Tidewater Current | Winter 2013

Transmitting news and infomation about sustainable endeavors in Coastal Virginia and beyond. Updated Weekly.

Natural Resources: Conservation & Restoration:

More info on local events can be viewed in the "Events" link in the above menu bar. For current and illustrated news clips, visit Carol Brighton's Pinterest Pages (Earth - Climate, Natural Resources & Eco Engineering). For prior news, visit the Archive or download, the 2012 illustrated collections highlighted in the Links to the right.

Submit photos from March 11 - April 12 - First Prize 500 dollars - "All photos must include water from the Chesapeake Bay or a river, stream, creek, or other body of water inside the Chesapeake Bay watershed."More Info.



"The 2013 "30 grants in 30 days" program is once again designed to help communities, schools, parks, neighborhoods, and civic groups battle Virginia's environmental issues on the front lines. These grants are categorized in 3 areas; (1) Cigarette Litter Prevention, (2) Plastic Bag Litter Prevention and Recycling, and (3) Beautification and Community Greening. ...We have chosen April as the perfect month for this program to coincide with Earth Day." More info: Keep Virginia Beautiful

Climate Progress: Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Investigate Sea Level Rise Solutions - Tidewater Current | Winter 2013 - 3 Mid- Atlantic states are beginning to address the threat of rising seas and recurrent inundation episodes.

Meadows Emerge as Growing Landscape Trend: Pollinators in Peril to Benefit- Tidewater Current | Winter 2013 - With the success of landmark landscape projects, like the NYC High Line, place making green design concepts are taking off on a global scale.

3.14.13 - As His Home Melts Away, Teenager Sues Alaska - npr.com. This is a case low to watch. "Nelson Kanuk's house is built on a melting tundra. In a year or two, it could be gone. So the 18-year-old Yup'ik Eskimo is suing the state of Alaska, arguing the state needs to take more action on climate change."

3.14.13 - Hampton considering garden grant - dailypress.com. "Gardens used to filter nutrients and slow rainwater from entering municipal sewer systems are among the myriad ways localities hope to reduce their so-called total maximum daily loads. The Sage Group, a multi-national corporation with offices in McLean, would administer the program using a $150,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation."

3.14.13 - Bumble bee loss threatens food security - futurity.org. About 75 percent of food crops require pollination, making pollinators an essential part of food security. The researchers found that almost half that pollination is the work of wild pollinators ...The good news is that farmers can keep wild pollinators abundant by leaving a bit of natural habitat around their fields—patches of wildflowers, for example. "Farms with a little bit of natural habitat are more sustainable in terms of their pollination"

3.13.13 - Weapons maker finds cheap way to get clean water - nbcnews.com. Graphene could be used to filter salt from seawater and the process uses much less energy than traditional desalination systems. Tom Notaro of Lockheed notes "One of the areas that we're very concerned about in terms of global security is the access to clean and affordable drinking water."

3.11.13 - Hampton Roads' thirst for water draining vital coastal plain aquifers - dailypress.com. "As billions of gallons of water a year are tapped, shrinking aquifers are linked to region slowly sinking....Scott Kudlas, director of the Office of Water Supply in the state Department of Environmental Quality, said the state will have to make some tough decisions and set some priorities about the use of groundwater."

3.11.13 - A Home for Bluebirds | Audubon Magazine - audubonmagazine.org. Great read about a Richmond, VA area postal worker who found that blue birds nests found in newspaper boxes on her route were often being disposed of by the owners. She took it upon herself to install blue bird boxes that were adopted by the birds.

3.8.13 - AN OSPREY'S AMAZING MIGRATION FROM COLOMBIA TO JAMAICA BAY - audoubonmagazine.org. "Experts believe these birds can log more than 160,000 miles during their 15- to 20-year lifetimes." Thanks to enthusiast Coley Burke who supports National Parks of the New York Harbor, a Jamaica Bay osprey named Coley was fitted with a GPS tracker to monitor his journey to South America and back. A link is included in the article to follow the bird's track

3.8.13 - The Bay as Economic Engine - cbf.typepad.com. Great success story on the Rappahannock River Oyster Company which is shipping product all over the world and contributing to our local economy. Currently operating 3 restaurants "the two-man, fledging oyster company of a decade ago now provides a regular paycheck to some 140 people, from watermen to aquaculture specialists to chefs to wine stewards to waiters and waitresses working their way through college"

3.8.13 - Past Century's Global Temperature Change Is Fastest On Record - npr. According to Oregon State scientest Shaun Marcott, the geological record indicates an unusually fast rate in our current warming trend. "It's really the rates of change here that's amazing and atypical," he says. Essentially, it's warming up superfast."

3.7.13 - Which Major Cities Are Leaders in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions?- smithsonianmag.com. University of Toronto study shows that cities can reduce Green House Gas emissions by 30% with ease, and that achieving a 70% reduction is possible. Some 40 cities globally plan reductions and participate in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group chaired by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and include Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York in the U.S.

3.7.13 - This Bird Has Spent Nearly 20 Years Waiting For Endangered Species Protection - popsci.com. Kittlitz's murrelet is "just one of several hundred species that have sat on the wildly backlogged candidate list." But that's about to change thanks to watch dog lawsuits. "By September of this year, Fish and Wildlife Services will evaluate 97 species. The entire backlog, more than 800 species, will be evaluated by 2018."

3.3.13 - Owner donates 97 riverfront acres in Gloucester for public access - dailypress.com. Florida man donates property on the Severn River that is expected to be included in the Blue Water Trail.

3.2.13 - American Chestnut Trees to Help Restore Mine Lands in Pound, Virginia- dof.virginia.gov. "On Saturday, March 2, The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and its partners will begin to plant approximately 1,000 potentially blight-resistant American chestnuts with other mixed hardwood trees on 22 acres of a reclaimed coal mine site near Pound, VA. TACF's potentially blight-resistant American chestnuts, called Restoration Chestnuts 1.0, are the result of 30 years of careful breeding and research by TACF's scientists"

Public Meeting to be Held for Protecting Pollinators - epoline.com. March 5, 2013 in Washington, DC "The Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be having a public meeting for those engaged in activities to reduce exposure of honey bees and other pollinators to pesticides."

