Saving pine savannas in South Carolina, USA

This August 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Southeast Pine Savanna Restoration and Management for Northern Bobwhites

Technical video providing an in-depth explanation of managing southern yellow pine timber for grassland bird habitat.

From the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA:

Scientists connected fragments of pine savanna and new species keep showing up

September 26, 2019

Summary: By connecting small, restored patches of savanna to one another via habitat corridors at an experimental landscape within the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, a nearly 20-year-long study has shown an annual increase in the number of plant species within fragments over time, and a drop in the number of species disappearing from them entirely.

Before Europeans arrived in America, longleaf pine savannas sprawled across 90 million acres from present-day Florida to Texas and Virginia. Today, thanks to human impacts, less than 3 percent of that acreage remains and what’s left exists in fragmented patches largely isolated from one another.

Yet, hundreds of plant and animals species rely on these savannas, from understory grasses and the gopher tortoise, to the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

Habitat fragmentation is a major threat to biodiversity — not just in longleaf pine savannas, but in habitats across the planet. A new study published this week [Sept. 27, 2019] in Science demonstrates a hopeful new strategy in efforts to conserve plant and animal species confronting fragmented and shrinking habitats globally.

By connecting small, restored patches of savanna to one another via habitat corridors at an experimental landscape within the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, the nearly 20-year-long study has shown an annual increase in the number of plant species within fragments over time, and a drop in the number of species disappearing from them entirely.

“We know that habitat fragmentation and loss is the number one driver of species extinctions in the U.S. and across the globe,” says study lead author, Ellen Damschen, professor of integrative biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We need conservation solutions that can protect existing species and restore lost habitat.”

She and co-author John Orrock, also a professor of integrative biology at UW-Madison, compare the findings to an unexpected realm: finance. The research team was surprised to find an annual increase of five percent in the number of new species arriving, or colonizing, corridor-connected longleaf pine fragments, and an annual drop of two percent in the number of species going extinct.

“Like compound interest in a bank, the number of species increases at a constant rate each year, resulting in a much larger bottom line over time in habitats that are connected by a corridor than those that are not,” Damschen says.

Over the 18-year study period, that equated to an average of 24 additional species in each connected fragment relative to the study’s control fragments, which were not connected by corridors. Each fragment is about the size of two football fields, and the corridors that connect them span roughly 500-by-80 feet each.

“Like any good, long-term investment, it builds over time,” Orrock says. Neither he nor Damschen, nor the research team, expected to discover an annual rate of increase with no signs of slowing.

The long-term conservation and restoration study, which is still ongoing, is rare in the ecological world, in part because the study controls for the area and the connectedness of fragmented habitats. Most studies have examined habitat size alone.

“From a biodiversity standpoint, we know habitat area is important,” says Damschen. “But we also need to be thinking about the network of remaining habitat and how to reconnect small parcels.”

Because, Orrock adds, “it’s not always possible to make more habitat, so connecting existing habitat is another tool in the conservation toolbox.”

The study is also unique in its longevity, which has been possible thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Long Term Research in Environmental Biology program. Most ecological studies span just one-to-five years, or the lifecycle of a typical research grant, but the findings show that meaningful results take time to accumulate.

“The power of this long-term study is that small differences in species accumulation rates have a big impact over the long term,” said Betsy von Holle, program director at the NSF. “This has major implications for restoration and conservation science.”

The study has also relied on collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service-Savannah River, under the authority of the Department of Energy-Savannah River Operations Office, where fragments and corridors are being restored to longleaf pine savanna. Longleaf pine habitat has contracted since colonial times, as trees were exploited for timber, tar and turpentine, and lost to urbanization.

“As land managers,” says Forest Manager DeVela Clark, of the U.S. Forest Service-Savannah River, “we incorporate these long-term studies into our daily work of savanna restoration. Ellen and the research team share our appreciation that research and restoration require a long-term perspective.”

There are now also efforts underway in Virginia, the northern edge of the species’ historic range, to restore longleaf pine savannas, led by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Division of Natural Heritage. The UW-Madison-led study provides results that come at a key moment for conservation decisions.

“It’s a race against time when it comes to restoring plant biodiversity, especially in the face of accelerating climate change and landscape fragmentation,” says Brian van Eerden, director of TNC’s Virginia Pinelands Program. “We need the best available science from long-term, large-scale studies like this to inform how to connect and manage our conserved lands to ensure the native species have the best chances to survive and thrive.”

Habitat restoration is now a key priority across the globe. Earlier this year, the United Nations declared 2021 through 2030 the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, with the hope of eliminating excess, heat-trapping greenhouse gases; improving food security and freshwater supplies; and protecting critical human and animal habitats.

“Doing experiments on the consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation at realistic scales is incredibly difficult because when you look at a real landscape, so many things are happening simultaneously,” says Damschen. “You need a strong experiment that isolates those independent factors — such as size, connectedness, the proximity to a habitat edge — at a scale relevant for conservation, and over a meaningful timescale.

“We have had that opportunity for the past 20 years.”

