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Join Local Birders In The 117th Annual Christmas Bird Count Dec. 17

on December 5, 2016 - 12:37pm
Enthusiastic bird watchers. Photo courtesy of Beth Cortright
PEEC News:
In the 1800’s, many in North America participated in a common holiday tradition of going out on Christmas day and competing to kill as many birds as possible.
At the turn of the 20th century, American ornithologist Frank Chapman suggested that perhaps it would be a better idea to simply count the birds rather than shoot them. Chapman enlisted the help of 26 like-minded bird enthusiasts and in December of 1900 held the first annual Christmas Bird Count.
For the last 116 years, the National Audubon Society

Amateur Naturalist: The Forests Of The Cerros Del Abrigo

on December 5, 2016 - 11:51am
Grasses growing among burnt tree trunks at the start of the Cerro Del Abrigo trail. Photo by Robert Dryja
PEEC Amateur Naturalist: The forests of the Cerros Del Abrigo
By Robert Dryja
Clear cut logging in the early 1970’s left a large area of the Cerros Del Abrigo a blank slate for plant regeneration.
From this starting point different trees and grasses started to regrow. Three variables affecting the regeneration were: (1) the steepness of a slope; (2) more or less moisture; and (3) more or less soil available for growth.

DOE Secretary: U.S. Commits To IAEA Monitoring For Six Metric Tons Of Plutonium Disposition

on December 5, 2016 - 7:14am

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz

DOE News:

VIENNA – At an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz today announced the United States is embarking on an effort to dilute and dispose of six metric tons of excess plutonium from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, and that the United States is prepared to work with the IAEA in 2017 to develop a monitoring and verification plan for the disposition process.

Below are Secretary Moniz’ remarks at the conference, which begin with a message from President Obama to the conference:


NM Natural Resource Trustee & U.S. Fish & Wildlife Seeking Public Comment

on December 5, 2016 - 6:26am
ALBUQUERQUE  The New Mexico Office of Natural Resources Trustee and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (collectively, the Trustees) seek public comment on the Draft Addendum to the Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (RP/EA) for the Chino, Cobre and Tyrone Mine Facilities in Southwestern New Mexico.
The trustees have completed an evaluation of wildlife and wildlife habitat restoration projects that were proposed after holding an informational meeting in Silver City Oct.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall Welcomes Decision To Reject Easement For Dakota Access Pipeline

on December 4, 2016 - 8:16pm
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, the incoming vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to reject the current route for the Dakota Access Pipeline and explore alternatives:
"I appreciate the president and the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision today to deny an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing under Lake Oahe in North Dakota and to explore alternate routes.

Tussock Moth Outbreak On Santa Fe National Forest Appears To Be Almost Over

on December 4, 2016 - 9:22am
SFNF News:
SANTA FE  The defoliation of Douglas-fir and White fir on several thousand acres on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest appears to be coming to a natural end. 
In August, specialists from Forest Health Protection out of the Forest Service’s Southwestern Regional Office in Albuquerque documented an outbreak of the Douglas-fir tussock moth (DFTM), a native defoliating insect that feeds on the trees’ needles, in the Cañada de los Alamos area near Shaggy Peak. 
In the most heavily affected areas, defoliation ranged from 90 to 100 percent,

WIPP: Ground Control Progress In Panel 7

on December 3, 2016 - 10:52am
An Underground Operations employee, wearing anti-contamination clothing and a respirator, installs bolts in Panel 7 of the WIPP underground. Courtesy photo
WIPP News:
Underground operations personnel installed 360 bolts in one recent week – doubling the previous weekly record.
The significant progress made in ground control maintenance over the past several weeks in the WIPP underground has exceeded expectations. Ground control is important to ensure safe working conditions for resuming waste emplacement.
“The performance of our underground operations crews has been

New Mexico’s Bees – Abundant, Beautiful, And Overlooked – Nature Center Talk Dec. 6

on December 3, 2016 - 8:46am
Dr. Olivia Carril
PEEC News:
Few people know that close to 4,000 species of bees can be found in North America, and that is only one intriguing aspect of these diverse insects.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, Dr. Olivia Carril will reveal the complexities of bees, how to attract them, and ways to identify these small, fascinating insects. This is a free talk at the Los Alamos Nature Center.
Bees provide an essential ecosystem service in their role as pollinators, yet few know that that there are roughly 1,000 species of bees in New Mexico.

