Thursday, January 17, 2019

1/17 Lugworm, green Washington, BC oil pipe, EPA's Wheeler, fish traps, Skagit steelhead. razor clam digs, stewards program, Puget Sound herring

Pacific lugworm [Dave Cowles]
Pacific lugworm Abarenicola pacifica
Lives in an L-shaped burrow, head down.  It everts its esophagus then pulls it in, thus ingesting mud and feeding on organisms such as nematodes within it.  Periodically it backs up to near the surface to defecate, forming the characteristic mound around its burrow.  The mound will often have coils of castings roughly 1/2 cm in diameter.  The lugworm pulses its body while within the burrow to bring in oxygenated water. Japan, Pacific coast from Alaska south to Humboldt Bay in northern California. (Walla Walla University)

Poll: After 2018's smoke and dead orcas, voters want environmental action
While Washington has a reputation as a greener-than-average state, voters have a history of giving less priority to the environment when it’s pitted against other issues like education and homelessness. From 2009 to 2018, no more than 7 percent of respondents in Elway polls chose “the environment” as a top priority. But in a new Elway/Crosscut Poll released this month, the environment doubled its support to earn its highest marks since 2001, when interest was at 15 percent. Elway Research President Stuart Elway says it’s rare for environmental interest to break single digits. Manola Secaira reports. (Crosscut)

Nearly 6 in 10 Canadians call lack of new pipeline capacity a 'crisis,' poll suggests
A slight majority of Canadians are calling the lack of new oil pipeline capacity in the country a "crisis," according to findings from a recent survey by the Angus Reid Institute. The institute surveyed 4,024 Canadian adults between Dec. 21 and Jan. 3, and found that 58 per cent affirmed that the lack of new oil pipeline capacity constitutes a crisis, while 42 per cent said it does not.  But responses varied widely though across the provinces, with a high of 87 per cent of Albertans polled calling it a crisis while, at the low end, only 40 per cent of Quebecers had a similar sentiment. (CBC)

Republicans Praise, Democrats Grill Andrew Wheeler In EPA Chief Confirmation Hearing
Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who has been serving as the acting EPA administrator since July, faced Senate lawmakers on Wednesday for his first confirmation hearing to lead the agency. He defended his record on rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations as Democrats assailed his ties to business and his lack of urgency on the issue of climate change. “The Trump Administration has proven that burdensome environmental regulations are not necessary to drive environmental progress,” Wheeler said. “I am very proud of the work I did.”  Daniella Cheslow reports. (NPR)

Banned Fish Trap Returns To Columbia As Sustainable Way To Catch Salmon
About half the salmon swimming up the Columbia River come from hatcheries — raised to be caught by fishermen. The rest are wild. And many of those salmon are protected under the Endangered Species Act. For years, Oregon and Washington have been searching for the best way to catch more hatchery fish while letting the wild fish return unharmed to their spawning grounds. Now, one group says they’ve found it. Fish traps were banned on the Columbia more than 80 years ago. But advocates with the Wild Fish Conservancy are revisiting the idea as a new, sustainable way to separate hatchery salmon from wild fish. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB)

Government shutdown likely to delay Skagit steelhead fishery
The partial shutdown of the federal government likely will delay the state’s plan to open a special catch-and-release fishery for native steelhead on the Skagit and Sauk rivers. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife and tribal leaders are seeking federal permission to open portions of the rivers for steelhead catch and release during daylight hours starting Feb. 1 and continuing until April 15. The approval is necessary because the Skagit’s native steelhead run is threatened, meaning it’s protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. But the request for continuing a special sport fishing season is sitting under a pile of paperwork on the desks of furloughed workers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s unclear when NOAA employees will get back to work and when they will consider the 2019 special season. Mike Benbow reports (Everett Herald)

Government shutdown leads to cancellation of Kalaloch razor clam digs
At the request of Olympic National Park, the state Department of Fish & Wildlife has canceled razor clam digs scheduled for Kalaloch beach Saturday through Monday. “We are going to cancel that and we will send out a media release later this morning,” Lee Taylor, Olympic National Park acting superintendent, said Wednesday. Taylor declined to discuss the park’s reasoning behind the cancellation. Fish & Wildlife and Olympic National Park co-manage razor clam digs at Kalaloch, which is located within the park. Fish & Wildlife coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres said the request came as a result of the government shutdown. Michael Carman reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Applicants sought for Salish Sea Stewards program
The Skagit Marine Resources Committee is accepting applications for its Salish Sea Stewards program. The program, which is in its sixth year, offers 40 hours of classroom and field-based training on the region’s marine resources in order to prepare volunteers for various research, monitoring and outreach efforts. The training will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, March 19 to May 21, at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 10441 Bayview-Edison Road.... Applications for the 2019 program are being accepted through March 1. Participation requires a $12 fee for a background check. The application is available at and can be submitted by email to, or by mail to: Skagit County Public Works, Attn: Tracy Alker, Skagit MRC Coordinator, 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon, 98273-5625. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Puget Sound Once Teemed with Herring. Can the Industry Be Revived?
“If there is no fish, even herring is a fish,” goes an old Yiddish saying. No matter how bad things got, herring was plentiful — a last resort, but one that made its way into the canon of Jewish cuisine (and to the butt of more than a few Jewish jokes). Herring’s prominence in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine comes from its ability to flourish in the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea, explains Gil Marks in his Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. The Jews of Europe ate it with black bread and boiled potatoes and served it for Shabbat Kiddush and to break their fasts. When they immigrated to the United States, they brought the tradition with them, and herring — once a poor man’s food — shows up at lavish Shabbat spreads. However, Jews weren’t the only immigrants with attachments to the small, fatty fish. The large Scandinavian population that landed in Seattle also relied on them, as did tribal communities for thousands of years prior. And until about 40 years ago, Puget Sound teemed with herring. Naomi Tomky writes. (Jewish in Seattle Magazine)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  809 PM PST Wed Jan 16 2019    GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT   
 E wind 25 to 35 kt. Combined seas 9 to 11 ft with a  dominant period of 17 seconds. Rain. 
 E wind 25 to 35 kt becoming SW after midnight.  Combined seas 13 to 15 ft with a dominant period of 15 seconds.  Rain.

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