Weather or Not from Al Latham

Our monthly report from Al Latham here in Jefferson County. Always a fun and interesting read! 

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Greetings and happy La Nina spring from http://www.cocorahs.org station WA-JF-1 located 5.1 miles south of the Chimacum metropolis.

As Mark Twain said “In spring I have counted 136
kinds of weather inside of 24 hours”…   That pretty well describes the past March.

We recorded 2.42″ rain here with 3.8″ average.
For the water year so far we accumulated 23.84″ with 25.2″ being our average.

La Nina means cooler/wetter winter/spring.  It has
definitely been cooler around here but we haven’t experience more
rainfall – except for January of course, but that’s ancient history.

According to http://www.cliffmass.blogspot.com “Most of western Washington, Oregon, California, and the southwest states were more than 2F cooler than normal.   Chilling statistics”.
NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting cooler
temps for the next 3 months but they are on the fence about weather it will be wetter, drier or normal rain wise.
So that’s it for now – enjoy whatever weather we get, but don’t put those tomatoes out too soon!  Al
 
“April’s air stirs in
Willow leaves…a butterfly
Floats and balances”         Basho
 
What do you call it when you get mugged on the vernal equinox?
The first robbin of spring!
 
When all the world appears to be in tumult, and
nature itself is feeling the assault of climate change, the seasons
retain their essential rhythm.
Yes, fall gives us a premonition of winter,
but the, winter, will be forced to relent,
once again
to the new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of spring!      Madeline M. Kunin

NW scientist taps into personalities, diets to help sunflower sea stars shine again – KNKX

In December, sunflower sea stars were declared critically endangered by an international union of scientists…But there is hope. Pockets of healthy populations of sunflower sea stars still exist in parts of the Salish Sea. And a scientist working at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs on San Juan Island is pioneering new techniques to breed them in captivity. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Endangered predators and endangered prey: Seasonal diet of Southern Resident killer whales – PLOS One

New research out regarding Southern Resident killer whales and their needs for chinook. Very good research here, based on scat samples over long periods of time.

Abstract

Understanding diet is critical for conservation of endangered predators. Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW) (Orcinus orca) are an endangered population occurring primarily along the outer coast and inland waters of Washington and British Columbia. Insufficient prey has been identified as a factor limiting their recovery, so a clear understanding of their seasonal diet is a high conservation priority. Previous studies have shown that their summer diet in inland waters consists primarily of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), despite that species’ rarity compared to some other salmonids. During other times of the year, when occurrence patterns include other portions of their range, their diet remains largely unknown. To address this data gap, we collected feces and prey remains from October to May 2004–2017 in both the Salish Sea and outer coast waters. Using visual and genetic species identification for prey remains and genetic approaches for fecal samples, we characterized the diet of the SRKWs in fall, winter, and spring. Chinook salmon were identified as an important prey item year-round, averaging ~50% of their diet in the fall, increasing to 70–80% in the mid-winter/early spring, and increasing to nearly 100% in the spring. Other salmon species and non-salmonid fishes, also made substantial dietary contributions. The relatively high species diversity in winter suggested a possible lack of Chinook salmon, probably due to seasonally lower densities, based on SRKW’s proclivity to selectively consume this species in other seasons. A wide diversity of Chinook salmon stocks were consumed, many of which are also at risk. Although outer coast Chinook samples included 14 stocks, four rivers systems accounted for over 90% of samples, predominantly the Columbia River. Increasing the abundance of Chinook salmon stocks that inhabit the whales’ winter range may be an effective conservation strategy for this population.

Read the whole research paper here.

Endangered predators and endangered prey: Seasonal diet of Southern Resident killer whales (plos.org)

Winding down Puget Sound’s 2020 targets, as approved shellfish acreage keeps going up – PSI

A good look at the state of shellfish bed recovery over the last 10 years, as measured by the Puget Sound Partnership. This is one indicator that seems to be going in a positive direction. Of course, the goal of this is to promote the conversion of public beaches into industrial aquaculture, so it’s a mixed bag. Some day we’ll see a real discussion in the public sphere about how many acres we are going to convert to industrial aquaculture before they are all turned into off limit farms for the profit of a few large aquaculture organizations. Good reporting from the Puget Sound Institute. Worth reading.

