Tuesday, September 11, 2018

9/11 Scrub-Jay, eelgrass, methane, culverts, Keystone XL, Blanchard forest, dead seabird chicks

California Scrub-Jay [Tom Grey/BirdNote]
In Seattle, Scrub-Jays Are Here to Stay
Steller’s Jays are most numerous in coniferous forests, like those stretching across the Pacific Northwest. But now there’s a whole new jay on the block. The California Scrub-Jay. As weather and climate patterns change and development spreads, birds everywhere are on the move. California Scrub-Jays, formerly known as Western Scrub-Jays, are moving steadily north, up the Pacific coast of North America. And they’ve made it to Seattle. The Pacific Northwest is known for being hospitable to corvids. These are the crow- and jay-like birds. There are ravens, crows, Canada Jays, Clark’s Nutcrackers... And now, California Scrub-Jays. Like most corvids, California Scrub-Jays are an “edge species,” thriving at the boundaries between habitats. Humans create lots of edges and boundaries. It’s thought that, as development increases throughout the region, these crafty jays are increasing, too. Jason Saul writes. (BirdNote)

Studies show challenges for eelgrass restoration
As critically important eelgrass declines in some parts of Puget Sound, scientists are trying to plant more of it. The health of the ecosystem may be riding on their efforts, but what they are finding is something that farmers have known for thousands of years: Getting something to grow may be harder than you think. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Trump Administration Wants to Make It Easier to Release Methane Into Air
The Trump administration, taking its third major step this year to roll back federal efforts to fight climate change, is preparing to make it significantly easier for energy companies to release methane into the atmosphere. Methane, which is among the most powerful greenhouse gases, routinely leaks from oil and gas wells, and energy companies have long said that the rules requiring them to test for emissions were costly and burdensome. The Environmental Protection Agency, perhaps as soon as this week, plans to make public a proposal to weaken an Obama-era requirement that companies monitor and repair methane leaks, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. In a related move, the Interior Department is also expected in coming days to release its final version of a draft rule, proposed in February, that essentially repeals a restriction on the intentional venting and “flaring,” or burning, of methane from drilling operations. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Closing a highway to save salmon
Swauk Creek runs through the dry dirt and the fir and pine trees of the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest. Right now, it’s no more than a few inches deep and perhaps five to six feet across. Chinook, coho and steelhead used to migrate up the Columbia River, through the Yakima River, and into this creek. But, today, it has only a fraction of its historic fish runs. That’s in part because, when crews built Highway 97 across the state, they tried to straighten out the creek and force it through narrow pipes every time it crossed the road.... On Sunday night at 9 p.m., the Washington State Department of Transportation closed Blewett Pass for five days to replace those fish-blocking pipes with a fish-friendly concrete box. The construction will cost taxpayers $1.2 million, although that’s nowhere near the full cost of the project. Washington state is on the hook for hundreds of projects like this, ever since, this spring, the Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling mandating the removal of fish barriers throughout the state. Washington estimates the total cost of complying with the ruling will be more than $2 billion. Eilis O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Native American Tribes File Lawsuit Seeking To Invalidate Keystone XL Pipeline Permit
In a new bid to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, two Native American tribes are suing the Trump administration, saying it failed to adhere to historical treaty boundaries and circumvented environmental impact analysis. As a result, they are asking a federal judge in Montana to rescind the 2017 permit and block any further construction or use of the controversial pipeline. The Fort Belknap Indian Community of Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, contend there was no effort to study how the 1,200-mile pipeline project through their respective territories would affect their water systems and sacred lands. Vanessa Romo reports. (NPR)


State to purchase land adjacent to Blanchard forest
The state Department of Natural Resources is set to purchase 76 acres of forest land adjacent to the Blanchard State Forest in northwest Skagit County. Those 76 acres will be purchased from two private property owners as part of an ongoing effort to preserve popular recreation areas on Blanchard Mountain while maintaining timber harvest revenue, Natural Resources spokesman Bob Redling said. Natural Resources will pay $728,000 for the land, which includes the road used to access the state forest for logging and recreation from Barrel Springs Road. The state agency, Skagit County and a variety of recreation and conservation interest groups have been working for years to eliminating logging in 1,600 acres of what’s known as the recreational core of Blanchard State Forest. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

High Number Of Seabird Chicks Washing Up On Oregon Beaches
Unusually high numbers of dead and dying baby seabirds have been washing up on Oregon beaches this summer, alarming some scientists and rescue groups. Just last week, Newport’s Oregon Coast Aquarium received three starving common murre chicks, bringing its total to 31 this year. That compares with just one in each of the past two years. And West Coast rescue organizations from Alaska to California are reporting receiving hundreds more of the chicks, which look like baby penguins. Tracy Loew reports. (Statesman Journal)


Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  242 AM PDT Tue Sep 11 2018   

TODAY  SE wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft  at 9 seconds. Showers likely. 

TONIGHT  NW wind to 10 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 8 seconds. A chance of showers.

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