Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More newspaper coverage of our Colvard Spring restoration project to help protect the Endangered coldwater darter

The Dalton Daily Citizen ran an article on Wednesday, October 27 about our ongoing efforts to restore Colvard Spring. This tiny spring which feeds into the nearby Conasauga River is home to the imperiled coldwater darter. This is one of only a handful of locations in the world where this tiny fish is found.

The coolest thing about this story is the cooperation between conservation groups and private landowners. We are working together to restore this spring and help improve the habitat for darters (and for people!).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Home Makeover for Coldwater Darters

This month, we're working in Colvard Spring, GA, with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Nongame Division and the Conasauga River Alliance on our habitat restoration project for the coldwater darter. Giving them a new home involves carpet! Wondering about how recycling your carpet helps darters? Read the great article we've linked to from the Chattanooga Times Free Press!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fish DNA

Whenever I talk about sequencing fish DNA, I feel like I belong in a science fiction novel. However, studying the genes of a species is pretty easy these days, and it's a very helpful step in most conservation projects. Our first goal is to learn more about the genetic diversity in a species. Genetic diversity is all the variation in the genes of organisms and is a very important component of biodiversity. If a species has a higher genetic diversity, that means it is more likely to have a large population size and be able to adapt to changes in the environment. Therefore, knowing some basic information about the pattern of genetic diversity across populations helps us know which populations are stable and which need some help.

This week, we were most interested in studying Conasauga logperch that we captured in August with our partners, Conservation Fisheries, Inc. This species is extremely rare and only lives in about 30 miles of the mainstem Conasauga River. Previous genetic analyses on this species indicate it has a very high genetic diversity compared to close relatives. If so, that's definitely something that needs preservation with the species. So we're sequencing more genes right now to understand why a species with such a small population has maintained a high genetic diversity. We're hoping that having a little bit more information on its genetic diversity will help us create a better captive propagation program for them. Stay tuned as we learn more about this darter!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Innovations in waste reduction- replacing polystyrene

Here's a link to a great Ted Talk on an innovative and "green" way to reduce polystyrene (styrofoam) packaging from ending up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans.

It's great to see entrepeneurs that identify environmental problems and create a novel approach to fix them!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Free, Safe, Easy, Confidential Disposal of Unwanted Pharmaceuticals:

This Saturday, Chattanooga area residents have an opportunity to dispose of unused, expired, or unneeded pharmaceuticals in a socially and environmentally safe manner (anonymously and for free!). This drug disposal program, with support from government and non-profit groups, will collect any unwanted medications or personal care products from local residents for disposal in the most environmentally safe and socially responsible manner.

Disposal of medications in this responsible fashion prevents them from 1) ending up in our environment or water supply; 2) being accidentally consumed by a child; 3) being taken after their expiration date; 4) being deliberately consumed in an abusive fashion by the wrong person. This program and programs like it are gaining in popularity nationwide as more and more research shows that trace levels of medication are ending up in our natural ecosystem and our water supplies. These chemicals, even in very low concentrations can wreak havoc on plants and animals, and may have negative effects on humans with prolonged exposure (even at trace levels). The best way to prevent these chemicals from negatively effecting our environment is to have the proper authorities dispose of them at specialized facilities.

Please see below for additional details and links.

Where: East Chattanooga Weed and Seed Office
1502 McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37404

When: Saturday October 16, 2010 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Instructions: Please bring medications in original containers if possible with personal information removed or crossed out. Leave medication name/information visible.

They will be accepting: prescription AND over-the-counter medications, lotions, fragrances, vitamins, cosmetics, etc.

They will NOT be accepting: IV bags, sharps and needles, and radioactive medications.

More Info: