Conservation Science News June 13, 2014



Focus of the Week: CA DROUGHT and Some Solutions










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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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Focus of the Week– CA DROUGHT and some solutions




New report from the Pacific Institute and the NRDC; Drought-stricken California could save up to 14 million acre-feet of water; enough to supply all the state’s cities annually

by Maven From the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“California could be saving up to 14 million acre-feet of untapped water – providing more than the amount of water used in all of California’s cities in one year – with an aggressive statewide effort to use water-saving practices, reuse water, and capture lost stormwater, according to a new analysis released today by the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Our current approach to water use is unsustainable, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough water to meet our needs,” said Kate Poole, NRDC senior attorney with the water program. “At a time when every drop counts, we need to employ sensible and cost-effective 21st century solutions that will help us reduce uses today while promising new, resilient supplies for cities and farms tomorrow.”

“As climate change brings more extreme weather, including droughts, ramping up forward-thinking solutions now will help us be more resilient,” said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute. “With widespread adoption of available water conservation and efficiency improvements, demand can be met more readily, less expensively, and with less pressure on our tapped-out rivers and groundwater basins. Moreover, water reuse and stormwater capture can help boost local supplies.” NRDC and the Pacific Institute’s issue brief, The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply, is a first-of-its-kind statewide analysis examining the significant potential contributions achievable from a combination of improved efficiency in agricultural and urban water use, water reuse and recycling, and increased capturing of local rainwater….


Key findings and solutions from the new study include:

  • Agriculture uses about 80 percent of California’s developed water supply. Agricultural water users can develop more sustainable water use by expanding adoption of key modern irrigation technologies and practices, such as drip irrigation and precise irrigation scheduling. Some farmers are already employing these practices, which, extended, can reduce agricultural water use by 17 to 22 percent – or 5.6 to 6.6 million acre-feet of water annually. These savings are the equivalent to the surface water that Central Valley farms are lacking this year due to the drought.
  • Urban areas use about 20 percent of the state’s developed water supply, much of which is delivered from reservoirs hundreds of miles away at great ecological and energy cost. Improved efficiency, stormwater capture, and greater water reuse can together save a total of 5.2 to 7.1 million acre-feet of water per year, enough water to supply all of urban Southern California and have water remaining to help restore ecosystems and recharge aquifers. These approaches also cut energy use, boost local water reliability, and improve water quality in coastal regions.
  • In total, these 21st century water supply solutions can offer up to 14 million acre-feet in new supplies and demand reductions per year, more water than is used in all of California’s cities in a year. These savings would provide enough water to serve 20 cities the size of Los Angeles, every year.

“While there’s no silver bullet to solving this water crisis, efficiency, reuse, and stormwater provide a tremendous water-saving blueprint we can realize if we take collaborative action now, backed by government and community leadership,” said Poole. “This is a critical moment for all water users to step up and implement robust solutions that will make a lasting difference.” “We know that traditional water solutions have failed to solve California’s water problems,” said Gleick. “The good news is that there are broad, cost-effective, environmentally sound options that work and that can help us during the current drought and far into the future.”


  • View the downloadable infographic and full issue brief here: and
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDCWater.
  • The Pacific Institute is one of the world’s leading independent nonprofit research organizations working to create a healthier planet and sustainable communities. Based in Oakland, California, the Institute conducts interdisciplinary research and partners with stakeholders to produce solutions that advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity – in California, nationally, and internationally. Visit us at



The Australian Approach to Water Crisis: Work With Farmers

Posted by Brian Richter of The Nature Conservancy and University of Virginia in Water Currents on June 5, 2014

The Murray River near Renmark, Australia. (Photograph by Brian Richter)

With water crises erupting in California, Texas, and the Colorado River Basin, state water managers throughout the western U.S. and our federal government could take some valuable lessons from the impressive progress made in Australia over the past decade. The Aussies have taken some giant leaps forward in their efforts to avert water shortages in their largest river basin – the Murray-Darling. Most notably, the Aussies realized decades ago that over-allocation of water rights in the Murray-Darling Basin was damaging both to the environment and to their economy. The Murray-Darling Basin is Australia’s food basket, providing nearly 40% of the country’s agricultural production.  Most of the country’s fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products, beef, lamb, and wine, are produced using Murray-Darling water.  When farmers don’t get the water they need, everybody suffers. But when too many straws are drawing from the rivers, you can be certain that when dry times come, many will be sucking air. During a devastating “Millennium Drought” in 1997-2009, river flows throughout the basin were only 40-60% of average.  Many farmers received no water allocations whatsoever for three years.  Dairy production fell by 14 percent, cotton fell by a fourth, meat by half, and rice farming stopped almost entirely. Realizing that setting a maximum limit on water use is essential to everyone’s water and food security, the Aussies in 1997 adopted “The Cap.”  This limit on total water use – which was further institutionalized in a comprehensive Basin Plan adopted in 2012 – recognized that water rights needed to be reduced by about a third if the country was going to avoid another economic and environmental disaster. Importantly, the cap on water rights will leave 60% of the water in the rivers, on average, for ecological support.  While many scientists argued for even higher levels of protection for the environment, it is hoped that the imposed cap on water extraction will be sufficient to avoid the massive fish kills and toxic blue-green algal blooms that occurred historically when water extractions were greater….

….Similar to the western U.S., most of the water consumption in the Murray-Darling Basin goes to irrigated agriculture.  Since 2002, the Australian Commonwealth (federal) government has allocated nearly U.S. $14 billion dollars to reduce the volume of water being used on farms. More than two-thirds of this money has been directed into a Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program that helps farmers to install more efficient irrigation technologies like drip irrigation, or reduce water losses through infrastructure improvements such as concrete lining of earthen ditches.  This program has been extremely well-received, and farmers have lined up to take the government’s help in saving water on their farms.  Importantly, the government recovers the portion of the water right that is no longer needed due to the water savings. The remainder of this federal funding support was directed at buying water rights from willing sellers.  Some farmers sold their water and got out of farming altogether.  But many others switched to growing crops that used less water, thereby freeing up some water for sale. To date, nearly 70% of the targeted reductions in water use have been achieved.  Much of the early progress came from buying back water rights, but the Commonwealth government has now largely shifted to irrigation improvements, at the request of rural communities concerned about losing farm families after selling their water rights.  Even though the water savings achieved through these irrigation investments is 2-7 times more expensive than buying the water outright, the government has listened to rural concerns about the possible cultural and economic disruption that can result from buying back too much water.

The Principles of Sustainable Water Management

The Australian water reforms and investments achieved in the last decade exemplify three of the seven sustainability principles that I’ve described in my new book Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability, to be released by Island Press next week:

  • Set limits on total consumptive use of water
  • Invest in water conservation to its maximum potential
  • If too much water is being consumptively used, subsidize reductions in consumption…



The reservoir above Englebright Dam on the Yuba River—a third filled up with sediment.

UC Berkeley California Magazine

No Joy in Mudville: Amid Drought, California’s Reservoirs are Clogged with Gunk

By Glen Martin June 5, 2014

As the drought drags on and reservoir levels keep dropping, our politicians predictably are clamoring for new dams. But there may be a better and cheaper way to squeeze more water out of California’s desiccated watersheds: Clean out the gunk behind existing reservoirs. That’s because dams collect sediment from eroding watersheds along with water. Our reservoirs rapidly are filling up with silt, sand and rocks—and the more sediment, the less room there is to collect life-sustaining water. “So far, there’s about 1.7 million acre feet of sediment behind California’s dams,” observes U.S. Geological Survey geomorphologist J. Toby Minear, “and more is deposited every year.” Make no mistake: 1.7 million acre feet is a lot of mud, no matter how you shovel it. A single acre foot is equivalent to a foot of a given substance covering an acre. By another, more familiar metric, that amounts to 325,852 gallons.

