Rafting outfitters focus on sustainability

June 26, 2019 by  
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Rafting draws a group of nature lovers with higher than average respect for keeping wilderness clean. But even the raft outfitting industry faces environmental issues— both in external threats to river quality and, in a much smaller way, in making sure their participants are educated in Leave No Trace best practices. “Rafters, both commercial and privates, are extremely conscientious and respectful of the river and its environment,” said Steve Lentz, owner of Idaho-based Far & Away Adventures . His company rafts three Wild and Scenic rivers: the Middle Fork of the Salmon, the Jarbidge/Bruneau and Owyhee rivers — two of the newest to win Wild & Scenic designations, which are especially prized for their solitude and remoteness, Lentz said. But Lentz can remember when people weren’t so respectful of rivers. When he explored the Middle Fork as a child in the 1960s, toilet paper and other garbage littered the riverbanks and people thought nothing of washing with soap in the river. Once the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act passed in 1968, he watched people’s environmental IQ increase while litter decreased. Inhabitat talked to five rafting outfitters to see how their staff and customers can have an impact on keeping rivers clean and beautiful. Related: Seven commandments of Leave-No-Trace Camping Sustainable Rafting Practices Guided rafting trips start way before the raft goes in the water . That’s why Hood River, Oregon-based Northwest Rafting Company’s sustainability measures begin with its office and the supplies they buy. NWRC uses software for reservations and online registration, resulting in minimal printed paper. They’re one of a growing number of outfitters who use online waivers and forms to cut printing. Outfitters are well-versed in Leave No Trace principles. “Fortunately, we live in a state that is environmentally conscious,” said Andy Neinas, owner of Echo Canyon River Expeditions, which rafts Colorado’s Arkansas River above and through the famed Royal Gorge. “The rafting industry is scrutinized by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and our outfitter organizations work closely to meet and exceed the standards set forth. Colorado Tourism Office works with the Leave No Trace organization to promote responsible use of our natural resources.” Leave No Trace is more rigorous than many people realize. Zachary Collier, owner of Northwest Rafting Company, says this even includes burnt wood. “I suggest all groups use a fire blanket to capture coals from fires,” he advised. Guides and guests sweep the campsite for micro-trash , such as bread crumbs and orange peels. Nor are rafters allowed to leave human waste, let alone toilet paper. Portable toilets are sealed and transported between campsites, and later carried out at the end of the journey. Bob Klein, manager of A Wanderlust Adventure , which rafts Colorado’s Cache la Poudre River, emphasizes the responsibility of the guides. “We believe that rafting outfitters should be enforcing Leave No Trace, educate their guests on the dangers and effects of human recreation on the natural environment, and to keep the amount of rafters they take down the river to the Forest Service’s regulations.”  But the responsibility doesn’t entirely fall on the guide— all rafting participants need to make good choices. “High water looks like fun, but fun can turn to tragedy very quickly when people’s skill levels don’t meet the river’s demand,” said Ron Blanchard, owner of Wyoming River Trips , which operates on the Main Shoshone River.  “We try to mentor rafters when conditions are extreme with information as to what to lookout for.  Most times if you talk with them and not to them, they get the point.” The Bigger Picture Lots of issues facing rivers are beyond people’s individual control. For example, Collier mentions the damage caused by mining .  “The 1872 mining law allows for mining on these rivers and their tributaries even if they are protected,” he said. Neinas has also faced the dumping of hard metals from mining operations near the river’s headwaters close to Leadville, Colorado. “As well as fish kills that resulted from attempts to eradicate invasive species ,” he said. Blanchard mentioned agricultural field runoff as the main threat to the Shoshone. Several outfitters urged rafters to be more proactive in protecting their beloved rivers. “I would love for more guides and outfitters to call, write, or visit Congress to share why these rivers are important and why they should be protected,” said Collier. He and some fellow guides recently visited Washington, D.C. to meet with their representatives about environmental conditions. Lentz agreed. “Be involved and get out of the back seat. From forest plans regarding management to breaching dams that harm the river. Support organizations that that prioritize efforts to strengthen the wilderness and its environment.” Each guide has a special relationship with his or her river, and can tell you 100 reasons it needs protection. For example, Lentz expounded on the attractions of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River: “Alpine forests , hot springs, blue ribbon fly fishing for native cutthroat trout, hiking well maintained trails, crystal clear water, 100 rapids, North America’s third deepest canyon, wildlife including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, both golden and bald eagle, cougar, black bear to name a few.” Are rivers worth protecting? You bet. Photos via Echo Canyon River Expeditions, skeeze

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Rafting outfitters focus on sustainability

