Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Ecology, Biodiversity, Climate Change and Related News Updates April 27, 2012


Ecology, Biodiversity, Climate Change and Related News Updates

April 27, 2012


Highlights of the Week  –   WATER – Threats and Opportunities





















Highlight of the Week….   WATER- threats and opportunities


Report: Global Warming Threatens US Water Supply Researchers warned that global warming threatens the water supply for urban communities in Arizona, in a new report funded by the Department of Commerce…..

Moving Forward from Vulnerability to Adaptation: Climate Change, Drought, and Water Demand in the Urbanizing Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico
Case Studies in Ambos Nogales, Puerto Peñasco, Tucson, and Hermosillo
A NOAA-SARP Project (2008-2010) See also the project’s next phase (2011-2013), MANAGING DEMAND, RETHINKING SUPPLY.
Edited by Margaret Wilder, Christopher A. Scott, Nicolás Pineda-Pablos, Robert G. Varady, and Gregg M. Garfin   Udall Center Publications, 2012  ISBN 978-1-931143-42-4
– Full Document (pdf 26 MB)
– Chapter 1: Introduction (pdf 0.9 MB)
– Chapter 2: Ambos Nogales Case Study (pdf 5.4 MB)
– Chapter 3: Puerto Peñasco Case Study (pdf 3.0 MB)
– Chapter 4: Tucson Case Study (pdf 4.1 MB)
– Chapter 5: Hermosillo Case Study (pdf 8.3 MB)



And more on water:



Study Indicates a Greater Threat of Extreme Weather

By JUSTIN GILLIS NY Times Published: April 26, 2012

New research suggests that global warming is causing the cycle of evaporation and rainfall over the oceans to intensify more than scientists had expected, an ominous finding that may indicate a higher potential for extreme weather in coming decades. By measuring changes in salinity on the ocean’s surface, the researchers inferred that the water cycle had accelerated by about 4 percent over the last half century. That does not sound particularly large, but it is twice the figure generated from computerized analyses of the climate. If the estimate holds up, it implies that the water cycle could quicken by as much as 20 percent later in this century as the planet warms, potentially leading to more droughts and floods. “This provides another piece of independent evidence that we need to start taking the problem of global warming seriously,” said Paul J. Durack, a researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the lead author of a paper being published Friday in the journal Science.


Australia: Buybacks ‘best way’ to return water
Water buybacks from willing sellers are the most cost-effective and efficient way of returning water to the Murray-Darling Basin system, say experts. The Australian Conservation Foundation has called for the buyback program to be expanded and accelerated to ensure more environmental flows to the Murray, while also saying a minimum of 3200 billion litres needs to be restored to the river.





Study Sheds Light on How Birds Navigate by Magnetic Field

New York Times – ‎April 26, 2012‎

Birds are famously good navigators. Some migrate thousands of miles, flying day and night, even when the stars are obscured.



Migrating waterfowl die from lack of water

Peter Fimrite  SF Chronicle Saturday, April 21, 2012

The deaths of up to 20,000 migrating birds this year in a wildlife refuge near the Oregon border has renewed debate about resource management on the Klamath River, where myriad competing interests are fighting for water rights. The waterfowl began dropping dead from avian cholera in February after a lack of water forced as many as 2 million birds to bunch together in the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, said representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service….


California: Restoration of huge bay wetland near Redwood City nearing completion
Bair Island to environmental groups and biologists, it is a crowning symbol of the ongoing restoration of San Francisco Bay, 2,635 acres that prove not everything has been diked, filled and paved. Now a six-year effort to restore Bair Island in Redwood City to tidal wetlands — bringing back conditions not seen since the late 1800s, along with a wide range of ducks, herons, egrets, salmon, even harbor seals to the heart of Silicon Valley — is reaching its apex.


