Posted on September 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Feds consider changing manatee status from endangered to threatened
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
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Posted on September 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation works! Protective measures have helped restore blue whale populations in the eastern Pacific.
‘We think the California population has reached the capacity of what the system can take as far as blue whales’
FRISCO — Marine scientists say the population of California blue whales, living the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean from the equator up into the Gulf of Alaska, has rebounded to about 2,200 individuals, which may be near the historic pre-whaling level.
According to the new study, published the journal Marine Mammal Science, it’s the only population of blue whales known to have recovered from whaling after being nearly hunted to extinction.
“The recovery of California blue whales from whaling demonstrates the ability of blue whale populations to rebuild under careful management and conservation measures,” said Cole Monnahan, a University of Washington doctoral student in quantitative ecology and resource management and lead author of the paper. Continue reading
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Posted on August 29, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Devils Hole pupfish — a poster child for climate extinction? Photo courtesy USFWS.
Rare fish species in steep decline as global, regional temperatures soar
FRISCO — Rare fish living in desert freshwater springs in Nevada may be adapted to warm weather, but they may not be able to survive long-term global warming, researchers said this week, outlining the threats facing endangered Devils Hole pupfish.
At times, the population of the fish has been as low as just 35 individuals, and the geothermal water on a small shelf near the surface of an isolated cavern in the Nevada desert where the pupfish live is heating up as a result of climate change and is likely to continue heating to dangerous levels.
From the 1970s through the mid-1990s, the population appeared stable, but 1997 marked the start of a long-term decline that is probably linked with global warming, according to scientists who closely watch the fish. The population dropped to an all-time low of just 65 fish in the fall of 2013, with a further decline expected this year that will push the species toward extinction. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: biodiversity, climate change, Devils Hole pupfish, endangered species, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Can monarch butterflies be saved?
Pesticides, habitat loss and GMO crops seen as main threats
FRISCO —As monarch butterfly populations dwindle to unprecedented low levels, activists say the colorful and far-ranging insects need protection of the Endangered Species Act to survive. In a formal listing petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a coalition of advocacy groups say the widespread use of pesticides and genetically modified crops are the biggest threats to the butterflies. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, GMO crops, insects, milkweed, monarch butterflies, Roundup Ready | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 24, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Proposed critical habitat designations could help protect dwindling loggerhead sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico.
Findings may help protect dwindling population
FRISCO — The beleaguered population of loggerhead sea turtles in the northern Gulf of Mexico feeds in areas affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill and where they are threatened by other human activities.
The feeding areas for 10 turtles overlapped with an area that experienced surface oiling during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. These sites, and others, also overlapped with areas trawled by commercial fishing operations and used for oil and gas extraction, U.S. Geological Survey scientists said after tracking 59 nesting females. That could be about 15 percent of the entire breeding females in the Northern Gulf of Mexico—a small and declining subpopulation of loggerheads that is federally classified as threatened. Continue reading
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Posted on August 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Will grizzlies once again roam the North Cascades? Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.
National Park Service launches 3-year study on possible restoration
FRISCO — In a big move for grizzlies and wild ecosystems, the National Park Service this week launched a three-year environmental study to evaluate to possibility of restoring the apex predators to the North Cascades.
“This is the first stage of a multi-step process to help inform decisions about grizzly bear restoration in the North Cascades ecosystem,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The National Park Service and our partners in this effort haven’t made any decisions about the bear’s restoration at this time as federal law requires us to look at a range of options, including not restoring grizzlies to the area.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, national parks, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, grizzly bears, North Cascades National Parks, wildlife | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Feds map critical habitat for yellow-billed cuckoo
Will yellow-billed cuckoos make a comeback in Colorado?
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The long endangered species odyssey of the yellow-billed cuckoo may be one step closer to resolution, as federal wildlife officials this week proposed designating more than half a million acres of critical habitat for the birds, sometimes known as rain crows for their habit of singing before a storm.
The bird was once common along most rivers and streams in the West, but the decline of the species, eyed for protection since 1986, shows how much human activities have degraded riparian riverside habitat. Yellow-billed cuckoos are neotropical migrants that winter in South America and nest along rivers and streams in western North America. Continue reading
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