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Science paper: Existing regulations can tackle local ocean acidification

May 27th, 2011
5-27-11

Media Release

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Ocean acidification is a complex global problem because of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, but there also are a number of local acidification “hotspots” plaguing coastal communities that don’t require international attention – and which can be addressed now.

A regulatory framework already is in place to begin mitigating these local hotspots, according to a team of scientists who outline their case in a forum article in the journal Science.

“Certainly, ocean acidification on a global level continues to be a challenge, but for local, non-fossil fuel-related events, community leaders don’t have to sit back and wait for a solution,” said George Waldbusser, an Oregon State University ecologist and co-author of the paper. “Many of these local contributions to acidity can be addressed through existing regulations.”

A number of existing federal environmental laws – including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act – provide different layers of protection for local marine waters and offer officials avenues for mitigating the causes of local acidity.

“The localized events might be nutrient-loading or eutrophication issues that can be addressed,” said Waldbusser, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. “Communities don’t have to wait for a global solution.”

The commentary article in Science, “Mitigating Local Causes of Ocean Acidification with Existing Laws,” was inspired in part by some of Waldbusser’s work in Chesapeake Bay, which highlighted how increasing acidity in sections of the Chesapeake were exceeding rates that could be explained by increasing carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emission.

Lead authors on the Science forum paper were Ryan Kelly and Melissa Foley of the Stanford University Center for Ocean Solutions.

The scientists point to a recent lawsuit that resulted in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency memorandum outlining the responsibility of individual states to apply federal environmental laws to combat acidification in state waters. As a result, EPA now encourages states to list “pH-impaired” coastal waters where such data exist.

One such example, Waldbusser says, is in Puget Sound, where nutrient-loading from sewage treatment plants has created large plankton blooms that eventually die and contribute to greater acidification.

“When these blooms die and sink to the bottom, they suck the oxygen out of the water,” Waldbusser said. “Low oxygen is the flip side of high CO2. People in the Northwest are starting to become aware of hypoxia and its impacts, but there hasn’t been the same awareness of ocean acidification on a local level.”

Awareness of acidification may be growing. Waldbusser points to work at Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery in Oregon’s Netarts Bay, which monitors ocean water daily for acidification. The northwest oyster industry has been plagued by larval die-offs and ocean acidification may be to blame. The hatchery now takes water from the bay only at certain times of the day when acidification levels are lowest.

The OSU ecologist is also studying naturally occurring counter-balances to acidification, including the role of oyster and clam shells. Commercial oyster shells are typically removed from the water and native oyster populations have plummeted, so there are may be fewer shells in Oregon estuaries than ever before.

“Calcium carbonate shells help neutralize the effects of acidification,” Waldbusser said. “In essence, they are akin to giving the estuary a dose of Tums. We’re trying to determine how much of an impact shells may have and when conditions are corrosive enough to release the alkalinity from those shells back into the water.”

About the OSU College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences: COAS is internationally recognized for its faculty, research and facilities, including state-of-the-art computing infrastructure to support real-time ocean/atmosphere observation and prediction. The college is a leader in the study of the Earth as an integrated system, providing scientific understanding to address complex environmental challenges
 By Mark Floyd, 541-737-0788; mark.floyd@oregonstate.edu

Source: George Waldbusser, 541-737-8964; waldbuss@coas.oregonstate.edu

This release is also available at: http://bit.ly/j19Hh0

OSU-Cascades Campus Marks Decade of Growth

May 24th, 2011

After ten years, OSU-Cascades has grown from eight majors to fourteen, with 360 students to 870 students since 2001.

To watch the interview: http://www.ktvz.com/video/27970764/index.html

Tips help you save your food and your dough

May 17th, 2011

By Sarah Skidmore, Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — Americans waste an estimated 14% to 40% of the food produced for their consumption. It happens in fields, in stores and in your kitchen. That’s bad for the environment and it can be very bad for your wallet.

 ”Food waste is one of those things that hide in plain sight,” says Jonathan Bloom, author of “American Wasteland,” about food waste. “When it’s really put in front of people, it does surprise them.”

Farmers toss imperfect heads of lettuce, grocers chuck bruised tomatoes and, by best estimates, consumers waste about 25% of the food they buy — throwing out browned bananas, outdated cheese and unused leftovers.

This has all sorts of environmental, social and ethical ramifications. But if you look just at the financial impact on the consumer, that is the equivalent of a family of four tossing $1,500 to $4,000 in the garbage each year. That’s a lot of dough.

