Day: September 30, 2020

Christian Cooper’s Bird Yearbook Superlatives

Watch the Facebook Live event from Nova.

Christian Cooper, board member of the New York City Audubon, hands out yearbook-style superlatives to numerous bird species and shares some memorable birding encounters.

Teal in Illinois: Numbers, charts, wooden decoys and hunting success in Aaron Yetter’s latest blog

Read the full story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Aaron Yetter’s latest blog gives an indepth take on teal in Illinois along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers with a nice aside on wooden decoys, carved by Tyler Wood.

In Michigan, rising lake levels disturb sacred ground

Read the full story at Great Lakes Now.

Indigenous burial grounds line the Michigan coast. But centuries after the ceremonies that put the dead to rest, their physical remains are making their way back to the people. Each of the five Great Lakes broke monthly high-water records in the last two years, an upwelling that has scoured beaches and bluffs. Erosion from high water levels is not just endangering public infrastructure and private property. Along with a burst of lakeshore construction, it is also pulling up the bones that have long been buried.

One Michigan county tells the story of a nation plagued by water pollution

Read the full story at Bridge Michigan.

Murray Borrello, wearing khakis and a loose-fitting brown button-up, walked down a backroad during the summer of 2019 listening to the sounds of the woods. Water from the Pine River flowed slowly beneath him as he looked out over a bridge.

“Oh, I hear a frog,” the Alma College geology and environmental studies professor said. “That’s a good sign.”

Borrello has been monitoring the Pine River for nearly two decades, so he is attuned to the marks of a healthy ecosystem. He and his team of students and community members test water samples from the 103-mile-long river and its tributaries for an array of pollution indicators: nitrogen and phosphorus, bacteria and dissolved oxygen. Since he began the project in 2003, Borrello said contamination in the watershed has only gotten worse. 

To Borrello, the source of the problem seems obvious. “The river is loaded with nutrients, it’s loaded with bacteria,” he told Circle of Blue. “We see it upstream and downstream, we can look at where it’s coming from. It’s coming from application sites of manure, and it’s coming from CAFOs themselves.”

Utility backs push to recycle wind turbine blades in Wyoming

Read the full story in the Casper Star-Tribune.

The state’s largest utility has stepped up to find ways to recycle old wind turbine blades instead of tossing them into a landfill.

PacifiCorp recently started transporting retired wind turbine blades from Wyoming out to Tennessee where researchers there are searching for ways to keep 100 tons of blades out of landfills. Though the blades make up only about 10% of a wind turbine’s total material, they are often made with fiberglass and can’t be recycled or easily repurposed.

How a Plan to Save the Power System Disappeared

Read the full story in The Atlantic.

A federal lab found a way to modernize the grid, reduce reliance on coal, and save consumers billions. Then Trump appointees blocked it.

Think small and local: Young farmers creating new food systems in northeastern Minnesota

Read the full story at MinnPost.

A new generation of small growers is stepping into the complex world of farming. They hope to change our fragile agricultural systems.

TVA building grid-scale battery energy storage system in Vonore

Read the full story from WATE.

The Tennessee Valley Authority will be able to store enough energy to power more than 10,600 homes for three hours with its first battery storage system.

Researchers Create New Tool for Controlling Genes in Methanogens

Read the full story from the University of Arkansas.

University of Arkansas researchers have developed an efficient tool for controlling genes in methanogens, a finding that could advance research in fields as diverse as climate change and biofuel production.

The tool, a variation of the CRISPR-Cas9 system, was used to repress targeted gene functions in methanogens without altering any DNA in the gene, said Ahmed Dhamad, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biological Sciences and author, along with associate professor Daniel Lessner, of the study published in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Associated journal article: Ahmed E. Dhamad, Daniel J. Lessner (2020). “A CRISPRi-dCas9 system for archaea and its use to examine gene function during nitrogen fixation by Methanosarcina acetivorans.” Applied and Environmental Microbiology Aug 2020, AEM.01402-20; DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01402-20

Skip fall shopping and do this instead to refresh your wardrobe

Read the full story at Fast Company.

In her new book, Mend! A Refashioning Manual and Manifesto, author and fashion historian Kate Sekules makes the case that fixing our clothes is a radical act—one that has the potential to save the planet.

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