Friday, April 20, 2018

4/20 Abalone, culverts, Atlantic salmon, baby orca, dolphins, shellfish closures, BC pipe, marijuana

Pinto abalone [Jeff Bouma]
Pinto abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana)
Pinto abalone were once widely distributed throughout the waters of British Columbia and Washington state. In recent decades, populations have undergone sharp declines, likely in response to the combined stressors of overharvest, poaching, and sub-optimal environmental conditions (Campell 2000). Known for their large, muscular foot and their pearlescent oval shell, pinto abalone are slow-growing, long-lived marine snails and are typically found in nearshore rocky habitats in semi-exposed or exposed coastal regions. More than 60 abalone species are found worldwide but the pinto, or northern, abalone is the only species found in Washington State, where they range from Admiralty Inlet to the San Juan Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and are typically found at depths to about 20 m (Bouma 2007). (Encyclopedia of Puget Sound)

Supreme Court justices skeptical of Washington state over salmon habitat
The Supreme Court seems unlikely to allow Washington state to get out from under a court order to restore salmon habitat by removing barriers that block fish migration. The justices heard arguments Wednesday in a long-running dispute that pits the state against Indian tribes and the federal government. At issue is whether Washington state must fix or replace hundreds of culverts. Those are large pipes that allow streams to pass beneath roads but can block migrating salmon if they become clogged or if they’re too steep to navigate. See also: U.S. Supreme Court justices raise questions about culvert damage   Chris Dunagan writes. (Watching Our Water Ways) And also: State And Feds Battle In Supreme Court Over How To Fix Culverts  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

A Madrone Story
Rick Haley of Skagit County writes: "Once again I am compelled to comment on your excellent news service.  I am tickled to see in print the Oregon + California v. Washington v. BC split on Madrone/Madrona/Arubutus.  I have explained it exactly that way for years but I have no idea where I came up with it other than personal experience. When I was in eighth grade clear back when, we had a small group assignment in Social Studies to “Create a Utopia”.  How’s that for a 1970 assignment?  Our group decided on a Back to Nature utopia which gave us an excuse to go camping.  This is sort of pertinent because I spent a goodly portion of our time out in the woods carving fish hooks out of madrone wood, then angling in a (probably) fishless creek draining Spencer Butte south of Eugene, using snowberries for bait.  I was already a crazy-obsessed fly fisherman by then so I had no illusions about what I was doing, but it made for some good pictures for our report. We also ate dandelions.  I don’t recommend them."

