The timing seems almost surreal. Just a couple of weeks after my husband John and I visited the site of the proposed Birthplace of Rivers National Monument in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest, ferocious floods devastated the region. I had already submitted my feature on the proposed monument for the July issue of The Observer when the floods hit, and the issue reached the stands … Continue reading The birthplace of rivers floods
That’s a question no one should have to ask. Particularly, as we Americans like to think, in our own country. But the Flint, Michigan water crises reminds us that, more than 30 years after passage of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, dirty drinking water is a reality for some Americans. As a (transplanted) West Virginian, I can’t help thinking about … Continue reading Is the water safe to drink?
It’s hard to believe that in America today 300,000 residents in and around a state capital could find themselves without safe drinking water for days. But that’s what happened one year ago this month in Charleston, West Virginia when MCHM, a chemical used to wash coal, leaked from a storage tank adjacent to the Elk River. State officials issued “do not use” orders for tap … Continue reading The MCHM mystery
It’s August, and for me, that means beach time. Sun, sand and waves feel great, but it’s also about shorebirds, sea turtles and seashells. In other words, biodiversity. Part of the exhilaration I feel on my summer vacation comes from the wildlife I encounter while there. So it seems particularly fitting that Ensia published my article on environmental DNA (eDNA) this month. In it, I … Continue reading Beaches and biodiversity
Two studies released this fall highlight the importance of small headwater streams to water quality and land use decisions – streams that often get overlooked, covered up or just plain ignored in maps and regulations. The first, by scientists at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science, generated high resolution maps of the entire Potomac River watershed (and surrounding watersheds) and revealed for the … Continue reading Small is good