Here are a few tips on how to make better use of your food — and money:

PLAN AHEAD: If you buy just what you need, you’ll find yourself wasting less right away.

Try planning out meals for a week at a time. Or shop for a few key meals at a time so you can fix them depending on your preference of the day. While it works for some people to buy everything in one big shopping trip, others find they waste less if they make smaller and more frequent trips.

for the full article click here.

Trim and fertilize hedges this time of year

May 17th, 2011

5-13-11

By Judy Scott, 541-737-1386, judy.scott@oregonstate.edu

Source: Ross Penhallegon, 541-334-5859, ross.penhallegon@oregonstate.edu

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Like overgrown hair, untrimmed hedges may go unnoticed to everyone but the owner. A spring trim will get your hedge back in shape and stimulate new growth.

The best time to trim is after the flush of spring growth – usually late April through early June – depending on your growing season and the vigor of the hedge materials, according to Ross Penhallegon, horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

“Spring trimming after the growth spurt will help the hedge hold its desired shape longer than pruning before the active growth period,” Penhallegon said.

Trimming also will help make the individual shrubs blend together. Make the bottom wider than the top so that light can reach all the leaves. On older, slower-growing bushes, modify the shape gradually over several years. Some older shrubs may need trimming only about one half inch per year.

Heaths and heathers will need shearing right after they finish blooming, as well. Cut just below the point where the blooms formed. Annual post-bloom trimming will stimulate new growth in the center of small shrubs and keep them compact. Apply a complete fertilizer to keep heathers and heaths healthy and robust.

Later in the spring, apply a nitrogen fertilizer to young hedges. For mature hedges, apply a complete fertilizer, such as a 16-16-16 combination, or a good composted manure once a year.

As June approaches, concentrations of spider mites may appear in hedge foliage. If the leaves develop a gray cast and look dusty, it’s likely that spider mites are present.

To verify that you do have spider mites and not just mildew or dust on your shrub, hold a piece of paper under a branch of the infested shrub. Shake the branch. Tiny brownish-to-reddish specks will fall on the paper. Examine them with a magnifying glass or hand lens. If the spots begin to move, odds are they are mites, Penhallegon said.

Hose the hedge with water in the early morning to help control the spider mites, or apply an insecticidal soap.

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About Garden News from OSU Extension Service: The Extension Service Gardening web page, http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/, links to a broad spectrum of information on Oregon gardening, such as tips, monthly calendars, how-to publications, audio programs, the Master Gardener program and “Northwest Gardeners e-News.”

Oregon Humane Society reaches a spay/neuter milestone with Charlie the cat

May 17th, 2011
Published: Monday, May 16, 2011, 12:34 PM     Updated: Monday, May 16, 2011, 12:41 PM
Charlie may not be too keen on his status as a milestone.

The Oregon Humane Society, however, announced with some fanfare that the 10-month-old tabby cat was expected Monday to be the 30,000th pet spayed or neutered through its Spay & Save program since the society opened its Holman Medical Center 3 1/2 years ago.

“We were expecting it to take six” years, Kris Otteman, OHS director of shelter medicine said in a news release. “Every pet we spay or neuter brings us one step closer to the solving the huge problem of pet overpopulation.”

for the complete article click here.

Gov. John Kitzhaber to deliver McCall lecture May 25 at OSU

May 17th, 2011

By: Angela Yeager, 541-737-0784; angela.yeager@oregonstate.edu

Source: David Bernell, 541-737-6281; david.bernell@oregontate.edu

The following release is online at: http://bit.ly/iIGGYH

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, who faces the challenge of leading Oregon’s economic recovery, will deliver the annual Gov. Tom McCall Memorial Lecture at Oregon State University on Wednesday, May 25.

His talk, “Challenge to Change,” begins at 7 p.m. in LaSells Stewart Center. It is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, Kitzhaber will outline how Oregon is taking a different path than the rest of the nation to revitalize its economy by focusing on sustainability and innovation. He will discuss what he calls “the Oregon example” – a way to create a vibrant future by focusing on clean energy and green jobs, while transforming systems such as healthcare and education.

Kitzhaber, 64, is the 37th governor of Oregon. He previously served as governor from 1995 to 2003, and became the first person to be elected to the office three times when he was re-elected to a third term in 2010.