The problem is worse for smaller reservoirs in “highly erodible” watersheds than for larger reservoirs with stable, rocky slopes. In other words, it’s more of a worry for the small projects in the coastal range than the big reservoirs in the Sierra foothills. There are many exceptions to this rule, however; some reservoirs east of the Central Valley also are clogging up. “Really, it’s an issue for all of the state’s 1,400 reservoirs,” says UC Berkeley professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Matt Kondolf.  “And for some reservoirs it’s critical.”

Kondolf cites four dams with reservoirs that are literally topped out with sediment: Rindge Dam on Malibu Creek, Matilija Dam on the Ventura River, San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River, and Searsville Dam on San Francisquito Creek on the San Francisco Peninsula. All these “reservoirs” would be better put to cultivating potatoes than storing water. “On top of that there are maybe 200 reservoirs that are from a third to half full (of sediment),” he adds.  “Englebright Dam on the Yuba River is about a third full with 200 million cubic yards of sediment. Black Butte reservoir (west of Orland) is also filling up rapidly, with close to a third of its capacity taken by sediment.”…


More drought related articles below in Climate section….




A Call to Action to Protect Our Oceans

Posted: 06/09/2014 10:05 am EDT Updated: 06/09/2014 10:59 am EDT

By Secretary of State John Kerry

The ocean covers almost three quarters of our planet and sustains life on Earth as we know it. But our ocean is at grave risk today — and we know the reason why. Human activity threatens the world’s ocean. Often illegal international fishing practices are decimating fisheries. A garbage patch twice the size of Texas floats in the Pacific Ocean, evidence of the trash we cast into our waterways. Rising carbon dioxide levels from emissions increase ocean acidity, endangering coral reefs and other marine life. The warning could not be starker: Unless these trends are reversed, the effects across the planet will be profound. The damage will be felt whether you live on a coastline or hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean’s edge. The ocean produces half the world’s oxygen, creates the clouds that bring fresh water and regulates our climate. More than a billion people eat fish for their primary source of protein. Fishing is a $500 billion global industry, and one in six jobs is marine-related in the United States…..What we do as individuals will ultimately make the difference. Some acts are simple. Don’t throw trash into waterways. Buy sustainable seafood. Volunteer at least one day a year to clean beaches or waterways in your community. Others require sustained commitments by people everywhere to make certain saving the ocean is a priority for their government. In observing World Oceans Day yesterday, we recognized that protecting our ocean is not a luxury. It is a necessity that contributes to our economy, our climate and our way of life. Working together, we can change the current course and chart a sustainable future.


Habitat Fragmentation Increases Vulnerability to Disease in Wild Plants

June 12, 2014 — Proximity to other meadows increases disease resistance in wild meadow plants, according to a new study. The study analyzed the epidemiological dynamics of a fungal pathogen in the archipelago of Finland…. full story

J. Jousimo, A. J. M. Tack, O. Ovaskainen, T. Mononen, H. Susi, C. Tollenaere, A.-L. Laine. Ecological and evolutionary effects of fragmentation on infectious disease dynamics. Science, 2014; 344 (6189): 1289 DOI: 10.1126/science.1253621


Each year 500,000 American golden-plovers (pictured) fly between Arctic N. America and South America with potentially hundreds of thousands of diaspores trapped in their feathers.Credit: Jean-François Lamarre, CC BY SA

Tiny plants ride on the coattails of migratory birds: Migrant birds may be virtual dispersal highways for plants

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:53 AM PDT

Since the days of Darwin, biologists have questioned why certain plants occur in widely separated places, the farthest reaches of North American and the Southern tip of South America but nowhere in between. How did they get there? Researchers have now found an important piece of the puzzle: migratory birds about to fly to South America from the Arctic harbor small plant parts in their feathers.


Lily R. Lewis, Emily Behling, Hannah Gousse, Emily Qian, Chris S. Elphick, Jean-François Lamarre, Joël Bêty, Joe Liebezeit, Ricardo Rozzi, Bernard Goffinet. First evidence of bryophyte diaspores in the plumage of transequatorial migrant birds. PeerJ, 2014; 2: e424 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.424




The $142 Trillion Resource No One’s Paying Attention To

“It’s an imprecise estimate, but it’s almost definitely a pretty big number. And we’ve got to start paying attention.”

By Jeff Spross on June 9, 2014

The benefits human civilization enjoys from the world’s natural ecosystems — grasslands, marshes, coral reefs, forests, and the like — amounts to something in the vicinity of $142.7 trillion a year. That’s over eight times the value of the entire U.S. economy ($16.2 trillion a year), and almost twice the value of the world economy ($71.8 trillion a year). According to a report in the New York Times last week, which flagged a new study that tries to put a dollar value on these “ecosystem services,” those benefits run the gamut from food production to protection from storm surges, water purification, preventing soil erosion, and carbon dioxide sequestration. Human civilization’s entire ability to function rests on the ability of those ecosystem services to keep functioning reliably. But because those services are inherently difficult to put a price tag on, they remain largely invisible and thus undervalued by markets. For instance, one of the central reasons human economies continue to pump out massive amount of carbon dioxide, despite the looming threat of climate change, is that there’s no cost to those emissions. The social cost of carbon (SCC) is an attempt to put a price tag on those emissions. This tells policymakers what cost they should impose on emitters when designing a cap-and-trade system, a carbon tax, or similar environmental regulations — or even a rule about microwave oven efficiency. As with the SCC, studies like this one try to make the value of natural ecosystems visible to markets. The study is also an update to original work done in 1997. That analysis pegged the value of the globe’s ecosystem services at $48.7 trillion. But since then hundreds of new studies have revealed that ecosystems do far more for humanity than originally appreciated, forcing the research team to massively update their figures.


New formula assigns dollar value to natural resources

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 11:43 AM PDT

A first-of-its-kind, interdisciplinary equation to measure the monetary value of natural resources has been developed by researchers. The equation uses principles commonly used to value other capital assets. In assigning natural capital monetary value, the approach will have widespread implications for policymakers and various stakeholders, and will also advocate for the creation of robust asset markets for natural capital, a much-needed advance.


Eli P. Fenichel, Joshua K. Abbott. Natural Capital: From Metaphor to Measurement. Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 2014; 1 (1): 1 DOI: 10.1086/676034



White sharks in northwest Atlantic offers optimistic outlook for recovery

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 05:59 AM PDT

White sharks are among the largest, most widespread apex predators in the ocean, but are also among the most vulnerable. A new study, the most comprehensive ever on seasonal distribution patterns and historic trends in abundance of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in the western North Atlantic Ocean, used records compiled over more than 200 years to update knowledge and fill in gaps in information about this species.



Of Fish, Monsoons and the Future

A Push to Save Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake

By CHRIS BERDIKJUNE 9, 2014 NY Times AKOL, CAMBODIA — As the sun rises on Tonle Sap Lake, fishermen head out from floating villages like this one, past half-submerged mangroves and flooded shrub land, to check their nets, much as they have for centuries.

