Animal Behavior, Methane Poisoning, Dead or Alive and on the move (+ interactive map)

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When Planet X entered the inner Solar System in late 2002 - early 2003, it was not just the Earth that reacted, as it did with an increase in earthquakes, volcanism and extreme weather, the animal life on Earth also started showing signs of the approaching monster.

The most noticeable symptoms were:

  • Crazy Animal Behaviour:  Reports of bizarre behaviour including animal attacks from normally passive creatures and spiders spinning webs over whole fields.
  • Confused Animals:  Whales and dolphins stranding themselves on beaches in droves or getting lost upstream in coastal rivers.
  • Large fish and bird kills:  Flocks of birds falling dead from the sky and shoals of fish dying and floating to the surface of lakes, rivers and washing up along coastlines.

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Crazy Animal Behaviour

Reports of crazy animal behaviour have included sheep that charged a farmer’s wife off a cliff, deer attacking a car and rabbits biting pedestrians.  Spiders have spun webs over whole fields and caterpillar larvae have covered whole trees in silk.

As usual, the Zetas explain the true causes:

http://www.zetatalk.com/transfor/t154.htm (Jan 11th 2003)

Animal behavior also has been noted as almost crazed, where animals normally passive and seeking to avoid confrontation will attack with provocation, or fly in the wrong direction during migration. This is due to signals the animals or insects get from the core of the Earth, signals not known to man, but nonetheless there.  [……]  Spiders weaving webs to an extreme so that acres are covered under webs, get noted, but the base behavior is normal for a spider.  EOZT

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Confused Animals

Other erratic behaviour among animals included a seeming loss of direction with whales and dolphins swimming inland and stranding themselves on beaches.

Unreliable Compasses  (March 28th, 2009)

The compass is unreliable for the past few years, and lately has gotten very extreme in its variance. Many animals and insects have a biological compass, recording during migrations where that compass laid, and when taking a return trip relying on the recording to guide them back. If the Earth's N Pole swings away from the press of Planet X, which is increasingly pointing its N Pole at the Earth, then these animals are not given correct clues and aim for land or up a river. Sad to say, this will only get worse as the last weeks and the pole shift loom on the horizon.   EOZT

Are due to the Magnetic Clash   (July 1st, 2006)

The compass anomaly, swinging to the East, is indicative of the Earth adjusting to the approach of Planet X and the clash of their magnetic fields. The change is indicative of a clash in magnetic fields as Planet X comes ever closer to the Earth, their fields touching. It is the combined field that Earth must adjust to, and continue to adjust to, not the exact position of the N Pole of Planet X within these fields, and the Sun's magnetic field enters into the equation too. This dramatic change, noted by a conscientious tracker, checking dual compasses daily for years, indicates that the Earth is trying to align side-by-side with Planet X, bringing its magnetic N Pole to point toward the Sun, as Planet X is currently doing in the main. These adjustments are temporary, and change about, as magnets can make dramatic and swift changes in their alignment with each other. Put a number of small magnets on a glass, with iron ore dust, and move a large magnet about under them, and watch the jerking about they do. Are we saying the Earth's magnetic field is going to get more erratic in the future, dramatically so? There is no question that this will be one of the signs that will come, yet another not covered by the Global Warming excuse.   EOZT

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Large fish and bird kills

Hundreds, if not thousands, of these events have taken place with the frequency increasing year on year.  Poignant examples include the 20 tonnes of dead herring which washed ashore in Norway and 1200 pelicans found on a beach in Peru.

Earth Farts  (January 9th, 2007)

We have explained, in great detail, that the stretch zone does not register great quakes when rock layers pull apart and sink, as this is a silent Earth change. Nancy has carefully documented breaking water and gas mains, derailing trains, dislocating bridge abutments, mining accidents, and outbreaks of factory explosions, showing that these have occurred in rashes on occasion, when the rock layers pulled apart. [……]  In September-October of 2005, a smell of rotten eggs was sensed from LA to Thunder Bay on Lake Superior to the New England states and throughout the South-Eastern US. We explained at that time that this was due to rock layers being pulled apart, releasing gas from moldering vegetation trapped during prior pole shifts, when rock layers were jerked about, trapping vegetation. We explained in March of 2002 that black water off the coast of Florida was caused by this phenomena. Do these fumes cause people to sicken, and birds to die? Mining operations of old had what they called the canary in a birdcage, to warn the miners of methane gas leaks. Birds are very sensitive to these fumes, and die, and this is indeed what happened in Austin, TX. Were it not for the explosions associated with gas leaks, it would be common knowledge that gas leaks sicken, as the body was not structured to breathe such air for long.   EOZT

