Drought, demolition dims synchronous fireflies in Smokies

Experts on the lightning bug species that flashes and pauses in unison, the Photinus carolinus, estimate the peak display at Elkmont only reached 30 to 50 percent of its potential this year.
said Faust.
You hardly had any fireflies there.
Faust has been watching the light show at Elkmont for most of her life.
Some of the lightning bugs in Elkmont and other areas of East Tennessee could still be growing in the ground and possibly emerge next summer, according to Faust.
Those lightning bugs up north may take two years or even three years to develop.
"Some people see these beautiful composite photos where every inch of the sky and the forest is glowing at exactly the same time, and that’s what they expect when they come out here to see the light show.
said Faust.
"There are quite a few fireflies in the burned areas, so that makes me happy.
You Can Help Lightning Bugs With the extreme drought of 2016 denting populations throughout East Tennessee, Faust said there are many things the average person can do at home to help the lightning bugs bounce back next year.

Healthier, safer summers – brought to you by EPA

Whether your plans include going to a beach, visiting a national park, or just letting your kids play outside in the sprinklers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plays an important role in making your summer healthier and safer – in ways you might not realize.
Here are four examples of how EPA improves summers for all Americans: Reducing deadly smog Smog comes from pollution emitted from cars, power plants, and other sources.
EPA has worked for decades to reduce smog, most recently when the agency issued new standards for smog in 2015.
Once they’re in effect, those standards will prevent 230,000 asthma attacks among children every year.
Additionally, President Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 cuts funding for the air monitoring that warns families about “Code Red” and “Code Orange” days – the days when air quality reaches unhealthy levels – by almost one third.
Here are a few examples of beach monitoring and cleanup grants distributed by EPA: Lakeview Beach Green Infrastructure Project in the Great Lakes.
President Trump’s proposed budget for EPA would eliminate the beach monitoring grants program, among many other things that could impact the health of our nation’s beaches.
According to the National Park Service, there were over 307 million visits to our national parks last year and those visitors spent $16.9 billion in surrounding communities.
EPA and other agencies monitor visibility at 155 national parks and wilderness areas across the country.
Reducing the pollution contributing to climate change Climate change affects virtually every facet of our lives and can exacerbate all of the problems listed above – more smoggy days, rising sea levels and more pathogens potentially spreading at beaches, and worse haze in our parks.

Is Mexico’s Underwater Museum Diverting Attention from Bigger Environmental Issues?

The statues, the house, and the lobster are all part of the Underwater Museum of Art, a project intended to divert scuba divers from the overused reefs in the national park Costa Occidental Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún y Punta Nizúc.
And though it’s not hurting the reef, they fear the museum may distract from more important threats to reef health such as coastal development and inadequate water treatment.
Closing the reefs would hurt business, so divers and park managers worked together to find a compromise.
In 2009, the diving community and the protected areas commission decided to create an underwater museum.
The museum provides a habitat for new coral colonies — coral polyps can attach to the hard surface of the statutes — but at the same time, fleshy algae has moved in to the noses, ears, and mouths of the statues.
Jaime Gonzalez Cano, former director of the national park where the museum is located and one of its founders, acknowledges the threat of water pollution, but says scientists underestimate the impact scuba divers have on the reef.
In comparison, the Costa Occidental Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún y Punta Nizúc national park in Cancún covers about 33 square miles — less than 1 percent of the size of the Cairns planning area on the Great Barrier Reef — and receives about 750,000 people per year.
He isn’t the only one who thinks divers have a negative impact on coral reefs.
Part of the problem in Cancún is that managers of protected areas don’t have the power or resources to tackle the most important threats to the reef.
Gonzalez Cano said he didn’t have the power to change public policy regarding waste-water treatment.