Wind pushes plastics deeper into oceans, driving trash estimates up (April 25, 2012) — Decades of research into how much plastic litters the ocean, conducted by skimming only the surface, may in some cases vastly underestimate the true amount of plastic debris, according to an oceanographer. … > full story

Small variations in magnetic fields can be environmental stresses (April 23, 2012) — We are surrounded by a constantly changing magnetic field, be it Earth’s or those emanating from devices, such as cell phones. Scientists are interested in understanding how these magnetic-field fluctuations change biochemical reactions inside us. … > full story

Tagged white shark killed by Mexican fishermen

Thursday, April 26, 2012

(04-26) 17:19 PDT Santa Cruz, Calif. (AP) —

A white shark tagged by researchers off the Northern California coast in the late 1990s was killed after getting caught in a fishing net in the Sea of Cortez. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports ( that two fishermen in the Mexican state of Sonora said they accidentally caught the shark in a net cast from a small fishing boat.  Sean Van Sommeran, executive director of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, said he was contacted by the wife of one of the fishermen, who spotted a white tag that had been attached to the creature’s dorsal fin with the researcher’s contact information.

Van Sommeran estimated the shark was about 20 feet long and 4,000 pounds. He said the female shark could have been in the Sea of Cortez to give birth.



Study: Australia can save birds
Researchers have found that many native birds which were feared headed for extinction have shown remarkable rates of recovery on farms where regrowth and plantings of native trees are flourishing. In a huge field science effort, the team monitored no fewer than 193 sites on 46 farms across southern NSW over ten years, to study the effect on native birds of different ways of managing native vegetation….


Diversity aided mammals’ survival over deep time (April 23, 2012) — The first study of how mammals in North America adapted to climate change in “deep time” found that families with greater diversity were more stable and maintained larger ranges than less diverse families. … > full story

Bark beetle management and ecology in southern pine forests (April 23, 2012) — New research suggests that preventative measures are most effective in minimizing losses to bark beetles, and several factors should be considered in planning bark beetle management programs. … > full story


Fish larvae find the reef by orienting: The earlier the better (April 23, 2012) — For the first time, a numerical study incorporates horizontal larval fish navigation skills into realistic 3D flow fields, creating a powerful tool that spells out how larvae use environmental cues to find their way back to the reef after being out on the open ocean. This model can be used for a wide variety of marine species. … > full story


Selenium impacts honey bee behavior and survival (April 25, 2012) — Entomologists have a “proof of concept” that selenium, a nonmetal chemical element, can disrupt the foraging behavior and survival of honey bees. In controlled greenhouse experiments they found that the bees did not respond to the presence of selenium in plants. The bees fed on food sources, such as flowers that contained selenium at even very high concentrations. Selenium is toxic at high concentrations. In soils, it occurs most often as selenate. … > full story


First fertile, then futile: Ammonites change in reproductive strategy helped them survive three mass extinctions (April 23, 2012) — Ammonites changed their reproductive strategy from initially few and large offspring to numerous and small hatchlings. Thanks to their many offspring, they survived three mass extinctions, a research team has discovered. … > full story



Deadly frog fungus at work in the wild (April 25, 2012) — The fungal infection that has killed a record number of amphibians worldwide leads to deadly dehydration in frogs in the wild, according to a new study. High levels of an aquatic fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) disrupt fluid and electrolyte balance in wild frogs, the scientists say, severely depleting the frogs’ sodium and potassium levels and causing cardiac arrest and death. … > full story


Amazon: 151 Planned Dams Threatens Balance of Andean Amazon
A new study warns that 151 hydroelectric dams planned along six major rivers in the Amazon basin over the next two decades, including dozens of so-called mega-dams, could significantly disrupt the region’s ecological connectivity. Researchers say 60% of the dams currently being planned would cause the first major break in river connectivity between the Andean headwaters and the lowland Amazon, possibly threatening the free flow of several Andean-Amazon rivers.







