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
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, riparian habitat, rivers, yellow-billed cuckoo | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Dwindling precipitation in the Southwest spells trouble for native fish. bberwyn photo.
Study shows significant loss of fish habitat by mid-century
FRISCO — Big sections of vulnerable stream habitat for native fish in the Southwest are likely to disappear by mid-century as global warming causes stream flows to dwindle.
By 2050, stream-drying events could increase by 17 percent, and the number of zero-flow days could go up by 27 percent in the Verde River Basin, affecting species like speckled dace (Rhinichthys osculus), roundtail chub (Gila robusta) and Sonora sucker (Catostomus insignis).
The drying trend will fragment aquatic habitat, hampering feeding and spawning. Some populations that are already isolated may very well disappear, said Ohio State University researcher Kristin Jaeger, an assistant professor at the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: climate change, drought, endangered species, extreme weather, global warming, Southwest, Verde River | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 12, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wolverine habitat in the West.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will face new lawsuit over failure to give the species endangered species status
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — In a decision that’s certain to trigger a new round of lawsuits, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it won’t put wolverines on the Endangered Species List.
The decision was made by the agency’s regional directors from the areas where wolverines are native. In a release, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe contradicted all the best available science from his agency’s own biologists, claiming that there’s too much uncertainty about global warming impacts to list wolverines. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, global warming, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wolverines | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
How do pesticides affect wildlife? We’ll know more after a court-ordered environmental study.
Legal settlement requires agency to analyze effects of 5 common pesticides
FRISCO — Under legal pressure from conservation advocates, the EPA last week agreed to take a hard look at how five commonly used pesticides affect endangered animals across the U.S.
One of the pesticides is carbaryl, commonly used in massive quantities in Colorado to try and protect trees from bark beetles. The other pesticides to be reviewed are chlorpyrifos, diazinon, malathion and methomyl. All have all been found to be toxic to wildlife and may pose a health risk to humans. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, global amphibian decline | Tagged: carbaryl, endangered species, Environment, EPA, pesticides | 5 Comments »
Posted on July 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Feds propose updates to management of Southwest wolves
Wolf pups recently born to a New Mexico pack. Photo by USFWS.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Rare and beleaguered Mexican gray wolves may get a little more room to roam in the Southwest, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes changes to a recovery plan from the species, including new releases of captive-bred wolves to bolster wild populations.
The new releases could happen in new areas of New Mexico and parts of Arizona where there are no wolf packs yet, and the federal agency’s proposed changes would also allow wolves to roam from the Mexican border to Interstate 40, a much broader region than currently permitted.
Only 83 Mexican wolves live in the wilds of the Southwest, including just five breeding pairs. Scientists have shown that inbreeding caused by a lack of wolf releases to the wild, coupled with too many killings and removals of wolves, is causing smaller litter sizes and lower pup-survival rates in the wild population. Expanding wolf releases to New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, in particular, would enable managers to diversify the population through new releases and diminish inbreeding. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Mexican gray wolves, predator restoration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A tagged California condor in flight. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.
Can the endangered birds recover from the brink of extinction?
FRISCO — California condors have been hovering on the brink of extinction for decades. But the majestic birds may be on the verge of making a comeback in southern Utah, National Park Service biologists said last week, announcing the first-ever birth of a condor chick in Zion National Park.
Without revealing the exact location to the public, biologists had been monitoring a rock cavity in a remote corner of the park for several weeks where they observed the nesting pair. Finally, on June 25, the condor chick made its first appearance at the edge of the nest. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, bird-watching, California condors, endangered species, Zion National Park | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Beach nesting areas, open ocean habitat protected
Room to roam for loggerheads. Photo by NOAA.
FRISCO — Loggerhead sea turtles may have a better chance of surviving — and even thriving — after federal agencies designated 685 miles of beaches along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines, as well as 300,000 square miles of ocean, as critical habitat. The decision came after more than five years of delays and court battles, as conservation groups sought protection for the turtles.
While the ocean habitat rule provides unprecedented habitat protection for loggerhead sea turtles, it only protects nearshore habitat for one mile off nesting beaches despite science showing the importance of habitat three miles from beaches for females and hatchlings. The rule also failed to identify critical habitat for the endangered North Pacific Ocean loggerhead, which is at risk due to Hawaii and California fisheries activities in areas overlapping with the loggerhead’s habitat. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, ocean conservation | Tagged: critical habitat, endangered species, Environment, loggerhead sea turtles, oceans | 2 Comments »