Category Archives: Non-Virginia

Earth Applications of Space Program Water-purification Technology Described in Summer 2014 Newsletter from Arizona Water Resources Research Center

NASA Water Recycling Technologies Have Earthbound Uses,” in the Summer 2014 issue of Arizona Water Resource (p. 1), from the Arizona Water Resources Research Center in Tucson, is a two-page article describing several commercial “spinoffs” from water-treatment systems developed for the U.S. space-exploration program.  Such systems’ portability, relative ease of maintenance, and alternatives to chlorine for disinfection have made them valuable in disaster areas, remote locations, and other earth-bound situations.  The article is online at, or contact the Arizona center at (520) 621-9591, or e-mail:

More information on this subject is available from NASA in “Advanced NASA Technology Supports Water Purification Efforts Worldwide,” online at

An Introduction to the Arctic and the Arctic Council

Some 2000 miles from Virginia at its closest, the Arctic region is connected and relevant in various, complicated ways to the Old Dominion, as well as to the entire world.  The region’s climate influences global weather and sea levels; its geographic location makes it important to the world’s commercial shipping; it is home to unique habitats and organisms and to valuable fisheries; it provides significant energy resources and is the focus of intense debate over expanded energy extraction; and its indigenous peoples have great cultural and historic significance as well as significant economic, social, and political challenges.

The Arctic Council was formed in 1996 as a high-level, intergovernmental forum to promote cooperation on the region’s environmental, economic, and social issues.  Member states are Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States; in addition, several organizations representing indigenous peoples are considered “Permanent Participants.”  In 2015, the United States will become chair of the Council for a two-year period (Canada is the current chair). U.S. participation in the Council is under the leadership of the State Department.  More information on the Arctic Council and the issues it addresses is available online at; information about U.S. participation is available from the State Department’s Web site at

For information on many scientific and cultural aspects of the regions, see the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site, “Arctic theme page,” online at  For more information on the Arctic region’s connection to global weather, please see the National Snow and Ice Data Center Web site at

Tundra and Arctic Ocean Barrow Alaska Jun24 2005

Tundra landscape and Arctic Ocean at Barrow, Alaska, June 24, 2005.

Severe Storm Reports from the Southeast and Midwest on October 13, 2014

On October 13, 2014, the National Weather Service/Storm Prediction Center received over 330 preliminary (not yet verified) reports of severe weather (tornadoes, high winds, or large hail) from southeastern and lower Midwest states, from the same weather system that brought wind, rain, and tornado watches to Virginia on October 14 and 15.  The Storm Prediction Center’s map of storm reports on October 13 (as of 10/15/14), is shown below.  For the current day’s storm-report map and map archive, plus various prediction maps and tools, visit the Storm Prediction Center’s Web site at

141013_rpts Reports Graphic


Intersex Conditions in Pennsylvania River Basins Fish Examined in USGS Study Published in June 2014

In June 2014, a research team led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Science Center in Leetown, West Va., published a study finding that fish in three Pennsylvania river basins showed the condition known as “intersex,” where male fish contain immature eggs or show other female characteristics.  The study found intersex fish in the Delaware, Ohio, and Susquehanna River basins in the Keystone State.  Previous USGS work has documented intersex fish in the Potomac River basin and in rivers basins around the country.

The intersex condition is thought to result from exposure to chemicals called “endocrine disruptors.”  According to the USGS news release on the Pennsylvania study, the authors believe that the sources of chemicals causing the condition are probably a complex mixture of substances from agricultural sources, wastewater treatment plant effluent, and other wastewater; more research is being conducted to “characterize the sources and timing of exposure to these complex mixtures in relation to fish health.”

The study is “Reproductive Health Indicators of Fish from Pennsylvania Watersheds: Associations with Chemicals of Emerging Concern,” by V.S. Blazer et al., published in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, October 2014, Volume 186/Issue 10, pages 6471-6491.  Information on the study is available in the following USGS news release: “Intersex Fish Now in Three Pennsylvania River Basins,” 6/30/14, online at

Information on previous USGS work on intersex fish nationwide is available in the following news release: “Widespread Occurrence of Intersex Bass Found in U.S. Rivers,” 9/14/09, online at

Floodplain Mapping, the National Flood Insurance Program, and Other Issues are Part of a Look Back at September 2013 Historic Flooding in Colorado

September 2014 marks the one-year anniversary of historic flash flooding in Colorado along the northern part of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.  Resulting from heavy rains between September  9-16, 2013, the disaster killed 10 people in the state and caused an estimated $3.4 billion in damages to residences, dams, roads, irrigation ditches, and other structures.

The Summer 2014 issue of Headwaters, from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, provides a look back at the event, an assessment of recovery efforts as of summer 2014, and a discussion of lessons this event offers for flood prevention and response.  Of particular value for citizens outside of the Rocky Mountain State is the article “Coming Home…A Calculation of Risk, Reward, and Restitution in Flood Zones” (pages 23-27), which discusses floodplain mapping and the National Flood Insurance Program.

The magazine’s issues archive is available online at; or contact the Foundation in Denver at (303) 377-4433 or


A Water Conference Sampler from around the United States, Canada, and Mexico; September 19, 2014 Edition – Updated 10/2/14

Here are some water  and water-related meetings in the United States, Canada, and Mexico in coming months.  This list is updated as the Virginia Water Resources Research Center learns of new events and a new version is re-posted quarterly.  If you would like an event added, please send basic information (date, location, event title, event organizer, Web site, and contact information) to with subject line: For Water Central Editor.  This post is for non-Virginia events; for water meetings and other events in the Old Dominion, please see the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s online Quick Guide to Virginia Water Events.

