Wednesday, September 30, 2020

9/30 Saskatoon, Snake R dams, Bangor bad water, Asian hornets, Pebble Mine, plastic breakdown

Saskatoon [Meggar/WikiMedia]

Saskatoon Amelanchier alnifolia
Saskatoon berries were highly regarded by all indigenous groups. They were dried into cakes for storage. Horticulturalists have developed several varieties for commercial and garden use. The berries provide important winter browse for ungulates and many wild bird species feast on the berries in late summer. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

After 4 years of study, feds finally decide whether to tear down Snake River dams
Federal agencies have adopted the conclusions of a four-year-long environmental study that rejected calls to tear down the four lower Snake River dams. Instead, more water will be spilled over dams each spring in the Columbia River hydrosystem, which includes Snake River dams, to help juvenile fish heading downstream, as outlined in the management alternative that was ranked highest in the study. The decision to adopt the alternative was made by the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration, which were in charge of the study. Annette Cary reports. (TriCity Herald)

Navy expands testing of water after wells near Bangor base found with contamination
Two wells bordering Naval Base Kitsap's southern edge have been found to have potentially harmful levels of contamination caused by a firefighting foam long used on the base, and the Navy is pursuing further testing to examine a wider area for its presence this fall.  The results come from an initial round of water testing earlier this year for what are known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known by their acronym, PFAS...Of the 292 wells sampled by the Navy in February, 83 showed some level of PFAS, the Navy said. Josh Farley reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Three more Asian giant hornets found in Whatcom. Why the warm weather could mean more
There are three new confirmed sightings of Asian giant hornets in Whatcom County, increasing to 12 the number that have been reported here. The total represent the first sightings of the hornets in Washington state and the U.S. since they were first spotted in Whatcom in 2019. All three recent sightings were found near Burk Road, southeast of Blaine, in late September, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Secret Recordings Portray Regulators as Easing Pebble Mine’s Path to Approval
As the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) weighs whether to approve the controversial Pebble Mine in Alaska, secret recordings of conversations between undercover activists and top executives from the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) are putting regulators and the developer under new scrutiny, including around the latest unconventional attempt to develop a compensatory mitigation plan to offset the damage the proposed mine would cause to the environment. Ashley Braun reports. (Hakai Magazine)

‘Super-Enzyme’ Speeds Up Breakdown of Plastic, Researchers Say
A new cocktail of enzymes that speeds up the degradation of plastic offers a step forward in finding a new form of recycling that is faster, is more affordable and works on a larger scale than current methods, British and American researchers said this week. The “super-enzyme” could be employed to break down plastic bottles much more quickly than current recycling methods and create the raw material to make new ones, according to the scientists. And it may make it easier to repurpose the material. Isabella Kwai reports. (NY Times)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Wed Sep 30 2020   
 E wind to 10 kt becoming S in the afternoon. Wind waves  1 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds. Haze. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 4 ft at 11 seconds. Haze.

"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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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

9/29 Hawthorn, female orcas, BC fish farms, Site C dam costs, BC's 8 endangered species

Black hawthorn [City of Beaverton]

Black hawthorn Crataegus douglasii
Black hawthorn ranges from southern Vancouver Island south at low elevations. The thorns were used as prongs on rakes used for catching herring, lances for probing skin blisters and boils, for piercing ears, fish hooks and playing pieces for games. The dry, seedy fruits were eaten by many coastal groups both fresh and dried. They were not highly regarded however. The genus name comes from the Greek kratos, 'strength,' because the wood is noted for its great strength and fine grain. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

More female southern resident killer whales needed for population growth: scientists
The addition of a new male calf to a critically endangered pod of southern resident killer whales has experts happy, yet disappointed because it won’t further the population of the orcas. The Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Wash., said scientists snapped a photo confirming the sex as the roughly three-week-old mammal rolled and played in West Coast waters just south of the Canadian border while swimming beside its mother, J35...Andrew Trites, director of the Marine Mammal Research Unit at the University of B.C., said the only down side about a male is that it won’t bear more calves...One of the biggest problems facing southern resident killer whales is that they have a higher number of male births and survivals than females, he said. Of about 40 calves born since 2000, 26 are males while 13 are females. The sex of one is still undetermined. The skewed sex ratio in such a small population does not bode well for the future, Trites said, adding just one male is needed for numerous females. (Canadian Press)

Controversial Discovery Islands fish farms pose 'minimal risk' to wild salmon, DFO says
The battle to have 18 open-net fish farms removed from a critical salmon migration route is heading for more consultation after Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced they present little risk to wild Fraser River salmon stocks, which are in serious decline. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan says her department will be consulting with seven First Nations communities — Tla'amin, Klahoose, Homalco, K'√≥moks, We Wai Kai (Cape Mudge), Wei Wai Kum (Campbell River) and Kwiakah — that border the narrow channels through the Discovery Islands where the farms are located, with a goal of deciding whether or not to renew their aquaculture licences prior to a December 2020 deadline. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Cost of Site C dam spiralling amid construction challenges, says open letter urging halt to project 
A group of concerned British Columbians is calling on the provincial government to stop construction on the Site C dam project until geotechnical issues are resolved. In a letter addressed to NDP Leader John Horgan, more than a dozen self-described "prominent British Columbians" say the project is years away from completion, "mired" in potentially unfixable problems and is facing potentially "horrendous" cost over-runs. The group includes First Nations leaders, scientists, environmentalists, former provincial and federal cabinet ministers and the past CEOs of the Insurance Corporation of B.C. and BC Hydro. They're asking for the province to appoint an independent team of three experts to assess all known geotechnical problems and determine whether they can be fixed, and at what cost. Andrea Ross reports. (CBC)

Meet the 8 endangered species that call northwest B.C. home
The region is known for its wildlife, but industrial development, pollution and climate change are threatening several animals. Matt Simmons reports. (The Narwhal)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  236 AM PDT Tue Sep 29 2020   
 E wind 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft. W swell 9 ft  at 13 seconds. 
 E wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SE 10 to 20 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 to 4 ft subsiding to 1 to 3 ft after  midnight. W swell 6 ft at 12 seconds.