Mission Blue and SR³ brings Hope Spot to Salish Sea

Interesting new marine hospital comes to the Pacific NW with the help of a number of non-profits from here. The head of this project appears to be Dr. Sylvia Earle one of the legends of Marine Science and environmental education. All good news.


For Immediate Release
SALISH SEA DECLARED A HOPE SPOT IN CELEBRATION OF NEW MARINE ANIMAL HOSPITAL

Executive Director and Veterinary Nurse Casey Mclean examines an elephant seal’s vital signs. NOAA Permit 18786

SEATTLE – February 17 – The Salish Sea has been declared a Hope Spot by international nonprofit Mission Blue in recognition of SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research (SR³) and their partners’ conservation goals to protect the local marine biodiversity. SR³ is kicking off their celebration as the Hope Spot Champions with the opening of a new marine animal hospital in Des Moines, Wash., coming soon.

Connecting the waters between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada, the Salish Sea is bursting with iconic and beloved creatures like the endangered Southern Resident killer whales and humpback whales. As the original inhabitants of the sea, these mammals called the region home thousands of years before human beings walked to draw borders between countries, build ports, and develop commercial fishing to feed the rest of the two-legged world. Today, man’s impact on the ocean has created increasing threats for marine wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.



Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, says, “The Salish Sea holds immensely important biodiversity. This body of water has provided the residents of Seattle up to Vancouver with vital natural resources for millennia. We must act now if we want to protect the ocean and its inhabitants from the destructive effects of human interference. I want to thank SR³ and their partners for their important work in marine animal research and rehabilitation – it’s so important that people are aware of the creatures that they share the ocean with. If the whales, seals and dolphins aren’t healthy, humans won’t be healthy, either.”

Casey Mclean, Hope Spot Champion and Executive Director of SR³, explains how marine animals serve as important indicators of ocean health and of environmental changes that can impact humans. She elaborates, “From warming ocean waters to entanglements, marine animals are increasingly suffering.” She continues, “Without a specialized marine wildlife hospital in the region, many sick and injured animals are left without hope for survival. It also limits our ability to gain insights that would drive protections for many more animals.”

From injured seals to entangled whales, SR³ works to ensure that struggling marine animals receive the expert help they need. Their SeaLife Rescue Center – the first marine wildlife specialty hospital in the Pacific Northwest – is opening soon. As a community-supported nonprofit, SR³ relies on donations from individuals who wish to invest in the health of their blue backyard.

The Salish Sea is home to some of the largest and longest-lived marine species on Earth, including the North Pacific giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini), the giant Pacific chiton (Cryptochiton stelleri), the largest barnacle (Balanus nubilus), plumose anemone (Metridium senile), the largest sea anemone, cabezon, lion’s mane jellyfish, and 25 species of rockfish that have life spans of 50-200 years.

Protecting the animals of the Salish Sea will benefit the entire ecosystem – regardless of human boundaries. New conservation policies and activities can draw attention to the many rivers and streams that feed into the sea that are in desperate need of habitat restoration and protection.

Cristina Mittermeier, internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, Managing Director and Co-founder at SeaLegacy, describes SeaLegacy’s work as a Hope Spot partner. “If we want to live in a healthy and abundant Salish Sea, we must first imagine what that looks like. With images and stories, SeaLegacy is inviting us to imagine a different balance between business and nature. If we can ignite an imagined future in which orcas are thriving, fish populations are revered, coastal communities re-engineer their economies to sustain tourism instead of squandering our finite resources, and the knowledge and rights of the First Nations of this land are honored, then I am sure we can turn the hope encapsulated in the idea of this Hope Spot, into a reality we can gift the next generation.”


Mclean elaborates, “By teaching people how their everyday actions are connected to local marine health – and ultimately their own health – we can make the Pacific Northwest a safer and healthier home for marine animals – and for all of us!”
        
“We live, work and play near and in these waters and recognize that the region is on the brink of something incredible. We can achieve a resilient, sustainable, and healthy Salish Sea by bringing together diverse voices, building a movement around a shared ocean ethic, and by igniting hope,” said Dr. Erin Meyer, Director of Conservation Programs and Partnerships at the Seattle Aquarium. “Designating the Salish Sea as a Mission Blue Hope Spot connects us to communities around the world who are working together to catalyze positive change.” 
        
