June Excursions

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June 11
Luckimute River, Luckimute Landing to Buena Vista – Class A – length 3± miles
We were thwarted by high flows last time, but things are back to normal. Provision yourself for a lazy day on a lazy river.
Jim Bradley
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

June 25
Willamette River, Buena Vista to Independence – Class A – 12 miles
A summer’s day on a favorite stretch, replete with a visit to the Rogue hop farm. Summer paddling adventure at its best.
Jim Bradley
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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Legislative Update 
The two bills, HB 2320 and HB 2321, put forth by the Oregon State Marine Board, seem to be progressing at very different rates. HB 2321, the bill to extend invasive species permits to all boats, has progressed with numerous hearings and work sessions over the past few months. In comparison, 2320 – intended to place fees on any boat used to navigate Oregon’s waters – shows no activity since the beginning of March. This may only be because it has been referred to a backlogged committee, Ways and Means. On the other hand, we might hope that some legislators have come to realize the folly 2320 is and the price the state will pay if it is passed. But that’s probably just wishful thinking.

Guided Willamette Tour June 17 
Oregon Parks and Recreation in conjunction with the Willamette Riverkeeper will be hosting a free, guided tour of the Willamette from Salem to Wheatland. Even those without boats will be accommodated, as some canoes are available, without charge. The Statesman Journal elaborates: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/travel/outdoors/2017/05/30/free-guided-canoe-and-kayak-tour-willamette-june-17/102270492/ 

New Hazards Await on Area Waterways 
As evinced by hazard advisories from the OSMB regarding the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers, the high water we experienced earlier in the season moved wood around, creating new hazards and challenges on familiar runs. Go forth informed and go forth wary, in this budding, summer paddling season. The water is still cold and strainers are still unforgiving. The marine board hosts a page listing reported hazards, here: http://www.oregon.gov/OSMB/Pages/Reported-Obstructions-Alerts.aspx 

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

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Sea Salt Found to Contain Microplastics 
That the world’s waters are awash in microplastics, tiny fragments of plastic from sources as diverse as fabrics to car bumpers, is well known. So, it should come as little surprise that salt from those waters has plastic in it, now. Choose the sea salt, and get a little more fiber in your diet. Ars Technica expands: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/sullied-seasoning-seas-salts-come-with-a-dash-of-microplastics/ 

‘Fat, Yet Fit’ Myth Busted 
It has long been held out by some that a person can be technically obese, but actually be in good cardiovascular health. Now, a major study from the UK would seem to decisively contradict such claims. The BBC explains: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39936138 

NSAID Pain Relievers Implicated in Cardio Risk 
A wide study has found that common pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, were associated with elevated risk of heart attack, particularly at high doses. Even short duration use was found to carry increased risks. The BBC reports: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39858179 

 

Nature and the Environment

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Diesels Worse Overall Than Thought 
Compounding the software cheating scandals plaguing automotive diesel manufacturers, field tests have found that the engines emit far more pollutants on the road than projected from lab tests. The disconnect means actual emissions and the magnitude of their health effects has been significantly underestimated. The Verge provides the coverage: https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/15/15642456/diesel-vehicles-nitrogen-oxide-pollution-premature-deaths

Neonic Found to Impair Bumblebee Reproduction 
Research in Britain has found the neonicotinoid, thiamethoxam, reduces bumblebee queen feeding and egg production. The BBC has the story: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39783990 

 

Travel and Photography

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Narwhal Tusk Mysteries Unveiled 
Insights into how the charismatic cetaceans, narwhals, might employ their prominent tusks have been few, until recently. As the Smithsonian recounts, drones have allowed scientists to observe the sensitive creatures without disturbing them, leading to unprecedented views of narwhal behavior: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-do-narwhals-have-tusks-drone-footage-confirms-one-theory-180963320/ 

Free Art, Courtesy of the Guggenheim 
While it may be a bit afield of our usual paddling-related pursuits, paddlers are nothing if not cultured, right? So, the skinny is that the Guggenheim is making 200 art books available for digital download. The Smithsonian has the details: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/download-200-free-art-books-courtesy-guggenheim-180963266/ 

 

Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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HB 2320 and HB 2321 – A Tale of Two Bills 
2321, the bill extending the requirement for an AISP permit to all boats, regardless of length, is sailing right along. It saw a flurry of activity in April, moved from the house to the senate, and is currently before the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

