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With Water, Life Returns to the Colorado River Delta

Last spring, on the eighth day of the release of Colorado River water into its channel at the US-Mexico border – an event known as the “pulse flow” – I witnessed something extraordinary. Like most mornings, I headed out with my National Geographic team before dawn to find the leading edge of the river as…

Big Data Arrives on a Small Lake in Vermont

While visiting Vermont in late July, I took a day to catch up with colleagues who are studying lakes. University of Vermont (UVM) Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory director Jason Stockwell arranged for me to go out on a sampling run with two interns. Our destination was Shelburne Pond, a shallow lake located about ten miles south…

Exploring Indonesia’s Last of the Wild – the Forgotten Islands

By Stuart Campbell and Nils Krueck

The Forgotten Islands occupy a region in the southeastern Indonesian province of Maluku, a sparsely-populated area covering about 50,000 square kilometers that includes a vast expanse of coral reefs. As the region’s name suggests, not much is known about these reefs and their associated fisheries. One important reason for this is that for much of the year the seas are wild and unable to be accessed. Another reason is that Maluku’s Forgotten Islands support around 70,000 people who practice traditional customs that hark back to before the conversion of communities to Christianity. These customs include the guarding of marine resources against occasional visitors, such as nomadic fishers from central Indonesia

Latest Peel Watershed Decision a Victory for First Nations, Environmental Values and the Democratic Process

In a far reaching decision, the Yukon Supreme Court ruled on December 2nd that the Yukon government did not honour the land-use planning process when it unilaterally intervened in that process, rejecting the Final Recommended Plan of the legally mandated Peel Watershed Planning Commission (Commission) and replacing it with another plan. The Court has upheld the primacy of the constitutionally-binding land claims settlements, and the key role of First Nations as Parties in the Yukon’s government-to-government planning processes.

Our next Wild and Scenic Rivers

Seven rivers in five states are closer to permanent protection today, thanks to a package of bills that passed the House in the National Defense Authorization Act. From Delaware’s White Clay Creek (the site of a recent dam removal), to Oregon’s River Styx (the first underground river protected in the national Wild and Scenic Rivers…

A Diversion of the Gila River Would be Wasteful, Harmful and a Big Mistake

By the end of the year, New Mexico must notify the U.S. Secretary of Interior whether it will pursue the construction of a diversion project on the Gila River in the southwestern corner of the state. New Mexico’s Interstate Stream Commission decided last week to recommend that the state pursue the diversion. But Governor Susana…

Something to be Thankful for: Growing Cranberries Sustainably

By Brian Milne It’s Saturday morning in Plympton, Mass., and the sun has yet to dry the dew from the windows at the Mayflower Cranberries farm, but owner Jeff LaFleur is already on a knee in his bog inspecting his crimson bounty in preparation for the fall harvest. “It’s a pretty big berry, as you…

Is Climate The Mother Of Innovation?

Toledo, Ohio’s summer battle with toxic algae is just the latest in a string of weather-related catastrophes to beset our nation’s water and sewer systems. Hurricane Sandy’s unprecedented storm surge caused more than $500 million in damage to coastal water systems. Last year’s Arizona wildfires that killed 19 firefighters also devastated forested watersheds in a…

A Watershed Moment for Los Angeles

The timing might seem odd, even self-destructive. Last month, in the midst of one of the most severe droughts in California’s historical record, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive order calling for his southern California city to cut its water imports by half within a decade. Water transferred hundreds of miles from northern…

Can Desalination Help Save a Holy River?

The Jordan River of the Middle East has supported a long succession of empires and other human settlements for more than 8,000 years, but it took less than one generation of modern civilization to reduce the river to a trickle of sewage. Now, the ultra-modern technology of “desalination” — turning ocean water into fresh water…

Corn Belt Pollution: Louisiana Shrimp And Oysters Pay The Price

By Meg Wilcox Senior Manager, Communications, Ceres The Croatian Pride pushes off the dock and cuts slowly through the grey Gulf of Mexico, its engine growling. The air hangs thick and steamy, and the movement of the 40-foot oyster boat brings relief as it breezes past marshy areas where blue herons stand sentinel. The boat’s…

What the Disappearing Aral Sea Tells Us about the Value of Water

The satellite image of the Aral Sea recently released by NASA just about knocked my socks off. It wasn’t that the sea was shrinking; that’s been true for decades.  It was how fast it was disappearing. Once the world’s fourth largest lake, the Aral Sea in Central Asia has been losing water for half a…

The Real Relationship Between Conservation and Rising Water Rates

From Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency: A number of articles have been published recently which report on rising water rates across the U.S., pointing fingers firmly at dropping national water demand – and the efficient fixtures and behaviors driving that drop – as the reason.

While this discussion brings much-needed attention to the infrastructure investments that are required to sustain our water systems, the focus on conservation as the primary culprit behind the increasing cost of water is inaccurate and misleading. Furthermore, this misrepresentation of the relationship between water conservation and rates is detrimental to efforts to ensure that consumers use water wisely and guarantee a long-term, reliable and affordable supply of fresh water in their communities.

New Poison Frog Species Evolving Before Our Eyes, Study Says

A poison dart frog from Peru that mimics its neighbors in incredible detail is evolving into a new species, scientists believe.

Flooding the Landscape: The Site C Dam on B.C.’s Peace River

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and Photos by iLCP Fellow Garth Lenz. As the small Piper Super Cub climbs, this beautiful valley spreads out below…