The Eagles are coming!

The American Bald Eagle is a great success story for conservation and endangered species protection. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, there were likely several hundred thousand eagles in the North American population. By the 1960s, that number had dwindled to fewer than 500 breeding pairs.

Eagles were impacted by habitat loss, accidental poisoning, exposure to hazardous waste, damage from construction, and exposure to pesticides like DDT.

Thanks to the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws, these threats have been minimized. Construction near Eagle nesting sites is regulated or limited to prevent them from flying into buildings or power lines, contaminants at waste disposal or industrial sites are required to be controlled, and pesticides like DDT have been banned or are at least limited in their use near eagle nests.

Today the Bald Eagle population has surged back to over 5000 breeding pairs. While this is much more stable, any time a population undergoes a bottleneck event such as this one the population is put at risk. Genetic diversity is lost when so much of a population vanishes and the population can be therefore left much more at risk from diseases or genetic abnormalities even if substantial recovery has taken place.

Preserving the American Bald Eagle therefore can’t just stop because the population has recovered. Truly protecting this species will take sustained efforts over centuries, not just years to decades.

This American Bald Eagle was photographed in Shiloh National Military Park earlier this year and shared with the U.S. Department of the Interior.


Image credit: Don Holland

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Communal Living Off the Land

Runnymede Eco-Village on Cooper’s Hill Lane, located about an hour from London near the site where the Magna Carta was signed, was founded in 2012 by a group of land activists known as the “Diggers.” Modeling themselves after the Diggers of 1649 who seized land they planted and cultivated in common, today’s Diggers create self-sustaining communities on open land, free of charge, and live away from mainstream society, in hopes of reconnecting with the enviroment. Photojournalist Daniella Zalcman found the Runnymede activists just as they were facing eviction from their 4-acre plot of land. She plans to continue documenting their village as part of a long-term project on alternative living communities. 

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Kwantlen Polytechnic University moving forward in partnership with Kinder Morgan
Kwantlen Polytechnic University is moving forward in a partnership with Kinder Morgan to the dismay of students, faculty, Kwantlen First Nations, and community members.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University is moving forward in a partnership with Kinder Morgan, despite a number of students who have vowed to refuse the scholarships funded by the deal. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Kinder Morgan by Salvador Ferreras, Academic Vice-President and Provost of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, on June 23.

If Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project is approved, the company will donate $300,000 to Kwantlen. The money would be donated over a course of 20 years and would be put towards awards and funding for students in the trades and environmental protection program at Kwantlen.

Ferreras says the donation agreement would offer “advantages and opportunities to students who may not have access to a lot of scholarships.”

“Anything that helps with students is something that we would definitely want to be supporting.”

The MOU signed between Kwantlen and Kinder Morgan came as a surprise to many students and community members.

Allison Gonzalez, the Kwantlen Student Association president, says she was shocked.

“The KSA normally has a high level of communication with Kwantlen but we didn’t find out about the MOU until a couple of hours prior to KPU’s media release – we were quite surprised.”

“There was no consultation, there was no community outreach. It really wasn’t fair,” says Gonzalez.

The Kwantlen First Nations – whose land Kwantlen Polytechnic University resides on and Indigenous namesake the university carries –  are not pleased with the partnership.

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Why the bee crisis isn't as bad as you think (but still matters)
Bees aren't vanishing, but their troubles can offer clues to long-term problems in our agricultural system.

The recent epidemic of colony collapse, first reported by beekeeper Dave Hackenberg in 2006, had ended sometime around 2009. But beekeepers are still suffering heavier than usual losses. This time the problem is more widespread than previous events, probably because the global bee-system is interconnected — it’s a globalized crisis for a more globalized era. But it’s not completely global: Colony collapse has affected beekeepers in the United States and Europe, while the total honeybee population around the world is actually increasing.
Puerto Rico drought kills thousands of fish in reservoir
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Authorities in Puerto Rico say a worsening drought has killed thousands of fish in one reservoir as a result of dwindling water levels.

The secretary of the Department of Natural Resources says that more than 8,000 sardines have died in La Plata reservoir in the northern town of Toa Alta because of a lack of oxygen. Carmen Guerrero said Saturday that she fears other fish will start dying soon as well.

The government has imposed strict water rationing measures and has started fining people for improper water usage.

The number of municipalities facing a severe drought has nearly doubled in the past two weeks. More than 1.8 million people in Puerto Rico are now affected by the drought.