Farmers vs Fish: The Story of Delta Smelt

Delta smelt, a small free-swimming fish native to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California, have been portrayed as the catalyst for failing agriculture in the delta region. As an Endangered Species Act-listed species, delta smelt require increased water allocation to maintain a low salinity in an already water-starved area, leaving less water for farmers and their crops. In reality, only a small percentage of freshwater outflow to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is being used for fish protection. Through improper management and general disregard for delta smelt recovery, the species is near extinction.

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Last call for African forest elephants

African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) are in trouble; this may not be news to you. They are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation as well as poaching for the ivory trade. Rather than beat this information over everyone’s heads, scientists are trying to get us to understand why we will miss the elephants when they are gone.

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Endangered Species Act: Headed for Extinction?

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a law designed to protect and recover endangered species of plants, animals, and ecosystems, and in turn, preserve our nation’s ecological history and functionality. However, there has been a recent push to overhaul the ESA in favor of economic opportunities. This would relieve the burden carried by landowners and industries who have been hampered by ESA restrictions, but would strip protections on species already listed on the ESA and make it more difficult to add species to the list. Left unprotected, those endangered species would be left to go extinct, and the ecological functions they serve within their ecosystem could collapse or irreversibly shift their biomes. With human activity responsible for current accelerated extinction rates, this is the time for urgent action on conservation, not a time to overhaul the law designed to protect our nation’s species and ecosystems.

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