Atlantic salmon, caught in Skagit 8 months after escape from pen, had eaten a fish
Upper Skagit tribal fishermen caught a lively Atlantic salmon more than 40 miles up the Skagit River Tuesday, eight months after Cooke Aquaculture’s Atlantic salmon net pen collapsed at Cypress Island and sent more than 300,000 Atlantics into the home waters of Washington’s Pacific salmon. The Atlantic caught Tuesday had bones in its stomach, indicating it had eaten some kind of fish. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Young orca spotted in Washington waters as new vessel guidelines Month-old orca calf spotted in Cowichan Bay, boaters urged to slow down
With boating season just around the corner, the Pacific Whale Watch Association is reminding people to go slow: there are children at play. The children of killer whales, that is. And to underscore the importance of keeping one’s distance when operating a vessel around whales, the PWWA has shared recently captured video footage of what’s at stake. A video taken by Ocean EcoVentures and videographer Tasli Shaw shows a young orca calf, probably less than a month old, making its way through the waters of Cowichan Bay. Harrison Mooney reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Bottlenose dolphins found off B.C. coast for first time, travelling with false killer whales
Common bottlenose dolphins, typically associated with tropical and warm-temperate waters, have been observed for the first time off Canada’s Pacific coast. About 200 of the dolphins were observed travelling with around 70 false killer whales on July 29 last year during a pelagic seabird and marine mammal survey from the Canadian Coast Guard research ship John P. Tully. The discovery, published Thursday in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records, occurred in waters that were 16.5 degrees Celsius, believed to be related to a period of warming in the eastern North Pacific. Biologist Luke Halpin, lead author of the paper, said it was “special and rare” to observe the two cetacean species travelling together in B.C. waters. A handful of northern right whale dolphins also swam close by. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Samish Bay again fails evaluation, won't get upgrade
Samish Bay has again failed the state evaluation for a shellfish harvest upgrade because of bacterial pollution in the Samish River. Pollution in the river exceeded state standards Tuesday following rain that brought a record-setting river flow that day, Skagit County Water Quality Analyst Rick Haley said. The incident is the second time since the evaluation began in March that shellfish harvest in the bay has been closed due to pollution. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: State may place shellfish harvest restrictions on Chico Bay
The state Department of Health plans to restrict shellfish harvests in a portion of Dyes Inlet this summer due to high bacteria levels recorded near the mouth of Chico Creek. Jean Frost with the department's shellfish program said a port reopened harvests in a large portion of Dyes Inlet in 2003. Tad Sooter reports. (Kitsap Sun) And also: Pollution forcing shellfish restrictions in Henderson Inlet and 3 regional sites  Poor water quality in portions of four counties in Washington Shellfish harvesting will be restricted in Thurston County's Henderson Inlet, portions of Grays Harbor County near the Elk River, at Chico Bay in Kitsap County's Dyes Inlet, in Pierce County's Burley Lagoon. Lauren Smith reports. (Olympian)

First Nations court challenges continue to hang over $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
First Nations court challenges that allege inadequate consultation and seek to overturn federal and B.C. approval of the $7.4-billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion have been overshadowed by recent debate on federal and provincial powers to regulate oil transport. But legal experts say the First Nations cases have real implications that should not be overlooked or forgotten. When the Federal Court of Appeal in 2016 overturned approval of Enbridge’s $7.9-billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline, finding Ottawa had failed to properly consult First Nations, it all but signalled the end for the project. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Canada To Measure Marijuana Use By Testing Sewage
As a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana works its way through the Canadian Parliament, the government is gearing up to track cannabis consumption more closely than it has before. Statistics Canada has begun to do city-scale drug screening by monitoring what Canadians flush down the toilet. Six cities have agreed to contribute samples from the place where all drains congregate — their wastewater treatment plants. Toronto,Montreal, Edmonton, Alberta; Vancouver and Surrey in British Columbia; and Halifax, Nova Scotia, will participate. Ideally, Statistics Canada would like to estimate how much cannabis Canadians consume, in total, through the sewage measurements. It might be possible then to subtract legal sales and arrive at the amount of cannabis sold illegally...  But the route from a wastewater treatment plant to that kind of calculation gets really murky really fast. For starters, Peluso says, Statistics Canada has to consider some basic questions that get quite complex on a national scale: “The suburban users, are they peeing in the city but consuming in the suburbs?” Researchers say it’s relatively straightforward to detect marijuana traces, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Tests pick it up even in dilute wastewater. But there’s something more difficult: using the THC concentration in sewage to extrapolate back to the amount of pot consumed. Menaka Wilhelm reports. (NPR)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  251 AM PDT Fri Apr 20 2018   

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH  SATURDAY AFTERNOO    TODAY  Light wind becoming SE to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 5 ft at 13 seconds building to 7 ft  at 13 seconds in the afternoon. Rain likely in the afternoon. 

TONIGHT  SE wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SW 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight. W swell 7 ft at 14 seconds. Rain. 

SAT  W wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 10 ft at  10 seconds. A chance of showers in the morning then a slight  chance of showers in the afternoon. 

SAT NIGHT  W wind 5 to 15 kt in the evening becoming light.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 8 ft at 11 seconds. 

SUN  Light wind. Wind waves less than 1 ft. W swell 6 ft at  13 seconds.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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