“Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.”
― Vladimir Nabokov
This week, the Trust for Public Land donated nearly 6,000 acres of stunning coastal landscape in Santa Cruz County, California, that will now be managed by the BLM for public recreation and preservation of natural resources. Known as Coast Dairies land, the donation completes a long-term effort by partners and local communities to provide a natural landscape that can be experienced and enjoyed as public lands.
BLM lands will connect the Coast Dairies shoreline beach, recently donated to California State Parks, to the Santa Cruz Mountains east of Highway 1. The landscape includes stunning coastal terraces, rolling pastoral grasslands, oak woodlands and redwood forest. Come #DiscoverTheCoast.
Photos by Jim Pickering, BLM
Report warns that 14 species are still struggling from the 2010 disaster.
Four years after the biggest oil spill in U.S. history, several species of wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico are still struggling to recover, according to a new report. In particular, bottlenose dolphins and sea turtles are dying in record numbers, and the evidence is stronger than ever that their demise is connected to the spill, according to Doug Inkley, senior scientist for the National Wildlife Federation, which issued the report.
—More than 900 bottlenose dolphins have been found dead or stranded in the oil spill area since April 2010. If you stretched the corpses lengthwise, that’s 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of dead dolphins, Inkley said. Scientists know that is more than in previous years because they’ve been recording deaths and strandings in the Gulf for a decade.
—There are five species of sea turtle that live in the Gulf, and all of them are listed as threatened or endangered by the Endangered Species Act. About 500 dead sea turtles have been found in the spill region every year since 2011—”a dramatic increase over normal rates,” according to the NWF. What’s unknown is how many turtles died at sea and were never recovered by scientists.
—An oil chemical from the spill has been shown to cause irregular heartbeats in the embryos of bluefin and yellowfin tuna. That’s a critical stage of development for the fish, so there’s a lot of concern that the damage could cause heart attacks or deaths, Inkley said.
—Loons, birds that winter on the Louisiana coast, are carrying increasing concentrations of toxic oil compounds in their blood.
—Sperm whales that swam near the BP well have higher levels of DNA-damaging metals in their bodies than in the past. The metals in their bodies, such as chromium and nickel, are the same ones that were present in the well.
Download the full report:
Four Years Into the Gulf Oil Disaster: Still Waiting for Restoration (pdf)
Torres del Paine
The cosmic brush of star formation composed this alluring mix of dust and dark nebulae. Cataloged as Sh2-239 and LDN 1551, the region lies near the southern end of the Taurus molecular cloud complex some 450 light-years distant. [**]
750 Year Old Sequoia Tree