Posted on April 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Scientists track decline of iconic Galápagos birds
FRISCO — Populations of blue-footed boobies, one of the Galápagos Islands iconic species, have dwindled by a third since the 1960s, mainly because the birds don’t seem to be finding the food they need to breed and raise chicks.
The population decline is so steep that the birds are in danger of dying out, according to a new study published in the journal Avian Conservation and Ecology. The researchers found that sardines have all but disappeared from the birds’ diet, said Wake Forest University biology professor Dave Anderson. Without that primary food source, adult birds are simply choosing not to breed, he said. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, blue-foote boobies, conservation, Galapagos Islands, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Oil-probing technology could harm marine mammals, affect fisheries
Oceana projection on National Postal Museum (Credit: Oceana/Melissa Forsyth)
FRISCO — Tourism and fishing-dependent communities along the East Coast of the U.S. are banding together to voice concerns about seismic airgun testing. According to Oceana, an ocean conservation group, 110 local elected officials and 155 conservation and animal welfare organizations all say the use of airguns to conduct these seismic tests threatens fish populations and profitable fisheries.
Six coastal towns have also passed local resolutions opposing the use of airguns. (Cocoa Beach, FL, Carolina Beach, NC, Caswell Beach, NC, Nags Head, NC, Bradley Beach, NJ and Red Bank, NJ). The loud and constant undersea thumping may decrease the catch rates of certain fisheries, potentially threatening a billion-dollar industry that supports thousands of jobs.
At issue is the use of loud acoustic devices that help energy companies probe for oil 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
Filed under: energy, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: conservation, Environment, oceans, offshore oil drilling, oil and gas, seismic airgun testing | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 12, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘All it has is this river and it has nowhere else to go …’
An alligator snapping turtle. Photo courtesy Gary M. Stolz/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
FRISCO — Conservation of coastal rivers of the northern Gulf of Mexico is vital to the survival of the alligator snapping turtle, including two recently discovered species, University of Florida scientists concluded in a recent study that sheds more light on the taxonomy of the dinosaurs of the turtle world.
The study shows the alligator snapping turtle, the largest freshwater turtle in the Western Hemisphere and previously believed to be one species, is actually three separate species. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Alligator snapping turtles, conservation, Florida, Suwannee River | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Developers and energy companies show no love for rare species
Federal biologists are deciding whether wolverines should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. Photo courtesy USFWS.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A federal judge last week rejected claims by developers that a 2011 agreement between environmental groups and the federal government will hurt the industry.
At issue is a groundbreaking deal covering more than 700 species that could someday be listed as threatened or endangered. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it will make listing decisions on all the species by 2018, and so far, 138 species have been protected or formally proposed for protection. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: conservation, endangered species, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
House report fails to cite any peer-reviewed science
A lynx kitten in Colorado. Photo courtesy CPW.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Anti-environmental Republicans in the House are once again twisting the facts and distorting science in their efforts to dismantle the Endangered Species Act on behalf of various extractive and environmentally harmful industries.
An analysis released last week by the Center for Biological Diversity found a series of significant factual errors in a report that formed the basis of a recent proposal by 13 House Republicans to weaken a bedrock environmental law that has prevented the extinction of scores of plants and animals across the country.
The analysis, which highlights 12 key errors in the GOP report, was sent in a letter to Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chair of a key House resources committee. According to wildlife conservation advocates, the proposal would cripple key parts of the Act by limiting the ability of citizens to hold government accountable by challenging endangered species decisions and policies. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: conservation, endangered species act, politics, wildlife | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New satellite technology could help biologists getter more accurate estimates of whale populations NOAA photo.
New method could help with marine mammal conservation planning
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After using satellite images to discover new emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica, scientists with the British Antarctic Survey said they’ve also been able to use similar technology to count whales.
Marine mammals are extremely difficult to count on a large scale and traditional methods, such as counting from platforms or land, can be costly and inefficient, so the new method could lead to breakthroughs in estimating populations of whales and other marine mammals. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, conservation, marine mammals, oceans, whales | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Idaho halts wilderness wolf hunt. Photo by Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS.
Wildlife advocates claim hunt was intended to boost elk numbers to benefit hunters and outfitters
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Wildlife conservation advocates made some headway in their battle to halt relentless wolf hunting in the northern Rockies this week, as the Idaho Department of Fish and Game agreed to stop its trapping and hunting program in the Middle Fork region of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.
Since mid-December, Idaho killed nine wolves from two packs in the region. Represented by Earthjustice, several conservation groups went to court to block the killing, arguing that the state wolf extermination program would degrade the largest forested wilderness in the lower-48 states. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: conservation, Environment, Idaho, wildlife, wolves | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 12, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Rampant fraud makes eco-friendly choices difficult
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Top chefs from around the country are calling on Congress to address the problem of seafood fraud by passing legislation that would establish more accountability, from fishing boats all the way to the dinner plate.
More than 450 chefs, restaurant owners and culinary leaders, representing nearly all 50 states, are urging Congress to pass the Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE Seafood) Act. More accountability up the chain of supply would enable restaurants to make better eco-friendly choices, the chefs wrote. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, ocean conservation | Tagged: conservation, Environment, food, oceans, seafood fraud | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 9, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
When politics trumps science
Pro-development policies in Canada have ‘eviscerated’ habitat protection for many freshwater fish species, according to a new study. bberwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With political interference in conservation science becoming more common in the U.S. (as in the case of gray wolves), it’s worth looking north to Canada to see the results of such misguided decision-making.
A new study from the University of Calgary and Dalhousie University asserts that federal government changes to Canada’s fisheries legislation “have eviscerated” the ability to protect habitat for most of the country’s fish species.
The changes were “politically motivated” and unsupported by scientific advice — contrary to government policy — and are inconsistent with ecosystem-based management, according to fisheries biologists John Post and Jeffrey Hutchings. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Uncategorized | Tagged: aquatic habitat, Canada, conservation, Environment, fisheries | 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.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, BLM, Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, Colorado, conservation, Greater sage-grouse, oil and gas drilling, public lands, wildlife | Leave a comment »