Wild birds respond differently to the first long days of a year (April 24, 2012) — The lengthening of days in late winter is an important signal that stimulates the reproductive activity of many animals. Animals living in the milder climatic conditions of southern Europe usually begin breeding earlier in spring compared to animals living in colder habitats further north. Scientists have now discovered that day length affects gene activity differentially in the brain of great tit populations from central and North Europe. This is particularly important because climate change has resulted in warmer temperatures in spring, and therefore day length has become a less reliable signal for the coming of spring. Since warmer spring temperatures also cause the insects that the birds need to feed their young to be available sooner, birds will have to change their breeding schedules accordingly. … > full story




‘Warming Hole’ Delayed Climate Change Over Eastern United States  April 27 2012

Climate scientists have discovered that particulate pollution in the late 20th century created a “warming hole” over the eastern United States — that is, a cold patch where the effects of global warming were temporarily obscured. While greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane warm Earth’s surface, tiny particles in the air can have the reverse effect on regional scales. … Sulfates are harmful to human health and can also cause acid rain, which damages ecosystems and erodes buildings. “No one is suggesting that we should stop improving air quality, but it’s important to understand the consequences. Clearing the air could lead to regional warming,” Mickley says.

full story


Warm ocean currents cause majority of ice loss from Antarctica (April 25, 2012) — Warm ocean currents are the dominant cause of recent ice loss from Antarctica, new research shows. New techniques have been used to differentiate, for the first time, between the two known causes of melting ice shelves – warm ocean currents attacking the underside, and warm air melting from above. This finding brings scientists a step closer to providing reliable projections of future sea-level rise. … > full story

Ocean driving Antarctic ice loss

BBC News – ‎April 25, 2012

Previous studies have already indicated that warmer waters are being driven towards the continent by stronger westerly winds in the Southern Ocean. The researchers say the new understanding has major implications for their ability to reliably project ..




Arctic Ocean could be source of greenhouse gas: study

Phys.Org – ‎April 22, 2012 The Arctic Ocean could be a significant contributor of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, scientists reported on Sunday…..


Arctic Methane Leaks Could Be Accelerating Global Warming  April 23 2012  Researchers have uncovered a surprising and potentially important new source of Arctic methane: the ocean itself. The high concentrations of the greenhouse gas recorded in the air above cracks in the ice could be evidence of yet another positive feedback on the warming climate – leading to even faster Arctic warming, the New Scientist reported….



Will Climate Change Increase Hurricane Damage Costs? – April 27, 2012‎

By Meghan Evans, Meteorologist A recent study found that a warming climate may increase the frequency of intense hurricanes, resulting in a rise of hurricane damage costs on the order of tens of billions of dollars a year by 2100.



Proper soil management needed to combat climate change, protect earth

Midwest Producer – ‎April 22, 2012‎  Soils and plants play a significant role in global climate change, said Chuck Rice, K-State university distinguished professor of agronomy….Agricultural practices must be developed to mitigate climate change, adapt cropping systems to expected changes, meet future demands for food, feed, fiber, and bioenergy, and protect natural resources, Rice said. “We will have to find ways to increase production for the purpose of providing food security for nine billion people by the middle of the 21st century, while also protecting the environment and enhancing function of global ecosystems,” he said “The challenge is further compounded by climate change impacts that now require mitigation.”

Many opportunities exist within agriculture to mitigate emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, and to sequester carbon in the soil and in the biomass of perennial vegetation, Rice explained.


Position Statement on Climate Change: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America



Climate Change to Affect Corn Prices, Study Says

New York Times – ‎April 22, 2012‎

Researchers have found that climate change is likely to have far greater influence on the volatility of corn prices over the next three decades than factors that recently have been blamed for price swings – like oil prices, trade policies and…



Do urban ‘heat islands’ hint at trees of future? (April 24, 2012) — A new study shows that common native red oak seedlings grow as much as eight times faster in New York’s Central Park than in more rural, cooler settings in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains. Red oaks and their close relatives dominate areas ranging from northern Virginia to southern New England, so the study may have implications for changing climate and forest composition over a wide region. … > full story

Rare UK butterflies ‘bounce back’
Record-breaking temperatures and dry weather in spring last year led to an increase in the numbers of many species of rare butterfly, a study suggests. The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and charity Butterfly Conservation said the weather had provided perfect conditions for “spring specialists”.


