The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a proposal on Tuesday to place tricolored bats on its endangered species list as the animals struggle to contend with a deadly fungus in their dark and damp abodes.
The species is on the brink of extinction due primarily to the impacts of “white-nose syndrome,” a disease caused by the growth of a fungus that looks like white fuzz on the bats’ muzzles and wings, according to the FWS.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has removed publicly available records from its website that showed hundreds of thousands of people had dropped their federal flood insurance policies in recent months.
FEMA pulled the records after E&E News cited the data in an Aug. 17 news article that revealed more than 425,000 people had discontinued their policies with the agency’s National Flood Insurance Program since October (Climatewire, Aug. 17).
The agency said it removed the records to correct inaccuracies and it did not know when the data would be restored. A note on FEMA’s website says the reports “should be available within the coming weeks.”
State and local governments across the country are suing manufacturers of toxic chemicals that are contaminating much of the nation’s drinking water, aiming to shield water customers and taxpayers from the massive cost of cleaning them up.
These pervasive “forever chemicals,” known as PFAS, are linked to a variety of health hazards, including cancer. Now, as state lawmakers and federal regulators get serious about removing them, scores of governments and water suppliers are in pitched court battles over who is on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in damage — the companies that created the chemicals or the customers who are drinking them.
Strategies for Adapting Great Lakes Coastal Ecosystems to Climate Change presents a menu of adaptation actions to help practitioners move from general concepts to tangible, targeted adaptation tactics for their system. This menu draws on a wide range of literature and contemporary reports, in addition to the expertise of regional managers and scientists convened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science. It can be used along with a structured decision-making process like the Adaptation Workbook and can be applied to a variety of situations on Great Lakes coasts to accommodate diverse management goals, geographic settings, and site conditions. The menu was tested with several organizations in project-level planning in the Great Lakes watershed.
The new approach uses a plant-based material that adsorbs PFAS and microbial fungi that literally eat up the so-called “forever chemicals.” The findings, which were published July 28 in Nature Communications, could provide a powerful solution for finally getting rid of these contaminants.
Summer is in full swing in the U.S., and people are turning up their air conditioners to beat the heat. But the hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants in these and other cooling devices are potent greenhouse gases and major drivers of climate change. Today, scientists report a prototype device that could someday replace existing “A/Cs.” It’s much more environmentally friendly and uses solid refrigerants to efficiently cool a space.
Recent Clemson University Ph.D. graduate Rhett Rautsaw wanted to explore whether the evolutionary theory of character displacement — when two species live in the same area and evolve to avoid competing over resources such as food — extended to pit viper venom.
There was one problem. To study competition, Rautsaw had to know where each pit viper species lived, and there wasn’t a comprehensive source of that information readily available.
Rautsaw created VenomMaps, a database and web application containing updated distribution maps and niche models for all 158 pit viper species living in North, Central and South America. Pit vipers are a group of venomous snakes, including rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths. While Rautsaw needed the information for his evolutionary biology research, the maps provide vital information for conservation efforts, citizen scientists and medical professionals.