January 15, 2008
|Calgary is the world’s cleanest city and the Bow River is clean enough for fly fishers. Algal ecologists are closely monitoring a bumper crop of Didymosphenia geminata bloom, an algae that thrives on dams and clean water.|
Folksonomy: algal ecologist, bumper-crop blooming, jet-set fly fishers, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, rock snot, NB, Quebec, East Coast, New Zealand, headwater rivers of South Saskatchewan River basin, Bow River, Red Deer River,
Didymosphenia geminata (aka Didymo, rock snot) is a single-celled algae called a diatom which is attracted to pristine clear water, an unusual characteristic for algae. When it blooms it covers river bottom rocks with a shag carpet that can completely inundate kilometres of river bottom. Trout like clean waters and their habitat can be destroyed by this invasive Didymosphenia geminata bloom. It has been noticed in the Bow River near Calgary. See Kirkwood, Andrea E.
Kirkwood, Andrea E. firstname.lastname@example.org; Shea, T.; Jackson, L. J.; McCauley, E. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive
TERA Environmental Consultants, Suite 1100, 815-8th Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB T2P 3P2
2002 “[A]nglers and provincial scientists noticed blooms on lower reaches of the Bow River near Calgary, and the Oldman River below the Oldman Dam (Kirkwood, Shea, Jackson, McCauley 2007 ).”
2004 a “large-scale periphyton study in Red Deer and Bow rivers to investigate natural and anthropolical driven transitions in Alberta rivers” [. . .] The Bow River sub-basin is 26,240 km squared, whereas the Red Deer River sub-basin is 47,831 squared. The SSRB is located in the transition between the Rocky Mountains of western Alberta and the eastern Great Plains. Source water for these rivers originates along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and is a mixture (depending on the time of year) of rain water, glacial and snowmelt water, and groundwater. Though the Bow and Red rivers share similar edaphic and land-use characteristics, they differ with respect to urban footprints, sewage-agricultural inputs, and flow regulation-diversion by dams and hydroelectric utilties. The Bow River has five dams and one substantial weir that regulates and stabilizes flows, while the Red Deer River has only one dam (Kirkwood, Shea, Jackson, McCauley 2007).”
2005 “95% of the freshwater users of the South Island of New Zealand knew about didymo, yet it is hardly recognized within the general populace of North America and Europe (Special Session on Didymosphenia geminata ).”
2006 Special Session on Didymosphenia geminata. Western Division American Fisheries Society Meeting. May 15-16, 2006 Bozeman, Montana. REVISED Post meeting update. Over 60 scientists and aquatic managers from across the US, western Canada, New Zealand, England, and Iceland gathered to exchange information and discuss new findings at the special symposium in Bozeman. The symposium offered the opportunity for people to meet, develop ideas and collaborations, and to express concerns about the impacts of didymo. Donors included Federation of Fly Fishers, US Environmental Protection Agency, the Trout and Salmon Foundation, the Black Hills Fly Fishers, and the Overmountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
2007 Kirkwood et al noted the relationship between dams and Didymosphenia geminata bloom.
Webliography and Bibliography
2006. Special Session on Didymosphenia geminata. Western Division American Fisheries Society Meeting. May 15-16, 2006 Bozeman, Montana.
Brooymans, Hanneke, 2008. “‘Rock snot’ threatens rivers.” Calgary Herald. January 14. B2.
Kirkwood, Andrea E.; Shea, T.; Jackson, L. J.; McCauley, E. 2007. “Didymosphenia geminate in two Alberta headwater rivers: an emerging invasive species that challenges conventional views on algal bloom development.” Vol. 64. pp.1703-1709. http://restigouche.org/reports/Didymo_CJFAS.pdf
Kirkwood, Andrea. 2008. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2008. “Dams, Didymo and jetset flyfishers: Didymosphenia geminata algae.”
December 20, 2007
The Bow River Basin is fed by ouflow glaciers of the Wapta Icefield which rests along the Continental divide. Wapta Icefield’s glaciers the Bow Glacier (37 km northwest of Lake Louise) at Bow Lake (altitude 1920m 51°40′18″N 116°27′22″W) and the Lake Vulture Glacier, which feeds into Hector Lake (51°34’43.21″N 116°22’3.38″W), both feed into the Bow River. Bow Lake lies south of the Bow Summitt, east of the Waputik Range (views including Wapta Icefield, Bow Glacier, Bow Peak, Mount Thompson, Crowfoot Glacier and Crowfoot Mountain) and west of the Dolomite Pass, Dolomite Peak and Cirque Peak. Bow Lake is one of the lakes that line the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. Bow Lake is the closest lake to the headwaters of Bow River, and has a total area of 3.21 km².
