Tuesday, October 23, 2018

10/23 Merlin, BC gas, microplastics, Fidalgo Shoreline Academy, freighters, vessel noise, orca data, Princess Sophia, coyotes

Merlin [Gregg Thompson/BirdNote]
Here Come the Merlins
Smaller than a pigeon — but fierce enough to knock one from the air — are the powerful, compact falcons known as Merlins. Climate change is pushing ranges of many birds farther north, but more and more Merlins have been nesting farther south, in towns and cities across the northern United States. Merlins will take over old crow nests, especially in conifer trees, in parks, cemeteries, and neighborhoods.(BirdNote)

B.C.'s natural gas supply could be reduced as much as 50% this winter
FortisBC is warning customers that the gas pipeline explosion earlier this month will reduce natural gas supply between 20 and 50 per cent of normal levels going into the winter. "The natural gas system will be challenged in times of high demand throughout the winter," a statement from the energy company warns. FortisBC is asking all British Columbians to conserve energy wherever possible. The news comes after an Enbridge pipeline exploded and caught fire northeast of Prince George on Oct. 9. The cause of the explosion is still unknown. (CBC)

Microplastics Find Their Way Into Your Gut, a Pilot Study Finds
In the next 60 seconds, people around the world will purchase one million plastic bottles and two million plastic bags. By the end of the year, we will produce enough bubble wrap to encircle the Equator 10 times. Though it will take more than 1,000 years for most of these items to degrade, many will soon break apart into tiny shards known as microplastics, trillions of which have been showing up in the oceans, fish, tap water and even table salt. Now, we can add one more microplastic repository to the list: the human gut. In a pilot study with a small sample size, researchers looked for microplastics in stool samples of eight people from Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and Austria. To their surprise, every single sample tested positive for the presence of a variety of microplastics. Douglas Quenqua reports. (NY Times)

Experts talk research at Fidalgo Shoreline Academy
Experts from as far away as Rhode Island visited Anacortes on Saturday to share their knowledge of critters and plants that call the region home during the seventh annual Fidalgo Shoreline Academy. The academy is a day-long event hosted by the local nonprofit Friends of Skagit Beaches. The event aims to showcase research, inform the community about environmental issues and raise money through registration fees to support the nonprofit’s programs, volunteer Matt Kerschbaum said. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Freighters in Paradise
Satellite Channel shimmers in the autumn sun, while grebes and cormorants break the cellophane-like surface and gentle waves lap the shoreline of Cowichan Bay off Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Mid-channel, disrupting the sightline to Saltspring Island, three red-and-black freighters up to 300 meters long await their turn to dock in Vancouver, just across the Strait of Georgia.... Bulk freighters, mainly grain carriers, are a long-accepted fixture on the Vancouver skyline and a symbol of the city’s enduring history as a working port. But the sudden presence of those same ships anchored in the picturesque passes between British Columbia’s southern Gulf Islands—as little as a one-hour ferry ride from the mainland—is raising the ire of local residents. Larry Pynn reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Federal government announces new monitoring of vessel noise impacts on endangered whales
The federal government says it will monitor underwater ship noise in British Columbia's Salish Sea to help develop measures to support the recovery of endangered southern resident killer whales. Terry Beech, parliamentary secretary to the transportation minister, announced the measures Monday as his government is set to face new scrutiny of the impacts of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on the threatened species....Beech said Transport Canada will work with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program, which is looking at ways to reduce underwater noise in key areas for the whales. It will deploy an underwater hydrophone, or listening device, at Boundary Pass in the Salish Sea, to collect individual vessel and mammal noise profiles, he said. The department will also carry out a four-year project with support from the National Research Council of Canada to better predict propeller noise and hull vibration of a vessel. (The) $1.6M project is part of a previously announced $167.4M Whales Initiative Laura Kane reports. (Canadian Press)

Sightings of southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea 1976−2014: the importance of a long-term opportunistic dataset
A 2018 paper in the journal Endangered Species Research analyzes southern resident killer whale sightings in the Salish Sea between 1976 and 2014. A recently published manuscript by scientists at the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor shows how more than 40 years of opportunistic sightings were used to look at habitat use and establish baseline patterns of endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. Effort corrected data were used to highlight a few key ‘hot spots’ in the Salish Sea and to establish an overall pattern of consistent presence in the Central Salish Sea during the summer months and a presence in Puget Sound proper during the fall and early winter months. A surprising shift in SRKW presence in Puget Sound documented in the late nineties supports the hypothesis that the movement patterns of these whales may be driven by prey availability and highlights the importance of long-term monitoring. Jennifer K. Olson, Jason Wood, Richard W. Osborne, Lance Barrett-Lennard, Shawn Larson authors. (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound)

The worst shipwreck in Northwest history happened a century ago
If you can spare some time for contemplation, you might devote a few minutes to the people of the steamship Princess Sophia, who departed Skagway for Seattle and ports between, on a threatening October day 100 years ago. The story needs to be part of our cross-border culture, Ken Coates insists. He's a Canadian historian who has spent years researching the worst shipwreck in the history of the Northwest. Coates and fellow historian Bill Morrison co-authored the definitive book on the Princess Sophia disaster: The Sinking of the Princess Sophia: Taking the North Down With Her (University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks; Oxford University Press, Don Mills, Ontario). Bob Simmons writes. (Crosscut)

Why are coyote sightings spiking in Tacoma and elsewhere?
This time of year people all around King and Pierce counties are reporting seeing more coyotes. “There’s 211 members as of now,” said Ana Sierra who started the “Tacoma Coyotes” Facebook group a week ago. “They’re sharing pictures and questions,” said Sierra. She says after talks with neighbors revealed she’s not the only one who has seen coyotes in the north end of Tacoma, she decided starting a page would help people share sighting information to keep the neighborhood on alert....The department of Fish and Wildlife says coyotes are all around us, in urban and suburban neighborhoods and we just have to get used to living with them.  Tatevik Aprikyan reports. (KCPQ)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PDT Tue Oct 23 2018   

TODAY  NE wind to 10 kt becoming E 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds. Areas of fog  in the morning. A chance of rain in the afternoon. 

TONIGHT  SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW to 10 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 11 seconds.  Rain likely in the evening then a chance of showers after  midnight.

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

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