 

Zetatalk Explanation  (January 8th, 2011)

Dead fish and birds falling from the sky are being reported worldwide, suddenly. This is not a local affair, obviously. Dead birds have been reported in Sweden and N America, and dead fish in N America, Brazil, and New Zealand. Methane is known to cause bird dead, and as methane rises when released during Earth shifting, will float upward through the flocks of birds above. But can this be the cause of dead fish? If birds are more sensitive than humans to methane release, fish are likewise sensitive to changes in the water, as anyone with an aquarium will attest. Those schools of fish caught in rising methane bubbles during sifting of rock layers beneath them will inevitably be affected. Fish cannot, for instance, hold their breath until the emergency passes! Nor do birds have such a mechanism.   EOZT

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Comment by Starr DiGiacomo 15 hours ago

https://www.coastalreview.org/2019/05/lower-neuse-river-seeing-dist...

 Lower Neuse River Seeing Distressed Fish

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Division of Water Resources is currently investigating the numerous dead or dying fish found recently in the lower portion of the Neuse River, the state Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday.

A photo from the state Division of Marine Fisherie shows a 2018 fish kill in 2018 on the Neuse River between Flanners Beach and Slocum Creek. Photo: Lower Neuse Riverkeeper Facebook

Staff observed the numerous dead or dying menhaden with 3- to 5-inch-long severe lesions during the past several days in the Neuse River from Flanners Beach to Carolina Pines. Dead fish may continue to surface in the area over the coming days and holiday weekend.

Staff and other scientists are are working to analyze the fish to learn the cause, which does not appear to be water quality parameters, such as dissolved oxygen, according to the release. Conditions will continue to be monitored and updates will be provided when information is available.

The public is being advised to avoid contact with water where the distressed fish are being observed.

The state Department of Health and Human Services recommends not going in the water while these conditions exist; do not eat, use or collect any fish, crabs, other animals or items from these waters; and do not let pets swim in or eat fish from these waters.

If you come in contact with the water where fish or shellfish are dead, dying, appear sick or have sores take the following precautions:

  • Remove wet clothing and keep it separate from other items until it has been washed.
  • Wash any body part, except the eyes, that comes into contact with the waters, using soap and clean water. Rinse eyes with lots of clear, clean water.
  • Use waterproof gloves when handling pets and items that have come into contact with the waters.
  • See your doctor or health provider if you experience any symptoms such as confusion, vomiting, diarrhea or skin rash that might be caused by exposure to these waters.

Residents can use the DEQ fish kill app to report fish kills to DEQ staff for investigation. A map of all fish kill events occurring in 2019 is on the Division of Water Resources’ website.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on May 3, 2019 at 5:05am

https://philnews.ph/2019/05/02/thousands-dead-danggit-fish-found-za...

Thousands of Dead Danggit Fish Found in Zamboanga

11:23 AM May 2, 2019

Dead Danggit Fish Found in Coastal Areas of Zamboanga

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) would investigate the thousands of dead Danggit fish found in the coastal area of Zamboanga.

On Wednesday afternoon (May 1, 2019), the authorities spotted thousands of dead Danggit fish floating along the waters of R.T. Lim Boulevard.

Mayor Beng Climaco advised the public to refrain from swimming or picking dead fish in the area due to the incident.

Climaco together with City Agriculturist Carmencita Sanchez and OCENR head Engr. Rey Gonzales proceed to R.T. Lim Boulevard after discovering the mysterious fish kill.

BFAR Charlie Repana gathered samples of waters and fish for laboratory tests to determine the mysterious cause of death of Danggit fish in the area.

The Zamboanga Mayor also urged the residents to report such incidents and not consume the dead fish along the coasts.

The agency also concluded that the dry spell and sudden rain produced dissolved oxygen level concentration caused the Zambo fish kill but they would still wait for the lab test results.

Comment by jorge namour on April 29, 2019 at 7:14pm

Beetles invade Israel, but ministry says let them be

APRIL 29 2019

All together now: Swarms of big, black and annoying — but harmless — Calosoma olivieri beetles are infesting Israel

https://www.timesofisrael.com/beetles-invade-israel-but-ministry-sa...