As SR3 delivers emergency response for sick, injured or entangled marine animals, they collect critical data in the process that helps drive broader protections. For instance, as they work to free entangled whales, responders also learn how they became entangled and work closely with fishermen and government agencies to develop ways to prevent entanglements in the future. Using drones to conduct scientific research, SR³ collects important health data that informs protections for dwindling populations such as the critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

SR³ and their partners believe that improving the health of the Salish Sea will require a hands-on approach from all angles. Their goals for the Hope Spot also include to deepen working relationships with local tribal entities, create a place of union between the many non-government organizations (NGOs) working to protect the life within the Salish Sea, and increasing public action for the support of legislation that impacts the Salish Sea and its inhabitants. In order to ignite the public’s response, they’re working to educate residents within the Salish Sea watershed about how its protection is critical for human health.

The Salish Sea Hope Spot partner organizations include Pacific Mammal ResearchWhale and Dolphin ConservationSeaLegacySeattle AquariumMarine Conservation InstituteOcean WiseEarth Law CenterSea SmartCoextinction FoundationPNW ProtectorsUnited and Free.

Despite the decimation of its species, the inundation of pollution from poorly planned development, and elimination of some critical habitats, the Salish Sea has survived. 

“All is not lost,” stresses Mclean. “This ecosystem is still alive. It is resilient, and we have the opportunity to restore it. Our lives and livelihoods depend on it.”


About SR³ – SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research (SR³) rescues and protects marine wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. With a marine wildlife ambulance, response vessel, and specialized veterinary staff, SR³ fills a unique role in the West Coast’s marine mammal stranding network. The organization’s expert first responders stand ready to deploy every day to ensure suffering marine animals receive the expert care they so urgently need. SR³ also works to address the root cause of marine animal health issues through scientific research projects. A major focus of this program is the endangered Southern Resident killer whales, using drones to collect health data that inform conservation actions important to their survival. The organization will open the region’s first marine wildlife specialty hospital early this year. www.sr3.org

About Mission Blue – Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots. Under Dr. Earle’s leadership, the Mission Blue team implements communications campaigns that elevate Hope Spots to the world stage through documentaries, social media, traditional media and innovative tools like Esri ArcGIS. www.mission-blue.org

Please contact Casey Mclean, SR³ Executive Director at casey@sr3.org or (425) 346-9798 for high resolution images, interviews or more information.

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 EMILY CRAWFORD Founder / LUMINOSITY PR
 Pronouns: she/her/hers 206.880.3977 / Emily@LuminosityPR.com
 www.LuminosityPR.com

SeaDoc Society welcomes new regional director – Islander

Good news here. SeaDoc is a critical scientific resource to our region and the world. Looks like they have hired a good one to fill this important role. Congratulations to Leigh Ann.

The SeaDoc Society has hired Leigh Ann Gilmer to fill its regional director position. She began on Feb. 1 and has hit the ground running.

Prior to joining SeaDoc, Gilmer served as executive director of Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds, Washington, and development director and chief operating officer at Conservation Northwest. In addition, she’s held key roles at the Museum of Pop Culture and Seattle University, where she completed her master’s degree while working full time in fund development.

SeaDoc Society welcomes new regional director | Islands’ Sounder

Gray whales learn daring feeding strategy in Puget Sound: Digging for ghost shrimp at high tide – Seattle Times

We continue to find out more about the wild life that lives just off our beaches. No need for looking for extra terrestrial life. It’s right here.


Every spring, a small group of about a dozen gray whales pauses along an epic migration from calving lagoons in Baja California to their feeding grounds in the Artic. They travel more than 170 miles off their coastal migration route, to stop off in northern Puget Sound. There, they linger from about March through May. Now scientists think they know why the Sounders, as this beloved group of regulars is known, likes to visit — and hang around. New research confirms these whales have figured out a brilliant feeding strategy. Lynda Mapes reports.

Seattle Times

Gray whales learn daring feeding strategy in Puget Sound: Digging for ghost shrimp at high tide

Sea charts and satellites: Mapping critical kelp beds along the Pacific Coast – National Observer

More good news on the kelp monitoring project. This is a key indicator species that the Northwest Straits Foundation, the State of Washington and the Marine Resource Committees have been helping monitor, and now it looks like we will get better satellite data on the whole coast.


