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Mining in El Salvador: Can Corporate Behaviour be Changed?

Guest article by Vladimir Pacheco Central America remains a land of tremendous potential but persistent poverty. In vulnerable states recovering from civil strife and growing inequality, foreign corporate investment has additional obligations to ensure community consent through patient engagement. In this guest article, Vladimir Pacheco, a social scientist who has worked on mining and human…

Update From Colorado River Delta: A Community Gets its River Back

For more than two weeks, the Colorado River has been flowing in its delta, through more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) of recently bone-dry river channel choked with desert scrub.  The flow is all too brief, lasting only eight weeks in all.  The United States and Mexico are demonstrating how a “pulse flow” of water…

San Joaquin River Named #1 Most Endangered River in the U.S.

American Rivers today released its annual report of America’s Most Endangered Rivers, with California’s San Joaquin River at the top of the list.  Outdated water management, compounded by the current drought, have put the San Joaquin River at a critical crossroads. It is hard to overstate the importance of the San Joaquin River and its…

Partnership Protects America’s Largest Native Trout in Dry Nevada

By John Zablocki and Zeb Hogan Few places in the world keep their secrets as well as Northern Nevada.  Ask anyone driving across the northern half of the state along U.S. Highway 50 (widely referred to as the “Loneliest Road in America”) what they saw, and the most common reply will be “a whole-lot-of-nothin’.”  From…

Building a Resilient Water Portfolio

By Robert B. Sowby People often ask me, “So what’s the answer to the world’s water problems?” and expect an easy, digestible response. But there is no silver bullet. While most water plans have a dominant component, dependence on a single strategy is risky. Climate change, population growth, and other 21st-century challenges can adversely impact…

IPCC Report Shares Dire News, Some Adaptation Measures

Climate change risks dramatically increase the more Earth warms, but reducing greenhouse gas emissions lowers the risk of the most unwelcome consequences, according to the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “We have assessed impacts as they are happening on the natural and human systems on all continents,” said IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri. “In…

Will the Colorado River Delta Pulse Flow Make it to the Sea?

One of the big unknowns of the pulse flow of water currently working its way down the channel of the Colorado River in its delta is whether that water will reach the sea.  The mouth of the Colorado River drained historically into the Upper Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), a unique body of water…

Chasing the Historic “Pulse Flow” Through the Colorado River Delta

For one week now, the Colorado River has been flowing into its delta.  It’s the first ever deliberate release of water here to benefit the environment. That the river is flowing again in its delta is somewhat astounding, all the more remarkable because it’s happening as the result of cooperation between the United States and…

“DamNation” Film Wins Enviro Prize and Shines Light on Dam Removal

“Dams represented a pivotal part of U.S. development, but like many things we took it too far,” Ben Knight says in the new documentary film DamNation. Knight narrated, edited, and co-directed the film, which takes a provocative look at the recent movement to remove old and outdated dams, to restore natural river systems. Produced by…

Equality for Women and Sustainable Development Go Hand in Hand

Half of the world’s farmers are women, but women only own about one percent of the world’s land. Similarly, women make up nearly 50 percent of the global fisheries workforce, but in most countries have little to no say in how fisheries are managed. These statistics are indicative of a more general trend: women’s interests and roles are seldom seriously considered in the design and implementation of rural development and conservation initiatives.

To Understand Water, Learn the Math

 OK, I’ll admit to being a bit of a geek when it comes to water numbers. I never got all that excited about algebra in school, and college calculus was a real struggle.  But water numbers fascinate me.  If you’ve read any of my earlier blogs it will be apparent that this fascination borders on…

Water Flows Into Colorado River Delta in Historic First

Sunday March 23, 2014, at a little after 8 am, the gates at Morelos Dam on the Mexico-Arizona border were opened for the first time in history for the purpose of allowing the Colorado River to flow downstream into its delta to water the plants and animals that live there.  A crowd of more than…

Mexico’s Blind Cave Fish: Freshwater Species of the Week

If you don’t use it, you lose it—at least this appears to be the case for a blind cave fish found in Mexico and the southern U.S. known as Astyanax mexicanus. Descended from an eyed surface fish, over long periods of time the subterranean form of the same species has adapted to darkness, accumulating new…

Report Shows Unanimous Support for Colorado River Conservation

“Mapping the River Ahead,” a new report by Carpe Diem West, provides an insightful discussion of solutions for the Colorado River Basin.  The authors conducted anonymous interviews with more than 30 “water leaders” (disclosure, I was among them) representing a broad range of sectors and locations.  The anonymous process was a useful strategy to get…

The Urban Water Cycle: Sustaining Our Modern Cities

By Robert B. Sowby Most of us understand the basics of the hydrologic cycle—condensation, precipitation, transportation, and evaporation. These processes operate on global scales and in natural environments. But on local scales and in engineered environments like cities, a different cycle dominates: the urban water cycle. For the first time in history, slightly more than…