Program details impact of sea star wasting syndrome

Melissa Miner of the University of California-Santa Cruz will talk Tuesday about sea star wasting syndrome as part of Olympic National Park’s winter speaker series.

Participants will learn what impact the disease is having on these key marine predators, as documented by long-term surveys and citizen-science monitoring.

The disease can cause a mass die off among starfish. The first symptom is the formation of lesions, followed by the decay of flesh around the lesions. The body structure then begins to break down, leading to the sea star’s death. Research done in last year during a large die off along the West Coast showed the cause is a microorganism the size of a virus. The syndrome has impacted sea stars in the wild as well as those in tanks, aquariums, marine science centers and zoos.

The free talk, which is open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center, 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles.

Seating is limited. Refreshments provided by Friends of Olympic National Park.

The series will conclude April 14 with a program on how the park’s Blue Glacier is responding to climate change.


Volunteers are needed Saturday to help clean up Lake Sylvia State Park.

The Friends of Schafer and Lake Sylvia and Washington State Parks host the three-part event at the park north of Montesano.

From 9 a.m.-noon, crews will focus on the campground. People are needed to rake, pick up limbs, spread gravel, trim and basic cleanup in the main loop.

From noon-1:30 p.m., there will be a potluck lunch, the group will hold its annual meeting and there will be a fire to help participants get warm.

From 1:30-4 p.m., the effort will focus on the day-use area of the park.

Volunteers should wear work clothes, bring gloves and any tools they might want to use, such as rakes, shovels and clippers. They also are asked to bring a dish to share at lunchtime.

The park is at 1812 N. Lake Sylvia Road, Montesano .

For more information, contact the park at 360-249-3621 or Stet Palmer at 360-789-9953.