggest mysteries. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Manchester Fuel Depot, other agencies prepare for worst-case spill scenario
Just after 5:30 a.m., personnel at the Navy's Manchester Fuel Depot discovered a valve on an underground storage tank had failed and almost one million gallons of fuel had spilled into Puget Sound.  Or rather that was the "worst-case scenario" envisioned in a drill the Navy conducted last Thursday. The fuel depot, which is a part of Naval Base Kitsap, borders 1.5 miles of Kitsap County shoreline. The depot provides military-grade fuel, lubricants and additives to U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels, and to those from allied nations like Canada.... More than 20 agencies to took part in the Navy's exercise this year. Representatives from the Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Suquamish Tribe, the Washington Department of Ecology and Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management, among others, put their heads together to test just what a joint response to a spill of that magnitude would look like. Julianna Stanford reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Andeavor Anacortes Refinery set for change in ownership
The Andeavor Anacortes Refinery is set for a change in ownership after Marathon Petroleum Corporation reached a deal to acquire the refinery’s parent company, according to a Monday news release from Andeavor. The $23 billion sale is expected to close later this year, according to the release. The move will create the largest refinery company in the United States. It’s too early to tell if there will be any changes for the Andeavor facilities, Andeavor spokesperson Destin Singleton said. Julla-Grace Sanders reports.(Skagit Valley Herald)

Raising millions of salmon to help feed our Southern Resident orcas
A light rain is falling onto the Clear Creek Fish Hatchery, as a noisy trailer parked between two concrete holding ponds sends sounds into the forested landscape on JBLM land. The chinook salmon being raised here might hold the key to keeping our resident orcas in the Puget Sound for generations to come. The fish is the favorite food of the Southern Resident killer whale. Millions in the next few weeks will be flooding into Puget Sound, thanks to the hard work of fish hatcheries around Washington state. But, all this effort might still not be enough.... For these millions of fish, they’re growing about a millimeter a day, when they get to about five inches long about this week— they’ll be released. First they'll go into Clear Creek and they’ll make their way into the Nisqually River, which leads to Puget Sound. The luckiest of them, in two or three years, will come back here to spawn again. "We release  3 1/2 million chinook,” says David Troutt, the natural resources director for the Nisqually Tribe. “It’s really a numbers game. So the more fish out there, the more that will come back.” Their hatchery is one of the oldest and largest breeders of chinook salmon in Puget Sound. Without it, Troutt says, there would be near zero in the Nisqually Basin. (KCPQ)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  253 AM PDT Tue May 1 2018   
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 11 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5  ft at 11 seconds.

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