The 46,000 acre Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is one of Jacksonville’s natural gems. The preserve is a compilation of natural, cultural and historic connections that have occurred over the last 6,000 years.

The preserve includes Kingsley Plantation, Fort George and the Fort Caroline area, and is operated by the National Park Service. Over the years, people have changed the natural systems, from altering wetlands to constructing docks, establishing a plantation or the building of Timucuan shell mounds.

On Friday, January 20, 2012 the Timucuan Science Symposium will examine the interaction between humans and the environment. The symposium will take place at the historic Ribault Club on Fort George Island.

The symposium will provide an opportunity to network with researchers, National Park Service employees and local residents interested in the nature and culture of the Timucuan Preserve. Scientists who are currently working on research projects will share their stories, and connect with potential partners.

Scholars and graduate students are invited to submit proposals for posters or presentations at the symposium. Proposals can cover cultural, historical, natural or scientific subjects and are due by November 15, 2011.

Whether as a researcher or an interested observer, the Timucuan Science Symposium should be on your “don’t miss” list.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Minty-Fresh™.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2010. That’s about 3 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 3 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 56 posts.

The busiest day of the year was December 6th with 22 views. The most popular post that day was Sewage Outfalls to the Ocean — No More in Florida.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were floridawriters.net, tips-tools-tutorials.com, logicalecology.net, studentloansinterest.org, and statistics.bestproceed.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for miches, sewage outfall, sewage outfalls, miches dominican republic, and miches fotos.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Sewage Outfalls to the Ocean — No More in Florida April 2008
2 comments

2

Water for Miches Project Brings Clean Water to a Small Village June 2009

3

Bottled Water vs. Tap Water–Which is Better? February 2008

4

North-Central Florida Water War December 2007
2 comments

5

About November 2007
1 comment

Logical Ecology has the honor of being listed as one of the 50 Best Ecology Blogs on the Forensic Science Technician site. Check it out — there’s lots of other great environmental blogs including Ecology Today, The Green Scene, and The Environmental Blog.

I’m biting my nails, hoping the engineers and responders will be able to “cap” the largest leak on the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The first attempt failed due to a buildup of ice crystals that clogged the cap and made it buoyant.

According to the official site for the emergency responders, engineers may have found a fix for the problem using methanol injection to stop hydrate formation.

Be sure to check out the official site–it’s a wealth of information, including ways to volunteer. The scope and cost of this disaster, along with its response is mind-boggling.  The  effort includes government agencies from EPA to NOAA to NASA,  top scientists and engineers, fisheries experts, and numerous volunteers. Fourteen staging areas are already in place to protect the shoreline.

I have to admit that before the Deepwater Horizon’s explosion and subsequent gusher, I was a staunch proponent of more drilling in the Gulf. I still believe that Americans need to allow more drilling and reduce our dependency on other countries for our energy supplies. But the impending doom foretold in each day’s news reports make it evident that we need a major upgrade to the engineering controls that prevent such a calamity.

As the oil slick creeps ever closer to the shore, the Joint Investigation initiates the finger-pointing stage of the crisis. Understandably so, as the cost will ultimately be in the billions of dollars, not to mention the bad PR that ecological destruction will bring. Let’s all hope the latest fix will work, and quickly.

Energy supplies are vital, but we should be able to provide power without trashing our environment.

Michael Stelzner, the “Grandfather of White Papers” according to MarketingSherpa, is hosting the largest online event dedicated to helping entrepeneurs successfully market their business using white papers. It’s called the White Paper Success Summit 2010, led by some of the top names in the copywriting and marketing business, including Michael,  Bob Bly, Joe Pulizzi, and many others.

Michael is offering a chance to win two seats at the White Paper Success Summit. I’m going for it, and here’s why.

With a 30 year background in water environment work, I decided to focus my writing business on environmental, health and safety topics. I’ve seen white papers used successfully in this niche many times, but hadn’t had the opportunity to actually write a white paper.

I’ve read Michael’s excellent book, Writing White Papers, which is a “how-to” for every step of white paper writing. Attending the White Paper Success Summit 2010 would put me on the fast-track to specialize in white paper writing for the environmental, health and safety industry. I’ve targeted 2010 as the year to really kick my writing business, Logical Ecology Environmental Writing, into high gear and the Success Summit will be my impetus.

