Every now an again I come across something that I did not know but that in retrospect, I feel I should have. Last week I heard a water pollution expert say that the copper from auto and truck brake linings, although a real breakthrough in safety when invented, is one of the biggest pollutants in streams and rivers. As vehicles brake, some copper is turned to dust and accumulates on and near roadways. Storm drains on roads almost invariably drain directly to streams and other waterways. Rain washes the copper dust into the water and causes all sort of trouble with fish and invertebrates. Salmon in particular seem to lose their sense of smell and direction when exposed to just trace amounts of copper. Maybe that is what happened to the salmon in the photo on this post? Here is a link to a PDF that describes the problem rather well, if a bit technically. Recent agreements with brake manufacturers hope to reduce the pollution,but it will take a real nationwide effort similar to what the State of Washington just did to make a difference.