A river restored breathes new life into Kuala Lumpur

first_imgInspired by a global trend of urban river restorations, then-prime minister Najib Razak in 2012 launched a megaproject to clean up the Kuala Lumpur’s rivers and beautify riverfront areas.Ridiculed at first, the River of Life project has made notable strides towards its goals, and officials say it is on track to be completed on time and below budget.The initiative is part of a complex legacy left by Najib, who was swept out of power amid a corruption scandal and is currently awaiting trial for breach of trust and abuse of power.This is the third article in a six-part series about infrastructure projects in Peninsular Malaysia. KUALA LUMPUR — By 2012, when then-prime minister Najib Razak formally launched the River of Life project to improve water quality and restore the aesthetic virtue of the Klang River, France had already demolished obsolete dams in the magnificent headwaters of the Loire River.Oakland, California, was busy jackhammering the concrete culverts that served for decades as straitjackets on streams flowing from its coastal hills. Seoul, South Korea, had spent $384 million to demolish a central city highway and construct wastewater treatment plants that turned the Cheonggyecheon River into a promenade of reedy banks and tranquil pools of clean water.In short, the 21st-century idea of mending rivers dirtied and damaged by the 20th century’s industrial hydraulics and waste was taking hold around the world. In forward-thinking cities, the old principle of harnessing flowing water for the unbridled use and convenience of man was being replaced by a new operating program. Restoring river habitat and ecological processes not only enhanced the quality of the human experience, it also added resilience to local economies.“I believe there will be a drastic change to Kuala Lumpur’s image,” Najib said in a downtown Kuala Lumpur ceremony. “This is what Kuala Lumpur folks have been waiting for. The Klang River has all the elements to become an attractive waterfront bustling with daily activities. I visited the Cheonggyechoen River project in Seoul. The project is the best example of the transformation of a polluted and dirty river into a model river complete with beautiful walkways, bridges and fountains.”Once notoriously smelly, Kuala Lumpur’s urban riverfront has been transformed into an attractive destination for dining and strolling. Image by Keith Schneider for Mongabay.At the time, in his third year as prime minister, Najib was building a reputation in Southeast Asia for developing national economic development strategies that kept environmental goals in mind. It was well before a corruption scandal in the 1MDB national infrastructure development fund cost him re-election in May of 2018. Najib’s overarching Economic Transformation Program, a national strategy published in 2010 to make Malaysia a “top 20 nation” by 2020, included among its foremost priorities a commitment to “meeting present needs without compromising those of future generations.”“In economic terms, growth will have to be achieved without running down Malaysia’s natural resources,” wrote the plan’s authors. “Malaysia will not achieve high-income status simply through the income derived from extracting Malaysia’s natural resources. In environmental terms, the government is committed to the stewardship and preservation of our natural environment and non-renewable resources. The government will ensure that environmental resources are properly priced and that the full costs of development are understood before investment decisions are made.”Projects to expand and build new wastewater treatment plants were included in the transformation program. Big projects to add new lines to electric rail transit in Kuala Lumpur, and intercity fast electric trains, also were part of the plan. Najib promoted these and other nation-building projects as positive steps in clearing the water and air of damaging pollutants.The River of Life project met those objectives. The $1.3 billion redevelopment of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of the Klang River in central Kuala Lumpur, and the cleanup of its waters and shoreline running 100 kilometers upriver, ranks as one of the hardest and most expensive urban river restoration projects ever undertaken.Najib’s stated aim with the River of Life and other mega infrastructure projects was to turn the Kuala Lumpur metropolitan region into a competitor to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore as an efficient, inviting and ecologically sensitive place to live and do business. Najib included the River of Life in national budgets supported by parliament, and recruited pledges from state and local treasuries to also finance the project.Kuala Lumpur is following a formula that works elsewhere – replenishing the ecological functions of the Klang; improving water quality; and creating safe, interesting, and well-lit spaces for strolling. Image by Keith Schneider for Mongabay.By any measure it was a political advance. The two most important steps in successful infrastructure development are sound planning and firm funding. On paper, it sounds pretty straightforward. But in the realpolitik of too many democracies, every aspect of project design, finance, management, contracts and public acceptance can be a dispiriting battle of competing ideas. Conflict often leads to long and costly delays that frequently disable and generally kill big infrastructure projects.The file cabinets and hard drives of government agencies all over the world are filled with infrastructure development plans that cost a fortune to draw up and turned out to be a waste of time. That was not the case with Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Program.Almost a decade after Najib’s initiative was launched, Kuala Lumpur is a different city than it was when he took office in 2009. Fast-rail transit lines cross the metropolitan region. A huge new financial center is under construction in downtown Kuala Lumpur. The metro region’s population, now almost 7.5 million and growing by nearly 195,000 new residents annually, is also getting more prosperous, according to government economic data. Some of the world’s largest and most elegant retail malls are here, packed with shoppers.The River of Life project, moreover, is 90 percent complete, and on time and within budget, say its government managers. Its primary shoreline promenade and parks, striking fountains and misty cobalt-blue nighttime light shows are now among Kuala Lumpur’s most noted and visited destinations.Kuala Lumpur turned the River of Life into a nighttime cobalt blue promenade. Image by Keith Schneider for Mongabay.Successful as it may have been in Kuala Lumpur, the Economic Transformation Program is, arguably, the principal reason that Najib lost his bid for a third term as Malaysia’s prime minister. The plan included vastly expanding Malaysia’s intercity rail transit network, investing in fossil fuel infrastructure and electricity generation, and enormous real-estate developments, among them a big mixed-use office, housing and retail district on Kuala Lumpur’s periphery.The flood of investment, a sizable share coming from China, contributed to more than a doubling of Malaysia’s national debt during Najib’s term to $250 billion, or 80 percent of the country’s gross national product. A corruption scandal erupted in 2015 inside 1Malaysia Development Berhad, the national development fund that Najib started and directed. 1MDB financed a number of the real-estate and energy transformation projects; its debt now stands at an estimated $13 billion.An investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation found that $4.5 billion is missing from 1MDB. Najib is accused of directing $731 million into his personal accounts, a charge he denies. After being arrested in July, Najib is currently on bail awaiting trial on three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power.It is not yet clear if the cost of Najib’s infrastructure program, and the 1MDB scandal, will hurt confidence in Malaysia’s planning infrastructure. It likely will not. Since 1966, nine years after it gained independence from Britain, Malaysia has devoted considerable government time and expense to preparing successive five-year plans aimed at stabilizing its democracy and directing its economy.The River of Life, one of the most expensive river restoration projects every undertaken, has transformed the Klang River shoreline in Kuala Lumpur. Image by Keith Schneider for Mongabay.Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Najib’s one-time mentor, is also a loyal advocate of infrastructure planning and investment as tools for economic development. Economists in and outside the country credit Malaysia’s emergence as a modern contemporary state to infrastructure development during Mahathir’s first administration from 1981 to 2003. During those years he recruited Japanese, South Korean, U.S. and European financiers and institutions to invest in transportation, manufacturing and real-estate projects, many of them identified in five-year plans.Mahathir’s most visible monuments from that era are the iconic 452-meter (1,483-foot) Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the country’s most famous landmark. For five years after Mahathir dedicated them in August 1999, the towers were the tallest buildings in the world.Not all of Mahathir’s ideas were as triumphal. Another of his big infrastructure projects was the Love Our Rivers campaign, launched in 1993 to clean up the Klang and several more of Malaysia’s most polluted rivers. The project is largely viewed as an expensive failure.When it was launched by Najib, the River of Life project also received its share of public criticism over the projected cost and the government’s capacity to restore a river that has been grossly mistreated for over 150 years.Much of the criticism has quieted. The River of Life project, well on its way to being finished in 2020, appears to have skittered past the current political disruption. In the post-election fallout, questions have been raised about waste management and public awareness efforts related to the project, but the riverfront itself is steadily ascending the stairway to prominence as one of Kuala Lumpur’s most attractive and recognizable landmarks.The confluence of the Klang and Gombak River is where the impressive Masid Jamek Mosque was finished in 1907, and includes some of the city’s most historic government buildings and market areas. Image by Keith Schneider for Mongabay.Getting there has been a feat of management, hydrology and engineering.The Klang River flows west to east for 120 kilometers (75 miles) from its headwaters in the highlands outside the city to the Strait of Malacca. The Department of Environment —now a unit of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change — maintains nearly 1,000 water-quality monitoring stations on the country’s 477 rivers. More than half, according to the most recent report, from 2016, are classified as “clean.”  The agency classified the Klang as one of Malaysia’s five most polluted rivers.The Klang drains a 1,288-square-kilometer (497-square-mile) basin that produces all manner of sewage, grease, farm chemicals, and thousands of tons of paper and plastic trash and food garbage, dumped into its fetid brown waters. Decades ago, people, businesses and neighborhoods turned their backs on the filthy river. Parcels of land were vacated only to become new informal neighborhoods for squatter households.“Doing this project involves a hard approach and a soft approach,” said Mohamad Nasir Bin Mohamad Noh, director general of the water ministry’s Department of Irrigation and Drainage, the lead agency charged with stemming pollution and trash in the Klang. “Most rivers in Malaysia have good water quality. A few years after we finish, this river will have good water quality, too.”One of the primary goals of the River of Life project is to turn water quality from class 5, a designation that makes it dangerous to approach, to class 2b, or clean enough to swim in. The idea is to do the same thing Shanghai did with its Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze that flows through the city’s center, and was once one of the smelliest and dirtiest rivers in the world.Shanghai constructed a network of new sewage treatment plants that eliminated the odor, cleaned up the water, and compelled the city to build the Bund, a shoreline promenade to showcase the cascades of light, like shimmering waterfalls, that tumble down the sides of Shanghai’s skyscrapers.Mohamad Nasir Bin Mohamad Noh, the director general of the Malaysia Department of Irrigation and Drainage, the lead agency charged with stemming pollution and trash in the Klang and managing the River of Life project. Image by Keith Schneider for Mongabay.Three-quarters of the budget for the River of Life project is dedicated to improving water quality. Two new wastewater treatment plants are nearing completion. Fifteen smaller plants are being expanded and modernized. A 748-hectare (1,848-acre) area in central Kuala Lumpur was torn up to build or replace miles of sewer lines to serve the plants. Several informal neighborhoods of squatters, some 1,300 households in all, were moved to new public housing.Under the supervision of the Department of Drainage and Irrigation, project contractors also built five small wastewater treatment plants for wet markets, installed 460 traps to capture floating rubbish, and 231 grease traps at restaurants and food courts. A public education campaign to help city residents and business owners understand the value of the river and the usefulness of keeping it free of garbage and grease accompanies the construction.The balance of the project budget, $337 million, was devoted to redeveloping the near-shore neighborhoods where the Klang meets the Gombak River, where Kuala Lumpur was founded in 1857. The confluence of the Klang and Gombak is also where the impressive Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque was finished in 1909, and includes some of the city’s most historic government buildings and market areas.The confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers gave Kuala Lumpur its name, which literally means “muddy confluence.” The river restoration project has breathed new life into the area. Image by Keith Schneider for Mongabay.In 2011, AECOM, a U.S. engineering and construction firm, was awarded the contract to tie the 10.7-kilometer stretch of central city river to neighborhoods. AECOM remodeled the grounds around the mosque to include new public spaces. It designed an inviting promenade along the river and several shady parks filled with flowers. These parks, with their views of the mosque and close proximity to a transit station on one of the city’s popular metro lines, add immeasurably to the beauty of this city’s birthplace.These and other beautification steps set what AECOM calls a “strategic framework” for attracting more residents, businesses and visitors to the river. The company projects that the restored Klang will generate 35,000 new affordable residences, 1 million square meters (10.8 million square feet) of commercial space, and enough new businesses to employ 27,000 workers.“Cities transform over time,” says Scott Dunn, one of the company’s senior executives, in a promotional video. “There are certain critical times that really spur a lot of transformation. This project will really be the catalyst for the city to change.”In other cities, river restoration has proved to be a seminal feature of urban revitalization. Kuala Lumpur is following a formula that works elsewhere: replenishing the ecological functions of the Klang; improving water quality; and creating safe, interesting and well-lit spaces for strolling. The goal is to produce an urban asset from a long-neglected river that has never served that purpose except to carry away a tide of metropolitan waste.Can the Klang River be contextually integrated into the quality of life and economic prosperity that Kuala Lumpur seeks? Judging from the stream of people strolling along its promenade by day and admiring its blue mist by night, the River of Life displays every indication of getting there.This is the second in a six-article series on infrastructure in Peninsular Malaysia. Read the first article here and the second here.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Cities, Conservation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Featured, Governance, Infrastructure, Pollution, Rivers, Tropical Rivers, Urban Planning, Water Pollution Article published by Isabel Estermancenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more


