In WSU Stormwater Runoff Research, Coho Salmon Die Quickly,Chum Survive

More data that shows how complicated the salmon recovery effort is.

On April 20, 2018, the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife News Bulletin reported that Washington State University (WSU) scientists discovered that different species of salmon have varying reactions to polluted stormwater runoff.

In a recent paper published in the journal Environmental Pollution, scientists found that coho salmon became mortally ill within just a few hours of exposure to polluted stormwater. But chum salmon showed no signs of ill- effects after prolonged exposure to the same water.

The study can be found at

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026974911734527X?via%3Dihub

“It really surprised us,” said Jen McIntyre, an assistant professor in WSU’s School of the Environment. “Not that the coho were affected so quickly, but how resistant the chum were. We saw no impact at all in the chum’s post-exposure blood work.”

Stormwater is toxic to fish because it can include carcinogenic hydrocarbons, metals, and other organic compounds, most of which have yet to be identified.

McIntyre and her team collected stormwater runoff in large tanks from a highway in western Washington. Then they placed salmon in that water for four hours or until the fish showed signs of illness. Blood samples were then taken from all of the fish.

Only a few coho lasted four hours before having to be removed. In blood tests, the team found a significant increase in lactic acid concentrations and their blood was much thicker. Their blood pH was thrown off and the amount of salt in their plasma decreased significantly.

The chum test results showed none of those changes, all these fish lasting the full four hours without showing any signs of distress or sickness.

 

“These fish are very closely related,” said McIntyre, who works at WSU’s Puyallup Research and Extension Center. “They’re the same genus, but obviously something is significantly different physiologically. We just don’t know what that difference is yet.”

The study was done at the Suquamish Tribe Grovers Creek Salmon Hatchery, with fish donated by the Suquamish Tribe.

McIntyre worked on the project with fellow WSU scientists, along with colleagues from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

McIntyre and her team noticed a few clues for where to start their next round of investigations: studying what makes the chum nearly impervious to toxic runoff. One is that the coho appeared hypoxic, meaning they weren’t getting enough oxygen. But the water had plenty of oxygen, so they’ll look at blood circulation issues, how the fish metabolize oxygen in their muscles, and a few other areas.

“We don’t know if the thicker blood is a symptom of the problem, or if that’s the initiating event that then causes the oxygen deprivation,” McIntyre said. “There’s a lot of work still to come, but this really narrows down where we need to look.”

They’re also hoping that looking further into chum will turn up clues about how they resist the effects of toxic runoff.

In a later study, not included in this paper, McIntyre and her team conducted a prolonged exposure test on chum. Those fish swam in the stormwater runoff for four days and none of them got sick.

“We’re still trying to understand how they’re unaffected,” she said. “It’s actually really impressive.”

Another problem for the coho is that scientists don’t know what particular contaminants in the runoff are causing the problems.

“There’s a whole variety of heavy metals and hydrocarbons in that water,” McIntyre said. “And a whole bunch of chemicals we are working with scientists at the University of Washington in Tacoma to identify so that we can protect more delicate species like coho salmon from the effects of human pollution.”

McIntyre’s research is part of a grant from EPA.

For more information, Jen McIntyre can be reached at jen.mcintyre@wsu.edu.

Source:    http://www.cbbulletin.com/440562.aspx

 

 

Hawaii approves bill banning sunscreen believed to kill coral reefs

Many of us on the peninsula take vacations to Hawaii. When I was last there, a year ago, I heard of this issue, which was new to me. I tried buying some of the “reef friendly” sunscreen but only found it in a specialty dive shop and not in the big grocery chains that most tourists use for groceries. The new lotion is more like what you use when climbing mountains to ward off sun burn at high altitudes. More sticky.

All this is yet another of the unintended consequences of human activity. Tens of millions of people have used the beaches of Hawaii since the 1930s slathering on lotion that, unbeknown to them, were killing the thing they traveled to see. Hopefully it’s not to late to see a reversal of the damage. It will be interesting to see how this affects the chemical composition of normal inexpensive sun screen.

Hawaii lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that would prohibit the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens containing chemicals it says are contributing to the destruction of the state’s coral reefs and other ocean life. If signed by Gov. David Ige, it would make Hawaii the first state in the country to pass such a law and would take effect on Jan. 1, 2021…. The chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are used in more than 3,500 of the world’s most popular sunscreen products, including Hawaiian Tropic, Coppertone and Banana Boat, would be prohibited. Vanessa Romo reports. (NPR)

Hawaii Approves Bill Banning Sunscreen Believed To Kill Coral Reefs

What’s killing the salmon? Long Live the Kings investigates decline in iconic fish – KCPQ

Good overview of what Long Live The Kings and Microsoft are doing to help us understand root causes of the decline of the salmon.

