Monday, November 5, 2018

11/5 Mandarin duck, no orca emergency, SJ monument, kids' climate, sea stars, Pilchuck dam, sea lice, orca mic, wilderness

Mandarin duck on Burnaby Lake [Irene Lau/CBC]
Before New York City's Mandarin duck, there was Burnaby's
Before a Mandarin duck in New York City gained international recognition this week, another duck of the same plumage had already made several low-key appearances in Burnaby over the past six months. Mandarin ducks are renowned for their dazzling multicoloured feathers and regarded by some as the world's most beautiful bird. They're also native to East Asia, which is why bird watchers were gobsmacked when one was spotted in Manhattan's Central Park in early October. Alex Migdal reports. (CBC) See also: A Mandarin Duck Mysteriously Appears in Central Park, to Birders’ Delight  Julie Jacobs reports. (NY Times)

Federal government rejects emergency order to protect killer whales
The federal government has declined to issue an emergency order under the Species at Risk Act that would further protect the endangered killer whales off British Columbia's coast. An order-in-council issued Thursday said the government has already taken several measures to ensure the recovery of the southern resident killer whales. Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement Friday that the government "carefully weighed various options" to protect the whales, and it does not believe an emergency order would be helpful. (Canadian Press)

Comment on the Draft Resource Management Plan for the San Juan Islands National Monument
The BLM is currently developing a Resource Management Plan for the Monument which will guide their stewardship of these lands for the next 15-20 years. You can provide input for that plan during a public comment period ending January 3rd, 2019. Islanders for the San Juan Islands National Monument has provided guides to help with key issues and comments for the Draft Plan. Public meeting are being held this week to kick off the process:
Nov 5 - 6:00-8:00 PM, Woodman Hall, 4102 Fisherman Bay Rd, Lopez Island
Nov 6 - 6:00-8:00 PM, San Juan Island Grange, 152 1st St N, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
Nov 7 - 6:00-8:00 PM, Orcas Island Library, 500 Rose St, Eastsound, Orcas Island
Nov 8 - 6:00-8:00 PM, Squalicum Boathouse, 2600 N Harbor Loop Dr, Bellingham
Nov 9 - 6:00-8:00 PM, Anacortes Library, 1220 10th St, Anacortes.

Supreme Court won't block children's climate change lawsuit
The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's request Friday to stop a lawsuit brought by youths who are seeking to hold the government accountable for failing to do enough to fight climate change. The administration had asked the court to halt the lawsuit, saying it was "misguided" and a "radical invasion of the separation of powers." In its unsigned order, the court said the administration had not reached the high bar necessary to halt the lawsuit for now. But the justices suggested that the government might be able to seek relief at the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals at a later stage of the litigation. The vote total was not released, Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch said they would have ruled in favor of the administration.... The challengers argued that by neglecting to properly address climate change, the government is depriving them of rights to life, liberty and property while also failing to protect essential resources. A district court had allowed the case to go to trial on October 29, but that date was put on hold after Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary stay. Lawyers for the youths originally brought the case under the Obama administration and are asking the court to order the executive branch to prepare a remedial plan to phase out fossil fuel emissions. Ariane de Vogue reports. (CNN)

Sea stars still wasting away in B.C. waters
Reports that the sea star population was rebounding after a bout of wasting disease appear to have been overly optimistic, says a new report from the Coastal Ocean Research Institute. The Vancouver Aquarium’s research group believes the wasting disease that first attacked the sea star population in 2013 is continuing, with several species still in decline. “The current status of sea stars varies widely by species and location,” writes report author Jessica Schultz. “Although there are anecdotal reports of recovery, the frequency of sea star sightings continues to decline for many species, and signs of wasting persist. At the same time, sea star distribution is increasingly patchy and abundance is quite variable.” The die-off, which might be the largest wildlife die-off event in recorded history according to the report, has hurt the health of other species. For example, in the absence of predator sea stars, sea urchins have been gobbling up the kelp beds that provide food, oxygen and cover for a host of other species, including fish and prawns. The report also mentions an “unusual boom” in juvenile sea stars of several species in 2014 and 2015. Glenda Luymes reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Dam demolition would let Pilchuck River run free
A clear curtain of water falls onto river rock, dropping about the height of a one-story building. Few people know about this modest dam along the Pilchuck River, a few miles southeast of Granite Falls. Until early last year, it performed an important function: diverting drinking water for part of Snohomish. Since the city stopped using that water source, the dam no longer serves a practical purpose. Now, it just blocks fish from heading upstream and drains city money. If a project with the Tulalip Tribes moves forward, this century-old impediment won’t be around much longer. Plans call for demolishing the 60-foot-wide concrete dam by fall of 2020. That would reopen stretches of the Pilchuck and its tributaries to spawning fish, notably to steelhead and salmon species whose populations have dwindled. More fish could benefit Puget Sound’s endangered southern resident orcas. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

'A Perfect storm'
Unprecedented sea lice infestation could help answer question of risk to B.C.'s wild salmon Megan Thomas reports. (CBC)

New device lets you listen to Puget Sound orcas in real time
A new device is allowing you to listen to southern resident orcas as they make their way back into Puget Sound. There isn't much activity right now, but the season is just beginning. The sound is coming from a new hydrophone the Orca Network just installed at Bush Point on the west side of Whidbey Island. In the fall and early winter, orcas spend a lot of their time feeding on salmon in Puget Sound. You can listen for yourself at Live.Orcasound.net  (KOMO)

Day of the Dead ~ 9th Annual Tribute
Monika Wieland Shields in Orca Watcher writes: "The Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is about honoring those who have passed on - every year, I take a moment on this day to remember the Southern Residents we have lost in the previous year....Over the years these posts have gotten harder to write, as the population continues to decline. But now more than ever, as we continue to fight for the survival and recovery of the Southern Residents, it's important not to forget the stories of the whales we have lost along the way...."

Not-so-wild world: Canada one of five countries holding remaining majority of wilderness
The world is rapidly becoming less wild according to a groundbreaking study published this week, co-authored by a Prince George ecosystem professor. The Wildlife Conservation Society reported that 70 per cent of the world's wilderness is located in just five countries. Of those five, Canada holds the second-largest area of wilderness after Russia. According to the study published in Nature, Australia, the U.S., Brazil, Russia and Canada are the five countries that hold the majority of the world's remaining wilderness.  Anna Dimoff reports. (CBC)

Trump Administration Spares Corporate Wrongdoers Billions in Penalties
In the final months of the Obama administration, Walmart was under pressure from federal officials to pay nearly $1 billion and accept a guilty plea to resolve a foreign bribery investigation. Barclays faced demands that it pay nearly $7 billion to settle civil claims that it had sold toxic mortgage investments that helped fuel the 2008 financial crisis, and the Royal Bank of Scotland was ensnared in a criminal investigation over its role in the crisis. The three corporate giants complained that the Obama administration was being unreasonable and stood their ground, according to people briefed on the investigations. After President Trump took office, they looked to his administration for a more sympathetic ear — and got one. Ben Protess, Robert Gebeloff and Danielle Ivory report. (NY Times)


Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PST Mon Nov 5 2018   

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY FOR HAZARDOUS SEAS IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE  TONIGHT   

TODAY  W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 10 ft at 12 seconds. A chance of  showers in the morning then a slight chance of showers in the  afternoon. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 10 ft at 14 seconds. A chance of  showers in the evening then a slight chance of showers after  midnight.


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