The University of Virginia's Curry School of Education and its Office of the Vice President for Research are hosting the first opportunity for Virginia high school teams to participate in the UVA Bay Game on Feb. 9 in Clark Hall. Media are invited to cover the event. More info.

As noted on the Game Website, "The UVA Bay Game is a large-scale participatory simulation based on the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Game allows players to take the roles of stakeholders, such as farmers, developer, watermen, and local policy-makers, make decisions about their livelihoods or regulatory authority; and see the impacts of their decisions on their own personal finances, the regional economy, and watershed health. It is an adaptable educational and learning tool for raising awareness about watershed stewardship anywhere in the world; a tool for exploring and testing policy choices; and a tool for evaluating new products and services."

3.1.13 - Ability of oysters to denitrify Bay surprises scientists - bayjournal.com. "Working on a reef in Shoal Creek, which had been restored by the Oyster Recovery Partnership in Maryland, [Lisa Kellogg, researcher at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science] found an acre of reef could remove 543 pounds of nitrogen through denitrification in a year. That's the highest denitrification rate of any natural system documented in the Chesapeake, and one of the highest ever reported in a marine environment."

3.1.13 - Wild Bees Are Good For Crops, But Crops Are Bad For Bees - npr.org. - The Journal Nature reports "even when beekeepers installed plenty of hives in a field, yields usually got a boost when wild, native insects, such as bumblebees or carpenter bees, also showed up....Unfortunately, a second study, also released in Science this week, makes it clear that wild bees aren't having an easy time of it....one of the biggest problems for wild bees is...huge fields of just one crop."

2.28.13 - Diaz co-authors UN report on nutrient threats and benefits- vims.edu. VIMS involved in UN Environment Programme report exploring the role nutrients phosphorus and nitrogen play in damaging coastal ecosystems. "The 128-page report, carried out by nearly 50 experts from 14 countries, suggests steps to reach a 20% increase in the efficiency of nutrient use by 2020, which would reduce the annual use of nitrogen fertilizer by 20 million metric tons. "

Help create a foundation for a Virginia Marine Debris Plan - February 27 & 28, 2013 - Sponsored by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program - Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science CenterVirginia, Beach Virginia. Includes link to sign up.

2.27.13 - Can we afford to give a 40 billion gift to oil companies? - grist.com. "Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wants to put an end to these gifts. According to his analysis "BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell have received nearly 3 billion in royalty breaks, paying nothing for extracting 262 million barrels of oil and 361 billion cubic feet of natural gas... Chevron was the biggest winner, but more than 100 other companies, some owned by foreign governments, have also shared in spoils"

2.25.13 - Radioactive tuna from Fukushima? Scientists eat it up - latimes.com. Something good resulting from the Fukushima disaster: Radioactive isotopes found in wildlife tissue allows scientists to better understand migratory patterns.

2.25.13 - New Study Finds Pesticides Leading Cause Of Grassland Bird Declines - chattanoogan.com. "A new study led by a preeminent Canadian toxicologist identifies acutely toxic pesticides as the most likely leading cause of the widespread decline in grassland bird numbers in the United States, a finding that challenges the widely-held assumption that loss of habitat is the primary cause of those population declines."

2.24.13 - Billboard Converts Desert Air Into Drinking Water - discovery.com. Lima Peru - "The air goes through a series of five machines inside the billboard, including an air filter, a condenser and a carbon filter, and finally collects in a pipe leading to the foot of the structure. The billboard is expected to generate upwards of 25 galllons (96 liters) of water per day for the neighboring community."

2.22.13 - 'Extraordinary' sighting of sperm whales in Scotland - aol.co.uk. The increased occurrence of winter sightings in Scottish waters could be a reflection of climate change, with their main prey, squid, becoming more abundant locally in recent years, resulting in animals staying through the winter to feed rather than travelling into lower warmer latitudes."

2.22.13 - WhaleWatch: New Program Could Help Protect Whales - livescience.com. Whalewatch program being developed for the West Coast by NOAA, Oregon State and the University of Maryland will map whales likely locations so ships can avoid them. Project is modeled after Turtlewatch, a successful protection program implemented in Hawaii.

2,21,13 - To Control Floods, The Dutch Turn to Nature for Inspiration - e360.yale.edu. "The Sand Engine is the signature project of Building with Nature, a consortium of... agencies looking to harness natural systems for next-generation hydraulic engineering. Completed in late 2011 at a cost of 50 million euros (67 million), the Sand Engine's goal is to provide long-term fortification for eroding beaches as ocean currents gradually redistribute its dredged material."

2.20.13 - China to impose carbon tax to protect environment - firstpost.com. The Xinhua news agency reports that the new tax is to be collected by local authorities. "The article did not specify when the new measures will be implemented. China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases and has already set goals for cutting these emissions. The idea of a carbon tax in China was first introduced by the country's ministry of finance in 2010."

2.20.13 - Groups Challenge Proposed EPA Approval Of Dangerous New Pesticide - chatanoogan.com. Several non-profits are concerned about a long lived pesticide called Sulfoxaflor. "The groups cited Sulfoxaflor's toxicity to honey bees and to saltwater invertebrates, as well as concerns with respect to birds and other organisms....Sulfoxaflor is highly toxic to honey bees according to EPA's ecological assessment"

2.19.13 - MD Group Behind 'No Shell Left Behind' Oyster Bill - wbal.com. Oyster Recovery Partnership "wants the state to give tax credits to people who recycle oyster shells that will be used to hatch new oysters in the Chesapeake Bay."