Every year, the lake yields about 300,000 tons of fish, making it one of the world’s most productive freshwater ecosystems. That and the floods that pulse through it in monsoon season, swelling it to as much as five times its dry-season size, have earned the lake the nickname “Cambodia’s beating heart.”

But the Tonle Sap is in trouble — from overfishing to feed a fast-growing population, from the cutting of mangrove forests that shelter young fish, from hydroelectric dams upstream, and from the dry seasons that are expected to grow hotter and longer with climate change.

The Tonle Sap, one of the world’s most productive freshwater ecosystems, is in trouble. A group of researchers is working with local fishermen to figure out how to save it. Credit Mak Remissa/European Pressphoto Agency

Now an international team of researchers has joined local fishermen in an ambitious project to save the Tonle Sap. The scientists are building an intricate computer model that aims to track the vast array of connections between human activity and natural systems as they change over time. Begun in 2012, the model will take several years to complete, while threats to the Tonle Sap continue to mount. But the hope is to peer into the lake’s future to predict how different developmental, economic and regulatory choices may ripple through this interconnected and fast-changing ecosystem, and to plan a sustainable way forward….The computer model does not yet account for the surging population, but it already has years of data on water levels. By sending blue pulses across the map on his laptop to simulate flooding, Dr. Boumans can calculate where floodwater sediments, shown in oranges and reds, are likely to settle. He developed the modeling approach a decade ago with Robert Costanza, an environmental economist now at Australian National University. They called it Mimes, short for multiscale integrated models of ecosystem services.

It is among the most ambitious of several models to emerge from the movement among ecologists to assign economic values to nature and its processes. Critics warn that such models can lead scientists to discount important data that disagree with their forecasts; others say focusing on “services” puts price tags on nature, undervaluing things like biodiversity that aren’t bought and sold. The idea’s supporters, however, say it aligns nature’s interests with our own….”In the past, it was a conservation and environmental argument pitted against the economic argument,” said Lewis Incze, a marine ecologist and oceanographer at the University of Maine who is not part of the Tonle Sap project. “You can still argue about valuation and importance, but these models recognize that this is not one class of argument against another, but a whole family of processes that need to be recognized and accounted for together.”

Dr. Boumans said the Mimes model “lets you explore the decisions you’re making about a landscape and seascape, showing you what’s gained and lost over space and time….



Rare condor sighting in Bay Area

June 13, 2014 SF Chronicle

Endangered California condor was photographed in San Mateo County, the first time one has been seen that far north in more than a century.



Jay Holcomb, leader of International Bird Rescue, dies

By Carolyn Jones June 13, 2014 SF Chronicle

Jay Holcomb, director of one of the world’s leading bird-rescue organizations and a pioneer in oil-spill wildlife rehabilitation, died Tuesday in Modesto….






Global Lower Troposphere v5.6 Anomaly 1978-2014.Credit: UAH

Third Warmest May in Satellite Record Might Portend Record-Setting El Niño

June 13, 2014 — May 2014 was the third warmest May in the 35-year satellite-measured global temperature record, and the warmest May that wasn’t during an El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event, according to new data. While May 2014 was not officially an El Niño month, indications are that an El Niño is forming in the eastern central Pacific off the equatorial coast of South America. Even if that El Niño is nothing spectacular, it might become a record setter simply because it is getting a warmer start, Christy said. “The long-term baseline temperature is about three tens of a degree (C) warmer than it was when the big El Niño of 1997-1998 began, and that event set the one-month record with an average global temperature that was 0.66 C (almost 1.2 degrees F) warmer than normal in April 1998.”January through August of 1998 are all in the 14 warmest months in the satellite record, and that El Niño started when global temperatures were somewhat chilled; the global average temperature in May 1997 was 0.14 C (about 0.25 degrees F) cooler than the long-term seasonal norm for May. “With the baseline so much warmer, this upcoming El Niño won’t have very far to go to break that 0.66 C record,” Christy said. “That isn’t to say it will, but even an average-sized warming event will have a chance to get close to that level.”……. full story


California seeing hottest year on record thus far

Kurtis Alexander SF Chronicle Updated 7:47 am, Friday, June 13, 2014

Remember the 90-degree days in San Francisco last month? How about the triple digits inland this spring? According to a new federal climate report, those were anything but blips. California is baking in its hottest year on record. Temperatures between January and May averaged 5 degrees warmer than the 20th century average, a finding that federal scientists say is further indication that the planet is heating up – and posing greater risks for devastating wildfires, water shortages and rising sea levels. “It’s kind of an exclamation point on the long-term warming trend,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist for the National Climatic Data Center, which released its update on nationwide temperatures Thursday….

Related Stories:


Double Trouble for the Mediterranean Sea: Acidification and warming threaten iconic species

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 08:45 AM PDT

Scientist have finalized their findings about the threat of Mediterranean Sea warming and acidification on key species and ecosystems after a 3.5 year study. They have found that this sea is warming and acidifying at unprecedented rates – the main reason is emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. This increases the CO2 in the atmosphere causing warming of the atmosphere and the ocean as well as acidification of its waters due to uptake of CO2 by surface waters.

Rise and fall of prehistoric penguin populations charted

Posted: 12 Jun 2014 06:51 AM PDT

A study of how penguin populations have changed over the last 30,000 years has shown that between the last ice age and up to around 1,000 years ago penguin populations benefitted from climate warming and retreating ice.


Gemma V. Clucas, Michael J. Dunn, Gareth Dyke, Steven D. Emslie, Ron Naveen, Michael J. Polito, Oliver G. Pybus, Alex D. Rogers, Tom Hart. A reversal of fortunes: climate change ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in Antarctic Peninsula penguins. Scientific Reports, 2014; 4 DOI: 10.1038/srep05024



Penguins Experience Reversal Of Fortunes After Weathering Past Climate Changes

By Ari Phillips on June 12, 2014

A new study shows that while three Antarctic penguin species may have actually grown during the end of the last Ice Age around 11,000 years ago, the rapid warming now is negatively affecting at least two of them. …The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports on Thursday, says “this ‘reversal of fortunes’ for two former climate change ‘winners’ has resulted from anthropogenic impacts outside the range of natural variation that has occurred in the past.”

Rapid warming trends in the Antarctic Peninsula over the past 50 years has led to decreased sea ice, loss of winter habitat, and a reduction in krill stocks that is negatively affecting two of the penguin species — the Adélie and chinstrap penguins — but not gentoo penguins, which are apparently less reliant on krill. The scientists warn that while this is the only example of ‘reversal of fortunes’ they know of they “expect many more will be identified as global warming proceeds and biodiversity declines.”


West Antarctica is seeing dramatic ice loss particularly the Antarctic Peninsula and Pine Island regions. Ice loss culprits include the loss off buttressing ice shelves, wind, and a sub-shelf channel that allows warm water to intrude below the ice. CREDIT: NASA/NSIDC


Lead author Gemma Clucas, from Ocean and Earth Sciences at the University of Southampton said that while we “typically think of penguins as relying on ice this research shows that during the last Ice Age there was probably too much ice around Antarctica to support large populations.” When the snow and ice began to melt new penguin nesting sites became available and all three penguin species benefited. However, this time around, global warming is reducing the availability of krill, an importance penguin food source, and as a result Adélie and chinstrap penguin populations are dropping at a precipitous rate in the Antarctic Peninsula according to several recent studies. The gentoo penguins are able to substitute some of this loss with fish and squid.

