Stealing Fish To Study Seabirds- Earthfix

As anyone who has bird watched around these parts in the last 20 years can tell, it’s pretty clear we have lost seabird populations. Now some new scientific data has come out on the problem.

Seabird populations in Puget Sound have declined since the 1970s and scientists believe pollution is partially to blame. But how do you prove that? Study what the seabirds are eating. A new paper [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X14004226] published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin found that seabirds in Puget Sound are eating fish that are two to four times more contaminated than fish on Washington’s outer coast. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/flora-and-fauna/article/stealing-fish-to-study-seabirds/

EVENT: 16 October – Wolf Talk with David Moskowitz

PORT TOWNSEND – Join the JLT Natural History Society and Western Wildlife Outreach on Thursday, October 16, for an entertaining evening of “Wolf Talk” with David Moskowitz, well-known wildlife tracker and author of Wolves in the Land of Salmon. Moskowitz will share stories, images, and video clips from the recent OR7 Expedition, which retraced the wanderings of a young male gray wolf, who traversed more than 1,200 miles through Oregon and into California.

OR-12_Wenaha_male_wolf_odfwThe wolf dubbed OR7 was captured and outfitted with a GPS collar in 2011 by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, to follow his journey via satellite signals across multiple mountain ranges, a vast desert, and past numerous towns and cities along the way. OR7 made international news as he wandered to California, becoming the first wolf to be documented there in 90 years. In the spring of 2014 Moskowitz, along with a filmmaker and other stalwart participants, launched an expedition to follow the approximate path of OR7 on foot and by bicycle. The adventurous mission led the team to fresh insights on what it means to share the landscape with large carnivores in the contemporary world.

David will be joined by local carnivore experts, Lorna and Darrell Smith, of the non-profit Western Wildlife Outreach (WWO), who will discuss Washington’s recovering gray wolf population. WWO is a Port Townsend based organization dedicated to providing accurate, science-based information on bears, wolves, and cougars. The organization aims to promote wildlife-safe communities, at the same time striving to restore and maintain healthy populations of these iconic animals, whose roots in the Pacific Northwest extend to millions of years ago.

David Moskowitz is a professional wildlife tracker, photographer, and outdoor educator. He has contributed his technical expertise to a wide variety of wildlife studies, employing tracking and other non-invasive methods to study wildlife ecology and promote conservation. Moscowitz helped establish the Cascade Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project, whose participants search for and observe rare and sensitive wildlife in the Cascades and other Northwest wildlands.

The Natural History Society is an offshoot organization of the Jefferson Land Trust. It was founded in 2012 to foster active exploration, appreciation, understanding, and conservation of the diverse natural environments of the Olympic Peninsula and beyond.

The “Wolf Talk” program will take place at 7:00 pm, Thursday, October 16, at the Cotton Building, 607 Water Street, Port Townsend. This event is free and open to the public. A $5 donation will help defray the costs and support future programs.

For additional information contact:
Noreen Parks
360 379-4007
HYPERLINK “mailto:noreen.parks@gmail.com” noreen.parks@gmail.com

EVENT – Oct 2 – Sierra Club Meeting- Ron Eber speaks on the Wilderness Act 50 years on.

October 2nd –  You are invited to a potluck with the North Olympic Group of the Sierra Club to be held at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 North Blake Avenue in Sequim (next to Carrie Blake Park).
 
Social hour begins at 5:30 PM. Please bring a potluck dish to share and it would be helpful to bring your own plate, cup, and table ware. Members and friends of the Sierra Club are invited.
After the potluck, we will feature the following program:

Ron Eber, Historian for the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, will present a program on the Wilderness Act. On the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, Ron’s talk will explore the work of John Muir and the pioneer conservationists of Washington who laid the foundation for all the wilderness we have protected since his time. Muir’s earlier wilderness and park campaigns will also be looked at to see what lessons we have learned and can continue to use in the future.

 
Ron holds a degree in Geography from California State University at Northridge and a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. From 1976 – 2008, he was the Farm and Forest Lands Specialist for the Oregon Department of La
 
We hope to see you there.
 
