News Clips

 

Many Urban Streams Harmful to Aquatic Life Following Winter Pavement Deicing

A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study has show that the use of salt for deicing pavement can be toxic to aquatic life.  The study found that over half of Milwaukee streams that were sampled had toxic results during winter deicing, and all Wisconsin streams that were sampled had toxic chloride concentrations during winter.  The study also found that 55% of streams sampled in 13 northern cities had chloride levels that exceeded USEPA chronic water-quality criteria and 25% exceeded acute water quality criteria.  These toxic chloride levels are caused by road, parking lot, walkway and driveway deicing. 

ScienceDaily, September 4, 2010
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901121802.htm

 

Evidence for a Novel Marine Harmful Algal Bloom: Cyanotoxin (Microcystin) Transfer from Land to Sea Otters

Toxic Algae (cyanobacteria) blooms produce persistent biotoxins (microcystins) that are toxic to freshwater habitats.  This research paper shows that contaminated freshwater is entering marine ecosystems and is causing more harm.   It confirms that 21 southern sea otters, a federally listed threatened species, were killed by the biotoxins.  Clams, mussels and oysters, often consumed by sea otters and humans, were found to have 107 times the concentration of ambient water levels.  This paper states that the otters died of hepatotoxic shellfish poisoning (HSP), which could also have implications for human consumption of shellfish found at the land-sea interface. 

Miller MA, Kudela RM, Mekebri A, Crane D, Oates SC, et al. (2010), PLoS ONE 5(9): e12576. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012576
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012576

 

Elevated Nitrogen and Phosphorus Still Widespread in Much of the Nation’s Streams and Groundwater

The United States Geological Service (USGS) has released a new national study entitled The Quality of Our Nation's Waters: Nutrients in the Nation’s Streams and Groundwater, 1992–2004.  This report finds that concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus have stayed the same or increased in streams and aquifers since the 1990’s.  Widespread concentrations are two to ten times higher than EPA recommended levels to protect aquatic life.  These high concentrations can result in dead zones, harm aquatic life, and pollute drinking water supplies. 

For more information and to view the report, visit http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/nutrients/pubs/circ1350/

 

EPA, D.C. Showcase Recovery Act-Funded Green Roof

A new 27,750 square foot green roof has been installed on the World Wildlife Fund headquarters in Washington D.C. The $1.1 million project was funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Green roofs reduce temperatures, reduce energy use, reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, improve human health and comfort, and improve quality of life for humans and wildlife. 

EPA News Release, September 29, 2010
http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/de9ade70d6ffa90d8525757e005bf8b4/2d6b4942ef6d65b0852577ad0053f099!OpenDocument

 

World's Rivers in 'Crisis State', Report Finds

A report published in the journal Nature (September 30, 2010) details findings on the health of the world’s rivers, and the effects of pollution, dams, agricultural runoff, the conversion of wetlands, and the introduction of exotic species.  The results show that approximately 80 percent of the world’s human population lives in areas where river waters are highly threatened.  This poses a threat to human water security and aquatic environments.  Fresh water is regarded as the world’s most important natural resource, to humans and all life.

ScienceDaily, October 1, 2010
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100929132521.htm

 

First-of-its-kind study finds alarming increase in flow of water into oceans: UCI-led team cites global warming, accelerated cycle of evaporation, precipitation

A new study is showing that the amount of freshwater flowing into the Earth’s oceans has been increasing every year.  Global warming is thought to be the culprit, and is causing more frequent and intense storms.  From 2006 to 1994, there was an 18 percent increase in the amount of water entering oceans, with an average annual rise of 1.5 percent.  The weather patterns are changing, causing more rainfall in some parts of the world, with less in others.  The evaporation and precipitation cycle is accelerating because of higher temperatures.  The study has utilized NASA and other world-scale satellites to track the total water volume each month flowing into the oceans.  They

UCIrvineToday, October 04, 2010 
http://today.uci.edu/news/2010/10/nr_oceans_101004.php