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Monday, September 28, 2020

9/28 Baldhip rose, baby orca, TM timeline, Pt Roberts, fish farm suit, whitebark pine, Miller Peninsula Park

Baldhip rose [Paul Noll]

Baldhip rose Rosa gymnocarpa
Baldhip rose is found from southern British Columbia to the southern California coast in the west, to northern Idaho and western Montana in the east.  It is also called Wood Rose because it is a woodland species. Flowers are small, pale pink to rose, fragrant, and are usually borne singly at the ends of branches.  Fruits are small, red, pear-shaped, berry-like hips, with no sepals remaining attached. This rose was not used as much as other roses by natives.  A tea was made from the young leaves.  The leaves and bark were toasted and smoked, often mixed with tobacco and other plants.  A decoction of the bark was used as an eyewash.  Chewed leaves were applied to beestings.  The fruits of this species, being very small, were not often eaten. (Dana Kelley Bressette/Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest)

Another baby orca born to J pod — the second this month
Another baby orca has been born to J pod, the Center for Whale Research confirmed Friday morning. It’s the second calf born this month for the endangered southern resident orcas that frequent Puget Sound. “We confirm that there is a new calf in J pod and the mother is J41,” Ken Balcomb, the founding director of the center, wrote...“We have to await the whales’ return to determine its health condition and hopefully determine its success. It is important to note that the observation was in Canada and we could not be there due to covid restrictions.” Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Trans Mountain pipeline expansion workforce tops 5,600
Environmentalists bet shifts in construction will delay the December 2022, completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, company argues there is give in the timeline. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

The birth of a ghost town: Point Roberts has lost 80% of its business, hundreds of its residents
In a normal year, Point Roberts is a bustling place during the summer season, packed with B.C. tourists ready to spend their money on local businesses, B.C. bargain hunters filling up on gas and picking up packages at the local parcel shops while dual citizens spend the summer at their homes on the idyllic peninsula. But this year has been different; COVID-19 made certain of that. Joel Ballard reports. (CBC) See also: COVID hammers border towns on both sides of the Canada-U.S. divide  COVID-19 border restrictions have limited B.C.-Washington State traffic to essential traffic, increasing the boundary divide between traditional neighbours. Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Judge hears lawsuit over fish farms
Whether Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to raise native steelhead at fish farms in Puget Sound is a simple business transition or a complex threat to the marine ecosystem is being debated in King County Superior Court. Judge Johanna Bender heard testimony Thursday over Zoom in a lawsuit environment groups brought against the state Department of Fish & Wildlife for granting a permit to the seafood company to raise steelhead. The environment groups — Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth — contend Fish & Wildlife did not meet the requirements of SEPA, the State Environmental Policy Act, before issuing a mitigated determination of nonsignificance for Cooke Aquaculture’s proposal to move into the production of steelhead following a state-mandated phase-out of non-native Atlantic salmon. The state Office of the Attorney General and Cooke Aquaculture disagree. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) 

Saving Western Canada’s only endangered tree
Whitebark pine is facing down the triple threat of climate change, habitat loss and disease. Restoration projects by northwest B.C. researchers may be the tree’s best chance for survival. Matt Simmons reports. (The Narwhal)

Planning revived for new park
A state effort more than 15 years in the making to further develop Miller Peninsula State Park will be revived this fall. The first of several Washington State Parks meetings to define the future of the property just east of Sequim is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 6 on the Microsoft Teams platform at State officials say they will take into account community members’ hopes for and concerns regarding the park’s development at the 2,800-acre site on Miller Peninsula between Sequim and the Clallam/Jefferson county boundary. Michael Dashiell reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  252 AM PDT Mon Sep 28 2020   
 E wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 5 ft  at 10 seconds. 
 E wind to 10 kt rising to 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 10 ft at 16 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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Friday, September 25, 2020

9/25 Yarrow, super pod, Lolita, crab poaching, Skagit salmon, sage grouse, Trump's SCOTUS, eelgrass

Common Yarrow [Native Plants PNW]

Common Yarrow Achillea millefolium 
Yarrow is common throughout much of the northern hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America. It is long been used as a medicinal herb. The genus name Achillea is derived from Achilles, who reportedly carried it with his army to treat battle wounds. It is great for a butterfly garden. It can be mowed and is often a component of eco-lawns. (Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest)

A bouncing baby orca boy! And other promising killer whale news from Puget Sound
On the day the orca baby was born, the whales partied into the night. “That day, on September 5, was really remarkable,” said Howard Garrett, co-founder of the Orca Network. Whales from three pods converged in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, north of the Olympic Peninsula. The J-Pod orcas swam down from the Georgia Strait, where they’d been for five days. Angela King and Kim Shepard report. (KUOW)

On Lolita’s 50th Anniversary At Miami Seaquarium, Native American Tribe Lumni Nation Wants To Bring Whale Home
Thursday marked 50 years of Lolita’s arrival at the Miami Seaquarium and members of the Lumni Nation traveled across the country to hold a ceremony asking for the orca’s release...They held a live-streamed virtual event bringing global Indigenous voices together with those from the worlds of education, Western science, and law, all standing in solidarity with Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (Lolita). Lolita has lived at the marine park since 1970. (CBS Miami)

Fisheries officials seize 316 Canadian crab traps set in U.S. water as part of annual sting
Officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have seized 316 crab traps they claim were illegally set in U.S. water this month, as part of an annual enforcement operation coordinated with their American counterparts. Art Demsky, field office supervisor with the DFO's conservation and protection detachment, was on the water on the first day of the operation, Sept. 11. He said the conditions were very smokey, with low visibility that made it challenging to catch the fishers crossing the boundary. Demsky said the traps they seized, along with four vessels from the 24-boat Boundary Bay dungeness crab fishing fleet, may only represent half of  the number of infractions of fishery laws. Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC)

Group: Collaboration key, challenges remain for salmon recovery
Few things bring diverse groups together like a shared love for the Skagit River watershed. That was a theme shared by local tribal members, government leaders and conservation group staff at the Skagit Watershed Council’s annual meeting, held Wednesday over Zoom to discuss the latest efforts to save the salmon of the Skagit River and Salish Sea...The Skagit Watershed Council is the lead agency for prioritizing local salmon recovery projects and seeking grant funding to complete that work. The council is comprised of 44 member organizations, including tribes, government agencies and nonprofits. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

In 'Grouse,' one odd bird helps explain WA's political divisions
Seattle journalist Ashley Ahearn's move to the Methow Valley inspired a podcast that seeks to understand her rural neighbors through the controversial sage grouse. Hannah Weinberger reports. (Crosscut)

Supreme Court Could Give Trump Second Chance at Environmental Rollbacks
President Trump has initiated the most aggressive environmental deregulation agenda in modern history, but as his first term drives to a close, many of his policies are being cut down by the courts — even by Republican-appointed jurists who the administration had hoped would be friendly. Those losses have actually heightened the stakes in the election and the fight over a replacement on the Supreme Court for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A second term, coupled with a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court, could save some of his biggest environmental rollbacks. Lisa Friedman and John Schwartz report. (NY Times)

