Tuesday, December 18, 2018

12/18 Trumpeter swan, killing sea lions, Columbia dams, Skagit climate, orca plan, Sunshine Coast land, Illahee Preserve, herring, chlorpyrifos, Kevin Ranker, floating garbage

Trumpeter swan [Audubon Field Guide]
Trumpeter swan Cygnus buccinator
Trumpeter Swans once nested over most of North America, but disappeared rapidly as civilization advanced westward; by the 1930s, fewer than 100 remained south of Canada. With protection from hunting and disturbance, populations have rebounded in parts of the northwest.... Its healthy comeback is considered a success story for conservationists. (Audubon Field Guide)

State discusses killing seals and sea lions in Puget Sound
State wildlife commissioners heard testimony Friday about whether a seal and sea lion cull could help save salmon, and thereby restore food to the starving Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW).... "It's important to set the stage that this occurs in a very complex ecosystem and it is a very complex food web," said WDFW Research Scientist Scott Pearson.... "If you want a 25 percent reduction in the total juvenile Chinook consumption by seals, we have to reduce this number of 19,000 seals down to 14,300. If you subtract this number from this number, that's how many we have to remove 4,700 seals, and we have to annually remove 530 seals per year to keep it at that level," Pearson said. But the problem is, salmon also face a slew of other challenges, including hydropower, hatcheries, habitat, disease, and contaminants. Scientists told commissioners they don't know whether killing seals and sea lions will do anything at all.... "In my opinion, even if the seal consumption were somehow reduced or eliminated, there is no guarantee of a response by the salmon in terms of returning adults," said WDFW Research Scientist Joe Anderson. Alison Morrow reports. (KING) See also: Puget Sound resident orcas limited by social behavior  Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

Changes to dams on  Columbia, Snake rivers to benefit salmon, hydropower and orcas
After decades of arguments and court challenges, a landmark agreement supported by states, tribes and federal agencies is expected to change how water is spilled at Columbia and Lower Snake River dams to boost the survival of young salmon while limiting the financial hit to hydropower. The agreement is to be recorded Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland and is intended to be in effect for the 2019 salmon migration season, and remain in place through 2021. The pact addresses how water passes over the hydroelectric dams during the crucial spring period when young salmon migrate downstream to the ocean. Hal Bernton and Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)

Study: Climate change impacting Skagit River salmon, eagles
Climate change is impacting the Skagit River ecosystem and the salmon and eagles that congregate there each winter, according to a recent study. The study, published online Oct. 16 by the Journal of Applied Ecology, states the majority of chum salmon and the bald eagles that eat them are being seen in the Skagit River about two weeks earlier than they were in the 1980s. That shift in the timing of peak salmon and eagle migration to the Skagit River is likely in response to climate change, according to the study. The study, written by wildlife biologists with the North Cascades National Park Service Complex and the U.S. Geological Survey's National Climate Adaptation Science Center, used about 30 years of data about salmon and eagle populations in the mid-to-upper reaches of the Skagit River watershed in Skagit and Whatcom counties. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

The $1.1-billion orca plan could be a gamechanger
With their robust support for restoring salmon, fighting contamination and limiting boat traffic, Orca Task Force members are cautiously optimistic about Inslee's budget helping the Southern Residents.  Hannah Weinberger reports. (Crosscut)


Sunshine Coast 1,800-acre land parcel up for sale
Nearly 2,000 acres of land in one of B.C.’s most stunning fiords is up for sale for $3.2 million, prompting calls to turn the undeveloped land into protected park land. The 1,783-acre Sunshine Coast property — boasting more than four kilometres of ocean frontage, but also granite cliffs and steep terrain — is located on the south side of Princess Louisa Inlet, a popular destination for tourists and Pacific Northwest boaters. “It’s as close to heaven on Earth as you can get,” said Robert Rothe, president of the Princess Louisa International Society, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the inlet. Cheryl Chan reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Campaign launched to expand Illahee Preserve
Jeremy Stitt remembers roaming free as a child through the forests of a still-wild Illahee.  Many years later, the East Bremerton native sees an opportunity to protect some of those same undeveloped places before they're lost forever. Stitt is one of many volunteers backing an effort to add dozens of acres to Illahee Preserve, a sprawling county heritage park between Bremerton and Silverdale. Organized by the non-profit group Illahee Forest Preserve, the capital campaign aims to purchase a series of parcels and conservation easements encompassing a furrowed and fern-choked swath of woods dubbed "The Lost Continent." Several of the properties targeted for acquisition could be cleared and built on if not added to the 572-acre park. And once they're gone, Stitt observed, "you can't get them back." Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Test your herring knowledge
One of the first steps in protecting any species is understanding as much as you can about it. When it comes to Pacific herring in the Salish Sea, much is known but until recently many of the key scientific findings about the species had not been gathered together in a single place. A new state of the knowledge report published by the Puget Sound Institute and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is a step toward remedying that.The report, “Assessment and Management of Salish Sea Herring” was prepared with support from a grant from the SeaDoc Society. It will be used to advance herring conservation in the region, including potential herring recovery work related to the state’s Pacific herring ‘Vital Sign’. Herring are also a critical food source for many species such as Chinook salmon, which in turn feed Puget Sound’s endangered orcas. Tessa Francis of the Puget Sound Institute and Dayv Lowry of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife were the principle investigators on the report and received input from a cross-border team from state and federal agencies, universities and area tribes. (Puget Sound Institute)

A Toxic Pesticide Once Targeted For A Ban Was Probably Sprayed On Your Christmas Tree
The Trump administration decided not to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. Records show it continues to sicken people. Tony Schick reports. (OPB/EarthFix) See also: U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz introduces bill to ban chlorpyrifos near schools nationwide  Nina Wu reports. (Star Advertiser) And also: This Pesticide Poisons Kids, But It's Still Sprayed On Washington Orchards   Eilis O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Washington Senate investigating harassment allegation against Sen. Kevin Ranker
The state Senate is conducting an outside investigation into Democratic Sen. Kevin Ranker after allegations of improper conduct, the first test of the chamber’s new workplace policies adopted in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Through a public-records request, The Associated Press obtained a contract between the Senate and Tara Parker, an investigator with Ogden Murphy Wallace law firm in Seattle, who was hired by the chamber in October. Ann Larson, who served as Ranker’s legislative assistant for a year nearly a decade ago, said the investigation is related to sexual-harassment and hostile-workplace issues. She says she also was subjected to hostile encounters involving Ranker once she left to work as a legislative liaison for the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Rachel LaCorte reports. (Associated Press)

Creator Of Floating Garbage Collector Struggling To Capture Plastic In Pacific
A crew of engineers in the middle of the ocean will try to fix a device that was intended to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic have coalesced into a field of debris twice the size of Texas. The garbage catcher has been floating in the Pacific since its highly anticipated launch out of San Francisco in September, but it has yet to produce the results anticipated. Its inventor, 24-year-old Boyan Slat, told The Associated Press the solar-powered barrier hasn't collected any loads of trash because it's moving more slowly than the plastic it's trying to capture. Francesca Paris reports. (NPR)


Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  840 AM PST Tue Dec 18 2018   
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING
  
TODAY
 SW wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 16 ft  at 13 seconds. Rain. 
TONIGHT
 SW wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell  16 ft at 13 seconds. Showers in the evening then showers likely  after midnight.

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