Posted on December 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Spinner dolphin. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Duke University researchers say community based conservation measures also needed
FRISCO —Hawaii’s spinner dolphins need federal regulations limiting human access to resting areas, but that alone won’t be enough to help them survive in the long run. Along with any new federal rules, resource managers will also have to work to develop local community-based conservation measures, which can be tailored to how individual bays are used, according to new research by Duke University.
Federal biologists estimate there are about 3,000 spinner dolphins around Hawaii, where hundreds of thousands of tourists pay for up-close encounters with the animals, swimming with them in shallow bays the dolphins use as safe havens for daytime rest. But as the number of tours increases, so do the pressures they place on the resting dolphins. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology | Tagged: Environment, Hawaii, marine conservation, marine mammals, oceans, Spinner dolphins | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 17, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Refuge managers seek to balance protection of marine mammals with demand for public access at Three Sisters Springs
FRISCO — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a careful management plan at a freshwater spring in Florida can help protect manatees and ensure public access to the popular Three Sisters Springs recreation area.
The agency this week started taking input on a draft environmental assessment for management actions to protect manatees and still allow public access at Three Sisters Springs during the winter season. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation, public lands, wildlife | Tagged: Crystal Springs wildlife refuge, endangered species, Florida, manatees, marine mammals, Three sisters springs | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Can Mediterranean dolphins survive the rising tide of tourism? bberwyn photo.
Pollution, boat strikes contribute to decline of Balearic population
FRISCO — Growing tourism, fishing, pollution and general marine traffic is threatening a small population of bottlenose dolphins living in coastal waters off the Pityusic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, according to a study led by University of Barcelona researchers.
The biologists said they were able for the first time to get an accurate population count of the dolphins during spring and summer, crucial seasons for the marine mammals. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Balearic Islands, bottlenose dolphins, Environment, marine mammals, ocean conservation | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Critical habitat sought for North Atlantic right whales. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Feds to decide on protection by 2016
FRISCO — Under a court-sanctioned settlement, federal biologists say they will shape a new critical habitat proposal for North Atlantic right whales by early 2016.
Each year most of the 500 North Atlantic right whales remaining on Earth migrate from their feeding and breeding grounds off the U.S. Northeast to their nursery areas off the Southeast. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: critical habitat, endangered species, marine mammals, North Atlantic right whales, oceans | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘It is essential to identify where whales, dolphins and other species occur to help avoid adverse impacts and to continue to monitor their response to the construction and operation of wind turbines’
Offshore wind turbines could provide most of the power for North American cities.
FRISCO — Many of the conflicts between energy development and wildlife protection developed because there wasn’t enough upfront planning. Researchers with the University of Maryland say similar issues relating to offshore wind energy can be minimized with early monitoring.
“As the number and size of offshore wind developments increases, there is a growing need to consider the consequences and cumulative impacts of these activities on marine species,” said Helen Bailey, lead author and research assistant professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.
“It is essential to identify where whales, dolphins and other species occur to help avoid adverse impacts and to continue to monitor their response to the construction and operation of wind turbines,” Bailey said. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, renewable energy | Tagged: Environment, marine mammals, offshore wind energy, offshore windpower, renewable energy | 4 Comments »
Posted on October 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Can sea otters bounce back from the brink?
Population along California coast hovering near targeted recovery level
FRISCO — Sea otters are making a slow and steady comeback along the Central California coast, with the species’ population nearing a level that could earn them the distinction of being taken off the endangered species list.
In the latest official population estimate released last week, federal scientists said there were just under 3,000 southern sea otters living along the Central California coast, based on a population index used since the 1980s. That’s up slightly from 2013 and just shy of the 3,090 threshold set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a recovery benchmark. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: endangered species, marine mammals, sea otters, wildlife conservation | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
PHOTO via U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY. Melting Arctic sea ice is forcing walrus colonies into a shore-bound existence to which they aren’t adapted. Scientists say they’ve documented several cases of young calves being trampled in stampedes.
Dwindling sea ice leads to dramatic habitat changes for some marine mammals
FRISCO — For the sixth time in the last eight years, Pacific walruses living around Alaska have run out of ice. Instead of their usual resting places on ice floes, the marine mammals are hauling out on land — a clear consequence of global warming, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists who are tracking the animals from the air.
Just in the past decade, summer sea ice has started retreating far north of the shallow continental shelf waters of the Chukchi Sea in U.S. and Russian waters, drastically changing living conditions for walruses and other species.To keep up with their normal resting periods between feeding bouts to the seafloor, walruses are taking to dry land. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice decline, global warming, marine mammals, walrsuses | 2 Comments »