WUI in the News

Here you can find current news articles about wildland-urban interface issues in the U.S. and abroad. Please note that while Interface South maintains news archives for reference, the links may no longer be active. You may need to contact the source or host website for more information.

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Oct 2003 contains 51 News Articles.

U.S. Senate passes forest-thinning bill
Environmental News Network - 31 Oct 2003
The bipartisan Senate bill would protect old growth forests on 20 million acres of federal forest land in exchange for limiting judicial appeals of forestry projects. The legislation cleared the Senate on a vote of 80-14. The House passed its version of the Bush administration's so-called Healthy Forest legislation in May. House and Senate negotiators will next have to blend the two versions into a single bill.

Fighting Fire With Steel, Pools and Plaster
New York Times, NY - 30 Oct 2003
Since1993 when the devastating Malibu fire consumed 350 houses, more homes in Southern California have been constructed with fire resistance in mind, including steel shutters and roofs, rooftop pools of standing water, special sprinklers, water storage tanks, and pumps with their own generators.

U.N. seeks answer to water problem by reevaluating agriculture
Environmental News Network - 30 Oct 2003
Farms swallow up more than two-thirds of global water consumption, and keeping the land topped up is just as important as quenching the thirst of a growing world population, the U.N. food agency said Wednesday.

USGS Research Indicates Fire Suppression and Fuel Buildup are Not Responsible for Shrubland Fires in
USGS News Release - 30 Oct 2003
A close analysis of state fire records reveals the real story, said Keeley. Since 1910, chaparral fires have become more frequent as the human population has grown but fire size has not increased. The researchers found that large, intense fires were equally common in the years before widespread fire suppression as today, and do not appear to be the result of fuels build-up. In this highly fire-prone ecosystem, suppression efforts appear not to have greatly altered patterns of fire incidence. Keeley notes that the greater financial cost of fires today is most likely the result of constant urban expansion into areas subject to frequent burning.

Florida Power & Light to Cut GHG Emissions 18%
GreenBiz.com - 29 Oct 2003
FPL Group has said it will voluntarily reduce its greenhouse gas emissions rate by 18% by the end of 2008 under the U.S. EPA’s Climate Leaders program.

Firefighters Make a Stand as Blaze Closes on Los Angeles
New York Times, NY - 28 Oct 2003
With fires racing uncontrollably across much of Southern California, firefighters on the northwestern edge of Los Angeles staged a desperate effort on Monday to defend the city and the coastal community of Malibu from the deadly rush of flames.

EPA reaches settlement with quail-hunting plantations over poisoned eggs that killed wildlife
Environmental News Network - 28 Oct 2003
Some of the plantations had faced millions of dollars in potential fines for allegedly setting out chicken eggs laced with the pesticide Furadan to kill foxes, raccoons, possums, skunks, and other animals who prey on quail eggs. As an unintentional result, the poisoned animals then became poisoned bait themselves, attracting and killing alligators, songbirds, snakes, bald eagles, hawks, vultures, and other creatures.

Dioxin levels found in fish worry group
Gainesville Sun, FL - 27 Oct 2003
The Florida Department of Health has failed to warn anglers that dangerous levels of dioxin are contaminating fish in Rice Creek and the St. Johns River downstream from the Georgia Pacific pulp and paper mill near Palatka, a national environmental group says.

Water quality of lakes chain improving
News Chief, FL - 27 Oct 2003
Britt said that, in general, the Chain of Lakes has excellent water quality, most of the lakes with clear, fresh water in them. But, the lakes once threatened mostly by nutrients washed out of nearby orchards now face different threats. Trees at their banks have been replaced by networks of roads.

Crews to cut forest back to health
Vail Daily News, CO - 27 Oct 2003
The Vail Valley Forest Health Project is a proposal developed by the U.S. Forest Service that aims to change the density of the vegetation on a narrow 15,000-acre swath of land that straddles I-70 from Vail Pass to Edwards and runs from ridgetop to ridgetop. It's an attempt to artificially reduce fire danger, slow the rate of pine beetle infestation and to diversify the forest by cutting, thinning and controlled burning. The plan will take up to a decade to complete.

Fires in California Force Thousands From Homes
New York Times, NY - 26 Oct 2003
Firestorms roared through parched forests and scrubland across Southern California on Sunday, jumping into residential areas and shrouding hundreds of square miles in pungent yellow-gray smoke.

Sewer overhauls drive fee hikes
USA TODAY - 26 Oct 2003
The problem is part of the challenge the nation faces in overhauling highways, bridges, mass transit and other public works systems that are straining from decades of wear and tear and the demands of a rapidly increasing population. The question is how such improvements can be made and who will pay for them.