2.19.13 - Waco site chosen to participate in wetland study - kxxv.com. "Baylor University researchers, along with the Bureau of Reclamation and the US Geological Survey, will conduct a 5-year study on sewage and wetlands. The purpose of the 1.5 million dollar project is to determine if wetlands can remove contaminants from prescription pills and personal care products that get flushed."

2.18.13 - Whales benefit from action on ocean noise - bbc.co.uk. "researchers have persuaded shipping companies to change their routes in and around the Boston area. Sea captains use an iPad App that helps them to understand the locations of the whales and when to slow down.The change in operations has helped to lower the din. Scientists hope it will also limit the number accidental collisions."

2.18.13 - China to push for green buildings starting 2014 - ecoseed.org. From a Xinhua report: "China sees the building sector as one of the areas where significant emissions reduction and energy savings can be made.... the Chinese government stated that green buildings could help the country meet its target of bringing down carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 17 percent and cutting energy use per unit of G.D.P. by 16 percent."

2.16.13 - Beekeeping Class for Beginners - The Beekeepers Guild of Southeast Virginia and the Wesleyan Beekeepers Association present a three-day Short Course for Beginning Beekeepers with an emphasis on sustainable, chemical-free practices. The course will be held on three consecutive Saturdays, February 16, 23 and March 2, 2013 at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia.

2.15.13 - Floating Islands to the Rescue - nytimes.com. BioHaven floating islands may be employed to remove nutrients from agricultural runoff in the Mississippi River, which are responsible for a large dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The floating islands mimic wetlands, which were once prolific in the watershed. "Some 250 square feet of island translates to an acre's worth of wetlands that can absorb excess nutrients from crop runoff, the creator says."

2.14.13 - US driver finds owl stuck in car grille (Video) - whitewolfpack.com. 24 hours after striking something, a FL driver is flagged down after someone noticed an owl in the grill of the car - fortunately it was safely removed in and good condition.

2.13.13 - Going With the Flow - nytimes.com. Great article on how the Dutch have and continue to adapt to recurent floods. Rather than continuing to fight the sea with barriers, they have changed course a bit and are learning to adapt to frequent flooding. Floating and amphibious homes are being built, while parks and public common areas are being used to contain storm water, and yes some areas are being abandoned and transformed into spillways to avoid flooding in densely populated areas.

2.12.13 - A Guide to Phytoremediation: A Symbiotic Relationship with Plants, Water & Living Architecture - greenroofs.com. History and examples of systems developed to remove particular pollutants with specific plants.

2.12.13 - Turtle Prosthetic Flippers - huffingtonpost.com. "A disabled turtle pulled from a Japanese fisherman's net several years ago has been given a new lease on life with the development of high-tech, prosthetic flippers."

2.11.13 - World's oldest known living wild bird gives birth at age 62 - whitewolfpack.com. The Albatross survived the Japanese Tsunami and who knows what else, is reckoned to have flown 2-3 million miles. Wisdom was first banded in 1956. The retired USGS worker who banded her notes that "she acts just the same as the day I banded her" while he has "grown old and gray and get around with the use of a cane."

2.9.13 - Ocean Protection - guradian.co.uk. "The long-term costs of the mismanagement of our oceans are at least as great as long-term costs of the mismanagement of the financial system." says David Miliband of the UK who will co-lead a new international organization called the Global Ocean Commission along with Jose Maria Figueres, the former President of Costa Rica and Trevor Manuel, Nelson Mandela's former finance minister. The group hopes to develop a policy to protect biodiversity in international waters.

2.9.13 - Hole In Antarctic Ozone Layer May Be On The Mend - redorbit.com. "According to satellite data, the most recent hole in the ozone layer measured over Antarctica was the smallest it has been in ten years. Other long-term research studies also indicate that the Earth's ozone layer seems to be on the mend thanks to international agreements to protect this vital layer of the atmosphere."

2.8.13 - Bills to reduce Virginia menhaden catch progressing - hamptonroads.com. "the measure is likely to pass but will still require approval from Gov. Bob McDonnell....A previous version of this story said Gov. Bob McDonnell has opposed the legislation. McDonnell's office says he has opposed the federal mandate to reduce the state's menhaden landings, but supports complying with the requirement and likely will sign off on the bills, which came from his administration."

2.8.13 - Comments on Regulations To Protect Marine Mammals Sought - hydro-internationa.com. "NOAA's Fisheries Service is seeking comments for a proposed rule requiring the United States Navy to implement protective measures during training and testing activities in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, and in the California and Hawaii region, to reduce effects on marine mammals.

2.7.13 - Oyster restoration plan targets 2 dozen Chesapeake Bay tributaries - wtop.com. "the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to boost the Chesapeake Bay's oyster bounty. The Corps along with Maryland and Virginia, finalized the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery: Native Oyster Restoration Master Plan... the Corps identified up to two dozen tributaries in the Chesapeake Bay... 10 in Virginia" for restoration, including the Lynnhaven, Elizabeth, James, york and Rappahannock Rivers.

2.7.13.- The Escape Hatch - A biodegradeble trap may snare fewer sea creatures - scientificamerican.com. VIMS scientist develop crab pot hatch that is biodegrade, so if the pot is lost, wildlife can escape. Pots with the biodegradable hatch have been tested and there is no difference between the number or size of crabs caught. Each panel costs about a dollar.

2.7.13 - Report: Va. wildlife at risk from climate change, too - dailypress.com. "National Wildlife Federation (NWF) reports "the impact is already being felt from the Shenandoah salamander ... to shellfish such as oysters and blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay...But along with sounding the alarm, the report offers four broad recommendations to confront the crisis" including reducing carbon pollution and developing clean energy.

2,7.13 - Swaths of the Eastern Shore will flood more frequently - delmarvanow.com. "General Assembly report shows impact of sea-level rise on area " One of the VIMS scientist who participated in research for the report notes "Our review of strategies already being used in other vulnerable areas suggests that the Commonwealth can mount an effective response to its increasing flood risk, but that we must start now, as it will take 20 to 30 years to effectively plan and implement many of the adaptive measures,"

2.7.13 - States seeking stricter cap on greenhouse gases - kjonline.com. CT, DE, ME MD, MA, NH, NY, RI and VT participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and "agreed Thursday to strengthen existing limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that burn fossil fuels... "the new rules would lower the cap on carbon dioxide emissions from the current 165 million tons to 91 million tons in 2014 ....revenue generated by auctions of the permits ... fund so-called green energy programs."

