Scientists Report Rare Sightings Of Tropical Species Off West Coast – Earthfix

It appears  we have a ring side seat on the massive climatic change happening right off our coast. For the first time in 65 million years (the last time such a sweeping alternation of the waters occurred so quickly)  we are getting to witness changes that will likely end up altering everything we know and do.  While the politicians do half measures (if even that) in places like the recent Peruvian summit, our ecology is not waiting for us to take the steps needed, and even if we did, the game now is how to live with this change, not stop or reverse it.

Scientists surveying whales and dolphins on the West Coast have discovered unusual species of birds and marine mammals far north of their normal ranges. Experts say fish and wildlife are being drawn northward by unusually warm ocean water. Every few years, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration take a head count of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the ocean off California, Oregon and Washington. Cassandra Profita reports. (EarthFix)

http://earthfix.kuow.org/water/article/scientists-report-rare-sightings-of-tropical-speci/

Ocean acidification a culprit in commercial shellfish hatcheries’ failures – phsy.org

More news on the science coming in that definitively is pointing to Ocean Acidification being the culprit in hatchery mortality rates here.

The mortality of larval Pacific oysters in Northwest hatcheries has been linked to ocean acidification. Yet the rate of increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the decrease of pH in near-shore waters have been questioned as being severe enough to cause the die-offs. Now, a new study of Pacific oyster and Mediterranean mussel larvae found that the earliest larval stages are sensitive to saturation state, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) or pH (acidity) per se. Saturation state is a measure of how corrosive seawater is to the calcium carbonate shells made by bivalve larvae, and how easy it is for larvae to produce their shells. A lower saturation rate is associated with more corrosive seawater. Cheryl Dybas reports. (PHYS.ORG)

http://phys.org/news/2014-12-ocean-acidification-culprit-commercial-shellfish.html

And this article follows on it.

http://phys.org/news/2014-11-tool-west-coast-ocean-acidification.html#inlRlv

For those wanting to understand the science behind “saturation state” you can find the definition down this page. Just “find” saturation state when you get to it. The formula is there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification

Pregnant killer whale J-32 was starving, necropsy reveals – CBC

So the latest death of an Orca was likely due to a combination of starvation and the fetus dying in utero. Bad story here for our joint efforts to protect the whales. A full fishing ban on chinook salmon is likely the only way out, as unpleasant as that may sound. They should know if it works within a year or two. In the meantime, here’s the story on J-32 and Ken Balcomb, one of the leading whale researchers, opinion.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/pregnant-killer-whale-j-32-was-starving-necropsy-reveals-1.2872002

Victoria eyes back-to-basics approach on sewage treatment – TImes Colonist

It appears our neighbors to the north who can’t seem to understand why people are upset about them dumping raw sewage into the Straits, have a new mayor who wants to take the whole thing back to square one and consult the public about sewage treatment. Problem, is the city is likely to lose billions of federal funding to help them, and risk making it even more expensive for Victoria taxpayers. This pathetic state of affairs seems to show that government has been become incapable of protecting the Straits, and perhaps an international lawsuit, based on the Boundary Waters Act of 1905, is in order here. These are shared waters and we have done our bit, along with every other Canadian city on them, to clean up our acts. Enough is enough.

 http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/victoria-eyes-back-to-basics-approach-on-sewage-treatment-1.1683950

Donations to the Food Banks and Habitat For Humanity

It’s not environmental news, but if you didn’t have enough food for your plate this winter, would you even think about protecting the environment? Some of the basic needs of our neighbors are for food and shelter. It’s amazing to me that hundreds of our neighbors queue up for food bank donations every Wednesday. While it would be great to see our government do something about helping these people get their feet more securely on the ground, it’s up to us to get them through the winter.

So take a moment this December and if you feel like you have a bit to give, send a check to :
Port Townsend Food Bank
PO Box 1795
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Your financial donations go far—farther than food donations! Through LifeLine, they can purchase food at a mere 3 cents per pound–that’s only 45 cents for 15 pounds of food!

Or for shelter, try Habitat for Humanity. I did a short film for them last year, and the people they help are amazingly grateful, and in need of better homes.

http://www.habitatejc.org/donate

Thanks, and tell them we sent you. I hope you all have a great holiday season. There will be a lot to do to help the Peninsula next year.

Raw oysters sicken 12, prompt shellfish harvest closure and recall – Seattle Times

Oops. Apparently a leaking septic system was to blame. This affects a wide range of fresh oysters in many states. Read the article for more information. Environmental organizations have pushed for well over a decade to get counties to force mandatory inspections of septic systems. However, public outcry against doing it, especially in counties like Mason, have forced voluntary programs. And this is the kind of outcome that happens. Haven been made sick from oysters myself, I can tell you it isn’t fun. I spent almost a week in bed once from the experience, and really felt like I was dying.

Washington state health officials have ordered an emergency harvest closure and a multistate recall of all shellfish from a portion of Mason County’s Hammersley Inlet after at least a dozen people who ate raw oysters became ill. (Seattle Times)

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2025219127_shellfishrecallxml.html

Orca necropsy shows fetus died first: report – Times Colonist

It appears that the fetus died first and may have caused the death of the mother. Still no firm understanding if the fetus was impacted by environmental issues, or whether it was a natural death.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/orca-necropsy-shows-fetus-died-first-report-1.1662531

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