Posts tagged wildlife
CU-Boulder amphibian study shows how
biodiversity can protect against disease
The richer the assortment of amphibian species living in a pond, the more protection that community of frogs, toads and salamanders has against a parasitic infection that can cause severe deformities, including the growth of extra legs, according to a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder.
The findings, published Feb. 14 in the journal Nature, support the idea that greater biodiversity in larger-scale ecosystems, such as forests or grasslands, may also provide greater protection against diseases, including those that attack humans. For example, a larger number of mammal species in an area may curb cases of Lyme disease, while a larger number of bird species may slow the spread of West Nile virus.
“How biodiversity affects the risk of infectious diseases, including those of humans and wildlife, has become an increasingly important question,” said Pieter Johnson, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and lead author of the study. “But as it turns out, solidly testing these linkages with realistic experiments has proven very challenging in most systems.”
Researchers have struggled to design comprehensive studies that could illuminate the possible connection between disease transmission and the number of species living in complex ecosystems. Part of the problem is simply the enormous number of organisms that may need to be sampled and the vast areas over which those organisms may roam.
The new CU-Boulder study overcomes that problem by studying smaller, easier-to-sample ecosystems. Johnson and his team visited hundreds of ponds in California, recording the types of amphibians living there as well as the number of snails infected by the pathogen Ribeiroia ondatrae. Snails are an intermediate host used by the parasite during part of its life cycle.
“One of the great challenges in studying the diversity-disease link has been collecting data from enough replicate systems to differentiate the influence of diversity from background ‘noise,’ ” Johnson said. “By collecting data from hundreds of ponds and thousands of amphibian hosts, our group was able to provide a rigorous test of this hypothesis, which has relevance to a wide range of disease systems.”
Johnson’s team buttressed its field observations both with laboratory tests designed to measure how prone to infection each amphibian species is and by creating pond replicas outside using large plastic tubs stocked with tadpoles that were exposed to a known number of parasites. All of the experiments told the same story, Johnson said. Greater biodiversity reduced the number of successful amphibian infections and the number of deformed frogs.
In all, the CU-Boulder researchers spent three years sampling 345 wetlands and recording malformations — which include missing, misshapen or extra sets of hind legs — caused by parasitic infections in 24,215 amphibians. They also cataloged 17,516 snails. The results showed that ponds with half a dozen amphibian species had a 78 percent reduction in parasite transmission compared to ponds with just one amphibian species. The research team also set up experiments in the lab and outdoors using 40 artificial ponds, each stocked with 60 amphibians and 5,000 parasites.
The reason for the decline in parasitic infections as biodiversity increases is likely related to the fact that ponds add amphibian species in a predictable pattern, with the first species to appear being the most prone to infection and the later species to appear being the least prone. For example, the research team found that in a pond with just one type of amphibian, that amphibian was almost always the Pacific chorus frog, a creature that is able to rapidly reproduce and quickly colonize wetland habitats, but which is also especially vulnerable to infection and parasite-induced deformities.
On the other hand, the California tiger salamander was typically one of the last species to be added to a pond community and also one of the most resistant to parasitic infection. Therefore, in a pond with greater biodiversity, parasites have a higher chance of encountering an amphibian that is resistant to infection, lowering the overall success rate of transmission between infected snails and amphibians.
This same pattern — of less diverse communities being made up of species that are more susceptible to disease infection — may well play out in more complex ecosystems as well, Johnson said. That’s because species that disperse quickly across ecosystems appear to trade off the ability to quickly reproduce with the ability to develop disease resistance.
“This research reaches the surprising conclusion that the entire set of species in a community affects the susceptibility to disease,” said Doug Levey, program director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology, which helped fund the research. “Biodiversity matters.”
