Decorah Eagles Webcam is back on for 2014-2015

October 19, 2014

posted by Crane-Station

<br /><a href=”http://www.ustream.tv&#8221; style=”font-size: 12px; line-height: 20px; font-weight: normal; text-align: left;” target=”_blank”>Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream</a>

The Decorah Eagle Cam was turned on for the 2014-15 season on October 13th, 2014.  To read about what the eagles are doing now, and what they will be doing in the coming months, please visit the Raptor Resource Project blog, and see the post titled, “When will Mom and Dad.”

When will Mom and Dad…

 When will Mom and Dad work on the nest? When will Mom and Dad mate? Are the eagles in Florida going to lay eggs early? “What’s going on?!” everyone seems to be wondering.
Great Horned Owls have already visited the eagle nest, looking for a place to settle. They decided not to stay.

Scientists Re-visit Mount Saint Helens

July 23, 2014

by Crane-Station

A group of 75 scientists led by Alan Levander of Rice University in Houston visited Mt. St. Helens this week, to create seismic waves by controlled explosions, that will enable them to study the mountain with a new method that is akin to an “ultrasound and a CAT scan” of the volcano’s “internal plumbing.”

Mt. St. Helens erupted at 8:32 AM PDT on May 18, 1980 killing 57 people and destroying 250 homes. A second eruption occurred 34 years ago yesterday, on July 22, 1980.

If there were such a thing as reincarnation for a day, May 18, 1980, as a witness to the Mt. St. Helens eruption from the Portland area would certainly be an interesting choice. I happened to be home from college for a few days, where several people gathered on our family deck, to watch and take pictures. It was morning but it was dark. Amateur photographs from that distance were difficult to obtain with any resolution, because of the amount of ash that filled the atmosphere.

Although Forest Service and USGS scientists expected Mt. St Helens to erupt, based on a spike in seismic activity at the end of March that year, prompting authorities to warn residents to evacuate, no one knew exactly when the mountain would blow. Some skeptical area residents refused to leave, including 83-year-old Spirit Lake Lodge owner Harry Randall Truman, who perished on May 18, during the eruption.

The scientists had been incredibly accurate in their predictions at that time, as it turns out, even if no one really took them seriously, and even if roadside attraction souvenir stands were instantly popular. The predicted eruption that actually happened prompted a common query and reply among residents observing from afar, that went something like, “What’s happened?” followed by, “The mountain just blew up.” No one really expected the first eruption; likewise the second eruption took people completely by surprise.

On the television news we saw police cars lining the roads near Mt. St. Helens during the volcanic event, and they all had the hoods of their cars up- officers had to try and cover the automobile engines, to prevent the ash from inflicting permanent damage. People in the area covered their faces with t-shirts. It looked like a black snowstorm. Deer and wildlife ran, and birds tried to find a wire to sit on. For a while, it was hard to conceive of the idea that we would have a world again. The event was very upsetting to nature.

It is good to know that scientists today continue to monitor activity and assess potential risk to human life, by using new methods to look at Mt. St. Helens and other peaks in the volcanically active Cascade Range. Active mountains in the Cascade Range include Mounts: Rainier, Baker, St. Helens, Adams, Hood, Three Sisters, McLoughlin, and Mt. Shasta.

Mt. St. Helens’s pre-historic human residents were a collection of tribes. Each had a unique language and name for the mountain, as well a legend known as “Keeper of the Fire.” Although there are many versions of many legends, a prominent one that relates to Mt. St. Helens is the story of the Bridge of the Gods, and the creation of the Columbia Gorge.

Author Chuck Williams writes:

In most versions, Mount Hood and Mount Adams, sons of the Great Spirit, fought over a beautiful female mountain. The brothers shook the earth, blocked the sunlight, threw fire at each other, burned the forests, drove off the animals and covered the plants needed by people with ash. The fight cracked the Cascade Range, forming a canyon and a tunnel which emptied the huge lake east of the mountains. The Great Spirit returned and was furious. He left the Bridge of the Gods, the stone arch over the Columbia River, as a monument to peace and placed an elderly, weathered female mountain, Loo-wit, at the bridge as a peacemaker- and as a reminder to the brothers of how transient youthful beauty is. Loo-wit was the keeper of the fire, which had been stolen from atop Wy-east (Mount Hood) by Coyote the Trickster.

Related:

Mount St. Helens eruption: Rare aerial photos never seen before, shot during 1980 eruption

Scientists Plan Explosions Under Mount St. Helens

Electricity And Seismic Waves Give New View Of Mount Rainier’s Volcanic Plumbing

Bibliographic reference for Keeper of the Fire legend:
Mount St. Helens A Changing Landscape
text by Chuck Williams
Introduction by Ray Atkeson
1890: Graphic Arts center Publishing Company PO Box 10306 Portland, Oregon 97210 ISBN 0-912856-63-7
page 19.

