Crows may learn lessons from death, UW research shows – Seattle Times

It seems that we are constantly reminded of how little we actually know about the natural world. Between a lack of communication with whales and dolphins, to really understanding what crows are able to do.

In recent years, a peculiar sort of public performance has taken place periodically on the sidewalks of Seattle. It begins with a woman named Kaeli N. Swift sprinkling peanuts and cheese puffs on the ground. Crows swoop in to feed on the snacks. While Swift observes the birds from a distance, notebook in hand, another person walks up to the birds, wearing a latex mask and a sign that reads “UW CROW STUDY.” In the accomplice’s hands is a taxidermied crow, presented like a tray of hors d’oeuvres. This performance is not surreal street theater, but an experiment designed to explore a deep biological question: What do crows understand about death? Carl Zimmer reports. (Seattle Times)

Republicans kill the Land and Water Conservation Fund

One of the most successful conservation programs in the Federal Government, The Land and Water Conservation Fund, has been allowed to sunset by the Republican controlled Congress. This program, which has been supported for 50 years by both parties, up to now. What is it? What good has it done? Why not let it die?

According to the Land and Water Fund Coalition,

The LWCF state assistance program provides matching grants to help states and local communities protect parks and recreation resources. LWCF funding has benefited nearly every county in America, supporting over 41,000 projects. From building hiking and biking trails, to improving community parks, playgrounds and ballfields, this 50:50 matching program is the primary federal investment tool to ensure that families have easy access to public, open spaces.

Rep. Rob Bishop, a Republican from Utah who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee is the person responsible for this change, even though his state benefits from it.

If we just focus on Washington State, this program has used some of the royalties from off shore oil and gas leasing, (not tax dollars from US citizens) to fund a wide variety of projects, from maintenance of Mount Rainier’s Carbon River bridges, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, The Moses Coulee, North Cascades National Park, Mt St. Helens, the list goes on and on and can be found here

Closer to home, here on the Olympic Peninsula, this program has funded, over the last 50 years, the Bogachiel River Boat Launch repair, maintenance at Clallam Bay, Clallam Bay Spit development, Freshwater Bay development, Snow Creek Renovation, Salt Creek County Parks renovation, and the Shane Park Playground in Port Angeles. Remember, Clallam County usually votes Republican, and this is what you are getting folks for your support of that party, which now controls the purse strings at the Federal Level.

In Jefferson County, Fort Worden State Park was funded with over $156, 000, The Hoh River Boat Launch, Kai Tai Park, Fort Worden Breakwater, and the Point Whitney (south in the county on Hood Canal) acquisition all were supported by funding from this program. You can find the entire list of funded projects here:

What did Congress want to use the funds for? They want to give this money to the oil and gas industry for employee training. You read that right. They want to give the money to private enterprises to offset their employee training, which will make them more profitable by not having to spend that money themselves.

What can you do? There is a letter called the “Dear Colleagues” that is a method that Congress uses to show support for various funding programs.  Representative Derek Kilmer has yet to sign one, while most of our other representatives have. (see the list at the bottom of the page here ( Call or email Derek and ask him to sign one now.  UPDATE: Representative Kilmer’s Olympic Peninsula Field Representative Judith Morris wrote back this morning to let me know that Representative Kilmer has in fact signed a letter sent by 129 Democratic members of the House ( and a similar letter was penned by many Republicans), to reauthorize the Fund.

In the letter sent last week, the members wrote: “LWCF is our nation’s premier program to help local communities protect the places they love. It has conserved iconic landscapes in every state and is responsible for more than 40,000 state and local outdoor recreation projects such as playgrounds, parks, refuges, and baseball fields.”

It goes on to state that Rep. Kilmer is a cosponsor of a bill that would permanently reauthorize the LWCF.

If you happen to live in a county that has a Republican representing you at the Federal level, give them a piece of your mind. If you belong to an organization that supports outdoor recreation in any form, get them to act nationally. And vote idiots like Rob Bishop out next year. He has wasted an enormous amount of time from Congress for an idea that no one but him and other oil and gas funded Congresspeople wants to see implemented.

