Archive for May, 2010

Luck and Grizzly Bears

May 31, 2010

I cannot work on grizzly bears anymore but after many years working on them I have grizzly bears on the brain.
I just finished Scott McMillion’s book, Mark of the Grizzly…and my thinking is that it was scary but good as a read.
Scott was one of those guys I never met, he lived 25 miles away and seemed to know a lot of people I knew, but I never met Scott. I think too bad.
My thought, and I can blame Scott for provoking a lot of them, was that I avoided mice and slept in a K-2 Expidition Tent about 500 yards from where a spring weight 595 pound grizzly regularly ate. After reading Scott’s book I can say I was a lucky person.
I new three of the persons he wrote about in his book and I new their areas intimately, including some of the grizzly bears in the areas they (the people Scott writes about) were in. I also new that the persons Scott writes about were very aware of the grizzlies presence and I would describe these persons as very experienced when it comes to bears. The only thing I can think is that I was very lucky, I was very aware of bears and what they can do but mostly I was lucky even with several close encounters with bears.
Matt

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Putting Wolf Kills On Livestock In Perspective

May 31, 2010

I read an interesting statistic yesterday in an article about Montana and Wyoming wolves. Wolves killed 1,000 head of livestock, coyotes killed 30,000 head of livestock and bears, mostly black bears, are responsable for killing 1,500 head of livestock, yet the livestock community wants wolves to be wiped out by far. I am pro bear and coyote…and this over livestock any day…wolves, like in history, get a bumb wrap…I guess any predator does from the standpoint of the livestock industry…but especially if you are a wolf!!!!
Matt

Biota Update; Gulf Oilspill

May 31, 2010

I too hoped the “top kill” method would plug the leak. As I said last night the leak goes on. I feel helpless and can only watch this disasrter unfold. For me, on this blog, I can report on wildlife impacts of this spill.
I have seen video footage of 4 different pelicans oil slimed and being cleaned by wildlife rsscuers, my guess is that the slime toxicity will eventually kill these pelicans and I am sure by now that a lot of Brown Pelicans have been oil slimed .
I have seen 3 video clips of 3 different loggerhead sea turtles oil slimed and definitely struggeling as a result of the oil sliming. Sea turtles are now, or soon if they survive swimming possibly through the oil spill, on the shore and nesting…when the young turtles hatch they waddle over the sand and many will survive the predators that survive the oil spill and then await turtle hatchlings as they hatch and swim into the water…the hatchlings swim back into the water to spend time in cover and protection against predators and feed…the chance is high that these hatchlings will be slimed by spilt oil and these hatchlings will die from the oil slimed on them . The oil will get into the marsh and it has high potential to kill marsh biota. Carol Browner calls this the largest environmental disaster in the US and that is saying a lot.
Matt

Top Kill Failed…What Is Next?

May 30, 2010

Top Kill FAILED…BAD NEWS!!!and “the beat goes on”.
Matt

Baby Steps

May 29, 2010

Good news results at times from bad news. That was the case with the disasterous Gulf oil spill. As a result of the trajedy in the Gulf Alaska oil drilling is suspended at least until 2011. My feeling ithat they should never drill for oil anywhere; especiallyNOT in Alaska.` Don,t we ever learn. I see the move to suspend oil drilling in Alaska now as a baby step…I will personally take beby steps in the RIGHT direction.
Matt

Tilting In the Wind

May 29, 2010

I see the Gulf Oil Spill and I feel real bad for the birds that will be slimed as they hunt for food in the Gulf Waters, now heavily polluted. As the president spoke Laughing Gulls and Royal Terns hunted in the background.
You know I really felt bad for Obama he did not cause this disaster and like Quioxte seemed to tilt at windmills. The Gulf was so much bigger than our president and the 400 , or so, others cleaning the beach nearby. It just makes anyone want to cry.

