National Parks Bioprospecting is a Go

In early April the National Park Service announced the Record of Decision on their proposed policy of research benefits sharing, or bioprospecting (H/T The New York Times).  I wrote about this back in December when the environmental impact statement was released.  As expected, Alternative B was selected, with the condition that any confidentiality laws would be complied with concerning royalty rate and related information.  Benefits-sharing will be implemented on a case-by-case basis, with proceeds that the National Park Service receives used to support conservation efforts above and beyond park budget levels.

Of note is the summary of public comments.  Apparently the National Park Service is wise to the bulk comment practices of advocacy groups:

“About 9,600 individuals and organizations responded during the DEIS [Draft Environmental Impact Statement] comment period, and all but 190 submitted form correspondences.  As a result, most comments fell into two categories based on information from one of two advocacy group websites.”

Disaster Monitoring: Man-made Edition

Following my posts on volcano monitoring and earthquake monitoring, I thought I’d highlight what’s being done (or not) about checking out the oil spill in the Gulf.  Once again we look at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the goods, specifically the National Ocean Service and its Office of Response and Restoration.  The Environmental Protection Agency has its own web presence on the spill

This snapshot of current activity is a good place to start, and is full of links on trajectory maps and other visuals that would help get a handle on what’s going on with this massive, continuing, oil spill.  The spill response has it own website as well, a cross-agency (and BP) aggregator of information.  Pick your social networking site for updates.  Oil spill information is on Twitter and Facebook.  Personally, I’d stick with NOAA’s Incident News page, but I’m probably partial to them due to my short time working at the agency.