Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 20, 2017

97 Percent Of Endangered Species Threatened By Two Common Pesticides

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

EPA Analysis: 97 Percent of Endangered Species Threatened by Two Common Pesticides

WASHINGTON— The Environmental Protection Agency today released its first rigorous nationwide analysis of the effects of pesticides on endangered species, finding that 97 percent of the more than 1,800 animals and plants protected under the Endangered Species Act are likely to be harmed by malathion and chlorpyrifos, two commonly used pesticides. Another 78 percent are likely to be hurt by the pesticide diazinon. The results released today are the final biological evaluations the EPA completed as part of its examination of the impacts of these pesticides on endangered species.

“We’re now getting a much more complete picture of the risks that pesticides pose to wildlife at the brink of extinction, including birds, frogs, fish and plants,” said Nathan Donley, senior scientist at the Center. “The next step will hopefully be some commonsense measures to help protect them along with our water supplies and public health.”

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 19, 2017

Audubon Concerns About Scott Pruitt Leading EPA

From  David Yarnold President, National Audubon Society

Scott Pruitt is a Dangerous Pick to Lead the EPA

He not only protected millions of Americans from DDT’s harmful effects, but also rescued the national bird, the bald eagle, from near extinction. The National Audubon Society and its members helped lead that epic change.

The primary job of the EPA—created 47 years ago by a Republican administration—is to safeguard America’s health. The same clean air and water that is good for our kids and families is also good for birds, wildlife and wild places. That is why Audubon opposes Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the agency.

During his six years as attorney general in Oklahoma, Pruitt worked aggressively to dismantle the EPA’s scientifically grounded protections for cleaner air and water.

He filed or joined 13 lawsuits against EPA and settled even more against polluters that would permit power plants to spew more sulfur dioxide, mercury, arsenic, cyanide and other poisonous toxins into the air; allow more smog to blanket our rural communities, cities and national parks; and allow more pollution in our rivers and lakes and the water we drink. He even dismantled the unit within the state Attorney General’s Office charged with enforcing environmental protections against polluters.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 19, 2017

Condors To Return Redwood Nat. Pk.

The Environmental Protection Information Center reports

The Yurok Tribe has spearheaded an effort in conjunction with the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service to establish a condor restoration program and release facility in Redwood National Park, to return condors to their historical range in Yurok Ancestral Territory, where they have not been seen for more than a century.

Read full story at  Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) » Bringing Back the Condor

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 18, 2017

Homestead Valley Land Trust Wildflowers 1/18/17

Homestead Valley Land Trust Facebook page reports including photos that Fetid Adder’s Tongue and Death Camus are now blooming. It is located in Mill Valley, CA.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 18, 2017

2017 Texas Wildflower Predictions

Gary Regner Photography reports

January 15, 2017 – Spring 2017 Outlook

El Nino is over, but there has been significant rain during the fall and winter to provide for a good wildflower show this spring. This winter has also brought more seasonable periods of cold temperatures as well, which can promote a better wildflower season.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 18, 2017

Arctic Sea Ice Change Alters Beluga Whale Migration

ScienceDaily reports

A new study finds the annual migration of some beluga whales in Alaska is altered by sea ice changes in the Arctic, while other belugas do not appear to be affected.

Read article Arctic sea ice loss impacts beluga whale migration — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 17, 2017

Birding Green Cay Wetlands

I went birding at Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach in Palm Beach County in southern Florida this past Sunday. Green Cay Wetlands  is the old Green Cay Farm that was owned by Ted and Trudy Winsberg.  When the farms around them were being converted into housing developments they preferred to restore their land to open prairie with wetland similar to how it had been previous to farming.

There is a 1.5-mile elevated boardwalk through the wetland and a nature center.  It is an excellent area to see birds, alligators, turtles, and rabbits.  Here is the visitor’s center  Bird Checklist and Bird Counts links (which include monthly and often weekly bird counts starting on April 2007 and going through 2010).