He moved with his family to Oregon at age 11, and graduated from South Eugene High School in 1965. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth College, he returned to Oregon to study medicine at the University of Oregon Medical School (now OHSU). Upon becoming a doctor, he practiced emergency room medicine in Roseburg from 1974 to 1988.

Kitzhaber’s interest in health care public policy, the livelihoods of rural Oregonians and Oregon’s natural heritage compelled him to seek public service. He first won election to the Oregon Legislature in 1978, and served a term in the Oregon House of Representatives. In 1980, he won election to the Oregon State Senate, and served three terms.

The OSU lectureship is named after Tom McCall, who was Oregon’s governor from 1967-75.

This will be Kitzhaber’s second appearance in this lecture series, which continues a tradition of Oregon governors speaking in the series. Other governors who delivered the lecture while in office have included Ted Kulongoski, 2003; Kitzhaber, 1995; and Barbara Roberts, 1991. Former Gov. Bob Straub delivered the 1989 lecture, and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden spoke in 1996.

Notable speakers from different careers have included Washington Post columnists David Broder and William Raspberry; CBS journalists Terry Drinkwater, Richard Threlkeld and Betsy Aaron; Oregon political analyst Floyd McKay; Dennis Dimick of National Geographic magazine; and environmental law attorney and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The McCall Lecture is presented by the OSU College of Liberal Arts.

Pile on calcium-rich vegetables to keep your bones healthy

May 12th, 2011

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:00 am

By Shelly Falls Special to Leader-Telegram

When we think about getting enough calcium for our bones, often the first thing that comes to mind is images of milk mustaches.

While milk and other dairy products certainly are good sources of calcium, many people are not aware of the fantastic plant-based sources of calcium or how to add them to their diet.

May is Osteoporosis Prevention Month. Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break.

Those who are thin, are inactive and have poor diets have a higher risk of osteoporosis. Smoking, drinking excess caffeine or alcohol and having a family history of the disease also increase the risk.

Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men. Bone loss speeds up in women after menopause.

Our bodies continue to build bone until about age 30, and then bone loss slowly begins to occur. People with osteoporosis have a higher risk of bone fractures. Hip fractures can cause loss of the ability to live at home, as 33 percent of people with hip fractures need nursing home care.

to read the full article click here.

Oregon BEST announces new consortium to fund research

May 12th, 2011

Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 11:13am PDT – Last Modified: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 1:45pm PDT Oregon BEST announces new consortium to fund research

By Christina Williams

Sustianable Business Oregon

The Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center announced Tuesday that a new consortium bringing together businesses and green building researchers has pooled resources and cash to fund two initial projects.

The Sustainable Built Environment Research Constortium, as the 11-member group is called, met last month and selected two research projects, both with potential application in the planned Oregon Sustainability Center building.

The projects are:

• The use of sustainable cement-based products in building components, led by researchers Jason Ideker and David Trejo at Oregon State University.

• Monitoring water use in occupied buildings to inform conservation technology selection, led by Evan Thomas of Portland State University.

The total investment in the two projects by the consortium is $50,000, coming from a pot of money contributed by all consortium members. To join the consortium companies pay $12,000 to $50,000, depending on the type of organization and the level of support each group pays. The money is then used to support research that is beneficial to the collective group.

Johanna Brickman, who was hired last year as program manager for Oregon BEST, said the consortium grew out of conversations she was having with green building industry players that were hungry for new technology.

“They didn’t have the capacity to fund research on their own,” Brickman said. “But coming together provides financial efficiency, and from Oregon BEST’s perspective, it allows us to prioritize where we focus our work.”

The consortium will also provide a testbed for new green building technology by pairing together researchers with companies that are actually building cutting-edge green projects.

The Oregon Sustainability Center, for example, will strive to adhere to the very green requirements put forth by the Living Building Challenge, which will prompt the developers and builders involved to source locally and find new, eco-friendly components.

The consortium’s initial two research projects can be applied in the OSC building, Brickman said, but they will also provide value if the center doesn’t receive the financial backing it needs to move forward.

The group is still open to new members. Current consortium members include:

• Oregon University System, which would be part-owner, with the City of Portland, of the Oregon Sustainability Center.

• Intel Corp., which has been exploring the use of its technology in green buildings.

• CertainTeed/Saint-Gobain

• Skanska

• The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

• The Portland Sustainability Institute, drivers of eco-district and climate prosperity research, along with the Oregon Sustainability Center.

• Portland Development Commission

• Earth Advantage Institute

The Living Future Institute for Cascadia Green Building Council and the International Living Building Institute

• Green Building Services Inc.