HB 2320, the attempt to extend licensing to all nonmotorized boats, has seen little activity, but there’s not much reason to draw cheer from that. I imagine to legislators this looks like an easy fix that doesn’t involve general fund dollars. The fact that it is an inequitable head tax may not get much sympathy, since the political backlash is probably perceived as limited. One might hope that directly contravening the Admission Acts would cause some hesitation on the part of our elected representatives, but that remains to be seen. Anyway, the bill is currently before the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

Salem River 2 Ridge Relay Announced 
Salem is set to have a new athletic competition, of the triathlon variety. Featuring running, biking, and paddling, the race will run a winding route from Wallace Marine Park to Silver Falls Park. The Statesman has the details: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2017/04/20/race-salem-silver-falls-use-boats-bikes-and-boots/100666304/

 

Nature and the Environment

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Neonics Found in US Drinking Water 
The class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids have been implicated in a variety of environmental problems, perhaps best known is their suspected connection with devastated bee populations. Now it has been discovered that the chemicals have found their way into American drinking water. Little is know about what this could mean for health, and you can be sure more research is on its way, but the BBC has the story for now: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39504487

Road Salt Poisoning US Lakes 
In recent years, the use of road salt has been debated in Oregon, but not generally adopted. In parts of the country where salting roads is an established practice, troubling results to the environment have developed: local lakes are reaching levels of contamination toxic to aquatic life. Ars Technica provides details: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/thousands-of-us-lakes-probably-getting-saltier-thanks-to-road-salt/

Currents Sweeping Microplastics to Arctic 
The vast tons of microscopic plastic debris that enter our oceans each year spread far and wide. It has now been discovered that ocean currents are working like a “conveyor belt”, carrying and dumping the particles in arctic areas previously pristine. The Smithsonian elaborates: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/part-arctic-ocean-suffering-plastic-pollution-180962985/

Global Food Trade Driving Water Depletion 
The pressures on water supplies worldwide are substantially exceeding sustainability, and agriculture is a primary driver of this overuse. Global trade, rather than serving to mitigate these effects, is greatly exacerbating them. The BBC reports: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39431680

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

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Diet Soda Tentatively Linked to Dementia, Stroke 
You may have seen headlines touting a newly-discovered link between diet soda consumption and the diseases dementia and stroke. There are, however, some pretty big “maybe”s that go along with that claim. Ars Technica describes the real bottom line: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/study-claims-a-link-between-diet-sodas-and-stroke-and-dementia/

Exercise Sharpens Mind for Over-50 
Once again, a study has found a link between physical activity and mental acuity. This dovetails with studies showing a link between mental exercise and brain health. To be perfectly clear, however, this does not mean that thinking about exercise is enough. The BBC reports: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39693462

Antibacterial Toothpaste May Promote Superbugs in Gut 
Some toothpaste manufacturers include triclosan, purportedly to combat gingivitis. A recent study, while limited, found troubling evidence that triclosan disrupts the gut’s microbiome, in a variety of ways, some of which are implicated in the development of drug-resistant pathogens. Ars Technica has details: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/bacteria-killing-toothpastes-may-be-good-for-your-teeth-bad-for-your-gut/

Recent Saturated Fat Headlines “Misleading” 
It turns out that recent headlines, which you may have seen, calling into question the accepted benefits of a low-fat diet, are questionable in themselves. Cherry-picked statistics and spurious conclusions are among the criticisms leveled against the research. Also worth noting, the researcher in question gets his money from the meat and drug industries. Ars Technica has more: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/experts-headline-grabbing-editorial-on-saturated-fats-bizarre-misleading/

 

Travel and Photography

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Blue Whale Filmed Feeding 
It has always been a challenge to get video of blue whales feeding. The view is limited from a boat and helicopters disturb the sensitive cetaceans. Now, with modern drone technology, researchers have acquired striking video of a great blue decimating a krill swarm. The Smithsonian provides: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/cool-video-shows-blue-whale-nomming-krill-180962974/

Mangroves Protect Vietnam’s Mekong Delta 
As sea levels rise, areas like the Mekong Delta are threat. For the time being mangrove forests are helping to mitigate the problem. But the future is uncertain, and a way of life is at risk. BBC Travel looks at the situation in an article replete with striking photographs: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20170413-the-trees-keeping-vietnam-afloat

Space Shots of California’s “Super Bloom”
As you probably know, this winter’s rains have inundated the golden state. As a result, the state in the midst of a great wildflower bloom, the like of which hasn’t been seen in a long, long time. The color can even be seen from space, as the BBC shows us: http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-39671753/wildflower-super-bloom-seen-from-space