I saw 33 species. Highlights includedseeing a Limpkin, American Bittern, trying to identify a female Purple Gallinule, watching a flock of Glossy Ibis fly overhead and a Red-shouldered Hawk being chased by another bird. I also saw two Alligators and an Iguana.

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Click read more to see bird list

Read More…

The University of California-Davis reports

 A study spanning 10 national forests and 14 burned areas in California found that conifer seedlings were found in less than 60 percent of the study areas five to seven years after fire. Of the nearly 1,500 plots surveyed, 43 percent showed no natural conifer regeneration at all.

Read about study at High-Severity Wildfires Complicate Natural Regeneration for California Conifers | UC Davis

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 16, 2017

Why Children Make the Best Environmentalists

National Geographic’s makes a case for  Why Children Make the Best Environmentalists.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2017

The Mystery Of The Missing Bird Colony

Audubon explores the mystery of the sudden disappearance of a large bird colony of several species that included the abandonment of active nests. Read story at  The Mystery of Seahorse Key’s Missing Bird Colony Veers Into Strange Territory | Audubon

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2017

Early season Antelope Valley Wildflower Report

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve reports: The recent rains have alleviated the drought in much of the state, but we're still at only half of what we need to potentially have a good bloom at the Poppy Reserve. More rain is coming though! Shoots of grasses, red-stem filaree, and a few little poppies are starting to poke through. It's still too early to predict the bloom duration and intensity, but regular updates will begin in February. The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center will be open March 1 – April 30.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2017

Birding Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Today I went on a bird walk with the Audubon Society of the Everglades in Palm Beach County, Florida. Highlights were quite a number of wood storks, and watching baby Great Blue Heron chicks beg for food. I had 28 bird species that I either heard or saw. Also seen were a number of Iguana, an Alligator and a turtle.

Click Read more to see bird list

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2017

Washington Wildlife Agency Failed To Prevent Killing Of Wolves

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

Report Shows Washington's Wildlife Agency Failed to Prevent Killing of Profanity Peak Wolf Pack

Agency Inaction Despite Predictable Livestock Conflicts Led to Massacre

PORTLAND, Ore.— The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife yesterday released a long-awaited report on its killing of most of the wolves in the Profanity Peak pack in response to livestock depredations — proving the state agency failed to prevent conflicts that led to the deaths.

The report details when cattle were put out on the allotment, when it was known wolves were in the area, and what actions were taken to address the situation. These additional details make clear that despite awareness by the department in early June that wolves and cattle were close to each other on a public-lands grazing allotment, no additional actions were taken by the department or the rancher-permittee to prevent conflicts until after a calf was killed by wolves nearly a month later. Also, the rancher appears to have put out one or more salt licks to attract livestock to the area, despite the known presence of wolves at what was later determined to be a wolf rendezvous site.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2017

Impact Climate Change &n Habitat Loss On UK Bird Species

The Guardian reports

Climate change has already led to the vanishing of some bird species in parts of England, where intensively farmed land gives them no room to adapt to warming temperatures. The revelation, in a new scientific study, contradicts previous suggestions that birds are tracking global warming by shifting their ranges.

Read article at  Bird species vanish from UK due to climate change and habitat loss | Environment | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 13, 2017

Army Corps Issues Approval To Destroy Thousands Acres Of Wetlands

News Release Center for Biological Diversity

Army Corps Issues Blanket Approval to Destroy Tens of Thousands of Acres of U.S. Wetlands

Program Allows Mass Environmental Degradation With Limited Oversight

PORTLAND, Ore.— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released the latest version of its “nationwide permit” program, which results in the destruction of tens of thousands of acres of wetlands every year. With little consideration for the impact of such widespread habitat devastation, the program’s permits have greenlighted major projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Gulf segment of the Keystone XL pipeline without concern for the consequences of losing wetlands and harming aquatic resources.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 12, 2017

Obama Creates 5 More National Monuments

In California the Mercury News reports

In one of his final conservation acts before leaving the White House next week, President Obama on Thursday granted national monument status to Coast Dairies, a 5,785-acre scenic coastal expanse between Santa Cruz and Davenport that stretches for six miles along Highway 1 and features rolling hills, redwood forests and breathtaking ocean views.

