Tuesday, December 4, 2018

12/4 Razor clam, Chinook, Growlers, BC pipe, whale watch surcharge, busy beavers, sea lion kill, protected Skagit R., repeal water rule, McNeil Is., bag ban, sinking island, Frognal homes

Pacific razor clam [Walla Walla U.]
Pacific razor clam Siliqua patula
The Pacific razor clam (Siliqua patula) is an exceptionally meaty shellfish which ranges from California to Alaska. It is abundant on surf-pounded ocean beaches, but also occurs in sheltered areas along the coast. Limited diving observations have indicated some adult razor clams (S.patula) offshore for up to one-half mile. Razor clams dredged in water deeper than 30 feet, although similar to the beach clam, are a different species (Siliqua sloati). Washington razor clam season is open for 4 days beginning Dec. 6. (WDFW)

Half of Canada’s chinook salmon populations in decline: scientists
Half the country’s chinook salmon populations are endangered and most of the rest are in decline, according to a science committee that monitors the health of wildlife populations. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife In Canada reported Monday that of Canada’s 16 Chinook populations, eight are endangered, four are threatened and one is considered of special concern. Only one, located in British Columbia’s Thompson River, is considered stable. The condition of two populations is unknown. Endangered is the committee’s most serious ranking, suggesting the population is in danger of being wiped out. Bob Weber reports. (Canadian Press)

Navy ends talks to ease Growler jet impacts on Whidbey Island historic district
The Navy has terminated talks with state and local groups about easing the impacts of expanding EA-18G Growler jet training over a central Whidbey Island historic district. A Navy statement Friday cited a “fundamental difference of opinion” on what should be done to reduce the noise and other adverse effects of the training flights. The breakdown of talks is the latest sign of a bitter divide between the Navy and many residents of the rural central part of the island who fiercely oppose plans to quadruple, in the years ahead, the number of Growler flights over the Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve. State officials also took issue with the Navy. They joined with local groups in declining to sign a proposed  memorandum of agreement. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

A mournful plea: NEB pipeline hearing challenged on endangered whales
Tom Sampson, an elder with the Tsartlip First Nation, stood before the National Energy Board last week and sang a prayer song in the language his grandmother would sing when someone died. He was singing for Tahlequah, a member of the J-Pod of killer whales, who this summer carried her dead newborn calf in the waters off of southern Vancouver Island for more than two weeks in an apparent display of grief. The mother whale, part of the endangered southern resident killer whale population, was delivering a message, he said: “Something is wrong with what we are doing.” The NEB panel is reconsidering the Trans Mountain expansion proposal, after the federal Court of Appeal overturned Ottawa’s approval for the oil pipeline. Unlike the first hearings, the plight of the whales is at the core of this review. Justine Hunter reports. (Globe and Mail)

B.C. whale-watching group uses surcharge to boost salmon, orca research
A British Columbia whale-watching organization is boosting its passenger surcharge to increase spending on science programs and salmon-recovery projects for killer whale conservation. Prince of Whales Whale Watching says the conservation fee charged to passengers will rise from $2 to $5 and will be aimed at supporting the endangered southern resident killer whale population. The company says in a news release the added fee is expected to generate more than $1 million over the next five years with the money going towards orca-based science programs and chinook salmon recovery projects, the preferred food of the resident whales. (Canadian Press)

Busy beavers create salmon habitat in Kitsap
On a wooded stretch of Barker Creek, where the stream meanders past a churchyard, water pools behind a dam not built by human hands.  Beavers are busy throughout the soggy gully. Tidy stacks of gnawed sticks divert the flow of water in places, creating sprawling ponds. The stream banks are littered with fallen trees, and the trunks of still-standing cedars have been chewed nearly in half.  In places like Barker, and other creeks across the county, stream-watchers have noticed an uptick in beaver activity this year, raising concern among some observers that the natural barriers could block fish passages. A dry start to the fall kept water levels low in many creeks, slowing the progress of salmon to spawning grounds and making the beaver dams even more noticeable. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun)

