Archivos de diario de enero 2021

29 de enero de 2021

Not Safe Yet - How Biden climate policy might impact Georgia

While many environmental groups may have let out a sigh of relief after the presidential election outcome, the Okefenokee isn't totally safe yet...
Entering National Wilderness Area kayak Canoe trail direction sign Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia USA
© Photographer: William Wise

Excerpt from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
How Biden climate policy might impact Georgia
January 28, 2021
https://www.ajc.com/news/how-biden-climate-policy-might-impact-georgia/NTAY5N2IG5APNJC2XHCASM64EM/

One of the most watched environmental issues in the state is the fate of a proposed titanium mine a few miles from the Okefenokee Swamp. In October, state officials determined that the wetlands in the proposal are not subject to federal approvals based on new regulations established by the Trump administration.

While Biden’s executive order, which included a mandate to review the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” is encouraging, it may have little impact on the mining project, said environmental advocates.

“ ... that review does not stop projects like Twin Pines’ proposed mine near the Okefenokee Swamp from destroying our vital resources, which is why we are continuing to challenge the rule in court,” said Kelly Moser, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Jennette Gayer, director of Environment Georgia, said it was unclear what the timeline might look like for reinstating protections of certain wetlands. “There is definitely some urgency for the swamp,” she said.

For detailed information about the issue, see https://protectokefenokee.org/

Ingresado el 29 de enero de 2021 por williamwisephoto williamwisephoto | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de enero de 2021

Okefenokee West Entrance Roadway

No matter how many trips I make to Georgia's Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, my excitement always builds exponentially as I near the refuge border. It is a twenty mile drive from Fargo, Georgia on the western edge of the Okefenokee until you reach the dead-end within the Stephen C Foster State Park campground. This long stretch of Highway 177 can seem quite boring if all you notice are the telephone-pole-straight pines that seem to go on endlessly to your right, left, forward and behind. The tendency can be to “gun it” and get to the swamp more quickly.

Wild Turkey foraging in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia
© Photographer: William Wise | iNat Observation: 68610850 Wild Turkey foraging along Highway 177 between Fargo, Georgia and the Stephen C Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge; January 21, 2021.

But if you slow down and take your time, you just might find some critters along this drive (and not splat them into roadkill as well). White-tailed Deer and Wild Turkey often emerge from the dense Saw Palmetto to forage on the roadside grasses. In January 2021, I also spotted an American Black Bear crossing the road far ahead, but alas, no photograph. From spring to fall, Highway 177 is a great stretch for “herping”, as the snakes like to crawl out onto the warm pavement in the evenings and overnight.

White-tailed Deer foraging in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia
© Photographer: William Wise | iNat Observation: 68610847White-tailed Deer along the west entrance to the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge: January 21, 2021.

~ William Wise, www.okefenokee.photography

Ingresado el 26 de enero de 2021 por williamwisephoto williamwisephoto | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de enero de 2021

Red-cockaded Woodpecker Artificial Nest Cavities

As I sit roadside peering into a batch of white-blazed Long-Leaf Pines, my eyes watering and blurring from over a half-hour of anticipatory scanning, I am amazed to think that at one time, millions of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers drummed across the eastern United States. But as the forests fell, so did the numbers of Dryobates borealis. In 1973, it was listed as an endangered species. Given my difficulty in spotting one on multiple trips to their prime habitat, it is obvious they are still in peril.


© Photographer: Liam Wolff (ospr3y) | iNat Observation: 35495207

The USFWS has been making attempts to bring back this little black-and-white woodpecker here in the Okefenokee Swamp. Along the western entrance to the refuge (Highway 177), tall stands of Long-leaf Pine, the primary nesting tree of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, are managed through prescribed burns and advanced forestry techniques. And high in those trees are placed artificial nest cavities for the woodpeckers.

Artificial nest cavity in Long Leaf Pine tree for endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker
© Photographer: William Wise | iNat Observation: 68679310

Bearing a white ring at the base, the pines with the artificial nest cavities are easy to spot as you drive through the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Another tell-tale sign of woodpecker activity is the oozing white sap, like melting candle wax, that drips down from woodpecker excavations in the Long-leaf pines. This sap provides a sticky defense against climbing predators, such as snakes.

White blaze indicating artificial nest cavity in Long Leaf Pine tree for endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker
© Photographer: William Wise | iNat Observation: 68679310

I hope these efforts pay off and that one day, instead of squinting for hours just hoping to see one Red-cockaded Woodpecker, we can let an unexcited exclamation of "there goes another one. Man, these woodpeckers are everywhere!" Until then, look for the white blazed tree and hope to spot this endangered little woodpecker. ​

Ingresado el 27 de enero de 2021 por williamwisephoto williamwisephoto | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario