Study shows how ocean noise harms dolphins

Seismic airgun blasting, naval warfare training are key sources of harmful ocean noise pollution

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A dolphin the Gulf of Mexico. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — With ever more offshore oil and gas exploration proposed, conservation advocates have been warning that the cumulative effects of those activities will take a huge toll on dolphins, whales and other marine life.

Of particular concern are plans to ramp up seismic underwater airgun blasting, used in the search for oil and gas deposits beneath the seafloor. Federal officials recently adopted a final proposal that would allow the use of this controversial technology in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida.  Continue reading

Greater sage-grouse the latest target in GOP’s war on the environment

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Greater sage-grouse face new political threat. Photo via USGS.

Senate measure would let miners, ranchers and drillers devastate sagebrush ecosystems

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The battle lines over the fate of greater sage-grouse are being clearly drawn in the U.S. Senate this week, where freshman Republican Senator Cory Gardner is proudly touting the support of extractive industries for his misnamed Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act (S 1036).

Gardner’s measure is the latest in a series of political maneuverings to subvert and circumvent the Endangered Species Act. In the past few years, lawmakers have flouted science to try and remove protection for other species, including northern gray wolves. Continue reading

Climate: World’s highest mountain areas warming swiftly

North Tenmile Creek trail, Frisco Colorado

Global warming will have profound impacts on mountain ecosystems, @bberwyn photo.

Scientists say there’s an urgent need for more widespread data collection and observations from high elevations

Staff Report

FRISCO — After one of the mildest winters on record in the Colorado high country, it may come as no surprise to hear that the world’s highest mountains may be warming much faster than than the global average — and faster than previously thought.

Most of all, an international team of scientists said this week that more monitoring and observations of mountain temperature patterns are needed to assess the high-elevation changes.

Absent that data, there’s a risk of underestimating  looming environmental challenges, including water shortages and the possible extinction of some alpine flora and fauna, the scientists reported in their new study. Continue reading

Can massive plankton blooms speed global warming?

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Biological feedback loop may accelerate global warming.

‘The increase in Arctic phytoplankton warms the ocean surface layer through direct biological heating …’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Scientists already know that melting sea ice in the Arctic is speeding up global warming in the region because darker-colored water absorbs more heat than reflective ice.

But a new study says there’s another factor to consider. Increasing amounts of open water for longer periods of time means there’s more plankton, and that may amplify Arctic warming by another 20 percent. Continue reading

Colorado: Noble Energy agrees to clean up Front Range fracking pollution

Settlement with EPA, state health department should cut emissions of smog- and cancer-causing toxic gases

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Smoggy skies. Photo courtesy NREL.

Staff Report

FRISCO — For years, thousands of storage tanks owned and operated by Houston-based Noble Energy leaked toxic smog- and cancer-causing gases into the Colorado’s heavily fracked Front Range.

When when state and federal environmental inspectors confronted the company with evidence of the leaks, executives shrugged, and said their systems weren’t designed to handle the sudden oil and gas boom across the region. Continue reading

Hey, Colorado – how about a climate challenge?

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Got climate?

Paonia event focuses on solutions for western Colorado

Staff Report

FRISCO — Everybody is talking about climate change, but that palaver doesn’t always translate into action. Not so in Paonia, though, where community and climate activists will gather May 1-3 for the Western Colorado Climate Challenge & Solar Fair.

The three-day event features exhibits, presentations, and hands-on breakout sessions aimed at resolving Colorado’s climate crisis. Click this link for the full schedule. The Climate Colorado event site is here and you can also stay in touch with the event on Facebook. Continue reading

Morning photo: Fire and ice

Melt-freeze-melt …


FRISCO — Mother Nature does some incredible things every day, with powerful and transformational magic on landscapes small and large, from coating a small twig with surreal ice and frost, to the wondrous and delicate frost flowers that form on the frozen surface of lakes, oceans and streams early in the winter season. And sunrise, of course, transforms the world on a daily basis. For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

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