The sheer magnitude of the recent study also reinforces the connection between deformed frogs and parasitic infection, Johnson said. Beginning in the mid-1990s reports of frogs with extra, missing or misshapen legs skyrocketed, attracting widespread attention in the media and motivating scientists to try to figure out the cause. Johnson was among the researchers who found evidence of a link between infection with Ribeiroia and frog deformities, though the apparent rise in reports of deformations, and its underlying cause, remains controversial.
While the new study has implications beyond parasitic infections in amphibians, it does not mean that an increase in biodiversity always results in a decrease in disease, Johnson cautioned. Other factors also affect rates of disease transmission. For example, a large number of mosquitoes hatching in a particular year will increase the risk of contracting West Nile virus, even if there has been an increase in the biodiversity of the bird population. Birds act as “reservoir hosts” for West Nile virus, harboring the pathogen indefinitely with no ill effects and passing the pathogen onto mosquitoes.
“Our results indicate that higher diversity reduces the success of pathogens in moving between hosts,” Johnson said. “Nonetheless, if infection pressure is high, for instance in a year with high abundance of vectors, there will still be a significant risk of disease; biodiversity will simply function to dampen transmission success.”
CU-Boulder graduate students Dan Preston and Katie Richgels co-authored the study along with Jason Hoverman, a former postdoctoral researcher in Johnson’s lab who is now an assistant professor at Purdue. The research was funded by NSF, the National Geographic Society and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
To view photos and a video about the research, visit http://freshwatersillustrated.org/link/AmphibianDeformities.
Creeping climate change in the Southwest appears to be having a negative effect on pinyon pine reproduction, a finding with implications for wildlife species sharing the same woodland ecosystems, says a University of Colorado Boulder-led study.
The new study showed that pinyon pine seed cone production declined by an average of about 40 percent at nine study sites in New Mexico and northwestern Oklahoma over the past four decades, said CU-Boulder doctoral student Miranda Redmond, who led the study. The biggest declines in pinyon pine seed cone reproduction were at the higher elevation research sites experiencing more dramatic warming relative to lower elevations, said Redmond of CU’s ecology and evolutionary biology department.
“We are finding significant declines in pinyon pine cone production at many of our study sites,” said Redmond. “The biggest declines in cone production we measured were in areas with greater increases in temperatures over the past several decades during the March to October growing season.”
The cones in which the pinyon seeds are produced are initiated two years prior to seed maturity, and research suggests the environmental stimulus for cone initiation is unseasonably low temperatures during the late summer, said Redmond. Between 1969 and 2009, unseasonably low temperatures in late summer decreased in the study areas, likely inhibiting cone initiation and development.
The study is one of the first to examine the impact of climate change on tree species like pinyon pines that, instead of reproducing annually, shed vast quantities of cones every few years during synchronous, episodic occurrences known as “masting” events. Redmond said such masting in the pinyon pine appears to occur every three to seven years, resulting in massive “bumper crops” of cones covering the ground.
In the new Ecosphere study, the researchers compared two 10-year sequences of time. In addition to showing that total pinyon pine cone production during the 2003-2012 decade had declined from the 1969-1978 decade in the study areas, the team found the production of cones during masting events also declined during that period.
Some scientists believe masting events evolved to produce a big surplus of nut-carrying cones — far too many for wildlife species to consume in a season — making it more likely the nuts eventually will sprout into pinyon pine seedlings, she said. Others have suggested masting events occur during favorable climate conditions and/or to increase pollination efficiency. “Right now we really don’t know what drives them,” Redmond said.
“Across a range of forested ecosystems we are observing widespread mortality events due to stressors such as changing climate, drought, insects and fire,” said CU’s Barger. “This study provides evidence that increasing air temperatures may be influencing the ability of a common and iconic western U.S. tree, pinyon pine, to reproduce. We would predict that declines in pinyon pine cone production may impact the long-term viability of these tree populations.”
