Conservation Science News May 16, 2014

Focus of the WeekSome humor for a change…










NOTE: Please pass on my weekly news update that has been prepared for
Point Blue Conservation Science
staff.  You can find these weekly compilations posted on line
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The items contained in this update were drawn from,, SER The Society for Ecological Restoration,,,, The Wildlife Society NewsBrief, CA BLM NewsBytes and other sources as indicated.  This is a compilation of information available on-line, not verified and not endorsed by Point Blue Conservation Science.  
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Founded as Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Point Blue’s 140 scientists advance nature-based solutions to climate change, habitat loss and other environmental threats to benefit wildlife and people, through bird and ecosystem science, partnerships and outreach.  We work collaboratively to guide and inspire positive conservation outcomes today — for a healthy, blue planet teeming with life in the future.  Read more about our 5-year strategic approach here.



Focus of the Week– Some humor for a change…


Watch: John Oliver and Bill Nye Show Why Cable News Climate “Debates” Are So Ridiculous

Instead of a one-on-one faceoff, “Last Week Tonight” hosts one that is 97 against 3.

—By Chris Mooney

| Mon May 12, 2014 9:07 AM EDT

Bill Nye debates climate change surrounded by 96 other bow-tied scientists on John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight.” Screenshot/HBO

For over a decade, people like me have been explaining why so-called “balanced” coverage—in which journalists devote “equal time” to both sides of a “controversy”—is totally inappropriate when it comes to climate change. But many in the mass media,  especially cable shows, have continued to regularly host climate “debates” in which one skeptic debates one climate science defender…or, lately, in which one skeptic debates Bill Nye the Science Guy. That’s what made John Oliver’s climate segment last night, on his new HBO show Last Week Tonight, so perfect. Not only did Oliver explain why there’s no debate at all over global warming; he then demonstrated what an actually appropriate televised debate might look like. Bill Nye appeared on set, as did a climate “skeptic,” but then 96 other scientists appeared at Nye’s side (hilariously crowding onto the set) while their opponent got two additional supporters. These numbers—97 and 3—were based on a now-world famous study of published climate science papers, showing that 97 percent of studies that took a stand on whether humans are warming the planet said the answer is “yes.”

Warning: If you watch this, you’ll never be able to watch a climate “debate” again without rolling your eyes:


The 97%: Watch John Oliver’s Hilarious ‘Statistically Representative Climate Change Debate’

May 12, 2014

Some 97 out of 100 actively publishing climate scientists agree with the overwhelming evidence that humans are causing global warming. The challenge for the media is how to accurately reflect that consensus. One way NOT to do it is to give equal time to climate science deniers. Unsurprisingly (yet tragically), that is the preferred strategy of most of the MSM. False balance lives at CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg, and even PBS.






Boreal Birds Need Half

May 5, 2014

The North American Boreal Forest has been dubbed “North America’s Bird Nursery” due to its impressive role in supporting migratory birds. The statistics are astonishing:

  • Between 1-3 billion birds representing more than 300 species flock to the boreal each spring to find summer nesting habitat.
  • Once the young have hatched, 3-5 billion birds migrate back south toward their winter habitat—many as close as the U.S. and some as far south as the Tierra del Fuego.
  • More than 1 billion of these birds become common wintering birds that can be found throughout the U.S.

This new scientific report takes a closer look at this amazing relationship and what we can do to preserve the hundreds of species that intimately rely on this vast, mostly-intact forest. To provide birds the best fighting chance of surviving the dual threats of habitat loss and climate change, at least half of the boreal forest should be protected from industrial development. This continues the ever-growing research concluding that larger, interconnected protected areas are necessary in order to maintain our planet’s amazing collection of biodiversity.


Threats seen to 3 billion birds in vast Canadian forest
(May 8
, 2014) — Industrial encroachment in North America’s 1.5 billion-acre boreal forest could endanger billions of birds and other species. A new report calls for saving half of boreal forest acreage to protect the habitat for more than 300 migratory bird species. The northern landscape is beset with oil, gas, mining and other industrial hazards destined for a vast, pristine woodland. Stretching from Alaska to Newfoundland, the boreal forest — the circumpolar woods that circle the upper Northern Hemisphere — provides habitat for up to 3 billion nesting and migratory birds, according to the report, “Boreal Birds Need Half: Maintaining North America’s Bird Nursery and Why it Matters,” released this week by the Boreal Songbird Initiative, Ducks Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited Canada. More species have become threatened and endangered due to industrial encroachments into the birds’ habitats. For example, Canada warblers and evening grosbeaks have both recently experienced close to 80 percent declines in numbers, says the report. The document outlines the economic and ecological importance of these species. For example, birding-related business generates some $100 billion per year in the U.S. and Canada alone, said Jeff Wells, associate scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the report’s lead author. While the boreal forest remains one of the largest intact forests on Earth, it is “also seen as the last great frontier for natural resource extraction,” said Wells of the urgency to protect these areas. Southern boreal forests have already been affected by oil and gas mining, forest product industries, hydropower, and roads and infrastructure. Currently, Canada is considering usage policies that will affect the remaining intact 70 percent of the boreal area. “Decisions are being made today about what will happen over the next 100 years,” said Wells. In Canada, most land use decisions are made at the provincial or territorial level, said Wells, adding that hundreds of indigenous communities still live in remote boreal areas, where they rely on the land and water for their survival.. … > full story


Predators predict longevity of birds, study concludes
April 30, 2014) — Aging inevitably occurs both in humans and in other animals. However, life-span varies widely across species. Researchers have now found a possible general mechanism explaining differences in longevity. They investigated life history data of nearly 1400 bird species and found that avian life span varies considerably across the entire Earth, and that much of this variation can be explained by the species’ body mass and clutch size and by the local diversity of predator species. The researchers were able to confirm a key prediction of the classical evolutionary theory of aging that had been proposed more than 50 years ago. … > full story


Environmental conditions may impact bird migration
(May 14, 2014) — Wind conditions during spring migration may be a predictor of apparent annual survival and the timing of breeding in yellow warblers. Migratory birds play a critical role in the ecosystem, pollinating plants, dispersing seeds, and consuming insects and small mammals. Yellow warblers breed in western Canada and overwinter in Mexico, making them difficult to study during all stages of their annual cycle. Scientists found that of the climatic models tested, wind speeds on migration best predicted apparent annual adult survival, male arrival date at the breeding site, female egg laying, and annual productivity. …
Anna Drake added, “We know that winter conditions can have large impacts on migratory birds in eastern North America, but to our surprise we found that conditions on migration had a far greater impact on survival and reproduction of yellow warblers in the west. This is an intriguing result and suggests that differences in the geography of the flyways across eastern and western North America alter when climatic conditions influence the population dynamics of migratory songbirds.”full story

Anna Drake, Christine A. Rock, Sam P. Quinlan, Michaela Martin, David J. Green. Wind Speed during Migration Influences the Survival, Timing of Breeding, and Productivity of a Neotropical Migrant, Setophaga petechia. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (5): e97152 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097152


Study sheds light on penguins first year far from home
(May 14, 2014) — In the first study of its kind, scientists tracked penguins first year away from home and found young king penguins explored new habitat, eventually learning to find food similarly to their parents. … > full story