The Calosoma olivieri beetle

Hordes of large black beetles have invaded Israel, descending upon homes and leaving a foul stench in their wake.

The Environmental Protection Ministry confirmed Monday that the bugs are being found in large quantities in many communities around the country.

Dr. Leibele Friedman of Tel Aviv University identified the creatures as the common Calosoma olivieri, which grow up to 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in length, a ministry statement said.

The insects tend to arrive in urban areas in the evening and after landing on the ground, search for a hiding place and usually die within a few hours.

The pestilence, which comes on the heels of a much less icky butterfly migration, is expected to end soon as the weather turns hotter after a particularly rainy winter.

There have also been reports of large quantities of moths invading areas.

https://www.facebook.com/wazcam/photos/a.1081759211918409/243650572...

After the invasion of areas in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, the arrival of black cockroaches to the city of Jerusalem, where the worshipers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque noticed its presence in the courtyard.
This insect is called black grasshoppers or so-called night-time insects from migratory insects. The night's noise sounds annoying during the night, due to the friction of its wide wings together, and people are often disturbed by hearing it.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 25, 2019 at 4:10am

https://www.nwnewsnetwork.org/post/why-are-gray-whales-washing-dead...

Why are gray whales washing up dead on Pacific Northwest beaches?

April 24 2019

Responders examine a malnourished adult gray whale on April 15, 2019 after it was towed to a remote beach after initially being found floating near downtown Seattle.
Cascadia Research Collective

An unusually large number of gray whales are washing up dead on their northbound migration past the Oregon and Washington coasts this year.

The peak stranding time for gray whales in the Pacific Northwest is normally April, May and June. But the federal agency NOAA Fisheries has already logged nine dead whales washed ashore in Washington and one in Oregon. That's on top of 21 strandings on California beaches since the beginning of the year.

There were a total of 25 dead gray whale strandings West Coast-wide in all of 2018.

One 39-foot long dead adult whale was found floating in Elliott Bay last week, right in front of downtown Seattle.

"This is looking like it is going to be a big year for gray whale strandings," said Jessie Huggins, stranding coordinator for the Olympia-based Cascadia Research Collective.

Since February, Huggins has participated in necropsies of malnourished, mostly adult, gray whales on Whidbey Island and the Key Peninsula to Ocean Shores and Long Beach, Washington.

"We're seeing very thin whales with little to no food in their stomachs," Huggins said in an interview Wednesday. "This is kind of leading us to believe that this is an issue of nutritional stress with a few normal-type strandings mixed in."

Huggins said these whales probably didn't get fat enough on their summer feeding grounds in Alaskan waters way back last year.

Responders in raingear and elbow-high rubber gloves cut into the massive carcasses to examine the animals' fat reserves and internal organs. Multiple whales exhibited dry fibrous blubber. The responders noted ribcages and vertebra sticking out, measured healed scars and took tissue samples for later analysis for contaminants.

Despite the unusual number of dead whales found, NOAA Fisheries spokesman Michael Milstein said the overall population of gray whales is fine, "probably as big as it's ever been" in modern times.

Eastern Pacific gray whales were taken off the endangered species list in 1994. The population is now estimated at 27,000, which may be around the carrying capacity of their ocean territory.

"They've been coming back strong," said Milstein by telephone from Portland Wednesday.

Gray whale and humpback whale casualties from entanglement in commercial and tribal fishing gear have been a growing concern for federal officials, certain environmental groups and the fishing industry lately. None of dead gray whales found this spring on Oregon and Washington beaches were entangled in fishing or crabbing lines, however.

Crabbers and fishing boat owners are scheduled to meet with researchers and government representatives when two separate work groups convene next month along the Oregon and Washington coasts to hear updates about entanglement risk reduction strategies.

Sometimes it takes a village to examine and pull samples from a decomposing whale. Huggins said she has worked alongside colleagues this winter and spring from Portland State University, Seattle Pacific University, the nonprofit SR3, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and World Vets.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 19, 2019 at 9:56pm

https://www.sunherald.com/news/local/article229457174.html

Dolphins, endangered sea turtles, oysters dying as fresh water invades Mississippi Sound

April 19, 2019 12:05 PM

Freshwater intrusion from the Bonnet Carre spillway is damaging aquatic life in the Mississippi Sound, with 13 dead dolphins and 23 dead sea turtles found along the Mississippi Coast in the last two weeks.

