Tuesday, June 11, 2019

6/11 Auklet, Canada captive ban, drought, Bullitt Foundation, pygmy rabbits, steelhead fishing

Whiskered auklet [Sergey Frolov/BirdNote]
The Auklet's Whiskers - Not Just for Show
In Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, thousands of Whiskered Auklets — miniature relatives of puffins and murres — nest in deep rock crevices. The birds owe their name to the white plumes that sprout from their heads each summer. These fancy “whiskers” likely play a role in courtship. But they're not just for show. Much like the whiskers of a cat, the plumes are acutely sensitive, guiding the auklets through the dark nest cavities. When nesting is done, the auklets will return to the open sea and molt their multi-purpose whiskers. Until the next spring. (BirdNote)

A more humane country': Canada to ban keeping whales, dolphins in captivity
Animal welfare advocates are celebrating after the House of Commons voted Monday to ban keeping whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity — in a move with long-term consequences for Canadian marine parks. Bill S-203, known as the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, passed a third reading in the House of Commons Monday, more than three years after it was introduced in December 2015. The bill bans keeping and breeding cetaceans — including whales, dolphins and porpoises — through amendments to the Criminal Code, and would levy fines to lawbreakers of up to $200,000. Laura Howells reports. (CBC) See also: Canada bans captivity and breeding of orcas and dolphins  Eli Rosenberg reports. (Washington Post)

Weather expert challenges severe drought assessment
The North Olympic Peninsula is in a severe drought, the state Department of Ecology said, a statement disputed by a Northwest weather expert. The U.S. Drought Monitor has changed its classification for the Olympic Peninsula from a “moderate” to “severe” drought, according to a Thursday announcement. “The current drought outlook for the Olympic Peninsula just took another step in the wrong direction,” Ecology officials said.... Cliff Mass, University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor, said a dry summer can be expected but that the term “severe drought” is “much too strong.” Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News) See also: Wildfire warning issued with hot temps coming  Firefighters are worried the hot temperatures this week could spark serious wildfires on both sides of the Cascades. (KOMO)

Bullitt Foundation, a heavy hitter in the NW's environmental movement, will wind down its giving
The Bullitt Foundation, an agenda-setting funder of the Northwest environmental movement, plans to wind down a quarter-century of grant-giving that has pumped more than $200 million into efforts ranging from restoration projects on the Green River to climate activism, as it pushed the region toward a greener future. The foundation, which traces its roots to a storied Seattle family, will give away most of what’s left of its endowment during the next five years. Hal Bernton and Evan Bush report. (Seattle Times)

WA's endangered pygmy rabbits bounce back from the brink
As climate change continues to endanger species and habitats, this grapefruit-sized rabbit stands a chance to reclaim its place in the landscape. Carl Segerstrom reports. (High Country News)

PUD: Early fishing season placed spawning steelhead in jeopardy
The battle to save a Pacific Northwest icon in Puget Sound waters has one local power company asking the state to rethink the opening day for the fishing season. Because of a rule change, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife opened the season in most areas Memorial Day weekend but, that means endangered steelhead may have been placed in angler’s crosshairs during their critical spawning season. Steve Kiggins reports. (KCPQ)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  840 PM PDT Mon Jun 10 2019   
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at  10 seconds. 
 NW wind to 10 kt becoming NE after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 10 seconds.

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