Showing posts with the label Water

No room for error on water

Letters - Winnipeg Free Press I wish to add to the comment made by Karen Lalonde (“Project a risk to aquifers,”  Letters , Feb. 28) that “there are other companies in Manitoba producing silica sand but not going through aquifers to attain it.” While this is true, this statement implies that drinking water is not affected by traditional silica sand mining methods. In the case of the Wanipigow Sand Mine, Canadian Premium Sand will use massive amounts of groundwater to wash their sand before exporting it. That groundwater presently drains to Lake Winnipeg, the Manigotogan and the Wanipigow rivers via fish-bearing creeks and underground springs. Four communities obtain their drinking water from the Wanipigow and Manigotogan rivers, and many cottagers along Lake Winnipeg use wells. In fact, the whole ecosystem well past the mine’s boundaries will likely be affected. A mine can’t take millions of gallons of water out of a watershed without affecting life. Four years after Canadian Premium Sa

Toward the Creation of a Canada Water Agency

Executive summary Bighorn Country, Alberta Eastern Slopes  Photo by Aerin Jacob The Prime Minister has directed the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, with the support of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Special Representative for the Prairies to create a new Canada Water Agency (CWA) to work together with the provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, local authorities, scientists and others to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean and well-managed. The Prime Minister also directed the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada to “develop further protections and take active steps to clean up the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg, Lake Simcoe and other large lakes.” These two commitments are being addressed in an integrated manner. To support this effort, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) released a public discussion paper in December 2020: “Toward the Creation of a Canada Water Agency”. The

Government guidelines insufficient to protect North American freshwater ecosystem from salt pollution

PNAS Canoeing the jacques Cartier_Photo by Jake Dyson Current water quality guidelines aren't protecting freshwater ecosystems from increasing salt pollution due to road de-icing salts, agriculture fertilizers, and mining operations, according to an international study that included researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Published today in the  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  ( PNAS ), the research shows that freshwater salinization triggers a massive loss of zooplankton and an increase in algae -- even when levels are within the lowest thresholds established in Canada, the U.S., and throughout Europe. Story here.

Serious declines in oxygen levels are recorded in the world's temperate lakes.

Nature Clear Lake, Manitoba, CA. A PinP photo. Widespread, long-term declines in temperate lake oxygen levels have been reported in Nature this week. This trend, calculated for nearly 400 lakes within an 80-year period, may be linked to warming temperatures and decreasing water clarity. The declines could threaten essential lake ecosystems. The concentration of dissolved oxygen in aquatic systems can affect the balance of nutrients, biodiversity, the quality of drinking water and greenhouse gas emissions. While oxygen loss in oceans has been documented, the changes in dissolved oxygen concentrations in lakes are less well understood, in part owing to a lack of long-term and large-scale studies. Kevin Rose and authors measured temperature and dissolved oxygen levels for almost 400 lakes (mostly in Europe and the United States) between 1941 and 2017. Declines in dissolved oxygen are up to nine times greater than those observed in the oceans.  Increased water temperatures are associat

Manitoba's last wild river.

The Narwhal The Seal River. A Gov't. of Manitoba photo.     The Seal River is Manitoba’s only major waterway that hasn’t been dammed — and five Indigenous communities have banded together to keep it that way. Story here.

Could a million freshwater turtles help clean up some of Australia's polluted rivers? A team of scientists believes, they could!

by Larry Powell The freshwater turtle, Emydura macquarii. Credit: Claudia Santori. For well over a century,  invasive freshwater fish from Europe - carp (originally from China) - have been released, either deliberately or accidentally from fish farms, into Australian waterways. The fish, now widely regarded as pests, are thriving.  Their habitat includes rivers flowing through the Murray-Darling Basin of New South Wales. Those vast waterways support, through irrigation and other means, about 40% of agricultural production for the entire country - not to mention vital aquatic eco-systems and drinking water for about three million people.  Baby Emydura macquarii. Credit: Tom Burd. By contrast, the clock is ticking for Australia's native freshwater turtles. The new study says the most common species has declined by up to 91 percent in the past 40 years. It blames urbanization, which damages their habitat and makes the turtles more vulnerable to mass die-offs from disease. The

