DAMS HAVE A LIFETIME JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE, AND THE DAM-BUILDING MANIA OF THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY HAS LEFT US WITH SEVERAL DAMNING PROBLEMS DOTTED ACROSS THE LANDSCAPE. Last year, I stood on top of the Alder Dam in the state of Washington, USA. Morning had shifted to afternoon, and sun rays beamed through clouds … Continue reading We’ve Inherited a Dam Problem: Extended Cut
Morning had shifted to afternoon. Sun rays beamed through clouds and lit up evergreen slopes. A class of college students stood on top of Alder Dam in Washington State. A few feet to our left, a quiescent lake sprawled as far as the eye could see. A few feet to our right, past a chain-link … Continue reading We’ve Inherited a Dam Problem
Mangrove forests occupy a unique ecological niche in inter-tidal zones of the world’s tropics and subtropics, and their extent and health have important implications for both science and policy. In the conterminous United States, these warm temperature- and saltwater- loving trees only grow in three states: Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. However, these forests are highly … Continue reading Tracking Mangroves in the United States: Where? Why? and What’s Next?
Corals are being stressed by so many things nowadays. For example, they must cope with living in warmer water that can lead to coral bleaching and die-off. On top of this, humans are making the situation even worse by dredging up coral reefs and smothering nearby reefs with the dredged sediment. Sedimentation on reefs can … Continue reading Sediment Dredging Harms Miami Coral Reef
A lot of beaches are eroding, basically washing away, because they aren’t getting enough natural sediment to replenish themselves. One reason for this is that we have built hard structures along beaches (like jetties, ports, harbors, and factories) that block sand from being naturally pushed along by waves; sand gets stuck behind these structures and … Continue reading How to Renourish a Beach with a Forgotten Past: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Levees, those wonderful walls that protect us and our land from destructive floods, come with a dark little secret – they protect us today but doom us tomorrow. Levees are walls that run along the shoreline of a body of water and can be either natural or man-made. Levees can naturally form by sediment settling … Continue reading The Levee Dilemma