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    Nature & Ecology

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    Falcons Become Downtown Building Owners’ Allies in All-Out Gull War

    Monterey County Settles with Chevron, Inc. over Oiled Bird Deaths

    Styrofoam Recycling May Be in its Infancy But Offers Great Hope

    Monarch Butterfly Moves Toward Endangered Species Act Protection

    Feds Issue Initial Positive Finding on Petition Following 90 Percent Decline

    A female Monarch photographed in Pacific Grove last February (2013)

    A female Monarch photographed in Pacific Grove last February (2013)

    Read more…»

    Despite Rains the Drought is Far From Over

    Extension of Otter “Checkbox” Introduced

    SPCA Advises Caution When Driving to Avoid Deer During Mating Season

    Whale Freed from Buoy Entanglement on 10/29/14

    The Whale Entanglement Team (WET) disentangled another whale in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on October 29, 2014. It is believed the whale had been entangled for three weeks.

    [Note: If you download the photos please take note of the NOAA permit number MMHSRP Permit 932-1489.]whale fluke entanglement flue Entanglement

    Read more…»

    Carmel will celebrate Arbor Day with Free ‘Trees At Risk’ Workshop

    Marine Life Studies Whale Entanglement Team Benefit Symposium: Saving Whales — One at a Time

    Volunteers Sought for ‘Return of the Natives’ Project in Salinas

    Swimming with the sharks

    Water Management District Announces Water Conservation Education Initiative

    Spiders on the schedule at Pacific Grove Museum

    Updated “Whale Alert” iPad, iPhone app invites public to contribute to safety of West Coast whales

    Free Water Wise Interactive Workshops Set for Sept. 20

    Public Water Now offers talk by Deep Water Desal

    Colleen Flanigan Featured in National Media for Her Work with Coral Reefs

    Sustainable PG Presents their Fall Program

    Monarch Overwintering Report 2013-14

    Funded by the Helen Johnson Monarch Fund, this is the Summary of population trends in Central California’s Monterey County six overwintering sites. It was produced by Moria L. Robinson of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.
    Monarch Report 2013-14

    SPCA Rescues Rhinoceros Auklets

    The SPCA for Monterey County Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is caring for two emaciated Rhinoceros Aucklets.

    The first Rhinoceros Aucklet, a juvenile, was found on Carmel Beach. The second, an adult in breeding plumage, was found on the recreation trail near Monterey Bay Kayaks in Monterey. When rescued, the two birds were emaciated but alert and fairly strong. Skilled SPCA staff are providing oral fluids and nutrition via feeding tubes. The adult has recovered enough to eat fish and yesterday started enjoying time in warm water pool.

    Rescued Rhinoceros Auklet

    Rescued Rhinoceros Auklet

    Video is available here: http://youtu.be/W9J1ASGCE6s

    If you see injured wildlife or wild animals acting unusual, please contact the SPCA Wildlife Center at 831-264-5427. Skilled wildlife staff are available for emergency wildlife rescues 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For your safety and the safety of the animals, never touch or try to feed wildlife on your own. Always call the SPCA Wildlife Center for assistance.

    The SPCA Wildlife Center is the only full service wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Monterey County. To donate to help rescue injured and orphaned wild animals, please call the SPCA at 831-373-2631 or donate online at www.SPCAmc.org.

    Seals pupping very early: Second birth at Hopkins this week

    Following a stillborn pup a few days ago, a live pup was born this morning 1/24/14. Thereafter, things did not go well. Thanks you, Kim Worrell, The Harbor Seals of Pacific Grove. Kim has a request of members of the public.

    Our first live pup was born this morning around 7:30am. This is extremely early for the birth. The pup was born alive and the mom was attentive to it, protecting it from the gulls and attempting to get it to nurse at one point. Unfortunately, it got washed out by the large waves and was never seen again. It was very small and not strong enough to probably survive the harsh power of the ocean even though pups born normally can enter the water immediately. This pup however was just too premature. Had it been higher on the beach and maybe nursed a few days before entering the water, it may have had a chance. The mother did her best to try and save it but was unsuccessful. I watched them in the surf and then they both disappeared. I have not seen the mother since and I always hope I may find them both safe somewhere but my instincts tell me that the pup did not make it.

