Monday, July 30, 2018

7/30 Skunk, orca calf, orca task force, SeaWorld, dolphin, canoe journey, Skokomish Chinook, sea level rise, Colstrip, ESA, BC swimmers, Paul Brainerd

Striped skunk [Fort Hays State University]
Striped skunk Mephitis mephitis
Two skunk species live in Washington: The striped skunk is the size of a domestic cat, ranging in length from 22 to 32 inches, including its tail. Its fur is jet black except for two prominent white stripes running down its back. The striped skunk occurs throughout most lowland areas in Washington, preferring open fields, pastures, and croplands near brushy fencerows, rock outcroppings, and brushy draws. It is also seen—or its musky odor noticed—in some suburban and urban locations, particularly near sources of open water. The spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius), also known as the polecat, ranges in length from 14 to 18 inches, including its tail. Its fur is a black or grayish black, with white stripes on its shoulders and sides, and white spots on its forehead, cheeks, and rump. The spotted skunk occurs throughout west and southeast Washington. The spotted skunk and striped skunk use similar types of habitat, although the spotted skunk is more likely to be seen in and around forests and woodlands, and is not as tolerant of human activity as the striped skunk. (WDFW)

Orca mother carries dead calf for sixth day as family stays close by
The orca whale J35 was seen Sunday morning still carrying her dead calf. “We had this sense of relief to see J35 and know she’s still alive and around, but also this wave of sorrow that she is still carrying the calf,” wrote Taylor Shedd of Soundwatch in an email. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Orca task force promises bold actions to save dying species, but will it deliver?
Some say a task force is all talk, but if action is not taken soon, this will be the last generation of southern resident killer whales. Nearly four dozen stakeholders make up Gov. Jay Inslee's orca task force. There are also three working groups to address three threats to whales: Vessels, prey and contaminants. The group has until Oct. 1 to give Inslee a draft report of its recommendations to save the species. Simone Del Rosario reports. (KCPQ) See also: Turning Heartbreak into Action  Monkia Wieland writes. (Orca Watcher)

Thomas Cook axes trips to SeaWorld over animal welfare concerns
Holiday giant Thomas Cook has announced it will stop selling trips to animal parks that keep killer whales. The firm said more than 90% of its customers were concerned about animal welfare. The two parks it will stop selling tickets to as a result are SeaWorld, in Florida, and Loro Parque in Tenerife. (BBC)

Exotic dolphin stranded on Vancouver Island beach dies despite rescue effort
A dolphin not often found in this part of the world that beached itself near Tofino has died after what rescuers are describing as an “unusual” stranding. A team from the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and Parks Canada say in a news release they were unable to save what is believed to be a long-beaked common dolphin. Long-beaked common dolphins typically live in tropical or sub-tropical regions. Their range includes central California to central Mexico and areas around Japan, Korea and Taiwan. (Canadian Press)

Tribal canoes converge on Tacoma for songs, stories and renewal of culture
More than 120 tribal canoes rounded Brown’s Point on Saturday and pointed their bows at the mouth of Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway. Waiting on shore were members of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and thousands of spectators. For the first time in 20 years, the Puyallups are hosting the Tribal Canoe Journey. The annual event takes place each summer in the waters of the Salish Sea: From Puget Sound to the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia. Craig Sailor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Spring Chinook return to the Skokomish River to start a new salmon run
For the first time in decades, an early run of Chinook salmon has returned to the Skokomish River in southern Hood Canal. These bright, torpedo-shaped hatchery fish are the first of what is expected to become an ongoing run of spring Chinook as part of a major salmon-restoration effort related to the Cushman Hydro Project. Eventually, the salmon run could provide fishing opportunities for humans and orcas. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

New Coastal Resilience Report Can Help Washington Prepare For Sea Level Rise
As the climate warms, oceans expand and polar ice caps melt. This means sea level rise is a reality that land owners and local governments must prepare for. It brings with it associated risks, such as flooding and erosion which can impact everything from sewage treatment plants to roads and bridges. A new report from Washington’s "Coastal Resilience Project" homes in on exactly how high the tides could rise in 171 different sites and communities based on the latest science. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

If you like to listen: A sailor's poetic primer on the science of tides
Jonathan White talks about his book, "Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean.” (KUOW)

Puget Sound Energy looks elsewhere for power as pollution-test failure idles most of Montana coal plant
A failure to meet air-pollution standards has largely shut down two of the four units of a Montana coal plant that generates power for Puget Sound Energy.... The idled units generate more than 70 percent of the plant’s electricity, much of which flows through power lines to homes and businesses in Western Washington served by Puget Sound Energy (PSE).... PSE, a part-owner in Colstrip, has been buying power on regional markets and drawing more electricity from its own gas, wind and hydroelectricity facilities. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

The Trump Administration Takes on the Endangered Species Act
....Last week, the Trump Administration proposed what the Times called “the most sweeping set of changes in decades” to the regulations used to enforce the Act. The changes would weaken protections for endangered species, while making it easier for companies to build roads, pipelines, or mines in crucial habitats. Under current regulations, government agencies are supposed to make decisions about what species need safeguarding “without reference to possible economic or other impacts.” The Administration wants to scratch that phrase. It also wants to scale back protections for threatened species—these are one notch down on the endangerment scale—and to make it easier to delist species that have been classified as endangered. Elizabeth Kolbert reports. (The New Yorker)

Two Victoria swimmers set to make two epic swims
Long distance swimmers Susan Simmons and Jill Yoneda make separate efforts this week to raise money for Canuck Place and to start a swim program for people with MS....[Simmons] is intent on crossing Juan de Fuca Strait two times during an upcoming long-distance swim [on Wednesday], which would make her the first swimmer from Victoria to Port Angeles and back in a continuous effort.... On Friday, Victoria’s Jill Yoneda, 43, will take on a similar challenge by attempting a two-way crossing of the Strait of Georgia, beginning at Nanaimo’s Neck Point and turning around near Sechelt. Jeff Bell reports. (Vancouver Sun)

How Paul Brainerd’s extraordinary career went from revolutionizing publishing to empowering enviros
The sale in 1994 of Seattle’s Aldus to Adobe for $525 million didn’t end Paul Brainerd’s entrepreneurial run. It just pointed it in a new direction. A personal windfall of roughly $120 million allowed Brainerd, whose PageMaker software revolutionized desktop publishing, to break from the business world and move to nonprofits. He spearheaded the launch of a series of organizations that sought innovative strategies for practicing philanthropy, education and saving the environment. Lisa Stiffler reports. (GeekWire)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Mon Jul 30 2018   


TODAY  NW wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft. W swell 2 ft at 8  seconds. Patchy fog in the morning. 

TONIGHT  W wind 15 to 25 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 7  seconds.

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