Marine scientists create world’s first global jellyfish database
(May 15, 2014) — An international study has led to the creation of the world’s first global database of jellyfish records to map jellyfish populations in the oceans. The debate regarding future trends, and subsequent ecological, biogeochemical and societal impacts, of jellyfish and jellyfish blooms in a changing ocean is hampered by a lack of information about jellyfish biomass and distribution from which to compare. To address this knowledge gap, scientists used the Jellyfish Database Initiative, or JeDI, to map jellyfish biomass in the upper 200m of the world’s oceans and explore the underlying environmental causes driving the observed patterns of distribution. … > full story


European seafloor survey reveals depth of marine litter problem
(April 30, 2014) — A major new survey of the seafloor has found that even in the deepest ocean depths you can find bottles, plastic bags, fishing nets and other types of human litter. The litter was found throughout the Mediterranean, and all the way from the continental shelf of Europe to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge 2,000 kilometers from land. Litter is a problem in the marine environment as it can be mistaken for food and eaten by some animals or can entangle coral and fish — a process known as “ghost fishing.” … > full story


Hydrologists find Mississippi River network’s buffering system for nitrates is overwhelmed
(May 11, 2014) — A new method of measuring surface water-ground water interaction along the length of the Mississippi River suggests the nitrates causing the Gulf of Mexico dead zone can not be controlled through existing natural filtration systems. The research provides valuable information for water quality efforts, including tracking of nitrogen fertilizers that flow through the river network into the gulf. … > full story


Bee biodiversity boosts crop yields
(May 9, 2014) — Blueberries produce more seeds and larger berries if they are visited by more diverse bee species, allowing farmers to harvest significantly more pounds of fruit per acre. The researchers looked at blueberries in North Carolina because it is an economically important and well understood crop that relies on insect pollination. … > full story


Link between insecticides and collapse of honey bee colonies strengthened
(May 9, 2014) — Two widely used neonicotinoids — a class of insecticide — appear to significantly harm honey bee colonies over the winter, particularly during colder winters, according to researchers. The study replicated a 2012 finding from the same research group that found a link between imidacloprid and Colony Collapse Disorder, in which bees abandon their hives over the winter and eventually die. The new study found low doses of a second neonicotinoid, clothianidin, had the same negative effect. … > full story

Is self-fumigation for the birds? Save threatened species by giving them treated cotton for nests (May 5, 2014) –

When biologists set out cotton balls treated with a mild pesticide, wild finches in the Galapagos used the cotton to help build their nests, killing parasitic fly maggots to protect baby birds. The self-fumigation method may help endangered birds and even some mammals. … > full story


Role of middle predators in reef systems: Marine research on oyster reefs
May 9, 2014) — The behavior of the ‘middle child’ in the predator-prey food chain plays a strong role in determining how the reef as a whole will fare, new marine science research shows. Research with oyster reefs complicates the evolution of a long-held ecology paradigm, namely that the species at the top of the food web dictate the welfare of the entire system simply by eating. … > full story


Chernobyl’s birds are adapting to ionising radiation April 28, 2014

Birds in the exclusion zone around Chernobyl are adapting to – and may even be benefiting from – long-term exposure to radiation, ecologists have found. The study, published in the British Ecological Society’s journal Functional Ecology, is the first evidence that wild animals adapt to ionising radiation, and the first to show that birds which produce most pheomelanin, a pigment in feathers, have greatest problems coping with radiation exposure…..

Sustainability needs link between theory, practice in education
(May 9, 2014) — How can you ensure that people do not only spend time thinking about important global issues like climate change or world food supplies, but also roll up their sleeves and do something about them? Researchers think that the education sector holds the key. Teaching processes around the world could be given more influence and meaning by making pure science subjects, such as biology and physics, complementary to lessons in nature, environment and sustainability. … > full story

The sum of all North American yards and neighborhood green spaces equals major habitat for birds and other wildlife. Credit: Image courtesy of Cornell University

Join new Yardmap project to create bird habitat
(May 2, 2014) — The backyard is far more than a place to install a pool, hold a barbecue, or toss a Frisbee. The sum of all North American yards and neighborhood green spaces equals major habitat for birds and other wildlife. Creating larger, connected patches of bird-friendly habitat is one goal of the new YardMap citizen-science project. The project has undergone extensive testing by 10,000 users who created more than 6,700 maps. YardMap is ready for everyone and is now inviting new participants to join. … > full story


Collecting seashells and grooming sand may damage beach ecosystems, a …

Washington Post 

 – ‎May 12, 2014‎


… pocket: You might be altering the seaside environment. In a study more than 30 years in the making, researchers have found that the removal of shells from beaches could damage ecosystems and endanger organisms that rely on shells for their survival.


The Historic Range of Beaver in California

From Brock Dolman, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center April 2014

In 1778 Captain James Cook got the coastal CA Fur Mining ball rolling with subsequent Amrican Sea Capitans and Russian Fur traders heading to China finished them off by 1817, and then in the interior lands around 1827/28 or so the “Mountain Men” Beaver trappers show up – thus by the time the Gold seeking “49’ers” showed up – our coast and rivers had been plundered and pillaged of it’s biological gold for over 70 years decimating most of the populations of sea otter, fur seal, and critically beavers – whom are indisputably recognized as keystone eco-hydro-system engineers and critical salmonid habitat, water supply and groundwater recharge managers.  OAEC’s WATER Institute’s Kate Lundquist and Brock Dolman with support from TNC recently released our multi–year report researching the historic range of Beaver overlapping with the range of endangered Coho Salmon.  Then we teamed up with a number of other core CA beaver colleagues to publish our findings more widely for the coast of California including SF Bay in the scientifically peer reviewed – California Fish & Game Journal.  The coastal papers build on work from 2012 when California Beaver Working Group members published two novel papers in the CA Fish & Game journal addressing the re–evaluation of beaver distribution in the Serra Nevada. Cumulatively our Sierra Nevada and Coastal/SF Bay papers – have literally re-drawn the Statewide Beaver maps, which now we feel more accurately reflect a more comprehensive vision for the extensive distribution of native beavers in California at time of early contact!




Marin County wetlands rise again in Hamilton airfield restoration

Sam Schuchat, of the CA coastal conservancy, on wetlands restoration at Hamilton Field

Peter Fimrite SF Chronicle Updated 4:06 am, Saturday, April 26, 2014

A cheer went up as salt water from San Pablo Bay poured through a breached levee Friday and flooded old, abandoned Hamilton Field in Novato, a landmark moment in the effort to restore Bay Area marshland habitat. The levee breach was the last, biggest step in nearly two decades of work by conservationists to reconnect 648 acres – about 1 square mile – of wetlands to the bay and to restore tideland habitat for shorebirds, waterfowl, fish and wildlife. The flooding of the runway at the former Air Force base, which was closed starting in 1973, is part of a regional effort to restore 100,000 acres of former wetlands around San Francisco Bay, according to conservationists. The Hamilton area was diked off around the turn of the 19th century, cutting off a primary landing spot for thousands of migrating waterfowl along the Pacific Flyway. It had remained dry until Friday, when a backhoe dug out the remaining mud barrier. “… The wetlands will fill up and recede with the tides, said Tom Gandesbery, the project manager, but it will take 10 or 20 years for it to become a salt marsh. … Creating the new tidal marsh, which cost $107 million over 10 years, involved more than just letting in the water, Schuchat said. Draining the land had caused it to subside, he said, so 5.6 million cubic yards of dredged mud had to be brought in to raise the land to its natural height. Volunteers and students [STRAW/Point Blue] planted native vegetation and grew tens of thousands of plants on the imported material, three quarters of which came from dredging at the Port of Oakland. Schuchat said the area was engineered in a manner that would create different habitats, including tidal marshland and brackish and freshwater wetlands. The restored area, which includes a 3-mile section of the Bay Trail, will provide crucial habitat for endangered and threatened species, including steelhead trout, salmon, California clapper rail, black rail, brown pelican and salt marsh harvest mouse, Schuchat said. “This was designed with sea-level rise, climate change and ecological resiliency in mind,” said Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael. “This is also a model project for reuse of our resources.” …..