Residents asked to water city trees
StarPhoenix, Canada - 26 Oct 2003
The City of Saskatoon's Urban Forestry Section is asking residents to help save the urban forest by watering not only their own trees but those on nearby boulevards as well. Due to the drought over the past few years, the urban forest in Saskatoon is showing severe stress, say city representatives.

Fire danger soars this weekend
Nevada City Union, CA - 25 Oct 2003
Above-average temperatures, low humidity, dry vegetation and winds. To call Nevada County a tinderbox this weekend is not an exaggeration. Adding to the problem of low humidity is that fuel moisture - basically the moisture in trees, brush and grasses - is below the 20-year average, said Tina Rose of the CDF.

U.S. states sue federal government over greenhouse gases
Environmental News Network - 24 Oct 2003
Twelve states, including California and New York, filed petitions Thursday in federal court in a bid to force the Bush administration to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

Energy Savings Help Solar Laundromat Owner Clean Up
GreenBiz.com - 23 Oct 2003
For Alex Winch, owner of the Beach Solar Laundromat, the savings never stop. After retrofitting his store and installing solar thermal panels on the roof -- which helped to reduce his natural gas consumption by 30% -- he has now just installed a new lighting system which will yield an additional annual savings of appoximately $650.

Immigration puts pressure on pristine Galapagos
Environmental News Network - 22 Oct 2003
Island authorities hoped a 1998 law to conserve Galapagos that outlawed most immigration would help curb population growth. But by making residency in the islands a privilege, the law appears to have spurred just the opposite: a population boom.

Techies think green, renovate their building by recycling
Chicago Sun-Times, IL - 22 Oct 2003
Aware that the largest source of landfill waste is building material, the Center for Neighborhood Technology reused 90% of the building shell during its $900,000 renovation.

Invasive cogon grass may surpass kudzu as Southern plant scourge
Environmental News Network - 21 Oct 2003
It kills pine seedlings, is a hot-burning fire hazard, squeezes out native plants, and ruins habitats for threatened species such as the gopher tortoise and indigo snake. Cogon is even more aggressive and harder to get rid of than the ubiquitous kudzu.

Study Shows Green Building Investments Yield High Returns
GreenBiz.com - 20 Oct 2003
'Green' or 'sustainable' buildings use key resources like energy, water, materials, and land much more efficiently than buildings that are simply built to code, the study points out. They also create healthier work, learning, and living environments, with more natural light and cleaner air, and contribute to improved employee and student health, comfort, and productivity. Sustainable buildings are cost-effective, saving taxpayer dollars by reducing operations and maintenance costs, as well as by lowering utility bills.

Rocket fuel controversy deepens
Environmental News Network - 17 Oct 2003
Manufacturers in 39 states use perchlorate ' a fast moving, long-lasting chemical with adverse health effects ' in rockets, missiles, fireworks, and road flares. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 25 states have detected it in their groundwater. Despite this, no federal agency has set any perchlorate safety standards, and state regulatory agencies have been left to their own devices.

Judge says timber companies that engage in forest logging need federal pollution permits
Environmental News Network - 17 Oct 2003
U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has misconstrued the 1972 federal Cleanwater Act by exempting logging companies from going through the permitting process for stormwater runoff. Runoff of dirt, debris, and chemicals is a major pollutant in rivers and harms fish and wildlife.

Proven: the environmental dangers that may halt GM revolution
The Independent, United Kingdom - 17 Oct 2003
Certainly the chances of GM crops being planted commercially in Britain itself look much less likely after the discovery, in the three-year study, that farmland wildlife is harmed much more by the extra-powerful weedkillers used with GM crops than by herbicides used in conventional agriculture.

METRO AREA: It's man vs. deer in the 'burbs
St. Paul Pioneer Press, MN - 17 Oct 2003
There was a time when deer hunting in a city was like fishing in a desert. But now, as several more suburban cities kick off expanded deer-hunting seasons, urban deer hunting has become nearly as routine as fixing potholes. That's because hunting is turning out to be the cheapest and best way to fight an explosion in the deer population, said Bryan Lueth, urban wildlife manager for the state Department of Natural Resources.

Owls on the prowl - Joggers encounter raptors in park
Mercer Island Reporter, WA - 16 Oct 2003
Aggressive owls have dive-bombed several joggers at Pioneer Park recently. Bird experts say it's a common behavior in this region that they hear about "like clockwork'' each fall.

