31 Jan 2008, 5:10pm
Latest Forest News
by admin
leave a comment

Ed Shafer Confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture

US - The United States Department of Agriculture has confirmed that former Governor Edward Shafer will be the new secretary of Agriculture, succeeding Mike Johanns.

Secretary Schafer brings a record as an innovative two-term governor of North Dakota to USDA along with extensive private sector experience as both an entrepreneur and a business executive.

Schafer served as North Dakota’s governor from 1992 to 2000 and made diversifying and expanding North Dakota’s economy, reducing the cost of government and advancing agriculture his top priorities in office.

He worked to normalize trading relations with China and develop that nation as an export market for North Dakota farm products. He also led efforts to upgrade North Dakota’s communications infrastructure and make high-speed voice and data networks available to farmers, ranchers and rural businesses.

To expand the state’s job base, he encouraged the growth of value-added agricultural industries such as pasta and corn sweetener manufacturing.

As governor, Schafer managed a state workforce of 12,000 people, oversaw a budget of $4.6 billion, and led the state’s response to emergencies such as the severe floods that hit the Grand Forks area in 1997… [more]

29 Jan 2008, 2:17pm
Latest Forest News
by admin
1 comment

Three sue over land-use decision

Suit says county’s setting aside of Measure 37 waivers violates property rights

By Damian Mann, Mail Tribune, January 29, 2008

In what could be the beginning of a legal firestorm, three property owners sued Jackson County last week for more than $20 million, alleging their constitutional property rights under Measure 37 have been trampled.

At the same time a coalition of almost 100 local landowners and attorneys is forming to challenge the county’s decision to no longer honor waivers that were approved under the controversial property rights law.

Medford resident David Smith, a member of the newly formed Citizens for Constitutional Fairness, said the dollar amount that property owners say they’ve lost after the passage of Measure 49 — the fix for Measure 37 — could be significant.

“I think it’s going to be $1 billion,” Smith said. “It’s basically going to bankrupt the county if they don’t do anything.”

In addition to the three property owners who have already filed suits in Jackson County Circuit Court, Smith said that at a meeting held last week to discuss options for Measure 37 claimants, he talked to 80 landowners who are considering legal action. Though a class action suit is being considered, Smith said his group is still trying to determine if that’s the best course of action.

“We may have 100 lawsuits pretty soon,” he said… [more]

29 Jan 2008, 1:45pm
Latest Climate News Latest Wildlife News
by admin

Phony Polar Bear Photos Spur Algore, Greenies

How the Environmental Extremists Manipulate the Masses

by Carole “CJ” Williams, January 26, 2008, NewsWithViews.com

Last March, global warming fanatic Al Gore used a picture of two polar bears purportedly stranded on melting ice off the coast of Alaska as a visual aide to support his claim that man-made global warming is doing great harm to Mother Earth. The one he chose, but didn’t offer to pay for right away, turned out to be a photo of a polar bear and her cub out doing what healthy, happy polar bears do on a wave-eroded chunk of ice not all that far from shore in the Beaufort Sea north of Barstow, Alaska.

The picture, wrongly credited to Dan Crosbie, an ice observer specialist for the Canadian Ice Service, was actually taken by Amanda Byrd while she was on a university-related research cruise in August of 2004, a time of year when the fringe of the Arctic ice cap normally melts. Byrd, a marine biology grad student at the time, was gathering zooplankton for a multi-year study of the Arctic Ocean.

Crosbie, who was also on the trip, pilfered the polar bear photo from a shared computer onboard the Canadian icebreaker where Ms. Byrd downloaded her snapshots; he saved it in his personal file. Several months later, Crosbie, who is known as an avid photographer, gave the photo to the Canadian Ice Service, which then allowed Environment Canada to use it as an illustration for an online magazine.

Today that photo, with credit given to photographer Dan Crosbie and the Canadian Ice Service, can be found all over the Internet, generally with the caption “Two polar bears are stranded on a chunk of melting ice”.

