607 research outputs found

    Downzoning, Fairness and Farmland Protection

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    The author addresses the role of downzoning in smart growth efforts. Initially, the article summarizes the six major potential legal challenges against downzoning to protect farmland and how each of these legal causes of action attempts to address fairness. The causes of action include: direct challenges of the act, spot zoning, takings, substantive due process, equal protection, and 42 U.S.C. 1983. Then, the article describes and refutes the major arguments posited by those supporting the fairness of downzoning without compensation to landowners. The author concludes that the awkward intervention of the court into these matters results from inherent unfairness of downzoning without compensation along with the lack of an ideal legal cause of action to address fairness issues

    Maximizing Tax Benefits to Farmers and Ranchers Implementing Conservation and Environmental Plans

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    Agricultural Preferences in Eastern Water Allocation Statutes

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    The eastern United States generally lacks statutory limits on the use of water for agricultural uses, particularly irrigation. Commentators lament this deficit and advocate for statutory limits, citing certain problematic cases, such as Georgia’s former exemption for agricultural water use. No research surveys the status of agricultural water use in the eastern United States under so-called “regulated riparian” statutes. This article examines water use and the statutory water allocation rules in 19 eastern states with regulated riparian statutes to determine the extent of agricultural water uses in the East, as well as whether adequate controls are in place for such uses. This article analyzes water use data for each state and summarizes and categorizes the water allocation statutes in each state. The article concludes that the controls on agricultural water use in the East present a more nuanced issue than previously forecast, with agricultural uses of water posing issues in some states and not others, and with some states imposing comprehensive controls while others lack such a holistic approach. In almost all cases, state legislatures fail to link usage data with regulation. The article concludes with a recommendation to use effective existing regulations as model rules

    Turtles All the Way Down: A Clearer Understanding of the Scope of Waters of the United States Based on the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

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    The meaning of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) has been debated in Congress, federal agencies, and courtrooms across the country for almost fifty years. Despite the longstanding attention to the term, most consider the term even more unclear today than in 1972 when the CWA was adopted. However, a methodical examination of the statutory and regulatory history and the U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the issue reveal more consensus than previously understood. In addition, this focused examination shows that the debate centers on one problem that the arguments rarely acknowledge: wetlands adjacent to a “tributary.” Specifically, litigants and agencies attempt to show that the wetland at issue lies close to some type of water, whether a ditch, drain, or creek. If that water eventually reaches a navigable water, no matter how indirect or attenuated the path, the wetland is arguably jurisdictional. This Article distills the issues and clarifies the agreements and controversies surrounding “waters of the United States.” The meaning of the phrase “waters of the United States” has been debated in the legislature, federal agencies, and courtrooms across the country since Congress adopted the CWA in 1972. The debate intensified beginning in 1985 and now forms the focus of much rule-making and litigation. Section 404 of the CWA prohibits the discharge of dredged or fill material into the “navigable waters.” Navigable waters mean the “waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.” The term waters of the United States, as used in the CWA, was not further defined by Congress. This Article first provides a brief overview of the history and background of the CWA and the regulations thereunder. The history reflects a shift in focus from commerce to environmental protection. U.S. Supreme Court case law interpreting the meaning of waters of the United States (“WOTUS”) is then examined. The Article then reviews the 2015 WOTUS Rule (“Obama Rule”) and the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (“Trump Rule”). The Article also explores the applications of deference to the agency in various cases and how judicial deference may evolve in the future. Given the attention of case law on the definition of tributaries and adjacency of wetlands to tributaries, those issues form the Article’s focus

    Global collision-risk hotspots of marine traffic and the world’s largest fish, the whale shark