WHO warns of deteriorating health in Asia's booming cities
Environmental News Network - 15 Oct 2003
Health conditions in Asia's booming cities will suffer dramatically unless governments take urgent measures to slash air and water pollution, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday. Many urban areas are growing so fast that economies, services, and infrastructure cannot cope, the WHO office for the Western Pacific region said in a statement, predicting a rise in outbreaks of disease as well as in crime, violence, environmental degradation, pollution, poverty, and unhealthy lifestyles.

The electricity on 35 Chilean islands will come from renewable sources of energy
CIVITAS2004 - 15 Oct 2003
The three associates, the National Energy Commission of Chile, the non-profit organisation, e7 Fund for Sustainable Development, and the UNDP, will draw up and implement electrification projects for the islands using hydroelectric, wind, solar and biomass energy.

Summit's deer days numbered
Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH - 14 Oct 2003
The Summit County Metro Parks may start sharpshooting deer next year to thin an abundant population that has destroyed plants and shrubs in the parks.

New Mexico uses new weapon in salt cedar war
Environmental News Network - 14 Oct 2003
Salt cedar has invaded waterways throughout the West, and state and federal officials are targeting the thirsty, nonnative species because of dwindling water supplies and the threat of wildfire. They've already tried chain saws, bulldozers, herbicides, and fire. Their latest weapon is a small brown leaf beetle that yearns only for the pink-tipped branches of salt cedar.

New definition of waste sets precedent in Western water policy
Environmental News Network - 14 Oct 2003
Rules governing the use of water in California and much of the West are dauntingly arcane, an accretion of court rulings, legislation, treaties, contracts and customs piled atop one another like layers of sediment in a river delta. Beneath it all lies the bedrock of one principle: the doctrine of prior appropriation. In essence, it means that water belongs to whoever grabbed it first . . . All of these uses typically have involved inefficiency and waste. But it is virtually unheard of in the history of the West for someone to lose a prior-appropriation right to water on the grounds that it's being squandered. Until last summer, that is.

Dog getting crack at park geese
Staten Island Advance, NY - 13 Oct 2003
Borough Parks Commissioner Thomas Paulo said high concentrations of geese have been a growing problem in Staten Island parks and that several humane methods like using air horns, metal streamers and fake owls have been used, with varied results, to shoo the birds away. But any success has been short-lived. The big birds always come back.

NREL and Dupont to Develop World's First Integrated 'Bio-Refinery'
GreenBiz.com - 13 Oct 2003
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and DuPont have announced a joint research agreement leading toward the development of the world's first integrated "bio-refinery" that uses corn or other renewable resources -- rather than traditional petrochemicals -- to produce a host of valuable fuels and value-added chemicals.

Alliance, TNC Present Program on Conservation Easements
Ashley County Ledger, AR - 13 Oct 2003
To help protect the extraordinary resource that Bayou Bartholomew represents, the alliance has started its conservation easement program. Under that program, landowners can grant an easement to protect in perpetuity the riparian belt along the stream and as well as associated swamps, sloughs, cypress stands and oxbow lakes. Some of the cypress trees along the stream are 800 to 1,000 years old, Layher said. The goal of the program is to help protect the stream, the water quality, fish animals and birds by limiting erosion and other factors which could harm the stream or associated habitat.

Water near landfills will be checked
Tennessean, TN - 13 Oct 2003
While Dickson County has received the most attention, state Solid Waste Director Mike Apple said the problem of contaminated ground water is widespread in Tennessee. Before landfill regulations were adopted in 1973, he said, industrial waste was commonly buried at landfills. About 120 landfills were created before 1973 in Tennessee.

Goats a powerful fire maintenance tool
Daily Sun, AZ - 13 Oct 2003
The Prescott National Forest has been using about 650 goats to eat chaparral and other brush as part of a six-month pilot project to provide a fire buffer around forest area homes.

Fish and Wildlife study shows economic benefits of wildlife refuges
Environmental News Network - 10 Oct 2003
People living near the nation's 542 wildlife refuges also gain from the protected wildlife habitat, according to a government study that touts the economic benefits of the refuge system.

Nebraska town residents are warned not to touch tap water due to solvents
Environmental News Network - 9 Oct 2003
Residents of a rural neighborhood have been showering in churches and drinking bottled water after tests showed their wells were contaminated with industrial solvents known to cause cancer, liver, and kidney damage.

Oil-rich Central Asia battles for water
Environmental News Network - 8 Oct 2003
The Soviet Union is gone, the glaciers are getting smaller, and in parched oil-rich Central Asia, the battle is on for water.

