Category Archives: Preserving rivers in their natural state

Toxic ‘Blue-Green Algae’ in many Canadian Lakes

BLUE GREEN ALGAE
Cyanobacteria blooms pose a serious threat to drinking-water sources, because certain species contain toxins harmful to the liver or nervous system.
Cyanobacteria blooms pose a serious threat to drinking-water sources, because certain species contain toxins harmful to the liver or nervous system. (Photo credit: Dr. Ron Zurawell, Ph.D., P.Biol. Limnologist/Water Quality Specialist, Alberta Environment)(Photo credit: Dr. Ron Zurawell, Ph.D., P.Biol. Limnologist/Water Quality Specialist, Alberta Environment)
Article courtesy of ScienceDaily |February 26, 2015 | ScienceDaily | Shared as educational material
Summary:
Image result for blue green algaeThe organisms commonly known as blue-green algae have proliferated much more rapidly than other algae in lakes across North America and Europe over the past two centuries — and in many cases the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the mid-20th century, according to an international team of researchers.
Image result for blue green algaeThe organisms commonly known as blue-green algae have proliferated much more rapidly than other algae in lakes across North America and Europe over the past two centuries — and in many cases the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the mid-20th century, according to an international team of researchers led by scientists at McGill University.

The following youtube video is one of many published regarding the toxic blue-green algae. “Bloom – the Plight of Lake Champlain” (Part 1 of 4) is a documentary featuring Lake Champlain.


Their study, published in the journal Ecology Letters, represents the first continental-scale examination of historical changes in levels of cyanobacteria, the scientific term for the photosynthetic bacteria that form blue-green scum on the surface of ponds and lakes during hot summer months. Cyanobacteria blooms pose a serious threat to drinking-water sources, because certain species contain toxins harmful to the liver or nervous system.

Image result for blue green algae“We found that cyanobacterial populations have expanded really strongly in many lakes since the advent of industrial fertilizers and rapid urban growth,” says Zofia Taranu, who led the study as a PhD candidate in McGill’s Department of Biology. “While we already knew that cyanobacteria prefer warm and nutrient-rich conditions, our study is also the first to show that the effect of nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, overwhelm those of global warming.”

Alpine lakes affected:
Researchers from France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Malaysia, and across Canada contributed to the study. While the increase in cyanobacteria in agriculturally developed watersheds was in line with their expectations, the scientists were surprised to find that cyanobacteria also increased in many remote, alpine lakes. In those sites, warmer temperatures and nutrient loading from atmospheric sources are likely to have played a bigger role than direct agricultural runoff.

Dense algal blooms have become a summertime staple of media coverage — and a growing concern of lakefront homeowners — in certain regions, but until now there had been little in the way of long-term, large-scale synthesis of data on the phenomenon. This left room for doubt as to whether harmful algal blooms were truly on the rise, or whether communities were simply better equipped to identify and report blooms when they occur.

The rapid increase in cyanobacteria identified in the study points to the potential for a parallel increase in the concentration of harmful cyanotoxins, says Taranu, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Université de Montréal. While potentially toxic species don’t synthesize toxins at all times, studies have shown that one of the best predictors of toxin concentrations in lakes is the total abundance of cyanobacteria.

Image result for Cyanobacteria cause damage to the liver or nervous systemCyanobacteria can produce toxins that cause damage to the liver or nervous system. The most common symptoms of acute exposure to harmful algal blooms are skin rash or irritation, gastroenteritis and respiratory distress. Chronic, low dose exposures over a lifetime may also result in liver tumors or endocrine disruption. Preliminary studies also suggest that a recently isolated cyanotoxin may become more concentrated across food chains and may be associated with the formation of progressive neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS diseases. Although this latter work is still controversial among scientists, “our results underline the importance of further research in this area,” Taranu says.