• ZGF Architects

Brickman said the group was inspired in part by a similar consortium in France that Intel was participating in.

“I met with them and I really could see the value they found in the collaborative” Brickman said.

To read the article, including photos, click here.

Scientists, farmers to study climate change

May 12th, 2011

The Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. —

Farmers and scientists in the inland Northwest are launching a $20 million study on how climate change will impact agricultural practices.

Nearly 100 researchers and farmers from across the region met Monday at the University of Idaho, where the five-year research program is starting, The Spokesman-Review reported.

“Climate change is one of the challenges that faces the sustainability of agriculture in this region,” said UI professor Scott Eigenbrode, who is leading the project.

Funding for the study comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Temperatures in the area have already risen about 1.8 degrees on average in the past century, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is predicting they will increase another 3.6 degrees by 2050, Eigenbrode said.

Winter precipitation is predicted to increase by 5 percent, but summer rainfall could drop by 5 to 20 percent, he said.

Warmer summer temperatures could spell problems for grains and other crops that will face increased heat and water stress.

Pests such as the cereal leaf beetle, Hessian fly and aphids could become bigger problems in a warmer climate, he said. Pathogens carried by aphids might also be aggravated.

The project team includes more than 30 scientists from UI, Washington State University and Oregon State University.

Sales of cereal grains were worth $1.5 billion to the Pacific Northwest economy in 2009 and accounted for 13 percent of the nation’s wheat crop, according to the project.

The project builds on earlier work done through the Climate Friendly Farming project at WSU as well as the Solutions to Environmental and Economic Problems involving the three universities over the past four decades.

The latter project has promoted seed drilling to reduce soil erosion. It also allows carbon to be reintroduced to the soil, thereby reducing carbon dioxide in the air, a chief component of global warming.

Dick Wittman, a farmer in Culdesac, Idaho, east of Lewiston, is serving on an advisory committee for the research project. He also is a founding member and director of the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association.

“Many are in denial that climate change is even a reality, and many more argue about what is causing it,” Wittman said. “Scientific studies conclusively show increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that can’t be ignored.”

Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

See also: Register Guard

OSU named EPA Green Power Pac-10 Conference Champion

May 12th, 2011

4-28-11

By: Theresa Hogue, 541-737-0786
Source: Brandon Trelstad, 541-737-3307

This release is available at: http://bit.ly/kOh99y

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has been named the Pacific-10 Conference champion in the EPA Green Power Partnership’s 2010-11 College and University Green Power Challenge.

OSU purchased more renewable energy than any other school in the Pac-10 (now the Pac-12), with 51,595,400 kilowatt hours of green power purchased and used. OSU has been the Pac-10 champion every year since the 2007-08 school year.

“We’re glad to see the competition heating up as more and more colleges and universities join the Green Power Challenge,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This year’s schools used more than 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of green power, cutting harmful emissions from our air, protecting health and driving demand in the clean energy market.”

Two other Oregon schools made the EPA’s list, including Southern Oregon University, which used 33,300,047 kWh, and Lewis and Clark College, which used 12,375,821 kWh.

This year’s challenge participation increased to 69 competing institutions, representing 31 different conferences nationwide. The challenge’s total annual green power usage of more than 1.5 billion kWh has the equivalent environmental impact of avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the annual electricity use of more than 132,000 homes.

OSU was also just named in the Princeton Review’s annual Green Guide to Colleges.

For more information on OSU’s focus on sustainability, see www.poweredbyorange.com and http://oregonstate.edu/sustainability/

More information on the winners of EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge can be found at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/initiatives/cu_challenge.htm

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National Pesticide Information Center Launches New Website

May 12th, 2011

5-10-11

By Judy Scott, 541-737-1386, judy.scott@oregonstate.edu

Source: Kaci Buhl, 541-737-8330, buhlk@ace.orst.edu

This release is also available at: http://bit.ly/jmaTNn

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The National Pesticide Information Center at Oregon State University has launched a comprehensive new website (http://npic.orst.edu/) that includes 125 original pages on pesticides and integrated pest management.

The center also has begun a Spanish website that mirrors that content, which can be found at http://npic.orst.edu/index.es.html

“The site is a clearinghouse for objective, science-based information related to pesticides and pest management,” said Kaci Buhl, project coordinator for the center. Last year, it received more than 25,000 questions from all 50 states and several countries. They can answer questions in more than 170 languages.