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    © The Author(s), 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Womersley, F. C., Humphries, N. E., Queiroz, N., Vedor, M., da Costa, I., Furtado, M., Tyminski, J. P., Abrantes, K., Araujo, G., Bach, S. S., Barnett, A., Berumen, M. L., Bessudo Lion, S., Braun, C. D., Clingham, E., Cochran, J. E. M., de la Parra, R., Diamant, S., Dove, A. D. M., Dudgeon, C. L., Erdmann, M. V., Espinoza, E., Fitzpatrick, R., GonzĂĄlez Cano, J., Green, J. R., Guzman, H. M., Hardenstine, R., Hasan, A., Hazin, F. H. V., Hearn, A. R., Hueter, R. E., Jaidah, M. Y., Labaja, J., Ladinol, F., Macena, B. C. L., Morris Jr., J. J., Norman, B. M., Peñaherrera-Palmav, C., Pierce, S. J., Quintero, L. M., Ramırez-MacĂ­as, D., Reynolds, S. D., Richardson, A. J., Robinson, D. P., Rohner, C. A., Rowat, D. R. L., Sheaves, M., Shivji, M. S., Sianipar, A. B., Skomal, G. B., Soler, G., Syakurachman, I., Thorrold, S. R., Webb, D. H., Wetherbee, B. M., White, T. D., Clavelle, T., Kroodsma, D. A., Thums, M., Ferreira, L. C., Meekan, M. G., Arrowsmith, L. M., Lester, E. K., Meyers, M. M., Peel, L. R., Sequeira, A. M. M., Eguıluz, V. M., Duarte, C. M., & Sims, D. W. Global collision-risk hotspots of marine traffic and the world’s largest fish, the whale shark. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(20), (2022): e2117440119, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2117440119.Marine traffic is increasing globally yet collisions with endangered megafauna such as whales, sea turtles, and planktivorous sharks go largely undetected or unreported. Collisions leading to mortality can have population-level consequences for endangered species. Hence, identifying simultaneous space use of megafauna and shipping throughout ranges may reveal as-yet-unknown spatial targets requiring conservation. However, global studies tracking megafauna and shipping occurrences are lacking. Here we combine satellite-tracked movements of the whale shark, Rhincodon typus, and vessel activity to show that 92% of sharks’ horizontal space use and nearly 50% of vertical space use overlap with persistent large vessel (>300 gross tons) traffic. Collision-risk estimates correlated with reported whale shark mortality from ship strikes, indicating higher mortality in areas with greatest overlap. Hotspots of potential collision risk were evident in all major oceans, predominantly from overlap with cargo and tanker vessels, and were concentrated in gulf regions, where dense traffic co-occurred with seasonal shark movements. Nearly a third of whale shark hotspots overlapped with the highest collision-risk areas, with the last known locations of tracked sharks coinciding with busier shipping routes more often than expected. Depth-recording tags provided evidence for sinking, likely dead, whale sharks, suggesting substantial “cryptic” lethal ship strikes are possible, which could explain why whale shark population declines continue despite international protection and low fishing-induced mortality. Mitigation measures to reduce ship-strike risk should be considered to conserve this species and other ocean giants that are likely experiencing similar impacts from growing global vessel traffic.Funding for data analysis was provided by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) through a University of Southampton INSPIRE DTP PhD Studentship to F.C.W. Additional funding for data analysis was provided by NERC Discovery Science (NE/R00997/X/1) and the European Research Council (ERC-AdG-2019 883583 OCEAN DEOXYFISH) to D.W.S., Fundação para a CiĂȘncia e a Tecnologia (FCT) under PTDC/BIA/28855/2017 and COMPETE POCI-01–0145-FEDER-028855, and MARINFO–NORTE-01–0145-FEDER-000031 (funded by Norte Portugal Regional Operational Program [NORTE2020] under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement, through the European Regional Development Fund–ERDF) to N.Q. FCT also supported N.Q. (CEECIND/02857/2018) and M.V. (PTDC/BIA-COM/28855/2017). D.W.S. was supported by a Marine Biological Association Senior Research Fellowship. All tagging procedures were approved by institutional ethical review bodies and complied with all relevant ethical regulations in the jurisdictions in which they were performed. Details for individual research teams are given in SI Appendix, section 8. Full acknowledgments for tagging and field research are given in SI Appendix, section 7. This research is part of the Global Shark Movement Project (https://www.globalsharkmovement.org)

    TRY plant trait database – enhanced coverage and open access

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    Plant traits - the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants - determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, and influence ecosystem properties and their benefits and detriments to people. Plant trait data thus represent the basis for a vast area of research spanning from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology, to biodiversity conservation, ecosystem and landscape management, restoration, biogeography and earth system modelling. Since its foundation in 2007, the TRY database of plant traits has grown continuously. It now provides unprecedented data coverage under an open access data policy and is the main plant trait database used by the research community worldwide. Increasingly, the TRY database also supports new frontiers of trait‐based plant research, including the identification of data gaps and the subsequent mobilization or measurement of new data. To support this development, in this article we evaluate the extent of the trait data compiled in TRY and analyse emerging patterns of data coverage and representativeness. Best species coverage is achieved for categorical traits - almost complete coverage for ‘plant growth form’. However, most traits relevant for ecology and vegetation modelling are characterized by continuous intraspecific variation and trait–environmental relationships. These traits have to be measured on individual plants in their respective environment. Despite unprecedented data coverage, we observe a humbling lack of completeness and representativeness of these continuous traits in many aspects. We, therefore, conclude that reducing data gaps and biases in the TRY database remains a key challenge and requires a coordinated approach to data mobilization and trait measurements. This can only be achieved in collaboration with other initiatives

    Differential cross section measurements for the production of a W boson in association with jets in proton–proton collisions at √s = 7 TeV

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    Measurements are reported of differential cross sections for the production of a W boson, which decays into a muon and a neutrino, in association with jets, as a function of several variables, including the transverse momenta (pT) and pseudorapidities of the four leading jets, the scalar sum of jet transverse momenta (HT), and the difference in azimuthal angle between the directions of each jet and the muon. The data sample of pp collisions at a centre-of-mass energy of 7 TeV was collected with the CMS detector at the LHC and corresponds to an integrated luminosity of 5.0 fb[superscript −1]. The measured cross sections are compared to predictions from Monte Carlo generators, MadGraph + pythia and sherpa, and to next-to-leading-order calculations from BlackHat + sherpa. The differential cross sections are found to be in agreement with the predictions, apart from the pT distributions of the leading jets at high pT values, the distributions of the HT at high-HT and low jet multiplicity, and the distribution of the difference in azimuthal angle between the leading jet and the muon at low values.United States. Dept. of EnergyNational Science Foundation (U.S.)Alfred P. Sloan Foundatio

    Impacts of the Tropical Pacific/Indian Oceans on the Seasonal Cycle of the West African Monsoon