Posts Tagged 'blue view'

A Blue View: Stormwater – A Search for Solutions

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

July 31, 2013: Stormwater – A Search for Soluations

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and Halle Van der Gaag
from Blue Water Baltimore discuss stormwater runoff!

John: We hear a lot about stormwater, but many of us still don’t exactly know what it is and why we should care. In Baltimore and all across the country, however, stormwater runoff is a major problem. To help us understand what this issue means to our community, Halle Van der Gaag, executive director of Blue Water Baltimore, is with me in the studio. Hi, Halle.

Halle: Hi, John. Thanks for having me.

J: There’s a lot of misinformation out there about stormwater, but at its most basic, what is stormwater, and how does it relate to our community and our waters?

H: Stormwater runoff is actually rainwater that hits our pavement, roofs, and parking lots, and flows downstream, carrying pollutants, animal waste, fertilizer, and pesticides. What a lot of people don’t realize is that it actually carries air pollution that lands on our pavement, and washes that downstream as well.

J: Why is our stormwater situation so critical here in Baltimore?

H: For a long time, no one paid attention to stormwater. We were focused on industrial pollution and agricultural pollution. The reality of it is that pipes that carry stormwater are old, deteriorating, and breaking. They have not been maintained and they need an infrastructure overhaul.

J: Do we have a lot of impervious surfaces here? Describe what those are.

H: Impervious surface is just a term for hardscape or pavement – hard surfaces where you get no infiltration of rainwater. If you look around Baltimore, you’ll see that we have lots and lots of pavement. Not all of it is actually being used. Some of it is streets, but some of it is parking lots.

J: How does this whole situation manifest itself in our city these days?

H: What we’re seeing a lot is pipes bursting, streets collapsing, pollution in our waterways and in our harbor. It’s a real problem, not just for our waterways but as an inconvenience to commuters and people who are living and working in Baltimore.

J: It’s obviously a very costly and labor-intensive problem to solve, but what kind of work is being done now to help with this issue?

H: Recently, people have probably heard about a stormwater utility fee that has been passed in Baltimore and across the state. This allows Baltimore to finally be proactive and actually have the resources it needs to fix stormwater pipes before they break.

J: I know this is a really important issue, and some people have mis-characterized the stormwater fee as a rainwater tax and things like that. Help us understand more what these fees will help accomplish and how that might help the Chesapeake Bay.

H: In addition to fixing pipes, we also see lots of opportunities for green infrastructure, for opportunities to create stormwater practices that will help beautify the city, but are actually functional, beautiful spaces where you’re using plants and trees to filter and slow down stormwater before it hits the streets. It can be happening on public right-aways and in parks, but there’s a lot that people can do in their own backyards – installing rain gardens, rain barrels, planting conservation landscaping, lots of things that folks can actually do. Then they can offset and ask the city for credit for the stormwater fee. The goal here is to reduce pollution, not just collect fees that go into a big giant pipe.

J: Reducing pollution is something that’s good for all of us. Thank you so much for joining me, Halle. To learn more about Blue Water Baltimore and how you can reduce your stormwater impacts at home, visit aqua.org/ablueview.

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A Blue View: Seal Season

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

February 13, 2013: Seal Season

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John discuss the upcoming seal season and how to spot seals in need of medical assistance.

Seal sightings are rare for even the most frequent beach-goers to the Mid-Atlantic shore. In a typical year, about 20 are spotted in Ocean City, Maryland. Because seals prefer a cold-water environment, they tend to visit our area as they travel south from subarctic regions in the winter months and return north during summer months. Healthy seals regularly rest on land in a behavior called “hauling out.”

This seal was spotted near 28th street in Ocean City, Maryland! Photo via Maryland Coastal Bays Program

This seal was spotted near 28th street in Ocean City, Maryland! Photo via Maryland Coastal Bays Program

If you’re lucky, harp, gray, hooded, and harbor seals can be spotted on our beaches from late winter through spring.These four seal species are semi-aquatic, meaning they can survive for lengths of time both in water and on land. When seals are spotted on land, they are usually resting after long swims or warming up in the sunlight. Seals will also haul out on stormy days to wait out the rough seas.

