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21 February 2022

Muddy Water Has Town Official Singing the Blues

Coastwatch GLERL NOAA imagery December 17, 2021 (annotated). Several years ago, when our kids were young and at least one was still in elementary school, I visited a class of 3rd graders taught by a friend of the family’s and put on a soil erosion demonstration. The “show and tell” consisted of setting up rainfall simulators for two contrasting land cover types represented by two baking pans: one filled with …

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15 May 2020

Friday fold: Argentinian turbidites

Zoltán Sylvester brings us this Friday’s fold: And there’s more where that came from: These are deepwater strata of the Lower Cretaceous Rio Mayer Formation, exposed near Lago Argentino, Argentina, south of the lake’s northwest “arm,” about here. They were deformed so exquisitely during Andean mountain-building. Zoltán is a talented photographer, and you should check out more of his work here.

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23 February 2020

Lake Erie is Nearly Frost-Free

For the past couple of days, we’ve been lucky to have some all-too-infrequent sunny days, giving us some sunshine to lift our spirits and send us searching for our sunglasses. The clear weather is also a good time for an updated MODIS image of the Lake Erie Basin. The image above shows the lake is nearly ice-free except for some narrow shoreline areas in the western basin. The surface water …

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29 January 2019

The Parallel Roads of Glen Roy

What can we learn from Scotland’s Parallel Roads of Glen Roy?

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8 September 2017

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Ag Programs Under Review

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) has received a two-year $750,000 grant to evaluate the effectiveness of money spent on farm conservation programs by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). In addition to the GLC, Ohio State University and Michigan State University will play a role in the evaluation process. Earlier this year, the Trump Administration proposed to end funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and National Sea Grant programs. …

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22 April 2017

Toledo March for Science

Off to Toledo to March for Science! Updates later this morning!

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30 September 2016

Lake Erie Algae Blooms Correlate to June Rainfall

June precipitation appears to be positively correlated to algae blooms in Lake Erie. Looking at monthly precipitation data readily-available from Weather Underground and comparing it to the Western Lake Erie Algae Bloom Severity Index, I was surprised by the strength of the correlation (0.6, 0.85 with an “outlier” removed). June precipitation was the only month to correlate to the Severity Index in my data set and I was surprised that …

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3 July 2016

Lake Erie Watershed Soil Phosphorus Study Shows Glyphosate Link

As reported recently by Laura Barrera in the magazine No-Till Farmer, a study led by Ohio Northern University chemistry professor Christopher Spiese links the popular herbicide glyphosate to dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) desorption in soils. Mobilization and runoff of phosphorus to streams and lakes is associated with toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. For decades, soil scientists have understood phosphorus to form low-solubility compounds …

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1 June 2016

Herbicides, Critical Source Areas, and Vegetated Buffers

Waging Chemical Warfare on Weeds Last fall, while on one of my country road walking routes, I noticed an advanced infestation of marestail (Conyza canadensis) in a soybean field. Evidently, this weed, and others, is becoming herbicide-resistant. A new agricultural herbicide called Acuron (link goes to manufacturer’s website) is on the market, and in some fields. Acuron has been developed in response to “superweeds” that have grown resistant to glyphosate, …

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29 February 2016

Lead, Plumbosolvency, and Phosphates in the Environment

What’s happened to the water supply in Flint Michigan is especially ironic considering the state is surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, which make up 95% of the surface fresh water in the United States. If Michiganders can’t have safe public water, who can? Plumbosolvency The problem, briefly summarized here, boils down to variable source water chemistry, plus common chemicals added at the water-works, interacting with outdated lead plumbing components …

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1 January 2016

Agricultural Runoff and Ohio’s Senate Bill 1

In response to the August 2014 shutdown of Toledo’s water supply due to microcystin contamination, the Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 1, which regulates fertilizer and manure application to farm fields. Essentially, the new regulations prohibit spreading manure or fertilizer in the Lake Erie Watershed when soils are frozen, snow-covered or saturated, or if there is a more than 50% chance of at least one-half inch of rain in the …

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16 November 2015

Field Drain Tile and the “Re-Eutrophication” of Lake Erie

Algae Blooms, Microcystin and Phosphorus It’s been over a year since Toledo, Ohio and surrounding communities shut down public water supplies due to an algae bloom and microcystin contamination in western Lake Erie. Was the trouble a “one-off” or can we expect more of these events in the future? While attending a seminar this year hosted by the Michigan Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, my interest was …

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6 August 2014

Guest post: Glaciolacustrine deltas in the Canadian Rockies

One of Callan’s “Canadian Rockies” field course students supplies a guest post about deltas that build out into glacial lakes.

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5 July 2012

Floe Lake hike

Last summer, my wife and I spent some time in the Canadian Rockies. One of the things we did was to take a three-day backpacking trip to Floe Lake, in Kootenay National Park, British Columbia. We picked a rough couple of days for hiking – We got a lot of Canadian Rockies precipitation out there: we got rained on, hailed on, and snowed on during those three days. Here’s our …

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1 December 2010

The Konnarock Formation

A detailed description of one of the Virginia Blue Ridge’s most intriguing geologic formations: a maroon sedimentary sequence showing the advance of “Snowball Earth” glaciers in the Neoproterozoic.

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