Association of State Wetland Managers - Protecting the Nation's Wetlands.

bos2Song of the Seagrass  

Attish kanhai –  Earth Island Journal –  November 6, 2019
In the early twentieth century, coal miners would carry canaries in cages with them as they descended into the cavernous depths of mines. As long as the canaries kept singing, the miners would continue working. If the canaries stopped singing, it was usually because they had died, alerting the miners about the presence of carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. In a way, our oceans also come equipped with their own canaries. And while corals may be the best known example, seagrasses are an important early warning system of underwater environmental degradation that we have ignored for far too long. Read full article here.

 

 

 

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Bringing the world’s buried wetlands back from the dead

By Matthew Brown and James Brooks  – Associated Press – November 5, 2019
The ghosts are all around the gently rolling farmlands of eastern England. But you have to know where to look. These are not the kind of phantoms that scare or haunt — they are ghost ponds. Over the years, landowners buried them, filling in wetlands so they had more land for planting crops and other needs, or let ponds fade away with neglect. Along with those ponds, they erased entire ecosystems — and contributed to the decline of wetlands worldwide. The result: an array of environmental calamities, ranging from rising floods to species hurtling toward extinction. There are some who are trying to reclaim these lost waterbodies.  Read full story here.

 

 

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bos2EPA on ‘forever chemicals’: Let them drink polluted water

By Scott Faber – The Hill – October 1, 2019
Standing before a room mostly filled with industry lobbyists last week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a clear message to the hundreds of American communities with drinking water contaminated with the highly toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS: Let them drink polluted water. Read full story here.

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Meet the feds who track changes in the nation’s wetlands

Ariel Wittenberg – E&E News – November 7, 2019
When Megan Lang flies on airplanes with her children, she says she has to “fight them” for the window seat. Chief scientist at the Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory, Lang leads a team working to track wetlands changes across the country. With a report due to Congress in 2022, she spends most of her days staring at satellite and other images finding and documenting wetlands. Her interest in what they look like from the air doesn’t dissipate when she’s off the clock. “When you fly to Florida, they usually fly along the coast, and I love seeing the Delmarva bays; I want to see them!” she said of elliptical-shaped depressions common in coastal Delaware and Maryland. “They are so beautiful. I just find the shapes so amazing, and to see them interspersed with the geometric features and man-made landscape, I just love that.” With a Status and Trends report due in three years, Lang’s team has been working since 2018 to review 5,048 control plots, each 4 square miles, randomly scattered across the country. NWI has been watching many of the plots — some containing wetlands, some not — since the program’s inception, coming back to them roughly once a decade to see if there are any changes to aquatic resources. Read full story here.

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bos2ECOVIEWS: Bad boys of the frog world

Tuscaloosa News – October 27, 2019
In the United States, the largest frog is the American bullfrog. The largest one in the tree frog family is the Cuban tree frog. In some situations, both qualify as bad boys of the frog world because they have shown up where they do not belong. Read full story here.

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Economic analysis could undermine Trump rule repeal

Ariel Wittenberg – E&E News – October 30, 2019
When the Trump administration finalized its repeal of the Obama-era Clean Water Rule last month, it also quietly updated an economic analysis of the repeal’s costs and benefits. The 195-page final analysis is nearly 10 times longer than the one that accompanied the Trump administration’s initial proposal in 2017 to repeal the rule and estimates different costs and benefits of repealing the regulation, which clarified which wetlands and waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act. The updated analysis — which the public did not have the chance to comment on — could leave the repeal vulnerable to legal challenges, experts say. Read full story here.

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bos2Wilderness areas could reduce extinction risks by more than half

By Brandon Keim – Anthropocene Magazine – October 23, 2019
The idea of wilderness doesn’t have the cachet it once did. Academics have deconstructed its sometimes shaky intellectual foundations; conservationists have lamented, rightly, that romanticizing places without humans can lead to neglect for the nature around us. Yet for all its philosophical troubles, wilderness—big, contiguous places with minimal Homo sapiens footprints—is still enormously important. Just how important is underscored by new findings that put a number on the relationship between wilderness and biodiversity. According to researchers led by Moreno Di Marco, an ecologist at the Sapienza University of Rome, preserving Earth’s remaining wilderness areas will reduce extinction risks for terrestrial species by more than half. Read full article here.

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WOTUS lawsuits start long, muddy legal battle

Pamela King – E&E News – October 24, 2019
Get ready for a surge of lawsuits over the Trump administration’s decision to walk back Obama-era protections for wetlands and streams. Opponents to the administration’s take on which water bodies are considered “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act already launched at least two challenges this week, kicking off the next round of courtroom action. The cases add a new dimension to what could soon be a complicated legal quagmire over the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule and the Trump administration’s efforts to both erase and replace the regulation. Read full story here.

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bos2Slime on river rocks is a forensics tool for environmental scientists

Washington State Department of Ecology – October 15, 2019 – Video
We’ve all been there. You’re having a nice day playing in the water at your local lake or river, and all of the sudden you slip on a slimy rock! That slick, brownish goop squelches between your toes, and next thing you know, you’re falling backwards into the water. While most of us may not appreciate the slime that grows on river rocks, Dr. William Hobbs and his colleagues have found this slime useful for investigating the sources of toxic chemicals in the water. Read full blog post and view video here.

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New EPA regulations could allow for more polluted waters, and tribes and state officials are worried

By Hannah Weinberger – Crosscut – October 7, 2019
Lydia Sigo, a geoduck diver and Suquamish Museum historian, has harvested seafood from central Puget Sound with her family since her youth on the Suquamish reservation ⁠— for business, sustenance and religion. As a Suquamish tribal member with Duwamish heritage, it’s her treaty right to catch and co-manage fish and shellfish in these waters with state and federal authorities. These days, she thinks those treaty rights ⁠aren’t being fully respected. The Suquamish depend on some waterways often exposed to pollutants, which means the afflicted seafood they rely on to survive has the potential to be vehicles for toxic chemicals. Read full story here.

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