Monday, April 30, 2018

4/30 Dandelion, sea star, orca recovery, dead whale, norovirus, open-pen farms, Forterra, BC pipe, Columbia treaty, ocean acid

Dandelion [GrowForageCookFerment]
Dandelion, Taraxacum officianale
The young leaves of common dandelion were eaten raw or cooked in recent times by the Halq'emeylem, Nlaka'paumux and some indigenous people of Alaska. It was imported to North America on early sailing ships. The young leaves make a good vegetable green. The cooked roots can be eaten as a vegetable or dried and ground for use as a coffee substitute. The flowers can be used to make dandelion wine and the whole plant can be brewed to make beer.  (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast) The name "dandelion" comes from the French "dent de lion"-- lion's tooth, which refers to the serrated leaves. (Just Fun Facts)

Sunflower sea stars remain hard to find in B.C. waters four years after massive die-off
Reports that sea stars may be recovering after a massive die-off four years ago may be premature, experts say. “We want simple solutions. People see a few of them, and they assume they’re back,” said Port McNeill diver and scientist Jackie Hildering. “But they’re not.” While the number of ochre stars is reportedly on the rise, the iconic sunflower star remains elusive on the B.C. coast. “There is very little evidence of recovery (among sunflower stars),” confirmed Peter Raimondi, marine ecologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Tracking the wasting disease that killed millions of sea stars from Alaska to Baja California in 2013 and 2014 is difficult because so little work has been done on the species. It is unclear how many sea stars melted away during the outbreak — and how many are left. Glenda Luymes reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Governor-Led Orca Recovery Effort to Hold First Meeting
An orca conservation team convened by Gov. Jay Inslee is holding its first meeting on Tuesday. The Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery Task Force will focus on ways to help the Northwest's iconic species. Southern Resident Orca numbers in the Salish Sea have been in serious decline, reaching a high of 98 in 1995 and numbering only 76 today. It is the only killer whale population protected under the Endangered Species Act, but the state believes more conservation efforts are needed. Stephanie Solien, who is co-chairing the Task Force, says many of the remaining orcas are in bad shape. She says the Task Force will focus on three of the well-known threats to the whales. "There's a lack of adult chinook salmon abundance," she says. "There's persistent toxic pollutants that are both in our Puget Sound and in the waters all the way up to Canada. And underwater noise and disturbance from both commercial and recreational vessels." Eric Tegethoff reports. (Public News Service)

Orca found at Copper Bay was a northern resident: DFO
A newborn killer whale found dead on a Copper Bay beach in early March was part of the threatened northern resident population. A tissue analysis and final report may take another month to complete, but a DNA study recently confirmed that the young killer whale was a northern resident — a genetically unique population of fewer than 200 animals. “She was separated from her mom just after birth,” said Kelly Aitken, a local fisheries officer with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Nearly half of all killer whales die between birth and six months of age. Andrew Hudson reports. (Northern View)

4 B.C. shellfish farms closed after being linked to norovirus in raw oysters
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says four shellfish farms have been closed after being linked to the outbreak of noroviruses associated with raw B.C. oysters. As of April 26 the outbreak includes 132 cases of illness in B.C., a decrease from last week, according to a release. An investigation by the BCCDC found that most people were infected after consuming oysters harvested in south and central Baynes Sound. (CBC)

Coalition calls for end to open-pen salmon farming in B.C. by 2025
Wild First describes itself as a coalition of business leaders, independent scientists, First Nations leaders and others focused on the preservation of wild Pacific salmon species. The group released a video on Thursday which highlights the rare glass sponge reefs discovered in B.C. waters, then claims to show the seabed beneath a Cermaq salmon farm in coastal B.C., with lifeless reefs covered in residue. The video was shot by the same videographer, Tavish Campbell, who released an anti-salmon-farming video last year that led to a provincial review of fish processing plants. Wild First wants transition to land-based aquaculture. Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC)

