Retrieved from: nytimes.com
“The abundance and diversity of waterfowl and other migratory birds make the Klamath Basin one of the nation’s most significant wetland wildlife areas. The region’s spectacular National Wildlife Refuges, including Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, support 80 percent of Pacific Flyway waterfowl but regularly suffer water shortages harmful to waterfowl populations, wildlife habitat, and water quality. This spring’s devastatingavian cholera outbreak in the Klamath — sparked by a lack of water — has highlighted the grave situation not only facing these refuges but also the Klamath’s salmon, fishermen and farmers. Put simply, there has been too much of this region’s scarce water promised to too many interests.
“Meanwhile, supporters of the controversial Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and associated federal legislation — now stalled in Congress — have made numerous claims regarding the deal’s supposed water-supply benefits for the Klamath’s prized refuges. However, a reading of the agreement shows such claims have no basis. In fact, the settlement would institute unsustainable water policies favoring farming at the expense of Klamath refuges, fish and wildlife, all while placing a $1 billion burden on the American taxpayer.
“The deal also forecloses on one of the best, lowest-cost opportunities for increasing refuge water supply and achieving a sustainable water balance in the Klamath. To protect a sweetheart deal for a small group of irrigators, the settlement attempts to perpetuate commercial leaseland farming on 22,000 acres of Tule Lake and Lower Klamath refuges and asks taxpayers to subsidize this harmful practice. In contrast, phasing out this federally managed program, using those lands to store winter water, and using the 1905 priority date water rights associated with those lands for fish and wildlife purposes would represent a huge step toward a sustainable Klamath Basin — at a fraction of the cost of the settlement deal.”
Read More: oregonlive
Retrieved from: businesspundit.com
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled a program Friday that will offer financial incentives for farmers to enroll up to 1 million new acres of grasslands and wetlands into the conservation reserve program.
“The government pays farmers to idle about 30 million acres of erodible land. However, contracts on about 6.5 million acres expire Sept. 30. With high corn and soybean prices, there is concern that farmers might put more of the land into production to increase profitability.
“The new program focuses on encouraging land to be set aside for wetlands restoration, increasing enrolled land by 200,000 acres. Grasslands enrollment increases by 700,000 acres, including land for duck nesting and upland bird habitat. The program also establishes 100,000 new acres to be set aside for pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
“Setting aside land in CRP is one way to reduce erosion, which can cause farmland runoff and send chemicals into lakes and streams. The USDA estimates CRP keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100 million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into waterways.”
Read more: Statesman.com
Photo retrieved from: www.gurumia.com
“When thousands of Bangladeshi take to the streets again on March 28th as part of a decade-long battle to halt a devastating British-owned open-pit coal mine, the world will not only be watching whether Bangladesh’s government will honor a coal ban agreement from 2006 or resort to violence.
In light of disturbing WikiLeaks cables, American and worldwide human rights and environmental organizations will also be questioning why the Obama administration is covertly pushing for Bangladesh to reverse course and acquiesce to an internationally condemnedmassive open-pit mine that will displace an estimated 100,000-200,000 villagers and ravage desperately needed farm land and water resources.
The short answer, from US Ambassador James Moriarty’s leaked memos:” “Asia Energy, the company behind the Phulbari project, has sixty percent US investment. Asia Energy officials told the Ambassador they were cautiously optimistic that the project would win government approval in the coming months.
Two years ago, an independent review of the coal mine by a British research firm warned:
“Phulbari Coal Project threatens numerous dangers and potential damages, ranging from the degradation of a major agricultural region in Bangladesh to pollution of the world’s largest wetlands. The project’s Summary Environmental Impact Assessment, and its full Environmental and Social Impact Assessment are replete with vague assurances, issuing many promises of future mitigation measures.”
Read more: AlterNet
Floodwaters at the Xiaolandi dam during a flood-discharge and sand-washing operation of the Yellow River in Jiyuan. Photo retrieved from: www.guardian.co.uk
“The five-year plan also includes the most relentless dam-building effort that any nation has ever undertaken in history. If approved, this program would cut off the country’s nose to spite her face. It would irreversibly destroy China‘s great rivers and biodiversity hotspots of global importance.
China already counts more dams within its borders than any other country. It has paid a huge price for this development. Chinese dams have displaced an estimated 23 million people. Dam breaks in the country with the world’s worst safety record have killed approximately 300,000 people. Scientific evidence suggests that one particular project, the Zipingpu Dam, may have triggered the devastating earthquake in Sichuan of 2008. Dams have also taken a huge toll on China’s biodiversity, causing fisheries to suffer and driving charismatic species such as the Yangtze River Dolphin to extinction.
As part of its low-carbon diet, the Chinese government plans to approve new hydropower plants with a capacity of 140 gigawatts over the next five years. For comparison, Brazil, the United States and Canada have each built between 75 and 85 gigawatts of hydropower capacity in their entire history. Achieving the new plan’s target would require building cascades of dams on several rivers in China’s south-west and on the Tibetan plateau – regions which are populated by ethnic minorities, ecologically fragile, rich in biodiversity, and seismically active.”
Read more: Guardian