Monday, December 16, 2013

Hey everyone, it's been a great semester of blogging.

Lots of great, informative (as well as amusing) posts.
Well done!!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

CZM: A Review

At first it seemed like a lot of overlap between e-law and mrm

Some people dislike the blogs and have criticized me but

More group roundtable discussion/in class projects - those were fun

On a more personal note, getting to work with Prendorgrab:

Learning about upcoming green design and planning left me feeling hopeful:

But by the end I was like

PS I only knew about gentrification because of Matt Fraction's current Hawkeye comical book:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Doritos spill

I read this on facebook and thought it was something cool to share.  So basically what happened was a container fell off a ship during a big storm and was found off the coast of South Carolina by charter fishermen.  when they opened up they discovered that it was full with thousands of bags of Doritos.  After a few days these bags began to wash up on shore completely covering the beaches.   Right away people began rushing down to beaches trying to get their hands on as many Doritos as they could (they were still okay to eat because of their air tight seal).  people showed up with trash bags and even pick up trucks.  Finally after a few hours the park service was able to lock up the container and have it removed.  The Coast Guard was also puzzled on to how to go about dealing with this situation.  It was not a hazardous waste, if anything it was littering but everything was all cleaned up by people rushing to the beaches so it was unclear who to fine and what for.   If people were willing to clean up the coast for an oil spill or litter as much as they were for a Doritos spill the coast would remain a lot cleaner and safer.  I attached the article below for you to read if you'd like.  I just thought it was a cool article that pertained to the class and that it was a "spill" that had a positive affect on the coastal community because they all got free Doritos.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Changes in watersheds on seagrass habitat in Veracruz, Mexico

This article talks about how the long term state of Veracruz, Mexico's coastal lagoons effect the land changes in seagrass habitat. Over the last 50 years, there has been a rapid increase in population along the coast of Veracruz. This has caused an increase of agriculture, urbanization, and increased of development. This causes a rapid change in how the land is being used. A lot of it is used for agriculture and livestock. Native wetlands have been declining significantly which alters lagoon systems. Coastal lagoon systems receive excess nutrients and sediments from agriculture and economic usage of the land. The study that was done was intended to evaluate the influence of productive activities from four coastal lagoons and one estuary. It also was used to make reference points to how future changes in coastal wetlands can be measured.
They started by analyzing the physic-chemical characteristics of the water column which helped them figure out the abundance and biomass of the seagrasses. Then they were able to determine the past and current trophic status the water bodies they were studying. The results that they found indicated that only one of the lagoons became a mesotrophic state while the rest stayed at a eutrophic state. These results provide baselines for future changes in the water quality of these selected lagoons and estuaries along with the changes in seagrass population. I think that more studies like this should be done in every country. This shows that even economically behind countries realize how important wetlands are.

Forecasting Toxic Algal Blooms

So I decided to write this after listening to one of the class presentations the other day about Harmful Algal Blooms (HABS). There was some information in the presentation about how scientists try to forecast the algal blooms as best as they can so that they can close beaches in time and know when it is safe to eat shellfish etc. It got me thinking - I have a friend that works for NOAA out in Seattle and she's actually done some pretty cool work with HAB forecasting for Puget Sound. Basically, she looked mostly at the algae species Alexandrium Catenella which contains neurotoxins that accumulate in shellfish and have actually killed people that eat them. As part of the life-cycle of this algae it produces something called 'cysts' which to put it super simply is kind of like a way of hibernating until the conditions are good for blooming. These seed-like cysts sink to the bottom of the sound and wait in the sediment. One of things NOAA is working on now is actually counting and mapping the abundance of the cysts. They take soil samples in a number of areas around the Sound and have actually issued a '2013 Preliminary Alexandrium Cyst Map.' They use this data along with other data they collect from 'Environmental Sample Processors' they have deployed in the water. The ESPs are an awesome new piece of technology they developed to stay in the water column for about 30 days.  Its an autonomous buoy that contains DNA based technology that can actually identify and quantify species of algae in the water in real time. It takes periodic samples and stores results as images. NOAA uses all of this data and integrates it with weather information to identify what they call 'windows of opportunity.' There are certain conditions such as warm air and water temperatures, weak winds, low streamflows, and small tidal variations, which they have identified to favor algal blooms. They combine all this data and use it to issue warnings to state officials and shell fishermen when they think there may be a harmful bloom in a certain area. 
I think that this is some really interesting science. Its been suggested that in the future these harmful blooms may increase in duration and intensity due to changing climate conditions and so I think it's really important for NOAA to be developing these kinds of reliable early warning systems. The science right now is still being developed and has just this year begun to be really implemented but results so far look good. These kinds of HAB forecasting models and warning systems will likely be adopted by other areas in the near future. They will save the lives of people and fish and protect local economies who shellfish harvests etc. are affected by these blooms. 

Check out some of the following links for more info:

Low Population is MORE!!!!!

While I'm trying to relax for the last day of my Thanksgiving Vacation I saw this article on google and I have always express an interest on the declination of our natural resources along the coast line. In the article that I just read they support the idea of how the increase and population and other stressers that  are caused by humans are the root cause of the degradation of all our natural resources that develop along the coast. One of these natural resources would have to be the fisheries. In some cases, fisheries that are in serious decline, fishermen have had toturn to illegal actions or practices to bring an income home, or put food on the table. Another example of natural resource destruction are the coral reefs and bleaching due to human stresses. This all leads to the main problem which is INCREASE IN POPULATION!!!!! The article states that a way for us to mitigate this problem is to come up with strrategies that take in effect increase in population, rate of consumption,cost, and many other variables. 

Personally in my opinion, I dont believe that there are many strategies to solving this problem. The population is going to increase, unleess there was more space to put humans in such as another continent that is not being used (Antartica), or a planet that supports life on its surface (not many). Then there is no way that this problem will be solved. If anything, this is a bad time that we appeared in. We are gonna see declines in natural resources, and other environmental impacts that are life threatening. We only have two options of mitigation in my opinion and that is research some problem solving ideas, or say forget about it and watch everything decline. Like Dr. J saids, the coastal zone is nothing but a sad story, and Coastal Zone Management (our class) willbe negative almost  the entire time due to learning about these problems.

Coastal Wetlands are Disappearing

This is another article on how human development is destroying our environment. Even though wetlands are covered by CWA and many other regulations, there is still a lot of development going on in these wetlands. When will society finally catch on to what we are doing? People still aren't believing SLR, Climate Change and global warming are real...