2.7.13 - Environmental Applications of Algae - azocleantech.com. Algae can be easily grown and harvested to make fuel, cosmetics, food for humans and fish and pharmaceuticals. It can be grown in open water where it also removes dangerous nutrients and even thrives at waste water treatment plants where it can be employed to treat the water and harvested for fuel.

2.7.13 - Clean Water Services highlights progress and plans for Fernhill Wetlands in Forest Grove - oregonlive.com. 12 million dollar Oregon project "looks like a park, featuring a garden and trails alongside bridges and bubbling water features....but it's not. It's a carefully engineered, innovative approach to wastewater treatment." While expensive, the natural approach to water treatment is saving some 9 million dollars compared to the 21 million dollar price tag associated with a conventional treatment facility.

2/6/13 - Seaweed could help prevent coastal erosion - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation

2.6.13 - Obama Chooses REI Executive to Lead Interior Dept - nytimes.com. " President Obama has selected Sally Jewell, the chief executive of Recreational Equipment Inc., to lead the Interior Department...She received the 2009 Rachel Carson Award for environmental conservation from the Audubon Society... among others. She is expected to face vigorous questioning during confirmation hearings about her approach to resource development on public lands." In another report from Time Magazine on the the nomination, the Sierra Club Director lauded Jewell for her efforts to "connect children with nature."

2.5.13 - Plants help dispose of toxic threat - guardian.co.uk. French scientists are experimenting with soil decontamination at a former mining site through phytoextraction. "They have discovered that the metal stored in leaves, once it has been extracted by drying and reduced to powder, can act as a catalyst in industrial applications, such as synthesising drugs."

2.4.13- Cuomo Seeking Home Buyouts in Flood Zones - NYTimes.com - "Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is proposing to spend as much as 400 million to purchase homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, have them demolished and then preserve the flood-prone land permanently, as undeveloped coastline."

2.3.13 - Oyster recovery "amazing" in Shore creek - baltimoresun.com. "Choptank Riverkeeper sees "thousands" of bivalves, both planted and natural"

2.3.13 - Chemical makers may turn to trees to clean air - chron.com. A recent UF and Nature Conservancy study encourages Dow Chemical to plant new forests "to help control additional pollution from a 4 billion expansion of its massive manufacturing complex in Freeport, about 60 miles south of Houston." The study concludes that a 1,000-acre forest could "remove over three decades as much as 202 tons of nitrogen oxides at a cost 470,000 ...making it less expensive per ton than ... conventional pollution controls."

2.2.13 - Wildlife groups race against winter to restore habitats before spring birds arrive - therepublic.com. More than 70 sites from the Outer Banks of NC to Cape Cod Mass. need work. Red Knots, pictured, "fly nonstop for thousands of miles from the tip of South America...They land on Delaware Bay exhausted and emaciated, and then they double their body weight in 7 to 10 days foraging on horseshoe crab eggs before flying nonstop to the Arctic."

2.1.13 - Bay Barometer' report says Chesapeake still in trouble - capitalgazette.com. "Barely one-third of Chesapeake Bay's water has sufficient oxygen for marine life to survive — yet the bay remains resilient, according to a report released this morning by the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program.The report said the bay is still too cloudy and has too few oysters, but beds of underwater grasses are thriving and rockfish and crab populations are growing."

2.1.13 - US carbon emissions fall to lowest levels since 1994 - guardian.co.uk. "Energy-saving technologies and a doubling in renewables led to the reduction in climate pollution, new figures show"

2.1.13 - EU Prepares to Ban Three Pesticides Harmful to Bees - ens-newswire.com. "three chemicals – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam - known as neonicotinoids, are among the most widely used insecticides in the world. They would be banned for use on corn, oil seed rape, sunflowers and other crops across the European Union for at least two years" beginning in July.

1.31.13 - Uranium Mining Proposal Abandoned in Virginia- abcnews. "Unable to deliver the votes in the General Assembly, Sen. John Watkins withdrew his legislation to establish state regulations for uranium mining...Watkins instead asked fellow Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell to use his administrative powers to have state agencies draw up the rules. McDonnell has not taken a position on the divisive issue "

1.31.13 - Senators sign letter opposing Atlantic seismic testing for oil and gas - The Washington Post. Comments on offshore testing from Delaware to Florida are sought by the Interior Dept. The letter "says seismic testing will harm marine life and threatens fisheries and seafood harvests. They say seismic testing has been shown to cut catches up to 80 percent, and commercial and recreational fishing in the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern Atlantic supports 222,000 jobs."

1.31.13 - Climate refugees in Alaska? - scientificamerican.com. "global warming has had a more dramatic effect on Alaska than in the contiguous United States. Over the past 50 years, warming in the state has been double the global average, and by 2030 temperatures there could rise by up to 3 degrees Celsius. As a result, the Arctic sea ice cover is shrinking at an unprecedented pace (ClimateWire, Dec. 6, 2012). Bronen reports that the permafrost that lies below many Native communities is melting away" and communities need to move.

1.31.13 - VIMS Events - Recurrent coastal flooding: How should VA respond? - Thursday, Jan. 31 - 7 p.m. Watermen's Hall, Gloucester Point, VA

1.30.13 - NMFS Proposed Rule - Marine mammals & Navy training and testing - khou.com. "exposure to sonar in certain circumstances has been associated with the stranding ... and some injury or death may occur despite the best efforts of the Navy. ... the Navy would have to follow mitigation measures to minimize effects on marine mammals...The proposed rule is posted on this website: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm#hstt.

