Migrating monarch butterflies get the right-of-way in new agreement

May 22, 2020 by  
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A new nationwide right-of-way agreement aims to protect migrating monarch butterflies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) signed the agreement, which involves more than 45 transportation and energy companies and many private landowners in creating protected corridors across the country. These promised lands are mostly along roadsides and utility corridors. The agreement allows participants to dedicate parts of their land as monarch conservation management areas. In exchange, the USFW assures landowners that they won’t have to take additional conservation measures on the rest of their land if the monarch butterfly later is listed as endangered. This change in status could happen as soon as December 2020, when the USFWS plans to decide whether the monarch meets criteria for being listed as an endangered species . Related: What’s causing the decline in monarch butterfly populations? “Some companies wanted to wait to see how the listing would play out,” Iris Caldwell, a program manager at the Energy Resources Center at UIC and part of the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group , told Mongabay . “But if you are following what’s happening with the butterflies , you know we really can’t wait. We need to be creating habitat on a variety of different landscapes, as much as we can.” The working group included 200 energy, transportation, government and nonprofits who tried to determine a win-win solution for butterflies and landowners. “How can you incentivize a regulated entity or a utility to do this voluntary proactive work,” Caldwell asked, “and still give them kind of the flexibility and the certainty that they need and be able to, in fact, invest in that work without kind of a fear of repercussion?” Under the new agreement, landowners may alter some of their practices, including timing mowing to avoid times when monarch larvae are developing, not using herbicides on the conservation corridors, replanting if the land is disturbed by construction and planting more beneficial native plants the butterflies will enjoy. UIC’s role will be to coordinate efforts between all partners and to be an intermediary between the USFWS and landowners. Monarchs are one of the most popular and recognizable butterflies on Earth, with their bright orange wings, black lines and white dots. Every year, millions of these butterflies migrate from the northern and eastern U.S. and Canada to spend winter in southern California and Mexico. Monarch butterflies are native to North and South America, although they’re no longer found south of Mexico. They’ve followed milkweed to expand their range as far as Portugal, Spain, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. In the continental U.S., they fall into two categories: western monarchs — which are found west of the Rockies and spend winter in southern California — and eastern monarchs, whose breeding grounds are Canada and the Great Plains and who migrate to Mexico in the winter. Both populations have plummeted more than 80% in the last 10 years. Via Mongabay and National Geographic Image via Jessica Bolser / USFWS

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Migrating monarch butterflies get the right-of-way in new agreement

U.S. rabbit populations contend with lethal virus, RHDV2

May 22, 2020 by  
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Wildlife  officials recently announced outbreaks of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2) ravaging Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and California. The  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  deems RHDV2 as seriously contagious and nearly always fatal amongst domestic and wild rabbit species and their close relatives, hares and pikas. RHDV2 is not zoonotic, so it won’t infect livestock, pets or humans, asserts the  California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) . Still,  Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPW)  advise against pets consuming rabbit carcasses. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is the viral agent causing rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD).  Science Direct  says RHDV belongs in the calicivirus family, which infects many  animals  including pigs, cattle, cats and even humans. Norovirus, for example, is a human calicivirus. But humans seem unaffected by RHDV.  Related:  What’s causing the decline in monarch butterfly populations? There are two worrisome strains of RHDV — RHDV1 and RHDV2.  House Rabbit Society ,  Veterinary Practice , as well as both the Vaccine and Veterinary Research  journals document RHDV1 as first emerging in China back in 1984, when, in just one year, 140 million rabbits were decimated. China claims that the outbreak started in Angora rabbits imported from Europe. Eventually, RHDV1 spread to over 40 countries and hit the U.S. in 2000. Given its estimated 95% mortality rate, Australia and New Zealand notoriously introduced RHDV1 into their wild rabbit populations as pest biocontrol. RHDV1 mutated, begetting RHDV2, which was first identified in 2010 when domesticated rabbits in France showed clinical signs of RHD despite being already vaccinated against RHDV1. By September 2018, RHDV2 reached the U.S., manifesting among domestic rabbits in a rural Ohio farm, documents the  Veterinary Information Network (VIN) News Service . The USDA considers both RHDV1 and RHDV2 invasive pathogens, as they are not native to North America. A  joint paper  put forth by the Center for Food Security & Public Health , Institute for International Cooperation in Animal Biologics, Iowa State University, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the USDA revealed RHD can be difficult to eradicate. Not only can the virus strains survive over seven months on rabbit carcasses, but they also withstand temperatures below freezing and above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  House Rabbit Society  cites several differences between RHDV1 and RHDV2. Incubation is two to 10 days for RHDV1, but three to nine days for RHDV2. Rabbits with RHDV2 can be asymptomatic yet spread the virus for up to two months. There is no known cure for either strain. While a vaccine exists for RHDV1, there are currently no USDA -licensed vaccines for RHDV2. That RHDV2 can “potentially surviv[e] more than 3 months without a host” has prompted some U.S. veterinarians to import RHDV2 vaccines despite a convoluted process. The  USDA  and  VIN News Service  warn RHD is highly contagious, spreading easily by direct contact with rabbit excretions and secretions — saliva, sweat and biowaste. Sharing food, water, bedding, fomites and vehicles spreads RHD. Other vectors are infected rabbit meat, pelts, even insects. Besides farmers and pet owners, biologists and  conservationists  are worried about this virus. As declining rabbit populations have repercussions in  habitat  food chains, RHDV2 could cause severe consequences down the line. + Veterinary Information Network (VIN) News Service Via USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and House Rabbit Society Images via Pexels

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U.S. rabbit populations contend with lethal virus, RHDV2

