Friday, May 4, 2018

5/4 Gambier Is, kelp, WA ferries, marine science, ticks, BC shellfish, Bering Sea, John Nightingale, BC pipe

Gambier Island [Our BC]
Gambier Island
Gambier Island is an island located in Howe Sound near Vancouver, British Columbia. It is about 17,049 acres (6,899 hectares) in size and is located about 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) north of the Horseshoe Bay community and ferry terminal in westernmost West Vancouver. A rugged and sparsely populated island, it is far quieter than its neighbour Bowen Island, which is popular with day-trippers and summer vacationers. Gambier Island is accessible only by B.C. Ferries passenger service, water taxi or other boats. There is no central road network. For the Islands in Polynesia, see Gambier Islands. For the Islands in South Australia, see Gambier Islands (South Australia). (Wikipedia)

Kelp continues steady decline in Puget Sound
Ever alert to predators, young rockfish swim warily among the stems of bull kelp that reach up from the bottom of Puget Sound. Within the kelp forest lurk many larger fish, such as lingcod, which would quickly gobble up the 2-inch juveniles if given a chance. Kelp forests, which are becoming rare in Central and South Puget Sound, are not necessarily secure refuges for the tiny rockfish, which feature spiny dorsal fins like their much larger parents. Still, the vegetation provides a safer cover than open water. It also offers the growing fish a rich smorgasbord of food — phytoplankton, krill, copepods, invertebrate eggs and other tiny bite-sized creatures. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Washington State Ferries plans to convert its biggest vessels to electric power
Washington State Ferries announced plans Thursday to convert its three largest vessels from running on diesel fuel to electric power over the next several years. Two of the four diesel engines that power each ferry in the state’s Jumbo Mark II fleet — the Tacoma, Puyallup and Wenatchee — would be replaced with batteries, pending state funding. The hybrid ferries would mostly run on electric power and use the diesel engines for backup and to recharge the batteries as part of an effort to cut fuel costs and reduce the state’s carbon footprint. Ultimately, the state hopes to install onshore charging stations that would allow the ferries to run solely on electric power. Michelle Baruchman reports. (Seattle Times)

WWU's Shannon Point Marine Center adds degree program
Western Washington University students will have another degree option available to them at the university’s Shannon Point Marine Center. As part of the state’s 2018 supplemental budget, the Legislature approved the university’s plan to shift $1.5 million in local funds to state bond funds, allowing Western to move forward with projects, including investing $1.3 million in a new marine, coastal and watershed sciences major starting in 2019. Kira Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Northwest Tick Season Reaches Its Peak
As tick season reaches its peak in the Northwest, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control says diseases spread by tiny creatures like mosquitoes and ticks have tripled in the U.S. over the last 14 years. Ticks can spread Lyme disease, tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Washington state Department of Health Entomologist Dr. Liz Dykstra said it’s normal for adult ticks to appear between January and May each year. Juvenile ticks, known as nymphs, come out later in the season. Washington’s Department of Health has been tracking ticks since 2011. Dykstra said the agency has found lots of western black-legged ticks in areas of scrub oak, like those along the Columbia River Gorge in Klickitat County, as well as open areas within forests in Western Washington. Those are the species that can spread Lyme disease. Emily Schwing reports. (KNKX)

B.C. shellfish industry reeling from oyster-linked illnesses
A norovirus outbreak linked to people eating raw oysters from farms in south and central Baynes Sound has hurt B.C.’s entire shellfish industry, a growers’ association said Wednesday. Federal officials closed four farms as a precaution after the outbreak began in early March.  But despite the fact the illness was traced to a limited geographic area, all B.C. growers have felt the effects of public health warnings, said Darlene Winterburn, executive director of the B.C. Shellfish Growers’ Association. Winterburn said the warnings scared off restaurants, distributors and others. “It was a little bit of everything,” she said. Lindsay Kines reports. (Times Colonist)

‘We’ve fallen off a cliff’: Scientists have never seen so little ice in the Bering Sea in spring
n the middle of February, one-third of the ice covering the Bering Sea off Alaska’s West Coast vanished within a week when an enormous pulse of heat swept over the Arctic. Scientists were stunned. This rapid meltdown precipitated a record-shattering decline in Bering Sea ice through the winter and into spring, which has threatened the very way of life in Alaska’s coastal villages — reliant on the ice cover for navigation and hunting. February and March ice levels were as low as far back as scientists can reconstruct, dating back more than 160 years. Jason Samenow reports. (Washington Post)

Longtime Vancouver Aquarium director John Nightingale to step down
After a quarter of a century, John Nightingale is leaving the Vancouver Aquarium a radically different organization than the one he came to in 1993. Only the second director in the aquarium’s 62-year history, Nightingale announced Thursday that he would be retiring at the end of 2018, triggering a global search for his replacement.... Nightingale will continue his term on Polar Knowledge Canada’s board and will work on some of the research being done by the aquarium, through the Ocean Wise Conservation Association. Asked about his most important legacy, Nightingale said he’s proudest of having transformed a local institute into a global force for ocean conservation that involves people around the world in ocean issues. Daphne Bramham reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Ottawa to intervene in B.C.'s Trans Mountain court case
The federal government says it will intervene in the B.C. provincial government's Trans Mountain pipeline court reference action that will decide whether the province can restrict any increase in the amount of diluted bitumen that moves across its border. B.C. Premier John Horgan announced last month that his province's highest court would be asked to determine if B.C. has the right to seek permits from companies that want to increase the amount of bitumen being shipped to the West Coast. The federal government will now be in a position to make arguments and present evidence in the case. Peter Zimonjic reports. (CBC) See also: 'What kind of help do you need?' Canadian banks eye Indigenous investment in pipeline expansion  (CBC)

1st Wolverine Mother Found In Washington's South Cascades
For the first time in recent history, a mother wolverine has been spotted in the southern part of Washington’s Cascade Mountains. The carnivores had been wiped out of the region after excessive hunting and trapping in the mid-1900s. A female wolverine was first spotted in Washington’s southern Cascade Mountains two years ago. Wolverines look like small bears with bushy tails. Since then, biologists were able to collect some of her DNA from hair samples. This spring, they snapped a picture at a special wolverine monitoring station. That picture was able to show that she might have kits. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Broadcasting/EarthFix)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Fri May 4 2018   

TODAY  Light wind becoming W to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 12 seconds. Areas of drizzle or brief  rain in the morning. A slight chance of light rain in the afternoon. 

TONIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 11 seconds. 

SAT  E wind to 10 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind waves 1  ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 9 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 14 seconds. 

SUN  Light wind becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 14 seconds.
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