Hurricane Dorian in the USA

This 6 September 2019 CBS TV video from the USA says about itself:

Hurricane Dorian causes flooding in Charleston, South Carolina

More than 200,000 people were without power in South Carolina as Hurricane Dorian lashed the state’s coast, and flooding is a major concern in the Charleston area. CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas joined CBSN from Charleston with more.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Hurricane Dorian has travelled along the coastline of South and North Carolina and brought a lot of wind and heavy rain. In the southeastern United States, at least four people have been killed by the natural disaster that previously left the inhabitants of the Bahamas in despair. The death toll there has since risen to thirty.

Historic Charleston suffered from heavy rainfall. Streets became blank and were strewn with fallen trees, branches and disconnected electricity cables. 108 roads in and around the city were closed, of which 26 due to flooding.

At least 250,000 homes and businesses in the southeastern US were without power.

DORIAN DEATH TOLL RISES – TO 30 Carrying possessions in plastic bags, some weary Bahamians whose homes were smashed by Hurricane Dorian waited for a flight out of the disaster zone as an international humanitarian effort to help the Caribbean country gained momentum. The death toll in the Bahamas is now 30 as the storm batters the Carolina coast. [AP]

Hurricane Florence in the USA update

This 19 September 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Rev. Barber: North Carolina Has Two Storms—Florence & the Policies That Keep People in Poverty

As President Trump visits North Carolina, where thousands are evacuating after Hurricane Florence caused record flooding, we go to Raleigh to speak with Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. Areas devastated by the storm include some of the poorest areas on the Eastern Seaboard. Barber’s recent CNN piece is headlined “In hurricane wind and waves, the poor suffer most.”

This 20 September 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

South Carolina: Two Women from Mental Health Facility Drown in Flood During Transport by Deputies

Two women being transported by sheriff’s deputies to a mental health facility drowned Tuesday in South Carolina when the van they were riding in was overcome by floodwaters. The two sheriff’s deputies in the vehicle survived.

Because, unlike the two women, the deputies had not been manacled and chained.

Forty-five-year-old Wendy Newton and 43-year-old Nicolette Green are two of at least 37 people killed by Hurricane Florence since the storm made landfall. Both women had gone to hospitals Tuesday morning when they were involuntarily committed and detained. Less than 24 hours later, they were dead. “There are a lot of questions remaining about why this had to occur, then, why there couldn’t have been some sort of an emergency delay”, says Meg Kinnard, South Carolina correspondent for the Associated Press, who has been following the story closely.

This 20 September 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

South Carolina Prisoners Were Left In Cells as Florence Descended. Why Weren’t They Evacuated?

South Carolina officials are coming under fire for refusing to relocate prisoners in mandatory evacuation zones even as Hurricane Florence barreled down on the state. Prisoners were instead put to work behind bars making sandbags to prepare for the storm’s arrival. We speak with Kymberly Smith, a community organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation. She has been protesting South Carolina’s choice to not evacuate prisoners during Hurricane Florence.

THOUSANDS BRACE FOR MORE FLOODING AFTER HURRICANE FLORENCE About 6,000 to 8,000 residents in coastal areas in the Carolinas were warned Sunday that they may need to leave their homes because rivers are still rising more than a week after Hurricane Florence. In Washington, Congress is starting to consider almost $1.7 billion in new money to aid recovery efforts from the storm. [AP]

As new flooding forces evacuations in South Carolina. Hurricane Florence unleashes coal ash, hog waste pollution: here.

Two weeks after Hurricane Florence first made landfall on the North Carolina coast, its impact is still being felt throughout the region. The death toll now stands at 48 across the three states—North and South Carolina and Virginia—most directly affected by Florence, with 37 of those in North Carolina. The latest reported fatality was an 85-year-old North Carolina man who, while cleaning up storm debris, suffered an injury that later became infected, causing his death: here.

North Carolina is suffering a massive mosquito problem in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane threatens South Carolina, USA

This 10 September 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Meteorologist Ashley Batey is tracking Florence as it strengthens in the Atlantic. The hurricane is expected to slam into the East Coast near the Carolinas as a Category 3 or 4 storm.

ONE MILLION TOLD TO LEAVE SOUTH CAROLINA South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) ordered a mandatory evacuation of the state’s coastline ahead of Hurricane Florence’s expected arrival. Approximately 1 million people in eight counties have until noon today to evacuate, the governor said.[HuffPost]

CLIMATE BILL HAUNTS N.C. OFFICIALS In 2012, North Carolina legislators passed a bill that barred policymakers and developers from using up-to-date climate science to plan for rising sea levels on the coast. Now, Hurricane Florence threatens to cause a devastating storm surge that could put thousands of lives in danger. [HuffPost]

Diving for extinct Megalodon shark teeth

This video from the USA says about itself:

1 December 2017

Jonathan Bird goes to South Carolina with Cameraman Tim to meet Alan Devier, a world-renown shark tooth hunter and dive for fossilized Megalodon shark teeth in the murky depths of the Cooper River.

JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD is an Emmy Award-winning underwater science/adventure program.

