Conservation Science News July 28 2014













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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





Drought takes toll on birds, Pacific Flyway



by BRIGID McCORMACK posted 07.15.2014 Ed’s Note:  Brigid McCormack is the executive director of Audubon California.


Summer is a relatively quiet time for birds in California’s Central Valley, as most of the ducks and geese are breeding in the north. But this year is more quiet than usual.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Department of Fish Wildlife, the number of breeding ducks remaining in California this season is 23 percent below the long-term average. The decline speaks to the significant degradation of habitat in the Central Valley due to lack of precipitation. Millions upon millions of birds rely on the Central Valley as a vital stop on the Pacific Flyway, sort of a migratory superhighway between Alaska and Patagonia.


Every corner of the state is feeling the pain of the drought. It is having a devastating effect on birds, just as it is hurting communities and agriculture. As California’s severe drought is felt more keenly, the Legislature’s efforts to approve a water bond for the November ballot have become all the more imperative.

California needs both short-term relief and a long-term strategy for water use, and both priorities must be  represented in any water bond. Failing to approve a new water bond for the ballot would represent a failure by the State government to effectively respond to the drought and plan for our future.

The Legislature approved water bond language in 2009, but has pulled it from subsequent ballots for lack of support. That $11.1 billion bond is currently slated for a vote in 2014, but few support it, and the consensus is that it needs to be replaced with a bond measure that better reflects the realities of the drought. And it must have enough support that its chances of passage are strong.


It shouldn’t be a surprise that lawmakers have had a difficult time agreeing on a new bond this legislative session. So much is at stake. Multiple bills ground their way through the Assembly and Senate this year and, despite a flurry of negotiations right before the July break, lawmakers will still need to complete the work in August.

Nowhere in California has the drought been harder felt than in the Central Valley, where natural resources support a thriving agricultural economy, growing communities, and vital habitat for birds and other wildlife. So it is not surprising that the discussions on the water bond focus on the Central Valley.

Many of the same things that make the Valley so important for agriculture and communities also make it of hemispheric importance for birds. Millions upon millions of birds rely on the Central Valley as a vital stop on the Pacific Flyway, sort of a migratory superhighway between Alaska and Patagonia.


A hundred years ago, the Central Valley looked very different than it does today. Rivers and streams meandered across the landscape, and much of the area was natural wetland and floodplain habitat. That all changed as the water was tamed to accommodate agriculture and community development, and as much as 95 percent of the area’s wetland habitat disappeared.

Acknowledging the massive impacts from federal and state irrigation projects, Congress in 1992 passed the Central Valley Project Improvement Act to support habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife. This legislation mandated minimum allocations of water to the network of federal wildlife refuges, state wildlife areas and private wetlands in the Central Valley.


Every serious bond proposal to emerge from negotiations in the legislature accepts California’s responsibility to provide water to these refuges, as well as the need to fund watershed protection and habitat restoration throughout the state. This represents only a small fraction of the cost of the bond, but will produce long-lasting ecological benefits and will safeguard prior public investments. Any long-term plan for water use – that is to say, any water bond – that fails to address the future needs of birds and habitat should be considered a failure. This will not only be because of the ecological destruction that will ensue, but also because of the failed opportunity to create a comprehensive plan to provide for California’s future water use.

California drought: As land sinks, farmers’ brainstorm on water

Kevin Fagan SF Chronicle Updated 10:26 pm, Saturday, July 26, 2014

Los Banos, Merced County

A deep well, above, pumps water to the surface in Chowchilla (Madera County). Photo: Leah Millis, The Chronicle

Case Vlot pulls up groundwater through deep wells to keep his corn and alfalfa crops alive. Chase Hurley runs a water company nearby that sells river water to farmers who can’t depend on wells. Normally the two would rarely talk to each other. But that was before the drought, and before the land began to sink beneath their feet. Now they and every farmer for miles around are talking to each other all the time, brainstorming in ways they’ve never had to before.

The ground is sinking because farmers and water agencies throughout the Central Valley are pumping groundwater heavily from far beneath the Earth’s surface to make up for the lack of rain. The problems caused by this sinkage are many, with no easy fix in sight.

Vlot’s wells are collapsing, crushed by the shifting soils. The dam Hurley depends on to divert water into the company’s canals from the San Joaquin River has sunk so far – about 3 feet in just five years – that the river is threatening to spill over. If that happens, he’ll have less water to distribute to farmers who grow cotton, tomatoes and a range of other crops. The deepwater aquifer being tapped by thousands of wells throughout the valley will take generations to restore, experts say. And if the sinking isn’t stopped, everything from house foundations to railroad lines – such as the high-speed rail planned for the valley – could suffer. It’s often said in farm country that whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting. But when the common foe is nature itself, the fight creates uncommon allies.

“We’re all in the same boat here, and we have to work together on this,” said Vlot, 43, who farms his 3,500 acres in Chowchilla (Madera County) to supply feed for his family cattle ranch. “A lot of us need to pump groundwater to survive, but now we can’t just depend on that in the exact same way we always did before. We have to figure out how to store more water and to get more surface water….


California drought requires urgent action

Peter GleickUpdated 3:36 pm, Saturday, July 26, 2014 Peter Gleick is president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland. His home water use is half the statewide average and even he thinks he could be doing more.


If California and much of the West is suffering from severe drought, then why have the responses to it been weak and largely ineffective? The answers are as complicated as California’s water system itself, with our wildly diverse sources and uses of water, prices and water rights, institutions, and more. But here are some observations.


By almost any definition, the current drought is severe. The U.S. Drought Monitor, which provides a rough measure of natural conditions, shows 100 percent of California to be in “severe” drought or worse. Other indicators, such as reservoir levels, river flows, water available to farmers and fish, fire risk and stream temperatures, also highlight the drought’s severity. This year will be one of the driest on record, and it is the third dry year in a row. Based on these data, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in January and asked Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent. The state also announced the availability of nearly $700 million for drought emergency relief. Yet, six months later and in the hottest, driest time of the year, the state has little progress to show.


Few water agencies or users have aggressively acted to save water. Statewide water use has increased over last year. The governor’s declaration was not followed by mandatory restrictions or wide distribution of information on how homeowners, farmers and businesses could save water. Some agencies have put up billboards urging people to stop wasting water, but few customers have gotten serious requests to reduce use or detailed information telling them how to save water. People don’t know what to do, or don’t know they should be doing anything, because no one is telling them. Yet, as the newest statewide poll shows, a remarkable three-quarters of the population favors far stronger actions


In short, we’re in denial. Why?