Darlene Schanfald, Board Member
Sierra Club – North Olympic Group

EVENT: Ocean health forum is Oct. 7 at NW Maritime Center – PT Leader

I’ll be introducing the event on Tuesday. Hope you all can make it. It should be a very interesting evening. – Al

Learn about the science of changing ocean chemistry and its effects on sea life, with examples of local efforts to combat the problem. The Northwest Straits Commission and Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) host a community forum on ocean health, 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water. Doors open at 6 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, and all ages are welcome. To learn more about this event and the Jefferson County MRC, visit jeffersonmrc.org. (Port Townsend Leader)

http://www.ptleader.com/news/ocean-health-forum-is-oct-at-nwmc/article_a26b4938-48f1-11e4-8204-001a4bcf6878.html

Killer whales expected to head south any day now- Kitsap Sun

Chris Dunagan at Watching Our Water Ways blogs: “As chum salmon swim back to their home streams in Puget Sound this fall, three killer whale pods — the Southern Residents — can be expected to follow, making their way south along the eastern shoreline of the Kitsap Peninsula. These forays into Central and South Puget Sound could begin any day now and continue until the chum runs decline in November or December. The Southern Residents, which typically hang out in the San Juan Islands in summer, have not been spotted for several days, so they are likely somewhere in the ocean at the moment, according to Howard Garrett of Orca Network. (Kitsap Sun)

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2014/10/01/killer-whales-expected-to-head-south-any-day-now/#axzz3EsDVWuTD

Tidal Power Project In Puget Sound Abandoned By Utility – Earthfix

This was the Admiralty Inlet project. A very disheartening temporary end. Likely it won’t be the last we hear of this. Perhaps this is an opportunity for the newly created Jefferson County PUD to step up.  I wonder what the background story is on this. My guess is that the lack of support from the Republican House doomed this clean energy project. They have been loath to fund any such projects, and have been working to kill all tax advantages for the solar industry also.

 This is another project that likely would have been helped by restoring earmarks in the Federal budget, a negotiating tool for getting regional projects like this funded in exchange for regional projects in opposing lawmakers districts. Earmarks were abolished by President Obama, one of his early “accomplishments” to aid in the budget process. Something that should likely be brought back. It actually worked to ease gridlock, and keep worthy projects like this alive. It had it’s problems, like a bridge to nowhere in Alaska, but that was actually an outlier to the bulk of good work it got accomplished.

A long-awaited tidal energy project in Puget Sound has come to halt. The project was set to generate electricity and connect it to the grid – the first project of its kind in the world. But it just got too expensive. The Snohomish County Public Utility District had hoped to install two underwater turbines in Admiralty Inlet near Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island. The pilot turbines would have generated enough power for about 200 homes and stayed in the water up to five years. The U.S. Department of Energy had said it would pay for half the project, but the department recently said it couldn’t keep paying after eight years of permitting and testing. Courtney Flatt reports. (EarthFix)

 http://earthfix.kcts9.org/energy/article/snohomish-pud-halts-tidal-power-project/

Head of State Ecology Answers Prof. Cliff Mass on Ocean Acidification

As reported here in the last few weeks, UW Meteorologist Cliff Mass posted in his blog that recent court filings by the US EPA and State Department of Ecology were evidence that neither really thought that Ocean Acidification was a scientifically proven threat to the Salish Sea and our seafood industries. My criticism here on this blog was then used by him as a place to accuse me of personally attacking him for his views. (see comments in previous articles last week). This week, State Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon stepped into the fray, publishing a scathing blog entry directly addressing his comments. I quote:

Department of Ecology take threats from ocean acidification very seriously. This is not a surprise to many, given our policy and science leadership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to understand and address ocean acidification. But local meteorologist Cliff Mass’s September 7 blog is causing some people to question just what our position is, and whether ocean acidification is real.

Let’s be clear. Ocean acidification is real. Determining the causes, impacts, and identifying potential solutions are high priorities for our agency and our state…

….Cliff Mass quoted a few sentences from legal documents that misled several blog readers to believe that Ecology and EPA have determined that acidification is not damaging oysters in Puget Sound or other local waters. He misinterpreted documents filed under litigation by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

http://coenv.washington.edu/research/major-initiatives/ocean-acidification/oa-in-washingtons-waters-in-the-context-of-marine-water-quality/.

It is gratifying to say the least to see our top bureaucrat in charge of addressing this issue come forward and clearly lay out the issue to any reader in the State. Professor Mass has not yet chosen to respond to this blog post by Ms. Bellon.

Those of us who are involved in educating the public to serious (and sometimes difficult to comprehend) issues like ocean acidification are grateful to Ms. Bellon for stepping up and using her bully pulpit to call out the serious and urgent need for continued scientific work to figure out a solution to this issue, if a solution does in fact exist. There is far too much at stake to sit back and allow critics to derail these efforts without  answering them. It’s what true leadership is all about.

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