Jul 252014

This is a huge and surprising change. The best to come out of this is the feds can stop wasting time relocating wolves from suitable habitat. The downside is more people will get a chance to shoot wolves.

Fed proposal gives wolves wider range | Albuquerque Journal News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service laid out its plan for the future of the endangered Mexican gray wolf on Thursday, which includes allowing the reintroduced wolves to roam a much larger area.

But an environmental group says the plan also makes it too easy for ranchers and state agencies to kill the wolves – a problem the group’s director says has long hindered the recovery effort in New Mexico and Arizona.

“We’re glad Mexican wolves will be allowed to roam more widely and will be introduced directly into New Mexico,” said Michael Robinson with the Silver City-based Center for Biological Diversity. “But increasing the authority to kill wolves is disappointing and will further imperil them.”


Fed proposal gives wolves wider range | Albuquerque Journal News


 Posted by at 7:28 am
Jul 222014

And cows spoil many a creek, trail, and camping site. And cattle raisers are the main opponents of restoring wolves to their rightful place in our environment, while taking advantage of public land.

Beef pollutes more than pork and poultry, study says | Albuquerque Journal News

Raising beef for the American dinner table does far more damage to the environment than producing pork, poultry, eggs or dairy, a new study says.

Compared with the other animal proteins, beef produces five times more heat-trapping gases per calorie, puts out six times as much water-polluting nitrogen, takes 11 times more water for irrigation and uses 28 times the land, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Cows are not efficient at converting feed to protein for human consumption, said lead author Gidon Eshel, an environmental physics professor at Bard College in New York.

Beef pollutes more than pork and poultry, study says | Albuquerque Journal News


 Posted by at 10:15 am
Jul 192014

Terrible. In the southwestern US, we’ve been luckier this year than in recent years.

A Rash of Fire in Canada and the Pacific Northwest : Image of the Day

In mid-July 2014, a combination of lightning, parched forests, and hot temperatures fueled dozens of wildfires in Canada and the northwestern United States. According to the Canadian government, 102 uncontrolled fires were burning in British Columbia on July 17, and there were 13 more in Alberta. Across the border, 33 uncontrolled fires were active in Washington and Oregon.

A Rash of Fire in Canada and the Pacific Northwest : Image of the Day


 Posted by at 4:44 pm
Jul 032014

The Sky This Week, 2014 July 1 – 8 — Naval Oceanography Portal

Earth reaches aphelion, its farthest point from the Sun, on the 3rd at 4:13 pm EDT.  At this time we’ll be just over 94,550,000 miles (153,000, 000 kilometers) from the day-star.  Six months from now, in early January, we’ll find ourselves closest to the Sun by a mere 3 million miles or so.  Fortunately this annual excursion means that the planet’s orbit is nearly circular, so our climate remains relatively benign throughout the year.

The Sky This Week, 2014 July 1 – 8 — Naval Oceanography Portal


 Posted by at 2:13 pm
Jun 302014

I thought I had another day. (Isn’t that always the case.) Why wouldn’t the Forest Service keep the forest open through the last day of the month, the last day of the fiscal year? I’m not protesting the closing, but when it’s this hot, the only relief starts at 10,000 feet.

Rain is expected this week. Will enough come to prevent the closure of the bosque? How much of New Mexico will be destroyed on the Fourth by idiots celebrating their right to be stupid?

Forests close due to fire danger | Albuquerque Journal News



 Posted by at 11:00 am
Jun 052014

Sessions examine forest plan changes | Albuquerque Journal News

By Journal Staff
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 12:05 am

Scheduled public sessions

  • June 9 – 6-9 p.m., UNM Continuing Education Bldg. Room C, 1634 University NE, Albuquerque
  • June 10 – 1-4 p.m. and 6-8:30 p.m., Gallup Community Service Center, 410 Bataan Veterans St., Gallup• June 11 – 6-9 p.m., Socorro County Annex, Co-op Extension classroom, 198 Neel Ave., Socorro
  • June 12 – 1-4 p.m. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th NW, Albuquerque and 6-9 p.m., Mountainair Senior Center
  • June 23 – 6-9 p.m., Mountainair Senior Center
  • June 24 – 1-4 p.m. and 6 – 8:30 p.m., Northwest New Mexico Visitor’s Center, 1900 E. Santa Fe Ave., Grants
  • June 25, 6-9 p.m., Socorro County Annex, Commission Room, 198 Neel Ave., Socorro
  • June 26, 1-4 p.m., Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th St. NW, Albuquerque, and 6-9 p.m., UNM Continuing Education Building, Room C, 1634 University NE, Albuquerque

Officials with the Cibola National Forest will host a series of work sessions this month as they move forward with planned revisions to the forest plan for the Sandia, Mountainair, Magdalena and Mount Taylor Ranger Districts.

The plan will guide future uses of the 1.63 million-acre forest.

