Noelle Swan

Covering the environment

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Toxic coal ash poses persistent threat to US water


Cleaning up US waterways: 5 success stories



Daily web stories

How Obama’s ‘butterfly highway’ paves way to save embattled monarchs

May 22, 2015 – Eastern populations of the North American monarch have declined by 90 percent over the past 20 years. Conservation biologists hope that the buzz about the butterfly highway will inspire the public to join efforts to preserve habitat.

Record number of endangered manatees spotted in Florida’s annual count

March 16, 2015 – Surveyors counted 6,063 manatees during February flyovers along the state’s east and west coastline, topping the previous high-count found in 2010 by nearly 1,000 individuals.

 What drives the monarch butterfly’s 2,000-mile sojourn?

October 2, 2014 – A genetic analysis of 101 North American monarchs has upended existing theories about the evolution of the iconic orange-and-black butterflies.

Wildlife decline: Why does biodiversity matter anyway?

September 30, 2014 – Half of the planet’s wildlife populations suffered severe decline between 1970 and 2010, according to a new report from the WWF. So what does dwindling biodiversity mean for us?

As East Coast waters warm, an invader moves in

September 16, 2014 – In recent years, lionfish, native to the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, have invaded Caribbean and southeastern US waters. Water temperature has so far limited their range, but warming waters could open up new frontiers for these efficient colonists.

Small shift in West Coast shipping lanes can protect blue whales, study says

July 25, 2014 – Biologists who tracked blue whales over 15 years say small adjustments to shipping lanes near San Francisco and Los Angeles could vastly improve the long-term survival of the species.

Natural Trap Cave: prehistoric lions, dire wolves, and bears, oh my!

July 24, 2014 – Renewed excavation of Wyoming’s Natural Trap Cave promises to be a boon for scientists, armed with a capability for ancient DNA sequencing not available in 1984, the last time the cave was open to exploration.

US allows sonic blasts in East Coast energy search, angering environmentalists

July 21, 2014 – The Obama administration’s decision to allow energy companies to conduct sonic testing along the East Coast renews the fierce debate pitting protection of marine life against the goal of energy security.

How to boost food production but not emissions? Researchers identify key ways.

July 18, 2015 – The international agricultural system already produces a hefty share of the world’s greenhouse gases, making expansion of food production a delicate balancing act. But it might not be as hard as it seems, researchers say.

Island night lizard: Another protected species back from the brink

April 4, 2014 – The island night lizard was delisted as an endangered species in the US this week, after three decades of restoration efforts. Its recovery highlights an increased success rate in reestablishing endangered species.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Search reveals extent of ocean garbage

April 1, 2014 – The search for Malaysia Flight 370 is complicated by the wide spread of ocean garbage, much of which looks just like plane crash debris in satellite images.

Not just honeybees: Affliction may be spreading to bumblebees, scientists say

February 20, 2014 – The mysterious ailment that is decimating the world honeybee population seems to be transferring to bumblebees, which also play an important role in pollinating crops.

Coal-ash spill: How certain that Dan River is safe for drinking, wildlife?

February 10, 2014 – Authorities say water from North Carolina’s Dan River is safe to drink, a week after millions of gallons of coal-ash sludge leaked into it. But concerns remain about metals in the water and their possible effects on the river’s food chain.

Penguins, even in Argentina, at risk from climate change, study says

January 29, 2014 – Penguins in Punta Tombo, Argentina, have a new foe to contend with – global climate change. Heavy rains and high temperatures are endangering the world’s largest breeding colony of Magellanic penguins.

Long in the tooth? Great white sharks can live to a ripe old age, study finds.

January 9, 2014 – Using radiocarbon dating instead of counting rings in vertebrae suggests that great white sharks in the northwest Atlantic can live as long as humans, not just into their 20s, as previously had been thought.


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