The carcasses are being necropsied by Mississippi State University veterinarians at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport. Executive Director Moby Solangi said the verdict is still out on the causes of death, but both the turtles and dolphins have skin and eye lesions consistent with freshwater damage.

Solangi said 22 of the dead sea turtles are endangered Kemp’s ridleys, while two baby dolphins are among the most recent dolphin carcasses retrieved. Carcasses are being found in all three coastal counties, he said.

Solangi said a total of 40 dolphins have been found dead so far in 2019.

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources also confirms the fresh water is damaging oyster reefs, particularly in the western Mississippi Sound.

‘You have a hurricane’

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the spillway for 44 days to protect New Orleans and other communities from Mississippi River flooding. Up to 210 cubic feet per second of fresh water poured through the spillway gates.

“When you get a big slug of wind and water, you have a hurricane,” Solangi said. “When you get a big slug of fresh water, it changes the habitat and it’s going to take a long time to recover.”

“ . . . It’s a flood, like it or not, it’s a flood of freshwater coming in. It’s been coming in for two months continuously. All the living organisms, even the plant materials, are affected.”

The Mississippi Sound’s oyster fishery suffered “severe economic hardship” from the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway for 48 days in 2011, according to a report from Mississippi State University.

After the 2011 freshwater intrusion, the DMR oversaw replenishment of about 1,000 acres of oyster reefs in the Mississippi Sound, said Joe Jewell, DMR’s director of marine fisheries.

A $10 million grant replenished those beds and helped sea turtles recover. Funding included pay for fishermen who helped with the project and otherwise would have been out of work because of the decimated oyster beds.

Jewell said the impact of the fresh water did not end with closing of the gates on April 9. This year marked the 13th time in 90 years the spillway has been opened, The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Although the spillway has closed, “the event,” as Jewell refers to it, is not over.

“It takes two to three weeks, sometimes more, for all that freshwater to flush out,” he said.

“We are seeing some significant mortality — upwards of 50 percent — with the smaller oysters. The larger oysters appear to do a lot better.”


‘One thing triggers the other’

Solangi said the impact continues up the food chain. For example, blue crabs hide from predators in oyster reefs and turtles feed on blue crabs.Solangi said fish the dolphins feed on also are dying, so the food supply is lower for both turtles and dolphins.

“This is the largest number of animals in a short period that we’ve been dealing with,” he said.

Dolphin deaths also were reported in Louisiana after the spillway opened. The freshwater flows from the Mississippi River into Lake Ponchatrain and, from there, infiltrates the Mississippi Sound.

The public can help by reporting dead or stranded marine life to IMMS. The number to call is 888-767-3657. Documenting turtle and dolphin losses will help secure federal funding to recover from the freshwater intrusion, Solangi said.

“All of this has a domino effect,” he said. “One thing triggers the other.”

The scope of damage will not be known for sometime. In addition to necropsies, DMR’s continuous sampling of water and aquatic life are accessing the damage.

“We do see impact,” Jewell said, “but we wont’ know the depth of those impacts until the event is over.”

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 19, 2019 at 5:31am

https://www.ndtv.com/science/lost-sea-creatures-wash-up-on-californ...

Lost Sea Creatures Wash Up On California Shores As Climate Shifts

The violet, thumbnail-size snails washing up in Horseshoe Cove in California have never been seen this far north. By-the-wind sailors, a tiny relative of warm-water jellyfish, sprinkle the tideline by the dozen.

April 18, 2019 08:54 IST

Bodega Bay, California: 

The Pacific Ocean off the California coast is mixed up, and so are many of the animals that live there.

The violet, thumbnail-size snails washing up here in Horseshoe Cove have never been seen this far north. By-the-wind sailors, a tiny relative of warm-water jellyfish, sprinkle the tideline by the dozen.

And in the tide pools along the cove's rocky arms, as harbor seals about to pup look languidly on, a slow-motion battle is underway between native Giant Green and Starburst anemones, a species common in Mexico. The southern visitors are bludgeoning their northern hosts with poisonous white-tipped tentacles.

Then there are the whales.

As many as five at a time have been foraging in the San Francisco Bay, the vast inlet about an hour south of here along the wild Sonoma and Marin coasts. The number is far larger than in a normal year, when one or two might wander in beneath the Golden Gate Bridge for a day or two at most.