With some of the top names in the world showing me how to implement techniques to market my business along with my clients’ businesses, I’ll learn how to stand out from my competitors. And the session on White Paper Marketing should segue perfectly with the Social Media Success Summit that I attended last year. I’m still reeling from all the great information from that course–perhaps another is in the works for 2010?

What I’m most excited about is the real-world successful experience of the instructors. Theory is great, but hearing tried-and-true techniques from the people who make a living (and a darn good one, at that) from writing white papers is invaluable. Having the opportunity to “pick the instructors’ brains” at a live event means I’ll hear down-to-earth advice and honest answers to my questions. But if I’m not able to attend one of the sessions live, I’ll have the recorded session available.

Because I’m still working at a full-time job while I’m building my writing business, the online summit format is terrific. I won’t have to take time off, or pay for expensive travel costs. I’ll be able to start working on a white paper project right away instead of waiting till I’m back home.

I’m also looking forward to networking with the other students on the dedicated forum. I always learn something from other attendees.

Should I be fortunate enough to win the two seats at the White Paper Success Summit 2010, I would invite Liane Pirscher to join me. She’s a writer from Germany, and I met her at the American Writers and Artists, Inc. Copywriting Bootcamp a few years ago. Liane is multi-lingual and has a successful copywriting business. I’m sure she’d love to join me in learning how to write and market white papers.

Writing white papers is the perfect match for my environmental, health and safety writing business. There are all kinds of problems to be solved in that industry–and all kinds of businesses offering great solutions. I’d love to learn how to promote those businesses by writing white papers.

I just returned from Gainesville, Florida after spending two days at the St. Johns River Water Management District’s technical symposium on water withdrawals from the St. Johns River.

The issue revolves around the impact on the river if central Florida utilities withdraw up to 262 million gallons per day from the St. Johns and Oklawaha Rivers. To determine the effects, over 60 scientists are collaborating in a 2-year study. Comprised of hydrologic and hydrodynamic modeling, and in-depth study of how water withdrawal will affect wetlands, salinity, soils, submerged aquatic vegetation, algae, crustaceans, fish – basically every conceivable aspect of the river ecology – the study is unprecedented in scope.

The National Research Council is peer reviewing the study. The NRC has already provided comments on Phase I of the project and the scientist are addressing those comments.

Phase II of the project should be completed by Summer 2010 and I’ll be updating the blog. Right now, there are no conclusions. But the brain trust is certainly impressive. This study should be able to serve as a model for similar projects in the future.

In the United States it’s hard for us to imagine, but an estimated 3 million to 4 million people–mostly low-income children in developing nations–die each year from cholera, typhoid, dysentery and other water-borne diseases. This happens when people drink contaminated water.

Miches is a small seaside tropical paradise. But the residents of Miramar, a small community in Miches in one of the poorest provinces in the Dominican Republic, have no sanitary sewer treatment–and no drinking water treatment. Their water is a source of disease.

Engineers Without Borders will bring clean drinking water to Miramar

Engineers Without Borders will bring clean drinking water to Miramar

That’s where the Student Chapter of Engineers Without Borders comes in. This summer, these student engineers will travel to Miramar to bring clean drinking water to the 500 residents there.

The project will include a well, pumps and controls, water storage tank and distribution system. After construction is complete, the students will train local residents in the operation and maintenance of the system. Not only will the project improve the lives of the people in Miramar, but the students will get real-world experience in designing and building a drinking water system.

The Florida Rotary Clubs and Florida Section-American Water Works Association both contributed thousands of dollars towards the project.

Here’s a great video about Miches and the area where the project is taking place. Someday, I hope I have the time and opportunity to participate in a project like this.

Usually water and electricity are inextricably linked. You can’t produce and distribute clean water without power–and you can’t produce electricity without water. But my friend, Bill Edgar recently visited a water plant that provided clean water for an entire village–with not a single kilowatt. Here’s a copy of the e-mail I received from Bill, owner of CEU Plan.

Have you ever seen a water plant operate without any electrical power?  I had to see, to believe with my own eyes! 
 
