To fix the reef we first need to fix the land – but where do we start?

photo: To fix the reef we first need to fix the land – but where do we start?

Photo: The Great Barrier Reef, Northern Queensland, Australia

Rivers deliver sediment from land to the ocean. This sediment contains nutrients which can feed microscopic algae in water. But, if there is too much sediment and nutrients, delivered by floods from land-based erosion, algal blooms can occur that have negative effects on the Great Barrier Reef.

The challenge is that sediment comes from many different locations and we need to know … [more…]

On the Chesapeake, A Precarious Future of Rising Seas and High Tides

photo: home being raised above estimated flood levels.

Mike Draper raised his house in southern Dorchester County seven feet to protect it from rising waters. PHOTO BY DAVE HARP

Maryland’s Dorchester County is ground zero for climate change on Chesapeake Bay, as rising seas claim more and more land. An e360 video explores the quiet beauty of this liquid landscape and how high tides and erosion are putting the bay’s rural communities at risk.

I’m making a film … [more…]

Eelgrass wasting disease has new enemies: Drones and artificial intelligence

photo: underwater eelgrass

When infected with eelgrass wasting disease, blades of eelgrass develop black and brown splotches (‘lesions’) that can spread and kill the blade. Credit: Olivia Graham/Cornell University

Every year, the world loses an estimated 7 percent of its seagrasses. While the reasons are manifold, one culprit has long confounded scientists: eelgrass wasting disease.

This September a team of biologists is zeroing in on the problem, in the first study of the … [more…]

Strips of prairie plants slow loss of soil, nutrients and water, double biodiversity

photo: Matt Helmers from Iowa State University. Strips of prairie plants slow loss of soil, nutrients and water from ag fields while doubling biodiversity

Matt Helmers from Iowa State University discusses STRIPS near a flume. Photo by Jane Hodgins, US Forest Service.

Newtown Square, PA, October 2, 2017 – A clean white plastic flume in an Iowa soybean field is testimony to a novel and possibly heretical idea: prairie plants, once plowed under by farmers growing corn and soybeans in the Midwest, yield benefits for farmers as well as the environment when integrated with … [more…]

3 Surprising Ways Water Depends on Healthy Forests

educational infographic: healthy forests and biofiltration support better, cheaper water quality

Healthy forests are critical to providing clean water. Forests can positively impact the quantity, quality and filtration costs associated with a city’s water, sometimes even reducing the need for costly concrete and steel infrastructure.

The world’s major watersheds lost 6 percent of their tree cover on average from 2000-2014. Today, about 31 percent of the world’s watershed area is covered by forests. Deforestation in these watersheds, often caused by commodity … [more…]