natural resources

Acid Mine Drainage Remediation

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In this video, an environmental technologist visits an abandoned coal mine in Kentucky to talk about how a remediation system (a series of settling ponds and treatment cells) is neutralizing the acid drainage from the mine and preventing damage to a creek downstream. He shows the path of the acid drainage as it flows down a hillside from the mine into a settling basin and on to treatment cells where limestone is used to raise the water's pH. At a higher pH, iron and other minerals drop out of solution, which means that these harmful precipitates stay in the settling basins rather than flowing into the creek.

This resource is part of the Water Solutions collection.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Water in the Sandhills | Platte Basin Education

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The water supply in the Sandhills depends on local precipitation, which is relatively low. Yet, there are several rivers, including the Niobrara, Dismal, and Loup Rivers that originate in the Sandhills, more than 2,000 shallow lakes, and over one million acres of wetlands in the areas between the dunes. Even during periods of drought, the Sandhills maintain reliable supplies of water.

Watershed | Episode 4: Balancing Act

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Water in the American West is a scarce resource allocated for multiple uses from urban drinking water to agriculture to habitats for endangered species. Journey east from high above the North Platte River across the region of Wyoming once called the Great American Desert, and see how the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation captures and releases water to irrigate millions of acres of farmland throughout one watershed.

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Watershed | Episode 5: Lifeblood

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Meet the ditch riders of western Nebraska. They have the little known, but vitally important job of monitoring canals in an area of the United States so arid the locals refer to the river there as the American Nile. Ditch riders hold the keys to valves that turn on and off the water that irrigates 60,000 acres of cropland. They also make certain that enough water is conserved and released to maintain habitat for endangered species downstream.

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Watershed | Episode 6: Groundwater Rising

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Like the snows in the high country of Colorado, groundwater is critical to the health of watersheds everywhere. Travel to a remote region of western Nebraska where rainfall is rare but wetlands abound as a result of the aquifer rising up from beneath.

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Watershed | Episode 8: Spring-Fed

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The Switzer family has been ranching atop the Ogallala Aquifer in the Sandhills of Nebraska for generations. As their family grows, their water needs grow. See how they have adapted to balance family and land for a sustainable future.

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Watershed | Episode 7: Keeping Current

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It’s time to take a field trip! Join middle-school students from Mullen, Nebraska, as they get their hands dirty and feet wet on the banks of the Middle Loup River. U.S.G.S scientists teach the students about groundwater and the importance of collecting stream data for communities downstream.

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Overcoming the Challenges of Solar-Powered Flight | The Impossible Flight

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Learn about the challenges that engineers overcame to build a solar-powered airplane that flew around the world, in these videos from NOVA: The Impossible Flight. Use this resource to consider the kinds of trade-offs that engineers need to make to meet strict design challenges and how more efficient clean energy technologies are possible.

Drought Case Study: California

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See how severe drought impacted people in California and learn how communities adapted to the water shortage. Use this resource to provide relevance and context for learning about drought and opportunities for students to evaluate adaptation strategies.

Apples | Valley's Gold

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Learn all about apples and why they are one of the most popular fruits.

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