An amphibian fungus is wiping out frogs around the world

A fungal outbreak that has been wiping out frogs for decades is far worse than anyone thought, according to a worldwide analysis by 41 scientists. Since the outbreak began in the 1970’s, over 500 species of frogs have declined in population and at least 90 have gone extinct, a figure that is double earlier estimates. The fungus, called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd for short, infects frogs when they come in contact with other animals or spores floating in the water. The animals then grow sluggish and their skin begins to peel away before death. The fungus loves cool, wet conditions, so frogs living in cloud forests are most susceptible. Scientists are calling Bd “the most deadly pathogen known to science.”

Opening of campgrounds at Great Smoky Mountain National Park delayed because of government shutdown

The opening of many facilities in Great Smoky Mountain National Park have been delayed due to the partial government shutdown, which lasted for six weeks in late 2018 and early 2019. Campgrounds, picnic pavilions and cabins have been most impacted and their openings are delayed, on average, two-and-a-half weeks. During the time of the shutdown, park employees would have been preparing for the upcoming season by hiring 80-90 seasonal workers that would have started in April. The park’s seasonal employees are responsible for caring for the campgrounds and picnic areas and doing roadside grounds maintenance. Some also do field work in resource management, like wildlife inventory.

North Carolina may ban wind turbines near the coast

Some North Carolina Republicans are looking to ban wind turbines from the most energy intensive part of the state’s Atlantic coast, saying that the turbines would impact military training flights. Legislation introduced by Republican Senator Harry Brown would prevent wind turbines from operating 100 miles from the coast from the Virginia border to south of the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. Brown says the purpose of the legislation is to keep high structures out of current or future flight paths around the state’s major military bases. Back in 2016, Brown and other republicans asked the incoming Trump administration to kill the $400 million wind farm built to power data centers for Amazon, claiming that it interfered with a military radar instillation. The Navy, however, said that it had studied the risk of interference and found the project manageable.