1.30.13 - Proposals to lift uranium mining ban are losing steam - hamptonroads.com. "Chances of the ban being lifted appear more bleak as time for committee action grows short - Thursday is the last scheduled meeting of Agriculture before crossover next week. On the committee, at least eight senators support keeping the ban, including Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk. Augusta County Sen. Emmett Hanger, a Republican who chairs the committee, Monday suggested he's leaning against the bill, saying he'd need "encouragement" from people in the affected region to convince him to support it."

1.29.13 - The Oyster Recovery Partnership benefits from Georgetown fundraising dinner serving invasive species like the Snakehead pictured - wtop.com.

1.27.13 - A desperate try to restock the Potomac's sturgeon - The Washington Post - A plan to restock the Potomac with Hudson River domesticated Sturgeon is unlikely to move forward and now the domesticated Sturgeon face an uncertain future as funding for their continued care may dry up.

1.24.13 - Great white shark off Hatteras is tracked online - pilotonline.com. Mary Lee, a 16-foot Great White Shark female, is captured and tagged in September off Cape Cod.

1.24.13 - 3 endangered right whales rescued from fishing gear reach rare milestone of motherhood - The Washington Post - Daily flights conducted by researchers over calving grounds off the Georgia coast allowed researchers to identify 2 whales that had been rescued some years ago. Another whale with calf was observed off of Cape Cod.

1.24.13 - Common pesticides 'can kill frogs within an hour' - guardian.co.uk. reports study by scientists a the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany.

1.23.13 - Parcel in Suffolk will help preserve endangered plant - Pilotonline.com - "The Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation just bought more than 2,500 acres along the Blackwater River in south Suffolk to be part of the South Quay Sandhills Natural Area Preserve. Long-leaf pines will be preserved."

1.23.13 - Harbor seals making a home in the bay - dailypress.com. "This is actually a fairly new thing in this area," said Christina Trapani at the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach. "I'd say within the last 12 to 15 years, we've started to see an increase in seals in the Chesapeake Bay and in Virginia." While sightings are still rare and random, she said, seals tend to hang out on the rock jetties of the four manmade islands along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, but are known to venture inland."

1.22.13 - Restoring the jewel of the river - TidewaterReview.com - Virginia -- "Anderson's Neck Oyster Company in King and Queen County stands to become largest Aquaculture venture in Virginia." The site of an oyster farm in the early 1900s, Michael and Laura Hild recently purchased the property and are reviving the industry in the York Rive

1.19.13 - 140 countries agree to mercury treaty - guardian.co.uk. "Delegates at UN talks approve measures to curb pollution, but some campaigners say they are not tough enough."

1.18.13 - Mercury Emissions Threaten Aquatic Environments: Scientific American - scientificamerican.com. New research indicates that mercury (mainly from coal burning) moves up the food chain very quickly and "scientists warn that ongoing emissions are more of a threat to food webs than the mercury already in the environment."

1.18.13 - Microsoft Builds Global Ecosystem Computer Model - environmentalleader.com. "Microsoft Research is building a giant computer model for terrestrial and marine ecosystems, which the scientists hope policy makers will use to better manage natural resources."

1.17.13 - Virginia bills that would reduce catch of key Chesapeake Bay fish move ahead at state Capitol - washingtonpost.com. "Senate and House members recommended passage Thursday of companion bills that would reduce Virginia's catch of menhaden by 20 percent over the next two years while scientists assess stocks of the oily fish that is important environmentally and commercially for the Chesapeake Bay."

1.16.13 - Counting the Vanishing Bees - nytimes.com. "new monitoring method, which is remarkably cheap and efficient for tracking national, regional or global bee populations.

1.16.13 - New book records Virginia's plants - washingtonpost.com. "Flora of Virginia" 'weighs seven pounds, runs 1,554 pages and describes 3,164 plant species and natural variants growing wild in the diverse habitats of the Old Dominion."

1.16.13 - In the eastern US, spring flowers keep pace with warming climate - sciencedaily.com. "Using the meticulous phenological records of two iconic American naturalists, Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold, scientists have demonstrated that native plants in the eastern United States are flowering as much as a month earlier in response to a warming climate."

1.16.13 - Virginia Is Worried Cars Are Becoming Fuel-Efficient | TIME.com - To increase gas tax revenues, or at least maintain their current levels, one simple solution is to hike gas tax rates. As a New York Times magazine story recently detailed, many economists think higher gas taxes—at least $1.25 per gallon, more than double the current national average—are necessary for a wide range of reasons, including the reduction of traffic and offsetting the environmental impact of driving." Yet in Virginia, the Governor is touting a plan that makes no sense: the elimination of the gas tax and spreading the burden of road improvement to all in state consumers and also taxing alternative fuel vehicle purchases.

1.15.13 - Cuccinelli and Dominion Move to Repeal Virginia's Clean Electricity Standard - chesapeakeclimate.org. "The Dominion-Cuccinelli proposal is a radical move that clean energy advocates statewide described as out of step with mainstream voters, a claim supported by recent polling. Dominion Power continues to declare its overwhelming commitment to combusting dirty energy to meet the state's future energy needs. In its most recent 15-year plan, Dominion said it still expects to generate the majority of its power for utility customers by burning fossil fuels, like coal and gas, in 2027. ...The company stated an astonishingly small 3.9 percent as its expected generation from clean, renewable energy sources in that year."

1.15.13 - Climate Change Threatens 10 Degree Rise, Submerged Cities - environmentalleader.com. "rising waters caused by climate change are expected to swallow up shorelines in the Seattle area, according to a projection by Seattle Public Utilities....Other US states and cities with vulnerable shores, such as New York, have proposed a number of changes to protect the coastlines from future superstorms. A draft report prepared by the NYS 2100 commission suggests the state consider storm surge barriers to protect New York Harbor and recommends adding "green infrastructure" features to the state's industrial shoreline."

