Wednesday, June 27, 2018

6/27 Raccoon, Growlers, PS salmon, shooting sea lions, Adams R. sockeye, NW Tribal PAC, BC pipe, Trump ocean policy

Raccoon [Ginger Hosler/WDFW]
Raccoon Procyon lotor
The raccoon is a native mammal, measuring about 3 feet long, including its 12-inch, bushy, ringed tail. Because their hind legs are longer than the front legs, raccoons have a hunched appearance when they walk or run. Each of their front feet has five dexterous toes, allowing raccoons to grasp and manipulate food and other items. Raccoons prefer forest areas near a stream or water source, but have adapted to various environments throughout Washington. Raccoon populations can get quite large in urban areas, owing to hunting and trapping restrictions, few predators, and human-supplied food.... As long as raccoons are kept out of human homes, not cornered, and not treated as pets, they are not dangerous. (WDFW)


Growler plans released: Navy’s preferred alternative calls for more flights at OLF Coupeville 
The majority of EA-18G Growler field carrier landing practices on Whidbey Island will occur at an airfield in rural Coupeville surrounded by farmland and homes under the preferred alternative identified by the Navy this week. The amount of practice necessary for Growler pilots to remain prepared to land on aircraft carriers decreased by 30 percent under the scenario, but it still means a four-fold increase over current activity at Outlying Field Coupeville. About 12,000 Growler touch-and-go passes, or 23,700 “operations,” would occur annually at Outlying Field Coupeville under the alternative, the Navy reported. An operation is defined as a takeoff or landing, so each pass accounts for two operations. Currently, about 6,000 operations occur annually at OLF Coupeville. Jessie Stensland reports. (Whidbey News-Times and Peninsula Daily News) See also: Navy announces preference for Growler increase at NAS Whidbey  Kera Wanielista reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)


Opening the black box: What’s killing Puget Sound’s salmon and steelhead?
“Ocean conditions.” In years past, those two words were given as the only explanation for why coho or Chinook salmon failed to return to Puget Sound in numbers predicted by salmon forecasters. Even in good years, when large numbers of salmon would leave the streams, there was always a great deal of uncertainty about how many would make it back home. Mystery surrounded what the fish were doing out in the saltwater. Were they starving or were they thriving?.... Studies by more than 200 scientists on both sides of the border have revealed a tangled food web involving a multitude of predators and prey surrounding their primary species of study: Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout. To survive, these salmonids must not only become capable predators, but they must also remain vigilant to avoid larger predators trying to eat them. Chris Dunagan reports in a multi-part series on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. (Salish Sea Currents)


US House Bill Says Shooting Hungry Sea Lions Is Fair Game
The U.S. House approved a bill Tuesday that makes it easier to kill a limited number of sea lions that threaten imperiled salmon and steelhead populations. The legislation was co-sponsored by Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. “What we currently have on the Columbia River is an ecosystem seriously out of balance,” said Herrera Beutler, who believes the bill is necessary to save fish runs on the brink of extinction. “Our salmon runs are now fighting for survival. It’s practically a miracle when a fish can make it upstream without getting caught between a sea lion’s teeth,” she added. The bill, which passed by a vote of 288-116, eases protections on sea lions currently in place under the U.S. Marine Mammals Protection Act of 1972. Through these conservation efforts, populations of California sea lions have rebounded to nearly 300,000. Molly Solomon reports. (OPB/EarthFix)


Adams River sockeye catches face 'significant restraint' to save endangered Cultus Lake stocks
Fishermen who have been waiting four years to harvest the famous Adams River sockeye run on the Fraser River system could see their catches cut in half in an effort to save the endangered Cultus Lake sockeye. Only about 1,000 spawners are expected to return to Cultus Lake this summer. Because they are swimming with millions of sockeye headed further up the river system to the Shuswap area — about one-third to the Adams River — fishery managers may have to scale back harvests in the name of conservation.... The conservation goal is a maximum 20-per-cent harvest of Cultus Lake sockeye, which swim up the Vedder River, an area upstream of the bulk of fishing opportunities. First Nations further up the Fraser River could benefit under such a scenario. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)



Sweet celestial treat for Seattle moon watchers this week
Sky watchers in the Puget Sound area could be in for a sweet treat this week when June’s fat full moon makes a rosy appearance on Wednesday night. If the weather cooperates, that is. The first full moon of summer, which is traditionally called a Strawberry Moon, will likely have a pink cast and appear unusually large, according to Washington State University astronomers. Christine Clarridge reports. (Seattle Times)

Pacific Northwest Tribes Pushing For Climate Action Launch New Political Action Committee
A newly formed coalition of tribal leaders and communities of color plans to put its combined weight behind the latest voter initiative to curb carbon pollution. Several tribal leaders launched a political action committee they have dubbed The First American Project. It aims to support public policies that protect the environment and human rights. Their first major effort will be passage of I-1631 to put a price on carbon. The initiative appears to be headed to statewide ballots this fall. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Buying Trans Mountain pipeline could add 36% to federal deficit, study predicts
A study by a sustainable energy research group predicts the federal government's purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline will add significantly to the deficit next year. The study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis says buying the Kinder Morgan Canada assets, plus planning and construction costs, will put $6.5 billion in unplanned spending on the books for the 2018-19 fiscal year. Study authors Tom Sanzillo and Kathy Hipple say that until the Ottawa clarifies how it plans to account for the spending, there's a risk the purchase could add 36 per cent to the projected $18.1-billion deficit. (Canadian Press)

Trump scraps Obama policy on protecting oceans, Great Lakes 
President Donald Trump has thrown out a policy devised by his predecessor to protect U.S. oceans and the Great Lakes, replacing it with a new approach that emphasizes use of the waters to promote economic growth. Trump revoked an executive order issued by President Barack Obama in 2010 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.... Trump's order downplays environmental protection, saying the change would ensure that regulations and management decisions don't get in the way of responsible use by industries that "employ millions of Americans, advance ocean science and technology, feed the American people, transport American goods, expand recreational opportunities and enhance America's energy security." John Flesher reports. (Associated Press)


Anacortes-based conservation nonprofit closing
A small conservation nonprofit that has been working out of an Anacortes office for the past several years will close its doors Saturday. Pacific Biodiversity Institute struggled to secure the funding needed to continue its work, which focused largely on areas of Washington and Argentina, Executive Director Phoebe Barnard said. In order to ensure the institute’s efforts continue, Barnard has gotten three larger organizations to carry on three of the institute’s programs.... The mission of the Pacific Biodiversity Institute was to develop research and conservation programs that provide information for environmental planning, policy and management in the Cascadia region, including Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, as well as across western North America and southern South America. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)



Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  238 AM PDT Wed Jun 27 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 4 ft at 8 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 7 seconds.


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