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Environmental Management

Jeremy L Conkle, Christian D Báez Del Valle, Jeffrey W Turner
Plastic debris, specifically microplastic in the aquatic environment, is an escalating environmental crisis. Efforts at national scales to reduce or ban microplastics in personal care products are starting to pay off, but this will not affect those materials already in the environment or those that result from unregulated products and materials. To better inform future microplastic research and mitigation efforts this study (1) evaluates methods currently used to quantify microplastics in the environment and (2) characterizes the concentration and size distribution of microplastics in a variety of products...
October 17, 2017: Environmental Management
Heidi L Hillhouse, Walter H Schacht, Jonathan M Soper, Carol E Wienhold
Establishing vegetation on roadsides following construction can be challenging, especially for relatively slow growing native species. Topsoil is generally removed during construction, and the surface soil following construction ("cut-slope soils") is often compacted and low in nutrients, providing poor growing conditions for vegetation. Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) protocols have historically called for nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilization when planting roadside vegetation following construction, but these recommendations were developed for cool-season grass plantings and most current plantings use slower-establishing, native warm-season grasses that may benefit less than expected from current planting protocols...
October 12, 2017: Environmental Management
James R Thibault, James R Cleverly, Clifford N Dahm
Hydrological processes drive the ecological functioning and sustainability of cottonwood-dominated riparian ecosystems in the arid southwestern USA. Snowmelt runoff elevates groundwater levels and inundates floodplains, which promotes cottonwood germination. Once established, these phreatophytes rely on accessible water tables (WTs). In New Mexico's Middle Rio Grande corridor diminished flooding and deepening WTs threaten native riparian communities. We monitored surface flows and riparian WTs for up to 14 years, which revealed that WTs and surface flows, including peak snowmelt discharge, respond to basin climate conditions and resource management...
October 9, 2017: Environmental Management
Allan P Dale, Karen Vella, Margaret Gooch, Ruth Potts, Robert L Pressey, Jon Brodie, Rachel Eberhard
Water quality outcomes affecting Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are governed by multi-level and multi-party decision-making that influences forested and agricultural landscapes. With international concern about the GBR's declining ecological health, this paper identifies and focuses on implementation failure (primarily at catchment scale) as a systemic risk within the overall GBR governance system. There has been limited integrated analysis of the full suite of governance subdomains that often envelop defined policies, programs and delivery activities that influence water quality in the GBR...
October 4, 2017: Environmental Management
L Hunt, N Marrochi, C Bonetto, M Liess, D F Buss, C Vieira da Silva, M-C Chiu, V H Resh
We investigated the influence and relative importance of insecticides and other agricultural stressors in determining variability in invertebrate communities in small streams in intensive soy-production regions of Brazil and Paraguay. In Paraguay we sampled 17 sites on tributaries of the Pirapó River in the state of Itapúa and in Brazil we sampled 18 sites on tributaries of the San Francisco River in the state of Paraná. The riparian buffer zones generally contained native Atlantic forest remnants and/or introduced tree species at various stages of growth...
October 4, 2017: Environmental Management
George C Manning, Sara G Baer, John M Blair
Fire and grazing are widely used to manage grasslands for conservation purposes, but few studies have evaluated the effects of these drivers on the conservation value of plant communities measured by the floristic quality index (FQI). Further, the influence of fire and grazing on soil properties and functions are difficult for land managers and restoration practitioners to assess. The objectives of this study were to: (1) quantify the independent and interactive effects of grazing and fire frequency on floristic quality in native tallgrass prairie to provide potential benchmarks for community assessment, and (2) to explore whether floristic quality can serve as an indicator of soil structure and function for more holistic ecosystem assessments...
September 29, 2017: Environmental Management
John Conallin, Craig A McLoughlin, Josh Campbell, Roger Knight, Troy Bright, Ian Fisher
The complex nature of freshwater systems provides challenges for incorporating evidence-based techniques into management. This paper investigates the potential of participatory evidence-based techniques to involve local stakeholders and make decisions based on different "knowledge" sources within adaptive management programs. It focuses on the application of thresholds of potential concern (TPC) within strategic adaptive management (SAM) for facilitating inclusive decision-making. The study is based on the case of the Edward-Wakool (E-W) "Fish and Flows" SAM project in the Murray-Darling River Basin, Australia...