Important transplants took place in Mannion Bay last week
Over the past few years, SeaChange has done eelgrass transplants across the sound (including four on Gambier, one on Keats, and two on Bowen––last year in Tunstall Bay), as well as subtidal garbage cleanups, replanting vegetation along shorelines, community engagement and some eelgrass mapping. Bronwyn Beairsto reports. (Bowen Island Undercurrent)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  640 AM PDT Fri Sep 25 2020   
 SW wind 25 to 35 kt easing to 15 to 25 kt in the  morning then becoming W 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Combined seas  13 to 14 ft with a dominant period of 13 seconds. Rain in the  morning then showers likely in the afternoon. 
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell  12 ft at 12 seconds subsiding to 10 ft at 11 seconds after  midnight. Showers likely in the evening then a chance of showers  after midnight. 
 SW wind to 10 kt rising to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 9 ft at 10 seconds. Showers  likely. 
 SW wind to 10 kt becoming E after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 10 seconds. 
 SE wind to 10 kt rising to 5 to 15 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. W swell 6 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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Thursday, September 24, 2020

9/24 Whimbrel, J57 boy, tail-slapping, toxic cleanup, Cascadia mega-region, gas car ban, Pebble Mine fallout, good smokes, climate action economy, salmon farm inaction

Whimbrel [All About Birds]

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
An elegant, brownish shorebird with a very long, curved bill, the Whimbrel announces itself with effervescent, piping calls. It occupies open habitats—tundra for nesting; and mudflats, beaches, and saltmarshes the rest of the year. Whimbrels feed mostly on crabs and other marine invertebrates, which they extract from sand or mud using their outrageous bills. They also eat berries and insects when available. They migrate between arctic nesting areas and wintering grounds as far south as Bolivia, sometimes having to skirt hurricanes as they fly over open ocean. (All About Birds)

It's a boy: Tahlequah's baby is frolicking, healthy
Tahlequah’s new calf is a male, the Center for Whale Research has confirmed... This calf is feisty. He’s been seen rolling, spyhopping, and swimming alongside his mother as she forages for food, according to the center. J57 is the second viable calf born to Tahlequah. Her first is J57’s brother, J47, born in 2010. The southern residents J, K, and L pods are endangered, with only 73 members in all, counting the new baby. The pods are overwhelmingly male, and hopes were high for a female. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Seals love devouring salmon at Ballard Locks. One way to stop them: Tail-slapping noises
For decades, humans have been trying different ways to keep seals and sea lions away from the Ballard Locks' fish ladder. Now, scientists are trying a new method to outsmart the seals. Eilis O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

New guidance for cleanup of toxics in Puget Sound
An EPA-funded team of scientists and other experts has completed draft recommendations for the future cleanup of toxic chemicals in Puget Sound. The group’s Toxics in Fish Implementation Strategy addresses pollutants such as PCBs and a slew of emerging contaminants that can affect salmon and orcas alike. The strategy will be available for public review until October 16th after which it may be revised and submitted to the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council for approval. Jeff Rice reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Cascadia corridor report calls for bold action for a sustainable mega-region
It’s expected three to four million more people will call the Cascadia region home by 2050, an increase of more than 30 per cent. Establishing hub cities that are connected to existing urban centres by high-speed transit is one way to deal with growth that is expected to take place in the Cascadia corridor over the next 30 years, according to a new report. The paper, prepared by Boston Consulting Group for the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, was released on Monday and looks at the challenges facing B.C., Washington state and Oregon as they prepare to welcome millions of new residents with the goal of spurring discussion about possible solutions. Jennifer Saltman reports. (Vancouver Sun)

California moves to end sales of new gas-powered cars
California will outlaw sales of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks by 2035, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday, a move he says will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35% in the nation’s most populous state. His plan would not ban people from owning gas-powered cars or selling them on the used car market. But it would end the sales of all new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks in the state of nearly 40 million people. Adam Beam reports. (Associated Press)

Alaska mining executive resigns a day after caught on tape boasting of his ties to GOP politicians Tom Collier, who stood to get a $12.4 million bonus if Pebble Mine went ahead, resigned in the wake of secretly recorded talks with environmentalists posing as potential investors. Juliet Ellperin reports. (Washington Post)

Wildfire smoke is beneficial to B.C.'s coastal waters, oceanographer says
While medical experts were warning British Columbians about the risk of inhaling fine particulate matter from the thick wildfire smoke that hung over much of the province during the last week of summer, marine experts were happy to see those same particulates infiltrating the Pacific Ocean. According to B.C. oceanographer Richard Dewey, associate director of science with Ocean Networks Canada, particulate matter from burning forests that ends up in the ocean acts as fertilizer, providing minerals and nutrients to phytoplankton that live near the surface and are the base of the ocean's food system. (CBC)

Climate action will be ‘cornerstone’ of Canada’s economic recovery plan: throne speech
From creating thousands of jobs in energy efficiency building retrofits to cutting the tax rate for green manufacturing companies, the Trudeau government has amped up its commitments to tackle climate change as part of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Ainslie Cruickshank reports. (The Narwhal)

Little Action from Canadian Government as Deadline to Remove Salmon Farms Looms Eight years ago, the Cohen Commission gave Fisheries and Oceans Canada a deadline to prove salmon farms do not threaten wild sockeye. Despite evidence of harm, it seems unlikely the government will follow the recommendation to prohibit salmon farming in part of British Columbia. Frances Backhouse reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  235 AM PDT Thu Sep 24 2020   
 SW wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 12 ft at 14 seconds.  Showers and a slight chance of tstms. 
 SW wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE 15 to 25 kt after  midnight. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2 to 4 ft after  midnight. W swell 12 ft at 14 seconds. Showers.

"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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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

9/23 Skipper, open-net salmon farms, tear gas, single-use plastics, blobs, hornets

Woodland skipper [Ingrid Gowans]

Woodland skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides
The name Ochlodes is Greek for turbulent or unruly, from the swift, erratic flight of the members of this genus.  The name sylvanoides is derived from the Latin silva (woods or forest). The Woodland Skipper is very common across the southern fourth of BC below 1,000 m elevation, occurring most often in undisturbed sites like moist wooded canyons.  It can also be found in every kind of open shrubby habitat, including woodland clearings, small streams, bogs, shorelines, forests,  meadows,  mountains, and even city gardens. (Ingrid Gowans)

101 B.C. First Nations demand removal of open-net salmon farms near Campbell River, B.C.
A total of 101 B.C. First Nations, wilderness tourism operators, and commercial and sport fishing groups have united in a show of solidarity to demand the federal government take action on the collapse of Fraser River salmon stocks by ordering the removal of open-net fish farms near Campbell River. Speaking at a media conference in North Vancouver, the group says Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan needs to make good on the 19th recommendation of the 2012 Cohen Commission's report on declining Fraser River salmon stocks. The recommendation calls for the prohibition of 18 fish farms in the Discovery Islands by Sept. 30, 2020, unless there is proof they pose only a "minimum risk of serious harm to the heath of migrating Fraser River salmon." Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

