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Gulf of Mexico researchers examine effects of Hurricane Harvey floodwaters

What happens when a hurricane sends fresh rainwater — up to 124.9 trillion L (33 trillion gal) of it — into the saltwater ocean? In the case of normal-sized storms, the rainwater, which is less dense than saltwater, typically sits atop the ocean in a distinct “blob,” which generally mixes into the ocean within hours […]

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‘Rainstorm generator’ predicts more frequent – but less intense – dryland thunderstorms

In the lowest and most arid parts of the Colorado River basin, moisture from the ground rises into the atmosphere before condensing rapidly to form frequent and sudden thunderstorms. These storms, which typically control the flow of runoff, provide irrigation for river-bank plants, supplement water supplies, and affect the chance that the river will flood, […]

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Australian student invents award-winning stormwater mapping toolbox

When Esri (Redlands, Calif.) first released the ArcGIS spatial analysis platform in 1999, it empowered users to visualize abstract data in a way that put computer-assisted watershed planning (literally) on the map. Just under two decades later, the open-source platform now enables seamless map-sharing, intuitive rendering features, and has inspired a dedicated circle of coders […]

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High school student wins U.S. EPA award for Portland flood mitigation study

After taking home the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award from the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (IISEF) in May, a high school junior from Oregon will present his research at next year’s EPA National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C. Adam Nayak of Cleveland High School (Portland, Ore.) […]

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Stormwater credit trading could ease Chesapeake Bay pollution, study says

Chesapeake Bay, the third-largest estuary in the world, has a chronic nutrient pollution problem. In 2010, gradual runoff pollution from more than 13.6 million people living in the watershed grew to national concern, prompting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set strict total maximum daily load (TMDL) regulations limiting nutrient emissions. Meeting those regulatory […]

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Billions spent worldwide to improve “natural” green infrastructure

The term green infrastructure generally refers to manmade structures that mimic the absorptive water control properties of nature. But more and more engineers, academics, and regulators are recognizing that the term also includes the very forests, meadows, and wetlands that inspire bioswales, porous hardscapes, and rain gardens. Last September, Governor Jerry Brown of California introduced […]

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Study quantifies the impact of coastal runoff in dollars and cents

A recent Duke University (Durham, N.C.) study makes the first, long-sought evidence linking Gulf of Mexico hypoxia to economic effects. The study, published January in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows hypoxic dead zones in the gulf drive up the price of large shrimp relative to smaller sizes. This effect causes economic […]

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University scientists develop artificial marshland to treat Louisiana stormwater

Scientists at Southeastern Louisiana University (Mandeville, La.) are using a relatively low-tech way of imitating natural marshland to help treat freshwater ponds contaminated by stormwater runoff. This marshland technology method is intended to improve water quality throughout St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana. It is a component of the newly initiated stormwater management plan, which launched […]

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Port of Brisbane finds success in $1 million pollution prevention project

In early 2013, Cyclone Oswald tore through huge swathes of eastern Australia, causing some $2.5 billion (AUD) in damage across Queensland and New South Wales. The torrent deposited more than 1.8 million Mg (2 million ton) of agricultural contaminants, sediments, and nutrients into the Moreton Bay, highlighting a critical need for increased flood protection in […]

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Chesapeake Bay summer ‘dead zone’ predicted to be slightly smaller in 2016

In Chesapeake Bay this year, the amount of algae that will decay will render a stretch of water approximately equal to the volume of 2.3 million Olympic-sized swimming pools unable to support life. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and local partners in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, […]

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