Krill are tiny, shrimp-like animals that rely on sea ice for the ice algae that they feed on. Commercial fishing is also impacting their populations. In terms of biomass, krill are probably the most abundant species on the planet. However around the Antarctic Peninsula krill populations have decreased by about 80 percent since the mid-1970s.

“Despite historic warming clearly opening up new opportunities for penguins, we should not assume that current rapid warming caused by human activity is good for penguins as a whole,” said Clucas. “Evidence from other studies shows that climate change today is creating lots of losers and few winners.”




Reduced sea ice area also noted in winter

Posted: 11 Jun 2014 06:34 AM PDT

Warmer Atlantic water has caused a retreat of the ice edge north of Svalbard during the last decades, researchers report. In contrast to other areas of the Arctic Ocean, the largest ice loss north of Svalbard occurred during winter. The Arctic sea ice area has been measured, using satellites, since 1979.


New Video: [West Antarctica] Meltwater Pulse 2BMUST SEE


Posted on 9 June 2014 by greenman3610 This is a re-post from Climate Crocks

Bud Ward at Yale Climate Connections:
It’s not often that a scientific research paper generates the kind of media attention and scientific community buzz that resulted from a recent study on the apparent inevitability of substantial Antarctic glacial melting.

The early May research headed by lead author Eric Rignot of NASA called attention to melting now under way in Antarctica that CBS News anchor Scott Pelley reported “cannot be stopped.” “Scientists say the situation is almost certainly unstoppable,” NBC News Anchor Brian Mitchell reported.

Rignot cautioned that the research indicates “we’ve passed the point of no return … It’s just a matter of time before these glaciers disappear to the sea.” While he indicated that the full melt, at the current pace, might not occur for two centuries, he pointed too to evidence suggesting the likelihood of an accelerating pace. “There’s probably nothing that can be done to stop this,” Rignot said. “This is really happening,” lead NASA lead polar ice researcher Tom Wagner said. “This weak underbelly of Antarctica is in fact starting to float out into the sea, and there’s not a lot to hold it back.” A “This is Not Cool” video on the report by independent videographer Peter Sinclair is the first to be posted under the new Yale Climate Connections name, formerly The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media…..



Warming climates intensify greenhouse gas given out by oceans
(June 8, 2014) — Rising global temperatures could increase the amount of carbon dioxide naturally released by the world’s oceans, fueling further climate change, a study suggests. Scientists studied a 26,000-year-old sediment core to find out how the ocean’s ability to take up atmospheric CO2 has changed over time, and found that when silicon was least abundant in ocean waters corresponded with relatively warm climates, low levels of atmospheric iron, and reduced CO2 uptake by the oceans’ plankton. … > full story



Major West Antarctic glacier melting from geothermal sources
(June 9, 2014) — New research on the Thwaits Glacier will help ice sheet modeling efforts needed to determine when the collapse of the glacier will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. … > full story



Underground volcanoes spur Antarctic glacier melt

By Jim Algar, Tech Times | June 10, 6:13 PM

Glaciers in Antarctica are being melted not only by warmer ocean waters but also by underwater volcanoes, a change in our basic understanding of what’s happening underneath West Antarctica’s ice sheet, scientists say.



Heat wave, power cuts, riots in India

June 7 2014 at 03:46pm By SAPA

Lucknow, India – Thousands of people enraged by power cuts during an extreme heat wave rioted across northern India, setting electricity substations on fire and taking power company officials hostage, officials said Saturday. The impoverished state of Uttar Pradesh has never had enough power for its 200 million people – about the population of Brazil – and many receive only a few hours a day under normal conditions, while 63 percent of homes have no access to electricity at all.

But recent temperatures that soared to 47 degrees Celsius (117 Fahrenheit) have caused power demand to spike at 11,000 megawatts – far higher than the state’s 8,000 MW capacity – triggering blackouts that shut down fans, city water pumps and air conditioners. Thousands of people stormed an electricity substation Friday near the state capital of Lucknow, ransacking offices and taking several workers hostage for 18 hours until police intervened Saturday morning, state utility official Narendra Nath Mullick said. …



Climate change would drown parts of San Mateo County [SF Bay Area]

Jon Christensen and Eric Rodenbeck SF Chronicle Updated 11:15 am, Friday, June 13, 2014

Climate change can seem abstract. But if you live by the bay, it shouldn’t. Within 40 to 60 years, coastal floods will affect as many as 90,000 residents in San Mateo County, the most vulnerable county in California. These people live on land less than 3 feet above the high tide line along San Francisco Bay, and rising sea levels resulting from global warming are likely to make previously unprecedented floods an annual event along the bay shore. We say “these people” because many are alive today. People now under 40 years of age will see this happen in their lifetimes. More than $21 billion in property is also at risk, along with 220 sites listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as potential contamination threats, and schools, churches, community centers, police and fire stations, and more. Levees and flood control structures may protect around a quarter of these areas from floods at the 3-foot level, but only 10 percent of the area when floods are likely to crest 4 feet in the following decades….. For more information: To explore an interactive map and learn more about sea-level rise in California, go to: Source: Map from Climate Central’s Surging Seas; map tiles by Stamen Design and Open Street Map. For full list of data sources, visit






A Caltrans information sign urges drivers to save water due to the California drought emergency in Los Angeles, California in this February 13, 2014 file photo. Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn/Files

Northern California leaders ask for help in drought

By Sharon Bernstein Reuters SACRAMENTO Calif. Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:01am IST

(Reuters) – With California facing its worst drought in decades, farmers, environmentalists and government officials begged lawmakers Monday to invest in projects to shore up the state’s water supply.The demands from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, The Nature Conservancy and Northern California water districts are an effort to help break a deadlock in the state legislature over how to prevent future water shortages. The demands range from environmental restoration work for rivers and wetlands to building new reservoirs. …


Will California’s Drought Bring About $7 Broccoli?

The end of cheap fruits and veggies draws nigh. Here’s why.

—By Tom Philpott| May/June 2014 Issue Mother Jones


Illustration: Christoph Hitz

When people tell you to “eat your veggies,” they’re really urging you to take a swig of California water. The state churns out nearly half of all US-grown fruits, vegetables, and nuts; farms use 80 percent of its water. For decades, that arrangement worked out pretty well. Winter precipitation replenished the state’s aquifers and covered its mountains with snow that fed rivers and irrigation systems during the summer. But last winter, for the third year in a row, the rains didn’t come, likely making this the driest 30-month stretch in the state’s recorded history. So what does the drought mean for your plate? Here are a few points to keep in mind: The abnormally wet period when California emerged as our fresh-produce powerhouse may be over.
B. Lynn Ingram, a paleoclimatologist at the University of California-Berkeley and author of The West Without Water, says the 20th century was a rain-soaked anomaly compared to the region’s long-term history. If California reverts to its drier norm, farmers could expect an average of 15 percent less precipitation in the coming decades, and climate change could exacerbate that. Less rain means more irrigation water diverted from already dwindling rivers—bad news for river fish such as the threatened delta smelt. Wells won’t save the state, either: Farmers are already pumping the groundwater that lies deep under their farms much faster than it can be naturally recharged



Brown Is The New Green At U.S. Open: Water Is ‘Biggest Obstacle’ Facing Golf, Says USGA

By Joe Romm on June 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Ian Poulter practices on fifth hole of U.S. Open in Pinehurst, NC. The course has slashed water use, a future in store for many courses, thanks to man-made climate change. (Photo: AP)

If you tune into the U.S. Open golf championship this Father’s Day weekend, you may think you’re watching the Dubai Desert Classic or the infamous “Brown British Open.”

