Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Ferry System Wants Your Opinion

The state ferry system wants your opinion on how and what you use the ferry system for. The survey will probably take about 10-15 minutes. Please go to the link:

The Whale Museum August Lectures

On August 4, Joe Gaydos, the SeaDoc Society and San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network, will present a talk entitled “Killer Whale Diseases: What We Have Learned From a Decade of Strandings.” Dr. Gaydos has a veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD is from the University of Georgia. He has studied health and disease in wildlife all over the world.

On August 11, Amanda Taylor's talk is entitled “Results from the San Juan Islands Archaeological Project 2005-2009.” She will discuss chronology of prehistoric Native American settlement patterns. Amanda is a PhD student at the University of Washington who has conducted fieldwork in Nevada, Oregon, New York, Alaska, the California Channel Islands, and the Pacific Northwest.

On August 18, Jonathan Stern will discuss his work with the “under publicized” Minke whale. Jonathan is a co-investigator with the Northeast Pacific Minke Whale Project. In addition to his work with minkes in the San Juan Islands, he is looking at habitat use patterns off San Francisco.
On August 25, Dr. Roland Anderson will present a talk entitled “How Smart are Octopuses.” Dr. Anderson worked as a biologist at the Seattle Aquarium for over 30 years and has co-written a book entitled “Octopus: The Ocean’s Intelligent Invertebrate.”
Note: All lectures will be at The Whale Museum located at 62 First Street N., Friday Harbor, and will begin at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Marine Health Observatory Websites

There has been a lot of activity this summer for all of the Kwiaht/Beach Watcher Marine Health Observatory projects. It's great that we're up and running on all three islands. (And see the article below about Ozzie! He's awesome!)

The Indian Island project is now in its third season; it's the second year for the Port of Friday Harbor, and Fisherman Bay volunteers are now meeting regularly to do bird and fish inventories around the Bay on Lopez. To keep up with the activities on your own and other islands, bookmark these neat websites:

San Juan:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Whale Museum Lecture - Non-invasive Wildlife Monitoring With the Use of Scat Detection Dogs

The Whale Museum’s 2010 Lecture Series begins on Wednesday, July 28 at 7 p.m. at The Whale Museum. Dr. Sam Wasser will be discussing the Center for Conservation Biology’s ‘Conservation Canine’ program.

Dr. Wasser earned his PhD from the University of Washington in 1981. He is the director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington and he is acknowledged worldwide as a pioneer of non-invasive wildlife monitoring methods. He has participated in a number of conservation programs throughout Africa and North America, in collaboration with state, federal and international organizations. His work is internationally respected by scientists, environmental activists, and government and non-government wildlife managers. The lecture is free, however, donations are accepted.
For more information, call (360) 378-4710 ext. 23.

Bluefin Tuna Endangered

This is an interesting article from The New York Times describing the near extinction of the bluefin tuna--only an estimated 9,000 fish may be alive in North American waters. While the US believes the fish is endangered, many other countries do not. Some have begun"farming" the fish; however, it may go the way of the Atlantic salmon and be fished to extinction.

New Zealanders Honor Dead Dolphin

Read the story of a teenage dolphin who for years swam with people, saved two pygmy whales and who died recently. He was given a funeral and buried on the island where his body was found.

Land Bank Judd Cove Guided Interpretive Walk

Join the San Juan County Land Bank in a Guided Interpretive Walk at the Judd Cove Preserve. Ruthie Dougherty, Boyd Pratt, and Steve Cohan will explore the preserve's natural and cultural history, including the lime quarry and kiln located on the property.

Sunday, August 1, 2010, from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Meet at the Judd Cove Parking area, 103 Fowlers Way, Eastsound, Orcas Island. Call 378-4402 for more information.

Fishing the Salmon Banks: A Brief History

Join Mike Vouri, San Juan Island National Historical Park historian, as he explores the salmon fishery off American Camp's South Beach and along San Juan Island's southern shore, from Indian reef-netting to fish traps and the purse seining that continues to this day.
Times: July 24, Saturday, 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Location: San Juan Island Library, 1010 Guard St., Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
Phone: (360) 378-2798

Friday, July 16, 2010

Baby Oystercatcher on Indian Island

Eastsound has a new baby

Article in the Sounder, written by Russel Barsh

Meet Ozzie, Eastsound’s new Oystercatcher chick.
He is fuzzy, gray and a bit awkward, and does not yet have the jet-black plumage or carrot-like red beak of an adult Oystercatcher.
Ozzie is the first Oystercatcher chick to survive on Indian Island in many years, thanks to WSU Beach Watchers and Indian Island Marine Health Observatory volunteers who asked visitors to avoid disturbing his nesting parents, and to the hundreds of visitors that respected that request. Ozzie is visible evidence of the value of a little extra care and attention to our marine wildlife.
Oystercatcher numbers have been declining throughout the Salish Sea. On Indian Island, there were more than a dozen Oystercatcher nests in the past. But Canada geese have begun congregating on Indian Island and chasing off the Oystercatchers. Ozzie’s parents built a nest on Indian Island in May, but were repeatedly chased off by geese. When the geese left Indian Island in June, Ozzie’s parents moved back. Indian Island volunteers saw three eggs on June 12. A single chick was seen two weeks later.
Since Ozzie hatched rather late in the season for an Oystercatcher and was unable to fly away to avoid the fireworks display, volunteers were relieved to see him foraging on the beach for barnacles, limpets and small crabs on July 10. He should be flying in another week or two. Only time will tell whether Ozzie will survive the winter and return to Indian Island next spring.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

San Juan County shellfish harvest season closed

There will be no recreational shellfish harvesting in San Juan County until further notice. A significant bloom of the alga that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) has forced closing of beaches for harvesting in most of the counties around the American Salish Sea.
Species included are all molluscan shellfish including clams, mussels, oysters and scallops. Moonsnails and other gastropods can also become toxic, as can sea cucumbers. Crabs and shrimp are NOT affected by the ban, but the Dept. of Health cautions that crabs should be gutted and cleaned well, as they can accumulate toxins in their intestinal systems. Butter clams seem to absorb the most toxins, and can be unsafe to eat for up to a year. The blooms typically last into the fall, and ongoing testing will determine when the ban can be lifted. There are not likely to be signs on beaches informing people of the closings, so help spread the word!
What about commercial operations and seafood in restaurants and grocery stores? Commercial shell-fisheries are required to do regular testing, and if the biotoxins are below the danger levels, the mollusks can be certified for sale. Food establishments are required to buy only certified products.
The algae blooms are often referred to as "red tide," but the Health Department says that the presence (or absence) of red in the water is not an accurate indicator of the toxin levels. Research continues as to the cause of this cyclical phenomenon, which can affect shellfish on both Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
If you're interested in finding out more, call 1-800-562-5632, or check out the following websites: