Category Archives: News

One Fish, Two Fish, Brave Fish, Tasty Fish. Lots of fish news this week.

photo from Michigan Sea Grant

When we monitor streams, we give a lot of love to the Macroinvertebrates, but skeletal creatures indicate water quality, too! Here’s a roundup of trials and comebacks our fish buddies have gone through lately. Check out these links; You might be suprised what you learn.


Brave New Fish. Nancy Gross reports a curious new finding on the Water Effiency editor’s blog :

A study published by researchers at Umeå University “showed that remnants of oxazepam, a drug used for anxiety, resulted in braver and more curious activity among normally timid fish. Individuals exposed to the drug examined their surroundings more freely than normally,” the Helsinki Times recently recently reported


Good: sturgeon return. Bad: rockfish fall. Ugly: a killer plant comes back to the bay. Washington Post’s Darryl Fears outlines the perils of living in Chesapeake Bay:

It is a sign of troubling times in America’s largest estuary, even in the midst of an aggressive anti-pollution effort that is in its fourth year. The bay is beset by man-made waste and overfishing. And it is laced with diseases that take the lives of countless oysters and striped bass and with chemicals that are changing the sex of male smallmouth bass.

But the sturgeon is a sign that the bay can recover. And even though the numbers of striped bass are down, they’re not at the historic lows of the mid-1980s, when several states were forced to halt fishing to help them recover.


Great Lakes States to Track Asian Carp and Prepare for Future Invasions. Kaye LaFond of freshwater news source Circle of Blue reports:

 

The less threatening nature of the grass carp gives various state, federal, and provincial agencies from around the Great Lakes a unique opportunity to practice for what would be a true emergency: the establishment of silver or bighead carp in Lake Erie or other Great Lakes waterways.


Battle over caviar production rages in Missouri, Oklahoma. Published earlier this year, but no less timely, Al Jazeera ran this story by Missouri’s own Ryan Schuessler:

 Decades ago, the international caviar market was on the verge of collapse. In the years leading up to and following the demise of the Soviet Union, beluga sturgeon in the Caspian Sea were overfished. By the late ’80s, they were on the verge of extinction and became a protected species. Demand for the delicacy remained high, supply plummeted and prices soared.

Half a world away in the Missouri Ozarks, Jim Kahrs, Steve and Pete’s father, saw that as an opportunity and became one of the early players in the American caviar market, turning his family-run fishery into an international caviar exporter.


Got any fish news of your own? Leave us a comment on this post! But please — no fishing tales.

Advertisements

Bathroom products vs. clean water: why Illinois banned microbeads

AP photo courtesy 5gyres

Our nation’s waterways have a new threat, and it might be lurking on your bathroom counter.

Plastic microbeads–found in many health and beauty products including face washes and toothpaste–are turning up in water systems everywhere, from Los Angeles rivers, to Arctic seas, to Midwest lakes, to coastal bays. That’s bad news for aquatic life, which mistake the beads for eggs and other food.

Here’s the latest news  on what scientists are learning about these tiny balls o’ petrochemicals, and who’s taming their spread.


With Concern For Environment, Illinois Bans Microbeads. By Cheryl Corley for NPR.

photo
photo by Flickr user gentlemanrook

“Scientists say after fish and other organisms eat the tiny bits of plastic — usually listed as polyethylene or polypropylene on labels — toxins could be passed on to humans and wildlife.

“The Illinois law bans the manufacture of microbeads in consumer products by the end of 2017. Some companies, like Johnson & Johnson, are already phasing them out in facial cleansers and other products and are testing alternatives.”


‘Microplastics’ imperil marine life in Tampa Bay, worldwide. By Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Eckerd crew has consistently found about 150 particles of microplastics per gallon sampled.

…Some of the microplastics could be coming from the sewage plants that still dump treated waste into the bay.

[Plants] have made great strides in preventing nitrogen from flowing into the bay from their waste stream, Greening said, but nobody has given any thought to screening out microplastics. Hastings said doing so “would be very, very difficult and expensive.”


Researchers finding plastic in water samples from Great Lakes. By Dana Massing for the Erie Times-News.

“If it’s in the water, ultimately it’s in us,” said Mason, an associate professor of chemistry at the State University of New York at Fredonia. “We need to stop putting these chemicals into the water.”


Think you might be part of the problem? There’s an app for that.

Download Plastic Soup Foundation’s Beat the Microbead App. Scan a barcode before you purchase a cosmetic, and it will tell you whether it contains microplastics. You could also just look for polyethylene or polypropylene in the ingredients list.

Hey, if you need exfoliating action, that’s A-OK. Simply choose products using crushed walnut shells, oats, or poppy seeds–organic alternatives that are way better than plastic.

