Rushing Rivers Blog

March Newsflash

April 28th, 2010

March 8, 2010

March Newsflash:

Registration Continues For The MesoHABSIM Games In Vancouver!
British Columbia, May 25th-28th

Registrants may choose an introductory MesoHABSIM course, or an advanced Certification Course. MesoHABSIM courses are designed for decision makers and conservationists, and teach the basics of data collection techniques, data processing, and the creation of GIS habitat models within the MesoHABSIM framework. Certification Course participants will have an opportunity to conduct stream habitat mapping with a Pocket PC and to sample fish, using the grid electro-fishing technique. This course also includes hands-on training in our MesoHABSIM and SimStream07 software; course participants will compute multivariable habitat suitability criteria and create habitat suitability maps, habitat-flow rating curves, and habitat time series analysis (UCUT Curves) for native fish species. Lastly, participants will simulate habitat improvement measures. This course also satisfies the educational requirements for MesoHABSIM Certification. For more information on Rushing River Institute Courses, MesoHABSIM Certification, or the SIMSTREAM Habitat Modeling Software; visit us online at rushingrivers.org

Other MesoHABSIM News:

*Dr. Parasiewicz flies out to New Zealand later this week, to teach an introductory MesoHABSIM course there. We trust the land “Where The Wild Things Are” will welcome him!

*Congratulations to our Italian colleague Paulo Vezza! He has just published his Dissertation, for a Ph.D. in Hydraulic Engineering, at the Polytechnic University of Turin: Regional Meso-scale Habitat Models for Environmental Flows Assessment. For the first time, the MesoHABSIM model has been applied to regional planning, and classifies streams according to in-stream flow and corresponding fish community habitat. Mr. Vezza’s Dissertation will be available within our MesoHABSIM site in April.

*Our Spanish colleagues at Ecohidráulica S.L. have applied the MesoHABSIM model to evaluate, and design a restoration plan for the RiverTajuña, in the Province of Guadalajara. We are proud to announce the certification of their results. This study by Ecohidráulica S.L. represents the first MesoHABSIM certified project in Spain.

You can find a brief description of this and MesoHABSIM projects throughout the United States and Europe at: http://mesohabsim.org/projects/projects.html Articles and detailed reports are available for download by certified users.

We Have Spiffed Up Our Sim Stream Site:

Please visit our newly configured Sim Stream website for the latest developments, and a comprehensive overview of our innovative habitat simulation software and the MesoHABSIM model for cost effective river management. For more information on Sim Stream and MesoHABSIM go to www.Sim-Stream.com

The Annual Fort River Festival Is Set For Sunday, May 2nd, In Amherst!

Featuring:

  • A guided kayak/ canoe trip down the Fort River.
  • A family picnic at Groff Park, Amherst. (fruit and water provided)
  • Live musical entertainment!
  • “Buck a Duck”- Rubber Ducky Race, with prizes for the Kids.
  • Exciting environmental activities and displays for the whole family.

Local environmental groups will be joining us to provide wildlife displays, informational booths, and exciting activities. Paddle down the Fort with Dr. Piotr Parasiewicz as your expert river guide in the morning, and discover a natural treasure in our backyards. Or bring your lunch and join us at noon for the music and fun at Groff Park! Stay tuned for more details and canoe trip sign ups! We will also be seeking nominations for this year’s Fort River Hero. To view last year’s festivities, visit: http://fortriverfestival.com/

Rushing Rivers’ is looking for volunteers and additional sponsors to join in the fun! Please contact: jj@rushingrivers.org

Help us spread the word! The More the Merrier! Donations are greatly appreciated: http://fortriverfestival.com/

Fishy Fieldwork Fun! Volunteers needed:

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Connecticut River Coordinator’s Office (Sunderland MA) is seeking volunteer assistance for a variety of field activities due to a lack of field staff. Planned field work includes; operation of net gear to collect river herring for assessment and trap and transfer to MA for restoration, electrofish sampling of herring for assessment studies, trap and transfer of American shad from Holyoke Fish Lift to upper reaches for restoration, sea lamprey nest counts in tributaries (potential transfers), American eel population assessments and others which will begin the second week of April and continue into the fall.. Activities may occur in the day and or evenings but are not scheduled for weekends at this time. Please contact Ken Sprankle via email at ken_sprankle@fws.gov to learn more and be identified on a contact list. Thanks for your interest.

