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…]

Should Rivers Have Rights? A Growing Movement Says It’s About Time

photo: river flowing in mountains.

Inspired by indigenous views of nature, a movement to grant a form of legal “personhood” to rivers is gaining some ground — a key step, advocates say, in reversing centuries of damage inflicted upon the world’s waterways.

The free-flowing Baker River in Chile’s Patagonia region. Permits for a major hydroelectric project on the waterway were revoked in 2014 amid protests. Chile is a land of rivers. Along its narrow 3,000-mile … [more…]

Petition against spraying herbicide to be heard by FWC

photo: spraying herbicide into open waters

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Courtesy of James Abernethy. FWC employs private contractors at a cost of millions of dollars a year in Florida to spray waterbodies in an effort to control invasive hydrilla.

Advocates of clean water in Florida are jumping on a bandwagon that started rolling late last summer when marine life expert Jim Abernethy of West Palm Beach started a petition calling for the Florida Fish … [more…]

On-farm Treatment Options for Wastewater, Greywater and Fecal Sludge

illustration: workers in irrigated fields

Fecal contamination of urban and peri-urban water bodies is a major health issue in most low- and middle-income countries, where population growth exceeds the rate of development of wastewater or fecal sludge collection and treatment infrastructure. While the expansion of sewer systems and treatment capacity remain a high priority for municipal authorities, there are opportunities for applying low-cost, small-scale on-farm options for safe recovery of wastewater and fecal sludge for … [more…]

The Many Benefits of Wetlands Conservation

photo: wetlands with mountainous background. Benefits of Wetlands Conservation


By J. Dale James, Ph.D., and Ellen R. Herbert, Ph.D.

Wetlands are among the most valuable ecosystems on Earth, rivaling tropical rainforests in their biological productivity. Historically, wetland systems sustained civilizations by providing people with food and freshwater and protecting communities from flooding and storm surges.

Prior to European settlement of the United States, the American wilderness included a remarkable abundance and diversity of wetlands, ranging