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Saturday
Jun302012

Exotic Species Invade U.S. Waters in Aftermath of Japan Earthquake, Tsunami

Here’s an invasive species nightmare scenario for you:

In the wake of a huge storm, a massive dock washes up on the shore of another country, bringing with it as estimated 100 tons of exotic species.

What would be the consequences?

We are about to find out.

A 66-foot dock ripped from its moorings during the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011 has washed upon Oregon shores. Oregon State University (OSU) scientists estimate that it carries about 13 pounds of organisms per square foot.

“This float is an island unlike any transoceanic debris we have ever seen,” said John Chapman, OSU marine invasive species specialist. “Drifting boats lack such dense fouling communities, and few of these species are already on this coast. Nearly all of the species we’ve looked at were established on the float before the tsunami. Few came after it was at sea.”

Hitchhikers that now could become established on the U.S. Pacific Coast include urchins, starfish, anemones, amphipods (flealike crustaceans), worms, mussels, limpets, snails, algae, four to six species of barnacles, and filter feeders called solitary tunicates.

And this from Live Science:

Estimates from the Japanese government and NASA suggest the monstrous tsunami swept up 5 million tons of debris, with about 70 percent sinking to the seafloor; the rest (1.5 million tons), like this huge dock, has been floating across the ocean. And although tsunami debris has likely been washing up on the west coast for months, the researchers were shocked to see such a rich raft of life make it all the way across the open Pacific, where food is scarce, to Newport, Ore. 

"It is as if the float drifted over here by hugging the coasts, but that is of course impossible," Chapman said. "Life on the open ocean, while drifting, may be gentler for these organisms than we initially suspected. Invertebrates can survive for months without food and the most abundant algae species may not have had the normal compliment of herbivores. Still, it is surprising."

OPB News adds this:

Experts at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center have fifty-some species stored in a subzero freezer. OSU marine ecologist Jessica Miller said they have identified some species and shipped others to scientists around the country and in Canada.

“Sea squirts or tunicates, a group called ascidians, we sent some samples out to an expert, and then Gayle Hansen, here at OSU who works with a Japanese colleague, she’s been sorting her way through the algal species,” she said.

Miller thinks an invasive brown alga might try to settle in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday
Jun292012

Former Global Warming Supporter Refutes Preservationist Ideology

Yeah, I know. Polar bears and penguins live thousands of miles apart. That’s what you have trouble with about this picture?

Not long ago, James Lovelock, the godfather of the manmade global warming movement, acknowledged that he had been unduly “alarmist.”

As do I, he still believes that we are contributing to climate change, but he admitted that his doomsday predictions --- and those by Al Gore --- were incorrect.

And now he’s followed up with an interview that is going to make those in the preservationist wing of the environmental movement gnash their teeth and pull out their hair.

For example, Lovelock supports natural gas fracking.

“Gas is almost a give-away in the U.S. at the moment. They’ve gone for fracking in a big way. This is what makes me very cross with the greens for trying to knock it. Let’s be pragmatic and sensible . . .”

By the way, the administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, said unequivocally that no evidence exists that groundwater has been polluted by the hydraulic fracturing procedure. That doesn’t sit well with the preservationists either.

Lovelock also mocks the idea that economies can be powered by solar panels and wind turbines.

“We rushed into renewable energy without any thought,” he said. “The schemes are largely, hopelessly inefficient and unpleasant. I personally can’t stand windmills at any price.”

And he flatly denies the idea that “the science is settled” regarding manmade global warming.

“One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”

Read the full story here.

Friday
Jun292012

Angler Encounters Anti-Fishing Advocates on Michigan Stream

Interesting story here about an angler’s encounter with anti-fishing folks.

Here's an excerpt:

“Why do you catch them at all?” she challenged. “All you’re doing is hurting them, and most of them will likely die after you release them.”

Now then, I’ve encountered antis before while hunting, but while fishing was a first for me. I somehow controlled my temper as I gave them my views on fishing and hunting in no uncertain terms. And I told them that we didn’t appreciate being told that what we were doing was wrong.

Finally, I asked if they belonged to some organized group that went about pestering folks, and they gave no reply to that but continued to harass us. It finally became necessary to dismiss them by mentioning that harassment was illegal in Michigan, and off they went, probably to look for other anglers to annoy.

Friday
Jun292012

TRCP Critical of Proposed Cuts for Resource Management

TRCP photo

Proposed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives “would dramatically reduce critical resource programs and sharply curtail federal agencies abilities to responsibly manage public resources and outdoor opportunities,” according to the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP.

 “This misguided action by the House not only would roll back investments in conservation spending,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “It also undermines the foundation of our nation’s conservation policy. The bill wages a full-frontal assault on basic natural resources management measures that will cost us money and jobs, both in the near and long term.”

TRCP provides the following “lowlights” of cuts included in the bill: 

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service budget cut by $317 million
  • BLM operations and maintenance cut by $39.6 million
  • North American Wetlands Conservation Act cut by $13 million
  • EPA budget cut by 17 percent
  • Land and Water Conservation Fund reduced by 80 percent 
  • State and tribal wildlife grants cut by $30 million
  • Chesapeake Bay restoration funding cut by $7 million

 Read the full story here.

By the way, the proposed cut for EPA is regrettable, but certainly understandable, considering its abuse of power during this administration. Remember the Sacketts? Or how about the official who resigned after comparing his enforcement strategy to Roman crucifixion?

Friday
Jun292012

Outdoor Recreation Important to Nation's Economy

Outdoor recreation is worth $646 billion annually, according to a report from the Outdoor Industry Association. It also supports 6.1 million jobs.

And when it “ripples” through the economy, outdoor recreation has an economic impact of $1.6 trillion and is responsible for 12 million jobs.

Check out the report here.