Toxic bloom “basically eating the West Coast alive” — “Unusual deaths up and down the Pacific coast” — “All populations of marine mammals are way down” in areas — Experts: “Largest ever recorded… This is really unprecedented territory… Never seen an event like this” (VIDEO)

Published: August 9th, 2015 at 9:48 pm ET


Al Jazeera, Aug 1, 2015: The toxic algae blooms in the Pacific Ocean stretching from southern California to Alaska — already the largest ever recorded — appear to have reached as far as the Aleutian Islands, scientists say. “The anecdotal evidence suggests we’re having a major event,” said Bruce Wright, a scientist with the Aleutian Pribilof Island Association… “All the populations (of marine mammals) are way down in the Aleutians.”… the blooms are responsible for unprecedented closures of fisheries and unusual deaths of marine life up and down the Pacific coast… The discovery of nearly a dozen dead whales in the Gulf of Alaska near Kodiak also raised suspicion… Other die-offs of species have been reported along the Aleutian chain, stretching nearly 1,500 miles across the north Pacific.

CBS/AP, Aug 5, 2015: Toxic algae bloom in Pacific even larger than thought… ocean researchers say this one is much larger and persisting much longer, with higher levels of neurotoxins bringing severe consequences for the… marine ecosystems…  [Vera Trainer, with Univ. of Washington and NOAA’s Harmful Algal Blooms Program] said this bloom is the worst she’s seen in 20 years of studying them… “It’s been incredibly thick, almost all the same organism. Looks like a layer of hay,” said Raphael Kudela, a professor of ocean sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz. Kudela told CBS… “It’s definitely the largest bloom of this particular algae seen on the West Coast, possibly anywhere, ever.”… “It’s really working its way into the food web and we’re definitely seeing the impacts of that,” Kudela said, noting that sea lions are getting sick and pelicans are being exposed… The most recent samples showed the highest-ever recorded concentrations of domoic acid in the internal organs of Dungeness crab, Ayres said. “This is really unprecedented territory for us,” said [Dan Ayres, Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife].

USA Today, Aug 7, 2015: A massive toxic algal bloom thriving in the warm water along the West Coast may be the largest ever recorded, according to [NOAA] scientists. The bloom stretches 40 miles wide and in some places is 650 feet deep. It runs from California to Alaska, and has shuttered lucrative fisheries in several coastal states. “It’s unprecedented,” [said Trainer].

Grist, Aug 7, 2015: A huge, toxic algae bloom is basically eating the West Coast alive… and more toxic than anyone suspected… scientists have never known one to be this bad before.

Capital Public Radio, Aug 7, 2015: In nearly 25 years of research, Trainer says she’s never seen an event like this

Reuters, Aug 6, 2015: Massive toxic algae bloom reaches from California to Alaska… [it] stretches thousands of miles from the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and has surprised researchers by its size and composition. “It’s just lurking there,” Vera Trainer, research oceanographer with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Washington state, told Reuters on Thursday. “It’s the longest lasting, highest toxicity and densest bloom that we’ve ever seen.”… Researchers are investigating whether the bloom is linked to several suspicious marine mammal deaths

Discover Magazine, Aug 6, 2015: Record Algae Bloom Laced With Toxins is Flourishing in “The Blob” — and Spreading in the North Pacific… a record-breaking bloom of algae stretching from Southern California all the way north to Alaska… Toxins from the algae are suspected to have contributed to the deaths of at least nine Fin whales near Kodiak Island, Alaska, in June, although a definitive cause has not yet been determined, NOAA says. There have also been reports of dead and dying whales, gulls, and forage fish in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands

Regarding the suggestion made in three of the articles above that the 18 whale deaths in Alaska could be linked to harmful algae blooms, researchers from the Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks reported last month: “Biotoxins caused by warm water–induced harmful algal blooms are a possibility, although tissue from the sampled fin whale tested for domoic acid came back negative… Scientists have followed up on other possible causes… even radionuclides from the Fukushima reactor…. a muscle tissue sample from a dead fin whale [was submitted] for Cesium 137 analysis, with results pending.”

Watch The Weather Channel’s video here | Capital Public Radio broadcast here

Published: August 9th, 2015 at 9:48 pm ET


289 comments to Toxic bloom “basically eating the West Coast alive” — “Unusual deaths up and down the Pacific coast” — “All populations of marine mammals are way down” in areas — Experts: “Largest ever recorded… This is really unprecedented territory… Never seen an event like this” (VIDEO)

  • DeadAhead

    A mix of toxic chemicals and explosive gases may have poisoned hundreds of square kilometers of agricultural land near the town of Chinchilla in Queensland, Australia, says a leaked report by a government agency investigating Linc Energy mining company.
    And the beat goes on!

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  • rogerthat

    Japan’s Yucca Mountain: Nuclear Reboot Raises Questions on Waste Storage

    By Logan Pettinato
    August 10, 2015

    … Japan’s challenge in the coming years will be to identify a waste management solution that avoids political conflicts like those that derailed the Yucca Mountain project. Perhaps Japan’s political system will fulfill NUMO’s promise and facilitate an engaging, participatory process of site selection and facility construction.

