Posted on September 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Report shows that even many common species are dwindling
Global warming threatens ptarmigan habitat in the mountains of the West.
FRISCO — Bird populations are dwindling all over North America, especially in the Southwest, where some species have declined by as much as 48 percent since the late 1960s, according to the 2014 State of the Birds report released last week.
In Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, habitat loss and fragmentation due to development are the largest threats. These are also significant threats in the nation’s grasslands, where breeding birds like the eastern meadowlark and the bobolink have declined by 40 percent since 1968, with the steepest declines coming before 1990, when stakeholders started investing in grassland bird conservation.
And experts say it’s not just rare birds that are vanishing. The report includes a list of 33 common species in steep decline, losing ore than half their global populations over the past four decades — a clear warning sign that birds can undergo a massive population collapse with surprising rapidity. For example, passenger pigeon populations crashed from 2 to 3 billion birds to none in the wild in just 40 years. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: 2014 state of the birds, biodiversity, Birds, conservation, Environment | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
About half the nation’s streams are polluted by pesticides at a level of concern for aquatic life.
90 percent of urban streams show signs of contamination
FRISCO — A huge number of rivers and streams around the country are still polluted with pesticides that can kill bugs and other aquatic organisms at the base of the food chain.
Streams in agricultural areas are polluted at about the same level as they were 1990s, but pesticide pollution is increasing in urban streams, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study spanning about 20 years. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, pesticides, pollution, water quality | Leave a comment »
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 | 1 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 »