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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Nov 2003 contains 43 News Articles.

Quality vs. quantity
Boulder Daily Camera, CO - 30 Nov 2003
Now, 131 years later, U.S. taxpayers have inherited a legacy of thousands of abandoned mines that dot the Western landscape — and no revenue stream in the federal treasury to clean them up. That includes the millions of gallons of orange-laced water flowing out of the mines and coursing through Colorado carrying heavy metals and acid along with them.

Pittsburgh convention center a 'green' feat
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA - 30 Nov 2003
With its curved roof swooping out to the Allegheny River and its exposed steel beams, the new David L. Lawrence Convention Center clearly is a thoroughly modern endeavor. Yet in some ways, it is as if the city's new focal point were designed a century ago. To light up the place, designers used... windows. To cool it off, they installed vents to let in fresh air. Simple ideas from a preindustrial era, these features were key to the designation of the center this month as a "green" building - the world's largest to receive that label.

23 States Go to Battle Over Looser EPA Rules
Los Angeles Times, CA - 27 Nov 2003
A legal war between the states erupted Wednesday over the federal government's move to relax air pollution regulations. Nine states are taking on 14 states that want to block new federal rules relaxing pollution requirements for power plants, refineries and manufacturers. The battle falls along partisan lines.

Report says King County should stop local services
Seattle Times, WA - 27 Nov 2003
King County should cement its role as a regional government by getting out of the business of providing local services in unincorporated areas, a yearlong study by the Municipal League has concluded. The report supports County Executive Ron Sims' position that the county won't escape its financial morass until cities annex urban areas on their borders.

Judge orders halt to Ice Mountain bottling operation in Michigan
Environmental News Network - 26 Nov 2003
A judge ordered the company that produces Ice Mountain bottled water to stop drawing water from wells in a Michigan county on Tuesday, saying the operation has damaged the environment. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by environmentalists who said the company's water-bottling operation has depleted neighboring lakes, streams, and wetlands.

Too many trees, not enough moisture to go around
Hill City Prevailer News, SD - 26 Nov 2003
The moisture in the trees is at the lowest it has ever been, but that is not because the weather is producing less moisture, it is because the forest has more trees than ever and they are competing for moisture.

Assurance sought on pure water
Poughkeepsie Journal, NY - 24 Nov 2003
The water system would supply water to 154 properties, including 102 residences that now have filters to cleanse groundwater polluted with or threatened by the chemical solvent tetrachloroethylene, known as PCE. A government study determined some residents in the neighborhood face a greater risk of developing cancer because they drank the tainted water for many years.

Less waste of water could solve shortage
San Francisco Chronicle, CA - 24 Nov 2003
California could save enough water to serve 11 million people a year if city dwellers cut their water waste by a third, according to a new study by a Bay Area research group. Even with the expected growth in the state's population, improvements in efficiency and conservation can "meet California's future water needs while increasing the amount of water returned to the natural environment," the study said.

Florida declares Miami blue butterfly endangered
Environmental News Network - 24 Nov 2003
The rapid U.S. decline of the Miami blue in the last decade is attributed to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, butterfly collectors, dry environmental conditions, and "human-based mortality from pesticide and herbicide spraying," according to the state's Miami Blue Management Plan.

Woodpeckers Thrive at Bomb Site, Suggesting Humans Can Make Room for Species
Christian Science Monitor - 24 Nov 2003
While other ecologists dream about pristine wilderness parks, Rosenzweig's utopia is a nuclear power plant's cooling canals adapted into a breeding ground for rare crocodiles. Or it might be suburban lawns ripped up and replanted with native species so a rare pocket mouse can survive. Or maybe even a bombing range turned into a place where rare woodpeckers thrive.

Counting the Costs of Growth With a Forest of Formulas
New York Times, NY - 23 Nov 2003
Politicians and policy makers say the proof is in the numbers. The land acquisition process is awash in computer models and analytic tools that can pinpoint everything from the water runoff if a piece of land is paved over to the tax and traffic implications of turning a farm into a subdivision. And while much of the data seems to support the preservationist cause, some environmentalists worry that an over-reliance on calculation can erase the visceral and emotional appeal that animates conservation in the first place. There's a deep and desirable fuzziness to thinking about nature, they say, that can't be factored in.

Harper methodology making waves for wetlands
The News-Press, FL - 23 Nov 2003
A 107-page report is changing the way wetlands destruction permits are granted throughout the state, despite criticism from some scientists and environmentalists, including an EPA scientist who resigned last month. All sides say they’re looking out for wetlands, which are often called the kidneys of the environment because they filter pollutants from the water, including groundwater that eventually flows to the tap.

House and Senate reach compromise on forestry bill
Environmental News Network - 20 Nov 2003
Lawmakers reached agreement Wednesday on a compromise bill for reducing the risks of wildfires in national forests, focusing at least half the effort on areas near homes and towns.

SARS deaths double with pollution, study finds
Environmental News Network - 20 Nov 2003
SARS, the new flulike disease that swept China and across many parts of the world over the past year, is twice as likely to kill patients in polluted areas, U.S. and Chinese researchers reported Wednesday.

