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L.A. Times - Environment

The latest news from the Los Angeles Times on science and environmental science.

Last Build Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:10:46 -0700

Copyright: ©2016 Los Angeles Times

Will climate change make California's droughts worse? A mountain lake offers clues

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 12:35:00 PDT

In 2000, researchers took a coring from the bed of a small, shallow lake in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. 

They analyzed the organic matter and chemicals in the sediments to reconstruct a climate record of the past 10,000 years. They then compared it with reconstructions of ancient ocean...


An environmental activist who uses comedy to help stop oil pipelines

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 03:00:00 PDT

Doom and gloom. White and uptight. Self-righteous. Litigious. Shrill.

You have heard the cliches about environmentalists.

But have you heard of Dallas Goldtooth?

He helped stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and now he is trying to stop another — the 1,170-mile Dakota Access pipeline that would carry...


Eco-friendly wines aren't just better for the planet - they taste better too, experts say

Fri, 5 Aug 2016 18:20:00 PDT

Next time you’re looking for a tasty wine pairing, skip the reds, whites and rosés and just go for the green. 

An analysis of more than 74,000 wines found that those made with certified organic grapes got higher ratings from experts than those produced using conventional methods. 

“I was surprised...


L.A.'s mountain lions could be near extinction in 50 years

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 18:00:00 PDT

Mountain lions living in Greater Los Angeles could be at risk of extinction within the next 50 years if the population remains isolated by freeways and other forms of human development, UCLA and National Park Service wildlife ecologists are warning.

About 15 pumas survive in the Santa Monica Mountains,...


Pandas removed from international endangered list, but China says they still face serious threat

Mon, 5 Sep 2016 14:20:00 PDT

A leading international group has taken the giant panda off its endangered list thanks to decades of conservation efforts, but China's government discounted the move Monday, saying it did not view the status of the country's beloved symbol as any less serious.

The International Union for Conservation...


Zika didn't drive her from Miami Beach - but questions about the pesticide being used to stop it did

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:20:00 PDT

Zika’s arrival in Miami Beach didn’t drive away Miriam Haskell, who is pregnant with her first child. But her questions about one of the chemicals being used to combat the mosquitoes that are spreading the virus did.

Last week, the 36-year-old public interest lawyer packed up and flew to Atlanta,...


SoCal air quality regulators mulling hike in vehicle registration fees for smog reduction

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 20:00:00 PDT

Air quality regulators are considering seeking an increase in vehicle registration fees for millions of Southern California drivers to help pay for smog reduction programs.

The idea, though still in preliminary stages, would be one component of a funding proposal under development by the South...


Hanging on in Navajo Nation: First the water turned orange, then the air went bad

Thu, 8 Sep 2016 10:40:00 PDT

A year ago, the people of Shiprock watched their crops shrivel as a week without water stretched into a month, and then a whole lost season.

Bertha Etsitty’s watermelon vines curled and stiffened, even as her grandchildren emptied their water bottles on the leaves in a failed bid to keep the patch...


Nearly 50 million children uprooted: A global crisis by the numbers

Wed, 7 Sep 2016 19:15:00 PDT

The haunting images of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi’s body washed up on a Turkish beach, and of Omran Daqneesh’s bloodied and bewildered face after his home was destroyed in Aleppo, have become emblems of the heavy toll inflicted by war and displacement on the world’s children.

But the sheer magnitude...


California's water conservation dips in July - are eased rules to blame?

Wed, 7 Sep 2016 14:30:00 PDT

Urban water conservation across California dipped slightly during the second month that less stringent conservation requirements have been in place, state regulators said Wednesday.

More alarming to some, the 20% water-use reduction in July, compared with the same month in 2013, also marked a sharp...


U.S. clears way for cleanup of Colorado mine after huge spill

Wed, 7 Sep 2016 11:20:00 PDT

A Colorado mine that spilled 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater into rivers in three Western states has been designated a Superfund site. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's action Wednesday clears the way for a multimillion-dollar federal cleanup of the Gold King Mine and 47...


Despite desalinating water, floating it in by barge and taking short showers, Catalina islanders are told to cut back even more

Wed, 7 Sep 2016 03:00:00 PDT

This quaint resort town has a reputation for making visitors feel as if they’re an ocean apart from the troubled megalopolis 22 miles to the east.

So it figures that the tourists in Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops strolling past Avalon’s restaurants, bars and trinket shops seemed unruffled by the...