    This is the first live birth and we need to keep our eyes open for more. It is becoming increasingly important to let people know that these seals are very pregnant and we need to monitor the sound levels and activity at hopkins beach. Please let everyone know that this area is now considered a nursery and to try and maintain a little quieter environment around there. Many other pregnant females are carrying very low right now and I would not be surprised to see more pups very, very soon.

    Don’t Eat Sport-Caught Shellfish from Monterey Bay

    Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water: Well, you can go in, and you can even do some clamming, but don’t eat the clams. Or mussels. Or scallops.

    CDPH Warns Not to Eat Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish from Monterey Bay or Inner Tomales Bay Read more…»

    Another Elephant Seal Lands on Hopkins Beach

    By Thom Akeman

    A large elephant seal climbed onto a Pacific Grove beach during the weekend and joined the hundreds of smaller harbor seals that frequent the place. The visiting elephant seal is an adult male, believed to be about 5 years old and weighing an estimated 1,600 pounds or more.

    He came in about 10 a.m. Saturday while Kim Worrell, a docent with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s Bay Net program, was standing alongside The Coastal Trail at Hopkins Marine Station photographing the variety of wildlife visible from there. The big guy shimmied to the top of the beach and slept there peacefully for the next few days.

    This is believed to be the 6th bull elephant seal that has appeared on Hopkins beach since February 2010, when the first one in known history showed up. Smaller ones have been appearing sporadically since December 2004, usually in winter and spring months, possibly because the population has been growing. They are presumably visitors from the nearest large colonies – approximately 100 miles south at Piedras Blancas near San Simeon, where as many as 16,000 elephant seals gather in December and January, or 60 miles north at An︠︠o Nuevo State Park above Santa Cruz, where about 5,000 gather.

    The large bulls are aggressive and can be mean towards the harbor seals that normally use the Hopkins beach, docile animals that may weigh 200-250 pounds. The first bull here in 2010 killed at least one harbor seal in a move to assert mastery on the Hopkins beach. Others have chased the harbor seals away at times, corralled them on one side or the other, tried mounting them, and generally harassed them as bullies will.

    Earlier this year – in January – there were two bulls on the beach at the same time. They sometimes sparred when not on opposite sides of beach and kept many of the resident harbor seals away and scattered elsewhere. One of the elephant seals – a 6-year-old, 2,000-pound bull that came in last December – ended up staying at Hopkins for 10 weeks with occasional absences of a few hours to a few days.

    The one that arrived last weekend will stay as long as he wants, of course, and will create whatever mischief he likes while here. Seeing him is probably worth a walk over, even in cold weather.

    Big Boy nose Elephant seal eseal snoozing eseal11 eseal9 eseal7 eseal6 eseal4

     

     

    Where are all the sea stars? Massive mortality raises questions and concerns

    by Cameron Douglas

    Sea stars (called starfish in days gone by) are suffering a massive die-off, and for the first time it is happening in two oceans in the same year. The culprit is a mysterious, gruesome illness called sea star wasting disease, which turns its victims to mush as they decompose and disintegrate.

    Sea star wasting disease is a sort of undersea flesh-eating malady. White lesions appear on the body of the sea star and spread rapidly. Then the body becomes limp as the animal’s water vascular system fails, which renders it unable to maintain its internal hydrostatic balance. The body structure breaks down and signs of stretching between the arms appear. Arms may twist and fall off, crawling about on their own for a period of time after the sea star expires. All this happens in the course of a few days.

    Documentation of sea star wasting disease looks to have commenced around 1972, when common sea stars died off in large numbers along the east coast of the U.S. Six years later in the Gulf of California, the disease hit the predatory sea star Heliaster kubiniji, causing extinction in some areas, with populations still not fully recovered by the year 2000. The disappearance of this top-level predator had profound effects on the area’s ecosystem. A total of ten species of sea stars in the Channel Islands were documented as having been affected, along with three species of sea urchins, two species of brittle stars, and a sea cucumber. All these suffered significant declines in numbers during the 1978 plague.

