Posted on September 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Recent algae blooms in Chesapeake Bay are some of the most intense on record.
Studies eye potential human health risks
FRISCO — The West Coast isn’t the only place seeing unprecedented algae blooms this summer. Recent water sampling by researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science show some of the densest concentrations of algae recorded in Chesapeake Bay in recent years.
According to the scientists, the current blooms are dominated by an algal species known to release toxins harmful to other marine life, particularly larval shellfish and finfish. Although the recent algae blooms haven’t been directly implicated, there have been some reports of small small numbers of dead fish, oysters, and crabs from the lower York River and adjacent Bay waters associated with nearby blooms. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, water, water quality | Tagged: algae blooms, Chesapeake Bay, Environment, water, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
One study found 200 bits of plastic in a single seabird
A heron patrols the splash zone of a beach on the Florida Gulf Coast. @bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Plastic debris in the world’s oceans is now so widespread that about 60 percent of all seabirds have bits of plastic in their gut. Based on current trends, 99 percent of all seabirds will be affected by plastic ingestion by 2050, a team of international scientists said this week.
Based on a review of all studies published since the early 1960s, the scientists estimated that more than 90 percent of seabirds have alive today have eaten plastic of some kind. In 1960, plastic was found in the stomach of less than 5 per cent of individual seabirds, rising to 80 per cent by 2010.
“For the first time, we have a global prediction of how wide-reaching plastic impacts may be on marine species … and the results are striking,” said CSIRO researcher Dr. Chris Wilcox. “We predict, using historical observations, that 90 per cent of individual seabirds have eaten plastic. This is a huge amount and really points to the ubiquity of plastic pollution.” Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation, water, wildlife | Tagged: Environment, microplatic pollution, oceans, plastic pollution, seabirds | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
CRWCD’s annual water seminar features leading national and regional water and climate experts
FRISCO — Colorado this summer may have escaped the severe drought plaguing much of the West — at least for now — but that doesn’t mean the state is immune from regional water woes.
Planners and water users know very well that huge long-term challenges remain for all the states in the Colorado River Basin, and some of those issues will be highlighted during the Colorado River Water Conservation District’s Sept. 10 water seminar in Grand Junction.
Two of the most important women in Western water leadership will be addressing the Colorado River District’s popular Annual Water Seminar in Grand Junction, Colo., that takes place Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Two Rivers Convention Center. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, El Niño, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: climate, Colorado, Colorado River Water Conservation District, drought, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Microbeads are bad juju for world’s waterways and oceans
This image captured by an electron microscope shows polyethylene microbeads widely used in shower gel. Photo courtesy Thompson/Bakir/Plymouth University.
FRISCO — Simple, everyday uses of some cosmetics and cleaning products releases huge amounts of plastic micropollution into the environment, potentially at levels harmful to marine life.
Scientists at Plymouth University recently tried to quantify the well-known environmental problem by studying brands of facial scrubs that listed plastics among their ingredients. They used vacuum filtration to sort out the plastic particles and analyzed the debris with electron microscopes, finding that each 150ml of the products could contain between 137,000 and 2.8 million microparticles. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, microplastic beads, plastic pollution, pollution | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
EPA releases first results of internal investigation
Why did the Gold King Mine spill its guts?
FRISCO — EPA officials say that workers at the Gold King Mine likely underestimated the pressure building up inside the mountain. That miscalculation likely resulted in the massive 3 million gallon spill that tainted the Animas and San Juan rivers for miles downstream.
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Animas River spill, Environment, Gold King Mine, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 25, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Drainage from the abandoned Pennsylvannia Mine in Summit County, Colorado, has been poisoning Peru Creek and the Snake River for decades, @bberwyn photo.
Common sense tweaks would require more monitoring as well as reclamation
FRISCO — Congress, under fierce lobbying pressure from the mining industry, may not have the political wherewithal to make meaningful changes to mining laws.
But public land agencies could tweak their regulations to reduce the chances of another event like the spill from the Gold King Mine that tainted the Animas and San Juan rivers earlier this month.
A coalition of community and environmental groups hopes to spur those changes at the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture with a formal petition under the Administrative Procedures Act. The petition seeks four key changes to mining rules that would go a long way toward averting future toxic spills.
The rules changes would:
- Limit the lifetime of a mine permit,
- Impose enforceable reclamation deadlines and groundwater monitoring requirements on mines
- Require regular monitoring and inspections,
- And limit the number of years that a mine can remain inactive.
Filed under: BLM, Environment, rivers, US Forest Service, water, water quality | Tagged: Animas River spill, Environment, Grand Canyon, mining law reform, mining laws, pollution, uranium mining | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Alaska communities seek international review of Canadian projects that will affect their rivers
FRISCO — Mining and energy development in western Canada is making some Alaskans uneasy, as they eye potential impacts to pristine salmon streams in the region.
Citing a bilateral environmental treaty, activists this week will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest B.C.
The environmental and community advocates said an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by mine development in British Columbia. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Alaska, Canada, energy, Environment, mining, salmon, Transboundary watersheds | Leave a comment »