EDMONTON — Unrestrained gas development in southern Alberta could drive the sage grouse to extinction in this province within two years, says a University of Alberta scientist.
Mark Boyce has studied sage grouse since 1977,first in Wyoming and for the last decade in Alberta. He might be lacking a study subject soon, though. It's estimated only 90 birds remain in the province.
"They're going very fast," Boyce said Monday in an interview from Queensland, Australia, where he is on sabbatical. "Last year, we had twice as many birds as we have this year and the year before that we had almost twice as many as that."
Boyce has pinpointed the culprit.
"This will be the first case where the oil and gas industry has caused the extirpation of a species from Alberta." Extirpation means a species is wiped out in a local area.
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A growing number of creatures could disappear from the earth, with one-fifth of all vertebrates and as many as a third of all sharks and rays now facing the threat of extinction, according to a new survey assessing nearly 26,000 species across the globe.
In addition, forces such as habitat destruction, over-exploitation and invasive competitors move 52 species a category closer to extinction each year, according to the research, published online Tuesday by the journal Science. At the same time, the findings demonstrate that these losses would be at least 20 percent higher without conservation efforts now underway.
"We know what we need to do," said Andrew Rosenberg, senior vice president for science and knowledge at the advocacy group Conservation International and one of the paper's co-authors.... Read more »
"With even more dead ducks just days after Syncrude was given a slap on the wrist with a petty $3 million fine that they can recover in less than half a day's net profit, it is glaringly obvious that the 170 square kilometers of toxic tailing lakes need to be cleaned up and phased out with a moratorium put in place. The governments of Alberta and Canada need to grow a conscience and be held accountable for protecting the public image of the tar sands industry by failing to enforce weak environmental regulations and continuing to maintain a 100% approval rating and promoting tar sands development. The devastation to the Mackenzie and Athabasca River Delta, the poisoning of Indigenous and downstream communities, and the continuous deaths and contamination of birds and wildlife in the region constitute an ongoing injustice. Denying the Total Joslyn North Mine Project would be the first step of such accountability.... Read more »
A multi-year study by the federal government has produced a troubling report card on the health of Canada's marine environments, with major changes detected in all three oceans.
Vanishing sea species, warming water temperatures and a new wave of contaminants have struck Canada's marine ecosystems, according to the document from the federal fisheries department.
The 38-page report was released, without fanfare, this summer.
The information surfaces as Canada joins delegates from more than 190 countries in Japan for the two-week-long UN biodiversity conference. Countries are expected to negotiate new targets to protect the world's ecosystems and save species from extinction.
One biodiversity expert calls the report card a reminder of how Canada has failed to live up to the UN's modest 2002 goal of reducing species loss.
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OCTOBER 7, 2010 EDMONTON — The Joint Review Panel should not approve TOTAL’s Joslyn North tar sands mine, said Sierra Club Prairie, in its final submissions today at the ongoing hearings. After days of expert testimony and cross-examination, Total’s proponents were unable to deny the negative environmental impacts of their new mine proposal. The evidence presented by NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen pertaining to climate change impacts, Petr Cizek pertaining to the gaps in accounting for cumulative negative effects, and Dr. Bill Donahue regarding water contamination were particularly condemning.... Read more »