Monday, August 12, 2019

8/12 Mosquito, BC pipe, orcas eating, Ballard Locks sockeye, PWS oil spill lessons, Trump's environment, island marble butterfly, humpback rescue

Mosquito [CDC]
Not only a nuisance, mosquitoes can pose a serious health threat to people. Disease can be spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Over 40 different mosquito species can be found in Washington, and many are vectors for diseases, such as West Nile virus, western equine encephalitis and St. Louis encephalitis. In the past, sporadic outbreaks of western equine encephalitis and St. Louis encephalitis had occurred in Washington afflicting hundreds of people. These mosquito-borne disease outbreaks prompted the development of many mosquito control districts in our state. Today, with the emergence of West Nile virus, mosquito control and bite prevention remain key in protecting public health. (WA Dept of Health) See also: West Nile virus risk increased in August, according to Interior Health  British Columbia’s Interior Health Authority has issued a warning that mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus are at their worst during August. David Carrigg reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Liberals launch next phase of engagement with Indigenous groups over Trans Mountain pipeline
The federal government has launched a new phase of engagement with Indigenous groups on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. In a news release Friday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the process will tap potential Indigenous groups interested in participating economically on the project. He also announced that Linda Coady, former chief sustainability officer for Enbridge, will will chair an advisory committee of experts. "The Trans Mountain Expansion Project presents a real economic opportunity for Canadians and for Indigenous communities," Morneau said in a statement.  (CBC)

Are the orcas starving? Scientists say it’s not that simple
The reported deaths this week of three more southern resident orcas has brought renewed urgency to efforts to save the critically endangered population of whales. Many scientists and policymakers are focusing on the orcas’ access to their main source of food, the Chinook salmon. Members of the orca population are appearing dangerously thin and malnourished. But is the drop in their numbers the result of a lack of Chinook? It is an increasing matter of debate among scientists. Jeff Rice reports. (Puget Sound Institute) See also: Orcas hunting for salmon: Not worth the effort in Puget Sound?  Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Slowly slipping away.’ Fewest Sockeye salmon ever counted at Ballard Locks
Sockeye salmon are returning to Lake Washington in the smallest numbers since record-keeping started. As of early August, 17,000 Sockeye had returned from the ocean, compared to hundreds of thousands at their peak. Visitors to the Ballard locks shouldn’t expect to see many Sockeye swimming through those fish windows. Anna Boiko-Weyrauch reports. (KUOW)

Lessons from Alaska: How an oil spill decimated a once thriving orca population
Thirty years ago, the tanker ship Exxon Valdez spilled thousands of metric tons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, and the local killer whale population was literally swimming in the thick of it.  The AB pod was a group of 35 orcas before the spill and afterwards it lost 14 whales in the space of two years. Three decades later, the population is still struggling to recover, as many of the whales who died were breeding matriarchs. It is a situation opponents of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, with its subsequent tanker traffic increase, fear could happen to the already struggling southern resident orcas in British Columbia. (CBC)

Changing Life on a Rocky Shore in Prince William Sound: A 30-Year Time Series
Early morning on Thursday July 4, during a minus tide, Skipper David Janka (Auklet Charters, Cordova, Alaska) stepped ashore at a cove on Knight Island in Prince William Sound and took the 30th annual photograph of a scene known as “Mearns Rock”. NOAA’s retired Emergency Response Division Scientist Emeritus, Dr. Alan Mearns, received the photo that evening and compared it to all previous 29 annual photos of the same scene. The entire 30-year collection of annual photos reveals dramatic year-to-year changes in the abundance of conspicuous rocky shore marine life not only at this site but also at six other locations in western Prince William Sound. (NOAA)

EPA Won’t Approve Labels That Say Roundup Chemical Causes Cancer
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will not approve labels on products containing glyphosate that link the chemical to cancer. The move is directed at California. In 2017, the state declared the chemical, which is the main active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, a carcinogen. Roundup producer Monsanto challenged the ruling in federal court, and a judge has temporarily blocked the state from requiring the labels as the lawsuit continues. Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder reports. (US News) See also: Report: EPA Excels at Trump’s Deregulatory Agenda  The Environmental Protection Agency has gone above and beyond in response to President Donald Trump’s ‘two-for-one’ executive order, according to an inspector general report. Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder reports. (US News)

Landowners asked to help conserve rare butterfly
In the latest step toward protecting the rare island marble butterfly now only found on San Juan Island, wildlife agencies are asking landowners for help. While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to list the species as endangered is pending, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife is opening a voluntary program for landowners interested in helping to save the green and white butterfly. The state agency has opened enrollment for landowners on San Juan Island and Lopez Island, where the island marble butterfly was previously found, to participate in a Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances program to help save the butterfly, according to a news release. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Rescuers Free Humpback Whale From Fishing Gear Off Washington Coast
A badly entangled whale is swimming free again after a dramatic rescue off the Washington coast on Thursday evening. The 35-foot long humpback whale calmly allowed responders to cut it free of fishing gear, according to witnesses. When responders arrived on scene near Cape Flattery, they found a young adult whale at the surface more or less “hogtied.” “This whale had line through its mouth and down both sides of its body to its tail flukes and then wrapped around several times and something heavy weighting it underneath,” said Doug Sandilands, an entanglement response specialist with the group SR3. “That’s a challenging configuration.” Sandilands guessed the whale probably swam into crab or shrimp pot lines. Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  253 AM PDT Mon Aug 12 2019   
 E wind to 10 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at 17 seconds. A chance of  showers. 
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 2 ft  at 16 seconds.

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