Biodiversity & Species

Chesapeake

EPA needs to take a hand to keep the restoration plan on track. We’ll see how that goes soon.

The effort to restore Chesapeake Bay is something I knew vaguely about but had never looked into. A new on-line  dashboard of relevant material inspired me to take a deeper dive. The restoration plan is definitely worth a closer look., It’s the U.S. leading effort to reduce“nonpoint source” water pollution such as agricultural runoff. It […]

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Secretary Zinke Misleads the Public About Wildfires and Federal Public Land Management

Secretary of Interior’s Op-Ed Ignores Science and Land-Use Planning to Falsely Blame Wildfire Risk on “Radical Environmentalists”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke published an op-ed today calling for “active management” of our federal public lands to reduce wildfire risk, and blaming “radical environmentalists who would rather see forests and communities burn than see a logger in the woods” for the prevalance and lethality of wildfires in the American West.  Zinke’s op-ed is disingenuous, […]

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Public Lands Watch: ESA Regulations

Administration proposes subsantial revisions to the regulations that implement the Endangered Species Act

One of the most important statutes for management of federal public lands is the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  It’s important because it requires all federal agencies to avoid jeopardizing the existence of listed endangered and threatened species through their actions, and also to avoid adversely modifying critical habitat for those species.  That means when the […]

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UCLA Law Wells Environmental Law Clinic Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief on Behalf of Scientists in Endangered Species Act Case

Scientists’ Brief Argues Federal Agencies and Courts Must Use Science in Interpreting “Habitat” Under the Endangered Species Act; Clinic Clients Include Profs. Stuart Pimm & E.O. Wilson, Along With Three MacArthur “Genius” Award Recipients & Ten Other Esteemed Scientists

Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to protect species at risk of extinction.  Congress viewed species extinction as an urgent threat requiring urgent, decisive action.  The result was a bipartisan law designed to apply scientific knowledge and expertise to managing the threats to U.S. species.  While the Act has been controversial, and characterized […]

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Public Lands Watch: Sage Grouse Plan Revisions

BLM and Forest Service produce draft environmental impact statements for plan revisions

I wrote in the fall about the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken protections for sage grouse on federal public lands.  The next step in that process is currently ongoing – draft environmental impact statements (EIS) for revisions to land management plans for BLM and Forest Service lands.  Those EISs are required by the National Environmental […]

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CRISPR Approaches to Environmental Problems

Breakthroughs in gene editing might open the door to improved environmental protections. Or maybe not.

CRISPR is a breakthrough gene editing method. (I can’t refrain from noting that a key role in the discovery was played Jennifer Doudna at Berkeley.) There are potential risks from gene editing to the environment, similar to other types of GMOs. But there may be environmental benefits too. Here are a few that have been […]

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Sand Trap

You can add sand to your list of global environmental crises.

You already know about the climate crisis,  fisheries collapse, ocean acidification, and the biodiversity crisis.  Now you can add a fifth one: the global sand crisis. The demand for sand is exploding due to burgeoning construction in China and other developing countries. The result: water bodies are being devastated by massive dredging operations. Lake Poyang […]

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Global market for ecosystem services surges to $36 billion in annual transactions

New article in Nature Sustainability tracks global payments for ecosystems services

In the early 1990s, New York City began paying for land management in the Catskills watershed to ensure safe drinking water for the city, avoiding the cost of building an expensive water treatment plant. New York City provides just one example of a growing number of programs – called payments for ecosystem services (PES) – […]

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Guest Blogger Ken Alex: Working and Natural Lands, From Sources to Sinks

Post #6 in a Series on California Climate Policy by Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown

[This is the sixth post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world. The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.] Roughly 80% of California land is protected or agricultural.  That includes deserts, forests, wetlands, foothills, and multiple vegetative types, […]

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International Court of Justice recognizes and values ecosystem services (sort of)

In a judgment announced on February 2nd, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the very first time decided a compensation claim for environmental damage. Equally important, it took a close look at whether ecosystem goods and services are compensable under international law. The decision is both carefully considered and deeply frustrating. There have, of […]

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