Monday, April 30, 2012

NOAA Update on L112 and Other Projects

Below is some recent information on killer whales from NOAA Fisheries Northwest Region thought you might be interested in.     

Did you know?
A recent review of photos by DFO scientists have confirmed that Southern Resident killer whales were sighted in Chatham Strait, Southeast Alaska, back in June 2007. Southern Residents were previously thought to range as far north as the Queen Charlotte Islands, B. C. This sighting extends their known range about 200 miles to the north.

L112 stranding investigation progress report
The investigation into the death of Southern Resident killer whale L112 continues. We posted a progress report on our website at We’ll continue to provide updates as we get the results from outstanding analyses and generate a final report.

Update on satellite tagging projectThe Northwest Fisheries Science Center has updated website information on the three-day deployment of a tag on J26:

Canadian marine mammal regulations
As the federal department responsible for the protection of marine mammals, their habitats, and their migration routes in Canadian waters, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has finalized a set of proposed amendments to the Marine Mammal Regulations (MMR) of the Fisheries Act. The amendments are designed to provide enhanced protection for marine mammals against human disturbances.

The proposed regulatory amendments were published on March 24, 2012, in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The Canada Gazette is the official newspaper of the Government of Canada. See it online at: The public has 60 days from the publication date to provide comments on the proposed amendments.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Procession of the Species Photos

A large group of spectacularly-garbed islanders paraded through Lopez Village last Saturday afternoon to celebrate the Island's second annual "Procession of the Species."  From toddlers in strollers to septuagenarians, participants were clad in a wide range of imaginative costumes. The event, very ably-organized by Beach Watcher Charlie Behnke and Amanda Wedow, and sponsored by the Lopez Is. Conservation Corps and Lopez Is. Prevention Coalition, perpetuates a tradition begun over a decade ago in Olympia to honor our planet and all it's diverse species.   A young turtle, who scooted the entire route on his tummy on a skateboard, some very busy bumblebees from Orcas, three different owls, a dragon, and many other feathered and furred creatures walked the parade route, accompanied by an assorted dozen percussionists, and it was fun for everyone.  Pictured here are the huge owl (created and held up by Charlie and two helpers,) two very impressive Tufted Puffins, and a GMO ear of corn.  The best moment of the afternoon happened before the parade when an invasive black slug (a.k.a. Nick Teague,) was lounging on the lawn, and a three-year-old boy sat down in front of him and began to feed him grass!

Friday Harbor Labs Open House - May 19

The public is enthusiastically invited to participate in the 2012 FHL Open House on May 19. This event offers a splendid opportunity to meet scientists and students at the Labs and check out the research and teaching facilities. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Labs will be open for self-guided tours. Scientists and students will showcase their marine science research, answer questions and provide demonstrations. There will be posters, marine plants and animals, microscopes, plankton sampling and observations, and activities for visitors of all ages. Kids are particularly encouraged to attend.

For more information, see:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rare White Orca Seen Off Russia

Researchers just released photos of an all white male orca seen in Russian waters two years ago.  This is an excellent article from the Seattle Times.  Researchers will try to locate the pod and this whale again this year.

In addition, for more information on the Russian orcas, see

Monday, April 23, 2012

What Lives on Our Docks, SJNI Workshop for Adults

Sponsored by the San Juan Nature Institute - This workshop is for adults.
Date:  Sunday, May 6, 2012, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Join Megan Dethier (FHL) in Lab 3 at Friday Harbor Labs at 10 a.m. for an introduction to the invertebrate world that lives beneath our docks. Bring a sack lunch to enjoy on the beach and then join a dive team on the lab dock at 1 p.m. to view the animals in their habitat. Divers will have cameras and audio links for an interactive exploration of life on the pilings and in the water under the dock.  Minimum attendance of 8 participants required.

For more information and to sign up:

Bloom Week Volunteers at American Camp

Raena Parsons, head Ranger for San Juan Island National Historical Park, is looking for volunteers for the annual Wildflower Festival, Bloom Week to help restore the prairie. This year the Park is working with EarthCorps volunteers, who will be offering local school children educational programs on the prairie.  The park has planned volunteer work parties for May 2, 3, and 4 any time between 9 a.m.-3 p.m.   If you have interest, meet outside the American Camp Visitor Center at 9 a.m.  Wear sturdy boots and bring work gloves, water and a lunch.

If you have an interest in working with the children or volunteering for the work parties and need more information, contact Raena Parsons at 360-378-2240 x2222 or

Island Photo Contest

To all you talented photographers here is your opportunity to shine.  The San Juan Islands Museum of Art is sponsoring The "Above and Beneath the Sea" photography contest for San Juan County residents. Photos can be from anywhere in the world, in one of six categories either above or beneath the sea.
The deadline is May 7, 2012. Photos will be judged by world-renowned pioneer underwater photographer, Ernest H. Brooks II. Winning photos will be displayed along side Ernie's photos at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art in Friday Harbor.

For an application, submission requirements and forms, visit SJMOA's website:

Stewardship Lecture Series Begin This Week

The Stewardship Network of the San Juans and Still Hope Productions Inc. are presenting a series of eight lectures regarding our shared shorelines. 

Part 1: At the Water’s Edge Lecture Series
The Invisible Shoreline: A Video Tour of the Nearshore Ecosystem
Join filmmaker John F. Williams on an exploration of the shoreline from a diver’s perspective. Let the magic of video show you some of the invisible parts of the shoreline...things that are too small or too slow to see, things that are hidden in the water, or things that are hidden in plain sight. Catch glimpses of processes that go unseen from the shoreline and gain an understanding of the services that nature provides at the water’s edge.
Lopez Island, Tuesday, April 24, 7-8:30 p.m. --  The Center for Community and the Arts, 204 Village Rd., Lopez Village
Orcas Island, Wednesday, April 25, 7-8:30 p.m. --  Senior Center, 62 Henry Rd., Eastsound
San Juan Island, Thursday, April 26, 7-8:30 p.m.  -- Mullis Center, 589 Nash St., Friday Harbor

For additional information:   and

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Proposed Ban on Flame Retardants Resurfaces in Legislature

A proposed ban on chemicals known as TRIS that are used as flame retardant used in children’s products resurfaced last week when the House General Government Appropriations and Oversight committee voted 7-6 in favor of House Bill 2821. The bill, prime-sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, follows up on similar legislation that failed to pass during the regular session. Dickerson said she believes it has a chance of passing the Legislature now. However, the Association of Washington Business and other business groups continue to oppose it, arguing that a ban is premature, noting in part that one of the chemicals it seeks to ban has not been listed by officials as a chemical of “high concern to children.”