Biomass by sea and by land

Posted Posted in TopStory, Uncategorized

The ocean provides for us. It provides the air we breathe from photosynthesizing algae, the seafood we buy and sell, and the recreational tourism and educational opportunities which are boundless for business owners and educational networks. How much time do we spend thinking about, or informing others, about what the ocean gives us? Did you know the ocean may one day provide a sustainable form of renewable energy? There is incredible research being conducted and many results already shared in the scientific community about garnering alternative energy sources from the ocean, especially that of using algae as a biofuel.

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The horizons of funding, studying, and collaborating about sustainable and renewable energy sources have grown consistently within the last two decades. Researchers from many esteemed universities such as MIT, Kansas State University, UC San Diego, Texas A&M, and Colorado State University, plus many more, are actively seeking solutions to meet the demand of finding these energy sources and establishing sustainable supply chains from extraction to sale.

 

“New research could help with the large-scale cultivation and manufacturing of oil-rich algae in oceans for biofuel.” (ScienceDaily)

 

“Photosynthetic marine algae are attractive targets for the production of biofuels and bio-products because they have the ability to capture and fix carbon dioxide using solar energy and they grow in seawater, thereby minimizing fresh water usage.” (ScienceDirect)

What the research referenced above explains is crucial to how we stand up for the protection of ocean health, whether we live on the coastline or not. Amazing amounts of biomass exist in our world’s oceans, just as a forest does. These varieties of biomass are the frontier of renewable energy research and practice. In fact, scientists and educators from our state’s very own Colorado State University are part of a regional alliance called Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies (BANR). Focused on researching how forest biomass can serve as feedstock for biofuels, BANR looks at ways beetle-killed tree biomass can contribute to a sustainable regional renewable energy industry.

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BANR is funded by the US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Coordinated Agricultural Projects through Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (USDA-NIFA AFRI CAP) grants. Say that 3x fast! These are currently 7 funded grant projects across the US. How proud we can be of CSU leading collaboration of this national and global initiative in our own backyard! 

 

So – what’s the connection between oceans and forests, you may ask? Why bother writing about the two in the same blog post about sustainable energy? I’m glad you asked!  If you look back to the first paragraph of this post, I think you can easily replace oceans with forest, and algae with trees, and seafood with timber, and so on. Our seas and our lands are bound intrinsically to humans as a resource – what we do to explore, learn from, and sustain them is up to us.

 

If you are an interested in attending a conference this May in Seattle about Biofuels and Energy Literacy, please see more at:  NARA Conference, SeaTac, May 3-4,2016  

More information about the excellent projects and organizations referenced in this post can be found at the following:

Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies 

USDA-NIFA AFRI CAP grant programs

 

 

Sarah Burgess is currently working as a Research Naturalist for University Wisconsin-Extension, and looks forward to transitioning back to the Rockies later this summer. Her thoughts and musings can be followed at BurgessAdventures.

Importance of a Mile High

Posted Posted in TopStory

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Many people wonder how inland states can be connected to the ocean environment. In an episode of Diving Deeper, hosted by NOAA, Jeff Adkins explains how the ocean economy is continental-wide. With that said, this week’s blog will consist of a compilation of reasons inland states are connected to the coastline.

 

  1. Our restaurants serve seafood- that inevitably, comes from the sea.
  2. Factor in transportation and CO2 emissions, and you could say we are definitely involved in ocean issues
  3. We buy products made in other countries- that export their goods via ships
  4. Our agricultural practices release pesticides into our waterways- and “all drains lead to the ocean”- take it from Nemo
  5. We pollute just as much driving to the mountains as we would driving to the ocean
  6. The filter feeders of the oceans take in the pollutants- and then we eat them- gross.
  7. Our activities result in nonpoint source pollution- rainfall and snowmelt moving over and through the ground collect pollutants and deliver them to the oceans- oil, grease, toxic chemicals from urban development, sediment from construction sites, eroding streambanks

 watershed

Watersheds include the boundaries of streams and moving waters that lead to the ocean. Therefore, the tiny streams you see on your beautiful hike up the mountains high above a mile are included in these watersheds. Streams are ordered numerically, starting with a first order stream, which is characterized as mountainous, tiny streams that include very few fish and many tiny organisms that scrape their food. Once a first order stream and another first order stream join together, they create a second order stream. These streams may seem pristine and beautiful far away from society, but at some point they will join with a polluted, urban river and continue down the pathway to the ocean.

 

How will you reduce your impact in an inland state? https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/V2NCJ5J

 

Introducing the Colorado Ocean Coaltion

Posted Posted in TopStory

The Colorado Ocean Coalition…what? That doesn’t make sense. Did the Colorado River become the sixth ocean?