An ambitious project to map and monitor sea kelp forests along the entire B.C. coast is afoot, and scientists are using seemly disparate tools — both ancient and modern — to do it. Researchers are using centuries-old British sea charts and advanced technology, such as camera drones and satellite images, to trace shifts in the abundance and distribution of kelp beds over time, said geographer Maycira Costa. Rochelle Baker reports. (National Observer)

Sea charts and satellites: Mapping critical kelp beds along the Pacific coast

REPAIRS OF BULKHEADS, DOCKS AND OTHER STRUCTURES NOW INVOLVE HABITAT ASSESSMENT – PSI

This is a huge change to the proposal, hopefully for the good. However, in reading this article I find that it may cause more problems than it solves. While I applaud the idea, the implementation seems problematic. I urge those of you interested in seeing this implemented or those seeing issues with the implementation to attend this meeting. Now is the time to tweak the process so that it helps people do the right thing.

NOAA Fisheries will hold online public workshops on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28 to explain the conservation calculator that the agency developed to assess the value of nearshore habitat. Both workshops will run from 9 to 11 a.m. Details will be posted on the webpage Puget Sound Nearshore Habitat Conservation Calculator.

Sea otter reintroduction to more of the Pacific Coast gets a nudge from Congress – KNKX

Some good environmental news! Tom Banse writes about the successful efforts to get money inserted into the newly passed budget to help continue the reintroduction of sea otters to the west coast. Info on Washington counts of sea otters also in this story.

“I’m very pleased. This is very timely,” Bailey said in an interview. “It will definitely help U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service develop a strategic approach for how best to conserve and protect sea otters on the Pacific Coast.”

https://www.knkx.org/post/sea-otter-reintroduction-more-pacific-coast-gets-nudge-congress

How Trump tried, but largely failed, to derail America’s top climate report – NY Times

More fallout of the destructive force of Hurricane Trump. In this instance, scientists managed to hold off his flunkies from essentially gutting the report. As he leaves we can only look forward to rebuilding this nation’s science credibility world wide. Why is this important? Because the output of this report guides decision making for years to come.

EPA Finalizes rule to limit science behind public health standards – WA Post

As the Trump Administration burns all it’s bridges behind them in a scorched earth environmental policy, the latest outrage is the long anticipated culling of real science behind future decisions to protect our food, water or air. Or perhaps you would rather ignore the findings of scientists that don’t agree with your company’s toxic product. Wonder how they will do it? Read the article referenced below. The Biden administration will have it’s work cut out for it reversing these disastrous acts.


The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule to limit what research it can use to craft public health protections, a move opponents argue is aimed at crippling the agency’s ability to more aggressively regulate the nation’s air and water. The “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule, which the administration began pursuing early in President Trump’s term, would require researchers to disclose the raw data involved in their public health studies before the agency could rely upon their conclusions. It will apply this new set of standards to “dose-response studies,” which evaluate how much a person’s exposure to a substance increases the risk of harm. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post)

EPA finalizes rule to limit science behind public health safeguards

Climate Action for Christmas? Omnibus bill includes biggest policy shift in years.

Good news being reported by NPR. This blog will check into the details and come back with a more comprehensive overview later.

“The massive spending package just passed by Congress includes the most significant climate legislation in more than a decade, along with significant changes in energy policy. It was easy to miss, nestled among pandemic relief payments, the annual spending bill, new Smithsonian museums and protection from surprise medical billing. But pull out the energy provisions alone, and the bill is remarkable: It includes $35 billion in funding for basic research, extensions of tax credits for renewable energy companies, and a long-delayed mandate to reduce the use of a particularly damaging greenhouse gas. The fact that Congress managed to pass climate legislation at all is noteworthy in and of itself. For years, thanks to gridlock and an administration actively hostile to climate action, legislators have struggled to set new climate policy, even on measures that enjoy widespread bipartisan support. Camila Domonoske & Jeff Brady report. (NPR)”


Climate Action For Christmas? Omnibus Bill Includes Biggest Policy Shift In Years

Sunflower sea stars declared critically endangered on West Coast – Hakai Institute

Another indicator moving the wrong way.


