NECEDAH, Wis. – Four whooping crane chicks raised in captivity began their integration into the wild Saturday as part of the continuing effort to increase the wild population of this endangered species.
The cranes, hatched and raised by their parents at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland, were released on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.
The chicks, about six-months old, are part of an experimental rearing and release method referred to as “parent-rearing.” The parent-reared whooping crane chicks were hatched and raised by captive adult whooping cranes. This method relies entirely on the expertise of captive parents, who care for, exercise, and feed the chicks.
These chicks will join a flock of about 95 cranes that inhabit wetlands on the refuge and elsewhere in central Wisconsin during the spring and summer. The flock is composed of cranes reintroduced into the wild in order to establish a migratory flock of whooping cranes in the eastern United States. The Eastern Migratory Flock flies south to wetlands in the Southeast United States for the winter. The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center also raises chicks for release into a newly established non-migratory flock in the wetlands of Southwest Louisiana.
“Over the past 13 years, USGS biologists – dressed in costumes to avoid having the birds “imprint” on people -- have raised between five and 20 whooping crane chicks annually that have been released into the Eastern Migratory Flock,” said John French, leader of the USGS whooping crane project at Patuxent. “This new method of allowing captive adult cranes rear the chicks prior to release into the wild is intended to evaluate the effects of rearing by humans in costume, which is obviously an odd condition. Parent rearing may result in the chicks learning behavior important to their survival and reproduction.”
While the parent-rearing method has been used previously with sandhill cranes in Mississippi and whooping cranes in Florida, this is only the second year it has been attempted with a migratory population.
“Our refuge has a long history of helping with the successful reintroduction of endangered or threatened bird species to the area,” said Doug Staller, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge manager. “Necedah is the summer home for the bulk of the Eastern Migratory Flock of whooping cranes, some of which are breeding, and provides a unique and important opportunity to learn more about these endangered birds. It was only natural for us to be involved in the parent rearing effort.”
The parent-reared chicks arrived at Necedah NWR Saturday, where they were housed in separate predator resistant enclosures to provide them a safe place for chicks to roost while they acclimated to their new surroundings near other free-ranging whooping cranes.
The pens are located in the vicinity of pairs of adult whooping cranes without chicks of their own. Such pairs have a tendency to adopt other chicks, and when adopted, will lead them south during migration, which begins at the end of October.
In addition to the four parent-reared chicks released at Necedah NWR, seven costumed-reared whooping crane chicks will join the eastern migratory flock this year as well. The chicks were raised in captivity by costumed handlers and have been imprinted on an ultralight aircraft. They will earn the migration route by following the ultralight from White River Marsh in Wisconsin to the Gulf Coast of Florida. More information on the migration will be available when it begins in October.
All of the releases of whooping cranes in Wisconsin add to the Eastern Migratory Flock, a reintroduction project undertaken by a broad coalition of Federal, state, and NGO partners belonging to the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.
At one point in the past, researchers believe the Whooping crane population dropped to fewer than two-dozen birds. Today the population is estimated to be approximately 425 in the wild, with another 125 in captivity.
Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas Receive More Than $1.6 Million in FEMA Preparedness Grants
DENTON, Texas — Emergency management agencies in five states – Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas – have been awarded more than $1.6 million in preparedness grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In Arkansas, the grants total $149,515 and cover:Language English
DENTON, Texas – Homeowners, renters and business owners in Aransas and San Patricio counties in Texas are encouraged to look over newly-released preliminary flood maps in order to determine their flood risks and make informed decisions.Language English
Celebrate the third annual Geologic Map Day! On October 17, as a part of the Earth Science Week 2014 activities, join leading geoscience organizations in promoting awareness of the importance of geologic mapping to society.
Geologic maps are vital to education, science, business, and public policy concerns. Geologic Map Day will focus the attention of students, teachers, and the general public on the study, uses, and significance of these tools, by engaging audiences through educational activities, print materials, online resources, and public outreach opportunities.
Be sure to check out the Geologic Map Day poster included in this year’s Earth Science Week Toolkit. The poster and other materials in the kit show how geologic maps can be used to understand natural hazards as well as providing step-by-step instructions for a related classroom activity focusing on the Grand Canyon. Additional resources for learning about geologic maps can be found on the Geologic Map Day web page.
Geologic Map Day partners include the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the Association of American State Geologists, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service, the Geological Society of America, and Esri.
For more information, go to: http://www.earthsciweek.org/geologicmap/Geologic map of the conterminous United States at 1:2,500,000 scale. (High resolution image)
Pharmaceuticals from Treated Municipal Wastewater Can Contaminate Shallow Groundwater Following Release to Streams
Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants from treated municipal wastewater can travel into shallow groundwater following their release to streams, according to a recent USGS study. The research was conducted at Fourmile Creek, a small, wastewater-dominated stream near Des Moines, Iowa.
