Blog posts categorized by Applying Science
Bob Pond and Dan Byrd introducing the Peel-Harvey estuary.

A microcosm of the world's water quality problems: Peel-Harvey field trip

Bill Dennison ·
6 June 2011
Applying Science | 

As part of the National Estuaries Network meeting, we had a field trip to the Peel-Harvey Estuary on 26 May 2011. This site is a globally significant ecological region for the following reasons: 1) Some of the most massive Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) ever recorded, occurred in the estuary, 2) A major intervention occurred in which a barrier island breach was constructed (the Dawesville cut), and 3) The occurrence of most of the globally significant HAB species.

Read more

Rob Sluggett, my Sugarcane 101 tutor.

Sugarcane 101: Project Catalyst field trip

Bill Dennison ·
2 June 2011
Applying Science | 

Before my workshop and field trip with Project Catalyst, I had not heard of the following terms "dunder, mill mud, billets, ratoons, plant cane, shielded sprayers, cane grubs, controlled traffic, EM mapping, auger delivery, wavy discs, skip row planting, cane stool, bed renovation, cane cockies" and could not even have made an educated guess as to their meaning.

Read more

Phil Trendell, Reef Catchments and Neil Walpole in Neil's shed with the 'tinny' in the background.

Reasons to be optimistic about sugarcane impacts on the Great Barrier Reef

Bill Dennison ·
29 May 2011
Applying Science | 

There are several reasons that I have cause for optimism regarding the future of sugarcane impacts on the Great Barrier Reef: 1) the tinnies in the farm sheds, 2) the young cane growers, 3) the widespread adoption of high tech equipment for precision agriculture, 4) the innovative, can-do attitude of a group of cane growers, 5) a grower's statement that pesticides are "dirty, stinky, expensive, toxic crap", and 6) the engagement of Coca-Cola in Project Catalyst.

Read more

Lee Blackburn (right) explaining their innovative farming approaches.

Mackay field trip #2: Sugarcane

Bill Dennison ·
1 May 2011
Applying Science | 

Rum and coke with peanuts … We went to a sugarcane farm in North Eton operated by two cousins, Lee and Phil Blackburn. They are working with Project Catalyst, which is a Cola-Cola, World Wildlife Fund and Reef Catchments project in which sugarcane producers are experimenting with different ways to grow sugar using less nutrients and pesticides.

Read more

Hitachi Building in Brisbane skyline

Some Healthy Waterways history

Bill Dennison ·
31 March 2011
Applying Science |     1 comments

The Healthy Waterway Partnership started out as the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay Wastewater Management Study (BR&MBWMS), with six local councils in Southeast Queensland leading the effort in the early 1990s. The original Healthy Waterways office was located as part of the water management office of Brisbane City Council, led by Harry Holland. Shane Pearce was his 2IC (Second in Charge) regarding 'The Study'.

Read more

Drs. Brian McIntosh (left) and Bill Dennison (right) discussing classifying environmental problems on North Stradbroke Island

Classifying environmental problems

Bill Dennison ·
30 March 2011
Applying Science | 

While on a field trip to Stradbroke Island as described in a previous blog, Dr. Brian McIntosh and I had a discussion about different types of environmental problems. I used the classification scheme of 'simple', 'complicated' and 'complex' problems (ala Glouberman and Zimmerman, 2002). Simple problems are like following a recipe in which a predictable set of results will reliably occur if the directions are faithfully followed.

Read more

Christine Coighanowr recieving the 2010 National RiverPrize in Perth, Australia on behalf of the Derwent Estuary Program

International RiverFoundation

Bill Dennison ·
24 March 2011
Applying Science | 

The International RiverFoundation has a unique role in catalyzing groups of people around the world to achieve river restoration, protection and sustainable management. One way this catalytic role is achieved is through the celebration of exemplary case studies of positive outcomes, publicly acknowledged via the annual awarding of The International Riverprize and the Australian National Riverprize.

Read more

Healthy Waterways 2011 Awards Brochure

Celebrating Success: Healthy Waterways Awards

Bill Dennison ·
22 March 2011
Applying Science | 

Environmental news is typically bad news. It is focused on negative aspects of human impacts on the environment, and often accompanied with dire predictions about the future. This propensity for dire predictions has been called the 'Cassandra syndrome', referring to Cassandra from Greek mythology who was cursed with the ability to foretell the future but nobody would believe her warnings. There is a good book entitled "Believing Cassandra:

Read more