The new site introduces new information on:

•       Steps to reduce pesticide risk, safe use practices and low-risk pesticides;

•       Integrated Pest Management at home, in the garden and in the lawn;

•       Protecting wildlife, air, soil and water from pesticide exposure.

In addition, there are more than 200 pages with pest-specific strategies, podcasts and fact sheets.

“Whether you’re a parent, homeowner, physician or pesticide applicator, you can get objective information about pesticides used for controlling everything from bed bugs to weeds on our website,” said Bryan Harper, who coordinated the development of the sites.

Questions to the center reflect many concerns, Buhl said, some involving life-threatening scenarios.

The new website complements the center’s toll-free telephone service, at 1-800-858-7378, Monday – Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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About the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences: The college contributes in many ways to the economic and environmental sustainability of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The college’s faculty are leaders in agriculture and food systems, natural resources management, life sciences and rural economic development research.

SB 242 Has Yet to be Schedule for a Ways and Means Committee Hearing

May 11th, 2011

The Joint Ways and Means Committee has yet to schedule a work session for SB 242.  Please alert your colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee of the importance of moving this bill through the legislative process.

SB 242 was approved by the Senate Education & Workforce Development Committee in early March.  It has now been in the Joint Ways & Means Committee for two months, awaiting a fiscal impact statement from the Legislative Fiscal Office and a number of agreed upon amendments.  Please urge your colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee to move the bill forward.

Space Station Beaming Images to Oregon Lab

May 9th, 2011

Published 05/07/2011

(Corvallis, Oregon) – Images of Earth’s coastal region are being beamed straight into a lab at Corvallis, Oregon’s Oregon State University, helping scientists monitor a variety of events in that ecosystem from a brand new vantage point, including things like plankton blooms or even oil spills (above: image of the Columbia River from the imaging system).

More details of the project will be part of an upcoming issue of the American Geophysical Union journal, EOS, but much of this – including the images – can be found on an OSU website about the project.

To read the complete article click here.

OSU receives wealth of records on historic Oregon farms

May 9th, 2011

May 6, 2011 10:36am

Oregon State University has been selected to host the records and database of the Oregon Century Farm & Ranch Program, which contains century and sesquicentennial farm and ranch applications.

The Oregon Century Farm & Ranch Program was established in 1958 to honor the state’s rich agricultural heritage by awarding farm and ranch families with sesquicentennial and century-long connections to the land. To date, 1,117 families have formally received the “Century” designation and 22 families have received the “Sesquicentennial” award.  

Larry Landis, the university archivist at OSU, says the records paint a picture about the way agriculture has shaped Oregon.

For the complete article click here.

Oregon State student engineers design a barley malter to help learn about beer

May 9th, 2011
malter.JPG

John Foyston/Special to The Oregonian Professor Tom Shellhammer of OSU's Fermentation Science program watches Joe Hortnagl attach the steam line to the heat exchanger that roasts the barley in the mini-malter's kilning cycle

By Special to The Oregonian

A group of Oregon State University engineering students didn’t wait to graduate before endowing their alma mater: For their senior project, they designed and built an innovative barley malter that allows OSU to now teach every step of brewing, from barley field and hop yard to bottling line.

“It’s the bread machine of barley malters,” said professor Pat Hayes of OSU’s Crop and Soil Science department. The malter, which looks a bit like a half-ton stainless steel rocket motor, automates and consolidates the task of steeping, germinating and kilning barley to make barley malt.

Graduate student and team leader Joe Hortnagl and mechanical engineering seniors Aaron Mason, Tyler Froemming, Eric Sunderland and Curtis Barnard designed and built a machine into which you can pour raw barley, set the computer and come back in about a week to shovel out as much as 300 pounds of fragrant, toasty, Grape-Nuts-tasting barley malt.

In reality, it’s a bit more fussy than that, but the students’ flexible and affordable rig has piqued the interest of commercial maltsters and food companies that use sprouted grain.

Malted barley is the essential backbone of beer. The sprouted, toasted seed contains the enzymes and starches that yeast turns into sugars and alcohol. Because it can be kilned to precise degrees of color and roast, maltsters make dozens of styles and colors of malt, from pale Vienna malt to the roasted black patent malt that makes Guinness opaque. Beer recipes often call for several types of malt, and brewers use it by the hundredweight or the ton — after water, malt is beer’s main ingredient.

To read the complete article click here

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