Environment prize goes to Indian activist who battled coal mine plan )

The Goldman Environmental Prize for Ramesh Agrawal, who was attacked by gunmen, highlights the risks campaigners face.

By Shashank Bengali April 28, 2014, 12:05 a.m. Reporting from Mumbai, India—

Ramesh Agrawal had just finished lunch when two men walked into his cyber cafe and inquired about computer prices. Agrawal said he would ask his sons, who run the business. That’s when one of the men shot him. Two bullets pierced Agrawal’s groin and left thigh, shattering his femur. Blood ran down his pant leg. He collapsed but managed to grab a phone to call his wife for help. The assailants, who sped off on a motorbike, had links to a powerful steel company seeking to build a coal mine in Agrawal’s home state of Chhattisgarh, in eastern India, police said. Agrawal had been the mine’s foremost opponent, using India’s nascent freedom-of-information laws to lead a grass-roots campaign that prompted authorities to cancel the project’s environmental clearance. The July 2012 shooting badly wounded Agrawal, now 58, who still wears a cast on his upper leg and cannot walk without a cane. But for his activist efforts, Agrawal on Monday will receive the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grass-roots environmental activists, at a ceremony in San Francisco. ….The award for Agrawal — one of six recipients of the annual prize, which comes with $175,000 in cash each — highlights the risks faced by Indian campaigners who have tried to challenge powerful business interests. … The other winners of the 2014 Goldman prize are South African environmentalist Desmond D’Sa, Russian zoologist Suren Gazaryan, Indonesian biologist Rudi Putra, Peruvian indigenous activist Ruth Buendia and New York anti-fracking lawyer Helen Slottje.

For more on the Goldman Prize and inspiring video on this year’s awardees—see




Bart Selby

Orcas attack gray whales in Monterey Bay (11 pics)

Posted on Saturday, April 26 at 6:00pm | By Tom Stienstra

Nature’s truth and tragedy unfolded in a dramatic scene on Monterey Bay last week when a pack of 20 orcas attacked a mother gray whale and its calf. The fight lasted more than two hours, witnessed and photographed by field scout Bart Selby, and dozens aboard whale watching boats that cruised at top speeds to the periphery of the scene and cut their engines. In the past year, Monterey Bay has become the richest marine region on the Pacific Coast. In the past three weeks, it has reached a new peak with unbelievable hordes of anchovies, along with other baitfish, and with it, the highest numbers of salmon, marine birds, sea lions, gray whales, humpback whales and orcas anywhere. The bay ignited with life again in early April after the howling winds out of the north in late March set off upwelling in the underwater canyon and jump-started the marine food chain. At deepwater marine ledges, such as the Continental Shelf west of the Bay Area coast and the Monterey Underwater Canyon, strong north winds will push surface waters to the side, which allows cold, nutrient-rich water to rise up from the depths to the shallows. When sunlight penetrates that nutrient-rich water, it triggers plankton growth, and in turn, the building blocks of the marine food chain…..







Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans as Antarctic Ice Melts


The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet n West Antarctica is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported Monday…


West Antarctic glacier loss appears unstoppable
(May 12, 2014)A new study finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea. The study presents multiple lines of evidence, incorporating 40 years of observations that indicate the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica “have passed the point of no return,” according to the lead author. …
The bedrock topography is another key to the fate of the ice in this basin. All the glacier beds slope deeper below sea level as they extend farther inland. As the glaciers retreat, they cannot escape the reach of the ocean, and the warm water will keep melting them even more rapidly.

The accelerating flow rates, lack of pinning points and sloping bedrock all point to one conclusion, Rignot said. “The collapse of this sector of West Antarctica appears to be unstoppable,” he said. “The fact that the retreat is happening simultaneously over a large sector suggests it was triggered by a common cause, such as an increase in the amount of ocean heat beneath the floating sections of the glaciers. At this point, the end of this sector appears to be inevitable.”

full story


E. Rignot, J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi, B. Scheuchl. Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica from 1992 to 2011.. Geophysical Research Letters, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060140



Antarctic iceberg. Scientists have shown for the first time how the mantle below Earth’s crust in the Antarctic Peninsula is flowing much faster than expected, probably due to subtle changes in temperature or chemical composition. Credit: © Goinyk Volodymyr / Fotolia

Ice-loss moves the Earth 250 miles down

May 11, 2014 An international research team led by Newcastle University, UK, reveals Earth’s mantle under Antarctica is at a lower viscosity and moving at such a rapid rate it is changing the shape of the land at a rate that can be recorded by GPS. …At the surface, Antarctica is a motionless and frozen landscape. Yet hundreds of miles down the Earth is moving at a rapid rate, new research has shown. But GPS data collected by the international research team, involving experts from Newcastle University, UK; Durham University; DTU, Denmark; University of Tasmania, Australia; Hamilton College, New York; the University of Colorado and the University of Toulouse, France, has revealed that the land in this region is actually rising at a phenomenal rate of 15mm a year — much greater than can be accounted for by the present-day elastic response alone. And they have shown for the first time how the mantle below Earth’s crust in the Antarctic Peninsula is flowing much faster than expected, probably due to subtle changes in temperature or chemical composition. This means it can flow more easily and so responds much more quickly to the lightening load hundreds of miles above it, changing the shape of the land….Professor Peter Clarke, Professor of Geophysical Geodesy at Newcastle University and one of the authors of the paper, adds: “Seeing this sort of deformation of the Earth at such a rate is unprecedented in Antarctica. What is particularly interesting here is that we can actually see the impact that glacier thinning is having on the rocks 250 miles down.”…


Grace A. Nield, Valentina R. Barletta, Andrea Bordoni, Matt A. King, Pippa L. Whitehouse, Peter J. Clarke, Eugene Domack, Ted A. Scambos, Etienne Berthier. Rapid bedrock uplift in the Antarctic Peninsula explained by viscoelastic response to recent ice unloading. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2014; 397: 32 DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.04.019



Ocean winds keep Antarctica cold, Australia dry
(May 11, 2014) — New research has explained why Antarctica is not warming as much as other continents, and why southern Australia is recording more droughts. Researchers have found rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are strengthening the stormy Southern Ocean winds which deliver rain to southern Australia, but pushing them further south towards Antarctica. … > full story



