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Weekly Environmental Updates
The rusty patched bumble bee has become the first bee species in the continental U.S. to be placed on the endangered list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Protected status goes into effect on February 10 and will include federal protections as well as federal funds for states with habitats for the species. The rusty patched bee was once found in abundance in large parts of the East and Midwestern U.S. but it's numbers have dropped dramatically over the last 20 years due to causes that include habitat loss, pathogens, and pesticides.
Wild salmon caught anywhere along the Pacific coast of North America may be infected with the Japanese broad tapeworm, according to a new study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Previously thought to only affect fish in Asia, the tapeworm was found in wild salmon caught in Alaska. Symptoms of infection can range from none at all to intestinal obstruction and inflammation of the bile ducts. Concerned consumers can cook salmon at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for four to five minutes or eat frozen fish.
There's a link between warming oceans and higher levels of a dangerous toxin in some seafood, according to a new study. Domoic acid is produced by a micro algae during an algae bloom and is then eaten by clams, mussels, and other filter feeders. Warm ocean events increase the likelihood of more algae bloom, increasing the risk that consumers will eat tainted seafood. Outbreaks can produce symptoms as mild as cramps and diarhea and as severe as death.
A sequoia in Calaveras National Park in California knowns as the "tunnel tree" was brought down by a powerful storm to the dismay of hikers and other visitors. Also known as the "Pioneer Cabin Tree", the sequoia was at least a thousand years old and had a tunnel cut through its massive trunk about 100 years ago. According to officials, the tree had been one of the most popular features in the park.
Some farmers in California are purposely flooding their fields and storing the water underground to compensate for low groundwater levels due to drought. It's thought that flooding fields can help aquifers recover , especially in the southern part of the central valley where they were especially depleted. California can no longer depend on melting snow to act as a water resevoir due to the warming climate.
Bioengineers at the University of Nottingham are working on the production of biodegradable shopping bags made from shrimp shells. The shells may also be used to make food packaging material that will extend product shelf life. The new material is being optimized for conditions in Egypt, where non degradable plastic packaging is causing environmental and public health problems.
Roman Hills