Wildlife biologists say pinyon-juniper woodlands are popular with scores of bird and mammal species ranging from black-chinned hummingbirds to black bears. A 2007 study by researchers at the University of Northern Arizona estimated that 150 Clark’s Nutcrackers cached roughly 5 million pinyon pine nuts in a single season, benefiting not only the birds themselves but also the pines whose nuts were distributed more widely for possible germination.
For the new study, Redmond revisited nine pinyon pine study sites scattered throughout New Mexico and Oklahoma that had been studied previously in 1978 by Forcella. Both Forcella and Redmond were able to document pinyon pine masting years by counting small, concave blemishes known as “abscission scars” on individual tree branches that appeared after the cones have been dropped, she said.
Since each year in the life of a pinyon pine tree is marked by a “whorl” — a single circle of branches extending around a tree trunk — the researchers were able to bracket pinyon pine reproductive activity in the nine study areas for the 1969-1978 decade and 2003-2012 decade, which were then compared.
Pinyon pines take three growing seasons, or about 26 months, to produce mature cones from the time of cone initiation. Low elevation conifers including pinyon pines grow in water-limited environments and have been shown to have higher cone output during cool and/or wet summers, said Redmond. In addition to the climate-warming trend under way in the Southwest, the 2002-03 drought caused significant mortality in pinyon pine forests, Redmond said.
“Miranda’s ideas and accompanying results will be of value to ecologists and land managers in the deserts of the Southwest and beyond,” said Forcella, now a research agronomist in the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. “The work is evidence that the University of Colorado continues to cultivate a cadre of high-caliber graduate students for which it rightfully can take tremendous pride.”
Pinyon nuts, the Southwest’s only commercial source of edible pine seeds today, were dietary staples of indigenous Americans going back millennia.
For more information on CU-Boulder’s ecology and evolutionary biology department visit http://ebio.colorado.edu.
The City of Boulder has finalized and is releasing a proactive coyote management plan for addressing the reported coyote-human interactions in the area of Boulder Creek Path in central Boulder. The plan is available on www.boulderwildlifeplan.net.
The coyote wildlife plan is site specific to a focused area where several conflicts have been recently reported. It includes proactive hazing of coyotes by city staff and volunteers to attempt to retrain coyotes to be wary of humans. Lethal control of coyotes remains an option if aggressive incidents occur and responsible coyotes can be reasonably identified. Hazing activity will begin tomorrow.
People who travel the Boulder Creek Path should be aware of the increased coyote activity, as well as the hazing efforts the city will be conducting. Individuals should make every effort to maintain a good distance from coyotes. In cases where a coyote approaches human, people are advised to make themselves look bigger, make noise and wave their arms to scare the coyote away. Back away slowly. Turning away or running from the coyote could prompt the animal to become even more aggressive.
People who come in contact with an aggressive coyote are encouraged to call 303-441-3333 as promptly as possible to report the incident.
“This week on Inside Boulder News: A Boulder second grader is awarded for knowing what to do during a house fire, an analysis shows how a 100-year flood would affect city buildings, and the students of Uni Hill learn about an important natural resource.”
Inside Boulder News is a weekly TV news cast from and about the city of Boulder. A new edition appears here every Friday afternoon
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity is distributing 50,000 free Endangered Species Condoms for holiday and New Year’s Eve celebrations around the country. More than 600 volunteer distributors will hand out the condoms at events in all 50 states. The condoms are part of the Center’s 7 Billion and Counting campaign focusing on the effects of rapid human population growth on rare plants and animals.
“There are more than 3 billion people on the planet under the age of 25. The choices this generation makes will determine whether our planet and its wildlife and natural resource base are burdened with 8 billion or 15 billion people. The difference between these paths can be measured by how many other species are left to roam alongside us,” said Jerry Karnas, population campaign director with the Center. “Our Endangered Species Condoms are a great way to get a conversation started about how the growing human population is affecting the wild world around us, especially animals already teetering on the edge of extinction.”
