NCSU golf course and BASF partner to help monarch butterflies

NC State University professor emeritus Harold Coble saw an opportunity to help the threatened monarch butterfly at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course. As a consultant for BASF, Coble knew about the project Living Acres, a BASF effort designed to promote growing milkweeds in non-agricultural areas like golf courses.

Since the Lonnie Poole was established as a sustainable golf course, Coble figured that it would be an ideal place for BASF to establish a monarch butterfly habitat. He approached the golf course management with the idea. Continue reading

EPA Releases Final Biological Evaluations of Three Chemicals’ Impacts on Endangered Species

The Environmental Protection Agency has released its final biological evaluations (BEs) for effects of chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion on threatened and endangered species and their designated critical habitat. We have also released a separate document that addresses the comments submitted during the public comment period.

Under the Endangered Species Act, for those species and designated critical habitats where registered uses of the three pesticides are “likely to adversely affect” the species and/or their habitat, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service will incorporate the analyses and data from EPA’s biological evaluations into their final Biological Opinions for each of the three chemicals.  Continue reading

EPA Places Restrictions on Pesticide Use to Protect Four Endangered and Threatened Species

The Environmental Protection Agency is placing geographically specific pesticide use restrictions on the use of eight gas cartridge products containing sodium and potassium nitrate, carbon and carbon dioxide, and sulfur to protect four endangered and threatened (listed) species in certain areas of the United States. These include the gopher tortoise, Hualapai Mexican vole, Mount Graham red squirrel, and Utah prairie dog. Gas cartridge products are used to control burrowing mammals.

The restrictions can be found in EPA’s Endangered Species Protection Program BulletinsContinue reading

UK students provide monarchs a rest stop and nursery

by Carol Lea Spence, University of Kentucky

It’s an epic journey by a creature so fragile that it is almost beyond the imagination. Thousands of times a monarch butterfly’s wings stroke the air, buffeted by winds and soaked by rains on its 3,000-mile autumn trip from southern Canada to central Mexico. Faced by numerous threats, their populations are in decline. University of Kentucky graduate student Jerrod Penn decided to study people’s interest in helping the butterfly.

Penn, who is working on his doctorate in agricultural economics in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, spent the summer conducting a survey of 800 people in Lexington to find out what they know about the plight of the monarch and how much they’re willing to support efforts to help the butterflies. Continue reading

UK study helps bats come home to roost—and recover

By Carol Lea Spence, University of Kentucky

Thousands of bats lie, heaped high on cave floors, sometimes as many as 10,000 at one site. Fragile, winged mammals that have succumbed to the ravages of white nose syndrome and dropped, flightless, from their roosts on cave ceilings. Biologists report coming upon this tragic scene and finding, among the piles of tiny corpses, living bats, struggling to survive hibernation by burrowing among the bodies of their colony for residual warmth.

“For those of us who expend our entire career working on them, like I have, it’s pretty heartbreaking,” said Mike Lacki, professor of wildlife ecology and management in the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry. Continue reading

Clarification on Registration Instructions for May 5, 2016, Endangered Species Assessments Webinar

The Environmental Protection Agency has heard from a number of people who are having trouble registering for the upcoming Endangered Species Assessments webinar. The issue seems to be coming from a password prompt for those who have already used the EPA Adobe Connect system.

If you registered for the webinar prior to 2:00 PM (ET) on April, 26, 2016, you will need to register again at   Continue reading

How Venus flytraps kill their prey

In LiveScience

by Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer

Unlike proactive predators in the animal kingdom, carnivorous plants like the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) must wait for their insect prey to literally step inside their “jaws” before they can catch the victims. But these plants don’t instantly snap at the first tentative tap of a potential meal in their maws; instead, the plants count touches from their hapless prey to tailor a predatory response, an international team of scientists found.

The first tap from an insect tells a Venus flytrap, “Pay attention, but don’t respond just yet,” the new study said. A second tap means, “Probably food,” triggering the trap to close, and three more taps from a trapped insect signal, “Start digesting!” Continue reading

Supporting Documents for Endangered Species Biological Evaluations Now Available

Background documents for the first round of draft biological evaluations are now available for three pilot chemicals: chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion. The Environmental Protection Agency has been collaborating with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop interim scientific approaches to fulfill our responsibility under the Endangered Species Act to assess the impact of pesticides on threatened and endangered species and their designated critical habitat. These interim scientific approaches are based on recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences report, “Assessing Risks to Endangered and Threatened Species from Pesticides.” As part of this effort, the United States Department of Agriculture has provided expertise on crop production and pesticide uses and assistance with the use of the National Agricultural Statistics Service Cropland Data Layer to help define the footprint of agricultural use patterns. Continue reading

New Website on Endangered Species and Pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency has launched a redesigned website on protecting endangered species from pesticides:

The purpose of this new website is to make information more easily accessible to the public, regardless of the type of device being used (for example, laptop, tablet or smartphone). EPA is not announcing any technical or regulatory changes to its endangered species program.

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EPA Revised Chlorpyrifos Assessment Shows Risk to Workers

Today, EPA is releasing an assessment for public comment on the potential for human health risk of the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

This assessment shows some risks to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos pesticide products. When used in large amounts, chlorpyrifos has the potential to pose risks in limited geographic areas when drinking water from small watersheds.  There were no additional risks from pesticide exposures in food or exposures to bystanders and workers from airborne chlorpyrifos. The latest USDA pesticide residue data show no concerns for chlorpyrifos in food, with the pesticide detected in less than 1% of samples.

Continue reading