Posted on December 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
3.9 million plastic items per square kilometer …
A sample from the Rhine near Duisburg shows the variety of plastic pollution found in the water. Photo courtesy University of Basel.
Given the fact that microplastic debris is so widespread, it’s probably no surprise that the Rhine — Europe’s workhorse river — has been found to be among the most polluted by plastic.
The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area has the highest concentration, at about 2,333,665 particles per square kilometer, with a peak at Rees on the Nederhijn, where 3.9 million plastic items per square kilometer (or 21,839 particles per 1000 cubic meters) were found in a single water sample. In general, extreme peaks may be reached after heavy rain or accidents. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, microplastic pollution, Microplastics, plastic pollution, rivers, water quality | Leave a 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 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 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 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Autumn light highlights trees along the shore of Dillon Reservoir.
Tundra color near Loveland Pass.
Light so vivid you can feel it.
Mossy softness along the Snake River.
Did you know boulders can glow?
FRISCO —Yes, I know, it’s spring, and these shots were taken two seasons ago, during autumn, but that’s part of the magic of photography, right? You can bring back memories and transport yourself to another time and place, in this case to some of the most intense light of the past six months. Rocks, rivers, trees, sky and water, some of the basic stuff that’s all around us, but usually taken for granted. For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting card
Filed under: Colorado, Morning photo, photography, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Colorado, elements, photography, rivers, Summit County photography, trees | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Delicate ice ribbons along the edge of Tenmile Creek.
Winter sunrise along the Blue River.
A cottonwood leaf, trapped in the ice of Meadow Creek.
Morning sun streams over a frozen pond along the Snake River.
FRISCO — Cruising along the edge of local waterways on these frosty winter mornings always yields a few surprises, like the incredibly delicate latticeworks of ice frost on display in this set. A steady source of moisture, combined with sudden changes in temperature and sunshine, create dynamic landscapes that can change from day to day, and even hour to hour, and if you happen to be in the right place at the right time with camera in hand, it can be pure magic. For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed
, and visit our online gallery
for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.
Filed under: Colorado, Morning photo, photography, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Colorado, frost, ice, rivers, Summit County photography, winter landscapes | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Feds map critical habitat for yellow-billed cuckoo
Will yellow-billed cuckoos make a comeback in Colorado?
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The long endangered species odyssey of the yellow-billed cuckoo may be one step closer to resolution, as federal wildlife officials this week proposed designating more than half a million acres of critical habitat for the birds, sometimes known as rain crows for their habit of singing before a storm.
The bird was once common along most rivers and streams in the West, but the decline of the species, eyed for protection since 1986, shows how much human activities have degraded riparian riverside habitat. Yellow-billed cuckoos are neotropical migrants that winter in South America and nest along rivers and streams in western North America. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, riparian habitat, rivers, yellow-billed cuckoo | 1 Comment »