    When sea stars aren’t melting down, the spiny sea urchin seems to suffer a similar fate from time to time. Pacific Grove resident John Pearse, a Professor Emeritus from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz, confirms via e-mail to Cedar Street Times that there was a mass mortality of sea urchins in Santa Cruz in the 1970’s, which his department documented. Sea stars were not affected at that time. Pearse adds there was a massive die-off of sea urchins in Maine and Nova Scotia during the 1980’s, which occurred right after a mass sea urchin mortality in the Caribbean, but with no reports that it spread to sea stars.
    Sea star wasting disease appeared again in July 2013 when sea star populations declined sharply along the Atlantic seaboard between New Jersey and Maine. (Worthy of note is the fact that sea star numbers in that region had increased greatly in 2010.) In September 2013, observers in British Columbia reported Pacific sea stars were in trouble. By November, others were reporting the problem up and down the west coast.

    Here in Pacific Grove, Pearse reports that divers have spotted diseased sea stars in the kelp forest near Hopkins Marine Lab. “They recently told me that there are almost no stars left except bat stars that seem to be more resistant,” states Pearse.

    Pearse has tracked sea star populations in three intertidal sites at Hopkins since the 1980’s: these were also the sites for a pioneering study on sea stars conducted in the 1950’s. “There has been a steady decrease in the numbers at those sites for over a decade.” While sea gull predation is a possible cause, Pearse speculates that the disease has also been a factor, slowly spreading until becoming epidemic this year. “There are almost no stars at those sites now.”

    Some scientists have expressed concern that the absence of sea stars will throw off the balance of intertidal animals and cause certain species such as mussels to reproduce unabated. Pearse disagrees. “In California, at least, it is very unlikely that there will be a noticeable ecological impact, and the mussel population will not increase much if at all.”

    In the face of speculation that warming waters and/or Fukashima radioactivity may be affecting our area, Pearse says no and no. “Sea temperatures off the coast of central California and north have not been going up; if anything, they have been going down slightly the past decade or two—because of global warming, which is causing increased winds on our coast and upwelling which brings up cooler water and nutrients, leading to increased productivity and all the whales we now enjoy. The mass mortality in southern California was associated with warmer sea temperatures, but that is not the case here.”

    And regarding the March 2011 Fukashima nuclear power plant meltdowns: “It is my understanding that there has been little or no detectable increase in radioactivity on our coast since that disaster. Yes, some fish that swim across the ocean have detectable radionuclides (cesium-137) that almost certainly came from Fukashima, but I don’t think they have been detected in intertidal animals such as sea stars [along our coast].”

    Media attention to this year’s sea star event has drawn the attention of researchers who are getting samples rapidly sent in, possibly soon enough to pinpoint the cause.

    The LIMPETS citizen science program has been monitoring a site at Point Pinos in Pacific Grove. So far no diseased stars have been spotted there, but numbers have fallen off steadily for the past five years. “I was out there with a group last month and we found only one star,” says Pearse.
    limpetsmonitoring.org/
    Reporter’s note: Professor Pearse was recently quoted in a Washington Post blog, which in turn has been posted in several other blogs concerning this year’s occurrence of sea star wasting disease. The Post quoted one sentence of Pearse’s input. We are grateful for the opportunity to share more of his expertise with our readers.

    starsCMYK

    You may not see this for a while: a cluster of healthy sea stars. Image courtesy redorbit.com/

    Force of nature

    by Cameron Douglas

    telegraph.co.uk CMYKOn November 2 a monster was born near Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia: a broad area of low pressure, destined to become possibly the deadliest typhoon ever to strike the Philippines. Churning westward, the system developed into a tropical depression the following day. On November 4 it was upgraded to tropical storm and given the name Haiyan, a girl’s name meaning “sea swallow.” In the Philippines, it was called Yolanda. One day later the storm had intensified into a typhoon.