Lethal algae blooms – an ecosystem out of balance

--> The Guardian Toxic formations across the US and the Baltic are part of a worrying trend linked to the climate crisis and farming methods  Story here. Lk. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, with Reindeer Is. in the lower right. Photo credit - European Space Agency. Mekong Turns from Brown to Blue-Green In late 2019, the river started to turn colours due  to a reduced sediment load and algae blooms. NASA Earth Observatory. RELATED: IN HOGS WE TRUST - Part 1V   "The environmental costs of intensive livestock operations.".

Lakes worldwide are experiencing more severe algal blooms

PHYS ORG Lake Winnipeg. Satellite photo by European Space Agency. The intensity of summer algal blooms has increased over the past three decades, according to a first-ever global survey of dozens of large, freshwater lakes. Story here.

'Act before it's too late': The prairie province of Saskatchewan, Canada at high risk of water shortages, says global study

CBC News Climate change, resource extraction, agriculture among causes of potential water shortage, says author.  Story here. Echo Lake, SK. Photo by Joe Mabel from Seattle.

Microplastics in freshwaters

PHYS ORG Microplastics  in sediments from the rivers Elbe (A), Mosel (B),  Neckar (C), and Rhine (D). Note the diverse shapes (filaments,  fragments, and spheres) and that not all items are microplastics  (e.g., aluminum foil (C) and glass spheres and sand (D),  white arrowheads). The white bars represent 1 mm.  PhotoS by Martin Wagner  et al. As small as a grain of dust—but of great global significance. The word microplastics is familiar to many, but the dangers are virtually unexplored. In recent years, plastic pollution has become an ever-increasing burden on the environment. Countless videos and media reports draw attention to this problem. While the dangers of large plastic pieces for animals are impossible to overlook, there is practically nothing about the dangers posed by microplastics. But what are microplastics anyway?  Get the answer here.

While Nestlé extracts millions of litres from their land in Ontario, Canada, residents have no drinking water

The Guardian Just 90 minutes from Toronto, residents of a First Nations community try to improve the water situation as the beverage company extracts from their land. Story here .

Climate change affecting fish in Ontario lakes, study reveals

PHYS ORG A lake in northwestern Ontario. Photo by PinP. Warmer temperatures are having a ripple effect on food webs in Ontario lakes, according to a new University of Guelph study. Story here.

Beavers do 'dam' good work cleaning water

ScienceDaily A PinP photo. Beavers could help clean up polluted rivers and stem the loss of valuable soils from farms, new research shows.   More here.

Melbourn's water supply at risk due to "collapse" of forests caused by logging.

The Guardian Logging in Australia. Photo by  Peter Campbell Tree-felling helped trigger ‘hidden collapse’ of mountain ash forests, ecologists say. More here.

"In Hogs We Trust." Part IV The environmental costs of intensive livestock operations.

Last October, just before the provincial government relaxed regulations to allow for many more hogs to be produced in this province, George Matheson, Chair of the industry group, “Manitoba Pork,”  testified  before a legislative committee.  In an astonishing display of corporate hype, Matheson seemed to think he could, with a single statement, obliterate years of solid scientific research, conducted in his own province. “Hog manure is not getting into our rivers and lakes,” he declared. “The vast majority…about 85 per cent, is injected into the soil of farmland or immediately incorporated into the soil. This method of application essentially stops manure from running off the land. I cannot overemphasize this point. This means manure does not get into rivers and lakes. In fact, it is illegal for manure to leave a field.”    In her long career with the University of Winnipeg’s biology department,  Dr. Eva Pip  (below) has come to a dramatically different conclusion. Af