Some of this information was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC).  For more information on the VWMC, please visit

Oct. 5-11, 2014, Salt Lake City, Utah: International Union of Forest Researchers World Congress.  This year’s theme is “Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People: The Role of Research.”  This meeting is held every five years. This year, it’s being held along with the joint annual meeting (Oct. 8-11) of the Society of American Foresters and the Canadian Institute of Forestry.  More information:; phone (301) 897-8720 (Society of American Foresters in Bethesda, Md.).

Oct. 6, 2014, Reisterstown, Md.: 8th Annual Meeting of the Pesticides and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Project.  Organized by the Maryland Pesticide Network (Annapolis).  Registration deadline September 19.  To register (it’s free), e-mail with your name, title, and affiliationMore information:; (410) 849-3909.

Oct. 7-9, 2014, Avon, Colo.: 2014 Sustaining Colorado Watersheds Conference.  Organized by the Colorado Riparian Association, the Colorado Watershed Assembly, and the Colorado Foundation for Water Education.  More information:; or e-mail

Oct. 8-9, 2014, Kalispell, Mont.: Annual conference of the Montana chapter of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA).  The theme for this year’s conference is “Floods, Forests, and The Flathead.”  More information:; or contact Nancy Hystad at

Oct. 8-10, 2014, Charleston, S.C.: 9th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference.  The theme this year is “Improving Water Quality through Relationships, Regulations, and Research.”  Organized by the Southeast Stormwater Association. Presentation proposals are being accepted through February 28.  More information:;; (866) 367-7379.

Oct. 14-15, 2014, St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Water Resources Conference.  Organized by the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center.  More information:; (612) 624-9282; e-mail:

Oct. 15-16, 2014, Columbia, S.C.: South Carolina Water Resources Conference.  Organized by Clemson University.  More information:; Dawn Anticole White at (864) 656-2618 or

Oct. 15-17, 2014, Dayton, Ohio: Natural Areas Conference.   Organized by the Natural Areas Association and Five Rivers MetroParks.  More information:

Oct. 19-22, 2014, Seattle, Wash.: 6th Annual Water for Food Conference.  The theme for this year’s conference is “Harnessing the Data Revolution: Ensuring Water and Food Security in a Digital World.”  Organized by the Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska.  More information:; Rachael Herpel at (402) 472-4977 or

Oct. 19-22, 2014, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. More information:; phone (303) 357-1000; e-mail:

Oct. 20-23, 2014, St. Louis, Mo.: 39th Climate Diagnostics and Prediction Workshop.  Organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  More information:

Oct. 22-24, 2014, Raleigh, N.C.: Southeastern Alternative Fuels Conference and Expo.  This year’s theme is “Driving the New Economy.” Organized by the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University.  More information:; Andrea Bachrach, (919) 515-5693 or

Oct. 23-24, 2014, Houston, Tex.: American Water Summit 2014.  Designed to focus on “the business of water in North America.”  Organized by Global Water Intelligence (    More information:

Oct. 27-30, 2014, Baltimore, Md.: BioCycle East Coast Conference 2014 (on composting, organics recycling and renewable energy).  More information:

Nov. 1-6, 2014, Washington, D.C.: 7th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration, combined with the 24th Biennial Meeting of the Coastal Society.  Organized by Restore America’s Estuaries (headquartered in Arlington, Va.) and The Coastal Society.  The meeting’s theme is “Inspiring Action, Creating Resilience.”  More information:; phone (703) 524-0248.

Nov. 2-5, 2014, Long Beach, Calif.: International annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.  More information:; phone (608) 273-8080.

Nov. 9-13, 2014, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: 35th Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America.  More information:

Nov. 12-14, 2014, Portland, Ore.: Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) Conference.  More information:

Nov. 12-14, 2014, Cholula, Puebla, Mexico: International Conference on Hydrometeorological Risks and Climate Change.  Organized by the Universidad de las Americas Pueblas (UDLAP).  More information:

Nov. 16-20, 2014, New Orleans, La.: Water Quality Technology Conference and Exposition.  Organized by the American Water Works Association.  More information:

Nov. 17-20, 2014, Charlotte, N.C.: EcoStream–Stream Ecology and Restoration Conference.  Organized by the North Carolina State University Stream Restoration Program.  More information:

Nov. 19-21, 2014, St. Petersburg, Fla.: National Clean Water Law Seminar.  Organized by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.  More information:

Nov. 21, 2014, North Linthicum, Md.: Maryland Water Monitoring Council’s 20th Annual Conference.  More information:; Dan Broward, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (410) 260-8605 or

Dec. 9-12, 2014, Las Vegas, Nev.: National Groundwater Association Expo.  More information:; phone (800) 551-7379; e-mail:

Dec. 15-19, 2014, San Francisco, Calif.: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.  More information:; phone (202) 462-6900.

Mar. 2-6, 2015, Charleston, S.C.: Fifth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds.  This year’s theme is “Headwaters to estuaries: advances in watershed science and management.”  More information:; or e-mail to

Two Cellulosic Ethanol Plants at Commercial Scale Opened in Iowa in September 2014

In early September 2014, the United States’ first two commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants opened in Iowa.  Cellulosic ethanol is produced from cellulose in plant residues—such as corn stalks, leaves, and cobs—rather than from grain (the corn kernel), which is the source for the corn-based ethanol that for many years has been commercially produced and blended with gasoline.  The two plants, both in northwestern Iowa, are the Project Liberty plant near the town of Emmetsburg, operated by the DSM and Poet companies; and the Quad County Corn Processors plant near the town of Galva.

2nd Iowa plant makes cellulosic ethanol reality, Des Moines Register, 9/9/14;
Long-Awaited Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Opens In Iowa, Chemical Engineering News, 9/8/14.