Cities can have many benefits when designed well, including reducing carbon imprints. Another way cities can improve their environmental impact is by using “low-impact development” with regard to water management. Also called “green stormwater infrastructure,” it provides planners with a toolbox of practices and approaches to manage water during rain events and snowmelt. On undeveloped … Continue reading How does low-impact development help manage stormwater?
In order to grow well, plants need a place to grow, access to nutrients, and in most cases sunlight. A rich soil provides that home and a good supply of nutrients. But young soils have less to offer – yes, soils can have different ages ranging from hundreds to thousands to millions of years old. … Continue reading How does young soil support plant life?
Minimizing soil disturbance is one of the key tenets promoted to build soil health in agricultural systems. Many farmers across the county have adopted reduced and no-till systems to build soil carbon, a central component to healthy soils. But what if you grow a crop where the part you sell is underground – like potatoes? … Continue reading How can we improve soil health in potato cropping systems?
Lawns are a major part of urban ecosystems. Turf grasses represent one of the major crops in the United States. The area of lawns combined would be about equal to the size of the entire state of Wisconsin. Lawns have several environmental benefits, including carbon sequestration, reducing urban heat, and reducing. However, if they are … Continue reading How can I manage my lawn to prevent nitrate pollution?
In a word, yes! In a paper published in the Journal of Environmental Quality (2021), researchers studied a type of submerged aquatic moss. Fontinalis antipyrectica has a common name of “willow moss” and can even be installed in home ponds. Willow moss is a species in the class Bryopsida, which includes over 11,000 moss species around … Continue reading Can moss help clean up waterways?
As the name implies, “Dead Zone” is an area with no living beings. When a dead zone occurs within a waterbody, that zone has no aquatic life. Dead zones can be found around the world. They are a problem for coastal waters, bays, and lakes. The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, and is … Continue reading What is a dead zone?
Soil moisture is key to understanding the land's surface and all the activities that occur there, both seen and unseen. These include agriculture, hydrology, weather, and human health, to name just a few. But first it is important to understand what soil moisture is. Soil moisture is the available water contained within the matrix of … Continue reading How does soil moisture impact our lives?
If a plant decided to go on a diet, you know, to keep its plant-like figure, what do you think it would choose to be as healthy as possible? It turns out that plants, like humans, rely on essential nutrients to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. So, what’s the plant equivalent of a protein … Continue reading What do nutrients do for plants?
Here in California – and in many parts of the world – water scarcity is a way of life. Thankfully, most of the water that we use indoors can be safely reused for outdoor irrigation and toilet flushing. This is called grey water. Grey water is used water from sinks, showers and washing machines. It … Continue reading How can homeowners recycle grey water?
Phosphorus is one of the main “ingredients” for healthy plant growth. Plants get phosphorus from the soil. And much of this phosphorus is applied to farm fields in the form of fertilizers. The major current source of phosphorus, which comes from rock, is running out. Plus, it must be mined, and then chemically converted and … Continue reading What is struvite and how is it used?