Humans are a massive minority on Earth. Why don’t we act like it?

photo: red panda

The endangered Red Panda has a wild population of less than 10,000 mature individuals Image: REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

Most of us, including scientists, are blind to the full scope of the living world. This was illustrated by an informal survey which asked biologists and ecologists from elite universities two questions. In terms of mass, is the living world mostly composed of animals, plants or bacteria? And is there more global biomass … [more…]

Long term ag change impacts stream water quality

photo: sampling stream water quality

Photo: Graduate students Heather Luken and Tanner Williamson collect water samples from an automated sampler on Four Mile Creek. The autosampler collects a water sample from the stream every seven hours, and stores 24 samples in the carousel of bottles shown here. Credit: Carrie Ann Sharitt

In the early 1990s, Acton Lake in southwestern Ohio had a muddy problem. Large amounts of sediment from nearby farms were entering the lake’s … [more…]

New rules limiting clean water protections ignore stream science

photo: the Little Colorado River. re: Clean Water Act

Photo: Sections of the Little Colorado River in northern Arizona are ephemeral, flowing most frequently during the spring to accommodate snowmelt runoff or during the summer monsoon season. In this view, the river is at flood stage, with water cascading over the falls. Dale Nations/Flickr CC

On Dec. 11, the Trump administration announced plans to cut back the number of wetlands and creeks protected under the Clean Water Act, which … [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…]

California Adopts Landmark River Plan to Bring Back Salmon

photo: the Merced River in California

Photo: California is debating the future of the Merced River and others. (Steve Payer/California Department of Water Resources) [Pub. date: Dec. 13, 2018]

In a landmark vote, California water officials adopted a revolutionary water plan on Wednesday, aimed at restoring the state’s ailing rivers. But they left the door open for a future compromise with the water districts that would bear the brunt of the plan.

The state water board’s … [more…]