Monday, December 10, 2018

12/10 Marmot, COP24, BC pipe, Skagit salmon, sea lion kills, public access, Anacortes sued, Everett bag ban, humpback play, Clallam murrelets, Frognal halt, OR crabs

Olympic marmot [Chad Collins/Flickr]
Olympic marmot Marmota olympus
The Olympic marmot is a rodent in the squirrel family, Sciuridae; it occurs only in the U.S. state of Washington, on the middle elevations of the Olympic Peninsula. The closest relatives of this species are the hoary marmot and the Vancouver Island marmot. In 2009, it was declared the official endemic mammal of Washington. This marmot is about the size of a domestic cat, typically weighing about 8 kg (18 lb) in summer. The species shows the greatest sexual dimorphism found in marmots, with adult males weighing on average 23% more than females. It can be identified by a wide head, small eyes and ears, stubby legs, and a long, bushy tail. Its sharp, rounded claws aid in digging burrows. The coat color changes with the season and with age, but an adult marmot's coat is brown all over with small whiter areas for most of the year. (Wikipedia)

Climate change: COP24 fails to adopt key scientific report
Attempts to incorporate a key scientific study into global climate talks in Poland have failed. The IPCC report on the impacts of a temperature rise of 1.5C, had a significant impact when it was launched last October. Scientists and many delegates in Poland were shocked as the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected to this meeting "welcoming" the report. It was the 2015 climate conference that had commissioned the landmark study. Matt McGrath reports. (BBC)

At new First Nations consultations on Trans Mountain pipeline, ceremony, tears — and accusations the fix is in 
In a drab, windowless room at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre this week, at the tail end of a weeks-long series of hearings that some have called a sham, there was a rare break from the formal proceedings. Three National Energy Board (NEB) panel members assigned to gather oral evidence from Indigenous leaders about the possible effects of marine traffic related to the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion were asked to assemble in the middle of the room to watch members of the nearby Snuneymuxw First Nation re-create a salmon-honouring ceremony.... But this moment of quiet rapture and human connection was, according to observers and transcripts of previous hearings, more the exception than the rule during three weeks of oral testimony that concluded Thursday. In fact, many participants were not shy in telling the NEB panel they had little faith in the process and feared it was headed for a “predetermined outcome.” Douglas Quan and Maura Forrest report. (Canadian Press)

Seattle City Light surveys help protect salmon
After salmon fight their way upstream in the Skagit River to lay their eggs, they die — providing a source of food for scavengers including bald eagles and black bears but leaving their young defenseless until they hatch. Seattle City Light, which operates three hydroelectric dams on the upper Skagit River, is tasked as part of its federal license with protecting those eggs if possible. The goal is to protect 100 percent of the habitat where salmon and steelhead lay eggs between the utility’s Gorge Dam near Newhalem and where the Sauk River meets the Skagit near Rockport. Seattle City Light fisheries biologist Erin Lowery and Stan Walsh of the Skagit River System Cooperative said the utility consistently protects 97 percent or more of that habitat by maintaining adequate river flows. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Two more sea lions confirmed shot and killed; brings total to 12
Two more sea lions have been confirmed shot in the head, bringing the total shot dead in Puget Sound up to 12. Casey Mclean, from SR, a local nonprofit dedicated to marine wildlife welfare, examined them just last week. (KIRO)

Anglers win Supreme Court battle against U.S. billionaire over access to lakes, roads
A precedent-setting B.C. Supreme Court decision has ruled that the public should be able to access fishing lakes near Merritt, B.C., after years of what has been described as a "David and Goliath" legal battle. For years, the Douglas Lake Cattle Company (DLCC), the largest working ranch in Canada, owned by U.S. billionaire Stan Kroenke, and a group of determined anglers have been going head to head. Their dispute centred primarily on access to two fishing lakes and a road. Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake are surrounded by land owned by the large ranch, which claimed the access roads, water bodies and fish in them are private property. Members of the Nicola Valley Fish and Game club argued the lakes and roadway are Crown land and should be free for anyone to useIn a lengthy decision released Friday, which cited historical documents, photos, and testimony from members of the Indigenous community, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Joel Groves determined that both lakes are public.  Michelle Ghoussoub reports. (CBC)

Anacortes sued over stormwater management
An environmental group is suing the city of Anacortes under the Clean Water Act, alleging it is failing to manage stormwater pollution. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, a Seattle-based nonprofit that focuses on water issues. The lawsuit alleges the city has failed to comply with permits that regulate discharge of stormwater into streams, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound, posing a threat to water quality. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Everett City Council approves ban on single-use plastic bags
It will go into effect in September. Shoppers will be able to purchase a thicker plastic or paper bag for $0.05. Liz Giordano reports. (Everett Herald)

If you like to watch: Rare footage of humpback playing with log near Comox Harbour
A Vancouver-based non-profit has posted rare footage of a humpback having a “whale” of a time, playing with a log in B.C. waters. The four-year-old whale, named Lorax, was recorded doing the sea mammal’s version of the log driver’s waltz off Comox Harbour on Dec. 2. “Logging is a term referring to when whales and dolphins are resting,” said Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Ocean Friends Director. “This rare type of ‘play logging’ adds to our knowledge of their complex lives.” Harrison Mooney reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Clallam County commissioners approve letter to Department of Natural Resources
The Clallam County commissioners have agreed to send a letter to the state Department of Natural Resources, telling the department that its financial analysis on the Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the long-term conservation strategy of the marbled murrelet is inadequate.... The letter says that while the county values protecting the marbled murrelet, a species that has continued to have a population decline, the county also values protecting a source of revenue that affects the entire county.... Commissioners have expressed concern about the amount of timberland set aside near Clallam Bay, saying it will create a financial burden for junior taxing districts such as the Cape Flattery School District. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Judge halts work at Frognal housing development, for now
A group is fighting in court to overturn logging and grading approvals for the subdivision near Mukilteo. Neighbors and environmental groups oppose the 112-home subdivision by Frugal Estates development near Picnic Point because, they say, it poses risks to a salmon-bearing stream and could increase the chances of landslides. (Everett Herald)

Oregon Crab Season Delayed Again Until Start Of 2019
Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery will not open until at least Dec. 31 after testing by state fishery managers revealed crabs are still too low in meat yield in some areas of the coast. The valuable commercial fishery traditionally opens on Dec. 1. In November, fishery managers announced the season would be delayed until mid-December because crabs were not plump enough. Katie Frankowicz reports. (Daily Astorian)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  249 AM PST Mon Dec 10 2018   
 SW wind to 10 kt becoming S 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 9 ft at 14 seconds. A chance of  showers. 
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt rising to 25 to 35 kt after  midnight. Combined seas 7 to 9 ft with a dominant period of  13 seconds. A chance of rain in the evening then rain after  midnight.

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