“Water level measurements obtained during this study clearly show that stream levels drive daily trends in groundwater levels. Combined with the detection of pharmaceuticals in groundwater collected several meters away from the stream, these results demonstrate that addition of wastewater to this stream results in unintentional, directed transport of pharmaceuticals into shallow groundwater,” said Paul Bradley, the study’s lead author.
Samples for the study were taken from Fourmile Creek during the months of October and December of 2012. In October, the wastewater made up about 99 percent of the stream’s flow, whereas in December, the wastewater made up about 71 percent of the stream’s flow. During both months, Fourmile Creek experienced persistent dry conditions.
Pharmaceuticals and other wastewater contaminants are most likely to contaminate adjacent shallow groundwater systems during dry conditions when wastewater contributes the greatest proportion to streamflow.
The samples from the stream and groundwater were analyzed for 110 pharmaceutical compounds, as well as other chemicals like personal care products and hormones. These compounds are able to move into the groundwater systems because they remain dissolved in the water, rather than attaching themselves to the sediments that filter other chemicals out of the water as it moves from the stream into adjacent groundwater. There were no sources of these pharmaceuticals to groundwater in the study reach other than municipal wastewater in the stream.
This study found that 48 and 61 different pharmaceuticals were present in the stream downstream of the wastewater discharge point during the two periods of study, with concentrations as high as 7,810 parts-per-trillion (specifically the chemical metformin, an anti-diabetic pharmaceutical). Correspondingly, between 7 and 18 pharmaceuticals were present in groundwater at a distance of about 65 feet (20 meters) from the stream bank, with concentrations as high as 87 parts-per-trillion (specifically fexofenadine, an antihistamine pharmaceutical).
“This research has important implications for the application of bank filtration for indirect water reuse,” said Bradley. Bank filtration is the engineered movement of water between surface water bodies and wells located a short distance away on the streambank. Bank filtration is routinely used to pretreat surface-water for drinking water supply (raw surface water moves from the stream to a shallow groundwater extraction well), or as a final polishing step for the release of treated wastewater (treated wastewater moves from infiltration wells or lagoons through the bank to the stream).
This study is part of a long-term effort to determine the fate and effects of contaminants of emerging concern and to provide water-resource managers with objective information that assists in the development of effective water management practices.
The paper is entitled “Riverbank filtration potential of pharmaceuticals in a wastewater-impacted stream” and has been published in Environmental Pollution. More information on this study and other studies on contaminants of emerging concern can be found here. To learn more about USGS environmental health science, please visit the USGS Environmental Health website and sign up for our GeoHealth Newsletter or our Environmental Health Headlines.
The sixth of a series of handbooks on technologies for management of metal mining influenced water is now available online from the Society of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc.
“This volume was prepared through the Acid Drainage Technology Initiative–Metal Mining Sector (ADTI-MMS), which includes USGS mine drainage expertise, other federal and state agencies, industry, and academia, to develop a handbook with an approach for environmental sampling and characterization throughout the mine life cycle,” said Kathy Smith, U.S. Geological Survey research geologist and co-editor of the new publication.
This handbook supplements and enhances current environmental mine sampling and monitoring literature and provides an awareness of the specialized approach necessary for environmental sampling and monitoring at mining sites. It differs from most information sources by providing an approach to address mining influenced water and other sampling media throughout the mine life cycle.
Sampling and Monitoring for the Mine Life Cycle is organized into a main text and six appendices, including an appendix containing technical summaries written by subject-matter experts that describes various analytical, measurement and collection procedures. Sidebars and illustrations are included to provide additional detail about important concepts, to present examples and brief case studies and to suggest resources for further information. Extensive references are included.
For more information about USGS minerals research, please visit the website.
Eatontown, N.J.-- When an incident reaches the point that it’s unsafe for people to remain in the immediate area, getting everyone evacuated as safely and quickly as possible becomes crucial. One of the most – if not the most – important part of an evacuation is figuring out how to get out of the affected area.Language English
DNREC extends public comment period through October 6 on proposed revision to gasoline vapor recovery regulations
28th Delaware Coastal Cleanup and ‘Arts in the Estuary’ event at DNERR and John Dickinson Plantation highlight National Estuaries Week (Sept. 20-27)
DNREC Fish and Wildlife announces butcher shops processing Sportsmen Against Hunger venison donations for 2014 to 2015 season
DNREC hosts Reclaim Our River - Nanticoke Series guided nature walk and celebration Sept. 20 in Seaford
Bicycle/Pedestrian bridge in Wilmington State Parks' Brandywine Park back open following renovations
Federal Funding Also Offers Upgrades in Training
New York, NY -- An award from the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program will outfit 46 volunteer firefighters in Secaucus, New Jersey with personal protective equipment, in addition to funding advanced firefighter training.Language English