Today's News: Wildfire, oil drilling, eels, and more

Links to some recent Fellow stories.

Sammy Fretwell with The State in Columbia, S.C., writes about wildfires:

Threat from S.C. to New Mexico JEMEZ SPRINGS , N.M — . – From the floor of a dry lake bed rimmed by dark mountains, it’s easy to understand why people still talk about the historic wildfire that swept through northern New Mexico last summer.

Blackened trees dominate parts of the sloping forest near this small town. In places, the soil beneath the charred woodland is gray and slippery, the earth so lifeless it will take years for native conifers to grow back. Creeks where thousands of fish died flow silently as nature tries to recover.

The intensity of the June 2011 fire contributed to this stark winter scene at the Valles Caldera National Preserve, but the devastation found in New Mexico should be no surprise to other communities across the nation.... read more.

_________________________________ Kirk Siegler, with KUNC radio in Colorado reports on oil drilling regulations:

Drilling Bans Highlight Ambiguity in Colorado Law

In 2009, then Governor Bill Ritter pushed through sweeping changes to the state’s oil and gas regulations.  The goal was to better protect the environment and public health from drilling.

But they stopped short of clarifying how much authority a local government has to regulate drilling within its boundaries.  This has come to a head lately along the Colorado Front Range where the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing is now occurring in and around densely populated neighborhoods...read and hear more.

____________________________________ Rona Kobell at the Chesapeake Bay Journal covers the disappearance of American eels in the Great Lakes:

American Eels are mostly gone in Great Lakes The American eel had been good to John Rorabeck. For decades, he guided his workboat along the rivers and lakes of Ontario, catching more than 400 eels a day with little difficulty. He sold everything he caught - and for good prices.

But one day in 1989, that began to change. Rorabeck went to his friend John Casselman, a longtime biology professor at Queen's University who had studied eels most of his career. There's a problem, Rorabeck told him. And it could soon affect the 100 eel fishermen in the region as well as the species... read more.

______________________________________ From Susan Montoya Bryan with the AP, river otters face a rough road:

NM Pulls the Plug on Gila River Otters ALBUQUERQUE - The last time anyone had documented a river otter in New Mexico was nearly 60 years ago on the Gila River. A government trapper found the dead animal in a beaver trap.

Now the chance of otters making a comeback in the upper reaches of the Gila is being put on hold indefinitely by New Mexico wildlife officials, a move that is frustrating conservationists and others who see the sleek mammals as the best hope for preserving endangered fish in the river... read more.

____________________________________ And from Douglas Fischer, editor of The Daily Climate:

Climate Coverage Down Again in 2011 Media coverage of climate change continued to tumble in 2011, declining roughly 20 percent from 2010's levels and nearly 42 percent from 2009's peak, according to analysis of DailyClimate.org's archive of global media... read more.