Apr 9, 2009
Is your local river among those flowing merrily along, or is its health threatened by development plans? A conservation group has issued a new report ranking the 10 rivers most at risk this year of becoming flooded or their habitats threatened because of industrial activity.
American Rivers, a Washington. D.C.–based organization, ranked the rivers based not on how polluted they are, but whether they're imminently threatened by development plans, mines or dams.
Topping the list is the Sacramento–San Joaquin river system, which flows from the eastern Pacific Coast Ranges to the western Sierra Nevada before emptying into California's San Francisco Bay. The group warns that a levee failure there could jeopardize the water supply of the 25 million people who depend on it (by making the water too salty to drink). In addition, it says that pumps that feed the water supply have reversed the rivers' natural flow, causing fish populations to decline.
Mar 20, 2009 | 3
Bangladeshis are already feeling the effects of climate change, especially those living on the low-lying river delta near the mouths of the Ganges. Frequent floods and stronger storms have been inundating the area with more water than many local rice growers can cope with, driving thousands to seek work in overcrowded cities.
But some rice and shrimp farmers are holding out hope that the very waters that have oft plagued them might hold the solution – in suspension. River silt, carried down in suspension from the ancient Himalayan mountains hundreds of miles away, might be able to build up land elevation to save the area's livelihoods and homes, The New York Times reports today.
Dec 16, 2008 | 8
Thinking about relocating? Forget the proximity of good schools, trendy shopping and green space. You might want to take a look at a new “hazard map” of the U.S., which spells out by geographic region the likelihood of dying from floods, earthquakes or other natural dangers.
Geographers from the University of South Carolina in Columbia determined how common deaths from natural hazards were in different regions of the country, using information from the Spatial Hazard Event and Loss Database, which culls deaths and economic losses from weather in the U.S. (Here's the abstract of what some are calling the "death map" study.) They examined 11 categories of hazards between 1970 and 2004: winter weather (such as frigid temps and blizzards), mass movements (such as landslides and avalanches), coastal and geophysical events (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis), flooding, heat and drought, hurricanes and tropical storms, lightning, severe weather (combinations of hail, wind and rain), tornadoes and wildfires.
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