One of the largest sea star species in the world has been listed as critically endangered on Thursday after a global study shows the species population has been decimated by a marine epidemic. The sunflower sea star, once abundant in marine waters from Alaska to Baja California in Mexico, is on the brink of extinction along the West Coast waters in the United States after a marine wildlife epidemic event referred to as the sea star wasting syndrome began in 2013…Oregon State University, along with The Nature Conservancy and dozens of conservation groups, led a groundbreaking study that found 90.6% of the species population has been wiped out and estimated as many as 5.75 billion animals died from the disease since the die-off began. This has led the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to list the sunflower sea star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) as critically endangered. Monica Samayoa reports. (OPB) See also: Sunflower Stars Now Critically Endangered  Though sunflower star numbers have plummeted, scientists are holding out hope for these once-common denizens of the Pacific. (Hakai Institute)

Sunflower sea stars declared critically endangered on West Coast

Summary of 2019 Puget Sound environment from the Puget Sound Partnership

  • Short story? Too much not heading in the right direction. Some good news though. Just as a reminder, the Partnership, which was created 2007 with the goal, written into it’s legislation, “It is the goal of the state that the health of Puget Sound be restored by 2020.” Has this goal ever been updated? Not clear. It’s time to revisit that goal. A note: It takes the Partnership a year to evaluate the previous year data. So it’s to be expected, especially with the pandemic, to have this long a period between data and analysis.

The takeaways:

  • Puget Sound waters were warmer and saltier during 2019 – although not as warm as during the “blob” marine heatwave years of 2014-2016. (Unlikely something short term to fix- global issue?)
  • The increase in salinity and temperature throughout the Sound was broadly observed and substantial.Saltier than average conditions have been evident in the Sound over the past three years.
  • Regional snow pack, precipitation, and summer flows were all well below normal. (Better drive less, end fossil fuel use)
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements on the Washington shelf continued their year-to-year increase in 2019 with values near the global average. (see above)
  • Pacific herring spawning biomass declined from 2018, driven mostly by a substantial decrease in the stock at Quilcene Bay, the largest in Puget Sound. (Why is this happening when the PSP has been working on this for over a decade? Was there a specific event in 2019? Over-fishing?)
  • Bottomfish biomass in 2019 was at its highest since 2014, while abundance has remained consistent since 2017, indicating larger fish. (Good news!)
  • Chinook and Chum salmon returns were particularly low during 2019. Seabird abundance and species diversity were similar to that of the previous years, while the number of forage-fish specialists was higher in the first half of the year. (Good news!)
  • Protection Island, Rhinoceros Auklet breeding effort and reproductive success returned to long-term average values in 2019 after three bad years. (Good news!)
  • Marine mammals and seabird densities during fall 2019 at the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca were low relative to the 14-year record there.
  • Southern Resident killer whales were present in the Salish Sea for fewer days than in any year from 1994–2016. None were present in June for the first time on record. (Really bad news? Nothing helping them in all that has happened in the last 10 years?)
  • Analysis of sediments across Puget Sound reveal the presence of micro-plastics in all samples collected during 2019. With no statistical change of plastic concentrations from year to year, micro-plastics have been found in every sample except one since 2014. (really bad news getting worse)
  • The number of beaches passing the swimming standard from bacterial contamination decreased by a small percentage from 2018 to 2019. (Bad news with 15 years of the Partnership working on this)

Let’s remember the goals of the Partnership since it’s founding:

The Washington State Legislature identified in 2007 six long-term ecosystem recovery goals for creating a resilient Puget Sound:

  • Healthy Human Population—A healthy population supported by a healthy Puget Sound that is not threatened by changes in the ecosystem.
  • Vibrant Quality of Life—A quality of human life that is sustained by a functioning Puget Sound ecosystem.
  • Thriving Species and Food Web—Healthy and sustaining populations of native species in Puget Sound, including a robust food web.
  • Protect and Restored Habitat—A healthy Puget Sound where freshwater, estuary, nearshore, marine, and upland habitats are protected, restored, and sustained.
  • Abundant Water Quantity—An ecosystem that is supported by good groundwater levels as well as river and stream flows sufficient to sustain people, fish, wildlife, and the natural functions of the environment.
  • Healthy Water Quality—Fresh and marine waters and sediments of a sufficient quality to support water that is safe for drinking, swimming, and other human uses and enjoyment, and which are not harmful to the native marine mammals, fish, birds, and shellfish in the region.

