Tuesday, January 31, 2006

SIDI ALI - water gardens

Persian Gardens-Fin
Originally uploaded by HORIZON.

Rain gardens 'cut city pollution'

"Rain gardens" can dramatically cut the amount of pollution in urban storm water, according to a study by US researchers.
Most of the rain that falls on cities lands on impervious surfaces, such as roads, where it absorbs pollutants before it finally drains away.

The team says a shallow depression in a garden containing bark mulch and shrubs can remove up to 99% of toxins.

The findings appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Researchers from the University of Connecticut found that the gardens significantly reduced the concentration of fertilisers, oil and particulates reaching storm drains.

Growing problem

Rain gardens, the researchers say, can also help reduce localised flooding by absorbing rain water from heavy downpours, reducing the risk of drains becoming overloaded.

For the study, two rain gardens were planted and frequently monitored over a two-year period to see how effectively they absorbed a range of pollutants.

One of the authors of the study, Michael Dietz, explained why they carried out the research.

"The concept of rain gardens has been around for 10 or 15 years but there has not been a lot of research.

"A lot of places are hesitant to use something that has not been verified, so we felt it was an important step to bridge that gap," he told the BBC News website.

Any tool we have that can help reduce the impacts of urbanisation is beneficial for everyone
Dr Michael Dietz, report author

The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that built-up urban areas generate nine times the amount of runoff water than woodlands of a similar size.

As the percentage of the world's population living in cities continues to grow, the problems of flooding and pollution are set to increase.

Dr Dietz hopes their findings will encourage town planners across the globe to consider using rain gardens.

"This is one tool that can used to mitigate the impact of runoff water in urban areas. It definitely has worldwide benefits because it is not a local phenomenon; it is going on all over the world," he said.

"Any tool we have that can help reduce the impacts of urbanisation is beneficial for everyone."

Story from BBC NEWS:

By Mark Kinver
BBC News science and nature reporter

photo above of GARDEN of FIN in Iran by Horizon - click of photograph for more information.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Golondrinas for Victoria!!!
Originally uploaded by Victorita.

Garden bird survey gets under way
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to play their part in this weekend's annual Big Garden Birdwatch.
Households across the country are being asked to spare some time to count the different species they see, and pass the record on to the RSPB.

The annual count, which has been going since 1979, will reveal the most common winter bird.

The RSPB is hoping for an increase in overall numbers, despite some common species declining in recent years.

Nearly 400,000 people around the UK took part in the survey last year, observing 6 million birds in 200,000 gardens.

Project co-ordinator Richard Bashford said that, although there is now less woodland in the UK than in the past, birds have adapted.

"Gardens have a lot of cover and, of course, lots of people feed birds so birds are cottoning on to the fact that gardens are really good," he told BBC News.

"There's shelter, there's food, there's water, so quite a lot of these things are moving from the countryside to where we live.

"It's really good news because you can see wildlife very close to us."

But, despite this, he said many of the common species were in decline.

The house sparrow was the most common winter bird in 2005 with an average of 4.6 sparrows seen per garden.

This compares to an average of 10 per garden in 1979.

To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, watchers are invited to spend one hour on Saturday or Sunday counting the birds in their garden or local park.

They should record the highest number of each species seen at any one time.

An online survey form together with more details can be found on the RSPB website.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/01/28 08:09:29 GMT

for thR record - Morocco this year has lots of Swallows!!! pLUS lots of heavy rain.