Monday, December 2, 2019

12/2 Snow geese, BC salmon, water temp, 'salmon cannon,' First Nation solar, coastal sea rise, Stanwood berm, owl hits, marbled murrelet economics, gypsy moth spray

Snow geese [Mike Hamilton/BirdNote]
Snow Geese: Too Much of a Good Thing
Large migrant flocks of Snow Geese descend on the Lower 48 states in October and November, returning from their summer breeding grounds in the Arctic. The geese are an entrancing natural spectacle in sparkling white — but there is a problem. “Conservation” usually means protecting declining species and critical habitats. But what happens when a species’ population swells beyond the capacity of its habitat? How should we handle it? Too much of a good thing — that is the Snow Goose conundrum. Snow Geese numbers have ballooned, from fewer than a million in the 1960s to perhaps 15 million today. The geese overwhelm the Arctic tundra where they nest, degrading breeding areas they share with nesting sandpipers and other birds. (BirdNote)

Some B.C. salmon runs face 'meaningful chance of extinction' after landslide, despite rescue mission
Scientists fear that some Fraser River salmon populations could be wiped out completely following a landslide that has blocked part of the critical B.C. migration route for the last year. Federal government scientists told the Pacific Salmon Commission there is a "meaningful chance of extinction" for three salmon runs after the Big Bar landslide, according to a copy of a PowerPoint presentation, dated  Oct. 16, obtained by CBC News. That includes the Early Stuart sockeye and the Mid-Fraser and Upper Fraser Spring 1.3 chinook populations. The landslide prompted officials at multiple levels of government to organize a rescue mission that saw thousands of salmon, which are very vulnerable to stress, lifted by helicopter across the rocks that blocked their migration route. But despite that effort, prospects are dismal for the salmon in the upper reaches of the river, according to Dean Werk, president of the Fraser Valley Salmon Society. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

East Vancouver's urban salmon stream sees no returning fish in 3 years
Biologists are sounding the alarm over the lack of fish in one of Vancouver's few salmon-bearing streams. Nestled in an industrial corner of East Vancouver, Still Creek is one of a handful of places in the city where salmon come to spawn. After 80 dormant years, the salmon returned in 2012 following a city restoration of the creek. Hundreds of chum salmon have been through since then. But biologist and volunteer stream keeper David Scott says there haven't been any salmon in three years. (CBC)

Water temperature problem in local creeks regains attention
The state Department of Ecology is refocusing on a water quality problem in the Skagit River watershed that’s gotten little attention over the past decade. The problem has to do with high water temperatures during the summer in some tributaries to the river in the lower watershed, from Hansen Creek in the Sedro-Woolley area to Fisher Creek south of Mount Vernon. Sections of those and six other tributaries to the lower Skagit River were listed in 1998 under the federal Clean Water Act as having impaired water quality due to the high temperatures — an issue of particular concern for the region’s salmon, which need cold water. A July 2008 report from Ecology set the goal of planting trees along the banks of the eight creeks as well as a ninth in the area by 2020 in order to bring water temperatures to acceptable levels by 2080. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

BTC students work with famous ‘Salmon Cannon’ that could help local salmon runs
Bellingham Technical College students used Whooshh Innovations’ famous “Salmon Cannon” to aid salmon migration to the Whatcom Creek Hatchery at Maritime Heritage Park. The Seattle-based company’s fish transport system has achieved stardom over the last five years, even making an appearance on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. The system can be used to help migrating salmon — and other fish — pass by human-made obstacles, such as dams. In its second year, the collaboration between Whooshh Innovations and BTC is an example of how the college is helping students “work really closely with industry,” said Brittany Palm-Flawd, hatchery manager and BTC faculty member. It also gave students an opportunity to work with emerging technology in their industry. Warren Sterling reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Community prepares to throw switch on solar farm 100% owned and operated by First Nation
The chief of a small First Nations community in British Columbia's Interior says he expects the power to go on any day now for what will be among the first solar farms 100 per cent owned and operated by a First Nation in the province. Chief Russell Myers Ross of the Yunesit'in in the Chilcotin region west of Williams Lake says the 1.25-megawatt hours per year project is also among the largest operational solar farms in the province. (Canadian Press)

