Category Archives: Nature

Canadian water/wastewater sectors need climate change planning

“No Time to Lose – Canadian water and wastewater sectors must
adapt to climate change” by Hiran Sandanayake appeared in watercanada’s July / Aug 2014 issue

CWWAA few years ago, Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA ) staff asked its members a simple question: “How prepared are the Canadian water and wastewater sectors for climate change and extreme events?”

The following creative Youtube video, “Water and climate change : let’s adapt!”, published on Jul 30, 2014, mentions many vital concerns:

On the World Environment Day 2014, the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica water agency launched an animated film on adaptation to climate change in the water sector.  Climate change is here. Let’s adapt! The French Government, the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica water agency, the regions of Franche-Comté, Burgundy, Rhône-Alpes, Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur have engaged in a plan to adapt to change climate. Making the ground permeable again to allow water to infiltrate, reducing water waste, preserving wetlands and biodiversity… the plan proposes a range of measures to reduce the vulnerability of territories.

 After discussions, meetings, and a poll, the CWWA developed a quick snapshot. There was some good news: some municipalities saw climate change as a risk worth addressing. Some of them were establishing climate-change policies and strategies, quantifying climate-change risk, and developing adaptation programs for climate change and extreme events.

Unfortunately, there were warning signs, too. There appeared to be a wide range in levels of preparedness across the country. As the national voice for the water and wastewater sector, CWWA felt it urgent to advocate for climate-change adaptation and provide guidance.
CWWA created a new national technical committee for climate change. Since then, it has been bringing early adaptation adopters and champions together to spark a dialogue, learn from each other’s experiences, and learn about data and technical tools available for water and wastewater managers and utilities.

Another short video published Oct. 14, 2013 dealing with this topic is,”Preparing Great Lakes Cities for Climate Change: Adapting to Change and Building Resilience”, emphasizing collaboration between Canada and the USA regarding these concerns.

For communities in the Great Lakes region climate change poses unique challenges and creates intriguing opportunities. While many regions of the country face catastrophic threats of sea level rise or tragic outbreaks of wildfires, climate change impacts in the Great Lakes region create more subtle and insidious stresses on the way we live, work and play in our communities. At the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute, we are working to address these impacts and develop strategies for building more resilient cities.

Through my role as chair of the climate-change committee, I have had the privilege of learning from and working with a broad range of professionals from water and wastewater utilities, the private sector, government departments, and academia. During this time, some themes have become apparent to me:
• Adaptation to climate change often requires multi-disciplinary approaches.
• Climate-change planning is founded on many existing municipal planning processes.
• Incremental approaches to climate-change adaptation may not be sufficient.
• Local climate-change risk assessments and proper data are critical to making informed decisions. Without these, proposed solutions may result in monies not being spent on the true priorities or, worse,
may result in maladaption (unintentional exacerbation of vulnerabilities).
• Applying a true climate-change lens to water and wastewater planning may result in different solutions; place new emphasis on non-traditional or non-infrastructure intensive approaches to water management and protection during extreme events; force us to re-examine traditional approaches to uncertainty, risk, vulnerability, and level of service; and require changes now to increase resiliency.
Lessons from extreme events can be instructive for climate-change planning. These events sometimes highlight linkages not readily apparent during normal operations (for example, the limitations of municipal human resources, municipal cash flow/financing, public preparedness, et cetera). In some cases, the lack of mandates and efforts coordinated between jurisdictions can also further complicate adaptation efforts.
Funding for climate-change adaptation is needed, not only by the municipal utilities but also by the regional, provincial, and federal departments that are providing research, technical guidance, and coordination.

Though we have already seen successes in climate change adaptation and collaboration, we are still in the early days of this process. For our part, the CWWA climate-change committee will be Image result for CWWA climate-changepolling municipalities to get an updated survey of the state of climate-change adaptation. We are also creating an electronic resource databank and have other technical and coordination initiatives in the early planning stages.

The time is now to begin the adaptation process. Quantifying local risks and increasing resiliency now is the best and most cost-effective strategy.

HIRANHiran Sandanayake, P.Eng., is a senior water resources engineer with the City of Ottawa and chair of the CWWA ’s climate-change committee.

Interesting related article ~

Canadian humour ~ You’ll Love Our Winters! Ha! ha!

  I’ve got a few dozen jokes about Canada in the wintertime
and will divide them into 2 blogs.


The following youtube video, “Boston Blizzard 2015 #Snowlapse – Watch the snow pile up! (40-hour time lapse in HD)” was published on Jan 28, 2015. It is a time lapse of the 2015 Boston blizzard from 3 pm on January 26 to 8 am on January 28, 2015.

