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Latest QDNR News

Natural Resource News, Information and Resources from Around the World

Diminished Oxygen Concentrations at Sea Due to Global Warming

Oxygen is a baseline necessity when it comes to animal life on Earth. From humans and house cats to gorillas and great white sharks, the simple diatomic molecule is essential to the success of cellular respiration, which breaks down complex carbohydrates to produce the energy required for survival. A recently published article in Science magazine reports that all across the globe, oxygen content in our oceans is dropping rapidly. The synthesis piece, titled “Declining Oxygen in the Global Ocean and Coastal Waters,” is the collaborative work of nearly two dozen authors, each bringing to the table specific research expertise. The international organization UNESCO...

QIN Receives Grant to Fund Oil Spill Response

In an effort to reduce the impacts of an oil spill when it happens, the Department of Ecology is helping fund emergency response equipment for 11 communities. The Quinault Indian Nation will receive $11,000 to fund trailer tires, training, and spill response kits. In 2016, the Tyee Marina fire in Tacoma and the Port Orchard Yacht Club fire each had a leg up because local emergency responders had a stash of state-funded oil spill response equipment nearby to quickly deploy while Ecology spill responders headed their way. Responders to the 2015 Mosier, Ore., oil train derailment also got a boost...

Crabber Sentenced for Stealing Crab Pots

Because of stealing crab pots offshore of Westport, a Grays Harbor County judge has sentenced a commercial crab fisherman to 90 days of electronic home monitoring and fined him $5,000, concluding a case that began with an investigation last year by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Larrin Breitsprecher, 57, of Westport, was sentenced Dec. 1 by Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge Mark McCauley after a jury found him guilty of possessing stolen property and related charges. Beginning May 1, Breitsprecher will be required to remain at home for three months unless he requires medical attention. Employee...

Forests are the Key to Freshwater Resources

Freshwater resources are critical to both human civilization and natural ecosystems, but UBC researchers have discovered that changes to ground vegetation can have as much of an impact on global freshwater resources as climate change. UBC Okanagan Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences Professor Adam Wei, PhD candidate Qiang Li and researchers from the Chinese Academy of Forestry recently published a study examining the impacts of how changes in forest vegetation affect water supplies. Using several decades worth of data, their work examined how freshwater resources are responsive to vegetation ground cover and climate change. “As we urbanize land and...

Legislation Introduced to Ban Atlantic Salmon Farms

House Republican Reps. Drew MacEwen and Jim Walsh have introduced a bill to ban Atlantic salmon farms in marine waters regulated by Washington state. The legislation comes on the heels of an August incident in which a net pen containing 305,000 Atlantic salmon collapsed near Cypress Island, allowing more than half of the salmon to escape into Puget Sound. It was the fourth such incident since 1996. Despite the collapse at the Atlantic salmon farm operated by Cooke Aquaculture, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recently approved a permit for the company to rear one million more Atlantic salmon at a different facility...

Gypsy Moth Treatment Proposed

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is proposing to treat two areas in Western Washington in the spring of 2018 to eradicate introductions of gypsy moth, a non-native, invasive pest that decimates trees. The proposal calls for treating a total of about 1,300 acres in Kitsap and Pierce counties. Gypsy Moth Treatment is Approved WSDA’s treatment proposal consists of aerial applications of a naturally occurring soil bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, or Btk. It is an insecticide approved for use in organic agriculture that for decades has had a proven safety record around people, plants, pets, fish, birds and bees....

Floods Necessary for Healthy River Ecosystems

Flooding rivers can wreak havoc on homes and roads but are necessary for healthy river ecosystems, research at Oregon State University suggests. The study shows that alterations to rivers’ natural flow patterns – because of dams, diversions and changes in precipitation – cause damage to riparian plant communities and river ecosystems in general. Even minor shifts in temporal flow patterns harm networks of competing vegetation, said the study’s corresponding author, Jonathan Tonkin of the OSU College of Science. The most severe effects, he said, occur when cyclical flooding is removed from the equation. “We think of floods as being...

Climate Change Is a Social Issue

The realities of climate change are no longer only being stressed by environmentalists as illustrated by the 400,000 attendees at the People’s Climate March in New York City and the solidarity events that took place around the world. The effects of climate change will be economic, social, and environmental and will alter people’s lives in a myriad of ways that we are just beginning to understand. Acceptance of this complex interaction, which follows the prescription laid out by the concept of sustainable development, is key to beginning to enact effective policy on climate. Since the recent New Climate Economy Report focused...

Fossil Fuels Emissions Set To Hit All-Time High

Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are surging again after staying flat for three years, climate scientists reported on Monday, a sign that efforts to rein in planet-warming gases still have a long way to go Emissions from fossil fuels and industrial uses are projected to grow 2 percent this year, reaching 41 billion tons by the end of 2017, according to the report presented at the United Nations’ climate summit in Bonn, Germany. The increase was predicted to continue in 2018. Total greenhouse gas emissions remained level, at about 36 billion tons per year from 2014 to 2016, even...

Sudden Oak Death Ravaging Fir Trees

Scientists have recently discovered a deadly plant disease that’s infecting fir trees in the Pacific Northwest. This “European” strain of sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum) appeared in southwest Oregon a few years back, and it was known to spread to fir trees in Europe. This disease has killed millions of tanoak trees and several oak tree species (coast live oak, California black oak, Shreve oak and canyon live oak). Differing from the European strain of sudden oak death, the North American strain has been killing tanoak throughout Curry County for years. The European strain has forest managers worried because of the potential to infect...