Want to read the details on this? Download here: https://www.psp.wa.gov/PSmarinewatersoverview.php

Will a return to historical indigenous fishing practices help recover Pacific Salmon fisheries?

From Wild Fish Conservancy today: A publication released today in BioScience suggests that a return to historical  Indigenous fishing practices and systems of salmon management may be key to revitalizing  struggling Pacific Salmon fisheries across the North Pacific.  

The article, titled Indigenous Systems of Management for Culturally and Ecologically Resilient Pacific Salmon  (Oncorhynchus spp.) Fisheries, is authored by a collection of accomplished Indigenous leaders and  fisheries scientists from the United States and Canada. Wild Fish Conservancy is proud to announce  its own Adrian Tuohy serves as one of the paper’s co-authors.  

In the paper, the authors document how Indigenous communities of the North Pacific sustainably  harvested salmon for thousands of years by fishing in or near rivers with low-impact selective fishing  tools like fish traps, weirs, wheels, reef nets, and dip nets. After the arrival of European settlers,  traditional Indigenous fisheries and governance systems were suppressed, giving way to the mostly  unsustainable mixed-stock commercial fishing practices of today that commonly occur in the ocean  with non-selective tools, such as gill nets.  

“As they’re currently built, mixed-stock salmon fisheries are undermining the biodiversity needed for  Pacific salmon to thrive,” says Dr. Atlas, lead author of the publication and Scientist with the  Portland-based Wild Salmon Center. “Luckily, we have hundreds of examples, going back  thousands of years, of better ways to fish. These techniques can deliver better results for all  communities.” 

The publication reviews historical methods of Indigenous salmon fishing and management,  exploring the benefits of terminal fisheries and selective fishing tools able to release by-catch  (non-target species) unharmed. By targeting salmon runs in-river—rather than in the ocean, where  both healthy and threatened stocks intermingle—Indigenous people harvested individual, known  salmon runs as the fish made their homeward migration to natal rivers. Furthermore, Indigenous  groups used low-impact selective fishing tools to selectively target specific salmon runs, similar in  concept to Wild Fish Conservancy’s fish trap in the lower Columbia River which enables bycatch of  threatened and endangered fish to be safely released to reach upriver spawning grounds with nearly  100% survival rates. 

The authors of the publication propose reforming status quo management practices that have failed  to rebuild, or sustainably manage, struggling wild Pacific Salmon populations. According to the  authors, restoring governance, place-based management systems, and methods of in-river selective  harvest grounded in Indigenous knowledge can help revitalize Pacific Salmon fisheries and result in  more equitable fishing opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous coastal fishing  communities alike across the North Pacific.  

“Conventional harvest and hatchery management have mostly failed to maintain or restore wild  salmon and steelhead south of the Aleutians,” says co-author Adrian Tuohy, a Biologist with  the Washington-based non-profit Wild Fish Conservancy. “By returning to place-based salmon  management systems, selective gears, and terminal in-river salmon fisheries historically embraced by  Indigenous communities, we can address many of the primary limiting factors to recovery of wild  salmon and steelhead while benefiting coastal fishing communities across the region.” 

If you want to know more about Wild fish Conservancy’s selective harvest and fish trap research at  wildfishconservancy.org or thefishtrapjournal.org, WFC’s online field journal dedicated to this  research project.  

Tires, Roads and Rain Gardens – Hakai Magazine

We have covered the issues of road runoff before, in articles done from the University of Washington research on Hwy 520. Now more science weighs in about runoff from car tires, recycled tires and the use of rain gardens to mitigate the issue. Also, Jefferson County has been actively trialing rain gardens, sometimes to the amusement of the public. This is another example of rain gardens possibly coming to the rescue.


A stealthy source of pollution leaves the highway in astonishing amounts and heads to sea, toxic chemicals and all. Laura Trethewey reports. (Hakai Magazine)

When Rubber Hits the Road—and Washes Away

What 13,000 wildfires teach us about Washington forests – Crosscut

A deep dive into data from the Department of Natural Resources reveals some scary trends and surprising findings.

