Archive for July, 2010

Where Is The Oil…LOL

July 31, 2010

I saw a photograph just a few minutes ago of a large amount of oil in a Louisiana Marsh. In the same group of photos were photographs of oil drenched Clapper Rails from that same marsh. The photos were taken yesterday…what is all this talk about not finding oil (mostly by BP and secondarily the federal government…these are the people who are responsable for cleaning up the oil spill disastor-scary). The person who photographed the oil damage is not a rocket scientist he is a “local” who sport fished the area of the spill prior to the spill.
Matt

Oil Spill, Whats the Hurry?

July 31, 2010

Just because they (BP) are not finding tar ball laden oil slicks on the surface of water impacted by oil spill in the Gulf does not mean you stop working to clean up the mess caused by BP in the Gulf.

Some of the impacts, like reproductive rates of Bluefin Tuna, sea turtle mortality, dispersant toxicity levels over how much area and those impacts on lifeforms in the Gulf may take awhile to determine;one year or more.

Lets slow down and gather this data the right way…we have no need to be in a hurry…this is an impact that is not measured in days but measured in years!!!!
Matt

Bone To Pick

July 31, 2010

This is off, off topic but I really believe our affection and interest in these topics is way overblown and gives the press uneeded cover on this non-news.

The press has gone bonkers over the cast of New Jersey Shores and their tanning habits as the Gulf, near the shores of Louisianna and close by, gets devistated by an oil spill and we are faced with a changing (hotter) climate. We are also faced with reporting on which celebrity might show up for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding and a barage of pro-BP ads that tout all of the good things that company is doing down in the Gulf of Mexico…are you buying that???
This is insanity but this is happening right now!!!!

I have yet to hear NJ or Clinton mentioned yet by a friend or an aquaitence and cable news has babbled on endlessly about the cast of NJ Shore and about C. Clinton’s celebrity list.
Matt

Dispatches From the Gulf

July 30, 2010

When we launched the WeLoveBirds.org website in February, none of us could have imagined that two months later millions of birds in and around the Gulf of Mexico would have their lives and delicate habitats threatened by the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States. The torrent of oil that gushed into the Gulf from the Deepwater Horizon well was at least 10 times greater than the oil the Exxon Valdez dumped into Prince William Sound—and has put in harm’s way all shorebirds, marsh-dwellers, and seabirds in the region along with many other species that migrate through. Believe it or not, “fall” migration begins in mid-July for long-distance migrants and continues through October for other species — another huge wave of birds that could come in contact with contaminated areas of the Gulf when they stop to rest and refuel.

We invite you to use WeLoveBirds.org as a place to connect with others who are following this environmental tragedy, stay informed, share your feelings, and take action. The Natural Resources Defense Council is deeply involved in efforts to measure the impacts of the oil leak and hold those responsible accountable. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is engaging citizen-science participants in reporting bird sightings and is using bioacoustics technology to monitor whales in the Gulf. We’ve set aside a new area of this website, Dispatches from the Gulf, to collate current information about the ongoing effort to measure the leak’s impact on birds and habitat. Please visit:

Dispatches from the Gulf
http://www.welovebirds.org/page/gulfspill

You will notice that we have also been working to respond to member suggestions about the site. We have made the top navigation bar easier and clearer to use. We have also responded to your concerns about privacy on the site, making the steps you can take to safeguard your privacy more clear. Please continue to let us know what we can do to make the site more user-friendly.

Happy birding!

Your friends at NRDC and the Cornell Lab

More On Grizzly Bears and the Whitebark Pine.

July 30, 2010

Work on the Whitebark Pine and pine beetle incursions by Jessie Logan and pragmatic, policy muscle on the grizzly bear sub-population and its relation to Whitebark Pine supplied by Louisa Willcox of the NRDC is the most important venue for bear conservation, Whitebark Pine conservation and global climate change in this area…I can only say good luck to them but I really see their battle to save Whitebark Pine as quixotic. It is O.K. if I am wrong on this. Unfortunately I feel right.
Matt

Jim Cole-Bear Advocate

July 30, 2010

A front page article of today’s Bozeman Chronicle Today is about the death of grizzly bear advocate, Jim Cole. He wrote 3 books on the grizzly bear one entitled: Grizzly Bears of Montana and Wyoming. I thought the book was excellent. Cole survived 2 grizzly bear maulings and was a friend of Jim Halfpenny, one of the leading wildlife experts of our area…Cole was also admired by Yellowstone National Park bear expert, who has been the park spokesman on bears and is a wildlife biologist who studied grizzly bears in Pelican Creek. Cole was not in our area long (12 years) but he sure left his mark for the bear.

