Archive for October, 2012

Las Vegas bets big on rural water

(October 18)

Redlodge Clearinghouse

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recommended approval of a plan for diverting groundwater from three counties in eastern Nevada, via hundreds of miles of underground pipelines, to Sin City. Six alternatives are looked at for the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s (SNWA) plan to siphon water from several rural valleys and to transport it 300 miles south to the shining city in the desert. The BLM recommends an 84-inch main pipeline to transport up to 114,000 acre-feet per year from four of those basins—Spring, Delamar, Dry Lake and Cave valleys. The route of the proposed pipeline, which is estimated to take 12 years to complete and cost $3.5 to $12 billion, also crosses the ranges of antelope, elk, mule deer and desert bighorn sheep and would alter the habitats of special status species including the desert tortoise, sage-grouse, pygmy rabbit, western burrowing owl, bald eagle, golden eagle, ferruginous hawk, bats, dark kangaroo mouse, Gila monster and Mojave Poppy Bee.

State Agriculture Officials Head to D.C. to Propose Action on Farm Bill

(October 18)

The Free Press

State agriculture officials will head to Washington, D.C., late this week to meet with Maine’s Congressional delegation and other officials about the demise of the 2008 Farm Bill, which expired September 30, and its disastrous impact on Maine’s dairy farmers. The high cost of feed and fuel, coupled with the Midwest drought and a federal milk pricing system based on a speculative market system, have caused production costs to skyrocket for Maine dairy producers, according to Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) officials.

Corn belt shifts north with climate change

(October 17)

The Daily Republic

Changes in weather conditions are happening faster than plants can adapt. While farmers nationwide planted the most corn this year since 1937, growers in Kansas sowed the fewest acres in three years, and have turned to less thirsty crops such as wheat, sorghum and triticale. Meanwhile, corn acreage in Manitoba, a Canadian province about 700 miles north of Kansas, has nearly doubled over the past decade due to weather changes and higher prices. Shifts such as these reflect a view among food producers that this summer’s drought in the United States — the worst in half a century — isn’t a random disaster. It’s a glimpse of a future altered by climate change that will affect worldwide production.

U.S. runs out of funds to battle wildfires

(October 7)

The Washington Post

In the worst wildfire season on record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service ran out of money to pay for firefighters, fire trucks and aircraft that dump retardant on monstrous flames. So officials did about the only thing they could: take money from other forest management programs. The traditional method of averaging the cost of wildfires over the past 10 years to appropriate funds for fighting wildfires is inadequate at a time when climate change is causing longer periods of dryness and drought, resulting in longer wildfire seasons.


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U.S. Western wildfires report says region should expect bigger burns more often

(September 18)

Reuters via Huffington Post

A warming trend has contributed to a sharp rise in the number and size of wildfires on forest lands in the U.S. West, where big burns are likely to become the norm, according to a report released on Tuesday by a climate research group.

Forest fire research questions the wisdom of prescribed burns

(September 17)

New York Times

Scientists are at loggerheads over whether there is an ecological advantage to thinning forests and using prescribed fire to reduce fuel for subsequent fires — or whether those methods actually diminish ecological processes and biodiversity.

Draft study proposes thinning Black Hills Forest to control mountain pine beetle

(September 23)

Star Tribune

The U.S. Forest Service proposes thinning portions of the Black Hills National Forest, including 32,300 acres in Wyoming, to stop the mountain pine beetle from killing trees.

Obama blocks Chinese wind farms in Oregon over security

(September, 29)


President Barack Obama blocked on Friday a privately owned Chinese company from building wind turbines close to a Navy military site in Oregon due to national security concerns, and the company said it would challenge the action in court.

Al Gore sees ‘dirty weather’ ahead

(September 24)

New York Times

“The weather’s just that – dirty,” Mr. Gore said in the video, which was shown at the three-day Social Good Summit conference. “It’s fueled by dirty fossil fuel and misinformation.” For the November event, Mr. Gore’s Climate Reality Project will stream content about “dirty weather that’s occurred around the world in the last year,” said Maggie L. Fox, the project’s chief executive, who appeared in person to announce the segment.

Wilderness limited: Are we adaptable to crowding and a loss of solitude?

(October 1)

Redlodge Clearinghouse

A study  done by the Rocky Mountain Research Station looks not at the questions: What will happen as population grows and management of wilderness becomes increasingly critical? Will we accept a loss of solitude in once soothing places, or will we apply limits to wilderness use?

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