Stiltgrass Be Walking All Over the Place

Japanese stiltgrass has recently been discovered in the Longview neighborhood of West Tisbury, and the Nature Conservancy needs Islanders’ help in keeping this invasive species under control.

The harmful grass, which was introduced to the U.S. from Asia as a natural packaging material at the beginning of the 19th century, can crowd out native wildflowers, grasses and tree seedlings.

Panama Canal as Nature’s Microcosm

In the Panama Canal the grand challenges facing the world are played out in miniature. Here freshwater management, deforestation, biodiversity and global warming have converged to pose economic challenges that the rest of the world may not face for decades. From his perch in the middle of the rainforest, Biff Birmingham, director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), has made this convergence the focus of his research. He spoke at the Polly Hill Arboretum on Wednesday night.

News Update, Tuesday, Nov. 15 - Leatherback Turtle Washes Up on South Beach

The body of a leatherback turtle, a federally protected endangered species, washed ashore at South Beach on Monday. Volunteer members of the turtle stranding committee said the cause of death was not immediately apparent.

“There was no sign of an injury,” said Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary director Suzan Bellincampi. Ms. Bellincampi said the turtle was in a state of decomposition and had likely been floating for awhile before washing ashore.

Bluefin Tuna Denied Endangered Status

Bluefin tuna — the center of a highly lucrative commercial fishery and heated controversy about overfishing — will not be listed as an endangered species, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week.

“NOAA is formally designating both the western Atlantic and eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks of bluefin tuna as species of concern under the Endangered Species Act,” a press release that accompanied the decision said.

With Baitfish Scarce, Otters Move Inland Snacking on Goldfish, This Time at Peril

A valiant effort to save the life of two malnourished baby otters came to an end over the weekend.

One otter, found in a yard in Oak Bluffs on Thursday afternoon and sent Friday morning to the Trailside Museum in Milton, died over the weekend. A second baby otter, recovered on Friday not far from where the first otter had been found, also died.

The two otters, about eight weeks old, lost their mother when she was hit and killed on Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs on the morning of June 7.

Mink Meadows Property Owner Cited for Filling Wetland, Dredging Pond

In what conservation commission leaders are calling the worst violation they have seen in decades, a West Chop homeowner has been cited for dredging a pond and filling a wetland without permission.

The property is owned by Mary Howell of Arlingon, Va., and Vineyard Haven.

Green Heat Contest Winner Receives Pellet Stove, Fuel

Lauren Thomas of Edgartown won a free green heat contest from Harman Stoves and WoodPellets.com.

The prize, valued at $5,500, includes a Harman Accentra pellet stove and a year’s worth of wood pellets. Nearly 7,000 people entered the online contest.

After woodpellets.com delivered the three tons of pellets to the Thomas’s home in January, Harman shipped the stove to Pyewackets in Vineyard Haven, who worked with Nelson Mechanical to have the stove installed.

Volunteer, Then Barbecue At Felix Neck Sanctuary

Mass Audubon’s volunteer day is next Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to noon.

To help out, head over to the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary and after the work enjoy a thank you barbecue lunch.

Projects will span age ranges and abilities and go toward fulfilling any community service projects that need checking off. Help spruce up the butterfly garden, clear paths, rejuvenate soil, build a picnic table, or battle some invasive Bittersweet.

Bring work gloves and whatever tools you think you might need.

Winter Walk Goes in Search of Otters

Winter Walk Goes in Search of Otters

The Vineyard Conservation Society is hosting a winter walk on Sunday, Jan. 8, from 1 to 3 p.m. and they are looking for otters. The walk will be led by wildlife biologists Luanne Johnson and Liz Baldwin along the protected lands around the Wakeman Conservation Center, starting at the Cranberry Acres bogs and continuing to the Hoft Farm. The plan is to explore the trails, fields, and bogs of this area while searching for otter tracks and learning about how they perceive the landscape.

Island Conservation Leaders Look to Future

The place names are familiar and unchanging: Wasque, Cape Pogue and Long Point, Herring Creek Farm, Cedar Tree Neck and Fulling Mill Brook, Waskosim’s Rock and Pecoy Point, to name a few.

But the people who admire, use and could potentially contribute to the thousands of acres of land in conservation on the Vineyard have changed, and Island conservation leaders say this is what frames their biggest challenge today.

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