Monthly Archives: November 2018

Virginia Town Evacuated over Gas in the Watewr Supply.

An unknown gas found in a Virginia Town has prompted evacuation of parts of the town. The Louisa County Sheriff’s office released a statement that says the tested levels don’t represent an explosive risk, but could be a health hazard.

The “do not use” order came out Thursday. It did not apply to those on well. A shopping centre and schools in an area were evacuated. All Louisa schools will be closed Friday.

The water system has to be shut off in order to assist in identifying the gas and the cause of the contamination.

We will water this situation and see where it goes.

El Paso to Drink Treated Sewage

The City of El Paso, Texas live in the middle of the harsh Chihuahuan Desert. Hot and little annual rain. One of its best sources of water is the Rio Grande which can supply up to half the city’s water needs. Climate change is making this supply problematic, the city must look for different sources of water. 700,000 residents, businesses, and agriculture need to ware…so what to do?

El Paso is slated to be one of the first large cities to treat its sewage water and send it directly back into its taps.

This creativity with the water supply is required because the snow pack that supplies the Rio Grande is lessening. Since 1958 the amount of April snow melt going into the Rio Grande has dropped by 25%. Sure there have been droughts before, but the increase in temperature is pushing a drier and warmer climate….and it is happening else where in the western states.

The dwindling reserves that serve El Paso at the Elephant Butte Reservoir, just outside of Truth and Consequences, New Mexico is hovering at 3%-4% of its full capacity.

The city of El Paso has been proactive in addressing their water concerns, they are now ready to take the next step in expanding their water portfolio…. build a closed loop system that will treat the sewage water and turn it directly into drinking water. Treated sewage will undergo additional filtration and be sent back into the drinking water supplies.

The amount of wastewater produced in large cities can represent 50% -60% of the total water supplied, giving a resource  for water needy cities like El Paso.

Sea Birds..Dead…Stomachs full of plastic

Any parent wants to provide for their baby, and albatross go to great lengths to feed their babies. But they are feeding them sharp, toxic plastic because they have mistaken it for multicoloured squid or cuttlefish near the surface of the ocean.

Plastic can be replaced.

Whales in the News

Nov 20/18 Indonesia: dead whale had 1,000 pieces of plastic in stomach

June 3/18 Whale dies from eating more than 80 plastic bags

May 23/18 Plastic bag swallowing sperm whales – victims of our remorseless progress.

March 30/18 whales are starving – their stomachs full of plastic waste

January 25/16 fifth dead whale found on British beach.

March 8/ 2013 Spanish sperm whale death linked to UK supermarket suppliers plastic.

….and on and on.

Cranberry Farming…Flooding , Floating, and Pumping.

Growing cranberries involves techniques not utilized in other farms. The year round work comes to a head with the water logged weeks of autumn.

At the Elm Lake Cranberry farm the grow on 150 acres, with a yield of some 5 million pounds per year. Harvest season is from mid September to end of October.

When the berries are ripe, the beds are flooded, so the berries come easier off the vine. A harrow, (basically a bunch of metal rods)is moved through the water , knocking the berries off the vine. The cranberries float and are then harvested off the surface of the water. After the berries are harvested the water in the beds needs to be removed quickly so it doesn’t damage the vines.

The fields are then flooded for winter when it is cold enough to freeze. The ice acts as an insulator protecting the tiny buds from the colder temps above.

The cranberry …amazing.

Humpback Whale Survivors of Orca Attack

A new study has shown that scars left by orca attacks show most victims are young whales on their first trip from the breeding ground to the feeding ground. From the warm shallow waters to the deep cool waters. Increasing number of scars may mean more orcas.

Analysis of rake marks on more than 3,000 humpback whales tails and flukes appears to show the number of injuries is on the rise. Orcas are the apex predator of the oceans. They usually prefer seals, fish , and birds for food so why to increase in humpback whale injuries. It is thought that whale numbers are increasing due to the strength of whaling bans.

In the areas studied 11.5 % of adult whales and 19.5 % of calves display scars. The number of scars borne by individuals did not seem to change from year to year, suggesting that orcas attacks occur during the first migration. Then carry the scars for the rest of their lives.

Young whales at feeding grounds bear more scars than those at the breeding grounds. This possibly shows orcas prefer to attack young whales. Scarred females tend to have more offspring, which might show that the females who had been attacked at on time have learned from the experience and become better at avoiding the apex predator.

Whale watching from space

Scientists have used detailed high-resolution satellite images to detect, count and describe 4 different species of whale. the research is a big step towards developing a cost-effective way to study whales in remote places that will help monitor population changes and understand their behavior.

Each species of whale was observed in one of their aggregation areas. Right whales off Argentina, humpbacks off Hawaii, fin whales in the Pelagos sanctuary in the Mediterranean, and grey whales off Mexico were observed.

Already the information learned has helped whale conservation bodies to identify 10 key inaccessible whale populations that would benefit from the application of study through satellite imagery.

Importantly the new resolution can capture image down to 30cms. Characteristics features of individual whales are now visible.

The new technology could be a game changer in helping to find whales remotely. Critically endangered whale population could really benefit.

Robust corals primed to resist coral bleaching.

A world’s first study has revealed that robust reef building corals are the only known organisms in the animal kingdom to make one of the essential amino acids which may make them less susceptible than other corals to global warming.

Amino acids are the building blocks of life, crucial to repairing tissue or growing new tissue. Making amino acids takes a lot of energy, so animals usually only make 11 of the 20 required for life.  The remaining 9 are called essential amino acids because they must be supplied by the animals diet. For coral this diet includes zooplankton and through a mutually beneficial relationship with a micro algae corals are supplied the energy needed to build their hard skeletons. These micro algae provide the essential amino acids.

We now know that these robust corals make at least one of the essential amino acids without the help of the micro algae. This suggests they might be more resilient to least in the short term.

..more to be discovered I think.