2014/01/07

Brayton Point

Filed under: environment — WmX @ 09:27

cooling towers

“The Brayton Point coal-fired plant in Bristol County, Mass., will be retired in May 2017, owner Energy Capital Partners LLC said Oct. 7,
a little over a month after the private equity firm closed on the purchase of the plant from previous owner Dominion Resources Inc.”–IEEFA

2013/11/13

boring technology

Filed under: damage,environment — WmX @ 08:37


I always call Miss Utility before I dig. Calling Sister Utility is the law. I don’t know anyone who has ever been arrested, but the State, the County, the City, they all make pretty clear:

Failure to notify Miss Utility before you dig could make you liable for the cost of any repairs should you damage a utility service.

In the picture above a concrete sanitary sewer main runs right to left, downhill, beneath Chesapeake Street in Charlottesville Virginia, headed for the sewage plant.
Also pictured, a half inch diameter, high pressure gas line running from seven o’clock to one o’clock, overtop the sanitary sewer.
Also pictured, the damage that resulted when the HDD (horizontal directional drilling) operator inadvertently steered the drilling rig through the sewer.

The benefits of drilling, no trench, less erosion, it is minimally invasive street surgery. The problem, no laparoscope.

Our City is actively pursuing inflow and infiltration of rainwater into the sanitary sewer. They cruise pipes with video cameras, find and fix damaged pipe.

2013/05/23

nineteen

Filed under: environment,flora,politics — WmX @ 11:03

albemarle square lone shade tree
It was a Republican president who drove the largest expansion of parkland ever (YAY! TR! Teddy!). It was a Republican who started up the EPA.

How many Republicans can you fit under a single tree in a parking lot? At least nineteen.

When did it become a bad thing in the Republican mind to be an environmentalist?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the U.S. federal government which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.[2] The EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order. The order establishing the EPA was ratified by committee hearings in the House and Senate.– Wikipedia

2013/04/29

stream in a pipe

Filed under: environment — WmX @ 11:25

meade creek tributary
I wonder if the homeowner could request help to daylight this stream?

2013/02/11

green and gray infrastructure

Filed under: environment,riverine — WmX @ 09:28

existing wetland
Pictured above, existing wetlands on the north bank of Moore’s Creek upstream from its intersection with the Rivanna

stormwater pipe
Pipe which will convey stormwater to the wetlands.

wetland under construction
Five acres of wetland under construction.

