24 February 2017

Saturday night?

The salamanders might be crossing tomorrow night! If you live close to campus, this might be a very unusual wildlife viewing opportunity. Plus, it might help you in your study of habitat for an upcoming exam.

If you go, please observe all safety precautions described on the website.

Aquifer at risk

National Geographic has a great interactive story on the Ogallala Aquifer. Not only is it a large one, but it is in a central location. The aquifer underlies much of the Great Plains and provides 30% of all of the water used to irrigate US agriculture. Even though it is easy to read and written for a general audience, the story integrates key terms like recharge and unsaturated zone.

23 February 2017

Wetlands value

When we talk about wetlands, we often assume that our audience already knows why they are so important. But every so often it is worth reviewing the message.

What makes wetlands valuable and to whom? The NRCS has developed an easy explanation which includes a small section on regional differences for each part of the country. The midwest section emphasizes a decline in waterfowl while the section on the West cites a specific loss, "Wetlands in California's Central Valley have been reduced from more than 4 million acres to about 300,000 acres."

22 February 2017

Reading a hydrograph

For students interested in refreshing their memories on the way that hydrographs work, this video should help out.

Could you read a hydrograph if it showed up on the exam? What does this have to do with Environmental Planning?

20 February 2017

Bird habitat

As we start to talk about habitat, I thought this post/ad from SFI might be interesting. It lists 6 projects promoting bird habitat. If you think that birds can just land anywhere, think about this list a little more.

Also, this weekend we saw a pair of bald eagles just 2 or 3 miles up the Raritan River (near the Somerset Diner) from the College Ave campus. Someone said their nest was nearby and eBird has someone sighting them recently too. Just a few miles further upstream is a widely known breeding pair at Duke Farms. You can watch them on the EagleCam, especially once they have some eggs to hatch.

18 February 2017

Lecture: The Gardens of Joseph and Napoleon Bonaparte

Professor Emerita, Rutgers University
"The Gardens of Joseph and Napoleon Bonaparte"

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Cook/Douglass Lecture Hall, Room 110, Cook Campus

17 February 2017

Cuyahoga River fire

One of the more famous environmental planning disasters in American history centers around the polluting of Cleveland's Cuyahoga River. It is amazing to look back and see how bad things were for the river when it caught fire in 1969. The website, The Pop History Dig, has posted a recollection of that tumultuous time.

How much better is it today? Now the Cuyahoga Valley is a National Park!

15 February 2017

Racial disparities data ban

Have you heard about the Local Zoning Decisions Act of 2017? It is a bill proposed in Congress that says:
“No Federal funds may be used to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing,”
I have yet to see one comment from either the planning or the geospatial community that was not staunchly opposed to this. You can follow its progress at Congress.gov. Hopefully there won't be much to follow,

10 February 2017

Landscape Lecture

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Cook/Douglass Lecture Hall, Room 110, Cook Campus
Emschergenossenschaft and Lippeverband
“The Silent Revolution – Transforming Germany‘s Industrial Heart via Water Management”

06 February 2017

Aquifer quality from USGS

The USGS has released a study on water quality that includes specifics on five major aquifers. It sounds like one of those "Good News, Bad News" reports with findings like this:
"The nutrient nitrate was the only constituent from manmade sources that exceeded the human-health benchmark. These findings were in the Valley and Ridge carbonate-rock aquifers and the Piedmont and Blue Ridge carbonate-rock aquifers at a low percentage (2 percent)."

Technical announcements for five aquifers studied:
Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers (western U.S.)
Valley and Ridge carbonate-rock aquifers and the Piedmont and Blue Ridge carbonate-rock aquifers (eastern U.S.)
Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system (east coast of U.S.)
Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system (southeastern U.S.)
Coastal Lowlands aquifer system (south central U.S.)