It’s a hoax, folks. The bears, which can swim distances of 100 miles and more, weren’t stranded; they were merely taking a break and watching the boat go by when a lady snapped their picture … [more]

29 Jan 2008, 1:22pm
Latest Fire News
by admin
leave a comment

Report: California needs more firefighting preparedness

Panel calls for more helicopters, fire engines and firefighters

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A state panel reviewing October’s huge Southern California wildfires called Friday for more night-flying helicopters, fire engines and firefighters — welcome news to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as he champions a new tax to pay for fire upgrades.

The report focuses on how to respond more quickly with overwhelming force to small wildfires before they spread into densely populated suburbs, but it doesn’t offer any price tag for the improvements or recommendations on how to pay for them …

Nearly 2,200 homes were destroyed in simultaneous wind-driven blazes from north of Los Angeles south to the Mexican border, causing more than $2.2 billion in private insurance claims. Federal, state and local agencies spent about $100 million fighting flames that charred about 800 square miles and killed 10 people.

At South Tahoe more than 250 homes were destroyed and 3,072 acres burned during June’s Angora Fire.

The panel of fire chiefs and state officials was created after California’s 2003 fires, which destroyed more than 3,600 homes, many in the same areas as last year’s blazes … [more]

28 Jan 2008, 9:14pm
Latest Wildlife News
by admin

Feds hold off on decision on whether to kill Discovery Park coyote

The Discovery Park coyote is free to roam for another week or so without fear of being shot or trapped after it touched off a battle among residents, park advocates, city officials and the U.S. Navy.

Ken Gruver, assistant state director of wildlife services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said Monday that his agency has agreed to hold off on any action until meeting with Seattle officials, maybe next week.

But Gruver said he is convinced the coyote is a real concern and that something will have to be done soon.

“He is getting real bold. He has killed a cat and injured a dog. He has less fear of humans than we like to see. It is at the point were it becomes a human health issue,” said Gruver.

Last week, the Agriculture Department approved the use of leg traps to catch the coyote. But worries about park visitors accidentally stepping in them, even though the traps were on private property, led to their removal. Over the weekend, Navy officials were talking about shooting the coyote, stirring city officials to action… [more]

28 Jan 2008, 1:21pm
Latest Climate News
by admin
leave a comment

EU Persists With Biofuels (Despite Skyrocketing 3rd World Food Prices)

BRUSSELS, Jan 23 (IPS) - The European Union has decided to maintain a target for increasing the use of biofuels despite mounting concerns that its strategy could worsen global hunger.In a far-reaching action plan for combating climate change published Jan. 23, the European Commission, the EU executive, announced that it was sticking to a previously agreed goal that biofuels should provide 10 percent of the energy needed to power cars and other modes of transport by 2020.

This was despite a barrage of recent criticism of this goal, including by some figures within the Commission. Louis Michel, the European commissioner for development aid, said earlier this month that there is a genuine risk that traditional agriculture in poor countries will be damaged if arable land is used for growing crops destined to meet energy needs in wealthier parts of the world.

Also, a study by scientists working for the Commission has concluded that “the uncertainty is too great to say whether the EU 10 percent biofuel target will save greenhouse gases or not.”…

Last week Indonesia witnessed street protests because soya bean prices climbed to record levels as a result of U.S. farmers realising that biofuels can be more lucrative than soya.

“The EU has set a very ambitious target and has no idea how to meet it,” Woollcombe told IPS. “If it can’t reach this target in a sustainable way, it should go back to the drawing board.”

A South American campaigner complained that the Commission is not taking into account how peasants have been displaced from their land in some poor countries to make way for plantations of palm oil, the main biofuel used in Europe.

“The sustainability criteria proposed by the European Commission exclude vital factors such as large-scale water extraction, soil erosion, land conflicts, human rights and the labour conditions of workers,” said Stella Semino from Grupo de Reflexión Rural in Argentina. “Moreover, they can’t deal with macro-level impacts such as displacement and increased food prices.” … [more]

28 Jan 2008, 1:06pm
Latest Climate News
by admin
1 comment

Physicist questions climate change finding

NEW ORLEANS–A York University professor has ignited a controversy by challenging a supposed prime example of man-made climate change – that jet condensation trails, know as contrails, act like clouds, cooling the Earth during the day and keeping it warmer at night.