Image result for minimizing excess fertilizer applicationCollaborations needed to tackle problem:
“Our work shows that we need to work harder as a society to reduce nutrient discharges to surface waters,” says Irene Gregory-Eaves, an associate professor of biology at McGill and co-author of the study. “Because diffuse nutrient loading (as opposed to end-of-pipe effluent) is the main issue, we need to build collaborations to tackle this complex problem. For example, partnerships among freshwater scientists and farmers are starting to happen, and more of this needs to take place, so that we can strike a balance between maximizing crop yields and minimizing excess fertilizer application.”

http://savethewater.org/2015/03/04/blue-green-algae-proliferating-lakes-2/

“The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis” by Gary Wockner

The following article, “The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis” by Gary Wockner and Youtube video, “WKA Peoples Climate March Video 8 19 14″ was posted to Ecowatch.com on Sept. 15, 2014

We’ve seen near-record wildfires, rain, drought, flooding and snowpack in the last 5 years in the watersheds along the Front Range of Colorado. In the same 12 months that record rain has occurred in one part of the Southwest U.S.’ Colorado River basin, record heat and drought has occurred in another.

Climate change is real, is happening now, and the climate crisis is a water crisis.

WATER CRISIS

On Sept. 20 as a part of the People’s Climate March in New York City, I and other colleagues from the international Waterkeeper Alliance we be holding a teach-in, The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis. We will come from all over the U.S. to tell a story about the link between climate and water, and we will offer our observations and recommendations on the next steps forward.

Here in the Southwest U.S, we must do everything we can to stop from making climate change worse. Unfortunately in Colorado and across the region, our public policies are going the wrong direction—we are drilling, fracking and mining fossil fuels faster than ever before, and we are burning them at record rates. Colorado’s frack-happy politicians and policies only seem to be rivaled by Utah’s deep dive (“carbon bomb”) into oil shale and tar sands mining. We must stop and head the other direction.

We also need to be better prepared to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We will likely see more extreme weather variability, we may see more extreme droughts in the Southwest U.S., and California’s extreme heat and drought going on right now may become a “new normal.”…

Taken from Gary’s post, “Waterkeepers March!” on Ecowatch, Sept. 21, 2014

WATERKEEPERS MARCH

“It was euphoric!

Never in my life have I been in such a mass of humanity as I was today in New York City in the largest climate march in world history. Joining me were 100 members of Waterkeeper Alliance as we marched along with more than 300,000 people through the streets of Manhattan. The march was three times bigger than anyone expected. The day was simply amazing…”

Gary Wockner, PhD, is Waterkeeper for the Cache la Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colorado, and directs the Save The Colorado River Campaign. You can reach Gary at Gary@GaryWockner.com.

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How Climate Change Exacerbates the Spread of Disease, Including Ebola

 

ALEXANDRA COUSTEAU ON THE OTTAWA RIVER

COUSTEAU OTTAWA RIVER

ALEX PHOTOAlexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of the famed oceanographer and environmentalist Jacques Cousteau, was in the Ottawa for a 13-day filmmaking trip to the Ottawa River watershed as part of a project to make three short documentaries on the Ottawa River, in co-operation with the Ottawa Riverkeeper group. Cousteau and    Riverkeeper Meredith Brown took to the water to sample the river near the Hull Marina, testing for oxygen, phosphorus and nitrogen in the water.  The documentary is about the Ottawa River and its tributaries, focusing on issues of waterway management and conservation. 

RIVERKEEPER LOGOIn my previous blog the video, ‘Ottawa River Keeper’ provides historical background and impressive scenery for  today’s video, “Alexandra Cousteau on the Ottawa River”, published on Youtube September 14, 2013.

BLUE LEGACY LOGOAlexandra Cousteau heads the Washington-based Blue Legacy foundation, which is “dedicated to advocating the importance of conservation and sustainable management of water in order to preserve a healthy planet.”

The three documentaries will be released in the spring of 2014.

