Wednesday, July 25, 2018

7/25 Orca calf dies, orca food, "live-aboard' poop, sewage, BC pipe, undersea mtns., Cowichan wetlands

American Dipper [All About Birds]
American Dipper Cinclus mexicans
A chunky bird of western streams, the American Dipper is North America's only truly aquatic songbird. It catches all of its food underwater in swiftly flowing streams by swimming and walking on the stream bottom. (All About Birds)

Southern-resident killer whales lose newborn calf, and another youngster is ailing 
A new calf born to the critically endangered southern-resident killer whales Tuesday died within a half-hour of its birth. The loss of the calf reported by Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research continues the reproductive failure of the southern residents, which have not managed a successful pregnancy in three years. The calf’s mother, J35, was seen Tuesday carrying her dead calf as she swam, refusing to let her go, hour upon hour, Balcomb said....Meanwhile the health of another member of the pod, J50, is also raising concern. Brad Hanson, wildlife biologist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, was alongside the whale on Saturday with a petri dish on a 20-footlong pole, collecting droplets of her breath. “She is very thin, there is no question about her body condition, it is very emaciated,” Hanson said. “We are very, very concerned. It is hard to say at this point what her long-term likelihood of survivorship is.” Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Struggling orcas heavily rely on urban chinook from Seattle-area rivers, new analysis shows
Struggling orca whales need even urban chinook to survive, new findings show. A new look at just where orcas are eating big kings reveals the importance of rivers in north and south Puget Sound to the orcas’ survival. Even the Puyallup, Green and Duwamish rivers count for the top predators. The Nooksack, Elwha, Dungeness, Skagit, Stillaguamish and Snohomish to the north and Nisqually, Puyallup, Green, Duwamish, Deschutes and Hood Canal river systems to the south were among the rivers most important to the whales for providing the chinook that the critically endangered southern-resident killer whales eat, according to the analysis by NOAA Fisheries and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: What will become of orcas if the Endangered Species Act is gutted?  Noah Greenwald of Center for Biological Diversity opines. (Seattle Times)

Brentwood Bay Beach closure blamed on 'live-aboard' boat dwellers
The growing number of people living aboard boats in Brentwood Bay is being blamed for an increase in bacteria in the waters that has led to the closure of a popular swimming beach. Brentwood Bay Beach in Central Saanich, B.C., has been closed on and off since June due to high levels of enterococci, a bacteria found in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. The bacteria can also be caused by tide changes, heat and rainfall runoff. Michael Simmons, vice-president of the Saanich Inlet Protection Society, says the number of "live-aboards" who inhabit the bay has increased over the years and the bacteria is likely caused by them. Christine Coulter reports. (CBC)

Plan on track to stop Victoria’s pumping of sewage into Strait of Juan de Fuca
A wastewater treatment plant under construction in Victoria, B.C., will have a big impact on the Puget Sound, state Department of Ecology officials say. A $765 million treatment plant slated for McLoughlin Point  in Victoria is expected to be finished by 2020. Started in 2017, the plant will be the first  treatment plant for the greater Victoria area, which has a population of nearly 400,000. (KCPQ) And: King County sewer project failed soon after installation, costing millions to fix  The bill is rising for utility ratepayers in King County after a pipe in a pollution-prevention project broke months after it went online. This spring, crews completed replacing the pipe beneath Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood through a risky procedure called pipe bursting. The previous pipe failed in 2016, months after the combined sewer overflow project was completed. (KIRO)

Canadian Bailout Moves Forward After Trans Mountain Pipeline Sale Deadline Passes
The Canadian government has taken another step towards buying the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline. This is another move in a deal that would lead to a massive increase in oil tanker traffic through Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, made possible by the Canadian government. A key deadline passed on Sunday. After failing to find another buyer by then, a transaction has been set in motion that must be approved by Kinder Morgan shareholders. That will likely happen this fall. If so, the Canadian government becomes the sole owner of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Scientists discover 'wonderland' of life on deep-sea mountains off B.C. coast
Imagine floating down from above a mountain peak as high as the Rockies and passing by rugged slopes carpeted in ancient forests that are bursting with animal life. Now, imagine that instead of flying through the air, you're slowly sinking underwater. That peak is a previously undiscovered extinct volcano deep in the Pacific Ocean off B.C.'s Central Coast. Instead of trees, that ancient forest is made up of red tree corals, and the animals may include numerous species that, before now, have never been seen by humans. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

Rebuild it and they will come: Cowichan wetland project creates habitat for fish and fowl
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has broken ground on an ambitious project to restore close to two hectares of wetlands in the Cowichan Estuary. The wetlands are in the low-lying section of NCC’s Chase Woods Nature Preserve, at the base of Mount Tzouhalem. Before being drained and converted to agricultural use, these marsh wetlands connected to the Cowichan Estuary and provided important habitat for rearing salmon and for waterfowl in the winter. With approximately 60 per cent of shoreline marsh habitats in the Salish Sea having been lost, opportunities to restore these ecosystems are rare and important. The drained marshes on the Chase Woods Nature Preserve provide an exciting opportunity for coastal wetland habitat restoration. (Cowichan Valley Citizen)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  200 AM PDT Wed Jul 25 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 7 seconds. Patchy fog in  the morning. 

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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"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.

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