1.14.13 - VIMS contributes to international seagrass restoration project - vims.edu. " a $4.49 million grant to an international team that includes researchers Robert "JJ" Orth, Ken Moore, and Scott Marion of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science will support efforts to develop innovative techniques and tools for restoring eelgrass to areas where nutrient reductions have brought back the clear, sunlit waters this underwater plant needs to thrive."

1.12.13 - Va. Snares Longleaf Pine Stand, Aims to Restore - newsplex.com. "The 2,855 protected acres are known as South Quay. The land is an addition to the 287-acre South Quay Sandhills Natural Area Preserve along the Blackwater River near the North Carolina Line."

1.11.13 - Bay Daily: Menhaden Now in the Virginia Hopper. "House Bill 1840, was introduced by Delegate Lee Ware, R-Powhatan, and is aimed at ensuring Virginia is in sync with the menhaden management plan adopted last month by the Atlantic Coast Marine Fisheries Commission."

1.11.13 - Ontario Phases Out Coal-Fired Power: Scientific American- All the provinces coal-burning power plants will be shuttered by 2014, making the Canadian province the first coal-free jurisdiction in North America"

1.11.13 - Effects of climate change will be felt more deeply in decades ahead, draft report says - washingtonpost.com. "The country is hotter than it used to be, rainfall is becoming both more intense and more erratic, and rising seas and storm surges threaten U.S. coasts. The draft of the third National Climate Assessment warns that with the current rate of global carbon emissions, these impacts will intensify in the coming decades." Author notes that "Virginia Beach ranks among the nation's "most vulnerable port cities," according to the assessment, after Miami, the New York City area, New Orleans and Tampa-St. Petersburg." Report can be viewed here.

1.9.13 - Autonomous marine robots used to detect and identify endangered whales - gizmag.com. "Two autonomous marine robots called gliders have now been used as a real time whale-detection system for research.

1.7.13 - Va. legislative panel endorses step toward uranium mining - pilotonline.com. "A state legislative commission has recommended that Virginia develop regulations for uranium mining, an initial victory for a company that hopes to mine a large uranium deposit in rural Pittsylvania County."

1.7.13 - New anti-uranium mining group formed 2 day before General Assembly - wsls.com. "CommonHealthVA.org made its debut Monday. Its organizers say it represents more than 50 municipalities and groups. They include the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, the Southern Environmental Law Center and other groups that have previously stated their opposition to uranium mining."

1.4.13 - Bay Daily: Oyster Farming Paying Dividends - cbf.typepad.com. "Recognizing the importance of oysters to the economy and the environment, Gov. Bob McDonnell has proposed that Virginia spend $2.5 million next year on oyster restoration and replenishment in Virginia."hers and to warn boats in the area to slow down to avoid striking the marine mammals."

1.3.13 - Starbucks unveils $1 reusable plastic cups Thursday - nydailynews.com. "the new cups will be cleaned with boiling water each time customers bring them in."

1.3.13 - Danville City Council Unanimously Votes Against Uranium Mining - wset.com. "Their resolution also states that they are against any currents efforts to begin writing regulation to control uranium mining."

1.3.13 - New York Senator Proposes 1 Cent Deposit for Cigarette Butts - Earth911.com - I'm with Senator Stavisky. Some smokers will give a second thought to tossing their butts out the window.

1.2.13 - US town bans small water bottles - bbc.co.uk. The US town of Concord in Massachusetts has banned the sale of bottled water in units smaller than one litre.

1.2.13 - Natural relationship between carbon dioxide concentrations and sea level documented - sciencedaily.com. Looking at the geological record, scientists find that sea levels associated with CO2 concentrations of 400-450 ppm (where it is hoped to be stabilized) were 9 meters higher than today.

1.2.13 - Bay Daily: New Report: State of the Bay Improved in 2012 - "In the summer of 2012, the Chesapeake Bay had the smallest low-oxygen "dead zones" in a quarter century. This improvement in water quality –- along with less phosphorus pollution, a resurgent blue crab population, increasing survival of oysters, and an expansion in forested lands –- were reasons the health of the Bay ticked upward last year, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's 2012 "State of the Bay" report."

1.1.13 - Rotterdam Climate Proof projects on the map - rotterdamclimateinitiative.ni. ."Rotterdam has come up with a remarkable invention to provide for additional water storage in this densely built-up city: water plazas. Most of the time, these water plazas will serve as marvellous children's playgrounds or sports fields."

Paradise Creek Nature Park Opens December 28 - paradisecreekpark.org. The Elizabeth River Project and the City of Portsmouth are gearing up to open the Paradise Creek Nature Preserve. The 40 acre park features 11 acres of restored wetlands which will help improve the overall water quality of the Elizabeth River, which is considered one of the dirtiest rivers on the East Coast. Wildlife is already returning to the area. Eagles have been spotted and ODU students are doing graduate avian research at the site.

Christmas Bird Count

The 113th Christmas Bird Count will take place from December 14, 2012 through January 5, 2013. Find a Count near you to get involved on this page.


Drink your way to a Cleaner Bay: Craft Brewers Contribute to Restoration Efforts - Tidewater Current | Fall 2012 - Striped Bass Pale Ale, Pearl Necklace and Rosie Parks Oyster Stout are all relatively new brews. And the proceeds from sales will be used for restoration efforts along the Chesapeake Bay.

The Rising Tide: Research and Planning - Tidewater Current | Fall 2012. Analysis by ODU researhers indicates that sea level rise is accelerating in the mid-Atlantic. A study conducted by UVA students highlights potential adaptation strategies.

Pollinator Partnership

Free app - The Bee Smart™ Pollinator Gardener is your comprehensive guide to selecting plants for pollinators specific to your area. Never get caught wondering what plants to buy again

12.27.12 - Virginia bee keepers can apply for grants - dailypress.com. If funding is approved bee keepers who establish new hives may receive grants for up to $2400 from the state Beehive Grant Fund. Info here: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plant&pest/hivegrant.shtml

12.27.12 - Shipping Lanes off Calif Tweaked to Protect Whales - abcnews.go.com. Due to concern over ship strikes, the IMO has approved shipping lane changes to several CA ports to protect endangered marine mammals .