Satellites and citizen science pinpoint migratory bird refueling stops

first_imgCitationReiter, M. E., Elliott, N. K., Jongsomjit, D., Golet, G. H., & Reynolds, M. D. (2018). Impact of extreme drought and incentive programs on flooded agriculture and wetlands in California’s Central Valley. PeerJ, 6, e5147. Agriculture, Birds, Citizen Science, Freshwater Animals, Migration, Remote Sensing, satellite data, Satellite Imagery, Technology, Wildtech Article published by Sue Palminteri Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Researchers used satellite images to assess the effectiveness of financial incentive programs for farmers in creating habitat for waterbirds, including ducks, geese, and shorebirds, in California’s Central Valley, where nearly all natural wetlands have been converted to agriculture.Observations of 25 waterbird species by hundreds of citizen scientists helped to identify the target zones for water management and to verify the birds’ use of managed areas.The satellite data indicated that a severe drought substantially reduced the birds’ open-water habitat and that the incentive programs created more than 60 percent of available habitat on specific days during the migrations.The researchers state that remotely sensed data can be used effectively to track water availability and regularly update water and wetland managers on how much habitat is available and where, so they can coordinate water management activities. The millions of waterbirds that migrate each spring from South America to as far as the Arctic can’t do it in one trip. They stop to rest and refuel several times along the way to survive the grueling journey.But widespread land-use change has shrunk the area of stopover habitat available to ducks, geese, shorebirds, and other migratory species. In central California, concerned citizens, scientists, and conservation groups have joined forces to protect what remains.A flock of dowitchers glide above the water. Image by T Grey.Scientists from Point Blue Conservation Science and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) combined satellite imagery and statistical models with farmer incentive programs and the efforts of hundreds of volunteers contributing data through a citizen science app to pinpoint the areas of central California with the greatest potential for providing migratory bird habitat. They recently published their analysis of the success of these incentive programs in maintaining bird habitat during an extreme drought sustained between 2013 and 2015 across the western United States.“Before this research was completed, we had a sense that these programs were succeeding in offsetting the impacts of the drought on wildlife, but now we know exactly how critical they are in providing bird habitat in the Central Valley,” lead author Matt Reiter, principal scientist and quantitative ecologist at Point Blue, said in a statement.Retaining habitat in a transformed landscapeShorebirds, including sandpipers and stilts, dunlins and dowitchers, feed on aquatic invertebrates that live in mud or wet sand, so they seek wetlands during their stopovers.California’s Central Valley, once home to a vast system of about 16,200 square kilometers (6,250 square miles) of wetlands, is one such key stopover region for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl  along the Pacific migratory flyway.A gathering of marbled godwits, dowitchers, willets, and other shorebirds at Arrowhead Marsh, Oakland, California. Image by Ingrid Taylar, CC 2.0.The valley extends more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) north to south and up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) east to west. Massive agricultural development has eliminated more than 90 percent of the naturally occurring wetlands, leaving the birds dependent on flooded agricultural fields for food during their stopovers.California’s water is highly managed, so anthropogenic factors play a large role in determining when and where the impacts of drought appear on the landscape. A pair of financial assistance programs provided farmers in the birds’ flight paths with incentive payments to flood their fields at key times during the 2013-2015 drought to create habitat for migrating waterbirds.The area’s rice growers flood their fields each fall with 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) of water in preparation for the next year’s harvest. The flooding converts the paddies into ideal migratory shorebird habitat, so TNC’s BirdReturns and the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Waterbird Habitat Enhancement Program (WHEP) offer farmers financial incentives to flood their fields for one to two additional months, to coincide with the bird migration.Avid birdwatchers across the Central Valley helped the partners to identify the areas to target for habitat management and confirm these areas’ use by target species. Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird online platform encouraged birdwatchers in the region to submit their bird observations to its database, before and after the incentive programs began.Spotted sandpipers are another shorebird species found in the study region. Image by J. Gehling, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0.eBird statisticians compiled the observations from hundreds of birders to build models that predicted where 25 species of shorebirds would likely be present across the Central Valley during their spring and fall migrations. The models generated maps that showed when and where the target species were expected to gather. Overlaying maps of bird concentrations with the distribution of surface water indicated mismatches — areas where management action, in the form of flooding, was most needed.Seeing water from spaceTo assess the success of these programs, the researchers used satellite imagery to examine the impact of the drought on the timing and extent of surface water in the Central Valley.