Physicist William van Wijngaarden says he found no evidence to support this climate effect in Canadian temperature records for the contrail-free days immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

That contrasts with a 2002 study by U.S. researchers that concluded the temperature spread between day and night over the lower 48 states increased by 1.5C over long-term averages between Sept. 11 and 14 in 2001, when commercial air flights were mostly grounded over North America.

Those results initially reinforced theories that thin jet contrails may spread out over large areas for days, becoming invisible from the ground but still blocking infrared radiation, or heat…

The York researcher said he decided to double-check the U.S. findings because the claimed temperature rise was so large, almost equal to the global average temperature increase from greenhouse warming.

“If it was that big, then I ought to have been able to see it in Canada,” he said.

But when he examined the spread between day and night temperatures from 112 weather stations across Canada for Sept. 8 to 17 in 2001, there wasn’t a spike during the no-fly period.

In Canada, commercial flights were grounded entirely for 48 hours after the terrorist attacks and were about a third of normal levels for the next 24 hours.

Yet the diurnal temperature range for September 2001 across Canada fell well within the long-term average from 1977 to 2005.

The absence of any contrail effect held true even for the 34 weather stations in Canada below the 50-degree latitude, where jet flights are normally most intense… [more]

25 Jan 2008, 12:55pm
Latest Wildlife News
by admin
leave a comment

Radio-collared Gray Wolf Verified in Northeast Oregon

A female gray wolf from Idaho’s Timberline Pack has been positively located in Oregon, using radio signals from her tracking collar. The wolf, a two- to three-year-old female identified as B-300, has been wearing the collar since she was captured northeast of Boise by Idaho biologists in August 2006. She’s now traveling in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest near the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, between Medical Springs and Wallowa. Biologists have observed evidence of wolves in this area over the past six months.

Aerial searches for signals from wolf tracking collars, specifically those which have been reported as missing from Idaho, helped the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife locate the wolf. A signal was picked up January 17, but the location of the animal was not confirmed. A ground search the next day turned up tracks which appeared to be of a wolf. Another aerial search January 21 failed to pick up the signal, but on January 23 the signal was picked up and a single wolf was visually identified.

This is the fifth confirmed wolf to have been found in the state. In March 1999, a radio-collared female was captured near John Day and returned to Idaho. In 2000, a collared wolf was found dead along Interstate 84 south of Baker City, and a wolf without a radio collar was found shot between Ukiah and Pendleton. Most recently, a mature female wolf was found dead from a gunshot wound in Union County in July 2007. All four animals were confirmed to have been migrants from Idaho… [more]

25 Jan 2008, 12:53pm
Latest Wildlife News
by admin
leave a comment

19 Bald Eagles Die After Eating Fish Waste in Alaska

KODIAK, Alaska — At least 19 bald eagles died Friday after gorging themselves on a truck full of fish waste outside a processing plant.

Fifty or more eagles swarmed into the truck, whose retractable fabric cover was open, after the truck was moved outside the plant, said Brandon Saito, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who coordinated the recovery operation.

The birds became too soiled to fly or clean themselves, and with temperatures in the mid-teens, began to succumb to the cold. Some birds became so weak they sank into the fish slime and were crushed.

The truck’s contents had to be dumped onto the floor of the Ocean Beauty Seafoods plant so the birds could be retrieved. Some tried to scatter, but since they couldn’t fly, wildlife officers soon retrieved them. The eagles were then cleaned with dish soap in tubs of warm water to remove the oily slime and warm them.

The survivors were taken to a heated fish and wildlife warehouse to recover, though some were in critical condition. Saito said they would be released as soon as they were dry and strong enough.