What Tear Gas Does to Fish
Previous work shows the main ingredient in tear gas can kill fish—but little else is known about how riot control agents affect the environment. Brian Owens reports. (Hakai Magazine)

COVID-19 complicates already complicated issue of single-use plastics
A handful of towns and cities across B.C. are eyeing bans on single-use plastics used for take-out food, an approach that is generally supported by British Columbians. But those people are just as keen on hygienic, disposable containers and utensils as a way to protect their health. Only 11 per cent of respondents want to use their own reusable beverage containers at a food outlet right now, while 70 per cent want some form of disposable container, according to a Leger poll of 1,001 British Columbians conducted for Postmedia. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

An Unwelcome Snot Blob
Amorphous slime is unlikely to be the first thing you go searching for when exploring coastal British Columbia. To most people, the ocean creatures known as colonial tunicates, or sea squirts, are barely recognizable as animals. But despite their alien appearance, scientists want you to keep an eye out for them. They’ve hitched a ride with humans around the world, and for many local critters, these particular tunicates mean trouble. Josh Silberg reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Study: ‘Murder Hornets’ could reach Oregon in 10 years
Researchers say the invasive insects popularly referred to as “murder hornets” could expand into Oregon in ten years if not successfully contained in Washington. The giant hornets, native to Asia, were discovered on Vancouver Island in Canada and the northwest part of Washington last year. They’re the world’s largest hornet — up to two inches long — and they prey on other insects. Agriculture officials are highly concerned about the introduction and spread of Asian giant hornets because a few hornets can kill a honey bee hive in just a few hours. Jes Burns reports. (OPB)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  548 AM PDT Wed Sep 23 2020   
 E wind 25 to 35 kt becoming SE 15 to 25 kt later this  morning. Wind waves 4 to 6 ft subsiding to 2 to 4 ft later this  morning. SW swell 8 ft at 10 seconds. Rain in the morning then  showers and a slight chance of tstms in the afternoon. 
 S wind 10 to 20 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 10  ft at 12 seconds building to SW 12 ft at 15 seconds after  midnight. Showers and a slight chance of tstms.

"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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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

9/22 Periwinkle, BC fall election, TM protest, smoke health dangers, Pebble Mine, seven-armed octo, deep-sea life, captive belugas

Saltmarsh periwinkle [L. Schroeder]

Newcomb's Littorine Snail Littorina subrotundata
Newcomb’s littorine snail, also known as the saltmarsh  or Newcomb’s periwinkle, was placed on the state endangered species candidate list in 1997, but was removed in 2010. It is a common coldwater North Pacific marine gastropod. The species has been studied in recent years and is now known to range from Humbolt Bay in California north to Alaska and west to Russia and the Kurile Islands.  It is common or abundant in many estuaries and bays along the entire northwest coast. It was once believed to be a very localized salt-marsh species, but more recent study clarified the taxonomy of the species. Recent genetic analysis that included samples from Mukkaw Bay, Grays Harbor, and Shi Shi Beach in Washington confirms the wide distribution and identity of the species. (WDFW)

So there’s going to be a fall election in B.C.: has the NDP kept its environmental promises?
The NDP rose to power in 2017 vowing to take action on climate change, old-growth logging, the Trans Mountain pipeline, endangered species and more. Three years in, The Narwhal examines how the government has fared on the environment. Sarah Cox reports. (The Narwhal)

Court rejects appeals of Trans Mountain pipeline protesters
The B.C. Court of Appeal has rejected the appeals of two people who were arrested and convicted of criminal contempt of court for blocking Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Keith Fraser reports. (Vancouver Sun)

As wildfire smoke endangers health indoors and out, questions arise about government response
The massive smoke waves that engulfed the Pacific Northwest this month are likely only a start to a climate-fueled health crisis in the Pacific Northwest of staggering breadth and depth, InvestigateWest found after a year of reporting that involved reviews of dozens of scientific studies, interviews with researchers across the U.S. and Canada, and an independent analysis of a decade’s worth of Seattle hospitalization data. Mara Kardas-Nelson reports. (Investigate West) See also: How British Columbia protects its people from wildfire smoke Partly because of its devastating fires, the province is leading our understanding of smoke’s impact on human health.  Mara Kardas-Nelson reports. (Investigate West)

An Alaska Mine Project Might Be Bigger Than Acknowledged
Executives overseeing the development of a long-disputed copper and gold mine in Alaska were recorded saying they expected the project to become much bigger, and operate for much longer, than outlined in the proposal that is awaiting final approval by the Army Corps of Engineers. The executives, who were recorded in remote meetings by members of an environmental advocacy group posing as potential investors, said the project, Pebble Mine, could potentially operate for 160 years or more beyond the current proposal of 20 years. And it could quickly double its output after the initial two decades, they said. Henry Foundtain reports. (NY Times)

Possible rare 'seven-armed octopus' found on Whidbey beach
A sea creature found on the beach at Ebey's Landing may be a Haliphron atlantica or seven-armed octopus, scientists theorized. Emily Gilbert reports. (Everett Herald)

Bringing the Ocean’s Midnight Zone Into the Light
Life in the deep sea may soon be accessible to all. Public aquariums around the world are spending millions of dollars on research and development aimed at putting deep-sea animals on display. Leading the effort is California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium, which plans to spend $15 million over the next two years to create the world’s first large-scale exhibition of deep-sea life, a 10,400-square-foot display named “Into the Deep: Exploring our Undiscovered Ocean.” Annie Roth reports. (NY Times)

NOAA Approves Plan to Bring Captive Belugas to Connecticut
After a year and a half of deliberation, the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has approved the request by Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut to import five captive beluga whales from Marineland, an amusement park in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Mystic Aquarium wants the belugas for scientific research and says their efforts will aid in the management and conservation of the endangered wild belugas in Cook Inlet, Alaska, and the depleted stock from Russia’s Sakhalin Bay-Nikolaya Bay-Amur River region. The five whales will join the three belugas already living at the aquarium. Bethany Augliere reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  242 AM PDT Tue Sep 22 2020   
 Light wind becoming E 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves less than 1 ft becoming 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W swell  5 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of rain in the afternoon. 
 SE wind 10 to 20 kt rising to 25 to 35 kt after  midnight. Combined seas 4 to 5 ft with a dominant period of  10 seconds building to 6 to 8 ft with a dominant period of  10 seconds after midnight. A chance of rain in the evening then  rain after midnight.