Forterra founder Gene Duvernoy steps down as president 
 Gene Duvernoy has stepped down from the helm of Forterra, a regional sustainability nonprofit corporation that is changing the definition of what it means to be a land trust. Forterra long ago outgrew its original name, Cascade Land Conservancy, both literally and figuratively. Today, Forterra dedicates itself to using real-estate deals to preserve and sustain communities, both human and natural, all over Washington.... Grown to 50 employees, Forterra has come a long way from the two-person office in the attic of his house where Duvernoy, 66, first launched the land trust nearly 30 years ago. He leaves Forterra having helped the organization complete 450 transactions in 83 Washington communities, conserving more than 275,000 acres of land. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

7 arrested as faith leaders protest Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Burnaby
Leaders from a broad spectrum of religious faiths stood with Indigenous people at a Kinder Morgan work site in Burnaby, B.C., on Saturday to protest the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Unitarians, two choirs, members of 10 Christian denominations, and interfaith groups all participated by singing and chanting but also fixing prayers, rosaries and flags to the gates of Kinder Morgan's site at Shellmont Street and Underhill Avenue.... Seven people were arrested by Burnaby RCMP officers for breaching a court-ordered injunction that prevents people from obstructing or impeding access to Kinder Morgan facilities in Burnaby. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

NDP case against Trans Mountain pipeline may be hurt by previous legal arguments
British Columbia's court case over the flow of heavy oil through the province could be damaged by the NDP government's previous positions against the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, says a legal expert. The provincial government filed a reference case Thursday in the B.C. Court of Appeal asking whether amendments it is proposing to the Environmental Management Act are valid and if they give the province the authority to control the shipment of heavy oils based on the impact spills could have on the environment, human health or communities. The province is also asking the court whether the amendments are over-ridden by federal law. Nigel Bankes, chair of natural resources law at the University of Calgary, said he believes the province will lose on the validity question because it is targeting a federally approved project, even though the legislation covers broad environmental concerns. (CBC)

Northwest Tribes Noticeably Absent in Columbia River Treaty Renegotiations
Federal officials were in Spokane Wednesday night to talk about the future of the Columbia River Treaty, an agreement between the U.S. and Canada that dates back to 1964. It governs hydropower and flood control measures along the upper reaches of the 1,200 mile Columbia River. A six-member panel will represent the U.S. in negotiations to update the treaty-- four men and two women. Noticeably absent were members of any of the numerous Native American tribes along the Columbia, which have been pushing to expand the treaty to include more emphasis on the environmental protections.... The panel includes representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corp of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bonneville Power Administration. Emily Schwing reports. (KNKX)

Yacht In Global Race Gathering Data on Ocean's Health
The world's oceans are getting more acidic and it's hurting the whole aquatic food chain. Scientists are racing to learn more about ocean acidification and now they're getting help from an actual race boat. The Clipper "Round the World" yacht race has joined forces with researchers in Washington. On the next leg from Seattle to New York City, the yacht "Visit Seattle" will have a pH sensor attached to it. It will take readings throughout the journey. Ocean acidification is a change in ocean chemistry resulting from the absorption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, threatening aquatic ecosystems in particular because it makes it difficult for shellfish to grow shells. Tiny organisms called pteropods are hit quite hard. They are at the base of the food chain and important food for herring and salmon. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

An orca out of water
It’s hard to miss the 30-foot orca that has landed on the east side of North Beach Road. The killer whale, which weighs somewhere between 2,000–3,000 pounds now resides outside of the recently relocated Orcas Wild and Outer Island Excursions office at 414 North Beach Road. “The whale was originally made with a government grant to build a life-like killer whale decoy to scare sea lions away from key salmon habitat,” said Outer Island owner Beau Brandow. “This idea was a failure, but we were left with a very anatomically correct model and the opportunity to spread education and awareness about killer whales in a way that people can connect with.” According to Brandow, the whale cost approximately $100,000 to construct and spent several years in Bellingham’s Squalicum Harbor until its owner passed away. He said he acquired the mannequin mammal by promising to give it “an appropriate home with positive intentions.” Brandow is asking for the public’s help in naming the latest resident of downtown Eastsound. Mandi Johnson reports. (Islands Sounder)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Mon Apr 30 2018   

TODAY  SW wind to 10 kt becoming NW 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft. W swell 6 ft at 9  seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 10 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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