Don’t Forget to Thank the Pollinators That Made Your Thanksgiving Feast Possible

November 27, 2014 by  
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While you are sitting around the Thanksgiving table surrounded by pumpkin pie , cranberry sauce and heaps of vegetables, sharing the things that you are thankful for, don’t forget to thank the insects and animals that made it all possible. We tend to forget how vital bees and other pollinators are to our food system, but without them, there would be no pie, no vegetables, no fruit and no stuffing. This year, the US Fish and Wildlife (FSW) Service is reminding us all to protect the birds, bees, bats and butterflies that make our meals possible with a animation that reveals how empty Thanksgiving dining would be without pollinators. About 75 percent of the food the world eats relies on pollinators, but these hard working bugs and animals are dying because of habitat loss, pesticide use and disease. To help combat this , FWS is collaborating with S.H.A.R.E. (Simply Have Areas Reserved for the Environment), a program that protects dedicated areas for pollinators to thrive in – so that we can all enjoy many feasts to come. + US Fish and Wildlife Service + S.H.A.R.E. Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bat preservation , bee loss , bee populations , bee preservation , bird preservation , butterfly preservation , colony collapse , environment preservation , food cycle , food supply , open spaces , pollinator preservation , S.H.A.R.E. , SHARE , simply have areas reserved for the environment , Thanksgiving dinner , Thanksgiving meal , United States Fish and Wildlife Service , usfws

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Don’t Forget to Thank the Pollinators That Made Your Thanksgiving Feast Possible

Don’t Forget to Thank the Pollinators That Made Your Thanksgiving Feast Possible

November 27, 2013 by  
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While you are sitting around the Thanksgiving table surrounded by pumpkin pie , cranberry sauce and heaps of vegetables, sharing the things that you are thankful for, don’t forget to thank the insects and animals that made it all possible. We tend to forget how vital bees and other pollinators are to our food system, but without them, there would be no pie, no vegetables, no fruit and no stuffing. This year, the US Fish and Wildlife (FSW) Service is reminding us all to protect the birds, bees, bats and butterflies that make our meals possible with a animation that reveals how empty Thanksgiving dining would be without pollinators. About 75 percent of the food the world eats relies on pollinators, but these hard working bugs and animals are dying because of habitat loss, pesticide use and disease. To help combat this , FWS is collaborating with S.H.A.R.E. (Simply Have Areas Reserved for the Environment), a program that protects dedicated areas for pollinators to thrive in – so that we can all enjoy many feasts to come. + US Fish and Wildlife Service + S.H.A.R.E. Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bat preservation , bee loss , bee populations , bee preservation , bird preservation , butterfly preservation , colony collapse , environment preservation , food cycle , food supply , open spaces , pollinator preservation , S.H.A.R.E. , SHARE , simply have areas reserved for the environment , Thanksgiving dinner , Thanksgiving meal , United States Fish and Wildlife Service , usfws        

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Don’t Forget to Thank the Pollinators That Made Your Thanksgiving Feast Possible

Ford’s Interceptor Sedan is the Most Fuel-Efficient Police Vehicle in the U.S.

November 27, 2013 by  
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Ford just announced that its Interceptor police sedan is the most fuel-efficient law enforcement car sold in the United States, with an EPA rating of 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The Ford special service sedan is able to beat out other police vehicles from Chevrolet and Dodge due to its fuel-efficient four-cylinder 2.0L EcoBoost engine. Read the rest of Ford’s Interceptor Sedan is the Most Fuel-Efficient Police Vehicle in the U.S. Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: EcoBoost engine , efficient police car , ford , ford ecoboost engine , Ford police vehicle , four-cylinder , fuel efficiency , police vehicle , turbocharged engine        

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Ford’s Interceptor Sedan is the Most Fuel-Efficient Police Vehicle in the U.S.

Wrap Your Holiday Gifts in Plantable Eden’s Paper

November 27, 2013 by  
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Eden’s Paper lets your loved ones grow their own garden after tearing through the wrapping paper on their holiday gifts. The lush vegetable prints on the paper are embedded with seeds , such as carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, chili or onion. 100 percent plantable, the wrapping paper helps divert landfill waste, while giving recipients an organic surprise with their gifts. Read the rest of Wrap Your Holiday Gifts in Plantable Eden’s Paper Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: biodegradable wrapping paper , carrot wrapping paper , eco design , Eden’s Paper , green design , plantable wrapping paper , recycled wrapping paper , seeded paper , seeds in wrapping paper , sustainable design , vegetable wrapping paper , wrapping paper embedded with seeds , wrapping paper you can plant        

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Wrap Your Holiday Gifts in Plantable Eden’s Paper

Maine’s Grass-Covered Cold War Bunkers Provide Refuge from Deadly Bat Disease

May 8, 2013 by  
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The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) inherited 43 cold war era bunkers in 1994 when the former Loring Air Force Base in Maine shut down. Used as a storage and aerial delivery site for nuclear warheads, the base was transformed into the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge . For years the USFWS sought a new life for the old grass-covered bunkers and finally in 2012 they decided to convert two of them into artificial caves for sick bats. White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), the worst wildlife disease outbreak in recent history , has killed up to 6.7 million bats throughout North America, compromising crucial agricultural services to the tune of $53 billion. The bunkers are expected to provide a healthy respite from contaminated caves for hibernating bats. Read the rest of Maine’s Grass-Covered Cold War Bunkers Provide Refuge from Deadly Bat Disease Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptive reuse , artificial caves , bats , cold war bunkers , Environment , grass-covered bunkers , hibernacula for bats , Loring Air Force Base , News , Northern Maine Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge , US Fish and Wildlife Service , white-nose syndrome        

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Maine’s Grass-Covered Cold War Bunkers Provide Refuge from Deadly Bat Disease

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