"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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Monday, September 21, 2020

9/21 Anemone, orca cams, rough orcas, BC reforestation, oil guys lie, Islands Trust, Prince George bugs, Snuneymuxw First Nation deal

Brooding anemone [Mary Jo Adams]

Brooding anemone Epiactis sp.
This is a small anemone, with the crown up to 2 inches in diameter. (The base may be somewhat wider than the crown.) The color varies. It is often red or pink when on rocks and green or brown when on eelgrass. Look for the radiating white lines originating from the oral disk and on the base and column. Also, watch for baby Epiactis attached to the base of the mother. They look like little buds and will stay attached to her for several months until they're large enough to live on their own. There are several similar species of Epiactis. (Mary Jo Adams/Sound Waters Stewards)

Researchers attach cameras to Pacific Northwest orcas, revealing a marvelous underwater world 
For nearly a month the team has been at sea, marveling at the prowess of southern and northern resident killer whales as they follow the orcas’ foraging rounds, using a drone and stick-on cameras to record the daily lives of orcas, even underwater. The surprises keep coming: How far the orcas, especially the southern residents, travel in their hunt for salmon. How affectionate the orca families are with one another, constantly touching. And their incredible athleticism, as orcas hunt down and kill their prey. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Rough Play or Bad Intentions? Orca Encounters Off Iberia Baffle Experts
Nobody knows why the marine mammals have been ramming boats in waters from Gibraltar to Galicia, Spain, in recent months. Some vessels were so badly damaged that they had to be towed to port. Elian Peltier reports. (NY Times)

Clear-cutting, climate change threaten fir reforestation in B.C. Interior, report says
Climate change and poor logging practices are threatening the regeneration of dry-belt forests in B.C.'s southern Interior, according to a report by an independent forestry watchdog. Sixty per cent of reforested land examined by researchers from the B.C. Forest Practices Board had not grown back to a healthy height and clear-cutting may be to blame, said the board's chair Kevin Kriese. The drying power of hotter summers means replanted seedlings need extra shade, which is in short supply in clear-cut areas, he said. (CBC)

How the oil industry made us doubt climate change
As climate change becomes a focus of the US election, energy companies stand accused of trying to downplay their contribution to global warming. In June, Minnesota's Attorney General sued ExxonMobil, among others, for launching a "campaign of deception" which deliberately tried to undermine the science supporting global warming. So what's behind these claims? And what links them to how the tobacco industry tried to dismiss the harms of smoking decades earlier? To understand what's happening today, we need to go back nearly 40 years. Phoebe Keane reports. (BBC) See also: U.S. and European Oil Giants Go Different Ways on Climate Change While BP and other European companies invest billions in renewable energy, Exxon and Chevron are committed to fossil fuels and betting on moonshots. Clifford Krauss reports. (NY Times)

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species
With $597,000 from the federal government, Islands Trust Conservancy will be able to launch a program for endangered species protection. The conservancy, part of the Islands Trust, will use the money for such initiatives as “conducting surveys and monitoring, restoring critical habitat, providing outreach materials and events, assisting landowners wishing to protect species at risk on their land” and engagement and work with First Nations. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)

Researchers discover undocumented insects, including parasitic wasp, near Prince George, B.C
Entomologist Lisa Poirier is excited. Poirier, an associate professor at the University of Northern British Columbia, is part of a team of researchers who have collected insect samples in and around Prince George, B.C. — and, by the looks of it, they have uncovered some creepy crawlers never documented before. The team collected more than 200 different insects and while Poirier says other experts will need to review the samples before saying anything definitive, she believes many of them have been going about their bug business undetected by scientists until now. (CBC)

First Nation near Nanaimo drops litigation as part of land deal
The B.C. government has agreed to transfer thousands of acres of Crown land overlooking Nanaimo to the Snuneymuxw First Nation, which will drop litigation against the government. In a statement, nation Chief Mike Wyse and Premier John Horgan said the reconciliation and land transfer agreements included 3,000 acres (12 square kilometres) of land near the City of Nanaimo, including the culturally and economically significant Mount Benson and Mount McKay. David Carrigg reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  303 AM PDT Mon Sep 21 2020   
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3 ft  at 12 seconds. Patchy fog in the morning. A slight chance of  showers in the morning then a chance of showers in the afternoon. 
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. W swell 3  ft at 12 seconds. A slight chance of showers in the evening.

"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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Friday, September 18, 2020

9/18 Huckleberry, landslides, Port Angeles fish farm, Pt Hudson oyster nursery, Kalama methanol, OR fish kill, Skagit habitats

Evergreen Huckleberry [Kitsap CD]

Evergreen Huckleberry Vaccinium ovatum
here are about 450 species of Vaccinium worldwide, about 40 in North America with about 15 in the Pacific Northwest. Evergreen Huckleberry is found on the west side of the Cascade Mountains from British Columbia to California. Natives ate the berries fresh or dried them into cakes.  Today, common lore asserts that they are sweeter after the first frost.  The berries are a bit tedious to pick and separate from the foliage, but are delicious baked into muffins. (Dana Kelley Bressette/Native Plants PNW)

State geologists warn of increased landslide risk following Western Washington wildfires
Another potentially devastating effect of wildfires: increased landslide risk. The state Department of Natural Resources has a team doing rapid response analysis in areas that have recently burned. Trevor Contreras, a geologist with the agency, says we have a bit of a grace period before heavy rains hit...Right now, the team is focused on the Pearl Hill and Palmer Fires in north-central Washington. The team also will take a close look at how the recent brush fires in Pierce County changed landscapes, especially around state Route 410. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Cooke, tribe still plan fish farm in Port Angeles Harbor
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Cooke Aquaculture Pacific LLC are still planning to float a sterile-steelhead fish farm in Port Angeles Harbor despite the site having been left off the Canadian company’s pending list of aquaculture-related permits, tribal and company officials said this week. A lease application for fish pens, which would be located west of the former site of Cooke’s Atlantic salmon farm off Ediz Hook, will be submitted to the state Department of Natural Resources within the next two weeks, Jamestown Seafood CEO Kurt Grinnell predicted Thursday. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe eyes Point Hudson oyster nursery 
The proposal to install a small float as an oyster nursery at the facility will be discussed by Port of Port Townsend commissioners at their meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The public can watch the proceedings via digital media. (Peninsula Daily News)

Major oil product shipping group invests $10M in Kalama methanol plant
The proposed $2 billion Kalama methanol plant this week received a $10 million investment from a major international shipping company, which also agreed to ship a portion of the methanol made at the plant. Officials with Northwest Innovation Works say the investment from Hanfia Limited “checks another box on our project” as it awaits a permitting decision from the state Department of Ecology. Mallory Gruben reports. (Longview Daily News)

Fish in Oregon hatcheries die, released early as fires rage
s wildfires raged through Oregon, staff at fish hatcheries around the state raced to try to save – or prematurely release – millions of chinook salmon, steelhead and trout being raised in captivity to preserve fragile fish species, state officials said Thursday. About 450,000 fish perished at two hatcheries combined and nearly 1.2 million chinook, steelhead and trout were released into the McKenzie River east of Eugene all at once in desperation as the fire approached and fresh water to the facility was cut off. Other hatcheries lost critical infrastructure, including a hatchery building near the Oregon-California border, and one facility went ahead with a critical breeding period while running on limited power from a back-up generator. Gillian Flaccus reports. (Associated Press)