As part of its full-time population campaign launched in 2009, the Center has given out 450,000 free Endangered Species Condoms, featuring polar bears, panthers and other species threatened by population growth, loss of habitat and consumption of natural resources. This year, the Center is providing condoms to college health centers, nightclub owners, environmental activists, women’s reproductive-health groups and other activists around the United States.
The world’s human population has doubled since 1970, reaching 7 billion in October 2011. According to the latest research, it could exceed 9 billion by 2050. In recent weeks, several federal reports have noted the impact that population is having on the natural world. A recent decision to propose Endangered Species Act protection for 66 coral species said that “the common root or driver of most, possibly all” of the threats that corals face — like climate change and changing ocean conditions — is the world’s growing human population. Another report, by the Department of the Interior, raised serious questions about the ability of the Colorado River to meet demands of a growing population in the western United States.
“The evidence is mounting, and the solutions are at hand if only we’re just willing to start talking about them,” Karnas said. “Universal access to birth control, a rapid transition to clean energy, robust land-acquisition programs and much smarter growth policies can combine to forge a future for wildlife and a high quality of life for people. There’s no better time to start than in the new year of 2013.”
The Center is the only environmental group with a full-time campaign highlighting the connection between unsustainable human population growth and the ongoing extinction crisis for plants and animals around the world. In 2011 the Center released a report on the top 10 U.S. species threatened by population growth.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
TUCSON, Ariz.— Senator James Inhofe, one of Congress’ staunchest deniers of climate change and stalwart human obstacle to federal action on this unprecedented global crisis, is the lucky recipient of the Center for Biological Diversity’s 2012 Rubber Dodo Award, which is given annually to those who have done the most to drive endangered species extinct.
Previous winners include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2011), former BP CEO Tony Hayward (2010), massive land speculator Michael Winer (2009), Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (2008) and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (2007).
When it comes to denying the climate crisis — the single-greatest threat now facing life on Earth — James Inhofe has few peers. The Oklahoma Republican is the ringleader of anti-science climate-deniers in Congress and a driving force behind the tragic lack of U.S. action to tackle this complex problem. 2012 saw the publication, to resoundingly little critical acclaim, of Sen. Inhofe’s book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, by WND Press, an entity also known for its “birther” campaign against President Barack Obama.
“As climate change ravages the world, Senator Inhofe insists that we deny the reality unfolding in front of us and choose instead to blunder headlong into chaos,” said Kierán Suckling, the Center’s executive director. “Senator Inhofe gets the 2012 Rubber Dodo Award for being at the vanguard of the retrograde climate-denier movement.”
This year is on track to become the warmest on record; some 40,000 temperature records have been broken in the United States in 2012 alone, while Arctic sea ice has melted to a record low. The year has also seen record droughts, crop failures, massive wildfires, floods and other unmistakable signals that manmade global warming is tightening its grip, threatening people and wildlife around the globe.
“Senator Inhofe’s pet theory that climate change is an elaborate hoax would be hilarious, if only he weren’t an elected representative of the American people,” Suckling said. “If he were, say, a performance artist, it’d be really funny. But sadly he has the power to affect U.S. climate policy. The United States has a chance — and a duty — to take significant steps to slow the climate crisis, and a brief window of time before it’s too late for us to do so. Deniers like Inhofe, in positions of leadership, are dooming future generations of people to a far more difficult world.”
More than 15,000 people cast their votes in this year’s Rubber Dodo contest. Other official nominees were Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who put a rider on a must-pass bill that stripped Endangered Species Act protection from wolves, and Shell Oil, a company bound and determined to pursue dangerous oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
Background on the Dodo
Its trusting nature led to its rapid extinction. By 1681 the dodo was extinct, having been hunted and outcompeted by humans, dogs, cats, rats, macaques and pigs. Humans logged its forest cover while pigs uprooted and ate much of the understory vegetation.
