A delta, a warning, and the case of the disappearing bivalves

From Fellow Alex Breitler, at The Record: Some worry officials will leap, not fully look at Delta

Decades after Los Angeles stuck a straw into Mono Lake, economist John Loomis set out to discover if this policy really was in the state's best interest.

Loomis, then a professor at the University of California, Davis, asked random Californians in 1987 how much they would pay to make the unique lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada whole once more - how much they valued the birds, the fish, the mere knowledge that a place such as Mono Lake existed.

That value, he found, was $1.5 billion per year.

The cost of Los Angeles finding another, more expensive source of water? About $26 million per year... Read more.


A piece from Tom Banse on NPR:

Quake lessons from Japan: Pay attention to energy resiliance

This Sunday marks the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The tsunami destruction and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown have garnered the most attention.

There was also another cause of suffering in Japan's quake zone. In some places, you couldn't get gasoline for weeks to fuel cars and generators. The Pacific Northwest is prone to the same kind of earthquake that rocked Japan. Emergency planners say this region's fuel supply lines are vulnerable...Read and hear more.


From Ashley Ahearn with KUOW Public Radio:

The case of the stolen geoducks

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The crew of the Abby Blue is checking in after a busy morning on the water. They’ve pulled up alongside a vessel from the Department of Natural Resources to declare their harvest.

Blain Reeves is in the aquatics division of the DNR, and observes as cage after cage of giant clams are weighed and counted.

“826 pounds. They were working hard.”

We’re out on a 150-acre section of water in South Puget Sound. Around us five other boats are moored. 70 feet below the surface, divers are digging geoducks out of the muck... Read and hear more.

Note: If you've got a passion for contraband critters (especially geoducks) and nefarious deeds, you should check out this book by a former-Fellow and environment reporter for The Seattle Times, Craig Welch: Shell Games: A True Story of Cops, Con Men, and the Smuggling of America's Strangest Wildlife.