Meteorology: Arctic warming favours extremes pp315 – 316
Vladimir A. Semenov
The twenty-first century was marked by a number of extreme weather events over northern continents. Amplified warming in the Arctic region and associated changes in atmospheric dynamics may provide a clue for understanding the origin of these recent extremes.
Full Text | PDF


Increasing Mangrove Resilience to Climate Change

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 09:18 AM PDT

Jonathan Cook, WWF-US Along the west coast of Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island, the communities of Tikina Wai have lived near mangrove forests for many generations. Local people depend on these forests for fish, wood, medicinal plants and other resources; and the mangroves help buffer them from storms and floods. Yet Tikina Wai’s mangrove forests are […]


Climate change is reducing Arctic Ocean biodiversity: $40-M study

Montreal Gazette – ‎april 24, 2012

MONTREAL – A unique, all-season study of the effects of global warming in the Arctic Ocean shows that climate change is reducing biodiversity and posing “significant challenges to the survival of some of the Arctic’s unique marine species….








Marine scientists urge government to reassess oil spill response (April 20, 2012) — On the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, a national panel of researchers is urging the US federal government to reassess how it would respond to similar oil spills that might occur in the future. … > full story

International Bird Rescue celebrates 40 years Carolyn Jones SF Chronicle Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In January 1971, a pair of Standard Oil tankers collided under the Golden Gate Bridge and gushed nearly 1 million gallons of crude into the bay. That calamity might be among the best things that have happened to birds not just in the Bay Area but also around the world. From the toxic, gooey muck arose the modern science of oiled-bird rescue. “There were dying birds everywhere and no one knew what to do. It was as horrible as you can imagine,” said Jay Holcomb, former director of International Bird Rescue. “It was then that we realized there needs to be an organized attempt for their care.”….


Feds Make First Arrest in Connection With BP Spill

A former engineer is charged with destroying evidence, suggesting the company was intentionally underreporting the scope of the disaster. READ FULL STORY


OIL: Utah could see tar sands production by year’s end

At a time when the Keystone XL pipeline has become a hot political topic for national environment groups, politicians and oil industry officials, Utah has been quietly paving the way for U.S. tar sands production on state lands. Indeed, if all goes smoothly in the regulatory process, U.S. Oil Sands could begin construction in the state later this year — a fact that environmental groups are eager to spread.







  1. 4.    POLICY


CA Dept of Water Resources: COMMENT PERIOD ENDS May 3rd on Climate Action Plan

On March 1st 2012, DWR filed its Draft Climate Action Plan Phase 1: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan and associated California Environmental Quality Act Initial Study and Draft Negative Declaration with the California Office of Planning and Research State Clearinghouse. During the period March 5th through May 3rd DWR will accept public comments on the Draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan and associated Initial Study and Draft Negative Declaration.



Poll: 75 Percent of Americans Support Regulating CO2 As A Pollutant, 60 Percent Support Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax By Joe Romm on Apr 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm

A new national survey confirms strong public support for funding renewable energy research, regulating carbon pollution, and signing a global treaty to slash emissions. The study, conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, found a remarkable 75% of Americans support “regulating carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas) as a pollutant.”….



State Opposes Feds on Clearing Levee Trees

Download audio (MP3)

David McNew/Getty Images Trees along 1,600 miles of California levees are at the center of a dispute between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and California lawmakers.

Host: California is getting ready for war with the U.S. Army. A legal war, anyway, between California water and wildlife agencies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The battleground? 1,600 of California levees that protect the Delta and Central Valley from flooding. The Corps wants the state to cut down most of the trees on those levees for safety’s sake. But state officials want the trees to stay. Not only because they’re valuable for wildlife and as scenery, but because they may actually make the levees stronger….



President Obama Edits Out Climate Change From His Earth Day 2012 Proclamation  Posted: 23 Apr 2012 09:23 AM PDT

You’ll be glad to know that in the last 12 months, that whole climate change problem went away. At least that’s the impression left from comparing President Obama’s 2012 Earth Day proclamation with the 2011 one…..