“By using satellites to track habitats regularly,” Reiter told Mongabay, “we can look for hotspots of change and use that information to help prioritize conservation actions.”They analyzed Landsat images from 2013 to 2015 to identify areas of open water (more than 30 percent vegetated) across the Central Valley and to measure the distribution of open water habitat in managed wetlands and fields of rice, corn and other crops between July and May.Using data from ground and aerial surveys, they developed predictive models to identify open water, separate from saturated soil underneath thick vegetation. “We will probably not get moist soil without some ponded water with our model,” Reiter said. “That said, because we track water year round, we can identify those places that maintain some open water across months.”A longbilled dowitcher foraging. Standing water is considered critical habitat for these and other shorebirds, as well as waterfowl such as ducks and geese. Image by T. Grey.The models quantified the influence of drought, precipitation, season, region, and protected status on the proportion of open water in each land cover type between July and May of the following year.The scientists then calculated the relative contribution to available habitat during that period of the two farmer incentive programs. They used the image data to estimate the daily proportion of flooded habitat in each type of field (e.g. rice, corn, etc.) that was provided by these programs. They multiplied that proportion by the total amount of the crop planted in each year (2,161 square kilometers, or 834 square miles, in 2013 and, 1,696 square kilometers, or 655 square miles, in 2014) to get the area of open water habitat made available by the programs each day. Footage courtesy of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Joy Ng.“We [then] combined predicted shorebird abundance values with predicted wetland extent to identify times and locations where temporary wetlands could deliver potentially high-value shorebird habitat,” said co-author Mark Reynolds, lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s California Migratory Bird Program.The analysis showed that the drought substantially reduced the availability of open water habitats across the Central Valley’s fields and wetlands, both spatially and temporally. During the drought, the amount of open water habitat decreased by 40 to 80 percent, compared to non-drought years, and the decline varied by land cover type, time of year, and region. For example, corn and wetlands in the San Joaquin Basin dried out more than rice and wetlands in the Sacramento Valley. Protected wetlands retained more water than unprotected, privately owned wetlands.Wetlands in central California’s otherwise dry environment. Image by R. Digaudio.It also revealed that the incentive programs provided a large portion of the open water in rice fields during the fall and spring waterbird migrations in the drought years.“BirdReturns provided 39 percent of the post-harvest flooded rice during the fall, when flooded habitat is at its lowest and waterbirds are in high abundance,” Reiter said in a publication summary. “And WHEP created 64 percent of the habitat during the winter. Overall, incentive programs provided 35 percent of the habitat on the landscape October through March.”Possibly more important for hungry migratory birds during a drought, the BirdReturns program provided up to 61 percent of all available flooded rice habitat on certain fall days and WHEP created up to 100 percent of available habitat on some days during the winter.Do birds use the managed wetlands?The crowd-sourced eBird observations collected after the incentive programs began helped to verify the use by the birds of different types of managed areas. The data showed that crop fields participating in BirdReturns pilot program, for example, hosted far more target migratory waterbirds than control fields (with no additional flooding).“This new approach to rent habitat on demand promises to engage more farmers to provide habitat in a flexible manner that can be tailored to ever-changing weather patterns and farming practices,” Reynolds said.A long-billed curlew moves between fields in central California. Image by TJ Gehling, CC BY NC 2.0.The birdwatchers recorded more than 220,000 birds representing 57 species in the BirdReturns fields, with February-March shorebird densities 20 times higher than on non-participating fields. These totals included more than 20,000 dunlins, representing roughly 20 percent of the entire overwintering dunlin population in the Central Valley.“The study highlights the role incentive programs can play in species conservation,” Reiter said. “Program managers should place a high priority on maintaining incentive programs in the face of more frequent severe droughts in order to sustain waterbirds in the Central Valley and the Pacific Flyway.”The survival of millions of migratory birds in increasingly modified landscapes now depends on human intervention, so assessing the success of specific actions can help managers apply them elsewhere.“Open water and wetlands are critical habitat resources across the world and have seen some of the greatest losses to human development,” Reiter said. “Our models could be used in other landscapes where water and wetlands play a key role in supporting wildlife habitat to prioritize those places and times when we need to make sure to sustain those water dependent ecosystems and habitats on the landscape.”This video offers more detailed information about the project. 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Biscuit threatens to cop Italy’s Ireland prep

