Thursday, September 20, 2018

9/20 Sand lance, Seattle U, methane leaks, green crab, Arctic sea ice, Cooper Island, Kitsap shellfish, levee fix

Pacific sand lance [Mandy Lindeberg/NOAA]
Pacific Sand Lance Ammodytes personatus
Pacific Sand Lance range from California to the Aleutian Islands and the southeastern Bering Sea. They are found schooling in depths that range from the surface to 80 m (262 ft) in Puget Sound, and off the coast to perhaps 272 m (892 ft).  Pacific Sand Lances have two very distinct behaviors.  During the day they are mostly found in large schools in the water column and during the night they are mostly found buried in the sand to avoid predation. They generally spawn in sandy intertidal areas, with eggs often taking on a coat of attached sand grains, making them nearly invisible. The young-of-the-year Pacific Sand Lances settle in shallow waters and occupy shallow eelgrass and algae beds, but also live over sand, cobble and bedrock.  Pacific Sand Lances feed primarily on small, pelagic organisms, although occasionally on benthic invertebrates.  This species is prey to multitudes of fish, birds, and marine mammals. A recent analysis of sand lances throughout the Pacific Ocean led to a renaming of the species found in Washington from A. hexapterus to A. personatus. (WDFW)

Seattle University says it will become first college in state to divest from fossil fuels 
Seattle University will become the first university in Washington state to divest its endowment from fossil fuels over the next five years. The action means that by 2023, Seattle University will no longer invest any of its $230 million endowment in the funds and securities of fossil-fuel companies. The university estimates that 6.7 percent, or $13.6 million, of its endowment has “exposure to securities of fossil-fuel companies, as defined by ownership of fossil-fuel reserves.” The university will work to achieve a 50 percent reduction by Dec. 31, 2020, and expects to be fully divested by June 30, 2023. Katherine Long reports. (Seattle Times)

Trump Administration Eases Regulation Of Methane Leaks On Public Lands
The Trump administration is proposing to roll back another Obama-era energy regulation, this time one that aimed to curb methane leaks from oil and gas operations on tribal and public lands. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, even more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term, that contributes to climate change. The Obama administration said that large amounts of methane are lost into the atmosphere through through leaks, as well as intentional venting and flaring at energy production sites. It moved to limit that by requiring oil and gas companies to capture leaking and vented methane at existing sites, to gradually update their technology and to make plans for monitoring escaping gas. The Government Accountability Office says as much as $23 million of potential royalty revenue from those gases is lost annually. But in a statement, the Department of the Interior said that rule was “unnecessarily burdensome on the private sector.” Jennifer Ludden reports. (NPR)

European Green Crab found at Kala Point Lagoon
Volunteers from the Washington Sea Grant Crab Team monitoring program discovered an invasive European Green Crab at Kala Point Lagoon on Sept. 8.  This was the first European Green Crab found at Kala Point after four years of monitoring the site. “We’ve done 21 sampling visits to this lagoon,” said Chris Jones, the leader of the Kala Point Lagoon crab team. “In 20.9 of those samplings, we didn’t see any green crab. And suddenly we pull this trap, and go, ‘What the heck is that?’”  The team was shocked, surprised and worried, as the European Green Crab has been known to have devastating effects on habitats. Lily Haight reports. (Pt. Townsend Leader)

Cruise Ships, Heavy Fuel Oil and Arctic Sea Ice
Arctic sea ice is at its lowest in September, when the ice stops melting and glaciers begin to accumulate again. The National Snow and Ice Data Center tracks ice and says the extent of sea ice this year is expected to be one of the lowest in the satellite record. Climate watchers in Seattle and Amsterdam are bringing attention to the issue by targeting cruise ships that burn heavy fuel oil, a practice amplifying the effects of climate change. Martha Baskin reports. (PRX)

On a related note: Four Decades of Change: An Arctic Seabird Struggles to Survive in a Warming World
George Divoky, who has conducted research on Mandt’s black guillemot on Cooper Island off the coast of northern Alaska for the last 40 years, presents this summer's research and ongoing climate change trends at the October 25 North Cascades Audubon Society meeting in Bellingham's Whatcom Museum at 7 PM. See also: Can These Seabirds Adapt Fast Enough to Survive a Melting Arctic?  (Audubon Magazine)

Shellfish harvesting closed along Kitsap's eastern shoreline
hellfish harvesting has been closed on the eastern shoreline of Kitsap County, from Point No Point in Hansville to Restoration Point on Bainbridge Island, after testing found high levels of the toxin paralytic shellfish poison, Kitsap Public Health announced Wednesday. Samples for this closure were collected on Monday and showed PSP concentrations of 172 micrograms of toxin per 100 grams of shellfish tissues, the health district said. Shellfish harvesting is closed when PSP toxin levels meet or exceed 80 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue, it noted. (Kitsap Sun)

Fir Island levee repairs underway
Repairs are underway on a section of levee along the south fork of the Skagit River. A 1,200-foot section of the levee near the end of Wiley Road on Fir Island was damaged during flooding in November. Skagit County Consolidated Diking Improvement District 22 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are coordinating repairs, which are intended to protect surrounding lands before the next flood season, according to project documents. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Thu Sep 20 2018   

TODAY  Variable wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE this afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 10 seconds. A slight  chance of showers in the morning then showers likely in the  afternoon. 

TONIGHT  E wind 10 to 20 kt becoming SE 5 to 15 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 3 ft at 10 seconds  building to 5 ft at 7 seconds after midnight. Rain.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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