The origin of the name dodo is unclear. It likely came from the Dutch word dodoor, meaning “sluggard,” the Portuguese word doudo, meaning “fool” or “crazy,” or the Dutch word dodaars meaning “plump-arse” (that nation’s name for the little grebe).
The dodo’s reputation as a foolish, ungainly bird derives in part from its friendly naiveté and the very plump captives that were taken on tour across Europe. The animal’s reputation was cemented with the 1865 publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Based on skeleton reconstructions and the discovery of early drawings, scientists now believe that the dodo was a much sleeker animal than commonly portrayed. The rotund European exhibitions were accidentally produced by overfeeding captive birds.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Residents encouraged to secure trash and food sources to protect bears
With bears foraging for food in preparation for their winter hibernation, it is important that residents take measures to deter bears by securing any potential food sources on their properties. See the Inside Boulder News segment about recent bear activity.
Bear-proofing food items and trash is the best way for residents to minimize the chance that bears will show interest in their property. Common bear attractants include garbage, compost, fruit from trees, bird feeders, food from outdoor grills and pet food left outside.
City regulations require that curbside garbage/compost bins not be placed out for pick up until 5 a.m. the day collection occurs. Alleyway bins are exempt from these regulations.
To be safe, the city recommends that residents west of Broadway store all garbage and compost bins in a garage or shed until the morning of collection, or keep their waste in a bear-resistant trash container. Residents within Boulder city limits can contact their trash hauler for specific information about bear-resistant trash containers.
Bears that learn that people are a source of food are sometimes killed to keep the public safe. During the past six years, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has killed five bears in Boulder because of nuisance behavior or a threat to public safety. Please do your part to ensure that bears are not unnecessarily attracted to your property.
If there is a bear in your backyard, the following tips are recommended:
- Keep your distance. Back away slowly from the bear, ensuring it has a clear escape path;
- Never run. Running may cause a bear to chase you;
- Never approach a bear, or get in between a cub and its mother;
- Never provide food to a bear. This teaches it to approach people for food;
- Do not let the bear become comfortable around your home; and
- Once you are safely inside, do your best to scare the bear away. Yell, clap your hands and make other loud noises to encourage the bear to leave.
If the bear is observed within the city limits, call the Boulder Police Department at 303-441-3333. To report past bear sightings and encounters, call 303-441-3004.
The city is currently conducting an Urban Black Bear Education and Enforcement Pilot Program in partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. For more information about the pilot program, contact Urban Wildlife Conservation Coordinator Val Matheson at 303-441-3004 or visit www.boulderwildlifeplan.net.
For a detailed discussion about bears in the urban/foothill interface, watch the “Bears in Boulder” segment of A Boulder View.
|When:||Sunday, May 27th|
|Where:||11:30am at Lincoln Park for bike ride + trash cleanup on way to action
2:00pm at 64th Avenue and York Street
On Sunday, May 27th, Occupy Denver will be teaming up again with groups such as Deep Green Resistance, 350.org, and families from local communities that are directly affected by the Commerce City Suncor refinery for a demonstration against Suncor and the oil seep contaminating the Sand Creek and South Platte River. You can visit us on Facebook for information about the benzene spill here. We are asking everyone concerned about our water, air, land and future to stand with us.
Over the last year, many people and various organizations have united to oppose the Alberta tar sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline, correctly recognizing these industrial projects as ecocidal insanity. Here in Colorado, oil from the tar sands is refined by Suncor Energy. By participating in the process of facilitating genocide against the aboriginal people of Alberta, Suncor Energy has toxified our air, land and water without end. By bringing together active members of the Colorado community in coalition, we will align to force Suncor to stop destroying and poisoning our world, both here in Colorado and in Canada.