The Bow River Basin runs through the Rocky Mountains from Bow Lake (51°40′18″N 116°27′22″W) to Lake Hector past Lake Louise, Banff (51°10’19.21″N 115°33’59.86″W), Seebee (51° 5’48.44″N 115° 3’51.19″W), Chief Hector Lake Nakoda Lodge and Conference Centre, Stoney Nation , Morley, (51° 9’43.60″N 114°50’55.68″W), Cochrane (51° 2’42.25″N 114° 3’47.48″W), Calgary (population 1,107,200 – 2006), Carseland, Arrowwood, Bassano (near Bow River), Bow City (50°25’59.03″N 112°13’39.55″W), Scandia, Rolling Hills and Ronalane where the Bow River joins the Oldman River join at “The Grand Forks” to form the South Saskatchewan River (R.J.W. Turner, GSC 2005-194 ). The Bow, Red Deer, and Oldman rivers are tributaries of the South Saskatchewan River. This family of rivers carries water from the Rocky Mountains across the dry southern prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The North Saskatchewan and South Saskatchewan Rivers meet east of Saskatoon then continue to merge with other rivers emptying into Hudson Bay.
1850 End of the Little Ice Age
1850-1953 Bow Glacier retreated an estimated 1,100 meters (3,600 ft).
1994 Bow River Basin report
Calgary installed a state of the art sewage system
1980s In the 1980s the Wapta Icefield, on the Continental Divide in the British Columbia and Abertan Rockies covered an area of approximately 80 km² (30 miles²).
2005 Turner, R.J.W., Franklin, R.G., Grasby, S.E., and Nowlan, G.S. 2005. “Bow River Basin Waterscape.” Geological Survey of Canada. Miscellaneous Report 90, 2005.
Webliography and Bibliography
Bivouac.com. “Wapta Icefield.” Canadian Mountain Encyclopedia.
Turner, R.J.W., Franklin, R.G., Grasby, S.E., and Nowlan, G.S. 2005. “Bow River Basin Waterscape.” Geological Survey of Canada. Miscellaneous Report 90, 2005.
State of the Canadian Cryosphere. Peyto Glacier Case Study. Past Variability of Canadian Glaciers.
Tag cloud: hydrogeology; environmental geology; educational geology; watersheds; rivers; surface waters; lake water; reservoirs; groundwater; water utilization; water quality; groundwater circulation; groundwater flow; groundwater resources; groundwater discharge; groundwater regimes; groundwater movement; climate effects; climatic fluctuations; conservation; environmental impacts; environmental controls; hydrologic environment; environmental studies; urban planning; wildlife; pollution; resource management; pollution; resource management; Bow River basin; water cycle
Area: Bow River; Rocky Mountains; Rocky Mountain Foothills; Prairies; Bow Lake; Lake Louise; Banff; Canmore; Stoney Nakoda Reserve; Morley; Cochrane; Bragg Creek; Tsuu T’ina Reserve; Crossfield; Airdrie; Calgary; Longview; High River; Turner Valley; Black Diamond; Okotoks; Strathmore; Siksika Reserve; Gleichen; Cluny; Standard; Bassano; Brooks; Tilley; Vauxhall; Bow Island; South Saskatchewan River Rolling Hills (near Bow River)
Flynn-Burhoe Maureen. 2007. Bow River Basin. > Google Docs
July 13, 2007
In our search for Green Calgary we learned about a canoing event on the Elbow River (in the safer waters below the treacherous weirs).
There are a number of places to go canoeing or kayaking, particularly the Glenmore Reservoir (it’s the city water supply, so you’re not allowed to swim in it, or capsize!). The Calgary Canoe Club boathouse is on the north shore, accessed from Crowshild Trail south. The Elbow River is beautiful above the reservoir, in the Weaselhead natural area. The Elbow River from the Reservoir down to 4th Street is popular for rafting and “tubing” and you pass many large luxury homes (be sure to have a life jacket or you’ll get ticketed). The stretch between 4thStreet and Fort Calgary (at the Bow River) is generally too flat and slow to be much fun. On the lower Elbow, below the dam, the water levels are highest in June and the first half of July. The Bow River is also popular from below the Bearspaw Dam to Princes Island (with Bowness Park and other popular put-in spot). The Bow River below Inglewood is also popular (and home to the Bow Waters Canoe Club), but YOU MUST AVOID the weir, just below the Zoo, where the Bow River meets Nose Creek and the Irrigation Canal to Lake Chestermere. Many people have drowned at the weir, which aerates the water for the river trout, and therefore makes floatation impossible. The best portage is on the right (south) bank. West of town, you can canoe/kayak or raft on the Elbow at Bragg Creek, or on the Ghost River, above the Ghost Dam, and in Kananaskis Country. East of town, the Red Deer River around Drumheller is a very leisurely trip (Found locally).
