Ecosystems

Grey What Harpooned, Killed Near Seattle, Tribal Hunt Condemned
September 11, 2007 03:15 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Washington, D.C. - A prominent wildlife group is condemning the killing of a gray whale yesterday in the Strait of Juan de Fuca by some members of the Makah Tribe, calling the killing of the protected animal illegal, cruel, and callous. The inland seaway where the whale was killed is located in the Seattle area. Today the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported that leaders of the Makah tribe also condemned the killing and vowed to prosecute the individuals responsible, saying the hunt took place without the permission of the tribe.

In Depth: Antimicrobial Chemicals in Buildings - Hygiene or Harm?
September 11, 2007 02:35 PM - Tristan Roberts, BuildingGreen

The market for antibacterial lotions, soaps, and wipes has exploded, and antimicrobial compounds are now common in other consumer items like shampoos, deodorants, shoes and apparel, and food-preparation and storage items, despite widespread evidence that these compounds often don’t work as advertised. But now even our buildings are getting in on the trend. The use of chemicals in building products, especially to kill mold, is centuries-old, but antimicrobial chemicals are proliferating in heretofore rarely seen places: furniture, flooring, wallcoverings, textiles, countertops, sunshades, doorknobs and push-plates, ductwork, and caulking. This article examines applications of antimicrobials in buildings, asking whether they are warranted, and looking at how antimicrobials work. It also explores health and safety concerns and suggests ways to make buildings more hygienic, with or without antimicrobials.

Ecosystems At Risk When Estrogens Mix With Other Chemicals
September 11, 2007 11:11 AM - Dr. Ed Orlando and Wendy Hessler, Environmental Health News

New experiments reveal that the synthetic estrogen used by women for birth control causes wide ranging health effects in minnows, but that the effects were different from when the drug was tested alone compared with when it was mixed with wastewater effluent. The tests found that when the estrogen, called 17α-ethinylestradiol, showed up in the water along with municipal wastewater, it caused feminization of male fish, altered their DNA integrity, changed their immune cell numbers and the ability to breakdown pollutants.

Researcher finds lake boiling with methane
September 11, 2007 10:59 AM - University of Alaska Fairbanks

Last month, UAF researcher Katey Walter brought a National Public Radio crew to Alaska’s North Slope, hoping to show them examples of what happens when methane is released when permafrost thaws beneath lakes.

After Coastal Bird Decline, Malaysia To Enforce Tough New Rules
September 11, 2007 09:55 AM - Clarence Fernandez, Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia vowed on Tuesday to toughen environmental rules for coastal development projects after a study showed a drop in bird numbers following reclamation that destroyed their homes in mangroves and wetlands. Farms, homes and industry have sprung up along Malaysia's coasts, depriving migratory birds of key winter homes, leading to a 22 percent fall in the number of shorebirds recorded in the two decades to 2006, conservation group Wetlands International said.

Fishing nations urged to protect newly discovered cold-water corals
September 11, 2007 07:59 AM - WWF

A new WWF study assesses the impact of fishing on three fragile coldwater coral “hotspots” off the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, providing the scientific basis for Canadian and European governments to protect sensitive coral habitat in the Northwest Atlantic. Based on scientific surveys by Canadian researchers, the study — Cold-water corals off New Foundland and Labrador: Distribution and fisheries impacts — illustrates the distribution of corals and assesses coral bycatch (where fishing gear becomes accidentally entangled in corals) in the six most common deep-water-fisheries off Newfoundland and Labrador.

Grays Whales Starving As Food Supply Dwindles
September 11, 2007 07:38 AM - Seth Borenstein -Associated Press

One of the great success stories of the ocean, the return of the Pacific gray whale, may have been based on a miscalculation, scientists reported Monday in a study based on whale genetics. What was assumed to be a thriving whale population actually is at times starving from a dwindling food supply, said study co-author Stephen Palumbi, a Stanford University marine sciences professor. And global warming is a chief suspect.

Overweight Trucks Damage Infrastructure
September 11, 2007 07:32 AM - Aprol Castro -Associated Press

More than a half-million overweight trucks are allowed onto the nation's roads and bridges - an increasingly routine practice that some officials say is putting dangerous wear and tear on an already groaning infrastructure.

Water Fleas Spreading In Wisconsin Lakes
September 10, 2007 03:22 PM - Jill Sakai, University of Wisconsin

WISCONSIN - The spiny water flea, a small but aggressive aquatic invasive species, has made its way into another of Wisconsin's lakes, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers reported last week. The spiny water flea, an aquatic invasive species with a barbed spine twice as long as its body, has infested two inland lakes in Wisconsin. Spread from lake to lake by boaters, it may negatively impact native lake ecosystems by preying on native species and competing with young fish for food.

Libya Creates World's Largest Sustainable Development
September 10, 2007 11:06 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Libya - Libya today announced the creation of an unprecedented sustainable development on its beautiful northern Mediterranean coast. The massive project includes a world class sustainable resort and spa, extensive wind and solar on the coast and desert area, growth of biofuel crops, closed loop water systems, sustainable transportation, housing, and the creation of a huge national ecological parkland that includes protection of the Mediterranean ocean and incorporates Tripoli and other cities. The 5,500 square kilometer development, called Green Mountain, covers an area that is home to diverse animal and plant species and historic and archaeologically rich sites.

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