Thursday, December 20, 2018

12/20 Fieldfare, whale sanctuary, taking salmon, salmon kill, seal pups, sewage spill, MyCoast WA, flood maps

Fieldfare [Vancouver Sun]
Rare bird wows Salmon Arm birders
A wayward bird seems to have taken a fancy to Salmon Arm. A fieldfare, spotted only once before in B.C., was still foraging in the company of robins on Tuesday, three days after being sighted in the town’s annual Christmas bird count....The bird was viewed by dozens of people on Tuesday near the corner of Krick Road and Kernaghan Road. A fieldfare was spotted in B.C. only once before, in December 2003, near Pitt Meadows. Ron Seymour reports. (Kelowna Daily Courier)

More areas of B.C. coastal waters designated as killer whale sanctuaries
Two more areas of B.C. waters have officially been deemed critical habitat for southern and northern resident killer whales. The designation means the two areas of ocean — from Swiftsure Bank at the entrance to the Juan de Fuca Strait north to La Perouse Bank near Tofino; and the western Dixon Entrance north of Haida Gwaii — are now legally protected against habitat-destroying activities that could hinder the survival or recovery of the whales. (CBC)

How to Milk a Killer Whale
“You need to have a relationship with the whale,” says Dawn Noren, a research fishery biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It would be hazardous to try milking any cetacean in the wild (although scientists have done so with recently deceased specimens). In captivity, though, the animals can be trained to tolerate it. Noren recently conducted a study that required 15 months of regularly milking two killer whale mothers at SeaWorld. She is using those milk samples to better understand how industrial toxins like polychlorinated biphenyls are passed in milk from mothers to calves among a different, endangered subgroup of the species: the so-called Southern Resident killer whales of the Pacific Northwest. Malia Wollan reports. (NY Times)

Groups: U.S. must consider how salmon fishing hurts orcas
The federal government is violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to consider how salmon fishing off the West Coast is affecting endangered killer whales, two conservation groups said Tuesday as they threatened a lawsuit.The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity and the Washington state-based Wild Fish Conservancy notified President Donald Trump’s administration they intend to file a lawsuit within 60 days unless officials reevaluate whether the fishing further jeopardizes orcas that frequent the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest. Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

Power outages kills salmon destined for struggling orcas
A power outage on Friday killed more than 6 million salmon at the Minter Creek state fish hatchery near Gig Harbor. The loss includes more than 500,000 White River Spring chinook salmon being raised specially to help the southern resident orcas survive. Fast-moving water is pumped in to provide oxygen to their incubators but at 5:30 p.m. on Friday a storm knocked the power out and the salmon began to suffocate.... The water is pumped from a creek. A backup generator is supposed kick-in automatically and run the pumps when the power goes out, but it failed to start. Essex Porter reports. (KING)

Vancouver Aquarium releases rehabilitated seal pups back to the sea
The last group of the rescued seal pups has left the care of the Vancouver Aquarium to go home for the holidays. After rehabilitation and treatment, seven pups were released into the Salish Sea at Iona Beach Regional Park in Richmond, Dec. 18, ready to return to their natural habitat. All around two to three months in age, the pups were transported to the beach in small kennels to be released a few at a time. While some waddled quickly over the sand into the water, others were not as keen. Staff and volunteers had to give some extra encouragement by slowly tipping the kennels until the seals slid out and on to the beach. Once in the water, the seal pups bobbed around close to shore until the whole group eventually made it to the sea.  Kathryn Tindale reports. (Vancouver Courier)

130,000 gallons of sewage spill into Puget Sound after power outage
A windstorm that struck Shoreline caused massive quantities of wastewater to overflow into Puget Sound on Friday, Dec. 14. The windstorm caused a power outage at King County’s Richmond Beach Pump Station. That caused 130,000 gallons of sewage to overflow into Puget Sound. Power was out at the pump station for approximately two hours. There were no ill effects in water quality found following the overflow. (My Northwest)

App lets smartphone users keep Puget Sound Clean
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has announced the launch of MyCoast Washington – a mobile app that allows the public to help identify and remove marine debris. The app allows people to photograph large marine debris, creosote-treated wood, derelict vessels, storm surge damage, king tides and changes to shorelines while walking Washington’s beaches. DNR and its partners will then use that information to prioritize clean-ups and inform management of aquatic lands in a changing climate. (Tacoma Weekly)

Updated flood maps alter insurance requirements for San Juan Islanders
For the first time in roughly 40 years, flood zones in San Juan County have been updated, altering which property owners are required to buy insurance in case of water damage. When those owners forgo coverage, federally regulated mortgage lenders step in by legally charging customers for insurance. Homeowners in high-risk zones don’t always have the option to gamble on whether floods will hit; the federal government has already waged where inundation will occur and who needs to prepare. Haley Day reports. (Islands Sounder)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  235 AM PST Thu Dec 20 2018   
 SE wind 30 to 45 kt becoming W in the afternoon.  Combined seas 14 to 17 ft with a dominant period of 15 seconds  building to 20 to 21 ft with a dominant period of 11 seconds in  the afternoon. Rain. 
 W wind 30 to 45 kt becoming NW 20 to 30 kt after  midnight. Combined seas 22 to 24 ft with a dominant period of 12  seconds subsiding to 16 to 18 ft with a dominant period of 12  seconds after midnight. A chance of showers in the evening then a  slight chance of showers after midnight.

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