Posted on October 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The southern U.S., including parts of drought-hit Arizona, may see above-average precipitation this winter.
Climate experts say there’s good chance of average precipitation in California, but recovery will take a while
FRISCO — There may be some drought relief for California this winter, but the state won’t make up a huge moisture deficit in just one rainy season, federal climate scientists said this week, releasing their winter season outlook.
“Complete drought recovery in California this winter is highly unlikely,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.”While we’re predicting at least a 2 in 3 chance that winter precipitation will be near or above normal throughout the state, with such widespread, extreme deficits, recovery will be slow,” Halpert added. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, climate and weather, Drought, El Niño | Tagged: California drought, climate, El Nino, winter weather outlook | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
About half the nation’s streams are polluted by pesticides at a level of concern for aquatic life.
90 percent of urban streams show signs of contamination
FRISCO — A huge number of rivers and streams around the country are still polluted with pesticides that can kill bugs and other aquatic organisms at the base of the food chain.
Streams in agricultural areas are polluted at about the same level as they were 1990s, but pesticide pollution is increasing in urban streams, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study spanning about 20 years. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, pesticides, pollution, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Water experts to discuss role of agriculture in Colorado River puzzle
Can ag water save the Colorado River?
FRISCO — A new $11 million effort to keep water flowing in the Colorado River to Lake Powell could up the pressure on Colorado farmers and ranchers to sell or lease their water.
In fact, agriculture is in the crosshairs in Colorado, according to the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which represents western Colorado water interests. Low water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the key storage buckets on the Colorado — have prompted measures to put more water in the river.
The CRWCD’s annual water seminar (Sept. 19, Grand Junction) will focus on what that means for western Colorado, with panel discussions and presentations on ag efficiency, the worth of ag efficiency and how ag efficiency works with the chief goal of sustaining ag as a viable industry. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Colorado, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: agriculture, Colorado River, drought, Lake Powell, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Taking a lunch break during a search for orchids in the Austrian countryside.
‘Agricultural practices are not necessarily at fault here – but our choice of food is’
FRISCO — Forget about greenhouse gas pollution from factories and transportation — by 2050 emissions of carbon dioxide and methane from food production alone could exceed targets set to prevent catastrophic global warming, University of Cambridge scientists warn in a new paper.
A major shift in food consumption norms has to be a big part of an overall plan to cut atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping air pollution, especially given the current trend toward meat-heavy Western diets, the authors wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Environment, global food production, global warming, greenhouse gases | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 25, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
What’s in your food?
National consumer advocacy group joins fray
FRISCO — Coloradans this November will have a chance to decide whether they want to know if their food includes genetically manipulated foods via a ballot initiative (Proposition 105) that would require GMO labeling. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Environment | Tagged: Colorado, Environment, food, GMO, GMO labeling, health, proposition 105 | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Systemic neonicotinoid pesticides affect basic cell function in honey bees. bberwyn photo.
Toxic chemicals inhibit basic cellular functions
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —The latest in a series of studies linking declines in bee populations with systemic pesticides shows that fipornil and imidacloprid affect basic cell functions. The findings help explain why the pesticides are toxic to bees.
Essentially, the toxic chemicals inhibit mitochondrial bioenergetics, resulting in depleted cell energy. Honeybee flight muscles are strongly dependent on high levels of oxygen consumption and energy metabolism. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Colony collapse disorder, Environment, honey bees, neonicotinoids, systemic pesticides | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
How do pesticides affect wildlife? We’ll know more after a court-ordered environmental study.
Legal settlement requires agency to analyze effects of 5 common pesticides
FRISCO — Under legal pressure from conservation advocates, the EPA last week agreed to take a hard look at how five commonly used pesticides affect endangered animals across the U.S.
One of the pesticides is carbaryl, commonly used in massive quantities in Colorado to try and protect trees from bark beetles. The other pesticides to be reviewed are chlorpyrifos, diazinon, malathion and methomyl. All have all been found to be toxic to wildlife and may pose a health risk to humans. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, global amphibian decline | Tagged: carbaryl, endangered species, Environment, EPA, pesticides | 5 Comments »