Vimeo- Remembering Harry Truman


Mayflower-Vilonia, AR tornado, aerial, radar (VIDEOS)

April 27, 2014

uploaded by Cotton Rohrscheib
Published on Apr 27, 2014
We shot this video shortly before God spared our lives. Others around us were lost. Thoughts & Prayers for those affected…

Arkansas Tornado Damage Aerial Video 4-27-2014

Mayflower/Vilonia, AR Tornado WSR88-D Radar Image

University of Wisconsin has posted an infrared image, that can be enlarged:

Jesse ‏@WhistlePig11 16h
Pray for Mayflower, guys. It’s needed right now. #arwx pic.twitter.com/NGLO5lxb9v
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The Oil Train Boom. Literally.

February 26, 2014

by Crane-Station

Westbound oil train, Essex MT
Image by Roy Luck, Creative Commons, flickr: Westbound oil train, Essex MT

The ‘shale revolution’ is here, along with an astonishing increase in rail carloads of crude oil in transport to refineries. In 2009, 9500 carloads of crude oil originated on US Class I Railroads. In 2013, that number increased, to an estimated 400,000 carloads.

In rail transport, the U.S. DOT-111 tank car, also known as the CTC-111A in Canada, is a type of non-pressure tank car in common use in North America. Up to 80% of the Canadian fleet, and 69% of U.S. rail tank cars are DOT-111 type. Hydraulic fracturing of new wells in the shale oil fields in the interior of North America has rapidly increased the use of DOT-111 cars to transport crude oil to existing refineries along the coasts. BNSF plans to buy 5,000 next-generation tank cars for transporting crude oil.

On July 6, 2013, an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken formation crude oil in Lac-Mégantic derailed and ran away , resulting in the fire and explosion of multiple tank cars. Lac-Mégantic is located in the Eastern Townships of the Canadian province of Quebec. Forty-two people were confirmed dead with 5 more missing and presumed dead. People were seated in a bar at 1 AM, enjoying good company when suddenly faced with a runaway exploding train. More than 30 buildings in the town’s center, roughly half of the downtown area, were destroyed.

In November 2013, in Aliceville, Pickens County, Alabama, a Genesee & Wyoming company was the carrier for a 90-car train, of which 20 derailed and exploded. The train originated in Amory, Mississippi and was scheduled for a pipeline terminal in Walnut Hill, Florida that is owned by Genesis Energy. The final destination for the shipment was to have been the Shell Oil refinery in Mobile, Alabama. The accident happened in a depopulated wetlands area. The Institute for Southern Studies reports cleanup for the Alabama oil train wreck was met with official neglect.

On December 30, 2013, an oil train explosion occurred in Casselton, North Dakota causing the town to be evacuated. The BNSF train was more than 100 cars and 1.6km long, of which at least 10 cars were destroyed. Reports were that another train carrying grain derailed first, causing the adjacent Bakken formation cars to derail. Three days later, the USDOT PHMSA wrote that “Recent derailments and resulting fires indicate that the type of crude oil being transported from the Bakken region may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil. Casselton mayor Ed McConnell, acknowledging that the town “dodged a bullet”, publicly called on the federal government to review the dangers and urged lawmakers to consider pipelines as a safer option.

On January 16, 2014, the US Department of Transportation (DOT), the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the American Petroleum Institute (API), and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) met, for a Call to Action on Rail Safety Meeting. On January 22, the US Secretary of Transportation followed up with a letter to attendees, sharing an apparent epiphany that massively understated the obvious:

It is up to all of us to ensure that the crude oil, whether from North Dakota or elsewhere, is transported safely and securely with no adverse impact to Americans or their property.

While the American Association of Railroads points out that any spill via rail, no matter how miniscule, must be reported, it is notable that oil trains spilled more crude last year than in the previous 38 years combined. The AAR is quick to point out that rail transport is actually safer than pipeline transport:

Based on U.S. DOT data, the crude oil “spill rate” for railroads from 2002-2012 was an estimated 2.2 gallons per million ton-miles, compared with an estimated 6.3 for pipelines.

Not surprisingly, pipeline supporters are using the rail mishaps to sway support to pipeline transport (namely Keystone XL), and rail transport supporters argue the reverse, citing hundreds of unreported pipeline spills in North Dakota, as well as reported ones, like the Tesoro 825,200 gallon fracked oil spill in North Dakota.

