Increase in Beached Whales

More Frequent Whale Strandings Has Experts on Edge

Full story at above link

While the National Marine Fisheries Service has declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, it’s more than just oil spills that are causing increased strandings worldwide.

The occurences of beachings has increased.  It could be any number of things at this point from nutrition to sonar throwing them off their intended path.  The BP oil spill is a possible cause but might not be the only one.

NOAA provides this chart of whale strandings in the Gulf of Mexico, showing the marked increase:

Speculations continue.  It is still very uncertain as to why this is happening in different parts of the world.

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Chesapeake Bay Foundation | Improving Water Quality Through Streamside Tree Buffers

Chesapeake Bay Foundation | Improving Water Quality Through Streamside Tree Buffers.

Spring is the perfect time to plant trees. And establishing a streamside forested buffer will not only help protect water quality, it will attract wildlife by providing much-needed habitat. The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), a federally funded program, provides landowners and farmers with the resources to design and install these buffers. CREP also pays annual rental payments to the landowner.

There are many benefits to forested buffers, including preventing pollutants from reaching streams, creating wildlife habitat, and improving water quality. Streamside trees also help reduce stormwater and flooding problems by slowing down and absorbing rainwater as it moves across the land. Buffers also provide recreational opportunities like wildlife and bird watching, and they improve property values.

The following information is from www.creppa.org:

WHAT IS CREP?

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a voluntary conservation program which rewards producers and landowners for installing conservation practices on their land, and offers up to 100% cost share reimbursement for installation, annual rental payments, and cash incentives.

For more detailed information visit the PA Game Commission website.

Any producer or landowner can enroll in CREP, which is available for eligible marginal cropland, pastureland, and land along non-forested streams.

Continuous enrollment in CREP is available for a limited time,so don’t wait until the last minute to take advantage of this opportunity to cash in on conservation!

CREP BENEFITS

  • Protects Pennsylvania’s streams, lakes and wetlands.
  • Provides wildlife habitat for biodiversity.
  • Covers the cost of streambank fencing, stream crossings, and stock tanks.
  • Pays for planting native trees, shrubs and grasses.
  • Reduces wear and tear on farm equipment, (through enrollment of wet or steep “problem acres.”)
  • Protects animals from diseases that can be transmitted by waterborne bacteria, such as mastitis, Johne’s disease, BVD and foot rot.
  • Saves you time and earns you money.

CREP KEYWORDS

  • Soil Rental Rate (SRR) – Calculated cash payment dependent upon soil type.
  • Erodibility Index (EI) – Calculation based on soil type and slope.
  • Highly Erodible Land (HEL) –  Land susceptible to erosion (usually found on steep slopes, but depends on soil type and vegetative cover).
  • Marginal Pastureland – Land near a stream or water body not currently covered with trees or woody growth.
  • Riparian Zone – Land adjacent to stream channels and other waterways.
  • Riparian Buffer – Strips of trees, shrubs and/or grasses along the edges of waterways that stabilize banks and filter runoff.
  • Wetland –  An area that frequently is inundated by surface and/or groundwater, providing a unique habitat for wildlife, improving water quality and protecting against floods.  A wetland is different than a pond.
  • Shallow Water Area – A source of water with an average depth of 6 – 18 inches which provides wildlife habitat.
  • Native Grasses – Warm and cool season grasses naturally occur in western PA.  Warm season grasses include indiangrass, big bluestem, and switchgrass.  Cool season grasses include orchardgrass, timothy and perennial ryegrasss.

A variety of wildlife depends on grassland habitats and adjacent riparian areas year-round. Birds use the many layers of vegetation cover (trees, shrubs, and grasses) and plentiful plant species found in these habitats for food and cover. During the breeding season, many ground-nesting bird and mammal species build nests in the vegetation and use the cover to raise and protect their young. In the winter, seeds are foraged and dead vegetation creates pockets where ground-dwelling birds can take shelter. Butterflies, and other enjoyable insects, feed on the flowers that grow in the grassland. Unlike the specific vegetation of riparian corridors, wetlands, and grasslands, the wildlife that depend on these areas commonly travel between them for both food and shelter.

Before And After

Shutiz Fence Before

Shutiz Fence After

Wandrisco Before

Wandrisco After

Food Prices Driven Up by Global Warming, Study Shows | Common Dreams

Global warming ubx

Image via Wikipedia

Food Prices Driven Up by Global Warming, Study Shows | Common Dreams.

Full article at above link.

Global warming has already harmed the world’s food production and has driven up food prices by as much as 20% over recent decades, new research has revealed.

  An Indian farmer displays wheat after harvest on the outskirts of Jammu, India, Thursday, May 5, 2011. Global warming has already harmed the world’s food production and has driven up food prices by as much as 20% over recent decades, new research has revealed. (AP Photo/Channi Anand) The drop in the productivity of crop plants around the world was not caused by changes in rainfall but was because higher temperatures can cause dehydration, prevent pollination and lead to slowed photosynthesis.

Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, Washington DC, said the findings indicate a turning point: “Agriculture as it exists today evolved over 11,000 years of reasonably stable climate, but that climate system is no more.” Adaptation is difficult because our knowledge of the future is not strong enough to drive new investments, he said, “so we just keep going, hoping for the best.”

“It is vital,” said Wolfram Schlenker, at Columbia University in New York and one of the research team. “If we continue to have the same seed varieties and temperatures continue to rise, then food prices will rise further. [Addressing] that is the big question.”

“We actually have enough calories to feed the world quite comfortably, the problem is meat is really inefficient,” as many kilogrammes of grain are needed to produce one kilogramme of meat, he said. “As countries get richer and have a preference for meat, which is more expensive, they price people in poorer countries out of the market.”

Global food prices have risen by about 200% in recent years, says Schlenker. Other causes of the rise are the increased demand for meat and the diversion of food into biofuels. Nonetheless, the researchers conclude that the negative impact on crops overall is “likely to be incurring large economic and health costs”.