Climate Change Will Be A Campaign Issue, We Need to Do Much More To Combat It By Joe Romm on Apr 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm

In a Rolling Stone interview published today, President Obama broke out of his self-imposed silence on climate change. He made some remarkable statements, including his belief that the millions of dollars pouring into the anti-science disinformation campaign will drive climate change into the presidential campaign. Earlier this year the President omitted any discussion of climate change from his State of the Union address. And he (or the White House communications team) edited it out of his Earth Day proclamation. But in this interview, Obama was actually the first to bring up climate change, noting it was one of many big issues he’s had to deal with and then slamming the GOP for moving so far to the right on the issue….


Countries Losing Steam On Climate Change Initiatives

NPR – ‎April 26, 2012‎

Nations are nowhere near being on track to avert significant climate change in the coming decades. It turns out that right now, just about everything is conspiring to make it harder to clean up the world’s energy supply….


Bird strikes on airliners targeted in Congress, at airports

Reuters – April 26, 2012

These and other birds have all met their demise crashing into aircraft during takeoff and landing at airports across the United States over the past two years, federal records show.


Senator seeks to allow goose kills near NY airport

KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press, 04/26/12

(04-26) 10:31 PDT New York (AP) — The problem of birds living near some of the nation’s busiest airports is coming under renewed scrutiny after two emergency landings in a week and more than three years after the famous ditching of a jetliner in the…



Ore. asks to kill salmon-eating birds

By JEFF BARNARD  Thursday, April 26, 2012 Seattle AP Environmental Writer GRANTS PASS, Ore. —

Oregon officials were successful in getting permission to kill sea lions that feed on protected salmon trying to swim upriver to spawn. Now they want federal approval to shoot a sea bird that eats millions of baby salmon trying to reach the ocean. In an April 5 letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service obtained by The Associated Press, Oregon Wildlife Chief Ron Anglin says harassment has “proved insufficient” in controlling double-crested cormorants, and officials want the option of killing some of the birds…..Oregon needs federal approval to start shooting double-breasted cormorants because the birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Anglin wrote that the birds are threatening restoration of wild fish protected by the Endangered Species Act, as well as hatchery fish important to sport and commercial fishing……. In recent years, the biggest single nesting colony has settled on East Sand Island at the mouth of the Columbia River. Studies show the estimated 10,500 breeding pairs there ate 22.6 million young salmon and steelhead last year, which amounts to 15 percent of the smolts – hatchery and wild – trying to reach the ocean, Roby said.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has just started working on a plan to reduce the salmon losses to cormorants on the Columbia, and has made no decision on whether to kill any of them.



German Bank Won’t Finance Arctic Ocean Drilling, Saying The ‘Risks And Costs Are Simply Too High’

Posted: 23 Apr 2012 07:33 AM PD by Kiley Kroh

In another stark warning about the dangers of Arctic Ocean drilling, the German bank WestLB announced on Friday that it would not provide financing to any offshore oil or gas drilling in the region. The company’s sustainability manager said the “risks and costs are simply too high.”

The decision was made just a week after insurance giant Lloyd’s of London issued a report concluding that offshore drilling in the Arctic would “constitute a unique and hard-to-manage risk” and urged companies to “think carefully about the consequences of action” before exploring for oil in the region….


Where international climate policy has failed, grassroots efforts can succeed …

Phys.Org – ‎  April 27, 2012‎

The world can significantly slow the pace of climate change with practical efforts to control so-called “short-lived climate pollutants” and by bringing successful Western technologies to the developing world, according to three UC San Diego scientists



Peru is latest developing nation to adopt climate change initiative

Chicago Tribune – ‎April 26, 2012‎

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru became the latest developing country to enact a domestic climate change initiative in the absence of a binding global pact, adopting a resolution on Thursday to lower carbon emissions in its fast-growing economy.


