|Western bumble bee [Stephan Ausmus/USDA]|
The western bumble bee was once very common in the western United States and western Canada. The workers have three main color variations. These bees can still be found in the northern and eastern parts of their historic range, but the once common populations from southern British Columbia to central California have nearly disappeared. This bumble bee is an excellent pollinator of greenhouse tomatoes and cranberries, and has been commercially reared to pollinate these crops. In the past, it has also been an important pollinator of alfalfa, avocado, apples, cherries, blackberries, and blueberry. (Xerces Society) See also: Bumblebee Blues: Pacific Northwest Pollinator In Trouble Hundreds of citizen scientists have begun buzzing through locations across the Pacific Northeast seeking a better understanding about nearly 30 bumblebee species.... Researchers hope to accumulate enough information to recommend ways to conserve bumblebees and their habitat. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)
Western Tiger Swallowtail
Yesterday's fauna feature prompted the following comment from Helen Engle: "I know you’ll hear from the Butterfly People (not quite as numerous as the Bird People, but equally critical about IDs and Correct names!! About 60 years ago I planted a cottonwood seedling so I’d have the preferred “obligate tree” for the most common of the butterflies I had seen on our piece of Puget Sound Real Estate. And every year the Western Tiger Swallowtail is here right on time to spend the summer flitting back and forth on my acre of garden. Robert Michael Pyle’s “The Butterflies of Cascadia” is THE AUTHORITY on this subject and pages 115-127 have wonderfully detailed photos and text on our Western Swallowtails."
First group of Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters guilty of criminal contempt of court
The first trial of protesters accused of violating a court injunction at Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project ended Monday with guilty verdicts for the nine accused. The protesters, arrested March 17 at the Burnaby work site, had pleaded not guilty to criminal contempt of court at the outset of their trial last week in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. During the trial, prosecutors showed video evidence of the protesters — some of whom had strapped themselves to an entry gate at the site — being taken into custody by RCMP. Lawyers for the accused argued that the police had no grounds to make the arrests but B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck, the trial judge, did not agree with that argument. Keith Fraser reports. (Vancouver Sun)
Think you’re getting the fish you ordered? Oh, snapper, not always
A quarter of all fish samples from Metro Vancouver restaurants, sushi bars and stores was of a different species than advertised, the result in some cases of “intentional” fish fraud, according to researchers. The UBC study, the largest done in Vancouver, shows that governmental changes are needed to stop the fraud, including better labels and ability to track where fish comes from, its lead author, Yaxi Hu said. “We have a lower rate (of mislabelled fish) compared to some inland cities, but it’s still high, especially because we are a city by the ocean,” Hu said. Almost all of the fish labelled snapper or red snapper tested by researchers turned out in the lab to be something else, usually tilapia, said Hu, a PhD candidate student in the food nutrition and health program of UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Susan Lazaruk reports. (Vancouver Sun)
Timely tide attracts another pod of transient orcas to Victoria harbour
A pod of orcas has made a brief visit to Victoria Harbour, the second excursion by a group of killer whales in as many weeks. Jackie Cowan, who lives on a boat in the harbour and is also a captain on a whale-watching vessel, says the pod cruised in on Sunday evening. She identified them as transient orcas, which prey mainly on seals, sealions and dolphins. (Canadian Press)
Beach restoration planned for Kukutali Preserve
For nearly 100 years, a gravel road hugged by boulders has provided access from Snee-Oosh Road to Kiket Island. That road was built on a beach called a tombolo: a long, sandy mound stretching from the mainland to the island, with intertidal beaches sloping away from it to the north and south. Now, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community that manages the Kukutali Preserve in partnership with State Parks plans to remove the gravel road and boulders along its edges to reveal the natural beach. “There’s natural beach on the bottom there,” Swinomish Environmental Director Todd Mitchell said while standing next to the road. “It’s really just a removal project.” The goal of the project is to restore the natural functions of 300 feet of the tombolo and a 3.4-acre lagoon northeast of it, according to project documents. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Fear And Frustration Over EPA Move To Kill Chemical-Disaster Protections
The Environmental Protection Agency intends to block a proposal that would effectively shield companies from scrutiny about how they prevent and respond to chemical disasters. At a hearing Thursday, agency officials got an earful from dozens of people who live and work near refineries and chemical facilities across the country. Grandmothers, teachers, firefighters and community activists traveled to Washington, D.C. to urge the agency to block the proposal. Representatives from industry groups countered that they’re already doing enough to keep people safe and that companies don’t need more oversight. Obama-era rules require companies to routinely disclose which hazardous chemicals they use, share information with emergency planners, submit to outside audits and publish reports on the root causes of explosions and leaks. The regulations were supposed to take effect in March 2017, but earlier that year groups representing the chemical and petroleum industries petitioned the EPA to reconsider. Last month, after delaying the rules, the agency announced that it intends to block most of them from ever taking effect. But that decision isn’t final pending public comment. Rebecca Hersher reports. (NPR)
Record Lamprey Return A Cultural Win For Native Tribes
When Aaron Jackson was growing up in eastern Oregon, he’d never seen a lamprey in the Umatilla River. Tribal elders remembered harvesting the fish there for ceremonies. But by the time Jackson was a kid, 40 years ago, lamprey were gone. Now, Jackson is the lamprey biologist for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. He’s overseeing one of the many efforts throughout the Columbia Basin in Washington and Oregon that aims to restore lamprey runs. Jackson hopes, one day, tribal members will be able to harvest lamprey from the Umatilla River — and that the fish will be self-sustaining. Courtney Flatt reports. (NWPB/EarthFix)
Marine Protected Areas Are Important. But Are They Working?
You can think of a marine protected area like a boost of vitamin C taken at the onset of a cold. It may not cure you, but it can help you bounce back. “A [protected] ecosystem tends to be more resistant to disturbance and it's more resilient—it comes back faster,” says Jane Lubchenco, now a marine ecologist at Oregon State University and formally the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It's not unlike your body. If you are immunocompromised, you're much more likely to come down with a cold or flu.” These protected ocean spaces, when defended well, won't solve all the problems in the world's oceans, but they might give us a fighting chance against afflictions like climate change or overfishing. Studies have shown that completely closing a portion of the ocean off to activities like fishing and drilling helps keep wildlife populations healthy and increases biodiversity. (National Geographic)
'We need more Super Bowl Sundays,' says man who turns what Tacoma flushes into soil http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/matt-driscoll/article213398264.html
More Tacoma poop needed for this wastewater treatment plant Dan Eberhardt says he could use a few more Super Bowl Sundays. Eberhardt’s official title is biosolids supervisor for the City of Tacoma’s environmental services department. That means he’s in charge of making Tagro. Matt Driscoll reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)
Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca- 257 AM PDT Tue Jun 19 2018
TODAY NW wind 10 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell 5 ft at 12 seconds.
TONIGHT W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 12 seconds.
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