Use of rat poison at illegal California pot plantations is pushing fishers toward extinction

A fisher kit climbs a tree. Poisons used on illegal marijuana farms continue to threaten fishers in California.

A fisher kit climbs a tree. Poisons used on illegal marijuana farms continue to threaten fishers in California. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.

Findings leave little doubt that marijuana growers are key threat to rare mammals

Staff Report

A new study presents more evidence that illegal marijuana growers are speeding the demise of a rare forest critter in California. After studying hundreds of forest-dwelling fishers, researchers concluded that the annual rate of poisoning deaths rose 233 percent compared to a study in 2012.

“This study further solidifies the need for continuing to remediate and remove these threats to fishers and other species of conservation concern within our public lands,” said Dr. Mourad Gabriel, executive director of the Integral Ecology Research Center, lead author of the study published in PLOS One.

“I hope the next steps can focus on rectifying the harmful effects of this clandestine activity so that they do not stem the years of conservation efforts of stabilizing the California fisher populations.” Continue reading

Study suggests California weather will be more extreme

More drought, more flooding …


An intensifying El Niño cycle could affect California weather.

Staff Report

The Pacific Ocean’s El Niño-La Niña cycle may become a dominant factor in West Coast weather by the end of this century and lead to more frequent weather extremes, according to a new study published in Nature Communications. Based on the findings, California could see the number of extreme droughts and floods by 2100, the researchers found.

A better understanding of what gives rise to El Nino and La Nina cycles — together known as El Nino-Southern Oscillation — might help California predict and prepare for more frequent droughts and floods in the coming century. Continue reading

Can California’s redwood trees survive global warming?


Some research suggests redwood trees may start to thrive in Oregon as the climate warms along the West Coast. @bberwyn photo.

Latest study suggests giant trees can persist along central coast, at least for a while

Staff Report

Redwood trees in California face an uncertain climate future, but some of the latest research suggests they’ll be able to persist in the coastal mountains south of San Francisco. And suitable climate conditions for the giant trees may expand northward in to Oregon, according to a new study published in Global Change Biology.

The research focused on the central California coast, where Redwoods are protected in a series of 14 parks, including the Santa Cruz Mountains, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park south of Carmel, and Garrapata State Park between Carmel and Big Sur on the Monterey coast. Continue reading

California reports first wolf pack in almost 100 years


Wolf pups at play in northern California. Photo via CDFW.

California wildlife agency documents five wolf pups and two adult wolves

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — OR-7, the lone wolf that enthralled wildlife lovers when he wandered through northern California a few years was the trailblazer.

Earlier this spring another lone wolf wandered into the state, and now, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says there’s a new wolfpack forming. The agency has photographically documented five pups and several individual adults that have taken up residence in the state.

“This news is exciting for California,” said Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW Director. “We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state and it appears now is the time.” Continue reading

Another gray wolf wanders into northeastern California

Gray Wolf

More wolves may roam from Oregon into adjacent states, including California, where the state is developing a wolf management plan.

Conservation activists say sighting confirms need for endangered species protection

Staff Report

FRISCO — Wildlife biologists in California say another gray wolf has likely wandered into the far northeastern corner of the state. Based on an evaluation of photos and paw print measurements, the animal may be a lone dispersing male looking for new territory to occupy.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has deployed motion-sensor cameras and biologists will try to collect scat for a DNA sample to conclusively establish whether the observed canid is indeed a wolf. The sighting was in Siskiyou County, in an area comprised of both U.S. Forest Service holdings and private timberland. Continue reading

Better info, more public awareness is the key to reducing shark attacks, researchers say

No evidence that culling sharks cuts risks


There are more great white sharks and more people in the ocean along the California coast, but the risk of shark attacks has decreased since the 1960s. Photo courtesy NOAA.


Researchers say shark attacks are more likely in the evening than during the day. @bbberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Even as many more people take to the water along the California Coast, the risk of being attacked by great white sharks has dropped considerably since the 1950s, according to Stanford University researchers who took a close look at shark attack statistics.

Their findings show that empowering people with information about how to avoid sharks is far more effective for public safety than trying to cull sharks. The scientists released their study results after a recent wave of shark attacks in North Carolina made headlines.

“You have a higher chance to win the lottery, a much higher chance to drown in the ocean, than to be attacked by a shark,” said Stanford researcher Francesco Ferretti. “At the same time, people need to approach the ocean with precaution and respect. We are entering the realm of predators and they are fulfilling their ecological role,” Ferretti said. Continue reading

BLM’s California fracking plan challenged in court


A lawsuit in federal court could delay new oil and gas development in California. Photo via BLM.

Lawsuit say agency’s plan violates federal environmental laws

Staff Report

FRISCO — A federal plan to open more public lands in California to energy development will be tested in court, with Earthjustice filing a lawsuit to block fracking across California’s Central and San Joaquin valleys; the southern Sierra Nevada; and in Santa Barbara; San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties along California’s central coast.

At issue is a Bureau of Land Management resource plan for the region that has already been called into question in 2013, when a federal judge ruled that the BLM violated the law when it issued oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental risks of fracking. Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,948 other followers