Contact: Marisa Lubeck – USGS – November 19, 2015

Piping plovers, a federally threatened species of shorebirds, are likely losing wetland breeding habitat in the Great Plains as a result of wetland drainage, climate change or both, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. “Our findings suggest that if drainage continues, there will be continued declines in the amount of breeding habitat for piping plovers at wetlands in the Great Plains,” said Lisa McCauley, who led the study as a USGS postdoctoral student and currently works at The Nature Conservancy. “Managers can use information from our study to better restore and conserve valuable wetland ecosystems for the protection of this species.” For full story, click here.

By Magda Mis –Thomson Reuters Foundation – November 16, 2015

The first map showing the world's hidden groundwater was published on Monday, bringing us closer to estimating how much there is, and when it will run out if we over-use the resource. Using data and computer models, an international team of researchers estimated that less than six percent and perhaps as little as one percent of water found close to the Earth's surface is renewable in a human lifetime. "This has never been known before," Tom Gleeson of Canada's University of Victoria and the lead author of the study, said in a statement. "We already know that water levels in lots of aquifers are dropping. We're using our groundwater resources too fast - faster than they're being renewed." For full story, click here.

Contact: Tim Lucas – Duke Environment – November 2, 2 015

When restoring coastal wetlands, it’s long been common practice to leave space between new plants to prevent overcrowding and reduce competition for nutrients and sunlight. It turns out, that’s likely all wrong. A new Duke University-led study, conducted to restore degraded salt marshes in Florida and the Netherlands, has found that clumping newly planted marsh grasses next to each other, with little or no space in between, can spur positive interactions between the plants and boost growth and survival by 107 percent, on average, by the end of one growing season. For full story, click here.

By Robin Bravender – E&E Publishing, LLC – October 30, 2015

Legal experts predicted today that the Supreme Court will review a major water case in what may become the court's biggest environmental battle of this term. The court is considering whether to take on a case, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Company Inc., that involves assessing whether federal regulators' determinations of areas qualifying for Clean Water Act protections may be challenged in court. For full story, click here.

By Michael D. Regan – The Christian Science Monitor – November 2, 2015

Three electric fences. That is all that is preventing the Asian carp from swimming into the Great Lakes, even as evidence shows the destructive fish are creeping closer to the world's largest body of freshwater, and as calls for the federal government to curb the spread of the invasive species have become as voracious as the fish's appetite. For full story, click here.

USGS – October 28, 2015

During 1945 to 1980, nitrate levels in large U.S. Rivers increased up to fivefold in intensively managed agricultural areas of the Midwest, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. In recent decades, nitrate changes have been smaller and levels have remained high in most of the rivers studied. The greatest increases in river nitrate levels coincided with increased nitrogen inputs from livestock and agricultural fertilizer, which grew rapidly from 1945 to 1980.  In some urbanized areas along the East and West coasts during the same period, river nitrate levels doubled. Since 1980, nitrate changes have been smaller as the increase in fertilizer use has slowed in the Midwest and large amounts of farmland have been converted to forest or urban land along the East coast. For full story, click here.

By Paul Rogers – San Jose Mercury News – October 18, 2015

San Francisco Bay is in a race against time, with billions of dollars of highways, airports, homes and office buildings at risk from rising seas, surging tides and extreme storms driven by climate change. And to knock down the waves and reduce flooding, 54,000 acres of wetlands -- an area twice the size of the city of San Francisco -- need to be restored around the bay in the next 15 years. That's the conclusion of a new report from more than 100 Bay Area scientists and 17 government agencies that may help fuel a regional tax measure aimed at addressing the looming crisis. For full story, click here.