Yesterday, February 25, federal regulators say “they’ve issued an emergency order requiring tests of crude oil before shipment by rail in response to a string of train explosions and fires since last summer. The Federal Railroad Administration said Tuesday it also is prohibiting shipping oil using the least-protective packing requirements.”

Are the regulating agencies interested in doing anything meaningful, or are they hostages to industry, getting together every once in a while, to issue a proclamation about something, giving the appearance of action?

Related:

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Three Bald Eagle Cams to Watch

February 23, 2014

posted by Crane-Station

Bald Eagle
Bald eagle soaring over Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Don Freiday/USFWS

1. Berry College Eagle Cam

Berry College is located in Mount Berry, Floyd County, Georgia, just north of Rome. Yesterday, the first eaglet hatched:

Berry College Eagles February 22, 2014 Happy Birthday, little eaglet!

2. Decorah Eagle Cam Live Feed

Decorah eagles,Teamwork and Mom D getting frisky (2/16/14)

Viewers missed the Decorah Eagles in 2013, because they built a new nest (N2). This year, the camera is adjusted to the new nest, which the eagle couple has prepared with soft materials in the nest cup. They have been courting. The Decorah Mom is younger than Dad, and is easily differentiated by her “eyeshadow” and darker feathers interspersed with the white ones on her head and tail. Dad has a fully white head and tail and is noticeably smaller than Mom, as bald eagle males are normally 25% smaller than females.[18]Raptor Resource Project Blog explains courtship and copulation:

In Decorah, courtship activities begin in late fall. Mom and Dad bring sticks and branches into the nest, eventually adding soft nesting material as courtship deepens. Food is (often) shared. The eagles vocalize together and spend more time in close proximity, moving from sitting side by side to gently pecking and footing, wing and tail brushing, and body rubbing with tail twisting and vocals. Mom is letting Dad know in no uncertain terms that she is receptive and ready for copulation.

3.Southwest Florida Eagle Cam #1

This nest is in Fort Myers, Florida. The website reports that E4, age 60 days, is currently on the nest.

Eaglet Growth

The young birds grow rapidly, they add one pound to their body weight every four or five days. At about two weeks, it is possible for them to hold their head up for feeding.
By three weeks they are 1 foot high and their feet and beaks are very nearly adult size.

Between four and five weeks, the birds are able to stand, at which time they can began tearing up their own food.
At six weeks, the eaglets are very nearly as large as their parents.
At eight weeks, the appetites of the young birds are at their greatest. While parents hunt almost continuous to feed them, back at the nest the eaglets are beginning to stretch their wings in response to gusts of wind and may even be lifted off their feet for short periods.

2/21/14, 11:52 AM…

There are quite a few bald eagle cameras. For additional information on eagles, visit:

American Bald Eagle Information
Bald Eagle – Nesting & Young


Senate Bill 1731 Aims to End Endangered Species Protection

November 27, 2013

by Crane-Station
cross-posted at Firedoglake/MyFDL

Bald Eagle
Image by David Lewis on flickr

Our beloved Decorah Eagles might want to consider seeking expatriate asylum status outside of the US. Nearly 40 years after President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law, Tea Party senators led by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced S 1731 last week, seeking to dismantle existing environmental conservation law. If signed into law, the proposed bill will move endangered species protection to the states on an opt-out basis, whether or not the states want this, and will require ‘delisting’ of all species, endangered or not, every five years.

The goal is to kill, drill, and pave while padding moneyed interest pockets by removing any environmental protections whatsoever, and then lie to the public every five years by publishing a new fake ‘delisted’ list, to give the appearance that things are going well. In a press release titled, Tea Party Bill Would Eviscerate Endangered Species Act, Center for Biological Diversity’s Brett Hartl explains,

The bill would eliminate all protections for the critical habitat of endangered species and allow state governments to effectively veto any conservation measures designed to protect an imperiled species within their respective state. Meanwhile federal wildlife agencies would need to complete onerous accounting reports to estimate the costs of protecting endangered species rather than completing tangible, on-the-ground conservation activities to protect species and the places they live.

“This bill would devastate species protections and open the door to log, mine and pave some of the last places on Earth where these animals survive,” Hartl said. “It’s a boon for profiteers like the Koch Brothers but will rob every American who values wildlife and wild places.”

In an article for EcoWatch titled, Tea Party Bill Would Gut Endangered Species Act, Center for Biological Diversity further explains:

In its 40-year history, the Endangered Species Act has been more than 99 percent successful at preventing extinction for wildlife under its protection and has put hundreds of plants and animals on the path to recovery, including bald eagles, grizzly bears, whales and sea turtles.

Despite this successful track record, the bill’s most extreme provision would require that every five years all protected species be removed from the list of threatened and endangered species, eliminating all legal protections. No matter how close to extinction they might be, every listed species would then have to wait until Congress passed a joint resolution renewing their protections under the act for another five years. Five years later, this process would start over again, eliminating all protections until Congress passed another joint resolution.

