Stormwater Goals, Horse Farms' Impact on the Chesapeake, Far-Reaching Asian Carp, and the Fate of Large-River Fish

New Nooze for a Monday morning: Jennifer LangstonFirst, Jennifer Langston with Sightline writes about Seattle's new measures to combat the city's run-off woes:

Seattle's Green Stormwater Goals

Source: City of Seattle's Office of Sustainability.

Recently, the city of Seattle announced a goal to dramatically increase the amount of water treated by rain gardens, green roofs, green streets, permeable pavement and other alternatives that seek to treat stormwater more naturally instead of carry it away in pipes.

Right now, as the graphic below shows, the city estimates it’s managing somewhere north of 100 million gallons of polluted runoff with “green stormwater infrastructure,” which helps control flash flooding and helps filter out pollution that might otherwise wind up in Puget Sound. Mayor Mike McGinn and some city council members want to ramp that number up to 700 million gallons by 2025... Read more. 

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Whitney PipkinNext, Whitney Pipkin reports in the Bay Journal about the impact of livestock on the Chesapeake Bay:

Horse farms becoming larger part of Bay's landscape, nutrient effort

From the apex of her aptly named Rolling Acres Farm in Brookeville, MD, Pam Saul pointed to the gridlike pattern of horse paddocks below. A brown square of wooden fencing encloses each one, allowing for a row of grass between them that Saul said keeps the horses from playing across the fence, making mud tracks along the edge.

Pam Saul of Brookville, MD, points out the grassy sections between her horses’ paddocks that she said buffers some of the nutrients before they reach the nearby stream. (Photo by Whitney Pipkin)

Saul noted that the grass sections also act as buffers to absorb manure runoff, with four of them and an open field separating the top paddock from the meandering stream below. But, unlike riparian plantings along streams, grass strips between paddocks aren't a traditional best management practice — or one known to help reduce pollutants to the Chesapeake Bay watershed for livestock operations.

And the extra grass is unlikely to earn the horse farm relief from new requirements that it build a fence alongside the rest of the stream to prevent horses from accessing it.

"Everything that we could do so far that made sense to us, we've done," said Saul, who has run the former cattle farm as a horse boarding facility with her parents and two sisters since the early 1970s.

Now, she said, the Maryland Department of Agriculture "is asking us to do stuff that's so expensive... You name another business that has to comply with nutrient management laws that add no value to their business. We can't pass it on.".. Read more. 

In Maryland, which has more horses per square mile than any state in the nation, horse farms represent a quarter of its agricultural land. (Photo by Dave Harp)

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john flesherFrom John Flesher with the AP,  news that Asian carp have likely expanded their range further than we thought:

Report: Asian carp probably reached Great Lakes

Asian big head carp, weighing up to 100 pounds, have progressed steadily northward since being introduced in Arkansas in the 1970s. (Photo by M Spencer Green / Associated Press)

Traverse City — At least some Asian carp probably have found their way into the Great Lakes, but there's still time to stop the dreaded invaders from becoming established and unraveling food chains that support a $7 billion fishing industry and sensitive ecosystems, according to a scientific report released Thursday.

Written by experts who pioneered use of genetic data to search for the aggressive fish, the paper disagrees with government scientists who say many of the positive Asian carp DNA hits recorded in or near the lakes in recent years could have come from other sources, such as excrement from birds that fed on carp in distant rivers.

"The most plausible explanation is still that there are some carp out there," Christopher Jerde of the University of Notre Dame, the lead author, told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. "We can be cautiously optimistic ... that we're not at the point where they'll start reproducing, spreading further and doing serious damage."... Read more.

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adam hintAnd finally, Adam Hinterthuer, writes for the UW-Madison Center for Limnology about the challenges of saving large-river fish. Also, a cute picture of a baby paddlefish:

Thinking "Big" May Not Be Best Approach to Saving Large-River Fish

This tiny paddlefish needs a large river to grow up big and strong – in some cases, upwards of 100 pounds. (Photo by  Brenda Pracheil)

Large-river specialist fishes—from giant species like paddlefish and blue catfish, to tiny crystal darters and silver chub – are in danger.

According to a new study, in the U.S. 60 out of 68 species, or 88% of fish species found exclusively in large-river ecosystems like the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers, are of state, federal or international conservation concern.The report is in the April issue of the journal, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment and was authored by Center for Limnology postdoctoral researcher, Brenda Pracheil, faculty member, Pete McIntyre, and Wisconsin DNR fish biologist, John Lyons (also a CFL alumnus).

What makes the findings especially worrying, is that conservation opportunities in America’s largest rivers are scarce.

“If I’m [trying to conserve species in] Wisconsin inland lakes,” explains Pete McIntyre, “I have 8,000 lakes to choose from. The lakes are fundamentally similar in their fauna, flora and other ecological processes. But, if you care about big-river specialist fishes, n equals one. There’s only one main trunk of the Mississippi.”... Read more.