Matt

Wolverines and Their Way

May 28, 2010

Douglas Chadwick just wrote a book called The Wolverine Way, about research of Glacier National Park Wolverines and Chadwick and his latest book struck a chord with me. Chadwick was a wildlife biologist now a writer and photographer for National Geographic.
At one time I was a trapper for the Border Grizzly project. Chadwick was a well known wildlife researcher who concentrated on mountain goats, at that time in the South Fork of the Flathead River.
I recall at the time that Dr. Maurice Hornocker was the head of the wolverine study and concurently he reintroduced fishers to the South Fork of the Flathead. He had a hispanic grad student do all of the field work on wolverines. The grad student was Fernando (?) When we were out groundtruthing grizzly bear locations we were supposed to groundtruth wolverine locations in our area. Twice I ran into Chadwick doing the same thing.
Since then I have seen about 10 wolverines in the wild and I can say wolverines seem faster and sleeker than they seem in literature.
I have talked to Chadwick 4 times in length and I have seen him in the backcountry at least 5 more times chasing whatever.
Chadwick strikes me as a very credable person and if his book is like him I can only see it as credable.
My guess is that wolverines are very hard to photograph, but if anyone can photograph them Chadwick can…I can only hope so and I will find out.
Matt

Gulf Coast Oil Spill Update

May 28, 2010

I got this update from the concerned folks at NRDC
Matt
Highlights in this issue

>Top kill appears to be working; next 12-16 hours critical

> Gulf oil spill becomes the largest oil spill in U.S. History

> Horror stories continue about the Deepwater Horizon explosion

>Many believe the President still doesn’t look in charge

> Hurricane season starts next week; expect a bad one

This morning’s summary

Despite President Obama’s “the buck stops here” press conference on Thursday, he’s still facing a raft of blame and anger over the gushing Gulf oil spill. He returns to the Gulf on Friday to inspect what is happening and to offer comforting words to the people of the Gulf coast as they watch their livelihoods disappear. But the administration is now on the hot seat in the blame game, starting with its failure to appear to be out front and in charge from the beginning. Friday morning, Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen said the ‘top kill’ appears to be working but the next 12-24 hours remain critical. However, nothing is going to reverse the ecological damage, and no one is going to be convinced that this crisis will pass anytime soon.

Quotable quote: “In case you were wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility,” Obama said Thursday. “It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down.”

National News

New York Times: Gushing oil halted for moment
Don’t breathe easier yet. The “top kill” technique has stopped the flow of oil and gas from a broken well in the Gulf of Mexico, Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, the leader of the government effort, said Friday morning. However, he stressed that the next 12 to 18 hours will be “very critical” in efforts to permanently stop the spill that is believed to be the largest in US history.

Read more by Clifford Krauss and John Broder
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/us/29spill.html?hp

New York Times: BP resumes effort to seal oil well after daylong halt

It’s been a wild roller coaster ride for scientists trying to shut down the oil gushing by millions of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico. Late Thursday BP said it had suspended the top kill effort Wednesday night before because too much of the drilling fluid was escaping with the gas. They resumed the effort Thursday night and said it would be another 24 to 48 hours before they could see if it was really working.

Read more from Clifford Krauss and John M. Broder

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/us/28spill.html?hp

Also see:
http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/usa/BP-Oil-Leak-Not-Stopped-Yet-But-Efforts-Continue-95062259.html

Times-Picayune: ‘Top kill’ strategy to be adjusted to incorporate other clogging materials

Thursday night BP said that while it continues to run the “drilling mud” through the pipe, it also will add rubber balls and other “clogging agents” in an attempt to clog the pipe.

Read more from Jaquetta White

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/05/top_kill_strategy_to_be_adjust.html

also see:
MSNBC: BP resumes ‘top kill’ effort to stop leak
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37353392/ns/gulf_oil_spill/

CNN: After delay, BP restarts ‘top kill’ effort

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/27/gulf.oil.spill/inde

CNN: BP upgrades “minor” spill to “catastrophe”
BP CEO Tony Hayward, who came under fire for saying the spill’s environmental impact on Gulf of Mexico would be modest, upgraded his assessment Friday to an “environmental catastrophe.”

Read more:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/28/gulf.oil.spill/index.html?eref=igoogle_cnn

New York Times: Estimates Suggest Spill Is Biggest in U.S. History

The new official estimate, from the US Geological Survey using NASA imaging, shows the number of barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf is 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day -several times more than the initial estimate of 5,000. That means up to 30 million barrels have polluted the Gulf, almost three times as much as the Exxon Valdez spill of 11 million barrels. The Gulf spill is now by far he largest in American history.

