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?
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
Barrier islands are vital buffers between mainlands and the ocean’s harsh wind and waves. “Mississippi barrier islands are the first line of defense between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi mainland, and are an important habitat for threatened Gulf Sturgeon, endangered and threatened sea turtles species, and threatened shorebirds” (Dalyander et al., 2016). In … Continue reading Ship Island Restoration: Decisions Before the Storm
Coastal wetlands, like this tidal marsh, are not only beautiful, they are also home to diverse ecosystems and act as protective buffers between coastal communities and the sometimes stormy and destructive ocean. Worryingly, sea-level rise and bigger storms threaten to flood and erode these vital environments as climate change worsens. One method that has been … Continue reading Coastal Wetlands vs. Climate Change – How We (and Sand) Can Decide the Victor