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Water

Be prepared – it’s not just a Scout motto

Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, you heard about Toledo’s drinking water crisis, when an algae outbreak right over the city's municipal water intake in Lake Erie led to dangerous levels of toxic microcystins. For two days in early August, Toledo residents were forced to scrounge and pay…

The first rule of talking about nitrogen…

Who cares about nitrogen pollution? Chances are, you do. You just don’t know it yet. Nitrogen as an element is absolutely necessary to life, but as with so many essentials, you can have too much of a good thing. Excess nitrogen – from tailpipes, smokestacks and most seriously from manures…

Toxic algae crisis isn’t over for Lake Erie or the nation

Toledo drinking water ban should be a warning to other cities After a weekend of scrambling to find bottled water for drinking, cooking and other household uses, residents of northwestern Ohio and southwestern Michigan were told Monday that their tapwater is again safe to drink. But for how long? Toxic…

Communicating the value of ocean protection

President Obama made headlines around the world recently when he announced plans to create the world’s largest marine preserve in the Pacific Ocean. When you are talking about two million square kilometers of pristine coral reefs, it’s easy to grasp the significance of a marine protected area.  The smaller protected…

Water wins

Here’s the scenario: Washington State, like many states, uses something called fish-consumption rates to set water quality standards. The idea is to start with the average amount of fish people eat, and then figure out how clean the water needs to be in order for someone to eat that amount…

Ready for Toxic Algae Season

Toxic algae – sometimes called harmful algal blooms – is a particular threat in the warm summer months, when polluted runoff from farms, feedlots, lawns and septic fields meets warm waters that allow dangerous algae growth to explode. For the second year in a row, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s…

Summer dreams don’t include toxic algae

Spring has sprung, and May brings more than flowers (from the April showers). It’s time to start dreaming about first splashes at local spots where families will be swimming, anglers will be fishing, and paddlers will be – well, you know, dipping oars. Summer days are just around the corner,…

Report from the World Ocean Summit

Last week, I flew to Half Moon Bay for the World Ocean Summit, hosted by The Economist and National Geographic. It brought together world leaders, nonprofit and industry executives, foundations, resource economists, and scientists to discuss the most pressing problems facing the ocean, and brainstorm solutions. The conference began with…

7 steps to mapping your story for impact with TileMill and MapBox

"I am told there are people who do not care for maps, and I find it hard to believe." --Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island I really do love a good map, which is why I am thrilled that producing good maps showing your own data is easier than…

5 keys to hosting a successful Twitter party

This month, the little-known concept of marine protected areas (MPAs) and a new hashtag #MPAsWork attracted 1000 tweets in one hour, causing the discussion to trend on Twitter. This was thanks to a Twitter party hosted by Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay and Samantha Murray of Ocean Conservancy (via…