Thursday, January 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday or Friday Flashback: Where Do We Go From Here?

By Cindy Kreifels, The Groundwater Foundation

Throwback Thursday, Friday Flashbacks…. These seem to be all the rage on Facebook. 

So today I thought I would take you back in time, back to 1986.  It was in 1986 that The Groundwater Foundation decided to honor a Nebraskan who had lifelong achievements in groundwater protection.  The first recipient of this honor was Vincent Dreeszen, pictured here with Susan Seacrest, founder and first president of The Groundwater Foundation. 

1986 – 30 years ago!  Wow how times have changed!  Just take a look at the hunter green chairs, the hair, the clothes…  But some things never change, like the need for us to protect groundwater.  However, what potentially does change is what we need to protect groundwater from and how we protect it.  Think about it, the emerging contaminants like the microbeads in our personal care items, global climate change, and pharmaceutical contamination (while not necessarily new, definitely one we have just recently began to address).  And, of course, if what we are challenged with protecting groundwater from changes so must the ways in which we protect it. 

Much lies ahead of us in the world of groundwater protection. What is it that concerns you when it comes to protecting groundwater?  What should our next steps be?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Recognizing Groundwater Guardians

By Jessica Wheeler, The Groundwater Foundation

The Groundwater Guardian program has been a staple of The Groundwater Foundation since 1994 and represents a network of communities and organizations acting locally to educate people and protect and conserve groundwater.  The program offers many benefits:
  • The program provides communities of all types (cities, counties, watersheds, schools, etc.) a framework for local action, providing structure and support for long-term action.
  • Earning Groundwater Guardian status sets your community apart - it draws positive attention to efforts to ensure a viable water supply.
  • Guardians have access to a variety of resources to help with local efforts, including a wealth of online tools.
  • Communities are recognized nationally and locally by The Groundwater Foundation for their efforts to educate the public and protect groundwater.

I am thrilled to honor the 72 Groundwater Guardian Communities and Affiliates that protected the groundwater of over 18 million people and earned designation for 2015!  This group represents 24 states and a wide variety of activities and approaches to groundwater protection.  From hosting groundwater festivals to holding cleanups of local waterways to participating in household hazardous waste collection and all the activities in between, these Guardians are dedicated to protecting our most precious resource.

Groundwater Guardians and Groundwater Guardian Green Sites recognized at The Groundwater Foundation's 2015 National Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska on October 21, 2015.

I am so excited to see what is in store for our Guardians, both new and old, in 2016.  Learn more and become a Groundwater Guardian today!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Banned Beads

by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

Back in July 2014, I blogged about the issue of microbeads in waterways. 

A year and a a half later, those tiny beads are on their way to becoming illegal, thanks to a bill passed on December 28.

Microbeads are found in various personal care products.
Image from Alliance for the Great Lakes
Microbeads are any solid plastic particles less than 5 millimeters in size and used for the purpose of exfoliating and cleansing. They're currently found in everything from toothpastes, face cleansers, and body washes. Unsuspecting consumers used these products and sent the tiny beads, which do not dissolve and are not typically removed by wastewater treatment, down the drains where they end up in waterways where they were mistaken for food by fish.

A September 2015 study in Environmental Science and Technology noted that more than 8 trillion of these microbeads entered aquatic habitats every day, which is enough to cover the surface of 300 tennis courts each day.

But not for long. The bill bans using microbeads in the manufacturing of products starting July 1, 2017.

While microbeads are primarily a surface water issue and affect aquatic habitat, this is a victory for water supplies as a whole. Fewer foreign objects in any type of water is always a good thing. And it's all one water.