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March 3, 2008

UN Environment Programme Yearbook 2008

The United Nations Environment Programme has released its 2008 look at the world's environmental landscape. The Yearbook provides a global overview for climate events in 2007, a feature focus on using markets and finance to fight climate change, and emerging challenge focus on methane from the Artic. The yearbook also highlights specific environment projects such as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and new initiatives from corporations around the world.

January 28, 2008

January 28, 2008 - EPA Briefing about VOCs in St. Louis Park

Today the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 will be holding a briefing in St. Louis Park to discuss the discovery of vapors from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in area ground water. "EPA technicians will be available to answer questions about the laboratory, which was also used to assess contaminants at the World Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina cleanups. State and local partner agency officials are expected to be on hand (EPA Website Announcement)." This Map of St. Louis Park shows the affected area. In addition, the EPA provides an informational page on Volatile Organic Compounds.


January 15, 2008

January 15, 2008 - Polar Bears

January 15, 2008 - Polar Bears

Global Warming - - Polar Bears in the news
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Over the past few months Polar Bears have been in the news. As the Earths Atmosphere heats up the sea ice melts. Cause for concern is that sea ice is critical habitat for species, such as the Polar Bear.

In January 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. To ensure that the best information was available to inform the final listing decision, due in January 2008, the Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne asked the U.S. Geological Survey to analyze existing information and generate new scientific data, models, and interpretations on polar bears and their sea ice habitats, and make them available within the decision making time frame. - (news from USGS)

Newly-released USGS information from 9 recent studies presents relationships of polar bears to present and future sea ice environments.

*Uncertainty in Climate Model Projections of Arctic Sea Ice Decline
*Polar Bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea: Stature, Mass and Cub Recruitment in Relationship to Time and Sea Ice Extent
*Polar Bear Population Status in the Northern Beaufort Sea
*Polar Bear Population Status in Southern Hudson Bay, Canada
*Polar Bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea: Demography and Population Growth in Relation to Sea Ice Conditions
*Predicting the Future Distribution of Polar Bear Habitat in the Polar Basin
*Predicting Movements of Female Polar Bears between Summer Sea Ice Foraging Habitats and Terrestrial Denning Habitats of Alaska
*Forecasting the Range-wide Status of Polar Bears in the 21st Century
*Executive Summary

You can view these titles on the USGS website:

December 26, 2007

December 26, 2007 - The Climate and Carbon Footprints

From the United Nations:

Climate Action is an international communication platform established by Sustainable Development International in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to educate businesses, governments and NGOs as to what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The publication and supporting website will assist institutional investors in analysing and comparing companies that are responding to the business risks and opportunities resulting from global warming.

The Government Publications Library is an United Nations depository.

December 11, 2007

December 11, 2007 - Anniversary of a Pest

On December 11, 1919, the citizens of Enterprise, Alabama erected a monument to the boll weevil, the pest that devastated their fields but forced residents to end their dependence on cotton and to pursue mixed farming and manufacturing. A beetle measuring an average length of six millimeters, the insect entered the United States via Mexico in the 1890s and reached southeastern Alabama in 1915. It remains the most destructive cotton pest in North America.

The Library of Congress has created a page detailing the history of the Boll Weevil and its positive and negative affects on agriculture in the United States, specifically the Southeast. In addition, the Alabama Agriculture Extension Station has published a History of the Boll Weevil in Alabama, 1910-2007. For information on current US Department of Agriculture information, check out the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Boll Weevil Programs.

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November 15, 2007

November 15, 2007 - America Recycles Day

In 2005, the United States produced almost 240 million tons of municipal solid waste, approximately 4 ½ pounds of waste per person per day (Source: EPA).

To help Americans find more information about recycling and its benefits, the Environmental Protection Agency is a sponsor of America Recycles Day, "a partnership between government, industry, and environmental organizations to promote and encourage recycling nationwide." The EPA has several sites that provide more information about reducing, reusing, and recycling.

America Recycles Day
http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/ard.htm

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/reduce.htm

Resource Conservation Challenge
http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/conserve/index.htm

Other resources:

City of Minneapolis Recycling
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/solid-waste/

City of St. Paul Recycling
http://www.eurekarecycling.org/recycling.cfm

University of Minnesota Recycling Program
http://www1.umn.edu/recycle/index.html

October 9, 2007

October 9, 2007 - Minnesota Moose Hunt

Moose hunting season runs from September 29th to October 14th this year. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Moose Hunt site provides current season information as well as historical data.

"The moose is Minnesota's largest wild animal, and Minnesota is one of the few states that have moose. The largest member of the deer family, the moose is commonly found in northwestern and northeastern Minnesota, often near the edge of ponds or lakes. A large moose may weigh 1,300 pounds. Its antlers sometimes measure five feet across and weigh up to 40 pounds."

Moose Hunt Archives
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/moose/archive.html

Minnesota's Moose Mystery - 1995 Report
http://www.fws.gov/midwest/agassiz/moose.html

October 6, 2007

October 6, 2007 - Zebra Mussels

An article from the Star Tribune yesterday focused on the discovery of Zebra mussels in three lakes that are part of the St. Paul drinking water system. This invasive species, while not toxic, is know for disrupting fresh water ecosystems and clogging water supply pipes. The mussel is native to the Black, Caspian, and Azov Seas in Russia and are believed to be introduced to the Great Lakes by a cargo ship. According to the USGS, they "are established in all the Great Lakes, most of the large navigable rivers in the eastern United States and in many inland lakes in the Great Lakes region."

zebra.jpg

Minnesota DNR - Zebra Mussel page
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/aquaticanimals/zebramussel/index.html

USGS - Zebra and Quagga Mussel Page
http://nas.er.usgs.gov/taxgroup/mollusks/zebramussel/

National Invasive Species Information Center
http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/aquatics/zebramussel.shtml

Nationalatlas.gov
http://nationalatlas.gov/articles/biology/a_zm.html