Month: December 2020

‘Adani’s Carmichael Mine Is Just Not Going to Happen’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Michael West for the Sydney Morning Herald:Much is the wailing and gnashing of teeth at the move by the Queensland government to approve the project but this approval is entirely political.The evidence is compelling. Carmichael is the whitest of white elephants.  It is all about the appearance of commitment to jobs, jobs that will never occur unless the coal price doubles, and it is about the government not getting bashed up by the opposition for being anti-jobs and abandoning its election commitments.Even Adani is coy. No sooner had the Indian conglomerate been granted approval than it deferred the project for another year. Buried in the detail of its press release was this: “opportunity for final investment decision and construction in 2017”.Reaching “final investment decision” would require willing financiers with a cool $10 billion just for Phase One. But Adani’s bankers have long since fled the scene.There would be no taxpayer support nor “dredging [of the reef] at Abbot Point [port] until Adani demonstrates financial closure,” said Resources Minister Anthony Lynham.Which brings us to the real world, financial closure; not only is the project “bankerless” but, apart from the Australian government, which is “energy-policyless”, the real world has moved on, quickly.The head of the world’s biggest power provider, chairman Liu Zhenya of China’s State Grid Corporation, recently told a US energy conference the ramp-up of renewable energy and ongoing integration of wind and solar power projects into the grid were gathering pace.“A fundamental solution [to address power needs and climate change] is to accelerate clean energy,” Liu told his audience of energy executives. The eventual aim was “replacing coal and oil.”The rapid build-up of renewables can be deployed quickly and economically. “Clean energy is competitive,” said Lui. “The only hurdle to overcome is mindset. There’s no technical challenge at all.”This, and equally enlightened energy policy in India, lies in stark relief to the utterances of the Australian resources-led regime, whose unwavering commitment to new fossil-fuel projects is quite bizarre, as though it is wilfully ignoring global realities, even economic realities, by flooding an already depressed market with new sources of supply.China Shenhua Energy Co, the world’s second-largest coal miner, declared last week it had delayed construction on more than 80 per cent of its coal-fired plants.Its 2015 annual report cites a 55 per cent decline in net profit to $US2.7 billion on a 30 per cent year-on-year decline in revenue.Domestic coal consumption in China fell 5 per cent in 2015, said  Shenhua, whose own coal sales were down 18 per cent, and it forecasts a further 8.4 per cent decline in its Chinese coal sales volumes this year. Australia is now competing against Shenhua, as an exporter.Its Watermark project in NSW, apparently still in train, is yet to win board approval and according to the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a green think-tank whose market forecasts have been spot on, Watermark is “inconsistent with Shenhua’s rapidly changing strategic direction”.Full article: Adani’s Carmichael Mine Is Just Not Going to Happen ‘Adani’s Carmichael Mine Is Just Not Going to Happen’last_img read more


December 31, 2020 0

Report projects British renewable generation topping fossil fuels by 2020

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clean Technica:Renewable electricity is on track to overtake fossil fuels to become the dominant source of electricity generation in Britain by 2020 according to a new report from British power analysts EnAppSys.EnAppSys published its annual market review and forecast earlier this month in which it outlined power figures from Great Britain’s electricity sector for 2018 (where Great Britain differs from the United Kingdom in excluding Ireland). Coal and gas-fired power stations produced a total of 130.9 terawatt-hours (TWh) while renewable energy sources generated 95.9 TWh in 2018.The renewable energy sector in Britain also saw levels of generation increase by 12.7 TWh (15.2%) in 2018, subsequently impacting levels of conventional power generation fell by 6.7% from 140.3 TWh in 2017.The headline finding from EnAppSys’ 2018 Market Review, however, was the future of the battle between fossil fuel generation and renewable energy sources. Specifically, with any further additions to the renewable energy sector set to reduce levels of fossil fuel generation, EnAppSys predicts that renewable energy generation will reach 121.3 TWh by 2020, while fossil fuel generation will fall to 105.6 TWh by the same time.This will be the first time that renewable energy has beaten out any other aggregated power source and will serve as a dramatic example of renewable energy’s staying power. “It’s clear that renewables will be generating most of our power in the years ahead, with wind playing the leading role,” said Luke Clark, RenewableUK’s Head of External Affairs, speaking to me via email.More: Renewables in Britain to overtake fossil fuels by 2020 Report projects British renewable generation topping fossil fuels by 2020last_img read more


