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Environment

NASA Issues Report On New Mexico Methane Hotspot

on August 17, 2016 - 10:39am

NASA News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  NASA released a study Monday on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico.
 
The report, based on intensive aerial surveys and ground crews, is a follow-up on the 2014 satellite report that initially found the “hotspot” in the region, and sought to further identify and explain its causes.

The study identified 250 large methane plumes emitted from well pads, storage tanks, pipelines, gas processing plants, and venting from the San Juan coal mine.

Udall: Navajo Nation Deserves Justice For Damages From Gold King Mine Spill

on August 17, 2016 - 9:16am
U.S. SENATE News:
 
ALBUQUERQUE — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall issued a statement in support of the Navajo Nation's decision to pursue justice for ongoing damages due to last year's Gold King Mine accident, which sent 3 million gallons of toxic sludge coursing down the Animas and San Juan rivers and through the Navajo Nation.   

"The Navajo people have been on the receiving end of devastating environmental disasters brought on by the federal government and private industry for far too long.

Explore The Universe: Modern Astrophysics For Everyone

on August 16, 2016 - 10:17am
Courtesy photo
 
UNM-LA News:
 
UNM-Los Alamos Community Education is offering a unique opportunity for all community members who have an interest in learning more about the universe.
 
Beginning Aug. 23 and running through November, “Explore Your Universe: Modern Astrophysics for Everyone” will meet 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
 
In this class, students will work in small teams on current, unsolved research problems in astrophysics, guided by mentors who work as astrophysicists at LANL and span a wide range of expertise. Class facilitator Dr.

SFNF: Forest Restoration Grants Awarded

on August 16, 2016 - 8:43am
SFNF News:
 
SANTA FE  As part of the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program (CFRP), the Santa Fe National Forest has awarded more than $1 million in grants for forest rehabilitation, riparian restoration and the environmental planning analysis for future restoration work.
 
The 2016 grants will go to the following recipients:
  • $360,000 to Padilla Logging Restoration LLC to purchase heavy equipment and expand capacity to support forest rehabilitation work.
  • $359,994 to WildEarth Guardians to decommission 15 miles of road, restore 200 acres of meadow by removing small trees, and perform

Heinrich Launches Online Zika Resource Center

on August 15, 2016 - 1:24pm

Courtesy image

From the Office of U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen.  Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is providing New Mexicans with critical resources and raising awareness about the health threat posed by the Zika virus. 

Today, he launched a Zika Resource Center on his website to provide information about the virus and tools to help New Mexicans stay healthy.

“While the Zika crisis grows, it’s more important than ever that New Mexicans have access to critical information about how to keep themselves and their families safe during the summer months and while traveling.

PEEC Talk: Protecting New Mexico's Aquatic Resources

on August 15, 2016 - 9:01am

Dr. Rossana Sallenave presents a talk on research behind water quality in New Mexico at talk at 7 p.m., Aug. 30 at the Los Alamos Nature Center. Courtesy/PEEC  

PEEC News:

Dr. Rossana Sallenave will present a talk about important water quality issues and what can be done to preserve New Mexico's aquatic resources at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30 at the Los Alamos Nature Center.

Dr. Sallenave will discuss the effects of water quality on aquatic ecosystems, including their biota.

Daily Postcard: Orphaned Cubs Continue Rehabilitation

on August 15, 2016 - 7:09am

The latest photo captured on a video cam shows orphaned bear cubs Valley Girl and Cowboy playing and plumping up nicely during their rehabilitation at the Land of Enchantment Wildlife compound and will be ready for release soon. Courtesy/LEWF

SFNF: Tussock Moths Defoliate Douglas-Firs

on August 14, 2016 - 1:32pm

Caterpillar of the Douglas-fir tussock moth on a Douglas-fir near Shaggy Peak, Santa Fe National Forest 2016. Courtesy/Dr. Tom Coleman, USDA Forest Service

Aerial view showing Douglas-fir tussock moth defoliation near Shaggy Peak, Santa Fe National Forest.  Courtesy/Crystal Tischler, USDA Forest Service

SFNF News:

Several thousand acres of Douglas-fir and white fir on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest have been defoliated by the Douglas-fir tussock moth (DFTM), which is likely to lead to noticeable tree mortality in the Cañada de los Alamos area near

Children’s Clinic Of Los Alamos Joins List Of Sponsors Of Nature Playtimes At The Nature Center

on August 13, 2016 - 5:00pm

PEEC News:

The American Academy of Pediatrics says, “Nature places virtually no bounds on the imagination and engages all of the senses. For all children, this setting allows for the full blossoming of creativity, curiosity, and the associated developmental advances. The outdoors also presents marvelous opportunities for parents to interact with their children in a fashion that fosters both the development of the relationship and the child.