first_imgItaly’s preparations should be firmly concentrated on getting the victory over Ireland that should prove sufficient to send them into the quarter-finals.However talk of a “biscotto”, or biscuit in English, has got Italian nerves jangling and conspiracy theorists clamouring foul play before even a ball has been kicked.Should Spain and Croatia draw 2-2 in Gdansk then they will both qualify for the quarter-finals at Italy’s expense, regardless of their result against Ireland.It is because in the case of two or more teams finishing level on points, their head-to-head records come into play.It was a similar scenario at Euro 2004 when Italy were ousted by a 2-2 draw in the final game between Nordic neighbours Sweden and Denmark.Those two played a competitive match until the fourth goal went in and then seemed to both settle for the result that guaranteed their passage into the knock-out stages.That has become known as a “biscotto” in Italian as it is the term used for an arrangement between two parties at the expense of a third.Its origin comes either from horses being doped by biscuits or the principle of dividing up a cake equally, according to Italian sources.But whichever is the truth, the fact is the Italians are rattled and rather than focussing purely on Ireland, they’re being eaten up by the possibility of being crunched by a “biscotto”.However, publicly they are not keen to voice their fears.“We believe, we have to believe otherwise there wouldn’t even be any point in playing,” said midfielder Claudio Marchisio.“Croatia are a very good team but I think Spain are the favourites in that match.”Coach Cesare Prandelli said the first thing is to win their match against Ireland and only then will they need to cast an eye on events in Gdansk.“We need to win the game and deserve to progress to the next round,” he said.“We must not think about what happened eight years ago, we must not look for excuses.“Spain have always produced a spectacle and played well, everyone wants to emulate them, why would they think about a biscuit now?”Prandelli has said he will make three or four changes to the team and one of those looks all the more likely to be striker Mario Balotelli, who limped out of training on Saturday with a knee problem.He was due to undergo tests on Sunday to see if he will be fit but was a candidate to be replaced by Antonio Di Natale – who scored their goal in the 1-1 draw against Spain after coming on for Balotelli – in any case.Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque has vowed to play to win the game against Croatia but the question remains how they will approach matters if they are drawing with time running out.Any kind of score draw would almost guarantee they win the group — unless it’s 1-1 and Italy beat Ireland by more than four goals.Del Bosque may want to win the game but would he risk losing it when his side are guaranteed to progress with any kind of draw?The bigger issue for Italy will be the potential banana skin that is former coach Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland, who certainly won’t roll over.Trapattoni was the Italy coach in Portugal eight years ago and there would be a sort of poetic injustice perhaps were he to be the architect of Italy’s downfall this time around.Although they are out, Irish captain Robbie Keane says they are determined not to go home without any points.“Just pride, that’s all we’re playing for,” said the LA Galaxy striker.“You don’t want to go home without any points on the board.“It is important we regroup as a team and give the fans something to cheer about. It has been a difficult week for the team, not just me.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000POZNAN, Poland, June 18 – Italy’s preparation for their final European Championship Group C clash against Ireland on Monday is at risk of being derailed by a biscuit.The 2006 world champions sit third in their group after 1-1 draws against Spain and Croatia.They trail both of those by two points with pointless Ireland already eliminated.last_img read more