    By November 6 the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) declared Haiyan a Category 5-equivalent super typhoon. Gathering even more strength, Haiyan took on fearsome proportions. At 1200 hours UTC on November 7 the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) clocked its maximum ten-minute sustained wind speed at 235 km/h (145 mph). Six hours later the JTWC reported one-minute sustained winds at 305 km/h, or 196 mph, surpassing the record set by 190-mph Hurricane Camille in 1969.

    The eye of the storm crossed the east edge of the Philippines on November 8. Still gaining speed, the killer ripped across the easternmost provinces; then, with gusts hitting 235 mph, its northern eyewall — the most powerful part of the storm — tore into Cancabato Bay and pushed a two-story-high wall of water into Tacloban City, the densely populated heart of the region, causing terrible loss of life.

    Analysis and history

    What is a typhoon? Such storms are mature tropical cyclones. When these mature cyclones occur in the western region of the North Pacific Ocean, they are called typhoons. In the Northeast and Central Pacific Basin and the North Atlantic, such storms are called hurricanes. In the Southern Hemisphere and the Indian Ocean, they are simply called cyclones.

    Six factors contribute to typhoon formation and development: Warm sea surface temperatures; atmospheric instability; high humidity in the mid to low levels of the troposphere; a pre-existing low-level focus or disturbance; low vertical wind shear; and enough Coriolis force to develop a low pressure center. (Coriolis effect is a property of physics where a force travels in a straight line when viewed from one perspective but rotates when viewed from another. In any low-pressure system, air tends to flow inward but is deflected perpendicular to its velocity by Coriolis force.)

    Most typhoons form from June to November. The most intense tropical cyclones typically occur in the northwestern Pacific. Nearly one-third of all the world’s tropical cyclones happen there, making it the most active basin on Earth. The busiest typhoon season on record for the general western Pacific region was 1964, when 39 tropical storms formed. The slowest was 2010, with 14 storms.

    Typhoons are usually steered west or northwest by the subtropical ridge, which is a significant belt of high pressure located about 30 degrees from the equator. The Philippines usually takes the brunt of landfalls. China and Japan are impacted slightly less, although some of the worst typhoons in history have hit China. The deadliest typhoon of the twentieth century was Typhoon Nina, which struck China in 1975 and killed nearly 100,000 people when 12 reservoirs failed due to flooding. Typhoon records for southern China date back a thousand years.

    Typhoons take one of three general paths:

    • Straight track westward, or straight runner. This affects the Philippines, southern China, Taiwan and Vietnam. Such was the case with Haiyan.
    • A parabolic, recurving track. These affect the eastern Philippines, eastern China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
    • Northward track. These move due north from the point of origin, affecting only small islands.

    In rare instances, a hurricane that begins in the eastern or central regions of the Pacific will wander far enough westward to be re-classified as a typhoon.

    Warning

    The RSMC Tokyo-Typhoon Center, part of the JMA, has been responsible for issuing official typhoon warnings for the western Pacific since 1989. Each National Meteorological and Hydrological Service in the western Pacific is responsible for issuing warnings for specific land areas threatened in their country. Such agencies include the JTWC; the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA); and the Hong Kong Observatory. There are JTWC warning stations in Japan, Honolulu, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

    Artificial control

    In the 1960’s and ‘70’s the U.S. Government engaged in research to artificially dissipate tropical cyclones. It was called Project Stormfury. Hurricane Debbie was seeded with silver iodide in hopes that supercooled water would freeze in the storm’s outer rainbands and cause the inner eyewall to collapse, thus reducing the winds. Debbie’s wind speed did drop 31 percent, but rebounded after each of two seedings. Previously in 1947, a similar attempt on a hurricane off Jacksonville, Florida resulted in the storm suddenly changing course and plowing head-on into Savannah. Other ideas — towing icebergs into tropical zones, covering the water surface with evaporation inhibitors, throwing dry ice on the cyclone, and even blasting it apart with nuclear weapons — have all suffered the same flaw: the cyclones are simply too large and short-lived to be manipulated by man.

