Each blue whale has a unique pattern of spots of its back, like a fingerprint or a nametag. These spots allow researchers to identify each whale as either a newcomer, or an old friend.
The Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) is a non-profit research organization located on the Gulf of St Lawrence's northern shore and they were the first group to begin long term study of marine mammals in the Gulf. Since their founding in 1979, this group has followed blue whale populations in eastern Canada, the Sea of Cortez and in the waters of Iceland.
MICS has discovered something troubling in the northwest Atlantic blue whale population. Of the 475 individual whales they've identified since their genesis in 1979, only 22 have been calves. This suggests a frighteningly low calving rate for a population already swimming on the brink.
Sierra Club's Waste Diversion Expert, Rob Muir, continues to emphasize the necessity of waste diversion to combat climate change. Local government has an important role in making it happen, however, the key is developing sustainable consumer behaviour. We need to be more conscious of how resources are used, the products we consume, and how we deal with our waste.
Watch Rob's video on Ottawa's Green Bin Program here.
SIERRA CLUB URGES PASSAGE OF THE GREAT LAKES PROTECTION ACT
Sierra Club Ontario wishes to congratulate the Government of Ontario for proposing the Great Lakes Protection Act (GLPA). The recent Second Reading passage of the GLPA provides encouragement that the long delayed Act may become law. For this to occur, support will be necessary. As well, time and political agendas come into play as a provincial election is likely in the spring. The immediate business at hand is the committee process leading to Third Reading and the opportunity to strengthen the GLPA to ensure the prioritization of commitments needed to achieve the goal of a Great Lakes that are sustainable with healthy ecosystems.
Sierra Club Ontario supports a GLPA that clearly addresses the priority issues that must dealt with by Ontario and other Great Lakes Governments to achieve the realization of the above goal. These issues include:
The long awaited report from the US Army Corps of Engineers on how to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes has finally been released. The report evaluates the many waterways connecting the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan –all potential avenues to allow several species of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. The 5 year report costing $20M is titled Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS).
Silver and bighead carp already make up about 95% of the biomass in rivers downstream of the Chicago River. Over a century ago Chicago built a canal to reverse the flow of the Chicago River to divert their sewage and stormwater south into the Mississippi rather than their waterfront beaches. The “reversed” Chicago River flow has been supported by two US Supreme Court decisions.
Sierra Club Canada's Ontario Chapter was instrumental in the decision by our provincial government to shut down all coal plants. The day has come! Toronto environmental lawyer Dianne Saxe has a nice piece on her website about it:
Goodbye to Nanticoke, and all that coal
by DIANNE SAXE on JANUARY 15, 2014
January 8 marked the last day of operation of the Nanticoke Generating Station, the last operating coal-fired electrical generating facility in southern Ontario. This latest shut down will help mark 2014 as the year Ontario will become a coal-free jurisdiction.
"The Atlantic Salmon and the blue whales are both very precious creatures to our nations," said Chief Claude Jeannotte of Gespeg, Quebec. He spoke in Halifax on behalf of these two struggling species Wednesday, July 16.
Jeannotte was accompanied by four other First Nations chiefs from across Atlantic Canada, all from communities dependent on the, "rich bounty of the Gulf," in the words of Chief P.J Prosper, representing the Migmaq of Nova Scotia. Together they spoke against exploratory drilling at the Old Harry Prospect, located in the Gulf of St Lawrence 80 km off Newfoundland's west coast and 460 metres underwater.
The Old Harry prospect is expected to be drilled in 2015 or 2016, according to the oil and gas company Corridor Resources which presently holds an exploratory license in the region.
From the raging torrents of the Niagara River to the placid Welland Canal one can walk for ten miles through the wooded forest gardens of the Niagara Escarpment. Here in some patches, old growth giant oaks and maples soar above wild ginger and may apple. This shady glen has spectacular lookouts over the Niagara Fruit Belt to Lake Ontario, such as Queenston Heights and the Woodend Conservation area. These wilds overwhelm relics of 19th century assaults on nature, such as lime kilns, a “haunted” “ghost” tunnel under which the Bruce Trail travel and the stone ruins of the abandoned Third Welland Canal.
Dr John Cherry, a hydrogeologist with the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), says fracking wells in Canada aren't built for the long haul; they tend to spring leaks.
"In my view, well integrity is likely the most important shale gas issue," said Dr Cherry in Toronto, Thursday, May 29. Dr Cherry chaired the CCA's expert panel on understanding the environmental impacts of shale gas extraction (fracking). This panel released its report in early May.