Special: talkSPORT review of the 2014 World Cup

first_imgtalkSPORT brought you live commentary of every game of the 2014 World Cup and here, in this special programme, we relive the magic of Brazil.Listen as Mark Saggers is joined by the likes of Adrian Durham, Jim Proudfoot, Stan Collymore, Stuart Pearce and Ray Parlour to look back on the tournament.last_img


South Bay `English Major Bandit’ found guilty of bank robberies

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Charges connected to an additional bank robbery in Whittier were dismissed before deliberations began. All the bank employees and customers who testified during Armijo’s four-day trial in Torrance Superior Court had identified the registered sex offender as the robber. The jury also found to be true an allegation that he used a gun in one of the holdups. Armijo returns to Judge James Brandlin’s courtroom Dec. 13 for sentencing to an expected 150 years to life in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Steve Schreiner. Armijo earned his nickname from law enforcement officials poking fun at grammatical errors in the demand notes he used during most the heists. By Denise Nix STAFF WRITER Jurors deliberated for a little more than an hour Tuesday before returning guilty verdicts on five counts in the trial of the so-called English Major Bandit bank robber. Robert Armijo, 42, of Long Beach robbed two Torrance banks on Feb. 17 and three others before then, including one in Gardena. He was arrested after police identified him from a cellular telephone he dropped while fleeing the second Torrance robbery, at the Union Bank at 24030 Hawthorne Blvd. About 25 minutes before that crime, he held up the Citibank at 2700 Pacific Coast Highway. A security surveillance camera captured the robbery on tape, which the jury of 10 men and two women watched. Armijo was put under surveillance, then arrested while possibly casing another bank. Also arrested and charged was Gary Cruz, 46, of Long Beach, the getaway driver. Cruz previously pleaded no contest to two charges and is serving 11years in state prison. Armijo denied involvement when he was first arrested. But when confronted with still photographs from the surveillance camera, he admitted it was him. The other bank robberies were at the California Bank in Gardena on Jan. 8, an IndyMac Bank in Covina on Feb. 8 and an IndyMac Bank in Artesia on Jan. 16. Armijo’s criminal history includes convictions for voluntary manslaughter, aiding and abetting a sexual assault, robberies, burglaries and narcotics violations, according to court and prison records. denise.nix@dailybreeze.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