2013/02/03

Why Trees Matter

Filed under: environment,fishbones,flora — WmX @ 13:50

lriodendron tulipfera

By JIM ROBBINS
Helena, Mont.
TREES are on the front lines of our changing climate. And when the oldest trees in the world suddenly start dying, it’s time to pay attention.
North America’s ancient alpine bristlecone forests are falling victim to a voracious beetle and an Asian fungus. In Texas, a prolonged drought killed more than five million urban shade trees last year and an additional half-billion trees in parks and forests. In the Amazon, two severe droughts have killed billions more.
The common factor has been hotter, drier weather.
We have underestimated the importance of trees. They are not merely pleasant sources of shade but a potentially major answer to some of our most pressing environmental problems. We take them for granted, but they are a near miracle. In a bit of natural alchemy called photosynthesis, for example, trees turn one of the seemingly most insubstantial things of all — sunlight — into food for insects, wildlife and people, and use it to create shade, beauty and wood for fuel, furniture and homes.
For all of that, the unbroken forest that once covered much of the continent is now shot through with holes.
Humans have cut down the biggest and best trees and left the runts behind. What does that mean for the genetic fitness of our forests? No one knows for sure, for trees and forests are poorly understood on almost all levels. “It’s embarrassing how little we know,” one eminent redwood researcher told me.
What we do know, however, suggests that what trees do is essential though often not obvious. Decades ago, Katsuhiko Matsunaga, a marine chemist at Hokkaido University in Japan, discovered that when tree leaves decompose, they leach acids into the ocean that help fertilize plankton. When plankton thrive, so does the rest of the food chain. In a campaign called Forests Are Lovers of the Sea, fishermen have replanted forests along coasts and rivers to bring back fish and oyster stocks. And they have returned.
Trees are nature’s water filters, capable of cleaning up the most toxic wastes, including explosives, solvents and organic wastes, largely through a dense community of microbes around the tree’s roots that clean water in exchange for nutrients, a process known as phytoremediation. Tree leaves also filter air pollution. A 2008 study by researchers at Columbia University found that more trees in urban neighborhoods correlate with a lower incidence of asthma.
In Japan, researchers have long studied what they call “forest bathing.” A walk in the woods, they say, reduces the level of stress chemicals in the body and increases natural killer cells in the immune system, which fight tumors and viruses. Studies in inner cities show that anxiety, depression and even crime are lower in a landscaped environment.
Trees also release vast clouds of beneficial chemicals. On a large scale, some of these aerosols appear to help regulate the climate; others are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. We need to learn much more about the role these chemicals play in nature. One of these substances, taxane, from the Pacific yew tree, has become a powerful treatment for breast and other cancers. Aspirin’s active ingredient comes from willows.
Trees are greatly underutilized as an eco-technology. “Working trees” could absorb some of the excess phosphorus and nitrogen that run off farm fields and help heal the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. In Africa, millions of acres of parched land have been reclaimed through strategic tree growth.
Trees are also the planet’s heat shield. They keep the concrete and asphalt of cities and suburbs 10 or more degrees cooler and protect our skin from the sun’s harsh UV rays. The Texas Department of Forestry has estimated that the die-off of shade trees will cost Texans hundreds of millions of dollars more for air-conditioning. Trees, of course, sequester carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that makes the planet warmer. A study by the Carnegie Institution for Science also found that water vapor from forests lowers ambient temperatures.
A big question is, which trees should we be planting? Ten years ago, I met a shade tree farmer named David Milarch, a co-founder of the Champion Tree Project who has been cloning some of the world’s oldest and largest trees to protect their genetics, from California redwoods to the oaks of Ireland. “These are the supertrees, and they have stood the test of time,” he says.
Science doesn’t know if these genes will be important on a warmer planet, but an old proverb seems apt. “When is the best time to plant a tree?” The answer: “Twenty years ago. The second-best time? Today.”

(I saw Jim Robbins’ essay in the New York Times, April 2012. It is reprinted here with his permission.)

2012/04/13

happy birthday

Filed under: environment — WmX @ 08:29

to our hero, the lady who plants trees (and gets in trouble for sitting next to them)

2012/03/26

Rt 29 No

Filed under: development,environment — WmX @ 12:03

detention pond
I received a request from China for pictures of Charlottesville so I biked north via the John Warner Parkway to our “Main Street”, the curiously named Seminole Trail. Why is it named that? No one seems to know.
Most likely it was a trick. Mad Men work, advertising to attract the gullible.
It is a remarkable area, this Seminole Trail, a land of many lakes and places to shop. The lake above was built in association with the newly constructed Arden Place. The name sounds so wonderful, Arden, garden, ardent, verdant…
Arden has some advertising literature which really nails the essence of this area…

Neither urban, nor rural.
 Rather, uptown vibrancy.
Arden Place is a luxury Charlottesville apartment community offering unparalleled levels of quality and service. Located off Route 29 No. in the center of the area’s best shopping, dining, and entertainment, you’ll find you have more time to spend on what is important to you.

bad mulching practice
Headed South on the Seminole Trail I encountered Wildlife. One wonders why these creatures would prefer a parking lot to the aquatic expanses of a detention pond?

mother of all mudpuddles
This is an informal detention pond on the west side of Route 29.

detention pond
This is a formal detention pond in the course of construction. At a later date nature band-aids will be added to its gently sloping sides.
Possibly geese seek out parking lots because they are upstream of these ponds, closer to the source (rainfall) and therefor comparably pristine?

pedestrian
In the course of my three mile ride along Rt 29 (from Arden Place to Barracks Road) I saw one pedestrian.

nassau street
Ended my ride in the East Belmont/Carlton section of Charlottesville.

(Please, if you can direct me toward a silviculture resource for dry ponds and extended detention dry basins do so. It seems that these pits offer new ground for growing fabulous specimen trees in an urban setting.)

2012/03/01

Caprica

Filed under: environment,fishbones — WmX @ 10:15


contrails, Rivanna floodplain.

2011/10/28

Pantops

Filed under: damage,environment,Urban Planning — WmX @ 00:18

bulldoozer
Bulldozer on site near Pantops, a Jefferson family farm, January 2002. Transmogrifying the Piedmont landscape into a grocery store parking lot. Suburbs on a mountain.

O Lost!

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