Amphibians in a vice: Climate change robs frogs, salamanders of refuge
(May 1, 2014)
Amphibians in the West’s high-mountain areas find themselves in a vice, caught between climate-induced habitat loss and predation from introduced fish,” said Maureen Ryan, a University of Washington postdoctoral researcher …. Among the tools that could prove useful is a hydrologic model, currently used to project river flows, that can be applied to wetlands as a way to evaluate the effects of projected climate change. New remote-sensing techniques, using what’s called object-based image analysis, allow managers to use existing aerial and satellite imagery to map wetlands in remote and previously un-surveyed regions. Along with biological survey data these tools “can be used to identify regions where native wetland animals are most at risk of the combined effects of climate change and fish. In these regions, fish removal from strategic sites can be used to restore resilience to a landscape where inaction might lead to tipping points of species loss,” writes Ryan and her co-authors Wendy Palen of Simon Fraser University, Michael Adams of the U.S. Geological Survey and Regina Rochefort of the North Cascades National Park….full story


Back to the future to determine if sea level rise is accelerating
(May 9, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new method for revealing how sea levels might rise around the world throughout the 21st century to address the controversial topic of whether the rate of sea level rise is currently increasing. Scientists analyszd data from 10 long-term sea level monitoring stations located around the world. …
The study found that the most important approach to the earliest possible detection of a significant sea level acceleration lies in improved understanding (and subsequent removal) of interannual (occurring between years, or from one year to the next) to multidecadal (involving multiple decades) variability in sea level records. “The measured sea levels reflect a variety of processes operating at different time scales,” says co-author Dr Francisco Calafat, from the National Oceanography Centre. He adds, “One of the main difficulties in detecting sea level accelerations is the presence of decadal and multi-decadal variations.. For example, processes associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation have a strong influence on the sea levels around the UK over multi-decadal periods. Such processes introduce a large amount of ‘noise’ into the record, masking any underlying acceleration in the rate of rise. Our study shows, that by adequately understanding these processes and removing their influence, we can detect accelerations much earlier.”…full story


Ivan D. Haigh, Thomas Wahl, Eelco J. Rohling, René M. Price, Charitha B. Pattiaratchi, Francisco M. Calafat, Sönke Dangendorf. Timescales for detecting a significant acceleration in sea level rise. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4635


The Year Climate Change Closed Everest

As the world heats up, the Himalayas are becoming more volatile. 

Svati Kirsten Narula Apr 28 2014, 3:58 PM ET

NASA/GSFC/Kimberly Casey

The deadly avalanche on Everest earlier this month wasn’t technically an avalanche. It was an “ice release”—a collapse of a glacial mass known as a serac. Rather than getting swept up by a rush of powdery snow across a slope, the victims fell under the blunt force of house-sized ice blocks tumbling through the Khumbu Icefall, an unavoidable obstacle on the most popular route up Everest. The worst accident in the mountain’s history has effectively ended the 2014 climbing season. And some see global warming as the key culprit. “I am at Everest Basecamp right now and things are dire because of climate change,” John All, a climber, scientist, and professor of geography at Western Kentucky University, told me by email. “The ice is melting at unprecedented rates and [that] greatly increases the risk to climbers.” “You could say [that] climate change closed Mt. Everest this year,” he added….


Dangerous storms: Hurricanes peaking further north, typhoons further south, than in past
(May 14, 2014) — Powerful, destructive tropical cyclones are now reaching their peak intensity farther from the equator and closer to the poles, according to a new study. The results of the study show that over the last 30 years, tropical cyclones — also known as hurricanes or typhoons — are moving poleward at a rate of about 33 miles per decade in the Northern Hemisphere and 38 miles per decade in the Southern Hemisphere. … > full story




May 13, 2014 (Released Thursday May 15, 2014)


  • D0 – Abnormally Dry
  • D1 – Moderate Drought
  • D2 – Severe Drought
  • D3 – Extreme Drought
  • D4 – Exceptional Drought

The Drought Monitor focuses on broad-scale conditions. Local conditions may vary. See accompanying text summary for forecast statements.



All of Calif. in severe drought for 1st time this century

Doyle Rice, USA TODAY 1:47 p.m. EDT May 15, 2014

Today, for the first time this century, the entire state of California is in a severe drought — or worse. That’s according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a federal website that has tracked drought across the country since 2000.
The level of drought in California is “unprecedented” during the 14-year-history of the monitor, according to climatologist Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb. The three worst levels of drought are severe, extreme and exceptional: 100% of the state is now in one of those three categories: (23.31% severe, 51.92.% extreme and 24.77% exceptional.)

Exceptional drought encompasses central parts of the state, including the entire San Francisco Bay Area. San Diego and Los Angeles — where wildfires have scorched 14 square miles this week — are both under “extreme” drought conditions…..



California mountains rise as groundwater depleted in state’s Central Valley: May trigger small earthquakes
(May 14, 2014) — The weight of water pumped from California’s agricultural heartland, the Central Valley, over the past 150 years is enough to allow Earth’s crust to rebound upward, raising surrounding mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, some six inches. Winter rains and summer pumping cause annual up and down movements that could affect earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault, which parallels the ranges. …

The weight of water removed allowed the underlying crust or lithosphere to rise by so-called isostatic rebound, which has raised the Sierra probably as much as half a foot since about 1860, Bürgmann said…..
In response to the current drought, about 30 cubic kilometers (7.5 cubic miles) of water were removed from Central Valley aquifers between 2003 and 2010, causing a rise of about 10 millimeters (2/5 inch) in the Sierra over that time
full story

Colin B. Amos, Pascal Audet, William C. Hammond, Roland Bürgmann, Ingrid A. Johanson, Geoffrey Blewitt. Uplift and seismicity driven by groundwater depletion in central California. Nature, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nature13275


Fire season starts early, and fiercely. May 16, 2014 The New York Times

The fire season here in the hot, dry West now lasts roughly 75 days longer than it did a decade ago, and nearly three dozen fires have been burning up and down California in the last two days, weeks before a normal season begins…..


Tree rings reveal nightmare droughts in Western U.S. (May 1, 2014) — Scientists extended Utah’s climate record back to 1429 using tree rings. They found Utah’s climate has seen extreme droughts, including one that lasted 16 years. If history is repeated in the rapidly growing Western states, the water supply would run out based on current consumption. … If you think the 1930s drought that caused The Dust Bowl was rough, new research looking at tree rings in the Rocky Mountains has news for you: Things can get much worse in the West.

In fact the worst drought of this century barely makes the top 10 of a study that extended Utah’s climate record back to the year 1429. With sandpaper and microscopes, Brigham Young University professor Matthew Bekker analyzed rings from drought-sensitive tree species. He found several types of scenarios that could make life uncomfortable in what is now the nation’s third-fastest-growing state:

  • Long droughts: The year 1703 kicked off 16 years in a row with below average stream flow.
  • Intense droughts: The Weber River flowed at just 13 percent of normal in 1580 and dropped below 20 percent in three other periods.
  • Consecutive worst-case scenarios: The most severe drought in the record began in 1492, and four of the five worst droughts all happened during Christopher Columbus’ lifetime.

“We’re conservatively estimating the severity of these droughts that hit before the modern record, and we still see some that are kind of scary if they were to happen again,” said Bekker, a geography professor at BYU. “We would really have to change the way we do things here.”… > full story


Matthew F. Bekker, R. Justin DeRose, Brendan M. Buckley, Roger K. Kjelgren, Nathan S. Gill. A 576-Year Weber River Streamflow Reconstruction from Tree Rings for Water Resource Risk Assessment in the Wasatch Front, Utah. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/jawr.12191




The Drought Could Harm Research At Farallon Islands

by Alison Hawkes on April 24, 2014 BayNature

The research station on Southeast Farallon Island. Photo: Markus Spiering.