UN: We must correct image of desertification and promote practical solutions
Desertification means land degradation in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas, commonly referred to as drylands. In no other ecosystem are the interactions between the challenges of climate change and the conservation of biodiversity so closely linked to food security and poverty reduction. Rio+20 provides an important opportunity to increase the political momentum. This target can be achieved by sustaining healthy soil and restoring degraded land…


Emergence of the carbon-market intelligence sector pp300 – 302 Nature Climate Change Mark Maslin and Martyn Poessinouw  Full Text | PDF doi:10.1038/nclimate1492  The newly observed economic phenomenon carbon-market intelligence was worth over £35 billion in 2010–2011 and is forecast to experience annual double-digit growth over the next five years.


Aspen Chamber to Cut Ties  April 24, 2012 Aspen Ties

At their annual retreat Tuesday morning, Aspen Chamber Resort Association board members voted 11-1 to cut ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of a disagreement over the national organization’s policy of disregarding man’s effect on climate change….


Mr. Obama Needs to Show He is Serious about Climate Change  Wash Post Editorial April 15, 2012 Climate change is one of the great challenges of this century, and the country needs a big, realistic debate about policy to address the threat. We encourage Mr. Obama to follow through on his words, giving the issue — and truly serious ways to deal with it — the prominence they deserve in this year’s election…..



Offsetting under pressure p307
Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the UK Tyndall Centre and an expert on greenhouse-gas emissions trajectories explains to Nature Climate Change why he believes that carbon offsetting can be worse than useless.
Full Text | PDF


Minnesota: boaters need invasive species sticker before hitting water this year
Minnesota anglers and boaters will have one more item on their checklists this year when they head to the lakes. A law passed last year requires that all watercraft have a sticker on board (seen above) listing the state’s rules about aquatic invasive species.


Climate change may create price volatility in the corn market (April 22, 2012) — Corn, America’s No. 1 crop, could see its prime growing region shift to the Canadian border or its price volatility increase sharply within 30 years. A new study points to climate change as the cause. … > full story



Legal History and Application:  Fish and Game Code 5937

The link above is too the just published article in the UC Davis Law Review on the legal history and application of Fish and Game Code 5937.  For those of you not familiar with “5937”, it was a cornerstone in the legal arguments that led to the Mono lake, Putah Creek accord and San Joaquin restoration decisions.  As such it is an important embodiment of the Public Trust doctrine in CA law which affects most of our work in CA natural resources in some way or other…..






  1. 5.    RESOURCES



Ocean Acification- Podcast

The ocean has absorbed great quantities of the carbon dioxide humans have emitted through the burning of fossil fuels, land use practices, and other human activities. But increased concentrations of CO2 have resulted in the ocean becoming more acidic. Important questions arise from this chemical change to our ocean such as what exactly is this threat and how will it affect our ocean world? What does it mean for organisms such as sea urchins? Dr. Gretchen Hoffman, Professor of Marine Biology at the University of California Santa Barbara, discusses her work on ocean acidification and why we should pay attention. We invite you to listen to this podcast by visiting the Thank You Ocean website. A new Thank You Ocean Report podcast will be posted approximately every two weeks. You can subscribe to the podcast and click on the podcast feed of your choice (e.g., iTunes, Yahoo, Google).



North Coast Forest Conservation Conference – Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities and Healthy Economies Wednesday, June 6 to Friday, June 8, 2012

Registration is open!  To see the agenda, conference details and to register, <

Warren G. Dutton, Jr. Agricultural Pavilion Shone Farm – Santa Rosa Junior College

7450 Steve Olson Lane, Forestville, California  General Attendee – $60 per day or all 3 days for $150 Students (ID required) – $20 per day or all 3 days for $50

Speakers, panels, and field trips will address local and regional forestry issues including forest health, forest management, community forestry, regulatory issues, watershed restoration, fire in the forest, climate change, and more. Join informative and inspiring talks and panels through June 22nd with experts in food, energy, education, activism and more — Free.

