Cabrillo National Monument Tidepooling

I got a chance to go on a naturalist led Tidepool expedition over Thanksgiving break at Cabrillio National Monument. Though it was cold and I was not prepared for getting my shoes wet, which happened thanks to a rouge wave, the $5 I paid to get in was completely worth it. Below are some of the marine life I saw while at the tidepool, they include: Giant Keyhole Limpet, Brittle Starfish, Kelp Crab, Kelp Fish and Rock Crab. We saw a lot of other species as well, but these were the highlights.

The Giant Limpet was the first thing we saw and drew a large crowd. We ended up picking up more people (families really) who started following our group so they can learn a little about what they were looking at. The Giant Limpet was a mystery to us too until we came across a Park Ranger who identified it for us. This big mushroom looking limpet was pretty creepy but also it was a great way to start the tidepooling. The tidepool trip was only the maybe 5th time I’ve gone to one and my first since about 8 years ago. I was shocked at what was hidden in the kelp and water. The kelp fish was pretty amazing, i’ve never seen one so close up before. They have transparent sclaes that mimic the kelp that they hide in, pretty amazing for a small fish. The Kelp Crab was also something I’ve never seen before. As you can see from the images we couldn’t get him to let go of the kelp.

We spent about an hour at the tidepool and it was cool to have someone who knew how to find the marine life with us as a guide, especially to point out the random wildlife we spotted. Unfortunately I didn’t touch any of the wildlife, for fear of my life, but it was exciting to see them close up and to see the excitement on everyone’s faces when we did find something. I even did my part to clean up the tidepool by picking up random styrrofoam scattered throughout the tidepool and a car starter…. that one was strange but I was able to hold onto it and give it to a Park Ranger who was going around picking up garbage left by visitors or that washed up on the beach.

Keystone Pipeline Decision Delyaed

“The U.S. State Department is ordering the developer of a pipeline that would carry oil from western Canada to Texas to reroute it around environmentally sensitive areas of Nebraska. That means possibly delaying a final U.S. decision until after the 2012 election.”

Not sure if I should be excited or worried. It’s a smart thing to do on the President’s part since he won’t have to deal with it during the election, but I’m sure it will come up once or twice. It is a very difficult decision that will have to be made, maybe not so difficult if the next President is a Republican. The argument now is that the pipeline will be creating thousands of jobs, jobs that people in   North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illionois, Oklahoma and Texas would gladly take. The issue with this pipeline is not only is it stretching across the U.S from Canada, but the amount of resources we would get isn’t that substantial.

In another article posted on NPR, Josh Freed VP for the clean energy program at Third Way, mentions that too many U.S trucks rely on oil and that our dependence on it can’t be changed so quickly. “you can’t switch over in one year or five years or 10 years,” he says. “It’s going to take a long time.” I actually think he’s wrong. Because the trucking industry is so huge, if they were to embrace a massive overhaul in the type of trucks they use it would make a large impact on the type of vehicles consumers use. The technology has to be there, sure, but even if they all switched to biofuel and biodiesel trucks it would go a long way towards changing our use of oil in a very short amount of time.

For now we just have to wait and see if the keystone pipeline will be delayed indefinitely or if they’ll start breaking ground at the end of next year.

Full Article: http://www.npr.org/2011/11/10/142218646/final-keystone-pipeline-decision-delayed

Section 10 of ESA

Section 10 of the ESA allows for exemptions for non-federal entities. This exception allows for HCPs (Habitat Conservation Plans) by obtaining an ITP (incidental take permit). Although it may not be used as it was intended, many companies can now cause harm to species that are listed on the ESA and those who may be a candidate species. Basically giving these entities a free pass if they cause harm to a species. While working on the take-home midterm, and after listening to a lot of the presentations, it’s very clear that Section 10 is at the root of a lot of the issues that ESA supporters face.

This exception allows companies to seemingly do the opposite of what the ESA was brought in to do. It’s very upsetting that this is allowed, but not only that, part of the HCP is that the company or entity is supposed to recover a separate habitat in return for taking one. It’s my understanding that this doesn’t actually happen with any sort of urgency. Those who uphold the ESA have to spend so much more time fighting section 10, and fighting in litigation; but if it wasn’t for this exception maybe they could be spending their resources recovering habitats. As we’ve learned not too many species have been delisted form the ESA, although many species are still alive because of it. This should be more cause for concern but it doesn’t seem to be the case.

Another big issue at hand is the rate at which candidate species are accepted to be placed on the ESA. Some of this is due to funding, which again maybe if we spent less time dealing with litigation there might be more time for saving these endangered species. Really it frustrates me that there is an exception to the ESA. In my opinion the compromise shouldn’t be made to take land that could potentially harm endangered species. We see the effects it has with Cargill and the salt marshes. They have so many that some of them aren’t being restored but instead are being sold to other companies and filled to create a new building. This is happening in Redwood City right this moment, simply because they weren’t able to remove all the salt and instead of restoring it, they are filling it.