The dead birds will be shipped to a U.S. Department of Interior clearinghouse, where Native American groups could apply to be given the birds or their feathers for ceremonial purposes… [more]

23 Jan 2008, 1:53pm
Latest Forest News
by admin
leave a comment

No easy solution exists to save dying trees

Durango Herald snipes Denver Post

A week ago, The Denver Post published an editorial entitled, “Beetle kill must be state priority.” That is absolutely true. The bold summary paragraph is also true: “It is troubling to picture Colorado’s mountains as dead zones. State leaders and lawmakers must take the problem seriously.”

But Southwest Colorado readers have to ask, “Where have you been?” Where was The Denver Post when piñon trees in this part of the state were dying by the hundreds of thousands? When the green mountain sides began to turn to rust because of the death of tall trees? When aspen communities began to die?

The state government was where it has always been: in Denver, not too far from the Post. It is tempting to blame the deterioration of forests in the San Juans on the fact that this corner of the state is out of sight of the state capital and equally out of mind. That is not quite true, however. We have good representation in Denver. Certainly we do not have either the visibility or the lobbying power of the Front Range and ski-resort communities.

Unfortunately, those communities will not find easy answers to the problem, either… [more]

22 Jan 2008, 5:12pm
Latest Forest News
by admin
leave a comment

The lowdown on topsoil: It’s disappearing

Disappearing dirt rivals global warming as an environmental threat

The planet is getting skinned.

While many worry about the potential consequences of atmospheric warming, a few experts are trying to call attention to another global crisis quietly taking place under our feet.

Call it the thin brown line. Dirt. On average, the planet is covered with little more than 3 feet of topsoil — the shallow skin of nutrient-rich matter that sustains most of our food and appears to play a critical role in supporting life on Earth.

“We’re losing more and more of it every day,” said David Montgomery, a geologist at the University of Washington. “The estimate is that we are now losing about 1 percent of our topsoil every year to erosion, most of this caused by agriculture.”…

Montgomery has written a popular book, “Dirt,” to call public attention to what he believes is a neglected environmental catastrophe. A geomorphologist who studies how landscapes form, Montgomery describes modern agricultural practices as “soil mining” to emphasize that we are rapidly outstripping the Earth’s natural rate of restoring topsoil.

“Globally, it’s clear we are eroding soils at a rate much faster than they can form,” said John Reganold, a soils scientist at Washington State University. “It’s hard to get people to pay much attention to this because, frankly, most of us take soil for granted.”

The National Academy of Sciences has determined that cropland in the U.S. is being eroded at least 10 times faster than the time it takes for lost soil to be replaced.

The United Nations has warned of worldwide soil degradation — especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where soil loss has contributed to the rapidly increasing number of malnourished people…

As such, true living topsoil cannot be made overnight, Montgomery emphasized. Topsoil grows back at a rate of an inch or two over hundreds of years. Very slowly.

“Globally, it’s pretty clear we’re running out of dirt,” Montgomery said… [more]

22 Jan 2008, 5:08pm
Latest Climate News
by admin
leave a comment

No Consensus on Global warming

By John Coleman, KUSI-TV Meteorologist, San Diego

If you tell a lie often enough, everyone will believe it. That’s an old saving. But I fear that its essentially true. And, it is the heart of the problem I face opposing the Global Warming frenzy.

Thousands of news reports on radio and television and in newspapers and posted on the internet have included the phrase “there is a consensus among the 2,500 scientists that make up the UN’s IPCC on Global Warming that Global Warming is unequivocal.” Al Gore says the debate is over. And pollsters tell us that about 80% of Americans accept that man made Global Warming is a significant problem.

Well, that’s my challenge. How do I combat all that media hype and generally accepted view? This brief is my attempt to do just that.

I know that man-made global warming is not happening. I know that the research behind the Global Warming scare is flawed. I know that warming has ceased and cooling may have begun in 1999 (that’s almost ten years). And, I know THERE IS NO CONSENSUS… [more]

22 Jan 2008, 5:06pm
Latest Climate News
by admin
leave a comment

Bitter cold

(CNN) — Bitter cold gripped most of the United States on Monday, with temperatures dipping below normal from coast to coast.