Read more from Tom Zeller,Jr.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/us/28flow.html?hp

Also see:
Los Angeles Times: Gulf oil spill: leak is far greater than Exxon Valdez disaster

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/05/gulf-oil-spill-more-than-exxon-valdez-usgs-says.html

Huffington Post: Scientists discover massive new sea oil plume
It’s the second massive plume discovered under water since April 30th. Scientists have detected a plume about 22 miles long headed toward Mobile, Ala.

Read more
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/201
0/05/27/gulf-oil-spill-new-plumes_n_591994.html

Los Angeles Times: Feds approve sand berms

La. Gov. Bobby Jindal and parish presidents were begging for approval from the federal government to build new sand berms to protect the coastal wetlands. They decided Wednesday they would build them even without approval. Thursday, the US Army Corps of Engineers gave approval for 45 miles of berms, less than the locals wanted. The feds said they limited the number because of environmental concerns.

Read more by Julie Cart

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/05/gulf-oil-spill-sand-berms-approved-by-federal-officials.html

Times Picayune: ‘Everything I know and love is at risk’
It was impossible not to watch Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-Louisiana) break down and weep describing what is happening in his home state and not to feel the pain of the people of Louisiana.
Read more from Jonathon Tilove
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/05/everything_i_know_and_love_is.html

CNN: Rig survivors: Hold companies accountable
In hearings before Congress Thursday, survivors of the Deepwater Horizon recount a horrific scene as they tried to get off the inferno, and then up to 28 hours later made it to land, but not before agents for BP handed them liability waivers to sign. The family of Gordon Jones, an engineer who was killed, asked Congress to hold the oil companies accountable and to hit them hard where they can feel it—the bottom line.
Read more:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/27/gulf.oil.liability/index.html?hpt=T1

Read more from David Hammer
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/05/pressure_problems_noted_about.html

Read more from Douglas A. Blackmon, Vanessa O’Connell, Alexandra Berzon and Ana Campoy
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704113504575264721101985024.html?mod=

New York Times: Mud more complex than the garden variety
They call it “mud” but it’s not what you find in your garden. The drilling mud pumped into the well in the “top kill” is made up of clay and other minerals that makes it two to three times as dense as the gas so that it can press downward in the pipe to keep the gas from rising up.
Read more from Henry Fountain
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/science/earth/28mud.html?hp

ABC News: Brace for a bad hurricane season

As if people along the Gulf of Mexico didn’t have enough to worry about, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Mississippi warned that hurricane season starts next week, and it could be a very severe season. NOAA predicted Thursday it will be “active to extremely active” and could snap undersea oil pipelines in ways never before estimated.

Read more:
http://blogs.abcnews.com/scienceandsociety/2010/05/gulf-oil-spill-brace-for-hurricane-season.html

MSNBC: Oil spill’s energy lesson for Obama

Berkeley Physics Professor Richard Muller says this disaster holds a lesson for President Obama – that offshore drilling does not solve the nation’s energy problems. He provides a discussion on the pros and cons of natural gas.

Read more:

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/05/27/4377419-oil-spills-energy-lesson-for-obama

CNN: MMS was troubled long before oil spill

The resignation of the director of the Minerals Management Service Thursday was a step toward revamping the troubled agency but hardly enough for MMS which had a cozy and scandalous relationship with the oil industry long before the Gulf oil spill.

Read more

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/05/27/mms.salazar/index.html?hpt=T1

Wall Street Journal: Assessing ecosystem harm could take years
As horrifying as they are, the scenes of oil sludge on the sands and oil-drenched pelicans may not be the real story. It could be what isn’t seen far out at sea and far under the surface could be far worse, and it could take years to understand how the ecosystem is crippled.

Read more from Jeffrey Ball and Robert Lee Holz
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703630304575270890205650502.htm?mod=

New York Times: BP used riskier methods to seal well before blast
Several days before the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, BP officials chose, partly for financial reasons, to use a type of casing for the well that the company knew was the riskier of two options, according to a BP document.
Read more from Ian Urbina
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/us/27rig.html?hp

Business

Los Angeles Times: Companies were rushing to make money faster, survivor says

“I was certain I was going to die.” Stephen Stone, a survivor of the Deepwater Horizon, told the House Judiciary Committee that the April 20 blast was “hardly the first thing to go wrong.’’ He went on to say: “This event was set in motion years ago by these companies needlessly rushing to make money faster, while cutting corners to save money.”