U.S. Products to Carry New 'Made with Renewable Energy' Logo
GreenBiz.com - 20 Nov 2003
With 10,000 businesses and 110,000 households using Green-e certified renewable energy, the Green-e logo has become a leading symbol for certified renewable energy. 'Consumers are accustomed to seeing the recycling logo on product packaging,' said Gabe Petlin, Green-e program manager for CRS. “Now, when you see the Green-e logo on a product you’ll know that a significant portion of the energy required to produce that product came from or was offset by high-quality renewable energy.”

Private company takes on Tanzanian city's water woes
Environmental News Network - 19 Nov 2003
From first light, the whistles and squawks of Dar es Salaam's water sellers echo around the streets of a city where only a fraction of the population has access to clean, safe water . . . By 2025, the share of the world's population living in water-stressed areas will increase to 35 percent, or about 2.8 billion people. If Tanzania's population grows at a medium or fast rate, it will have joined the list by then, the U.N. said.

El Paso area rancher gives water back to the Rio Grande
Environmental News Network - 19 Nov 2003
While everybody else wants to use water from the Rio Grande, rancher Kit Bramblett is giving some back. Bramblett is the first person to donate water to the Texas Water Trust, established in 1997 to protect water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in rivers around the state.

Water plant director is sentenced in fish kill
Indianapolis Star, IN - 19 Nov 2003
A Warsaw, Ind., man who oversaw the dumping of tons of sludge and diesel fuel by the city's wastewater treatment plant, killing thousands of fish in a river, will spend nearly four years in prison.

Top Paper Producer Domtar Takes the Lead in Sustainable Forestry
GreenBiz.com - 19 Nov 2003
Domtar and World Wildlife Fund Canada have signed an agreement specifying that the paper maker certify all of its forests and mills to Forest Stewardship Council standards, subject to the successful completion of two pilot projects.

Growing feline population causing extra urban friction
Oregonian, OR - 19 Nov 2003
As people have become more diligent about trying to improve urban habitat, said Bob Sallinger, urban conservation director of the Audubon Society of Portland, they have become more frustrated with the destruction cats cause not only of birds but also of squirrels, raccoons and snakes. Urban cat populations are growing, causing agencies and nonprofit groups to search for ways to mediate between the rights of property owners and the rights of pet owners.

Market-based instrument curbs deforestation
Jakarta Post, Indonesia - 19 Nov 2003
The companies will not explicitly acknowledge it, but pressure from their buyers overseas has been responsible partly for their commitment to having their operations and products certified according to the principles of sustainable forest management.

Riverine rabbit and others are racing toward extinction, says Red List
Environmental News Network - 18 Nov 2003
Conservationists think the current extinction rate is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than it should be under natural conditions. That means that in the first decades of the 21st century, many creatures may disappear. The primary reason is humans. Everything from expanding cities to deforestation, agriculture, and fishing pose a significant threat to the planet's biodiversity, IUCN says.

New View of Data Supports Human Link to Global Warming
New York Times, NY - 18 Nov 2003
One of the last gaps in the evidence pointing to a human cause for global warming appears to be closing. A re-examination of 24 years of data from weather satellites has found that temperatures are rising in the lower layer of the atmosphere, called the troposphere, at a rate that is consistent with what has been measured at the earth's surface.

American Electric Power Becomes 50th 'Climate Leader'
GreenBiz.com - 18 Nov 2003
Setting an initial greenhouse gas reduction goal of 4% by 2006, AEP has become the 50th member of Climate Leaders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s voluntary government/industry partnership to address climate change. The company will work with U.S. EPA and the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) on a post-2006 emissions-control commitment.

Made in the Shade
Texarkana Gazette, TX - 15 Nov 2003
There's no good reason to have a playground without a few trees. The trees can provide shade for students and ultimately prevent cases of skin cancer down the road. With that in mind, the Urban and Community Forestry Program of the Arkansas Forestry Commission has embarked on a statewide campaign to bring the forest to the students.

WWF water quality report fails two-thirds of European nations
Environmental News Network - 14 Nov 2003
Efforts to keep lakes, rivers, and seas clean are failing in nearly two-thirds of European nations because of political apathy, thirsty farms, and urban sprawl, the World Wide Fund for Nature said Thursday.

Raccoon Rabies Claims First Life in U.S.
healthcentral.com - 13 Nov 2003
The government on Thursday announced the first documented death from raccoon-related rabies in the United States.

After air rage and road rage, water rage arrives in Sydney
Environmental News Network - 13 Nov 2003
As Australia's most populous city battles a two-year drought with harsh water restrictions, neighbors are turning into vigilantes to stamp out illicit irrigation.

Aiming to Be the Next Big Amenity
New York Times, NY - 13 Nov 2003
At a time when up to 20 percent of new homes in some markets are being built with environmentally friendly features like double-pane windows, carpet made from recycled plastic, sophisticated air-ventilation systems and nontoxic paints, many Americans still aren't sure just what they're getting when they buy green.

