Oregon’s Ocean Dead Zone

Another U.S. Climate Impact
In recent weeks the United States has witnessed more and intensified wildlires [news search], heatwaves [news search] and droughts [news search] that have been exacerbated by climate change. Time to add another to the list of evident climate change impacts that are occurring right now as the recurrent Pacific ocean “dead zone” off the Oregon coast has returned and is worse than ever. At 70 miles long it is smaller than say the Gulf Coast dead zone [search], yet massive crab and fish die offs are occurring. The causation of these oxygen deprived ocean dead zones [search] is complex and not fully understood. In Oregon unusual weather patterns and warmer oceans caused by climate change appear preeminent.

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21 Responses

  1. Guiamar Hiegert says:

    I've never been on a blog site before, but thought I'd write. Don't know what a URL is so just let me know what I need to fill in. We live in Northern California and have a cabin in Southern Oregon and have read about the dead zone. But we also can see what's happening. The Rogue River, south of the Dead Zone, is now teeming with wildlife – salmon – huge numbers are entering the mouth of the Rogue River and so are the sea lions and the birds. Perhaps it's because they've been driven south of their normal territory by this dead zone.

  2. It seems odd that the two countries that refuse to take action against climate change are already feeling the effects and will be amongst the worst affected by the problem.

  3. hi, tuesday sept 5,2006, i released lincoln city winter marine phytoplankton culture from mo's pier at 51st st ,lincoln city, or, usa, into your dead zone, pacific ocean. i also collected seawater from around pilings where my plankton were released in order to observe for return of life in aerated water from your dead zone. i am hopeful you will see changes about october 12,2006, such as fish, seals and whales, there.
    if successful, i could mail cultures to you. i do not enjoy travel. thanks.gh

  4. “October seems late for albacore, but boaters have taken tuna out of Newport as recently as last weekend.” http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/sports/116001515923300.xml&coll=7

  5. * “you will see changes about october 12,2006, such as fish, seals ”
    “Sea lion takes a break at D-River Wayside ” http://www.thenewsguard.com/news/story.cfm'story_no=5443

  6. thanks ; please tell your friends with dead zones or red tides in chesapeake bay, florida, gulf of mexico, to contact me. i will fly and bring cultures, at zero cost. Glen Hemerick, 15871 Peacock Hill Road SE, Olalla, WA 98359. phone 253-857-7225 email: ghemerick@juno.com or ghemerick@yahoo.com

  7. glen hemerick says:

    pls see “Phytoplankton, Toxic Algae and Dead Zones” near bottom of http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2006/2006-12-01/backscatter/index.html

  8. first url shows red tide areas; second url shows long ferry dock at Indianola, WA, where plankton were released today, 12/5/06, during rising tide, followed by long falling tide, which should carry plankton over the red tide areas. http://ww4.doh.wa.gov/scripts/esrimap.dll?name=BIOVIEW&Left=1129995&Bottom=865506&Right=1159995&Top=906451&Step=3&click.x=158&click.y=218 http://apps.ecy.wa.gov/shorephotos/scripts/bigphoto.asp?id=KIT0319

  9. glen hemerick says:

    global cooling. i could do more,but for 84 i try to do something to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. i grow and release both marine and freshwater plankton into dead ocean, puget sound red tides, toxic lakes, polluted streams, and radioactive columbia river. the freshwater plankton absorb pollutants and radioactivity, and die when they reach salt water , and get buried under sediments. i increase vegetation on land by planting vegetables in rows that slope downhill two inches vertically per 100 inches horizontally (=2%). in dry weather i let water trickle down the rows; in wet weather rain or melted snow trickle down the rows, soaking in, and raising the water table. today, i have green kale, turnips , and onions from seed, near seattle. trees near the 2 % ditches grow rapidly. sloping ditches can reduce flooding, drouth, fires, and increase spawning of fish. .in past i have seeded sweet clover in cereal fields, planted rye in gardens as winter cover crop, and seeded annual ryegrass on lawns in autumn for winter lawns. i have planted many trees along streams to cool them for salmon.http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2006/2006-07-28/backscatter-p/index.html (pls scroll to bottom)

  10. glen hemerick says:

    Dead zone returns to Ore. Coast for 6th year
    01:44 PM PDT on Wednesday, August 1, 2007
    By JEFF BARNARD, The Associated Press
    GRANTS PASS, Ore. – For the sixth year in a row, a dead zone of oxygen-depleted water that kills crabs and drives out fish is forming off the Oregon Coast, raising the possibility it could become the new normal as the climate warms, scientists said Monday.