The Mediterranean City: A Conference on Climate Change Adaptation

Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel, 711 South Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017

The goal of the conference is to initiate an ongoing collaboration of cities working together to share ideas, needs and strategies to realistically adapt to the current and future impacts of climate change as they similarly affect the five Mediterranean-climate regions of the world.  The conference will bring together an international network of experts from the academic, policy, business, public health and government sectors, and will stand as an example for how cities can work together across regional and national boundaries to bring more resources and knowledge to building solutions. Leaders who attend the climate change consortium on June 25 and 26 will be able to provide direct input in the creation of a working document that will be presented at plenary session on June 27th. Single day registration is also available.  For more information, please visit
Spring of Sustainability Saturday, April 28th from 9:00am – 3:00pm PST (12:00-6:00pm EST) Thriving Communities Summit–Panelists will include Sobonfu Some, Carl Anthony, Woody Tasch, Esperide Ananas, Michael Lewis and many other leading designers, activists and educators who are creating and implementing initiatives for thriving communities. Learn more and sign up for the compelling “Spring of Sustainability” program here. (





Being able to visualize potential impacts from sea level rise is a powerful teaching and planning tool, and the Sea Level Rise Viewer brings this capability to coastal communities. A slider bar is used to show how various levels of sea level rise will impact coastal communities. Completed areas include Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Florida, and Georgia, with additional coastal counties to be added in the near future. Visuals and the accompanying data and information cover sea level rise inundation, uncertainty, flood frequency, marsh impacts, and socioeconomics.


Climate Reality Project Speaker TrainingNorthern California

Are you passionate about changing the conversation about the climate crisis? Are you interested in leading the climate movement? …. apply to be one of our esteemed Climate Reality Presenters — impassioned volunteer leaders who bring the reality of climate change to people around the world. We call our grassroots network of Presenters the heart of our Climate Leadership Corps. As we saw on Earth Day, a powerful grassroots movement is building all over the world to solve the climate crisis. This movement is growing louder and stronger every day. But you know as well as anyone that to solve this crisis we need to take action every day — not just once a year. …Learn more:
 California: Ecosystem Restoration on Agricultural Lands (ERAL)
Grant funding applications are accepted on a year-round basis. The WCB meets four times each year, normally in February, May, August, and November to consider approval of funding for projects.

 Tamarisk Related Grant Opportunities
The Tamarisk Coalition has developed a list of available Grant Opportunities to address tamarisk issues and riparian restoration. This list was revised as part of the Colorado River Basin Tamarisk and Russian Olive Assessment.








Maine regulators pave way for US tidal power

The Associated Press – ‎April 24, 2012

The regulators also directed the three utilities to negotiate with Ocean Renewable Power Co. to put electricity onto the grid this summer, the first long-term power purchase agreements for tidal energy in the United States.



Liquid solar cells can be painted onto surfaces (April 25, 2012) — Scientists have developed a potential pathway to cheap, stable solar cells made from nanocrystals so small they can exist as a liquid ink and be painted or printed onto clear surfaces. … > full story


Lawsuit says wind energy industry hurts condors

Sunday, April 22, 2012   (04-22) 12:07 PDT Ventura, Calif. (AP) —

Environmentalists are hoping a court will curb Southern California’s growing wind energy industry, which they believe poses a threat to the endangered condor.

Three environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit this month against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to stop the proposed 100-turbine North Sky River wind project in Kern County’s Tehachapi region, the Ventura County Star reported Saturday (

The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club said in the filing that a neighboring wind farm, Pine Tree, has killed at least eight golden eagles and that California condors could be at risk from the blades of turbines as well.

“GPS data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suggest condors are in the area, which has a lot of grazing and hunting and is a good habitat for these birds,” Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, told the newspaper. “We’re really worried. We don’t think it’s the right place for additional wind farms, and we certainly don’t want to see a wall of wind farms that no bird can outmaneuver.”

Wind-power supporters stress the fact that no condors have been killed, and cite the new jobs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and clean energy the turbines will bring.

Of the 200 condors in the wild today, 59 live in the Hopper Mountain and Bitter Creek national wildlife refuges in Ventura and Kern counties. Other condors soar through the area on their way to the Sierra Nevada.

The turbines, some as tall as a 30-story building, hold blades that can sweep an area the size of a football field 20 times a minute, with tips spinning as fast as 200 feet per second, according to the Star. Each of these turbines can power about 500 homes.

