River restoration after June floods in Europe ?


Following  flooding across much of Europe in June the idea of integrating rivers back into their natural floodplains is being more widely discussed. An article in Spiegel Online looks at the effects of fthe flooding in Germany and asks whether governments are looking more seriously at river restoration.

A field near the town of Kamern, about 100 kilometers west of Berlin, before and after the flooding.

Photo: Spiegel Online

RSA Student Design Awards 2012/13


The Royal Society of Arts, in conjunction with the Environment Agency, are asking students to design or update a method of tackling water pollution. The aim is to reduce the impact of man-made structures, restore natural features to water environments, and to reduce the impact of water pollution. 

Two awards are available for this brief, including a paid internship at the Environment Agency or an RSA Fellows Award of £1250. 

Submission requirements for the competition can be found on the RSA's website 

Download this brief (PDF)



The Los Angeles river lives again


Rory Carroll from the Gardian in the UK reports on 'LA's concrete storm drains conceal a living, breathing waterway that has rarely been explored – until now.'


He writes "The LA river will never compete with the Danube or Seine or Thames as an attraction for stressed city-dwellers. Nor will it inspire many poems or novels. It is too meagre, too hidden, to ever be fully part of the city. But advocates are on to something when they say it can transform perceptions of LA.

After passing a concrete bridge with graffiti-daubed arches and a shopping trolley half-buried in mud, we enter a wilderness that seems a world removed from the freeways and urban sprawl above. "We call this the Grand Canyon," says Wolfe, showing his flair for advertising, as we paddle through a mini-gorge 15ft tall. Nature slowly asserts itself. To our left are wild fig trees, descendants of those planted by the Indians, to our right potentially deadly ricin-producing plants. Further on, hallucinogenic gypsum weed. "Around the next bend is the Apocalypse Now bit," says Wolfe. We encounter "fish sticks": improvised traps made by unknown hands to trap carp, tilapia and other species. A discourse on how to make the traps is drowned out by a passenger jet roaring low overhead, briefly breaking the spell."

for the full article

Does putting a price on rivers and rainfall diminish us all ?


In his typically lively and thought provoking manner, George Monbiot  of the Guardian, stepped into the fray with his analysis of ecosystem services on Monday. Monbiot says 'The argument in favour of this approach is coherent and plausible. Business currently treats the natural world as if it is worth nothing. Pricing nature and incorporating that price into the cost of goods and services creates an economic incentive for its protection. It certainly appeals to both busines and the self-hating state. The Ecosystems Markets Task Force speaks of ''substantial potential growth in nature-related markets- in the order of billions of pounds globally'.

But he says 'it doesn't end there. Once a resource has been commodified, speculators and traders step in'.