January 25, 2013 at 7:00 AM
The Seattle screening of Out of the Mist, Olympic Wilderness Stories, a documentary about the Olympic Peninsula, is tonight at the Mountaineers Program Center at 7700 Sand Point Way. Doors open at 7 and the show starts at 7:30.
Out of the Mist chronicles the life experiences of four people who share their deep love of the Olympics, including poet Tim McNulty.
Filmed over several years of hiking and backpacking in some of the most remote wilderness areas of the Olympics, the film is a visual feast.
Mount Olympus gleams with snow
Photo by Kathy Chrestensen, Crest Pictures
The film, by Crest Pictures, has been playing to big crowds in Tacoma, Bremerton and Port Angeles. Presented on behalf of the Wild Olympics Campaign, the show is sponsored by the National Parks Conservation Association, Olympic Park Associates and other backers of the campaign to designate new wilderness and scenic rivers in the Olympics.
La Crosse Lake ghosts with mist.
Photo by Kathy Chrestensen, Crest Pictures
January 24, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Every year fish managers attempt to predict how many Pacific salmon will migrate back to their home rivers. It’s a key exercise that drives everything from harvest limits to hatchery policy.
A chinook salmon makes its way home to the Issaquah hatchery
Photo by Alan Berner, Seattle Times staff photographer
A team of scientists from NOAA and Oregon State University have found clues are better than others for predicting fish abundance.
The most reliable predictor turned out to be the dinner bell: When there was abundant prey in the ocean, salmon runs were more robust.
But as always with salmon, the picture was more complicated: What proved to be a good test for some species was not as effective for others.
The ocean is a black box of imponderables, with complexities interacting to make predictions difficult.
But in a paper published this month in the scientific journal PLoS One, researchers reported when they combined 31 indicators ranging from sea surface temperatures to the amount of salmon prey to help predict adult spring Chinook salmon returns to the Columbia last year, the best predictor by far was the presence of food in the ocean.
Local physical indicators, including water temperature, were not as important.
A computer model based on the findings has had promising results, accurately predicting 221,000 fish would return in 2011, and nearly nailing the number of fish coming back in 2012, with 180,000 fish predicted, close to the 203,000 that actually came back.
The model may prove useful for fish managers in their annual task of predicting salmon returns to the Columbia, made months before the season actually starts.
January 18, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Come hear the results of a two year bacterial study, and what it means for people and wildlife living around Thornton Creek.
A raccoon in the natural area at Thornton Creek.
Photo by Don McCall
Jonathan Frodge, a stormwater scientist for Seattle Public Utilities will present the results of the study at a gathering Jan. 24 from 7:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Avenue NE in Seattle.
For more information, go online to the Thornton Creek Alliance.
January 17, 2013 at 7:00 AM
This wolf was among those killed by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife last summer after the pack was determined to be preying on cattle.
Photo courtesy WDFW
The gathering will be an opportunity to hear experts including Carter Niemeyer, retired wolf specialist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and author of Wolfer: A Memoir and WDFW carnivore section manager Donny Martorello.
Participants may also put questions to the presenters about wolf recovery and management.
The Seattle meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Magnuson Park’s Garden Room, 7400 Sand Point Way NE in Seattle.
Absent from Washington for more than 70 years, wolves are returning to Washington, with eight packs so far confirmed, and unconfirmed sightings in Kettle Falls in northeastern Washington, the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington, and in the North Cascades.
Grey wolves live in Washington under a complex set of rules: They are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act west of State Route 97, but not east of it; legally hunted within the Colville Indian Reservation by Colville tribal members, and listed as endangered under state law throughout Washington.
Recovery has been difficult in Washington. Last September, the department ordered the entire Wedge Pack in Northeastern Washington gunned down from a helicopter after the animals were determined to be preying on cattle.
Some, including wildiife bioloigst John Marzluff at the University of Washington, argue killing the wolves was unnecessary: see his op ed published in the Seattle Times.
The meeting will be an opportunity to hear more about the recovery and management of gray wolves in Washington and other western states, the latest information from population surveys in Washington and an update on recovery of the species throughout the West.
For more on the department’s wolf recovery strategy, go online.
January 8, 2013 at 7:00 AM
With these delicious long dark nights of winter come low tides, just perfect to come out for a walk and see what is revealed as the tide drops back.
A sunflower sea star stretches out on the silky soft, clean sand revealed at low tide. Photo by Steffan Ditmar
Best of all is the chance to explore with nauralists who can help point out sea life and explain the natural history of the plants and animals you will see. Beach naturalists will be on hand for two night time low tide walks:
This Friday, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Low tide will be -2.84 at 10:27 p.m.
February 8, from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Low tide is -1.66 at 9:27 p.m.
The program is free. Dress for cold, cold weather and wear boots, hats, gloves, layers and rain gear if it is wet. Of course have a good flashlight, head lamp or lantern.
You may sample the walk for just a little while, or stay for the entire excursion. The naturalists will leave at 10:30 p.m. and everyone must be off the beach by 11:30, per city of Seattle rules.
For details and directions to Constellation Park at south Alki Beach, go online to the aquarium’s website. That is also where you can sign up for the event.
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