Posted on June 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Estuaries are important nurseries for marine species, and they are also susceptible to pollution from land-based sources.
‘We are finding hypoxic areas wherever we look’
FRISCO — Nutrient pollution from farming has seeped into nearly every corner of a California estuary, affecting the abundance of fish in the important marine nursery, according to new research by scientists with the University of California at Santa Cruz and The Nature Conservancy.
Lead author Brent Hughes began studying water quality in Elkhorn Slough as a UCSC graduate student. His earlier research showed that virtually every portion of the estuary is adversely affected by high nutrient levels. The pollution stimulates the growth of algae, leading to low oxygen levels when the algae die and decompose.
The new study, based on data collected over the past 40 years, shows how low levels of dissolved oxygen (a condition known as “hypoxia”) affects fish populations in the estuary and beyond. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: Elkhorn Slough, Environment, fisheries, Monterey Bay, nutrient pollution, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A fracking rig in western Colorado.
Environmental agency found no evidence of widespread impacts
FRISCO — In a draft fracking study that was subject to a political tug-of-war even before it was released, the EPA found no evidence of “widespread, systemic” impacts to drinking water, but identified numerous weaknesses in the fracking process that could lead to contamination. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, water, water quality | Tagged: drinking water, Environment, EPA, fracking, hydraulic fracturing, water pollution, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A new EPA rule aims to define which streams and rivers are protected under the Clean Water Act.
Big loopholes for industry, farms will continue to threaten water quality
FRISCO — After years of wrangling, the EPA has finalized a new rule intended to define which streams are covered under the Clean Water Act. The debate goes back more than a decade to a pair of court rulings that called into question whether smaller tributaries and seasonal streams are subject to federal regulations.
Yesterday’s announcement probably won’t end the fighting — Republicans in Congress have launched a bitter attack on the rule at the behest of big polluters like industrial farms and factories, and some national conservation groups like the Waterkeeper Alliance say the new rule is too weak, and rolls back protection for some streams that were previously covered. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Environment, EPA Clean Water Rule, water quality, wetlands | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 26, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Atmospheric emissions of hormone-disrupting chemicals found to pollute rivers and streams.
Hormone-disrupting toxins in Missouri streams traced to factory emissions
FRISCO — Scientists say atmospheric releases of hormone-disrupting chemicals may be a big source of of pollution in streams and lakes. After studying water quality near industrial sites permitted to release toxic chemicals into the air, the researchers said they found unexpectedly high levels of BPA in water around those factories.
“This finding suggests that atmospheric BPA releases may contaminate local surface water, leading to greater exposure of humans or wildlife,” said Don Tillitt, adjunct professor of biological sciences at MU, and biochemistry and physiology branch chief with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Columbia Environmental Research Center. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: BPA, Environment, hormone-disrupting chemicals, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
TroutBlitz helps conservation and restoration efforts
Fishing for cutthroat trout at Clinton Gulch Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado.
FRISCO — It’s not always easy to gather good scientific data, especially in an era when political ideology drives policy, resulting in budget cuts that hamper government agencies.
That’s where citizen science can help, and Trout Unlimited wants anglers around the country to help record evidence of their trout catches both photographically and via mapping coordinates with the relaunch of TroutBlitz.
TU’s science team uses the data collected from anglers to learn more about native trout water, non-native trout proliferation and the health of entire watersheds. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, fishing, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Citizen science, conservation, Environment, trout fishing, Trout Unlimited, TroutBlitz, water quality | 3 Comments »
Posted on May 11, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A new study suggests updated regulations are needed to protect the environment from growth hormones used in cattle. @bberwyn photo.
‘We expect impacts that extend through the aquatic food web’
FRISCO — Artificial hormones uses to fatten up cattle persist in the environment in unexpected ways, and for much longer than previously believed, according to environmental scientists, who say their study shows the need to update regulations based on new scientific research.
“What we release into the environment is just the starting point for a complex series of chemical reactions that can occur, sometimes with unintended consequences,” said Adam Ward, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
“When compounds react in a way we don’t anticipate — when they convert between species, when they persist after we thought they were gone — this challenges our regulatory system,” Ward said. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: endocrine disruptors, Environment, growth hormones, Persistent organic pollutants, synthetic testosterone, TBA, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Fracking substances found almost two miles away from faulty drilling operation
FRISCO — Scientists in Pennsylvania said they’ve been able to track pollution from fracking as the source of contamination in drinking water wells more than 1 mile from the fracked shale gas wells.
The stray natural gas and wastewater moved laterally along shallow to intermediate depth fractures to the source of the homes’ well water. The chemicals foamed from water faucets in three homes near a reported well-pad leak. The homes were sold to the gas company as part of a legal settlement in 2012, but scientists received samples before the transfer.
Previous studies had not been able to identify the cause of the foaming, but the new analysis found a chemical compound, 2-BE, and an unidentified complex mixture of organic contaminants, both commonly seen in flowback water from Marcellus shale activity. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, water, water quality | Tagged: drinking water, energy, Environment, fracking, Marcellus shale, pollution, public health, water quality | 1 Comment »