After a bit of a summer hiatus, The Nooze is back in action! Over this week we'll bring you highlight stories from the past month, and pick back up with regular blog posts starting in August. First, from Joshua Zaffos, writing for the Sierra Club's magazine, a look at oil and gas exploration in the West:
IN LATE JUNE, WHEN THE SNOW DISAPPEARS from the high-country forests, Jock Jacober moves hundreds of cows into the meadows of Coal Basin in Colorado's White River National Forest. Located between 9,000 and 10,000 feet, the mid-elevation pastures are part of the 221,500-acre Thompson Divide, undeveloped public lands that provide important summer livestock forage and essential elk-calving habitat.
From the growing mountain town of Carbondale, Jacober and his three sons operate Crystal River Meats, processing grass-fed beef that he and other local ranchers raise. Started in 1999, the specialty business has grown to distribute to Whole Foods and Natural Grocers supermarkets. Most of the ranchers rely on U.S. Forest Service grazing leases in Coal Basin and other designated roadless parcels in the Thompson Divide. "For 100 years, guys have been running cattle up there," Jacober says. "It's a good place to grow food for the valley." Read more.
Elevated levels of methane and other stray gases have been found in drinking water near natural gas wells in Pennsylvania's gas-rich Marcellus shale region, according to new research. In the case of methane, concentrations were six times higher in some drinking water found within one kilometer of drilling operations.
"The bottom line is strong evidence for gas leaking into drinking water in some cases," Robert Jackson, an environmental scientist at Duke University in Durham, N.C., told NBC News. "We think the likeliest explanation is leaky wells," he added... Read more.
Writer and photojournalist Michael Kodas has been documenting firefighting and firefighters for more than a decade. His current book project, Megafire, an examination of the new world faced by firefighters, will be released in 2014. Kodas, also the author of High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed, lives in Boulder, Colo. He traveled to Arizona after 19 elite Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighters from Prescott died June 30 battling a lightning-sparked wildfire in nearby Yarnell... Read more.
Pascal van Erp saw his first ghost net when he was exploring a ship wreck in the North Sea.
“It was a very scary thing,” the Dutch diver says. He says the abandoned fishing net almost got him. Other creatures weren’t so lucky.
“A lot of sea life was captured by the nets and the fishing lines,” he says.
The experience haunted van Erp, and he soon realized that ghost nets – nets lost or cut from fishing boats – were a global problem. So he founded an organization called Ghostfishing International to help raise awareness about the issue and connect people around the world who are working to remove nets... Read and hear more.
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