Wednesday, September 19, 2018

9/19 Fidalgo Is., Nicomeki kill, Columbia closure, dilbit kills, ship impact, farm fish escape, Larry Pynn

View from Mt. Erie [anacortes.com]
Fidalgo Island (Skagit County)
Separated from the mainland by a narrow slough, this island was named for Salvadore Fidalgo of Eliza's exploration fleet of 1790. The name was assigned by Kellett in 1847 as part of his campaign of preserving early Spanish names. The actual discovery that the area was an island rather than part of the mainland was made by the Wilkes Expedition. Wilkes named the island in honor of Oliver Hazard Perry and its highest point for the victory in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. Perry's Island is no more, but Mt. Erie still exists as a reminder of the man who cryptically announced his victory: "We have met the enemy and they are ours." (Washington State Place Names)

Huge fish kill on Surrey waterway another blow to conservation group
Volunteers with the Nicomekl Enhancement Society are sounding the alarm after discharge from a cement plant triggered a mass die-off of fish and crayfish in the Nicomekl River on Sept 14. "The kill was extensive," said NES president and biologist Jim Armstrong. "There were generation of crayfish that were killed off ... literally hundreds. And we went from hundreds of coho fry to zero coho fry." Armstrong said fisheries officials traced the deadly discharge to a cement plant that was expelling wastewater into a ditch that flowed directly into an upper tributary of the Nicomekl system. A test of the water showed the effluent caused the pH of the river to rise above eight, a level that is lethal to most aquatic life. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Much Of Columbia River Closed To Salmon Fishing
The rare closure of most of the Columbia River to salmon fishing is largely the result of bad weather and bad ocean conditions in 2015. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on Thursday closed salmon fishing on the main stem of the Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Highway 395 in Pasco. The Spokesman-Review says the count of fall chinook at Bonneville Dam last week was 105,795 fish. The count is normally about double that. (Associated Press)

Study: Impact of diluted bitumen on young sockeye salmon deadly
New research led by Sarah Alderman, a post-doctorate researcher at the University of Guelph's department of integrative biology has found that even short exposure to diluted bitumen (dilbit) can be deadly to young salmon. The new study added credence to a study published by Alderman last year that concluded tiny amounts of diluted bitumen weakens the chances of migrating salmon to make it back to the rivers and streams of their birth to spawn. The new study, published in the September Journal of Aquatic Toxicology, studied the effects of diluted bitumen on early life stages of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). Karen Graham reports. (Digital Journal)

Canada to Assess Shipping's Impact on Coastal Marine Ecosystems
Transport Canada has awarded a contract to ESSA Technologies to look at ways of assessing the cumulative impacts of marine shipping on coastal marine ecosystems. The $95,000 initiative will involve collecting data from six pilot sites: Northern British Columbia, Southern British Columbia, the St. Lawrence River (Quebec), the Bay of Fundy (New Brunswick), the South Coast of Newfoundland, and Cambridge Bay (Nunavut). In August, Canada's Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced an investment of over $175 million in seven measures to help protect Arctic waters as part of the Oceans Protection Plan. (Marine Executive)

New Genetic Research Shows the Legacy of Fish Farm Escapees
Newfoundland’s great fish jailbreak took place on September 18, 2013, when a damaged sea pen, roiled by currents and tides, discharged 20,000 farmed Atlantic salmon into the frigid freedom of Hermitage Bay. Cooke Aquaculture, which owned the failed pen, swiftly set about controlling the damage in the media, if not the ocean. Seals and other predators would scarf up the rogue salmon, the company assured the CBC. The fish, it added, “pose[d] no threat to the environment.” A new genetic analysis, however, refutes that dubious claim. Researchers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) have shown that the fish fled Hermitage Bay, fanning out and infiltrating many of southern Newfoundland’s rivers. There, the escapees interbred with their wild cousins—potentially weakening the gene pools of imperiled populations. Ben Goldfarb reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Larry Pynn's Swan Song
Reporter Larry Pynn retired in August from the environment beat at the Vancouver Sun after 41 years and left some mighty fine words relevant for those of us devoted to real news and to the environment of the Salish Sea. "In journalism, you're only as good as your last  story, so I'll try not to screw this up," Larry writes in farewell. Check it out.

Editor's note: Following up on the report about sword ferns' unexplained deaths in Kitsap County (Ferns are dying in Kitsap forests, and nobody knows why) and at Seward Park in Seattle, Jeff Marti reports that "I thought I would pass on that in early September I noticed that sword ferns in a nearby woods in SE Olympia were looking rather sad... They were essentially collapsing, with some fronds laying on the ground. I had noticed similar occurrences during 2015, which also was an extremely dry, warm summer. In fact, my recollection is that in 2015 the ferns looked even worse. They do seem to bounce back over the winter but it does make me wonder that even if drought isn’t the direct cause of mortality, then perhaps drought is at least weakening the plant’s ability to survive other stresses. But I’m certainly no botanist and I’m glad to see that the puzzle is being tackled by some more learned folks."

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  231 AM PDT Wed Sep 19 2018   

TODAY  SW wind to 10 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 12 seconds. A slight chance  of showers in the morning then a chance of showers in the  afternoon. 

TONIGHT  W wind to 10 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 11 seconds. A slight chance  of showers.

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