Tag: Fresh Water

Go with the Flow: Using Flow Experiments to Guide River Management

The recent news of a “pulse flow” in the Lower Colorado River has highlighted a steadily growing trend in freshwater conservation along “working” rivers – restoring elements of natural flow regimes. A new paper reviews such flow experiments and their effects on ecological restoration.

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Sustainable Hydropower: Are Small Dams Really Better for the Environment?

When it comes to dams, small is often considered beautiful. But should small hydropower projects get a free pass? Can such dams actually be tiny but terrible? Freshwater scientist Jeff Opperman takes a look at the realities of sustainable hydropower.

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Beyond the Power Struggle: The Science and Values of Sustainable Hydropower

Fighting dams is in the environmental movement’s DNA. But is it time to change? Freshwater scientist Jeff Opperman argues that science-based collaboration offers a better future for rivers and fish — and the people who depend on them.

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Giulio Boccaletti: What Scientific Idea is Ready for Retirement?

In hydrology, a concept known as stationarity allows us to define events using time statistics, like the “one in a hundred years flood.” Dr. Giulio Boccaletti argues that it’s time to retire this concept.

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Conserving Lake Trout Among the Philosophers

Can well-managed lakes in the Adirondacks provide important refuges for lake trout in the face of climate change? That’s the focus of a new intensive research effort being conducted at Follensby Pond, where philosophers once pondered life’s mysteries.

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10 Fish Conservation Success Stories to Celebrate

Looking for a good fish story? We look back at some of the year’s best conservation results for fisheries, from alligator gar reintroduction to salmon recovery, with a side dish of fish and chimps.

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Scuba Divers Provide Non-Chemical Weed Control on Wisconsin Lake

Eurasian watermilfoil, meet your worst enemies: scuba divers and snorkelers. A chemical-free, cost-effective method of aquatic weed control offers promising results on a Wisconsin lake.

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The Limits of Science Communications: Why Do People Live in Floodplains?

Science can play a role in informing one’s beliefs. But can it convince someone not to live in a floodplain? Our blogger tracks down the owner of this home destroyed by a flood and asks: Is it worth it?

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Salmon Cam: A Live Look at Migrating Fish

Watch salmon return after a long absence to California’s Shasta Big Springs Ranch, thanks to Nature Conservancy restoration projects! Enjoy our Salmon Cam for a live, underwater look at migrating steelhead trout and Chinook and coho salmon.

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Natural Intersection: Understanding and Conserving Alaska’s Estuaries

Meet the estuary: where three powerful realms–river, ocean and land–meet. A new paper by Conservancy scientists classifies this important habitat, and helps conservationists better protect estuaries vital for both people and wildlife.

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Are We Losing Our Wetlands Conservation Legacy?

Wetlands conservation has been one of the greatest successes of the conservation movement. But are we at risk of draining that legacy away?

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New Study: How Cities Can Finally Get Smart About Water

If the definition of insanity is making the same mistakes over and over, then many cities have taken a certifiable approach to securing their water supplies — and they need some radical therapy before taking the big economic, ecological and human hits that come with a permanent state of thirst.

That’s the conclusion from a new study in the journal Water Policy, whose authors compared the water supply histories of 4 cities — San Diego, Phoenix, San Antonio and Adelaide, Australia. Among the lessons learned? Urban water conservation, recycling and desalination aren’t silver bullets. In fact, the best solution may lie upstream with farmers — saving just 5-10% of agricultural irrigation in upstream watersheds could satisfy a city’s entire water needs.

Brian Richter, a senior freshwater scientist at The Nature Conservancy and the study’s lead author, told me more about what cities need to do to say on the right side of dry.

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Notes from Silver Creek: Computer Modeling for Stream Conservation

What effects will land use changes have on a stream and its wildlife? How do conservation managers know what will happen in a stream when a restoration project takes place? Will it really lower water temperatures? Will fish thrive?

Surely conservationists can’t see into the future? 

Actually, stream managers now use sophisticated computer modeling to predict the outcomes of their activities. These models allow them to see how planting native shrubs, for instance, will alter stream flows and water temperatures.

In 2010, The Nature Conservancy was contacted by Maria Loinaz, a PhD candidate  at the Technical University of Denmark and the University of Idaho.  She was interested in developing a hydrologic model of the Silver Creek watershed using software called MIKE SHE/Ecolab.

This software is changing the way stream managers engage in restoration. It incorporates data on both groundwater and surface water, including stream flow, precipitation, vegetation and soils to accurately predict the effects of a new activity on a stream.

Maria proposed using the MIKE SHE program to model the groundwater and surface water systems and use the EcoLab program to build a water temperature model. Together these would allow her to model what happens to stream temperatures when riparian buffers were planted or stream flows increased.  Maria also wanted to incorporate fish data to see whether she could model where, based on the hydrology and temperature, fish would thrive in the system.

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A Q&A with the New Director of our Global Freshwater Program

More than 1 billion people face daily water shortages, and within the next 20 years, more than half the world’s population could face water shortages. Our CEO sits down with the new Global Freshwater Program Director to find out where to go from here.

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