Thursday, August 8, 2019

8/8 'Little Treasure,' orca diet, managing wolves, OR murrelets, Denman Is plastic, Jumbo Glacier Resort, last presidential salmon, sword ferns

'Little Treasure' [Laurie MacBride]
A Little Treasure Close to Home
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "We’ve dropped our hook in bays, coves and inlets all over the coast of BC, but one of the prettiest overnight anchorages we’ve found is just a stones-throw away from home... The little island is privately owned so we can’t go ashore, but that’s fine with us. It’s perfectly lovely to watch from our boat, witnessing the play of light on the shoreline and seeing the textures and colours unfold as the evening comes on. And all within a couple of miles of home!..."

New diet unlikely to save Southern Resident orcas, experts say
Orcas could possibly adapt to rely on other food sources beyond Chinook salmon, but it's unlikely, experts say. "(Chinook salmon) are the largest, fattiest and most caloric, dense fish out there, so of course they’re going to prefer that,” said Dr. Dawn Noren, a biologist with NOAA Fishery. “They’re large animals and they’re going to get a lot of energy from those fish.” But in the Puget Sound, the salmon population has plummeted by nearly a third over the last twenty years. And while these orcas have been known to eat coho and chum salmon, the calves aren’t taught to prefer it. Abby Acone reports. (KOMO)

State begins work on wolf management plan
With a decade of growth in the state’s wolf population, including a pack identified in Skagit County last year, the state is preparing a plan for post-recovery management of the species. The state lists wolves as endangered throughout the state, and the federal government lists them as endangered in the western two-thirds of Washington. While it may be years before wolves are removed from endangered lists, the state Department of Fish & Wildlife is preparing a management plan for when delisting comes, according to a news release. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Oregon Judge Dings Wildlife Commission For Changing Direction On Murrelet Protections
A Lane County circuit court judge says the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission violated state rules when it voted not to list a rare seabird as endangered. Early last year, fish and wildlife commission members voted to change the status of the marbled murrelet from threatened to endangered under Oregon law. The change would have triggered the creation of conservation measures to protect the state-owned coastal old growth forest the seabird relies on for nesting. But it wouldn’t last. A few months later, after a push from the timber industry and coastal lawmakers, commissioners reversed their decision. Jes Burns reports. (OPB)

B.C. Ferries sends robot to find plastic pollution from cable ferry
B.C. Ferries is using an underwater robot on its Denman Island route this week to determine how much plastic its new cable ferry has littered into the ocean. Local residents say they’ve collected more than two wheelbarrows worth of plastic strips from the MV Baynes Sound Connector that have washed up on beaches. The plastic coating wraps around three underwater cables that guide the ferry from Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island to Denman. Why it is peeling away remains a mystery to ferry engineers. Rob Shaw reports. (Vancouver Sun)

B.C. court deals blow to Jumbo resort, rules environmental certificate invalid
A controversial ski resort proposed in southeastern British Columbia is facing a new challenge after the province's highest court ruled its environmental assessment certificate is invalid. The B.C. Court of Appeal says the environment minister reasonably concluded that the provincial certificate expired after 10 years because work on the Jumbo Glacier Resort had not "substantially started." (Canadian Press)

The Last Presidential Salmon
For almost a century, the first Atlantic salmon caught each season was delivered to the President of the United States. The first of these fish, an eleven-pound silver, was sent by Karl Andersen, a Norwegian house painter in Bangor, Maine, to President William Howard Taft, in 1912.... In 1992, the final Presidential salmon, weighing nine and a half pounds, was caught by Claude Z. Westfall, a sixty-four-year-old fisherman, in the Penobscot River... [President George H.W.] Bush was the last person to receive a Presidential fish. Eight years later, in 2000, Atlantic salmon were listed as endangered. Caroline Lester reports. (New Yorker)

Citizen Scientists Struggle to Save Sword Ferns
When scientists pursue research that requires massive amounts of field data, especially collected over a large geographic area — think of Audubon’s annual bird count and monarch butterfly migration monitoring — they often call on citizen scientists. But when a volunteer group of park stewards in Seattle discovered that native sword ferns were mysteriously dying, they turned the narrative around, driving the scientific process, developing experiments, and even finding funding for more rigorous tests. The evergreen western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) is one of the most abundant species in its native habitat. But that habitat is mostly limited to the Pacific coast from Southeastern Alaska to Southern California. Because the plants have little economic value, their biology has not been closely studied. “These plants are charismatic in a lot of ways,” says Tim Billo, a lecturer at the University of Washington. Sword ferns dominate the understory of Pacific Northwest forests, where they help prevent erosion. They comprise a major part of the winter diet for mountain beavers, a small, burrowing rodent endemic to the lowland forests of the Northwest. “An individual fern lives basically forever, just adding to their rhizome every year. The ones in Seward Park could be as old as the oldest trees there — between 300 and 500 years old. Imagine if all of the oldest trees started dying,” says Billo. That’s what happened to sword ferns in Seward Park in 2013. That fall, Catherine Alexander noticed that many of the sword ferns in the Seattle park didn’t look healthy, and alerted the volunteer group Friends of Seward Park. The next spring, many of the ferns failed to grow. Today, the dead-fern zone covers 20 acres. Gemma Alexander reports. (Earth911)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Thu Aug 8 2019   
 W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. N  swell 3 ft at 15 seconds. A slight chance of drizzle in the  morning. A slight chance of light rain in the morning. 
 W wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. N swell 3 ft  at 15 seconds.

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