Environment

Scientists seeking oceans’ missing plastic

Source: 
Los Angeles Times

The amount of plastic being produced in the world has quadrupled since the 1980s but scientists, in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found no increase in the quantity floating on oceans’ surface, leaving them to question whether it’s being eaten by fish or microbes or being moved about in other ways, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Calif. water use dropping as drought bites

Source: 
Bloomberg

The 24 month period that ended Monday was the driest in downtown Los Angeles since records began in the 19th century, Bloomberg reports, noting that the California subsidiary of American Water Works Co. reported that usage declined in Sacramento since March, compared to previous years, as customers took steps to conserve.

In dry California, water fetching record prices

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Throughout California's desperately dry Central Valley, those with water to spare are cashing in.

As a third parched summer forces farmers to fallow fields and lay off workers, two water districts and a pair of landowners in the heart of the state's farmland are making millions of dollars by auctioning off their private caches.

Nearly 40 others also are seeking to sell their surplus water this year, according to state and federal records.

Feds consider sending bison to Grand Canyon, Iowa

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials on Monday listed 20 parcels of public lands in 10 states that could be suitable for bison from Yellowstone National Park, but said it would be years before any relocations of the animals.

The sites eyed for potential future herds include areas as diverse as Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park, an Iowa wildlife refuge and a North Dakota national historic site.

They were identified in a long-awaited Department of Interior report that looked at using Yellowstone's bison herds to further the restoration of a species that once ranged most of the continent.

Officials clash over beach contamination warnings

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A federal plan to lower thresholds for warning the public about contaminated beach water is drawing protests from state officials in the Great Lakes region and along the ocean coasts who say the revisions could unnecessarily scare away swimmers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's draft plan drew a flood of negative reaction from state and local officials during a public comment period that ended May 28. The agency will consider the responses and issue a final decision by the end of July, said Betsy Southerland, science and technology director in the EPA's Office of Water.

Oyster farm owners eye options after ruling

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to consider the appeal of a popular oyster farm that federal officials want to shutter and return to wilderness along the coast of Northern California.

The justices without comment left in place lower court rulings against Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

The owners said later at a news conference in San Francisco that they would keep fighting to stay in business.

Obama signs bill for more toxic algae research

MIAMI (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed a bill authorizing $82 million for new research aimed at controlling toxic algae outbreaks nationwide.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson from Florida sponsored the bill. The legislation streamlines existing national efforts to study and fight harmful algae blooms. It amends the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998.

Residents pleased by unexpected rise in Great Lakes water levels

Source: 
The New York Times

Water levels in the Great Lakes jumped this spring, an unexpected boon to residents in the area that scientists attribute to the frigid winter, The New York Times reports.

Study: Salamanders in the Appalachians are smaller

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Some scientists suggest it could be still another sign of climate change: Salamanders in the Appalachian Mountains are getting smaller, they say, because in a drier, warmer climate, the little cold-blooded creatures use more energy to stay alive.

"As their temperature rises, all their physiological rates increase," said Michael Sears, a Clemson University biologist. "All else being equal, that means there is less energy for growth."

In a study earlier this year in the journal Global Change Biology, Sears and other researchers compared museum specimens of salamanders collected over a half century beginning in 1957 with those measured at the same sites in 2011 and 2012.

UN chief 'adopts' lion cub in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon capped off a week of high-level U.N. discussions on the environment by "adopting" a 6-month-old lion cub Saturday

The young lioness, which was found abandoned in Nairobi National Park, will be raised by the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. Ban named the cub Tumaini, which means "hope" in Kenya's language of Kiswahili, after his "hope that all people around the world will be able to live harmoniously with nature."

"I sincerely hope this lion will grow healthy, strong and even fierce," Ban said, drawing parallels with his hopes for the environment after this week's first U.N. Environment Assembly.

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