About 5,000 turbines already are in use in the windy Tehachapi Mountains, generating a total of about 800 megawatts of electricity. In the planning process or under construction are an additional 3,500 megawatts worth of wind turbines — the equivalent of more than five average coal-burning plants. The North Sky River project, proposed by NextEra Energy Resources, would generate 300 megawatts.

Linda Parker, who runs a wind energy advocacy group, told the newspaper “the wind rush will bring billions… in total investment to the Kern County area over the lifetime of these projects.”

Condors, the largest birds in North America, can live for 50 years, but nesting pairs usually produce only one egg every other year, creating a challenge to build up the population that was once down to just 22 birds in the 1980s.



Bioenergy production may reduce biological diversity, but ecological risks can be minimized (April 23, 2012) — For years experts have discussed the ecological impact of the extended cultivation of energy crops. Scientists have now developed a computer model that allows assessing the impacts and comparing the effectiveness of strategies for the reduction of risks for biological diversity. Conclusion: The extension of bioenergy leads to problems with biological diversity in agrarian regions. … > full story






Guilt trip p297
doi:10.1038/nclimate1526   Nature Climate Change
As the evidence for a tight link between greenhouse-gas emissions and climate change accrues, scientists — and editors — should moderate their use of international air travel. Full Text | PDF


Discovery’s ‘Frozen Planet’ Is Silent on Causes of Climate Change

By BRIAN STELTER (NYT)  April 21, 2012 Compiled: 1:32 AM

A Discovery Channel series about changes in polar regions does not mention causes for the thinner ice, avoiding the fury that often accompanies mention of climate change.


Bird researcher Hannahrose Nevins nominated for Red Cross Heroes award

By JOHN SAMMON Posted:   04/21/2012 01:41:24 PM PDT

Bird researcher Hannahrose Nevins will tell you endangered species of birds in Santa Cruz face a “double whammy,” pollution at sea, but also plastics and discarded fishing line on shore that entangles birds or ends up in their stomachs….



Snowy Surprise: Hawk Eggs Hatch as Thousands Watch

Live video streams from 70 feet above Cornell campus  April 24, 2012
Ithaca, New York–On Earth Day this past Sunday, two Red-tailed Hawk eggs began to hatch in a nest 70 feet above the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York. Thousands of viewers from around the world watched a live camera feed from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology online, waiting for the first glimpse of the chicks. Then darkness fell, and snow began to fall. “By morning, snow was piled high in the nest around Big Red, the female hawk,” said Charles Eldermire, who leads the Cornell Lab’s BirdCams project. “For hours we waited, as viewers kept asking questions in the live chat about whether the young would survive.” At 1:53 p.m. on Monday, after most of the snow in the nest had melted, Big Red stood up. The live chat went wild with cheers as she revealed a fuzzy white chick and two eggs, one of them in the process of hatching. Eldermire said the two remaining eggs are due to hatch any day now. To watch the live cam, visit


Avocado oil: The ‘olive oil of the Americas’? (April 22, 2012) — Researchers have found that consuming fruit bolsters cells’ power centers against harmful free radicals. … > full story



Foraging Gannets video

PRBO’s Antarctica program collaborator, Amélie Lescroel, has attached video cameras to foraging Gannets off the coast of France and posted the footage here:



Eagle Owl footage



Health Buzz: Many U.S. Workers Sleep-Deprived

U.S. News & World Report – ‎April 27, 2012

By Angela Haupt Nearly a third of American workers get too little sleep, federal health officials said Thursday. By sleeping fewer than six hours a night, these folks put themselves and their co-workers at risk for serious consequences, according to a


Soft drinks: Public enemy No 1. in obesity fight?

CNN – ‎April 27, 2012

By Caleb Hellerman, CNN This weekend on “Sanjay Gupta MD,” Dr. Gupta takes a critical look at sugar and the impact it has on our bodies.



















The Strip, by Brian McFadden, from the NY Times [click to enlarge]





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