But the U.S. Golf Association wants you to know that what you’re really seeing at Pinehurst #2 in North Carolina is the future of golf. The Washington Post reports that USGA executive director Mike Davis said this week: “We happen to think that, long term, water is going to be the biggest obstacle in the game of golf…. It’s not going to be a question of cost. It’s a question of: Will you be able to get it?

Brown is the new green. Or, rather, browns are the new greens….






Hawaii passes climate change adaptation law

Responding to Climate Change

Jun 12, 2014 Sophie Yeo


The Act will establish a climate council, active from 1 January 2015, to coordinate climate action across different departments within the state government….




Acid Oceans Can Be Fought at Home

Coastal communities can help combat ocean acidification by cutting back on water pollution

Climate Wire Jun 5, 2014 |By Elspeth Dehnert and ClimateWire

For coastal communities in the United States, the path to confronting souring seas can likely be found close to home in their very own backyards. In fact, according to a recent study co-authored by several current and former Stanford researchers, there are several local and regional actions—many of which are not too costly—that can be taken to accelerate the adaptation to ocean acidification. “We think of ocean acidification as being controlled by carbon dioxide, and it is, but there are a lot of different things humans do that affect the chemical equilibrium of the carbonate system in the coastal zone,” said Aaron Strong, lead author of the study and a graduate student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. He pointed to river discharge, local-scale upwelling, and nutrient and stormwater pollution as some of the major factors behind ocean water’s increasingly unbalanced acidity levels.
“Ocean acidification should become a part of the conversation among quality managers, stormwater managers, agricultural managers … and it tends not to be in that space,” Strong added. To fill in the gaps, the study outlines current local and regional ocean-acidification management efforts and recommends nine other “opportunities for action” that state agencies, nongovernmental organizations, universities and industry can implement for about $1 million a pop…..Some states and regions, however, are leading the charge. Launched in 2011 by former Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire (D), the Blue Ribbon Panel brought together policymakers, scientists, public opinion leaders and industry representatives to discuss the effects of ocean acidification on the state’s shellfish resources.

It was a groundbreaking success that spurred similar efforts in California, Oregon and Maine, Strong said. The panel also inspired the creation of the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel, a regional initiative composed of scientists from California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia that aims to identify coastwide management approaches and provide an example for other regions striving to combat the effects of ocean acidification and hypoxia. “While regional initiatives can’t hope to replace international efforts, we’re worried about what ocean acidification is going to do to marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them,” said Michael “Moose” O’Donnell, a staff scientist on the panel and senior scientist at the California Ocean Science Trust. “The Pacific Northwest, West Coast states and Maine are at the forefront of this, but ocean acidification is also a problem in the Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico, and we hope these actions will provide a template and framework for more broad and comprehensive action,” Strong said.



EUROCLIMA Publishes Guides on Coasts, Soil Degradation, Rural Adaptation and Urban NAMAs in Latin America

May 2014: The European Union’s (EU) EUROCLIMA climate change cooperation programme with Latin America has published four publications that aim to provide guidance to Latin American governments as they design mitigation and adaptation strategies and policies. EUROCLIMA’s ‘Climate Change and Risk Management: Vulnerability Analysis of Coastal Marine Infrastructures in Latin America’ guide sets out a methodology for analyzing coastal marine infrastructure vulnerability at national, sub-national and local levels. The study recommends creating an observatory platform, hosted by an international or regional body, to compile, exchange and disseminate initiatives of interest and promote regional discussion and exchange between scientists and technicians. It also recommends creating national agencies for integrated coastal area management, as well as observatories for monitoring processes, performance levels and effects of actions….The EUROCLIMA programme is a partnership created in 2010 between the EU and the Latin American region that focuses on climate change policy dialogue, governance, legislation and public awareness. EUROCLIMA is implemented by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and EuropeAid.




New England lakes recovering rapidly from acid rain
(June 9, 2014) — Policy makers have been working to reduce acid rain, a serious environmental problem that can devastate lakes, streams, and forests and the plants and animals that live in these ecosystems, for the past 40 years. Now new research indicates that lakes in New England and the Adirondack Mountains are recovering rapidly from the effects of acid rain. … > full story


Saving trees in tropics could cut emissions by one-fifth, study shows
(June 6, 2014) — Reducing deforestation in the tropics would significantly cut the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere — by as much as one-fifth — research shows. In the first study of its kind, scientists have calculated the amount of carbon absorbed by the world’s tropical forests and the amounts of greenhouse gas emissions created by loss of trees, as a result of human activity. … > full story






Cap-And-Trade Could Be Cheaper Than Power Plant And Car Regulations, Study Finds

By Katie Valentine on June 13, 2014

The study did not examine the EPA’s new power plant rule specifically, but targeted similar emissions reductions scenarios.


Obama on Obama on Climate

Thomas Friedman NY Times JUNE 7, 2014

WHEN it comes to dealing with the world’s climate and energy challenges I have a simple rule: change America, change the world. If America raises its clean energy standards, not only will others follow — others who have hid behind our inaction — we’ll also stimulate our industry to invent more of the clean air, clean power and energy efficiency systems, and move them down the cost curve faster, so U.S. companies will be leaders in this next great global industry and American consumers will be the first to benefit. That is why the new Environmental Protection Agency rules President Obama proposed last week to curb carbon emissions from power plants are so pivotal. You can’t make power systems greener without making them smarter — smarter materials, software or design. One new ruling will not change the world — and we have to be careful that this one doesn’t replace our addiction to coal with an addiction to natural gas alone. But coming at a time when clean energy technologies are becoming more competitive, and when awareness of climate change is becoming more pervasive, this E.P.A. ruling should give a real boost to clean power and efficiency innovation and make our country more resilient, healthy, secure — and respected. Several weeks ago, as he was drawing up these new emission rules, I interviewed President Obama in the White House library about climate and energy. Following are highlights. (The interview is also featured in the final episode of Showtime’s climate series, “Years of Living Dangerously” airing on Monday.)….


On Climate Change, Obama Is Finally Leading From the Front

By Will Oremus June 9, 2014

It happened when New York Times columnist Tom Friedman interviewed the president for tonight’s season finale of Years of Living Dangerously, the Showtime series about climate change. The episode airs Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern, but Friedman offered a preview of the president’s remarks in the Times on Saturday. It’s well worth reading [see above]. From a policy standpoint, the takeaway is that the president explicitly called for a price on carbon. It’s something he has been reluctant to do ever since a bipartisan climate bill died in Congress in 2010. From the Times:



‘Science Is Science’: Obama Embraces Price On Carbon, Leaving Fossil Fuels In The Ground

By Joe Romm on June 8, 2014

President Obama makes some candid remarks on climate change in an interview with NY Times columnist Tom Friedman, airing Monday in the final episode of Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously.” …


Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown

Social science is being militarised to develop ‘operational tools’ to target peaceful activists and protest movements

Nafeez Ahmed Reuters June 12, 2014

The Pentagon is funding social science research to model risks of “social contagions” that could damage US strategic interests. Photograph: Jason Reed/REUTERS

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.”

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ partners with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions.” The project will determine “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by studying their “digital traces” in the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey.”

Twitter posts and conversations will be examined “to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised.”