Unlimited high-quality water still comes out of our faucets at a cost far below that of our other utilities, such as power or cable. Farmers with senior-water rights still will get all or most of their water allocation, with little incentive to conserve. Initial projections from the University of California suggest that even in this third year of drought, the agricultural community as a whole will not have a bad year.

Some farmers and communities are buying replacement water from others or drilling costly wells to allow them to expand use of unregulated groundwater at the expense of their neighbors and the environment. Junior-water-rights holders, however – who will never get all the water they want, even in wet years – will have supplies cut the most and are hoping for political solutions to natural shortages. Or, they are increasing unsustainable groundwater pumping in a race to the bottom of the well. State law requires urban areas to meter all water use by 2025, but the drought adds new urgency.


There is no way to get water customers to conserve because there is no measure of the success of their actions. Some customers already have conserved and resent being asked to do more while their neighbors do little. And overall, we hope that Mother Nature, in the form of El Niño, will bail us out next year. In effect, California’s economy has become largely insulated from the effects of short-term drought – even droughts lasting years. But water is a limited resource and we will undermine our economy and our well-being if we don’t address unsustainable water use now.


There are plenty of things that could be done – and should have been done long ago:

— Measure and manage all groundwater pumping and use.

— Accelerate programs to meter all urban water users.

— Implement conservation-tiered pricing to reward efficiency improvements and penalize gross waste.

— Require utilities to redesign rates if they are postponing water conservation and efficiency programs because revenues might drop.

— Lose the lawn. It is time for green lawns to be permanently replaced by beautiful, but water-conserving, gardens.

— Reward water users who have already made great strides at conserving; expand efforts to reach their less-water-savvy neighbors.

— Accelerate allocation of the state’s emergency drought funds, with priority given to the most proven and cost-effective strategies for saving water: programs for farmers and urban residents to install efficient irrigation systems; incentives to get homeowners to permanently replace lawns, inefficient toilets, showerheads and washing machines; and policies that expand wastewater and storm water use.

— Encourage residents to engage with local water agencies; to follow their actions and to vote.

Next year might be wet, but it could just as well be dry. Even in wet years, we have serious unresolved water problems. If we fail to act, we will be at risk of waking up, turning on the tap, and getting nothing but air.




Pass law to regulate diminishing California groundwater

Updated 3:38 pm, Saturday, July 26, 2014

Water fights in California are usually about how to take more water rather than about how to conserve what we have, so it is no surprise that the state does not regulate groundwater pumping. Why invest in efficient water-use technology when you can stick your drinking straw into your neighbors’ wells without consequence? A third year of drought has changed that thinking.

A broad coalition of water folks including groundwater users has gotten behind legislation that would end California’s status as the only Western state that doesn’t manage its groundwater and the only state that doesn’t treat surface water and groundwater as part of the same hydrologic system. The drought has been the catalyst to do what we must do – pass laws to bring California into the modern age of water use. Two bills, one carried by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills (Los Angeles County), and the other authored by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, would require local agencies to manage groundwater sustainably – or the state will. Pavley, who chairs the state Senate’s Natural Resources and Water Committee, is a veteran of the water wars. Five years ago, she tried to push through groundwater regulation that ultimately was blocked by corporate agricultural interests claiming it would abridge private property rights. California gives groundwater use rights to the owner of the overlying land, and farmers typically are nervous about too much scrutiny of their wells.

But the landscape is changing. Collapsing aquifers, ground sinking at more than a foot a year, and numerous reports of proven wells going dry as a result of excessive pumping have alarmed farmers and coastal communities that depend on groundwater. Even the Association of California Water Agencies, whose members include irrigation districts, now backs tougher groundwater management.

The standard line in water politics is to call for local control over any new water rules. However, even among farmers, there is growing acknowledgements that local agencies may have neither the political will nor the technical resources to develop and enforce a sustainable groundwater management plan. And to protect the water that belongs to us all, they must. The Pavley and Dickinson bills explain how.

The bills are similar in many respects. The Pavley bill grants local agencies the right to allocate groundwater. The Dickinson bill, however, more cleanly spells out the rights of local agencies to regulate pumping, impose fees and define water rights in order to implement a groundwater management plan.

Both bills bring us closer to what every other state does – recognize that groundwater and surface water are related and that it is in the interests of everyone to manage water sustainably. While calls to stop serving water in restaurants and to rip out our water-wasting lawns help engage all Californians in weathering the drought, the biggest change is embodied in these bills – the need to treat water as a responsibly shared resource, not a property right.

Pavley and Dickinson want a bill passed before the Labor Day recess. The Legislature should make that happen.


Water use a trade secret?

If the proposed Dickinson legislation passes, it will be the most significant water legislation in the history of California, according to at least one water law expert. Yet it includes this clinker:

“In order to allow this act to fully accomplish its goals, it is necessary to protect proprietary information submitted pursuant to this act as confidential. Therefore, it is in the state’s interest to limit public access to this information.”

Water agencies today are required to file reports on pumping, transfers and diversions with the Department of Water Resources, but the information is kept confidential.

In an era of calls for transparency and digital access to government data, use of a public resource such as water should be no trade secret. Require public posting.



Why the California drought affects everyone. All of California is in a state of emergency because of the prolonged drought, now in its third year. And it’s more than just Californians who are feeling the impact – the state uses its scarce water to provide the nation with more food than any other state. Center for Investigative Reporting





Ecologists make first image of food niche

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 07:13 AM PDT

The ecological niche concept is very important in ecology. But what a niche looks like is fairly abstract. Now, for the first time, researchers have concretely visualized the ecological niche. The biologists have been able to determine the position of fourteen fish species in relationship to their food in a four-dimensional food diagram.


Second Silent Spring? Bird Declines Linked to Popular Pesticides

Neonicotinoids are aimed at insects, but they’re affecting other animals too, study says.

Jason Bittel for National Geographic

Published July 9, 2014

Pesticides don’t just kill pests. New research out of the Netherlands provides compelling evidence linking a widely used class of insecticides to population declines across 14 species of birds. Those insecticides, called neonicotinoids, have been in the news lately due to the way they hurt bees and other pollinators. (Related: “The Plight of the Honeybee.”) This new paper, published online Wednesday in Nature, gets at another angle of the story—the way these chemicals can indirectly affect other creatures in the ecosystem…..