Teen among ‘Oprah’ essay winners

first_imgIn the essay, titled “Be Aware: Ignorance is Near,” Yang writes that people shouldn’t ignore sacrifices past generations have made, including during the American Revolution and the civil rights movement. And she writes that ignoring history and events like the Holocaust is dangerous for today’s world, admitting to some of her own past ignorance about the World War II genocide of 6 million Jews. “She’s very honest about confessing that we tend to take so much for granted,” Liebe Geft, director of the Museum of Tolerance, said after reading the essay. “And (she) realizes and articulates that realization,” she said. “That each and every one of us is responsible for the choices that we make and responsible for the larger society and the world in which we live.” The William S. Hart Union High School District has students read “Night” in their sophomore year, and many other school districts also make the book part of their curriculum. The book was first published in English in 1960. When Yang arrived in the United States with her family in 2001 from Seoul, South Korea, she spoke almost no English. After five years of hard work, she has only a trace of an accent. When she was only 12, Yang spent five hours a day listening to English tapes and reading. She swallowed her pride as she took out library books meant for much younger readers. “(It’s) amazing that she’s only spoken English for five years and won this national contest,” said Kathy Wilson, Yang’s journalism teacher at Hart High. The “Oprah” show’s “The 50 Young People Oprah Wants You to Meet” aired May 25. alex.dobuzinskis@dailynews.com (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“I won’t, like, die if I don’t get into Harvard,” said Yang, 17, an incoming junior at Hart High. “What (Wiesel) went through was so much more serious and doesn’t even compare to what I was going through.” At the urging of her journalism teacher, Yang entered the “Oprah” show’s student essay competition on “Night,” which Winfrey earlier this year chose for her book club selection. To her surprise, Yang’s essay was one of 50 chosen by the show out of 50,000 submissions. She was flown to Chicago to appear on the show along with the other winners, and she met Winfrey and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Wiesel, 77. “It was an awesome experience, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Yang said. The Saugus student also won a $10,000 scholarship, with $5,000 coming from Oprah Winfrey’s show and $5,000 from AT&T. SANTA CLARITA High school stress was getting to Iris Yang – all the competition she saw around her over test scores and Advanced Placement courses. Then she read a book that put it all in perspective. The book was “Night,” Elie Wiesel’s account of the Nazi Holocaust, based on his own experiences in the death camps where his parents and little sister died. Yang said the book made her see a bigger picture. last_img read more


Mauricio Pochettino makes claim about Moussa Sissoko which will stun Spurs fans

first_img Moussa Sissoko has been widely criticised by Tottenham supporters 1 Mauricio Pochettino has hailed Tottenham midfielder Moussa Sissoko as one of the team’s most important players this season.Sissoko has come in for criticism from a section of Spurs supporters, despite playing in all but one of his side’s Premier League games this term.Even when Christian Eriksen missed last weekend’s draw against Southampton through illness, Pochettino picked the Frenchman in a more offensive position and left Erik Lamela on the bench.Sissoko initially struggled to live up to expectations after leaving Newcastle for £30million in August 2016 but Pochettino says he now offers Tottenham something no other player can.“He has been one of our most important players,” Pochettino said.“You have to give the credit to him because he is the only player who gives or provides balance in those transitions – offensive to defensive, defensive to offensive – in the team.“There is no other player in the team who can provide that. This is the best quality he provides to the team.”Pochettino also suggested Sissoko was judged too early at Spurs.“We create myths, me too, I am like you,” Pochettino said.“Sometimes we all create myths but most of the times we are not clinical or honest in the way we assess things.“Sometimes you think a way about someone because of first impressions and then they stick forever.”Tottenham face a tricky trip to Newport on Saturday in the FA Cup fourth round as Spurs look to take one step closer to lifting their first major trophy since 2008.But, to win silverware Pochettino admits his team must find more consistency across all competitions.“If we are not capable of creating that mentality then we can win games but not win trophies,” Pochettino said.“We are in that process that one training session is important, one game against Real Madrid or Manchester United. When you play in the FA Cup, it’s important like when you play in the Premier League or Champions League or Carabao Cup.“That is the most difficult job for us today, that everyone is conscious that when you train or play in every day you give your best, but for that you need to prepare yourself.”last_img read more


‘Get in the fridge’ – Pep Guardiola’s bizarre advice for Man City stars at Christmas