If you like to watch: Crosscut Documentaries presents: The Rising
Climate change is quickly altering the shape of the Northwest — its ecosystems, its coastlines and the ways of life of the humans who live on it. This is perhaps felt most acutely by several tribes on the Pacific Coast, where declining salmon stocks and an ocean in revolt are forcing them to confront the reality of moving from the place they’ve inhabited since time immemorial. In the Quinault Indian Nation, plans are underway for relocating the villages of Taholah and Queets, where over a thousand people face increased tsunami risk as the sea rises inch by inch, year by year. Severe floods already breach the sea walls meant to protect Taholah, and the mouth of the Queets River has transformed into a funnel for surging waves. (25:10)      Sarah Hoffman and Ted Alvarez report. (Crosscut)

Climate change: COP25 island nation in 'fight to death'
The president of an island nation on the frontline of climate change says it is in a "fight to the death" after freak waves inundated the capital. Powerful swells averaging 5m (16ft) washed across the capital of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, last week. But President Hilda Heine said the Pacific nation had been fighting rising tides even before last week's disaster. Political leaders and climate diplomats are meeting in Madrid for two weeks of talks amid a growing sense of crisis. Matt McGrath reports. (BBC)

New berm will offer flood protection, views in Stanwood
A quarter-mile berm will soon protect a historic business district in downtown Stanwood from the flood-prone Stillaguamish River. Atop the berm, which will be between between Marine Drive and 92nd Avenue Northwest, a 10-foot-wide paved trail will connect bicyclists and pedestrians to the 88th Street park and ride. The trail will offer views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. Bids go out Dec. 11 for the million-dollar project. Construction is set to begin in early 2020, and will take about six months, according to city engineer Shawn Smith. The Stillaguamish River has flooded downtown Stanwood somewhere in the company of three times in the past decade, Smith said. Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Everett Herald)

Owl collisions with vehicles on seasonal rise
With more hours of darkness, and more rain and fog that can obscure vision this time of year, area wildlife rehabilitation facilities are seeing an increase in owls being hit by vehicles. “It’s becoming dark earlier, and then these owls are out hunting and there’s trash and things on the sides of roads, and that attracts rodents ... so that’s where they hunt and then they get clipped by cars,” Sarvey Wildlife Center Executive Director Suzanne West said. This increase is something Sarvey in Arlington and Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island see each fall. Both centers treat wildlife from Skagit County, and each have recently received several owls injured along roadsides here. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Marbled murrelet plan to have huge impact on junior taxing districts, Forks official says
The financial impact that the state’s preferred alternative for the Marbled Murrelet Long-Term Conservation Strategy would have on West End junior taxing districts could be significantly greater than officials have said previously, according to Rod Fleck, Forks city attorney and planner. An analysis by Fleck shows that West End districts that have trust lands comprised largely of 50-year-old trees or older would see significant impacts over the next two decades. “Looking through the pages for Clallam County … the actual impacts are much higher than clearly stated [in the final Environmental Impact Statement,]” Fleck said in an email...The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the plan to protect the threatened seabird was released in September and has been criticized by local officials for lacking adequate financial analysis. Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Washington plans to spray 1,300 acres for gypsy moths
About 1,300 acres in northwest Washington likely will be sprayed with an insecticide next spring to stop an outbreak of gypsy moths, including a type native to Asia never before detected in the U.S. The Washington State Department of Agriculture said it tentatively plans to release Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki over Woodway, a small city on Puget Sound, and Boulevard Bluffs, an Everett neighborhood. Both places are in Snohomish County. Don Jenkins reports. (Capitol Press)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  201 AM PST Mon Dec 2 2019   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  6 ft at 11 seconds. A chance of rain in the afternoon. 
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  5 ft at 10 seconds. A slight chance of rain in the evening. A  chance of rain after midnight.

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