Large raptors in Africa used for bushmeat, study indicates

Posted: 24 Jul 2014 03:29 PM PDT

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates that more than half of the species being consumed are birds, particularly large birds like raptors and hornbills.



Fire ecology manipulation by California native cultures

Posted: 26 Jul 2014 05:23 AM PDT

Before the colonial era, 100,000s of people lived on the land now called California, and many of their cultures manipulated fire to control the availability of plants they used for food, fuel, tools, and ritual. Contemporary tribes continue to use fire to maintain desired habitat and natural resources.



Bee foraging chronically impaired by pesticide exposure: Study

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 11:03 AM PDT

A new study that involved fitting bumblebees with tiny radio frequency tags shows long-term exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide hampers bees’ ability to forage for pollen. The study shows how long-term pesticide exposure affects individual bees’ day-to-day behavior, including pollen collection and which flowers worker bees chose to visit.


Happy Feet III: Adélie penguin population actually on the rise

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 06:53 AM PDT

The first global census of the Adélie penguin, long considered a key indicator species to monitor and understand the effects of climate change and fishing in the Southern Ocean, has revealed its population (3.79 million breeding pairs) to be 53 percent larger than previously estimated. By using high-resolution satellite imagery, researchers have applied a new method that permits regular monitoring of Adélie penguins across their entire breeding range, and by extension the health of the Southern Ocean ecosystem…..Over the past several years, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has discussed the establishment of a series of Marine Protected Areas surrounding Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands. Dr. Lynch explained that Adélie penguins are not only themselves a species of conservation concern, but their distribution and abundance globally also reflect the distribution of their marine prey — primarily krill and fish.

“Our finding of a 53 percent increase in Adélie penguin breeding abundance compared to 20 years ago suggests that estimates of krill consumption by this species may be seriously underestimated. Leaving enough prey for natural krill predators is an important element in ensuring fisheries proceed sustainably, and for the first time we have a global map of Adélie abundance that can be used by CCAMLR,” added Dr. Lynch. “Not only do we have a comprehensive baseline that can be updated and improved in the future, but we’ve identified a method for monitoring this important species at a global scale.”…..

Other key findings from the global census include:

  • High-resolution satellite imagery can be effectively used to get near real-time information about penguin populations and their distribution.
  • The 53 percent increase in known abundance is roughly equally divided between genuine growth of known colonies and the discovery of, or first population estimates at, previously unknown or unsurveyed colonies.
  • Stable or growing populations of Adélie penguins in Eastern Antarctica and the Ross Sea more than offset the rapid declines witnessed on the Antarctic Peninsula, where climate change has significantly changed the timing and decreased the extent of sea ice.
  • The researchers discovered 17 previously unknown Adélie colonies. The survey did not find 13 previously known colonies, 8 of which were declared extirpated.

While we celebrate the news that Adélie penguin populations are thriving, learning of these population booms reinforces the need to protect the Antarctic food web,” said Andrea Kavanagh, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ global penguin conservation campaign. The project’s aim is to restore and protect penguin breeding and feeding grounds in coastal waters throughout the Southern Hemisphere, and to create large no-take marine reserves in the Southern Ocean. “We call on CCAMLR to implement a strong ecosystem management plan for the Antarctic krill, so that all penguin species have access to abundant protein and can continue to thrive.”


Drs. Lynch and LaRue used high-resolution satellite imagery, recent ground counts and other techniques to identify Adélie Penguin colonies over the 5,500 kilometer Antarctic coastline in the lowest regions of the Antarctic Ocean, or Southern Ocean — a distance 40 percent longer than from New York to Los Angeles.

There has been an exploding interest among scientists internationally in using satellites to survey Antarctic species such as penguins, seals and whales. The relative simplicity of the landscape makes satellite-based surveys an exciting way to look at Antarctic biology at scales not previously thought possible, paving the way for Antarctica to become an unlikely hotbed of discovery for understanding the population dynamics of seabirds and marine mammals.


Real price of steak: Comparing environmental costs of livestock-based foods

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 12:19 PM PDT

New research reveals the comparative environmental costs of livestock-based foods. While we are told that eating beef is bad for the environment, do we know its real cost? Are the other animal or animal-derived foods better or worse? New research compared the environmental costs of various foods and came up with some surprisingly clear results. The findings will hopefully not only inform individual dietary choices, authors say, but also those of governmental agencies that set agricultural and marketing policies.


When the numbers were in, including those for the environmental costs of different kinds of feed (pasture, roughage such as hay, and concentrates such as corn), the team developed equations that yielded values for the environmental cost – per calorie and then per unit of protein, for each food. The calculations showed that the biggest culprit, by far, is beef. That was no surprise, say Milo and Shepon. The surprise was in the size of the gap: In total, eating beef is more costly to the environment by an order of magnitude – about ten times on average – than other animal-derived foods, including pork and poultry. Cattle require on average 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water, are responsible for releasing 5 times more greenhouse gases, and consume 6 times as much nitrogen, as eggs or poultry. Poultry, pork, eggs and dairy all came out fairly similar. That was also surprising, because dairy production is often thought to be relatively environmentally benign. But the research shows that the price of irrigating and fertilizing the crops fed to milk cows – as well as the relative inefficiency of cows in comparison to other livestock – jacks up the cost significantly.


Milo believes that this study could have a number of implications. In addition to helping individuals make better choices about their diet, it should hopefully help inform agricultural policy. And the tool the team has created for analyzing the environmental costs of agriculture can be expanded and refined to be applied, for example, to understanding the relative cost of plant-based diets, or those of other nations. In addition to comparisons, it can point to areas that might be improved. Models based on this study can help policy makers decide how to better ensure food security through sustainable practices.



Gidon Eshel, Alon Shepon, Tamar Makov, and Ron Milo. Land, irrigation water, greenhouse gas, and reactive nitrogen burdens of meat, eggs, and dairy production in the United States. PNAS, July 2014 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1402183111


Seals forage at offshore wind farms

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 09:38 AM PDT

By using sophisticated GPS tracking to monitor seals’ every movement, researchers have shown for the first time that some individual seals are repeatedly drawn to offshore wind farms and pipelines. Those human-made structures probably serve as artificial reefs and attractive hunting grounds, according to a study….


Rethinking fish farming to offset its public health and environmental risks

Posted: 14 Jul 2014 12:23 PM PDT

As government agencies recommend greater consumption of seafood for its health benefits, a new analysis urges medical and public health professionals to consider the environmental and health impact of seafood sourcing, particularly aquaculture, or the farming of fish, shellfish and crustaceans….