Obama added Coast Dairies and five other pieces of land to the existing California Coastal National Monument, an area set up 17 years ago by President Bill Clinton to protect offshore rocks and islands.

via Obama names Santa Cruz coast property as national monument

Washington Post article on all five new National Monuments  Obama names five new national monuments, including Southern civil rights sites – The Washington Post

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 12, 2017

Ring-tailed Lemurs Face Serious Extinction Threat

ScienceDaily reports that Ring-tailed Lemurs in Madagascar are threatened by habitat destruction, hunting, and illegal capture

The ring-tailed lemur, a primate that is emblematic of the wild and wonderful creatures inhabiting the tropical island of Madagascar, is in big trouble — there less than 2,500 left in wild, says new study.

Read full article at Ring-tailed lemurs: Going, going, gone? Madagascar native threatened by habitat destruction, hunting, illegal capture — ScienceDaily

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 11, 2017

Death Valley Superbloom Unlikely

 Death Valley National Park reports

What’s the possibility of another superbloom??
The results are in… and it’s not looking good. Last year’s superbloom was a once-in-a-decade event at best by trends (last were ’98, ’05, ’16). We also have received 13% (.23 inches) of the precipitation that we did last year (1.76 inches) in the same amount of time (October-January). It is likely that the seed bank that took at least a decade to build was exhausted last year.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 11, 2017

More Rain In The Desert

Desert Wildflower Reports – DesertUSA reports

Jan 11, 2017 – Rainstorms in California’s deserts, Arizona and Nevada are still active. We could have a good 2017 wildflower seasons in some areas.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 11, 2017

Ranger Naturalist Class In Outdoor Education at Merritt College

Merritt College is offering an Outdoor Education Naturalist Class starting this month

ENVMT 8 (3 units)
Intro to Outdoor Education, Ranger Naturalist (code 24271) Instructor: Staff
Saturdays 10:00AM – 12:50PM, 01/23/2017 – 05/26/2017
Overview of nature/culture interpretation and education: Planning for age-, theme-, and place- appropriate presentations leading towards employment opportunities in the environmental management field.

There will be a variety of speakers on environment and fieldtrips! If you or someone you may know is interested in subjects like: sharpening your ability to communicate about nature to others, developing a better understanding of natural history and science of the SF bay area or gaining a better understanding of the many issues we face in nature conservation today.  Here is the the link for registration
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 11, 2017

First Bumblebee To Receive Endangered Protection

The New York Times reports

The Obama administration, rushing to secure its environmental legacy, has increased protection for a humble bumblebee.

The rusty-patched bumblebee, once common across the continental United States, has been designated an endangered species by the Fish and Wildlife Service: the country’s first bumblebee, and the first bee from the lower 48 states, to be added to the register.

Read article and see photo at  A Bumblebee Gets New Protection on Obama’s Way Out – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 11, 2017

What’s Killing The World’s Shorebirds?

Nature reports

Shorebird populations have shrunk, on average, by an estimated 70% across North America since 1973, and the species that breed in the Arctic are among the hardest hit1. The crashing numbers, seen in many shorebird populations around the world, have prompted wildlife agencies and scientists to warn that, without action, some species might go extinct.

Read story at What’s killing the world’s shorebirds? : Nature News & Comment

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 10, 2017

Businesses & Investors To Trump: Don’t Ignore Change

The Guardian reports

More than 600 businesses and investors signed and released a letter on Tuesday urging president-elect Donald Trump to fight climate change – a move that coincides with the start of the Senate hearings to confirm his cabinet nominees, who are poised to gut existing climate policies.