Temperatures in the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains were about 30 degrees below normal, CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider said.

“It’s very hard to find any part of the country that’s warm,” Schneider said… [more]

22 Jan 2008, 2:32pm
Latest Wildlife News
by admin
leave a comment

Reps. Young and Miller in Dog Fight Over Wolves

Conservative Rep. Don Young of Alaska and liberal California Rep. George Miller are going at it like wolves. Actually, like dogs and wolves. And the question, as Young sees it, comes down to: Who do you love more - dogs or wolves?

Young thinks Miller’s bill to protect wolves from aerial hunting is, well, a sheep in wolves’ clothing. What Miller calls the “Protect America’s Wildlife Act,” Young derides as the “Wolves Are Cute Act.” He says by protecting wolves, Miller’s bill would help predatory wolves continue killing pet dogs and other wildlife across his home state.

The Alaska congressman has been sending shockingly graphic e-mail letters to his colleagues with gory photos of dog carcasses, the victims of killer wolves, similar to the tactics of extreme anti-abortion literature. One of his “Dear Colleague” e-mails sent last month featured a photo too gruesome to share of a Chesapeake Bay retriever named Chesie who Young said was so viciously attacked by wolves that all that was left of her “was a couple chunks of collar sitting on top of three or four pieces of intestine.” (And that’s a dead-on description from the looks of the grotesque photo Young attached of the maimed dog, whose head and face was the only body part still intact.)

“These facts aren’t pretty, but they’re facts,” Young wrote, “and should Rep. Miller’s bill become law, more dogs will meet Chesie’s tragic fate.”

This week, another e-mailed letter from Young features Buddy, the beloved 10-year-old Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever of one of his constituents who was ripped to shreds by wolves. This time Young spared his colleagues a graphic photo, choosing instead to include this cute picture of Buddy in happier times.

And in his letter Young proposed a solution to resolve the dog vs. wolves conflict: Let’s send Miller to the wolves… [more]

19 Jan 2008, 4:31pm
Latest Climate News
by admin
1 comment

PNW Research Station Scientists Receive in 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

PORTLAND, Ore. December 10, 2007. The October announcement that several PNW Research Station scientists shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, came as a surprise to many employees. Even to the winners.

Ralph Alig, Ron Neilson, and David L. Peterson, co-recipients of the Prize with former Vice-President Al Gore, were recognized for their work on the climate change synthesis report as members of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPCC). The panel was honored for its efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about human-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.

Alig, along with Neilson, contributed to the 1998 Special Report on Regional Impacts. “My contributions centered on the team’s development of a large-scale model to examine opportunities in forestry and agriculture to sequester greenhouse gases,” explains Alig, team leader for Land Use and Land Cover Dynamics. “We continue to enhance the model [and to] examine adaptation and mitigation opportunities.”

“ An e-mail was sent around the office,” recalls Neilson about how he learned of the announcement, “but at first, I didn’t put two and two together. It’s still a bit of a shock. It’s still sinking in.” The Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil-System Model developed by Neilson and his team was part of the report on regional impacts of climate change. The model helps predict vegetation distribution, growth, and disturbance dynamics under current and future climatic conditions.

Peterson says he heard the announcement about the Nobel Prize while driving in the Colorado Rockies after attending a climate change meeting. Peterson, team leader for Fire and Environmental Research Applications, contributed research findings on understanding the effects of climate on fire and other ecosystem disturbances. “It’s great that the scientific community can work together across disciplines and borders to address the issue of climate change,” says Peterson who is a member of the 1995 Second Assessment Report, Working Group II. “It seems appropriate; shows what the international scientific community can do when focused on a critical issue that affects everyone on the planet.”… [more]

  • For the benefit of the interested general public, W.I.S.E. herein presents news clippings from other media outlets. Please be advised: a posting here does not necessarily constitute or imply W.I.S.E. agreement with or endorsement of any of the content or sources.
  • Colloquia

  • Commentary and News

  • Contact

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent News Clippings

  • Recent Comments

  • Meta