United States racist planned massacre of Jews

This video from the USA says about itself:

FBI Arrests Nazi Terrorist Planning Synagogue Mass Shooting

16 February 2017

The alleged would-be shooter was inspired by the Charleston church massacre. Cenk Uygur and John Iadarola, hosts of The Young Turks, discuss. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“The FBI has arrested a white supremacist who allegedly planned to carry out a Dylann Roof-style massacre against a South Carolina synagogue.

Local news station WMBF reports that law enforcement officials on Wednesday apprehended a 29-year-old man named Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, who bought a gun from an undercover FBI agent that he allegedly planned to use in an attack against the Temple Emanu-El Conservative Synagogue in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

According to the FBI, McDowell telegraphed his intentions to attack the synagogue during a series of anti-Semitic Facebook posts in which he expressed his desire to carry out a massacre against it “in the spirit of Dylann Roof.”

In January, McDowell told the undercover FBI agent that he wanted to attack a synagogue, but worried that he didn’t have the proper training to handle it as efficiently as Roof did when he murdered nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

“I got the heart to do that sh*t, but I don’t have to the good training,” he allegedly said. “If I could do something on a f*cking big scale and write on the f*cking building or whatever, ‘In the spirit of Dylann Roof.’”

While McDowell didn’t tell the agent about any specific building that he wanted to attack, he did post a link to the synagogue’s website on Facebook in late December, which led officers to believe that it was a prime potential target.

On Wednesday, agents arrested McDowell after spotting him “holding a bag in the parking lot of the Hampton Inn in Myrtle Beach.” Agents found him in possession of the handgun and ammo sold to him by the undercover agent, as well as a marijuana cigarette and a cell phone.”

Read more here.


White supremacist arrested for planned attack ‘in the spirit of Dylann Roof’

16 Feb, 2017 22:09

A South Carolina man arrested after buying a gun from an undercover FBI agent wanted to execute a racially motivated attack in the spirit of the 2015 massacre at an African-American church in Charleston, authorities say.

Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 29, was arrested Wednesday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and charged with felony in possession of a firearm or ammunition. After a Thursday hearing in a federal courtroom, he is being held at the Florence County Detention Center.

McDowell has spent multiple years in prison for a variety of crimes, including assault and battery and second-degree burglary, WMBF reported. He became involved with white supremacists while serving time in a South Carolina prison, Horry County Police told the FBI.

McDowell first made contact with the undercover FBI agent after he posted on Facebook in early January an anti-Semitic rant that referenced Dylann Roof. Roof was sentenced to death in January for fatally shooting nine people in June 2015 at a South Carolina church targeted specifically for its African-American parishioners.

On January 5, McDowell wrote on Facebook that “they should be Feasting on the enemy that stole their Heritage and their bloodline and trying to run us off of this Earth you can post pictures of f****** Viking and swords all the s*** you want to post if you ain’t got the heart to fight for Yahweh like dylann roof did you need to shut the f*** up…,” WMBF reported, citing the federal complaint.

The undercover agent first met with McDowell on January 12, at a Myrtle Beach hotel, according to court documents, which stated that McDowell believed the agent “handled problems for the Aryan Nations.”

“McDowell indicated he sought a way to conduct an attack on non-whites without getting caught,” according to the complaint. A previous Facebook post identified his potential target as Temple Emanu-El, a conservative synagogue in Myrtle Beach.

During the meeting, McDowell discussed obtaining a gun that couldn’t be traced back to him. McDowell said he wanted to be “scot-free” and avoid further jail time.

“I seen what Dylann Roof did and in my heart I reckon I got a little bit of hatred and I..I want to do that s***. Like, I got desire, not for nobody else…it just…I want something where i can say, ‘I f****** did that’…me personally.”

He also told the agent about his hate for non-whites and his belief in white supremacy, the complaint states. “If I could do something on a f****** big scale and write on the f****** building or whatever, ‘In the spirit of Dylann Roof’.”

On February 15, McDowell met with the agent and purchased a .40 caliber Glock with hollow point ammunition, WMBF reported. He was arrested in a Myrtle Beach hotel shortly after the exchange, according to court documents. At the time of arrest, McDowell was carrying the gun, ammunition, a marijuana cigarette and a cell phone.

Following Thursday’s hearing, McDowell is scheduled to reappear in the federal courtroom in Florence on February 21. He has yet to hire an attorney.

A Twitter comment on this says:

Gee, I wonder which of those 7 (Muslim) banned countries [of Donald Trump’s ‘anti-terrorist’ Muslim ban] Benjamin McDowell comes from?

Will the Trump-supporting Rupert Murdoch media call Benjamin McDowell a ‘terrorist‘? Or would they only have done so if he would have been Muslim or African American? Or would they have falsely blamed a Muslim, as they did reporting on the recent massacre of Muslims in Quebec, Canada, by a supporter of Donald Trump and French racist fuehrer Marine Le Pen?

Man Arrested in South Carolina Has Ties to Many White Supremacist Groups: here.

‘They’re all terrorists’: Outrage in France after restaurant owner kicks out Muslim women: here.