New study shows some LED lights can harm wildlife

June 13, 2018 by  
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Researchers have concluded that certain types of LED lights can be harmful toward a wide variety of wildlife, calling attention to the potential hazards of the rapid expansion of LED light usage. Though LEDs made up only 9 percent of the global market in 2011, that number is expected to rise to 69 percent by 2020. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology , researchers concluded that blue and white LED lighting is the most harmful to wildlife , particularly animals such as sea turtles and insects, while green, amber and yellow are more favorable. As the urbanization of our planet continues, it is essential that policymakers and scientists understand the potential outcomes of altering a space so drastically from its natural state. “Outdoor environments are changing rapidly and in ways that can impact wildlife species,” study leader author Travis Longcore told Phys.org . The researchers incorporated existing ecological data into the study as the team examined the impacts of different kinds of LED lights on animals such as insects, sea turtles, salmon and Newell’s shearwater seabird. Related: New research links LED streetlights to increased risk of cancer LED lights seem to adversely affect species in different ways. Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings can be lured inland by artificial light rather than into the ocean , while migrating juvenile salmon’s attraction to light may leave them vulnerable to predators. To better inform the public regarding the risks of LED, the study includes the first publicly available database that documents how about 24 different kinds of light can impact wildlife. “If we don’t provide advice and information to decision-makers, they will go with the cheapest lighting or lighting that serves only one interest and does not balance other interests,” Longcore said. “We provide a method to assess the probable consequences of new light sources to keep up with the changing technology and wildlife concerns.” + Journal of Experimental Zoology Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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New study shows some LED lights can harm wildlife

This trippy tea house in Shanghai is built from 999 handmade timber sticks

June 13, 2018 by  
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Chinese design studio MINAX Architects have combined contemporary architecture with traditional Chinese tea drinking rituals in the ONE Teahouse, a cocoon-like space crafted from 999 handmade wooden sticks. Spanning an area of just 17.86 square meters (about 59 square feet), the compact tea house is a result of the renovation of an existing timber structure in Shanghai’s Hongkou District. The architects completed the project over the course of three months. Tea has long been an important part of traditional Chinese culture. However, with the advent of tea bags and busy lifestyles, the historic rituals surrounding tea are often overlooked or forgotten. With ONE Teahouse, MINAX Architects wanted to create a space where drinking a cup of tea would be elevated into an act of spiritual significance. Drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese wooden architecture, MINAX Architects inserted handmade wooden sticks of varying lengths into the oriented strand board walls of a rectangular room. Each stick was cut to a different angle and length to create the illusion of an ellipsoidal space. At the center of the space is a low “YI ZHANG” tea table by Shanghai-based furniture designers MINAXDO surrounded by six seats. LED lights illuminate the interior. Related: ARCHSTUDIO inserts a modern teahouse into an ancient Chinese structure “On one side of the room, a round window faces the urban road, while a square doorway is adjacent to a garden on the other side,” MINAX Architects wrote. “That is because [we] were inspired by an old Chinese saying —’The circle has a tread of auto-rotating, and the square has a tread of stable.’ The specificity of the space brings the people strong psychological hints. The theme of the teahouse is ‘ONE.’ ‘ONE’ and ‘RESTART’ are two words of the space where we could reach a higher state of consciousness.” + MINAX Architects Images by Zhigang Lu

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This trippy tea house in Shanghai is built from 999 handmade timber sticks

Marijuana is Killing Endangered Salmon in Northern California

October 3, 2014 by  
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In California, marijuana is killing endangered salmon – and they’ve never even smoked the stuff. According to The Dodo , marijuana growing isn’t as green as you might think – particularly when it’s done on an industrial scale, as is often the case in California. Some marijuana growers have taken to using unregulated fertilizers and irrigation systems that take large amounts of water from streams, and a new report by biologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows their actions have put fish in both California and Oregon in danger of extinction. Read the rest of Marijuana is Killing Endangered Salmon in Northern California Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: California , coho , crop , emerald , endangered , farm , growing , humboldt , killing , marijuana , mendcino , northern , salmon , triangle

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Marijuana is Killing Endangered Salmon in Northern California

Americans Reject Frankenfish

September 20, 2010 by  
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Photo credit jlastras via flickr. If you’ve been following AquaBounty ‘s attempt to get Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its AquAdvantage genetically engineered salmon (the salmon has extra genes from Chinook salmon and an eel-like species called the ocean pout to make it grow much faster than normal) you might already know that FDA has given preliminary approval and is weighing final approval in two day of hearings. What you might not know is that a strong majority of Americans surveyed by the environmen…

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Americans Reject Frankenfish

Water Wars – Pitting Salmon Against Agribusiness

March 17, 2010 by  
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Photo via Dan Bennett Salmon and salad.

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Water Wars – Pitting Salmon Against Agribusiness

From Source to Spigot: Using Art to Illuminate Two Cities’ Historical Water Supplies

March 17, 2010 by  
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The card on this drinking fountain along Boston’s Charles River shows how far it is from its water source. Photo via Linda Ciesielski.

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From Source to Spigot: Using Art to Illuminate Two Cities’ Historical Water Supplies

Scientists Create Fish With 6-Pack Abs to Help Fishing Industry

March 15, 2010 by  
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Photo via MNN I was at dinner the other day, and a friend of mine had ordered the salmon. When the dish came to our table, I stared at the limp pink mound. Fish are simply too wimpy, I thought, shaking my head in disgust.

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Scientists Create Fish With 6-Pack Abs to Help Fishing Industry

Turning Wasteful Gas Flares Into Useful Liquid Fuel

March 15, 2010 by  
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Photo: Flickr , CC “Today we flare enough natural gas to power Germany” Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimated in 2005 that about 0.5% of all CO2 emissions from fossil fuels came from natural gas flaring. The most shocking thing about this is that all this energy (and we’re talking about a lot of BTUs… the quote above is by Jeff McDaniel, business development director for Velocys.) isn’t actually used for anything useful (unless you count the light, but burning lots of natural gas is a ridiculous way to pr…

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Turning Wasteful Gas Flares Into Useful Liquid Fuel

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