January Newsletter

January 1st, 2010
January 27, 2010

January Newsflash:

Setting Sim Stream 7 Free!

Rushing Rivers Institute will soon be releasing our Windows XP compatible, cutting edge, meso-scale river management tool to the public. Sim Stream 7 will be downloadable from our Website for free, early this spring. We will include an article describing the features of the software. Why? Because we are celebrating the imminent release of Sim Stream 8! However, Sim Stream 7 continues to be a comprehensive river management option, and offers an excellent preview of our latest software design. Stay tuned!

MesoHABSIM Courses:

Registration has begun for MesoHABSIM courses in Vancouver, British Columbia, May 25th-28th. Registrants may choose either an introductory MesoHASBSIM course, or an advanced Certification Course. Rushing Rivers is also organizing a MesoHABSIM course in New Zealand, this March.

MesoHABSIM courses are designed for decision makers and conservationists, and teach the basics of data collection techniques, data processing, and the creation of GIS habitat models within the MesoHABSIM framework. Certification Course participants will have an opportunity to conduct stream habitat mapping with a Pocket PC and to sample fish, using the grid electro-fishing technique. This course also includes hands-on training in our MesoHABSIM and SimStream07 software; course participants will compute multivariable habitat suitability criteria and create habitat suitability maps, habitat-flow rating curves, and habitat time series analysis (UCUT Curves) for native fish species. Lastly, participants will simulate habitat improvement measures. This course also satisfies the educational requirements for MesoHABSIM Certification. For more information on Rushing River Institute Courses, MesoHABSIM Certification, or the SIMSTREAM Habitat Modeling Software; visit us online at rushingrivers.org

MesoHABSIM on Middlearth

We were invited to offer an introductory MesoHABSIM training in Hawkes Bay in New Zealand. The two day seminar  will take place March 15-16, 2010 in Napier. If you have a desire to participate, please contact us directly at contact@RushingRivers.com. Otherwise we will send you some nice pictures!

Introducing the next generation- Sim Stream 8!

The Vista and Windows 7 compatible Sim Stream 8 offers new features such as comparative simulation, speed, SQL server abilities and embed statistical calculations. Designed for practical application within the MesoHABSIM model, these new features build upon the innovative and cost effective Sim Stream 7; bringing a more flexible and adaptive data management tool to your desktop.

For more information on Sim Stream and MesoHABSIM go to (www.Sim-Stream.org)

Updated Project Map:

We have updated the map of projects where MesoHABSIM has been applied, including the work of our certified partners and colleagues in Europe. You can also find a brief description of each project’s status, as well as available reports at: http://mesohabsim.org/projects/projects.html

Halos and Horns:

Dr. Piotr of Rushing Rivers was highlighted in the second entry of the Valley Advocate’s annual New Year’s Review: Halos and Horns. The Advocate awarded Horns to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for throwing out the expert testimony of Dr. Parasiewicz during a review hearing for the proposed Russell Biomass Plant. The article noted that the hearing’s administrative judge falsely claimed that the testimony did not directly address water withdrawals.
To view the original testimony at our website:
http://rushingrivers.org/webtestimony/piotrtestimony.pdf.
For more on the Russell Biomass controversy see our blog at:
http://blog.rushingrivers.org/?p=32

December Newsletter

December 23rd, 2009
December 23, 2009

December Newsflash:

Happy Holidays!

May the season find you and your loved ones both happy and healthy! May fish and rivers will be thankful to you for your continuous interest and support!

Climate Change:

We hope that the current attention to the climate issues will help us promote the River Climate Action plan (www.RiverClimate.org).

