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Articles on Rivers

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The white ‘bathtub ring’ around Lake Mead, shown on Jan. 11, 2022, is roughly 160 feet high and reflects falling water levels. George Rose/Getty Images

What is dead pool? A water expert explains

The Colorado River provides water and electricity to 40 million people in the western US, but falling water levels threaten both of those resources.
NASA’s Landsat satellites have been monitoring changes on Earth’s landscape for 50 years. NASA illustration

Satellites over the Amazon capture the choking of the ‘house of God’ by the Belo Monte Dam – they can help find solutions, too

When Indigenous peoples lose their river flow to dams, satellite programs like Landsat can help them fight for their resources.
Water science researcher Callum Fleming in the Wollangambe River, deep within the World Heritage area. Ian Wright

The stunning recovery of a heavily polluted river in the heart of the Blue Mountains World Heritage area

For over 40 years, a coal mine on the outskirts of the Blue Mountains World Heritage area dumped poorly treated wastewater into the Wollangambe River. Finally, it’s on the road to recovery.
Sign at a boat ramp on Lake Mead, near Boulder City, Nevada, Aug. 13, 2021. The lake currently is roughly two-thirds empty. AP Photo/John Locher

As climate change parches the Southwest, here’s a better way to share water from the shrinking Colorado River

A Western scholar proposes allocating water from the Colorado River based on percentages of its actual flow instead of fixed amounts that exceed what’s there – and including tribes this time.
Sandstorm approaching Merzouga Settlement in Erg Chebbi Desert, Morocco. Pavliha/Getty Images

Six areas where action must focus to rescue this planet

Humanity’s biggest challenges are not technical, but social, economic, political and behavioural. Effective actions are still possible to stabilise the climate and the planet, but must be taken now.
Environmental DNA is a promising tool for tracking species in freshwater ecosystems like Oregon’s Elkhorn Creek. Greg Shine, BLM/Flickr

Scientists at work: We use environmental DNA to monitor how human activities affect life in rivers and streams

Rivers are among the most embattled ecosystems on Earth. Researchers are testing a new, inexpensive way to study river health by using eDNA to count the species that rivers harbor.

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