(AP) -- An invasive beetle that attacks oak trees has been found in a California black oak tree in the Riverside County mountain town of Idyllwild.
The state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Wednesday that the presence of the goldspotted oak borer was confirmed through DNA analysis of larvae extracted from under the bark of a recently killed tree.
The discovery is the first long-distance movement of the bug from a known infestation area 40 miles to the south in San Diego County, and officials believe it resulted from transportation of infested firewood.
The state forestry department urges the public to avoid transporting firewood outside the area where it is obtained.
The goldspotted oak borer is yet another concern for forests under siege by drought and bark beetle infestations.
Dredging season over
(AP) -- The third season of dredging a contaminated stretch of the upper Hudson River ends this week.
The Environmental Protection Agency said more than 1.3 million cubic yards of sediment has been removed since the work began in 2009.
For the 2012 dredging season, about 650,000 cubic yards was dredged from a three-mile section of the river south of the village of Fort Edward, about 40 miles north of Albany. The goal was 350,000.
The EPA said it's almost half way to its goal of removing 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the upper Hudson.
The sediment is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.
The suspected carcinogen was released into the river by General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) before 1977. Future dredging will move southward toward Troy.
(AP) -- Gov. Deval Patrick is unveiling new initiatives that he said will help create an additional 10,000 multi-family units of housing in Massachusetts each year.
Patrick said one of the initiatives is designed to provide financial incentives to cities and towns that plan to build residential housing near public transportation and town centers.
The administration also announced progress in finding affordable housing for homeless veterans.
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray said there's been a 21 percent decline in the number of homeless veterans in Massachusetts over the past year.
Patrick said the administration has also made what he called significant investments in the Commonwealth's public housing stock.
Patrick said the state has preserved and improved 46,000 public housing units through increased capital funding, increased operating subsidies, and changes in management.
(AP) -- Austrian experts say melting glaciers have been the single greatest cause of rising sea level over the past century.
Scientists at the University of Innsbruck say that between 1902 and 2007, glaciers contributed 11 centimeters (4.33 inches) to a total sea level rise of about 20 centimeters (nearly 8 inches).
They also said Wednesday that by 2100, melting glaciers could raise sea levels by another 22 centimeters.
Sea water that expands as it warms, melting ice sheets and changing water storage in dammed lakes and underwater reservoirs are also said to have contributed to rising sea levels.
The scientists say glacier melts were tracked by numerically modeling each of the world's roughly 300,000 glaciers and then performing thousands of on-site measurements to validate the model results.
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. commercial real estate values fell for the 12th consecutive month in October as a sluggish economy persisted, Investment Property Databank Ltd. said.
The average value of stores, offices and warehouses declined 0.3 percent from September, led by retail and warehouse properties, London-based IPD said Wednesday.
Total return, which combines changes in real estate values and rental income, was 0.3 percent in October, up from 0.2 percent in September.
“Twelve months of falling capital values marks another rather unfortunate milestone for the U.K. property sector,” said Phil Tily, a managing director at IPD. “There has been some improvement in underlying performance for the last few months.”
The IPD index was compiled from appraisals of 3,496 properties valued at 32.2 billion pounds ($53 billion) at the end of October.
(Bloomberg) -- Pre-sales of Canadian condominiums will probably moderate with stable employment growth, and the country's inventory of new homes shouldn’t upset the housing market, Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist of Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. said Wednesday.
Renovation spending will also moderate, Laberge said.
Interest rates are “the big unknown,” Laberge added. “The direction of interest rates cannot go lower but if it will go higher is uncertain.”
Housing starts are forecast to drop 9.4 percent to 193,600 in 2013, Laberge said.
Canadian housing starts fell for a second month in October on declines in both single-family and multiple-unit projects.
Work slowed to an annual pace of 204,107 units from a revised 223,995 in September, or by 8.9 percent, CMHC said on Nov. 8.