These whales now are staying for as long as a month. And, for the first time ever, there are two species in the bay at the same time - grays and humpbacks, both usually speeding north to their Bering Sea feeding grounds this time of year.

r4o6lpr8
Instead, whale-watching boats are having more luck in the opaque waters off Berkeley on the bay's eastern edge than in the open ocean. Three grays have also washed up dead on bay shores in recent weeks, their stomachs empty.

"Our guess is that they are superhungry, maybe looking for a little food before continuing north," said Bill Keener, a marine mammal biologist who has been tracking whales, dolphins and porpoises in the bay for decades as head of Golden Gate Cetacean Research. "But why are they staying this long? We can't really figure out what these guys are doing."

The likely culprits: "the blob" and "the boy."

Five years ago, the Gulf of Alaska warmed to record temperatures, likely due to a sudden acceleration in the melting of Arctic sea ice. Usually, a cold southern current flows along California. That year, the warm "blob" spread down the coast and, instead of blocking tropical species from moving north, it served as a balmy welcome to a variety of animals far from home.

Then came El Nino, the roughly once-a-decade temperate current that flows north and east from the equatorial Pacific to the California coast. The two warm-water events came together - one rare but understood, one unprecedented and baffling - to form an ocean heat wave whose real-time and lingering effects may have permanently scrambled California's coastal ecosystem.

"This was like opening a door temporarily for southern species to move northward," said Eric Sanford, a professor of biological sciences who runs a lab here at the Bodega Marine Laboratory of University of California, Davis. "And the longer you hold the door open, the more opportunity you give southern species to move north."

The door was not just ajar but wide open for several years. Today, there are still pockets of unusually warm water off California, doggy doors that continue to beckon tropical species that are strangers to its usually chilly 840-mile coastline.

Last year, scientists identified a yellow-bellied sea snake that had washed up on Newport Beach in Orange County, the first time the tropical species had been found in California in a non-El Nino year. Then, last month, an olive Ridley sea turtle was spotted by lobster fishermen off Capistrano Beach, in part because a sea gull was resting on its back. The turtle migrates on warm currents, one of which may have swept it so far north.

The violet, thumbnail-size snails washing up in Horseshoe Cove in California have never been seen this far north. By-the-wind sailors, a tiny relative of warm-water jellyfish, sprinkle the tideline by the dozen.

Lost Sea Creatures Wash Up On California Shores As Climate Shifts

An elephant seal pup at the Marine Mammal Center in California

continues................

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 18, 2019 at 4:44am

http://www.thebigwobble.org/2019/04/a-very-small-swarm-eats-as-much...

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

"A very small swarm eats as much in one day as about 35,000 people!" After unprecedented flooding Iran is now under attack from locusts

After unprecedented floods killed more than 80 people and damaged or destroyed 100,000 homes Iran is now bracing its self for swarms of locusts.
A locust outbreak in the Arabian Peninsula has been spreading to Iran, threatening crops and food security in large areas of the coastal province of Hormozgan, an official said.
Director of a department at Horkozgan's agricultural organization told Tasnim that Iran is facing the worst locust attack in the past 40 years.
He said several swarms of locusts have come from the Arabian peninsula to Iran over the last 10 weeks, some of which have penetrated into farmlands of the province as far as 200 kilometres from the coast.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in February that a locust outbreak in Sudan and Eritrea was spreading rapidly along both sides of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The FAO also noted that good rains have allowed generations of locust breeding since October 2018, leading to a substantial increase in locust populations and the formation of highly mobile swarms. The UN agency had also highlighted the control measures in Iran after at least one swarm arrived on the southern coast at the end of January.
Adult locust swarms can fly up to 150 km a day with the wind and adult insects can consume roughly their own weight in fresh food per day.
A very small swarm eats as much in one day as about 35,000 people, posing a devastating threat to crops and food security.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 14, 2019 at 4:38am

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-14/fish-kill-near-ramsar-listed...

Mass fish kill in eastern Victoria due to salinity and other natural causes, authorities say

April 13 2019

Hundreds of fish have died near an internationally-recognised lake in eastern Victoria.

Key points:

  • Hundreds of carp have been found dead at Lake Wellington near Sale
  • Regulators have blamed natural causes such as salinity for the deaths
  • A scientist says the decline in water quality is due to drought, while advocates say it is a symptom of mismanagement of the waterways

Regulators and water managers have blamed "natural causes" such as salinity for the death of adult carp in the main drain of Lake Wellington near Sale.

Advocates for the Gippsland Lakes said the mass fish deaths were just another indicator of long-term mismanagement of the waterways, while a scientist said the impact of the drought was to blame for the decline in water quality.