December 31, 2020 0

Marubeni withdrawal may kill planned 630MW coal-fired project in South Africa

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Japanese resources company Marubeni Corp will pull out of the Thabametsi South African coal plant project, the Japanese group told Reuters on Wednesday, following the withdrawal of some South African investors this week.Marubeni’s exit from the 630 megawatt (MW) Thabametsi coal-based power plant project in the water-scarce northern Limpopo province also follows the withdrawal of South Korea’s state-run Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) last month.“As per our policy that we will not develop any new coal power project, we are in process of the withdrawal from the (Thabametsi) project with the Government of South Africa,” a Marubeni spokesman said in response to questions from Reuters.Earlier this week, South Africa’s biggest state pension fund manager the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), told Reuters they would no longer support the project, which was planned to come online in 2021.Marubeni, along with KEPCO, holds a joint 50% stake in the $2.1 billion coal plant that was to be built in the Limpopo province’s Waterberg region, which has reserves of coal amounting to between 40% and 50% of South Africa’s estimated 30 billion tonnes of remaining deposits, according to the Minerals Council South Africa.The Thabametsi power plant was one of two private coal power projects which had their bids accepted in 2016 as part of government’s Independent Power Producer programme, aimed at easing crippling power shortages in South Africa.[Mfuneko Toyana and Yuka Obayashi]More: Marubeni to pull out of S.African coal-fired power plant project Marubeni withdrawal may kill planned 630MW coal-fired project in South Africalast_img read more


December 31, 2020 0

Shell plans $3.5-$4.5 billion writedown, raising yearly total to more than $22 billion

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Royal Dutch Shell on Monday said it will write down the value of oil and gas assets by $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion following a string of impairments this year as it adjusts to a weaker outlook.In an update ahead of its fourth quarter results on February 4, Shell said the post-tax charge was due in part to impairments on its Appomattox field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the closure of refineries and liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts.In October, Shell, the world’s biggest LNG trader, wrote down the value of its LNG portfolio by just under $1 billion, focusing on its flagship Prelude project in Australia. That followed a $16.8 billion writedown in the second quarter which also included Prelude and a sharp cut in its price outlook.CEO Ben van Beurden on Feb. 11 will unveil Shell’s long-term strategy to sharply reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and expand its low-carbon energy and power businesses.In its update, the Anglo-Dutch company also said it expects oil and gas production in its upstream division to be around 2.275 to 2.350 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, slightly higher than in the third quarter.Oil refinery utilisation is expected to be between 72% and 76% of capacity in the quarter, reflecting continued weak demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.[Ron Bousso]More: Shell to write down assets again, taking cuts to more than $22 billion Shell plans $3.5-$4.5 billion writedown, raising yearly total to more than $22 billionlast_img read more


December 31, 2020 0

The CuadShred: One Day, 4 Epic Adventures

first_imgThis short GoPro video recorded by Red Bull athlete Rafa Ortiz documents what may be one of the best multi-adventures days of all time. It starts with Rafi at home making breakfast, then chronicles his commute to a 9 a.m. snowboarding session in the breathtaking Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest, followed by whitewater kayaking, kite surfing, and mountain biking. He’s calling it a CuadShred, and it’s all the inspiration you’ll need to sale through this Hump Day on toward some weekend adventures of your own. Take a look!last_img read more