As you might imagine, life out on Southeast Farallon Island is pretty rustic for the half dozen or so research scientists who live out there. “We only shower every four days. There’s a schedule,” said Russ Bradley, the Farallon program manager and a senior scientist at Point Blue Conservation Science. Situated 27 miles offshore, the research station has to be largely self-sufficient. More than 90 percent of the power comes from solar panels. And the scientists rely on rainwater for household use that is collected in a large cistern with a 100,000 gallon capacity. They use about 25,000 gallons a year, roughly one quarter of the use of the average family home. Gray water is collected, filtered and used in toilets. California’s drought is certainly not making life easier. In fact, another year of measly rains could shut down the research station, Bradley said. “The rains we got in February helped us get back to the bottom end of where we’d be comfortable with. It’s lower than where we wanted to be,” Bradley said. “But in January it was pretty scary in not being able to collect significant water at all.”… The researchers monitor the largest seabird colony in the contiguous U.S. (more than 300,000 birds of 13 species), as well as five species of pinnipeds and an accompanying swarm of white sharks and other species. They are also collecting long term data on climate change and its effects on the marine ecosystem.”We have been conducting research and monitoring efforts on the Farallon Islands every day since April of 1968 — that’s 46 years of continuous effort,” said Bradley. “[We have] some of the longest term datasets on wildlife in the world – disrupting that could have major negative implications.”…..



Drought monitoring using space-based rainfall observations
(May 15, 2014) — Using modern weather satellites to monitor rainfall has become a robust, widely practiced technique. However, establishing a reliable context for relating space-based rainfall observations to current and historical ground-based rainfall data has been difficult. Now researchers are using space-based rainfall observations and comparing them to current and historical ground-based rainfall data to observe early warning of drought and famine to monitor rainfall in near real-time, at a high resolution, over most of the globe. … > full story


Increased drought portends lower future Midwestern U.S. crop yields
(May 1, 2014) — Increasingly harsh drought conditions in the US Midwest’s Corn Belt may take a serious toll on corn and soybean yields over the next half-century, according to new research. Corn yields could drop by 15 to 30 percent, according to the paper’s estimates. … > full story


Missing piece of biogeochemical puzzle in aquifers discovered
May 1, 2014) — New research may dramatically shift our understanding of the complex dance of microbes and minerals that takes place in aquifers deep underground. This dance affects groundwater quality, the fate of contaminants in the ground and the emerging science of carbon sequestration. … > full story











New Guide Provides Conservation Guidance in a Changing Climate (pdf)

Offers Practical Steps for Achieving Climate-Smart Conservation

Washington, DC (May 14, 2014) – A new guide released today offers conservation practitioners and natural resource managers guidance on carrying out conservation in a changing climate.

Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaption Principles into Practice
looks at how climate change already is affecting the nation’s wildlife and habitats, and addresses how natural resource managers will need to prepare for and adapt to these unprecedented changes. Developed by a broad collaboration of experts from federal, state, and non-governmental institutions, the guide offers practical steps for crafting conservation actions to enhance the resilience of the natural ecosystems on which wildlife and people depend. “Wildlife across our nation are experiencing the impacts of climate change,” said Collin O’Mara, incoming President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “These impacts are no longer a distant concern–they are happening right now.  To continue our legacy of conservation achievements, we must modernize our approach to restoring and improving the resilience of wildlife habitat by following the best practices highlighted in this forward-looking guide to conservation in a warming world.”


As the scope and scale of climate impacts continue to reveal their impacts on our communities and natural resources, there is a growing recognition of the need to not only address the underlying cause of climate change, by reducing climate-disrupting carbon pollution, but also to prepare for and adjust to our new conditions, known as climate adaptation. Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution to adaptation, the guide emphasizes the need to be intentional and deliberate in linking conservation actions to climate impacts. “Climate change is having a dramatic effect on America’s wildlife and iconic landscapes, and is challenging the ability of managers to sustain the ecological integrity of our lands and waters,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Mike Connor. “This new guide provides resource managers with practical steps for determining what they will need to do differently in light of a changing climate to best ensure the resiliency of the natural resources that define and support so many of our communities.”


Climate-Smart Conservation complements the recently released National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, which provides a high-level roadmap for sustaining the nation’s ecosystems in the face of a changing climate. The new guide offers a means to translate and carry out that plan’s strategies at particular places, offering hope for the future to sites ranging from our grandest national parks to cherished local community greenways. “The fate of our nation’s wildlife and natural places depends on steps we take now to prepare for and become more resilient to the growing impacts of a changing climate,” said Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator. “This guide provides resource managers with practicable and forward-looking tools that move us from adaptation planning to on-the-ground action.”


“Natural and nature-based features are becoming important components of building resiliency and reducing risk to coastal communities in the face of climate change,” noted Steven L. Stockton, Director of Civil Works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “This guide offers important information we can use to reduce risk to people and wildlife in an era of climate change.” “As a nation, we must take action to reduce the impacts of climate change already happening to our water, air, land and wildlife by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing resiliency plans,” said Acting Assistant Administrator of the Office of Research and Development, Lek Kadeli. “This guide is an important tool for managing the change that is upon us so we safeguard our natural resources.”


The 272-page guide is organized around a stepwise framework for adaptation planning and implementation that helps demystify what can be a complex and bewildering subject. The guide addresses such topics as:

  • Assessing climate change vulnerability
  • Reconsidering conservation goals in light of climate change
  • Identifying, evaluating, and selecting adaption strategies
  • Tracking the effectiveness of adaptation actions
  • Dealing with uncertainty

“Climate change is the defining issue for conservation in the 21st century” said Dr. Bruce Stein, National Wildlife Federation’s Director of Climate Adaptation and lead editor of the new guide. “Whether you already are deeply involved in climate adaptation, or just beginning to think about climate change, Climate-Smart Conservation is designed to help you take the next step in safeguarding our wildlife and wild places.” This peer-reviewed publication was developed by an expert workgroup convened by the National Wildlife Federation that included individuals from: Desert Research Institute, EcoAdapt, Environmental Protection Agency, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Geos Institute, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service, Point Blue Conservation Science, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Wildlife Conservation Society. A training course based on the guide is being offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center.


