The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is proposing that rather than relying on a single sulfate level for all wild rice waters, sulfate levels should be calculated for each wild rice water, based on location-specific factors. In coming to this conclusion, the MPCA studied how sulfate affects wild rice. The study, which began in 2012, found that:
- In the sediment in which wild rice is rooted, sulfate from the water above is converted to sulfide by bacteria.
- Higher levels of sulfide in the sediment create an environment that is less hospitable to wild rice.
However, certain factors change the rate at which sulfate is converted to sulfide. Most significantly, higher levels of iron can lead to less sulfide, and higher levels of organic carbon can lead to more sulfide.
To take these variables into account, the MPCA developed an equation that can determine a sulfate level that will protect wild rice for a specific water body. The agency proposes collecting sediment samples in wild rice stands, measuring the iron and organic carbon concentrations in the sediment, and then plugging the data into the equation to calculate a protective sulfate concentration for that particular wild rice water.
The MPCA will be scheduling meetings with interested stakeholders to further describe and get input on its proposal. The agency will continue to refine the proposal based on feedback and any new data.
At the same time, the MPCA will consider how the study’s findings will inform regulatory decisions and develop the data collection protocol needed to implement the proposal. The MPCA plans to go through formal rulemaking to change the existing standard later this year. The rulemaking will also include listing specific wild rice waters that are subject to the standard.
The MPCA has compiled a draft list of wild rice waters, along with a process to add waters to the list over time. These files are available below, along with an interactive map showing the draft list of wild rice waters.
Read the full post at Grist.
When you are tired of talking to climate deniers, it can be a relief to hear from a fisherman instead.
“The waters are changing,” says Michigan fisherman Ed John in this short, moody video that follows a Native couple fishing the Great Lakes. “We’ve got algae, we’ve got invasive species, we got all of these pollutants we don’t know about going into the water.”
Read the full post on Shareable.
It is increasingly apparent that today’s economy is not working for most of us. Growing inequality of wealth and income is putting the famous American middle class in danger of becoming a distant memory. Most American children now face economic prospects worse than their parents enjoyed. We suffer from more frequent financial shocks and linger in recession far longer than in the past.Our education and health care systems don’t stack up to those of other countries with similar living standards. And if all this were not enough, environmental destruction continues to escalate as we stand on the verge of triggering irreversible, and perhaps cataclysmic, climate change.
Yet, beneath the radar of the mainstream media, a diverse and energetic new generation of business models has cropped up in response to urgent, unmet needs. We’re talking about innovations like worker-owned cooperatives, credit unions,community-supported agriculture, sharing platforms and businesses, and community energy enterprises. (You may have seen organizations like this in the “new economy” section of the YES! website. But in this project we are calling them part of a “future” rather than a “new” economy because some initiatives, such as cooperatives, have been with us for centuries.)
How important are these innovations? Doing something differently isn’t inherently “good”—despite Americans’ perennial love of the next new thing. How well do these models really perform when it comes to providing prosperity for their workers and others who depend on them? Do they really deliver on their promise of distributing social and financial benefits broadly while restoring the environment?
We at the Economics for Equity and the Environment (E3) Network—more than 300 progressive environmental economists nationwide—decided it was time to find out.
Read the full story in GreenBiz.
As increased emphasis on sustainability transforms the way businesses manage economic, environmental and social risks, individual companies are seeking out new ways to gain global competitive advantages and achieve long-term stakeholder value.
Bacardi, the world’s largest privately owned spirits company with some 200 brands in its portfolio, provides one example of how that process is playing out with is premium gin offering, Bombay Sapphire.
Read the full story in Grist.
As California limps through another nearly rain-free rainy season, the state is taking increasingly bold action to save water.
On March 17, the California state government imposed new mandatory restrictions on lawn watering and incentives to limit water use in hotels and restaurants as part of its latest emergency drought regulations. On March 19, California Gov. Jerry Brown announced a $1 billion plan to support water projects statewide and speed aid to hard-hit communities already dealing with shortages. Last month, federal water managers announced a “zero allocation” of agricultural water to a key state canal system for the second year in a row, essentially transforming thousands of acres of California farmland into dust.
The recent moves come after the state has fallen behind targets to increase water efficiency in 2015 amid the state’s worst drought in 1,200 years. Last year, voters passed a $7.5 billion water bond and the legislature approved its first-ever restrictions on groundwater pumping, which won’t go into full effect until 2025. Stricter, more immediate limits on water use are possible as summer approaches.
But it’s not enough. These moves are small potatoes compared to what’s needed to rein in statewide water use, of which agriculture forms the vast majority. Earlier this month, a pair of op-eds, one in the Guardian and the other in the Los Angeles Times, spoke with urgency about the West’s growing water crisis.
Read the full story at Shareable.
Stuart and Cedar Anderson have set the internet abuzz with their record-breaking Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. The father-and-son team’s Flow hive, a no-muss, no-fuss beehive designed to deliver honey on tap, smashed the crowdfunding site’s previous record of just over $5 million. As of March 17—the campaign runs through April 5—the Andersons have raised more than $6.3 million.
Read the full story in GreenBiz.
Packaging reuse could save the industry some $11.4 billion that’s now represented in discarded material. But it will take some rethinking.