Ecosystems

US To Study Wildlife Vs. Wind Turbines
October 31, 2007 12:22 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Washington - A special wind turbine advisory committee will study and advise the Secretary and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on ways to avoid or minimize the impact f wind turbines on wildlife and their habitats. The study only concerns land-based wind energy facilities.Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today named 22 individuals to serve on the panal. "By some estimates, wind power could provide clean and renewable electricity to meet up to 20 percent of the nation's energy needs," said Secretary Kempthorne. "This committee will help examine issues, such as site selection and turbine design, so we can develop wind resources while protecting wildlife."

Moderate earthquake hits Northern California
October 31, 2007 01:16 AM -

OAKLAND, California (Reuters) - A magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck in a rural area about 9 miles northeast of San Jose, California, Silicon Valley's biggest city, on Tuesday night, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The earthquake was felt across the San Francisco Bay Area just before 8:05 p.m. (11:05 p.m. EDT). There were no immediate reports of major damage but the San Jose Mercury News Web site reported phone service failed in a part of Palo Alto, home to Hewlett-Packard computer company and Stanford University.

It said the quake caused minor damage and residents poured out of apartments in downtown San Jose to survey the damage.

Southeast drought leads to spat over lake
October 30, 2007 02:33 PM - Matthew Bigg, Reuters

LAKE LANIER, Georgia (Reuters) - A large, man-made lake in north Georgia is at the center of a political storm over how to distribute water resources between three states in the face of the region's worst drought in decades. Lake Lanier stands near the head of a watershed that feeds the booming city of Atlanta about 45 miles to the south, leading to accusations that the city is consuming more than its fair share of water.

Healthy planet, places and people at risk
October 30, 2007 10:14 AM - Research Australia

Australians face increasingly large-scale health risks from our expanding impact on the natural environment, ranging from increases in weather extremes and dengue fever to obesity, diabetes and mental health.Twelve of Australia’s top health and medical researchers have contributed to a new report which concludes that rapid environmental and climatic changes pose increasing risks to the health of Australians.

The importance of mangrove conservation in tsunami prone regions
October 30, 2007 10:11 AM - Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Agricultural expansion rather than shrimp farming is the major factor responsible for the destruction of tropical mangrove forests in the tsunami-impacted regions of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka, according to a new study published in the Journal of Biogeography.

More than dozen dead as storm drenches Hispaniola
October 29, 2007 10:02 PM - German Marte, Reuters

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - More than a dozen people died in the Dominican Republic on Monday after Tropical Storm Noel dumped torrential rain on the Caribbean country, sending thigh-high water surging through streets and cutting power to thousands.

Hundreds of families were left homeless after the 14th named storm of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season poured 10 to 30 inches of rain on the Dominican Republic and over the treeless hillsides of Haiti, its neighbor on the island of Hispaniola.

The head of the Dominican National Emergency Committee, retired Gen. Luis Luna Paulino, said 13 deaths had been confirmed.

He said there was a report of a family buried when their house collapsed on them and another of a family in a car killed by a falling wall. "If those two accidents are confirmed then the deaths climb to 18," he said.

Spain to demolish illegal coastal homes: report
October 29, 2007 11:21 AM -

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain plans to demolish illegally built homes and hotels along an eighth of its coastline to halt rapid destruction of its Mediterranean and Canary Island beaches, the El Pais newspaper reported on Monday.

The 5-billion-euro ($7-billion) plan aims to reclaim 482 miles of coastline and put an end to illegal urban development that threatens Spain's tourism industry, one of the country's biggest sources of foreign cash, El Pais reported.

The Socialist government will present the plan to regional authorities on Wednesday and promote it as a means to attract wealthy tourists who seek natural beauty rather than concrete resorts, the newspaper said.

California Wildfires Destroy Animal Habitats : USFWS
October 29, 2007 10:00 AM - Reuters

Los Angeles - Wildfires that began last week and continue to burn in southern California have destroyed thousands of acres of vegetation and habitat on Hopper Mountain and San Diego National Wildlife Refuges, forced the temporary closure of the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, and spurred deployment of more than 40 Service firefighters to the region.

As of Wednesday, more than 1,500 homes have been destroyed by wildfires in five southern California counties. Property damage is estimated at $1 Billion in San Diego County alone. All Service employees in the affected areas are accounted for and no employees' homes have been damaged by fire.

Australian country life riven by drought, isolation
October 28, 2007 11:19 PM - Michael Byrnes, Reuters

CARAGABAL, Australia (Reuters) - In drought-hit lands of eastern Australia, the population of Caragabal is just 38, every shop is closed, water is trucked in, and a synthetic lawn at a bowling club is the last hope of survival for a dying town.

The town dam, which can store two years' supply, dried up years ago with the return of drought. As crops die for hundreds of miles around, the town's fate also seems doomed.

Last remaining locals have started to speak of the patch of plastic bowling green in reverential tones.

Canada sets largest freshwater conservation area
October 25, 2007 07:55 PM -

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The largest freshwater marine protected area in the world is being set up off the northern shores of Lake Superior, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Thursday.

The national marine conservation area will encompass more than 10,000 sq. km (3,900 sq. miles) of Lake Superior, the biggest of the Great Lakes, including lake bed, islands and north shorelands.

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