Many generations of Chinook salmon were unable for a 100 year period to reach the Elwha River to lay eggs and raise their young. Access was blocked by two huge dams that are being removed, making the river and its tributaries habitat once again for fish travelling from the oceans where they spend their adult lives outside of spawning season. Many of the newly opened waterways lie within the protective borders of Olympic National Park in Washington state.
In 1986 the Lower Elwha Klallam Indian tribe challenged the relicensing of the 64-meter-tall Glines Canyon Dam and the 33-meter-tall Elwha Dam that prevented their “dammed salmon” from accessing the river. The removals open up 112 kilometers of river and tributary habit for wildlife, fish and other seafood and will restore the tribe’s access to the traditions and diet that are interwoven with its culture as river stewards.
Dam removal began on the Elwha River in mid-September 2011. Today, Elwha Dam is gone, over fifty percent of Glines Canyon Dam has been removed, the Lake Mills and Lake Aldwell reservoirs have drained, and the Elwha River flows freely from its headwaters in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca for the first time in 100 years. Dam Removal dam is scheduled to be complete by September 2014.
Students of the New York Harbor School’s Professional Diving and Vessel Operations Programs work together to create a billion oyster reef and monitor how it impacts the harbor. The school’s ambitious 1 Billion Oyster Project goal is to introduce 1 billion oysters into New York Harbor, where they will clean the water and create much needed habitat for the restoration of harbor health and a variety of aquatic species.
The program is also going to give huge numbers of students an appreciation for the water that surrounds their city and prepare many for specialized careers that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Aquatic Program Director Pete Malinowski, explains:
The port employs 300,000 people and only 12% of them went to public school in New York City, so there’s a fundamental disconnect between young people in the city and the water.
The school is situated on Governor’s Island, but Wall Street Journal producer Jeff Bush visited the teams on the water, at the site of an oyster reef they are monitoring. The school’s Co-Founder and President, Murray Fisher, told Bush that as each adult oyster, “filters a gallon of water an hour,” with a billion oysters, “the standing volume of water in New York Harbor could be filtered every 3 days.”
Mark Kurlansky’s book The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell tells about the rise and fall of New York Harbor’s health in relationship to the oyster. According to Kurlansky, all we needed to do to sustain the health of New York Harbor was, continue throwing discarded oyster shells back into the water – because the breakdown of their shells will feed the growth of living oysters. Maybe we’ll be smarter this time around, taking our cue from the success of communities like Olympia, WA.
Maliownski teaches that being a keystone species, oysters “grow on top of each other and build their own habitat.” Oysters attach to each other to create large reefs which in turn, become environments for other species of aquatic life. “In NY Harbor they were the backbone of aquatic life,” Malinowski remarks.
Hopefully, the time is coming soon when they will be again.
I know it seems crazy, but the way some our favorite foods are grown and manufactured is doing fantastic harm to our world. Conflict palm oil is one product that harms the environment and is widely used in mass produced baked goods including crackers and GirlScout cookies … so the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is putting together a coalition of leaders who will learn to lead a movement to protect rainforests, the ecosystems they are home to, the air they clean and orangutans. Maybe you’d like to sign on.
CONFLICT PALM OIL: Are your cookies causing orangutan extinction?
We may not be able to see it, but Conflict Palm Oil has become ubiquitous in our everyday lives. It is found in roughly half the packaged products sold in US grocery stores, including favorite snack foods like ice cream, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, cereals, doughnuts and potato chips. In fact, palm oil is likely present in some form in nearly every room of your home.
Demand for palm oil is skyrocketing worldwide. The recent spike in use by the US snack food industry is due in large part to Conflict Palm Oil being used as a replacement for controversial trans fats. The oil is extracted from the fruit of oil palms native to Africa, now grown primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Conflict Palm Oil production is now one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest destruction. Unchecked expansion is pushing new plantations deep into the heart of some of the world’s most culturally and biologically diverse ecosystems. Irreplaceable wildlife species like the Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Elephant and the Sumatran and Borneo orangutan are being driven to the brink of extinction.
But Conflict Palm Oil is not only a local problem. The clearing of rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands for new plantations is releasing globally significant carbon pollution, making Conflict Palm Oil a major driver of human induced climate change.
If this issue concerns you, maybe you’d like join RAN’s Palm Oil Action Team and learn how to take the lead in stopping rainforest destruction by the snack food industry.
Ever wonder how you can fight deforestation, human rights abuses, child and forced labor, and the extinction of iconic species like the orangutan in YOUR community? RAN's Palm Oil Action Team organizes in their communities and online, around the world, to pressure the biggest corporations on the world to cut Conflict Palm Oil. The Snack Food 20 corporations would hate it – and we would love it – if you joined the Palm Oil Action Team. Check out the video of some of our local leaders, then get involved at http://a.ran.org/a2N
Billions of birds rely on the boreal forest – the sweeping expense of trees across Canada – for critical breeding grounds and summer residences. Unfortunately, clear cutting is taking its toll, as environmentally sound forestry practices are not commonplace here.