first_img getty Manchester City have eight points to make up on Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table 2 Guardiola has given his players some strange advice… “The concept is not about in this period. I love to play on Boxing Day and at winter when families and kids can go to the stadium and enjoy it.“The problem is the system doesn’t protect the players. Another day we will have more recovery than the other ones.“It is what it is. If we have to play tomorrow, we have to play tomorrow. We have to play, we’re going to play.“The broadcasters are the bosses, it’s not about us. Maybe the broadcasters are fans of another club.”Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT as we bring you THREE live Premier League commentaries across our network, including Crystal Palace vs Manchester City at 17:30 GMT! LIVE on talkSPORT While he did not make a direct complaint to the media ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Crystal Palace – LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on talkSPORT – he did speak metaphorically about the situation.But, what he said was so metaphorical, that it just sounds downright bizarre.“Go home, open the fridge and get inside for 48 hours,” he said, when asked if he’d have any special instructions for his players in their recovery.“See you at the Etihad Stadium in two days. I’m not joking.”Guardiola then added: “When I open the fridge to make an omelette maybe I talk with my players then, but apart from that, no way.”Okay…Man City found out this week that they will have to play two games in less than 48 hours following confirmation of the TV schedules.They face Wolves away on December 27 in a 7:45pm kick off, and then host Sheffield United at 6pm on December 29. Title rivals Liverpool, meanwhile, play Leicester City on Boxing Day and then have an extra day to prepare for their game against Wolves on December 29.Guardiola is now resigned to the fact that’s just how it is in England, but his annoyance is less about having to play while other European leagues take a break over Christmas, it’s more about the impact a packed fixture list can have on his team.Although, he did take a sly swipe at broadcasters for dictating when teams play.“It is what it is, Since I came here it happened the same,” he said. Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has a novel solution for his players to combat fatigue over their busy festive period – ‘get in the fridge’.The Spanish boss has hinted at his irritation over his side’s packed fixture schedule over Christmas, which sees them play two games in less than 48 hours. getty Everton vs West Ham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORTBlackburn vs Huddersfield (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2Tottenham vs Watford (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2Crystal Palace vs Man City (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORTWigan vs Nottingham Forest (Sunday, 2pm) – talkSPORT 2 Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week 2last_img read more


Argentina and Messi in danger as Croatia go through

first_imgThe Croats defended their lead and waited for their chances and when they came they made no mistake in punishing an Argentina side that fell apart.Modric scored the second, turning left and right before firing a curling shot past Caballero to give his side a comfortable cushion.Rakitic put the icing on the cake in injury time, tapping in a third after the Argentina defence had been exposed again.All eyes now turn to Friday’s match between Iceland and Nigeria. Should Iceland win, they would only need a draw against already-qualified Croatia to shut Argentina out. France made it two wins from two and ensured passage into the knockout stages but Peru made them work hard for their three points.The South American side pushed to come back from Kylian Mbappe’s first half strike but couldn’t find the goal they needed to prevent their exit.Olivier Giroud was introduced to Didier Deschamp’s starting side and gave the attack a central point, winning headers and drawing teammates into play. He created an early chance for Antoine Griezmann but an unconventional save from Pedro Gallese denied the forward.On 34 minutes, the dominant side found their breakthrough. Giroud’s shot looped towards goal and Mbappe raced on to tap in.France were content to play a more conservative game after the break but Peru chased down every opportunity with Pedro Aquino unlucky not to score when his shot smashed off the post.Andre Carillo and Jefferson Farfan both had chances but Peru bowed out despite a second impressive showing.VAR was the star again as Australia came from behind to keep their last-16 hopes alive.Christian Eriksen has scored the opener for Denmark and the European side looked good for a win but Australia’s doggedness paid off.A ball into the box saw Matthew Leslie and Yussuf Poulsen compete for a header but video review led to a penalty being awarded aftyer it was ruled that Poulsen had handled.Denmark protested but it was then left to Mile Jedinak to take yet another pressure penalty and he made no mistake despite Kasper Schmeichel’s best efforts to distract him.Denmark are now sure to qualify for the knockout stages with a point against France but Australia will aim to beat Peru and hope they can squeak through. Lionel Messi and his Argentina teammates are in danger of an early exit from the World Cup after they were picked apart by Croatia as  the European side booked their place in the last 16.The Barcelona superstar was restricted to just one chance at goal while Croatian midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic stole the show and engineered a huge win for their team.Both sides were fancied to progress from the group pre-tournament and they couldn’t be separated in a hard-fought first half but after the break a goalkeeping howler handed Croatia the advantage.Argentina keeper Willy Caballero attempted to chip a pass over Ante Rebic, only to see the striker perfectly execute a volley back into the net.last_img read more


ATV Accident Kills Jeffersonville Woman in Crawford County

first_imgSmith quickly ran for help at a nearby residence, whose occupants called 911. Koch was transported to Jasper Memorial Hospital, where she later died. Smith was airlifted to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville and treated for minor injuries.Assisting agencies at the scene included the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, English First Responders, and Crawford County Ambulance. The incident remains under investigation by Indiana Conservation Officers.Neither Koch nor Smith was wearing a helmet or any safety equipment. Indiana Conservation Officers strongly encourage riders to always wear a helmet and necessary safety equipment when operating an ATV. Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating a fatal ATV accident that occurred in Crawford County Saturday afternoon. Sherry Koch (59) of Jeffersonville died at Jasper Memorial Hospital while her 7 year-old granddaughter, Kasey Smith of Clarksville, sustained minor injuriesShortly before 3:00 p.m., Koch was operating an ATV with Smith seated in front of her on Mount Eden Road, near Eckerty. Preliminary investigation indicates that Koch lost control on the gravel road and struck a tree, ejecting her and Smith.last_img read more