It’s on! Old-fashioned debate about Ozark National Scenic Riverways is set for May 3

On May 3, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and Missouri state Representative Chris Kelly will square off on the courthouse steps of Shannon County in Eminence, Mo., to discuss the future management of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. It’s an old-school debate that started in a very new-school way: through exchanges on Twitter. Rudi Keller of the Columbia Tribune reports:

The Kelly-Kinder debate sprang from a Twitter exchange in February on the day Kinder participated in a news conference calling for state control. Kelly, taking aim at the idea, wrote that it would go “back the way it was … with Dodge trucks caught in the rootwads. The oil in the water made neat rainbows.”

The issue is not whether to allow unlimited development or allow “Dodge trucks caught in the rootwads,” Kinder said. “That is a straw man and unworthy of a serious argument. No one wants to go back to that. It is how best to preserve these glittering jewels of God’s creation in the Ozarks.”

Read more…

At issue are values around the economics and ecology of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways – particularly the conservation, preservation and recreation of this important recreation area. We encourage Stream Teamers to keep up with this ever-evolving story. In past weeks, we have covered legislative action potentially allowing the state to take control over national land. Recently, Jennifer Davidson of KSMU in Springfield covered the issue in a two-part series, and this debate is yet another chapter.

If you plan to attend:

  • Who: The public is invited to attend this debate between Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and state Representative Chris Kelly
  • What: The politicians will discuss the future management of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
  • When: Saturday, May 3 at 11 a.m.
  • Where: Eminence, Mo., Shannon County courthouse steps (alternative rain sites TBA — you can probably just ask around town once you get there)
  • Why: Stay informed of the rhetoric surrounding this important issue. And be entertained! This is what our great-great grandparents did for fun, so pack your popcorn and join in a great American tradition.

Update: Brigit Bowden reported on this event for KBIA.

It’s Earth Day! Get out and celebrate all around Missouri

photo by Flickr user Ostrosky Photography

Happy Earth Day, Stream Teamers! It’s a beautiful day in the Show-Me State, so you’re spending quality time with Mother Nature. Actually, you should get outside right now! Go on! This blog post will wait right here…

Gee, wasn’t that neat? Now, if you want to commune with your fellow humans to celebrate the Earth, we have some suggestions for that, too. Here’s a quick overview of Earth Day festivals and events taking place in cities all over the state.  (Bonus: Missouri State Parks have hikes and celebrations planned as well.)

Scroll down for info on how to get a stamp on your Stream Team Anniversary Passport for attending one of these events or even just doing something yourself.

If you know of some more activities this week, please leave us a comment below!

Columbia

tumblr_static_cedc_header14__3_

Columbia Area Earth Day Festival: It’s one of the oldest Earth Day festivals in the state and includes a vibrant street fair, kids’ park,  earthy entertainment and educational talks throughout the day.

Details: Sunday, April 27, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. in downtown Columbia near Peace Park

Jefferson City

edaylogoMissouri Department of Natural Resources Earth Day Celebration: The Department of Natural Resources is determined to make this 20th anniversary of a capitol Earth Day the best ever, with a  Teachers’ Resource Room, live presentations, hands-on crafts from recycled materials, and more exhibitors than ever before.

Bonus: Stream Team will have a booth here. Come say hello!

Details: Friday, April 25, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the Capitol Lawn 

Kansas City

Check out a Native Plant Sale on April 26 at The City Market. Photo by Van Wiskur from the Missouri Prairie Foundation.
Check out a Native Plant Sale on April 26 at The City Market. Photo by Van Wiskur from the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

Hopefully you made it to last weekend’s early Earth Day events at Powell Gardens and the Kansas City Zoo. If not, no worries! This week, the city is ripe with things to green up your life and community. For instance, today is Keep Kansas City Beautiful’s big Electronics Recycling event at the Sprint Center. There’s a talk about “Sacred Waters: the Middle Missouri & Central Prairie Freshwater Ecoregions” tomorrow, and Saturday will see a volunteer community cleanup, an ecological restoration project in Swope Park, a compost giveaway in Overland Park, and a native plant sale at The City Market.

You can find more Kansas City environmental event information now and throughout the year at Greenability Magazine’s events calendar.

Springfield

Dickerson Park Zoo is hosting a Party for the Planet with ‘green’ activities and animals hunting for Easter eggs. What a hoot!

Details: Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Dickerson Park Zoo

St. Louis

sled-logo-new@2xEnjoy three stages of entertainment, learn about sustainable products and services offered by local businesses, meet area non-profits that share the mission of Earth Day, and participate in a variety of hands-on educational activities for this multipart event.

Earth Day Eve: Saturday, April 26, 2014
4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at The Muny at McKinley Dr. & Pagoda Cir., Forest Park

Recycling Extravaganza: Sunday, April 27, 2014
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at St. Louis Community College – Forest Park Campus, off Oakland Avenue

Earth Day Festival: Sunday, April 27, 2014
11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Muny grounds of Forest Park

Get your passport stamped

If you attend any of these events or even celebrated Earth Day in your own way, just submit an activity report to us and make sure you specify that it was an Earth Day event. We’ll send your stamp out in a jiffy! More details on the Passport Program here…

25th-ST_Logo-Color-FinalEarth Day celebrations are part of more than 25 activities we’re highlighting for Missouri Stream Team’s 25th anniversary. We have cleanups, education events and even a big float trip coming up now through October, so mark your calendars!