December 30, 2020 0

Trail Mix – Ed Romanoff

first_imgAny fan of John Prine is a friend of mine.That means, then, that Ed Romanoff and I could be good buddies. I count Prine as my all time favorite songwriter. Years ago, Prine’s work inspired Romanoff to learn to play the guitar, and it was Prine’s depressingly romantic “Hello In There” that he counts as the first song he mastered.A listening party might be in the offing.This month, the award winning Romanoff is releasing his second record, The Orphan King, as the follow up to his critically lauded 2012 eponymous debut.Romanoff’s work reminds me a lot of Prine’s; somber and contemplative, rich with insight and introspection. The new record features a bevy of guests, including famed guitarist Larry Campbell, who has worked with Bob Dylan and The Band, and was produced by Simone Felice.I recently caught up with Romanoff to chat about the new record, odd jobs, and our shared love of the singing mailman.BRO – You are celebrating the release of your second record. Which one was the bigger challenge? This one or the first one?ER – I think this one was a little more fun because I’d done it once before. The first record was something I never thought I’d live to see, so that seemed like a pretty tall mountain to climb. That said, I really wanted to top what we’d done and that challenge was always at the front of my mind for this one.BRO – Your working life outside of music has included some interesting trades. What job might our readers be most surprised to hear that you have done?ER – Baking Teflon onto pots in a factory in New Haven, staking hundreds of toilet bowls in Winston-Salem, or jackhammering a shuffleboard court on a ranch in Wyoming. Which do you think is weirdest?BRO – I am a longtime fan of Simone Felice’s work. How did he influence the crafting of this record?ER – Oh, man. Simone is a sly genius. He created a dark and magical space to record everything live and he was very open to all ideas. He was particularly great at capturing our vocal takes, and also the song doctoring. Plus, he knew Larry Campbell. Everything got better with his help.BRO – We are featuring “Less Broken Now” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?ER – Having gone through a pretty debilitating depression after learning my father wasn’t my father, through a DNA test, in 2010, I also got dinged in a few relationships. After that, I finally rediscovered my footing and met somebody new. So, it kind of sums up leaving a sad chapter behind and moving forward with a little bit of grace.BRO – I read that it was a John Prine record that inspired you to learn the guitar. If you could meet a character from one of his songs, which one would it be?ER – Just one? That’s tough. Either Sabu, the elephant boy, or the wise poet in “Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow), who knows how brutal the world can be, but even so, reminds us that anger is a useless prison.For the record, I think that stacking toilet bowls is the weirdest of those jobs listed above. Thankfully, it’s a guitar in Ed’s hands now, and not potties, and you can catch him at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC next weekend.For more information on Ed Romanoff, his touring schedule, or how you can get a copy of his new record, check out his website.And be sure to listen to “Less Broken Now,” along with new tracks from Wild Child, Lowpines, and Jim White on this month’s Trail Mix.last_img read more