Because seal sightings are rare, people often assume that a seal on land is injured or sick. Fortunately, there is a fairly easy way to determine if an animal is healthy. The key is to observe the animal’s posture. When a seal is lying in a “banana-shaped” position with its head and body curved and facing upright, the animal is simply resting and will more than likely return to the water when it’s ready. Enjoy the sight from a distance, though, as seals are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and it is illegal to disturb them.

This is a "normal" banana position.

A seal lying in the normal, “banana-shaped” position.

If a seal is lying in a “bear rug” position, however, with its stomach and head on the ground, the animal is in need of further monitoring and, potentially, rehabilitation. In those cases, contact local authorities or animal control. It’s important to remember never to approach a seal that looks like it may be in distress. Even though your intentions may be good, the animal will be under an enormous amount of stress. The animal may flee, even if injured, decreasing the chances that a rescue team will be able to help it.

sick seal
If you see a seal on the beach, give the animal lots of space, at least 150 feet, and avoid loud or sudden noises. Stay downwind from the seal if possible. Keep pets on leashes, and if you have to walk around a seal, walk on the land side to avoid blocking its path to the water. And never offer food to a seal—it’s not only bad for the seal, but it’s illegal and could result in a large fine. Disturbing the seal by making it change locations or flee back into the water is against the law.

The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program works with local authorities and a network of animal rescue and response organizations along the East Coast to respond to reports of seals on beaches and animals that appear to be in trouble.

Our team of first responders is specially trained to evaluate an animal’s health and behaviors. They are looking for any signs of injury such as entanglement, sores or abrasions, open wounds, bleeding, cataracts, dehydration, or emaciation. The team will determine the appropriate intervention for the animal, and may bring the seal back to our Animal Care Center for rehabilitation and later release.

If you see a seal that may be in need of medical attention, please call the National Aquarium’s Stranding Hotline 410-373-0083 or Maryland’s Natural Resources Police 1-800-628-9944. In a real emergency, you can simply call the local police or beach patrol, and they’ll contact the proper authorities.

 

A Blue View: Sea Turtle Conservation Series

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

In a two-part interview series with Dr. Kat Hadfield, Associate Veterinarian at National Aquarium, CEO John Racanelli discusses the endangered status of the world’s seven species of sea turtle and how organizations like the Aquarium and working to save them.

February 5, 2013: Sea Turtles and the Challenges They Face

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and Dr. Hadfield discuss
the challenges facing sea turtle populations worldwide. 

The 33rd Annual International Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation is happening in Baltimore, Maryland, this week. More than 1,000 scientists from 75 different countries are gathering to discuss sea turtle biology, research and conservation, collaborative projects and community-based conservation efforts.

All sea turtles occurring in U.S. waters are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and are under the joint jurisdiction of NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Major threats to sea turtles in the U.S. include, but are not limited to: cold-stunning; destruction and alteration of nesting and foraging habitats; incidental capture in commercial and recreational fisheries; entanglement in marine debris; and vessel strikes.

January 31, 2013: A Busy Year for Sea Turtle Rescues

A Blue View podcast

Click here to listen to John and Dr. Hadfield discuss
this extraordinarily busy season of turtle rescues!

In a normal year, the New England Aquarium takes in between 25 and 60 sea turtles. In 2012, that number was more than 200, with an extraordinarily high number of loggerheads (10 times the usual number seen in a year).

Such an influx of rescues caused significant strain on staff and resources, which lead New England Aquarium to reach out for help from other stranding partners. Dr. Kat Hadfield, associate veterinarian at the National Aquarium, was among those who headed to Quincy, Massachusetts, to help. The Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program tended to multiple patients from New England until they were ready for release!

A Blue View – Dolphin Intelligence Series pt. 3

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

November 14: Dolphin Intelligence Part Three – Mirror Study

Listen to John and Dr. Diana Reiss discuss the incredible findings of her latest experiment with dolphins!

Dr. Diana Reiss, a cognitive psychologist, professor of psychology at Hunter College in New York, and research scientist, joined John Racanelli for a three-part series on the intelligence and cognition of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

In this week’s discussion, Dr. Reiss shares her remarkable discovery: that dolphins, like humans, can recognize themselves in a mirror.

To listen to part one of this series on bubble ring play, click here.

To listen to part two of this series on keyboard training, click here.


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