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Latest QDNR News

Natural Resource News, Information and Resources from Around the World

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...

US Report Finds Climate Change 90% Manmade

Major report by government agencies goes against senior members of Trump administration and finds evidence of global warming stronger than ever.  A comprehensive review by 13 US federal agencies concludes that evidence of global warming is stronger than ever and that more than 90% of it has been caused by humans. The conclusion contradicts a favorite talking point of senior members of the Trump administration.  A 477-page report released on Friday said it was “extremely likely” – meaning with 95 to 100% certainty – that global warming is manmade, mostly from carbon dioxide through the burning of coal, oil and natural gas....

Quinault Tribe Preparing Proposal to Address Climate Change

The Quinault Indian Nation is working on a legislative initiative to tax carbon emissions as part of the effort to combat climate change. The Quinault Nation is also challenging Donald Trump’s decision on the withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. The accord is aimed at keeping the increase in average global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Change Ballot Measure QIN President Fawn Sharp told Sputnik. “Our tribe is working on a ballot measure to take to the citizens in the state of Washington around climate change. We believe that there should be a 25 percent carbon tax,” Sharp said. “We are working...

Study Points To Win-Win for Spotted Owls and Forest Management

Remote sensing technology has detected what could be a win for both spotted owls and forestry management, according to a study led by the University of California, Davis, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and the University of Washington. For 25 years, many forests in the western United States have been managed to protect habitat for endangered and threatened spotted owls. A central tenet of that management has been to promote and retain more than 70 percent of the forest canopy cover. However, dense levels of canopy cover leave forests prone to wildfires and can lead to...