Posted on May 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
TroutBlitz helps conservation and restoration efforts
Fishing for cutthroat trout at Clinton Gulch Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado.
FRISCO — It’s not always easy to gather good scientific data, especially in an era when political ideology drives policy, resulting in budget cuts that hamper government agencies.
That’s where citizen science can help, and Trout Unlimited wants anglers around the country to help record evidence of their trout catches both photographically and via mapping coordinates with the relaunch of TroutBlitz.
TU’s science team uses the data collected from anglers to learn more about native trout water, non-native trout proliferation and the health of entire watersheds. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, fishing, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Citizen science, conservation, Environment, trout fishing, Trout Unlimited, TroutBlitz, water quality | 3 Comments »
Posted on May 11, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A new study suggests updated regulations are needed to protect the environment from growth hormones used in cattle. @bberwyn photo.
‘We expect impacts that extend through the aquatic food web’
FRISCO — Artificial hormones uses to fatten up cattle persist in the environment in unexpected ways, and for much longer than previously believed, according to environmental scientists, who say their study shows the need to update regulations based on new scientific research.
“What we release into the environment is just the starting point for a complex series of chemical reactions that can occur, sometimes with unintended consequences,” said Adam Ward, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
“When compounds react in a way we don’t anticipate — when they convert between species, when they persist after we thought they were gone — this challenges our regulatory system,” Ward said. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: endocrine disruptors, Environment, growth hormones, Persistent organic pollutants, synthetic testosterone, TBA, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 6, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
At times, there’s more plastic than baby fish in Europe’s second-largest river
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO —The Danube River has long been a source of inspiration for songs, fairytales and dreams. But in recent decades, those dreams have morphed into plastic nightmare of sorts, as the mighty European stream sends at least 1,500 tons of plastic debris surging into the Black Sea each year.
So much plastic is being washed into the Danube that, at times, the debris outweighs the amount of fish larvae drifting down Europe’s second-largest river, a team of Austrian scientists found after two years of intensive sampling.
Most of the plastic (about 80 percent) is from pre-consumer industrial sources — in other words, from the factories that make the tiny plastic pellets and flakes that, in turn, are used to make everything from toothbrushes to kids toys, says Aaron Lechner, a researcher with the University of Vienna who teamed up with other scientists to take a close look at the problem. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, Uncategorized, water, water quality | Tagged: Black Sea, Danube, Danube River, Environment, microplastic pollution, plastic pollution, rivers, water pollution | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Fracking substances found almost two miles away from faulty drilling operation
FRISCO — Scientists in Pennsylvania said they’ve been able to track pollution from fracking as the source of contamination in drinking water wells more than 1 mile from the fracked shale gas wells.
The stray natural gas and wastewater moved laterally along shallow to intermediate depth fractures to the source of the homes’ well water. The chemicals foamed from water faucets in three homes near a reported well-pad leak. The homes were sold to the gas company as part of a legal settlement in 2012, but scientists received samples before the transfer.
Previous studies had not been able to identify the cause of the foaming, but the new analysis found a chemical compound, 2-BE, and an unidentified complex mixture of organic contaminants, both commonly seen in flowback water from Marcellus shale activity. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, water, water quality | Tagged: drinking water, energy, Environment, fracking, Marcellus shale, pollution, public health, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
State water board, conservation group team up to create innovative new water rights agreement
Looking upstream towards the San Juans.
A dry section of the Little Cimarron River below the diversion.
A healthy section of the same river.
By Bob Berwyn
Photos courtesy Colorado Water Trust
* Tools like the Little Cimarron agreement could be used to improve environmental conditions in many of the state’s rivers, and the evolving Colorado Water Plan can help identify places where deals like this could be used. Read more about the Colorado Water plan here.
FRISCO —For thousands of years, the Little Cimarron River trickled out of the snowfields of the San Juan Mountains, coursing unimpeded through steep alpine canyons and rolling sagebrush foothills before merging with the Gunnison River.
That changed when European settlers arrived in the region. Eager to tame the rugged land, ranchers and farmers took to the hills with shovels and picks, diverting part of the river’s flow to water hayfields and pastures. The back-breaking work brought the imprint of civilization to the area, but just as surely wrought huge changes to natural systems that had been self-regulating themselves since the end of the last ice age.
Like nearly every other river in Colorado, the Little Cimarron was free-flowing no more. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, politics, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: ag water, Colorado, Colorado water, Colorado water plan, rivers, water conservation, water sharing | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Off the road, into the stream … Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Transportation.
Coal-tar sealant fingered as highly damaging to DNA
FRISCO — New research led by U.S. Geological Survey scientists shows that pavement sealants made with coal tar are highly toxic. Runoff from surfaces treated with such sealants can kill fish and other stream organisms for months after it’s applied, the researchers concluded in a pair of recent studies.
Pavement sealant is a black liquid sprayed or painted on the asphalt pavement of parking lots, driveways and playgrounds to improve appearance and protect the underlying asphalt.
Pavement sealants that contain coal tar have extremely high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Coal tar is a known human carcinogen; several PAHs are probable human carcinogens and some are toxic to fish and other aquatic life. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: blacktop, coal-tar sealant, Environment, highways, PAHs, pollution | Leave a comment »