Posted on December 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Chesapeake Bay in a Landsat photo.
Water temps up 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit in 50 years
FRISCO— The huge Chesapeake Bay watershed — the country’s largest estuary — is warming steadily, USGS scientists say, warning that increase in temperatures is likely to have big consequences for the region’s ecosystems. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming, water, water quality | Tagged: Chesapeake Bay, climate change, global warming, USGS, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 16, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Pollution from road salt is increasing quickly, a new USGS study found.
EPA standards for chloride exceeded at one in three sampling sites
FRISCO — Many streams in the northern U.S. are polluted to toxic levels by salt deicers, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a new study that found the frequency of these occurrences nearly doubling in two decades.
Chloride levels increased substantially in 84 percent of the urban streams analyzed, the researchers said, using data going back to 1960 and ending as recently as 2011. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: chloride pollution, Environment, road salt, transporation | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 29, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon? Say it ain’t so!
Industry groups once again appeal 20-year moratorium in court
FRISCO— Mining companies just won’t give up their dream of exploiting public lands around the Grand Canyon to profit from uranium mining.
Last week, the the National Mining Association and the American Exploration & Mining Association went back to court to try and overturn a 20-year moratorium on uranium mining that covers about 1 million acres in the region. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Environment, federal government, public lands, water quality | Tagged: Environment, Grand Canyon, public lands, uranium mining | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Clearing the roads in Frisco, Colorado.
A little bit of salt on your french fries is fine; a lot of salt on the road kills trees and fish
FRISCO — Highway engineers and scientists know that that massive use of chemical road de-icers has significant environmental impacts. Salt and the various derivatives used to keep roadways open kills trees and degrades water quality.
Just last year, the EPA found salt building up in groundwater near highways in the eastern U.S. Across the country, the U.S. spends $2.3 billion each year on the removal of highway snow and ice plus another $5 billion to mitigate the hidden costs associated with the process.
The hidden costs include long-term impacts of salt, sand and chemical deicers on the natural environment and road infrastructure as well as short-term impacts on semi-trailer trucks and other vehicles from rust and corrosion. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment, I-70, transportation, water quality | Tagged: Environment, road de-icers, road salt, transportation, water quality | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Calcium loss turning lakes to ‘jelly’
Acid rain has fundamentally changed the chemistry and biology of some lakes.
Tiny jelly covered plankton are displacing other organisms in some Canadian lakes to the detriment of fisheries and public water supplies. Photo courtesy Michael Arts, Canada Centre for Inland Waters.
FRISCO — The toxic legacy of acid rain lives on in lakes in Canada, and possibly other places around the world, according scientists who say they’ve traced a trend of reduced calcium levels leading to a “jellification” of some lakes.
Specifically, the changes in water chemistry have reduced populations of calcium-rich plankton such as Daphnia — water fleas that dominate these ecosystems. Falling calcium levels mean Daphnia cannot get the nutrients they need to survive and reproduce, leading to a rise in other plankton species, including small jelly-clad organisms.
According to the new research, populations of those organisms has exploded in lakes across eastern Canada in the past 30 years. The average population of these small invertebrate jellies in many Ontario lakes doubled between the mid-1980s and the mid-2000s. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: acid rain, Canada, Environment, Plankton, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Fish-eating ospreys not showing signs of contamination
Ospreys so far are not picking up significant amounts of pharmaceutical pollution found in many streams and rivers around the world. bberwyn photo
FRISCO — Pharmaceutical compounds from makeup and drugs are turning up in streams and rivers all over the world, even in remote Yucatan cenotes, but for now, they don’t seem to be working their way up the food chain.
The chemicals have been finding their way into the environment, primarily through wastewater, urban runoff and even biosolids applied to agricultural lands, but he impact on wildlife is unknown, so researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and Baylor University teamed up to try and track the pollutants through the food chain by testing ospreys. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: bioaccumulation, Environment, ospreys, pharmaceutical pollutants, water quality, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
All-out remediation effort targets acid mine drainage near Keystone Ski Area
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — For decades, the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine has been oozing heavy metals — zinc, manganese, cadmium, lead and and arsenic — into the waters of Peru Creek, a small tributary of the Snake River near Keystone, Colorado. The site has been the focus of intensive study during the past 15 years with the goal of improving water quality downstream.
Last week, engineers and environmental experts took a big step toward trying to staunch that flow by blocking one of the mine tunnels. If all goes well, the new bulkhead could reduce the direct discharge from the mine by about two-thirds, said Jeff Graves, a remediation expert with the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety.
Graves explained that the new plug should force the water back into its natural underground pathways, trickling and percolating down through layers of rock and earth, and not as prone to the oxidation that’s key in the formation of acid mine drainage. Essentially, the work will restore the groundwater flow to more natural, pre-mining conditions, he said. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: abandoned mine pollution, acid mine drainage, EPA, Pennsylvania Mine, Peru Creek, Snake River Colorado, Snake River watershed task force | Leave a comment »