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Why the World's Rivers Are Losing Sediment and Why It Matters

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 06:44:00 EST

Vast amounts of river-borne sediment are trapped behind the world’s large dams, depriving areas downstream of material that is badly needed to build up the marshes and wetlands that act as a buffer against rising seas.In September 2011, after 20 years of planning, workers began dismantling the Elwha and Glines dams on the Elwha River in northwestern Washington state. At the time, it was the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, and it took nearly three years for both barriers to be dismantled and for the river to once again flow freely. Over the course of their nearly century-long lives, the two dams collected more than 24 million cubic yards of sediment behind them, enough to fill the Seattle Seahawks football stadium eight times. And since their removal, the Elwha has taken back the trapped sediment and distributed it downstream, causing the riverine ecosystem to be rebuilt and transformed. Massive quantities of silt, sand, and gravel have been carried to the coast, resurrecting a wetlands ecosystem long deprived of sediment.(image)



Researchers Document Widespread Melting on Antarctica's Huge Ross Ice Shelf

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:40:00 EST

Large-scale melting of snow and ice on Antarctica’s massive Ross Ice Shelf, brought about by an unusually warm stretch of weather in the summer of 2016, is one of the first documented cases of widespread surface melting of the Ross Ice Shelf and other regions of West Antarctica, according to a new study.(image)



New wave of extinctions predicted for vital food species

Wed, 31 May 2017 07:14:00 EST

Poaching, illegal fishing and deforestation are threatening more than quarter of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, according to a report by the WWF  (World Wide Fund for Nature) — and the consequences are not just environmental.The report states that 18 out of the 50 threatened sites are in Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama and Peru. It also says the number could be higher because the illegal extraction of species in the region — a business with annual profits of almost US$ 2 billion — is not as well studied as it is in Africa or Asia.(image)



In India, Bangalore's Water Crisis is an Omen for the Rest of the World

Thu, 04 May 2017 11:58:00 EST

Bangalore (officially called Bangaluru) has become the enduring symbol of the economic transformation that makes India the envy of much of the developing and developed worlds. Its population and economy accelerated as just about every global information technology has set up operations in this city of 8.4 million people.(image)



Birds sing shorter songs in response to traffic noise

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 06:20:00 EST

Birds sing differently in response to traffic noise, which potentially affects their ability to attract mates and defend their territory, according to research published in Bioacoustics. The study found that a species of North American flycatcher sings shorter songs at a lower range of frequencies in response to traffic noise levels. The researchers suggest traffic noise reduction, for example through road closures, is a viable option for mitigating this effect.(image)



Ban on trans fats in diet may reduce heart attacks and stroke

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:20:00 EST

People living in areas that restrict trans fats in foods had fewer hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke compared to residents in areas without restrictions, according to a study led by a Yale researcher. This finding suggests the benefit of limiting trans fats could have widespread impact as trans fat restrictions are set to expand nationwide.(image)



Manatees Just Lost Their Status as Endangered Species

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 12:10:00 EST

Manatees have just been downlisted from endangered to threatened; and while some are celebrating their recovery, many advocates are fearing that the move puts their future survival in jeopardy.(image)