Issue Update: ONSR state takeover no longer in budget

Last month, we sent an issue alert concerning proposed legislation that would affect future management of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. We asked you to voice your opinion, and now the issue is resolved. Thank you for your input. 

 

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee stripped the $6 million appropriation for a state takeover of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways from the fiscal year 2015 budget. Senators and Representatives voiced various concerns over the bill. Read the full article by Alex Stuckey on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

 

We have previously written about the proposed budget and an update on the House vote and move to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Other, active bills related to the ONSR include:

  • SCR 22, which urges the National Park Service to not take action on the Ozark National Scenic Riverways general management plan, and for the Department of the Interior to negotiate the return of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways to the state. It passed the Senate on February 20 and referred to the House Committee on Tourism and Natural Resources on April 1.
     
  • HB 2294, which provides for the sale of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways to certain private parties in the event the United States Secretary of the Interior conveys such property to the state. This bill is sponsored by Jeff Pogue and was introduced April 1 and read a second time April 2.
     
  • HCR 9, which strongly urges the National Park Service to draft its final General Management Plan for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways to recognize the importance the riverways provides to the state.

-1One goal of the Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition is to encourage advocacy among the Stream Team Community. One way we do this is by sending out Issue Alerts that will give your Team the opportunity to voice an opinion regarding issues related to protection of our water resources.

Road Salt Roundup

photo by Flickr user J.C. Burns

With all the snow and ice Missouri’s seen this month, it sure does make one wonder where all that road salt goes. Here are just a few articles to get you up to speed on what slows ice down.

Public Radio International’s “Living on Earth” magazine presents their Road Salt Report. Ashley Ahearn reports.

One recent National Academy of Sciences study shows that salt concentration in fresh water is on the rise in Maryland, New Hampshire and New York due to road salting and could make groundwater in many areas of the Northeast un-drinkable within a century.


But don’t let that get you down! Here’s one solution: A sensor detects salt on the road to avoid excess. A report from Spain on Phys.org

The sensor is capable of measuring the luminescent properties of sodium chloride (its range and decay time), which enables concentrations of salt lower than 20 g/m2 – the quantity it is recommended not to exceed – to be detected.

And then there’s beet juice. Washington, D.C. spent $18,000 on beet juice to pretreat its roads, and Delaware roads also “took a beeting.” (Their bad pun, not ours.)

Walerstein said the company buys its sugar beets from American growers, including farms in northern Ohio and Michigan.


See also:

“Winters in wintry cities remain salty year-round” by for the Great Lakes Echo.

An oldie but goodie: “Environmental Impact of Road Salt and Alternatives in New York” by William Wegner and Marc Yaggi.

Two stories Jan Ellen Spiegel: “Dumping plowed snow into bodies of water raises a few environmental issues” and “Between a rock (salt) and a hard place.”

Are there any Missouri counties or cities out there practicing alternatives? What do you use for your sidewalk? Let us know in the comments!

Water pollution and solutions news roundup

Walking-the-line
Photo by Flickr user Angelina :).

Could your driveway be poisoning your kids? Robert McClure of Investigate West writes for QUEST.

Car tires, rain, foot traffic, snowplows, and the freeze/thaw cycle all cause tiny bits of the sealant to “abrade,” as scientists say. Little bits of the black stuff flake off. Other studies have shown that the runoff from the coal tar-sealed lots harms critters in freshwater streams where it ends up, affecting their development and reproduction and reducing the populations and the number of species able to live in affected streams.

Microbeads a major problem in L.A. River. By Louis Sahagun for the L.A. Times.

The tiny polyethylene and polypropylene beads are an emerging concern among scientists and environmentalists. The beads come mostly from personal care products such as facial exfoliants and body washes. They are not biodegradable, however, and because they are not removed easily by wastewater treatment plants, they flow out to sea and enter the food chain.

Residents Race To Save Urban Wetlands as Puerto Rican Estuary Faces Dire Pollution Problem. By Danica Coto of AP in Huffington Post.

More than 12,600 pounds (5,700 kilograms) of trash was pulled out of the San Juan Bay Estuary in just a few hours that recent weekend morning, evidence of the enormous scale of the problem, but perhaps also a sign that things might improve. A plan to rescue this urban wetland, which is still a vital habitat and prime tarpon fishing ground despite the pollution, is a priority for the administration of Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, in part to bring more tourists and needed revenue to the gritty capital of the U.S. island territory.

River’s contaminated sediment targeted in EPA cleanup plan. By Jim Kasuba for The News-Herald in Southgate, Mich.

Most of the industries that lined the Detroit River are long gone, but the pollution they left behind remains to this day. It took decades to contaminate the river to a point where wildlife and human health have been affected, but it could take just as long to clean it all up.

Your turn: Do you have a piece of news you’d like to see covered in the next news roundup? Leave us a comment and we’ll put it in the next roundup!