Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Aqueduct Water Resource Atlas

 Image: Aqueduct, World Resources Institute

Threats to our global water resources can now be visualized with this impressive online tool: The Aqueduct Water Resource Atlas.  After three years of development, the map was recently launched through the nonprofit organization Water Resources Institute.   Users of the map will be able to access geo-tagged scientific data and that creates twelve different water risk indicators to create a visualization of where and how water risks exist.  Selected mapping variables include drought severity, flood occurrence, groundwater stress, and access to water.  This tool allows companies, governments, and environmental organizations  to visualize and compare water conditions across continents and make appropriate decisions about future investments, programs, and responses. 

Read Rachel Nuwer's NYT blog post "A One-Stop Shop for Water Worries" here

Video tutorial on "How to Use the Tool" here

Friday, January 25, 2013

Great Lakes Drought Satellite Evidence

Image courtesy of NASA
Today we want to share Great Lakes Echo's blogger James Dau's article about evidence provided by NASA satellite imaging of the impact drought conditions continue to have on Great Lakes groundwater.  Dau highlights images constructed using NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites that were created between January 8-14, 2013.  He goes on to conclude that "Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, northern Wisconsin and Minnesota, and areas along the Indiana-Illinois border show particularly low groundwater levels."  Average levels appear in white in the map shown here, while below average areas appear in red.  Certainly snowstorms can help alleviate these drought conditions over the winter months, and clearly we could use more snow precipitation if we hope to improve our groundwater storage.  Fascinating NASA imaging tool and great reporting by Great Lakes Echo.

Read Jame's Dau's entire article "When in Drought: Satellites show low Great Lakes groundwater" here

Learn more about GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) here

Learn more about Groundwater with our Water Research Guide here

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wisconsin Fish Identification

Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy)
Carpsucker, Highfin (Carpiodes carpio)
Anglers and fish enthusiasts have a new tool to aid them in identifying the countless varieties of fish found in Wisconsin waters. UW Sea Grant’s IT and communications team   recently updated an online tool that offers a searchable database and identifies fish by name and appearance.  The tool builds on a previous version created by UW Sea Grant, the UW Center for Limnology and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.  Currently accessible on you desktop or tablet, a mobile version is in the works and should be available later this year.  Imagine pulling an unknown fish out of a Wisconsin lake and identifying it easily by consulting the images available on your smart phone.  The future is now folks.

The Wisconsin Fish Identification site can be found at

UW Digital Collections offers access to the full text of George C. Becker's book Fishes of Wisconsin here

Wisconsin Sea Grant's ever popular Great Lakes Fishes posters are available here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Aldo Leopold: Born January 11, 1887

Today we recognize the birth date of Aldo Leopold.  Born in Burlington, Iowa on January 11, 1887. His legacy with the modern conservation movement he helped launch is still felt strongly 126 years later.  Here's a quote on conservation to consider today:

"Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. By land is meant all of the things on, over, or in the earth. Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the waters and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forest and mine the farm. The land is one organism. Its parts, like our own parts, compete with each other and co-operate with each other. The competitions are as much a part of the inner workings as the co-operations. You can regulate them—cautiously—but not abolish them."
(Leopold, Aldo: Round River, Oxford University Press, New York, 1993, pp. 145-146.)

To learn more about Aldo Leopold and conservation consider the following:
Visit The Aldo Leopold Foundation's website here
View the work of The Conservation Fund and possibly contribute here
View the work of The Nature Conservancy and possibly contribute here
Read our recent AquaLog post about the Aldo Leopold themed documentary Green Fire here

Friday, January 4, 2013

Western Waters Digital Library

Curious about what other libraries might offer water-related resources?  We recently discovered the Western Waters Digital Library. WWDL provides free public access to a wide range of significant resources on water in the Western United States including water literature, maps, government reports, legal transcripts, water project records, personal papers, audio recordings, videos, and photographic collections. These collections have been made available by research libraries belonging to the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) and numerous other academic library partners.

Some notable digital collections available via WWDL include:

Native American Water Rights in Arizona
A collection of federal government documents pertaining to the water rights of Navajo, Hopi, and Pima tribes in Arizona. (University of Arzona)

Las Vegas and Water in the West
This collection includes U.S. military and scientific surveys conducted to map a route for the transcontinental railroad, records exploring the feasibility of irrigating the desert for agriculture, and records regarding the construction of the Hoover Dam. (University of Nevada-Las Vegas)

John Muir Papers
Here you will find 75% of the extant papers of John Muir. (University of the Pacific)

John N. Cobb Photo Collection
Highlights 340 images ca. 1897-1917 of salmon and other local fisheries, whaling activities, clamming and oystering industries along the Pacific Coast and Alaska. (University of Washington)

There are hundreds more collections to consider.  Truly worth your time exploring and consulting for your future research.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mapping Threats to the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping Project (GLEAM) three year study  culminated recently in the release of a comprehensive map outlining the impact of environmental "stressors" on the world's largest freshwater system.  The environmental stress map was developed by academic researchers and environmental organizations, representing both the United States and Canada, drawing upon the latest and best data from federal and state agencies as well as non-governmental organizations and individual researchers.  UW-Madison's own Assistant Professor, Peter McIntyre is one of the project's leaders.  

The map complements the report published online for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).  Ongoing Great Lakes restoration efforts are aided by offering this "merged high-resolution spatial analyses of environmental stressors with mapping of ecosystem services for all five Great Lakes"according to the PNAS report. Thirty-four individual stressors were considered, including coastal development, agricultural pollutants, over-fishing, climate change, invasive species and toxic chemicals.  Users are now able to scan the entire 900+ mile chain of lakes, zoom in, and see evidence of environmental impacts to the scale of one half a mile.  Truly an outstanding tool for promoting discussion and aiding actions taken to restore and protect our Great Lakes resources.

View the full map at the GLEAM website here
Access the full PNAS report "Joint analysis of stressors and ecosystem services to enhance restoration effectiveness" is available here
Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's article about GLEAM here