Climate-Smart Conservation is available online at:
For more National Wildlife Federation news, please visit:




Notes from Nepal: CBA8 Conference Welcome

Posted: 27 Apr 2014 09:57 AM PDT

By Alex Batka This year the 8th International Conference on Community-based Adaptation (CBA8) is taking place in Kathmandu, Nepal. In the past, the conference has focused on mainstreaming and communicating CBA, among other themes, but this year the conversation is centered on financing local adaptation. Nepal is a leader when it comes to financing CBA…



Among Nepal’s hill farmers, climate adaptation pursues profit not charity

Laurie Goering, Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation – Mon, 28 Apr 2014 10:32 AM

Laxmi Gurung works in her hail-resistant tomato house in Lumle in the foothills of Nepal’s Himalayan mountains, April 2014. TRF/Laurie Goering

LUMLE, Nepal (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – …The village vegetable cooperative, created in 2010, has drawn Lumle’s farmers – many of them poor, low-caste dalit women who used to have only tenuous connections to markets – into the world of commercial farming. This step forward is helping them boost their incomes and adapt to changing climate conditions, including worsening hail, drought and extreme rainfall…. As the world struggles to find enough money to help the poorest and most vulnerable communities adapt to climate change impacts, a growing share of experts say some – if not most – of the money needs to come from business sources. For-profit adaptation, they say – like that happening in Lumle – is more sustainable and less vulnerable to the whims of governments and other donors, although aid money is often needed to get it going. And expanding what works – from small-scale agriculture to insurance and microcredit – becomes easier when doing it creates a financial return, argued speakers at the 8th Annual Community-Based Adaptation Conference in Nepal this week. The gathering, which ends on Wednesday, plans to issue a declaration on financing local adaptation efforts, including recommendations for private investment….








White House carbon rules said to seek cuts beyond plants. May 16, 2014

The Obama administration is considering cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants by reaching beyond the plants themselves – an unusual approach that could run afoul of anti-pollution laws. Bloomberg News


Climate change: Don’t wait until you can feel it

(April 25, 2014) — Despite overwhelming scientific evidence for the impending dangers of human-made climate change, policy decisions leading to substantial emissions reduction have been slow. New research shows that even as extreme weather events influence those who experience them to support policy to address climate change, waiting for the majority of people to live through such conditions firsthand could delay meaningful action by decades. … > full story


Climate negotiation as a bargaining game
(May 12, 2014) — For more than two decades, members of the United Nations have sought to forge an agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. But so far, these international climate negotiations have had limited success. International climate negotiations have failed for 25 years. New research uses game theory to find out why, and what we can do to win the climate game. … > full story


Bill to Encourage Energy Efficiency Fails in Senate

By CORAL DAVENPORT NY Times May 12, 2014

The bill, which had drawn unusual bipartisan support, was derailed in a standoff over the Keystone XL pipeline and climate change regulations.



Brothers Battle Climate Change on Two Fronts


WASHINGTON — In the New Mexico of the 1950s, the two brothers grew up steeped in the beauty of the landscape, the economics of energy and the power of science. They skied, fly-fished, explored on the family’s 50,000-acre sheep ranch, watched oil towns go boom and bust, and talked of the nuclear weapons up the road at Los Alamos. Today the work of Robert and William Nordhaus is profoundly shaping how the United States and other nations take on global warming. Bill Nordhaus, 72, a Yale economist who is seen as a leading contender for a Nobel Prize, came up with the idea of a carbon tax and effectively invented the economics of climate change. Bob, 77, a prominent Washington energy lawyer, wrote an obscure provision in the Clean Air Act of 1970 that is now the legal basis for a landmark climate change regulation, to be unveiled by the White House next month, that could close hundreds of coal-fired power plants and define President Obama’s environmental legacy. Called the Manning brothers of climate change, the mild-mannered, dry-witted Nordhauses are scions of a New Mexico family long rooted in the land, which powerfully shaped who the brothers became. But for the Nordhaus brothers, protecting the earth depends far more on dispassionate thinking and intellectual rigor than on showy protests outside the White House.



Calif. cuts part of its greenhouse gas emissions by exporting them 

Debra Kahn, E&E reporter Friday, April 25, 2014

A California economist says that the state’s landmark, economywide cap-and-trade system for reducing greenhouse gases has a fatal flaw that is now emerging. Utilities, and even a state agency, are ending contracts for electricity from coal-fired power plants, which have high levels of carbon dioxide emissions. That would be no problem, and, in fact, good for the state’s climate goals, but the electricity is still being generated and consumed out of state. The issue is known as “resource shuffling” — a thorny problem that stems from the basic fact that California has capped its carbon emissions before anyone else in the West. Reducing emissions within California does no good for the climate if the emissions simply resurface elsewhere. A University of California, Berkeley, economist has noted three transactions already that could be transferring emissions out of state…..The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is set to approve a suite of changes to the state’s cap-and-trade program today that would permit these activities, along with increasing the number of free allowances that emitters receive and adding a new sector — coal mines — that can produce offset credits for trapping and destroying methane emissions. Resource shuffling could send as much emissions out of state as the state’s economywide cap-and-trade system is intended to reduce through 2020, Cullenward said. The emissions market is expected to pitch in about 20 percent of the emissions reductions required under the state’s 2006 law, A.B. 32, which set a target of 1990 emissions levels by 2020. Other policies, like solar installations, vehicular emissions standards, green building rules and a low-carbon fuel standard, are expected to result in the majority of emissions cuts….



Gov. Jerry Brown ramps up drought action with emergency declaration

By Matt Weiser The Sacramento Bee April 25, 2014  SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a sweeping emergency drought proclamation, cutting red tape for a variety of government functions to help water agencies find new supplies, and to press the public to use water carefully.

“I call on every city, every community, every Californian to conserve water in every way possible,” Brown said in a statement. “The driest months are still to come in California and extreme drought conditions will get worse.” The governor first proclaimed a drought emergency Jan. 17. This second proclamation goes further by waiving compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and the state water code for a number of actions, including water transfers, wastewater treatment projects, habitat improvements for winter-run Chinook salmon imperiled by the drought and curtailment of water rights. It directs state water regulators to accelerate approvals of voluntary water transfers to assist farmers and orders wildlife officials to take steps to help winter-run Chinook salmon and other fish survive the drought. The order also suspends competitive bidding requirements for drought-related projects undertaken by state agencies, including the departments of Water Resources, Fish and Wildlife, and Public Health….


In California drought, big money, many actors, little oversight

By Tim Reid Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:19am EDT (Reuters) –

In the middle of one of the worst droughts in California’s history, no one knows exactly how many agencies supply the state with water. While state regulators supervise three companies that provide gas and electricity for most of California, drinking water is delivered through a vast network of agencies which collectively do billions of dollars of business, setting rates and handing out contracts with scant oversight. There are so many agencies, in fact, that the California Department of Water Resource, which is responsible for managing and protecting the state’s water, concedes that it does not even know the exact number. “We think the total number is about 3,000 but there is no definitive resting place for those numbers,” a department spokesman said….John Chiang, the California state controller, is pushing for legislation that will increase fines for public water entities that fail to file annual reports with his office, although no agency is responsible for reading the reports once filed. “The lack of transparency provides a breeding ground for unchecked spending, corruption, and fiscal mismanagement,” said Chiang, who in October warned nine cities and 117 special districts, some of which were public entities solely responsible for managing and supplying water, that they were delinquent in filing financial records. Just 138 utilities – those owned by investors – are regulated by an outside body, the California Public Utilities Commission, Strickland says. The rest are governed by small boards of locally-elected officials…..









Advanced Energy Technologies for Greenhouse Gas Reduction

America’s electric power system can be modernized for higher performance by adopting advanced energy technologies that reduce carbon emissions and provide a variety of other economic and system benefits, according to a new report released today by the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). With announcement of EPA’s draft guidelines for regulating carbon emissions from existing power sources just weeks away, this new report from AEE describes a wide range of technologies and services offered by advanced energy companies that can help meet requirements for greenhouse gas reduction and simultaneously modernize America’s aging electricity infrastructure. AEE’s Advanced Energy Technologies for Greenhouse Gas Reduction provides details on the use, application, and benefits of 40 specific advanced energy technologies and services. By incorporating these and other advanced energy technologies into their plans, states can not only meet carbon reduction goals but also improve the efficiency, resiliency, and cost effectiveness of service provided by electric utilities.