On Sunday, May 27th, we will occupy the ‘hot zone’ on the shore of Sand Creek, where carcinogenic benzene from Suncor’s refinery has been seeping into the water. By occupying the hot zone, we hope to bring public attention to the fact that Suncor is killing Colorado communities, water and wildlife, and to force this industrial polluter to confront the effects of its actions. It is also our hope to form strong alliances with one another and begin to work in partnership so we can effectively move forward against Suncor’s unethical and irresponsible practices.
For this action, members of Occupy Denver will be hosting a bike ride and trash cleanup along the Platte River bike path to the Suncor Refinery (weather permitting). Anyone is welcome and everyone is encouraged to take part in this. We will meet between 11:30 AM and noon at Lincoln Park, in front of the State Capitol, to leave from there. Those who do not wish to take part in the bike ride can carpool to 64th Avenue and York Street, where we will all meet up at about 2:00 PM to eat and walk to the site of the action at the confluence of Sand Creek and South Platte River. Food will be provided by Denver Food Rescue (?), and representatives from various groups will be speaking. Be aware that fumes from the oil and the refinery can sometimes make the area uncomfortable for people with compromised respiratory systems. We encourage everyone to bring their theatrical ideas to dramatize this event (haz-mat suits, EPA inspector costumes, gas masks, “fracking fluid,” etc. would be quite appropriate here).
It is our hope to see as many of you as possible at this demonstration. Suncor is actively destroying our planet, and should be stopped. Suncor’s role in the tar sands is contributing to a devastated climate and is harming indigenous communities in Canada as well as people living in local communities in Colorado. Please join us on May 27th to stand against these injustices and degradation of our Earth.
Effort could be a key to preserving rare species
A research team involving Yale University and the University of Colorado Boulder has developed a first public demonstration version of its “Map of Life,” an ambitious Web-based endeavor designed to show the distribution of all living plants and animals on the planet.
The demonstration version allows anyone with an Internet connection to map the known global distribution of almost 25,000 species of terrestrial vertebrate animals, including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and North American freshwater fish. The database, which continues to expand, already contains hundreds of millions of records on the abundance and distribution of the planet’s diverse flora and fauna.
“We are taking 200 years of different types of knowledge coming from different sources, all documenting the locations of species around the world and compiling them in a way that will greatly enhance our knowledge of biodiversity,” said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Robert Guralnick of the ecology and evolutionary biology department, part of the Map of Life research team. “Such information could be used by any organization that needs to make informed decisions regarding land management, health, conservation and climate change.”
The initial version of the map tool being released today is intended to introduce it to the broader public, according to the researchers. It allows users to see several levels of detail for a given species — at its broadest, the type of environment it lives in, and at its finest, specific locations where the species’ presence has been documented. One function allows users to click a point on the map and generate a list of vertebrate species in the surrounding area. More functions will be added over time, according to the team.
“It is the where and the when of a species,” said Walter Jetz, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale and the project lead. “It puts at your fingertips the geographic diversity of life. Ultimately, the hope is for this literally to include hundreds of thousands of animal and plant species and show how much or indeed how little we know of their whereabouts.”
A paper by Jetz, Guralnick and Jana McPherson of the Calgary Zoological Society describing the evolving Map of Life technology tool appeared in a recent issue of the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
By highlighting the known abundance and distribution of species, the researchers hope to identify and fill knowledge gaps and also offer a tool for detecting change over time. They expect the map tool will prove useful for professional scientists, wildlife and land managers, conservation organizations and the general public.
The team is using information gleaned from a wide variety of sources, including field guides, museum collections and wildlife checklists that involved scientists, conservation organizations and “citizen scientists.” The project’s success will depend on participation by other scientists and informed amateurs, and subsequent versions of the mapping tool will offer mechanisms for users to supply new or missing information about the distribution and abundance of particular species.
Jetz called the Map of Life “an infrastructure, something to help us all collaborate, improve, share and understand the still extremely limited geographic knowledge about biodiversity.” The team continues to work on several other tasks and challenges, including who will be contributing data and how information supplied by the contributors will be verified and curated.