Gallinas Watershed Prescribed Burn Continues On Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District

on December 3, 2016 - 8:29am
SFNF News:
SANTA FE  Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest plan to continue the Gallinas Watershed prescribed burn next week, focusing on a 180-acre block in the Las Dispensas area and a 1,120-acre unit on Johnson Mesa. 
Ignitions may begin Monday, Dec. 5, if conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, are favorable and may continue through Thursday, Dec. 8.
The Gallinas Watershed, located approximately 20 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM, is a priority for forest restoration, including prescribed burning, because it is the primary water

Public Meeting Notice: Replacement Wastewater Treatment Plant In White Rock

on December 2, 2016 - 2:47pm


White Rock, New Mexico

Los Alamos County White Rock Water Resource Recovery Facility Project

Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Time: 4:00 – 7:00pm

Place: White Rock Branch Library, 10 Sherwood Blvd., White Rock, NM 87544

Agenda: 4:00 – 4:30pmOpen House

4:30 – 5:30pm – Presentation

5:30 – 6:30pm - Question and answer session

Purpose: Los Alamos County is in the process of rehabilitating and replacing the existing White Rock Water Resource Recovery Facility.

Ski Season Opens On Pajarito Mountain Saturday!

on December 2, 2016 - 9:59am
Pajarito Mountain making snow Nov. 30. Courtesy photo
PM News:
Pajarito Mountain kicks off ski season this Saturday, Dec. 3 with top-to-bottom skiing and snowboarding on the Aspen Lift with access to Bruce’s Boulevard, and Lone Spruce. Additional terrain may be available as conditions permit, including beginner terrain.
“Pajarito picked up eight inches of fresh snow with this latest storm and our snowmaking team has been very productive with our snowmaking efforts recently so we’ll open with top-to-bottom skiing,” stated Tom Long, general manager of Pajarito Mountain.

Jemez Ranger District Conducts Thompson Ridge Prescribed Burn

on December 2, 2016 - 9:14am
SFNF News:
SANTA FE  Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are conducting the previously announced Thompson Ridge prescribed pile burn on the Jemez Ranger District.  
Conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, are favorable to complete the burn. The 40-acre treatment area is north of the community of Thompson Ridge off of Forest Road 106. 
Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems.

PEEC's Top 10 List Continues: #5

on December 2, 2016 - 9:01am

Kids are so important, they also are the focus of this week's reason to support PEEC. The number 5 reason why people support PEEC is to help kids have fun exploring science at the nature center. Support PEEC and make PEEC's free programs possible. Courtesy photo

‘Fix-It Friday’ At Los Alamos Makers 6 p.m. Dec. 2

on December 1, 2016 - 10:22pm

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

By Prisca Tiassé Yoder, PhD

What if we fixed, re-purposed or donated our "stuff" instead of throwing it away?

Who's got time for that, right?

Fixing, re-purposing and even donating can be an investment in time AND money. Sometimes it's just easier to trash it...But where does it all go? Well, that is probably a loaded question.

What are the options currently available to consumers?

School Delays, Cancellation, Early Dismissals

on December 1, 2016 - 8:57am
LAPS News:
Los Alamos Public Schools has issued the following message to help prepare for the winter of 2016-17:
  • The decision to close school or delay the start of school will usually be made by 5:30 a.m.;
  • Official announcements will be made via the media, district web page, LAPS School Messenger, the school district’s information line (505.663.2223), and each individual school line;
  • LAPS will be coordinating with LANL and the County on all decisions about a delayed start, cancellation or early dismissal;
  • In general, if the Lab is on a delay, school opening will be

Eastern New Mexico Businesses Receive Energy Efficiency Funds

on November 30, 2016 - 10:33am

USDA News:

ALBUQUERQUE  USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner announced today two grants to Eastern New Mexico businesses to help improve their energy efficiency. 

Highland Dairy in Clovis, NM received a grant of $16,522 for the purchase and installation a chiller with heat recovery for their dairy. The chiller is expected to save 441,013 kWh which would power the equivalent of 40 homes. 

Russell’s Endee Truck & Travel Center, LLC in San Jon, NM received a grant of $18,810 for the replacement of existing equipment towards more energy efficient LED lighting.

Los Alamos Geological Society's 2016 Earth Treasure Show At Masonic Lodge Dec. 3-4

on November 30, 2016 - 10:21am
Participants at the 2014 Earth Treasure Show check out many varieties of rocks, minerals and other pieces on sale at the Masonic Lodge. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/
LAGS News:
The Los Alamos Geological Society is hosting the 48th edition of the Earth Treasure Show at the Masonic Temple on 15th Street and Canyon Road as part of Winterfest.
The event is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. Admission is free.
Activities include a children's craft table, silent auctions, geode cutting, faceting demonstrations, educational displays, and

EM Assistant Secretary Monica Regalbuto Discusses Year Ahead

on November 30, 2016 - 9:53am

EM Assistant Secretary Dr. Monica Regalbuto

EM News:

EM Update recently spoke to Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management (EM) Monica Regalbuto about EM’s priorities and goals for fiscal year 2017.

