Thursday, May 24, 2018

5/24 Moles, BC pipe, 'last best places,' plastics, Oly oyster, sea-level rise, rockfish, Columbia treaty, big 'shroom, Japanese beetle

Townsend mole [WDFW]
Though moles are the bane of many lawn owners, they make a significant positive contribution to the health of the landscape. Their extensive tunneling and mound building mixes soil nutrients and improves soil aeration and drainage. Moles also eat many lawn and garden pests, including cranefly larvae and slugs. Moles spend almost their entire lives underground and have much in common with pocket gophers—small weak eyes, small hips for turning around in tight places, and velvety fur that is reversible to make backing up easy. Moles also have broad front feet, the toes of which terminate in stout claws faced outward for digging. (The Chehalis Indian word for mole translates into "hands turned backward.") However, moles are predators of worms and grubs, while gophers are herbivores. (WDFW)

Youth walk out of class to protest Trans Mountain pipeline
Nearly 200 youth from a number of Metro Vancouver municipalities walked out of class Wednesday afternoon to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. "This is a chance to show our elected leaders and Kinder Morgan that our lands, livelihoods and future are more important than a pipeline," said Ta'Kaiya Blaney in a Facebook livestream before her friend rallied people to get up and leave their high school drama class at Sentinel Secondary in West Vancouver. The event was organized by Blaney and fellow high school student Eden Reimer in response to the recent political tangle over the expanded pipeline's future and the commitment from Ottawa to help fund the project, following an ultimatum from Kinder Morgan. Chantelle Bellrichard reports. (CBC)

Constantine wants to leverage conservation fund to buy 65,000 acres of 'last best places'
Verdant farmlands with strolling cows, lush forests and fragile shorelines, even bits of green in the gray of the city: These are some of the last best places in King County. All would be protected forever from development under a King County conservation initiative that would buy 65,000 acres of open space targeted for acquisition over the next 30 years. The initiative, expected to be announced by King County Executive Dow Constantine on Wednesday at a news conference, will go to the Metropolitan King County Council for consideration Thursday. Constantine will introduce legislation that would allow King County to sell more bonds backed by the existing Conservation Futures tax, providing an ongoing source of revenue for conservation acquisitions. Over the next four years, the ordinance would generate $148 million to save open space most at risk of development. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

'Alarmingly high' amounts of plastic microbeads found in B.C. shellfish farming areas
Areas off the B.C. coast used for farming shellfish are becoming highly polluted by plastic microbeads, new research has found. According to a release from Simon Fraser University, researchers analyzed dozens of sediment samples from 16 sites around Lambert Channel and Baynes Sound off Denman Island — where 130 shellfish farms are located — and found "alarmingly high" amounts of plastic pollution. "We found microbeads in the smallest bits of sediment and in a concentration equal to the amounts of silt and organic matter," Leah Bendell, professor of marine ecology and ecotoxicology at SFU, said in the statement. Plastic pollution, Bendell told All Points West host Jason D'Souza, is a long-term problem.  Results from beach cleanups have found about 90 per cent of that plastic actually comes from the shellfish industry itself. She says what still remains unknown is how the plastic, when eaten by shellfish, affect both them and the animals that feed on them. For instance, are the plastics contaminated with heavy metals? (CBC)

Victoria eyes ban on foam containers, plastic drinking straws
Victoria, having already passed a bylaw banning plastic bags, has its eye on banning other items such as plastic straws and plastic-foam containers. “We started with plastic bags because it was low-hanging fruit, and for the rest of the single-use items, we’re going to take a comprehensive approach,” Mayor Lisa Helps said. “What our staff are doing right now is developing a single-use materials strategy as part of a comprehensive zero-waste program,” she said. “Really, what the aim is overall is to create strategies and programs to minimize all single-use materials — straws, Styrofoam cups, takeaway food [containers], other packaging so that really we do get to a zero-waste circular economy where there is no garbage,” Helps said. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

Can Olympia oysters make a comeback in Quilcene Bay?
Many hands sought to make relatively light work out of an ambitious undertaking May 16 in Quilcene, as roughly a dozen volunteers assembled at the end of Linger Longer Road to take stock of the area’s remaining Olympia oyster population. Before over-harvesting and pulp mill pollution forced Pacific Northwest oyster farmers to turn to the Pacific oysters of Japan as a substitute, Olympia oysters were the dominant native species, and various environmental and oyster farming-affiliated groups are keen to see the molluscs make a comeback. Brian Allen, a marine ecologist with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF), instructed the volunteers who arrived at the Quilcene Boat Ramp to record not only where they found any Olympia oysters as the tide went out, but also where the oysters tend to aggregate. Kirk Boxleitner reports. (Port Townsend Leader)

