Posts Tagged ‘water’

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Open Sunset, Insert Coke Bottle, by Oliver Scott -- Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Oh, my.  In yesterday’s news: “The Coca-Cola Company to Receive 2009 World Environment Center Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development.”

The World Environment Center’s (WEC) Twenty-Fifth Annual Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development has been awarded to The Coca-Cola Company for implementing strategic business initiatives in the high impact areas of water stewardship, sustainable packaging, energy management and climate protection.

Well they were sure dragged kicking and screaming down that path.  I don’t have time this week, but that definitely means I need to write some thoughts about Coca-Cola and the water wars, particularly in India, some time next week.  In the mean time, I will leave you with a few links of interest:


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In the Pacific Northwest in general and in Northern California in particular, we hear a lot about logging. Here is a different take on the topic, however: underwater logging. A company called Triton Logging, based in British Columbia, uses a submersible called the Sawfish to salvage lumber from forests left standing at the bottom of dammed lakes.

The remote-controlled Sawfish can reportedly log 50 trees an hour, “of any diameter”. According to Triton Logging’s brochure, some 300 million trees have been left standing at the bottom of 45,000 dammed reservoirs, including old-growth trees. This lumber is well preserved in deep water under anoxic conditions and worth an estimated $50 billion.

Triton has three Sawfish submersibles that have been used in British Columbia, Malaysia, Thailand and Brazil. The Sawfish operator works from a barge at the surface, controlling the submersible harvester via a joystick and console. The Sawfish is connected to the operator station on the barge above by a tether that provides power, fibre optic communications, navigation, and supplies air to the airbags. These airbags are attached to the felled trees to float them to the surface; the Sawfish carries 70 airbags.

The wood thus harvested is marketed as eco-friendly SmartWood and is reportedly of architectural quality.

Triton is not the only company in this niche, but others use divers to retrieve sunk lumber already logged, or underwater saws. The Sawfish makes it a more expensive proposal but also potentially a safer and more productive one.

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As mentioned on the Humboldt Herald and on SoHum Parlance, vice-chair of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and North Coast representative on the Coastal Commission, was elected as chair of the California Coastal Commission.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a bit of awesome, particularly since the big contender for the position was Bill Burke of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, who is just too well and too closely connected for my taste.

Besides, I like the idea of having a North Coast person there; the Northern and Southern California approaches to environmental issues are markedly different, and I’m glad to have someone like Neely there.

The Coastal Commission, in partnership with coastal cities and counties, plans and regulates the use of land and water in the coastal zone. That means they have to approve a coastal development permit for any activity like construction, demolition, zoning, or development in the coastal zone. On land, the coastal zone width varies from several hundred feet in highly urbanized areas up to five miles in certain rural areas; and offshore, the coastal zone includes a three-mile-wide band of ocean.

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I picked up a couple of good books at Tin Can Mailman last week.

rainforests book coverFirst, I picked up The Rain Forests of Home, which talks about the coastal temperate rain forests ecoregion stretching from the San Francisco Bay Area in California to the Cooke Inlet in Alaska. This is a chance for me to explore the ties between several different places and issues I have some personal knowledge of.

I love books that tie many different aspects together to provide a comprehensive picture. And fortunately for me, the book appears to be used as a textbook at Humboldt State University, resulting in multiple cheap copies in the local used book stores.

Selfishly, I could wish for even more maps, particularly colour ones, but the book seems very interesting so far.

cadillac deserts coverThe second book I picked up is considered a classic and even an oldie, but I decided it was time I re-read Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert after I attended Tom Stokely’s presentation last week, “The Trinity River, the Peripheral Canal, and the Future of Water in California“.

A book over 20 years old, Cadillac Desert remains very topical as it examines the role water development has played in every aspect of the history of the American West, particularly of California. A fascinating summary of the California Water Wars was published in the San Francisco Chronicle three year ago, providing some of the more recent news. As I mentioned in a recent post, water resources is a hot topic in California and even in this time of recession, there are a lot of jobs for water professionals.

Mr. Stokely, a Director of the California Water Impact Network, will be speaking again on this topic next week when he gives the keynote presentation at the Sixth Annual Berkeley River Restoration Symposium. He is extremely knowledgeable and passionate, although in truth I wish his talk had been better organized. I felt a strong urge to grab the PowerPoint presentation and whip it into shape for him!

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