The U.S. once held a wealth of wetness, but the country’s treasury has shrivelled. Illustration by Carson Ellis
The word swamp does not have a pleasant ring to it. The thing itself, though, is something much more than pleasant. Essential to our future, Annie Proulx clarifies in a lovely manner, swamps should be treated with greater care:
Swamps Can Protect Against Climate Change,
If We Only Let Them
Wetlands absorb carbon dioxide and buffer the excesses of drought and flood, yet we’ve drained much of this land. Can we learn to love our swamps?
It can be hell finding one’s way across an extensive boggy moor—the partially dry, rough ground and the absence of any landmarks let the eye rove helplessly into the monotype distance. Continue reading
Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff. A white ibis flies over the Everglades, where many bird species nest each year. Restoration efforts in Florida’s “river of grass” have begun to show signs of progress.
The CS Monitor was the newspaper delivered to our home when I was growing up. Lucky me. These days it still offers good journalism, but is no longer a paper. They made the switch to digital-only in 2008. In earlier years of my monitoring dozens of news sources for this platform it was the source of numerous stories of environmental interest in our pages. But in the last few years, for no particular reason, I failed to monitor their website for stories. And then today, this:
Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff. Birds look like white flecks from the air.
Richard Mertens Special contributor
Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff. Three eggs sit in a nest in the Everglades.
Eight hundred feet up, the helicopter banks hard to the left. The horizon disappears. Mark Cook, an avian biologist, peers out his side window at a small irregular patch of water below. It’s hardly distinguishable from innumerable other patches that lie in every direction, dark and shining amid a ragged expanse of brown marsh grass and green tree islands. Continue reading
The Pantanal wetlands in Brazil. MARKUS MAUTHE / GREENPEACE
There is not much that has happened in Brazil in the last few years that I would consider good environmental news.
YALE ENVIRONMENT 360
So one more urgency is at risk of getting lost in all the rest (which may be part of a strategy). But making it easier to extract the extracted from the center of the continent is akin to adding fuel to a very big fire:
A Waterway Project in Brazil Imperils a Vast Tropical Wetland
The Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland, has been battered in recent years by agricultural development, drought, and fire. Now, a push to turn the region’s key river into a waterway for soybean-laden barges threatens to alter the natural flows of this iconic ecosystem.
It takes 14 hours for Lourenço Pereira Leite to reach his fishing spot.
He and his brother-in-law chug along in a simple one-engine motorboat, towing their traditional fishing canoe behind them. Continue reading
A protest in Marseille against the French supermarket chain Groupe Casino for allegedly selling meat products linked to deforestation. Photograph: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty
What can we do when commercial interests damage our collective future? The identification of and protest against companies doing business in ways that cause environmental destruction are two important forces, but the force of law is another. Thanks to the Guardian for its ongoing coverage of these:
Plans for an airport in the Tagus estuary have failed to take into account its impact on the wetlands, lawyers argue. Photograph: Handout
Environmental lawsuits are nothing new but now lawyers are turning their attention to cases that address the loss of biodiversity
The Tagus estuary near Lisbon is Portugal’s largest wetland, a vital habitat and stopover for tens of thousands of migratory birds, including flamingos, black-tailed godwits and glossy ibis. Continue reading
Species living in the Thames include seahorses and sharks. Photograph: ZSL
We will take good news where and how we can get it:
Zoological Society of London carries out most comprehensive survey since 1950s
Since 2003 there has been as steady increase in seal populations in the Thames estuary. Photograph: ZSL
Seahorses, eels, seals and sharks are living in the tidal Thames, according to the most comprehensive analysis of the waterway since it was declared biologically dead in the 1950s.
But scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), who carried out the work, warn that the 95 miles of the tidal Thames is suffering from rising nitrate levels as a result of industrial runoff and sewage discharges. Water levels and temperature are also rising as a result of global heating. Continue reading
Thanks to The Nature Conservancy’s Cool Green Science team for helping us realize we almost missed this story:
BY JUSTINE E. HAUSHEER
How do you map a nearly inaccessible 9,000-square-kilometer African wetland that is home to hippos, forest elephants, crocodiles, and the notorious Gaboon viper?
Enter the drones.
Nature Conservancy scientists are using unmanned aerial vehicles to create the first-ever detailed wetlands habitat map of coastal Gabon, in collaboration with scientists from NASA, and other conservation groups working in Gabon. Continue reading