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September 2010 SeaDoc Society Update

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

scoter The Salish Sea boasts 3 species of Scoters: Black, Surf and White-winged. In Washington, populations of these magnificent birds have declined nearly 50% over the last 25 years. While hunting has not been a cause for decline, it is likely impacting populations now that they have declined. Last month Washington's Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to reduce Scoter hunting limits from 4 birds a day to 2. Looking forward and being cautious, they also decided to enact a Scoter hunting moratorium if the population drops to lower than 50,000 animals.

These management decisions adopted by the Commission are the result of a great body of work conducted by SeaDoc Science Advisor Dave Nysewander and other Fish and Wildlife Biologists. It also is a product of an important SeaDoc-funded project (2006: Impact of Hunting on Scoter populations in Washington State), which contributed significantly to this decision. Good science can help improve management. Thank you for being a part of SeaDoc's success!

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Maritime National Wildlife Refuges improving conservation

The US Fish and Wildlife Service manage Protection Island and the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge consisting of 83 rocks, reefs, grassy islands, and forested islands scattered throughout the San Juan Islands. They are currently developing a 30-year conservation plan and SeaDoc Science is a part of that. In 2002, a SeaDoc-funded project examined opportunities for the National Wildlife Refuge System to incorporate the nearshore marine habitat into their conservation efforts. There is a 200-yard recommended buffer surrounding these islands; the SeaDoc funded study examined the conservation benefit as well as legal mechanisms for making these mandatory. Some of these findings are now part of the preferred plan in the current conservation plan. To read more about this see: C. Don. 2002. Could the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge Sere to Protect Marine Areas? Coastal Management 30:421-426. To review or comment on the Fish and Wildlife Services plan, click here.

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SeaDoc presents at the First World Seabird Conference

NachoThis week, SeaDoc Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Ignacio (Nacho) Vilchis will be presenting scientific findings at the 1st World Seabird Conference in Victoria, BC. The goal of this conference is to put seabird management and conservation into a worldwide perspective. By bringing together 800-900 participants from over 40 countries, they will comprehensively address the global issues and data needs for these species, most of which inhabit multiple countries and waters within their own ranges. Nacho will be speaking on past research as well as presenting on SeaDoc’s Marine Bird Decline Project.

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Clark’s grebe added to Washington list of species of concern

Clark's grebe by Paul HigginsA few years ago SeaDoc wrote a Status Review for the Washington State listing of Western Grebes. When it was reviewed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, they realized that we should also review the status of the Clark's grebe. The two species are so closely related that factors impacting Western Grebes also are probably impacting Clark’s Grebes. SeaDoc included the Clark's Grebe in the Status review and the State just listed Clark’s grebes as a Species of Concern, which is the first step getting listed as threatened or endangered by the State. The next step is for the State to decide whether to list both species as threatened or endangered. Stay tuned.

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Thank you Sarah’s

Sara & SarahOur SeaDoc summer interns, UC Davis third year veterinary students Sarah Smolley and Sara Heidelberger, have left Orcas and returned to school at UC Davis. Co-working with the Whale Museum, they did an outstanding job coordinating the San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network, responding to strandings, necropsying dead animals, helping treat live-stranded ones and collecting valuable scientific data. We’ll miss them.

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The ship has come in

wineThe long anticipated ded. reckoning USA 17 docked on September 1 at Compass Wines in Anacortes, WA. This 100% estate grown wine is approximately 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc and is a commemorative bottling celebrating the workers, crew and victory of the BMW ORACLE yacht USA 17 built in Anacortes, WA. Only the second Cabernet Sauvignon in the ded. reckoning numbered series, all the fruit was grown at Sheridan Vineyard in Zillah, deep in the Yakima Valley. Aged in French oak barrels of various ages, it has a very rich and silky depth with a serious backbone of tannin and crisp acidity. Its label features the record setting USA 17 BMW ORACLE sailing yacht.

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SeaDoc in the News

Vancouver Sun article on gray whales and birds. (Draws on SeaDoc-funded research.)

Salish Sea News Briefs

Staff News

Team SeaDoc (Jean, Joe and Nacho) ran the Cutthroat Classic hill climb in Mazama, Washington last weekend. The take home message: living at sea-level makes running at 6800 feet challenging, but not as tough as saving an ecosystem.

Upcoming Events

wild food Mark your calendars for the annual SeaDoc Marine Science Lecture series on Orcas Island. Details are at our Events page. The first lecture -- on harvesting wild food in the Pacific Northwest -- is on October 12.

SeaDoc Society Board of Directors meeting December 2 - Seattle, WA

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