Much of the resource development in the boreal is spurred by the United States, which is the leading importer of Canadian wood products. Driving the demand for cheap pulp is junk mail, advertising inserts, newsprint, toilet paper, magazines and catalogs. In fact, according to the American Bird Conservancy, more than a third of all newsprint used in the United States originates from boreal forests.
Protecting these forests requires action on many fronts. Some retail companies such as IKEA, The Home Depot and Staples, have already vowed to avoid purchasing wood products from there.
And here’s how you can help save the forest:
You can do something, too. Besides seeking out products made from post-consumer recycled paper, recycling and being resourceful with the paper products you absolutely have to have, call or write to the magazines, newspapers and catalogs that you receive and tell them you want them to print only on post-consumer recycled paper. Or request delivery of these publications in electronic format, when available. Then sit back and enjoy all the warblers, finches, flycatchers and sparrows that fly back to your yard this spring, and know that you worked to help them make it. ~ Heidi Ridgley
To learn more about the Boreal Forest and conserving it, visit borealbirds.org
Tree-eating goats are the newest firefighting tech
Reno’s latest firefighting technology is a bit unusual: Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District feeds old Christmas trees to goats. They’ve partnered with Goat Grazer’s Vince Thomas and his flock of 40, giving them yummy pine trees to eat full of Vitamin C and potassium. The trees would otherwise hang about in illegal dumping areas and become a fire hazard.
Poet journalist praises create repurposing
Adam Cole of NPR penned a poem to praise the different ways people put to use some of the 30 million dead Christmas trees Americans burn through annually once they’re not decorating homes any longer. Bradley Beach, New Jersey made it into his verse:
In the East, Mitchell Mann and Dominic Esposito
Are two Jersey boys who live by one credo:
“To save the environment, pretty much, being green.”
So they drummed up a posse of like-minded teens.
They’ll grab all the trees — every one within reach
And they’ll bring them all down to nearby Bradley Beach.
“Once the trees are on the beach they’re laid down against a fence.”
Where they form the foundation of the town’s defense.
“And as the wind blows the trees capture the sand.”
And soon dunes will form — at least that’s the plan.
And in future years, “When a storm comes through
It protects all the houses,” and habitat too.
Butterflies can only drink liquids – they don’t eat solid food. So, fill a plate with fruit that’s going bad. Put it inside another plate filled with water so ants can’t get to it. Every day, make cuts through the seals that develop so the butterflies can access the juice.
Also put bright colored objects nearby. Butterflies see colors, especially red, purple, orange and yellow and are attracted by them.
For the larvae, “Plant some milkweed in your garden, and don’t pick off the caterpillars!”Inspiration Green tells us, and “Black Swallowtail larvae eat the leaves of dill, parsley, carrot, and fennel. Painted lady larvae eat thistle leaves.”
Pesticides are killing butterflies, but as most Monarch habitat occurs in agricultural environments, farmers and home gardeners can make a difference.
A girl tells Strawberry the orangutan that she eats peanut butter. Its ingredients are peanuts, sugar, salt, palm oil. Strawberry looks sad, signs to girl, “Your food is destroying my home.” Palm oil is used in cookies and crackers (including Girl Scout Cookies), peanut butter and many other foods. Irreplaceable rainforests and orangutan habitat are being destroyed to produce it. Vote with your dollars – stop buying any products made with palm oil.
Girl Scouts Madi & Rhiannon have been fighting to rid Girl Scout Cookies of Palm Oil since 2007 when they were 11 years old.
Madi and Rhiannon’s inspiring story began catching on with articles appearing in online versions of AnnArbor.com, TIME and CNN. But it was the front-page coverage in the Wall Street Journal that launched the issue into primetime. This amazing piece was quickly followed by a whirlwind media tour that included live national television appearances on ABC, CBS and Fox News as well as a powerful blog post on Huffington Post by Josie Carothers, granddaughter of the inventor of Girl Scout cookies, titled “Why the Inventor of Girl Scout Cookies Would Be Ashamed Today.”
Here are actions you can take to stop orangutan habitat and rainforest destruction: 1 Vote with your dollars – stop buying any products made with palm oil. 2 Post this message on Pepsi’s Facebook wall:Hey Pepsi, I’m standing with orangutans, and I can’t stand by brands that use Conflict Palm Oil. Demand responsible palm oil from your suppliers and eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from your products. The power is #InYourPalm. 3Tweet at Pepsi:Hey @PepsiCo, I can’t stand by brands that use Conflict #PalmOil. The power is #InYourPalm.