UW Symposium: Ocean Acidification Pushing Boundaries Of Environmental Law – KPLU

More on the variety of fronts that global warming has the environmental community fighting.

The University of Washington held its first annual symposium on environmental law last week. The idea is to choose a topic and examine how it fits into current and future regulations. This year’s focus—ocean acidification.  It is sometimes called the evil twin of global warming. Ocean acidification is caused when carbon pollution from fossil fuels dissolves into our waterways. Scientists say it may cause serious harm to life on the planet; some say it is already damaging the local shellfish industry. It is also pushing the envelope of current environmental law. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

http://kplu.org/post/uw-symposium-ocean-acidification-pushing-boundaries-environmental-law

Ocean fish numbers on ‘brink of collapse,’ WWF reports – Thompson Reuters via CBC

Stocks of group that includes tuna, mackerel, bonito down 75 per cent since 1970

While I hate to post really dire news, this article is important because we (all countries) subsidize fishing in many ways, which needs to change to make any difference in the oceans. Many of us have pushed for creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and some have been created, but many more are needed. The NW Tribes, while not entirely supportive of MPAs have done a huge amount of good work in trying to re-establish habitat and lead the way forward in salmon protection here in the Northwest and on the Peninsula in particular. Many fishing groups are very supportive and have helped in a variety of ways, while a few remain unconvinced. It’s interesting that in my interviews with “old timers” who have lived and fished here from the 30s on, almost all of them, including the ones that I would consider the least friendly to “environmental” labels, supported a moratorium on fishing for a 10 year period to restore stocks.

Now it’s time to get our government to really push harder to convince the global community to protect the oceans outside the 50 mile limit. According to this article, we don’t have much time left to do something significant.

The amount of fish in the oceans has halved since 1970, in a plunge to the “brink of collapse” caused by over-fishing and other threats, the WWF conservation group said on Wednesday.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/ocean-fish-wwf-1.3230157?cmp=rss&utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

New hydrophones monitor ship noise in Salish Sea – Canadian Press

More good research. Monitoring at all levels is the most critical element in securing future funding for environmental projects, and validating ones that have been done. It has been the neglected part of all funding over the decades, and glad to see another good outpost established.

Researchers have installed another underwater listening station in British Columbia’s Salish Sea to better understand how shipping noise impacts at-risk whales. The installation Monday was part of a program run by Port Metro Vancouver, the University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada and the hydrophone’s manufacturer. Underwater noise has been identified as a threat to orcas that make their home in the waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland and are listed as at risk by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.(Canadian Press)

http://globalnews.ca/news/2222637/new-hydrophones-monitor-ship-noise-in-salish-sea/

Scientists In Oregon Discover Bacon-Flavored Seaweed- AP

Now this I like! Bacon Flavored Seaweed!

What grows quickly, is packed with protein, has twice the nutritional value of kale and … tastes like bacon? The answer, according to scientists at Oregon State University, is a new strain of seaweed they recently patented. (Associated Press)

http://www.opb.org/news/article/scientists-in-oregon-discover-bacon-flavored-seaweed/

Coastal researchers launch blog to share findings about ocean – Watching Our Waterways

Lots of fish from tropical waters are being seen in the surveys reported by Chris. Check out this quick read.

It’s an interesting time for researchers to begin writing a blog about ocean conditions off Oregon and Washington, an area undergoing some fascinating changes in oceanography and sealife. Scientists from NOAA Fisheries and Oregon State University launched their new website, “Newporter Blog,” [http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/news/blogs/display_blogentry.cfm?blogid=1&#blogentry1] last week. It’s named after the Newport Line, an area of study off the Oregon Coast where researchers have monitored changes for the past 20 years. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2015/07/02/coastal-researchers-launch-blog-to-share-findings-about-ocean/

Want to learn to change the world? Idea #2: Watch this video

This month, Netflix launches Sylvia Earle’s “Mission Blue”. Another heroine of mine. Who is she? Check Wikipedia out

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

Co-directed by Fisher Stevens (“The Cove”) and Robert Nixon (“Gorillas in the Mist”), the film, like Sylvia herself, doesn’t pull punches. It is hard hitting, but also inspiring. This is in keeping with her experience of the ocean itself, a vast and awesome location and community, at once fragile and powerful enough that while its immediate future is in our hands, our long-term future depends utterly on its continued health and functioning.

“No ocean, no life,” she says. “No ocean, no us.”

Another 5 stars. See this movie. Then come on out and let’s get working!

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/08/15/sylvia-earles-mission-blue-arrives-on-netflix-today/

Researchers: We Shared The Flu Virus With Olympic Peninsula Sea Otters – KPLU.ORG

There are a lot of hypothesis’ that can be created out of this. The first one I thought of was, “is this related to sewage being dumped into the oceans?”  Another one is, “If otters are being affected by human organisms, could the starfish wasting disease also be caused by something we are dumping into the ocean that we haven’t dumped before?”  Ultimately, we have to prepare for a time when we must stop using our oceans as large scale septic tanks. It’s not just our poop and pee, it’s all the chemicals that get flushed down the drain, and the chemicals we put in our bodies.


