Posts tagged: NOAA
WEATHER — February's storms are loading the region's mountains with snow, presenting a better picture for outdoor recreation that depends on water, including anglers and river runners.
However, we need another snow dance or two for the Idaho Panhandle. March can be a good month.
Here's the report from NOAA that goes with the map graphic above:
Considerable snowfall across the region in February served to pump up the water content in the area's snowpack. This image depicts the current Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) as a percent of normal as measured by the region's snow telemetry (SNOWTEL) sensors.
SNOWTEL is operated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The data from these sensors is available online.
RESERVOIRS — As the water level in Lake Roosevelt continues to rise behind Grand Coulee Dam, more boat ramps are becoming viable again and anglers are becoming more versatile.
A nifty new NOAA hydrograph web page helps boaters with constantly updated information on lake levels, projected elevation changes and boat ramp launching levels. It also shows when the lake is too low for running the Gifford and Keller Ferries.
“I recently added low-water impacts to the web page with the short term Lake Roosevelt forecast to help prevent more recreationists from hauling their boats out only to find their ramp high and dry,” said Katherine Rowden, the National Weather Service hydrologist who helped worked up the site.
“The 'Low Flow' line on the hydrograph is when the Gifford Ferry stops running (first significant impact), but if you scroll down below the map, I've also listed all the boat ramps (per elevations on the Park Service's website) so folks can match up current and forecasted levels if they have a certain spot they like to launch from.
“The forecast is updated daily and incorporates planned reservoir operations.”
RIVERS — Water in area rivers and lakes may look tempting during warmer weather forecast for the weekend, but experts say rivers and lakes remain deadly cold.
Cold water immersion can render a person helpless in minutes regardless of sunny skies and warm air temps. Hypothermia can kill you in a few minutes more.
Experienced paddlers wear wet suits or dry suits in cold waters and launch in groups to help each other out in case of unplanned swims.
At least five non-motorized boating fatalities have been recorded by Washington State Parks since March 17, the highest in any year since 2002.
On April 1, a Gonzaga University student died from hypothermia suffered after his kayak capsized in Rock Lake. One man is dead after being swept away in the Spokane River this month; a capsized canoeist remains missing.
SALMON PREDATORS — The Humane Society of the United States has gone back to federal court to block the killing of California sea lions that eat endangered or threatened salmon at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River east of Portland, the Associated Press reports.
The Humane Society said it filed a lawsuit Friday in Washington, D.C., seeking to stop the National Marine Fisheries Service from authorizing the killing of as many as 255 sea lions over the next three years.
The agency last week said it had complied with a previous federal court ruling and authorized Oregon and Washington to resume trapping sea lions for removal.
The Humane Society has argued the sea lions do not seriously damage fish runs and killing them does nothing to improve them.
Fisheries officials disagree.
WILDLIFE — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration usually is in the business of defending sea creatures, but last week it was asking for advice about getting rid of some, according to a KING 5 TV report.
Washington state law allows for the destruction or relocation of osprey nests under certain circumstances, as long as there are no eggs involved.
That gives NOAA oficials precious little time to deal with a nest an osprey pair is building in the upper structure of a NOAA ship that's scheduled to set sail in a few weeks.
MARINE MAMMALS — State's once again have a license to kill a few of the California sea lions that have learned to swim inland from the Pacific Ocean to ambush migrating salmon near Bonneville Dam.
NOAA’s Fisheries Service said today it is re-authorizing the states of Washington and Oregon to lethally remove specific California sea lions that congregate inland from the Pacific Ocean just below the first dam on the Columbia River to eat adult salmon and steelhead swimming upriver to spawn.
Among those fish are salmon stocks that are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
“This is not an easy decision for our agency to make, but a thorough analysis shows that a small number of California sea lions preying on salmon and steelhead are having a significant effect on the ability of the fish stocks to recover,” said William W. Stelle Jr., Northwest regional administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service.
“Today’s authorization allows state fisheries and natural resource agencies to carefully remove California sea lions to reduce their effect on vulnerable fish species.”
FISHERIES — The rush of chinook salmon and steelhead running up the Columbia and Snake rivers this season is a product of a rush of water flowing down the river systems a few years ago.
A groupof federal agencies is pointing out that wild young Snake River steelhead migrated safely through federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers to the ocean last year at the second-highest rate on record. Recently released research indicates about 21 percent more steelhead passed safely through the dams in 2010 compared to the average since the late 1990s.
Young chinook and sockeye salmon also made it safely through the eight federal dams at higher-than-average rates, NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center found.
Researchers said the higher survival rates likely reflected two factors: the spill of water to help carry young fish past dams and recently installed surface passage systems that let fish slide through spillways near the water’s surface, where they naturally migrate.
Read on for more details from the Federal Caucus of 10 agencies.