Eco-Diversity New Focus of Studies

Cutting edge study show the importance of diversity essential for healthy planet ecosystems. Excerpt from Science Daily:

“Zavaleta and two ecologists who recently received Ph.D.s from UCSC illustrate the importance of landscape diversity in their article “Several scales of bioversity affect ecosystem multifunctionality” published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Lead author Jae R. Pasari, who received his Ph.D. in 2011, conceived of the study for his dissertation. He, Zavaleta, and coauthor Taal Levi created simulations based on landmark research conducted by David Tilman, professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior at the University of Minnesota.
Tilman — also a co-author — created 168 plots nine meters square and planted them with randomized combinations of perennial grassland species. He was interested in how the plots would fare depending on the combination of species included.
Pasari, Levi, and Zavaleta took Tilman’s data gathered since 1997 to create 7,512 experimental computerized landscapes. The computer simulations are grounded on very real data, Zavaleta said.
“We used the simulation models to create imaginary landscapes with many kinds of habitats,” she said. The team was able to test combinations of “patches” in order to determine the overall potential health of the “quilt.”
The authors write: “In addition to conserving important species, maintaining ecosystem multifunctionality will require diverse landscape mosaics of diverse communities.”
“What’s new here,” Zavaleta says, “is reminding us that it’s not just important to protect a diversity of species but also important to protect the mosaic of habitat patches in a landscape.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130607160335.htm

Sea Level Rise Mapper | Scenic Hudson

Found this interactive map of the Hudson river. This June day perfect to get your boat out and play! Such a unique estuary, goal to preserve it in an environmentally changing atmosphere is challenging. You can stop commercial development but can you stop nature as sea rises? This excerpt is from the Scenic Hudson website:

“The Hudson River is an extension of the Atlantic Ocean, a 160-mile-long estuary that stretches from the Narrows in New York Harbor to the Federal Dam at Troy. Sea level along the entirely estuary is thus linked to any changes in water levels in the Atlantic and around the globe.

Over the past century, sea level on the Hudson has risen about a foot—more precisely about 3.2mm per year—a rate greater than the global average. The best data available indicates that we can expect the Hudson’s water levels to continue rising up to six feet by the end of this century, and perhaps that much again during the next century. Over 9,000 acres of riverfront lands lie within the expanding reach of daily high tides, threatening both the most critical river habitats and approximately 3,600 households and 6,900 people. Accompanying shifts of flood-prone areas will put another 6,400 households and 12,200 people at greater risk from damaging storm surges and floodwaters. At the same time, the most critical habitats of the Hudson River ecosystem—the 13,000 acres of tidal wetlands and shallow water vegetation beds—will be increasingly stressed by rising water levels.

As both a mission-driven organization and a stakeholder owning over 1,000 acres of protected lands along the river’s edge, Scenic Hudson is working to catalyze long-range planning for sea level rise along the estuary. Our goal is to work toward a future that balances and reduces risks to people, property and nature, and holds the promise of secure, thriving riverfront communities within a vibrant, healthy ecosystem.”

Check out the interactive map here:

http://www.scenichudson.org/slr/mapper

Environmental Justice U.S. EPA

From NYSPSA at Syracuse Univ. Nicole Daniels found that spa definition “too broad” and confusing to people. She called definition ” squishy”. Read on for EPA definition of environmental justice. Next question, how does EJ differ from Superfund concept

Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

What is meant by fair treatment and meaningful involvement?

Fair treatment means that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies

Meaningful Involvement means that:
people have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health;
the public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision;
their concerns will be considered in the decision making process; and
the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected
EPA and Environmental Justice

EPA’s goal is to provide an environment where all people enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to maintain a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

EPA’s environmental justice mandate extends to all of the Agency’s work, including setting standards, permitting facilities, awarding grants, issuing licenses and regulations and reviewing proposed actions by the federal agencies. EPA works with all stakeholders to constructively and collaboratively address environmental and public health issues and concerns. The Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) coordinates the Agency’s efforts to integrate environmental justice into all policies, programs, and activities. OEJ’s mission is to facilitate Agency efforts to protect environment and public health in minority, low-income, tribal and other vulnerable communities by integrating environmental justice in all programs, policies, and activities.

Learn more on the history of Environmental Justice…

http://www.epa.gov/compliance/ej/basics/