Posted on November 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New diversions from the Colorado River to the Front Range are still on hold pending further review. @bberwyn photo.
water quality, endangered species issues still unresolved
The complex permitting process for a pair of new Colorado water supply projects has been delayed yet again, as federal agencies continue to study the impacts of new diversions from the Colorado River and enlarged reservoirs on the Front Range.
Decisions for Denver Water’s Moffat Collection System Project, and Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District’s Windy Gap Firming Project have been rescheduled for release in 2016, according to a Nov. 4 press release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Colorado River, Denver Water, Moffat Collection system enlargement, Northern Water, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers., Windy Gap firming project | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Agricultural runoff has left many major rivers polluted with nitrates.
‘Unfortunately, there is no widespread evidence of improving conditions …’
Massive efforts to improve water quality haven’t been effective in many large U.S. rivers, where nitrate levels remain at high levels after surging in the second half of the 20th century.
Between 1945 and 1980, nitrate levels in large U.S. rivers increased up to fivefold as chemical fertilizer use increased dramatically in the Midwest. In some urbanized areas along the East and West coasts during the same period, river nitrate levels doubled.
In recent decades, nitrate changes have been smaller but nitrate levels have remained high in most of the rivers examined in a new U.S. Geological Survey study. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: agriculture, fertilizers, nitrate pollution, rivers, water pollution, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Beavers can help improve water quality by reducing levels of nitrogen. @bberwyn photo.
Beaver ponds remove nitrogen pollution from streams
Long-known as beneficial ecosystem engineers, beavers not only build important wetland habitats for plants and animals, but also help reduce the amount of harmful nitrogen downstream of their ponds.
A team of scientists, led by Arthur Gold at the University of Rhode Island, took a close look at how beavers help reduce pollution. The research is important because nitrogen levels have been increasing in Northeast waters for years. The use of nitrogen fertilizers has risen and urbanization has brought in influences such as septic systems. This nitrogen is released into small streams and ponds and eventually travels to estuaries, where rivers meet the sea. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: beavers, Environment, nitrogen, water pollution, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Coho salmon are struggling, but a new report suggests that boosting stormwater treatment could help them in some environments. Photo courtesy USGS.
Green stormwater infrastructure needed to protect salmon in urban streams
Simple sand and soil filters could prevent much of the pollution from urban runoff that’s killing adult coho salmon in West Coast streams, NOAA researchers found after studying water quality around Puget Sound.
The research traced the link between toxic parking lot runoff and other urban pollution and salmon deaths. More than half the coho salmon returning to urban streams dominated by stormwater runoff die every year before they spawn. Continue reading
Filed under: endangered species, Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Coho salmon, endangered species, NOAA, stormwater treatment, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Day trip …
Limestone peaks tower above the Hinterer Langbathsee in the Salzburg Alps.
A touch of fall colors …
One guidebook says the water in these lakes is drinkable.
Shooting into the midday sun.
Just an hour away from Linz, the Alps rise, an impressive wall of limestone peaks towering above the rolling countryside of Upper Austria. Glacier-fed streams have carved deep gorges through the soft rock, and valley bottoms are punctuated by stunning lakes. But all is not well in this fairytale landscape. By some measurements, Austria is a global warming hotspot, and that spells trouble for the country’s glaciers and lakes. In a country that uses hydropower extensively, big changes to flow regimes in rivers and streams could have a huge economic impact. This summer’s drought and extreme heatwave in Austria was one of the worst on record, and many alpine glaciers visibly wasted away under relentless summer sun. Many lakes are expected to warm by 3 degrees Celsius by mid-century, with massive ecosystem changes in store. Learn more about climate change impacts in Austria here.
Filed under: climate and weather, extreme weather, global warming, Morning photo, photography, rivers, water | Tagged: Austria, climate change, global warming, lakes, Langbathsee, Salzkammergut, Travel, travel photography | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
This image captured by an electron microscope shows polyethylene microbeads widely used in shower gel. Photo courtesy Thompson/Bakir/Plymouth University.
8 trillion microbeads per day and counting …
As more and more research shows the impacts of microplastic pollution in a wide range of ecosystems, a team of researchers says the best way to protect water quality and wildlife is an outright ban on the common use of plastic microbeads.
The tiny pellets are used in everyday cosmetic and cleaning products and end up being flushed down drains. Since they’re not captured by wastewater treatment plants, they end up in the environment, either directly in the water or in the sludge from sewage treatment facilities that’s then spread on land. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, microplastic pollution, plastic microbeads, plastic pollution, water quality | 1 Comment »