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Report Shows Declining Trend in Prairie Pothole Wetlands
Monday, 07 July 2014 00:02

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – July 1, 2014

The Status and Trends of Prairie Wetlands in the United States 1997 to 2009 was released on 30 June, 2014.  This report estimates that 6,427,350 acres of wetlands remained in the Prairie Pothole Region in 2009, which represents 5.8 % of the total wetland area found in the conterminous U.S. in 2009. Between 1997 and 2009, the average annual rate of change was an estimated loss of 6,200 acres and an estimated 40 % of emergent wetland area was lost or converted to deepwater lake systems or open-water ponds. To read news release, click here. To download report, click here or go directly here.

 
Can Floodplain Forest Restoration Reduce the Gulf’s Dead Zone?
Monday, 09 June 2014 15:09

By John Shuey – The Nature Conservancy Cool Green Science – June 2, 2014 – Video

The “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico remains a major environmental issue – particularly for those who depend upon the Gulf for their livelihoods. The “dead zone” disrupts the Gulf’s valuable fishery, threatening both commercial and recreational fisheries valued at almost $1 billion. The cause of the dead zone is nitrogen pollution, which has created an oxygen-free area, now the size of the state of Connecticut. Indiana has been identified as one of the states contributing the most excess nitrogen to the Gulf of Mexico, and these nutrients come from a variety of sources, both urban and rural. A new study by the University of Notre Dame is showing that restored floodplain forests along the Wabash River in Indiana can help decrease the amount of nitrogen reaching the Gulf. For full blog post and to view video, click here.

 
Space shuttle metals fell into Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Monday, 19 May 2014 13:58

By Lindsey Konkel – Environmental Health News – May 15, 2014

Billows of fire and smoke filled the air above Florida’s Kennedy Space Center as the countdown clock reached zero. Flanked by two rocket boosters and strapped to the back of a giant rust-colored fuel tank, the space shuttle blasted off. Within seconds, the spacecraft disappeared from sight. In just over 8 minutes, it reached outer space. But NASA’s launches left more than a legacy of space exploration. Before leaving Earth's atmosphere, each shuttle spewed thousands of pounds of metals and other chemicals into the air. Some contaminants fell into a federal wildlife refuge surrounding the base that is home to alligators, sea turtles and other endangered animals. “People think of a shuttle launch as a short-term, finite event, but each launch expels a huge amount of debris into the atmosphere with the potential for long-term effects on the surrounding ecosystem,” said John Bowden, an environmental chemist at Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C. For full story, click here.

 
Great Barrier Reef's 'unprecedented' threat from dredging, dumping
Monday, 12 May 2014 13:20

By Oliver Milman– The Guardian – May 6, 2014

The impact of dredging and dumping sediment on the Great Barrier Reef has been far greater than the mining industry has claimed, with nearly 150m tonnes of new dredging set to take place in the reef’s waters, a study shows. The report collated by the Australian Marine Conservation Societystates that the reef is under “unprecedented” threat from the proposed expansion of coastal ports and industrial development. Planned expansion of ports, or the creation of new ones, at sites including Gladstone, the Fitzroy Delta, Abbot Point and Townsville, would involve dredging 149m tonnes of seabed to allow large ships to access ports. For full story, click here.

 
West Antarctic Ice Sheet's Collapse Triggers Sea Level Warning
Monday, 19 May 2014 14:08

By Alan Boyle – NBC News – May 13, 2014 – Video

Two teams of scientists say the long-feared collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun, kicking off what they say will be a centuries-long, "unstoppable" process that could raise sea levels by as much as 15 feet. "There's been a lot of speculation about the stability of marine ice sheets, and many scientists suspected that this kind of behavior is under way," Ian Joughin, a glaciologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in a news release about one of the studies published Monday. "This study provides a more qualitative idea of the rates at which the collapse could take place." The findings from Joughin and his colleagues, appearing in the journal Science, indicate that in some places, Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier is losing tens of feet, or several meters, of ice elevation every year. For full story and to view video, click here.

 
Experts warn Tasmania’s wetland birds face ‘wipe out’
Monday, 19 May 2014 13:49

Herald Sun – May 17, 2014

Migratory shorebird populations in Tasmania are in a “catastrophic collapse” that could wipe out some species from the local scene in a matter of years, warn experts. Already, some once-common species of migratory waders are believed to have vanished from certain Tasmanian wetlands and more than 20 species are in significant, unsustainable decline. For full story, click here.

 
European seafloor survey reveals depth of marine litter problem
Monday, 12 May 2014 13:15

Science Daily – April 30, 2014

A major new survey of the seafloor has found that even in the deepest ocean depths you can find bottles, plastic bags, fishing nets and other types of human litter. The litter was found throughout the Mediterranean, and all the way from the continental shelf of Europe to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge 2,000 kilometres from land. Litter is a problem in the marine environment as it can be mistaken for food and eaten by some animals or can entangle coral and fish -- a process known as "ghost fishing." For full story, click here.

 
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