December 22, 2011
Conservation Report: Less Mercury, But More Damage by Invasives
By Bob Marshall
New Mercury Rules Good News for Fish, Wildlife and People
The Environmental Protection Agency this week issued the long-delayed and debated "Mercury and Air Toxics Standards(MATS)" for power plants. The standards will require reductions of air emissions of mercury and air toxins harmful to humans as well as fish and wildlife habitat. It means that 40 percent of the nation's 1,100 coal fired power plants not using advanced pollution controls, will be required to upgrade to meet the new standards over the next three to four years.
Power plants are the largest remaining source of toxic air pollutants (mercury, arsenic, cyanide) and are responsible for half of the mercury and 75 percent of the acid gas emissions in the United States. When fully enforced, the new rules could reduce the presence of those air pollutants by 90 percent.
This move by the Obama Administration is getting cheers from conservationists, a change from the boos it earned in the last few months by delaying implementation of stricter smog regulations and not pushing harder against greenhouse gas emissions.
Lake Huron Salmon Fishing Hammered by Invasive Species
The damage invasive species are doing to our fish and wildlife never seems to stop. Steve Griffin reports in The Midland Daily News that quagga and zebra mussels in Lake Huron "have turned the lake’s food factory on its head. Species they’ve edged out once fed smelt and alewives (like mussels and salmon, not native to the lake) on which the kings thrived. No matter how many fish DNR hatcheries pumped in, there was nothing to feed them. The result? An estimated lake-wide catch of just 3,200 chinook salmon last year, the lowest in 25 years."
Southeast Alaska Bans Felt Soles
Alaska's state Board of Fisheries has decided to implement a ban of felt sole waders in Southeast Alaska. The action was acknowledgement of the role traditional felt soles have played in spreading the curse of invasive species on indigenous fisheries