North America

Climate Change Is Altering Lakes and Streams, Study Suggests

The New York Times | 2018-01-12

To scientists who study lakes and rivers, it seems humans have embarked on a huge unplanned experiment. By burning fossil fuels, we have already raised the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 40 percent, and we’re on track to increase it by much more. Some of that gas may mix into the world’s inland waters, and recent studies hint that this may have profound effects on the species that live in them.

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Columbia River Treaty a Nagging Worry

Magicvalley.com | 2014-03-18

BOISE • Even as it appears the eight reservoirs that comprise the Upper Snake reservoir system will fill this year, some water users are hoping a water treaty under consideration won't jeopardize water supplies in future years. The Columbia River Treaty has been in place for 50 years to provide power exchange between the U.S. and Canada as well as flood control for Portland. Although the treaty doesn't expire until September 2024, the countries must notify each other — in writing — 10 years before expiration whether to terminate or renegotiate the treaty. That deadline is less than six months away. Adding to the uncertainty is that while water users have been involved with prepping the documents negotiators will use, it's the U.S. State Department and Obama Administration that will do the actual talking. And water users are concerned they won't understand just how important the reservoirs are for irrigation water supply.

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Lessons from North and Central American UNESCO-HELP Basins

US Army Corps of Engineers | 2014-03-09

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA.  The U.S. National Committee for the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO has issued a Monograph on the Science and Practice of Integrated River Basin Management: "Lessons from North and Central American UNESCO-HELP Basins." The report arose from the North American-UNESCO-HELP workshop held at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, May 10-12, 2010.

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Interior Secretary Sally Jewell Honors U.S.-Mexico Colorado River Agreement

Water Currents | 2014-01-22

Sally Jewell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, took time today to recognize the heroic efforts of U.S. and Mexican citizens who spent years together negotiating a new Colorado River agreement between the two nations.  Jewell noted that “ecosystems know no borders” and acknowledged the importance of cooperation when addressing the challenge of caring for natural resources. The Colorado River agreement, known as Minute 319, is groundbreaking in its approach, moving away from a focus on “who gets what” to a more modern, flexible framework that allows the U.S. and Mexico to share surplus when water is plentiful and share shortage when water is scarce. The agreement also commits the two nations to work together on water conservation and restoration of the Colorado's long-desiccated delta by committing water to sustain it.

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Easier and faster process for North Americans to submit assertions of a failure to enforce environmental law

CEC | 2013-07-12

Los Cabos, Mexico, 12 July 2013 — The Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (“CEC”) announced the launch of a new online portal for Submissions on Enforcement Matters (or “SEM”) established to provide members of the public with a user-friendly option for filing submissions.  “The SEM Online Portal was initiated by the Secretariat in order to improve public access to the SEM process. Its launch today is yet another step to support the CEC's objective of promoting transparency in environmental law enforcement. I encourage all members of the public to go online and take advantage of this new and important tool,” said Irasema Coronado, Executive Director of the CEC.    Articles 14 and 15 of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), the environmental side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), establish a process through which any...

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Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Ministerial Statement

CEC | 2013-07-12

Los Cabos, Mexico, 11 July 2013 — North America's major environmental challenges—including air pollution from transportation, climate change, and the movement of hazardous waste—require joint, coordinated action in the context of the region's shared borders and closely linked economies. During our meeting today as the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), we agreed to a new Operational Plan for 2013–2014 that focuses on collaborative actions in three strategic areas to maximize our impact: greening transportation, tackling climate change while improving air quality, and addressing waste in trade. We support continuing CEC efforts aimed at enhancing the alignment of environmental standards across North America, including in the transportation sector, in accordance with our legal frameworks and national circumstances. Participants at our town hall meeting on transportation and the environment, as well as our Joint...

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Colorado River, Meet the Sea

Sandra Postel | 2013-04-18

Walking the mudflats of the Colorado River Delta in northwestern Mexico, my feet touch silt and sediment that originated in the U.S. Rocky Mountains, hitchhiked with floodwaters through the Grand Canyon, and then, over the millennia, settled out here as the river slowed and meandered its way to the Gulf of California.   The delta defies all political borders and human constructs.  Left to flow naturally, the Colorado River system is a connected and unified whole. If a river is born with a destiny, it is to reach the sea.  It carries sweet water, sediment, and nutrients to the coastal zone, where fisheries and marine life depend on it for sustenance and habitat.  To disconnect a river from the sea is as consequential to the health of the ecosystem as it is to block the flow of blood to a vital organ in the human body: the whole suffers, and may die.

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EVENT: March 26-27, 2013 -TRIECA 2013

Water Canada | North America | 2012-09-07

TRIECA is Ontario's leading conference on stormwater, and sediment and erosion control. During the two-day conference, delegates will hear industry experts from around North America present on the latest in technological innovations, case study findings, innovative solutions and academic research. The TRIECA conference will be an exciting opportunity for industry professionals, government agencies, students and anyone interested in the protection of our water resources to network with fellow professionals, to expand their knowledge, and to learn about future directions in the industry.

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Arctic sea ice at record low, expected to keep on melting

AlertNet | North America | 2012-08-27

WASHINGTON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - The world's Arctic ice cap has shrunk to a new low, surpassing a record set only five years ago, and is expected to keep retreating for a few more weeks, according to U.S. data released on Monday. The Arctic sea ice fell to 1.58 million square miles, or 4.10 million square kilometers, down 27,000 square miles from 2007, the lowest since satellites began measuring the ice in 1979, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. "It's a little surprising to see the 2012 Arctic sea ice extent in August dip below the record low 2007 sea ice extent in September," said Walt Meier, a scientist with the data center. "It's likely we are going to surpass the record decline by a fair amount this year by the time all is said and done." The ice is expected to dwindle until mid- to late-September when the summer melting usually ends, according to the center. Shrinking of the Arctic ices alarms scientists and environmentalists because the Arctic acts as...

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Tracking Pollutant Releases and Transfers in North America

Commission for Environmental Cooperation | North America | 2012-08-13

In 1984, an industrial plant in Bhopal, India, released a toxic cloud of methyl isocyanate that killed thousands. Less than a year later, a chemical leak at a plant in West Virginia resulted in the hospitalization of six employees and over 100 local residents. Incidents such as these spurred demands for public information about the substances released to the environment by industrial facilities, and triggered community Right-to- Know movements around the world. As a result, many countries have established pollutant release and transfer registers (PRTRs), requiring facilities to report the amounts and types of pollutants they release to air, water and land, or transfer to disposal, recycling or other management. The CEC's North American PRTR (NAPRTR) project promotes public access to PRTR data to improve understanding of the sources and management of pollutants of common concern. It also promotes use of the data for priority-setting and decisionmaking to protect the health of...

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