 Link ~ … “The goal of our water quality monitoring program is to provide communities with timely, easy-to-understand information on water quality along their reach of the river; MEREDITH BROWNinformation that is surprisingly difficult, if not impossible, to get elsewhere,” says Riverkeeper Meredith Brown. “Not only does this engage communities in protecting the river, they have a right to know what’s in their water.”…

http://www.fondationdegaspebeaubien.org/en/news/alexandra-cousteau-tells-the-story-of-her-10-days-expedition-on-the-ottawa

OTTAWA RIVER KEEPER ~ IMPRESSIVE VIDEO

OTTAWA RIVER

The following video, “Ottawa River Keeper”, was uploaded on Mar. 10, 2008, by Lu Utronki.  This video is designed to bring awareness to the importance of the Ottawa River for sustainability. 

The Ottawa River flows through the provinces of Quebec and Ontario for over 1200 kilometres.  There are almost 2 million people who live throughout the Ottawa River watershed.  To the Algonquin First Nations who lived by its banks and traveled by canoe the river was known as the Kitchi-sippi, meaning “The Great River“.  Visitors such as white water paddlers, fishing enthusiasts and river trippers from around the world looking for a wilderness experience  enjoy the Ottawa River year round.  The Ottawa River is a globally significant river and is part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence watershed, and is the largest freshwater system in the entire world.

Hope to see you back here for our next blog featuring “Ottawa River Keeper Part 2″ and “Alexandra Cousteau on the Ottawa River” – a Youtube video published this year on September 14th.

RIVER OF LIGHT CELEBRATION ~ ALBERTA, CANADA

WEB SITE COLLAGE

RIVER OF LIGHT LOGOShifting and evolving as it travels to rivers throughout the world, the River of Light has gained local and international recognition through its ability to not only engage communities to participate in the work, but also to highlight the importance of river preservation and water conversation on a global scale.  The River of Light is a world touring art installation by Creatmosphere that combines floating lights, sound and new technologies to celebrate the rivers of the world through public art.

River of Light Art project on the Bow River in Calgary August 2010, Artist: Laurent Louyer.  Photo slideshow to start with video clip of colour changes starting at 1:31 and then a few more images.  Music by Roger Subiranan Mata, “Point of No Return”, available through a creative commons license on http://www.jemendo

RED DEER RIVER2013 marks the 100th birthday of the City of Red Deer and to celebrate this the Red Deer River will become the territory and stage for a series of daylight sculptural and sound installations and night-time light and video interventions that aim to create new Points of View for the community to discover and engage with their city and river.

Web: www.riveroflight.org
The River of Lights: Points of View has been commissioned by the
Central Alberta Historical Society for the Red Deer City Centennial.

Associated link ~http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/river-of-light

CIELAP REPORT ~ “EMERGING CONTAMINANTS”

WHAT MUST WE DO
TO PRESERVE
WHAT CAN WE DO TO PRESERVE THIS???

OUR MOST PRECIOUS RESOURCE???

The following excerpts are taken from a report, “There is No Away: Emerging Contaminants Detected in Water” which was published in the March/April, 2006 edition of Canadian Water Treatment magazine.

CIELAP ICONA report from the Canadian Institute For Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP) released during National Pharmacists Awareness Week emphasizes the need for the Canadian GREAT LAKES MAPgovernment and industry to invest mores resources to research the effects of “emerging contaminants: in Canada’s waterways”.  The report makes 11 recommendations about ways to reduce the amount of, and their effects on, one of Canada‘s most valuable resources.

ANNE MITCHELLAnne Mitchell, executive director of CIELAP, said the release of the report was planned to coincide with the industry’s national convention because there are a number of issues related to increasingDISPOSE DRUGS environmental contamination by pharmaceuticals and personal care products.  She was also careful to commend pharmacist for their efforts in keeping unused and wasted drugs out of the water.

SUSAN HOLTZThe report, There is No Away: Emerging Contaminants Detected in Water, was written by Susan Holtz, a policy consultant to CIELAP who  writes on issues related to sustainable development, water and energy.  CIELAP is a not-for-profit research and educational institute dedicated to environmental law, policy analysis and reform.

