Tag Archives: streams

Strider-like water sensor will help detect contaminants in water

To help clean up an oil spill or any other kind of environmental disaster, sometimes humans can learn a thing or two from nature.

A team of researchers from the Michigan State University College of Engineering is creating a kind of robotic sensor that could eventually be used to collect environmental pollution data from rivers, streams and lakes. (more…)

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Navigate America’s Major Rivers Without Getting Wet

Have you ever dropped a stick into a river and wondered where it might go if it floated all the way downstream? Now you can trace its journey using Streamer – a new on-line service from the National Atlas of the United States®.

Streamer is an online map service that lets anyone trace downstream along America’s major rivers and streams simply by picking a point on a stream.  Streamer will map the route the stream follows. (more…)

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Acid Rain Study Show Substantial Decreases, But More Progress is Needed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Measurable improvements in air quality and visibility, human health, and water quality in many acid-sensitive lakes and streams, have been achieved through emissions reductions from electric generating power plants and resulting decreases in acid rain. These are some of the key findings in a report to Congress by the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program, a cooperative federal program.

The report shows that since the establishment of the Acid Rain Program, under Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, there have been substantial reductions in sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from power plants that use fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil, which are known to be the primary causes of acid rain. As of 2009, emissions of SO2 and NOx declined by about two-thirds relative to levels in the 1990s. These emissions levels declined even further in 2010, according to recent data compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (more…)

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Careless Disposal of Antibiotics Can Create Aquatic Superbugs

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A wastewater treatment plant can provide the perfect mating ground for carelessly disposed of antibiotics to form superbugs that are eventually discharged into streams and lakes, says a University of Michigan researcher.

It’s not the fault of the wastewater treatment plants, says Chuanwu Xi, assistant professor at the U-M School of Public Health. His research team sampled water at five sites in and near Ann Arbor’s Waste Water Treatment Plant and found that the water contained the superbug Acinetobacter, a multidrug-resistant bacterium. The results were first reported by Xi’s group in 2009, and the research is ongoing. (more…)

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River Mystery Solved

*Scientists discover how “Didymo” algae bloom in pristine waters with few nutrients*

The pristine state of unpolluted waterways may be their downfall, according to research results published in a paper this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

A species of freshwater algae that lives in streams and rivers, called Didymo for Didymosphenia geminata, is able to colonize and dominate the bottoms of some of the world’s cleanest waterways–precisely because they are so clear. (more…)

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Most River Flows across the U.S. are Altered by Land and Water Management, Leading to Ecological Degradation

The amount of water flowing in streams and rivers has been significantly altered in nearly 90 percent of waters that were assessed in a new nationwide USGS study.  Flow alterations are a primary contributor to degraded river ecosystems and loss of native species. 

“This USGS assessment provides the most geographically extensive analysis to date of stream flow alteration,” said Bill Werkheiser, USGS Associate Director for Water. “Findings show the pervasiveness of stream flow alteration resulting from land and water management, the significant impact of altered stream flow on aquatic organisms, and the importance of considering this factor for sustaining and restoring  the health of the Nation’s streams and ecosystems.” (more…)

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A River Ran Through It

About the image: A now dry Colorado River delta branches into the Baja/Sonoran Desert near the Sea of Cortez. Image credit: Pete McBride

Rivers and streams supply the lifeblood to ecosystems across the globe, providing water for drinking and irrigation for humans as well as a wide array of life forms from single-celled organisms up to the fish humans eat.

But humans and nature itself are making it tough on rivers to continue in their central role to support fish species, according to new research by a team of scientists including John Sabo, a biologist at Arizona State University.

Globally, rivers and streams are being drained due to human use and climate change. These and other human impacts alter the natural variability of river flows.

Some affected rivers have dried and no longer run, while others have seen increases in the variability of flows due to storm floods. (more…)

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