Read more from Richard Simon

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/05/gulf-oil-spill-companies-were-rushing-to-make-money-faster-survivor-says.html

Wall Street Journal: BP Risks Big Fines and Loss of Major U.S. Contracts
As it turns out, BP happens to be the biggest supplier of fuel to the US Department of Defense, about $2.2 billion a year in contracts. Not only will it now to be subject to fines from the Gulf spill, but also fallout and loss of some major U.S. contracts.

Read more from Neil King, Jr. and Melanie Trottman
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703630304575270822261954614.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEADSecondNewsCollection

Feature

Video

CNN/Huffington Post “Science Guy Bill Nye” shows how top kill works
The American public is really lucky to have Bill Nye, the “Science Guy” on the case. Using a mixture of milk and cornstarch he explains how the “top kill” is supposed to work.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/27/bill-nye-explains-how-top_n_592272.html

Editorial

Huffington Post: Dan Froomkin: Obama’s oil spill press conference may have changed perceptions, but reality remains the same
No matter how much the President insisted he was in charge and engaged in this disaster, the truth remains that the federal government has deferred to BP at every turn.

Read more from Dan Froomkin
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/27/obamas-oil-spill-press-co_n_592720.html

Salon.com: For Big Oil the n-word is “nationalize”
Joe Conason argues that maybe these desperate times deserve desperate measures
Read More:
http://www.salon.com/news/louisiana_oil_spill/index.html?story=/opinion/conason/2010/05/27/nationalize

Times-Picayune: Our bill has come due
Twice in the past five years, Louisiana has been knocked to its knees by disasters rooted in the quest for oil. Our bill has come due, the Times-Picayune writes.
Read more:
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/05/louisiana_needs_its_share_of_o.html

Politics

MSNBC: Roy Sekoff on ‘Ed Show”: Oil spill “gush-cam” clashes with Obama’s cool confidence
Roy Sekoff of the Huffington Post and Ed Schultz of MSNBC agreed. The Obama cool just didn’t jive with the pictures of the “gush-cam” on the split screen from the President’s news conference. The President should have been more fiery and he definitely didn’t look in control of this one.

Watch:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-tv/roy-sekoff-on-ed-show-oil_b_592757.html

Politico: Mary Landrieu: Obama will pay politically for spill
It’s almost hard to believe after the lessons of Katrina that Barak Obama will be seen as disconnected from the disaster in the Gulf, but that’s exactly what Democratic Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu says and predicts the President will pay a political price for his lack of visibility on the disaster.

Read more from Manu Raju
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37878.html

Graphics

Top Kill graphic
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/05/graphic_shows_how_leaking_oil.html

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Gulf Toast and This Battery Keeps Going

May 28, 2010

the BP Gulf Oil Spill is a huge tragedy for the local residents of the spill area and the ecosystems and wildforms-life of the spill area…not much more to say on this…if the top kill works cleanup, and how fast and hard it is done, will be picked apart to a tee.
On the good news front I have seen 6 bears,so far, this spring and I have seen 130 species of birds thus far this spring migration over a six state area. Birdwatching and bearwatching still goes on for me in spite of the trajedy in the gulf.
Some people things have worked out well, some have not, but this “Eveready” keeps ticking…
Matt

More On the Gulf Disaster

May 27, 2010

There is no question that the gulf coast oil spill is one of the largest environmental disasters that I can remember. The ecosystems, fisheries, invertebrate ecology, birdlife of the oil spill area will take a huge and bad environmental hit. As I type this Obama is giving a press conference to a ignorant but skeptical national press on the oil spill…and I can tell this spill is already politicised and my only hope is that the ecological damage is not forgotten as a political tug of war over the oil spill ensues…all eyes are on the “Top Kill” and it’s potential success. I no my eyes and hopes are there and if it is a success a good baby step will be taken.
Matt