Humans are particularly generous with the flu, otter-wrangling scientists have found. People shared the 2009 swine flu epidemic with ferrets, dogs, cats, raccoons and pigs, and new research shows even wild sea otters in Washington state got hit. “These otters, which we think were living in a relatively pristine environment off the Olympic Peninsula, were exposed to pathogens that are more commonly associated with people,” said Virologist Hon Ip with the U.S. Geological Survey, who co-authored the study published in the May 2014 issue of “Emerging Infectious Diseases.” Rae Ellen Bichell reports. (KPLU)

 http://kplu.org/post/researchers-we-shared-flu-virus-olympic-peninsula-sea-otters

Cantwell Calls for NOAA Study on Ocean Acidification’s Effects on Seafood and Fishing

In Senate hearing Cantwell also backs ‘robust funding’ in Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization for fish stock assessments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) called for new federal action to examine ocean acidification’s potential threat to seafood and the commercial fishing during a hearing on the law that guides management of American commercial fisheries.

During testimony at the Senate hearing on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Reauthorization, the Alaska Regional Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service told Cantwell that ocean acidification is a “cause for concern.”

Cantwell highlighted the need for a study that identifies which fisheries and fish habitats are most at risk from the effects of ocean acidification –as an expansion of a Puget Sound monitoring system for shellfish that she was instrumental in establishing in 2010.  She cited previous research that showed adverse effects on Alaska’s red king crab fisheries.

Such research also would be critical to understanding potential impacts to Washington state’s $30 billion maritime industry.  The sector supports 57,000 direct jobs and 90,000 indirect jobs, 60 percent of which are in the fishing industry.

“We want to make sure we understand the risks to our fisheries. We have some real life situations that are occurring,” Cantwell said today during the hearing of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. “On this issue, I think we definitely need a study to understand the impacts.”

 Read the rest of the story here:

http://www.cantwell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=c0bd9f45-b98f-4932-adc4-ff928c337c2e

Wave Energy Developer Pulls Plug On Oregon Project – Earthfix

Developers have scrapped their plans to build the nation’s first large-scale wave energy project off the Oregon Coast, saying the costs were too high to make it work. The much-anticipated project would have placed a flotilla of 100 energy-producing buoys, each the size of a school bus, in the waves off the coast of Reedsport, Ore. The project’s developer, Ocean Power Technologies, surrendered its preliminary permit with the federal government, Oregon regulators disclosed Monday. Devan Schwartz reports. (EarthFix)

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/energy/article/wave-energy-developer-pulls-plug-on-oregon-project/

Saturday is National Public Lands and National Estuary Day

Saturday is National Public Lands Day and National Estuaries Day! Just celebrate: The San Juan County Land Bank invites you to Watmough Bay on Lopez Island (https://www.facebook.com/events/1805312319607751/) and in Olympia join in on the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team’s annual picnic (https://www.facebook.com/events/214667052027419/). And don’t forget to tell the BLM what your dreams are for the San Juan Islands National Monument, Thursday on Orcas and Friday on San Juan and Lopez

(https://www.facebook.com/SanJuanIslandsNationalMonument).

State climate consultant hired to shrink greenhouse gases- News Tribune

It appears that the newly signed bill to get data that can be acted on for ocean acidification is progressing about as fast as the government can move. The question is whether it can be funded. Apparently there has been no agreement by the State House to fund this bill. Shellfish growers are very concerned about the lack of interest in funding it by Republicans, as their industry will be the first to die from acidification.

A legislative workgroup chaired by Gov. Jay Inslee voted unanimously Tuesday to hire a Virginia-based climate consultant to examine Washington state’s options for reducing greenhouse gases that are contributing to global climate change.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/06/05/2626915/state-climate-consultant-hired.html

Acidifying Water Takes Toll On Northwest Shellfish – Earthfix

Thanks to Earthfix for doing a good job on reporting on this.

“Rescuing shellfish from the rising acidity in Puget Sound will require a wide-ranging response: Everything from curbing greenhouse gases and controlling water pollution to growing more seaweed and putting restaurant-discarded oyster shells into shallow bays.”

Ashley Ahearn, Katie Campbell and David Steves report.

http://earthfix.kuow.org/water/article/acid-water-take-toll-on-puget-sound-shellfish/

Survey of Pacific Gyre shows ocean garbage ours, not Tsunami – CBC

An environmental group has returned from another trip into the debris field in the North Pacific, where it found that home-grown garbage — not tsunami wreckage — is forming the bulk of the floating mess.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/08/08/bc-ocean-garbage-survey.html

Puget Sound Chemistry Transformed by Climate Change and Runoff – Scientific American

Puget Sound is becoming more acidic thanks to a combination of agricultural runoff and rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere

A combination of carbon dioxide emitted by human activities and nutrient runoff is transforming the chemistry of Washington state’s Puget Sound, according to a new study.

Read the whole story at Scientific American:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=puget-sound-chemistry-transformed-by-climate-change-abd-runoff

-This threatens our entire shellfish industry, as well as other possible life forms. Runoff is one of the major causes, a reason that we value better shoreline management to slow or stop shoreline runoff. Also, stormwater runoff is another cause, which comes from roads with improperly created storm sewers.  Getting funding at the state level to correct these as quickly as possible is key.

While I have your attention: It may be a good time to review the map, commissioned by People For Puget Sound, done by the UW GIS group. It shows the exact locations of every one of the 4500 manmade storm sewers that empty to the Sound, along with 2123 natural drainages, and 297 DOT created drainages, including bridges.

http://pugetsound.org/pressroom/press-releases/042309stormdrains/?searchterm=storm%20water%20map

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