Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Montana’

UM study links climate change, decline in songbird populations

January 25, 2012 1 comment

billingsgazette.com

University of Montana biology professor John Maron, left, and Thomas Martin, UM biology professor and U.S. Geological Survey scientist, explain the reduction of songbird populations in Arizona due to changing climate conditions.

JOHN CREPEAU/Missoulian University of MISSOULA — A decline in snow at high elevations has led to shrinking songbird populations in the mountains of northern Arizona, a new study by two University of Montana scientists found.

Some of the same bird species inhabit Montana.

U.S. Geological Survey senior scientist and UM professor Thomas Martin, along with UM biology professor John Maron, recently published the findings of their six-year study on indirect effects of climate change on ecosystems.

The abundance of deciduous trees and songbird populations have declined over the past 22 years because of decreasing snowpack above 8,000 feet in northern Arizona. Because of less snow, elk remain at higher elevations for longer periods of time, browsing on plants that provide cover and nesting places for birds.

The study is available now online, Martin said, while a hard copy of the journal Nature Climate Change is due out next month.

“The indirect effects of climate on plant communities may be Read more…

ExxonMobil Oil Pipeline Ruptures, Leaks 1,000 Barrels Into Yellowstone River

July 4, 2011 Comments off

christianpost

An ExxonMobil oil pipeline that ruptured 10 miles west of Billings, Mont., leaked nearly 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the Yellowstone River.

Exxon detected the leak on Saturday morning following a loss of pressure on pipeline and within seven minutes the pipeline pumps were shut down, the company said in a press release.

That did not, however, prevent nearly 42,000 gallons of crude oil to be spewed into the famed river.

The 12-inch crude-oil pipeline runs from the town of Silver Tip to the three refineries at Billings, ExxonMobil said.

“We had no indications that Read more…

Record Midwest flooding to create largest ever ‘dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico, more storms and levee releases on the way

June 15, 2011 Comments off

naturalnews

The US Midwest continues to get slammed by heavy rains and winter snow melt that have swelled the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and left countless thousands of acres of the plains under water. Many towns and cities along the Missouri River in Nebraska, Iowa, and even up into the Dakotas and Montana, are now threatened by new flooding caused by levee breaches and more rains expected to hit in the coming days. Worse, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) supported scientists say the overall flooding could create the most severe dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that has ever occurred.

Epic flooding, repeated onslaughts of severe storms and extreme tornadoes have created one of the worst disaster situations ever experienced in the Midwest, and things are only expected to worsen. According to recent reports, six major water reservoirs along the Missouri River are severely swollen, and six dams between Fort Peck, Mont., and Gavins Point along the South Dakota and Nebraska border, have either already reached peak releases, or are expected to Read more…

Local levees threatened by record-setting releases into Missouri River

June 6, 2011 Comments off

columbiamissourian

COLUMBIA — Workers at the city’s water treatment plant in the Missouri River bottoms are getting the boats out of storage.

Two levees protect McBaine from river levels up to 32 feet, and a flood wall at the plant itself can withstand up to 40 feet, said Floyd Turner, Columbia’s manager of water operations.

Extremely high amounts of rainfall and melting snow along the northern sections of the Missouri River are expected to raise river levels enough to possibly overwhelm levees throughout the state. One of those at risk, the McBaine Levee District, protects the Columbia Drinking Water Plant.If the Missouri River overflows the levees along the river, though, plant workers will need their two 14-foot boats to navigate between the nearby wells and possibly transport workers to and from the plant.

The water plant’s staff was stockpiling sand for spot leaks along with other supplies in case floods limit access to the plant, engineer Michael Anderson said Friday. Workers at the plant were also checking on emergency generators in the event the plant loses electricity.

A forecast from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows the Missouri River overflowing as many as 58 levees between Kansas City and St. Louis by the end of the month.

After a year’s worth of rain in recent weeks and snowpack 140 percent above average in the Read more…

Record wildlife die-offs reported in Northern Rockies

May 9, 2011 Comments off

msnbc

SALMON, Idaho — A record number of big-game animals perished this winter in parts of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming from a harsh season of unusually heavy snows and sustained cold in the Northern Rockies, state wildlife managers say.

“Elk, deer and moose — those animals are having a pretty tough time,” said Wyoming Game and Fish biologist Doug Brimeyer.

Snow and frigid temperatures in pockets of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming arrived earlier and lingered longer than usual, extending the time that wildlife were forced to forage on low reserves for scarce food, leading more of them to starve.

Based on aerial surveys of big-game herds and signals from radio-collared animals, experts are documenting high mortality among offspring of mule deer, white-tailed deer and pronghorn antelope.

This comes as big-game animals enter the last stretch of a period from mid-March through early May that is considered critical for survival.

Wildlife managers estimate die-offs in the tens of thousands across thousands of square miles that span prairie in northeastern Read more…

Supervolcano plume sized up

April 12, 2011 Comments off

msnbc

University of Utah

This image, based on variations in electrical conductivity of underground rock, shows the volcanic plume of partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano. Yellow and red indicate higher conductivity,green and blue indicate lower conductivity.

By John Roach

The volcanic plume beneath Yellowstone is larger than previously thought, according to a new study that measured the electrical conductivity of the hot and partly molten rock.

The findings say nothing about the chances of another cataclysmic eruption at Yellowstone, but they give scientists another view of the vast and deep reservoir that feeds such eruptions.

“It’s a totally new and different way of imaging and looking at the volcanic roots of Yellowstone,” study co-author Robert Smith, an emeritus professor Read more…

NOAA: Another Spring of Major Flooding Likely in North Central U.S.

February 20, 2011 Comments off

North Central U.S. Spring Flood Risk Map as of Feb. 17, 2011.

North Central U.S. Spring Flood Risk Map as of Feb. 17, 2011.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA)

A large swath of the country is at risk of moderate to major flooding this spring, from northeastern Montana through western Wisconsin following the Mississippi River south to St. Louis, National Weather Service flood experts are forecasting. Today the agency released an initial spring flood outlook for this high risk region and will release a national spring flood outlook on March 17.

For the third consecutive year, forecasters predict moderate to major flooding along the Red River of the North, which forms the state line between eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota and includes the Souris River Basin and the Devils Lake and Stump Lake drainages in North Dakota.

If the current forecast holds, the main stem Mississippi River is at risk for Read more…