December 30, 2020 0

Colorado Event and Festival Schedule Live Outside and Play

first_imgWe would love to see you at any and all events. Look for the van and come say hi. This tour is about getting outside, so if you want to head out for a hike or bike, that would be great too! The Live Outside and Play Road Team is on their way back to Colorado to celebrate the summer and play in the mountains. Six meetups, four festivals, and a boatload of adventures down, the west is calling and they must go. They have a summer full of events, with almost every weekend in a new location. Browse away, and then mark your calendars, we want to see your faces!CKS PaddlefestMay 25th through 28th | Buena Vista, ColoradoSunny Buena Vista welcomes you with a wonderful festival featuring whitewater, flat white and land events.CKS Paddlefest River Park Clean UpMay 28th | Buena Vista, ColoradoJoin us for a river clean up on May 28th after the festival to restore it to its pristine condition. Bags and gloves provided, prizes for those that help!Van Life Panel at A-LodgeMay 30 | Boulder, ColoradoAre you interested in #vanlife and don’t know where to start? We have nine panelist split into two groups ready to answer all your questions. Plus, the A-Lodge is a wonderful place to hang out.Lyons Outdoor GamesJune 2 | Lyons, ColoradoLast year a member of the Live Outside and Play road team did yoga with goats at this festival. For quirky fun and a plethora of beer tastings, come hang out with us in Lyons.Boulder Creek Cleanup with Rocky Mountain AnglersJune 4th | Boulder, ColoradoJoin us for a clean up right in town. Come after work ready to get dirty, and then stay for a bbq afterwords to thank you for the work.GoPro Mountain GamesJune 7th through 10th | Vail, ColoradoThis festival spans two separate villages in Vail and has a packed schedule. Families, athletes, and spectators gather for four days of excitement.Group Mountain Bike Ride with Kristi Mountain SportsJune 12th | Del Norte, ColoradoLet’s celebrate the Del Norte Trail Showcase and go out with a bang! Join us on the final ride of the celebration.FIBarkJune 14th through 17th | Salida, ColoradoIf you want to watch handmade floats battle their way down the Arkansas River from a ferris wheel, we know a festival.Gunnison River FestivalJune 22nd through 23rd | Gunnison, ColoradoLocated at the headwaters of the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers, with regional creeks flowing off the Continental Divide, Gunnison River Festival celebrates clean waterways and fun ways to use them.Ridgeway RiverFestJune 30th | Ridgeway, ColoradoCelebrating rivers and families, this day centers around the “Junk of the Unc” event where participants race unconventional rafts down the Uncompahgre River.Copper Mountain Music FestivalJuly 6th through 8th | Copper Mountain, ColoradoWith free music and plenty of activities, this festival celebrates Americana and Bluegrass music, set against a background of mountain biking and beautiful views.Elevation Outdoors Magazine’s Summit for Someone 2018July 28th | Mt. Democrat, Mt. Bross, and Mt. Lincoln, ColoradoElevation Outdoors is proud to partner with Big City Mountaineers this year to raise money and awareness for the work they are doing around the country. Check out the facebook invite for more information and how to participate.Salida Mountain Trails Trail Maintenance DayJuly 14th | Salida, ColoradoCome volunteer with Salida Mountain Trails, Salida Mountain Sports, and Elevation Outdoors Magazine while we help build new trail in Salida, Colorado. It’s going to be hard work, but absolutely rewarding.Boulder Group Camp OutJuly 21st | Boulder, ColoradoGet out and enjoy some camping with new friends and old. Join us for a relaxed group car camping experience just outside of Boulder.Après Day with Upslope BrewingJuly 28th | Boulder, ColoradoUnlike previous van life rallies we’ve put on with Upslope, this one will take place on a larger scale with Apres all day in the back parking lot (think their anniversary party). We’ll be celebrating the outdoor lifestyle and bringing in experts from the road and their vans for touring – and let’s be honest, showing off a bit.ARISE Music FestivalAugust 3rd through 5th | Loveland, ColoradoA meeting of the hippies. Complete with a star-filled music line up, downward dog, and workshops to enlighten the soul. Carve out this weekend in your summer for the perfect combo of zen and party.Van Life Rally Colorado SpringsJuly 28th | Colorado Springs, ColoradoWe’re rallying some of the local Colorado Springs van-lifers to give tours of their vans and have a fun night of raffles, adventure convos, and the best beer in town.Mountain Town Music FestivalAugust 17th through 18th | Keystone, ColoradoA fitting festival for our final hurrah in Colorado, the Mountain Town Music Festival celebrates vistas, seasonal treats, and sweet tunes. Make sure to stay for the signature fireworks show. There is one way for this tour to be a reality, our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to our title sponsor Nite Ize, and all of our other awesome sponsors like Crazy Creek, National Geographic, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Old Town, Leki, HydraPak, UCO Gear and Wenzel. If you like the gear that keeps us groovin’ click here to enter for a chance to win our Grand Gear Giveaway!last_img read more