September 25, 2017: Environmental Management
J L Brooks, C Boston, S Doka, D Gorsky, K Gustavson, D Hondorp, D Isermann, J D Midwood, T C Pratt, A M Rous, J L Withers, C C Krueger, S J Cooke
Freshwater ecosystems provide many ecosystem services; however, they are often degraded as a result of human activity. To address ecosystem degradation in the Laurentian Great Lakes, Canada and the United States of America established the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). In 1987, 43 highly polluted and impacted areas were identified under the GLWQA as having one or more of 14 Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) to the physical and chemical habitat for fish, wildlife and humans, and were designated as Areas of Concern (AOC)...
September 22, 2017: Environmental Management
Md Y Reja, Samuel D Brody, Wesley E Highfield, Galen D Newman
Recovery after hurricane events encourages new development activities and allows reconstruction through the conversion of naturally occurring wetlands to other land uses. This research investigates the degree to which hurricane recovery activities in coastal communities are undermining the ability of these places to attenuate the impacts of future storm events. Specifically, it explores how and to what extent wetlands are being affected by the CWA Section 404 permitting program in the context of post-Hurricane Ike 2008 recovery...
September 22, 2017: Environmental Management
Robyn J Watts, R Keller Kopf, Nicole McCasker, Julia A Howitt, John Conallin, Ian Wooden, Lee Baumgartner
Widespread flooding in south-eastern Australia in 2010 resulted in a hypoxic (low dissolved oxygen, DO) blackwater (high dissolved carbon) event affecting 1800 kilometres of the Murray-Darling Basin. There was concern that prolonged low DO would result in death of aquatic biota. Australian federal and state governments and local stakeholders collaborated to create refuge areas by releasing water with higher DO from irrigation canals via regulating structures (known as 'irrigation canal escapes') into rivers in the Edward-Wakool system...
September 19, 2017: Environmental Management
Erin C Pischke, Jessie L Knowlton, Colin C Phifer, Jose Gutierrez Lopez, Tamara S Propato, Amarella Eastmond, Tatiana Martins de Souza, Mark Kuhlberg, Valentin Picasso Risso, Santiago R Veron, Carlos Garcia, Marta Chiappe, Kathleen E Halvorsen
Global environmental problems such as climate change are not bounded by national borders or scientific disciplines, and therefore require international, interdisciplinary teamwork to develop understandings of their causes and solutions. Interdisciplinary scientific work is difficult enough, but these challenges are often magnified when teams also work across national boundaries. The literature on the challenges of interdisciplinary research is extensive. However, research on international, interdisciplinary teams is nearly non-existent...
September 18, 2017: Environmental Management
Jessica D Spencer, Andrea Brunelle, Tim Hepola
Oak savanna, a transitional ecosystem between open prairie and dense oak forest, was once widespread in Minnesota. Upon European settlement much of the oak savanna was destroyed. Recently, efforts to restore this ecosystem have increased and often include the reintroduction of fire. Though fire is known to serve an important role within oak savannas, there are currently few studies which address fire regimes on timescales longer than the last century. This research presents a paleoecological history of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) in MN, USA, spanning the last ~8000 years...
September 18, 2017: Environmental Management
Benjamin A Jones, Robert P Berrens
Recent growth in the frequency and severity of US wildfires has led to more wildfire smoke and increased public exposure to harmful air pollutants. Populations exposed to wildfire smoke experience a variety of negative health impacts, imposing economic costs on society. However, few estimates of smoke health costs exist and none for the entire Western US, in particular, which experiences some of the largest and most intense wildfires in the US. The lack of cost estimates is troublesome because smoke health impacts are an important consideration of the overall costs of wildfire...
