OSU Water in the News

Below is a collection of news stories featuring OSU water faculty and students. To add to this list, please email iww@oregonstate.edu


Hydrophiles celebrates new water year, previous accolades (The Daily Barometer 10/03/2012)

Last year the IWW hosted a celebration for the new water year and their 50th anniversary. The event brought together many people in the water science community.

“We thought it would be good to continue the tradition and the IWW agreed to help organize it,” said Kim Ogren, president of OSU Hydophiles.

While the organization has other events which are education based, this one is primarily a social and networking event designed to kick off the school year and the water year. It will be a place to talk to the water community, including faculty, graduate students and undergraduates.

Water Wars - Battles, compromises, and resolutions abound in a state flush with water. (Oregon Humanities 10/01/2012)

“Water management is conflict management,” says Aaron Wolf, professor of geography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. He’s studied water issues throughout Oregon and around the world. “We’re not talking about tungsten here—water is unique as a resource,” in that it engages the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life, Wolf says.

In the Pacific Northwest, there is plenty of water—just not in the right places or at the right times, and not always put to the best and highest use. Rivers and streams have been over-committed to legacy rights-holders. Antiquated and wasteful practices, such as open and leaky irrigation canals and ditches, are still prevalent. Attempts to capture and reuse water have become ensnared in cumbersome policies.

Meanwhile, climate change projections for Oregon forecast warmer, drier seasons. Winter snows are shifting to winter rains, reducing the snowpack that provides critical storage and groundwater recharge for spring and summer. Declines in overall precipitation, coupled with increased demand as a result of population and economic growth, make water issues even more prominent.
These challenges embroil agriculture, fish and wildlife, municipalities, cultural traditions, and economic opportunities. Across the state, individuals and organizations continue to wade through these issues in search of solutions.

[by J. David Santen]

The “Slippery Slope to Slime”: Overgrown Algae Causing Coral Reef Declines (OSU News & Research Communications 09/28/2012)

Researchers at Oregon State University for the first time have confirmed some of the mechanisms by which overfishing and nitrate pollution can help destroy coral reefs – it appears they allow an overgrowth of algae that can bring with it unwanted pathogens, choke off oxygen and disrupt helpful bacteria.

Corvallis wastewater plan gets a twist (Corvallis Gazette Times 09/28/2012)

Caught between a looming compliance deadline and broad citizen opposition, a Corvallis City Council committee ordered a fast-track evaluation of a new proposal for cooling treated wastewater before discharging it into the Willamette River.

As Arctic Ice Melts, So Does The Snow, And Quickly (NPR 09/28/2012)

Researchers say global warming is no doubt contributing to this early melting of spring snow. And Philip Mote at the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute says there may be a relationship between the rapid loss of sea ice and the early snowmelt.

Major advance made in generating electricity from wastewater (OSU News & Research Communications 08/31/2012)

Engineers, lead by Hong Liu, an associate professor in the OSU Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering have made a breakthrough in the performance of microbial fuel cells that can produce electricity directly from wastewater, opening the door to a future in which waste treatment plants not only will power themselves, but will sell excess electricity.

Hydroelectric Dam Construction on Dorena Lake (The Register Guard 08/21/2012)

New hydroelectric dam construction to begin southeast of Cottage Grove, Oregon.  Known as the Dorena Dam, it should produce 7.5 megawatts of power and will divert water from Dorena Lake to Row River. The project is owned by Symbiotics and should be completed by 2013.

The river is home to both threatened and endangered species including; the Oregon chub and the Upper Willamette River Chinook Salmon. Up for debate are the impacts from sediment and temperature as byproducts of the dam construction.

Disease could lead to amphibian population decline, even mass extinction, say OSU researchers (OregonLive.com 08/08/2012)

On Lost Lake in the Cascade Range, Andrew Blaustein’s (professor of zoology at Oregon State University) research group has studied the egg-laying habits and population decline of amphibians for decades.  Last month, Blaustein and colleagues reported in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B that infectious diseases could help explain the decline of already-diminishing amphibians.  A combination of natural and manmade stresses could be compromising amphibian immune systems.

The USGS has published its Water Resources Research Act (WRRA) Fiscal Year 2011 Report (USGS 08/08/2012)

This report summarized programs funded by the USGS under the WRRA in 2011.  The WRRA funds projects that improve water quantity or quality, improve water treatment technologies, improve infrastructure or focus on public outreach.

EarthFix Conversations: High-Speed Research On Climate Change (EarthFix 07/17/2012)

Mote Photo"...the Texas drought and heat wave of 2011. Peer-reviewed research into a connection between that event and climate change took less than a year to publish.

The research was led by Oregon’s state climatologist Philip W. Mote. His official title is director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at Oregon State University.

That new research recently made international news. It’s part of a study distributed by the American Meteorological Society and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

Mote’s paper concluded global warming is 20 times more likely to be the cause of last year’s prolonged heat wave in Texas than it could have been in the 1960s, when less greenhouse gases had been released into the atmosphere."