The video was created from 5,000 images, recorded at 30-second intervals on a GoPro. The snowlapse was recorded on a roof in Back Bay Boston. For reference, the tall building on the far left is the Hancock Tower. The building in the distance in the middle is the Westin Copley Plaza and the illuminated “The” is from the roof of The Lenox Hotel.

WATER DROPLET1_FOR BLOG ICONThis winter, which is one for the records, many of our American friends to the south are also experiencing record breaking temperatures and snowfalls.  Hang in their folks ~ they tell us that there really is a spring season at the end of this long white tunnel!


You’ve probably run out of places to pile the snow as you try to dig out, so just forget about it for now and  snuggle up with a blankie and a warm cup of cocoa to enjoy these cartoon jokes.


Whoops! Looks like I lied about spring
being at the end of the white tunnel!

WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPEDHave a great weekend and try to get out to enjoy a winter activity or two with family and friends… 

Hope you’ll visit with us again next week.

Wolves change the course of rivers – Remarkable video!


The following excerpts are from ‘How Exactly Wolves Change the Course of Rivers’ by Ray Molina of Mar. 1, 2014

…Trophic cascade is when the behavior of top predators have a trickling down effect on their environment. Let’s call these predators the “one percent.”
The one percent may be vicious killing machines who think only of themselves, but even bad intentions could have good outcomes. We are finding out that their murderous ways can be useful in controlling the over population of herbivores that are eating more than their fair share, which leaves little for a multitude of other animals lower on the food chain.
Eventually there will be plenty of wolves, perhaps even too many, and at some point we may need to protect the rest of the food chain from these top predators.
But like most things, if not everything, there’s a time and a place.
I do wonder about whether or not the Ecosystems would have just found a new way to balance themselves out over time. Who knows how long that might have taken though, or maybe it’s currently happening in ways we cannot yet witness.
The main culprit of our Eco failures is you and me through our destruction of habitats through land-developing and hunting and pollution. We really blew it, and now we’re trying to cut our losses by celebrating animals that repair our mistakes.

In the video below, Author/Activist George Monbiot describes to an audience at TED the effects of Wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in the mid 90’s.
He describes how the wolves, in a relatively short period of time, have transformed the landscape and allowed more varieties of life to flourish. And wolves did it in ways we never expected.
It’s a humbling reminder of just how connected life on this planet really is.

The original TED talk by George Monbiot, gives numerous examples of how “rewilding” our ecosystem can give us back the earth our predecessors had the privilege of experiencing.

NOTE: There are “elk” pictured in this video when the narrator is referring to “deer.” This is because the narrator is British and the British word for “elk” is “red deer” or “deer” for short. The scientific report this is based on refers to elk so we wanted to be accurate with the truth of the story.

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.

Narration from TED: “For more wonder, rewild the world” by George Monbiot. Watch the full talk, here:

Article link –

Threatened species saved by constructed wetlands in Sweden


This article is from Science News Jan. 21, 2014 “Constructed Wetlands Save Frogs, Birds Threatened With Extinction”

SWEDENOver the last few decades, several thousands of wetlands have been constructed in Sweden in agricultural landscapes. The primary reason is that the wetlands prevent a surfeit of nutrients from reaching our oceans and lakes. A study from Halmstad University shows, in addition, that wetlands haveRED LIST contributed to saving several frog and bird species from the “Red List” – a list that shows which species are at risk of dying out in Sweden. In the latest update, five of the nine red-listed bird species that breed in wetlands –


including the little grebe and the little ringed plover could be taken off the list. Yet another bird species was moved to a lower threat category. As regards batrachians, four species-among them the European tree frog-have been taken off the list, and two species have been moved to a lower threat category.
Great effect on biological diversity
Definition of eutrophication: the process by which a body of water becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients (as phosphates) that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life usually resulting in the depletion of dissolved oxygen.

WEISNER“An important objective in constructing wetlands is reducing eutrophication – over-fertilization. It’s surprisingly positive that they’ve also had such a great directHALMSTAD U SWEDEN effect on biological diversity,” says Stefan Weisner, Professor of Biology specialising in environmental science at Halmstad University.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, the amount of wetlands in Sweden decreased drastically: almost all original wetlands in agricultural areas have disappeared through drainage and land reclamation. This has affected many of the plants and animals that depend on these types of environments.
An inexpensive way to reduce eutrophication


Over the last 15 years, nearly 3,000 wetland areas have been constructed in agricultural landscapes around Sweden. Farmers SWEDISH AGRICULTURE LOGOhave the possibility of receiving economic support for this from sources such as the Swedish Board of Agriculture. The primary reason is because wetlands catch the surfeit of nutrients from agriculture such as nitrogen and phosphorus-substances that would otherwise have leaked out into the seas and lakes and contributed to eutrophication.IMAGE6
The study shows that creation of wetlands is a cost-effective to catch the nutrients.
“It’s a very effective way of purifying the water.