  11. date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 11:31:20 -0700 (PDT)
    From: “Glen Hemerick”
    Subject: “surprise of biologists.”
    To: whitfs@health.co.kitsap.wa.us, ultics@health.co.kitsap.wa.us
    you didn't say anything about bacteria or swimmers' itch
    The larval parasite called a “cercaria” is
    released by aquatic or amphibious (moves both on land and water) snails and causes dermatitis when it mistakenly penetrates a person's skin rather than it
    rightful host, usually a duck. Swimmer's itch occurs in both freshwater and in the marine coastal
    Some oysters in Hood Canal draw warning
    Bacterial problem confined to small area, FDA says
    Cookson Beecher
    Capital Press
    Oysters harvested from a growing area at the southern
    tip of Hood Canal in Washington state were the subject
    of an Aug. 10 health warning put out by the U.S. Food
    and Drug Administration.
    FDA issued the warning after at least six people in
    California and Washington state came down with an
    illness caused by a naturally occurring bacteria known
    as Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
    The outbreak is linked to raw oysters harvested from
    “growing area 6” in Hood Canal in Mason County, Wash.,
    starting from July 3 to early August.
    The state's Department of Health closed the area
    associated with the vibriosis illnesses on Aug. 3 and
    asked commercial harvesters and dealers who purchased
    oysters from the growing area to recall them.
    A Mostly Red-Tide Free Summer for Kitsap
    By Christopher Dunagan cdunagan@kitsapsun.com
    Tuesday, September 4, 2007 Last summer, “red tide”
    was so prevalent in shellfish throughout Kitsap County
    and elsewhere in Puget Sound that biologists naturally
    assumed this year would bring a repeat performance,
    resulting in numerous closures to shellfish harvesting
    It didn't happen all summer, to the surprise of
    biologists. Now, as fall approaches, the east side of
    Bainbridge Island has been closed to the harvest of
    all species of clams and oysters, in response to
    dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poison.
    “It could be the beginning of something, or it could
    just fade out,” said Jerry Borchert of the Washington
    State Department of Health Shellfish Program.
    The eastern side of Kitsap County, with a few
    exceptions, has been closed to the harvest of butter
    clams, which seem to retain the poison longer than
    other species of shellfish. The poison is produced by
    a specific type of plankton, which can grow rapidly
    under certain conditions.
    Additional samples of shellfish were taken Tuesday to
    determine whether paralytic shellfish poison is on the
    increase in East Kitsap, said Jim Zimny of the Kitsap
    County Health District.
    Last summer, major areas of Puget Sound were closed to
    the harvesting of all species of shellfish, Borchert
    noted. The plankton that creates the poison is known
    to produce cysts that go dormant and lie in the bottom
    sediments. A large growth of plankton, as occurred
    last year, is expected to produce a large number of
    “After a big bloom like we saw last year, you assume
    that the following year will be pretty bad,” Borchert
    said. “We thought it was going to be a busy summer,
    but it has been extremely quiet everywhere.”
    Conditions that trigger the growth of plankton, also
    called algae, remain one of the mysteries of Puget
    Sound, he said.
    “Different species of algae compete for light and
    nutrients in the water,” Borchert said.
    Alexandrium catenella, the plankton that causes red
    tide in Puget Sound, are dinoflagellates, which can
    propel themselves in water. At night, they tend to
    swim down to absorb nutrients, then come up to the
    surface during the day to take advantage of the sun.
    Diatoms, which are less mobile, are often the first to
    bloom following a nutrient-rich rainstorm, Borchert
    said. Diatoms may have an advantage when the waters
    are stirred vigorously by winds and tides.
    A few studies are trying to sort out the dynamic
    relationship among plankton, Borchert said.
    Just as this summer's low level of paralytic shellfish
    poison was a surprise, so was a winter “spike” in
    January and February, when some beaches in North
    Kitsap were quickly shut down after high levels of PSP
    showed up in shellfish. It was the first time that the
    Kitsap County Health District had ever closed beaches
    in January because of the poison, officials said.
    Year-round sampling provides a measure of safety for
    recreational shellfish harvesters. Clams and oysters
    harvested commercially are sampled at the time of
    Most of Hood Canal remains closed to shellfish
    harvesting because of a bacteria, Vibrio
    parahaemolyticus. Borchert said researchers are trying
    to determine what species of plankton may dominate
    with high levels of bacteria.
    Unlike paralytic shellfish poison, the bacteria can be
    killed by cooking at high temperatures.
    Shellfish sampled on the eastern side of Bainbridge
    Island last week contained 108 micrograms per 100
    grams of shellfish tissue. That's 35 percent higher
    than the closure level of 80 micrograms.
    The closure area is from Point Monroe near the north
    end of the island to South Beach.
    Symptoms of shellfish poisoning usually begin with
    tingling of the lips and tongue, moving to the hands
    and feet. Victims may experience difficulty breathing
    and occasionally, they may die. Medical help is
    recommended for those who suspect being poisoned.
    For closures in Kitsap County, call the health
    district's hot line, (800) 2BE-WELL, or go to
    http://www.kitsapcountyhealth.com. Elsewhere, call the state
    Department of Health's hot line, (800) 562-5632, or go
    to http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/biotoxin.htm.