Nearly 1,000 Lightning Strikes Over Weekend On SFNF

on August 1, 2016 - 4:13pm

This past weekend saw nearly 1,000 lightning strikes within Santa Fe National Forest boundaries. Photo by Robert Chavez

SFNF News:

SANTA FE – The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast for this week in Northern New Mexico includes afternoon and evening thunderstorms with heavy rain. This past weekend saw nearly 1,000 lightning strikes within Santa Fe National Forest boundaries.  As welcome as the moisture is, the monsoon season carries risk.

Forest visitors are urged to learn about lightning and use good judgment and basic safety precautions when hiking, fishing or camping on the Santa Fe

WIPP Mine Rescue Team Wins Field Competition National Championship

on July 31, 2016 - 6:04pm

The WIPP Blue Mine Rescue Team poses with their national championship trophy in the field competition. Front row from left, Ty Zimmerly, Kirk Nance, Heath Fowler, Richard (Stik) West and NWP President and Project Manager Phil Breidenbach. Back row from left, , DOE Carlsbad Field Office Mine Operations Manager Kenny Padilla, Ed Kyser, Manny Marquez, Nico Dominguez, Chris Dominguez, Lance Turnbow, Gary Kessler and NWP Emergency Operations and Security Manager David Stuhan. Courtesy/WIPP

WIPP News:

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Blue Mine Rescue Team captured top honors in the field

NASA’s Kepler Mission Verifies 1,284 New Planets

on July 31, 2016 - 1:20pm
This artist’s concept depicts select planetary discoveries made to date by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. Image by W. Stenzel/NASA

NASA News:

NASA’s Kepler mission has verified 1,284 new planets – the single largest finding of planets to date.

“This announcement more than doubles the number of confirmed planets from Kepler,” said Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth.”

Analysis was performed on the Kepler space telescope’s July 2015 planet

Passport To Pajarito Program Logs Nearly 2,000 Hikes

on July 30, 2016 - 7:32am
Courtesy photo
 
PEEC News:
 
Almost 2,000 hikes have been reported in the first few months of the Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s (PEEC’s) Passport to the Pajarito Plateau program.
 
This highly popular program is a fun way to get families outside, exploring the trails together. The program is a partnership between PEEC, Los Alamos County, Bandelier, and the Valles Caldera with generous support from the Delle Foundation.
 
Participants hike the trails in the passport (which are also included in PEEC’s free Los Alamos Trails app for iOS and Android operating systems) and

Air Force Releases RFP For Replacement To Nuclear Air Launched Cruise Missile

on July 29, 2016 - 8:36pm

USAF News:

The U.S. Air Force released today a request for proposals to industry for its Long Range Standoff, or LRSO, nuclear cruise missile program. Up to two contract awards are expected in 4th quarter fiscal year 2017.

The Long Range Stand-Off weapon will be developed to replace the aging AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile. The AGM-86B was fielded in the early 1980s with a 10-year design life. The current ALCM remain safe, secure and effective, it is facing increasingly sustainment and operational challenges against evolving threats. 

LRSO’s range, survivability, reliability and

NMED Cabinet Secretary Ryan Flynn To Step Down

on July 29, 2016 - 7:42pm

NMED Cabinet Secretary Ryan Flynn

STATE News:

SANTA FE – Today, Gov. Susana Martinez announced that New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn will step down effective Aug. 12.

Secretary Flynn has served as Cabinet Secretary since 2013 and as Environment’s General Counsel from 2011 to 2013. Deputy Cabinet Secretary Butch Tongate will serve as acting Cabinet Secretary.

NMED Deputy Cabinet Secretary Butch Tongate

“Secretary Flynn has put his heart and soul into protecting our environment and always put New Mexicans first,” Martinez said.

Thieves Steal Crucial Wildland Firefighting Equipment

on July 29, 2016 - 10:42am

Mars Rover’s Laser Can Now Target Rocks All By Itself

on July 29, 2016 - 8:45am
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover autonomously selects some targets for the laser and telescopic camera of its ChemCam instrument. For example, on-board software analyzed the Navcam image at left, chose the target indicated with a yellow dot, and pointed ChemCam for laser shots and the image at right. Courtesy NASA
 

LANL News:

New software is enabling ChemCam, the laser spectrometer on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, to select rock targets autonomously—the first time autonomous target selection is available for an instrument of this kind on any robotic planetary mission.