Overfishing in English Channel leaves fisherman scraping bottom of the barrel

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Decades of overfishing in the English Channel has resulted in the removal of many top predators from the sea and left fishermen ‘scraping the barrel’ for increasing amounts of shellfish to make up their catch. Sharks, rays, cod, haddock and many other species at the head of the food chain are at historic lows with many removed from the area completely.


Technology tracks the elusive Nightjar

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 07:01 AM PDT

Bioacoustic recorders could provide us with vital additional information to help us protect rare and endangered birds such as the European nightjar, new research has shown. The study found that newly developed remote survey techniques were twice as effective at detecting rare birds as conventional survey methods.


Mieke C. Zwart, Andrew Baker, Philip J. K. McGowan, Mark J. Whittingham. The Use of Automated Bioacoustic Recorders to Replace Human Wildlife Surveys: An Example Using Nightjars. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (7): e102770 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102770


Insights into birds’ migration routes

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 09:39 AM PDT

By tracking hybrids between songbird species, investigators have found that migration routes are under genetic control and could be preventing interbreeding. The research was conducted using geolocators that, like GPS, record the position of a bird and allow its long distance movement to be tracked.



Birdlike fossil challenges notion that birds evolved from ground-dwelling dinosaurs

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 11:02 AM PDT

The re-examination of a sparrow-sized fossil from China challenges the commonly held belief that birds evolved from ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs that gained the ability to fly. The birdlike fossil is actually not a dinosaur, as previously thought, but much rather the remains of a tiny tree-climbing animal that could glide.


Flower’s bellows organ blasts pollen at bird pollinators

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 09:55 AM PDT

A small tree or shrub found in mountainous Central and South American rainforests has a most unusual relationship with the birds that pollinate its flowers, according to a new study. The plant known as Axinaea offers up its male reproductive organs as a tempting and nutritious food source for the birds. As the birds seize those bulbous stamens with their beaks, they are blasted with pollen by the flowers’ complex ‘bellows’ organs.


Refined biological evolution model proposed

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 07:03 AM PDT

Models for the evolution of life try to clarify the long term dynamics of an evolving system of species. A recent model accounts for species’ interactions with various degrees of symmetry, connectivity, and species abundance. This is an improvement on previous, simpler models, which apply random fitness levels to species. The findings demonstrate that the resulting replicator ecosystems do not appear to be a self-organized critical model, unlike the so-called Bak Sneppen model.







Earth Just Finished Its Warmest Quarter-Year Ever

By Eric Holthaus July 15 2014

New data released Monday shows humanity has just unlocked another achievement in the race to cook the planet: The last three months were collectively the warmest ever experienced since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. The Japan Meteorological Agency said June 2014 was the warmest June globally since at least 1891, when its dataset begins. This follows May 2014, which was the warmest May globally on record, which follows April 2014, which was the warmest April globally on record. Taken as a whole, the just-finished three-month period was about 0.68 degrees Celsius (1.22 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th-century average. That may not sound like much, but the added warmth has been enough to provide a nudge to a litany of weather and climate events worldwide. Arctic sea ice is trending near record lows for this time of year, abnormally warm ocean water helped spawn the earliest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in North Carolina, and a rash of heat waves have plagued cities from India to California to the Middle East. In addition to the relentless push by human-caused global warming, this year’s extra heat comes in part because of a building El Niño emerging in the Pacific….



A double scorcher: June joins May with heat record. USA TODAY July 22, 2014

Last month was the Earth’s warmest June since records began in 1880, according to data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)….



Global warming: June’s heat was record-breaking, for the planet, California and San Francisco

Posted on Monday, July 21 at 11:36am | By Kurtis Alexander

The month of June was the planet’s hottest, federal scientists said Monday, a record that dates back through 134 years of report-keeping and underscores a trend of increasingly warmer global temperatures.

California has seen its hottest start to a year since record-keeping began. (Courtesy of NOAA.)

June’s average temperature — 61.2 degrees — marked the 38th consecutive June that the mercury has been above the 20th century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. California made history, too. A warm June helped the state log its hottest start to the year on record, with a temperature 4.8 degrees above the 20th century average for the six-month period, and 1.1 degrees above the previous high in 1934. San Francisco, Sacramento and Fresno all experienced their hottest six-month starts on record. Los Angeles saw its second warmest start, while San Diego saw its third warmest. Temperatures throughout the West have been warmer than average this year, exacerbating the dry conditions that have gripped California in drought and elevated the threat of wildfire. June’s hot temperatures prompted monthly records to be broken on every continent but Antarctica….


Global warming ‘pause’ since 1998 reflects natural fluctuation

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 03:18 PM PDT

Statistical analysis of average global temperatures between 1998 and 2013 shows that the slowdown in global warming during this period is consistent with natural variations in temperature, according to research. The study concludes that a natural cooling fluctuation during this period largely masked the warming effects of a continued increase in human-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.


Stuck on land? Polar bears find ways to grab dinner.

Daily Climate

Starving polar bears, icon of the climate change movement, may be able to adapt to an ice-free summer season in the Arctic after all, based on new research suggesting bears can survive on geese, eggs and the occasional caribou.


Australia drying caused by greenhouse gases, study shows

Posted: 13 Jul 2014 12:55 PM PDT

A new high-resolution climate model has been developed that shows southwestern Australia’s long-term decline in fall and winter rainfall is caused by increases in human-made greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion, according to research. Several natural causes were tested with the model, including volcano eruptions and changes in the sun’s radiation. But none of these natural climate drivers reproduced the long-term observed drying, indicating this trend is due to human activity.


Size and age of plants impact their productivity more than climate

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 05:43 PM PDT

The size and age of plants has more of an impact on their productivity than temperature and precipitation, according to a landmark study. They show that variation in terrestrial ecosystems is characterized by a common mathematical relationship but that climate plays a relatively minor direct role. The results have important implications for models used to predict climate change effects on ecosystem function and worldwide food production.



