Showing posts from April, 2015

Neurotoxin to be sprayed on Washington oyster beds

B. McPherson
Never forget the law of unintended consequences Washington State has given the oyster harvesting industry the go ahead to spray about 2000 acres of sea bed with imidacloprid to kill burrowing shrimp. Imidacloprid is a neurotoxin that particularly affects invertebrates(animals without backbones).
The state department of ecology has issued permits to spray the mudflats of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. The stated reason is to reduce the population of burrowing shrimp. They are also known as ghost shrimp. The two areas that are to be sprayed with the pesticide are important oyster producing areas. The annual revenue is over US$60 million per year.
The shrimp are feeders of small particles and given a high enough population can compete with other plankton eaters for resources. Burrowing shrimp dig in the intertidal mud flats almost constantly and kick out sand and other detritus. The sediment can cover the very young oysters(spat), suffocating them.
Imidacloprid is the most wi…

NOAA reports warmest March on record

B. McPherson
NOAA has reported that March in N. America is the hottest on record. The records for this go back to 1880. They are also reporting that records for Arctic sea ice and global average temperatures have reached record marks as well. 
Of course one month in the history of the planet doesn’t make for a crisis. But record keeping can point out some troubling trends. NOAA’s March report does not speculate causes, but reports the measurements. They indicate that changes are happening.
The following information is based on the March report.
·Global land and ocean temperatures – 0.85o C (1.53oF)above 20th century average. The previous record high was 2010.
·Land surface temperatures globally averaged nearly three degrees F. (1.65oC) above 20th century averages.
·Ocean surface temperatures were a little over half a degree Celsius  higher.
Warmer temperatures indicate that there is more energy in the weather and water systems. When we get more energy in, we see more energetic, read ext…

Rio rotten fish float in Olympic lagoon

B. McPherson

Rio de Janeiro in Brazil will be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics. They have the honour of being the first South American country to host them. The Games were awarded to Rio amid much hoopla and celebration. It is now likely that some of the Olympic Committee are having second thoughts. There is no debate about the stunning setting that Rio has with a combination of ocean, lagoons and mountains. Over six million people call it home. And many hold their nose while doing so.
You can imagine the garbage and sewage that six million people produce daily. Now imagine the mess if two thirds of the people have no garbage pickup and two thirds of the sewage is not treated, but is allowed to drain into waterways and canals. It is not just those unfortunate to live in the slums that dump untreated sewage directly into nearby waterways. This weekend past, hundreds of people demonstrated their anger over a modern condominium block contributing to the city’s stench.
Yesterday thousand…

Vancouver oil spill shows weak response by feds

B. McPherson
Update: The Canadian Coast Guard is reporting that all the recoverable oil has been removed from the water. What does that really mean? You know that means that besides that oil that is now polluting Vancouver beaches is also in the water. While our Coast Guard personnel do the best job possible in the circumstances, you and I know that taking six hours to contain what is a tiny spill is not good enough. Let's remember that the Feds closed the Vancouver Harbour Coast Guard station and plan to remove even more disaster protection from one of the country's biggest ports. __
An oil spill Wednesday in Vancouver, BC, showed the residents how an oil spill would likely play out. The oil was spotted in that part of the harbour known as English Bay and reported by a sailor.
At 5pm the oil slick was reported. Three hours later a crew showed up to try to contain the spill of heavy bunker oil. It took until 2 am Thursday morning for crews to put a containment boom around a f…