Shrinking Amazon forests may lose thousands of trees species

WASHINGTON (AP) — A first-of-its-kind examination of the Amazon's trees found that as many as half the species may be threatened with extinction or heading that way because of massive deforestation. Among the more than 5,000 tree species in deep trouble: the ones that produce Brazil nuts and mahogany.

An international team of 158 scientists found that depending on the degree to which deforestation comes under control in the next 35 years, between 36 and 57 percent of the 16,000 tree species in the tropical rainforest area would be considered threatened. Their study is published in Friday's edition of Science Advances.

US, Cuba sign first environmental accord since thaw

HAVANA (AP) — The United States and Cuba signed an agreement Wednesday to join forces and protect the vast array of fish and corals they share as countries separated by just 90 miles (140 kilometers), the first environmental accord since announcing plans to renew diplomatic relations.

"We recognize we all share the same ocean and face the same challenges of understanding, managing, and conserving critical marine resources for future generations," said Kathryn Sullivan, chief of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Senate Energy hearing on wildfire management

Washington, November 17, 2015, 6:00 am

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to hold a hearing on wildfire management in the past to drive reforms in the system. Government Accountability Office Natural Resources and Environment Director Anne-Marie Fennell to testify.

Ducks Unlimited columnist fired after writing article critical of donor

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Ducks Unlimited has cut ties with a longtime field editor and columnist for the conservation group's magazine after he wrote an article critical of a former board member's legal fight over public access on his land in Montana.

Don Thomas, a Lewistown, Montana, writer said Wednesday the Ducks Unlimited magazine editor who fired him on Monday told him the article published last month in the magazine Outside Bozeman upset its subject, media mogul Jim Kennedy, the chairman of Cox Enterprises.

Office of Rep. Rob Bishop

Battle lines drawn as House panel gears for conservation fight

Just days after House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, unveiled his blueprint to reform and reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, clear battle lines are being drawn ahead of a hearing on the bill next week.

Bishop’s bill, which would reauthorize the fund for seven years, lays out clear restrictions on using annual appropriations for federal land acquisition, establishes programs to support offshore energy exploration, and ensures that at least 45 percent of annual funding goes to state and local assistance grants.

The program officially expired at the end of September after 50 years. While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have since pressed for a clean reauthorization, Bishop said it would be wrong to allow the program to continue without changes.

Office of Rep. Rob Bishop

Bishop scopes out big changes for LWCF in authorization bill

The leader of the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday outlined his roadmap to reform and reauthorize the expired Land and Water Conservation Fund, a plan that would put strict limits on federal land acquisition, put more money in state hands and streamline the process for offshore energy development.

Opponents derided the bill as an effort to “gut” the program by “anti-conservation extremists,” and the committee's top Democrat called it a “drill, baby, drill” effort that would threaten the program's effectiveness.

On a call with reporters, Chairman Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said his seven-year reauthorization of the program would ensure that funding for the program would be put to solid use—and for the purpose outlined in the original law.

“While broadly supported in many ways, and in many ways a success, this LWCF has strayed quite a bit from its law and its original intent,” he said. “If we're going to spend this much money, we can't think small. We have to think of something big that's going to help people. Otherwise, we shouldn't be doing it at all.”

New plant tests US appetite for seawater desalination

CARLSBAD, California (AP) — There's far more riding on the Americas' largest seawater desalination plant than the 50 million gallons (189 million liters) of drinking water it will produce for the San Diego area each day.

The plant, which opens this year, will help determine the future of seawater desalination in the U.S. The billion-dollar project is only the nation's second major seawater plant. The first U.S. foray in Tampa Bay is widely considered a flop.

California fines water suppliers for failure to cut back

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — State officials for the first time are fining California water suppliers for failing to meet a mandated 25 percent reduction in water use in the state's battle against a widespread drought.

The $61,000 fines are being imposed on Beverly Hills, Indio, Redlands and the Coachella Valley Water District.

California releasing latest water figures, discussing penalties

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — State officials plan to tell Californians what penalties they are taking against communities that fail to meet a mandated 25 percent reduction in water use when they announce usage figures Friday, in the state's battle against a widespread drought.

So far Californians as a whole have cut back water consumption by more than 25 percent every month since Gov. Jerry Brown put that mandate into effect last June. Statewide cutbacks amounted to 27 percent in August, 31 percent in July and 27 percent in June.


Scientists: Warming ocean factor in collapse of cod fishery

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The rapid warming of waters off New England is a key factor in the collapse of the region's cod fishery, and changes to the species' management are needed to save one of America's oldest industries, according to a report published Thursday in Science magazine.

Fishery managers say cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine — a key fishing area between Cape Cod and Canada that touches Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire — is only about 3 percent of sustainable levels, and participants in the fishery that dates to the Colonial era face dramatic quota cuts as a result.


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