Nitrates Before and After: This is what happened

Photo: confluence of rivers with nitrogen loads - This is what happened

Many people are curious about Iowa stream nitrate before modern agriculture became established across the landscape. They want to know what the “natural” level of nitrate was. It turns out we do have some actual data. In 1955, the Iowa Geological Survey published a document titled “Water-Supply Bulletin No. 5, Quality of Surface Waters of Iowa, 1886-1954” (1). Some of these data are shown below (as nitrogen).

Confluence of the … [more…]

Mathematician develops model to control spread of aquatic invasive species

Mathematician develops model to control spread of aquatic invasive species

Credit: University of Tennessee

Adjusting the water flow rate in a river can prevent invasive species from moving upstream and expanding their range. An applied mathematician at UT has developed a partial differential equation model to find the desired flow rate to reduce invasive populations.

The model is detailed in a new paper by Suzanne Lenhart, Chancellor’s Professor and James R. Cox Professor of Mathematics, published in Mathematics.

"Invasives

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Billions of Gallons of Water Saved by Transition Away From Coal

Billions of Gallons of Water Saved by Transition Away From Coal

Credit: Pixabay.

The ongoing transition from coal to natural gas and renewables in the U.S. electricity sector is dramatically reducing the industry’s water use, a new Duke University study finds.

“While most attention has been focused on the climate and air quality benefits of switching from coal, this new study shows that the transition to natural gas – and even more so, to renewable energy sources – has resulted in … [more…]

Wall Street spends millions to buy up Washington state water

Wall Street spends millions to buy up Washington state water

Photo: Don Lundgren’s family ranch sits next to the Chewuch River. Lundgren hoped to sell water rights to Crown Columbia for potential use beyond the Methow Valley, in the distance. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

WINTHROP, Okanogan County — Follow the water and you’ll find the money.

That’s how it often works in the dusty rural corners of Washington, where a Wall Street-backed firm is staking an ambitious venture … [more…]

All about the humble water shrew

Water shrew

Photo: Water shrew Erni Shutterstock

The water shrew is well adapted to an aquatic lifestyle: they have a dark brown (almost black), waterproof coat of short fur, and ears (visible as white tufts) that can close in the water. A fringe of stiff silvery hairs runs the length of the underside of the tail, which they use as a rudder, and their hind feet have similar fringes. They can dive … [more…]