March 21, 2013

A particularly crafty beaver.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Beavers Save Salt Lake City Water

Dam stops fuel spill

Salt Lake City, thank your local beavers. Were it not for them, you might be drinking/watering/irrigating with diesel fuel this morning.

A beaver dam helped stop a Chevron pipeline's 8,000-gallon diesel fuel spill from spreading into a reservoir in Willard Bay State Park, which supplies water to Salt Lake City. The two beavers in the dam were soaked in diesel fuel and are being treated at a local wildlife rehabilitation center.

“They are doing fairly well. One is coping better than the other,” DaLyn Erickson, executive director of the rehabilitation center, told the Salt Lake Tribune. “There is some evidence they did at least sample some of the food left for them overnight. We are doing what we can and hoping for the best.”

The benign beavers are thought to be yearlings and possibly siblings. Wildlife rehabilitators are cleaning the fuel from the beavers’ fur with dish-washing liquid, a standard and effective means of removing oil products from fur, feathers, and other animal parts.

Locals can donate “fresh willow and cottonwood branches” to feed the beavers during treatment.


Yosemite National Park     Photo: Gary Yim/Shutterstock

Yosemite Recreation Might Change Dramatically

NPS proposes rental ban, razing pools

If the National Park Service has its way, Yosemite might get a whole lot wilder. In a new plan scheduled to be formally presented in a meeting on Thursday, the agency proposes ripping out tourist attractions that it says detract from Yosemite's wilderness character, including the Curry Village ice rink, pools at the Yosemite Lodge and Ahwahnee Hotel, and the longest stone bridge in Yosemite Valley. Under the terms of the Merced River Plan, the park would also eliminate bike, horse, and raft rentals.

While some applaud the new guidelines, many groups are arguing that the proposal goes too far. "You have no idea how many people have told me, 'The reason I support this park is because when I was a little kid my parents took me camping, or I went for a horseback ride or we biked around the valley,'" Bob Hansen, the former executive director of the non-profit Yosemite Fund, told San Jose's Mercury News.

The Park Service's new plan has its roots in a decade-long lawsuit against the park by two environmental groups, which asserted that the Park Service had violated the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by rebuilding flood-damaged properties along the Merced without a plan for how to "protect and enhance" the river. In 2008, an appeals court judge ruled that shops and rental facilities bore at least part of the blame for the Merced's degredation.

Via San Jose Mercury News


    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Montana to Introduce Edible Roadkill

Bill expected to pass within the week

If you kill it, you can grill it. So says a new Montana bill that would make it legal for state residents to salvage roadkill for food. The state Senate voted 33-15 in favor of the bill, with a final vote scheduled as early as Thursday. Under the new law, permits will be issued to individuals who would be allowed to remove the carcasses of elk, deer, antelope, and moose from Montana roadways and do with it what they will. “It really is a sin to waste a good meat,” said state Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman.

Not everyone is excited at the prospect of roadgrill. Some are curious whether the meat could pose a hazard to food banks that accept the carcasses. Senator Jim Peterson told the Associated Press that he wonders how roadkill could be considered safe, while the cattle industry still labors under strict federal regulations.

Montana is not the only state that’s soft on roadkill. Illinois allows hunters to remove the pelts and/or meat from fur-bearing animals, and Alaska Fish and Wildlife troopers run a program that delivers over 800 moose carcasses a year to charitable organizations.


5 Kenyan runners have been cited for doping in the last two months.     Photo: Maxisport/Shutterstock

Kenyan Marathoners Suspended for Doping

On top of last month's suspensions

Athletics Kenya announced Thursday that marathon runners Salome Jerono Biwott and Jynocel Basweti Onyancha have been suspended for two years after testing positive for banned substances.

The dominant Kenyan running squad has taken a big hit in the last two months. In February, the organization suspended Wilson Erupe Loyanae and Nixon Kiplagat Cherutich for two years. Moses Kiptoo Kurgat was suspended for one year.

"The number is growing and we are not happy about the statistics," David Okeyo, Athletics Kenya's secretary general, said. "We only hope that the culprits remain at a manageable level and that the (doping) issue is not as widespread as previous reports have indicated."

Via Chicago Tribune