County fish projects land grant money
In an ongoing effort to help the region’s salmon populations, the state Recreation and Conservation Office announced Thursday an $18 million grant package for projects to protect and restore fish habitat. Skagit is one of three counties that netted more than $1 million from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board in the annual grant package. The majority of the $1.1 million awarded in Skagit County will be invested in the Skagit River and its tributaries, and $23,000 in the south fork of the Nooksack River that snakes through land north of Highway 20. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your weekend tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  259 AM PDT Fri Sep 18 2020   
 W wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft  at 7 seconds. Smoke. Showers likely in the morning. Isolated  tstms. A chance of showers in the afternoon. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell  3 ft at 12 seconds. Smoke in the evening. A chance of showers. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft  at 14 seconds. A chance of showers. 
 W wind to 10 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft at 16 seconds. 
 Light wind becoming N to 10 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 14 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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Thursday, September 17, 2020

9/17 Oxeye daily, burned wildlife, Trump's climate, outdated EPA WQ rules, BC old growth, birds in smoke, TM protest, marine mammal covid

Oxeye daisy

Oxeye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare
Oxeye daisy is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches 1 to 3 feet tall. It has shallow, branched rhizomes and adventitious roots. The entire plant has a disagreeable odor when crushed. It aggressively invades fields where it forms dense populations and decreases plant species diversity. Oxeye daisy decreases crop yields and is a weed of 13 crops of 40 countries. Oxeye daisy was changed from a Class B to a Class C noxious weed in 2013. This plant is also on the Washington State quarantine list. (Washington Noxious Weed Control Board)

Endangered wildlife, habitat burned in Washington wildfires; years of effort to boost populations wiped out
Entire wildlife areas have been destroyed and endangered populations of animals gravely depleted by wildfires burning in Eastern Washington. Much of the area burned east of the mountains included shrub-steppe habitat. The assemblage of sage and other plants is critical to the survival of the pygmy rabbit, sage grouse, and sharp-tailed grouse. It is still the early days in understanding the extent of the damage from the fires and how it unfolded. But wildlife managers think the Pearl Hill fire may cause a population decline of anywhere from 30% to 70% in sage grouse, bringing the statewide population to dangerously low levels. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Wildfires Live Updates: Blazes Scorch Habitats for Endangered Species  (NY Times)

What Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Mean for Global Warming
President Trump has made dismantling federal climate policies a centerpiece of his administration. A new analysis from the Rhodium Group finds those rollbacks add up to a lot more planet-warming emissions. Nadja Popovich and Brad Plumer report. (NY Times)

EPA Sued Over Washington State’s ‘Outdated’ Water Quality Rules
The EPA should be ordered to work with Washington state to update its more than 20-year-old water quality standards for toxic pollutants, a conservation group says in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court. The state’s continued use of the outdated standards violates the Clean Water Act, the suit says. It also creates a risk of harm to the state’s threatened or endangered species including Chinook salmon and Southern Resident killer whales, according to the complaint filed by Northwest Environmental Advocates in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Maya Earls reports. (Bloomberg Law)

B.C.’s old-growth forest announcement won’t actually slow down logging: critics
As rumours swirl of a snap fall election, the NDP government has announced development deferrals for nine areas — but closer inspection reveals a startling absence of old growth, and some areas have already been clear cut. Sarah Cox reports. (The Narwhal)

Seattle is in smoke. What's happening to the birds?
You haven’t been the only who’s wondered what happened to the birds. The wildfire smoke descended on this region, and just like that, for some of you, the birds you used to see in your backyard mostly disappeared. That’s the reports from some bird enthusiasts. Others haven’t noticed much change. Erik Lacitis reports. (Seattle Times)

Burnaby tree-sitters claim victory in protest against Trans Mountain pipeline
Pipeline opponents and tree-sitters in Burnaby say they have successfully pushed back the completion date of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to 2023. Tree-sitter Dr. Tim Takaro says the victory being claimed is based on a Trans Mountain affidavit sworn in court in May. According to Takaro, Trans Mountain stated in the affidavit that it needed to start construction in several areas around the Lower Mainland by Sept. 15 — including near Holmes Creek in Burnaby — in order to meet its deadline of being operational by Dec. 2022. Trans Mountain CEO Ian Anderson was quoted by the Canadian Press on Tuesday saying the project is advancing as expected and on schedule to be completed by December 2022. Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Could Marine Mammals Contract COVID-19?
Some marine mammals carry gene mutations that could make them more susceptible than humans to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus at the heart of the ongoing pandemic. If these marine mammals get infected, the results could be devastating—more than half of the species predicted to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 are already at risk of extinction. Nancy Averett reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  244 AM PDT Thu Sep 17 2020   
 SW wind to 10 kt becoming NW 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. 
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. A slight  chance of tstms. A chance of showers after midnight.

"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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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

9/16 Salamander, boat harassers, orca census, sea louse, closed border, Everett port, oil demand, climate migration, Science World


Western red-backed salamander [Minette Layne]

Western Red-backed Salamander Plethodon vehiculum
The western red-backed salamander is found in extreme southwestern Canada and the northwestern United States. It is found in temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. It is considered widespread in the region and is not strictly associated with a specific habitat type. (Wikipedia)

Recreational boaters worst offenders for harassment of killer whales
Reckless whale enthusiasts intent on getting as close as possible to our local celebrity wildlife are in danger of loving them to death. Recreational boaters violated minimum distance requirements meant to protect southern resident killer whales in more than 45 per cent of encounters with orcas, according to a study conducted on the Salish Sea. The two-year study of 784 encounters between boats and both killer whales and humpback whales found that commercial whale-watching vessels violated minimum distance requirements 18 per cent of the time with killer whales and 14 per cent with humpbacks. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Orca census: One death in January, but no births were reported until September
his year’s official census for the endangered killer whales that frequent Puget Sound will record one new orca death but no births from mid-2019 to mid-2020. Because the census accounts for the southern resident orca population as of July 1 each year, this year’s report will not include the much-welcomed birth of J57, born on or around Sept. 4 to Tahlequah, or J35, according to Ken Balcomb, director of the Center for Whale Research who compiles the annual census documents. Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Overlooked Sea Louse May Be a Big Problem for Salmon
Sea lice attach to the skin of fish, and feed on their mucus, tissues, and blood. These parasites are one of the major threats to both wild and farmed salmon. To date, however, most research on sea lice has focused on just one species, Lepeophtheirus salmonis. L. salmonis is a salmon-infesting specialist that plagues aquaculture operations, which explains why it’s drawn the most attention. But it is not the only louse that hurts salmon—Caligus clemensi is a generalist that attacks salmon as well as other fish. “One of the things that is still unclear in the world of salmon lice is how these two species co-infect different Pacific salmon species,” says Cole Brookson, a biologist at the University of Alberta. Brian Owens reports. (Hakai Magazine)

