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Environment

In this photo taken Monday, May 18, 2015, farmer Gino Celli  checks salt from irrigation water that has dried on the land he farms near Stockton, Calif.  Celli, who farms 1,500 acres of land and manages another 7,000 acres, has senior water rights and draws his irrigation water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  Farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta who have California's oldest water rights are proposing to voluntarily cut their use by 25 percent to avoid the possibility of even harsher restrictions by the state later this summer as the record drought continues.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Calif. farmers with old rights face water cuts

Thursday, May 21, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California farmers who hold rights to water that date back as far as the Gold Rush are bracing for their first state-ordered conservation in decades, as a record drought prompts some of the deepest cuts yet in the country’s most productive agricultural state. After telling cities and towns to slash water use by 25 percent and cutting deliveries to some farmers and others, state officials said Wednesday that they would start mandatory cuts this week to the state’s oldest rights holders, who are historically spared from water restrictions. Regulators said the first orders Friday will affect those holding century-old water rights in …

Ruptured pipe spreads oil, fouls Calif. beaches

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

GOLETA, Calif. — An oil spill from a ruptured onshore pipeline that fouled beaches and threatened wildlife along a scenic stretch of the California coast spread across 9 miles of ocean Wednesday and officials said up to 105,000 gallons may have leaked out. Up to a fifth of that amount — 21,000 gallons …

Storm system pushes east after drenching Plains

Sunday, May 17, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY — A powerful storm system stretched from Texas to Minnesota on Sunday, bringing heavy rains, flash flooding and the possibility of more severe weather. Scattered severe storms were expected to develop Sunday afternoon and evening in eastern Minnesota, western Wisconsin and parts of Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas. Rain-soaked Texas saw flash …

Berkshire Gas Co. spokesman tells Franklin County Chamber of Commerce of ‘critical need’ for Tennessee Gas Pipeline

Saturday, April 25, 2015

DEERFIELD — Berkshire Gas Co. spokesman Christopher Farrell made a case last week with the region’s business leaders for what he called the “critical need” for the Northeast Energy Direct project proposed by Tennessee Gas Pipeline. Farrell said it is needed not only to grow the economy, but …

Earth Matters: Birdwatching for a cause — but mostly for fun

Friday, April 24, 2015

There are many reasons to watch birds. Developing identification skills, appreciating ecological and evolutionary relationships, appreciating the beauty of birds, visiting interesting places, building lists of species one has seen and enjoying good company are among them. Once …

Valley Views: Green Heron, Juvenile

Friday, April 24, 2015

Green Heron, Juvenile University of Massachusetts Campus Pond, Amherst Photograph and text by Georgette deFriesse, Belchertown Last summer, I wandered around the pond at the University of Massachusetts watching the antics of a juvenile green heron. The young …

Bird sightings

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. An unprecedented spring fallout of ruddy ducks occurred at many locations over the weekend. A common tern and a long-tailed duck were found at …

Popular pesticide hurts wild bees in major field study

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WASHINGTON — A common type of pesticide is dramatically harming wild bees, according to a new in-the-field study that outside experts say may help shift the way the U.S. government looks at a controversial class of chemicals. But …

Clean-water advocate swims at Superfund site

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — A clean-water advocate took an Earth Day swim in the polluted Gowanus Canal, a federal Superfund site. “I’m going in!” yelled Christopher Swain, wearing a yellow-and-black protective suit and a green swim cap as …

Construction of new Hitchcock Center for Environment building will begin with groundbreaking May 1

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

AMHERST — Construction of the $5.8 million building that will house the Hitchcock Center for the Environment will begin with a ceremonial groundbreaking May 1 on the Hampshire College campus on West Street. The 9,000-square-foot building is expected to be New England’s first public environmental education facility to …

Earth Day’s 45th anniversary comes at a time when environmental consciousness heightened year-round

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Events throughout the region this week are commemorating the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, though organizers say that environmental consciousness is now heightened year-round. Officially taking place on Wednesday, Earth Day began in 1970 at a time when …

US agency wants to lift protection for humpbacks

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

HONOLULU — The federal government on Monday proposed removing most of the world’s humpback whales from the endangered species list, saying the massive mammals have rebounded after 45 years of protection and restoration efforts. National Oceanic and Atmospheric …

‘Bee weeks’ in Amherst, Northampton and Greenfield raise awareness about insect population decline

Friday, April 17, 2015

AMHERST — As the number of honeybees continues to decline, efforts are underway in Amherst, Northampton and Greenfield to promote bee habitats in meadows and to encourage residents and business owners to provide flowers that attract bees. All three communities are putting together “bee weeks” this spring. They …