Friday, November 16, 2018

11/16 Spaghetti worm, hungry salmon, orca sacrifice, Elwha, Maltby pipe, Orcasound, Fish First, new BC radar

Spaghetti worm [Madrona/Fisherman Bay Project]
Spaghetti worm Thelepus crispus
Long, exceedingly slender white tentacles spread out over rocks or mud; food particles stick to tentacles and are moved by tina cilia to mouth. Tentacles can be quickly retracted. Pinkish body with 3 pairs of red gills. To 6 inches. Abundant on rock or cobble beaches. Enclosed in long, sand-encrusted tubes; commonly found on the undersides of intertidal rocks. (Marine Life of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Strait of Georgia)

Why famished orcas may have to wait 90 years for more salmon
.... Large-scale marsh restoration has been under way at the mouth of the Skagit River, an hour north of Seattle, for some 15 years. Hundreds of acres of salt marsh that didn’t exist a decade ago now harbor young salmon and other fishes.  Eric Beamer, a biologist for the Swinomish and Sauk-Suiattle tribes nearby, looked out over one of the delta’s newest marshes on Fir Island, as snow geese circled overhead.   “There were a few hundred fish living here before restoration,” Beamer said. “After restoration, in 2017, we saw about 50,000 fish, juvenile chinook, living here.” The Skagit River produces most of the chinook in Puget Sound. Recovery of Puget Sound depends on recovery of the Skagit, Beamer said.  Most salt marshes along the Skagit River were converted to farmland long ago, leaving the river mouth a largely unfriendly habitat for young salmon. The push to get chinook off the endangered species list has centered on giving these little smolts marshes to swim in and hide before they head out to sea. The long-term goal: bring back one-tenth of the Skagit’s vanished marshes. For the past 20 years, scientists have headed out in boats around Skagit Bay to see if marsh restoration is making a difference for the fish.  The years of fieldwork show that chinook thrive in the new marshes. But it’s slow going. “At the pace we’re recovering estuaries, it will take 90 years to achieve the goals of the recovery plan,” Beamer said. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

To whale watch, we all must make sacrifices
.... As the midterm elections took place Nov. 6, Gov. Jay Inslee’s Orca Task Force was convened to finalize its report for delivery to the governor on Friday, in time to influence the 2019 Legislature.  Appropriately, the task force has already recommended a three- to five-year moratorium on whale watching operations targeting the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale Community. But the whales’ survival ultimately will come down to their ability to eat salmon. Human impacts on orcas — such as through whale watching cruises — would be buffered if the whales weren’t starving. As the top predator of the sea, orcas can choose among all potential prey, but Washington's resident whales evolved to specialize on Chinook, or King, the largest and most threatened of the salmon. It’s our historic and ongoing failure to protect and restore salmon habitat that has resulted in this emergency situation. Immediacy must be the highest priority: We can’t assume the whales have even the three to five years it will take to produce an adult Chinook from a hatchery. Fred Felleman writes. (Crosscut)

Elwha nearshore 15 November 2018.
Anne Shaffer of the Coastal Watershed institute writes: "Coho, Chinook, steelhead, and bull trout in the Elwha nearshore today, which is reflecting our extremely mild fall. The dissolved oxygen at the south site next to the dike was the lowest we have ever recorded-the water was (very) cold which appears to mitigate the environmental stress. The river was clear again this month-we've never seen conditions this warm and calm in November. And any who have spent years on the delta note the lack salmon carcasses. In contrast, the beaver are back and now ambitiously dragging cuttings from the river to the lodge in the impounded west pond-they have to go across the dike. A very vulnerable place for them given dogs that transit there. So keep those dogs on leashes-it is making a positive difference! We assume the beaver are getting ready for the winter that must be coming. Thank you again to the good willed and hard working team of students volunteers and collaborators that made light work of a good day. Happy Thanksgiving."

Maltby gas pipeline on pause
Plans to enlarge a natural gas pipeline through Maltby are shifting as the county has withdrawn permit approval on the project due to environmental concerns.... The county last month had approved four permits and issued a decision that the project would not have a significant environmental impact. It withdrew that decision last week after environmental concerns were raised about one of the properties involved in the nearly 6-mile long pipeline widening project, according to an official familiar with the project. Williams presented the county with the new information, a county permit official said. The withdrawal coincidentally but separately came as environmental activists were mobilizing to appeal. Angela Cooper-McCorkle reports. (Snohomish Tribune)

You can now live stream whale calls from the sea using an app
Now, thanks to an extensive research project called Orcasound, you can tune into live streams of orca whales near Washington State and participate in a massive citizen science initiative. Orcasound is using advances in technology, streaming media, and algorithms to take citizen science to the next level and make it easier for people who are passionate about marine conservation and whales to access sounds and recordings typically reserved for field researchers.   Kay Vandette reports. (Earth.Com)

If you like to watch: Fish First - A Story about People and Salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska
Fish First is a celebration of the salmon and people of Bristol Bay, Alaska. This story explores what makes Bristol Bay the most productive and well managed fishery on earth. (23:01) [Thanks to Kathleen Grimbly for the heads up on this.]

New Canadian Coast Guard radar updates marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast
The federal government is adding to marine traffic monitoring with more radar coverage along the British Columbia coast in order to improve safety for ships travelling through narrow and challenging waterways. Fisheries and Oceans Canada says six new radar installations will fill in existing gaps in coverage for busy and risky stretches of water from the northern end of Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait and in the waters off Prince Rupert.  Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced the new installations Thursday at the Canadian Coast Guard station in Richmond. A government news release says the expanded radar coverage is part of the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan designed to improve marine safety and safeguard Canada's marine environment and coastal communities. (Canadian Press)


Now, your weekend tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  235 AM PST Fri Nov 16 2018   

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH LATE  TONIGHT   

TODAY  SE wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 15 to 20 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 7 ft at 11 seconds. 

TONIGHT  SE wind 10 to 20 kt rising to 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves  2 to 4 ft. W swell 6 ft at 11 seconds. 

SAT  E wind 15 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at  12 seconds. 

SAT NIGHT  SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 2 ft. W swell  6 ft at 13 seconds. 

SUN  SE wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 15 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 12 seconds.



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