The decline of milkweed may not be the main factor driving monarch butterflies toward oblivion, according to a new study by Cornell University scientists. Weather, habitat fragmentation and dwindling sources of nectar in the autumn are also critical, the new study reports.
“Thanks to years of data collected by the World Wildlife Fund and citizen-scientists across North America, we have pieced together the monarch life cycle to make inferences about what is impacting the butterflies,” said Cornell University Prof. Anurag Agrawal.
Feds dial back proposed regs that would have made it harder to seek endangered species protection
Many plants and animals that are protected as endangered species in the U.S. got that status because conservation groups — representing concerned citizens — petitioned the federal government. It’s a process that’s explicitly mandated by the Endangered Species Act, but that has led to serious frustration among government biocrats and various extractive industries that specialize in exploiting public land resources.
In an attempt to try and cripple citizen groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed making the petitioning process much more difficult by requiring pre-clearance from state agencies and limiting petitions to a single species. All in all, the proposal was aimed at trying to avoid giving protection to species that need it. Continue reading “Watchdog group keeps door open for endangered species petitions”→
Coastal managers may need to rethink beach replenishment
Pumping sand ashore to beef up beaches appears to have long-lasting effects on coastal ecosystems, according to UC San Diego biologists who studied the issue across eight different beaches in San Diego County from Oceanside south to Imperial Beach.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the restoration of grizzles in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho is a success story, but the bears only live in about 4 percent of their historic range — which means a proposal to delist the species can’t possibly meet the intent of the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading “Feds want to take grizzlies off Endangered Species List”→
Activist groups claims scientists are being silenced and harassed; new petition calls for resignations
By Bob Berwyn
A broad coalition of food safety, consumer, and environmental groups is pressing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to come clean on its research into the environmental impacts of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.
According to a petition being delivered to the USDA on March 10, high-level officials in the USDA have been censoring their agency’s own scientific reports when the findings don’t align with the interests of the pesticide industry. The groups also say the USDA is silencing and harassing scientists who are warning of the dangers of neonicotinoids. Continue reading “Is the USDA suppressing science on pesticide impacts?”→
Study shows link between cattle grazing, ravens and greater sage-grouse
As a generalist species that can take advantage of ecosystem disturbances, raven numbers have tripled across the West in the last few decades, and a new study shows that they are almost fifty percent more likely to use sagebrush habitat if cattle are present.
And that’s not all — according to the research, published in Ecosphere, ravens will set up camp near greater sage-grouse breeding areas, where the big black birds prey on the eggs and chicks of the endangered sage-grouse. Since predation is the main cause of sage-grouse nest failure, the researchers suggest that reducing ravens access to food and water could help with sage-grouse conservation. Continue reading “Are ravens ravishing greater sage-grouse populations?”→