Environment

California tries giant water coolers to save fish

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — State and federal wildlife officials are resorting to installing giant water chillers in some of California's fish hatcheries, as drought, over-allocation of water and climate change all combine this year to make temperatures too warm for some baby salmon and other fish to survive.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service workers installed the coolers at the Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery at the foot of northern California's Shasta Dam this summer when water temperatures hit the mid-60s — too tepid for the half-million winter-run baby salmon growing there, said Scott Hamelberg, a federal hatchery manager.

Kenya, South Africa march for rhinos and elephants

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — About 500 people gathered in downtown Johannesburg to join the international fight to save dwindling rhino and elephant populations.

They marched through South Africa's largest city as part of global marches for rhinos and elephants that were planned Saturday in 136 cities around the world to mark World Animal Day, according to organizers. The demonstrations were aimed at raising awareness of the international ivory trade and to press governments to implement stricter legal measures to prevent poaching.

Famed beach in Jamaica slowly vanishing to erosion

NEGRIL, Jamaica (AP) — Tourists from around the world are drawn to a stretch of palm-fringed shoreline known as "Seven Mile Beach," a crescent of white sand along the turquoise waters of Jamaica's western coast. But the sands are slipping away and Jamaicans fear the beach, someday, will need a new nickname.

Each morning, groundskeepers with metal rakes carefully tend Negril's resort-lined shore. Some sections, however, are barely wide enough for a decent-sized beach towel and the Jamaican National Environment and Planning Agency says sand is receding at a rate of more than a meter (yard) a year.

"The beach could be totally lost within 30 years," said Anthony McKenzie, a senior director at the agency.

Experts expect rebound in monarch butterflies

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Deforestation is down in the Mexican forest that is the winter home of Monarch butterflies, and scientists also hope to see a rebound in the annual migration after it fell to historic lows last year, an expert said Thursday.

Omar Vidal of the World Wildlife Fund said two to three times more Monarchs may arrive this year, compared to last year.

Yellow-billed cuckoo now a threatened species

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The yellow-billed cuckoo has been disappearing from its home in the Western U.S., a decline that prompted the federal Fish and Wildlife Service to announce Thursday that the bird has been listed as a threatened species.

The yellow-billed cuckoo will now be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Cancer risk from Southern California air declining

LOS ANGELES (AP) — By at least one measure, Southern California's air is getting healthier.

The risk of cancer from airborne pollutants has dropped by more than 50 percent on average since 2005, according to a study released Thursday by the region's air quality regulators.

Concerted efforts to reduce emissions from trucks and other vehicles account for much of the drop.

Alaska refuge proposes killing invasive caribou

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A federal agency is considering lethal measures to protect an Alaska island refuge from an invasive species — caribou.

The big game animals are a popular target for Alaska hunters. The state annually pays to kill hundreds of wolves and bears to enhance moose and caribou populations. But caribou are an unwelcome, unnatural presence in a wilderness refuge in the central Aleutian Islands.

Scientists see bleached coral in northwest Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) — Warm ocean temperatures have caused large expanses of coral to bleach in the pristine reefs northwest of Hawaii's main islands, scientists said Tuesday.

Mass bleaching has occurred at Lisianski atoll, about 1,000 miles northwest of Honolulu, said Courtney Couch, a researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Coral also bleached at Midway, Pearl and Hermes atolls, but not as severely.

Sagebrush habitat fuels $1B in recreation spending

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Visitors to federal rangelands with significant tracts of sagebrush pumped about $1 billion into the economy in 11 Western states last year, according to a study released Tuesday by advocates of protecting sage grouse across the region.

The study is the first of its kind to examine the direct and indirect economic impacts of recreation spending tied to U.S. Bureau of Land Management property with habitat for sagebrush-dependent species, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Federal judge won't give Wyoming control of wolves

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A federal judge has denied requests from the state of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, and pro-hunting groups to change a decision last week that reinstates federal protections for wolves in the state.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday denied requests to change her ruling.

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