“A small but powerful next step is to provide a means for anyone, anywhere on the globe to use their mobile devices to instantly pull up animal and plant distributions and even get a realistic assessment on the odds of encountering a particular species of wildlife,” said Guralnick, who also is the curator of invertebrate zoology at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History.
Guralnick said the Map of Life project is following in the footsteps of other knowledge repositories like the GenBank project, a National Institutes of Health-funded effort with a public database of more than 135 million gene sequences from more than 300,000 organisms that allows users to explore genes and genomes using bioinformatics tools. In the biodiversity arena, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility in Copenhagen has developed an important resource that provides access to more than 300 million records of plant and animal occurrences, which is one of the distributional databases being used by the Map of Life team.
The National Science Foundation has provided initial support for the Map of Life project. Other supporters are the Encyclopedia of Life; the International Union for the Conservation of Nature; and the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, and the Biodiversity and Climate Research Center, both in Germany.
On-trail leash restrictions lifted at Coot Lake
Wetland closure still in effect
The temporary on-trail leash restrictions put in place for wildlife protection and nesting birds surrounding the wetland west of Coot Lake are lifted, as of Wednesday, May 16, 2012. While the wetland area itself remains closed to all activity, the trail is now under the standard Voice and Sight Control regulation. Violation of city of Boulder wildlife closure area may result in a summons by enforcement personnel.
At their March meeting, members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board recommended that staff review the status of the nesting season on May 15, and if no nesting activity was confirmed at Coot Lake, then the leash restrictions would be reviewed and potentially lifted.
As the season is still early for some species nesting such as American bitterns, monitoring reports have indicated that there have been few sightings of Northern harrier that also use wetlands as nesting areas. Staff and nearly 22 raptor monitor volunteers will continue to monitor this and other areas for potential nesting sites as the season progresses.
The Parks and Recreation Department wishes to thank the general public for compliance of wildlife related restrictions to help promote healthy and functioning habitat areas. Wetland habitat around the Boulder area supports a wide diversity of wildlife species as well as exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities throughout the year.
For more information, please contact Matt Claussen, urban resources manager, 303-413-7258.
Pilot program increasing education and enforcement on bear attractants begins this week
The City of Boulder and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife are partnering on an Urban Black Bear Education and Enforcement pilot program that begins on Saturday, April 28. The purpose of the program is to explore the effectiveness of education and enforcement on improving the ways residential trash is secured and other bear attractants are minimized in western Boulder. The pilot neighborhood includes approximately 600 residences west of Ninth Street, north of Baseline Road and south of Arapahoe Avenue.
On Saturday, April 28, staff and volunteers will begin going door-to-door in the pilot neighborhood and provide residents with information on removing bear attractants from their property. They will also discuss the existing state and city laws requiring trash to be secured from bears. Increased enforcement of the trash regulations will begin in June.
A public open house to provide information and answer questions about the pilot program will be held on Monday, April 30, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Flatirons Elementary School, 1150 Seventh St.
Residents are encouraged to participate in an online survey to help determine effective strategies to keep bears out of trash at www.boulderwildlifeplan.net.
Some tips for preventing human-bear conflicts include the following:
- Store trash indoors or in a way that does not allow bears to scatter it. (This is required by city ordinance.)
- Store birdfeeders indoors at night from April to November.
- Store pet food inside.
- Keep BBQ grills clean.
- Keep garage and home doors closed.
For more information about the pilot program, contact Val Matheson, City of Boulder Urban Wildlife, 303-441-3004.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers information on how to safely coexist with bears. For more information, visit http://www.wildlife.state.co.us/bears.
If you experience problems with bears or other wildlife, call Boulder Police Department 303-441-3333 or Colorado Parks and Wildlife 303-291-7227.
