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This Week in #MOwater: Beavers and otters, can’t catch a break

Posted in: News- Dec 09, 2014 No Comments

If you want to know the quality of a habitat, look to the wildlife. How diverse is it? Are animals sickened? Usually more animals is a good thing, but what if fewer beavers meant a healthier river? And what should we do when painkillers are harming aquatic mammals, as we’re starting to see in the U.K.? Restoration is complicated, but if we pay enough attention to the news and take care of our resources, we can work toward cleaner streams for everyone.


Women in Conservation: Land management program holds first Missouri meeting
St. Joseph

The first Women Caring for the Land event to be held in Missouri took place in St. Joseph in November. The program highlights land management that can be implemented on a range of land types including those with increased potential for soil erosion and those with parcels of land that are susceptible to flooding.

Bag Ban: Prairie Village would be first to ban single-use plastic in Kansas City metro area
Prairie Village

Lack of action could start to change in the months ahead if bag restrictions gain a foothold in Prairie Village. Officials there are considering whether to outlaw plastic grocery bags, or impose a fee on both plastic and paper bags to encourage the use of reusable canvas totes.

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Outdoor Classrooms: Ozarks’ Rivers, Forests Teach Science
Roaring River State Park

There is plenty of classroom learning, but field trips like this one at Roaring River let students try what the’ve learned in class. They see their lessons come alive on a stream or during a hike. Other outings include an Elk River float trip to study water quality and stream life. That’s part of the idea, instructor Miles noted. Students think they’re out of school. They don’t realize they’re learning science in these classrooms of the outdoors.

Hidden Infrastructure: Pipes aging city infrastructure
Jefferson City, Statewide

Across the country, pipes lying below ground are getting older, leading to more cracks, leaks and all out breaks. In Jefferson City, Missouri American Water maintains approximately 150 miles of water mains, some of which are more than 120 years old. But more investment will be needed throughout the state to combat leaks, breaks and other issues. Dettmer said, in Missouri alone, $8.4 billion is needed throughout the next 20 years.

New Bridge: Project builder ready to start
Scott County

County officials and the low bidder on the job, Joe’s Bridge and Grading of Poplar Bluff, signed the contract and discussed the next steps for the project which will replace a county bridge crossing the Little River Drainage District Ditch No. 1 in the Caney bottoms area.

Plastic-eating moth: Gut microbes in larvae might speed biodegradation
Your pantry

Polyethylene is one of the most popular and, unfortunately, persistent types of plastics. Bags, bottles, and packaging made from the polymer accumulate in landfills and oceans across the globe. Scientists lament that microbes can’t chew up the plastic to render it harmless. However, a new study reports the first definitive molecular evidence that certain bacteria, found in the guts of a common pantry pest, can thrive on polyethylene and break it apart.


Beavers: Removing dams reduces phosphorus impairment in watershed Rhode Island

Benefits (or lack there of) of beaver in a lotic system are often debated. In one case in Rhode Island, eradicating the buck toothed fur balls from a watershed resulted in improved water quality.

Nutrient Pollution: EPA lawyers advise to overturn court order
New Orleans

Lawyers for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told the federal appeals court in New Orleans to overturn an order that forces the EPA to decide whether federal rules are needed to curb the flow of pollutants into the Mississippi River. The pollutants ultimately feed a low-oxygen “dead zone” along Louisiana’s coast each spring.

Conservation Fatigue: Water savings down in drought-stricken state

Californians, particularly in the thirsty southern part of the state, are slipping and sliding in their attempts to save water, new data show, despite efforts to draw attention to the historic dry spell. Figures released Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board indicate that residential customers used 6.7 percent less water in October than in the same month in 2013.


Painkillers & Otters: Nearly extinct wild otters contaminated with fatal drugs United Kingdom

Soaring levels of painkillers in Britain’s rivers are threatening the revival of the otter just as it returns from the brink of extinction. An analysis of fur has found that wild otters’ bodies are routinely contaminated with ibuprofen and diclofenac, drugs that can cause fatal kidney and liver damage.

$8.13 billion: China steps up environmental protection

China plans to launch a 50 billion yuan ($8.13 billion) environmental protection fund in stepped-up efforts to reduce widespread pollution, the official China Securities Journal reported on Wednesday. The fund would attempt to beef up investment in critical sectors through low or no-interest loans meant to combat water, air, and soil pollution.