Thursday, February 14, 2019

2/14 Lovebird, Gamble Bay freeze, road salt, indigenous people rights, Methow mining, Great Gray Owl, sperm test

Grey-headed lovebird [Tony Austin/Flickr]
Lovebird Agapornis
A lovebird is the common name of Agapornis (Greek: αγάπη agape 'love'; όρνις ornis 'bird'), a small genus of parrot. Eight species are native to the African continent, with the grey-headed lovebird being native to Madagascar. Social and affectionate, the name comes from the parrots' strong, monogamous pair bonding and the long periods which paired birds spend sitting together. (Wikipedia)

It's been that cold: Gamble Bay partially freezes over during cold snap
It's a very rare sight to see any kind of large body of water freeze around here, but that was the case earlier this week with Gamble Bay over on the Kitsap Peninsula. Frigid temperatures combined with snow run off to bring the surface of the water below freezing, even though the bay itself is salt water. It's not exactly as captivating as a perfectly spinning circle of ice, but it's still quite the rare treat to see in the Northwest. "Obviously one of the most used phrases over the past 10 days has been 'I have never seen anything like this,' " life-long Puget Sound resident Greg Johnson wrote in a blog entry. "This qualifies as a story about something I have never seen before." Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Salt. Seattle's go-to deicer, despite its downsides
One of the main tools that road crews have been fighting the Seattle area’s snowpocalypse with is salt—despite salt’s many well-known downsides. “There’s quite a long list,” engineering professor Xianming Shi with Washington State University said. “The salt on the road is an enormous problem on your car,” Darlene Feikema of Shoreline said while out shoveling her driveway. “It doesn’t show up immediately, but it corrodes the car, rusts it out.”.... Veterinarians recommend wiping or rinsing off dogs’ paws after they walk near salt-treated roads. Road salt also pollutes waterways and groundwater and shortens the lifespan of asphalt and concrete infrastructure. Still, Seattle officials have been touting how much, not how little, salt road crews have been applying. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

B.C. commits to being 1st province in Canada to put UNDRIP into legislation
The B.C. government says it will introduce legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), among plans announced in Tuesday's throne speech. The goal is to table legislation sometime this year. If passed, it will make B.C. the first province in Canada to legislate its endorsement of the declaration. Premier John Horgan told reporters on Tuesday he's unsure what implementation will look like — if a single bill will do the job or if several pieces of legislation will need to be rewritten. He said legislative councils are working on the details and will be reporting back with their findings. Chantelle Bellrichard reports. (CBC)

In Methow Valley, locals hope D.C. lawmakers will stop a copper mine
A bird could fly the distance between the general store in Mazama and a proposed 531-square-mile strip-mining operation in about 10 minutes, a journey that includes traversing a vertical mile. Owned and operated by Ric and Missy LeDucs, the store serves the Okanogan County town’s population of maybe 200 in Washington’s northern Cascades, about 2,000 feet above sea level. Just north of the hamlet is 7,000-foot Goat Peak.... On the opposite side of the ridge and Flagg Mountain is the site currently targeted by Blue River Resources, a Vancouver, B.C., mining company that has had its eye on the land since 2013. The company sees potential to extract copper, up to 1 billion pounds, or 500,000 tons, according to its website.... DeLuc and other residents in the valley opposed to the operation are looking to Washington, D.C., where a bill by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., was tucked inside a package of roughly 110 natural resource bills bound together by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Cantwell. The Senate passed that package 87-7 on Tuesday. John Stang reports. (Crosscut)

Half Mystery, Half Magic: In Search Of Great Grey Owls
Nicknamed the "ghosts of the forest," great grey owls are elusive. Photographer Ken Shults is on a quest to find and photograph these elegant owls. Ian McCluskey reports. (OPB)

Yesterday's pre-Valentine's Day story [Nothing says Valentine’s quite like mucus, semen and crunchy sea urchins] prompted Rick Haley of Skagit County to write: "Did you know that if you inject sea urchins (and sand dollars) with KCl [potassium chloride], they will start spawning immediately? In my previous life conducting aquatic toxicology tests with paper mill effluents, we did a lot of sea urchin sperm testing.  One of the pioneers of that test was our very own Dr. Paul Dinnel.  The idea was to expose the sperm to effluent dilutions, then add eggs to see if they could still do the job.  Echinoid [sea urchin] eggs, once fertilized, form a very distinct fertilization ring that’s easy to count.  What we found was that pulp mill effluent was way more “toxic” to sea urchin sperm than to freshwater organisms like trout and Ceriodaphnia [daphnids].  We did all kinds of stats trying to relate the known toxicants in the effluent to the effects we were seeing, and got nowhere.  Eventually we arrived at the determination that it wasn’t the chlorinated organics, it was high molecular mass compounds that were from the wood itself.  The best correlation was with tannin levels.  I tested the theory by brewing a really strong cup of tea, and we found that was extremely “toxic” to the sperm cells.  I put toxic in parenthesis because it was probably more a physical effect interfering with the acrosome reaction than a traditional chemical toxicity.  I should stress that this info is at least 20 years old and pulp mill effluent toxicology could have changed markedly since then."

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  314 AM PST Thu Feb 14 2019   
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. S swell 6 ft  at 12 seconds. A chance of rain in the morning then rain likely  in the afternoon. 
 SE wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. S swell  6 ft at 15 seconds building to W swell 8 ft at 16 seconds after  midnight. Rain in the evening then showers likely after midnight.

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