City to conduct prescribed grassland burns this month
The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) department and the Boulder Fire Department will be conducting prescribed grassland burns this month. The burns will be conducted only if environmental and weather conditions fall within city burn plan guidelines. Ignitions will not begin before 10 a.m. and will end no later than 2 p.m.
Prescribed burns will be conducted at the following sites:
- OSMP Fell property, a 15-acre site located north of Valmont Road and east of 75th Street,
- OSMP Van Vleet property, a 25-acre site located west of South Boulder Creek and south of South Boulder Road.
- OSMP Gephard property, a 20-acre site located east of South Boulder Creek, north of South Boulder Road, and west of Cherryvale Rd.
Boulder’s ecosystems have evolved with fire over thousands of years. The prescribed burning of these areas will improve habitat for native plants and wildlife.
Additionally, OSMP, in conjunction with the Boulder Fire Department, will be conducting ditch burns throughout the spring on the city’s agricultural properties. OSMP has significant shares of water rights used primarily to support agricultural activity in the Boulder Valley. Ditch burning is important to the productivity of agricultural cropland and the efficiency of water delivery. Periodic burning removes the build up of plant debris in irrigation ditches and also keeps weeds at bay, reducing herbicide use. Burning is a cost effective way to clear irrigation ditches before the spring water run off.
No burning will occur on Red Air Quality days. Trained fire personnel and natural resource advisors will be on site during this activity.
For questions about prescribed burning on OSMP properties, please call 303-441-3440 or visit www.OSMP.org.
Birds of Special Concern/Raptor Monitor Program volunteers needed
The City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Resources division is seeking volunteers for its Birds of Special Concern/Raptor Monitor Program at the Boulder Reservoir, 5565 N. 51st St. Monitors should be able to work independently and have their own binoculars. Skilled birders are preferred, but some identification training will be provided for beginners.
Responsibilities include monitoring and reporting animal presence, bird behavior, nest locations, fledgling success and wildlife closure violations, and assisting with educating the public. Commitment is flexible but would preferably be from one to three hours per week, from mid-April through early August.
Training and orientation will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 14. For location and more information, contact Mary Malley, coordinator of volunteer services, at 303-413-7245
On January 18, 2012, a major United Nations event will occur. International water and food recommendations will be passed at the 2012 NCSE Conference in Washington DC that will devastate society. UN control of the earth’s fresh water will be recommended “for the welfare of humanity everywhere” and later passed into law by the General Assembly and the Security Council.
The intentions and proposals of the Rothschild family for world control are embedded into these recommendations. The international banking community will underwrite bond issues for vast environment projects. Baron Rothschild disclosed at a UN meeting that the projects will often be inoperative and technologically unsound. He also admitted that indigenous peoples and wildlife will be problematic to his plans for the UN-Banker world water corporation. Please view my mid-December 2011 videotapes at “thebigbadbank.com” explaining the whole situation. They’re called “Water Water Everywhere” and I think you’ll like them.
George W Hunt
Visit George’s website parody of The National Council for Science and The Environment for More Info.
Public invited to tour proposed prairie dog relocation site (Nov. 1)
The Boulder County Parks and Open Space will hold a public tour of a proposed prairie dog relocation site at Rabbit Mountain Open Space from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Wildlife biologists and rangers will meet the public at the Rabbit Mountain trailhead on North 53rd Street (north of Hwy 66) at 4 p.m. Vans will shuttle everyone to the proposed relocation site.
The department has submitted an application to the Colorado Division of Wildlife proposing to relocate prairie dogs from a county-owned agricultural property in the Longmont area to Rabbit Mountain sometime between Nov. 14 and Dec. 2.
Prior to issuing a permit, the Colorado Division of Wildlife is reviewing the proposal which includes a site assessment, evaluating a management plan submitted for the receiving site, and reviewing all public comments.
For those unable to attend the tour, written comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for written comments is Nov. 3.
For further information about this public tour, contact Education & Outreach Coordinator Pascale Fried at email@example.com or 303-678-6201.