Tales Of Our Times: Why A Larger Scope Is Scary

on July 29, 2016 - 8:36am
Tales of Our Times

By JOHN BARTLIT
New Mexico Citizens
for Clean Air & Water
 
Why a Larger Scope is Scary
 
New technology spreads people’s words and selected sound-bites ever faster, farther and more widely. Communication pathways broaden, yet the stories they carry grow more narrow. Thin stories keep a thin audience.
The goal today is not to reach more people, but to persuade doubly those who already agree with our views. Public arguments try to appeal to known believers—to inspirit the faithful.

Bandelier Hosts Reunion During Centennial Celebration

on July 27, 2016 - 10:38am
Participants arriving Saturday for the Bandelier Reunion in Frijoles Canyon. Courtesy/NPS Photo
 
Nearly 200 people attended Saturday's Bandelier Reunion. Courtesy/NPS Photo

BANDELIER News:

As part of the celebration of Bandelier National Monument’s 100th birthday and the Centennial of the National Park Service, Bandelier held a reunion Saturday, July 23, inviting present and former employees as well as anyone with close personal connections to the park. 

Nearly 200 people attended, counting current staff as well as those who came from near and far. 

The event was partnered with the

Meet The Orphaned Bear Cubs!

on July 27, 2016 - 10:04am

Two healthy, playful bear cubs captured on a recently installed game camera. Courtesy/LEWF

LEWF News:

Dr. Kathleen Ramsay received the two orphaned bear cubs June 25 from the Valles Caldera National Preserve. (Their mother had been euthanized following an attack on a local runner who unknowingly passed beetween her and the cubs.)

Weighing in at about 10 pounds each, Dr. Ramsay went to work to get the cubs used to their new diet of “mush” and fruit, veggies and dog food.

Now, less than a month later, Valley Girl and Cowboy are well over 20 pounds and full of playful energy.

Daily Postcard: Morning Comes To Walnut Canyon

on July 27, 2016 - 10:01am

Daily Postcard: Morning comes to Walnut Canyon. Photo by Robert Beberniss

WIPP Update: Backup Power Installed For WIPP EOC

on July 26, 2016 - 8:52pm
WIPP News:
 
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s (WIPP) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will soon have guaranteed operation in the event of a power outage.
 
A 1,250-kilowatt diesel generator is being installed at the Skeen-Whitlock Building, the location of the EOC. The generator is designed to automatically start when a disruption in power is detected. While the primary purpose of the generator is to ensure emergency response capabilities for the EOC in the event of a power loss, the generator will also power the entire building.

NAU Researchers Find Endangered Mouse On SFNF

on July 26, 2016 - 8:46pm
A New Mexico meadow jumping mouse captured and released this month on the Santa Fe National Forest. Courtesy/Northern Arizona University

 

Fire staff help erect fence to protect New Mexico meadow jumping mouse habitat. Courtesy/USDA Forest Service

 

SFNF News:
 
SANTA FE  While Forest Service crews were constructing a fence to protect critical habitat for the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, a 10-person team of researchers from Northern Arizona University (NAU) confirmed that the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) is home to the species.
 
Wildlife ecologist and NAU School of

Santa Fe National Forest Plans Prescribed Burns

on July 26, 2016 - 9:28am

Fire managers are planning to conduct two prescribed burns this fall on the Coyote Ranger District in the Santa Fe National Forest. Courtesy/SFNF

SFNF News:

SANTA FE – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to conduct two prescribed burns on the Coyote Ranger District this fall.

The 5,041-acre French Mesa treatment area is approximately 10 miles north of Gallina and the 470-acre Mesa Potrero pile burn located approximately seven miles northwest of the community of Coyote.

The window for hand ignitions may open as early as Aug. 1, 2016, and run through Sept.

NMED Issues 'Boil Water Advisory' For Yah-Ta-Hey Water & Sanitation District Water System

on July 26, 2016 - 7:45am
NMED News:
 
SANTA FE  The New Mexico Environment Department’s Drinking Water Bureau issued a “boil water advisory” for the Yah-Ta-Hey Water & Sanitation District Water System.
 
NMED issued the advisory after bacteriological contamination (E. coli) was detected in repeat drinking water samples from the water system’s distribution system. NMED required Yah-Ta-Hey Water & Sanitation District Water System to notify water system consumers of this finding. 
 
Yah-Ta-Hey Water & Sanitation District Water System is a community public water system that serves approximately 438 people and is

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