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Gleanings from Headline News – July 2021

Scientist Still Searching for the Pathogen Behind the East’s Songbird Epidemic

For two months, a mysterious bird disease had been rippling across parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. The disease has now been found west to Kentucky, as far north as New Jersey, and south to Florida. Until scientists find the culprit, concerned citizens in affected regions should take down their bird feeders. Read more at Audubon.

Six Species that Need Federal Protection

According to the National Wildlife Federation, one-third of all US species are at risk of extinction. At least 1 million species currently face extinction by the end of this century. US federal commitment to save endangered species has been inconsistent at best, and many species have slipped through the cracks. Here are six endangered-yet-unlisted species that need us. Read more at The Sierra Club.

Desert River Gila Struggles to Keep Flowing

The Gila was once a vibrant desert river, providing a lifeline for the riparian habitat and wildlife that depended on it in the U.S. Southwest. But population growth, agricultural withdrawals, and, increasingly, climate change have badly diminished the river and threaten its future. Read more at Yale Environment 360

The Tick Project

Tick populations continue to expand and emerge as one of our nation’s most complex public health crises. What if we could prevent Lyme disease instead of just treating it? Read more at The Cary Institute.

USDA Identify Racial Barriers to Under-Served Communities

USDA is requesting input to identify barriers that people of color and underserved communities and individuals may face in obtaining information from USDA. This survey includes accessing, enrolling, and participating in USDA programs and services and engaging with USDA staff. Read more at Federal Register.

Bipartisan Bill Addresses Pollution on Working Lands

The Senate passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act (GCSA). The bill creates a new program to self-certify technical assistance providers and third-party verifiers for the agriculture and forestry sectors for voluntary actions intended to reduce the amount of air and carbon pollution and processes to store carbon naturally. Read more at Audubon.

Solar Array Planted with Biodiversity in Mind

Sacramento County, California, just completed construction of a 16.5-megawatt solar park on what was once open ranchland. Usually, the ground underneath large solar installations is scraped and covered with gravel or low grass, but this solar array has been planted with pollinator native plants. Read more at The Sierra Club.

Can Satellite Imagery Detect Habitat Loss?

Using satellite imagery, researchers have built an automatic habitat loss detector. They then trained image change detection algorithms on “before and after” images of places that had recently been cleared, built on, or even covered in solar panels. This data will help researchers know the extent of current habitat degradation in order to recommend new protections. Read more at The Anthropocene Magazine.

Do-It-Yourself Rain Garden

So you spent the holiday weekend indoors, watching rainwater pool in your yard – or worse, in the basement? You can help water move across the landscape by creating a rain garden that is both functional and attractive. Read more at The New York Times.

Massachusetts Regional Ecological Partnership

The Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration has established the Partnerships Program to support Regional Restoration Partnerships to promote the restoration of degraded aquatic ecosystems and increase climate change resiliency. DER will solicit applications from Massachusetts-registered 501(c)(3) organizations and Massachusetts Regional Planning Agencies. Read more at Mass Gov.

Tool Kit for Massachusetts Pollinators

Our environment is at risk because of steep declines in habitat. The pollinators that are an essential part of making the whole system work are in severe decline. This toolkit contains information about the problem and some easy steps you can take to help alleviate it – while creating a fascinating and vibrant garden at the same time. Read more at Newton Conservators.