Featured in the City and Region section of the Calgary Herald however is a not too flattering profile on the greening of Alberta. McGinnis (2007) summarized a Statistics Canada Households and the Environment Survey report. She argued that Albertans do not Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as much as other provinces.
McGinnis, Sarah. 2007. “Albertans have yet to get the green bug. We lag others at caring for the environment.” Calgary Herald . Thursday, July 12.
>> Found locally.
>>Attractions: City Parks. http://calgary.foundlocally.com/Travel/Attr-CityParks.htm
May 7, 2007
With our stunning window view of eagles gliding effortlessly over the waters of Finlayson Arm along the ridges and forested steep hills of Sanich Peninsula, we chose to sit side by side more like an awestruck audience than a couple ordering dinner at a restaurant. Within an hour of my arrival at the Victoria airport I felt like I was in another country. Neither the January weather nor the temperate rain forest in its spectacular topography were part of what had become familiar to me as Canadian. I’d already lived in five provinces and Canada’s newest territory but this warm land was nothing like anything I had experienced. Most of the rest of the drive along the dark and winding highway was an anticlimax to that view, that is until we came to the Malahat lookout.
Eighteen months later we are again faced with a choice. Today may be the last day of familiar habits repeated day after day. I’m not sure if I have seen, experienced and learned enough yet to be able to leave.
When I first arrived I devoured maps and trail books to lcoate myself in this unfamiliar topography. Mountain trails traced on a map are useful when you are hiking between and around rocky outcrops, ancient trees and stumps, narrow footpaths . . . Deep in among the Garry Oak, Arbutus and Douglas Fir hilly slopes and valley confuse the hiker who ends up not really knowing if she is ultimately reaching a higher level or heading downhill. Like yesterday when we heading out looking for the low trail along the shore of Tzuhalem and ending up in Genoa Bay having crossed to the other side of the mountain just by putting one foot in front of the other.
Google earth offered seemingly endless potential for locating myself in space and time. But now I realize that it is most useful for tracing where I have been. Flickr lets me geotag my digital photos and visual art works unto scaled maps so I can zoom in to exact locations. Google video lets me float my shaky images and breathless voice in cyberspace describing what I am seeing in the ‘here-and-now’ so that my future self can better remember places that were once familiar.
I have learned the names of the wildflowers that grow under the oaks, fir and deciduous trees of Mount Tzuhalem. I have learned to name it by latitude and longtitude. I know its smells and sounds. I know how to dress in layers in this ecosystem that constantly changes from cool to warm to rain, wind and sun. I know its panoramas and vistas and the names of the mountains and bodies of water that surround it. But I could still get lost here and end up far from my goal.
And this is the glitch in one’s ethical topography of self. The everyday habits, the things that make a home a home, can be taken away either by choice or necessity from one day to the next. And there you are in some unfamiliar place, re-examining again, locating oneself again.
For those who can control how their lives unfold or seem to think they can, habits repeated day after day, reinforce values and make ethical decisions automatically without a lot of reflection.
But for the nomads, the one’s who travel, the unfamiliar shakes us into thinking consciously, deliberately about entrenched habits, values, goals and perhaps even the meaning of life. This is why this phrase remains with me as a question mark, a point of departure for a line of deep reflection that will never end . . .
an ethical topography of Self and the Other based on an authentic relationship of mutual respect
It is by encountering the stranger, the unheimlich, by getting lost in unfamiliar topographies (Taylor 1989, Murray 1991) that we open ourselves to encountering the Other in a spirit of hospitality and friendship that transcends our habitual ways of knowing. It is the unheimlich that puts into perspective that which we held to be true, about ourselves, our beliefs and our values. If the stranger offers us something that resonates or is dissonant with our own beliefs we are compelled to take them out in the light of day, to examine them with new eyes. It is as if in the mirror-pupil of the Other we see ourselves reflected. If we are mutually respectful we will accept that we are answerable (Bakhtin) to that Other and will at least closely examine our own reflection in her eyes. If we are truly practicing hospitality from a cosmopolitical viewpoint (Bennington and Derrida 1997) we will examine those unchallenged assumptions about our values in a more precise and logical way. We will use more precise instruments and acknowledge that somethings were not as they once seemed and our belief in them need to be revised. Others resonate so soundly that it is evident that they are part of our authentic selves.
