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…]

Humboldtian approach to mountain conservation and freshwater ecosystem services

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Complex environmental issues require solutions that cannot be achieved without integrating scientific disciplines and communicating science to people, decision-makers and stakeholders. Nevertheless, although Alexander von Humboldt gifted us with an approach to integrate knowledge across disciplines aiming to broadly understand environmental issues, our current scientific practice largely ignores that holistic … [more…]

“Seahorse whisperer” builds underwater sanctuary for rare species in Long Beach

Video still: seahorses in Long Beach California sanctuary

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) — Roger Hanson has been diving for over 30 years, so he knew it was odd when he spotted a Pacific seahorse in Alamitos Bay in Long Beach around four years ago.

“They are very, very rare,” said retired schoolteacher from Iowa. “Long Beach having a colony is unlike any city in California.”

In 2016, Hanson started driving 80 miles from his home in Moreno Valley … [more…]

Too much salt: water desalination plants harm environment: U.N.

Too much salt: water desalination plants harm environment: U.N.

FILE PHOTO: Workers walk outside a desalination plant, south of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 2011. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed

OSLO (Reuters) – Almost 16,000 desalination plants worldwide produce bigger-than-expected flows of highly salty waste water and toxic chemicals that are damaging the environment, a U.N.-backed study said on Monday.

Desalination plants pump out 142 million cubic meters (5 billion cubic feet) of salty brine every day, 50 percent more than previous estimates,

[more…]

‘Only Option’: Japan May Dump Fukushima Nuclear Plant Water Into Pacific Ocean

‘Only Option’: Japan May Dump Fukushima Nuclear Plant Water Into Pacific Ocean

Photo: The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, seen on Feb. 22, 2016. (TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan’s environment minister said the country will have to dump large quantities of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which was damaged during the March 2011 earthquake, because the facility is running out of room.

During the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami, three Fukushima reactors were damaged. However, by 2022, storage space will … [more…]