Don’t worry you haven’t missed anything, the Colorado River is still a river. And while hearing the name Colorado Ocean Coalition for the first time might throw you for loop, the reality is an inland based ocean organization makes perfect sense.

Living along the coast isn’t a requirement for caring about our oceans. In fact, it doesn’t matter where you live; we are all impacting the health of our oceans. Thanks to modern technology and a global economy, a fish caught off the coast of South America can end up on a dinner plate in Colorado. But should you be eating that fish?

Well…that depends. Is the fishery sustainable? Did the fishing method destroy other ocean habitats? Does that fish contain a heavy dose of mercury? Aren’t these things you would like to know before digging in? And you certainly can’t ask a baked fish those questions.

The Colorado Ocean Coalition is filling an inland ocean void by raising awareness of ocean issues and getting more people to start asking questions. This is very exciting because the more people ask questions the more they begin to make conscious consumer choices and the more power we all have to affect change.

Now with an ocean coalition in place, Colorado and other inland states can work with coastal states to develop healthy ocean policies and legislation inland. Hawaii passed a statewide ban on plastic bags this summer that becomes effective July 1, 2015. Wouldn’t it be great if an inland state did the same?

The possibilities are endless and every move in the right direction helps our oceans. Executive Director Vicki Nichols Goldstein sums it up best with her favorite question, “Do you really need to see the ocean to save it?” Definitely not! So join the Colorado Ocean Coalition on their quest to save our oceans and check out their website to start learning more about hot ocean topics. Because whether you live a mile high or at sea level you can be part of the solution.

Colorado Ocean Coalition’s 2nd Annual Event, Making WAVES is coming up on October 20th and 21st! Held in Boulder, this multifaceted symposium and celebration highlights ocean issues, solutions and is a change making event for engagement and national action. Making Waves provides the general public access to and opportunities to interact with cutting edge researchers, well known speakers, award winning film makers and advocates creating an upwelling of supporters and inland ocean activists. Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of Jacques Cousteau, will be the keynote speaker for the weekend.

Click here for 2012 Making Waves symposium information.

Click here for REGISTRATION and TICKETS to Making WAVES 2012.

Pre-registration for the Ocean Symposium is free, but required. Also, don’t forget to order a box lunch from The Purple Bus !

Carolyn Kraft is a freelance writer, content developer and social media manager for Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and whale watch naturalist. She blogs at oceanwildthings.com.

Image Credit: Claudio Garzon

Sustainable Seafood: Fish for the Future by COCO

Posted Posted in Uncategorized

Sustainable Seafood: Fish for the Future

The Ocean serves many purposes. It regulates our climate, provides us with recreational opportunities, is the major source of the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat. However, our oceans are in serious trouble.

 

The global catch of wild fish leveled out 15 years ago and since then 85 percent of the world’s fisheries are either declining or being harvested at capacity. Demand for fish is also increasing and it is now over seven times what it was in 1950.

 

There are a variety of destructive fishing practices such as bottom trawling and long lining that are devastating the marine environment.  Our oceans are being fished at alarming rates and scientists estimate that most of the world’s major fishery species have been reduced in numbers by 75-95 percent.  We as consumers can make a difference by choosing seafood that has been sustainably harvested.  Our seafood choices offer a daily opportunity to contribute to the oceans health.

 

5 Fish to Avoid*

  • Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna
  • Skates and Rays
  • Chilean Sea Bass 
  • Orange Roughy
  • Sharks
 
*There is a lot of complexity around which fish to avoid. Be an informed consumer and learn about the issues on what YOU can do.  Do plenty of research with all the resources available to you and make your own educated decision. These are our recommendations.

 

 ·What You Can Do·

 

  1. Use all available resources to make smart choices about seafood.
  2. Ask where your seafood comes from before you make a choice. 
  3. Avoid unsustainable seafood at markets and restaurants. 
  4. Teach others about the importance of being a conscious consumer.
  5. Show your support for local businesses that incorporate sustainable seafood practices. 

 

 


·Resources·

Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Food Watch-information for consumers and businesses

Fish Choice– connects buyers and sellers of sustainable seafood

GreenPeace Seafood- store ratings for sustainable seafood

Fish Watch– NOAA’s seafood watch

SeaChoice– Making smart seafood decisions for today and tomorrow

Marine Stewardship Council– Certifies sustainable seafood

Blue Ocean Institute Sea Food Choices– searchable guide for seafood

 

Seafood Watch provides action cardsfish factsconsumer information, and seafood recommendations.

Seafood Watch, an organization involved with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, has been working since 1999 to make the vision of a healthy abundant ocean a reality, showing us that overfishing developed over a long period of time and we are just starting to solve it.

 

 

Click on the Map to see the sustainable seafood guide closest to where you live!


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