Projecting boreal bird responses to climate change: the signal exceeds the noise

Diana Stralberg1,*, Steven M. Matsuoka2, Andreas Hamann3, Erin M. Bayne4, Peter Sólymos5, Fiona Schmiegelow6, XianliWang7, Steve G. Cumming8, and Samantha J. Song9

For climate-change projections to be useful, the magnitude of change must be understood relative to the magnitude of uncertainty in model predictions. We quantified the signal-to-noise ratio in projected distributional responses of boreal birds to climate change, and compared sources of uncertainty. Boosted regression tree models of abundance were generated for 80 boreal-breeding bird species using a comprehensive dataset of standardized avian point counts (349,629 surveys at 122,202 unique locations) and 4-km climate, land-use and topographic data. For projected changes in abundance, we calculated signal-to-noise ratios, and examined variance components related to choice of global climate model (GCM) and two sources of species distribution model (SDM) uncertainty: sampling error and variable selection. We also evaluated spatial, temporal, and inter-specific variation in these sources of uncertainty. The mean signal-to-noise ratio across species increased over time to 2.87 by the end of the 21st century, with signal greater than the noise for 88% of species. Across species, climate change represented the largest component (0.44) of variance in projected abundance change. Among sources of uncertainty evaluated, choice of GCM (mean variance component = 0.17) was most important for 66% of species, sampling error (mean = 0.12) for 29% of species, and variable selection (mean = 0.05) for 5% of species. Increasing the number of GCMs from four to 19 had minor effects on these results. The range of projected changes and uncertainty characteristics across species differed markedly, reinforcing the individuality of species’ responses to climate change and the challenges of one-size-fits-all approaches to climate change adaptation. We discuss the usefulness of different conservation approaches depending on the strength of the climate change signal relative to the noise, as well as the dominant source of prediction uncertainty.

Diana Stralberg, Steven M. Matsuoka, Andreas Hamann, Erin M. Bayne, Peter Sólymos, Fiona Schmiegelow, Xianli Wang, Steve G. Cumming, and Samantha J. Song In press. Projecting boreal bird responses to climate change: the signal exceeds the noise. Ecological Applications.


Hit by Climate Change, Dwindling Antarctic Seal Population Grows More Diverse

Scientific American

July 23 2014


Although climate change continues to stir up opportunities and challenges for animals across the world, new research published today in Nature shows the ups and down this change is creating for one species in particular. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) The study analyzed the Antarctic fur seal population of South Georgia Island, which was observed over the last three decades, to see how climate change is affecting the species. The researchers found a 30 percent decline in the female population from 2003 to 2012. They also found, however, that the declining population would most likely become genetically more diverse as climate change continues. The reason, they say, is that genetically similar females are being excluded from breeding, as reflected by an estimated 17 percent decline in genetic similarity among the female population in the past two decades. “We’ve found that the seals have been significantly affected by climate change,” says Jaume Forcada, who directed the study and serves as marine mammal leader for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), in a prepared video statement. “This is because the availability of Antarctic krill—the seals’ main food source—has decreased, putting the population under stress.”

The krill population has suffered due to rising sea-surface temperatures. As the amount of krill declines, only the more genetically diverse, or heterozygous, fur seals that are fitter and stronger survive. “The heterozygosity, which is a good indicator of fitness, is selected for within a generation by the fact that nonheterozygous individuals don’t survive to reach breeding age,” says Iain Staniland, marine mammal ecologist at the BAS and part of this research team. “In recent decades, when the climate has changed and food has been scarce, only the very fittest have made it through the difficult first years of life.” For example, the scientists found that female fur seals that made it to breeding age were 5 percent heavier at birth than those who didn’t. They also found that the females were about a year older on average when they started breeding and had a larger body size compared with the situation two decades earlier when the population was much more stable….



Urban heat boosts some pest populations 200-fold, killing red maples

Posted: 23 Jul 2014 11:17 AM PDT

Urban ‘heat islands’ are slowly killing red maples in the southeastern United States, research shows. One factor that researchers have found that impacts the situation is that warmer temperatures increase the number of young produced by the gloomy scale insect — a significant tree pest — by 300 percent, which in turn leads to 200 times more adult gloomy scales on urban trees.


Beautiful but a threat: Tropical fish invasion destroys kelp forests

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 07:01 AM PDT

The migration of tropical fish as a result of ocean warming poses a serious threat to the temperate areas they invade, because they overgraze on kelp forests and seagrass meadows, a new study concludes. The harmful impact is most evident in southern Japanese waters and the eastern Mediterranean, where there have been dramatic declines in kelps. There is also emerging evidence of damage in Australia and the US from the spread of tropical fish towards the poles.


Climate change: Tropical species are most vulnerable to rising temperatures

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 06:55 AM PDT

Tropical species will be most at risk from rising temperatures as the discrepancy between physiological thermal limits and projected temperatures is highest in tropical regions, research shows. In contrast, a large part of mammal and bird species in temperate zones will find ambient temperatures in 2080 within their tolerance ranges. However, indirect effects of rising temperatures may counteract opportunities given by species’ physiological tolerances in temperate zones, researchers say.


Study Gives Hope of Adaptation to Climate Change


Research on flies in drier conditions indicates that some have the genes to survive longer over generations. As we pour heat-trapping gases into the air, we’re running an experiment. We’re going to see what a rapidly changing climate does to the world’s biodiversity — how many species shift to new ranges, how many adapt to their new environment and how many become extinct.

We don’t have a very good idea of how the experiment will turn out. Scientists are coming to appreciate that there’s a lot about how climate affects life that they still don’t understand. That’s true, it turns out, even for species that scientists have been studying carefully for years….Even at 35 percent humidity, Dr. van Heerwaarden and Dr. Sgrò found, the flies fared badly. On average, they died after just 12 hours.
But Dr. van Heerwaarden and Dr. Sgrò found that some of the flies survived a little longer than others. By comparing different families of flies, they discovered that the difference in the flies’ resistance was influenced by their genes. That’s not what the first experiment had suggested….


Climate: Meat turns up the heat as livestock emit greenhouse gases

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 09:40 AM PDT

Eating meat contributes to climate change, due to greenhouse gasses emitted by livestock. New research finds that livestock emissions are on the rise and that beef cattle are responsible for far more greenhouse gas emissions than other types of animals. “That tasty hamburger is the real culprit,” the lead researcher said. “It might be better for the environment if we all became vegetarians, but a lot of improvement could come from eating pork or chicken instead of beef.”


Meats: A health hierarchy
The Atlantic July 3 2014

The biggest reason to eat chicken instead of beef has nothing to do with saturated fat. Farming cattle produces about four times as much greenhouse gas as does poultry or fish. [is this based on industrial agricultural?]


Sea level rising in western tropical Pacific anthropogenic as result of human activity, study concludes

Posted: 20 Jul 2014 05:43 PM PDT

Sea levels likely will continue to rise in the tropical Pacific Ocean off the coasts of the Philippines and northeastern Australia as humans continue to alter the climate, a study concludes. The study authors combined past sea level data gathered from both satellite altimeters and traditional tide gauges as part of the study. The goal was to find out how much a naturally occurring climate phenomenon called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO, influences sea rise patterns in the Pacific.


