Lake Sturgeon comeback, low-water woes, fear of quakes, and boom-strain (plus a bonus springtime video)

We've got four brand-new stories for your reading pleasure today, a plethora of news to make up for your trusty blog-maestro's long absence last week. First up, Susan Bence with WUWM in Milwaukee takes a look at a hopeful news story in the environmental arena: a prehistoric fish's long-awaited comeback.

The Lake Sturgeon's New Lease on Life

Sturgeon, the prehistoric-looking fish that indeed, dates back thousands of years, were on the verge of disappearing from Wisconsin's waterways, due to overfishing and environmental factors. But the efforts of many, including fish biologists and conservationists, have led to a sturgeon comeback... Hear & View more.

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From Sarah Gilman with High Country News, a look at the ongoing water war in Oregon's Klamath Basin, and the toll that regulations are taking on migratory birds.

Last in Line

The outbreak started in February. Migratory waterfowl heading south along the West Coast found the wetlands of northern California's Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge -- a major stopover point on the Pacific Flyway -- half dry. Nearly 2 million birds passed through the area as winter edged toward spring, many crowding into the remaining 15,000 marshy acres, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.  Such tight conditions are a playground for disease, and by March, an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 birds had died of avian cholera -- the worst such outbreak the complex of refuges on the Oregon-California border, of which the Lower Klamath is a part, has seen in 10 to 15 years, according to the Oregonian... Read more.

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The final piece in a series by Sam Eaton, who reported on Japan in the wake of last year's earthquake for PRI's The World.

Fears Grow of Big Tokyo Quake

In a quiet room at Tokyo University, seismologist Shinichi Sakai points to steady, color-coded lines on a digital monitor. The screen displays real-time readings from Japan’s extensive network of seismometers. This is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, and the flat lines show that all is quiet across the region, at least for the moment.

Then, as if on cue, two of the lines start to jump violently, splashing the screen with red and yellow pixels. They’re tracking a very small earthquake, centered just outside of Tokyo... Read, hear & see more.

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Kirk Siegler with KUNC in Colorado reports for NPR on booming shale and oil development - and the lack of inspectors to enforce regulations.

Drilling Boom Strains State Regulatory Agencies

Cash-strapped states are embracing the millions of dollars in new tax revenue coming from shale oil and gas development. But there aren't enough inspectors to make sure the sites aren't polluting. The problem seems especially apparent in Colorado, which now has more than 47,000 active oil and gas wells but the state employs just 17 inspectors... Hear more.

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And, just for a little springtime fun, a great video shot by fellow Chris Engle in Otsego County, Michigan: Loons, up-close and personal!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCG7zV0ay9o&w=640&h=390]