Phil Ronalds, who lives near Lake Wellington, a Ramsar-listed wetland, raised the alarm about the dead fish earlier this week.

He said diverting water from rivers for the nearby Macalister Irrigation District, and to supply Melbourne with drinking water, was part of the problem.

He said this fresh water kept the saline water at bay at Lake Wellington and across the extensive Gippsland Lakes network.

The Gippsland Lakes is a series of lagoons fed by seven rivers flowing down from Victoria's high country, towards the coastal town Lakes Entrance.

Much of the saline water that causes problems in the lake system is from the entrance being opened permanently to accommodate industry in the port.

Drought and summer bushfires contribute

Federation University environmental scientist Jessica Reeves blamed the current drought and summer bushfires for a decline in water quality across the lakes and increasing salinity.

"[With] rising sea levels, deepening of the entrance … and also the decreased rainfall, there just isn't enough fresh water coming in to dilute the system," Dr Reeves said.

"The overall salinity is increasing and particularly at the fresh water end such as Lake Wellington."

Dr Reeves has been doing research near Lake Tyers and said, because of the ongoing drought, its water levels were lower than people had seen in "living memory".

Confusion over cause of fish deaths

Southern Rural Water (SRW) manages the irrigation water from Glenmaggie Weir, which draws on water from the Macalister River, including the drain where the fish was found.

They were notified about the mass carp deaths on Tuesday, and informed Victoria's Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

"The EPA has confirmed this is one of several recent fish kill reports in the district, which are natural occurrences, typically caused by salt water ingress, not pollution," a joint statement from the two agencies said.

SRW spokesman Gavin Prior said the EPA ruled the carp deaths were from natural causes.

"How they died is not our decision," he said.

"Our [role] is to report our finding to the relevant authority and in that case it's up to the EPA to make that decision."

However an EPA spokesman told the ABC, SRW made the call about the cause of the dead fish.

A request to clarify this with the environmental watchdog had not been received before publication.

A Victorian Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning spokeswoman said the agency helped clean a few hundred European carp, which died on the shores of Lake Wellington last week in a separate event.

Love our Lakes spokesman Martin Potts also blamed the decline in the quality of the lakes on the diversion of water from the rivers, but said the death of carp was good for the lakes system.

However, he said mass deaths could cause further environmental problems and indicated native fish would also be affected.

"A large carp dying can deoxygenate a cubic metre of water," he said.

"We lose oxygen. [This] then causes a black water situation, so you can have quite a large lot of deaths all at once."

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 13, 2019 at 9:46pm

https://www.shoshonenewspress.com/local_news/20190413/tundra_swan_d...

Tundra swan deaths result of multiple environmental issues?

COEUR d’ALENE — A recent report on dying tundra swans from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game discussed the potential for 2019 to be one of the worst years in terms of total death toll.

According to the report, IDFG staff have received numerous calls about dead tundra swans in the lower Coeur d’Alene River Basin, particularly around Harrison Slough.

The deaths are attributed to poisoning from mine waste contamination found in the wetland sediments where the birds forage, as well as seasonal weather factors that may have exacerbated the situation.

Annually, there has been an average of roughly 150 Tundra Swan deaths in the area. This year, the early body count is ahead of where it is usually at this time.

According to Kiira Siitari, a regional communications manager with IDFG, the previously released report was a warning that more deaths than usual could be expected, not necessarily that it was a guarantee.

“I can’t speak to total dead swans compared to previous years — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitors those numbers under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Working in the lower Coeur d’Alene River area, our Conservation Officers, biologists and sportsmen have noticed more dead swans, up to 60 at a time, in areas like Harrison Slough,” Siitari said. “The hypotheticals listed in the article are our best guess — there’s no scientific study that I know of in place to determine cause and effect of the number of swans that die each year.”

The hypothetical scenarios within the report ranged from timing and distribution of melting ice, water levels, as well as the length of time the swans stayed in the area.

Siitari explained each of the three hypothetical causes listed in the report

Concerning the timing and distribution of ice melt, “we had a snowy, cold February that locked most of the basin up in ice,” Siitari said. “As the swan migration picked up in March, most of the wetlands were still frozen and the areas that were open for birds to land and forage in were primarily in contaminated areas near the mouth of the river.”

The water level situation is the one hypothetical where the mine waste contamination really comes into effect, but not for any reason other than odd seasonal weather.