The letter contains signatures from roughly 200 more companies and investors than when it was initially submitted after the election in November, including Campbell Soup, Johnson & Johnson and the New York State Retirement Fund. The previous plea was signed by companies like Monsanto, eBay, Levi Strauss and Staples.

Read full article at Businesses and investors renew plea to Trump: don’t ignore climate change | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian

The New York Times reported

Federal wildlife officials on Monday called climate change the biggest threat to the survival of the polar bear and warned that without decisive action to combat global warming, the bears would almost certainly disappear from much of the Arctic.

“It cannot be overstated that the single most important action for the recovery of polar bears is to significantly reduce the present levels of global greenhouse gas emissions,” the officials wrote in a report released by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Read full story at Human-Driven Global Warming Is Biggest Threat to Polar Bears, Report Says – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 9, 2017

Yosemite Valley Reopens Tuesday

Yosemite National Park reports

Yosemite Valley will reopen for day-use visitors tomorrow morning, January 10, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. There is no access to Yosemite Valley via the El Portal Road (Highway 140) due to a rockfall that occurred early this morning. There is no estimated day or time for the road to reopen. The Hetch Hetchy Road is also closed due to a rockfall. Visitors should be aware that there will be limited visitor services and plan accordingly. Overnight accommodations and commercial services operated by the park concessioner are slated to reopen on Wednesday, January 11, 2017. Campgrounds in Yosemite Valley are slated to be open for tomorrow evening.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 9, 2017

Calaveras Tunnel Tree Fell In Storm

NPR reported

A powerful winter storm in California has brought down an ancient tree, carved into a living tunnel more than a century ago.

Read story at  Iconic Sequoia ‘Tunnel Tree’ Brought Down By California Storm : The Two-Way : NPR.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 9, 2017

San Francisco Plant Lists

Wood Biological Consulting has an excellent collection of detailed plant lists at San Francisco Plant Checklist. They include the following:

  • The Locally Significant Plant Species of San Francisco County
  • Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants of San Francisco’s Natural Areas – 2nd edition
  • The Extant and Extirpated Rare Plants of San Francisco County  A summary of all rare and endangered plants recorded for San Francisco County.
  • The Extirpated Plants of San Francisco A comparison of the current record of the extant plants of San Francisco County with the indigenous taxa historically recorded from the county.
  • Site-specific Checklists Checklists for 58 of San Francisco’s natural areas.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 8, 2017

More Endangered Species Act Successes

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

Endangered Species Act Successes Continue: Bat, Cactus, Buckwheat All Found to Have Recovered

More Species Recovered Under Obama Administration Than All Others Combined

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed today to remove the lesser long-nosed bat and gypsum wild buckwheat from the list of endangered species and to downlist the Kuenzler hedgehog cactus from endangered to threatened, reflecting full recovery of the first two species and significant progress with the third.

So far 32 species have fully or partially recovered under the Obama administration, while another 12 have been proposed as recovered. This means more species were declared recover under President Obama than in all past administrations combined, since President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law in 1973.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2017

Kings Canyon/Sequoia Storm Update

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks posted the following storm update are 4:30 pm today

The Generals Highway is #now closed at the Foothills Visitor Center in Sequoia National Park due to rock slides and flooding until further notice.

This means visitors will #not be able to access the big trees, Potwisha Campground, Giant Forest Museum, and the Lodgepole area. Guests with reservations to Wuksachi Lodge are encouraged to call them at this time.

Visitors are able to exit the park at this time. Kings Canyon National Park remains open. We will provide more information as it becomes available. #castorm #cawx

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 7, 2017

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 1/6/17

Henry Coe State Park has a new wildflower bloom report  for January 6 at the Pine Ridge Association website with photos and a list of flowers now in bloom at: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.

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