December 30, 2020 0

Waynesboro – A Divinely Placed Getaway

first_imgNothing showcases the splendor of the Shenandoah Valley likea scenic drive or bike ride. With Waynesboro as your base camp, you are withinminutes of the Blue Ridge Parkway (America’s favorite scenic drive, with over15 million visitors a year), the Skyline Drive (bisecting Shenandoah NationalPark), and Route 11 (historic byway that brought bison, Native Americans, andsettlers to the valley). The Dooms Day Loop and the Waynesboro to Grottoes Loopare a couple of favorite bike excursions from town or simply pedal along thebike lanes and Greenway trail within Waynesboro city limits. Whether your tastesrun from a room with a spectacular view, access to stellar amenities orstorybook surroundings, there’s a place for you to rest and soak up theambience in Waynesboro. Complete your getaway with a relaxing stay at TheIris Inn, where you’ll find options ranging from traditional B&B rooms toprivate cottages and luxury cabins overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. Nourish Yourself Reenergize with kombucha tasting at Blue Ridge Bucha’s taproom. This fermented tea is touted for its health benefits, and Blue RidgeBucha’s organic, small batches are touted for their taste! You’ll want to grabone of their refillable bottles to take with you. Waynesboro has hundreds of hikes out its back door. At RockfishGap, where the Blue Ridge Parkway begins, step onto the famous AppalachianTrail and follow it for as many miles as your heart (and legs) desire. If youprefer to stick to the Shenandoah Valley, try one of the trails near SherandoLake Recreation Area. The Lower Lake has an easy footpath encircling itsperimeter, with a larger network of trails spilling outward into GeorgeWashington National Forest. Divinely placed among the adventure, Waynesboro enjoys closeproximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, andAppalachian Trail, making it ideal for a great mountain getaway. Add to that apicturesque river in a growing downtown and you’ve got the perfect base campfor exploration. Explore the Arts Stable Craft Brewing, located on a working Shenandoah Valleyfarm, also has a tap room, along with an on-site restaurant and on-farmlodging. It’s one of the 15 microbreweries on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail,all within an hour’s drive. Be sure to hit Waynesboro’s other nearby breweries:Seven Arrows Brewing, providing a pub-like setting well loved by locals; andBasic City Beer Co., housed in a renovated brass foundry, which lends a neo-industrialflair to the beers it brews with artesian spring water. While you’re there, besure to sample Hops Kitchen’s beer-infused dishes, such as the popular satay orBrewery Crafted Nachos, voted by the Food Network as the best nachos in thestate! center_img Rest Your Head Fly fishing happens year-round in Waynesboro’s South River,where trophy-size rainbow and brown trout lure anglers to its spring-fed waters.You can also cast your line in neighboring mountain streams, where native brooktrout thrive. Grab your gear or a guide at South River Fly Shop just two blocksfrom the river. For breakfast or lunch, Farmhaus Coffee Co. serves upBlanchards Coffee alongside local goodies in a bright, airy space that doublesas an art gallery. Try the Avocado Toast, Yogurt Parfait (made with localgranola) or any of the melt-in-your-mouth “Hausmade” pastries. Waynesboro’s burgeoning art scene showcases contemporary,traditional, folk, performing, and street arts all in geographically closeproximity. Check out the Vaudeville-era Wayne Theatre for everything from localto international musicians, art openings, original theater productions and evenfilm screenings. The Shenandoah Valley Art Center is your go-to for a varietyof traditional and contemporary visual art, with gallery space, studio spaceand notable gift shop, while the P. Buckley Moss Gallery hosts the country’smost extensive collection of the artist’s familiar folk art. The VirginiaStreet Arts Festival completed its 4th year with the addition ofmurals on the Wayne Theatre campus. Get Outsidelast_img read more


