Joshua Tree Closes Temporarily to Repair Damage Caused During Shutdown
The government shutdown, now well into its third week, has taken a major toll on many iconic national parks, which have remained open to the public but severely understaffed. Now that toll is forcing one of them—Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California—to temporarily close its gates.
"Joshua Tree National Park will temporarily close effective 8 am on Thursday, January 10, to allow park staff to address sanitation, safety and resource protection issues in the park that have arisen during the lapse in appropriations," the park announced Tuesday.
The park, which covers some 800,000 acres of land in the Mojave and Colorado deserts, has faced problems since as early as half-a-week into the shutdown. On Dec. 26, 2018, The Los Angeles Times reported that visitors were littering, starting illegal fires and stringing Christmas lights on the park's namesake Joshua trees. The park already had to close campgrounds Jan. 2 as toilets reached capacity. Now, damage done by prohibited activities is forcing the entire park's temporary closure.
"While the vast majority of those who visit Joshua Tree National Park do so in a responsible manner, there have been incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees in recent days that have precipitated the closure," the park wrote. "Law enforcement rangers will continue to patrol the park and enforce the closure until park staff complete the necessary cleanup and park protection measures."
The park said it would restore services in the coming days, but did not give a timetable. As per a controversial decision by the Interior Department, it will now be able to use visitor fees to help with maintenance.
Meanwhile, two California Democratic Representatives used the buildup of trash in national parks to make a point about the impacts of the government shutdown, which President Donald Trump refuses to end unless Congress allocates $5.7 billion in funding for the president's proposed border wall.
Representatives Jackie Speier and Jared Huffman collected trash at San Francisco's Lands End and Ocean Beach over the weekend, shipped three boxes worth to DC and hand-delivered them to the White House on Tuesday, McClatchyDC reported.
"Soon we'll have enough trash to build a wall, perhaps," Huffman told reporters, according to McClatchyDC.
Trump gave the first prime time Oval Office address of his presidency Tuesday night in order to mobilize public support for the wall as the second longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues, The New York Times reported.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.
Scientists have newly photographed three species of shark that can glow in the dark, according to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science last month.
- 10 Little-Known Shark Facts - EcoWatch ›
- 4 New Walking Shark Species Discovered - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Incredible Species That Glow in the Dark - EcoWatch ›
FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.
- Which Is Worse for the Planet: Beef or Cars? - EcoWatch ›
- Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High Despite Lockdowns, UN ... ›
- 1.8 Billion Tons More Greenhouse Gases Will Be Released, Thanks ... ›