Video: Update on Fukushima radiation

Dr. Ken Buessler, is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, running the new Center for Marine and Environmental Radiation. He has been a leading voice in getting what scientific data there is on the radiation released (and still being released) from the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns. He was instrumental in forming what little  citizen science based monitoring exists, since the Republican controlled Congress will not fund monitoring, apparently.

This talk, from last month, is an up to date assessment of the situation. We still can be grateful that we have not seen meaningful levels of cesium yet on the west coast. But we cannot be complacent, as the build up of this deadly radioactive isotope is growing, albeit slowly, and could be showing up in seafood captured far off shore. Tuna is one of the most likely fish to have measurable amounts from Fukushima, but still are at levels far below what any scientist feels is of concern. More monitoring is needed, and you can help. See for funding opportunities for measurements to be gathered from Sequim Bay and other local sites.

Dr. Buessler has recently  helped launch the  Radband, a means of measuring cesium with a sensor built into something small enough to wear on your ankle when you enter the ocean. He also was responsible for the

His web site is

You can also look at

Fukushima from two sides of the Pacific.

Known fish species living in the Salish Sea increases in new report – UW Today


An illustration of the longfin sculpin (Jordania zonope).Joseph R. Tomelleri

Good news that a more precise count on species has been completed. Will be good for future monitoring efforts.

Coho salmon, Pacific halibut and even the dogfish shark are familiar faces to many people in the Salish Sea region. But what about the Pacific viperfish, northern flashlightfish, dwarf wrymouth or the longsnout prickleback?

These colorfully named species and others are compiled in a new, 106-page report that documents all of the fishes that live in the Salish Sea, a roughly 6,500-square-mile region that encompasses Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia, the San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands.

In total, 253 fish species have been recorded in the Salish Sea, and that’s about 14 percent more than in the last count, said Ted Pietsch, co-author of the new report and a University of Washington emeritus professor of aquatic and fishery sciences.

Read the whole story here:

Quinault Indian Nation: Standing Up to Big Oil – Youtube

The position of the Quinault Indian Nation regarding the proposed oil ports in Gray’s County.

EVENT:Info on Free & Low-Cost Septic System repair Oct 26

A ways off but mark your calendars if interested.

Jefferson County Public Health is having an event at the end of October for Chimacum and Ludlow Residents.

Chimacum and Ludlow Residents Open House: Info on Free & Low-Cost Programs to repair home on-site septic systems and updates on water quality in the Chimacum and Ludlow Creek Basins. Monday, October 26th 2015 at the Tri-Areas Community Center (corner of Highway 20 & West Valley Road in Chimacum). 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm (Short presentations begin at 6 pm). For more details: contact Anna at (360) 379-4482. Open house hosted by Jefferson County Public Health and the Jefferson County Conservation District.

Anna S. Bachmann

Environmental Health Specialist

Jefferson County Public Health

Environmental Health Dept.

(360) 379-4482

Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections: A 43 Percent Increase – Friends of the San Juans

The battle is on to stop the expansion of shipping oil through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Salish Sea. Our gems, the San Juan Islands, lie directly in the path of a huge increase in vessel traffic, much of it carrying very destructive processed oil. Here are facts, based on the filings of the companies themselves.

If all the new and expanding terminal and refinery projects in the Salish Sea are permitted and developed, including projects that became operational in 2014, there would be a 43 percent increase in large, commercial marine vessel traffic. Friends of the San Juans and San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping have released the Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections featuring 18 new or expanded proposed or recently completed projects, which cumulatively would add an additional 5,300 annual vessel transits to and from ports in British Columbia and Washington State…. The Salish Sea Vessel Traffic Projections flyer and source information are available at Safe Shipping in the Salish Sea (9/23/15 News Release from Friends of the San Juans/San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping)

Provided by Friends of the San Juans/San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping

Provided by Friends of the San Juans/San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping


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