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
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Florida, manatees, marine mammals | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Melting Arctic sea ice is forcing walrus colonies into a shore-bound existence to which they aren’t adapted. Photo courtesy USGS.
Melting sea ice likely a factor in population decline
FRISCO — With a 2017 endangered species listing deadline looming, federal researchers are trying to pinpoint Pacific walrus population numbers. In the newest study, the U.S. Geological Survey said the population dropped by about half between 1981 and 1999, but scientists aren’t sure if the numbers have stabilized since then.
in 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledged that the species was under pressure from sea ice loss and over-harvesting, but didn’t formally add the Pacific walrus to the endangered species list. A federal court said the agency must make a final determination by 2017. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, ocean conservation | Tagged: endangered species, Environment, global warming, Pacific Walrus, Sea ice | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Observations around the Florida Keys show a big jump in the average late-summer water temperature, leading to increased coral reef die-offs.
New USGS study documents dramatic increase in ocean temperatures around the Florida Keys
FRISCO — Even without a big ocean-warming El Niño event, coral reefs around the Florida Keys are being stressed by warmer water. Scientists say the number of bleaching events is going up as average sea surface temperatures in the region increase.
Just in the past few decades, average late-summer water temperatures near the Florida Keys were warmer by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit compared to a century earlier, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming | Tagged: coral reefs, Environment, Florida Keys, global warming | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Dear Summit Voice Readers,
We’re so grateful to the Sunshine Cafe for offering to host what is going to be a fun and unique chance to enjoy a good meal and learn about global warming in the Rocky Mountains this week.
For one night only Sept. 12), the Sunshine Cafe (once again crowned as Summit County’s favorite breakfast spot, will open at 6 p.m. for a fundraising dinner. Tickets are just $50 per person, and there will also be a silent auction with some Rocky Mountain photography and a few other quirky items.
Proceeds from the dinner will benefit local environmental journalism by Summit Voice, and we’ll take input on story ideas at the dinner. We’ll also give a short presentation from our Rocky Mountain Climate Ranger Project, a series of road trips aimed at learning how climate change is affecting our beloved mountains.
If you are a Summit County or Colorado reader, please consider attending the dinner to show your support for Summit County environmental journalism. You can buy tickets at the PayPal link below, or contact Bob Berwyn via email or at 970-331-5996.
Support independent journalism.
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, global warming, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: Colorado, crowdfunding, Environment, fundraiser, global warming, journalism, Summit County | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Spruce beetle populations are surging in the southern Rocky Mountains.
Conservation advocates say more protection needed to protect critical ecosystem services
FRISCO — Forest degradation continues unchecked in many parts of the world and especially in the northern hemisphere boreal forest belt in Canada, Russia and Alaska, conservation advocates said this week, unveiling new maps showing forest impacts across more than 100 million hectares — an are three times the size of Germany.
Just since 2000, about 8 percent of the world’s remaining intact forest landscapes have been subject to some type of degradation from human activities, including logging and energy development.
The Greenpeace GIS Laboratory, the University of Maryland and Transparent World, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute and WWF-Russia, used satellite technology to determine the location and extent of the world’s last remaining large undisturbed forests, important harbors for biodiversity that are still unaffected by logging and infrastructure such as roads, mining and oil or gas development. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Forest health, forests | Tagged: Environment, forest fragmentation, Forest health, forests, global carbon cycle | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Ocean boundaries redefined
Patches of plastic debris accumulate where they are concentrated by ocean currents.
FRISCO — Shredded bits of plastic now outweigh plankton in parts of the Pacific Ocean, posing a growing risk to to fish, turtles and birds that eat the trash. Efforts to limit the debris haven’t progressed much in the past few years, but new modeling of ocean currents may help researchers determine exactly where the waste is coming from.
“In some cases, you can have a country far away from a garbage patch that’s unexpectedly contributing directly to the patch,” said Gary Froyland, a mathematician at Australia’s University of New South Wales.
For example, the ocean debris from Madagascar and Mozambique would most likely flow into the south Atlantic, even though the two countries’ coastlines border the Indian Ocean. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Environment, Marine debris, ocean garbage patch, Oceanography | 1 Comment »