Posted on March 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A Burmese python caught in the Florida Everglades. PHOTO COURTESY USFWS.
Non-native snakes have potentially huge impact to native ecosystems in Everglades National Park
FRISCO — Scientists working in the Florida Everglades are finding that invasive Burmese pythons are rapidly becoming the biggest predator of small mammals in the wetlands ecosystem.
The researchers found that nearly 80 percent of radio-tracked marsh rabbits that died in the park were eaten by pythons. A year later, there was no sign of a rabbit population in the study area. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Burmese pythons, Everglades National Park, greater Everglades ecosystems, invasive species, public lands | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Just 50 miles northwest of San Francisco, Cordell Bank teems with life above and below the surface. This thriving ‘underwater island’ is the centerpiece of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, which NOAA has now expanded to protect additional areas like Bodega Canyon along the continental shelf. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones home to 25 threatened and endangered species
FRISCO — A pair of marine sanctuaries off the coast of northern California are doubling in size, offering more protection for globally significant and productive marine ecosystems. The sanctuaries encompass estuarine wetlands, rocky intertidal habitat, open ocean, and shallow marine banks.
Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, located 42 miles north of San Francisco, will expand from 529 square miles to 1,286 square miles. Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will expand from 1,282 square miles to 3,295 square miles of ocean and coastal waters. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, national parks, ocean conservation | Tagged: California, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Environment, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, marine protected areas, ocean biodiversity, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘It appears that this is the fastest population rebound … for any land mammal in the United States’
Two Santa Cruz Island foxes groom in a field on Santa Cruz Island. Photo courtesy of Dan Richards/National Park Service.
FRISCO — Releasing their final recovery plan for four subspecies of island fox, federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act has already helped the rare mammals stage a comeback.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also launching a status review for the foxes, which live on the Channel Islands, off the coast of California, to determine if any of the subspecies warrant consideration for reclassification or removal from the endangered species list.
“Due to the remarkable success of the Endangered Species Act, recovery actions by land managers and conservation partners have led to dramatic population increases on all four islands since listing, effectively bringing the species back from the brink of extinction,” said Steve Henry, field supervisor of the USFWS Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office. “To date, it appears that this is the fastest population rebound due to recovery actions and ESA protections for any land mammal in the United States.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: bodiversity, Channel Island foxes, endangered species, USFWS, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Budget cutting would threaten robust recreation economy
An arch in Colorado’s Rattlesnake Canyon, part of the system of National Conservation Lands. Photo courtesy BLM.
Staff ReportFRISCO — House Republicans are continuing their nearly relentless attack on public lands with a threatened move to take away funding for more than 30 million acres of National Conservation Lands, including popular Colorado areas like the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and McInnis Canyons NCA.Gutting the budget for the National Conservation Lands threatens access to public lands that drive the nation’s outdoor economy and provide a livelihood for many Westerners.
The push by the House Resources Committee is at odds with President Obama’s budget, which recognizes these lands are underfunded and proposes an increase in funding. Dozens of national monuments and national conservation areas across the West—places like Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, just outside of Las Vegas — would have to shut their doors. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Environment, national parks, public lands, wilderness | Tagged: Environment, House GOP, McInnis Canyons, national conservation lands, public lands, public lands wars | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Snowmobiles at Vail Pass, Colorado.
New policy requires designation of motorized winter use
FRISCO — With the recent huge growth in motorized winter sports, the Forest Service has been behind the curve in managing public lands, but last month, the agency released its final policy for managing snowmobile and other “over-snow” vehicle use.
As directed by court order, the policy requires that roads, trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use can occur be specifically designated by local Forest Service mangers. Previously, managers had the discretion to decide whether to designate specific areas for over-snow vehicle use. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, public lands, US Forest Service | Tagged: Environment, Forest Service, over-snow use, public lands, snowmobiling | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
BLM rejects request for orderly master leasing plan
The BLM’s new management plan for the Tres Rios area is spurring criticism.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Residents and elected officials in southwest Colorado say a new management plan for a vast swath of public lands in the region favors oil and gas companies over community interests.
According to critics, the BLM Tres Rios land resource management plan would allow drilling near the edge of Mesa Verde National Park, adding to near-critical air pollution woes and disturbing important wildlife areas.
Most importantly, the federal agency ignored requests by local governments to ensure the orderly and safe development of fossil fuels. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, BLM, energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, public lands | Tagged: Colorado, Cortez, energy, Environment, fracking, Mesa Verde, national parks, public lands | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Two-day Estes Park event highlights Rocky Mountain NP park research
FRISCO — Along with drawing more than 3 million visitors per year, Rocky Mountain National Park is a hotbed of scientific discovery, Each year the park issues more than 100 research permits, with scientists coming from all over the world to study plants, animals, geology and water. Last year, citizen scientists volunteered thousands of hours to research projects. In addition, hundreds of students participate in field data collections and lab analysis.
Many of the researchers will be in Estes Park next week to share the findings from their studies during the two-day (March 4, 5) biennial research conference, which is free and open to all interested members of the community. No registration is required. The conference begins on Wednesday, March 4, at 8:00 a.m. See the full schedule at: http://www.nps.gov/rlc/continentaldivide/research-conference.htm. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, biodiversity, Environment, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Citizen science, Colorado, Environment, national park research, Rocky Mountain National Park | 1 Comment »