Protecting rainforests could sequester equivalent of a third of global emissions annually

June 13 2014

Eliminating deforestation, peatlands and forest degradation, and forest fires in the tropics could reduce global carbon emissions by two billion tons a year, or nearly a fifth, argues a new study published in Global Change Biology. The research, authored by John Grace and Edward Mitchard of the University of Edinburgh and Emanuel Gloor of the University of Leeds, analyzed various emissions sources and sinks across the tropics. They found that carbon emissions from activities that damage and destroy forests are nearly counterbalanced by forest regrowth, reforestation, and afforestation. Cutting destructive activities would therefore be a substantial net gain in efforts to slow climate change. “If we limit human activity in the tropical forests of the world, this could play a valuable role in helping to curb the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” said Grace, who led the study, in a statement. “Preventing further losses of carbon from our tropical forests must remain a high priority.” ….


Residents evacuated as Sand Fire spreads in Sierra foothills

Peter Hartlaub

Updated 8:28 am, Sunday, July 27, 2014

A DC-10 air tanker drops its load of fire retardant on the Sand Fire at the middle fork of the Cosumnes River as firefighters stand by to protect a home. Photo: Hector Amezcua, Associated Press

A wildfire near the border of Amador and El Dorado counties has burned five houses and seven outbuildings, and forced hundreds of residents of the Sierra Nevada foothill region to flee their homes.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported Saturday afternoon that the fire was burning about 5 miles north of Plymouth, which is 40 miles east of Sacramento. The blaze was about 20 percent contained Saturday evening, while moving rapidly to the east. A mandatory evacuation was announced for a large group of residents – more than 500 homes – west of Highway 16.

The Sand Fire broke out late Friday afternoon near the Cosumnes River. While the cause still hasn’t been determined, investigators are looking at the possibility that a burned car found near the riverbed was involved. Temperatures above 100 degrees and strong winds stoked the fire, which moved into dry terrain, threatening at least one winery, but ultimately moved away from the vineyards, which are plentiful in the area….





Drier than the Dust Bowl: Waiting for relief in rural America

July 17, 2014 Washington Post

The current drought in Colorado is worse and longer-lasting than anyone here has ever seen — so punishing that it’s pushing people, whose families have survived on the land for decades, to the brink of giving up.



Water Use in California July 22, 2014

Jeffrey Mount, Emma Freeman, and Jay Lund

  • Water in California is shared across three main sectors.
    Statewide, average water use is roughly 50% environmental, 40% agricultural, and 10% urban. However, the percentage of water use by sector varies dramatically across regions and between wet and dry years. Some of the water used by each of these sectors returns to rivers and groundwater basins, and can be used again.
  • Environmental water provides multiple benefits.
    Environmental water use falls into four categories: water in rivers protected as “wild and scenic” under federal and state laws, water required for maintaining habitat within streams, water that supports wetlands within wildlife preserves, and water needed to maintain water quality for agricultural and urban use. Most water allocated to the environment does not affect other water uses. More than half of California’s environmental water use occurs in rivers along the state’s north coast. These waters are largely isolated from major agricultural and urban areas and cannot be used for other purposes. In the rest of California where water is shared by all three sectors, environmental use is not dominant (33%, compared to 53% agricultural and 14% urban).
  • Agricultural water use is holding steady even while the economic value of farm production is growing.
    Approximately nine million acres of farmland in California are irrigated, representing roughly 80% of all human water use. Higher revenue perennial crops—nuts, grapes, and other fruit—have increased as a share of irrigated crop acreage (from 27% in 1998 to 32% in 2010 statewide, and from 33% to 40% in the southern Central Valley). This shift, plus rising crop yields, has increased the value of farm output (from $16.3 billion of gross state product in 1998 to $22.3 billion in 2010, in 2010 dollars), thereby increasing the value of agricultural water used. But even as the agricultural economy is growing, the rest of the economy is growing faster. Today, farm production and food processing only generate about 2% of California’s gross state product, down from about 5% in the early 1960s.
  • Despite population growth, total urban water use is also holding steady.
    The San Francisco Bay and South Coast regions account for most urban water use in California. These regions rely heavily on water imported from other parts of the state. Roughly half of urban water use is for residential and commercial landscaping. Despite population growth and urban expansion, total urban water use has remained roughly constant over the past 20 years. Per-capita water use has declined significantly—from 232 gallons per day in 1990 to 178 gallons per day in 2010—reflecting substantial efforts to reduce water use through pricing incentives and mandatory installation of water saving technologies like low-flow toilets and shower heads. Coastal regions use far less water per capita than inland regions—145 gallons per day compared with 276 gallons per day in 2010—largely because of less landscape watering.
  • The current drought exposes major water use challenges.
    In the Central Valley, where most agricultural water use occurs, the failure to manage groundwater sustainably limits its availability as a drought reserve. The increase in perennial crops—which need to be watered every year—has made the region even more vulnerable. In urban areas, the greatest potential for further water savings lies in reducing landscaping irrigation—a shift requiring behavioral changes, not just the adoption of new technology. Finally, state and federal regulators must make tough decisions about how and when to allocate water to the environment during a drought. They are faced with balancing short-term economic impacts on urban and agricultural water users against long-term harm—even risk of extinction—of fish and wildl







How a flood-prone village in the U.S. moved to higher, drier ground. Reuters

Hidden among tracts of farmland here in the fertile Mississippi River floodplain, there was once a village home to 900 people. But shortly after midnight on August 2, 1993, the swollen Mississippi River – normally a few miles to the west – burst through the levee protecting the community….


Learning from Community-based Natural Resource Management

By Dr. Hannah Reid

A recent blog argued that “Ecosystem-based adaptation is a newly-defined activity in the quest to respond to climate change, but its techniques and theory are as old as humans.” In which case, the theory and practice of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) and its sister, community-based adaptation (CBA), should build more on learning from older natural resource management disciplines, such as community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). CBA and EbA have gained traction over recent years, and policymakers are increasingly promoting ‘integrated’ EbA and CBA approaches. These can benefit the world’s poorest people, who are hit hardest by climate change because they live in vulnerable areas, have the least capacity to cope, and because they are disproportionately reliant on ecosystems and their services. But learning from older related disciplines has insufficiently informed practice and policymaking. Below are some of the key lessons from CBNRM that EbA and CBA should address….


