The North American beaver is one of two extant beaver species. It is native to North America and introduced to Patagonia in South America and some European countries. In the United States and Canada, the species is often referred to simply as "beaver"... Other vernacular names, including American beaver and Canadian beaver, distinguish this species from the other extant beaver species, Castor fiber, which is native to Eurasia. The North American beaver is an official animal symbol of Canada and is the official state mammal of Oregon. See also: The Gnawing Question of Saltwater Beavers Scientists have long overlooked beavers in the intertidal zone. Now they’re counting on the freshwater rodents to restore Washington’s coastal ecosystems. Ben Goldfarb reports. (Hakai Magazine)
West Coast's biggest starfish vanishing amid disease, warming oceans, study finds
Once a common delight of every beachcomber, sunflower starfish — the large, multi-armed starfish sometimes seen underwater at the near shore — are imperiled by disease and ocean warming along the West Coast. The devastation occurred over just a few years, and even affected starfish in deeper water, according to research co-led by the University of California, Davis and Cornell University published in the journal Science Advances. At one time plentiful, the sea suns, or sunflower starfish, right now cannot be found off the California coast and are rare northward into Alaska, said Drew Harvell, the paper’s co-author and Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. The starfish have become so rare over the past three years the scientists consider them endangered in the southern part of their range. Lynda Makes reports. (Seattle Times)
Better enforcement of habitat protection for endangered fish may be key to orca survival
If you want to keep Puget Sound's endangered orca whales from going extinct, you have to make sure they have enough to eat. That’s a key message from members of Gov. Jay Inslee’s orca recovery task force....House Bill 1579 is mostly about protecting fish habitat by enforcing existing law, so that the salmon have places to spawn and successfully reproduce once they come home. The habitat also is crucial for smaller forage fish that the salmon eat....The law at the heart of this is Washington state's hydraulic code, which is supposed to protect fish life from construction impacts in state waters.... Salmon habitat is still shrinking because of illegal construction and permit violations. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)
Tacoma's long-delayed natural gas plant has a community on edge
A proposed liquid natural gas plant on Tacoma's waterfront has attracted protests from residents, tribes and scientists — but whether Puget Sound Energy is listening remains unknown. Manola Secaira reports. (Crosscut)
Canada’s energy regulator reviews pipeline's impact on climate change
This week, Canada’s energy regulator is listening to feedback on the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. It’s part of a two-step process to consider the possible effects of the expansion on climate change. After an application from the environmental group Stand.earth, the National Energy Board has decided to ask if it has done enough to consider how the proposed pipeline expansion may affect greenhouse gas emissions. Craig McCulloch reports. (KNKX)
Vancouver could see snow after all, with flurries forecast for Sunday
The polar vortex expanding southward is expected to swing out west over the weekend, dropping the temperature below freezing this weekend and into next week. Harrison Mooney reports. (Vancouver Sun) See also: ‘Maybe’s the key word’ for Whatcom County’s snow forecast Robert Mittendorf reports. (Bellingham Herald)
If you like to watch: Warming in the stratosphere leads to cold winters
n the first week of January, the Arctic stratosphere suddenly warmed up, an occurrence known as “sudden stratospheric warming” (SSW). This phenomenon results in cold winter weather, just the kind we are facing now – ETH researchers have visualised the event that was observed before the current one – in February 2018. Peter Rüegg reports. (ETH News]
Here’s why the water at Bellingham’s Scudder Pond is such an unnatural color
Nature is putting on an uncommon show at Scudder Pond, where the water is a bright rusty-pink. The unusual hue has stirred wonder as well as concern from nearby residents and visitors ambling through the 2-acre nature preserve of ponds and wetlands at the northeast end of Bellingham’s Whatcom Falls Park. The color covers about a third of the pond. What’s causing it? An aquatic fern called Azolla microphylla, which is synonymous with Azolla mexicana, according to Sara Brooke Benjamin, the environmental coordinator in the Natural Resources division of the city’s Public Works Department. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)
Saving streams from the manure of more than 3,000 horses
A new program addresses one of Snohomish County’s biggest water-quality concerns. The program helps horse owners keep manure under control, turn it into fertilizer and use it on their pastures. Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Everett Herald)
Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca- 241 AM PST Thu Jan 31 2019
TODAY SE wind to 10 kt becoming NE in the afternoon. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds. A chance of rain.
TONIGHT E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 19 seconds. Rain.
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