Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2/5 Shrew, PRV testing, David Bernhardt, grebes, bluer oceans, glacier melt

Vagrant shrew [Drew Danin]
Vagrant shrew Sorex vagrans
Vagrant shrews are found in southern BC, south along the coast to central California, and east to Idaho and Montana. Vagrant Shrews are insectivores with an incredibly fast metabolism, eating frequently to stay alive. They are about 10 centimetres (4 inches) long including their tail. They use echolocation in order to navigate, emitting low-intensity sound when navigating. Shrews do not hibernate, and they are able to reduce their body mass, including bone mass, during winter to conserve energy. Their mating season happens once a year and lasts only a few hours. These shrews inhabit moist coastal forests and open grassy meadows like Garry Oak meadows and are preyed upon by raptors and herons. All shrews are at risk of predation  by domestic cats and should be protected from cat hunting. (Salt Spring Island Conservancy)

Federal Court orders DFO to make new farmed salmon transfer policy
The Federal Court has struck down a Department of Fisheries and Oceans policy on farmed salmon, after finding that the ministry was ignoring testing for a virus when issuing licences for the transfer or release of farmed salmon. Independent biologist and marine activist Alexandra Morton sued the ministry in September along with the 'Namgis First Nation, claiming that salmon being introduced to open pen facilities were not screened for piscine orthoreovirus (PRV), which can cause heart and muscle inflammation in infected fish. The judge agreed, ruling on Monday that the current practice is unlawful. (CBC)


Trump Chooses David Bernhardt, a Former Oil Lobbyist, to Head the Interior Dept
President Trump on Monday announced he would nominate David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist and current deputy chief of the Interior Department, to succeed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who resigned amid allegations of ethical missteps.... While Mr. Zinke had been the public face of some of the largest rollbacks of public-land protections in the nation’s history, Mr. Bernhardt was the one quietly pulling the levers to carry them out, opening millions of acres of land and water to oil, gas and coal companies. He is described by allies and opponents alike as having played a crucial role in advancing what Mr. Trump has described as an “energy dominance” agenda for the country. Carol Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Once numerous in Vashon waters, Western grebes have headed south
In 1999, the first year of the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC), Vashon Audubon volunteers counted 1,619 Western grebes floating in Quartermaster Harbor. There were no Western grebes found in Quartermaster Harbor during the most recent CBC held on Dec. 31, 2018. Western grebes are graceful, gregarious and charismatic marine birds. They are pursuit divers that plunge into dense schools of forage fish to spear herring, sardines and smelt with their long, yellow bills. Large rafts of grebes spend the winter months in protected saltwater harbors and bays. They summer inland, on freshwater lakes, where they lay their eggs on floating nests and carry newborns on their backs. Western grebes mate for life and are celebrated for a synchronized courtship dance that climaxes in a mad dash across the top of the water called rushing. It’s a must-see on YouTube. Though impressive, the numbers of Western grebes counted in 1999 was significantly lower than previous decades. Chris Woods reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

Climate change: Blue planet will get even bluer as Earth warms
Rising temperatures will change the colour of the world's oceans, making them more blue in the coming decades say scientists. They found that increased heat will change the mixture of phytoplankton or tiny marine organisms in the seas, which absorb and reflect light. Scientists say there will be less of them in the waters in the decades to come. This will drive a colour change in more than 50% of the world's seas by 2100. Matt McGrath reports. (BBC)

Aerial photographs show Washington's dramatically receding glaciers
Mountains loom large in the Skagit River Valley. Visitors come from all over the world to spend time exploring the massive peaks of the North Cascades. But few people get the perspective on them enjoyed by two men who are documenting the response of Washington’s glaciers to climate change. Jon Riedel is a geologist with the U.S. National Park Service. And John Scurlock is a photographer and pilot who works with scientists like Riedel. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX) See also: Climate change: Warming threatens Himalayan glaciers  Climate change poses a growing threat to the glaciers found in the Hindu Kush and Himalayan mountain ranges, according to a new report. The study found that if CO2 emissions are not cut rapidly, two thirds of these giant ice fields could disappear. Matt McGrath reports. (BBC)



Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  710 AM PST Tue Feb 5 2019   
TODAY
 E wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 15 seconds. 
TONIGHT
 E wind to 10 kt rising to 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 ft at 15 seconds.



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