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Orcas and salmon in new Cascadia Scorecard


The Sightline Institute has just released a new Cascadia Scorecard that attempts to track progress towards sustainability in Cascadia, the ecoregion encompassing much of western Washington and southern British Columbia. Southern resident killer whales and chinook salmon are featured within the scorecard’s wildlife indicator along with wolves, sage grouse, and caribou. While the wolf population [...]

Fulbright talk on marine conservation in the Pacific Northwest


Notes from an annual lecture at the University of Washington, March 3, 2010, at 7pm: “Marine conservation in the Pacific Northwest: Whales, Salmon, and Sound” by Rob Williams, 2009-2010 Canada-US Fulbright Visiting Chair “A scientist is someone who asks ‘what if’ questions.” — Margaret Atwood “If you want to study whales, you should put yourself [...]

Humans and salmon compete for CA water


Feinstein’s Water Bomb (Feb 12 article in the High Country News) indicates that things are really starting to heat up in California.  Water stress is manifesting in political lobbying and reversals that may jeopardize the Sacramento River salmon that K and L pod presumably pursue each winter.  Up here in the Northwest the water competition [...]

State of the Sound by Bill Ruckelshaus


Sound Waters 2010 meeting, Coupeville, WA It is possible to make progess! We’ve largely brought point-sources under social control.  40 years ago, 85% of pollution was from big industrial or municipal sources, while 15% was from non-point sources.  Now the percentages are reversed. The Clean Air Act helped.  Think of the people in Denver that [...]

Stormwater, salmon, and the health of Puget Sound


Keynote speaker at Sound Waters 2010 Dr. Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Scholtz, NOAA/NWFSC Coho salmon are our first choice for a ‘sentinel species’ because they: are widely distributed inhabit lowland steams that are important and familiar to humans and areas impacted directly by stormwater runoff (if we can reduce toxics in lowland streams, then we’ll likely keep [...]

New Tacoma ship terminal & tidal energy permits


Puget Sound Harbor Safety Committee meeting notes Feb. 3., 2010, 10-12 a.m., South Federal Building New container ship terminal in Tacoma (SSA Marine presention) Puyallup Tribal Terminal 3-4 berths (~850′ spacing, 51′ deep) 200 acres About the scale of Terminal 18 Market demand is too low to proceed Permits should be in place in ~1 [...]

Safina on orcas in LA Times


Save the salmon — and us Above is a link a nice Op-Ed piece by Carl Safina.  Below is my response, submitted today to the L.A. Times. In his 1/24/10 opinion “Save the salmon — and us,” Safina points out that new research says orcas prefer salmon.  But the in-press analysis of prey scraps by [...]

Harmful algae & Fraser sockeye – liveblog


Dr. Jack Rensel, Rensel Associates Aquatic Sciences (works with Puget Sound fish farmers on permitting/etc., but not BC farmers) Harmful Algal Blooms and Possible Effects on Fraser River Sockeye Salmon 11:04 Intro Much of this talk is based on co-author Nicola Haigh’s 10-year sockeye database. Target algae of interest: Heterosigma akashiwo, HAMP database 11:06 Background [...]

Orca refuge: a gift for endangered killer whales


This Friday, January 15, 2010, is the deadline for public comment on the proposed orca conservation area along the west side of San Juan Island. All marine conservationists should consider commenting on these precedent-setting rules: comment via email | comment via web form.  (Official background and the PDF of proposed rule are on the NOAA [...]

New tools for orca sound annotation


Here’s a glimpse into the future of killer whale sound archives. Steven Ness and collaborators at the University of Victoria have created the Orchive — a suite of open-source, web-based tools for listening to and annotating the recordings of northern resident orcas made by Paul and Helena Spong at OrcaLab. Using Ruby on Rails and [...]