April 22, 2009

Spring Break CRI Meeting

On April 21, 2009, 56 CRI members-Fellows, Board Members, Associates, Staff and Students from UNB, UPEI, and Universite du Quebec (INRS) gathered at the UNB Fredericton campus for a day of learning and networking. This was organized in conjunction with the CRI Student Liaison Committee which is comprised largely of student representatives from each campus and is chaired by Dr. Andre. St-Hilaire of INRS.

This was an opportunity for members from all campuses to meet with each other and receive information on the latest news and plans at the CRI from Director, Dr. Allen Curry. In addition, everyone had an opportunity to learn of the growing research being carried out within each lab and to network with colleagues. There were lab tours of the Stable Isotopes in Nature Lab, Benthic Macroinvertebrate Lab, and Environment Canada's National Water Research Institute Lab.

In the afternoon, the members were split into 5 working groups to talk about and gather information on several issues and opportunities related to CRI students. Representatives from each group then presented their findings to the gathering, and the valuable information gleaned will be used to inform future plans concerning CRI students.

April 17, 2009

NSERC Discovery Grant Awarded to Dr. Natacha Hogan

Dr. Natacha Hogan, an Assistant Professor and an Associate Fellow of the CRI at the UPEI campus was awarded an NSERC Discovery Grant for her program: "Thyroid hormone influence on gonadal function and development: an amphibian model".

Her research program will examine how thryroid hormone mimics in the environment may impact on reproduction function through endocrinological cross-talk. Natacha will receive $24,000 per year for 5 years.

Congratulations Natacha!

April 16, 2009

Report lists America's 10 most endangered rivers

By Azadeh Ansari

(CNN) -- Rivers are the arteries of our infrastructure. Flowing from highlands to the sea, they breathe life into ecosystems and communities.

But many rivers in the United States are in trouble.

Rivers in Alaska, California and the South are among the 10 most endangered, according to a report released Tuesday by American Rivers, a leading river conservation group.

The annual report uses data from thousands of rivers groups, local governments, environmental organizations and citizen watchdogs to identify waterways under imminent threat by dams, industry or development.

"Our nation is at a transformational moment when it comes to rivers and clean water," said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. "Water is life, yet our nation's water infrastructure is so outdated that our clean drinking water, flood protection and river health face unprecedented threats."

American Rivers has released its annual endangered rivers report since 1986. The report is not a list of the nation's most polluted waterways, but highlights 10 rivers facing decisions in the coming year that could determine their future.

Here is American Rivers' Most Endangered Rivers list for 2009:

1) Sacramento-San Joaquin River System
Location: California

Outdated water and flood management puts California's largest watershed at the top of America's most endangered rivers list for 2009. A recent breach in the delta's 1,100-mile levee system could have dire effects on surrounding ecosystems, farming and agriculture, commercial fishing and California's civil infrastructure. State and federal authorities are looking at alternative water-management strategies for the river system, which serves 25 million Californians and more than 5 million acres of farmland.

2) Flint River
Location: Georgia

The Flint is one of 40 rivers nationwide that still flow undammed for more than 200 miles. Conservationists say that dams proposed by Georgia lawmakers would bury more than 50 river miles, destroy fishing and boating opportunities and cost taxpayers millions of dollars. The American Rivers group believes that fixing the state's leaky pipes, using water meters and minimizing water waste would be a cheaper and more cost-effective alternative.

3) Lower Snake River
Location: Idaho, Washington, Oregon

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has built four dams to irrigate and generate energy for the Northwest, but these dams also prevent salmon and steelhead trout from reaching their spawning areas. Every year, those dams kill as many as 90 percent of juvenile salmon and steelhead trout that migrate downstream to the ocean. Conservationists say that removing the dams would eliminate a growing flood threat in Lewiston, Idaho, and create an opportunity to modernize the region's transportation and energy systems.

4) Mattawoman Creek
Location: Maryland

A highway development project here jeopardizes one of the Chesapeake Bay's few remaining healthy streams. The project threatens clean water sources, thousands of acres of forests and wetlands, and an internationally-renowned, multimillion-dollar largemouth bass fishery.

5) North Fork of the Flathead River
Location: Montana

A proposed coal-mining project across the Canadian border puts Montana's North Fork of the Flathead River in jeopardy. An estimated 50,000 acres of the Flathead headwaters could be transformed into an industrial gas field. The projects threaten the river's clean water, local agriculture, fish and wildlife and recreational industries such as rafting, camping, fishing and boating. American Rivers and its partners have called on local Canadian governments and the U.S. State Department to work together to halt these projects.

6) Saluda River
Location: South Carolina

Excess levels of sewage waste threaten the drinking water of more than 500,000 South Carolina residents, conservationists say. Sewage in the river increases phosphorous and algae levels, depletes oxygen, and kills fish and other aquatic life. American Rivers is asking the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to improve sewage-treatment standards and ensure the river reduces its phosphorous levels by 25 to 50 percent.

7) Laurel Hill Creek
Location: Pennsylvania

Known for its fishing, swimming and kayaking, this popular vacation spot faces threats from a bottling plant and tourism-related development. Without adequate planning and safeguards, withdrawals will continue to exceed the creek's reasonable capacity, putting recreation, the local water supply, and fish and wildlife in jeopardy.

8) Beaver Creek
Location: Alaska

One of the nation's last wild rivers faces extinction if an oil- and gas-development project constructs 600 miles of roads and pipelines, airstrips, drilling pads, and gravel mines along the creek. Alaska native communities depend on the area for subsistence hunting and fishing. It's also a popular destination for anglers, boaters, skiers and hunters.

9) Pascagoula River
Location: Mississippi

The U.S. Department of Energy wants to hollow out natural salt domes 30 miles northwest of the Pascagoula to create a storage area for up to 160 million barrels of oil. A pipeline 330 miles in length would be constructed to withdraw water from the Pascagoula to dissolve the salt domes and distribute oil to and from the site. The DOE predicts 18 oil spills and 75 spills of salty, polluted water during the construction and initial fill of the hollowed domes, damaging rivers, streams, and wetlands in the basin, conservationists say.

10) Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
Location: Minnesota, Wisconsin

Rezoning of a 26-mile stretch of the river's state-protected section would allow for the construction of a major development on the riverfront. American Rivers believes the development could lead to land erosion along the river and more storm run-off while harming the region's biodiversity.

"Being named as one of America's most endangered rivers is not an end for the river, but rather a beginning," said Wodder.

Through the collaborative efforts of citizens and local, state and national governments, a number of waterways from past American Rivers' endangered lists have been preserved.

"With the listing comes a national spotlight and action from thousands of citizens across the country," Wodder said. "These 10 rivers have a chance to be reborn and to serve as models for other rivers all across America."

April 07, 2009

NSERC award for Megan Finley

Megan Finley was just awarded an NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship at the doctoral level.

We would like to congratulate Megan on receiving this prestigious scholarship!!

Megan is supervised by CRI Fellow Dr. Mike van den Heuvel and will be examining immune dysfunction related to oil sands process-affected waters in rainbow trout.

April 03, 2009

NSERC Award for Hélène Higgins

Hélène Higgins was just awarded an Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship from NSERC - these awards are given to the top-ranked applicants at each level (master’s and doctoral).

This is a major achievement and accomplishment and we would like to congratulate Hélène!!

Hélène an MSc student co-supervised by CRI Fellows Drs. Simon Courtenary and André St-Hilaire.
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