New Hope To Stop—Or Greatly Slow—Seemingly Unstoppable Shoreline Erosion
Aptly nicknamed Washaway Beach, in Pacific County, Washington, has long suffered from the most extreme coastal erosion along the whole U.S. West Coast. Now a relatively low cost defense is raising hopes among property owners and nearby cranberry growers. The rate of coastal erosion on the north side of the Willapa Bay entrance has averaged an astonishing 100 feet or more per year. Over decades, ocean waves have taken a cannery, a lighthouse, school, Grange hall, post office and innumerable homes and vacation getaways.  Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Surrey hatching plan to buy out 400 Crescent Beach homes as sea levels rise
The City of Surrey is hatching a plan to buy out roughly 400 Crescent Beach homes to prepare for the prospect of rising sea levels. City of Surrey engineer Matt Osler says it may take decades before climate change floods Crescent Beach, but the city is already zeroing in on a "managed retreat" of homes and businesses as the preferred solution. "When you start to look 80 years into the future with the [predicted] one metre rise of sea level, the costs of maintaining an existing diking system start to grow exponentially," Osler told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko. (CBC)

Bait study aims to reduce accidental killing of protected rockfish
Rockfish in Puget Sound are disappearing at an alarming rate, down 70 percent over the last four decades. Scientists are now pairing up with recreational anglers to try to stop the trend. One study focuses on reducing rockfish bycatch when fishermen are out looking for other species. Rockfish are protected in Puget Sound and are not legal to take home, but fishers often accidentally catch them when trying to hook species that live at the same depths like lingcod. "Rockfish are a really important part of the Sound," said Captain Steve Kesling of Adventure Charters. Kesling's boat was the site of the latest fieldwork, testing three different kinds of lingcod bait to see which catches the least rockfish: frozen herring, live large flat fish or artificial lures. With frozen herring, they caught 16 rockfish and zero lingcod in 90 minutes. With live flat sanddabs, anglers caught just two rockfish and just three lingcod in the same 90 minutes. The artificial lures caught three rockfish and just one lingcod. Scientists plan a total of 42 fishing days to test the bait options. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

US, Canada Exclude Tribes From Renegotiation Of Columbia River Treaty
The United States and Canada next week will begin the official process of renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty, which expires in 2024. The 1964 agreement governs the upper reaches of the 1,200-mile Columbia River. The U.S. State Department is leading the renegotiation. In a statement, the department outlined key objectives that include flood control, hydropower and ecosystem management.... In addition to the State Department, the negotiating team includes representatives from the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But there’s still no tribal representative. In an email, a spokesperson said the State Department will consult with Northwest tribes as negotiations proceed, but the department has “no plans to change the composition of the team.” Emily Schwing reports. (NW News Network)

Chimacum man finds huge mushroom in his field
Doyle Yancey of Egg & I Farms in Chimacum was mowing the Glendale Farm field in Beaver Valley on Monday when he came upon something right in the path of his machine’s blades.... Yancey discovered a very large, bright white mushroom in his path. It was a oddity, its shape and size seemed out of place. He decided to cut the stem and put it into his truck. He finished mowing three hours later. Yancey did some research on the fungus. It’s a giant western puffball, Calvatia booniana, shaped like an egg and with large polygonal warts, measuring 20 inches long by 14 inches high. He was amazed when he put it on the scale. “It weighed exactly 20 pounds,” he said. Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Invasive species of Japanese beetle discovered in Vancouver
There’s a bug going around Vancouver. The Japanese beetle, an invasive pest native to Japan, as its name suggests, has been discovered in the False Creek area. This is the second such sighting of the Japanese beetle in False Creek. The insect was first spotted in the area last August after it was found in a trap. Prior to that instance, it had only been discovered in Canada’s Eastern provinces.... In Japan, the beetle’s population is controlled by natural predators and local parasites. But without these protections against infestation, Japanese beetles can cause widespread damage to plant life, attacking the roots, leaves and fruit of a variety of crops and trees. Harrison Mooney reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  205 AM PDT Thu May 24 2018   

TODAY  SW wind to 10 kt becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds. Isolated  showers in the morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 20 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds.

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