Monday, October 22, 2018

10/22 Shrew, quakes, pine bunting, saving orcas, youth climate, Capitol Lake, fish farms, recycling, Point Wells, evil urchin

Vagrant shrew [UCal Berkeley]
Vagrant shrew Sorex vagrans
Shrews (Sorex spp.) are Washington's smallest mammals; the pygmy shrew is no bigger than your entire thumb. Shrews are also one of our most common mammals, inhabiting areas from sea level to high mountain meadows.... Nine species of shrews are found in Washington. The 4-inch long vagrant shrew is the most widespread species and is found in marshes, wet meadows, forests, streamsides, and gardens throughout the state. Shrews prefer moist environments because their high metabolic rates create high moisture requirements and they can easily become dehydrated. Moist environments also tend to have a diverse and abundant food supply. Shrews are preyed on by owls, snakes, and Pacific giant salamanders. Domestic cats, opossums, foxes, and similar-size mammalian predators kill but may not eat shrews, presumably because, when frightened or agitated, shrews produce a musky odor from their anal glands. (WDFW)

Several earthquakes strike off Vancouver Island, with no reports of damage
A series of three large earthquakes have struck off the coast of British Columbia, according to the United States Geological Survey. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the quakes. The first struck just before 11 p.m. PT Sunday, around 190 km southwest of Port Hardy, a town on the northeast end of Vancouver Island. The first quake, reported as a magnitude 6.5, was followed by another, with a magnitude of 6.8, around 40 minutes later. The third quake was reported at magnitude 6.5 just before midnight, near the same area as the previous two. (CBC)

Pine bunting
Regarding the article last week about the pine bunting sited on Vancouver Island ['A really, really significant sighting': Vancouver Island birdwatchers aflutter over unusual arrival], Charles Easton writes: "I observed a pine bunting at Waterfront Park on Bainbridge Island, Winslow, about a month ago. It was actually next to the boat launch. What seemed so odd, was how close I could get to it, almost tame.... I did note that the range did not include our area. At the same time, I was very confident in my identification because he was foraging on the ground 10 feet away from me for such a long period of time."

Orca Task Force Meeting #5: What the draft recommendations look like now
Monika Wieland in Orca Watcher writes: "With another task force meeting – this one a 2-day marathon – in the books, I thought it would be worth posting an update about how the package of draft recommendations is looking....I thought it would be worth posting an update of what looks likely to be moving forward at this time. It’s unclear how much more in terms of prioritization will happen; actions will likely still be ranked to some degree, but it’s not clear if the task force will pitch everything to the governor, or will try to narrow it down to a “Top 10” or something like that. Here is a summary of the actions as they stand now, down from ~50 to ~30...."

Supreme Court Suspends Proceedings In Youth-Led Climate Case In Eugene
The U.S. Supreme Court has suspended proceedings in a youth-led climate case scheduled to go to trial in Eugene beginning Oct. 29. The brief order issued Friday by Chief Justice John Roberts says only that discovery and trial in U.S. District Court in Eugene are on hold pending receipt of a response from the plaintiffs, who include 21 youths — six of whom are from Eugene.... Under Roberts’ order, the plaintiffs have until next Wednesday to file a response to a motion filed Thursday by the government to halt the case. After the response is reviewed, either Roberts or the full court will issue another order. Jack Moran reports. (Eugene Register Guard/OPB)

Final Chance For Public Input On Scope Of State’s Study For Capitol Lake’s Future
Olympia’s Capitol Lake was designed to be an ornamental reflecting pool to compliment the dome of the legislature. But the lake is in trouble.  A $4-million dollar study of options to fix it is underway. Public comments on what should be included in the study will be heard Monday at a meeting in Olympia. Capitol Lake was created when the Deschutes River was dammed in 1951 and has been filling up with sediment ever since.  It now holds about 60 percent less water. It’s violating water quality standards because of high levels of phosphorus that cause algae blooms. It’s been closed to recreation since 2009 because of invasive mud snails. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Growing pains as companies try to move fish farms from ocean to land
Each time the food dispenser starts up at Golden Eagle Aquaculture, the water boils with supple, perfect coho salmon. They are Ocean Wise recommended and a Seafood Watch green light best choice — a conservationist’s dream. The flesh is invitingly red, delicious and rich in omega-3s.Land-based tanks are dimly lit to simulate winter light levels in order to trick the fish into growing faster, while delaying sexual maturity. It is one of many tricks needed to grow salmon outside the ocean, its natural environment. Consider the difficulties of raising cattle underwater while keeping their living space and air pristine and you get a sense of the challenges faced by land-based fish farms growing coho, tilapia and especially Atlantic salmon. Most Atlantic salmon are grown in net pens in the ocean, drawing criticism from First Nations and environmentalists. Washington state’s decision to end net-pen farming gave some hope that a breakthrough in B.C. could be at hand. But fish farmers say a large-scale move is not commercially feasible. (Vancouver Sun)

Why some Washington counties may stop recycling plastic
Since China stopped buying recycled waste that it deems too dirty, a lot of recyclables in Washington end up in the landfill. Now, Washington state regulators are making a big ask when it comes to recycling: They're asking each county to stop recycling certain products — or at least consider it — if there's no market for it. Dave Danner is chair of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, which sent a letter to each county on October 18. "We're asking them if there's no market for this commodity, we want them to really think about whether it should be collected or not," Danner said. That could include glass, shredded paper and certain plastics. Danner said they won't restrict what counties and their solid waste companies can collect. But, he says if products can't be sold for profit, recycling companies are asking the state to approve higher rates on consumers. Already, solid waste companies are increasing rates in 30 service areas. Otherwise they're losing profit that they used to get from selling recyclables. Paige Browning reports. (KUOW)

Woodway readies possible annexation of Point Wells
The town of Woodway could soon move to annex Point Wells, the waterfront property where a developer has been trying, unsuccessfully, to build high-rise condos up to 17 stories tall. There’s a rival suitor, though, with the city of Shoreline also taking steps to claim the unincorporated piece of land in Snohomish County that’s an ongoing source of neighborhood anxiety. Woodway has scheduled a hearing at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 about starting the annexation process.... The proposed Point Wells high-rise development, with more than 3,000 condo units, has suffered major setbacks this year. A hearing examiner denied the project in June and declined to give developer BSRE Point Wells more time to work on it. The County Council upheld the decision earlier this month. For now, the project is dead. BSRE could try to revive it by appealing in court. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

California’s Underwater Forests Are Being Eaten by the ‘Cockroaches of the Ocean’
Early on a gray summer Saturday, an unusual assemblage — commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, neoprene-clad divers — gathered for a mission at Albion Cove, a three-hour drive north of San Francisco. “Our target today is the purple urchin,” said Josh Russo, a recreational fishing advocate who organized the event. “The evil purple urchin.” Five years ago, assigning wickedness to the purple urchin, a shellfish the size of a plum with quarter-inch spikes, would have been absurd. That was before the urchins mowed down Northern California’s kelp forests. Kendra Pierre-Louis reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  250 AM PDT Mon Oct 22 2018   

TODAY  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 6 ft at  15 seconds. 

TONIGHT  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 6 ft at  13 seconds.

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