  12. i have taken one step to decrease florida
    red tide. i can send a picture of my nephew,
    12, pouring plankton into the yellowstone
    river at billings mt., whence they will flow
    and increase into the missouri and
    mississippi. the plankton will absorb plant nutrients leaving little for the red tide.
    they will also absorb toxic chemicals and
    bury them under sediments, leaving less in the gulf to kill delicate beneficial plankton who will grow and consume nutrients in the gulf; leaving less for red tide

  13. glen hemerick says:

    Stop the Sea Lion Slaughter on the Columbia River
    http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/11/367918.shtml “And before we can save the salmon, we must save the sea lions. From ourselves. For whatever it's worth, I'm asking you to please call your congressional representatives immediately and demand that they protect the sea lions. Tell them to vote against H.R. 6241. And if they do not, then meet me in the spring at the foot of Bonneville dam. We must make them stop this foolishness, one way or another. If they will not hear our voices now, then they will be met with our boats and our kayaks and our rafts and our fists. They must not be allowed to murder sea lions. Too many of us care too much. http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/statewide/AquaticEd/adfgteacherguide/chapter1.html Alaska's Wild Salmon Teacher's Guide
    17 of Alaska's Wild Salmon). When they migrate to the ocean they must first re-orient … has an excellent subsection on

  14. where have all the plankton gone? http://courses.washington.edu/uwtoce05/methods.html
    16.986 is~ 17 cells/ml = 17,000 cells per liter “After being counted, the numbers were plugged into an equation to find the total number of phytoplankton in the sample per ml. For example, if Station #1 from a sampling site had a total of 745 phytoplankton, that number is then divided by .1ml and multiplied by the total ml of the jar, say 57. The answer, 42,465, is then divided by 2500ml, to give 16.986 phytoplankton per ml of water. The numbers are recorded and graphed by stations for comparisons”. http://blogs.kitsapsun.com/kitsap/waterways/archive/2008/04/get_ready_for_computer_simulat.html#c2446562 ( “A teaspoon * =5ml x 200 = 1 L. = 10,000,000 cells/liter )
    “A teaspoon * of seawater taken off the Scripps Oceanography Pier typically contains more than 100,000 eukaryotic phytoplankton, which are found throughout the world's oceans. Phytoplanktons are responsible for nearly half of the planet's photosynthesis.” my question is: how many cells are counted in one teaspoon of hood canal water? if you took samples of water from hood canal at several locations , is there a difference in growth rate of plankton? is there a difference in species found? is there one species found in one location which will not grow in water from another location? can you filter that water to enable all species to grow in it?”Posted by: glen hemerick | April 9, 2008 01:16 PM
    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
    “Its density can reach up to 100 million cells per liter (Campbell et al. …. The smallest known autotrophic eukaryote, Ostreococcus tauri, was discovered …”
    elib.suub.uni-bremen.de/diss/docs/00010796.pdf – Similar pages
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=+++++++++++++++++++cells+per++teaspoonful+ostreococcus++scripps&btnG=Google+Search “SCRIPPS OCEANOGRAPHY NEWS : : First Genome Comparison of Plankton …
    Apr 30, 2007 … A teaspoon of seawater taken off the Scripps Oceanography Pier typically contains more than 100000 eukaryotic phytoplankton, which are found …
    scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=787 – 19k – Cached – Similar pages
    http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&um=1&tab=wn&q=+salmon&btnG=Search+News “Federal managers expected to sharply cut salmon season in CA, OR
    KTVZ, OR – 1 hour ago
    (AP) – Federal fisheries managers are expected to sharply curtail this year's Pacific salmon season off the California and Oregon coasts after a meeting …”
    “hi, tuesday sept 5,2006, i released lincoln city winter marine phytoplankton culture from mo's pier at 51st st ,lincoln city, or, usa, into your dead zone, pacific ocean. i also collected seawater from around pilings where my plankton were released in order to observe for return of life in aerated water from your dead zone. i am hopeful you will see changes about october 12,2006, such as fish, ” http://www.climateark.org/blog/2006/08/oregons_ocean_dead_zone.asp

