Kenneth Vigil A Leading Voice In Clean Water Strategy

ESA Home Page Link

For any interested in learning more about clean water best-practices, Kenneth Vigil, PE, LEED AP  is an excellent resource. With his easy-to-read book, Clean Water: An Introduction to Water Quality and Water Pollution Control (Amazon), Vigil details elements and approaches which are a part of the process of securing and maintaining an environment that promotes and maintains clean water.

Vigil is vice president and Northwest Environmental Hydrology leader at ESA, and directs a team toward science-based solutions in watershed management and restoration. Their aim is to provide a comprehensive, integrated approach to complex water and natural resource projects, where input from several disciplines is essential.

Harmful Algae Bloom Operational Forecast System – Perfect For Great Lakes

468px-NOAA_logoThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAAHarmful Algae Bloom (HAB) Operational Forecast System (OFS), which monitors bloom activity in the Gulf of Mexico from FL through TX, is working its way into the Great Lakes region.

Already, NOAA offers some OFS capabilities, the complete list of which appears via this link, but HAB monitoring is not yet a part.

Look for that to change and, though the HAB monitoring may have limited impact in area that already does a good job of monitoring bacteria levels such as E.coli (see: Wisconsin Beach Health), the extra involvement from NOAA certainly underscores the tremendously negative impact HAB have in freshwater and saltwater ecosystems alike.

What is that farm property worth?

What is all that farm land worth? It is a question farmers may ask themselves, and passers-by of these vast expanses of green space wonder as well. The truth is, depending on where you live — and scores of other considerations — it IS possible to get a pretty good estimate.

In Wisconsin, The Agricultural Assessment Guide for Wisconsin Property Owners
lays out what goes into valuing USDA_imageacreage. It is comprehensive, and also a free download.
Other States such as OH offer their own valuation methods.

For farmers across the USA, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers  land value averages by-state, in its 2015 Land Values Summary.  Liars can figure, and figures can lie, but for starters these documents and others like them are great tools.



Tricky Connection to Climate Change & Farm Runoff

Projections for massive algae blooms in Lake Erie are once again grim for 2016, and a part of the problem is something that cannot be controlled: climate change.

According to this article in Toledo Blade, research from the American Geophysical Union suggests that blooms in Lake Erie may double in intensity over the next 100 years, even if nutrient runoff from farms is reduced by 40%.

Algae Blooms in IA, 2011.

Given the troubling contribution climate change makes to algae blooms in Lake Erie, and across the planet, a question begs answering which secondary research here has not yet produced.

How much does climate change account for the creation of algae blooms?

Clearly, the relationship between nutrient runoff and climate change is profound. Runoff can be controlled. Climate change cannot. If there is a sweet spot that will secure fresh surface water across the planet, despite the changes, it must be found. Apparently, reductions in nutrient runoff by 40% will not be enough.

What, then, will be? Without a deep and longstanding commitment between farmers and entities (like Clean Water Warrior) that can help them implement best-practices, this question will unfortunately go unanswered.