Fighting for green power – who controls it, who gets it

Gregory Staple and Robert Collier

June 9, 2014 | Updated: June 9, 2014 6:10pm

California’s world-renowned leadership on renewable energy masks a bitter fight over who will control green power. Will it be the state’s three major utilities, or millions of consumers and businesses who want more clean electricity but are prevented from buying it by outdated rules?

This old-fashioned struggle over energy is being camouflaged by a new debate over consumer choice.

The immediate focus is a little-noticed bill, AB2145, which passed the Assembly in May and is now before the state Senate. The bill would curb the right of local governments to buy clean power for their residents, as Marin and Sonoma counties now do, by requiring that each affected consumer individually opt in. Under the 2002 law that authorized community choice aggregation, these buying groups work on an opt-out basis. That frustrates consumer choice, say supporters of the bill….


California officials developing framework for sustainable groundwater management

Pauline Bartolone  Thursday, June 05, 2014 | Sacramento, CA | Capitol Public Radio play

California state officials are working on a five-year plan they hope will lead to better local management of underground water supplies. The state says groundwater levels are in alarming decline, and that must be reversed.

In times of drought, more water is pulled from the ground. A number of government agencies are generating a proposal to make sure that over years of use and replenishment, there’s adequate supply of groundwater. “A number of local basins do have management, but we don’t have a statewide framework for that,” says Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She says the current proposal supports local authorities in devising their own management plans, but the state would intervene if need be. “If because of at the local level you just don’t have the political will, or there’s too many conflicts to come to a collaborative solution, the state will step in.”  says Ross. Ross says usually groundwater accounts for about 30% of water use. This year, it amounts to about 60 percent. Two bills calling for sustainable groundwater management are making their way through the California legislature.  Ross says groundwater management was first considered 30 years ago.



ACWA releases report on regional impacts of 2014 drought; Local vulnerabilities and strategies for resilience outlined

By Maven June 10, 2014

The statewide Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today released a report detailing specific impacts of the drought around the state and underscoring the need for a variety of strategies and actions to improve the resiliency of the state’s water system. The report, developed by a statewide Drought Action Group formed by ACWA in January, comes as California enters the hot summer months of one of the driest years on record. The report identifies impacts across a range of sectors and provides a bottom-up look at vulnerabilities created by the drought. It also details specific near-term projects that will shore up water supply reliability locally and regionally. In addition to chronicling the regional impacts of the drought, the report outlines 10 key recommendations that would create greater resiliency in California’s water system…..The recommendations, approved by the ACWA Board of Directors May 30, call for the following:

  • Funding and technical assistance for shovel-ready water infrastructure projects;
  • New surface and groundwater storage to help address the state’s groundwater challenges;
  • Use of real-time data by state and federal agencies to allow greater flexibility under existing laws to maximize water supplies from the Delta;
  • Exploration of opportunities to further streamline water transfers ;
  • Expedited approval of regulations or permits that encourage innovative technologies including water recycling and desalination;
  • State collaboration with local agencies to more closely coordinate planning documents in drought conditions ;
  • Funding and technical support to help local agencies  develop long-term water infrastructure projects that will help ensure reliable water supplies;
  • Disbursement of approved drought emergency funding as well as the development of additional funding, including through a 2014 water bond, for projects and programs that will improve California’s aging water infrastructure and further the coequal goals;
  • Funding for water-use efficiency activities in disadvantaged communities and support for programs that are not locally cost effective but contribute to broad benefits for California;
  • Review of the state’s overall 2014 drought response to look for opportunities to improve coordination for future dry conditions or extreme weather events.

ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 430 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit



NOAA Announces Updated Process for Nominating New National Marine Sanctuaries
June 10, 2014

Today at Capitol Hill Ocean Week, John Podesta announced that NOAA will be publishing a final rule re-establishing the process by which the American public can nominate nationally significant marine and Great Lakes areas as potential new national marine sanctuaries. We’re taking this step to address the growing number of requests for new national marine sanctuaries.  …And your nearly 18,000 comments on the proposed rule, published in June 2013, vastly favor this move. NOAA’s statutory mandate to identify, designate and protect marine areas of special national significance has existed since 1972 through the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. In 1995, the agency deactivated its sanctuary nomination process (known as the Site Evaluation List, or SEL) so that ONMS could focus on management of the existing sanctuary system. Since then, numerous individuals and entities – Members of Congress, state and tribal governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and others – have inquired about designating a national marine sanctuary in a variety of coastal communities.  Now, for the first time in 19 years, the SEL, which tended to be an agency-driven, “top-down” approach to sanctuary nominations, will be replaced by the sanctuary nomination process, which is based on a more grassroots, “bottom-up” approach. Notably, while this action allows communities from around the country to nominate their most treasured areas as national marine sanctuaries, it does not guarantee sanctuary designation, nor does it add new regulations to areas in the marine or Great Lakes. This is your opportunity to protect your treasured places and ensure that they, and the resources contained within, are conserved for generations to come. We encourage your participation and look forward to your continued engagement.  For more information, check out



Gray wolf wins endangered status in California

Ruling controversial; commission rejects listing great white sharks

By Peter Fimrite June 4, 2014 | Updated: June 4, 2014 4:59pm

U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, AP

State officials’ recommendation against deeming the gray wolf endangered was ultimately rejected. The path for the eventual return of the gray wolf to the Golden State was paved Wednesday when the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list the predator under the California Endangered Species Act, a decision that went against the recommendation of state wildlife officials.

The 3-to-1 vote by the commission, which could have a profound effect on wildlife management in the state, came amid reports Wednesday that a remote camera in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, in southwestern Oregon, has detected at least two puppies apparently fathered by the storied wolf known as OR7, the lonely lobo who recently traveled into California and has been skirting the border ever since…..




Tom Steyer’s slow, and ongoing, conversion from fossil-fuels investor to climate activist

By Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman, Published: June 8 2014 Washington Post

At the base of the mountain, Tom Steyer was a billionaire hedge-fund manager with oil and gas investments and a seemingly conflicted conscience. But by the time he and environmentalist Bill McKibben finished a hike up two tall Adirondacks peaks on that summer day in 2012, Steyer had revealed that he was ready to change his life — he would unload his investments in fossil fuels and become an activist in the fight against global warming. Just two years later, Steyer, 56, has become the environmental hero he set out to be, giving the left its own billionaire donor to counter the powerful Koch brothers on the right. Steyer has vowed to spend up to $100 million in 2014 to help elect Democrats who are committed to fighting global warming. And with an eye on playing a similar role in the 2016 presidential race, he has positioned himself as a potent new force in the growing world of big-money donors. Yet, though Steyer has described his newfound activism as “my personal version of a ‘Paul on the road to Damascus’ moment,” his conversion has been more of a slow evolution — and it is still ongoing…..

He told students at the University of California at Santa Barbara last month that he left his firm because he saw global warming as a defining challenge for his generation, just as World War II was for a previous one.

“If it doesn’t change, we are completely screwed,” Steyer said, exhorting the audience to action. “What we have to do is push to make the change. . . . And that’s actually why I quit my job — to try to be one of the pains in the ass.”…. Steyer’s move into big-money politics would not be possible had he not reaped a fortune in part through fossil-fuel investments. A native New Yorker who graduated from Yale and got an MBA from Stanford, he moved aggressively and quickly into the world of money management. He named his new hedge fund, Farallon, after a group of islands off the Northern California coast favored by sharks. Farallon would become one of the largest and most successful hedge funds in the world..


Dear Millennials, We’re Sorry

By FRANK BRUNI NY Times Opinion June 7, 2014

How dare we malign kids or pretend to care about them when our habits and spending endanger their future.


