Thursday, May 3, 2018

5/3 Fox kits, research, oil-spill cleanup, Pruitt's swamp, bird teeth, Adrian Dorst, sunscreen ban

Fox kits [Monika Wieland Shields]
The Best of Spring in the San Juans Part 1: Fox Kits
Monika Wieland Shields writes in Orca Watcher: "There are so many things to love about this time of year in the Salish Sea: the longer days and warmer temperatures, the return of migrant birds, the generally calmer waters, and the increase in whale sightings are just a few for me. But there's a couple other classic elements of a spring in the San Juan Islands, and one of them is the emergence of fox kits from their dens..." (Read more)

Padilla Bay researchers discuss recent findings
Scientists at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve described some of their research projects Friday, providing area citizen scientists and volunteers with a snapshot of talks they gave in April at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Seattle. The conference reached a milestone this year, having first been held 30 years ago, said Western Washington University’s Salish Sea Institute Director Ginny Broadhurst, who helped organize the event. The Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference brings together scientists from throughout the Salish Sea region in the United States and Canada to discuss recent findings, ongoing research and challenges in understanding and protecting the Salish Sea. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

B.C. First Nation bids for Coast Guard contract to boost oil-spill response
A B.C. First Nations community is seeking a front-line role in federal plans to improve marine oil-spill response on the West Coast as part of the new resources Ottawa promised to smooth the way for the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. Ottawa announced the $1.5-billion Ocean Protection Plan late in 2016, at the same time it approved the pipeline project that will bring a seven-fold increase in oil tanker shipments off B.C.’s coast. In its request for proposals, the federal government is seeking a supplier to provide two emergency towing vessels with crews to the Coast Guard to help mitigate risks from disabled large commercial vessels. Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

In Oklahoma, Critics Say Pruitt Stalled Pollution Case After Taking Industry Funds
Scott Pruitt, the current head of the Environmental Protection Agency, first came to national prominence back when he was Oklahoma’s Attorney General. In that role, he sued the agency he now runs 14 times, in a series of court cases alleging overreach by the federal government. Environmentalists in Pruitt’s home state say Pruitt was much less aggressive when it came to enforcing Oklahoma’s environmental laws and going after polluters. An examination of Pruitt’s record on environmental issues in Oklahoma shows that Pruitt’s positions were often more in line with business and industry than environmentalists. As EPA Administrator, Pruitt has aggressively pursued an agenda to roll back Obama-era regulations on vehicle emissions standards, water quality and the climate. Pruitt has also said that he believes the science behind climate change should be up for debate. Joe Wertz and Tom Dreisbach report. (NPR)

How Did Birds Lose Their Teeth And Get Their Beaks? Study Offers Clues
Scientists are one step closer to understanding how modern birds evolved to have beaks, and the answer starts millions of years ago with some of the sexiest dinosaurs. Modern gulls, with their large eyes, long beaks and distinctly ancient-looking and bony faces, descended from animals such as the velociraptor and T. Rex. (Next time you get a hungry look from a seagull, remember that.) For more than a century, paleontologists have used fossils from all over the world to piece together how large, toothy, land-bound lizards evolved into flying, toothless, feathered animals. The key is fossils of so-called stem birds, which are ancient birdlike dinosaurs that offer clues about the bones and brains of modern birds. One such creature, Ichthyornis, is the subject of a study published today that fills in some of the missing links in the evolution of birds. Rebecca Hersher reports. (NPR)

New book great for birders, photographers and tourism guides
Adrian Dorst is Tofino’s birding expert and with the release of his newest book, “The Birds of Vancouver Island’s West Coast”, he has cemented that title in place. Rather than putting another bird identification book on the market, something he says there are already enough of, he wrote the book “he would have wanted” as a birder.... To fill that niche, he has carefully crafted a log of every confirmed bird sighting on Vancouver Island’s west coast from Jordan River to Cape Scott. The book serves as a record of sightings and a guide for those wanting to spot a particular species or learn more about local bird habits. Marcie Cllewaert reports. (Westerly)

Hawaii Approves Bill Banning Sunscreen Believed To Kill Coral Reefs
Hawaii lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that would prohibit the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens containing chemicals it says are contributing to the destruction of the state’s coral reefs and other ocean life. If signed by Gov. David Ige, it would make Hawaii the first state in the country to pass such a law and would take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.... The chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are used in more than 3,500 of the world’s most popular sunscreen products, including Hawaiian Tropic, Coppertone and Banana Boat, would be prohibited. Vanessa Romo reports. (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  236 AM PDT Thu May 3 2018   
 W wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the  afternoon. W swell 4 ft at 12 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 12 seconds. A chance of  rain after midnight.

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