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Biodiversity: Condor chick hatches in Zion National Park

A tagged California condor in flight.

A tagged California condor in flight. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.

Can the endangered birds recover from the brink of extinction?

Staff Report

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

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Public lands: National parks crack down on drones

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Badlands National Park — not a place for drones.

Yosemite, Zion national parks issue reminders on aircraft regulations

Staff Report

FRISCO — Citing impacts to wildlife and other concerns, the National Park Service has cracked down on the use drones in Yosemite and Zion national parks under existing rules that regulate aircraft in the parks.

According to a press release from Yosemite National Park, drone use has skyrocketed the past few years, as visitors use them to film rock climbers and to get other aerial footage. Along with concerns about impacts to nesting raptors, park service officials said drones can impact the natural soundscape, which the agency is required to protect. Continue reading

Water: Utah’s Virgin River placed on ‘most-threatened’ list

The West’s rivers are under pressure from unsustainable water development and use. Photo courtesy National Park Service/Amy Gaiennie.

Unsustainable water use threatens river ecosystems

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Many of the West’s rivers are facing unrelenting pressure from unsustainable water use. Some have already been pushed near the brink, including the iconic Virgin River in Southern Utah, recently named as one of ecosystems most at risk from water development in a recent report from the Endangered Species Coalition.

“The problem is pretty simple: People aren’t leaving enough water in the Virgin River, and so the endangered fish that depend on that water are struggling to survive,” said Tierra Curry, a biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The situation in the Virgin is so dire that the woundfin went extinct in the wild. This report is a wake-up call that we have got to do a better job caring for our freshwater environment.” Continue reading

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