10 sea lions confirmed shot in Puget Sound, and that number could grow
Another sea lion was shot in the Puget Sound, among at least 16 that have died from “acute trauma” caused by humans since September. Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday that a sea lion found dead earlier this month was confirmed via a necropsy to have been shot. The findings bring the total number of sea lions shot since early fall to at least 10. The actual number may be higher, as decomposition sometimes impedes officials’ ability to determine an animal’s cause of death. (KCPQ/Associated Press)

Stretch of Skagit riverfront permanently protected for fish, wildlife
A 1,500-footlong stretch of riverfront along the Skagit River near Rockport, Skagit County, totaling 61 acres has been permanently protected by Seattle City Light for fish and wildlife habitat. The land connects to other protected parcels to create a wildlife corridor for elk and other wildlife. Bald eagles fishing for salmon, all five species of Pacific salmon, as well as steelhead, utilize this stretch of river. Denise Krownbell, of City Light’s environment, land and licensing business unit, said the utility closed on the property last month. The utility tried to buy the property once before in 2012, Krownbell said, but this time succeeded with grants from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Herrera Beutler Introduces Water Bill
A bill introduced by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, intends to accomplish what the Environmental Protection Agency has been unable to do: repeal the Waters of the United States rule. "It is time for Congress to provide permanent relief for Southwest Washington farmers and landowners who would be so detrimentally impacted by this devastating rule that would cost time, money and jobs," Herrera Beutler said in a press release. The rule, also known as the Clean Water Rule, was instituted in June 2015 under President Barack Obama. It was suspended for two years in January. Katy Sword reports. (The Columbian)

Sewage spill prompts advisory for Silverdale waterfront
Health officials issued a no-contact advisory for the north end of Dyes Inlet on Monday, following a sewage spill.  The 2,500-gallon spill occurred Saturday on Levin Road, near the mouth of Clear Creek, according to Kitsap Public Health District. The advisory, which remains in effect through Dec. 8, includes the north shore of Dyes Inlet from Newberry Hill Road to Anna Smith Park. (Kitsap Sun)

State cleaning 100-year-old debris from south Puget Sound island
Washington state is spending $500,000 to remove 100-year-old debris from an island in south Puget Sound. So far over 1,000 tons of debris including creosote-soaked pilings have been removed from McNeil Island. McNeil Island in Pierce County once had a school, prison, lumber mill, and homes. Now the only residents on the six-square-mile island in southern Puget Sound are the 200 sex offenders living in a special state facility. But reminders of the island’s past can be found on its beaches. Drew Mikkelson reports. (KING)

Esquimalt council to consider ban on single-use plastic bags
Esquimalt is the latest municipality following Victoria’s lead in taking steps to ban single-use plastic bags at the checkout counter. A proposal to be considered by Esquimalt councillors Monday evening recommended the township develop a timeline, work plan and budget to regulate the use of single-use bags (using Victoria’s bag bylaw as a model), and prepare a public engagement process related to banning the bags. Bill Cleverley reports. (Times Colonist)

What a sinking island can tell us about sea-level change and earthquakes
One of the most striking features of Santa Catalina Island, southwest of Los Angeles, is an absence. Unlike much of the California coast and its closest islands, Catalina lacks cliffs stepping up and back from the sea – remnants of shorelines carved when the Pacific sloshed higher than it does today and fault movements had yet to push this part of the continent beyond the water’s reach. Instead, Catalina’s ancient beaches lie hidden beneath the surf. Now, new research led by Stanford University geophysicists explains why: while most islands in southern California are inching upward, Catalina is sinking. Scientists have debated whether Catalina is rising or sinking for more than 100 years. As recently as 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey published a paper concluding that the island was rapidly uplifting. “We’re directly contrary to their results,” said Chris Castillo, a graduate student in geophysics at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth) and lead author of the new paper. Josie Garthwaite writes. (Stanford News Service)

Neighbors band together to delay work on Frognal development
Appeals are pending on the project, which would put 112 homes on steep forested land south of Mukilteo. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  222 AM PST Tue Dec 4 2018   
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell 4 ft  at 11 seconds. 
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. SW swell  4 ft at 11 seconds.

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