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Preventing future oil spills: Congress discusses need for environmental science

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced yesterday morning that exploratory oil drilling off Alaska and deep water drilling in the Guld of Mexico will be suspended due to safety concerns. The White House also said it has cancelled a drilling lease off the coast of Virginia. Fearing another spill like the current disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, officials cited a need for further environmental reviews and evaluations of nation-wide emergency response capabilities.

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The oil spill comes to Washington

Last month, Obama surprised conservationists when he added plans to expand off-shore drilling to his energy policy in an effort to sway votes in Congress. Then—just as both sides rose to debate the issue—the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded. This morning several democratic senators joined a Capitol Hill press conference.

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It’s raining ash! Hallejulah!

While stranded tourists and airline companies curse Iceland’s belching volcano, atmospheric scientists have found a ray of hope in the clouds of ash. In a press conference today, experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said migrating ash plumes are giving scientists a chance to test new atmospheric science models and ash-sampling technology.

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Heinz Center Reports Highlight Environmental Trends, Call for Action on Better Data

The State of the Nation’s Ecosystems 2008 report, released by the Heinz Center, provides authoritative documentation of key environmental trends. A companion report calls for bold federal and state action to strengthen and integrate the nation’s environmental monitoring. The State of the Nation’s Ecosystems 2008 shows that the acreage burned every year by wildfires is increasing, non-native fish have invaded nearly every watershed in the lower 48 states, and chemical contaminants are found in virtually all streams and most groundwater wells, often at levels above those set to protect human health or wildlife. In contrast, ecosystems are increasing their storage of carbon, there are improvements in soil quality and crop yields have grown significantly, according to Robin O’Malley, Director of the Heinz Center’s Environmental Reporting program.

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Summer comes to ecology and the ESA Bulletin

Summer means two things for ecologists: fieldwork or lab work and the ESA Annual Meeting. I am particularly aware of the diversity of research done by ecologists as the Director of an Institute which has two field stations and a research watershed. Early in May the snow researchers are shutting down their research and the bird and mammal people are arriving to keep track of nesting

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Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement Nominations

The Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement is the premier award for recognizing outstanding contributions in the fields of environmental science, environmental protection, energy and environmental health.

Since its inception we have honored fifty-nine individuals and four corporations with the Tyler Prize and through their work, the Tyler Laureates have focused worldwide attention on environmental problems by their discoveries and the solutions that have resulted from these discoveries. The award consists of a gold medallion and a US $200,000.00 cash prize.

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A New Plants and Climate Change Information Service

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) is known as one of the most important information providers on plant diversity worldwide. It has developed a unique global database of wild plants in cultivation in botanic gardens around the world and, through its membership and other partnerships, it brings together the major players in plant conservation worldwide. Further, its GardenSearch database provides a gateway to the world’s botanic gardens and thus provides a portal to a vast range of information on plant diversity relevant at national and regional levels.

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New Report Available on Ecosystems and Climate Change

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a report that can help reduce the potential impact of climate change on estuaries, forests, wetlands, coral reefs, and other sensitive ecosystems. The report, entitled Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources, identifies strategies to protect the environment as these changes occur.

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