The forecast for Lake Mead: Hot and dry with plenty of anxiety

Tue, 6 Sep 2016 16:05:00 PDT

A reckoning arrives every August for the Colorado River and the 40 million people across the West who depend on it.

After water managers measure annual inflows and outflows and do their best to estimate future precipitation in places as far-flung as northwestern Wyoming and southwestern New Mexico,...


The upcoming vote on a Banning Ranch development will set the Coastal Commission's direction

Tue, 6 Sep 2016 04:00:00 PDT

A long-anticipated vote by the California Coastal Commission on Wednesday will decide more than the fate of a massive development proposed for the last big piece of private open land on the Southland coast.

It will signal the direction of a commission that has been mired in controversy over the...


Deadly Hermine regains strength on holiday-wrecking march up Eastern Seaboard

Sat, 3 Sep 2016 19:25:00 PDT

The once-and-future Hurricane Hermine regained strength Saturday as it moved slowly up the Eastern Seaboard and made a mess of the holiday weekend.

Hermine already caused two deaths, damaged properties and left hundreds of thousands without electricity from Florida to Virginia. It spawned a tornado...


This Mojave Desert solar plant kills 6,000 birds a year. Here's why that won't change any time soon

Fri, 2 Sep 2016 03:00:00 PDT

A macabre fireworks show unfolds each day along I-15 west of Las Vegas, as birds fly into concentrated beams of sunlight and are instantly incinerated, leaving wisps of white smoke against the blue desert sky.

Workers at the Ivanpah Solar Plant have a name for the spectacle: “Streamers.” 

And the...


Reward to find killer of sea otters off Central Coast doubles to $20,000

Thu, 1 Sep 2016 16:40:00 PDT

The reward to find whoever is responsible for fatally shooting three sea otters off the Central Coast has been doubled to $20,000.

On Thursday, the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity announced it would contribute to the reward announced by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife earlier...


Hot? You can cool down by suiting up in this high-tech fabric

Thu, 1 Sep 2016 15:05:00 PDT

Just in time for scientists to declare 2016 the hottest year on record, scientists at Stanford University have developed a material that could make the coolest clothes ever — shirts and pants that block the sun’s warming rays while venting body heat more efficiently than cotton or other conventional...


Legislature declines to add 'environmental justice' members to Southern California air quality board

Thu, 1 Sep 2016 13:35:00 PDT

The state Legislature has rejected a controversial measure that would have shifted the political balance of Southern California’s air-quality board by adding three state-appointed “environmental justice” members to represent low-income communities suffering from pollution. 

The legislation to expand...


Meet the pangolin, the most poached mammal in the world

Thu, 1 Sep 2016 11:10:00 PDT

As the congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources gets underway Thursday in Hawaii, environmental policymakers and conservation experts will discuss managing the environment, protecting wildlife and how best to chart the direction of conservation efforts.


Take the gnatcatcher off the endangered list? Here's why wildlife officials say no

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 03:00:00 PDT

Federal wildlife authorities on Tuesday said that a review of genetic tests has led them to conclude that the coastal California gnatcatcher is a valid subspecies and therefore worthy of protections that have barred development on tens of thousands of acres of prime Southern California real estate...


L.A. betting that stormwater can help ease California's drought

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:05:00 PDT

Five years of drought have struck different parts of California unevenly. 

Cities with multiple sources of water have weathered the crisis relatively well, even after important reservoirs have hit bottom.

But residents of some small towns in the San Joaquin Valley and northern California, who depend...


California's ocean waters due for a cooling trend after period of damaging heat, scientists say

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 08:30:00 PDT

As a series of marine heat waves linked to climate change has thrown ocean ecosystems out of whack from Australia to the coast of California, a cooling trend called La Niña has given scientists hope that water temperatures could come back into balance.

But so far, the cooling weather pattern —...


Expedition documents sea life, habitat around Channel Islands

Sun, 21 Aug 2016 11:00:00 PDT

Beneath the waves, flame-colored rockfish slipped past coral fans, brittle stars lay in wait for prey, and anemones swayed with the current.

It’s a scene often featured in photo spreads of tropical atolls and islets, but these coral gardens are in the chilly waters off California’s Channel Islands,...


State is years behind on projects to protect wildlife at Salton Sea, officials and activists say

Thu, 11 Aug 2016 19:30:00 PDT

The Salton Sea is in big trouble and plodding state officials are to blame, local authorities and environmentalists say. 

The California Legislature appropriated money to start designing projects to restore wildlife habitat and control dust at the steadily receding salt lake in 2010.

But lawmakers did...