12.27.12 - Right Whales May Be Giving Birth Off SC Coast | wltx.com - Endangered species spotted off the Charleston Coast.

12.26.12 - New Report Finds Va. Loses Money With Coal Industry Tax Breaks - wamu.org. "Virginia pays a net amount of about $22 million to the coal industry every year...The figure takes into account all taxes the industry pays to the state"

12.24.12 - Kerry expected to elevate climate change as secretary of state - latimes.com. "Although Obama didn't mention climate change when he announced Kerry's nomination, many saw a signal that it would raise the issue's prominence in Obama's second term."

12.21.12 - Va. launches farm conservation initiative - tricities.com. Keeping livestock out of waterways will reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. "Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech says the state's agricultural cost-sharing program will now reimburse farmers up to 100 percent of the cost of installing stream exclusion systems."

12.21.12 - American Rivers | Feeling The Heat On Uranium Mining In Virginia - americanrivers.org. Details the many organizations and municipalities that support keeping the ban. "If you are a resident of Virginia, tell your legislator that you care too much about the Roanoke River and the water it supplies to thousands of area residents to allow the ban on uranium mining to be lifted! Also, you can sign this petition from Keep The Ban to retain the momentum on this important issue.
If you would like to have more information before forming your own opinion on this issue, Keep The Ban has compiled a list of scientific studies to examine the issue of uranium mining in Virginia."

12.20.12 - Court Lets Perdue Off the Hook for Devastating Pollution of Chesapeake Bay by Its Contract Grower - foodandwaterwatch.org. "big poultry companies – the Perdues, Tysons, Mountaires, and others – have been ignoring the dire impacts their meat production systems have been having on the Chesapeake Bay and many more of our waterways across the country. They've been allowed to walk away from the mountains of manure produced by their birds while burdening overwhelmed and underpaid contract growers who don't have the means to properly dispose of this waste. A ruling in Plaintiffs favor would have helped shift some of that waste disposal burden where it belongs, with the big companies that reap the greatest profits."

12.19.12 - Federal Agencies Release 2013 Bay Action Plan - thebaynet.com. "The FY 2013 Action Plan includes a list of tangible efforts to be undertaken by federal agencies, including among others:...Expansion of tributary-scale oyster restoration efforts led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and state agencies in Maryland and Virginia...The full reports can be accessed through the Executive Order 13508 website http://executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net."

12.19.12 - Freshkills Park Protected Staten Island During Hurricane Sandy - sustainablecitiescollective.com. "Since its closing [as a waste facility], Fresh Kills has become a model for landfill reclamation around the world, having been transformed into a vast green space full of wildlife. Now it is also demonstrating the role of wetland buffers in battling rising waters.""

12.19.2 - 1.9 Million Worms Chomp Down Airport Waste in North Carolina- inhabitat.com. "The airport's new recycling program cost $1.2 million to implement four months ago, but already 70% of its waste has been diverted from the landfill. And in five years, they expect to start making a profit from their trash sales"

12.19.12 - What Does $8 Billion in Oil Subsidies Buy? - switchboardnrdc.org. "The fiscal cliff is fast approaching — and there's a relatively simple way for Congress to raise some needed revenues, help the environment and satisfy taxpayers: Ending oil subsidies will help pay down the deficit by making oil companies pay their fair share." - Documentation info included in the post.

12.18.12 - More than $1.8 Million in Grants to Restore Habitats, Improve Urban Environments in Lancaster Area (and Chesapeake Bay) - epa.gov. "The City of Lancaster will use its grant to create and pilot an innovative business model for financing urban stormwater retrofits on privately-owned properties. Given that more than 87% of land area in the city is privately-owned, providing financial incentive for retrofitting impervious surfaces on private properties may prove effective in accelerating the City's effort to reduce stormwater runoff. Unmanaged stormwater accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment, or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality.

12.14.12 - Atlantic fisheries commission limits menhaden catch - washingtonpost.com. "The 13 to 3 vote to rebuild the population was cheered by environmental groups and activists who dubbed menhaden the most important fish because it is a staple diet for large predator fish such as whales and porpoises, and large birds such as eagles and osprey." The article goes on to discuss the potential economic impact in Virginia where 80% of the fish are taken.

12.13.12 - 5-Cent Plastic Bag Tax Might Be Coming to Virginia - inthecapital.com. "a "nickel-per-bag" tax, akin to the ones in D.C. and Montgomery County, MD, that will hopefully discourage unnecessary plastic bag usage and generate funds for the Virginia's Water Quality Improvement Fund."

12.12.12 - Uranium Mining Opinion Letter - vancnews.com. Pittsylvania County resident notes 'if a uranium mill managed not to pollute groundwater, it would be the first time... Of the 52 mill sites in the U.S. (of which only one, in Blanding, Utah, is currently active), all 52 have led to ground- water contamination..."

12.12.12 - 'Bumper crop' of oysters seen in Chesapeake Bay - delawareonline.com. "We've probably got more oysters here than we've had in the last 20 years, said Greg Price, a waterman based in this small fishing village near Deal Island in Somerset County. It's a bumper crop for what we've been having....As a result, the number of fishermen engaged in tonging and dredging oysters in Maryland waters this season has bolted from the usual 500 to about 800. And seaside markets are getting flooded with oysters, driving prices down from last year's average of about $35 a bushel to $22, Naylor said."

12.12.12- Clean Tech Of Another Sort: More Than 2.6 Million Acres Restored Via USDA Wetlands Reserve Program - cleantechnica.com. "Created two decades ago, the USDA's Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) "has restored more than 2.6 million acres of wetlands habitat across the U.S., creating prime wildlife habitat and helping the environment by holding and clean water," the USDA announced in a Dec. 11 press release."

