Chickadee mating zone, spring flooding and a climate change app: this week in environmental news

By Alyssa Kobylarek, MNA intern

Every Friday, MNA gathers news stories relating to the environment and conservation from around the state and country. Here is some of what happened this week in environmental news.

California officials prepare for worst as historic drought deepens wildfire risk (The Guardian): According to figures compiled by California’s department of forestry and fire protection, the state has had 665 wildfires since January 1, which is about three times the average for this time of the year. Disaster funds are being set aside for “mega-fires” across the western states.

Emergency officials brace for floods from snow, warmth (Great Lakes Echo): Chances of Michigan communities reaching flood level this time of year are as high as 90 percent. County officials are making sure they have enough sandbags to block flooding and that they are prepared to shelter people if they need to evacuate their homes. The chance of flooding depends on a balance of time, temperature and rainfall.

Two closely related species of chickadees meet, mate and give birth to hybrids. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Two closely related species of chickadees meet, mate and give birth to hybrids. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Chickadee Mating Zone Surges North (The New York Times): There is a narrow strip of territory from Kansas to New Jersey where two related species of chickadees meet and mate to form hybrid birds. Scientists are reporting that this zone is moving north at a rate that correlates with the warming trend.

White House Launches Website App to Visualize Climate Change (National Geographic): The White House unveiled a new website- based app to help explain the science behind climate change. It will help give communities the information and tools to plan for current and future impacts. The first batch of climate data released will focus on coastal flooding and sea-level rise.

New permits allow fish net pens (Great Lakes Echo): A proposal has been launched to allow nonprofit groups to place net pens in Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and their tributaries to increase the population of fish for recreational anglers. As of now, Michigan and New York are the only two states that allow these pens. Prior to the permits, the law did not allow fish farms and the pens would be considered illegal if fish were kept longer than two days.

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