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Gulf Oil Spill Early Restoration Plan Focuses on Bird and Turtle Habitat
Trustees overseeing the Natural Resource Damage Asessment and Restoration process for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill have released the Deepwater Horizon Phase II Draft Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Review for public review and comment. The plan includes two proposed projects totaling about $9 million that focus on restoring nesting habitat for birds and sea turtles. Response efforts resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused injuries to this natural habitat. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Director Cynthia Dohner, who serves as the Department of the Interior's representative on the Trustee Council, called these projects "a near-term opportunity to improve the nesting habitats of birds and turtles, two species that are integral to the Gulf Coast wildlife community.
Refuge Study Evaluates Contaminants in Sea Ducks
October 25, 2012
In a study initiated this summer, Kodiak Refuge biologists and Fairbanks Contaminants Program staff are evaluatingthe level of contamination in sea ducks. Blood samples were collected from 30 harlequin ducks and 21 Barrow’s goldeneye to look for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and trace metals (lead, selenium, mercury, cadmium, and copper) as well as to establish baseline levels. The project is specifically interested in comparing ducks banded at remote locations on the refuge to bays close to the town of Kodiak where exposure to contaminants may be higher. Kodiak is a major national port for marine vessel traffic and has a number of contaminated sites primarily as a legacy of its military history.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. Field Notes Entry - KODIAK: Refuge Study Evaluates Contaminants in Sea Ducks
Environmental Contaminants Program Ecologist Named to Professional Organization Board of Directors
September 26, 2012
Congratulations to Tom Augspurger, of the Service's Raliegh, North Carolina office, for being elected the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America Board of Directors! SETAC is a not-for-profit, global professional organization comprised of some 6,000 individual members and institutions from academia, business and government. Since 1979, the Society has provided a forum where scientists, managers and other professionals exchange information and ideas on the study, analysis and solution of environmental problems, the management and regulation of natural resources, research and development, and environmental education. Each board member will serve a 3-year term, beginning at the SETAC North America 33rd Annual Meeting, 11-15 November 2012.
Silent Spring - 50th Anniversary. An Essay Series
September 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, which warned of the dangers of DDT and launched the environmental movement.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is commemorating the work of Rachel Carson, an employee of the Service for 16 years, with a series of articles on environmental contaminant issues in the Midwest.
Rachel Carson worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1936 to 1952 and is recognized as one of the world’s foremost leaders in conservation. Her work as an educator, scientist and writer revolutionized America’s interest in environmental issues. In addition to sounding the warning about DDT in “Silent Spring,” she is remembered for her passion for the oceans and coasts, her inspiration as one of the first female scientists and government leaders, and her overall footprint on the history of conservation.
To learn more, visit Silent Spring 50th Anniversary- An Essay Series
Pollution and predators: a double whammy for tadpoles.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
The occurrence of skeletal abnormalities in amphibians has been identified as a major source of concern, potentially linked to global amphibian declines. Whereas there have been numerous studies reporting the effects of individual factors (e.g., parasites, toxicants, predators) on the occurrence of skeletal abnormalities in amphibians, there is not agreement about specific mechanisms for this widespread phenomenon.
Copper is an important environmental pollutant. It is a primary constituent in road runoff due to vehicular brake wear, in agricultural runoff as a component or active ingredient in biocides, and a major constituent of hard rock mining waste and resultant runoff into aquatic environments.
Fish and Wildlife Service biologists recently studied how low levels of copper - below known toxicity thresholds and water quality standards - might interact with the stress caused by their predators to influence tadpole behavior. They found that both copper and predators caused the tadpoles to reduce their activity. The biologists think this reduced activity might cause greater attack rates for tadpoles in contaminated areas.
The behaviors studied experimentally provide much-needed mechanistic linkages between toxicants and predation as prime factors causing skeletal abnormalities in Alaskan wood frogs.
Mining Company to Pay $12.3 Million, Protect 715 Acres to Compensate for Natural Resource Damages
Monday, April 26, 2012
The owners of several copper mines in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona have agreed to pay $12.3 million to resolve their civil liability for natural resource damages. The damages were first documented during a successful Service Law Enforcement and Environmental Contaminants investigation that secured criminal prosecutions for the deaths of migratory birds linked to the release of sulfuric acid, metals, and other hazardous substances at the companies' mines.
Proposed Consent Decree (4 MB pdf)
Being Prepared for an Oil Spill at San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge is Essential
Monday, March 19, 2012
The San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for the federally-listed California least tern, Light-footed clapper rail and Western snowy plover as well as an endangered plant species, Salt marsh bird’s beak. Being prepared to respond to an oil spill is essential to protecting these endangered and threatened species. Recently, Federal and state agencies, and non-profit organizations, teamed up to tested a number of strategies to deal accidental spills in this area.