Coloradans care about the coast

When you choose a package of shrimp at the grocery, what you won’t see on the label is the staggering amount of other fish harmed in the capture. Local organizations and restaurants in Colorado strive to bring this reality to forefront of consumer’s decision making process.

Bycatch is the unintentional capture of any species that was not the targeted fish in a fishing operation. This can include a wide variety of fish as well as seabirds, dolphins and turtles. These non-targeted species, often times injured or dead from the capture, must then be tossed back into the ocean.

“If you care about ocean health and habitat protection, then going with a sustainable approach is really the only way to go,” said Vicki Goldstein, founder and Executive Director of the Colorado Ocean Coalition, which partners with chapters in other states to form the Inland Ocean Coalition. This organization aims to raise awareness about the ways residents in inland states can participate in ocean conservation.

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This graphic represents estimates of the bycatch of fish only and not marine mammals or seabirds. The fisheries included in this estimate can be found in the National Bycatch Report. Graphic: Julia Medeiros

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The disappearing squeak

Within the southern Rocky Mountains, above 8,000 feet, lives an animal whose population decline could give scientists insight into how climate change will affect Colorado: the pika.

The American pika is a furry herbivore that is about the size of the average human fist. They are closely related to rabbits and make their home underneath broken piles of rock called talus. In the early 2000s, researchers began to notice population decline in some areas possibly due to climate change. One current model of future temperatures predicts that the species will disappear from the Rocky Mountain National Park within this century. However, their tiny stature, territorial nature and high-altitude habitat makes gathering widespread population data difficult. Continue reading

This week: rising sea levels, street smart spiders and astronomical art

181124-puerto-rico-al-1448_71a3cb8dc7b999f55a771544242f0504-fit-560wPuerto Rico infrastructure at risk of going under

Released last Friday, a new climate report warns that Puerto Rico could lose billions of dollars to rising sea levels. With almost 62 percent of the population living near the coast, millions of houses and over 50,000 structures including drinking water and sanitation pipelines are at risk. Wetland and dune restoration projects have been commissioned to help reduce flooding. Continue reading

This week: the solving of a monkey mystery, infertile insects and a D.C. Cat Count

Light shed on long debated origin of Jamaican monkeywwylexai817xsjcwzv47 

Fossils of the primate Xenothrix mcgregori have long confounded researchers, but after a successful genetic analysis of several skeletons, it is now believed that they originated in South America. This species, long extinct, could have been the last living Caribbean primate. Conclusions about its origin have been difficult to make in the past due to a combination of odd features and a lack of sufficient DNA evidence. Continue reading

This week: ancient sea monsters, a countrywide sunscreen ban and harmful worm waste

Giant mosasaur skeleton reconstructed mosasaur_custom-373157cafe96f037fa7337c9103c07bb199f374d-s500-c85

Throughout thirteen years of digging in the Angola coastline, paleontologists have recovered a wealth of mososaur bones. Mosasaurs, who lived millions of years ago, were ocean dwellers that could grow up to the length of a school bus. Scientists say they tell the story of the forming of the Atlantic Ocean and conditions that lead to a boom of giant sea reptiles. Continue reading

The race for House District 12 fits into a night of firsts

Sonya Jaquez Lewis was elected as the Colorado state representative for House District 12, making her the first Latina and the first LGBTQ in Boulder County to be elected to the Colorado General Assembly. It was a historic night as the votes continued to roll in and the number of “firsts” piled up.

Lewis celebrated her win at Nissi’s Entertainment Venue in Lafayette alongside Congressional District 2 candidate Joe Neguse. He stood with one arm around her shoulder as they watched the results come in. Applause erupted and tears flowed as they discovered that they both had won—Neguse becoming the first African American Congressman to represent Colorado. The celebration escalated once it was announced that Jared Polis had defeated Walker Stapleton in the Colorado gubernatorial race.

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Lewis giving her acceptance speech Photo: Julia Medeiros

“I am just so thrilled to be going to Denver with my good friend Jared Polis, our first ever elected gay governor,” said Lewis at a podium draped with the stars and stripes. “I mean it’s just incredible. I’m shaking.”

Lewis succeeds Mike Foote, a Democrat who served as the House District 12 state representative for five years before stepping down. She thanked him in her acceptance speech for his time spent helping her prepare to take his place. Continue reading