Friday, October 5, 2018

10/5 Vine maple, First Nation agreement, orca genes, whale nights, sea otters, dam removal, climate targets, San Juan monument, Growlers, 'shroom news

Vine maple [Daniel Mosquin]
Vine maple Acer circinatum
Vine maple is an eye-catching, fire-engine red in fall on open sites. The wood, though limited in size, is very dense and hard and it is flexible when fresh. It was used for snowshoe frames, drum hoops, and a variety of small implements, spoons and dishes. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coat)

B.C. signs 'breakthrough' reconciliation agreement with shíshálh Nation
The province has signed an agreement with the shíshálh Nation on the Sunshine Coast that is being hailed as a milestone in the relationship between the province and Indigenous groups. The reconciliation agreement sets the terms for a government-to-government relationship between the province and the self-governing shíshálh, formerly known as the Sechelt First Nation, around economic development and environmental protection.... The province is providing about $36 million to pay for the transfer of three parcels of Crown land to the shíshálh for cultural and economic use, including gravel mining and forestry. The land is adjacent to shíshálh territory. Megan Thomas reports. (CBC)

New effort will analyze genes of endangered Northwest orcas
A new scientific effort will sequence the genomes of critically endangered Pacific Northwest orcas to better understand their genetics and potentially find ways to save them from extinction. The collaboration announced Thursday involves scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, the nonprofit Nature Conservancy and BGI, a global genomics company. The project will sequence the genome — the entire genetic code of a living thing — of more than 100 southern resident killer whales using skin or other samples collected from live and dead orcas over the past two decades. Initial results are expected next year. (Associated Press)

What Do Killer Whales Do at Night?
Scientists know much about the imperiled, fish-eating resident killer whales that live off the west coast of North America, but some facets of these marine mammals’ lives are mysterious. For instance, what do they do at night? Think about nocturnal animals and bats and owls probably come to mind. Most animals, humans included, are diurnal and on the go during the day. Killer whales, however, follow a diel cycle—they’re active both day and night. The puzzle for researchers is to determine how the whales’ behavior—their foraging, socializing, traveling, resting, and sleeping habits—changes from day to night. Understanding the intricacies of whale behavior is difficult at the best of times, even more so when they slip below the ocean’s surface at night. “We hear them on the hydrophones at night,” explains Sheila Thornton, a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada who is overseeing a study into the shadowy lives of killer whales. “They’re active in their vocalizing, but we want to take that one step further and see what they’re actually doing.” Larry Pynn reports. (Hakai Magazine)

The role sea otters play in saving salmon – a benefit for the Southern Resident orcas
In a marine protected area off of Vancouver Island, Canada, a rich ecosystem supports breeding and migrating seals and sea lions – and at least one adorable sea otter, Ollie. Southern resident killer whales pursue the adult salmon that hide among the kelp fronds, and the mammal eating transient orcas hunt the seals and sea lions.... Admittedly, not everyone loves these furry machines that need a quarter of their body per day to keep warm, even with their luxurious coats. They consume over a hundred different species of primarily bottom dwelling invertebrates, but come into conflict with fishermen over the sea cucumbers, urchins, clams, abalone etc that have a fairly high market value. When the otters move into a region they do have an impact on those fisheries, but what they give back to the environment makes them worth their weight in gold – their foraging habits quickly restore kelp beds where juvenile salmon hide on the journey to the open ocean. Each female Chinook salmon that successfully returns to spawn carries as many as 17,000 eggs, so each fish saved by adequate kelp beds can have a significant impact.  Candace Calloway Whiting reports. (

To Save Orcas, Removing Snake River Dams May Not Be The Answer, Feds Say
As the Northwest’s killer whales have gained worldwide attention, more calls are being made to bolster the population of salmon they eat. One big way to do that, supporters say, is by removing the four Lower Snake River dams, which make it harder for salmon to survive. But the federal government isn’t so sure that’s the answer. The federal agencies that manage those dams and hold some responsibility for the survival of fish and marine mammals say salmon from the Snake River are not a key source of prey for most orcas. They said removing or altering the dams would only help two of the 15 salmon runs on which orcas depend. Courtney Flatt reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

B.C.’s climate targets mean major changes for ordinary citizens
Hundreds of thousands of British Columbians will need to switch to electric heat, install energy-saving devices like heat pumps and purchase electric vehicles if the NDP government has any hope of meeting its climate targets after approving a new liquefied natural gas industry. Premier John Horgan’s government has begun to shed light on how it expects to meet pollution reduction goals after LNG Canada approved its $40-billion terminal and pipeline in Kitimat. Exact details will be released in the government’s climate plan later this fall. But provincial officials offered media a high-level overview this week of the path for B.C. to get 75 per cent of the way to its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 40 per cent below 2007 levels by 2030. Rob Shaw reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Nat'l Monument Public Comment Period begins Friday, October 5th
Islanders for the San Juan Islands National Monument write: "The Bureau of Land Management will begin a 90-day public comment period on Friday, October 5th, seeking your input on the management plan that will govern the San Juan Islands National Monument for the next 15-20 years... The Federal Register Notice states the Draft Resource Management Plan will be available starting Friday at the monument office on Lopez Island and online at" Islanders will develop a Guide to the Issues and give tips on commenting. Best to wait for the Guide to comment so keep apprised of the process here.

Navy action on jets prompts protest in Port Townsend
Facing northeast toward Whidbey Island, 75 members of the Sound Defense Alliance sent the Navy a message from North Beach Park. The group held 48 placards spelling out “No New Jets. No New Flights” on Wednesday afternoon as EA-18 Growler jets were flying overhead, practicing takeoffs and landings at Outlying Field Coupeville (OLF). Jeannie McMacken reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: US Navy gets $2M to study jet engine noise (Stars and Stripes)

How the mushroom dream of a 'long-haired hippie' could help save the world's bees 
he epiphany that mushrooms could help save the world’s ailing bee colonies struck Paul Stamets while he was in bed.... Years ago, in 1984, Stamets had noticed a “continuous convoy of bees” traveling from a patch of mushrooms he was growing and his beehives. The bees actually moved wood chips to access his mushroom’s mycelium, the branching fibers of fungus that look like cobwebs.... In research published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, Stamets turned intuition into reality. The paper describes how bees given a small amount of his mushroom mycelia extract exhibited remarkable reductions in the presence of viruses associated with parasitic mites that have been attacking, and infecting, bee colonies for decades. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Times) And also: World’s deadliest mushroom prompts warning to B.C. mushroom lovers  (National Post)

Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Fri Oct 5 2018   


TODAY  E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 5 ft  at 11 seconds. Rain. 

TONIGHT  E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming N. Wind waves 2 ft or less.  W swell 5 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of rain. 

SAT  NW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 to  7 ft at 12 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  7 ft at 14 seconds. 

SUN  Light wind becoming E 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less.  W swell 6 ft at 14 seconds.

"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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