Recently during the Memorial Day weekend, I traveled to Honduras to catch-up with some graduate students from Cornell University – Civil & Environmental Engineering School.  These students from the Agua Clara Program have developed a unique water treatment plant without any electric metering pump, electrical connections – without a power meter for the plant operation.  The water supply comes from the mountaintop, where the streams are captured, sent through a unique sedimentation basin and disinfected; prior to storage and distribution to the villagers.  These Young Professionals (YP’s) have developed a truly workable and unique concept for meeting the needs of small and rural villages in Central America.  My hat is off to them, as this is a true example of how working together can solve many environmental problems.  So many times, YP’s are directed through their parents, “Do as I say!” which has caused problems in the creative and experimental drives of our leaders for tomorrow.  Should you be interested in further information on Agua Clara, a non-profit organization, and a great group of YP’s from Cornell putting their education to work in a great way:
 
Link:    
https://confluence.cornell.edu/display/AGUACLARA/Home
 
The mentoring program utilized by Monroe Weber-Shrink, director is Agua Clara, is shared by many.  As many of us look at our role in the coming years to strengthen and maintain the operation and maintenance of water/wastewater treatment plant facilities; we need to reach out to our young professionals.  In many ways, the same, as we were introduced or brought into the field many years ago.  How many remember, the ole’ plant manager or shift head sitting down with the new and young-at-heart trainee, to show them the ropes, to show them how to operate this or that, and most importantly, how to pass the certification exam!  It is time, we revise the ole’ concept to the many new and forthcoming replacements of today.  In order to maintain the structural and operational integrity of facilities, today, it would be a great practice to reach out to our young professionals and provide the ole’ war stories and fundamental experiences to increase and broaden their knowledge basis. 
 
CEU Plan would like to assist in this venture, should you know or have a colleague interested in the water/wastewater field; send us their contact information.  Please forward their name, address, phone number, and/or e-mail address to us.  We would like to forward to them, a couple of complimentary courses to spark that interest into becoming a licensed operator.  Many of us have miles to travel and sharing our experiences and knowledge with the up and coming deserves a place in our lives.  We appreciate your interest and support of our program for many years, our mission continues to grow, as we reach out to the new generation of water and wastewater operators.  
 
Have a Great Weekend,
 
William W. Edgar
CEU Plan  – general manager
 
Send your suggestions to: 
support@ceuplan.org

It’s something I don’t like to think about–but I have to as part of my job.

In the United States, we consider safe, clean drinking water to be a normal part of life. But there are some bad people in the world. People who want to harm us, or cause panic and chaos. Since 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security required public water systems to perform risk assessments to find our vulnerabilities. And to take steps protect our water systems.

We’ve made a lot of improvements (I can’t tell you what they are due to security reasons) but nobody has a completely secure system.

Professor Abraham Katzir, a physisict at Tel Aviv University, developed a new system to protect drinking water supplies. Professor Katzir created special fibers that can detect colors in the infared spectrum. People can’t see colors in this spectrum, though certain animals like bats and snakes can, and use them to track prey.

Professor Katzir

Professor Katzir

By connecting the special fibers to a colorimeter, Professor Katzir was able to detect poisons in the water at very low levels.

These sensors could be used in remote locations like reservoirs, pipelines or storage tanks to detect water contamination in real time. Being able to identify threats immediately could save lives and prevent widespread panic. Let’s face it, even a chemical that was harmless could cause chaos if it made the water taste funny.

Special Fibers Can Detect Low Levels of Water Contamination

Special Fibers Can Detect Low Levels of Water Contamination

Currently, water utilities run water quality tests regularly, but no technology is in use today that can detect such a wide variety of low-level contaminants in real time.

While the threat of chemoterrorism is remote, the old saying “better safe than sorry” certainly applies here. Let’s hope Professor Katzir’s invention makes it to the street sooner rather than later.

Photos from the Tel Aviv University website.

I was surprised last month while attending the Florida Water Resources Conference. While finishing dessert at the Awards Luncheon, I heard my name called. It seems I was elected to be a member of the Florida Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers.

Though it sounds funny–and the initiation consists of saying “Florida Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers” three times fast until the audience approves with applause–it really is quite an honor. The award’s purpose is to recognize water and wastewater industry professionals for outstanding, meritorious service above and beyond the call of duty. I’m in some good company with many long-time, well-respected water environment folks. People that I’ve admired for many years.

I now have a silver shovel pin–if I’m caught without it, I have to buy all the drinks!

But seriously, it’s wonderful to be recognized, and a member of a select group of environmental stewards.

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