Crosscut took a deep dive into these 13,452 fire records to highlight some numbers that help put this year into context and tell the broader story of our state’s fires. 

https://crosscut.com/environment/2020/11/what-13000-wildfires-teach-us-about-washington-forests

U.S. Leaving Paris Agreement – ABC

Yes, the largest polluter of greenhouse gases is walking away from offering any global leadership as many of it’s citizens are turned into climate refugees in California, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and more. Beyond the fact that the U.S. is continuing to help doom all of the planet to a nightmarish future, the first people most hurt from from the 2016 Presidential election is that they are more likely to be Republicans that voted for Trump. (that statement based on reviewing New York Times data maps of the districts voting records vs where the fires covered). Still, people in these same areas voted again for Trump and their own worse outcomes. The good news? Economics drive behavior as much as anything. Solar power is getting cheaper and more widespread. Devices become more power efficient. Insurance companies are forcing people to make better decisions about their future homes and many more communities are working on creating better building standards and zoning restrictions. It won’t be enough to stop the tide, but it could help mitigate the pain. If Biden can win, at least we will go back to a President that can do something rather than nothing. Congress will still be deadlocked, but some small progress will be reinstated. Cross your fingers. The future is watching.


The U.S. is set to officially withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement on Wednesday, three years after President Donald Trump announced his intent to remove the country from participating in the global forum to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The historic accord seeks to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, the value that climate scientists have determined will have disastrous consequences if exceeded. Trump has assailed the agreement as economically detrimental and claimed it could cost the country 2.5 million jobs by 2025. He also said it gave other major emitters, such as China, a free pass. Julia Jacobo reports. (ABC)

The US is leaving the Paris Agreement: How that will affect the global mission to affect climate change r

More on ‘murder hornets’ from local entomologist.

I’ve known Norm Baker for the last decade. He always has thoughtful information to share. While this is a comment in another post, I wanted to break it out to share more fully.


I am trained as an entomologist and am aware of the murder hornet and have been for many years. If this hornet becomes established and, that is quite likely, it will be a problem because of anaphylactic shock from the sting. When a hornet or yellowjacket or paper wasp sting, it isn’t a single injection. It is more like five or six injections in a very short row to get the maximum benefit or pain. Anaphylactic shock will be a matter of public safety and it may be necessary to broaden the purview of public safety a bit. I say this because being trained as an entomologist, I have seen two people go into anaphylactic shock after years, many years of working with insects and suddenly becoming susceptible to the sting or other insect protein. In one case, a 50-year-old woman researcher in the lab next to mine at U of M, had a cockroach run up her arm and she developed tiny red marks where the animal ran. A couple of months later, a cockroach escaped a culture cage, she grabbed it and put it back in. 20 minutes later she went into anaphylactic shock and if the lab technician and a couple of students had not been present, she would have died. In another case, a 55-year-old man who had worked with honeybees is entire professional life was so used to being stung, he simply ignored them. Unfortunately, he and a student were in the field and he got that one sting too many and started gasping for breath. If his graduate student had not been there, he would have died. Data on anaphylactic shock from insect stings, shows that 90% of the time, it looks like the person suffered a heart attack.

I read over the paper on where the Asian giant hornet can be expected to live and it is most of the Pacific Northwest. I can also tell from the eradication efforts by the Department of Agriculture, that all of their efforts still do not tell us if it is possible to control this animal. The problem is the fall dispersal of those queen hornets. They go into a kind of hibernation and in the spring, set up housekeeping very quickly and build a nest very quickly. My experience as an entomologist says this will eventually be a low level problem here in Clallam County. But, it will also take some training for EMTs and I can just about guarantee some of you police people are going to get involved indirectly because of the anaphylactic shock.

A lot of press time is devoted to the devastating effects of these hornets on bee colonies. What I have not seen is the use of a screen “excluder” that prevents the hornets from entering a beehive simply because they are much larger in size. It will simply be a matter of time before the nations beekeepers learn how to handle this hornet around their hives. The real concern here is anaphylactic shock that is passed off as a heart attack when no help is present and someone is stung.

But, there is more to the murder hornet then people really realize in this country.

For example take a look at this article; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/05/world/asia/murder-hornet-japan.html

Or even Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_giant_hornet

Norm Baker, PhD

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