I see this outer topography as a metaphor for the inner self. Reconfiguring rivers in that intellectual, emotional, spiritual landscape is to me like reconfiguring entrenched habits of thought or behaviour. It won’t happen through human nature but takes a conscious act of will. Through the conscious re-evaluation of our everyday habits and by willfully changing then repeating them day after day we can more clearly evaluate values, behaviours and with greater lucidity and reason (Changeux and Ricoeur 2000b).
1. This is how I have come to internalize Charles Taylor’s moral topography of self. Psychologist Murray summarizes Charles Taylor’s concept of the moral topography of self.
2. Shields’ concept of an ethical dialogical relationship between self and the other has informed my understanding:
Dialogism offers us the potential within a more sophisticated theory of semiosis to position Self and Other, seeing their relationship for what it is, an ethical one of mutuality in the social construction of meaning.
Changeux, Jean-Piere and Paul Ricoeur. 2000b. What Makes Us Think? A Neuroscientist and a Philosopher Argue about Ethics, Human Nature and the Brain. Translated by M. B. DeBevoise. Princeton: University of Princeton Press.
Bennington, Geoffrey and Derrida, Jacques. 1997. “Politics and Friendship: A Discussion with Jacques Derrida.” Centre for Modern French Thought. University of Sussex. 1 December.
Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Reconfiguring Rivers Ethics Human Nature and the Brain. >> Speechless.
Murray, K. 1991. “A Life In The World In Australia.” Australian Cultural History. 10:32-45.
Shields, Rob. 1996. Meeting or mis-meeting? The dialogical challenge to Verstehen. British Journal of Sociology: 47.
Taylor, Charles. 1989. “Moral Topography of Self.” in Messer L A Sass and R L Wootfolk (eds) Hermeneutics and Psychological Theory: Interpretive Perspectives on Personality, Psychotherapy and Psychopathology New Brunswick Rutgers University Press.
If our minds are what our brains do and changing our brain’s habits is harder than we think (Merkl 2007) will freedom evolve naturally towards a more just society?
May 4, 2007
If our minds are what our brains do (Dennett 2003:i) and changing entrenched brain pathways may be harder than we think (Merkl 2007) is the logical conclusion of an entirely naturalistic Darwinian human evolution a more just, humane world or a dystopia? Or you tried to change your mind but your brain wouldn’t let you.
Dennett (2003) argues that the evolution of the human brain over deep time has followed the laws of natural science and that human free will is an emergent phenomena of that same physical process. He forcefully argues that biological determinism does not limit human behaviour to predictable, inevitable outcomes.
Dennett contends that recognition of the true nature of man as an exclusively physical body proscribed by the laws of nature will provide a stronger, wiser doctrine of freedom (Dennett 2003:22) than the belief that the reality of man resides in her immaterial, immortal human soul capable of defying the laws of nature (Dennett 2003:1).
Man’s evolution towards moral thinking and existential interpretations is constituted by higher levels of evolution, more advanced outcomes of the natural evolution of entities towards emergent changes that allowed them to avoid harm and reproduce themselves (Dennett 2003:22).
While Dennett draws on arguments from biology, cognitive neuroscience, economics and philosophy proposing provocative and original arguments, there is a lack of the psychological or sociological2 imaginations in his work. It is in the area of habits (particularly those that are institutionalized or community-sanctioned) that flaws may be revealed in Dennett’s arguments of a logical evolutionary conclusion of an emergent salutary human nature incapable of overriding its material brain yet somehow managing to move beyond its own autopoietic system. Would human nature not follow evolutionary pathways towards conservation of the familiar while eliminating that which is uncomfortably unfamiliar from everyday life? What are the ethical implications for sustaining an authentic pluralism, diversity of cultures? It is in this area of an expanded Derridian hospitality towards the stranger, the unknown that Dennett’s secular humanism fails to respond.
