Author: Bob Berwyn

Court stands up for jaguar habitat in New Mexico

A motion-sensor camera captured this image of a jaguar in Arizona last year. Photo courtesy BLM.

Cattle ranchers come up empty in bid to cut protection

Staff Report

Endangered jaguars in North America don’t really know whether they are in Mexico or Arizona, so there need to be continued recovery efforts on both sides of the border. A federal court in New Mexico recently recognized that fact when it turned aside an attempt by ranching and cattle groups to eliminate habitat protections for the wild cats.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated about 59,000 acres of critical habitat in 2014. The court ruling upholds protections under the Endangered Species Act that prevent the federal government from rendering the habitat unusable for jaguars. An additional 705,093 acres were designated in Arizona but not challenged. Continue reading “Court stands up for jaguar habitat in New Mexico”

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Sunday set: Mountainscapes

Austrian eyecandy …

With the late autumn days growing short, dark and gray, it seemed like a good time to reach back into the archives for some of the brightest summer pictures I could find. The soft, caressing clouds over the foothills of Upper Austria are especially soothing to me, and the mere memory of the glowing sunset over the craggy Alps around the Krippenstein still warms my heart. And it will be a few months before we’re back to swimming in our favorite alpine lake, the Langbathsee, but until then, we have this photographic memory of a perfect summer day to tide us over. Be sure to check out the Summit Voice Sunday set archive for more travel pics, and check out our online gallery for nature and landscape images.

Round 5 in fight over highway widening through redwood trees

It’s unclear why CDOT persists in efforts to start a highway project that could pose a threat to redwood forests in Humboldt County, California. @bberwyn photo.

Activists stand their ground against destruction of trees

Staff Report

A contentious proposal to widen U.S. Highway 101 through redwood groves in Humboldt County, California is once again facing a court challenge from conservation groups and local residents, who say the state transportation agency failed to adequately review and disclose environmental impacts.

This is the fifth time CDOT has been sued over the project that could needlessly damage or destroy thousand-year-old redwood trees in California‚Äôs iconic Richardson Grove State Park. Some of the trees in the park are trees up to 3,000 years old, 18 feet in diameter and 300 feet tall. Caltrans has pursued this project solely to incrementally improve passage for oversized commercial trucks, and continues to rely on inadequate environmental review. Continue reading “Round 5 in fight over highway widening through redwood trees”

It was a bad year for Austria’s glaciers

Not much time left for Alpine ice

Glacier remnants are visible in the Hohe Tauern Range of Austria in areas where there were thick ice caps just a few decades ago. The IPCC estimates that about 80 percent of the glaciers in the Alps will be gone by 2100 at the current rate of melting. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Austrian climate scientists aren’t mincing words when it comes to the continued alpine meltdown caused by global warming.

“It was a bad year for Austria’s glaciers,” scientists with the ZAMG said last week, announcing that the Pasterze Glacier, below the country’s highest peak, thinned by 2 meters in just one year. At the current melt rate, the Pasterze glacier’s tongue is likely to disappear altogether in another 40 years.

“The ice-mass loss was particularly high this year,” said glacier expert Berhard Hynek. The winter snow cover melted early and the ice was exposed to sun and warm temperatures for a very long time,” he said, adding that other glaciers monitored by the agency also thinned by an average of about 2 meters – equal to the losses measured during the record melt years of 2003 and 2012. Continue reading “It was a bad year for Austria’s glaciers”

Sunday set: Late blooming

Autumn sunflowers

I was pleasantly surprised, last weekend, to find a late-blooming field of sunflowers on a sunny hillside above Linz, Austria. Even as most forests donned their tan and burnished autumn coats, this patch of blossoms seemed to defying the season with one last-ditch blaze of summer glory. Visit the Summit Voice Sunday set archive for more travel pics, and check out our online gallery for nature and landscape photography.

Study projects huge increase in hurricane damage

Warming oceans will lead to bigger, stronger storms

Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast in 2012. Satellite image courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

As if to underscore a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office on the costs of global warming, researchers at the University of Vermont this week released a study showing that financial losses from hurricanes could increase more than 70 percent by 2100. Continue reading “Study projects huge increase in hurricane damage”

Wildlife advocates will sue to protect Pacific walrus

PHOTO 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.

Wildlife advocates say science ignored in decision not to list species

Staff Report

The Trump administration’s reckless and irresponsible natural resource polices will once again be tested in court, as conservation advocates challenge the government’s denial of endangered species protection for the Pacific walrus.

The Center for Biological Diversity announced it will sue the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service, pointing out that the agency apparently ignored the best available climate science, which would violate the Endangered Species Act. Under the Obama administration, the agency found that the Pacific walrus warrants protection because of a dramatic loss of sea ice habitat. Continue reading “Wildlife advocates will sue to protect Pacific walrus”