Reef Relief: Queensland Government enacts new leglisation on the GBR

In a major step to protecting the inshore reefs of the GBR, the Queensland Government have inacted fairly dramatic legislation on the use of fertilisers and pesticides on farms in the reef catchment. Under the new rules, farmers in the Mackay-Whitsunday, Burdekin Dry Tropics and Far North’s Wet Tropic catchments must keep records on fertiliser … Continue reading Reef Relief: Queensland Government enacts new leglisation on the GBR

“Oyster reefs among hardest-hit ecosystems”

Overfishing and unchecked coastal development have resulted in the disappearance of 85 percent of all oyster reefs, making the ecosystem one of the most severely affected marine habitats in the world, according to a study released Thursday.

The Nature Conservancy study found that several reefs in China have seen drastic declines over the past 30 years, while those in Europe have almost entirely disappeared. Half of the shellfish populations in South America are under threat, while flat oysters have been virtually wiped out in Australia.

Native oyster reefs _ essentially mountains of the bivalves cemented together _ were once dominant features of many temperate estuaries around the world. Much as coral reefs are critical to marine habitats, the bivalve shellfish are vital to bays and estuaries, creating habitats for a variety of plants and animals, the study said. Continue reading “Oyster reefs among hardest-hit ecosystems”

US ‘global warming bill’ one step closer?

A bill to create the first national limit on greenhouse-gas emissions was approved by a House committee yesterday after a week of late-night debates that cemented the shift of climate change from rhetorical jousting to a subject of serious, if messy, Washington policymaking.

The legislation would create a cap-and-trade system: Over the next decades, power plants, oil refineries and manufacturers would be required to obtain allowances for the pollution they emit. Those who need more or less could turn to a Wall-Street-like market in the allowances. The 33 to 25 vote was a major victory for House Democrats, who had softened and jury-rigged the bill to reassure manufacturers and utilities — and members of their own party from the South and Midwest — that they would not suffer greatly. Continue reading US ‘global warming bill’ one step closer?

Microdocs and podcasts

ANU environmental podcast Australian National University are podcasting a series of lectures and seminars on the environment, and are covering some hard hitting topics, ranging from policy and economy to oceanography (several of which I might not entirely agree with) . Below are three of the best – see the full listing here. Ecology, Conservation, … Continue reading Microdocs and podcasts