Monday, April 02, 2007

News and Notes

These are a few stories that showed up after my last Loose Feathers post.

Alewives and blueback herring are able to spawn in the upper reaches of Rock Creek again. Habitat mitigation money from the Beltway bridge project made it possible to design and build ways for fish to swim around artificial obstacles blocking the stream. The most serious obstacle was the dam at Peirce Mill, which is now bypassed by a fish ladder. Biologists from DC Fisheries and Wildlife have found some alewives upstream from the Peirce Mill dam already, but most fish have not caught on yet.

Last Saturday, there was a cleanup along the Anacostia River watershed. The cleanup was sponsored by several organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation and the Earth Conservation Corps. It removed 20,000 pounds of garbage from the river banks and tributaries. Volunteers uprooted many invasive plants as well.

The X Prize Foundation is offering a $10 million prize for someone who can build a car that gets 100 miles per gallon. Given that American vehicles currently average about 20 miles per gallon, and even the best top out at about twice that, such an improvement would be remarkable. One of the requirements of the competition is that the winning vehicle be commericially viable since the goal is to produce designs that will lead to more efficient vehicles being sold.

A California condor has laid an egg in Mexico for the first time since the 1930s. The egg is about 45-50 days old, meaning that a chick should hatch soon. The nest is located on the Baja peninsula.

On Sunday, someone reported a goosprey from Huntley Meadows.