Look at What We’ve Built

| How much of the stuff in the world is yours? In other words, if you added together the weight of all the objects humanity has created—the bridges and buildings and statues and airplanes and park benches and bulldozers and all the rest of it—and divided it by the world’s population, what would be the total ... READ MORE

Earthquakes, Eruptions, and Evacuation

| In the US, we are accustomed to hearing news of—or even experiencing—the damage of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. Most of us, however, will never have to worry about a volcano erupting nearby—but residents of Hawaii’s Big Island are currently facing that reality. Over 1,700 people living near Leilani Estates ... READ MORE

Fighting It Out Below Ground

| There can scarcely be a more loaded subject in the arid Southwest these days than water: who has it, who needs it, and who gets to take it from someone else. The Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has just published an analysis of the situation in that state. Although it’s specific to Arizona and the ... READ MORE

Another Dam Argument About Water

| What do you do when federal and state goals are at odds over a project within that state? What if the project itself is on federal land, but the work would affect large areas outside federal jurisdiction? Those are questions California and federal officials are arguing now in relation to expansion of the Shasta Dam. ... READ MORE

Into the Woods

| How much time do you spend in the forest? According to an organization that dedicates a lot of effort to studying these things, the average American visits a wooded area—and this can include an urban forest—110 days each year. Recreation is only a small part of what forests provide, though, even for those who visit ... READ MORE

What to Do With the Mud From Montecito

| As you might have seen or read in the past week, the community of Montecito, CA, has experienced catastrophic mudslides following the Thomas Fire. As I write this, 20 people are known to have died, several others are missing, dozens of homes have been completely destroyed, and hundreds more have been damaged. Montecito is a ... READ MORE

Trouble Down Below

| As if Florida and other coastal states didn’t have enough problems, what with frequent hurricanes, tropical storms, coastal erosion, and flooding, some of them are also being undermined from below.  Earlier this year, a sinkhole caused the evacuation of a Florida neighborhood, a result of the collapse of the underlying limestone. Any place with karst ... READ MORE

Your Credit Rating Just Got More Complicated

| One of the tricky things about sea level rise is that it’s not happening equally in all places. Lots of people picture the world’s oceans as a sort of huge bathtub: If you add water, say from melting polar ice, then the level should go up evenly everywhere, right? But for a variety of reasons, ... READ MORE

Embracing Invasive Species

| We’ve talked a lot on this website and in Erosion Control magazine about invasive species, from kudzu to the salt cedar beetle. Sometimes non-native species are introduced into an ecosystem deliberately: as ornamental plants, or vegetation used to shore up eroding hillsides, or animals and insects used as biological controls to eradicate other undesirable species. ... READ MORE

“Unlawful Government Takings”

| Among the many, many flooded homes in Houston after Hurricane Harvey are some for which the owners say the government is responsible. A group of homeowners is suing both the Army Corps of Engineers and the San Jacinto River Authority for releasing water from a reservoir—water, they say, that damaged or destroyed more than a ... READ MORE