Toxicologists outline key health and environmental concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing
(May 9, 2014) — Since the rise in the use of hydraulic fracturing of shale to produce natural gas and oil, many have debated the merits and detractions of the practice. Scientists outline how toxicological sciences can be used to determine what risks may or may not be associated with fracking. … > full story

Solar-powered roads: Coming to a highway near you? With the debate over global warming in full swing, Scott Brusaw’s wife Julie asked him whether he could build the electric roads he’d concocted as a child out of solar panels. Brusaw initially laughed off the idea – but not for long. CNN


CSIRO innovation could reduce brown coal emissions by up to 50 per cent

CSIRO and its industry partners plan to conduct a A$1 million trial of the Direct Injection Carbon Engine (DICE) with the aim of reducing emissions from brown coal-generated electricity by 50 per cent compared to current technology.

28 April 2014

CSIRO and its industry partners plan to trial the Direct Injection Carbon Engine (DICE) in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, the second largest and lowest cost brown coal resource in the world, with the aim of reducing emissions from brown coal-generated electricity by 50 per cent compared to current technology. Brown Coal Innovation Australia (BCIA) has allocated A$1 million to the technology trial, which is designed to maximise the value of Australia’s unique resource by significantly reducing emissions associated with the use of brown coal…..






A Guide to Farm Bill Conservation Programs This report provides an overview of the 2014 conservation programs and reviews their changes, challenges and opportunities within the context of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Targeting Farm Bill Program Funding to Advance Conservation Priorities evaluates the potential conservation impacts of the 2014 Farm Bill and gives recommendations on the best ways to target agricultural programs to yield the best wildlife outcomes.






The National Climate Assessment Recommendations and Implications

May 9, 2014 11:30 to 1:00 PM EST

The panel includes

  • Kathy Jacobs: Director, Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions, University of Arizona. Formerly, Director of the National Climate Assessment, and Assistant Director for Climate Assessments and Adaptation, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.
  • Emily Cloyd. Public Participation and Engagement Coordinator for the National Climate Assessment, USGCRP. 
  • Jim Buizer: Director, Climate Adaptation and International Development, Institute of the Environment; Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona. Member, Executive Committee, National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee
  • Anne Waple. Director of Resilience Initiatives at Second Nature, Inc.  Formerly, Program Specialist for the Global Change Information System, USGCRP


Habitat Restoration Webinars June 10-19, 2014

If you know anyone who might be interested in a very cost-effective way to learn about planning and/or implementing a habitat restoration project, please forward this on to them. Sustainable City Network has partnered with the Northwest Environmental Training Center to provide habitat restoration training in online courses offered June 10 through 19. Instructor Larry Lodwick will conduct the 6-hour habitat restoration planning course in three 2-hour webinars June 10, 11 and 12 for those with limited to moderate experience in natural area management, natural resource management or environmental permitting. The 6-hour habitat restoration implementation course will be presented in three 2-hour webinars on June 17, 18 and 19. Continuing education certificates will be provided, and each session will be recorded, so missing live sessions won’t be a problem.



Scenario Planning toward Climate Change Adaptation (pdf) WORKSHOP May 6-8, 2014 NCTC, Shepherdstown, West Virginia

This overview course will introduce the core elements of scenario planning and expose participants to a diversity of approaches and specific scenario development techniques that incorporate both qualitative and quantitative components.


Climate Change: Challenges to California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources
May 19, 2014; Sacramento, CA    The California Museum, 1020 “O” Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
The conference will bring together leading economists, analysts, scientists and policy makers from University of California, the state government, non-profits, and the private sector to discuss the potential impacts of climate change and the associated challenges to California agriculture and natural resources. Click here for more information.


Headwaters to Ocean “H20” Conference  May 27-29, 2014 San Diego, CA


Ecosystems, Economy and Society: How large-scale restoration can stimulate sustainable development (in DC)

29 – 30 MAY 2014 U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC, USA



North America Congress for Conservation Biology Meeting. July 13-16, Missoula, MT. The biennial NACCB provides a forum for presenting and discussing new research and developments in conservation science and practice for addressing today’s conservation challenges.

First Stewards
July 21-23, Washington, DC.

First Stewards will hold their 2nd annual symposium at the National Museum of the American Indian. This year’s theme is
United Indigenous Voices Address Sustainability: Climate Change and Traditional Places

99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
Sacramento, California  August 10-15, 2014


California Adaptation Forum 
August 19-20, 2014

This two-day forum will build off a successful National Adaptation Forum held in Colorado in 2013. The attendance of many California leaders there underscored the need for a California-focused event, which will be held every other year to complement the biennial national conference.  To register go to:

International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) World Congress meeting, July 9th 2015

Coming to Portland, Oregon July 5-10, 2015! The symposium, which is held every four years, brings scientists and practitioners from around the globe together to discuss and share landscape ecology work and information. The theme of the 2015 meeting is Crossing Scales, Crossing Borders: Global Approaches to Complex Challenges.



California LCC Seeks Proposals  for Place-Based Projects

The CA LCC has $400,000-$500,000 to support 2-4 collaborative place-based projects that lead to climate-smart conservation actions by natural resource managers. Place-based projects develop adaptation strategies and actions in a CA LCC ecoregion or landscape within an ecoregion that can be implemented by the partners. This request for proposals aims to fill Objective 1 of the recently completed CA LCC Science-Management Framework. This Framework provides the strategic direction for the CA LCC. Details in the Framework identify the process by which the CA LCC provides scientific support for natural resource managers to incorporate climate-smart conservation strategies into their management actions. 

Click here
for further details.

Important Dates:
— Proposal due date: May 12, 2014 5:00 PM PST
— Information webinar: April 30, 2014 12:00 – 1:00 PM PST


To join the online meeting


1. Go to

2. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: calcc 

3. Click “Join”. 

To join the teleconference


Call-in number: 1-866-737-4154

Attendee access code: 287 267 0 




JOBS  (apologies for any duplication; thanks for passing along)



Point Blue Conservation Science, founded as Point Reyes Bird Observatory and based in Petaluma, California, is a growing and internationally renowned nonprofit with over 140 staff and seasonal scientists. Our highest priority is to reduce the impacts of accelerating changes in climate, land-use and the ocean on wildlife and people while promoting climate-smart conservation for a healthy, blue planet.  Point Blue advances conservation of nature for wildlife and people through science, partnerships and outreach. Our scientists work hand-in-hand with wildlife managers, private land owners, ranchers, farmers, other scientists, major conservation groups, and federal, state, and local government agencies and officials.  Point Blue has tripled in size over the past 12 years in response to the ever–increasing demand for sound science to assess and guide conservation investments in our rapidly changing world.  At the core of our work is innovative, collaborative science.


Studying birds and other environmental indicators, we evaluate natural and human-driven change over time and guide our partners in adaptive management for improved conservation outcomes. We publish in peer-reviewed journals and contribute to the “conservation commons” of open access scientific knowledge. We also store, manage and interpret over 800 million bird and ecosystem observations from across North America and create sophisticated, yet accessible, decision support tools to improve conservation today and for an uncertain future. 