Interests, Ideology And Climate

Paul Krugman NY Times JUNE 8, 2014

There are three things we know about man-made global warming. First, the consequences will be terrible if we don’t take quick action to limit carbon emissions. Second, in pure economic terms the required action shouldn’t be hard to take: emission controls, done right, would probably slow economic growth, but not by much. Third, the politics of action are nonetheless very difficult. But why is it so hard to act? Is it the power of vested interests? I’ve been looking into that issue and have come to the somewhat surprising conclusion that it’s not mainly about the vested interests. They do, of course, exist and play an important role; funding from fossil-fuel interests has played a crucial role in sustaining the illusion that climate science is less settled than it is. But the monetary stakes aren’t nearly as big as you might think. What makes rational action on climate so hard is something else — a toxic mix of ideology and anti-intellectualism. Before I get to that, however, an aside on the economics.

I’ve noted in earlier columns that every even halfway serious study of the economic impact of carbon reductions — including the recent study paid for by the anti-environmental U.S. Chamber of Commerce — finds at most modest costs. Practical experience points in the same direction. Back in the 1980s conservatives claimed that any attempt to limit acid rain would have devastating economic effects; in reality, the cap-and-trade system for sulfur dioxide was highly successful at minimal cost. The Northeastern states have had a cap-and-trade arrangement for carbon since 2009, and so far have seen emissions drop sharply while their economies grew faster than the rest of the country. Environmentalism is not the enemy of economic growth.

But wouldn’t protecting the environment nonetheless impose costs on some sectors and regions? Yes, it would — but not as much as you think….






Forging new ground in oil forensics: Deepwater Horizon Oil on shore even years later, after most has degraded

June 12, 2014

Years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill, oil continues to wash ashore as oil-soaked ‘sand patties,’ persists in salt marshes abutting the Gulf of Mexico, and questions remain about how much oil has been deposited on the seafloor. Scientists have developed a unique way to fingerprint oil, and have successfully identified Macondo Well oil, even after most of it has degraded…


Tar Sands Development Is Killing Birds, New Study Finds

By Katie Valentine on June 13, 2014

More than 292 species of protected bird species rely on the boreal forest for breeding habitat, but tar sands development is destroying it. The report, published by the National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Council of Maine, outlines the risks Canadian tar sands development poses to migratory birds. More than 292 species of protected birds rely on the boreal forest for breeding habitat, including the endangered whooping crane, and at least 130 of those are threatened by tar sands development. In all, according to the report, 22 million to 170 million birds use the boreal forest region as a breeding grounds, and that tar sands development’s impact on the region has resulted in the loss of 58,000 to 402,000 birds.…..



Two Years Early, Wisconsin Hits Goal To Get 10 Percent Of Its Electricity From Renewables

By Emily Atkin on June 13, 2014

The state met its goal for renewable energy use two years before it was supposed to. …


Is Africa’s Oldest Park Finally Safe From Oil Drillers?

By Joanna M. Foster on June 12, 2014

In a surprise move, British oil giant Soco announced this week that it would stop exploring for oil in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.



How To Save Time, Money, Energy, And Carbon Emissions While Drying Your Clothes

By Ari Phillips June 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm Updated: June 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm

CREDIT: shutterstock

With politicians, industry leaders, and lobbyists engaged in a heated debate over the EPA’s recently released carbon emissions proposal for power plants, it’s good to take a step back to consider the relatively simple actions that can be made at a personal level to address energy and environmental issues. A new report released Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows how U.S. homes are wasting up to $4 billion worth of electricity annually — and emitting roughly 16 million tons of carbon dioxide — just because they are drying their clothes inefficiently.

The report states that a typical clothes dryer can consume as much energy as a new energy efficient refrigerator, clothes washer, and dishwasher combined — and that Americans could save billions of dollars and millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions simply by switching to the type of efficient models currently used in other countries. It also calls on a strong federal energy efficiency standard to promote long-term energy savings….













The National Wildlife Federation’s Climate Smart Conservation – Putting Adaptation 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.


A Multi-Benefit Approach to Flood Protection in California’s Central Valley New website!

Multi-Benefit Flood Protection Project: Multi-benefit projects are designed to reduce flood risk and enhance fish and wildlife habitat by allowing rivers and floodplains to function more naturally. These projects create additional public benefits such as protecting farms and ranches, improving water quality, increasing groundwater recharge, and providing public recreation opportunities, or any combination thereof.


Nature’s Value in Santa Clara County

As you may know, the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority joined with Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District and the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County to launch a landmark multi-county research effort in 2011 to identify and quantify ecosystem services in the S.F. Bay Region.  The purpose of the effort was to help us understand and communicate the economic value of our region’s natural capital and the many benefits provided by natural and working lands.  ….   We are pleased to provide you with the first of 3 County-level reports from the Healthy Lands & Healthy Economies Initiative –
Nature’s Value in Santa Clara County



Communicating about Climate Change – From Impacts to Solutions
June 23, 2:00-3:15 PM (EDT)

Americans are waking up to the reality of extreme weather events are beginning to connect the dots to climate disruption. Effectively engaging the public as partners in addressing the challenge requires emphasizing local, current and personally relevant impacts and bridging to solutions. Join environmental communications expert Cara Pike and Executive Director of Climate Access, for a discussion of the latest trends in public opinion poling, how to frame the climate conversation, and best practices in climate engagement. 

Cara Pike, Director, Climate Access




2014 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Climate College- final lass

Climate Change Adaptation Case Studies June 26, 2014 1-3 pm PT

Place:              State Resources Building, 11th floor (conference room 1131)

                        1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814


CDFW will be holding the final class of its 2014 Climate College.  This class will finish off previous discussions on physical changes to marine systems and associated ecological impacts from the effects of climate change with a focus on adaptation case studies.  Joining us will be Dr. Liz Whiteman from California Ocean Sciences Trust, and Debbie Aseltine-Nielson from CDFW.  This course focuses on how climate change affects the state’s marine resources to enhance participants’ understanding of marine-related climate change science, impacts to species and habitats, and the implications for marine region management and planning.  The course describes California’s unique challenges and opportunities in managing its 1,100 miles of coastline, bays/estuaries, and marine protected areas under climate impacts. We encourage all who are interested to participate either in person or via WebEx.  Please check this web page for updates:

HOW TO ENROLL: Online E-mail Enrollment Form
Remote Users please use this link





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:

Ninth 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.


***SAVE THE DATE!!***  Sponsored by the CA LCC and CA Dept. of Water Resources

Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workshop September 23rd, 2014 @ California State University, Sacramento

Registration will open in June 2014. Check the California LCC website for details in later June at

The CA LCC, DWR and co-sponsors will host a one-day workshop for state and federal agency staff, NGOs, and Tribes with interest in how Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) can help ensure resilient and sustainable natural landscapes for California in the face of climate change and other ecological stressors. Participants will learn from Tribal instructors about what TEK is, how it has been cross-walked with Western science to gain valuable insights about species and ecological cycles, and how to talk with Tribes about TEK. Attendees will come away with an increased understanding of TEK and indigenous peoples of California, and how we can work together in the future.


UC California Naturalist Statewide Conference October 17-19, 2014   Asilomar State Park, Pacific Grove, CA

Explore Nature. Build Community. Take Action.

