Great Lakes water quality issues to be focus of public forum – News – Voice News

http://www.voicenews.com/articles/2016/09/09/news/doc57d2f5619eab5141364661.txt

Weigh in on environmental issues on Oct 4, in Toronto Canada. If you are a citizen of the US or Canada you are invited to participate. Go to IJC.ORG to find out more. So your part to protect the Great Lakes.

Greenland Inuit oppose open-pit uranium mine on Arctic mountain-top – The Ecologist

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988016/greenland_inuit_oppose_openpit_uranium_mine_on_arctic_mountaintop.html

“Recently I [Bill Williams] was invited to assess an old Danish uranium exploration site in Kvanefjeld in southern Greenland.”

Inuit Ataqatigiit – the opposition party in the national parliament – had asked me to talk to local people about the health implications of re-opening the defunct mine.

An Australian firm called Greenland Minerals and Energy (GME) has big plans to extract uranium and rare earth minerals here. It would be a world first: an open-pit uranium mine on an Arctic mountain-top.

Any questions?

Feds: B.C. mines won’t go before international commission

http://www.ktoo.org/2015/09/16/feds-b-c-mines-wont-go-international-commission/

“The department, in responoce to our inquiry, says it’s concerned about British Columbia mining’s impacts on Alaskans, including Native groups, commercial fishermen and the tourism industry. It added that it had shared those concerns with senior levels of Canada and British Columbia’s governments.

But State Department officials say they do not anticipate referring the issue to the International Joint Commission at this time. Instead, they’re relying on increased cooperation between Alaska and British Columbia.”

We have this successful transboundary organization, the IJC, why does the federal government refuse to use?

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DNR adds to list of unwanted aquatic invasive species

http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MIDNR/bulletins/da0807

Excerpt:

The Department of Natural Resources today announced the addition of seven species to Michigan’s prohibited species list of aquatic invasive species. An additional species already on the list was also modified from a prohibited species to a restricted species.

Any species considered for listing as prohibited or restricted must be not native to Michigan. Prohibited species generally are not present or are in very limited areas, whereas restricted species are generally widespread and naturalized within the state. 

The decision came during the Nov. 6 meeting of the Natural Resources Commission, where DNR Director Keith Creagh signed Invasive Species Order Amendment No. 1 of 2014

Prior to this order there were 33 aquatic species listed as prohibited or restricted. The following species were added to the prohibited species list:

•  Stone moroko – part of the minnow family, this species is a known carrier of a parasite that can negatively impact other fishes. 
•  Zander – a close relative of the walleye, this species could compete with the native fish or reproduce with it and create a hybrid. 
•  Wels catfish – this fish is considered a serious danger to native fish populations. 
•  Killer shrimp – this species is an aggressive predator and could severely threaten the trophic levels of the Great Lakes by preying on a range of invertebrates. 
•  Yabby – this large crayfish would negatively impact other crayfish species. 
•  Golden mussel – similar to zebra and quagga mussels, this species has destructive qualities that would threaten native biodiversity. 
•  Red swamp crayfish – this species can quickly dominate waterbodies and is virtually impossible to eradicate. 

Additionally, rusty crayfish were moved from prohibited to restricted classification to allow for their limited possession for the purpose of destroying them for consumption, fertilizer or trash. This species already is widespread throughout the state, yet regulations previously didn’t allow for the collection of them for consumptive purposes.
 

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Wildlife Officials Warn Pilots to Avoid Massive Walrus Herd – NBC News.com

An excerpt from NBC reporting:

An estimated 35,000 walruses were spotted about 5 miles north of Point Lay, Alaska, on Sept. 27 by scientists on a survey flight. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requested that pilots fly at least 2,000 feet above the walrus herd and a half mile away from it. Helicopters were asked to fly 3,000 feet above and a mile away from the walruses, who were forced to swim to shore due to the lack of the sea ice that normally provides resting areas this time of year. No flights had been rerouted away from the beach, as some outlets previously reported, the Federal Aviation Authority told NBC News. The request from the FWS warned that walruses are sensitive to engine noise — a problem when planes fly low to get a better look at the animals — and aircraft could cause them to stampede. “This big group at Point Lay is mostly cows with calves, and when they stampede, they tend to run over the calves,” James MacCracken, supervisory wildlife biologist at the FWS regional office in Alaska, told NBC News. 

image

For more go to:

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/wildlife-officials-warn-pilots-avoid-massive-walrus-herd-n216641

Wildlife Officials Warn Pilots to Avoid Massive Walrus Herd – NBC News.com

An excerpt from NBC reporting:

An estimated 35,000 walruses were spotted about 5 miles north of Point Lay, Alaska, on Sept. 27 by scientists on a survey flight. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requested that pilots fly at least 2,000 feet above the walrus herd and a half mile away from it. Helicopters were asked to fly 3,000 feet above and a mile away from the walruses, who were forced to swim to shore due to the lack of the sea ice that normally provides resting areas this time of year. No flights had been rerouted away from the beach, as some outlets previously reported, the Federal Aviation Authority told NBC News. The request from the FWS warned that walruses are sensitive to engine noise — a problem when planes fly low to get a better look at the animals — and aircraft could cause them to stampede. “This big group at Point Lay is mostly cows with calves, and when they stampede, they tend to run over the calves,” James MacCracken, supervisory wildlife biologist at the FWS regional office in Alaska, told NBC News. 

image

For more go to:

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/wildlife-officials-warn-pilots-avoid-massive-walrus-herd-n216641

Russian tanker loaded with diesel fuel collides with Arctic ice floe | Alaska Dispatch

Diesel fuel spill in the Arctic. Arctic Council needs a stronger agreement address prevention of spills along with already agreed upon remedial measures. Alaska dispatch reporting on this spill – an excerpt:

“The 453-foot Russian-flagged tanker Nordvik is rated to travel in non-Arctic seas in thin ice, but collided with an ice floe in Matisen Straight, causing a hole that resulted in water ingress. The Northern Sea Route Administration had given the vessel permission to sail in the Kara Sea and the Laptev Sea, two of the most northern seas. There are as yet no reports of diesel fuel spills in the area, and the vessel was reportedly traveling toward Murmansk. 

A graphic of sea ice concentrations shows ice in that region, though the majority of the passage is shown to be ice-free. 

A Russian union spokesperson said the accident is an example of the need for more emergency response capacity in the region prior to allowing vessels to travel in the Arctic seas. 

“Yesterday’s accident was a direct threat to the lives of sailors and the ecology of the Arctic,” Aleksander Bodnya says to the union’s web site. “Vessels like that should not be sailing on NSR, simply because they are not capable of withstanding the ice conditions.” 

Alaska’s state officials responded with similar concern, saying the incident illustrates why Alaska and the United States need to continue to push an Arctic marine safety and life safety agenda. 

“We have an Arctic Council agreement signed this year to help each other in cleanup, but need more work in prevention,” said Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, one of the state officials who has been leading Arctic policy efforts, in an email.

Treadwell said one of the proposals from the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment includes a mandatory code defining what kind of ships can make these voyages. 

“Russia and other nation’s crude oil and product tankers now come through the Bering Strait, through waters that are a major food source for Alaskans and the world,” Treadwell said. “They should have contingency plans and the support of an oil spill response organization in case of a problem. That is not cheap, but we have to find a way to make it happen.” 

In 2012, 46 ships sailed the entire length from Europe to East Asia. In 2013, administrators of the Northern Sea Route had granted permission for more than 400 ships to sail.”

For full article go to:

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20130913/russian-tanker-loaded-diesel-fuel-collides-arctic-ice-floe