Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Massive seagrass die-off hits Florida Bay
The shallow coastal waters of Florida Bay are famed for their crystal clear views of thick green seagrass – part of the largest stretch of these grasses in the world.
But since mid-2015, a massive 40,000-acre die off here has clouded waters and at times coated shores with floating dead grasses. The event, which has coincided with occasional fish kills, recalls a prior die-off from 1987 through the early 1990s, which spurred major momentum for the still incomplete task of Everglades restoration.
“It actually started faster as far as we can tell this year,” said James Fourqurean, a Florida International University marine scientist who studies the system. “In the 80s, it continued to get worse for 3 years.”
Fourqurean and government Everglades experts fear they’re witnessing a serious environmental breakdown, one that gravely threatens one of North America’s most fragile and unusual wild places. When most people think of the Everglades, they envision swamps — but sea grass is just as important, if less romanticized. And although there is at least some scientific dissent, Fourqurean and
fellow scientists think they know the cause of the die-off. It’s just
the latest manifestation, they say, of the core problem that has
bedeviled this system for many decades: Construction of homes, roads,
and cities has choked off the flow of fresh water. Without fast moves to
make the park far more resilient to climate change and rising, salty
seas, the problem will steadily worsen. Holding dead grasses in her hand in a National Park Service boat in the
more than half-a-million-acre estuary, Jewell told a group of staff and
reporters, “This is what we get when we don’t take care of Florida Bay.”...more