Sea turtles, the world’s rarest trout and Red Cedars: this week in environmental news

By Sally Zimmerman, MNA Intern

Every Friday, MNA shares recent environmental news stories from around the state and country. Here’s some of what happened this week in environmental and nature news:

baby, sea, turtle

Baby sea turtles. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sea turtles bouncing back in U.S. Southeast (Mother Nature Network): Surveys say endangered sea turtles in the southeast are rising drastically in numbers. There has been a 73 percent increase in the amount of sea turtle nests built at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. The increase in the number of sea turtles in the United States is credited to U.S. government protection. Officials warn that the sea turtles still face manmade obstacles and are still threatened by ocean pollution.

Poisoning a Sierra stream to save the world’s rarest trout (LA Times): In Walker, California, officials poured poison into the Silver King Creek to kill nonnative species of trout like the rainbow and golden trout. Officials did this to make room for the Paiute cutthroat trout, which were being displaced by the large amounts of rainbow and golden trout. The proposal to poison the river had been debated in federal court for over a decade. Some worry the poison, rotenone, will have long-term negative effects on the water supply. But, biologists say it is a natural poison and will not harm the water.

Red Cedars recover from acid rain (Conservation Magazine): The Clean Air Act of 1970 has helped red cedars in the eastern US regrow after suffering from acid rain pollution. Burning fossil fuels releases sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to high levels of acid rain. Around 1980, changes could start to be seen in red cedars in the Appalachian Mountains. The rate of photosynthesis also grew by 27 percent.

Lake Erie algae needs tough rules to reduce blooms, international panel says (Detroit Free Press): The International Joint Commission reported that steps need to be taken immediately to restrict the amount of phosphorous in runoff. The phosphorous causes harmful algae to bloom in Lake Erie, creating areas where fish can’t survive, called dead zones. The report states that reducing the amount of phosphorous used in farming and slowing down the flow of water to the drainage systems will help the problem. The report encourages both the United States and Canada to implement these changes.

Lobster shell disease expanding north: one of several diseases of marine organisms causing worry (Science Daily): Scientists are worried to find a disease on lobster shells in Maine that was recently only known to exist in waters in Rhode Island. The disease could impact the Maine fishery drastically if it spreads quickly. The shell disease causes more bacteria to live on the lobster’s shell. There is a higher concentration of manmade chemicals on shells that have the disease. The disease gives lobsters a weaker immune system. Scientists believe changing temperatures in the ocean are partly to blame for lobsters contracting the disease.

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