    Climate change

    Climatologists have published studies correlating the intensification of storms with climate change. In a chilling coincidence, the 2013 United Nations Climate Change Conference was underway in Warsaw when Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. Yeb Saño, the Philippine delegate, announced a hunger strike “in solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home.” Sixty people from Climate Action Network also joined the strike.

    To aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan, go to:
    donate.salvationarmyusa.org/
    www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/
    www.globalgiving.org/
    www.care.org/
    www.redcross.org/charitable-donations/

    Send comments and suggestions for future Green Pages to: cameron@cedarstreettimes.com/

    Parks partnering with Ventana Wildlife Society to help condors

    The Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District (MPRPD) announced the formation of a special partnership with the Ventana Wildlife Society. The partnership will allow for the placement of feeding stations at Palo Corona Regional Park in a continued effort to protect the endangered California condor.

    Curious-Adult-Condor ventana“The new partnership between the District and the Ventana Wildlife Society will help to contribute to one of the most ambitious and significant wildlife conservation efforts on the planet,” commented MPRPD General Manager Rafael Payan. “By placing a series of California condor feeding stations at Palo Corona Regional Park, we aim to reduce the potential of condors ingesting lead-shot and bullet-contaminated carcasses, thus helping to protect one of the rarest animals in the world.”

    The Ventana Wildlife Society is endeavoring to establish up to 10 California condor breeding pairs in the Big Sur Coastal Region as a result of the expanded feeding station program. By introducing these stations, the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District and Ventana Wildlife Society hope to reestablish the area as a viable feeding region for the condors which can lead to the re-colonization of the area as a whole.

    “Everyone at the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, from the volunteers and the staff to the Board of Directors is thrilled by this new partnership,” said MPRPD Board President Kathleen Lee. “To have the opportunity to partner with Ventana Wildlife Society and help make a difference for these beautiful birds is truly amazing. We will strive to look for additional community partnerships that help to establish the future of our regional parks for everyone’s continued enjoyment.”

    The Circle of Life Must Include Vultures

    by Fred Hernandez

    (Photos by Roberto Gennaro)

    The forest at the foot of Del Monte Park (Pebble Beach’s Area D) is a vibrant, functioning wildland.

    Last week, I was walking my dog when I noticed movement in my peripheral vision. I turned and saw a huge bird on the ground, about 30 feet away.

    I was fascinated and lingered to see what it was. The feathers on its back were dark brown, outlined in a lighter color. It had an ugly red head and a white beak.

    IMG_2792Curious, I slowly edged over and the bird retreated, but did not fly away. I saw the partially eaten carcass of a young deer. I retreated slowly and the bird resumed its task, pecking away and eating the carrion.

    The thought of a vulture doing its dirty work 40 feet from the nearest house at first repulsed me. It was only 40 feet away from the street where I live.

    On my return from the walk, the bird was still eating.

    I went online and found that the bird was a turkey vulture – the kind you see slowly circling over the forest, high, high up.

    In subsequent days, another turkey vulture joined in the carnage, then several others.

    So I began to think about the proposition. I don’t know how or why the deer died. But the vultures were only doing their jobs: eating dead animals and eliminating possible stench or diseases. For that I was grateful.

    close vultureIt occurred to me that death is part of the circle of life. And the forest is a living recycle circuit. Trees fall and rot. Leaves and pine needles fall and compost. Animals die and are consumed by other animals. I have found coyote carcasses picked clean. I have come across animal bones I cannot identify.

    I also have seen a baby mountain lion there. And there are deer, raccoons, squirrels, owls, acorn woodpeckers, blue jays, ravens, and even the red-shafted flicker, the bird the Ahwahneechee people of Yosemite considered sacred.

    But when man interferes with the cycles of nature, the pattern of life, death and regrowth are forever thrown off balance. For instance, bringing in goats every year to eat any vegetation they can reach results in the disappearance of newly-sprouted Monterey pine seedlings.

