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A Year Without the Colorado River, as Seen by Economists

Imagine if each tap that delivered water from the Colorado River – whether to a farm, a factory, or a home – suddenly went dry for a year. What would happen to the West’s economy? That’s pretty much the question a team of researchers at Arizona State University set out to answer – and the…

VIDEO: The Colorado River Reaches the Sea and Brings Life to Its Delta

In the list of conservation success stories of 2014, the return of flow to the once-verdant Colorado Delta ranks high. The spring pulse flow made possible by Minute 319, the groundbreaking agreement signed in late 2012 by the US and Mexico, brought the Colorado River to the Sea of Cortez for the first time in…

A Think Tank for the Colorado River’s Future

Grand Canyon photo by Brian Richter   Have you ever been in a work meeting or a classroom when you realize that you – and probably everyone else in the room – seemed to be talking at cross purposes and had lost track of the problem you were trying to solve? That’s how many of…

Securing Water for Urban Farms

As most of us know, a great deal of our food travels long distances by planes, trains, trucks and ships before reaching our dinner plates. Even California – the fruit, nut and vegetable bowl of the United States – imports some of its asparagus from Peru, table grapes from Chile, Navel oranges from Australia, and…

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…