5 of the Day’s Biggest Stories

Aquarius Reef Base is home to a research lab and program focused on studying marine ecosystems.     Photo: Greg Grimes / Flickr

5 of the Day’s Biggest Stories

Friday’s briefing

Longest-Ever Underwater Exploration Announced

Nonprofit research and exploration group SeaSpace Exploration & Research Society announced plans for a 100-day expedition at the Aquarius Reef Base in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, according to a Wednesday press release. The reef base is home to a research lab and program focused on studying marine ecosystems. The expedition, Project Poseidon, will focus on the link between sea and space exploration. It will be the longest underwater exploration expedition in history if successful.

House Committee Backs Paddling Bill

The House Committee voted to support a bill that would open more than 400 miles of rivers and creeks to paddlers in Grand Teton and Yellowstone, National Parks Traveler reported on Friday. The National Parks Conservation Association opposes the bill, saying it “could aid the spread of invasive aquatic species, damage native trout habitat, and serve to disrupt prime habitat for endangered grizzly bears,” according to the National Parks Traveler. To pass, the Senate and full House must vote for the bill.

EPA Spills Mine Waste Near Crested Butte

On Tuesday, the EPA spilled 2,000 gallons of wastewater into Elk Creek, near Crested Butte, Colorado, while cleaning up Standard Mine, according to the Denver PostElk Creek feeds into Coal Creek, which is one of Crested Butte’s main water sources. While the spill is much smaller than the 3 million-gallon spill into the Animas River north of Durango, Colorado, in early August, the amount of zinc, arsenic, and cadmium found in Coal Creek are above standard levels for Colorado. Standard Mine is only one of the 500,000 inactive mines in the United States, many of them leaking toxic wastewater. A local water-quality group is looking into the impact of the Elk Creek spill.

SeaWorld to Expand Whale Tanks but Will Stop Orca Breeding

The California Coastal Commission banned the breeding of killer whales in SeaWorld’s San Diego location, the AP reported on Friday. The agency also approved a $100 million project to expand SeaWorld’s San Diego tanks for the whales. “These 11 orcas would be the last 11 orcas there,” said Jared Goodman, a lawyer for PETA, according to the AP. In 2010, Outside reported on the captivity of killer whales at SeaWorld. 

BLM Adds Mountain Bike Trails to Site

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) posted information about 20 mountain biking trails—the first information dedicated to the sport on the agency’s website—according to Mountain Bike Reviews. Most of the featured trails are in the West, and the site includes a map and description for each trail. Watch a video about the addition to the BLM website here: