Winter leaves hummingbirds in the cold: dead, alive … or in torpor?
Is that lifeless-looking hummingbird lying on the frozen ground really dead … or in torpor? Wildlife rescue professionals say it’s not uncommon to see Anna’s hummingbirds at their centers during the winter months, as the birds have moved farther north with climate change. Inert-seeming hummingbirds may in fact be alive but conserving energy, and experts advise contacting professionals to find out how to help.
Talking turkey in the San Juans: strutting the line between welcome wildlife and pest
The American wild turkey, introduced for hunting in the San Juan Islands around 1980, seems to have learned well how to live near humans — to the extent of unwelcome encroachment, in the minds of some. Given mixed responses in human-dominated environs, what makes a wild creature a charming neighbor to some and a pest to others?
Vigil calls for more urgency to save endangered salmon, orcas
A vigil in support of endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest drew environmental advocates and members of the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Indian Tribe to the Bellingham waterfront on Nov. 20. The event commemorated the 30th anniversary of the original declaration of Snake River sockeye salmon as endangered, and was held in conjunction with several similar events around the region.
Community Voices / How farmers can fight climate change
Farmers are in a powerful position to help curb climate change, and many locally already are taking steps to do so, note dairy farmer Katherine Steensma and author Stevan Harrell. While this bodes well for the future of agriculture here, there is more to be done to stop “wasting and poisoning the good and beautiful things of the world”: natural resources.
Community Voices / Electric vehicles and the Tesla experience
With the state legislature and some local governments contemplating a future without fossil fuel-powered vehicles, Northwest Washington car buyers are beginning to ponder what it’s like to drive an electric vehicle — a computer on wheels — and some already are behind the wheel.
Nooksack Tribe and partners face up to climate change challenge on South Fork Nooksack River
Since long before more than 2,000 chinook salmon died this summer before they could spawn in the South Fork Nooksack River, the Nooksack Indian Tribe has been working with a wide range of partners to plan for supporting at-risk habitat and species. A new report from the tribe aims to translate the science and put boots on the ground.
Voters to have their say — amid controversy — on San Juan County charter amendments
San Juan County voters will have had their say by Nov. 2 on hotly debated amendments to their charter proposed by the Charter Review Commission. The amendments have raised controversy, with one group launching a campaign encouraging voters to reject all the proposals.
Fictional whale tale underscores real-life role of kinship in orcas’ survival
In the newly published novel “Beyond the Human Realm,” Lopez Island scientist and author Gene Helfman draws on the real-life intelligence of orcas in a fictional story that affirms that preservation of the species requires the adoption of an approach characterized by kinship.
Author of ‘Orca’ has a message for the Northwest: hope has a price tag
The new book Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home begins in crisis, as author Lynda Mapes tells the gut-wrenching story of Tahlequah (J35), the mother orca who in 2018 carried her dead baby around for 17 days. Mapes will speak Sept. 18 at the Lopez Island Library.
Prepared for the worst, local agencies plan wildfire-fighting strategies while hoping for the best
Whatcom County’s emergency management teams will focus this year’s training on fighting wildfires, and are stepping up reminders to the community that most such fires are caused by human actions — and therefore preventable.
Years in the making, amendments ban new coal or oil industries, new shipping terminals at Cherry Point
No new oil- or coal-based industries will be allowed at Cherry Point west of Ferndale under Whatcom County’s latest — and groundbreaking — Comprehensive Plan amendments, following a unanimous vote by the county council.
Water supply on Guemes: an island paradise faces challenges
More people and rising sea levels mean continuously increasing freshwater challenges on Guemes Island, compelling action on the part of individuals — and possibly government — to ensure enough water supply to meet demand.
Have enough water? San Juan prepares to find out, with USGS study
A study funded by the state legislature and the U.S. Geological Survey will address a major barrier in both predicting San Juan County’s future water needs and managing current systems: the capacity of wells in the county is unknown.
Clock starts on Nooksack basin water rights inventory; stakeholders yet to discuss solutions
Weeks of sparse rainfall and a historic heat wave marked the end of June — and the start of a process to establish water rights among various users in Whatcom County’s Nooksack River basin.
House of Tears Carvers visit Bellingham with totem pole bound for DC
Several hundred people in Bellingham visited a totem pole created by Lummi carvers from a 400-year-old cedar log — the latest stop in the Red Road to D.C. tour of the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere across the U.S. toward its final destination in Washington, D.C.
‘Bold’ ideas around equity, environment proposed as San Juan reviews its county charter
San Juan County voters could be voting this fall to create a county climate and environment office and a justice and equity commission by amending the county’s 15-year-old home rule charter.