MesoHABSIM Courses:

Due to increasing inquiries, we will offer our 2010 series of MesoHABSIM courses in the USA and in Europe. We are currently organizing a New England based MesoHABSIM course to be offered early this spring. The next course will take place at the end of May 2010, likely in British Columbia. You can preregister to be informed about the final details. Please stay tuned for final announcement in January.
For more information on Rushing River Institute Courses, or the SIMSTREAM 7 Habitat Modeling Software, visit us online at

Renewed Protection for Massachusettes;
Rushing Rivers Institute Advises on Safe Yield

Dr. Parasiewicz of Rushing Rivers Institute has been invited to sit upon the Water Resources Technical Subcommittee, which will assist the state in designing methodology and determining the safe yield for Massachusetts River Basins by August 2011. The Patrick Administration reconsidered disturbing changes it had announced in October to the state’s working definition of Safe Yield, in response to intense lobbying from scientific and environmental groups, including Rushing Rivers Institute. The administration has reaffirmed its consideration of ecological health, habitat, and hydrological factors in determining Safe Yield. The state has requested scientific assistance in determining proper standards for water withdrawal.
Recent advances in river science and technological tools have greatly improved our ability to understand fresh-water habitat, anticipate the stressors applied by development and Climate Change, and calculate sustainable management guidelines for our rivers and streams. Many of these advances have been developed by Dr. Parasiewicz, and other Massachusetts’ based scientists. The Massachusetts EEA’s Sustainable Water Resources Advisory Committee seems poised to take advantage of this wealth of scientific expertise. The subcommittee’s future task will be to “provide technical input into the multi-agency development of science-based streamflow criteria that characterize streams and alterations, requirements for each class type, and a description of how these standards would be applied; and to provide technical guidance on the sustainable allocation of water resources in Massachusetts.” Rushing River’s welcomes this opportunity to design better management regulations, and therefore improve the protection of our vital river resources.

November Newsletter

November 23rd, 2009
November 23, 2009

November Newsflash

The Fort River Festival: Science and Advocacy

We need your help! Your donations are essential to allow Rushing Rivers to continue providing community outreach events like the Fort River Festival. The link between community enjoyment and investment in local resources like the Fort River and a clear scientific understanding of how to protect these resources has never been more important.
Please donate at: Rushing Rivers Institute
Waterway protection finds its greatest strength when the community appreciates and understands the needs and vulnerabilities of their local rivers and streams. The Annual Fort River Festival has been a splendid opportunity for Rushing Rivers to bring the community of Amherst and neighboring towns together to explore and celebrate this meandering river. Rushing River’s staff presented a guided two hour canoe trip observing Blue Heron, protected Wood Turtle, and other wildlife. They detailed the vital fish habitat that is the Fort River, threats to the river, and the best methods for studying and protecting this resource. With help from several area businesses and environmental organizations; live music, a complimentary lunch, the Duck Derby and other kid friendly activities completed the Festival. Go to: Fort River Festival to see a movie of last year’s festival. Help us continue this event.
If you are a Florence Savings Bank customer, consider nominating Rushing Rivers (and the Fort River Festival) for FSB’s Customer Choice Community Grants Program. “This program, now an annual event, allows the bank’s customers to vote for their favorite nonprofit organization to receive a share of a $50,000 grant.”
Rushing River’s has applied for a federal grant to continue this event, and to parlay community interest into the Fort River Research and Education Initiative. This grant would offer opportunities for scientific exploration to children and young adults, while taking advantage of the wealth of environmental experts to provide monitoring and research data to area town managers, and advance river science globally. However, even if we are awarded this grant, it will not provide for the organization of this year’s Fort River Festival.
Please donate at: Rushing Rivers Institute

Rushing River Institute in Madrid!

Dr. Parasiewicz, and Joe Rogers, traveled to Spain in October. They presented an annual two -tiered course in our MesoHABSIM Instream Data Collection and Modeling protocol. MesoHABSIM represents a unique, cost effective tool for evaluating freshwater habitat and designing effective management. The participants evaluated the course very highly. New course schedule is coming. Please stay tuned.

Renewed protection for Massachusetts Rivers:

Rushing Rivers Institute offered to participate in providing recommendations for new Massachusetts waterway management regulations now being developed. Massachusetts Rivers are stressed by seasonal drought, as well as by the ever increasing drinking water needs of our cities and towns, and the competing water demands of industry. Responding to intense lobbying from environmental research and advocacy groups, like Rushing Rivers, the Patrick administration has reconsidered disturbing changes it announced to the state’s working definition of Safe Yield, on October 8th of this year. Public protest has elicited new temporary standards, which will address habitat protection. Additionally, the administration has agreed that all water use permits issued will eventually be subject to the more stringent standards now being developed. The state has also requested scientific assistance in determining the new standards for water withdrawal.