The UC California Naturalist Program, the 2014 conference planning committee, our conference sponsors, and the Pacific Grove CA Naturalists invite you to Asilomar Conference Grounds for our inaugural statewide conference! This conference is designed for and by the California Naturalist community, but everyone is welcome to attend (Press release here for distribution). The biennial UC California Naturalist Conference provides a forum for presenting and discussing new research and developments in natural history, stewardship, citizen science, global change, environmental education, and interpretation for addressing California’s environmental challenges. Together we will celebrate California State Park’s 150th year of providing inspiration and education for the people of California — all in the heart of beautiful Asilomar State Park!

Friday, Oct. 17
Advanced Trainings and Opening Reception

Saturday, Oct. 18
Concurrent & Plenary Talks; Poster Presentations & Reception

Sunday, Oct. 19
Field Trips



National Workshop on Large Landscape Conservation
October 23-24,2014 Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Washington,DC

Together Toward Tomorrow–Conservation, Partners, and Landscapes — Call for Proposals: Dedicated Sessions, Presentations and Posters
due by 5:00 pm PDT (8:00 pm EDT), JUNE 27, 2014

Conservation innovation is woven through our nation’s heritage. It is today and will be for decades and centuries to come an essential element of our future. Large landscape collaborative conservation is a fresh approach to the conservation challenges of the 21st century, linking public, private, non- profit and academic resources in novel, strategic, and enduring ways. Join conservation practitioners and policy makers from across North America in Washington, DC for this two-day event, October 23-24, 2014. Share ideas on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in implementing large landscape conservation, as well as the most effective tools, strategies and science available to inform large landscape initiatives. Workshop Organizing Partners include: American Fisheries Society, American Ornithologists’ Union, Landscape Conservation Cooperative, USDA – Natural Resource Conservation Service, USDA- Bureau of Land Management, US Fish & Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, US Geological Survey, and the US National Park Service…addressing a number of critical questions facing the large landscape conservation community, including:

•   How can mitigation at the landscape scale foster land conservation and economic development?

•   How can we effectively invest for measurable results and environmental resiliency in the context of climate change?

•   How can we, across the continuum from urban areas to wilderness areas, engage diverse communities in the green spaces outside their doors?

•   How can we leverage advanced technologies and innovative financing tools to dramatically advance the practice of large landscape conservation?



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



  • 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.


  • The National Park Service Klamath and Pacific Island Network Program Manager positions are now open. They are Interdisciplinary Supervisory GS-12/13 positions. Please distribute this announcement widely to anyone who may be interested. The announcement number is: PWROPI-14-I&M-1118179 DE/MP



    The California Natural Resources Agency and the Ocean Protection Council are recruiting for two vacancies. One position will likely serve as the staff lead on marine protected area (MPA) management. The other will likely serve as the staff lead on the issues of ocean acidification and hypoxia. For both positions, the ideal candidate will be willing and able to work on the wide variety of issues under the responsibility of the Ocean Protection Council. Applicants must be eligible for hire from the Coastal Program Analyst I or II lists. Applications will be considered on a continuous basis; therefore, interested applicants are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible. For more information, please visit: and choose “Resources Agency” in the search function under “Department”. Please note that a Statement of Qualifications is required in addition to an Employment Application (STD 678) and resume.








Google’s Eyes in the Sky
Friday, June 13, 2014, at 11:38 AM EDT
Its drones and satellites could do for the physical world what its search engine did for the Web.


Three Ways Climate Change Is Going To Ruin Your Beer

By Ryan Koronowski June 7, 2014 at 2:23 pm Updated: June 8, 2014 at 10:44 am

Water is beer’s primary ingredient, and brewers are worried about having enough.

In 2011, it took brewing giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev 3.5 barrels of water to produce 1 barrel of beer. Due to concerns over drought and shrinking water supplies, the world’s largest brewer set a goal to drop that number to 3.25 barrels by 2012. It met that goal, and this week, Pete Kraemer, the company’s vice president for supply said that they had shrunk that number down to 3.15 barrels, with plans to drop it still further. For context, their plant in Houston alone produces 12 million barrels of beer each year. The drought in California already has breweries that rely on the Russian River for water scrambling to find new sources, like a reverse osmosis system that’d purify groundwater, or picking up stakes and moving to Chicago. Most of the water used to make beer does not make it into beer bottles — it ends up as wastewater, which in turn requires energy to treat…


Probiotics prevent deadly complications of liver disease, study finds
(June 6, 2014) — Probiotics are effective in preventing hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis of the liver, according to a new study. The investigators conducted trial with cirrhosis patients who showed risk factors for hepatic encephalopathy, but had yet to experience an obvious episode. When comparing treatment with probiotics versus placebo, the researchers found that the incidence of hepatic encephalopathy was lower in patients treated with probiotics. … > full story

Estimated risk of breast cancer increases as red meat intake increases, study suggests

Posted: 10 Jun 2014 05:52 PM PDT

Higher red meat intake in early adulthood might be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and women who eat more legumes — such as peas, beans and lentils — poultry, nuts and fish might be at lower risk in later life, suggests a paper.










9 Political Cartoons That Put Climate Change In Perspective

The Huffington Post  | By Katherine Brooks Posted: 06/07/2014 1:12 am EDT Updated: 06/07/2014 1:59 am EDT

Last month, the Niels Bugge Cartoon Award asked illustrators and cartoonists from around the world to submit drawings based on a basic theme: climate. “Oceans are in our hands,” the contest proclaimed, urging participants from 75 countries to put forth their best (and satirical) interpretation of the singular global concern. “Human beings, as all life on earth, came from the stars and landed through the ocean,” the contest solicitation read. “Ocean is our very first foster mother, much more than the land where we now cut trees and plant transgenic corn. But, as we maltreat land, we have been maltreating our spring of life and now oceans are quite ill because of our activities: less fish but more plastic, less pure water but more oil, less coral but more garbage. That’s why today, not tomorrow, we must do our best to save oceans of ourselves if we still want to have a future on this planet.” In response, the international competition received over 1,000 entries, sent from everywhere from Iran, China, Syria, the U.S. and the host country, Denmark. They, in typical political cartoon fashion, seem to perfectly unfold the issue of climate change, encapsulating the issues and feelings wrapped up in discussions of humans’ impact on our planet. Behold, 9 cartoons that put climate change in perspective. [Here are some—click on link for the rest]

  • Andrei Popov (Russia)

    Bruce Mackinnon (Canada)

  • Felipe Galindo (USA)

Doodle 4 Google 2014 – US Winner

June 9, 2014

For our 7th annual Doodle 4 Google competition, we asked kids, grades K-12, to draw an invention that would make the world a better place. Out of more than 100,000 submissions, 250 state finalists, 50 state winners, and 5 national age group winners, we are excited to present the 2014 Doodle 4 Google winner: 11-year old Audrey Zhang of New York!

“To make the world a better place, I invented a transformative water purifier. It takes in dirty and polluted water from rivers, lakes, and even oceans, then massively transforms the water into clean, safe and sanitary water, when humans and animals drink this water, they will live a healthier life.” – Audrey Zhang, 11


We quickly lost count of all the delightful elements of Audrey’s doodle. So in the spirit of this year’s theme, we asked Audrey to spend a day with the doodlers to turn her illustration into a moving animation. As an animator and director for a day, she made sure we twinkled each light and cleaned the water just right and took extra care for the  illustration’s dragons—about whom she is also writing a novel.   We encourage you to
take a look at the outstanding national grade group winners
, who we announced at an event with all 50 state winners at the Googleplex….



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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