Settlement proposed in green group challenge of RFS
The EPA, to settle a lawsuit over biofuel regulation, said on Monday it would consult with federal wildlife agencies on whether the Renewable Fuel Standard adversely affects endangered species. The consultation would be performed before the EPA finalizes the RFS for 2023-23, now expected in June.
As ecological ‘triple threat’ looms, U.S. envoy urges action on biodiversity
Leaders must act to confront the "triple threat" of nature loss, climate change and pollution, said Monica Medina, the U.S. Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources, speaking Friday at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal. (No paywall)
‘Lord God Bird’ among 23 species declared extinct
The ivory-billed woodpecker, America's largest woodpecker, with a 31-inch wingspan, is extinct, said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ending years of lingering hopes that the "Lord God Bird" had survived deep in southern bottomland forests. The ivory-bill was one of 23 species declared extinct on Wednesday, 11 of them birds.
Administration promises stronger protections for imperiled species
The Interior and Commerce departments said they will rescind or revise five Trump-era regulations that reduced federal protections for endangered and threatened species. The replacement rules would give the same protection to threatened species as endangered ones, and would instruct the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Services to disregard economic impacts when deciding whether a species should go on the endangered list.
A dearth of data spurs debate over ‘insect apocalypse’
In recent months, the media have been abuzz about a series of studies that describe a looming "insect apocalypse," a steady loss of bugs that would eventually put all life on earth at risk. Now Mongabay, an online magazine that covers environmental science and conservation issues, has launched a four-part series that will examine the science behind these studies to determine whether the conclusions are premature.
The last days of the vaquita
Despite a last-ditch effort by a group of radical conservationists, the vaquita — a small porpoise found only in Mexico’s Gulf of California — is going extinct, and will likely disappear this year, reports Ben Goldfarb in FERN’s latest story, published with Pacific Standard. No paywall
Coho salmon die in ‘witch’s brew’ of stormwater runoff
Coho salmon face fatal levels of pollution in 40 percent of their range in the Puget Sound Basin, chiefly because of stormwater runoff, says a study published in the journal Ecological Applications.
Western monarch butterflies on verge of extinction, says study
Monarch butterflies west of the Rocky Mountains are facing extinction, as the number wintering in California has plummeted by more than 90 percent since 1980, says a study published by the journal Biological Conservation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is debating whether to grant endangered species status to the insect.
Farmer group wants Interior to convene ‘God Squad’ over salmon
A group representing farmers in Washington State and Oregon is urging the Interior Department to convene the “God squad” — an interagency committee empowered to override the Endangered Species Act — over complaints that the act's protections on salmon are hurting growers and others.
World’s top tuna company commits to lower bycatch, better labor practices
Responding to pressure from the environmental group Greenpeace, the world’s largest tuna supplier, Thai Union, has announced a series of initiatives designed to improve its fishing practices and protect workers from abuses. Thai Union owns the popular brands Chicken of the Sea and Sealect.
Report: Up to half of the world’s animals lost in sixth mass extinction
A sixth mass extinction of the planet’s species is already underway — and worse than thought, says new research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Can the U.S. save this dinosaur fish?
After 70 million years on earth, the fate of the pallid sturgeon depends on what officials decide to do about a a single dam, says High Country News. A prehistoric-looking fish with ghostly white skin, the species is down to fewer than 125 wild-born adults in Montana’s upper Missouri River Basin.
Report: The world has lost more than half of its wildlife since 1970
“Worldwide populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have plunged by almost 60 percent since 1970 as human activities overwhelm the environment,” says Reuters, based on the 2016 Living Planet Report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Study: World’s wild mammals are being eaten to extinction
Many of the world’s wild mammals, from primates to bats, are being hunted to extinction for bushmeat, says The Guardian. In the first global report on the ecological impact of human hunting, researchers warn that without better management practices not only will species disappear, but hundreds of millions of rural people who rely on bushmeat for food could go hungry.
Study: Humans have destroyed two Alaskas-worth of wilderness in last 25 years
Humans have destroyed a tenth of the world’s remaining wilderness — an area the size of two Alaskas — in the last 25 years, says a study, "Catastrophic Declines in Wilderness Areas Undermine Global Environment Targets," out in Current Biology.