History: Safe Yield is a legal standard which informs the amount of water that may be withdrawn from our state’s rivers and streams. Safe Yield was previously understood to represent the flow of water that could be safely diverted from rivers and streams, during times of stress like drought, and still preserve the species that lived there. The state had decided to delete any reference to the preservation of species from the standard, and to define safe yield as “the maximum amount of water that would be present during a drought.” Effectively, they could drain a river dry. How could this standard have offered any protection for our waterways?

Many recent advances in river science arise from experts like Dr. Parasiewicz, here in Massachusetts. At Rushing Rivers Institute, we develop technology and conduct scientific studies of waterways, and the flora and fauna they host. Scientific knowledge and technological tools have greatly advanced our ability to understand fresh-water habitat, anticipate stressors applied by Climate Change, and calculate sustainable management guidelines for our rivers and streams. Massachusetts seems poised to take advantage of this wealth of scientific expertise. Rushing River’s welcomes this opportunity for our community to design better management regulations, and therefore improve the protection of our vital river resources.

September 2009 Newsflash

September 21st, 2009

Dear Rushing Rivers Friends!

Here is the update of the latest excitement:

1.      Madrid Course Announcement!
This fall, October 19-20 and October 19-22, 2009 is the annual MesoHABSIM Instream Data Collection and Modeling Course.  Students will learn to develop multivariable habitat suitability criteria for native fish species, habitat-flow rating curves, habitat time series analysis (UCUT Curves) and action guides for river-decision-makers. For more information or to register visit us online at www.RushingRivers.org.

 

2.      Dr. Parasiewicz featured on The Sky Radio Show

At the close of August, Dr. Parasiewicz,  the renown scientist, was featured on the Doug Clifford Show on WSKY. He gave an informative speech of our era’s water problems and crises. To listen to this exclusive dialogue, simply visit www.RushingRivers.org and tune in!

3.      The New and Improved: SimStream 8.0

Coming soon, the updated SimStream 8.0 software for MesoHABSIM modeling will be facing beta-testing before the close of this year, 2009. This new edition includes the latest modifications that stimulate greater efficiency and speed.  Technological changes better the program for smoother techniques and calculations (see www.Sim-Stream.com).

Deerfield River Disappearance

August 4th, 2009

On Saturday, the first of August, a terribly sad incident occurred. Shanara Henry, 18, disappeared on the Deerfield River while tubing with eleven companions without a life vest. Unable to swim, law enforcement officials are worried that she may have drowned. The group claims that they had all hit strong rapids and everyone tipped over on their tubes, everyone but Henry came up.

During June and July, the Deerfield River builds up the highest rapids and most dangerous flows, making it more difficult for rescuers to continue the search.
20-30 police and fire fighters have been on the search as well as the K-9 unit and expert kayakers. An aerial search was not able to be conducted due to fog and rain. However even though it gets worse every day without results, the search continues.

For more information visit:
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/08/law_enforcement_continue_to_se.htm
l

http://www1.cw56.com/news/articles/local/BO120609/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbsXM6lMl4A

Tanzania Health and Social Welfare Minister Ignore Deaths from River Contamination?

August 3rd, 2009

For the past eight years villagers in Nyamongo, Tanzania suffered from 300 Cow deaths and 30 human deaths from contamination in the Tigite River due to leakage from the North Mara Gold Mine’s tailing ponds. Patty Magubira writes an article about the calling for resignation of the Social Welfare minister who allegedly ignored health problems from protesting villagers.

