About a year and a half ago, in the January/February 2017 issue of the magazine, I mentioned predictions from NASA and other organizations that the US is in for a megadrought sometime during this century. A megadrought is one that lasts for decades rather than months or years, and we
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Articles by Janice Kaspersen
Just in time for summer, the state of Hawaii is trying to eliminate some forms of sunscreen lotion. Two common chemicals in sunscreen products, oxybenzone and octinoxate, have been shown to kill marine life, particularly coral. Last week, Hawaii’s state legislature voted to ban the sale of the two chemicals
It might have happened to you at one time or another: A project you were working on got delayed—or, even worse, canceled completely—because historical or archaeological artifacts were discovered at the site. Ideally, an archaeological survey takes place long before work begins, but every so often something is uncovered during
One of the most basic things we do—protecting water quality—is rooted in the Clean Water Act’s “fishable and swimmable” target uses. We’re looking out for aquatic habitats and our own health at the same time. But what is it we’re actually measuring when we determine how safe the water is?
Oh, the irony. Last week, a Boston-area neighborhood was flooded after a storm drain clogged. When city workers in Canton, MA, delved into the problem, they found a 3,600-foot-long blockage inside a drainage pipe.
Now, we know all sorts of materials can cause clogged pipes. Disposable wipes—now almost universally known
Several weeks ago, Japanese researchers announced the discovery of a treasure trove off the coast of Minamitori Island: a tremendous amount of rare-earth minerals. As this article notes, rare-earth elements—17 in all, including the lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium—are much in demand for a growing number of high-tech applications like
Managing stormwater is usually a utilitarian function. Occasionally it can rise to an art.
A number of facilities combine stormwater treatment with another role, such as providing green space or recreational facilities for the public at large. One of these is Indianapolis’s Cultural Trail, an 8-mile walking, jogging, and biking
As of mid-April, one-third of the continental US is considered to be in a state of drought. The area affected is increasing, and various cities and states are considering making their temporary water restrictions permanent—perhaps a sign that we’re starting to consider the drought the new normal.
As this article
In the 1963 movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World, a group of strangers competed to find $350,000 of stolen, buried cash. Today, that amount sounds much less impressive than it used to, but a much different group is racing to win $10 million by solving a persistent water-quality problem:
Two projects in different parts of the country are highlighting the potential conflict between the needs of the people and the needs of wildlife. Both illustrate, in different ways, the tricky juggling act agencies like the US Army Corps of Engineers must perform to balance diverse—sometimes incompatible—priorities as they manage