Environment

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Michael Mueller/Flickr CC BY 2.0

The disappearance of bees and butterflies has concerned scientists and the public for years. Now, a new study from Germany confirms that the abundance of flying insects has dropped over 75 percent since 1989.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

A plan to restore the Niagara River Gorge’s original plant habitat will be unveiled Monday night in Niagara Falls.

Rising CO2 levels threaten global marine life

Nov 12, 2017

The rising acidity of ocean waters due to increased levels of atmospheric CO2 will have profound adverse effects on sea life, according to a new study.

The report, called “Exploring Ocean Change,” from the group Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification, or BIOACID, shows rising acidity leads to habitat loss and disrupts the growth and reproduction of sea life.

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 US Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr CC BY 2.0

Budget resolutions passed in the US House and Senate will likely lead to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s pristine coastal plain, if they’re approved in their current form.

This year’s deadly hurricanes, record-shattering firestorms and severe drought are linked to global warming, and the prospect of more unpleasant surprises seems likely, climate experts warn.

“What we're seeing is the veritable tip of the iceberg,” says Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University.

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Jan van der Ploeg/CIFOR, Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Conventional wisdom has long held that tropical forests soak up carbon dioxide and help blunt the impact of industrial greenhouse gas emissions. But new research finds that the tropics are now adding to the problem of global warming faster than they can absorb excess carbon.

In other words, tropical forests are now a net carbon source rather than the carbon "sinks" they were previously thought to be.

Last of inmate-raised pheasants released in Zoar Valley

Oct 31, 2017
Erie County Sheriff's Department

More than a thousand pheasants raised and cared for by New York jail inmates have flown the coop.

New research suggests that declining levels of iron, zinc and protein resulting from high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are putting human health at risk, especially in the developing world.

As global carbon dioxide levels climb, plants are becoming better at photosynthesis

Oct 28, 2017
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Bill Dickinson, Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A recent study shows that increased carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is leading to higher rates of photosynthesis in vegetation.

Many species of trees tend to move to higher, cooler habitats in response to a warming climate. Now, research on two pine tree species in the western US Great Basin shows some species move faster than others.

Brian Smithers, who led the research at the University of California, Davis, says when he wanted to look at how trees are responding to climate change, he realized the high-altitude tree line is a "really nice experimental spot to do that.”

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Staff Sgt. Wilma Orozco Fanfan, 113th MPAD/Puerto Rico Army National Guard, Flickr CC BY 2.0

Before Hurricane Maria devastated the island, Puerto Rico relied on an outdated, centralized power grid that burned imported fossil fuels. Now, some experts say the disaster offers Puerto Rico the chance to rebuild its power system with more resilience and less carbon.

Niagara Falls.ca

The Niagara Falls, ON Council meets Tuesday night and is expected to demand the Niagara Falls, NY Water Board do something to stop overflows of sewage into the Niagara River that borders the United States and Canada.

Wide-spread droughts and heat waves are making farming increasingly unpredictable, and some farmers are having to adjust on the fly to changing conditions from year to year.

After 22 years, Pennsylvania farmer Matt Herbruck says it’s undeniable: The climate is changing and it’s getting more extreme. “It’s not unusual at all in this area to go from in the 40s one night to 90 [degrees] 36 hours later. It happens. And that’s not normal. I think the weather is crazy.”

The first wave of rail tanker cars began arriving in the Adirondack Park last week. The mothballed industrial cars are being stored on track in the heart of the Park.

Iowa Pacific and its Saratoga North Creek Railroad subsidiary say they eventually hope to store thousands of mothballed oil and chemical tanker cars near the High Peaks Wilderness.

The company says it will drop the controversial plan only if it is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Following a four-month review of more than two dozen national monuments, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke submitted confidential recommendations to the Trump administration in August. A leaked report reveals that Zinke proposes to shrink a number of monuments and open some of them to extractive industries like mining, grazing and fishing.

High-tech, remote imaging developed for the military has become a powerful tool in the hands of scientists studying the health of natural ecosystems.

The technology allows scientists to assess forests and coral reefs from satellites and from specially equipped aircraft that can get an even closer look — down to individual branches of trees.

On board these custom-built aircraft is a system of instruments called ATOMS, which stands for Airborne Taxonomic Mapping System.

The growth of data publicly available on the internet has been a boon for biological science and conservation. But it is also being used by poachers and dishonest collectors to locate rare plants and animals and sell them illegally for a hefty price.

This situation presents researchers and the public with a quandary: How to find a middle ground that preserves the spirit of scientific discovery while protecting at-risk species.

Ontario Specialty Contracting

Buffalo's Green Code and federal law collided before the city Planning Board Tuesday in a dispute over planned commercial space on an old chemical plant site in South Buffalo.

Yet another discharge of cloudy black water was seen in the Niagara River Monday morning, just below Niagara Falls.

DEC seeks input on Southern Tier gas pipeline

Oct 9, 2017

The Department of Environmental Conservation is looking for input from Allegany County residents as National Fuel looks to install a 1.5-mile gas pipeline along Stone Dam Road.

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Spc. Hamiel Irizarry/The National Guard, Flickr CC BY 2.0 (image cropped)

While President Donald Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax, the Department of Defense is focused on understanding and preparing for continued climate disruption and the security threats it poses in a warming world.

When Hurricane Irma hit Florida, it blasted an estimated 3 to 10 feet of storm surge into the Everglades. Combined with the drenching rain, the storm may change the vegetation patterns of the enormous wetland and perhaps prod the people of South Florida to rethink how it lives with its water.

The hurricanes that recently smashed islands in the Caribbean set records for size, strength and endurance — records that experts predict will be broken sooner rather than later, as global warming continues to heat the oceans and intensify precipitation cycles.

Dessima Williams, former Grenada UN ambassador, says the Caribbean people remain resilient and self-reliant, but they have limited financial capacity to recover and rebuild.

At Climate Week 2017, a mix of optimism and urgency

Oct 7, 2017

When the world’s leaders gathered in New York for the annual fall meeting of the UN General Assembly, another series of meetings took place, called Climate Week NYC, where government, business and NGO leaders discussed global climate solutions. 

The mood at Climate Week this year was “a strange confluence of optimism and urgency,” says Alden Meyer, a climate diplomacy expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, who came to New York City for the meetings.

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Richard Carson/Reuters 

In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the US needs to rethink its flood insurance programs, experts say.

For some, it would seem that a scholar in Romance Languages or a PhD in Literature would have little to add to the climate change conversation. The organizers of the 2017 Buffalo Humanities Festival were quick to disabuse that notion. Their assertion that the Humanities may be best-equipped to tackle the subject is at the heart of this weekend's festival.


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WXXI News & AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo is launching an effort to improve the New York State Canal System by holding a competition that will award up to $2.5 million to entrants who come up with the best ideas.

The Democrat made the announcement Monday as the World Canals Conference got underway in Syracuse. 

Elizabeth Licata

Country drives may be a little duller this fall. The recent return of summer-like weather may put a damper on colorful autumn foliage across the region.

A catastrophic failure of a large aquaculture pen near Cypress Island recently freed thousands of nonnative Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound, near Seattle.

In the aftermath of this outbreak, the Wild Fish Conservancy has launched a lawsuit against Cooke Aquaculture, the international corporation responsible for the accident.

Erie County

Como Lake Park is a jewel of Erie County, with thousands of Cheektowaga and Lancaster residents living close by and walking, biking or driving to its facilities. Erie County is starting to resolve a large slug of mud in the middle of the park's lake.

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