Does North Dakota have clean air? State, feds disagree
Environmental News Network - 8 Oct 2003
Reports from outposts like this have led the state to assert that North Dakota has some of the cleanest air in the country. According to state data, air quality has actually improved since the late 1970s, said Terry O'Clair, director of the state Health Department's air quality division. But federal officials disagree. The Environmental Protection Administration says sulfur dioxide levels are increasing in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and in Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, about 50 miles northwest of Minot. Both parks are among North Dakota's most environmentally sensitive areas.

India unveils national policy on auto fuel to curb pollution
Environmental News Network - 7 Oct 2003
The Indian government announced a national policy on auto fuel Monday to curb growing air pollution in cities and towns. The policy lays down a roadmap for achieving various vehicle emission norms by 2010, said Ram Naik, federal minister for petroleum and natural gas.

New Hampshire is suing 22 oil companies over gasoline additive MTBE
Environmental News Network - 7 Oct 2003
The state sued 22 major oil companies Monday because of the gasoline additive MTBE, which has been found to pollute water, Gov. Craig Benson said. New Hampshire wants the companies to pay millions of dollars to track down the pollution and pay to clean it up, officials said.

Study finds high pollution levels in U.S. southwest
Environmental News Network - 7 Oct 2003
Oil and gas wells and refineries in Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas are creating an air pollution problem similar to the notorious smog of Los Angeles and Houston, researchers said Monday.

On Spain's parched coast, water battles offer a grim view of the future
Environmental News Network - 7 Oct 2003
For decades, developers have poured on the water full blast. Now a fresh boom is bringing golf courses by the hundreds, landscaped tracts of retirement homes, and beachfront hotels that scrape the sky. Scientists warn that the magic ingredient — pumped water — is fast dropping toward brackish dregs at the bottom of ancient aquifers. But there is money to be made, officials say.

Fiji faces energy crisis as drought threatens hydro power supply
Environmental News Network - 7 Oct 2003
Fiji's offices, factories, and hotels have been warned to prepare for a power shortage within three weeks because a drought has been emptying the main lake that supplies 70 percent of the country's electricity.

Deep Trouble: the Gulf in Peril
Naples Daily News, FL - 7 Oct 2003
This 15-part series explores the decreasing quality of the Gulf of Mexico and its coastline. Issues such as water pollution, environmental quality, growth, economic implications, and health effects are addressed.

Phoenix to train beavers not to chew up wetlands
Arizona Republic, AZ - 7 Oct 2003
Phoenix workers are building a wetland where the Gila, Salt and Agua Fria rivers meet, near 91st Avenue and Baseline Road. The goal of the project is take water from the nearby wastewater treatment plant and make it cleaner by running it through a marsh where bacteria destroy toxins . . . The beavers are throwing a kink into the plan. About 50 of the creatures moved in when the demonstration wetlands opened in 1995.

The FAO asks for a worldwide political commitment to reducing deforestation over the next few decade
CIVITAS2004 - 6 Oct 2003
The Twelfth World Forestry Congress, sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Canadian government, concluded with a call for the international community to make a new political commitment to reducing deforestation over the next few decades. At a time in history when nearly 1.6 billion people depend on forests in order to live and the rate of destruction of tropical jungles reaches 12.4 million hectares a year, the Congress declared that it is urgent to harmonise the needs of people and the planet in order to arrive at sustainable development.

Let it burn; put it out
KMSB, AZ - 5 Oct 2003
To many scientists and fire managers, the pair of "sky islands" that serve as Tucson's backdrop illustrate the cruel irony of 20th century fire policy: the mountains where development forced officials to suppress virtually all fires - the Catalinas - became the site of a catastrophe in June because so much fuel had accumulated. Now, with 184 square miles in the Catalinas scorched by three major wildfires in two years, many experts see an opportunity to start managing that range more like the Rincons, where Saguaro's use of fire is hailed as a national model.

Faced with encroaching salt water, Louisiana orange growers fight back
Environmental News Network - 3 Oct 2003
Salt ' lots of it ' lies three feet underground. Scientists say all the salt is tied to Louisiana's bigger problem: coastal land loss. As the marsh goes, the sea gets closer and the ground gets saltier.

Scientists report global warming kills 160,000 annually
Environmental News Network - 1 Oct 2003
About 160,000 people die every year from side-effects of global warming ranging from malaria to malnutrition and the numbers could almost double by 2020, a group of scientists said Tuesday. The study, by scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said children in developing nations seemed most vulnerable.

Wildlife's urban niche
Baltimore Sun, MD - 1 Oct 2003
Some are just passing through on their way to winter homes. Others, the young adults of the animal world, are leaving the family home and looking for places of their own. And although we rarely notice them, they're making use of every spare corner of the city.