Posted on November 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Wind turbines killed at least 600,00o bats in 2012.
CU-Boulder researcher says wind farms are “key threat” to bat populations
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — By the latest conservative estimate, at least 600,000 bats were killed by energy producing wind turbines in 2012, with the highest fatality rates in areas near the Appalachian Mountains.
Little information is available on bat deaths at wind turbine facilities in the Rocky Mountain West or the Sierra Nevada, according to Mark Hayes, a University of Colorado, Boulder researcher who authored a new study, set to be published in the journal BioScience.
“The development and expansion of wind energy facilities is a key threat to bat populations in North America,” Hayes said. “Dead bats are being found underneath wind turbines across North America. The estimate of bat fatalities is probably conservative.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment, renewable energy | Tagged: bats, biodiversity, energy, wildlife, wind turbine bat deaths, wind turbines | 3 Comments »
Posted on November 2, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Zebra (left) and quagga mussels are spreading in lakes and reservoirs, with the potential for huge impacts to aquatic ecosystems, hydropower facilities and water delivery systems.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal scientists said they’ve developed ways to detect invasive quagga and zebra mussels while they’re still in the larval stage. That could help resource managers beef up protective measures before the mussels establish themselves in reservoirs and lakes.
“Early detection of mussel larvae does not mean that the water body will necessarily become infested,” said Curt Brown, director of research and development for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. “Early detection provides a warning for managers that a water body is being exposed to mussels through some pathway, so they can consider additional means to prevent further introduction.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, invasive species | Tagged: biodiversity, DNA profiling, Environment, invasive species, Quagga mussels, United States Bureau of Reclamation, Zebra mussel, zebra mussels | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy USFWS.
State officials want to balance fossil fuel development with wildlife conservation
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Despite the fact fossil fuel development is devastating wildlife habitat in northwest Colorado, state officials are pressing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep greater sage-grouse off the endangered species list.
In a press release, Gov. John Hickenlooper‘s office described oil and gas drilling as “vibrant economic activities,” and touted voluntary conservation activities shaped by local stakeholders as an alternative to a federal conservation plan.
“Given the unique landscapes and natural resources in Colorado, a Colorado-based solution is more practical that one handed down by the federal government,” Hickenlooper said in a prepared statement. “We hope the Bureau of Land Management will look at the public-private partnerships that have been so successful in Colorado as a model on how to get things done.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, BLM, Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Colorado, conservation, Greater sage-grouse, oil and gas drilling, public lands, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Monarch butterflies during migration. PHOTO COURTESY GENE NEIMINEN/USFWS.
Changes in gardening habits could help protect a cherished species
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Americans be willing to pony up for Monarch butterfly conservation, according to a new study that links conservation and economic values.
The research, conducted by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey. Colorado State University and the University of Minnesota, suggests that willingness could add up to big bucks — $6.5 billion that could be used to support conservation efforts.
Monarch butterfly populations have been declining across Mexico, California and other areas of the United States since 1999.
A 2012 survey at the wintering grounds of monarchs in Mexico showed the lowest colony size ever recorded. Much of the decline has been blamed on the loss of milkweed, the native plants on which monarch caterpillars feed. (more…)
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, conservation, Environment, monarch butterflies | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Protective measures help restore marine mammals from Alaska to California
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal biologists say the eastern distinct population of Steller sea lions has recovered to the point that they can be removed from the endangered species list — the first species to be de-listed by by NOAA Fisheries since the eastern North Pacific gray whale in 1994.
The eastern distinct population segment is found along the coast of southeast Alaska and British Columbia. The best available scientific information indicates numbers of eastern Steller sea lions have increased from an estimated 18,040 animals in 1979 to an estimated 70,174 in 2010. Eastern Steller sea lions will continue to be protected under provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Endangered Species List, Environment, marine mammals, Steller sea lion recovery | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Feds reschedule hearings on plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List. Photo courtesy USFWS.
Public hearings rescheduled for November
*More Summit Voice wolf coverage is online here
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — There’s a little more time to comment on the controversial federal proposal to take gray wolves off the endangered species list, and boost protection for Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest.
Because of the partial federal government shutdown, the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescheduled several public hearings on the plan, and the comment period has been extended through Dec. 17.
The hearings will be held. Nov. 19 in Denver, Nov. 20 in Albuquerque and Nov. 22 in Sacramento. Each hearing includes a short informational presentation. The Service has also added a public information meeting and hearing in Pinetop, Arizona, on Dec. 3. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species act, Environment, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife, wolves | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘All in all the news for hibernating bats in the U.S. is pretty grim’
A little brown bat with white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The deadly fungus that has killed millions of bats across the U.S. is a tough, opportunistic organism that can eat almost anything and survive in a wide range of conditions.
There seems to very little that might stop the Geomyces destructans from spreading further and persisting indefinitely in bat caves, according to University of Illinois scientists who recently studied the basic biology of the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome. (more…)
Filed under: bats, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, white-nose syndrome | Tagged: bats, biodiversity, Environment, Geomyces destructans, white-nose syndrome | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Amphibians are in big trouble, and exposure to environmental pollution is a least partly to blame.
As of December 2012, there were 29 amphibian species classified as endangered or threatened and 5 species waiting to be listed. Overall frog and salamander numbers are declining and the cause, or causes, have not been determined ~ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
FRISCO — Early life exposure to the herbicide atrazine makes frogs much more susceptible to the chytrid fungus that has been implicated a global wave of amphibian die-offs.
Experiments by scientists at the university of South Florida showed that a six-day exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of the most common herbicides in the world increased frog mortality 46 days after the atrazine exposure, but only when frogs were challenged with the chytrid fungus. This increase in mortality was driven by a reduction in the frogs’ tolerance of the infection.
Other research results have also suggested that exposure to pesticides suppresses the immune response in a variety of species, making them more susceptible to fungal infections and parasitic organisms. More information on the impact of environmental contaminants to amphibians is available at this USFWS web page. (more…)
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, global amphibian decline | Tagged: Amphibian, amphibian die-off, Atrazine, biodiversity, chytrid fungus, herbicides, pollution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A northern long-eared bat. Photo by New York Department of Environmental Conservation; Al Hicks.
USFWS seeking public comment on listing proposal
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Threatened by white-nose syndrome, wind farms and habitat destruction, northern long-eared bats may soon get some additional protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this month proposed the listing, singling out white-nose syndrome as the primary threat in response to a petition filed by conservation groups.
The fungal disease has already killed about 5.5 million cave-hibernating bats in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Canada. Populations of the northern long-eared bat in the Northeast have declined by 99 percent since symptoms of white-nose syndrome were first observed in 2006. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, northern long-eared bats, white-nose syndrome | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Reef-grazing fish crucial to coral health
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Endangered Caribbean corals got a little help this week from a federal court judge, who ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service must consider how fishing affects reef health.
According to the court, the federal agency erred by allowing fishing for depleted parrotfish and other algae-eating reef fish species without properly monitoring the fishery’s impacts on rare corals that depend on healthy fish populations.
The decision came in response to an Endangered Species Act suit filed in January 2012 by Earthjustice on behalf of two conservation groups, CORALations and the Center for Biological Diversity, and Mary Adele Donnelly. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Caribbean, coral reefs, Environment, oceans | Leave a Comment »