    However, given the often glacial pace of development associated with these projects, in addition to their politically contentious nature, NUMO’s plans may remain a pipe dream for many years. Until the government breaks ground on a storage facility, toxic waste may indefinitely remain on-site at power plants throughout Japan.

    Logan Pettinato is an undergraduate student at Bates College studying Political Science and History. He is currently interning at the EastWest Institute in New York.

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  • rogerthat

    Prof. investigates uranium pollution
    Little data exists on how mines have affected health of Navajo Nation
    By Marielle Dent 08/09/15

    With the development of atomic power at the end of World War II came a demand for uranium, a radioactive ore of which large deposits can be found in the Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, Utah and northwestern New Mexico.

    Between 1944 and 1986 about 4 million tons of uranium ore was extracted from these lands, and many Navajo people worked in the mines and lived near them, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Today, more than 500 abandoned mines are left behind, and many homes and sources of drinking water contain elevated levels of radioactivity.

    That’s where Johnnye Lewis, a UNM professor of toxicology, comes in. Lewis has spent the past 15 years working on multiple projects to study the health effects of uranium mining on the Navajo people.

    “The U.S. government has treaty rights to protect the health (of the Navajo) and allow preservation of culture and those are enforced in varying degrees, but the weapons development that the uranium was mined for happened because of the federal government’s need for a defense program,” Lewis said.

    “That fiduciary responsibility through the treaties to protect Native Americans is very important, and yet we have very little data on their health. …

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    • rogerthat

      ''These are reasons to do what we’re doing.”

      Her work began in 2000 with the Diné Network for Environmental Health Project, which examined the high rate of kidney disease in the Navajo population and its possible link to contaminated drinking water. Community members helped develop the study and collected data for 13 years.

      “It’s the first time anyone has studied the exposure to uranium waste across the Navajo Nation,” said Chris Shuey, director of the Uranium Impact Assessment Program at the Southwest Research and Information Center. “With the results of the DiNEH Project we are able to say that living close to abandoned mines increases the likelihood for kidney disease.”

      More recent exposure increased the likelihood of autoimmune diseases and high blood pressure, Lewis said. Much of the ongoing exposure is a result of people drinking water from unregulated wells that exceeded standards for levels of uranium and arsenic.

      “People haul water from these wells for a lot of reasons,” Lewis said. “People don’t like the taste of chlorine; they have a history with the taste from a particular well; they have a history with spiritual connections … but word has gotten out. If people are hauling, they are doing it from monitored sources or hauling bottled water.”

      Lewis and her colleagues have designed maps highlighting the contaminated areas, as well as posted signs, created videos and newsletters and appeared on radio shows.
      Lewis has also been working on …

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      • rogerthat

        the Navajo Birth Cohort Study that is part of a five-year plan called for by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to address uranium contamination. The study is an “effort to determine whether uranium exposures affect birth outcomes and child development on the Navajo Nation,” according to their website.

        “Before we started doing this there really were no comprehensive data on birth outcomes and development on Navajo,” Lewis said. “There’s not really a good idea of how well the developmental assessment measures normal development for Navajo and all of these measures can be culturally biased. We don’t know, for example, that language would develop at the same rate as in the dominant culture. You may be missing a kid who really is having trouble or misdiagnosing a kid when they are actually following a normal trajectory for that culture.”

        Marielle Dent is a staff reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @Marielle_Dent.

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  • Cisco Cisco

    Now…fresh water, we're next!

    "New tadpole disease affecting frogs", August 11 2015 at 08:40am….REUTERS A parasitic disease caused by single-celled microbes known as 'protists' was found in the livers of tadpole samples taken from six countries across three continents.

    London – Tadpoles are contracting a new, highly infectious disease that may be threatening frog populations worldwide, British scientists have found.

    A parasitic disease caused by single-celled microbes known as “protists” was found in the livers of tadpole samples taken from six countries across three continents, the scientists said in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal.

    The disease, which was found in both tropical and temperate sites, is a distant relative of oyster parasites, they said.

    “Global frog populations are suffering serious declines and infectious disease has been shown to be a significant factor,” said Thomas Richards of Exeter University, who co-led the study.

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  • aunavoz

    I am not going to apologize for my views here. I have advocated many times anti nuke anti waste positions. So many here have a lynching mentality when differences occur ..

    So whatever. There is nothing here on this site that has yet to change the world and as the focus becomes more negative and exclusive to a very narrow paranoid end of world viewpoint .. distrustful and hateful of all science .. and admin continues to massage the headlines to attract that audience ..

    Ene becomes a dying entity of useless chatter.

    Good luck changing that dynamic.

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  • The fun times seem to have just begun..

    3,200 Abandoned Uranium Mines in Just 4 States, Broken Treaties, Uranium Dust Blowing Over US Mount Rushmore Monument; via @AGreenRoad

    How many more?

    How much longer?

    For lack of knowledge, the people suffer and die.

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  • due to algae bloom, lampreys 'raining from sky' in Alaska:

    "Pacific Die-Off, Alaska: Faceless Eels With Teeth, Found Far From Any Body Of Water, Are Assumed To Have Fallen From Sky. What?"

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