Jim Cole died of natural causes.
Matt

Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disastor Summary

July 30, 2010

From the good folks at NRDC.
Matt
This morning’s summary:
For more than three months, the world has waited for a permanent fix to the BP oil leak. It may not have to wait much longer. As early as Sunday evening, the oil giant will take the first steps in a weeks-long process that, though highly complex, has a simple idea at its core: to cram a leaky hole full of cement. The ‘static kill’ has worked before to halt runaway wells. The process can take anywhere from a number of days to a number of weeks. But we’re waiting and watching. Meanwhile, in a courtroom in Boise, Idaho, the U.S. and plaintiffs that filed hundreds of lawsuits seeking billions of dollars for damages stemming from the largest oil spill in U.S. history are fighting over where the cases should be heard first. The government wants the cases consolidated in New Orleans, in the state where many of those damaged by the oil spill live. BP prefers Houston, where BP has its U.S. headquarters. No decision yet on where the cases will be heard and who will preside over them. And it is just the beginning of a judicial nightmare expected to last years.

Quotable Quote:

We know there’s a lot of oil out there,” Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said. “It’s going to continue to come ashore, and we’re going to hold their feet to the fire to make sure they’re there until all the oil is gone out of the Gulf of Mexico before we pull all of the assets out of our parish.”

National News

Los Angeles Times: A final fix to Gulf oil leak may be at hand

The ‘static kill’ is about to begin. As early as Sunday evening, BP ill take the first steps in a weeks-long process that, though highly complex, has a simple idea at its core: to cram a leaky hole full of cement. Precision will be the key: Engineers are aiming for a casing pipe that is only 7 inches in diameter.

Read more from Richard Faussett

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-static-kill-20100730,0,4512769.story

Los Angeles Times: Lawyers swoop in as legal case begins

It was like a chamber of commerce booster convention—hundreds of lawyers went before seven federal judges in Boise Idaho to plead their cases—that is, to plead for their cities to be the venue for the enormous litigation from the Gulf oil spill. “outing New Orleans over Houston and Miami over Mobile Ala., the lawyers offered up air-traffic connections, highway accessibility and the plentiful range of food and lodging options, from five-star hotels to $5 po’ boy sandwiches.”

Read more from Carol J. Williams

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-lawsuits-20100730,0,170221.story

also see:

New York Times: Lawyers, far from Gulf, skirmish on spill claims

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/us/30liability.html?_r=1

And this

AP: Gulf of Mexico oil spill lawsuits should be consolidated, judicial panel is told

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/07/gulf_of_mexico_oil_spill_lawsu.html

AP: Dudley to outline BP’s Gulf recovery plans

BP CEO Bob Dudley was set to outline his company’s long-term efforts to help the Gulf of Mexico recover from the oil spill Friday morning. BP will be getting help from a Clinton administration-era emergency management official.

Read more:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_gulf_oil_spill

Times-Picayune: Surface of Gulf looks better now, but millions of gallons of oil remain below

Scientists and oil spill experts say the Gulf might look cleaner on the surface right now, but there are probably hundreds of millions of gallons of BP’s oil in tiny, hard-to-see droplets below the surface.

Read more from Bob Marshall

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/07/surface_of_gulf_of_mexico_look.html

Huffington Post: Scientists Oil and dispersant mix getting into the foodchain

The mixture of oil and chemical dispersants may have already make its way into the food chain. Scientists have found signs of an oil-and-dispersant mix under the shells of tiny blue crab larvae in the Gulf of Mexico, the first clear indication that the unprecedented use of dispersants in the BP oil spill has broken up the oil into toxic droplets so tiny that they can easily enter the food chain.