12.12.12 - Bees: More than honey makers - dvidshub.net. Great story of military endeavors to improve farming practices in Afghanistan by promoting bee keeping for pollination.

12.11.12 - Project Seeks to Map and Reduce Ocean Noise Pollution - nytimes.com. "the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, seeks to document human-made noises in the ocean and transform the results into the world's first large sound maps. The ocean visualizations use bright colors to symbolize the sounds radiating out through the oceanic depths, frequently over distances of hundreds of miles....The project's goal is to better understand the cacophony's nature and its impact on sea mammals as a way to build the case for reductions."

12.10.12 - Two Thirds Of The World's Top Corporations Have Set Emissions Reduction Targets Or Renewable Energy Goals - climateprogress.org. "According to a new analysis from Ceres, WWF, and Calvert Investments, 68 percent of companies in the Global 100 list have set targets to lower global warming pollution or purchase clean energy. In addition, 58 percent of companies in the Fortune 100 list have set similar targets."

12.9.12 - Stranded sea turtles pack rescue hospital | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram - 221 turtles have been rescued so far this fall in Cape Cod. The Coast Guard just this week flew 35 turtles to Florida.

12.7.12 - The Bottom Line: Big Turnout for Little Menhaden - nationalgeographic.com. "The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has seen a lot in its 70-year history but nothing quite like this. More than 128,000 people flooded the commission's inboxes with postcards and emails last month, a new record for public comment"

12.6.12 - Vermont - Consumers can buy trees as gifts to protect clean water, combat climate change, and create a more resilient future - vtdigger.org. Great program. Clearwaterfund.org is offering gift trees that will be planted and maintained along critical waterway buffer zones.

12.6.12 - Doha's most progressive country on climate change? Wales - guardian.co.uk. Leading the UK in renewable energy "Wales will become the first country in the world to make it legally binding for all public bodies, from health trusts to libraries and schools, to take account of the environment and social issues when they make a decision. The sustainable development bill should be delivered in just under a year, says Griffiths, who is in Doha to meet other regional governments like Catalonia, Brittany and Quebec, as well as UN agencies. It would be a legal first," he says. "A country may be small but it can be smart and far-sighted.""

12.6.12 - Will the devastated monarch butterfly take flight again? - grist.org. "In the United States, butterfly lovers are offsetting the milkweed die-off by building "monarch way stations," such as the milkweed gardens that are now growing everywhere from a convention center roof in Pittsburgh to Debbie Jackson's backyard in Davisburg, Mic" Link to Flight of the Butterflies teaser which will play at the American Museum of Natural History in 2013.

12.6.12 - South Korea drops plans to resume whaling - guardian.co.uk. Fisheries ministry received a million protest emails in 3 weeks.

12.6.12 - ODU Class Registers First Sighting of Northern Lapwing in Virginia - odu.edu. "Up until last week, there had been no sightings in Virginia of the Northern Lapwing, ...As it turns out, there were other reports in November of Northern Lapwings being sighted in Maryland and farther up the East Coast... Many species that are not often seen in the United States were spotted during and after the storm swept the East Coast. These include the Pomarine Jaeger, Petrels, Northern Gannets, Ross's Gulls, and even some Northern Lapwings. Apparently, the Northern Lapwings were swept off course during migration by a combination of the winds of Sandy and high pressure in the north Atlantic. "

12.5.12 - Senator to introduce legislation to lift 30-year uranium ban - wpcva.com. "State Sen. John C. Watkins (R-Midlothian) said Monday he will introduce legislation in 2013 to lift Virginia's 30-year ban on uranium mining.....Pittsylvania County (where a proposed mine is planned) Board of Supervisors members Jessie Barksdale, Marshall Ecker, and Jerry Hagerman, who pushed for a permanent ban on uranium mining, were dismayed by Watkins' announcement."

12.5.12 - Bird Migration Corridors in Connection with Offshore Wind - usgs.gov. Public Lecture Series: Science in Action - Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 7:00 PM - Title: A Bird's Eye View: Offshore Wind Energy By: Alicia Berlin, Ph.D. and Allan O'Connell, Ph.D. - lectures can be followed live via our @USGSLive Twitter account.

12.4.12 - New Observatories Will Warn Public about "Atmospheric River" Floods: Scientific American - "An $11-million weather sensor network being installed in California will give officials more time to prepare for onslaughts of Pacific storms" Sensors are also being put in place to measure soil moisture, which helps determine potential flooding so officials can make important decisions like whether a dam should be opened or closed. Data generated from this new monitoring system will be made available online for public use.

12.4.12 - Bayer CropScience to build bee care center in RTP - heraldsun.com - DURHAM - Bayer's neonicotinoid based insecticide has been implicated in scientific research as harmful to bees. It's noted in the article that they are building the $2.65 million facility at their headquarters in Research Triangle Park, NC to collaborate with university and other researchers to ensure that "the company's crop protection products are not used in a way that could case any inadvertent exposure to bees"

12.4.12 - Polar Beverages jet gives stranded turtles a lift to Ga. - telegram.com. Four sea turtles found suffering from hypothermia in Cape Cod, Massachusetts were flown courtesy of Polar Beverages to Georgia for rehab.

12.3.12 - Wind-wildlife meeting highlights wind energy industry's proactive approach - reve. "Working with conservation groups, wildlife agencies, and wind energy companies, scientists have identified the questions to ask, are developing a body of peer-reviewed research across species and across disciplines, and are planning for future research priorities. We're building a strong scientific foundation for responsible wind energy development....The Wind Wildlife Research Meeting agenda, with a full list of presentation topics, is available on the AWWI website."

12.2.12 -- 100 Sea turtles rescued by the Philippine Navy- White Wolf .

12.1.12 - Report: Va. uranium regulation could cost $5M a year - pilotonline.com. Study released that defines the regulatory framework needed to allow uranium mining. Program would cost $5 million/yr to operate. Numerous groups including farmer, environmental and county associations are against lifting a state ban on uranium due to environmental concerns.

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