“It seemed to our biologists that many of the wetlands in the lower basin had less water than in typical years. A dry March or a slow runoff period may be the reason for this,” Siitari said. “Swans would avoid dry or frozen wetlands and target shallow areas in the floodplain with open water. Shallow water in contaminated areas creates a dangerous situation for swans because they can dig deeper into soils, where some of the most heavily contaminated historic mine waste sits.”

Swans feed on the roots and tubers buried in the wet soils, so the deeper they dig, the more pollutants are encountering.

That water level issue, paired up with the length of time the swans remained in the area pointed experts to their last hypothetical, but they can’t confirm these possibilities until the migration is complete.

“This is the most uncertain. Generally, the longer the animal is exposed to a toxin, the greater the chance of negative effects,” Siitari said. “There won’t be any comparison to past years until after the migration season is over and again, it will be out of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s shop.”

Siitari did add that just because the numbers are higher right now does not mean that they will eclipse the usual average of Tundra Swan deaths.

“The swans may have died in a short period of time instead of spread out over several weeks — 60 dead swans is a lot more noticeable than a handful every few weeks,” Siitari said. “Or the way the ice melted congregated swans in very noticeable places (i.e. near highways, towns, fishing spots), so we and the public saw more than most years compared to others.”

Historically, the mining industry in Shoshone County had dumped their mine waste into the Coeur d’Alene River where they washed down the river and settled along the river bottoms, as well as in the marshy wetlands.

Efforts to reduce contamination exposure in tundra swans and other wildlife are led by the Restoration Partnership, of which Fish and Game is a partner.

In 2018, the partnership completed a comprehensive restoration plan that laid out a strategic framework for restoring natural resources, such as waterfowl, that are impacted by the release of historic mine waste.

Approximately $140 million is available from settlements to implement the plan.

These large-scale habitat restoration efforts have already begun.

Starting in 2006, the Restoration Partnership led a 400-acre restoration project on private farm lands near Rose Lake, providing clean marsh habitat for swans and other wildlife.

In 2015, Fish and Game habitat specialists restored another 65 acres of wetlands adjacent to this property in the Robinson Creek Project with funding support from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the partnership.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on April 12, 2019 at 5:13am

https://wpde.com/news/nation-world/more-dolphins-die-in-aegean-sea-...

More dolphins die in Aegean Sea; group suspects navy drills

Associated Press

Monday, April 8th 2019

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Aegean Sea has seen a "very unusual" spike in dolphin deaths over the past few weeks, a Greek marine conservation group said Monday, adding that the rise could be linked to massive Turkish naval exercises in the area.

Fifteen dead dolphins have washed up on the eastern island of Samos and other parts of Greece's Aegean coastline since late February, according to the Archipelagos Institute.

Its head of research, Anastassia Miliou, told The Associated Press that 15 is a worryingly high number compared to "one or two" in the same period last year.

The group said while it's still unclear what caused the deaths, the spike follows the Feb. 27-March 8 Turkish "Blue Homeland" exercises — the country's largest ever — that made constant use of sonar and practiced with live ammunition.

The deafening noise of sonar, used by warships to detect enemy submarines, can injure dolphins and whales, driving them to surface too fast or beach themselves — with sometimes fatal consequences — to escape the din.

"We can't say that the Turkish exercises killed the dolphins, but the fact that we had such an unusual increase in the number washed up dead — and what we have seen must be a small percentage of the total because the Aegean has a long coastline — coincided with exercises that used more than 100 ships," Miliou said. "(The deaths) are very worrying and we can't say that the two events are unrelated."

After several mass beachings of whales, NATO, to which both Turkey and Greece belong, has adopted a code of conduct for using sonar that is designed to better protect marine mammals.

Miliou said the alliance's rules are respected by the U.S. Navy, which has a strong Mediterranean presence, and the Greek navy.

"There's a new (military) generation in place that doesn't want to harm the environment in the name of national sovereignty," she said.

But Miliou said it was unclear whether Turkey has implemented the guidelines. She said the Greek government in Athens should raise the issue in talks with Ankara, particularly ahead of new Turkish naval exercises in the Aegean.

"With these giant exercises ... strain is placed on the entire marine ecosystem, including fish and plankton, because (they) cause intense noise pollution from which marine life can't escape," she said.

Miliou added that the Aegean Sea "can barely handle the strain we are already subjecting it to," such as pollution, overfishing and heavy marine traffic.

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