Monday, July 22, 2013




Santa Cruz County beaches are thriving natural habitat for numerous species of wildlife and plants. It is not a sacrifice zone to be thoughtlessly discarded in favor of human recreation and amusement.

It is sad to note that such habitat is rare in Santa Cruz County, so much so that shore bird numbers have declined precipitously as their feeding, resting and breeding areas have been destroyed by development and dominated by human activity.

Recently, local dog owners have pressured Santa Cruz County officials to allow dogs to run off-leash on Santa Cruz County beaches, in the very spot where this egret is feeding.

Shore birds perceive dogs as predators, especially off-leash dogs roaming free across the beach and uplands. The birds take flight, interrupting their feeding, resting and nesting behaviors, reducing their viability in their home habitat.

It is important to protect and preserve the remaining natural habitat on Santa Cruz beaches, which are a critical part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Dogs must be kept on-leash and County leash laws must be strictly enforced.
"Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and esthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." Aldo Leopold

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Plover killed by off-leash dog

Wardens look into death of endangered plover

An off-leash dog killed a nearly fledged endangered piping plover on a beach in south Maine. The beach has off-leash hours from sunrise to 9 AM, and areas where dogs are required to be kept 150 feet from plover habitat.



In a follow-up story, Dog's owner steps forward in killing of protected Maine bird, officials explain that the dog owner has come froward and that the owner may not be fined.

The video and text exhibit a remarkable complacency about dogs on the beach and their devastating effects on wildlife. The incident also shows clearly that off-leash hours on the beach place wildlife at risk, no matter how many signs and exclosures are put up to protect sensitive species and habitat.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Forest Service or People Service?

I find it interesting that this press release from the Forest Service's Northern Research Station in Durham, New Hampshire, draws common-sense conclusions about the relationship between tree growth and atmospheric CO2 concentration.
"Our analysis suggests that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is having a direct and unexpectedly strong influence on ecosystem processes and biosphere-atmosphere interactions in temperate and boreal forests," 
 Who'd a thunk it?

And yet, the author(s) of the press release, not content with such a simple and accurate conclusion, continue on into the land of speculation and hyperbole by adding:
"reduced evapotranspiration resulting from higher water-use efficiency could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation. This could cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought in parts of the world that rely on water transpired in other regions." (Emphasis added)
thus, joining the cadres of global warming and anthropogenic climate change proponents who turn their backs on science for political and economic gain.

After all,
"The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations."
and:
"The mission of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery."
Just as I suspected: The Forest Service is all about people and very little about forests. It is, after all, under the Department of Agriculture.