Planning climate adaptation in agriculture: Advances in research, policy and finance

by CCAFS | CGIAR program – Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security on Jul 06, 2014

Presentations by speakers at the CCAFS’ “Planning Climate Adaptation in Agriculture” Side Event during the UNFCCC SB 40 climate negotiations in Bonn. Speakers are: Gabrielle Kissinger, David Kaluba, David Howlett and Pradeep Kurukulasuriya.


California rice farmers who reduce methane emissions may soon sell pollution credits under cap and trade

July 7 2014 Sacramento Bee

California’s evolving cap-and-trade market may soon have a new player: rice farmers. Rice farmers would flood their fields for shorter periods, which would reduce the decomposition process that emits methane – a potent greenhouse gas….For now the air resources agency has decided to exclude winter flooding of rice fields from the cap-and-trade program. It is winter flooding – and not flooding during spring seeding or before harvest – that provides the most crucial wetland habitat for bird populations. Butler said he’s decided to participate in the cap-and-trade program more for altruistic reasons than financial ones. “I think about this as the right thing to do,” Butler said. “We’re trying our best to be good stewards of the land, and produce a crop … and this program could be a next step for us.”






White House Announces Climate Change Initiatives


MISSOULA, Mont. — President Obama announced a series of climate change initiatives on Wednesday aimed at guarding the electricity supply; improving local planning for flooding, coastal erosion and storm surges; and better predicting landslide risks as sea levels rise and storms and droughts intensify. The actions, involving a variety of federal agencies, were among the recommendations of the president’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, a group of 26 officials who have worked since November to develop the proposals. One of the projects involves shoring up the power supply during climate catastrophes, and the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday awarded a total of $236.3 million to eight states to improve electricity infrastructure in rural areas. A government study released in May concluded that climate change would strain utility companies’ ability to deliver power as extreme weather damaged power lines and hotter temperatures drove surges in demand. The Agriculture Department also announced new funds to help rural areas that are struggling with drought, although the White House has not said how much money would be allocated….



Taking Action to Support State, Local, and Tribal Leaders as They Prepare Communities for the Impacts of Climate Change

On July 16, 2014, President Obama announced 11 new climate resilience initiatives in response to early feedback from the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.  The President established the Task Force in 2013 to advise the administration about ways the Federal government could best help the nation prepare for climate change impacts. Governor Jerry Brown and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson are members of the Task Force. The initiatives involve several infrastructure actions, development of advanced mapping and data tools, new FEMA guidelines accounting for climate change in hazard mitigation planning, and the Center for Disease Control’s guidance on Assessing Health Vulnerability to Climate Change. Funding of pilot and grant programs was also included. This announcement appears to continue a recent increase in the momentum of climate change-related actions as the Obama administration approaches its final two years….


US climate report suggests $500bn of property below sea level by 2100. July 4 2014 The Guardian

A new report, Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States, frames climate change as a risk issue with a price tag. Does it indicate that the financial community is beginning to take climate change seriously?….



Rethinking the Wild: The Wilderness Act Is Facing a Midlife Crisis


YOU won’t hear it on your summer hike above the bird song and the soft applause of aspen leaves, but there’s a heresy echoing through America’s woods and wild places. It’s a debate about how we should think about, and treat, our wilderness in the 21st century, one with real implications for the nearly 110 million acres of wild lands that we’ve set aside across the United States. Fifty years ago this September, Congress passed the Wilderness Act, which created a national system of wilderness areas. Wilderness has been called the “hard green line” for the act’s uncompromising language: Man will leave these places alone. As the law’s drafter and spiritual father, Howard Zahniser, put it, “we should be guardians, not gardeners.”

At 50, however, the Wilderness Act faces a midlife crisis. We now know that, thanks to climate change, we’ve left no place unmolested and inadvertently put our fingerprints on even the most unpeopled corners of the planet. This reality has pushed respected scientists to advocate what many wilderness partisans past and present would consider blasphemy: We need to rethink the Wilderness Act. We need to toss out the “hands-off” philosophy that has guided our stewardship for 50 years. We must replace it with a more nuanced, flexible approach — including a willingness to put our hands on America’s wildest places more, not less, if we’re going to help them to adapt and thrive in the diminished future we’ve thrust upon them….


The wilderness can teach us how to survive on Earth

Jason Mark SF Chronicle July 23, 2014

Ah, summertime – the season for getaways to the great outdoors. Maybe that means a lazy float trip down the Russian River, a weekend at the beach, or camping at the nearest state park. If you’re especially intrepid, getting away might involve strapping on a pack and striking out into one of California’s 149 designated wilderness areas. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act. The watershed law established a legal definition of wilderness as an area that retains its “primeval character” and where “the imprint of man’s work [is] substantially unnoticeable.” Today, some 110 million acres of land across the United States are protected as wilderness, an achievement unmatched anywhere else in the world. …


Obama Adviser on Front Lines of Climate Fight

By HENRY FOUNTAIN July 4, 2014

The influence of John Holdren, a physicist and White House science adviser, can be seen in a number of policies, including the plan to cut power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions


Indonesia is killing the planet for palm oil. Indonesia is being deforested faster than any other country in the world, and it has everything to do with one product: palm oil. Vice News




Drought hinders state’s emissions goals

David R. Baker SF Chronicle Updated 7:03 am, Sunday, July 20, 2014

A family and friends make the best of a boat dock that would normally be afloat at Bass Lake near Oakhurst (Madera County). The lake is both a hydroelectric reservoir and recreation area. The loss of hydropower has utilities turning to power plants. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle Related Stories Calif. drought news, information


No state has done more than California to fight global warming. But a deepening drought could make that battle more difficult and more expensive. A prolonged dry spell, stretching on for years, would slash the amount of power flowing from the state’s hydroelectric dams, already running low after three parched winters. The dams have, for years, been one of California’s main sources of clean electricity, generating power without spewing greenhouse gases into the air. Drought forces utility companies to turn elsewhere for electricity, buying more from conventional power plants burning natural gas. Emissions rise as a result. It’s already happening. After falling for years, California’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 1.7 percent in 2012, pushed up by the drought and the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant in San Diego County. The state has not yet released emissions data for 2013.

…..California’s emissions peaked in 2004 at 492.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to data from the California Air Resources Board. They fell slowly but steadily from 2007 through 2011. Then as the drought began, they rose. The closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, after a small leak of radioactive steam revealed defective equipment, didn’t help.

