Monthly Archives: May 2015

Racial divides & rural loss – why water reform in Australia should still be a policy headliner

After Senate estimates hearings last week in Canberra, it might be timely to search out George Orwell’s essay On Politics and the English Language, which he published in 1946. “Political language — and with variations this is true of all … Continue reading

Posted in Basin Plan, Canberra, drinking water, Murray Darling, water | Tagged , , , , ,

Prescribed burns could push rare butterflies to extinction says Florida fire study

Fuel reduction burns could wipe out rare butterfly species that lay their eggs above the ground unless fire management practices are changed, according to a University of Florida study. Researchers looked at the impact of fire on two vulnerable butterfly … Continue reading

Posted in biodiversity, butterflies, conservation, fire, Research, threatened species | Tagged , , , , ,

Could Abbott’s Australia be a world leader in “paper parks” and lost biodiversity science skills?

Many of the world’s national parks and other protected areas will “exist only on paper” if they aren’t given the funding and skilled science staff to be effective, according to University of Helsinki researchers. In an editorial published in the … Continue reading

Posted in Aichi targets, biodiversity, Canberra, conservation, federal politics, national parks, threatened species | Tagged , , , , , ,

Lazy reporting fails to ask what government will do to halt decline of Canberra’s scarlet robin

How does a once-common species disappear? In Canberra last week, the ACT government announced it was listing the scarlet robin (Petroica multicolour) as vulnerable, which is basically a throat-clearing formal acknowledgement of the bird’s decline. It was a brief statement … Continue reading

Posted in biodiversity, birds, Canberra, land clearing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Florida arts auction businessman gets three years in prison for smuggling ivory & rhino horn

The owner of a Florida fine art and antiques auction house has been sentenced to three years in federal prison by the US justice department for his role in smuggling rhinoceros horn and elephant ivory to China. Christopher Hayes, chief … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, biodiversity, conservation, elephants, rhinoceros, wildlife, wildlife trade | Tagged , , , , , ,

Toxic metals in invasive earthworm species may be linked to US bird declines, says study

High levels of mercury, lead, cadmium and other toxic metal pollutants have been found in invasive earthworm species in US forests, raising concerns they could be linked to regional bird and amphibian declines. A study led by soil scientist Dr … Continue reading

Posted in birds, contamination, environment, lead, pollution, toxics | Tagged , , , , , ,

More science cuts – Australian public good research a casualty of federal review of CRC program

More than 20 Australian research consortia could be closed, down-sized or merged with government “growth” agencies following a federal review of the Cooperative Research Centres program. Yes, get ready for more sneaky science cuts tricked up as research reforms or … Continue reading

Posted in CRCs, federal politics, Govt reports, Research, science | Tagged , , , , ,

Australian study detects “extreme” lead contamination from old overland water supply pipelines

Lead soldered joints in an ageing overland water supply pipeline have contaminated a 70 km stretch of land across central New South Wales, according to Macquarie University research. The study, led by PhD researcher Paul Harvey and Professor Mark Taylor … Continue reading

Posted in contamination, drinking water, lead, pollution, toxics, water | Tagged , , , , ,

Whales, green jobs, heritage and more to go in Abbott’s wrecking ball budget for environment

The Australian government has slashed $10.8 million from funding for environmental research in its 2015 federal budget. National parks will take an $8.4 m cut over four years, and what’s left of the beleaguered heritage section in the federal department … Continue reading

Posted in biodiversity, conservation, environment, federal politics, whales | Tagged , , , , ,

Federal government has paid “millions” for ineligible disaster relief claims says report

The Australian government has paid out millions to state governments and local councils for ineligible claims for natural disaster assistance, an Australian National Audit Office report says. It’s a dense read, but it’s yet another classic cracker of a report … Continue reading

Posted in Canberra, floods, Govt reports, Natural disasters | Tagged , , , , ,