|Hooded Merganser [Ryan Schain]|
Hooded Mergansers are small ducks with a thin bill and a fan-shaped, collapsible crest that makes the head look oversized and oblong. In flight, the wings are thin and the tail is relatively long and rounded. Hooded Mergansers dive to catch aquatic insects, crayfish, and small fish. Males court females by expanding their white, sail-like crests and making very low, gravelly, groaning calls. Look for Hooded Mergansers on small bodies of freshwater. In summer, these small ducks nest in holes in trees, often near freshwater ponds or rivers. For winter, they move to larger bodies of freshwater, marshes, and protected saltwater bays. (All About Birds)
Washington state rejected a coal-export terminal on the Columbia River. Now 6 states are lining up for battle.
Six Western states and national industry groups have lined up against Washington state in a legal battle over its decision to reject permits for a massive proposed coal-export terminal on the Columbia River. Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, Utah, South Dakota and Nebraska filed a joint amicus brief, arguing for project backers and saying the case has broad implications for the export of commodities that are important to many states. Utah-based Lighthouse Resources, which operates coal mines in Montana and Wyoming, sued Washington state in federal court in January, alleging officials violated federal laws in denying approvals for its $680 million Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview project. The company accuses the governor and state regulators of being anti-coal and discriminating against it by blocking the movement of coal mined in other states from being exported. The Washington Department of Ecology denied the project a water-quality permit last fall, saying there were too many major harmful effects including air pollution, rail safety and vehicle traffic. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)
Bay mussels in Puget Sound show traces of oxycodone
The opioid epidemic has now hit the waters of Puget Sound. State agencies tracking pollution levels in Puget Sound have discovered traces of oxycodone in the tissues of native bay mussels (Mytilus trossulus) from Seattle and Bremerton area harbors. The mussels were part of the state’s Puget Sound Mussel Monitoring Program. Every two years, scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) transplant uncontaminated mussels from an aquaculture source on Whidbey Island to various locations in Puget Sound to study pollution levels. Mussels, which are filter feeders, concentrate contaminants from the local marine environment into their tissues. After two to three months at the transplant site, scientists analyze the contaminants in the collected mussel tissues. Jeff Rice reports. (Puget Sound Institute)
Crab season has been canceled for South Sound waters this summer
Two South Sound crabbing areas will not open to fishermen this summer, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Thursday. Marine areas 11 (Tacoma/Vashon Island) and 13 (south Puget Sound) will stay closed to allow Dungeness crab populations to rebuild. Tribal commercial crab fisheries will also remain closed in those areas. Crabbing seasons for the rest of Puget Sound are being developed by state and tribal co-managers. Those will be announced later in May. Craig Sailor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)
Hunt for invasive green crab catches 22 in Dungeness in first month
Local resource managers are back on the hunt for European green crab. Last year, the invasive species, considered one of the world’s worst, researchers say, was discovered on Graveyard Spit along the Dungeness Spit north of Sequim.... By season’s end, they had caught 96 green crabs on the Dungeness Spit and one in Sequim Bay.... This year, Sollmann said the team tested the waters early in mid-March for three days and caught one green crab. On April 1, volunteers and staff began trapping for the season by placing 41 traps in the Graveyard Spit channel and four in the spit’s base lagoon near the mainland. So far, they’ve caught 22 green crabs in the channel as of Thursday with nine of them females ranging from 39-70 millimeters. Matthew Nash reports. (Peninsula Daily News)
Getting little respect, kelp could be the key to survival for some fish
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "It is all too easy for us to forget about Puget Sound’s productive kelp forests, which have been slowly vanishing from numerous places where masses of vegetation once proliferated. I never fully appreciated the value of kelp until I began writing about the complexity of the Puget Sound ecosystem...." And, if you like to watch: The Importance of Kelp - Jane Watson (Hakai Institute)
Patagonia's deep-rooted activist streak fuels suit against Trump
For more than 45 years, the company has mixed business and politics to a degree unusual in corporate America. While companies are expected to weigh in on everything from gun control to transgender rights these days, Patagonia has been unapologetically political since the ’70s. David Gelles reports. (NY Times)
Thurston County adjusts gopher review process
Thurston County and federal officials are putting together a pair of plans designed to provide a long-term fix to permitting headaches caused by the protection of the endangered Mazama pocket gopher. Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is preparing private biologists to take on some site reviews as the agency abandons that role to focus on writing a recovery plan for the gopher. The permitting and planning responsibilities have been a thorny issue in Thurston County since the Mazama pocket gopher was identified as a threatened endangered species in 2014. Since then, residents applying for building permits within mapped gopher soils — about 10 percent of all applications — have been required to have their properties reviewed before moving forward. Alex Brown reports. (Centralia Chronicle)
No more No. 2: Annapolis, Anne Arundel push for no-discharge zone in rivers and creeks
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley is wearing blue pants, a white shirt and thin black tie. It isn’t quite boat attire but that doesn’t seem to bother him as he fastens his lifevest aboard a city harbormaster vessel. Buckley is taking a short trip to follow a pump out boat — which removes sewage from boats on the water — and talks about plans for a county-wide no-discharge zone. “The whole Chesapeake Bay should be a no-discharge zone,” Buckley said. “The bay is sacred. How can that be possible?” Annapolis, Anne Arundel County and environmentalists have assembled to make the county a no-discharge zone in almost all rivers and creeks. Chase Cook reports. (Baltimore Sun)
The tragic reason Seattle Center never got a SeaWorld
Fifty years ago, Seattle was trying to decide what do with its center attraction in the wake of the World’s Fair. One man came forward with the idea of privately-funded plan marine park. Think SeaWorld at the heart of Seattle – complete with a captive orca to perform shows. The man, Ted Griffin, already had his star: Namu, captured in 1965, was the third orca ever captured and placed in captivity. Griffin, the creator of Seattle’s first aquarium, displayed this lone orca in a floating pen off Pier 56, where Elliott’s Oyster House is now. Griffin proposed to move Namu to Seattle Center, housing the 7,500-pound male in a 100-by-160-foot pool with water pumped in from Elliott Bay. Kara McDermott reports. (KUOW)
A 14th human foot — this one in a hiking boot — washes ashore in Canada
Like nearly all of the 13 human feet that had mysteriously washed up on Canadian shores before it, the 14th foot appeared, unexpectedly, on the banks of the Salish Sea in British Columbia. This time, a man walking the beach on Gabriola Island discovered the appendage last Sunday afternoon, trapped in a mass of logs, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The law enforcement agency described the foot as “disarticulated” — that is to say, disconnected from the human body to which it had belonged. It did not specify if it was a left foot or a right foot. Curiously, Foot No. 14 was clad in a hiking boot; all but one of the others had been wearing athletic sneakers. So continues the mystery of the human feet floating ashore in the Pacific Northwest, a phenomenon that has captivated residents, scientists and area law enforcement since 2007. In August of that year, not one but two disembodied human feet, both right ones, were found on islands in the Salish Sea, a network of coastal waterways between Vancouver Island and Canada’s westernmost province. Amy Wang reports. (Washington Post)
Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca- 237 AM PDT Mon May 14 2018
TODAY W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W swell 5 ft at 11 seconds.
TONIGHT W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds.
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Salish Sea News: Communicate, Educate, Advocate
Follow on Twitter.
Salish Sea Communications: Truth Well Told