In 2011, large hydroelectric dams accounted for 18.2 percent of all power generated in the state, according to the California Energy Commission. Nuclear plants supplied another 18.2 percent, while conventional power plants burning natural gas accounted for 45.4 percent. Renewable power sources, not including large dams, provided 16.6 percent of in-state generation.

In 2012, hydro generation plunged to 11.7 percent, nuclear to 9.3 percent. Natural gas plants supplied 61.1 percent of the state’s electricity. Between 1983 and 2001, hydropower averaged 15 percent of in-state generation. “There’s no doubt, on the margins, a drier year leads to higher emissions than you’d have otherwise,” Strauss said….





Replacing coal, oil with natural gas will not help fight global warming, expert argues

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 09:39 AM PDT

Both shale gas and conventional natural gas have a larger greenhouse gas footprint than do coal or oil, especially for the primary uses of residential and commercial heating. “While emissions of carbon dioxide are less from natural gas than from coal and oil, methane emissions are far greater. Methane is such a potent greenhouse gas that these emissions make natural gas a dangerous fuel from the standpoint of global warming over the next several decades,” said the author of a new article.


Renewables jump to 31 percent in Germany. July 4 2014 Renew Economy, Australia

Mild weather and record production from wind and solar has lifted the share of renewable energy in Germany to 31 per cent of production for the first half of 2014. According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, which this week launched a terrific new website plotting hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly production.



China wants 30 percent of government cars to be electric cars. China will require 30 percent of all government cars to be electric cars. The plan will include battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and fuel-cell cars, and it is set to be phased in over the next two years. Christian Science Monitor



Oklahoma earthquakes induced by wastewater injection by disposal wells, study finds

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 11:23 AM PDT

The dramatic increase in earthquakes in central Oklahoma since 2009 is likely attributable to subsurface wastewater injection at just a handful of disposal wells, finds a new study.


Corralling carbon before it belches from stack.

there is any hope of staving off the worst effects of climate change, many scientists say, this must be part of it – capturing the carbon that spews from power plants and locking it away, permanently. For now, they contend, the world is too dependent on fossil fuels to do anything less….





Considering Multiple Futures: Scenario Planning to Address Uncertainty in Natural Resource Conservation (pdf)

a range of scenario planning approaches and 12 case studies of how the approach is being applied to natural resource management and climate change issues in the U.S., thisnew report was produced by WCS and USFWS.




Climate-Smart Guide, Part II

The Art of the Possible: Identifying Adaptation Options

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:00–2:30 PM Eastern

Presenters include:

  • Susan Julius- EPA Global Change Impacts & Adaptation Research Program
  • Jordan M. West – EPA Global Change Impacts & Adaptation Research Program
  • Molly S. Cross – Wildlife Conservation Society

Description: This webinar is the second in a series focused on the recently released guide, Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice. Armed with an understanding of climate vulnerabilities in the context of climate-informed goals, the next step is to identify a full range of possible adaptation responses. This webinar will focus on Chapter 8 of the Guide and will look at a process for using vulnerability information as the basis for generating specific adaptation options. Case studies will be used to illustrate identification of options, considerations for maximizing climate-smart “design” of options, and applicability of options in the context of the dual pathways of managing for change and persistence.


To register, go to:

***Please look for an email from WebEx “messenger.” Check your spam folder if you do not receive the confirmation email with your log-in instructions after registering***



Approximately 1-2 weeks after the webinar a recording will be posted here:



Captioning information will be provided in your registration confirmation email. If you have any questions regarding the Safeguarding webinars, please contact: Shayna Carney: or Becca Shapiro:


Also, if you missed our last Safeguarding webinar on “The National Climate Assessment: Actionable Science for Natural Systems” held June 3rd, a recording is available at:


Connecting Farmers & Ranchers to Innovative Technology in Bat Conservation
NRCS Webinars—July 23- August 27, 2014; Wednesdays, 11 AM Pacific

Bat Conservation International is pleased to announce the dates for our NRCS Webinar Series entitled “Connecting Farmers & Ranchers to Innovative Technology in Bat Conservation“.    Webinars will be held on Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. Central. 

Topics include:

7/23 – Bats and Integrated Pest Management part I

7/30 – Bats and Integrated Pest Management part II

  8/6 –  Bats, Agriculture, and Water for Wildlife

8/13 – Bats, Agriculture, and Wildlife Habitat Monitoring

8/20 – Bats, Agriculture, and Wind Energy Development

8/27 – Bats, Agriculture, and Mine Closures

The webinars are open to all NRCS staff and any producers who would like to attend.  Please feel free to forward this information to other interested parties.  Anyone not already on our e-mail list can register for the series at (if you received this e-mail directly, you do not need to register).



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:



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






California State Coastal Conservancy has opened a second round of Climate Ready grants for local governments and non-profit organizations. A total of $1.5 million is available with applications due on August 22.









NHL Outlines Plan to Fight Climate Change

July 21 2014

Climate change is impacting the next generation of hockey players directly, according to a report released Monday by the National Hockey League. The report, the first of its kind produced by a professional sports league in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council, details a plan for the NHL to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. “Major environmental challenges, such as climate change and freshwater scarcity, affect opportunities for hockey players of all ages to learn and play the game outdoors,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in statement on Monday.

Rising temperatures hinder Indian wheat production

Posted: 23 Jul 2014 08:04 AM PDT

A link between increasing average temperatures in India and a reduction in wheat production has been found by researchers. They have shown that recent warmer temperatures in the country’s major wheat belt are having a negative effect on crop yield. More specifically, they found a rise in nighttime temperatures is having the most impact.


Children on dairy farms run one-tenth the risk of developing allergies; Dairy farm exposure also beneficial during pregnancy

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 06:56 AM PDT

Children who live on farms that produce milk run one-tenth the risk of developing allergies as other rural children. According to researchers, pregnant women may benefit from spending time on dairy farms to promote maturation of the fetal and neonatal immune system.


Cinnamon may be used to halt progression of Parkinson’s disease, study suggests

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 06:52 AM PDT

Using cinnamon, a common food spice and flavoring material, can reverse the biomechanical, cellular and anatomical changes that occur in the brains of mice with Parkinson’s disease (PD), neurological scientists have found. “This could potentially be one of the safest approaches to halt disease progression in Parkinson’s patients,” the study’s lead researcher said.


To understand how jealousy works, take a look at your dog

Washington Post 

July 23 2014


Your dog wants all of your attention (and it’s never enough!) but can she feel jealousy? The answer seems to be yes, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE.











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Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly PRBO)

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