Monday, December 3, 2018

12/3 Goldeneye, climate change, ANWR, WQ standards, fishers, orcas, 'incidental harassment,' bag bans, quake water, shelter dogs

Barrow's goldeneye [Slater Museum] 
Barrow's goldeneye Bucephala islandica
The less numerous of the two goldeneye species, found mainly in wild country of northwestern North America, with small populations in eastern Canada and Iceland. Occurs in small groups in winter on cold waters, sometimes associating with Common Goldeneye flocks. Since it does not always nest in tree cavities, Barrow's may nest farther north than Common Goldeneye, extending north of treeline. (Audubon Field Guide)

Climate change: 'World at crossroads' warning as key talks begin
Four senior figures behind efforts to limit climate change have warned that the planet "is at a crossroads" as key talks opened a day early in Poland. In a rare move, four former presidents of the United Nations-sponsored talks called for decisive action. The meeting in Katowice is the most critical on climate change since the 2015 Paris agreement. Experts say that drastic cuts in emissions will be needed if the world is to reach targets agreed in Paris.   Matt McGrath reports. (BBC)

In the Blink of an Eye, a Hunt for Oil Threatens Pristine Alaska
It is the last great stretch of nothingness in the United States, a vast landscape of mosses, sedges and shrubs that is home to migrating caribou and the winter dens of polar bears. Aside from a Native village at its northern tip, civilization has not dented its 19 million acres, an area the size of South Carolina. There are no roads and no visitors beyond the occasional hunter and backpacker. But the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — a federally protected place of austere beauty that during a recent flyover was painted white by heavy snowfall — is on the cusp of major change. The biggest untapped onshore trove of oil in North America is believed to lie beneath the refuge’s coastal plain along the Beaufort Sea. For more than a generation, opposition to drilling has left the refuge largely unscathed, but now the Trump administration, working with Republicans in Congress and an influential and wealthy Alaska Native corporation, is clearing the way for oil exploration along the coast. Henry Fountain and Steve Eder report. (NY Times)

Debate over water quality standards takes a new turn
An unlikely disagreement between state and federal authorities over water-quality standards has flared up again. Two years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in to impose more stringent water-quality standards than those approved by Washington state. Now a petition from industry groups is causing the EPA to review its earlier stance. Christopher Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Fishers Will Return To The North Cascades
Washington’s North Cascades will soon see the return of a small, weasel-like predator called the fisher. The carnivores have been missing from the area since the 1930s. Biologists hope the reintroduction [this] week will follow in the footsteps of other successful efforts in Washington. Fishers are elusive predators that eat small wildlife like squirrels, snowshoe hare and mountain beavers. They’re about the size of a pet cat. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW Public Radio/EarthFix)

World's largest congregation of eagles begins in the Fraser Valley
About 35,000 eagles gather in the lower Fraser Valley between November and February. Along the Harrison River in B.C. thousands of eagles are gathering to gorge on salmon that have reached the spawning ground. David Hancock, a biologist who has been studying eagles for about 65 years, says the world's largest congregation of bald eagles happens on the river in the little community of Harrison Mills, about 100 kilometres east of Vancouver. (Canadian Press)

Puget Sound's orcas are back in town, thrilling onlookers at Alki
Orcas were back in the central Puget Sound again Friday, thrilling onlookers at Alki Point. The whales are here likely foraging on chum and coho and resident chinook salmon, said Brad Hanson, biologist with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. It’s been unusual to see the orcas so frequently, including two weeks in November when the whales wowed ferry riders and residents all over the region. Friday’s arrival was right on time with the whales’ more typical pattern. The southern residents often visit Seattle’s inland sea in December. It is J pod that most frequently visits the inland waters of Puget Sound in December but K pod was putting on the show Friday. Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)

Trump Administration Says Companies Can 'Incidentally Harass' Marine Mammals
The Trump administration has authorized five companies to “incidentally, but not intentionally, harass marine mammals” by using seismic air guns to search for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a decision opposed by environmental groups, who say the blasts could harm marine animals such as humpback whales, and some coastal communities, who fear it could be a precursor to offshore drilling. The authorizations issued by NOAA Fisheries are not the final step, however – the companies must also obtain permits from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management before they can start exploring. Merrit Kennedy reports. (NPR)

Olympic Peninsula legislators discuss ban on plastic bags
Lawmakers representing the North Olympic Peninsula have mixed feelings about a proposed state-wide ban on single-use plastic carryout bags. State Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, and State Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, both said Thursday they support bans on plastic bags, although they questioned the proposed fee. State Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Port Townsend, said he’d need to look at the legislation before expressing an opinion. The three represent the 24th District, which includes the Peninsula. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: A statewide plastic bag ban may be in Washington’s future  Rep. Peterson is pushing for a prohibition similar to the one he helped enact in Edmonds in 2009. Jerry Cornfield reports. (Everett Herald)

B.C. MP hopes Parliament passes private member's bill on plastic pollution
A Vancouver Island MP is hoping the federal government will pass his private member's motion that would create legislation to keep plastic pollution out of Canadian waters. "People are counting on elected officials and their leaders to ... demonstrate their commitment to future generations [by] protecting our environment and ensuring that we don't leave them a pile of garbage for them to clean up," said Gord Johns, MP for Courtenay-Alberni. Scientists with the Vancouver Aquarium say the average Canadian uses up to four times their body weight in throw away plastics every year. Enough of it is ending up in oceans, lakes and rivers that plastic is being found in shellfish and even drinking water. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Seattle, suburbs would lose all water pressure within 24 hours of catastrophic earthquake, city study says
A new seismic analysis shows Seattle area residents could be without water for one to two months after a big quake, but SPU is keeping the entire report secret and releasing only a 13-page summary due to security concerns. Daniel Beekman and Sandi Doughton report. (Seattle Times)

Shelter dogs get a second life as poop-sniffing scientists
Many shelter dogs spend their days sniffing out poop — but few find homes, purpose, cult followings, and calendar modeling opportunities because of it. Enter Conservation Canines: In 1997, University of Washington Center for Conservation Biology director Dr. Sam Wasser developed a program that adapts police dog detection techniques for conservation science — namely, training dogs to track down the scat of endangered and threatened wildlife species.  Since then, a rotating cast of 17 lucky dogs has spent their days in Washington's 4,300-acre Pack Forest with nine handlers. Conservation Canines (CC) looks for dogs with tireless energy and a need for stimulation — traits that prevented them from finding homes, but which makes them ideal scent detectives. They are taught to approach scent detection as a game, where they are rewarded for learning how to track the scents of dozens of species' feces. Hannah Weinberger reports. (Crosscut)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  228 AM PST Mon Dec 3 2018   

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON   

TODAY  E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 13 seconds. Areas of fog in the morning. 

TONIGHT  E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 4 ft  at 13 seconds.


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