December 30, 2020 0

Endangered

first_imgA small and unassuming creature, the Appalachian Elktoe Mussel lives in scattered populations in portions of several river systems in North Carolina and Tennessee. Once ranging throughout these rivers, the federally endangered elktoe mussel has seen a rapid decline, largely due to their specific habitat requirements. “The elktoe seems to be evolved to occupy the upper reaches of mountain rivers where the availability of food and minerals are scarce.  A side effect of that specialization is that they are less resilient to alteration of their habitat,” explains Mays. The most important conservation law on the books—The Endangered Species Act—is under attack. There are many endangered plants throughout the Southeast, from magnificent wildflowers to tiny lichens. While preventing these plants from going extinct is just as important as it is for their animal counterparts, plant conservationists face a different set of challenges. “One of the main distinctions between plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act, is the act makes it illegal to take an animal without a permit, but no such protection exists for plants,” Fish & Wildlife Service’s Gary Peeples explains. “The reason for this is that animals are a common resource, held in trust for all, so no one has the right to do what they want with wildlife. However, plants are personal property. Ownership of a plant goes with ownership of the land where the plant grows.” Apodaca argues that conservation efforts outside of the ESA should be prioritized by politicians and the public if non-listed species like hellbenders are going to recover. “[The ESA] definitely has its strengths and weaknesses. However, without other conservation efforts, very few species actually recover due to ESA programs. We as a community need to build other tools that help facilitate recovery.” The ESA Is Not Enough Endangered Plants In August, the Trump administration announced a series of revisions to the ESA, primarily to reduce obstacles it places on the oil and gas industries. Trump-appointed Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, claims that the changes will minimize “regulatory burdens” placed on oil and gas companies. The changes narrow the scope of protections for species, allow agencies more leeway, and give industry more influence. The changes will also weigh economic impacts of listing a species more heavily. Mays says that elktoe require very clean water and a stable riverbed to survive. Sedimentation from construction projects and new roads prevents the mussels from completing their life cycle. “Young mussels need to settle onto very stable river bottoms where they can burrow down into the sand, but they must also receive sufficient oxygen.  When the river bottom becomes fouled with silt from poor land practices, the juveniles don’t get enough oxygen and die.” Appalachian elktoes are an indicator of excellent water quality, so prioritizing their survival means ensuring clean water in our region for us and future generations. Though many endangered plants are in trouble because of this distinction, outdoor enthusiasts can do their part in protecting these plants as well. The Fish & Wildlife Service suggests to “tread lightly and stay on designated trails. Vegetation on popular high mountains has virtually been destroyed by human trampling.” Though wandering several feet off-trail may seem harmless, it can be the difference in keeping an endangered plant alive.  The largest salamander species in North America, the Eastern hellbender is native to cool, clean streams throughout watersheds along the Appalachian mountains. Reaching sizes of up to two feet, Hellbenders spend their lives on the bottoms of streams feeding on crayfish, other invertebrates, and in some cases even other hellbenders. These incredible, prehistoric-looking amphibians have been a part of Appalachian rivers for over 65 million years. However, pollution, particularly sedimentation, of these waterways has dramatically decreased hellbender populations. Hellbenders, and many other amphibians, breathe through their skin, making them especially vulnerable to pollutants. High levels of sediment on the riverbed bury their eggs, as well as the eggs of many other amphibians and fish, snuffing them out before they can hatch. The ESA currently bases their listing of endangered or threatened species solely on scientific data, “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination.” The administration has removed that phrase, opening the door for roads, pipelines, golf courses, and other development to occur in places where listed species would previously have been protected.  It’s not just wolves and salamanders that will suffer. Our favorite adventure spots are also a critical habitat for many rare species. Weakening the Endangered Species Act? The Florida panther is one of dozens of endangered species in the Southeast whose recovery is jeopardized by the Trump administration rollbacks A pressing example in our region is the development of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is proposed to go through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. The pipeline would degrade sensitive habitats of four listed species in its path, the clubshell mussel, the madison cave isopod, the indiana bat, and the rusty-patched bumble bee. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline claims that it is, “a critical infrastructure project that will strengthen the economic vitality, environmental health, and energy security of the Mid-Atlantic region.” While construction has been halted to assess impacts on endangered species, it is currently under review by the Supreme Court. Under Trump’s proposed changes, this and future development of its kind will be allowed to take place, regardless of the impact it has on endangered species. The South’s Most Endangered Species “The ESA has allowed the designation of millions of acres of critical habitat, which is crucial to species’ survival and recovery,” according to Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “In fact, imperiled species with federally protected critical habitat are twice as likely to be recovering as those without.” Heller’s Blazing Star (Liatris helleri) can be found on high elevation rocky outcroppings near Boone, NC. / photo courtesy Fish and Wildlife Service Hellbender One of the few remaining red wolves (Canus rufus) at a refuge in eastern North Carolina. / photo by Henry Gates The red wolves’ deep howls were once heard throughout Appalachia and the entire East Coast. Because of its wide distribution, the red wolf played an important role in a variety of ecosystems, from coastal lowlands to forested mountains. Now living in only a fraction of its range, the red wolf persists on small tracts of protected land in Eastern North Carolina.  The red wolf is the world’s most endangered canid, and the Southeast’s only native wolf. It has lost more of its historical territory—99.7 percent—than any other large carnivore, including lions, tigers, and snow leopards. Unfortunately, a small group of hunters and landowners have taken aim at the red wolf and convinced the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to suspend its protections for the endangered wolf.  