Like Dennett, William James1 (1986:369 cited in Tursi 1999) perceived the same evolutionary principles at work in inorganic matter that have been applied to organic matter. In the same year that James developed his ideas on the relationship between the birth of human consciousness, habit and knowing, Freud explored the concept of habit formation as simple agents of conservation that are instinctual reaching deeply back through consciousness, through organic and even organic compulsions. James seemed to perceive the evolutionary changes in human consciousness as radical agents of variance and development. He aligned habit and knowing so that free human agents develop habits by force of will and character. James regretfully admits that habits are difficult to change after the age of thirty (1890). Freud’s theorized that an organism, including a human being, is disposed towards repeating its own lived experience while protecting itself against unsafe levels of stimulation from the unknown, the unheimlich or the uncanny. Freud argued that the cerebral cortex as the seat of consciousness, recorded negative past experiences of unfamiliar stimuli protected itself by constructed hardened defensive shields against outer stimuli. James acknowledges the way in which habitual sequences and customary feelings provide us with an agreeable feeling of being at home with oneself, whereas unsafe levels of excitation from uncustomary, unfamiliar, incongruous representations evoke distress, doubt, misunderstanding and irrationality (Essays in Philosophy 345). For a more in-depth thoughtful discussion see Tursi (1999).
James “advocates idiosyncrasy, spontaneity, and originality as enrichments to a malleable world, he always returns to habit (Tursi 1999). We reconfigure the unfamiliar or uncanny, the unheimlich to a more welcome pattern (Pragmatism 122).
Just as rivers can be reconfigured so too can our neural networks but deep entrenchment of fast flowing rivers in their time-worn river beds are less flexible, less plastic and more embedded.
It may seem easy to change your mind, but if it’s your brain we’re talking about, maybe it’s harder than we think. A University of Houston professor is looking into this with research into something called ‘brain plasticity (Merkl 2007 ).’
Key Words: brain plasticity, free will, entrenched core beliefs, reconfiguring entrenched brain pathways, habits, character, morality and meaning,
1 The work of William James, considered by his followers as canonical, has been derided by his critics as classist and elitist. I consider it fortunate that his work has again found a legitimate place even with these critics. James began or contributed to so many debates that have been recently resuscitated.
2 Pierre Boudieu’s studies on the reproduction of social values through cultural institutions through schools and museums, for example, reveal the degree to which entrenched societal values continue to be reinforced in a hidden curriculum that benefits exclusive, powerful social strata. In Modernity and the Holocaust (1989) sociologist Zygmunt Bauman argued that genocide was the logical conclusion of the Enlightenment project with its promise of a better society based on shared western values. The Other who refused modernity would be eradicated through a process of natural selection that ensured a safer world for those with more power to reproduce themselves.
Not just for radicals, but for many mainstream liberals too, the road that began in the Enlightenment ends in savagery, even genocide. As the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman argues: ‘Every ingredient of the Holocaust… was normal… in the sense of being fully in keeping with everything we know about our civilisation, its guiding spirits, its priorities, its immanent vision of the world – and of the proper ways to pursue human happiness together with a perfect society (Bauman 1989:8).
Zygmunt Bauman. 1989. Modernity and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p8
Dennett, Daniel C. 2003. Freedom Evolves. New York: Penguin.
Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “You tried to change your mind but your brain wouldn’t let you.” >> papergirls. May 3. http://papergirls.wordpress.com/2007/05/04/you-tried-to-change-your-mind-but-your-brain-wouldnt-let-you /
Freud, Sigmund. 1953-75 . “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works. Trans. and Gen. Ed. James Strachey. 24 vols. London: Hogarth, 1953-75.
James, William. 1890. “Habit.” The Principles of Psychology. http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/James/Principles/prin4.htm
James, William. 1986 . Essays in Psychical Research. Ed. Frederick H. Burkhardt, Fredson Bowers, and Ignas K. Skrupskelis. Cambridge: Harvard UP.
Merkl, Lisa. 2007. “How Plastic Is Your Brain? UH Engineer Seeks Answers.” Medical News Today. May 3. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=69263&nfid=crss
Tursi, Renee. 1999. “William James’ Narrative of Habit.” Style. Spring. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2342/is_1_33/ai_58055905/print
© Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. “If our minds are what our brains do (Dennett 2003:i) and changing our brain’s habits may be harder than we think (Merkl 2007) can we achieve a wiser, stronger freer society through a process of purely natural selection as Dennett predicts?” >> Speechless