Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mercury in Streams Ecosystems

From USGS:

The NAWQA Program is studying mercury cycling in watersheds across the Nation to build an understanding of how natural features and human activities affect the transformation, transport, and bioaccumulation of mercury in stream ecosystems. As of August 2008, mercury was the second leading cause of stream impairment throughout the Nation (USEPA 303(d) list). Methylmercury is a neurotoxin that is biomagnified in aquatic food webs so that piscivorous fish and wildlife, and humans that consume fish, are potentially at greater risk of exposure to methylmercury. USGS data and research may aid in the development of more rigorous models that relate water quality to mercury bioaccumulation, thereby enhancing capabilities for predicting mercury contamination in fish.

Read more.......

Friday, June 25, 2010

Amazing Discovery!

The Doty at the Soo Locks 1896 - Andrew Young photo courtesy of the Historical Collections of the Great LakesThe Doty at the Soo Locks 1896 - Andrew Young photo courtesy of the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes.

A Lake Michigan shipwreck was just discovered off the shores of Milwaukee after 112 years under the water. The L.R. Doty was the largest wooden ship still missing on Lake Michigan, with an overall length of 300 feet. She was bound from South Chicago to Midland, Ontario with a cargo of corn and the four-masted schooner Olive Jeanette in tow when she was struck by a tremendous storm several miles north of Milwaukee. Waves reportedly reached 30 ft, with 70 mph winds. The Olive Jeanette was severely damaged, but survived the storm. The Doty however, was never seen again.

On June 16, 2010 a group of explorers led by marine historian Brendon Baillod and charter captain Jitka Hanakova relocated the site, which had been snagged by a commercial fish tug in 1991, nearly 20 miles off Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Technical divers, including John Janzen, John Scoles, Tracy Xelowski, Jitka Hanakova, Lubo Valuch and Ron Benson descended to the site in over 300 ft of water and filmed the wreck extensively. Marine historians Brendon Baillod and Peter Scotland provided surface support. Video reveals that the ship is upright and intact with the remains of her corn cargo still present in her hold. She is in an amazing state of preservation due to the cold, fresh water and extreme depth.

To learn more about the L.R. Doty, check out this web site.

Recent news articles appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and National Public Radio.

To learn more about Wisconsin shipwrecks, visit Wisconsin Sea Grant's Shipwrecks site.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New report from USGS

From the USGS Web site:

Manufacturing Facilities Release Pharmaceuticals to the Environment
Editors: This scientific paper is published in Environmental Science and Technology. The paper, an accompanying USGS data report, and related information are available online.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities can be a significant source of pharmaceuticals to surface waters, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted in cooperation with the State of New York.

Outflow from two wastewater treatment plants in New York that receive more than 20 percent of their wastewater from pharmaceutical facilities had concentrations of pharmaceuticals that were 10 to 1000 times higher than outflows from 24 plants nationwide that do not receive wastewater from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

"This is the first study in the U.S. to identify pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities as a significant source of pharmaceuticals to the environment," said Matthew C. Larsen, USGS Associate Director for Water. "The USGS is working with water utilities to evaluate alternative water treatment technologies with the goal of reducing the release of pharmaceuticals and other emerging contaminants to the environment."

Maximum concentrations in outflows from the two wastewater treatment plants in New York were:
• 3,800 parts per billion (ppb) of metaxalone (a muscle relaxant)
• 1,700 ppb of oxycodone (an opioid prescribed for pain relief)
• Greater than 400 ppb of methadone (an opioid prescribed for pain relief and drug withdrawal)
• 160 ppb of butalbital (a barbiturate)
• Greater than 40 ppb of phendimetrazine (a stimulant prescribed for obesity) and carisoprodol (a muscle relaxant)
• 3.9 ppb diazepam (an anti-anxiety medication)

Read more online.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Make a Splash! Read!

School is getting out very soon all across Wisconsin and the Water Library encourages everyone to Make a Splash! Read! This is the title of the 2010 public library summer reading program. Kids everywhere will be jumping into exciting books on water.

To help public librarians, we've developed story time ideas for two of of our favorite water-related subjects: frogs and fishing. Read, learn, create, and listen. The story times include book suggestions, crafts, and songs.

We also compiled a list of some the best children's books about frogs and fishing. And don't forget, most books can be checked out directly from the Water Library!

Visit the Water Library for Kids to learn more...

Storytime ideas
All about frogs reading list
All fish and fishing reading list