Microplastic pollution a growing Great Lakes concern

ih

Are the Great Lakes a hotspot for microplastic pollution?

Human garbage is choking ecosystems

Staff Report

FRISCO — Microplastic pollution is showing up in alarming quantities in the Great Lakes, with concentrations in Lake Erie as high as in some of the well-documents ocean garbage patches, according to scientists, who say more research is needed to help craft rules that could address the problem.

Based on a new report from Canadian researchers, a member of Canada’s parliament is calling on the government to list microbeads as a potential toxic substance. The tiny plastic flakes are used in cosmetics, but act like sponges for certain pollutants and are easily ingested by aquatic organisms, including fish and shellfish. Continue reading

Small wetlands critical to overall ecosystem functions

‘Many people would say, what’s the big deal if we drain this small area? But these smaller wetlands are integral …’

sadf

Colorado wetlands. @bberwyn photo

FRISCO — A new study by researchers at Waterloo University supports the EPA’s proposed new rule for protecting discontinuous wetlands by showing that those smaller marshy patches function best as a group.

Interconnected pockets of wetlands form a landscape mosaic which provide unique habitat and safe breeding grounds for species such as salamanders and migratory birds. Many traditional wetlands conservation projects tend to overlook that “edge” function and mistakenly focus on preserving only total wetland area, with no consideration of ecosystem services provided by different wetland types. Continue reading

Colorado: Ambitious restoration project in Summit County aims to heal Swan River’s mining scars

'pji

‘pji

$975,000 state grant will help fund environmental work

Staff Report

FRISCO — An ambitious effort to restore the Swan River got a big boost this month with a $975,000 state grant.

The restoration area includes about 3,500 linear feet of the river along Tiger Road in the Swan River drainage, 11 miles northeast of Breckenridge, on land jointly owned by Summit County and the Town of Breckenridge.

“We’re extremely fortunate and grateful to have received this grant,” County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “Undoing the damage from Summit County’s mining past is an immense undertaking, but these infusions of funding are critical in accelerating our progress.” Continue reading

Environment: Study shows endocrine-disrupting chemicals can affect multiple generations of fish

'oj

New study confirms the transgenic impacts of endocrine disrupting pollutants in aquatic species.

Researchers warn of long-term impacts to aquatic ecosystems

Staff Report

FRISCO — Fish exposed to trace amounts of endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA  may not show any immediate ill effects, but the adverse impacts can show up three generations later, researchers said after conducting lab tests that confirm the transgenic effects of the pollutants.

The chemicals are part of a new class of pollutants that often aren’t addressed by traditional water treatment facilities, and aquatic environments are the ultimate reservoirs for many of the contaminants, some of which mimic the functions of natural hormones. Continue reading

Environment: Canadian Citizen groups say new tar sands rules too weak to protect the Athabasca River

Activist: ‘These new rules read like an oil industry wish list”

athabasca_tm5_19840723

A NASA Earth Observatory satellite image shows the scale of tar sands mining along the Athabasca River in Alberta. Visit the NASA site for more information.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A set of proposed new water rules has unleashed a storm of protest in Canada, where citizen and conservation groups charge that the government is giving away the store to energy companies exploiting the tar sans of Alberta.

The updated regulatory framework sets guidelines on how much water oil sands companies can extract from the Athabasca River, and guidelines regarding the management and production of toxic tailings waste. Continue reading

Environment: Nutrient pollution disrupts stream carbon cycle

hy

Excess nutrient pollution in streams means less organic carbon available for aquatic organicsms. bberwyn photo

Excess nitrogen and phosphorus speed breakdown of forest litter

Staff Report

FRISCO — Along with causing unwanted and potentially toxic blooms of algae, nutrient pollution also causes a significant loss of forest-derived carbon in stream ecosystems — to the detriment of aquatic life, according to a research team led by University of Georgia scientists.

Even moderate amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus in a stream cause the carbon to break down twice as fast, their research found. In Colorado, regulators have made efforts to reduce nutrient pollution in streams. Continue reading

New map IDs pesticide pollution hot spots

asdf

Pesticide pollution hotspots are identified in a new map.

Global warming could exacerbate pesticide woes

Staff Report

FRISCO — The world has a long way to go to come to grips with pesticide pollution say scientists who recently created a global map showing which areas are most susceptible.

Their modeling suggests that streams across about 40 percent of the planet’s surface are at risk from the application of insecticides, with the Mediterranean region, the USA, Central America and Southeast Asia among the hotspots.

On average, farmers apply about 4 million tons of agricultural pesticides  annually, equating to an average of 0.27 kilograms per hectare of the global land surface. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,395 other followers