According to the EPA, agriculture is the leading probable source of impairments to assessed streams and rivers in the United States, and the third probable source to lakes. Agricultural impairments, typically considered nonpoint source pollution, include irrigation and stormwater runoff that carries animal waste, bacteria, fertilizer, naturally occurring metals, nutrients, pesticides, excess salt, and sediment. Unfortunately, this has at times positioned farmers—a group which has the most to gain from water quality initiatives—at odds with environmental agencies and scientists.
Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies have already answered this question by setting guidelines for E. coli limits in water used for recreational purposes, the question is again being debated in Los Angeles. This is because the city adopted a new protocol in October of 2017 that mandates closing the Los Angeles River to recreational users whenever E. coli levels are too high.
Up until the 1800s, salmon were so plentiful in California that these “bits of silver pulled out of the water” could be observed ascending the waterways, thousands at a time, each season. However, decades of logging, the construction of dams, and other human interventions have changed the waterways of the state so significantly that the range of the salmon has been permanently altered. Now, a team of scientists collaborating through the Interagency Ecological Program have developed a plan to improve salmon management and, hopefully, help save the species.
Marine fouling species may seem to be lowly creatures, situated toward the bottom of that portion of the food chain animals comprise. However, these filter-feeding invertebrates that make their homes on hard underwater substrates such as the hulls of ships are among some of the most successful invasive species. Their secret is simply their ability to latch onto human vehicles and survive.
Now, new research on the fouling community indicates that a single wet winter, the change in salinity and high levels of precipitation brings can knock back the advance of these hearty creatures.
In 2018, social media is getting smarter and platforms are wielding technology to improve user experience. Here are the top eight social media trends to prepare for as the year draws near.
1. More ephemeral content
Ephemeral content — which is short-term, lasting no more than 24 hours — is now hot thanks to Snapchat.
Do you know what’s in your water? How certain are you that it’s safe?
In mid-December 2017, researchers from across the United States specializing in various disciplines came together at the annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis to present reports on a range of problems in American water infrastructure. This plumbing safety research illuminates a disturbing litany of failures in water safety all over the country—but also highlights a commitment to fixing problems and taking a proactive approach.
As the apex predator on the block, it’s not always easy for humans to imagine the heightened awareness and sensitivity to surroundings that allow prey animals to survive. But the feelings of relaxation and reduced anxiety that elevated levels of serotonin in the brain, and many prescription antidepressants, bring humans, aren’t productive in other animals. New research reveals that compounds in treated wastewater—antidepressants in particular—affect behavior in fish enough to render them more vulnerable to predators.
Sometimes one line of inquiry in science opens up interesting solutions in another area, as recent research from a Brock University, Canada team illustrates. There, postdoctoral fellow Val Andrew Fajardo was keen to explore the health effects of lithium in water based on his background in physiology.
Starting in 2008, the Riverkeeper of New York’s Hudson River Watershed began a research collaboration with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and CUNY Queens College. These core participants recruited individual scientists in various New York communities and partner organizations to aid them in their water quality mission. The team began taking water quality samples from the Hudson River Estuary—in total, more than 8,200 were taken over time.
From the outside, it’s easy to believe that the controversy that embroils the California Water Fix is more about incongruent perspectives, in that many of the technical proponents of the Fix and its opponents seem to be talking at cross purposes. There can be little doubt that the issue of water in California—which touches upon shortages, drought, access between regions, agriculture, environmental impact, cost, conservation, and of course water quality—is so complex and divisive . . .
An unexpected application of the presumption of innocence—toward chemicals in drinking water—means that the regulatory system in the United States does not touch substances in our water until they have been proven to be harmful. The trouble with this is that it can take decades to detect the presence of chemicals in water, and even longer to tease out their effects.
Processes surrounding unconventional oil and gas extraction or hydraulic fracturing—in lay terms, fracking—have become a controversial topic in many circles. As with any such subject, it’s up to scientists and engineers to elucidate the facts and present unbiased evidence so policymakers and the public can make better, evidence-based decisions. This is the mission of the Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation (CLEAR) at the University of Texas, Arlington . . .
The Egyptian writer Yahia Lababidi said, “You can’t bury pain and not expect it to grow roots.” This hasn’t stopped various companies from trying, over the years, to bury or dump one of the biggest pain points of being a manufacturer: toxic waste. Unfortunately, in Plainfield and Algoma Townships in Michigan, we are once again seeing that the roots that sprout from these actions do indeed cause serious damage.
The many fingers of water that comprise Narragansett Bay define the state of Rhode Island; not just its shoreline, but its inland areas are almost all proximal to the Bay and its watershed. More than 33 percent of Rhode Island is water, even at low tide, making it the third wateriest state in the union, second only to Hawaii and Michigan.
For more than a decade, Maria Carolina Gallego-Iradi has been studying the brains of dolphins off the shores of Spain. Her work in this area began with stranded dolphins—the stragglers of an extremely intelligent species. Humans have historically celebrated many commonalities with dolphins, including the encephalization of their brains. We share that hyperexpanded brain trait with our friends the cetaceans, marine mammals which include not only dolphins, but also whales and porpoises.