Read more from Dan Froomkin

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/29/scientists-find-evidence_n_664298.html

Wall Street Journal: Hayward defends his work in first interview since disaster
Former BP CEO Tony Hayward tells the Wall Street Journal he did everything possible once the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded to stop the spewing oil and clean up the shoreline. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., has a different view: “It will take years of continued commitment to the restoration of the Gulf before BP has the legitimacy to engage in historical revisionism.”

Read more:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703578104575397483256188088.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

Politics

Wall Street Journal: Vote on offshore-drilling overhaul

The House of Representatives is set to vote Friday on remaking the entire offshore-drilling system, setting up a fight over how far the government should go in removing support for the industry and instituting new safeguards following the Gulf oil spill.

Read more

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100729-725482.html

The Town Talk.com: Congress takes up legislative proposals in wake of oil spill

The Senate is poised to vote next week on legislation that would make companies liable for unlimited damages if they’re responsible for an oil spill, and would overhaul the federal agency that oversees the offshore drilling industry.

Read more from Deborah Barfield Berry

http://www.thetowntalk.com/article/20100729/NEWS01/100729025

Talking Points Memo: BP’s Gulf oil spill a major issue—in Wisconsin Senate race?

The BP oil spill has definitely had far-reaching political consequences –it’s become an issue at the other end of the country, in Wisconsin, where Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold is running for a fourth term, and where Dems are hammering Republican businessman Ron Johnson over his ties to BP.

Read more from Eric Kleefeld

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/bp-gulf-coast-is-major-issue-in-wisconsin-senate-race.php

Southern Political Report: Haley Barbour steps into limelight

All along Haley Barbour called for restraint in media and government. While many elected officials and most media were predicting an environmental apocalypse from the Deepwater Horizon accident, Barbour early-on took a political risk by expressing open skepticism that a significant amount of oil would ever reach the Gulf coast. A hundred days later, he may be vindicated.

Read more from Gary Reese

http://www.southernpoliticalreport.com/storylink_729_1530.aspx

Regional

AP: Less oil on surface means less work for fishermen

It was bad news for the fishermen when the oil gushed into the Gulf. No fishing. Now that the oil seems to be receding from the surface, it’s still bad news for the fishermen—no work.

Read more Greg Bluestein and Kevin McGill

http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Gulf-cleanup-will-change-once-oil-stops-for-good-591869.php

CNN: Feds, parish presidents discuss cleanup at “contentious” meeting

A meeting Thursday night between federal officials and parish presidents of the Louisiana Gulf coast to work out plans for recovery was “contentious.” Incident Commander Thad Allen told reporters afterward that the parish presidents “hold nothing back.”

Read more

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/07/29/gulf.oil.disaster/index.html?hpt=T2

Also see:

Times Picayune: Officials look ahead to transition from Gulf of Mexico oil spill response to recovery

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/07/officials_look_ahead_to_transi.html

McClatchy: Gulf states now worry about restoring their image

The real worry on the Gulf coast now is not oil. From Louisiana’s oil-polluted marshes to Florida’s sugary-white sands, most of which remained free of oil’s taint, officials worry that they can’t restore the region’s battered image.

Read more from Grace Gagliano and Sara Kennedy

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/07/29/1752779/gulf-states-now-worry-about-restoring.html

GablesHomePage.com: Local Audubon group helps bird hurt by oil spill

Happy hour in South Miami this Friday is for the birds. At $10 per person the Doc Thomas House is helping the Audubon Society raise money to rescue oiled birds.

Read more

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/07/29/1752423/local-audubon-group-helps-birds.html

Bloomberg: Louisiana reopens some fishing areas
Louisiana reopened some commercial fishing areas that were closed by the Gulf oil spill. The FDA confirmed that the seafood from the area was safe. “While these reopenings are a positive step, we continue to urge the FDA to test samples from the waters that remain closed so commercial fishermen across our coast can get back on the water,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said in the statement.

Read more:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-30/louisiana-reopens-some-gulf-fishing-areas-after-fda-tests-confirm-safety.html

Business

AP: Big oil posts better profits on higher fuel prices

The major oil companies continue to climb back from the recession, with higher fuel prices driving up earnings.