The five-year process of revising the current forest plan, implemented in 1985, began in late 2012 when the Forest Service started a detailed assessment of the four districts.

Forest officials recently finished a series of public meetings on the draft Cibola Forest Assessment Report that was completed in April.

This month’s workshops provide another opportunity for the public to discuss any needed changes to the plan.

View the plan at fs.usda.gov/main/cibola/landmanagement/planning.

For more information, call 346-3889.

Sessions examine forest plan changes | Albuquerque Journal News


 Posted by at 7:21 pm
Jun 052014

It’s right thing for our land | Albuquerque Journal News

By Oscar Simpson / State Chair, New Mexico Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 12:05 am

The story of the hunter-conservationist is built on the premise that those of us who take directly from the land have the most obvious incentives and mandates to care for it. We have something tangible at stake when species, habitats, special spots, wildness and natural beauty are in jeopardy of being tamed or compromised. They are our skin in the game.

These are things we know. Things we love. And they are decreasing commodities in a world of growing human pressures.

Regardless of your political leanings, if you are among our ranks as a hunter, angler or outdoors person in North America today, and you are true to your roots as an advocate for the resources we all value, then you have every reason to join in applauding President Obama’s move to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in south-central New Mexico.

He did so by pulling the ultimate trump card of the presidential conservation deck – the American Antiquities Act of 1906.

With the stroke of Obama’s pen, nearly 500,000 acres of our public lands – your public lands – will be afforded a phenomenal degree of protection in perpetuity. Whether anti-conservation opponents like it or not. No Washington, D.C., bickering necessary.

What a fine law it is that allows the right thing to happen in spite of the gridlock that has paralyzed and polarized the political climate today.

It’s the right thing because desert species and ecosystems, like those found in these special acres, are among our most unique and imperiled. Particularly in the face of a changing climate. … [more at the link]

It’s right thing for our land | Albuquerque Journal News


 Posted by at 1:16 pm
Jun 042014

Sorry I’m late. The first designated wilderness. Wow! And we still have to fight to protect the tiny bit of land left unspoiled.

Happy Birthday, Gila! | New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

Happy Birthday, Gila Wilderness!

June 3, 1924-June 3-2014

Today is the 90th birthday of the world’s first designated wilderness, the Gila Wilderness.

In 1922, Aldo Leopold, a United States Forest Service supervisor of the Carson National Forest, proposed that the headwaters area of the Gila River be preserved by an administrative process of excluding roads and denying use permits. Through his efforts, this area became recognized in 1924 as the first wilderness area in the National Forest System. Then, in 1964, the Gila became the first congressionally designated wilderness of the National Wilderness Preservation System when the Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Happy Birthday, Gila! | New Mexico Wilderness Alliance


 Posted by at 4:47 pm
Jun 022014

So, ranchers and oil companies have destroyed 80% of the habitat of the lesser prairie chicken and want the other 20%? Greedy much? And the county government serves the money, not the public and certainly not the creatures that lived their long before we did..

Suit filed to stop listing of rare grouse | Albuquerque Journal News

Federal officials say the bird has lost more than 80 percent of its traditional habitat, mostly because of human activity such as oil and gas drilling, ranching and the construction of power lines and wind turbines.

The federal government said those states had fewer than 18,000 lesser prairie chickens in 2013, down almost 50 percent from 2012.

Ranchers and oil companies believe the listing will have a negative effect on the ranching, oil and gas and wind farm industries in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. That’s where the chicken’s habitat is known.

Suit filed to stop listing of rare grouse | Albuquerque Journal News


 Posted by at 8:23 am
May 262014

Storms drench holiday weekend across NM | Albuquerque Journal News By Ryan Boetel / Journal Staff Writer
PUBLISHED: Monday, May 26, 2014 at 12:05 am

The last time the Albuquerque area had a similar storm bring multiple days of rainfall was in September, and the last storm to bring consecutive days of any precipitation was in November, when rain and snow fell in the city, said Tim Shy, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. In April and May, Albuquerque had a couple of small showers that dropped mere hundredths of an inch, he said.

Although the Roswell area got the most rain statewide, 5 inches, it was hit or miss in the Albuquerque area from Thursday through Sunday morning, with the West Side reporting nearly an inch of rain and the South Valley getting a little more than a tenth of an inch.

The East Mountains got about an inch, while a half an inch of rain fell at the Albuquerque International Sunport, Shy said. …

Roswell and the eastern plains were soaked.

Nearly 5 inches of rain fell north of Roswell, the highest concentration of rainfall in the state and the most it rained there since 1946.

State Highway 409, the road that takes people to Bottomless Lake State Park in southeastern New Mexico, flooded and will be closed for the foreseeable future, according to the state Parks Division website.

In the eastern plains, between 2 and 3 inches fell at many of the recording stations, Palucki said.

The unfortunate exception was the Gila Wilderness, which is already in the throes of a possibly active fire season. It rained just 0.02 of an inch at one location, and no rain was reported at four recording stations in or near the wilderness area, Palucki said.

