The most elegant solutions to even the most knotty problems are often those devised by nature. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Upper Big Sioux River Watershed Project (UBS) and South Dakota State University (SDSU) have been developing one of nature’s solutions into a workable remover of contaminants such as nitrates, nitrites, phosphorus, and even heavy metals from slow-moving waters such as lakes and ponds: a small, unassuming aquatic plant called duckweed.
Florida. 2016. Sterile fields are home to lines of barren trees. Once rows upon rows of lush greenery, baring brilliant yellow and orange citrus fruits, these abandoned fields are no longer gold mines for the orange industry. Instead, weeds entangle themselves in the infected roots of stunted trees.
The trees in these abandoned fields fell prey to HLB (Huanglongbing or citrus greening).
Much of the American west depends upon groundwater for its survival. Originally the region was sustainably settled and farmed by Native American tribes. Eventually, new settlers without those abilities came west and resettled in a sort of patchwork; newcomers chose to stay near springs and other places where exploitable groundwater was close to the surface.
It’s a fact that every resident of every state has a vested interest in water quality issues and the management of natural resources. However, too often the challenges posed by natural resource management are met by various battling groups of stakeholders with apparently different interests.
American concerns about drinking water are reaching critical mass. In March 2017, Gallup found that water pollution worries among Americans were at the highest they’d been since 2001, with 63 percent indicating they worry “a great deal” about pollution of drinking water, 57 percent worrying at that same level about the pollution of the waterways, and low-income and non-white Americans feeling more concerned about water pollution than their more economically advantaged, white counterparts.
If you live in a city, you may take the safety of the water that you drink for granted, although recent developments in Flint may have changed your mind about that. But for 45 million Americans who drink water that comes from private wells, drawn from groundwater and unregulated by a public utility, the question of what’s in that water is an even bigger unknown—a potentially dangerous one.
In the wake of various water quality crises from Flint, Michigan and Puerto Rico, there is a growing interest and demand among consumers for home water testing. Enter DIY water testing kits like Tap Score by SimpleWater. Tap Score in particular was conceived of and launched by former UC Berkeley grad student John Pujol and co-founder and CTO Julio Rodriguez.
For most of us, when we think of nitrate and agricultural pollution, we think of the nitrate that comes from fertilizers and leaches quickly through the soil. The effects of this kind of pollution are realized quickly, but researchers from Lancaster University and the British Geological Survey have recently revealed an underground time bomb of nitrate in rock.
In a state that knows water is perhaps the single most decisive factor in its continued existence, the Arizona Water Center (AWC), part of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), plays a critically important role. James Leenhouts, Director of the AWC and a hydrologist by training, has lived in Arizona for decades, and devoted his career to helping Arizonans cope with the unique challenges water presents.
These storms prompted scientists, engineers, policymakers, and municipal planners in the Gulf region to think about preparing for major storms in new ways, and one of the results was the formation of the Water Institute of the Gulf. Since 2011, the institute has served as a centralized, independent source of research and science along the Gulf Coast. Scott Hemmerling, Director of Human Dimensions for the Institute, explains the basic raison-d’être of the Institute.
By now we know that plastics have invaded our global waterways, at the current rate of between 1.15 and 2.41 million tons of plastic entering the world’s ocean annually via rivers. We know that it’s deadly to wildlife, and that we haven’t even fully explained its toxic effects in the environment. This means that mitigation strategies for reducing the amount of plastic that enters the world’s waterways are essential. . .
Sailing the seven seas was never without peril, but thanks to shipworms, which are actually a type of clam, it was often downright fatal to sailors. These pests would bore their way through the wooden bodies of ships, rendering them useless in water. Ancient mariners eventually found ways to combat them, though, and by the 18th century the state of the art shield against them was copper-clad wood.
This was no accident; copper doesn’t just keep the soft-bodied clams out of wood...
You're an idea person — that's why you're in business. You get inspired and come up with innovative products, something that most people are never able to do. The rest is easy, right? Not so fast, because to sell that great idea you first have to transform it into a physical product.
So how can a solopreneur or small business owners get great ideas turned into workable physical products without spending themselves out of business?
When Stephen A. Forbes, then Director of the Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History, opened a biological station about halfway along the length of the Illinois River in April 1894, he was considering the long game. His goal was to study the ways the period overflow of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers had on aquatic animal and plant life in the region, and he knew this would be the first study like it anywhere.
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