The former storekeeper of the mine knowingly admitted that mine has been leaking toxic waste into tailing ponds due to poor construction of liner fences. The Tigite river was also contaminated due to potential acid forming (PAF) rocks whose dust drifted downstream. This has led to serious diseases and illnesses among villagers some including tuberculosis.
Also when the mine was first being built, it was promised that their profits would fund for the vilages’ roads, schools hostpitals etc. These promises were not kept.  Tension between villagers and the mine’s operation manager has risen. To read more about this issue go to http://allafrica.com/stories/200907070854.html 

Testimony on An Act Relative To Sustainable Water Resources

July 31st, 2009

On Wednesday, July 22, 2009, at 11 am our very own Dr. Piotr Parasiewicz entered the Massachusetts State House to give his professional scientific testimony on the new House Bill 834, An Act Relative to Sustainable Water Resources filed by Representative Frank Smizik. This Bill had the ears of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, in attention of the Honorable Chairmen Strauss and Petrucelli.

This bill addresses the need for updating our water policies to fight the troublesome matters facing the ever-growing problem of water shortages. It advocates the removal of unused dams, excessive withdrawals and outdated watershed development. As a solution it defines important mitigation methods such as setting streamflow standards, regulating appropriate water withdrawals in regards to the ecology and water supply as well as altering dam management in accordance to wildlife and human and economic use.

Dr. Parasiewicz gave a riveting speech filled with passion towards the approval of this bill, he said, “I was SO pleased when I heard about this bill and what a wonderful idea it is! We scientists are READY.”

He also gave his professional opinion with recommendations to amending the bill, such as 1) the development of a comprehensive plan in the permitting and management process to fight long-term global climate change, 2) Underscoring the need for State-of-the-Art application and establish a River Research Management Authority to oversee these applications by trained scientists, managers and legislators, 3) establishing clear quantitative definitions and standards of ecologically sound metrics such as safe yield or habitat to evaluate the current status and success of implemented measures, and, 4) to specify the language that the goal is to protect the habitat, ecological integrity and human water use rather than only flows as a component of habitat as flows alone is insufficient to protect the fauna.

In conclusion, Dr. Parasiewicz presented forth his sixteen-year-old daughter, Sylvia, and two young bright employees of Ocean River, Ryan Czekanski-Moir and Harper Dangler, who came to the hearing to advocate for the passing of this bill, as this decision will affect their future, their entire youth and next generation, significantly.

Rushing Rivers Institute also stated their extreme pleasure to work with them in modifications of HB 834 with the assist of their professional perspective.

After the testimony, Senator Eldridge, an avid supporter of the bill who has actively petitioned for the passing of this bill to the Senate, personally approached Dr. Piotr Parasiewicz and recognized his valuable and moving speech with mention of future contact and possible collaboration.

To view the full testimony simply click the below attachment

Russel Biomass – When Green Is Not Really Green

April 26th, 2009

On April 18,2009, a rally was held in Western Massachusetts, protesting the institution of six biomass plants. Jana Chicoine, a spokeswoman for the citizens against biomass said, “eighty percent of green energy is actually coming to us out of a smokestack.” A recent report testified that burning wood would release 50% more carbon dioxide per unit than coal. Biomass as an energy fuel is not as clean as it seems, awareness of this problem is growing and less citizens are willing to put their money towards biomass plants.

http://www.gazettenet.com/story/230837?CSAuthResp=%3Asession%3ACSUserId|CSGroupId%3Asuccess%3AbXImAMFe5ygpmVvrd8CLFg%3D%3D&CSUserId=41756&CSGroupId=5

“Scraping Bottom” The Canadian Oil Boom

March 12th, 2009

Recently, The Chipewyan and Cree Indians in Alberta, near the Athabasca River, were forced to relocate when without notice Syncrude, the largest oil-producer of Canada, demolished their homes and built six oil mines at a twenty mile radius that release contaminated discharges into tailing ponds. April 2008, hundreds of migrating birds mistook one of those ponds for a brief rest stop. All of them died. A narrow dike that has leaked in the past keeps the river from the ponds that hold contaminated water which is used for the industrial process, with intention of water recycle. But according to the University of Waterloo, 45,000 gallons a day of polluted water may be reaching the river.  By Fort McKay, bitumen, tar-like petroleum, leaks into the riverbanks, endangering aquatic life. More than 200,000 tons of water need to be used for the production of usable oil. The oil sands changed about 150 square miles into dust, dirt and tailing ponds, an oil explosion that has killed people and damaged the environment.

Read more here! 

Next Page »

Sky Sponsored by Web Hosting