Thousands of endangered sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. Atlantic coast are dying unnecessarily as they become entangled in shrimp nets and ultimately drown. However, turtle excluder devices (TED) could prevent these deaths from happening. The National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) has submitted a rule to the Federal Register proposing that all shrimp nets must use a TED. In order to ensure that the final decision on this rule protects the turtles, public support must be highly visible. A public comment period is currently open on regulations.gov in which you can comment on the NMFS’s proposed rule (http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0095-0001) and share why you think this initiative is important. Another way to show support is by signing your name to the letter that the Sea Turtle Restoration Project will submit to regulations.gov before the public comment period ends on July 9, 2012 (http://action.seaturtles.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10633). Michael Barnette of the NMFS is also accepting comments concerning this proposed rule (see address below).
Finally, a brief respite from the heat! Today we finally welcome temperatures that ring in below 100 for the first time in five days—the high for today is a merciful 99. It may not be for us as Texans, but others would consider that pretty hot. These high temperatures that come with our scorching Texas summers strain the state’s primary power grid, not to mention our wallets.
Summer has officially begun—we have welcomed in Austin’s first triple digit heat wave of the year, with temperatures projected to spike as high as 106° F through the rest of the week. Don’t be surprised if coming years bring heat waves like this earlier and earlier in the summer due to climate change. Extreme heat is one of the most obvious effects of global warming and it is one that most Texans are likely all too familiar with. Average temperatures in our state are expected to increase between 4.5° and 9° F by 2080, according to a 2009 report from the United States Global Change Research Program. This hotter weather poses a threat to both human and environmental health and security. In 2011, the Texas Department of State Health Services recorded over 150 heat-related deaths in the state. As heat waves become more frequent and severe, the instances of heat stress and stroke will rise.
Welcome to our new website! I hope this will serve as an even better resource for you to keep up to date about Environment Texas' work. But we're always looking to make it even better. Please let me know what you think and what else you'd like to see on the site.