Data on rainfall totals throughout the state on Sunday won’t be available until this morning, she said.

New Mexico State Police Sgt. Damyon Brown said storms weren’t factors in any serious crashes in the state, and no rescues or other emergencies stemmed from the rainfall as of Sunday evening.

Palucki said to expect more rain as the storm continues to creep east across the state today. She said to plan for scattered showers, especially in the northern and eastern portions of the state. Most of the storms will be in the late afternoon or early evening.

New Mexico is entering its fourth consecutive year of drought, which adversely affects the state’s water supplies, wildfire risk and crop yields.

“It certainly helps,” Palucki said of the storm. “But it will not reverse the drought. The deficit is far too great for just two or three or four days of rain.”

And Palucki said nothing that would have an effect on the drought is in the forecast.

Warm weather and sunny, clear skies are predicted throughout the state starting Tuesday, just in time for the workweek.

Storms drench holiday weekend across NM | Albuquerque Journal News


 Posted by at 9:23 am
May 232014

Peak starts near midnight in New Mexico.

The Sky This Week, 2014 May 20 – 27 — Naval Oceanography Portal

The waning crescent Moon shouldn’t be a factor for skywatchers in most of North America on the night of the 23rd and the early morning of the 24th.  With a little luck and clear skies we should have a ringside seat to see a brand-new meteor shower during this time.  We can thank a small, dim comet known as 209P/LINEAR for this potentially spectacular show which should peak somewhere between 2:00 and 4:00 am on Saturday morning here in the Washington area.  The comet was discovered in 2004 in a roughly 5 year orbit that takes it out to the vicinity of Jupiter, whose large gravity field controls the comet’s destiny.  The comet itself will pass about 5 million miles from Earth on the 29th, but on Saturday morning we should plow headlong into a stream of dust that sputtered off the comet’s nucleus at an unseen return from some 200 years ago.  Various meteor experts predict that a single observer at a dark-sky site should see anywhere from 30 to 200 meteors per hour during the peak of activity.  Unlike the more famous Perseids or Leonids, these “shooting stars” will be quite slow, actually looking like a star falling from the sky.  The shower radiant will be in the obscure northern constellation of Camelopardalis, the Giraffe, to the left of Polaris, the North Star.  The best way to enjoy the show is to set up a lawn chair with your feet pointing to the northwest horizon, bundle up against the cool night air, grab some coffee, and look up.  If the predictions hold you could be in for quite a treat.

The Sky This Week, 2014 May 20 – 27 — Naval Oceanography Portal

A New Meteor Shower in May? – NASA Science

The shower is the May Camelopardalids, caused by dust from periodic comet 209P/LINEAR.  No one has ever seen it before, but this year the Camelopardalids could put on a display that rivals the well-known Perseids of August.

“Some forecasters have predicted more than 200 meteors per hour,” says Cooke. 

Comet 209P/LINEAR was discovered in February 2004 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project, a cooperative effort of NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, and the US Air Force.  It is a relatively dim comet that dips inside the orbit of Earth once every five years as it loops around the sun.  

Two years ago, meteor experts Esko Lyytinen of Finland and Peter Jenniskens at NASA Ames Research Center announced that Earth was due for an encounter with debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR.  Streams of dust ejected by the comet mainly back in the 1800s would cross Earth’s orbit on May 24, 2014.  The result, they said, could be a significant meteor outburst. 

Other experts agreed, in part. There is a broad consensus among forecasters that Earth will indeed pass through the debris streams on May 24th. However, no one is sure how much debris is waiting.  It all depends on how active the comet was more a century ago when the debris streams were laid down. 

“We have no idea what the comet was doing in the 1800s,” says Cooke.  As a result of the uncertainty, “there could be a great meteor shower—or a complete dud.”

The best time to look is during the hours between 6:00 and 08:00 Universal Time on May 24th or between 2 and 4 o’clock in the morning Eastern Daylight Time.  That’s when an ensemble of forecast models say Earth is most likely to encounter the comet’s debris.  North Americans are favored because, for them, the peak occurs during nighttime hours while the radiant is high in the sky.

“We expect these meteors to radiate from a point in Camelopardalis, also known as ‘the giraffe’, a faint constellation near the North Star,” he continues.  “It will be up all night long for anyone who wishes to watch throughout the night.”

Indeed, that might be a good idea.  Because this is a new meteor shower, surprises are possible. Outbursts could occur hours before or after the forecasted peak.

In case of a dud, there is a consolation prize.  On May 24th the crescent Moon and Venus are converging for a tight conjunction the next morning, May 25th. Look for them rising together just ahead of the sun in the eastern sky at dawn.

“That’s a nice way to start the day,” says Cooke, “meteors or not.”

A New Meteor Shower in May? – NASA Science


 Posted by at 1:00 am