In writing her  report, Holtz examined the issued of “emerging USGEOLOGICAL SURVEYcontaminants” – a term that originated in a U.S. Geological Survey report.  It refers to the  presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (collectively know as PPCPs) and endocrine-disrupting substances (EDSl) in the Canadian water system.  Holtz warns that the contaminants entering surface, ground and drinking water can have serious environmental and health consequences.  One of the biggest concerns is the issue of resistance to antibiotics and hormonal imbalances due to higher concentrations of EDS.  Of major concern, she says, if the increased use of antibiotics for both the human and animal population.  In Canada, there were 326.2 million prescriptions filled from July 2001 to August 2002.

EMERGING CONTAMINANTS

In farming, Holtz notes that antibiotics are no longer being used singularly to treat sick animals; they’re also being used in the form of hormones, growth promoters and for illness prevention.  In her research, she determined the increased use of drugs in veterinary medicine, farming practices and aquaculture has decreased the effectiveness of the use of antibiotics.  The use of hormones in both animals and humans has had a negative effect on reproduction, causing the feminization of fish, wiping out an entire talhead minnow population in Ontario.  EDSs have also contributed to deformities in fish, birds and wildlife…Building on study results conducted in the U.S. and Europe, Holtz says it’s time for Canada to get more involved in the issue of contaminants in water.  She says the Canadian government and Canadian organizations don’t have enough information “even to develop a strategy that can effectively” determine the effects of contaminants in water… 
Here are a few YouTube videos relevant to this article:

~ Pharmaceuticals ~

~ Disposing of your Medications ~

~ Pharmaceutical Products In Our Water PSA ~

In addition to research, Holtz said a focus on human behaviour and providing more information to the public in order to encourage better choices are also important elements of social change.

OTTAWA RIVERKEEPER ADVENTURE FILM FESTIVAL

Ottawa-River-Keeper1Ottawa-River-Keeper-logo

Ottawa’s First Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Join Ottawa Riverkeeper for an evening of adventure-packed films that celebrate our natural world while raising funds to protect the Ottawa River.

Ottawa-River-Keeper2

The evening includes a silent auction, door prizes and the opportunity to speak to the Ottawa Riverkeeper herself, Meredith Brown!

When: Thursday, February 21, 2013 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
(Doors open at 6:30 pm)

Where: Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa

Why: All proceeds from this evening support Ottawa Riverkeeper initiatives, including the purchase of water quality test kits for our Riverwatch Program. Swim. Drink. Fish. It’s your river, it’s your right!

Tickets: $12 General Admission, $50 VIP pass (1 ticket with reserved premium seating and admission to our prescreening reception)

Hosted by Ottawa Riverkeeper, this year’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival features award-winning environmental documentaries with a focus on freshwater.

Through stellar filmmaking, beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling these films inform, inspire and ignite solutions to restore the earth, build strong communities, and create a positive future for the next generation.

Award Winning Films

White Water, Black Gold
Follows David Lavallee on his three year journey across western Canada in search of the truth about the impact of the world’s thirstiest oil industry. This is a journey of jarring contrasts, from the pristine mountain icefields that are the source of this industry’s water, to the Tar Sands tailings ponds. White Water, Black Gold is a sober look at the untold costs associated with this unconventional ‘oil’. Take a sneak peak!

Chasing Water
Follow the Colorado River, source to sea, with photographer Pete McBride who takes an intimate look at the watershed as he attempts to follow the irrigation water that sustains his family’s Colorado ranch, down river to the sea. Check out the trailer

For a full listing of films…


Amazing Prizes

A Stand Up Paddle group lesson for six from Paddlefit

An Ocean Wise five-course menu by Executive Chef Walid El-Tawel with Restaurant e18hteen

Buy tickets online or at Delilah (in the Parc), Delilah (in the Glebe), Mountain Equipment Co-op or Trailhead

“Like” Ottawa Riverkeeper on Facebook and share this contest for a chance to win 2 VIP passes to the festival!


Not already a member? Join Ottawa Riverkeeper today!


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Ottawa Riverkeeper is a charitable organization. Our business number is 862697059RR0001. Please consider making a donation to support our work.

Concerned citizens like you are part of a watershed network of people committed to the protection and conservation of our river. Thank you for helping to keep our watershed healthy!

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