The week that was, 6/13-19/2010

'Tanker Traffic' by Kathryn Altus, 2010. Water based oil on canvas, 36" x 24" and part of the "Some seas" exhibit at the Lisa Harris Gallery in Seattle. Click on the image to be taken to the gallery.

'Tanker Traffic 2' by Kathryn Altus, 2005. Oil on canvas, 24 x 20" oil on canvas. Click on the image to be taken to the artist's website.

Approximately 40 percent of the coastal wetlands of the lower 48 states is located in Louisiana. —Watermarks,” LaCoast / USGS*

Oil has been observed on approximately 503 total miles of U.S. coastline. –Florida update, Gov Monitor, June 19, 2010

“… simply protecting the shore and the nesting habitat is not protecting the birds that forage out over the water.” — Melanie Driscoll, director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society’s Louisiana Coastal Initiative, Yale Environment 360

The Dry Garden: Log love

Hackberry and coral tree wood gives loft to a bed with the hummingbird sage and an almost insect-like tendril of Artemisia californica (upper screen left). Photo copyright: Diane Cu / Reprinted with permission.

In taking nature apart and putting it back together again in our gardens, we err toward the refined. This is the case with mulch. Nowhere is it written that it has to come chipped, much less in a bag from a store. In fact, there is much to be said for laying it down by the log.

Click here to keep reading today’s Dry Garden column on the beauty and benefit of deadwood in the garden. Or for full listings of dry garden events for June and July, click here.

Diane Cu’s photograph comes from this writer’s garden; on Cu’s first visit she was immediately struck by the texture and form of the deadwood and

“The proper and most equitable remedy”

A typical entrance to a ranch in Spring Valley, Nevada. Yesterday's decision by the Nevada Supreme Court leaves 2007 awards of Spring Valley groundwater to Las Vegas standing, but calls for the reopening of a protest period that could usher in a powerful new generation of pipeline opponents. Photo: Emily Green

UPDATED: The Nevada Supreme Court yesterday issued a revision of a January ruling in which it again concluded that the State Engineer of Nevada violated due process rights of protestors by failing to hold timely public hearings on a plan by Las Vegas to tap rural groundwater. As remedy, the Court called for a new protest period that could refresh the ranks of pipeline opponents. However, the decision stopped short of voiding water awards already made to Las Vegas.

In 1989, the Las Vegas agency that is now part of the Southern Nevada Water Authority made sweeping applications

The de-monstering of tamarisk

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service this week ceased release and transport of the Chinese or salt cedar leaf beetle because of potential impact on habitat of the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. Since 1999, the beetles have been introduced along riverbanks in more than a dozen western states  to check the spread of tamarisk trees, also known as salt cedars, introduced plants that are thought to displace natives and take too much water. However, incursion by the beetles into Arizonan flycatcher territory last year prompted a lawsuit. At issue: the endangered bird nested in the acclimated tree, which in turn was increasingly being eaten by an introduced beetle.

The decision to halt release of the beetle (Diorhabda elongata) comes on the heels of a series of reports finding that the threats posed by tamarisk to the water supply have been overblown while the plant’s

‘Let there be shade’

Frances Anderton of the NPR affiliate KCRW today dedicated the first spot of her design show DNA to not so much look but squint at the lack of shade in Los Angeles. Guests included Jane Houlihan of the Environmental Working Group on sunscreens, Emily Green of Chance of Rain (also known as me) on the need for trees in schools and streets, urban planner James Rojas of Gallery 727 on how shade could redefine transport and architect Lorcan O’Herlihy on shade for bus stops. Quite aside from the rank puffery of pointing out my own appearance, it’s a smart visit to an important issue. To listen, click here.

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