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Nature in the News

Channel Island Fox at the Coyote Point Museum, San Mateo, CA

Channel Island Fox

Nature in the News contains interesting, entertaining and educational articles about wildlife, nature and ecology issues. This news page contains information on everything from Yosemite rock slides and mountain lion legislation, to global warming, climate change and tiny little hummingbirds.

If you aren't sure where you stand on the issues, don't feel alone. The world we live in becomes more complex every single day. Is the earth as fragile as some would have us believe or has it endured because it's quite resilient? You decide. These issues are not going away and will continue to plague us with complex problems that will require us all to make hard decisions.

You will find plenty of food for thought and information to contemplate. Be sure to check back often.

 Title   Date   Author   Host

by Tom Simonite

August 1, 2013

New research from Black Hat shows it's possible to trick water and energy infrastructure to cause physical damage-and securing these systems remains painfully slow.

Three presentations scheduled to take place at the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas today will reveal vulnerabilities in control systems used to manage energy infrastructure such as gas pipelines. These are just the latest sign that such systems remain dangerously susceptible to computer attacks that could have devastating consequences; and although the researchers proposed fixes for each flaw they've identified, they caution that, on the whole, industrial infrastructure remains woefully vulnerable. The vulnerabilities add to a growing list of problems identified due to a recent surge in research into the security of industrial systems. Progress to fix such security issues has been slow going, due partly to the poor design of existing systems, and partly to a lack of strong incentives to fix the flaws quickly.

by Tom Stienstra

March 18, 2014

Those who venture to Yosemite National Park for the arrival of spring are getting shocked on the drive to the park: The sight of the Rim Fire zone feels like getting punched in the gut.

Along Highway 120, east of Groveland as you approach the park's Big Oak Flat entrance station, nearly everybody stops at the Rim of the World lookout on the left. From there, you can see how the Rim Fire burned nearly everything in your view, 402 square miles or 257,314 acres from August to October, the third-largest fire verified in California history.

by Tom Stienstra

September 21, 2013

The strange saga of California's deer herds is in the spotlight again this weekend as fall hunting season nears.

Deer numbers statewide are down 80 percent, a new invasive louse is causing deer baldness on the San Francisco Peninsula and in parts of the Sierra foothills, and predation of fawns by mountain lions and bears is taking out a higher percentage of the herds than ever. Yet the high numbers of small black-tailed deer near civilization can make it seem that there are more deer than ever, and in turn, create the illusion that there is no need for concern or steps to conserve the deer.

by Tracey Petersen

March 11, 2014

Sonora, CA -- Stanislaus National Forest Officials want your thoughts on the final draft of the plan for removal of timber charred by the Rim Fire.

Ferguson adds they hope to have the final decision on the project's environmental assessment by mid-April and then they can start cutting down the trees. "It will be offered for timber sales, probably more than one sale. We're out looking at those prospective timber unit sales now and just getting our prep work done in the hope that we have our record of decision pretty quick, so we can offer that wood for sale," said Ferguson.

by Tracey Petersen

April 20, 2013

California's Department of Public Health is keeping tight-lipped after being scolded by the Environmental Protection agency for failing to spend $455 million in federal funding to improve the state's water infrastructure.

The state agency has acknowledged it received a letter of non-compliance for holding on to the program's largest unspent sum in the nation. But it says it has no immediate comment about the revelation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the letter to the state on Friday. The EPA also says the state gave out grants and loans to projects that were not shovel-ready and lacked adequate staffing to administer and track the fund.

by Tracey Petersen

July 18, 2012

We could see some thunderstorms in the Foothills Wednesday night and into Thursday afternoon.

The National Weather Service says those storms could bring heavy rain, gusty winds, hail and deadly lightening. They say storms will also hit the Sierra Nevada starting Wednesday and could last all the way through Wednesday of next week.

by Tracey Petersen

June 15, 2012

PG & E says when the heat goes up so does the demand for electricity which can overload circuits causing the equipment to shut down to prevent damage to the entire system.

by Tracey Petesen

February 14, 2013

A new audit finds that the state Department of Parks and Recreation did not know how much it costs to operate each of California's 270 state parks, beaches and recreational areas.

State Auditor Elaine Howle today reported her findings as part of an investigation into $54 million found hidden last summer in two special funds. The money was misreported for more than a decade. Howle's audit shows it was a symptom of deep dysfunction in the department.

by Tracey Taylor

November 18, 2012

Concerns about mountain lions prowling the Berkeley hills are mounting with new reported sightings and the posting of signs alerting local residents to their possible presence.

On Thursday Nov. 15, UC Berkeley police received unconfirmed information of a mountain lion sighting near Building 26 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). UCPD conducted a search of the area and was unable to locate any signs of mountain lion activity or presence.

CNS News

by Tracie Cone

February 1, 2013

There's a land rush of sorts going on across the nation's most productive farming region, but these buyers don't want to grow crops. They want to plant solar farms.

With California mandating that 33 percent of electricity be generated from renewables by the end of the decade, there are 227 proposed solar projects in the pipeline statewide. Coupled with wind and other renewables they would generate enough electricity to meet 100 percent of California's power needs on an average summer day, the California Independent System Operator says. And new applications for projects keep arriving.

Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith
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