This is a pivotal moment in the history of life on our planet requiring unprecedented actions to ensure that wildlife and people continue to thrive in the decades to come.  Working from the Sierra to the sea and as far away as the Ross Sea (Antarctica), Point Blue is collaboratively implementing climate-smart conservation.   Read more at



POST Stewardship Project Manager

Ideal candidate would have a strong fundamentals in conservation and natural resource management with specific direct experience in ag.


CEO-Tree People


EDF – Project Manager- CA Habitat Markets

Please spread the word about an exciting opportunity at EDF to help us develop the Central Valley Habitat Exchange and pursue other opportunities to bring habitat markets to scale.  If you have any questions about the position, let me know.  And if you have networks where you can post this, it would be much appreciated.









Values and Data Meet at a Vatican Workshop on Sustaining Humanity on a Flourishing Planet

By ANDREW C. REVKIN April 29, 2014

The Vatican hosts a meeting considering the mix of science, technology and values-laden choices that will determine the quality of life — human and otherwise — on Earth in coming decades.


Toward Cultural Citizenship

New gateways into the humanities for students “still fully molten as human beings”

by Jonathan Shaw May-June 2014 Harvard Magazine

One day in the early spring of 2013, Alexander Rehding asked the students in his graduate seminar to join him in experiencing the sound of silence. As he led them through an exercise in deep listening, the students sat quietly for 15 minutes, becoming calm, and bending their attention to the sounds around them. “Over time, your listening experience fundamentally changes,” the Peabody professor of music said later. “You become much more attuned to the very quiet background noises that we normally just ignore. Many of the students report that, after a while, they stop trying to identify what the sounds are and where they are coming from. The sounds surround us, and everything becomes musical in a way.”…..The students found it meaningful, and for Rehding himself—who aims to make his students more active and critical listeners—it was a novel listening experience, too.

The course is one of a trio—in the arts of listening, looking, and reading—designed to attract freshmen and sophomores to the humanities concentrations, which are losing students rapidly. Together with two small, hands-on studio courses that focus on museum and library collections—those laboratories of the humanities—and an expanded, year-long general-education course that introduces students to select works of Western literature and philosophy, they are the outcome of the Humanities Project, a general rethinking of the division’s curriculum carried out by more than 40 faculty members (see “Invigorating the Humanities,” September-October 2013, page 54). The decline in student interest is recent, and particularly affects elite institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, says Bass professor of English Louis Menand. (His 2008 lectures at the University of Virginia, collected in The Marketplace of Ideas, trace the long-term national decline in the humanities since the early 1970s.) The current crisis is “continuous with that [national] story” of polarizing and contentious philosophical debates about the legitimacy of various subjects and approaches, but those conflicts, he says, “were never accompanied by a huge flight of students.” Now, “the numbers are a little alarming. From 2006 to 2012 we had a 35 percent drop in concentrators in English. I think history has also had a fairly dramatic drop. And when sophomores signed up for concentrations last fall, almost every department in the arts and humanities was down—some by a lot.” In five departments, there were fewer than half as many concentrators as among the previous class…..


The World’s Fastest Land Animal is Not the Cheetah, It’s a Mite

Science World Report 

April 28, 2014


You might be surprised when it comes to learning what the fastest land animal on Earth is. It turns out that a tiny mite holds the new record for running speed as measured in body lengths per second.



Eat a Cricket, Save the World

National Journal April 27, 2014

Worried your dinner is hurting the environment? It might be time to set aside the steak and reach for a cricket. Pound-for-pound, crickets pack more protein than cows, chickens, pigs, and the rest of the mammals and birds we’ve come to associate with barnyards. And their smaller footprint—both literally and environmentally—makes them a candidate for a more sustainable food source. Put down 100 grams worth of pure cricket and you’ve just ingested 69 grams of protein. That’s compared with 43 grams of protein in dried beef protein or 31 grams of protein in identical servings of chicken. The insects also contain essential amino acids and are high in iron, calcium, B vitamins, and fiber. Those squeamish about eating the hoppers whole may prefer pancakes—or any other baked goods—made from cricket flour. And last month, Brooklyn-based startup Exo (as in exoskeleton) started marketing cricket-flour protein bars to the marathoner-body builder demographic. They run $36 for a 12-pack, or just $32 for a monthly subscription. Cricket food products are being marketed mainly for their nutritional value, but their purveyors are also offering them up as a potential remedy for climate change. Worldwide, agriculture contributes one-third of greenhouse-gas emissions—most of which comes from grazing livestock. And while feeding cows requires acres of pasture or farmland, crickets are being served up as a possible fix.According to Exo, crickets are 20 times as efficient as a source of protein than cattle, largely because they take far less land and food. To produce the same amount of protein, the bugs take six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and half as much as pigs….


Single episode of binge drinking can adversely affect health, according to new study
(May 15, 2014) — A single episode of binge drinking can have significant negative health effects resulting in bacteria leaking from the gut, leading to increased levels of endotoxins in the blood, clinical scientists have found. Greater gut permeability and increased endotoxin levels have been linked to many of the health issues related to chronic drinking, including alcoholic liver disease. … > full story


Study may explain link between antibiotic use in infants, asthma
(May 14, 2014) — Children who receive antibiotics before their first birthday might be at an increased risk of developing asthma, new research has confirmed. However, the findings suggest that it is impaired viral immunity and genetic variants on a region of chromosome 17 that increase the risk of both antibiotic use in early life and later development of asthma rather than the antibiotics themselves, as previously thought. … > full story


Neanderthals were not inferior to modern humans, study finds
(April 30, 2014) — If you think Neanderthals were stupid and primitive, it’s time to think again. The widely held notion that Neanderthals were dimwitted and that their inferior intelligence allowed them to be driven to extinction by the much brighter ancestors of modern humans is not supported by scientific evidence. … > full story


Caring for horses eases symptoms of dementia
(May 5, 2014) — In the first study of its kind, researchers have determined that spending time with horses eases symptoms of Alzheimer’s dementia. The small pilot study suggests that equine therapy — a treatment used today for children and teens who have emotional and developmental disorders — could work for adults, too, and could supplement more common forms of animal therapy involving dogs or cats and provide a unique way to ease the symptoms of dementia without drugs. … > full story

Scientists discover a natural molecule to treat type 2 diabetes: Molecule mimics some effect of physical exercise
(May 12, 2014) — Researchers have discovered a natural molecule that could be used to treat insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The molecule, a derivative of omega-3 fatty acids, mimics some of the effects of physical exercise on blood glucose regulation. … > full story

A cup of coffee a day may keep retinal damage away, study shows
(May 2, 2014) — Coffee drinkers, rejoice! Aside from java’s energy jolt, food scientists say you may reap another health benefit from a daily cup of joe: prevention of deteriorating eyesight and possible blindness from retinal degeneration due to glaucoma, aging and diabetes. … > full story







These Dudes Designed a Pair of Sneakers Made Entirely From Garbage

One man’s trash is another’s footwear







Ellie Cohen, President and CEO

Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly PRBO)

3820 Cypress Drive, Suite 11, Petaluma, CA 94954

707-781-2555 x318  | Follow Point Blue on Facebook!


Point Blue—Conservation science for a healthy planet.


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