    When machines are brought in to drill water test holes, they ravage the area, crashing through the forest and leaving wide swaths of destruction.

    This living, breathing forest is what we hope to save from the corporate predators, who plan to cut down 700 trees and build 24 low-rent apartments there.

    For more information, visit  http://delmonteneighborhood.orged

     

    WMD Partners with National Marine Fisheries Team to Save and Study Steelhead

    Due to Low Carmel River Water Flows Extraordinary Measures Taken

    In a true example of inter-governmental agency cooperation, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and the National Marine Fisheries Service-Southwest Fisheries Science Center (NMFS-SWFSC) have teamed to save more than 1,000 endangered steelhead trout from the Carmel River. The fish, cared for at the Water Management District’s Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rescue Facility were moved north to the NMFS-SWFSC’s Santa Cruz location due to the critically low water levels.

    “This year’s climate has been tough on our steelhead trout population and the Carmel River in general,” commented Water Management District Senior Fisheries Biologist Kevan Urquhart. “We were very lucky in how this project came together. We needed a facility that could accommodate a portion of our fish and the NMFS-SWFSC needed fish to tag in order to further their study.”

    The low water levels of the Carmel River necessitated the release of approximately 10,000 steelhead being cared for at the Water Management District’s Sleepy Hollow facility. Approximately 1,000 were sent to Santa Cruz to be tagged with Passive Integrated Transponders (PIT) which allow scientists to track the fish’s movements in the river as juveniles and then when they return as adults. The tagged fish will be released back into the river sometime between late December and late January of 2014. The remaining fish from the facility were recently released in between the Stonepine Bridge and the base of San Clemente Dam and upstream from the Cachagua Community Park in Carmel Valley.

    “The partnership with NMFS-SWFSC is fantastic,” continued Urquhart. “The data provided from this study will help the Water Management District evaluate and improve the effectiveness of its Steelhead rearing facility. Having the ability to work with their team in conjunction with California State Fish & Wildlife to help create a better environment for these endangered fish is what this community is all about.

    About Monterey Peninsula Water Management District

    The mission of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is to promote or provide for a long-term sustainable water supply, and to manage and protect water resources for the benefit of the community and the environment. We strive to ensure a public role in the development, ownership and oversight of water supply solutions and will lead the efforts in water resource management. For more information visit www.mpwmd.net

    Green world update

    by Cameron Douglas

    From time to time, Cedar Street Times likes to put a finger on the general pulse of environmental concerns around the world, and what actions are being taken to keep our pretty blue planet green. Here is information from our latest sampling of green issues.

    The topics are many; and right now there is increasing focus on the loss of biodiversity and the high cost that comes with it. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) notes in a video that many species are threatened with extinction. These include:

    • One out of eight birds
    • One out of four mammals
    • One out of four conifers
    • One out of three amphibians
    • Six out of seven marine turtles

    beijingairCMYKThe IUCN further reports that 75 percent of genetic diversity in agriculture has been lost. Of the world’s fisheries, 75 percent are fully or badly exploited. Up to 70 percent of the world’s known species are at risk of extinction if global temperatures rise more than 3.5 degrees Centigrade. One-third of reef-building corals are threatened with extinction. More than 350 million people now suffer with severe water scarcity.

    A recent study predicts that one million species will be lost in the next 50 years, citing climate change as the chief reason. The World Wide Fund for Nature sums it up this way: “Earth is unable to keep up in the struggle to regenerate from the demands we place on it.”

    In the face of these reports, CST went in search of good news. In September, a federal judge in California ruled in favor of environmentalists in a lawsuit against the U.S. government, over Navy training exercises off the West Coast that involve sonar, which, say the environmentalists, is harmful to endangered whales, dolphins, and other protected marine mammals.