U.S.-Canada border shutdown likely to extend through November, Ottawa cool to more exemptions - sources
The United States and Canada are likely to extend border restrictions until at least the end of November as coronavirus cases spike in some states, according to well-placed Washington and Ottawa sources. The sources also said Canadian officials were showing little enthusiasm for suggestions from U.S. authorities about relaxing some of the measures in the near term...Canadian officials, especially those in provinces bordering the United States, insist the restrictions must remain. David Shepardson, Ted Hesson and David Ljunggren report. (Reuters) See also: Canada to keep border with U.S. closed until at least Oct. 21, says source  Katie Simpson and Peter Zimonjic report. (CBC)

Port again wins millions in grant money for mill site revamp
A major effort to bring jobs back to a prime waterfront property is back on track after the project’s financing plan hit a snag earlier this year. The Port of Everett has won nearly $18 million in federal funding to help pay for the construction of a new cargo terminal on the roughly 60-acre site, which once was the home of a Kimberly-Clark paper and pulp mill, officials announced on Tuesday. The project was selected in 2019 for a similar grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, but the agency rescinded the offer in May, citing changes to the scope that went beyond what the port outlined in its initial application for the funding. Rachel Riley reports. (Everett Herald)

Oil Demand Has Collapsed, And It Won't Come Back Any Time Soon
2020 is shaping up to be an extraordinarily bad year for oil. In the spring of 2020, pandemic lockdowns sent oil demand plummeting and markets into a tailspin. At one point, U.S. oil prices even turned negative for the first time in history. But summer brought new optimism to the industry, with hopes rising for a controlled pandemic, a recovering economy and resurgent oil demand. Those hopes are now fading. In a report Tuesday, the influential advisory body called the International Energy Agency revised its forecasts for global oil consumption downward, warning that the market outlook is "even more fragile" than expected and that "the path ahead is treacherous." Camila Domonoske reports. (NPR) See also: Big Oil’s green makeover  Can BP master new disruptive technologies or will it go the way of typewriter makers? Steven Mufson reports. (Washington Post)

How Climate Migration Will Reshape America
Millions will be displaced. Where will they go? Abrahm Lustgarten reports. (NY Times)

$8M loss threatens to temporarily close Science World
Science World has been hit hard by the pandemic losing $8.2-million — 85 per cent of its revenue — since March. It's a loss that is threatening to close the non-profit, hands-on science museum's doors, at least temporarily. The interactive attraction housed in a glittery disco ball-shaped home at the end of False Creek is usually the go-to place for parents and teachers on a rainy spring-break day. Yvette Brend reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  236 AM PDT Wed Sep 16 2020   
 E wind to 10 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. Smoke. Patchy fog  in the afternoon. A slight chance of showers in the morning. A  chance of showers in the afternoon. 
 NW wind to 10 kt in the evening becoming light. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 3 ft at 8 seconds. Smoke. A chance  of showers in the evening. A slight chance of showers after  midnight.

"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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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

9/15 Tansy ragwort, smoke, Electron Dam, Antarctic glaciers, Tla'amin covid, border closure, marine wildlife hospital, fishing junk, seaweed, extinction

Oregon branded skipper on tansy ragwort [Ann Potter]

Toxic tansy ragwort is having a boom year
Pernicious, invasive and even sometimes deadly for livestock, tansy ragwort has enjoyed a booming bloom this summer in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties and across the rest of western Washington and Oregon. Local weed boards and landowners seeking to eradicate the weed say they are finding more sites than ever this year. Tansy ragwort contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, chemicals which can build up in an animal’s liver and eventually prove fatal. At least one farm animal in the area has died from tansy ragwort poisoning this year, according to Joseph Shea, coordinator of the Skagit County Weed Board. Alex Meacham reports. (Salish Sea Current) See also: Rampant tansey causing a weed 'pandemic'   Jesse Darland reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Rain not much help: Thick smoke to last into Thursday
The sound of raindrops might never have sounded better to a region covered in dangerous levels of thick smoke for a fifth day, but while it was a nice reminder of cleaner days, unfortunately it's not enough to make much of a difference. Think of it as emerging falling into a bog being covered head to toe in thick mud, then trying to clean off with a small squirt gun. In fact, the news gets even worse -- a shift to more southerly winds on Wednesday may bring up even a little more smoke from the Oregon wildfires to add in to our cauldron of hazy gunk. Is it October yet? Scott Sistek reports. (KOMO)

Electron Dam should come down 'as soon as possible,' Pierce County executive says
Pierce County is taking steps to remove the Electron Dam on the Puyallup River following a spew of crumb rubber and plastic debris into the river by the dam’s owners, Electron Hydro. Citing “inexcusable environmental harm” and “irresponsible management” by dam owner Electron Hydro, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier Monday issued a letter imposing a series of steps the owners must take to clean up the mess and secure the dam site for the winter. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Two major Antarctic glaciers are tearing loose from their restraints, scientists say
Two Antarctic glaciers that have long kept scientists awake at night are breaking free from the restraints that have hemmed them in, increasing the threat of large-scale sea-level rise. Located along the coast of the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica, the enormous Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers already contribute around 5 percent of global sea-level rise. The survival of Thwaites has been deemed so critical that the United States and Britain have launched a targeted multimillion-dollar research mission to the glacier. The loss of the glacier could trigger the broader collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which contains enough ice to eventually raise seas by about 10 feet. The new findings, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, come from analysis of satellite images. Chris Mooney reports. (Washington Post)

COVID-19: Cases double in Coast Salish First Nations community
Tla’amin Nation Chief Clint Williams will meet officials Wednesday and decide whether to delay an election this Saturday, as COVID-19 numbers double and heavy smoke tests its members. The Tla’amin Nation outbreak is the second largest of any Indigenous community in B.C., after the 26-case Haida Gwaii outbreak that was declared over at the end of August. The Tla’amin Nation is located on the upper Sunshine Coast. David Carrigg reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Why many Canadians support the Canada-U.S. border closure, despite the costs
Canadian support for keeping the border closed to Americans remains strong, despite a decline in new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and a decimated tourism industry. A new poll by pollster Research Co. found that out of 1,000 Canadians surveyed online at the end of August, a whopping 90 per cent agreed with the current Canada-U.S. border closure to non-essential traffic. The show of support comes at a time when several Canadian border cities are licking their wounds over a loss of U.S. tourism. Nevertheless, they're maintaining their support for the border closure, to help stop the spread of COVID-19 from the country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths. Sophia Harris reports. (CBC)