Salmon are a big part of life in the Pacific Northwest. But over the past couple of decades, they’ve declined to critical levels and researchers don’t know why. Solving the mystery is what nonprofit Long Live the Kings is working on, and thanks to a grant from Microsoft, technology is helping the nonprofit develop a comprehensive model to find clues to solve it. Long Live the Kings is looking into Puget Sound and the waterways the flow into it, more broadly known as the Salish Sea. This Salish Sea Marine Survival Project is tracking migration of fish through our marine environment to understand what’s affecting salmons’ mortality.  Simply, why do salmon keep dying? Tatevik Aprikyan reports. (KCPQ)

http://q13fox.com/2018/01/30/whats-killing-the-salmon-long-live-the-kings-investigates-decline-in-iconic-fish/

Japan’s nuclear disaster didn’t affect fish or human health on West Coast: B.C. scientist – Globe and Mail

The science, to date, does not show that there is a reason for concern over the releases in Fukushima. That’s good news but we need to keep up the monitoring. The plant is not safe yet and from what I’ve read, is still leaking highly radioactive water directly into the ocean. There are a lot of fake news sites out there with bogus information on Fukushima. I’ve been tracking the scientists who have been monitoring this issue since it happened, and feel confident that we have not yet encountered issues that would cause me to not eat fish or other ocean products from Alaska or the West Coast. I do not eat products from Japan anymore, because the deception being foisted on the fishermen by the government is quite bad. Read the Newsweek story linked below for more on that.

Radioactive contamination following a nuclear power-plant disaster in Japan never reached unsafe levels in the north Pacific Ocean for either marine life or human health, says a British Columbia scientist. Chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen of the University of Victoria has monitored levels of contamination from radioactive isotopes, used in cancer therapies and medical imaging, since the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011 following a tsunami triggered by an earthquake. Camille Bains reports. (Canadian Press)

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/japans-nuclear-disaster-didnt-affect-fish-or-human-health-bc-scientist/article36257317/

and a further follow up worth reading here.

https://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/10/us-watches-as-fukushima-continues-to-leak-radiation.html

and Newsweek seems to have the most current problems at the plant.

http://www.newsweek.com/fukushima-has-been-leaking-radioactive-water-may-tepco-didnt-tell-anyone-309442

 

Port Townsend drinking water free of toxins despite algae growth, officials say – PDN

Another possible effect of global warming? The end of our water source for Port Townsend. This is a canary in the coal mine kind of event. It isn’t necessarily about to end, but if this becomes a normal event, which is likely as the planet warms, then we need to start working on finding an alternative source of water, or a way to make the water purified.

Although recent tests on Port Townsend’s reservoirs have discovered they contain blue-green algae, which can create toxins, the water is safe for drinking, city officials said. City Manager David Timmons said Wednesday that results of tests for toxins, which arrived Sept. 20, showed levels lower than the minimum detection level. Cydney McFarland reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/port-townsend-drinking-water-free-of-toxins-despite-algae-growth-officials-say/

Study One Of First To Document Ecological Consequences Of Amphetamine Pollution In Urban Streams – ES&T

If they are in streams in Baltimore, they likely are here too.

Pharmaceutical and illicit drugs are present in streams in Baltimore, Maryland. At some sites, amphetamine concentrations are high enough to alter the base of the aquatic food web.

So reports a new study released today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, which is one of the first to explore the ecological consequences of stimulant pollution in urban streams.

“As society continues to grapple with aging wastewater infrastructure and escalating pharmaceutical and illicit drug use, we need to consider collateral damages to our freshwater resources.

http://www.cbbulletin.com/437365.aspx

From the Journal Environmental Science & Technology

State adopts ‘fish consumption rule’ after years of debate – Bellingham Herald/AP

Why does this matter? Because if a waterway is polluted, and the fish in it are too, the question of “how much polluted fish can people safely eat?” is not academic, but could raise or lower cancer rates, and possibly even birth defects,in the case of mercury.

The state of Washington has set very unrealistic amounts of fish consumption on purpose, so that polluters won’t be forced to clean up their businesses more than they already are doing. Now, the state has finally acted, ruling that the state is going to protect people that might eat approximately 175 grams a day, or about one serving. The current rule if far less than that, based more on one 7.5 ounce serving in a month! Given that we have a huge population of people that like fish, and might eat, in the course of a week, a lot more than that, this ruling will work, in the long run, to lower pollution in our waterways to protect fish and us.

Certainly, this is all going to take some time, to allow polluters to make changes, which could take a decade or more, but finally owning up to the reality of our fish consumption, will eventually lead to cleaner waters and healthier food.

Washington state regulators on Monday adopted new clean-water rules tied partly to how much fish people eat after years of heated debate over how clean the state’s water should be.

and the original post by Washington State Department of Ecology.
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