Fishing for Energy Removing Traps to Save Local Fish

Flora Real:

In Barnegat, New Jersey, the Fishing for Energy program under the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is starting a campaign to clean up old fishing supplies that have been abandoned or lost throughout the bay. These things, if left in the water, harm local fish and other creature populations because they get trapped inside of them and die which in turn affects the local fishing community. Debris near the surface could be a hazard because they could damage the hulls of passing boats.

Things like crab traps are commonly lost because they become detached from the buoy that marks their location and are simply left by the fishermen because it is nearly impossible to find. Traps like these pose a threat to the survival of the diamondback terrapin, which has seen noticeable decline in population. With an additional growth in a gender disparity of the fish, their numbers are declining rapidly.

The Fishing for Energy Program has begun to collect and recycle thousands of debris and gear that they have found in order to protect local wildlife. To find the trash, the team uses boats equipped with side-scan sonar. They have set up containers in Waretown for fishermen to throw away their unwanted tools for free and plan to set up more in other towns along the bay. The garbage is then sent to a waste disposal plant were it is burned for energy.

Albatrosses mistake plastic for food

The MIDWAY film project is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch.

For more information:

Midway Project blog, team details, production diary videos:

Will San Francisco Ban Plastic Bottles?

San Francisco Ban Plastic Bottles

San Francisco, has now passed a law that all new buildings should have a filtering system to try to encourage the people to fill out reusable bottles instead of buying plastic bottles.They began making filters for filling water bottles around the city to encourage people to reuse their bottles.Although people might think that drinking from fountains can expose to germs however, they guarantee that water fountains are no less hygienic than bottle taps. San Francisco has among the best drinking water in the US and people still go out and pay for water bottles. In Pennsylvania State University they added a bottle water spigot to the water fountains and the cost of it was about 750 dollars and saved about 35,000 plastic bottles each month.

Fabiana Vivacqua

Chapter 8

Tsunami Effects (15 months later)

On March 11 2011 an earthquake hit Japan causing a major tsunami which destroyed many parts of this Country. Tons of debris including a motorcycle and a dock are turning up 6,000 miles away on the west coast of the U.S, almost 15 months after the tsunami. Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was shut down, but massive amounts of radiation were dispersed into our oceans.  Radioactive Iodine-131, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 were released into the North Pacific Ocean and our atmosphere. A month after the disaster, toxicity was detected in a Japanese lance fish. Radioactive iodine has a half-life of 8 days and to humans it is known to cause thyroid cancer! Radioactive cesium has unknown harmful impacts on humans and has a half-life of 30 years! A couple months after levels of radioactive cesium were discovered in 15 pacific Bluefin tuna, which is 10 times higher than usual tuna found on the same Californian coast. This tells us that the toxic spill was much worse than stated. All life is interrelated and what we do to our ocean is what we end up doing to ourselves.

Global policy, toxicity, and Pest Management

Alejandro Rey

Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels Project In Nevada Aims To Convert Solid Waste

In Nevada common household trash will be converted into ethanol for transport. it is backed up by a 105 million federal loan guarantee  given by the Obama administration. The Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels project will not only help reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil but it will also create a more sustainable energy source.  Annually at the plant they will convert 147,000 tons of solid waste into 10 million gallons of ethanol! This plan will also allow many new good paying jobs as well as help our nation to lessen our dependence of oil.

Trash is also cheap and plentiful, unlike some “feedstocks” such as corn which takes time to grow. The trash to gas concept has been tried around the world, in much smaller scales. Vilsack, the Vice President of the (TFSB) says this could reduce pressure from the jam-packed landfills. Unlike other biomass they are getting the garbage for free which reduces the final cost of the ethanol once processed. Once processed the ethanol will be sold to Tenaska BioFuels LLC, this will market the ethanol to  blenders in Nevada and California as a gasoline additive.

To read more go to:

Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy

Alejandro Rey

New Energy-Dense Battery Could Enable Long-Distance Electric Cars

A company formed in California recently took a government grant and created one of the most energy dense batteries ever seen. The company, Envia System, says its new lithium ion batteries hold about twice as much as current batteries. The battery has cycled nearly 400 times in testing, and it is still going.

The new batteries could reduce the amount of batteries needed in electric cars by half and cost less than half of what current batteries cost nowadays. Although the batteries need to be tested with specific manufacturers to determine full usage limitations, it has been said that the battery may allow a Nissan LEAF for example, to travel 300 miles on a single charge as opposed to the current 80 miles.


Posted by: Bryan Fusfield

Kentucky’s Arrow Darter Threatened by Mountaintop Removal

The Kentucky Arrow Darter, a fish found in the Appalachian streams and rivers, is heavily being affected by the mountaintop removal in the Kentucky River Basin. The Darter lives in the shallow waters of this basin, but because most of the state’s mining takes place there, the fish can now only be found in 33 of the 68 streams it once thrived in.

The Darter is on the list of top 10 U.S. species “most threatened by fossil fuel development” and is being buried alive by the coal companies who are dumping mountaintop removal waste into the waters.  Not only is this fish in extreme danger, but other wildlife and humans surrounding the area are susceptible to birth defects and cancer which have been linked to all the toxic materials polluting the Appalachian streams.

The delicate ecosystem in the Kentucky River Basin is being skewed as Darters decrease throughout the region. The Darter plays an integral role in the community as it feeds on aquatic insects while birds, amphibians, and other fish feed on it. Because of its important role in its habitat, the Darter must be protected! It became a candidate to be protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2010, but it is still on a federal waiting list and hopefully will be considered for protection in 2015.

If you want to read more about this issue please visit:

By Andrea Rey