Posted on April 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Growth hormones for cattle can disrupt aquatic ecosystems.
Researchers eye potentially devastating long term evolutionary and ecological impacts
FRISCO — A common hormone used to spur growth in cattle around the world has been found to change sexual behavior in fish. Even at very low concentrations in waterways, the hormone could have serious ecological and evolutionary consequences, according to researchers with Australia’s Monash University and Åbo Akademi University in Finland.
The endocrine-disrupting steroid influences the ratio of male courtship (where the female chooses her mate) to forced copulatory behavior (sneaking), whereby the female is inseminated internally from behind and does not choose her mate. The results of his research indicated a marked increase in sneaking behavior. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: endocrine disruptors, Environment, growth hormones, water pollution | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 6, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Excess nutrient pollution in streams means less organic carbon available for aquatic organicsms. bberwyn photo
Excess nitrogen and phosphorus speed breakdown of forest litter
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
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, nutrient pollution, stream carbon cycles, water pollution, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Algae blooms spreading in high mountain lakes.
Even remote alpine lakes at risk from increased nutrient pollution
FRISCO — The immoderate use of fertilizers in the last half century is literally choking some lakes to death and raises the risk of human exposure to dangerous toxins, scientists said after studying the proliferation of blue-green algae.
Those organisms have spread much more rapidly than any other type of algae in North American and European lakes, according to McGill University scientists, who published their findings in the the journal Ecology Letters. In many cases, the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the mid-20th century. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: blue-green algae, cyano-bacteria, Environment, nutrient loading, water pollution | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Central Valley groundwater tainted by illegal injections of oil and gas industry wastewater
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — All those warm-n-fuzzy fossil fuel industry ads showing clean-cut techs in lab coats with clipboards may play well on your plasma screen, but reality is a little different.
Rather than being upstanding corporate citizens looking out for the country’s best interests, some energy companies operating in California have been illegally injecting huge quantities of oil and gas wastewater into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, water, water quality | Tagged: California, Central Valley, Environment, fracking, wastewater injection, water pollution | 4 Comments »
Posted on September 24, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Shrimp boats moored along Apalachicola Bay, Florida.
Daily low-level leaks add up
FRISCO —Recreational boating has become a major source of oil pollution along Canada’s coast. The spills and leaks are posing a major threat to marine ecosystems in the Pacific according to University of Calgary researchers who analyzed patterns of oil pollution off the coast.
The findings were compiled from data gathered by a National Aerial Surveillance Program with the use of remote sensing devices. The scientists concluded that oil from recreational boats polluting the ocean along the British Columbia coast more than oil tankers and commercial cargo ships. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, Ocean, oil spills, water pollution | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Holistic evaluation of impacts needed
In areas where shale-drilling/hydraulic fracturing is heavy, a dense web of roads, pipelines and well pads turn continuous forests and grasslands into fragmented islands. Photo courtesy Simon Fraser University PAMR.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —Fracking battles often develop over neighborhood concerns about pollution, but that local focus may mean that we’re losing sight of the bigger picture. On a landscape level, the current and projected scale of shale gas exploitation poses a huge threat to ecosystems, as each individual well contributes to air, water, noise and light pollution.
Those impacts need to be examined on a cumulative level, scientists said in a new study that calls for scientists, industry representatives and policymakers to collaborate closely on minimizing damage to the natural world from shale gas development. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, ecosystems, Environment, fracking, water pollution | 3 Comments »
Posted on July 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides widespread in Midwest streams, USGS study finds. bberwyn photo.
Concentrations in some streams are high enough to kill aquatic organisms
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey studying streams in the Midwest have found levels of neonicotinoid insecticides at up to 20 times the concentrations deemed toxic to aquatic organisms. The systemic pesticides have raised concerns because they’ve been linked with honey bee declines.
Traces of the chemicals were widespread in streams throughout the region — not surprising in the heart of the country’s agricultural belt. In all, nine rivers and streams, including the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, were included in the study. The rivers studied drain most of Iowa, and parts of Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. These states have the highest use of neonicotinoid insecticides in the Nation, and the chemicals were found in all nine rivers and streams. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: Environment, honey bees, Midwest, neonicotinoids, pesticides, water pollution | 1 Comment »