Nature vs. Nature or Engineering? The Case of Coastal Resilience

Coastal flooding has been a problem for as long as civilization has settled along the coast. During that same time civilization has been impacting natural features that would otherwise help mitigate this problem. There are two schools of thought in combating coastal flooding today: installing conventional engineering solutions and bringing back natural barriers. There are pros and cons to both strategies, but it really boils down to cost, space, and unintended consequences. In our opinion, nature should be used to fight nature. Read the article and decide for yourself!

Read more

Going, going, gone! Living shorelines send nitrogen packin’!

Coastal wetlands provide critical ecological services, but are rapidly disappearing from the planet. Salt marshes are a type of coastal wetland that provides habitat, food, and shelter, while preventing erosion, and protecting our water quality. Researchers are investigating how well reduce nutrient pollution, specifically nitrogen, from terrestrial and aquatic environments. A recent study discovered that living shorelines such as salt marshes are quite effective at removing nitrogen, especially in the first seven years after construction. These findings indicate that living shorelines are an effective solution to coastal pollution challenges.

Read more

Something to chew on: the environmental impacts of our food choices

Hamburger or fish sandwich? Which lunch option has the lowest environmental impact? Consumers and policy makers aiming to make informed choices about what animal protein food sources to support have a new resource available this month, thanks to a review led by University of Washington researchers.

Read more

Cropland nitrogen allocation – A deeper dive into the stressors impacting the oceans

Around the globe, 40-50% of the nitrogen applied to cropland in fertilizers remains in the environment. Excess nitrogen is an important environmental stressor that degrades water, air and soil quality and enhances coastal eutrophication. Efficiently allocating nitrogen across space both maximizes crop yields and minimizes excess nitrogen losses to the environment.

Read more

Under a wave of global change, lakes remain placid

Swimmers, boaters, and fishing enthusiasts care about keeping our lakes healthy. As climate and patterns of land development change, scientists are diving into the challenge of understanding how these interacting forces impact water quality. In a recently published paper, researchers assembled a database of thousands of lakes across the northeastern United States to address this question. They found that water quality has remained surprisingly stable over the past twenty years.

Read more

The fate of our waste: nitrogen removal in residential wastewater

Residential wastewater serves as a major source of nitrogen to coastal watersheds. Increased nitrogen loads can harm coastal ecosystems, so advanced onsite wastewater treatment systems have been designed in order to reduce these loads and protect coastal waters.

Read more