  15. i am trying to send pictures of two lakes after plankton release. long lake was toxic 2003. free of toxic algae 2004,2005,2006 after plankton release each year. . until 2007 when the wa legislature gave nearly one million dollars to two men to treat long laKE WITH PESTICIDES. i stopped treating long lake. but in 2006 the kitsap county health dpt requested me to release plankton into toxic kitsap lake and into red tide paralytic hood canal. both successful.
    — On Thu, 4/17/08, People For Puget Sound wrote:
    From: People For Puget Sound
    Subject: eNews April 15 Special Edition

  16. today i cut twigs from cultivated blueberry and i grafted them on to wild blueberry; then i cut off the combination and stuck it into potting soil to root. i will do this monthly. if i get growth, then during dormancy sept-march i will wash plants and soak them in hot water; different temps; diff times to rid plants of virus and other companions. then i will try mixing pesticides in the soil where i will replant the heat-treated bushes; pesticides including sulfurdust, bordeaux, lime-sulfur, rotenone, pyrethrin,sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, chlorine, more hot water etc. after that i will apply fungicides and insecticides to the bushes, and cover them against birds and insects; except now early may uncovered for pollination; and some left covered while i catch bees and put them inside.
    i will also plant acres of old varietires of sweet corn, including started early in pots to keep the bees away from farmers' gmo corn.

  17. One mans garbage is another mans gold.
    The so called ocean dead zones are alive with algae, flourishing in the highly nutritious chemical brew. There are companies ramping up to collect this wild algae and make fuel from it.
    Also they are starting to put green algae propagation units on ships to consume their smokestack emissions, sewage and ship garbage and make it all into fuel. This fuel lowers their costs and extends their cruising range.
    Collecting and producing fuel from wild algae as they cruise will also become a common practice for ships.
    Algae can also be used as a high protein survival food in emergencies and is used in various pharmaceuticals, has applications in industrial chemicals and can be used as a high protein additive in both people foods and animal feed formulas.
    larry hagedon

  18. Peter Amschel says:

    When a river is dammed, the ocean is damaged. Correlate the existing dead zones to the locations where the plugged rivers formerly flowed into the sea. If the rivers are not undammed, the oceans will die.
    Next report- the effect of river dams on the hydrologic cycle.

  19. i have heard reports that frogs are disappearing
    because of pollution, two diseases, and climate
    change. today, i am starting to do what i can to help
    frogs. first , i already scratch grooves in the soil
    and i plant vegs, fruit trees, berry bushes, lawns,
    shade trees, forest trees, and farm crops in the
    grooves. the grooves slope down hill two inches every
    100 inches. the grooves remain during rainy season,
    causing rain to soak into the earth, and to come out
    later causing dry streams to flow, or form frog ponds.
    second, during the past 15 years , i have been
    collecting freshwater plankton algae, i grow them
    in glass tanks by adding bubbling air, sunlight, and
    fertilizer 1/4 tsp/gal , then i release them ( see
    photo, )into streams. the freshwater plankton absorb
    pollutants from streams, rivers, lakes, but they die
    when they get to salt water, and are buried under
    sediments… three, now i will try to grow fungi
    with the freshwater algae. i will add common
    non-disease fungi such as penicillium from oranges,
    lichens from trees, mushrooms, and soil from compost,
    as well as rotting fruits,vegs, and wood.
    lastly to eradicate snail flatworms such as swimmers
    itch, i will add tiny baby trout to streams, ponds,
    lakes, and freshwater swimming beaches.
    lastly, i will suggest or propose methods for
    distribution. if you drive any where you could carry a
    map, or phone book with maps. and pens and pencils and
    notebooks.. drive slowly and you may see a sign with a
    picture of a fish. after spotting the sign, next look
    for a place to slow down, or to turn around. next try
    to go back past the sign, until you find another place
    to slow down, or turn around. you may find a school
    bus stop; if not , pretend a flat tire. turn on hazard
    flashers. walk to the sign, and look for access to a
    stream. if not accessible. write disregard on map. if
    accessible dump plankton or plankton with fungi, or
    baby fish and mark it big on the map, and in the
    notebook.if you dont find fish signs, look for a
    stripe painted on the pavement. there may be a culvdrt
    under the road. look for water. if water is present,
    repeat above steps. thanks. glen and frogs. i plan
    also to leave bottles and jugs of plankton, or fungi
    at grocery stores and gas station, with signs saying
    free!!! dump into any stream; thanks. mr frog you can
    find plastic and glass bottles, jugs, and jars, at
    recycle bins ,at landfills, and behind restaurants.
    glen hemerick, 15871 peacock hill rd se, olalla, wa
    98359 phone 253-857-7225 ghemerick@yahoo.com,
    themerick@hotmail.com, ghemerick@harbornet.com

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