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Life Amid the Levees

Will the California delta survive the pressures of a thirsty state?

At Big Break Regional Shoreline, nestled in Northern California’s San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta, Michael Moran, supervising naturalist for East Bay Regional Park District, leads about 30 people out along a path into the park. The group consists of various stakeholders from the Metropolitan Water District (met), a regional wholesaler that supplies water to 19 million people across 26 public agencies in Southern California, hundreds of miles away. Big Break is one stop on…
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by: Jacob Shea – Winter 2018

Small Wild Cats Face Big Threats, but Receive Little Conservation Funds

Relative obscurity of small cats means they are overlooked by most wildlife conservation groups

Dipping through the underbrush, in the jungles of Borneo or Bangladesh, a fierce predator slinks. Orbed, glowing eyes glance out from an angular, feline face, as it soft-steps through the shadows. All creatures small — whether mammal, bird, or insect —flee at…
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by: Jacob Shea – May 15, 2014

Ghost Fishing Nets: Invisible Killers in the Oceans

Abandoned fishing nets and pots, trap, maim, and kill hundreds of marine animals daily

Unseen below the surface, fishing gear reaps the oceans bounty the world over. Viewed from below, nets appear as veil walls lightly dancing the currents with a serene and silent intent. Ever since nets began to be cast out at sea eons…
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by: Jacob Shea – January 7, 2014

New Greenhouse Gas Discovered

Perfluorotributylamine is 7,100 times worse than CO2

With a name like perfluorotributylamine, the latest greenhouse gas to be discovered is a tongue twister. But you should learn how to say it, as this synthetic chemical could mean dangerous business for the climate. Perfluorotributylamine (or PFTBA) is an artificial compound…
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by: Jacob Shea – December 20, 2013

California Coastal Commission Urged to Ban Fracking State Waters

Oil drillers using hazardous chemicals, pumping wastewater into coastal waters, shows new analysis

We now know that hydraulic fracturing has already been underway in state and federal waters off California’s coast for more than two decades. Recent media reports have revealed that federal regulators have permitted fracking in the Pacific Ocean at least 12 times…
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by: Jacob Shea – December 3, 2013

Aboard a Squid Fishing Boat: Learning Tough Lessons About Our Food Sources

A view from the bottom of the commodity chain reveals the comedy, and tragedy, of human exploits in nature

As I stumble from my bunk, I come eye to toe with a smelly, sock-coated foot. Shaking sleepily, I stagger out to conjure up grimy, cheap coffee, which I drink with tasteless cereal and a waxy apple. As the boat engine rumbles…
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by: Jacob Shea – October 25, 2013

Salmonella Outbreak Highlights Need For More Oversight of Slaughterhouses

USDA plans to speed up processing lines, reduce trained inspectors a risk to public health, worker safety

Last week, more than 300 people in 20 US states and Puerto Rico fell sick from a “multi-drug resistant” salmonella outbreak traced to three California poultry plants owned Foster Farms. This is the second time this year that the big poultry company…
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by: Jacob Shea – October 17, 2013

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