Monday, May 21, 2018

5/21 Chipmunk, BC pipe, BC fish farm, eelgrass, welcome salmon

Townsend's chipmunk [Slater Museum]
Chipmunks come close to being birdwatchers’ mammals. They are active during the day, with an emphasis on the “active,” they are brightly marked, they are territorial, they vocalize frequently, and they come readily to bird feeders. They vary from very shy to very inquisitive, even tame where they encounter people regularly. They are still basically brown, but their conspicuous stripes make them easily recognizable as chipmunks. Basically seed eaters, chipmunks will take anything that comes along, including fruits, fungi, and arthropods. They are accomplished nest robbers. taking bird eggs whenever they can find them. During the fall, they busily gather seeds in cheek pouches and cache them in their protected nests. They can then hole up for the winter and feast on these caches without leaving their protected shelter. Caches can contain tens of thousands of seeds. (Slater Museum)

B.C. eyeing oil shipments from Washington state if Alberta does turn off the taps
Should Alberta’s government use its new powers to throttle back oil shipments to British Columbia, the coastal province plans to be in court that same day to seek an immediate injunction, and is looking to source its oil needs from the State of Washington. B.C. Attorney General David Eby said Friday that Victoria’s primary response is to seek legal remedies to the law Alberta passed this week – which would allow politicians in Edmonton to control the flow of oil, natural gas and refined products out of province in response to B.C.’s opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion proposed by Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. British Columbia’s secondary plan is to backfill a shortage of fuels such as gasoline and diesel from the United States, and Eby said the provincial government is in discussions with Washington state in preparation. Geoffrey Morgan reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: Ottawa confirms B.C.'s pipeline court case counts as a political delay that could cost taxpayers  Elise von Scheel reports. (CBC)

Kayakers take Kinder Morgan protest offshore in U.S.
More than 200 kilometres south of where the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is slated to end, environmental groups in the U.S. took to the water in Seattle on Sunday to add their voices to ongoing opposition to the project. While the roughly 1,200-kilometre pipeline won't cross into the U.S., protesters are concerned about an increase in oil tanker traffic, which would depart from the terminal in Burnaby, B.C., and navigate across the Salish Sea. Mosquito Fleet was among several environmental groups, including Greenpeace USA and the Sierra Club, that organized the rally on the water in Elliott Bay and in a city park along the coast. About 80 people launched kayaks from the rocky shore and paddled toward Kinder Morgan's marine terminal. With a police boat stationed nearby, they unfurled banners protesting the pipeline project. Briar Stewart reports. (CBC)

Two Indigenous protesters ordered to end occupation of B.C. fish farm
Fish farming company Marine Harvest says the B.C. Supreme Court has ordered two Indigenous protesters, who have occupied the company’s houses and dock at Swanson Island for months, to leave by Saturday evening pending an upcoming hearing. Marine Harvest says the court also ordered them not to board or interfere with any of Marine Harvest’s salmon farms operating in the area. It says the order is pending a June 25 hearing of an application by Marine Harvest for a broader injunction order. Court documents filed by Ernest Alfred and Karissa Glendale, who are named as defendants, say they and many others from the ‘Namgis First Nation and surrounding First Nations are opposed to open-net fish farms in ocean waters in their traditional territories. (Canadian Press)

Diving deeper to understand eelgrass wasting disease
As tides fall and mudflats are exposed in the Salish Sea, you can glimpse a puzzle that has left scientists and policy makers perplexed. In healthy environments, mats of green eelgrass will often stretch across the shallows, providing vital but fragile habitat for all manner of nearshore species, from Dungeness crabs to salmon. The aquatic plant is considered a fundamental link in the food chain, creating nursery habitat for young fish, stabilizing sediment, and filtering water. It can also inexplicably decline and rebound through space and time. Scientists are looking at a variety of factors for these changes as they work toward a state goal of expanding eelgrass populations by 20% in Puget Sound. Among their concerns is eelgrass (or seagrass) wasting disease, a disease that leaves eelgrass blades covered in lesions and has triggered historical, devastating die-offs along eastern US and European coasts. Robin McLachlan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Eat. Pray. Truck. How a Northwest tribe brings salmon home
The Puyallup Tribe welcomed the first salmon of the year back to the Puyallup River in Tacoma on Tuesday. Strangely, perhaps, that chinook's epic journey from mid-Pacific Ocean to a Puyallup fishing net begins with a sloshing tanker truck. Tribes from Alaska to California have held annual "first salmon" ceremonies for centuries to thank the wide-raging fishes for coming home after years at sea. But some years, the Puyallup River barely has enough chinook salmon to support a ceremony, let alone a tribe whose diet used to be mostly salmon. Threats to the biggest species of salmon's survival abound. Yet this year, the Puyallups have at least one reason to hope chinook could make a big comeback. Follow the Puyallup River upstream from Tacoma and it’ll take you to the slopes and glaciers of Mount Rainier. That is, if a dam doesn’t stop you. On a branch called the White River, two dams have been giving fish trouble for more than 70 years. The dams have also given birth to another longstanding tradition for the Puyallups: The tribe and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trap fish heading upstream and take them for a 10-mile drive in a tanker truck. It’s the only way fish can get around the upper dam, a 400-foot-high flood-control structure called the Mud Mountain Dam. John Ryan reports. (KU)W)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Mon May 21 2018   
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 10 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  4 ft at 9 seconds.

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