Washington state is getting a new marine wildlife hospital
asey Mclean looks out over a 14,000-acre construction site in the shadows of residential buildings and boatyards of Des Moines, 30 minutes south of Seattle. Right now, it looks like the world’s smallest state fair in mid setup, with a large tent and modular building free of decoration, but the bones of what will be the state’s first large speciality marine wildlife hospital are all there, oriented around the facility’s hallmarks: two deep rehab pools designed to hold 2,000-pound animals... As a veterinary nurse and executive director of Sea Life Response Rehab and Research (SR3), the facility represents the culmination of nine years of work for her team. When it opens in a month or two, Mclean believes the hospital could serve about 100 animals a year, where they can receive medical treatment, recuperate and learn to eat on their own before going back to sea. Hannah Weinberger reports. (Crosscut)

‘Tons and tons of fishing equipment’: B.C. tour operators clean up ocean debris during coronavirus pandemic
Waste from fishing industry accounts for about 70 per cent of garbage collected in 61-tonne haul, according to captain on expedition supported by provincial government. Matt Simmons reports. (The Narwhal)

Scientists Use Seaweeds to Travel Back in Time
.... In recent years...scientists have discovered several new ways of extracting data from century-old pressed algae—and they’re being used to solve a suite of marine mysteries, including the cause of Monterey Bay’s devastating sardine fishery crash. In a new study published this past June, researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium examined a collection of dried, pressed seaweeds—dating back over 140 years—to learn what ocean conditions in the bay were like in the early 19th century. Annie Roth reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Extinction: Urgent change needed to save species, says UN
Humanity is at a crossroads and we have to take action now to make space for nature to recover and slow its "accelerating decline". This is according to a report by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. It sets out a bullet point list of eight major transitions that could help stop the ongoing decline in nature. Victoria Gill reports. (BBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  230 AM PDT Tue Sep 15 2020   
 SE wind 5 to 15 kt in the morning becoming light. Wind  waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 6 ft at 9 seconds. Smoke. A chance  of showers. 
 Light wind becoming SE to 10 kt after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 5 ft at 9 seconds. Smoke. A chance  of showers.

"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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Monday, September 14, 2020

9/14 Wolf-eel, Salish Sea fate, BC plastics, BC old-growth, David Legates, oil guys lies, Greenland ice, Fidalgo Bay Days

Wolf-eel [Monterey Bay Aquarium]

Wolf-eel Anarrhichthys ocellatus
The wolf-eel is not related to other eels. Wolf-eels live in shallow water as deep as 740 feet (225 m). They swim by making deep S-shapes with their bodies, like a snake moving across the ground. Males have thick jaws and a bulging forehead. Combined with their long, snaggly front teeth they look ferocious, but wolf-eels tend to be aggressive only to other wolf-eels. Adults wind those long bodies into caves and crevices, sticking just their heads out and waiting for something crunchy to swim by. They love crabs, urchins and shellfish. Wolf-eels mate for life and the pair takes special care of its eggs as they develop. Beginning around age seven, the female lays up to 10,000 eggs at a time, then coils around them and uses her body to shape the eggs into a neat sphere roughly the size of a grapefruit. (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

10 years after Salish Sea is named, experts say united front on conservation still distant
A decade after the Salish Sea was named with the hope nations would improve collaboration on conservation, scientists and First Nations say that has not been fully realized and the waterway is suffering because of it. The 18,000 square kilometre sea encompasses inland waterways stretching from the south end of Puget Sound in Washington State to Desolation Sound at the northern end of the Strait of Georgia in B.C., including the Juan de Fuca Strait. The name, adopted by the province and First Nations leaders in 2010, pays homage to the use of the waterways for thousands of years by Indigenous people. Emily Vance reports (CBC)

B.C. approves civic bylaws banning single-use plastics, provincewide bans on the way
The provincial government has approved bans on single-use items for a handful of municipalities and plans to give communities across B.C. more power when it comes to outlawing plastics. Victoria, Richmond, Tofino, Saanich and Ucluelet have been given the green light to implement bans after each community passed bylaws against single-use plastics. Jon Hernandez reports. (CB)

B.C. to protect 353,000 hectares of forest with old-growth trees from logging until new plan is developed
In what it's calling a new approach to forest management in B.C., the province says it will protect 353,000 hectares of forest in nine old-growth areas throughout the province from logging. The promise comes as the Ministry of Forests released a new report entitled A New Future for Old Forests, meant to guide an overhaul of forestry rules. It's based on the work of two foresters who travelled the province for months hearing about how B.C.'s massive, old-growth trees should be protected. The term old-growth in B.C. means trees that are generally 250 years or older on the coast and 140 years or older in the Interior. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

NOAA taps David Legates, professor who questions the seriousness and severity of global warming, for top role
The Trump administration has tapped David Legates, an academic who has long questioned the scientific consensus that human activity is causing global warming, to help run the agency that produces much of the climate research funded by the U.S. government. Legates, a University of Delaware professor who was forced out of his role as that state’s climatologist because of his controversial views, has taken a senior leadership role at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow report. (Washington Post)

A Secret Recording Reveals Oil Executives’ Private Views on Climate Change
Last summer, oil and gas-industry groups were lobbying to overturn federal rules on leaks of natural gas, a major contributor to climate change. Their message: The companies had emissions under control. In private, the lobbyists were saying something very different. At a discussion convened last year by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a group that represents energy companies, participants worried that producers were intentionally flaring, or burning off, far too much natural gas, threatening the industry’s image, according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by The New York Times. Hiroko Tabuchi reports. (NY Times)

Climate change: Warmth shatters section of Greenland ice shelf
A big chunk of ice has just broken away from the Arctic's largest remaining ice shelf - 79N, or Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden - in north-east Greenland. The ejected section covers about 110 square km; satellite imagery shows it to have shattered into many small pieces. The loss is further evidence say scientists of the rapid climate changes taking place in Greenland. Jonathan Amos reports. (BBC)

Fidalgo Bay Day pivots to scavenger hunt
When the COVID-19 pandemic kept the Skagit County Marine Resources Committee from holding its annual Fidalgo Bay Day, the committee adjusted. It is now hosting the Fidalgo Bay Day 2020 Scavenger Hunt through Sept. 30. The Scavenger Hunt Activity Guide includes a variety of mostly outdoor educational activities for all ages. To download the guide or to find where hard copies are available, go to Vince Richardson reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Now, your tug weather--
258 AM PDT Mon Sep 14 2020
 E wind to 10 kt. Wind waves 1 ft or less. SW swell 2 ft  at 15 seconds. Smoke. A chance of showers in the afternoon. 
 E wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 2 ft or less. SW swell 1 ft at 14 seconds. Smoke. A  chance of showers in the evening. Showers likely after midnight.

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