WC Is Chasing – Sea Mammals?


There otter be a law.

Sea Otters, Elkhorn Sough, Monterey Bay

Sea Otters, Elkhorn Sough, Monterey Bay

All sea otters in California sea otters are the descendants of a single colony of about 50 sea otters located near Bixby Creek Bridge in March 1938 by Howard G. Sharpe. The recovery is remarkable. From those 50, there are now about 2,650 sea otters in California. But the news is not all good; the sea otter’s population plunged 25% from 2016 to 2017. The primary culprit appears to be a cyanobacteria, Microcystis, that produces a toxin called microcystin. Agricultural runoff is the cause of the algae blooms. For example, in Elkhorn Slough, the mountainous cattle manure from Moonglow Dairy runs into the Slough in heavy rainstorms. Moonglow is hardly the only offender; it’s not even the only offender in Elkhart Slough.

Shark attacks appear to have also played a role. So the California population of sea otters remains an endangered species.

Even if you wouldn’t think it to look at the otters in Elkhorn Sough.

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2 thoughts on “WC Is Chasing – Sea Mammals?

  1. Temps are up and blooms are up. There is far more runoff from “fertilizer” than most people know. The obvious are confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) and in the “correct political environment” they are relatively easy to fix. The fertilizer runoff that is much harder to fix is the over fertilization of grass and ornamental plantings. Golf courses (Trump owns a few), subdivisions with GREEN lawns even in a dry climate and they remain GREEN when they should be dormant tan. 5 acre “ranchettes”, GREEN city parks, traffic medians, and many more that are over fertilized and over watered in an unending cycle of nutrient pollution washing into drains, creeks, rivers and lakes.

    If fertilizer labels are read at all the philosophy of if x amount is good then a bit more is better and makes things greener. Plants can only use so much of the “fertilizer” and the rest runs off and ends up in surface and even ground water. Many artificially GREEN places, Las Vegas is one of the notorious places but Boise where we live is a serial offender. Over watered and over fertilized lawns and plantings with plants not native to the area are ubiquitous. We are using up and polluting water at an alarming rate.

    At least global warming can trigger rising sea levels and release more water from ice caps etc.. greed and rampant consumerism takes many tolls on the only home we have earth 😦

    • Berkeley, CA has done a pretty good job at getting rid of lawns; and medians – the ones near the freeway grow epilobium and CA poppies. Not all, but some. We have a marine climate, which is good for succulents and all sorts of other plants. Fertilizer run off is terrible and these “cute” (and aggressive) otters are also affected by toxoplasmosis; http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/10/08/cat-poop-seaweed-slime-and-marine-snails-are-deadly-combination-sea-otters. Both of my sons ADORE otters. Elkhorn slough is wonderful! I was kayaking there in 2002?? With my husband and mother in law and sister and her boyfriend at the time… I don’t remember seeing otters, however we did see lots of seals.

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