Tag Archives: Ottawa West

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 bleaching..at least in the short term.

..more to be discovered I think.

Increasing runoff and flash floods.

It has now been demonstrated through research that runoff extremes have been dramatically increasing in response to climate and human inspired changes.


With the recent Hurricanes and Typhoons we have seen the impact of weather extremes. Flash floods causing deaths, property, and agricultural losses. For the past 50 yrs the damage has been mounting at an ever increasing pace. We are now at the point of $30 billion is lost annually.  Around the world almost 1 billion people live on flood plains, facing greater exposure to river flooding.

Changes in runoff extremes in most regions of the world are in line with or higher than those of precipitation extremes. Different responses were noted of precipitation and storm runoff to temperature warming ..but also factors like land use and land coverings, water and land management, even vegetation changes can lead to increased storm run off.

The idea is to help improve flood forecasting and early earning alerts. Give scientific guidance for infrastructure and ecosystem resilience planning…even help formulate strategies for addressing climate change.

Precipitation and run off extremes are seen as increasing all over the globe. We need to prepare our infrastructure accordingly.


Looking Elsewhere for Water.

Saudi Arabia and China are among the countries that have turned to the US and other countries looking for water.

Climate change will make water scarcity a critical security issue globally, wealthier countries have begun to look outside their borders to meet their water needs. Saudi Arabia and China have come to the USA to help solve their water problems and feed their people. In 2014 SA bought farmland in Arizona to grow alfalfa to feed its cows back home. Huge amounts of water are needed to grow that crop , which is why they came. Facing water scarcity China imports half the world’s soybeans and 25% of the american supply of pork.

National security experts have long worried about the implications of water scarcity. Confronting issues involving food, water, energy , and disease will become more frequent.

Consider it takes 500 tons of water to grow 1 ton of soybeans. Access to an abundance of fresh water is critical. This access has become an issue in many parts of the world. In North America we have been shielded from this by our relative abundance, but it is only a question of time before the crisis hits home.

Urinary Tract Infections

Women who drink more water get fewer urinary tract infections. trials confirm.

Women are advised to drink extra water to prevent recurrent UTI’s, but until now there has been scant evidence that it works. Now a randomized trial has found that women who drink more water do in fact get fewer infections.


Researchers studied women who had recurring UTI’s, who drank less than 1.5 litres a day, and averaged 3.3 episodes of cystitis over the previous year. The subjects were randomly assigned to continue with their usual amount or  to a group who were assigned to drink 1.5 litres more of water per day.

The control group of women had 3.2 urinary infections in one yr, while those drinking more water averaged 1.7

The lesson being to reduce your UTI risk …drink more water.