Gunshot mortality remains the number-one killer of red wolves, whose numbers have dwindled to as few as 25. J.J. Apodaca, associate executive director and director of science with The Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy, argues that citizens and scientists alike should be doing everything in their power to save biodiversity. Prioritizing the protection of all species, whether or not they are on the brink of extinction, is vital to our well-being as humans. “Eventually, the loss of wildlife, plants, and all biodiversity will impact everyone. Whether that is the loss of iconic species, the loss of ecosystem services, or recreation, the loss of biodiversity really does impact our mind, body, and soul.” Red Wolf While the ESA has been extremely successful at preventing species on the edge of extinction from being lost forever, it is not intended to protect biodiversity as a whole. “The ESA does benefit species where they have become so rare that recovery is impossible otherwise, but it is important to note that recovering a species before they need listing is much easier than after they need listing,” Mays argues. “For many species, what is left to work with by the time of listing is not enough to have good options for long-term recovery. We may be able to prevent extinction, but may be left with too few healthy populations to effectively recover the species.”  It is perhaps the most selfless law our country has ever passed: the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA was signed into law in 1973 by—of all people—Richard Nixon, with strong bipartisan support, ushering in a new era of conservation in the United States. “The ESA is a landmark act that is the cornerstone of species recovery in our country and a model for the rest of the world,” says Jason Mays, a U.S. Fish & Wildlife biologist. “But federal listing of a species should not be a primary goal by itself. Rather, we should invest in holistic conservation of ecosystems—with listing of critically imperiled species as a measure of last resort.”  A relative of the better-known gray wolf, the red wolf is distinguished by its reddish hue and smaller size. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, red wolves were nearly hunted to extinction. By 1980, hunting and habitat loss left less than 20 individuals in the wild. These same wolves were captured by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and put into a captive breeding program to bring back their population under the ESA. The population rebounded remarkably to over 140 individuals in the 21st century. An eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) forages along a stream bank in the River. Photo by Henry Gates Most importantly, species on the Endangered Species list must have their critical habitat protected. The endangered red wolf, for example, must have a designated amount of habitat protected in the wild so it can recover. By conserving vital habitat for threatened and endangered species, the ESA has had a 99 percent success rate in preventing extinction since its inception.  Appalachian Elktoe Mussel The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic boasts some of the highest biodiversity in the country, largely because of the many different ecosystems, from mountain tops to ocean bays. The places we go to play are the same places that species, endangered or not, need to survive.  Despite the challenges that red wolf conservationists face, the public has shown immense support for recovering red wolf populations. Of 55,000 comments submitted to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service regarding public opinion of red wolf conservation, 99.8 percent supported their recovery. But how can this be done? Ben Prater, a biologist with Defenders of Wildlife, argues that efforts should be focused towards more captive breeding programs and identifying other suitable recovery sites, including in other Southeastern states. “We have the habitat and ability to facilitate recovery. It comes down to political will and capital.” The proposed changes have yet to be finalized after a period of public comment last fall. Once finalized, the provisions will have to be passed by both houses of Congress, where representatives backed by extractive industries will push hard to have it passed.  Meet the species in our region that will be extinct within a few decades (or sooner) without urgent and immediate interventions. While economics should be considered when creating policy solutions to protect wildlife, doing so when determining whether a species should be listed “would be like considering the costs of treatment when making a medical diagnosis,” argues Holly Pearen, senior attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “The cost of treatment in no way determines the science-based diagnosis. The same must hold true for diagnosing the health of at-risk wildlife.”  Under the ESA, species with declining populations can be listed under the titles threatened or endangered. Threatened species are those that are at immediate risk of becoming endangered, while the endangered species are those that are at risk of becoming extinct. “The stated intent [of the revisions] is to expand oil and gas drilling,” says Greenwald. “It is quite possible we will lose species because of the hostility and callousness shown by this administration.” In the first 22 months of the Trump administration, only 15 species were listed, the fewest since Reagan. “They are gumming up the works. We are hearing from people inside the Department of Interior that biologists’ recommendations to list certain species are just sitting there, unsigned. They are basically following an oil and gas wishlist to weaken protections,” Greenwald says. These remarkable creatures are in peril, but they have not yet received federally endangered status. Though they are considered endangered in some states, including North Carolina. “Unfortunately, that holds very little power over actions. It doesn’t even really affect what the state does in terms of development,” says Apodaca. That development and the subsequent sedimentation are some of the main reasons hellbenders are in decline. As a result, they are mostly only found on large chunks of public land, where the streams they rely on remain relatively clean. Additionally, the administration is seeking to make it easier to delist species from the ESA. Bernhardt argues that the standards for delisting a species have been pushed higher than the act initially intended. “The goal [of the act] is recovery — to send the healthier patients home where they can continue to receive the lower level of care they still need.”  The concern with Bernhardt’s approach is that species will be delisted prematurely, sending recovering populations plummeting.  More from our September Issue Herelast_img read more


December 30, 2020 0

Weekend Ski Getaway Giveaway!

first_imgYour browser does not support iframelast_img


December 30, 2020 0