TREATMENT PLANTIt’s less expensive than constructing treatment plants, and in addition it contributes to biological diversity,” Prof Weisner says. /140121092911.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fearth_climate%2Fwater+%28Water+Conservation+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Expertsvar.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Journal Reference:
John A. Strand, Stefan E.B. Weisner. Effects of wetland construction on nitrogen transport and species richness in the agricultural landscape—Experiences from Sweden. Ecological Engineering, 2013; 56: 14 DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.12.087

Friday’s Inspiration ~ Nature


Nature’s Inspiration by Ken Jenkins and Peggy Anderson- simpletruthstv, uploaded on Jun 3, 2009.  If you love nature …you’ll treasure this book forever.

  • Featuring photographs by Ken Jenkins, award-winning nature photographer, this beautiful book takes us on a journey into the wilderness, giving you a feeling of peace and tranquility when you need it most.


The only way to describe this book is breathtaking! A labor of love 2 years in the making, you will marvel at the award-winning photography, paired with quotes and short passages in this beautiful coffee table book. Without question, Nature’s Inspiration is the most beautiful gift book we’ve ever published. It’s a coffee table edition with over 160 pages and over 180 nature photographs.

This book is much more than beautiful photographs! Ken has also written short passages that take you with him at the “moment” of the photo. You feel as if you were there! In addition, Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude.

Nature’s Inspiration also makes a wonderful gift for your friends, your family and your best customers. This book, includes a DVD movie., and click on the link to receive a FREE newsletter!…

Stop Oil Tanker Traffic in B.C.

Just ONE Exxon-Valdez-like spill on British Columbia’s coast could devastate thousands of families and a spectacular diversity of life. We shouldn’t take that risk!

Aren’t you tired of Big Oil targeting populated areas with rich flora and fauna and delicate environments as the next hot place to traffic oil? I sure am. It’s almost like they’re targeting areas of the world with the most to lose from an oil spill!


Send a message to Canada’s and British Columbia’s governments: Don’t traffic oil along B.C.’s coast!

Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, and CN Rail are all chomping at the bit to expand crude oil tanker traffic through B.C.’s coast en route to Asia. It would put a number of salmon rivers – as well as the thousands of people, cultures, and livelihoods that depend on B.C.’s coast – at risk for an oil spill, an event that could devastate the area.

First Nation communities are banning these projects with the Coastal First Nations and Save the Fraser declarations. Let’s unite with these strong efforts and stand up against oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s coast!

Please sign the petition by clicking the link below ~



The Bay of Fundy tides are so dramatic that they are considered the highest tides in the world – a phenomenon that occurs nowhere else on the planet.  200 billion tons of water flow every single day!!!

Bay of Fundy | Tides | New Brunswick, Canada“, uploaded Jun 4, 2009.  Come to the Bay of Fundy and watch the highest tides in the world and then, six hours later at low tide, you can walk on the ocean floor.  In July 2009, the Bay of Fundy was named as a finalist for the New 7 Wonders of Nature contest that ended in November 2011.  It was not chosen as a wonder.  The highest water level ever recorded in the Bay of Fundy system occurred at the head of the Minas Basin on the night of October 4–5, 1869 during a tropical cyclone named the “Saxby Gale”.  The water level of 21.6 meters (70.9 feet) resulted from the combination of high winds, abnormally low atmospheric pressure, and a spring tide.

From  The Bay of Fundy… is a bay on the Atlantic coast of North America, on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with a small portion touching the U.S. state of Maine.  Some sources believe the name “Fundy” is a corruption of the French word “Fendu”, meaning “split”, while others believe it comes from the Portuguese fondo, meaning “funnel”.      The bay was also named Baie Française (French Bay) by explorer/cartographer Samuel de Champlain during a 1604 expedition led by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts which resulted in a failed settlement attempt on St. Croix Island.

Bay of Fundy: Canada’s New7Wonders of Nature Finalist, uploaded on Aug 6, 2010

BAY OF FUNDYThe Bay of Fundy, rivaled by Ungava Bay in northern Quebec, King Sound in Western Australia, Gulf of Khambhat in India, and the Severn Estuary in the UK, it has one of the highest vertical tidal ranges in the world.  The Guinness Book of World Records (1975) declared that Burntcoat Head, Nova Scotia has the highest tides in the world:“The Natural World, Greatest Tides:  The greatest tides in the world occur in the Bay of Fundy…. Burntcoat Head in the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia, has the greatest mean spring range with 14.5 metres (47.5 feet) and an extreme range of 16.3 metres (53.5 feet).”

In the following YouTube video you’ll see both high and low tides featured as the camera captures the panoramic expanse – ‘An afternoon over the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada. Featuring Cape Split, lighthouses, and the highest tides in the world, published on Aug 17, 2012.’