Caught Whales, Solar Boom, Nuclear Tuna, and the Finally-Free Elwha

Tuesday Noozeday! Once again featuring fine work from our fine Fellows. First, from Rebecca Kessler writing for Yale Environment 360, a heartbreaking look at the deadly effects of fishing:

How Fishing Gear is Killing Whales in the North Atlantic

In early August, a small minke whale washed up on a beach in Chatham, Massachusetts. It was less than nine months old, not even weaned, and the cause of death soon became clear to Michael Moore, a veterinarian and biologist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who came to perform a necropsy. Fishing line snarled the whale’s snout, threading in and out of its baleen. Skull-bone fractures indicated that it had struggled in the rope underwater. Still, death had come fairly quickly... Read more.

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Next, Sammy Fretwell with The State in South Carolina, continues his coverage of the rise of solar power in the region (you can find links to the rest of the series here):

Sun farms boom across South Carolina state line

ROWLAND, N.C. — Just off a country road, a few miles from the South Carolina border, is a sight few people ever imagined around here.

Solar panels cover a 35-acre field that once produced corn, tobacco and other crops in this corner of southeastern North Carolina. When the sun shines, the panels generate enough electricity for hundreds of homes.

“I initially thought this was a pipe dream,” said farmer Billy Dean Hunt, recalling discussions with a solar company about using his cornfield for a sun farm. “But I started talking to them. They convinced me they would honor what they said. So I did it.”

The scene near Rowland is found increasingly across North Carolina. Solar farms dot the landscape from the Blue Ridge mountains to the sandy coastal plain – the result of an emerging renewable energy industry... Read more.

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Craig Welch with The Seattle Times writes about how scientists are using a tragedy - the nuclear accident at the Fukushima power plant in Japan - two answer a decades-old question about tuna:

Trace Fukushima radiation found in Northwest Albacore Tuna

Since the early 1950s, scientists have argued about one of the West Coast's most popular fish — albacore tuna.

Are the silvery streaks that tempt thousands of anglers each year part of one family of highly migratory fish? Or are there really two groups of speedy tuna, each traveling a different route around the sea?

Now this half-century-old argument could be clarified by a disturbing new pollutant: radioactive isotopes from Tokyo's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant... Read more.

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And Lynda Mapes, also with The Seattle Times, covers the final freeing of the Elwha River:

"She's all river now": No more reservoirs on the Elwha

With a big shot of dynamite, the last of Lake Mills drained through what's left of Glines Canyon Dam last week. There's still about 50 feet of the Glines Canyon Dam standing. But the last of the once 210-foot-tall structure will be gone by May.

Today the river crashes over what's left of the dam in a waterfall. And while there is still a mixture of water and sediment that can't get past the remaining concrete yet, there are no more reservoirs on the Elwha. "She's all river now," Andy Ritchie, restoration hydrologist for the National Park Service said with a big smile... Read more.