September 13, 2017: Environmental Management
Lara A Roman, Jason P Fristensky, Theodore S Eisenman, Eric J Greenfield, Robert E Lundgren, Chloe E Cerwinka, David A Hewitt, Caitlin C Welsh
Many municipalities are setting ambitious tree canopy cover goals to increase the extent of their urban forests. A historical perspective on urban forest development can help cities strategize how to establish and achieve appropriate tree cover targets. To understand how long-term urban forest change occurs, we examined the history of trees on an urban college campus: the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. Using a mixed methods approach, including qualitative assessments of archival records (1870-2017), complemented by quantitative analysis of tree cover from aerial imagery (1970-2012), our analysis revealed drastic canopy cover increase in the late 20th and early 21st centuries along with the principle mechanisms of that change...
September 13, 2017: Environmental Management
Mesfin Gebrehiwot, Demeke Kifle, Ludwig Triest
Understanding the biodiversity value of littoral zones of lakes is a priority for aquatic biodiversity conservation. However, less emphasis has been given to the littoral part of tropical African lakes, with many of the previous researches focusing only on the open water side. The aim of the present study was, therefore, to investigate the impact of the littoral zone of a shallow freshwater tropical lake (Ziway, Ethiopia), dominated by two emergent macrophytes, on zooplankton community structure. We hypothesized that the wetland vegetation serves as a preferred microhabitat for zooplankton communities...
September 8, 2017: Environmental Management
M D López-Rodríguez, H Castro, M Arenas, J M Requena-Mullor, A Cano, E Valenzuela, J Cabello
Understanding how to improve decision makers' use of scientific information across their different scales of management is a core challenge for narrowing the gap between science and conservation practice. Here, we present a study conducted in collaboration with decision makers that aims to explore the functionality of the mechanisms for scientific input within the institutional setting of the National Protected Area Network of Peru. First, we analyzed institutional mechanisms to assess the scientific information recorded by decision makers...
September 8, 2017: Environmental Management
Whitney R Lonsdale, Heidi E Kretser, Cheryl-Lesley B Chetkiewicz, Molly S Cross
Climate change presents a complex set of challenges for natural resource managers across North America. Despite recognition that climate change poses serious threats to species, ecosystems, and human communities, implementation of adaptation measures is not yet happening on a broad scale. Among different regions, a range of climate change trajectories, varying political contexts, and diverse social and ecological systems generate a myriad of factors that can affect progress on climate change adaptation implementation...
September 7, 2017: Environmental Management
Catherine Allan, Robyn J Watts
Managers of land, water, and biodiversity are working with increasingly complex social ecological systems with high uncertainty. Adaptive management (learning from doing) is an ideal approach for working with this complexity. The competing social and environmental demands for water have prompted interest in freshwater adaptive management, but its success and uptake appear to be slow. Some of the perceived "failure" of adaptive management may reflect the way success is conceived and measured; learning, rarely used as an indicator of success, is narrowly defined when it is...
September 4, 2017: Environmental Management
Gaboury Benoit, Peng Wang
Laboratory studies were conducted and modeled to evaluate whether refractory organic nitrogen in tertiary-treated wastewater effluent could become bioavailable by conversion to mineral forms. Multiday incubations of effluent collected from the Branford and New Haven, Connecticut, waste water treatment plants (WWTP) revealed low but steady conversion of organic nitrogen to nitrate (NO3(-)). In Branford, the principal form of organic nitrogen was dissolved, and in New Haven it was particulate. Modeling suggested that in both the cases conversion to NO3(-) from organic forms occurred at several per cent per day, and appeared to happen via the intermediary NH4(+)...
September 4, 2017: Environmental Management
John Conallin, Emma Wilson, Josh Campbell
Anthropogenic pressure on freshwater ecosystems is increasing, and often leading to unacceptable social-ecological outcomes. This is even more prevalent in intermittent river systems where many are already heavily modified, or human encroachment is increasing. Although adaptive management approaches have the potential to aid in providing the framework to consider the complexities of intermittent river systems and improve utility within the management of these systems, success has been variable. This paper looks at the application of an adaptive management pilot project within an environmental flows program in an intermittent stream (Tuppal Creek) in the Murray Darling Basin, Australia...
September 2, 2017: Environmental Management
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