Lead takes root in urban gardens
Baltimore Sun, MD - 10 Nov 2003
To minimize contamination risk, Gray recommends planting gardens far from lead-painted houses or other buildings - paint particles tend to settle close to the structures. She also suggests testing soil for lead and, if necessary, replacing it with uncontaminated soil.

State leaders want water use curbed
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA - 10 Nov 2003
The state plans to create a marketing campaign to encourage Georgians to use less water, similar to public service ads pitching carpooling and public transit to reduce air pollution. Metro Atlanta leaders in particular are convinced water conservation is necessary to accommodate the 2 million to 4 million people expected to move here in the next three decades.

Shell's improving social-responsibility record makes the oil giant attractive to investors
WBCSD - 10 Nov 2003
Over the past couple of years a surprising trait has emerged among the oil giants: Some of their most outstanding employees are actually environmentalists. Or at least you'd think so from their advertising. From BP's claim to be moving "beyond petroleum" to Exxon Mobil's "promise of technology," the companies that fill our gas tanks are trying their darnedest to build an eco-friendly image. But will the pitch pay off with investors?

Declining aquifer squeezes farms, communities
Dodge City Daily Globe, KS - 8 Nov 2003
During the past 20 years, 5 percent of the aquifer beneath much of western Kansas has fallen to levels of less than 30 feet of saturated thickness -- not enough water for large-scale irrigation, he [Rex Buchanan, Kansas Geological Survey] said. Another 4 percent will fall into that category within the next 25 years at current usage rates, Buchanan said. About 40 percent of the aquifer will not last for more than 100 years at current usage.

Recurring fires are changing Southern California's ecosystems -- and prescribed burns could make it worse
Environmental News Network - 7 Nov 2003
Although their interpretation is not universally embraced by fire experts, some researchers contend that wildfires are occurring more often than they did before suburbs begin creeping into the Southern California mountains. And that increased fire frequency, some scientists say, has set off a cascade of ecological effects, changing vegetation patterns in ways that may heighten the fire danger even more.

Climate change will accelerate more than anticipated because forests will not be able to absorb the level of CO2
CIVITAS2004 - 7 Nov 2003
Canadell explained that up until now, the earth’s vegetation has been able to absorb that quantity of CO2 because “the forests have been regenerating over the last 75 years' and 'they are young'. However, when they reach maturity and cease to grow, this 'free subsidy' which, in a way, allows for this gas to disappear, will be eliminated in the next few years and the gas will remain in the atmosphere.

A Bird in a Tree for Biodiversity
Newswise.com - 7 Nov 2003
Fooling with Mother Nature by fragmenting long-established contiguous natural land parcels can have unanticipated and severe ecological consequences, a study of bird-tree mutualism in Tanzania has shown.

Wildlife experts scramble to save threatened species after California wildfires
Environmental News Network - 6 Nov 2003
Wildlife experts are beginning extraordinary efforts to protect animal species whose habitats were charred by wildfires and now face the risk of imminent flooding.

Land use in Florida promotes crop-damaging freezes, study suggests
Environmental News Network - 6 Nov 2003
Some crop-damaging freezes in south Florida might have been milder or avoided completely if wetlands in those areas hadn't been drained years ago for farming, a new study suggests.

California wildfires will bring floods, mudslides
Environmental News Network - 4 Nov 2003
When the wildfires scorched more than 750,000 acres of southern California, an area just slightly smaller that the state of Rhode Island, they destroyed all vegetation on mountains and hillsides. Now when heavy rain falls this winter, there will be nothing to stop it from penetrating directly into the soil. In addition, waxy compounds in plants and soil that are released during fires create a natural barrier in the soil that prevents rain water from seeping deep into the ground. The result is erosion, mudslides, and excess water running off the hillsides, often causing flash flooding in the communities below.

EPA allows partial treatment at sewage plants in storms
Environmental News Network - 4 Nov 2003
The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it will formalize a policy allowing sewage treatment plants to skip a process for killing some pathogens after heavy rains or snow melts. By not requiring the oxidation of pollutants in the wastes after heavy rains — a process of allowing microbes to feed on organic materials, removing viruses and parasites — sewage plants around the country will be able to avoid $90 billion or more in facility upgrades, according to EPA officials, trade group representatives, and environmentalists.

Fight Fire With Foresight
Los Angeles Times, CA - 4 Nov 2003
No house is fireproof, and no one who endures forces as capricious as the Santa Ana winds that blew flames across three-quarters of a million acres in the last two weeks can be guaranteed protection against fires. Safety experts, however, say it's not a coincidence that counties and developers that created fire-resistant envelopes around homes fared dramatically better in the recent wildfires.

DCNR Advises Citizens Of How To Avoid Wildfire Destruction
Yahoo News - 4 Nov 2003
Among the safety features necessary in wildland developments are clearly marked and readable street signage; more than one entrance into the area; road grades less than 10 percent; wide streets; and more than 30 feet of defensible space between homes.

Sprawl eating up state's bounty
Post-Gazette, PA - 2 Nov 2003
A 32-page booklet produced by Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources warns that urban sprawl and development are destroying the state's open spaces, forests, farms and wetlands so rapidly that the outdoor heritage and biological diversity enjoyed here today may not be available to future generations.