The Tea Party is legendary for its underhandedness in environmental issues. For example, to speed up oil and gas drilling, the House has approved a bill that would, among other things, force environmental protesters to pay a $5000 fee to get a permit, to protest drilling. Russia Today explains further in its article titled, US House approves $5,000 fee for official drilling protests, less federal authority over fracking:

In addition, the bill would allow for automatic approval of onshore drilling permits should the US Department of Interior (DOI) take over 60 days to act on an application. DOI would also be required to begin commercial leasing for development of oil shale – not to be confused with “shale oil” – which is rock that must be heated to about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit to yield crude oil.

The controversial practice has been largely nonexistent in the US since the days of President Herbert Hoover, who prohibited leasing federal lands for oil shale, “the dirtiest fuel on the planet,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The oil shale process “takes a large amount of energy and money, as well as 3-5 barrels of water per barrel of oil produced, a dangerous issue in the parched West,” according to Jessica Goad of the Center for American Progress’ Public Lands Project.

Forty years ago, our nation’s living symbol, the American Bald Eagle, was listed as endangered, due to overuse of the pesticide DDT, illegal shooting and habitat destruction . It was delisted in 2007, as a direct result of conservation efforts. These efforts are now being challenged, by a group of people who, while claiming not to like ‘big government,’ actually hold positions in the same ‘big government’ they claim to hate. Not only do they want big government, they favor a police state version of it, that charges people a fee to exercise a first amendment right to free speech, even while seizing that right themselves, to lie freely about the status of any given class of wildlife, every five years. That is not a democracy.

On endangered species, from The Guardian:

After Life: a photographic perspective on endangered species

Related (video):

Endangered Species Act 101

Bill S 1731 text:

113th CONGRESS 1st Session S. 1731 IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES November 19, 2013


Hanford Cleanup Proposal Invites Public Comment

August 1, 2013

by Crane-Station
cross-posted at Firedoglake/MyFDL yesterday

As problem-to-problem gridlock unfolds at Hanford with leaking radioactive waste storage tanks, Hanford is holding public meetings in Richland, WA and invites public comment, through August 16, 2013, regarding cleanup proposal for 300 Area. 300 Area is another part of the giant nuclear superfund site.

Hanford’s 300 Area covers 40 square miles along the Columbia River. 300 Area fabricated nuclear fuel for Hanford’s nine plutonium reactors (recall the steps in nuclear fuel manufacture to be mining/milling, conversion, enrichment, and fabrication). 300 Area was also an area of research into plutonium handling.

During these activities in the Cold War years,

They poured about 2 million gallons of radioactive liquid waste a day into sandy ponds and trenches right next to the Columbia River. Cleaning up buildings and material there has kept crews busy for 20 years.

One of the remaining jobs is to work on a 125-acre groundwater plume contaminated with uranium.

300 Area is a superfund priority site, along with 100 Area and 200 Area. The EPA explains that affected areas are groundwater, soil and sludges, surface water and air:

Groundwater is contaminated with uranium, volatile organic compounds, strontium-90, and tritium. Soils primarily contain uranium, cobalt-60, copper, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and chromium, but may also include other contaminants associated with research and development activities. DOE has detected uranium and TCE in groundwater adjacent to the Columbia River. People may be exposed to hazardous and radioactive substances through direct contact, accidental ingestion, and inhalation of contaminated particles, groundwater, soil, or surface water.

At first, the selected Orwellian remedy for cleanup of the above-described hot mess was “monitored natural attenuation,” which sounds an awful lot like “do nothing,” but this remedy was reevaluated, and more action was deemed appropriate. A lot of remove-treat-dispose has been done in 300 Area over the years, but at this stage 1) buildings will need to be demolished and removed before the soil underneath can be reached, but 2) the soil underneath some of the buildings is so highly radioactive that no worker can get anywhere close to the building to demolish it or remove the soil. Soil from underneath these buildings will need to be removed with remote equipment. Other buildings are deemed to be “high-risk, high-dose” for the workers, who must take extraordinary precautions.

The current plan, Department of Energy hydrologist Michael Thompson explains, is to “sequester that uranium in place.”

“In other words, chemically bind it up. We’re going to add phosphates to it. And the uranium then does not dissolve back into the groundwater and the groundwater will clean itself up within a reasonable amount of time,” he said.

Although I am no physicist, this sounds pretty good on the surface. Send that bad bad uranium a-packing once and for all with with a phosphate-and-nature deus ex machina. However, has such a thing ever been done successfully, on this scale, in the field?

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