    More good news: New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg recently asserted that the air in his town is the cleanest it’s been in 50 years, resulting in fewer hospitalizations and deaths; Puerto Rico has enacted a new law to protect a part of their territory identified as a major nesting site for the world’s largest turtle, the leatherback; a new wind farm in Australia is supplying electricity at a cheaper rate than gas or coal-fired plants; more than 140 countries have agreed on legally binding measures to curb mercury pollution; South Korea’s two largest airlines announced this year they are banning shark fins from their cargo flights as part of a global campaign against this Asian delicacy and the corresponding slaughter of sharks.

    bermudaCMYK

    Big Brother is watching
    Information on the environment is sometimes found in unexpected places. The Central Intelligence Agency has a web page that chronicles current environmental issues all around the globe, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The page is part of the agency’s World Factbook, and it also has detailed information on the state of our oceans. Here are some of the CIA’s reports.

    • In 1998, NASA imagery over Antarctica showed the ozone hole in that region to be the largest on record, spanning 27 million square kilometers. In 2002, significant areas of Antarctica’s ice shelves disintegrated in response to regional warming.
    • Walruses and whales are now counted as endangered species in the Arctic Ocean. The CIA describes the Arctic ecosystem as “fragile, slow to change, and slow to recover from disruptions or damage, with a thinning polar icepack.”
    • The Atlantic Ocean’s endangered species include the manatee, seals, sea lions, turtles and whales. Drift net fishing is causing a decline in Atlantic fish stocks, triggering international disputes. There is municipal sludge pollution off the eastern U.S, southern Brazil, and eastern Argentina. Oil has polluted the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Maracalbo, the Mediterranean, and the North Sea. The last two, along with the Baltic Sea, also suffer with industrial waste and municipal sewage pollution.
    • The Pacific Ocean’s endangered species include the dugong, sea lion, sea otters, seals, turtles and whales. There is oil pollution in the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea.

    Judging by the CIA’s info on Russia, that country is an environmental train wreck: “Air pollution from heavy industry, emissions from coal-fired electric plants and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides.”

    Acre for acre, Algeria is worse. The CIA reports “Soil erosion from overgrazing and other poor farming practices; desertification; dumping of raw sewage, petroleum refining wastes and other industrial effluents is leading to the pollution of rivers and coastal waters; Mediterranean Sea in particular becoming polluted from oil wastes, soil erosion and fertilizer runoff; inadequate supplies of potable water.”

    The CIA’s description of environmental issues in the United States reads, “Air pollution resulting in acid rain in the U.S. and Canada; large emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural freshwater resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification.”
    Deforestation and soil erosion are frequent topics on the CIA list.
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2032.html/

    In contrast, the World Factbook sums up Bermuda in two words — sustainable development. Indeed, there is strong environmental awareness in the tropical nation, supported by two major entities. One is an organization called Bermuda Environmental Alliance, which focuses on education, and on the region’s number one environmental challenge, trash. The other is the government’s own Department of Environmental Protection, with information on environmental engineering, plant protection and marine resources.

    China’s industry
    China continues to struggle with the environmental woes of its rapid industrialization and colossal population. Beijing, which lies in a topographical bowl similar to Los Angeles, has significant industry and heats with coal. The Chinese capital city is subject to air inversions resulting in extremely high levels of air pollution in winter months. Part of the CIA’s description simply reads, “China is the world’s largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.” Add to that water shortages and deforestation. While awareness of these problems has increased among China’s population, critics point to Chinese officials’ efforts to deal with environmental issues as half-hearted at best, and ineffective at worst. China has also lost one-fifth of its vast agricultural land since 1949 due to soil erosion and economic development.
    Send comments and suggestions for future Green Pages to: cameron@cedarstreettimes.com/


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  • Beach Report Card

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    This is the Heal the Bay Beach Report Card for Monterey Peninsula beaches, which reports water quality grades, or when relevant, weather advisories. An A to F grade is assigned based on the health risks of swimming or surfing at that location. Look at the "dry" grade for all days except those "wet" days during and within 3 days after a rainstorm. Click here for more information on the Beach Report Card. Click the name of the beach when it pops up for more details, or choose a beach below.

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