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Hurricane Odile takes aim at Baja

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Powerful Hurricane Odile is taking aim at Baja. Photo courtesy Servicio Meteorológico Nacional.

Hurricane watches issued; major storm impacts expected

Staff Report

FRISCO — Much of the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula could see high winds, coastal flooding and mudslides as Hurricane Odile takes aim at the area, packing sustained winds of up to 135 mph.

The approaching tropical storm has prompted hurricane warnings and evacuations in Baja, where the storm surge could peak at 33 feet above normal sea level, according to the Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, which is also warning of tropical storm conditions along parts of Mexico’s mainland Pacific coast. Continue reading

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Report claims Florida’s fast-track permitting for boat launches ignores impacts to manatees

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Florida manatees. bberwyn photo.

Feds consider changing manatee status from endangered to threatened

Staff Report

FRISCO — Gentle, slow-moving manatees are still facing serious threats from motorboats in Florida waterways and should continue be be listed as endangered, according to conservation advocates.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering down-listing manatees, but the move doesn’t make sense, considering that boat collisions are still the leading cause of death, as detailed in a new report issued by the Center for Biological Diversity.

The conservation group charges that federal and state officials have issued permits for thousands of new docks, boat ramps and piers without considering the cumulative effects on the marine mammals who favor the same near-shore waters used by Florida’s recreational boaters. Continue reading

Morning Photo: Sunday set

Tis the season … for fall colors!

Fall colors Colorado

Fall colors unfolding along the Tenderfoot Trail in Dillon, Colorado.

FRISCO — One of the things I like best about autumn photography is the strong contrasts in light. That may not always be the best situation for capturing all the nuances in a scene, but it does help create drama and tension, some of the key ingredients to a captivating image. Don’t wait for the “peak” of the fall color season. Start your hunt now, because a sudden freeze after a hard rainstorm could put an end to the display. Follow our Instagram feed for daily updates and browse our selection of fine art prints and greeting cards at our online gallery. Continue reading

Study tracks big drop in Pacific walrus numbers

PHOTO: U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Melting Arctic sea ice is forcing walrus colonies into a shore-bound existence to which they aren't adapted. Scientists say they've documented several cases of young calves being trampled in stampedes.

 Melting Arctic sea ice is forcing walrus colonies into a shore-bound existence to which they aren’t adapted. Photo courtesy USGS.

Melting sea ice likely a factor in population decline

Staff Report

FRISCO — With a 2017 endangered species listing deadline looming, federal researchers are trying to pinpoint Pacific walrus population numbers. In the newest study, the U.S. Geological Survey said the population dropped by about half between 1981 and 1999, but scientists aren’t sure if the numbers have stabilized since then.

in 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledged that the species was under pressure from sea ice loss and over-harvesting, but didn’t formally add the Pacific walrus to the endangered species list. A federal court said the agency must make a final determination by 2017. Continue reading

Morning photo: Insta-fall!

Can ya feel it?

FRISCO — Right on time, Mother Nature is changing wardrobe, from the bright greens of summer to the even more dazzling array of golds, reds and yellows that mark the transition of seasons in the High Country. Even the light takes on a different quality as the sun’s rays have to make it through a thicker slice of the Earth’s atmosphere. This year’s aspen show looks to peak around late September and early October, but some areas are already changing fast in the high country. Don’t miss the show! Continue reading

How does the Southern Ocean regulate global climate?

Major research project to examine carbon cycling, circulation dynamics

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A new research project will help explain how the Southern Ocean helps regulate the global climate. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Even though it’s eparated from the rest of the world’s oceans by a strong circulation of currents and a distinct temperature gradient, the Southern Ocean is known to be a key driver of global climate and carbon cycles.

Climate researchers and oceanographers may soon know a lot more about the enigmatic ocean as they deploy hundreds of robotic floats deployed around Antarctica in a six-year, $21 million research project aimed at understanding ocean dynamics, chemistry and carbon cycling. The new instruments will increase the flow of Southern Ocean data 30-fold. Continue reading

Judge blocks coal leases in Colorado after finding feds failed to tally cost of carbon pollution

The U.S. is the second-largest producer of coal in the world, thanks in part to massive surface mines like this one in Wyoming. Photo courtesy BLM.

The U.S. is the second-largest producer of coal in the world. Photo courtesy BLM.

Federal court order also voids part of Colorado roadless rule for National Forest lands

Staff Report

FRISCO — Arch Coal and the U.S. Forest Service will have to start from scratch before they plan any new mining activities in a roadless area near Paonia.

A federal judge this week vacated existing federal approvals for an exploration plan, for lease modifications and a site-specific exemption to the Colorado Roadless Rule, seen by conservation groups as a blatant give-away to the fossil fuel industry.

This week’s order follows up on a June ruling, when U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson said the U.S. Forest Service failed to account for the costs of carbon pollution associated with any new mining activities. Continue reading

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