Read more

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gJedqjUPcCRREdKkNLP9d4RLv_QQD9H8UHCG2

The Independent: Shell defends deep-water oil drilling as profits soar

Royal Dutch Shell mounted a spirited defense of deep-water drilling Thursday as it unveiled a 94 per cent surge in profits in its second quarter.

Read more from Sarah Arnott

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/shell-defends-deepwater-oil-drilling-as-profits-soar-2039028.html

Feature

New York Times: Gulf of Mexico has long been a sink of pollution

The Gulf of Mexico was already polluted before the oil spill. Much more than that has been spilled from pipelines, vessel traffic and wells in state waters. Runoff and waste from cornfields, sewage plants, golf courses and oil-stained parking lots drain into the Mississippi River from vast swaths of the United States. The Gulf’s floor is littered with bombs, chemical weapons and other ordnance dumped in the middle of last century.

Read more Campbell Robertson

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/us/30gulf.html?_r=1

Wall Street Journal: In this sleepy town, it isn’t crude to celebrate a giant oil Spill

With oil gushers on the minds of Americans, one man in California is taking advantage of the timing to celebrate crude. In California, though, it was a happy gusher that ushered in the age of oil.

Read more from Justin Scheck

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704699604575344011613229780.html

Graphics

> Oil spill tracker

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/04/29/interactive.spill.tracker/index.html?hpt=T2

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Predatory Bears and Perspective

July 30, 2010

There was a human mortality in the Soda Butte campground, Montana caused by a grizzly bear female and her 3 cubs of the year.

It is thought that this is an example of predation on the bear’s part because the campers camped by the rules.

My bible on these kind of events is Stephen Herraro’s book “Bear Attacks”. Herraro writes about predatory bears in his book.

The impression I got was that you have to look at the history of bears in a campground if a bear shows up, and hangs around a campground (tracks and scat)…you can close a campground down until the bear or bears leaves or you can have a bear manager stay up all night and use something like cracker shells or rubber bullets to chase the bears from the campground, hopefully before a camper is killed. The first order of business is to keep a bearproof or “clean camp”…in any event all camping areas in bear habitat are predisposed to predatory bears.

Yesterday I started to put the death of this bear into perspective but I got distracted…so I will try again today.

There are 250,000 persons in Western Montana, Northern Idaho, and Northeastern Washington.

In that same area, if you use the highest numbers that I have seen there are 1,850 grizzly Bears. My point is that no matter how you cut it there are not many grizzly bears in an area this size and back east 30 million persons thrive in an area this size. The Yellowstone Subpopulation of bears is confined to a habitat island that is eroding as I write this post. Persons acceptance of the grizzly bear on private and public lands is low…so I see for a lot of reasons,the grizzly bear of this area lasting 20 more years at this rate and long-lived bears will last about another 15 years past that…so by the middle of this century grizzly bears will be rare to nonexsistant and this part of the bear’s range will be a part of carnivore history.

Most experts view bear predation on humans as a very rare event.
Matt

Teachers

July 29, 2010

Today I watched President Obama talk about teachers and it was an excellant speach and now the proof is in the pudding!

This may seem to be off topic for this blog but it is not.

I was allowed by my HS biology teacher to do a poster on birds and to help him collect spawning herring for his classes (I knew where the Herring were spawning). This particular teacher was not popular with many students, but I liked him and proliferated under his teaching.

To this day I remember a nice english teacher…I remember the books she had us read as well as her classroom which I viewed as a sanctuary of sorts.

Teachers, especially if I liked them, impacted my direction in life. I really believe that and view them as very important to the success of our schools and society as a whole…I hope what Obama wants to do on that front really works. Teachers are the hero of society.
Matt

MATOR-Desrving of a Plug.

July 29, 2010

I was at a disability conference this week and I went to a presentation that told the public that Montana Access to the Outdoor Recreation, embodied by a group also known as MATOR, that has programs designed to help the disabled person access the world of Outdoor Recreation. Chris Calby, the director of MATOR, told his audiance about MATOR’s programs. THIS ORGANIZATION IS GREAT, I have tried one of their programs and found it to be highly productive…if you are not handicapped read about this program and if you like it give to the program…if you are disabled it is an organization with programs worth trying…keep up the great work MATOR.
Matt