In Good Standing at Standing Rock

I came to learn. About strength of ceremony, compassion and community, and power of peaceful resistance.

WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS: Deckers Creek, West Virginia

Photos by Basia Irland unless otherwise noted.  Source pond at spring Beginnings of the creek As a tributary of the Monongahela River, which runs through north-central West Virginia, I am only 24.6 miles (39.6 km) in length, with a watershed of 64-square miles. In my upper reaches I flow through some beautiful stretches of land, including…

Invasion of the Aliens: Body Snatching Worms, Cold Winters May Rout Lakes’ Enemies

Public enemy number one, it might be called: Eurasian watermilfoil. It’s not on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, but maybe it should be, say scientists who study lakes. The invasive weed’s crime? It crowds out native underwater plants, fouls boat propellers and smothers swimming areas in freshwater lakes across the northern U.S. The invader’s…

Our pledge to you: We will stand up for the ocean – and that means standing up for science

During this bruising presidential campaign, there was an eerie sense that we had moved into a post-truth world, with fake news circulating on Facebook and the veracity of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump continually called into question. In fact, Oxford Dictionaries just declared “post-truth” its 2016 international Word of the Year. But for me personally, facts…

Protecting the Sacred Rooftop of the World

Climate change, development and water diversions threaten Himalayan communities and way of life

By Cheryl Nenn

Flying into Leh, the former capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, feels more like landing on the moon than landing in India. Its harsh, mountainous terrain is starkly beautiful and very dry, due to its high altitude and cold desert climate. We were sent to Ladakh on behalf of Waterkeeper Alliance, an international organization dedicated to clean water and healthy communities, to train our new Himalayan Glacier Waterkeeper and 20 affiliates, most of whom are Buddhist monks, how to test water quality and be effective water advocates.

WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS: Great Miami River, Five Rivers Fountain of Lights, Dayton Ohio

I am the Great Miami River (a tributary of the Ohio River) flowing 160 miles (260 km) through southwestern Ohio and Indiana. My Shawnee name is Msimiyamithiipi. In English I am named for the Miami, an Algonquian speaking tribe. I flow along quite contentedly until I reach the confluence with the Mad River in Dayton, Ohio, where all of a sudden I am drenched from above — moisture on moisture — not by rain, but from water falling from an enormous fountain! Pumped from the local aquifer, water is harnessed into five jets housed in concrete towers surrounding a center geyser.

Hope in the Face of 10,000 Deaths

When amphibian conservation biologist Arturo Muñoz describes the 2015 die-offs of the Titicaca Water Frog (Telmatobius culeus) on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, the details are grim: Dead frogs floating belly up in the shallow water as gulls pick them off for dinner. The smell of the sulfate pollution dredged up from the bottom…

Alaskans Eat Fish—Lots of It!—So Let’s Keep Their Waters Clean

The Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Fund aims to protect the last wild places in the ocean while facilitating conservation, research, education, and community development programs in the places we explore. This blog entry spotlights some of the exciting work our grantees are doing with support from the LEX-NG Fund. We all know that eating fish…

Getting More Water from Less: The New Business Trend in a Hotter, Drier West

By Karen Yacos Director, Water Infrastructure, Ceres The Sonoran desert, where rainfall averages just nine inches per year, may seem like an unlikely place for a high tech company with big water demands to settle. But Chandler, Arizona is precisely where Intel Corporation has chosen to develop its second largest manufacturing facility in the United…

National Seafood Month: An Opportunity to Think About Sustainable Local Ways to Grow Fish

By Joe Hankins, director of the Freshwater Institute, The Conservation Fund October is National Seafood Month. What better time to examine the critical role seafood plays in our global food system? Given that over 90 percent  of U.S. seafood is currently imported, and that twice the current supply will be needed by 2050, there is an urgent…

It’s Time to Stop Pumping Our Poop Directly Into the Ocean

Most folks assume that when they flush their toilet, the local sewage treatment plant will take care of the rest. Unfortunately, during wet weather, this is rarely the case. It’s a plumbing problem: Rainfall rushes down streets into storm drains that empty into pipes shared by the sewage produced by homes and businesses. Within minutes of a downpour, the volume of combined liquid overwhelms sewage treatment plants and millions of gallons of untreated wastewater get vented directly into nearby waterways, contaminating the water with harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and forcing beach and shellfish bed closures in an effort to protect human health.

During my 130+ mile swim from Montauk to New York City, I am calling for a permanent end to the dumping of raw sewage into our waterways. My thinking goes like this: We live in the most technologically-advanced nation on Earth. If we can put people on the moon, split the atom, and build an iPhone, we can find a way to make our waterways safe for swimming every day.

Taming Rivers: A Fulbright-National Geographic Journey

“Simply, water is surpassing oil itself as the world’s scarcest critical resource. Just as oil conflicts were central to twentieth-century history, the struggle over freshwater is set to shape a new turning point in the world order and the destiny of civilization” — Steven Solomon, Water   The Dam, located in the leafy Johannesburg suburb of…

Q&A: Extreme Drought in South Africa’s Kruger National Park: How is Wildlife Faring?

Bone-dry winds are blowing across South Africa’s Kruger National Park (KNP), uprooting savanna grasses and whirling them like tumbleweeds across a sere landscape. How is the park’s world-renowned wildlife faring in an extreme drought? To find out, I talked with Izak Smit, Science Manager for Systems Ecology at South African National Parks (SANParks), which oversees KNP.…

WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS: Nisqually River, Washington State

Birthed in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington from glacier melt on the southern slope of Mount Rainier, I flow seventy-eight miles into the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and on into Puget Sound, a fast and galloping ride from 14,000 feet down to sea level. I leave the glacier as melt water, with a milky cloudiness made from small particles of rock, minerals, and organic matter picked up and carried in my swift current.

Native Americans and Conservationists Collaborate to Return Vital Flow to the Rio Grande

The first time I saw the channel of the Rio Grande completely dry, I was stunned. Here was the second largest river in the Southwest, which flows through three U.S. states and Mexico, and instead of water between its banks there were tire tracks. And I wasn’t standing at the tail end of the river,…