What are your main objectives and goals for fiscal year 2017?

We were very fortunate in EM in the last fiscal year to realize some significant achievements across the complex, and I think we’re on track to do the same this fiscal year.

Of course, our highest priority is resuming waste emplacement activities at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) once it is safe to do so.

Daily Postcard: Anniversary Trail Scenes In November

on November 30, 2016 - 8:58am

Daily Postcard: A smattering of snow falls along the Anniversay Trail in Los Alamos. Photo by Leslie Bucklin

Daily Postcard: Scene from Anniversay Trail. Photo by Leslie Bucklin


Anniversary Trail begins at the east end of Los Alamos and offers spectacular views over the Rio Grande Valley.

Start at the water tank across N.M. 502 from Eastgate Industrial Park at the Los Alamos/Santa Fe county line sign. Hike up the road to the ridge. The moderate, 1.5 miles one way trail goes east.

It is on bedrock with parts of a prehistoric trail still visible.

Playing In Nature Center Planetarium This Weekend

on November 29, 2016 - 12:02pm
PEEC News:
The Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium will feature a fascinating talk by astrophysicist Dr. Rick Wallace along with a showing of the planetarium film Exploding Universe, at 7 p.m. this Friday.
At 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, We are Astronomers will play on the full planetarium dome. This exciting, family-friendly film reveals the global collaboration, technology, and dedication required to answer the unresolved questions of the universe. 
For more information about these and future planetarium shows, visit www.peecnature. org/planetarium or call 505.662.0460.

Letter To The Editor: Open Letter To Obama From Sierran

on November 29, 2016 - 8:34am
Santa Fe
Dear President Obama,

Earlier this week, my wife and I returned from several days volunteering at the Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota. There was a lot of activity in camp preparing for the winter. I have never encountered so much positive energy towards a common goal, it was with great sadness we had to depart due to both of us getting viral infection of the lung.

Generally, an 1800+ mile long oil pipeline would require an environmental impact statement (EIS). This has NOT been done for this major project.

Tour Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge Dec. 3

on November 29, 2016 - 8:12am
Canadian Geese spend time in the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge during their migration. Courtesy photo
PEEC News:
Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is working with the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge to offer a guided tour of the Southwest's first urban refuge at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3.  This day trip offers a unique perspective on connecting with nature in urban environments.
Valle de Oro offers a unique environmental education and recreation opportunity in a highly populated area while promoting a wildlife conservation message.

PEEC Offers Guided Hike To Ojo Mica Mine

on November 29, 2016 - 8:05am
Dr. Kirt Kempter, geologist and experienced guide, has studied geology in South America and Iceland and led educational tours to a variety of local and international destinations. Courtesy photo
PEEC News:
Want to learn more about the geologic story of the Ojo Caliente region? Geologist Kirt Kempter will lead an easy four-mile (round trip) hike Sunday, Dec. 4 to the shimmering mica mine in Ojo Caliente.
The hot springs at Ojo Caliente have been a fixture on the New Mexico historical scene for centuries, visited by the likes of Geronimo, Zebulon Pike and Kit Carson to name a few.

AGU: West Antarctic Ice Shelf Breaking From Inside Out

on November 29, 2016 - 8:01am
AGU News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A key glacier in Antarctica is breaking apart from the inside out, suggesting that the ocean is weakening ice on the edges of the continent.
The Pine Island Glacier, part of the ice shelf that bounds the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is one of two glaciers that researchers believe are most likely to undergo rapid retreat, bringing more ice from the interior of the ice sheet to the ocean, where its melting would flood coastlines around the world.

Thank You From LEWF As Cubs Released To Wild

on November 28, 2016 - 11:07am

Orphaned cubs Valley Girl and Cowboy were released Nov. 16 back to the wild. Courtesy/LEWF

LEWF News:

Valle (Valley Girl) and Caldera (Cowboy) were released Nov. 16 back into the wild after being nurtured by Dr. Kathleen Ramsay. The orphaned cubs came into rehabilitation after a tragic incident with their mother and marathon runner Karen Williams.

Dr. Ramsay turned to Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit, to help fund raise the $12,000 that she needed to raise these two cubs to get them ready for their release back into the wild.