Friday, October 31, 2014

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Most of the Water News - None of the Spin~

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rebuffs coal company on West Virginia water quality conductivity appeal http://ow.ly/DtCpZ
  • National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council ask Administration to withdraw proposed Clean Water Act rule http://ow.ly/Dvu1P
  • National Association of Conservation Districts requests that current version of proposed Clean Water Act jurisdiction rule be withdrawn to provide time to clarify uncertainties and risks http://ow.ly/DzgFP
  • Kansas officials contend they find evidence contrary to EPA’s connectivity science lying behind proposed Clean Water Act rule http://ow.ly/DCpor
  • EPA inspection reveals Clean Water Act violations at Winifred Feed Lot near Frankfort, Kansas http://ow.ly/Dwpyy
  • Supreme Court asked to consider whether Clean Water Act Louisiana wetland determination can be challenged in court http://ow.ly/DClaL (story: http://ow.ly/DClvy)
  • Public review period open for FEMA's draft Environmental and Historic Preservation Guidance for Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance Applicants http://ow.ly/DCmHe
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • "Till the Well Runs Dry: Is Wisconsin’s greatest resource being sacrificed by short-sighted politics?" http://ow.ly/Dzcua
  • Louisiana sues Corps of Engineers for $3 billion cost of repairing Mississippi River-Gulf
    North Platte River
    Outlet damaged wetlands http://ow.ly/Dwogv
  • Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Basin Water Management Division holds series of public meetings on its draft 2014-2015 Operating Plan http://ow.ly/Dhody - - Comments due November 21 (draft plan: http://ow.ly/Dhosw)
  • Pueblo (Colorado) Conservancy District awards contract for phase one of a project to repair the aging Arkansas River levee http://ow.ly/Dhn17
  • Annual fall North Platte River system report contains good news regarding 2015 irrigation water supplies http://ow.ly/DzcZP
  • Casper officials approve $2 million grant for North Platte River riparian and aquatic restoration http://ow.ly/Dzdzk
  • Army Corps seeks to evaluate possible Lewis and Clark Lake sediment solution in pilot flushing at small Nebraska dam http://ow.ly/Dz7Ri
  • Army Corps of Engineers plans to lower Missouri River reservoirs in the Dakotas before spring http://ow.ly/Dz8HG
  • Second Minnesota River Congress focus is on facilitating environmental, economic, and social vitality in the basin http://ow.ly/Dz9xv
  • Army Corps hears concerns at meeting from public and officials of repeat of 2011 Missouri River flooding http://ow.ly/DzbeQ
Agriculture -
  • USDA rolls out new farm bill conservation compliance web-page-hosted information for producers, other interested parties http://ow.ly/DCsZX
  • Evidence from pilot studies suggests crop and rainfall insurance have an impact on farmers’ behaviors http://ow.ly/Dz138
  • Projections indicate that soybeans will be more profitable than corn in 2014; may influence 2015 planting decisions http://ow.ly/Dvt43 
    Example USDA NASS Census Map
  • USDA NRCS to offer over $4 million to help Midwestern farmers improve bee habitat and thereby boost crop productivity http://ow.ly/DwBt6
  • USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service releases new set of U.S. agricultural census maps; story: http://ow.ly/DCjtp NASS page: http://ow.ly/DCjw8
Climate and Weather -
  • US drought update: small parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas abnormally dry; little change in Oklahoma and Louisiana drought conditions http://ow.ly/wmTdv 
    Photograph: Design Pics Inc/Alamy
  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center monthly drought outlook for November (will be published at 3 PM ET on Friday, October 31) http://ow.ly/q3yAx
  • U.S. insurance industry seeks to avoid climate change risks by limiting coverage in high risk markets http://ow.ly/DnV5A
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Advocates press Army Corps of Engineers to end operations at Mississippi River's Ford dam, Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam to block Asian carp from spreading upriver http://ow.ly/Dhhao
  • Minnesota DNR wants multi-state rules for Mississippi River anglers http://ow.ly/DhmnM
  • Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference covered latest efforts to manage  invasive species 
    Mississippi River in Minneapolis
    in North America http://ow.ly/DnVUR
  • Fish and Wildlife Service grants Endangered Species Act protections to two Great Plains butterflies http://ow.ly/DnWIM
  • Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility sues FWS over killing of cormorants to protect fish in 24 states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin http://ow.ly/DyYKu
  • Fish and Wildlife Service considering placing common snapping turtle and other freshwater turtles on international endangered species list http://ow.ly/Dz27L Federal Register Notice: http://ow.ly/Dz2kA
In the Cities -
  • Design unveiled for new proposed park on Minneapolis riverfront http://t.co/EUebh6Ln1W
  • Brainerd, Minnesota Public Utilities Board decides to once again stop chlorinating city drinking water http://ow.ly/DwnG9 (groundwater source)
  • Name of new Stillwater park along St. Croix River narrowed to one of six http://ow.ly/Dz8qE
In the States-
  • New Iowa large livestock operation, clean water rule goes into effect with support of farm groups http://ow.ly/DpmdT
  • Minnesota regulators are considering banning or restricting a controversial class of neonicotinoid insecticides http://ow.ly/DwmWl
  • North Dakota to decide in ballot measure whether to put five percent of future oil revenue into conservation http://ow.ly/DsBgo
  • State commission evaluating West Virginia's drinking water systems may ask state lawmakers to delay new, spill-motivated regulations http://ow.ly/DtCDU
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Two energy companies settle over wetland damage with Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (levee authority) for $50,000 http://ow.ly/DCy6I
  • Public comments sought on RESTORE Act draft NOAA science plan's long-term priorities for Gulf of Mexico ecosystem research http://ow.ly/Dz95y
  • USDA,  National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to provide $40 million for Gulf of Mexico coastal restoration on private lands http://ow.ly/DtBsa (also see article below)
  • USDA announces new partnership with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support ongoing Gulf restoration http://ow.ly/DvsDv
  • "The Great Invisible" documentary about the aftermath of BP’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is nuanced and cinematic http://ow.ly/DCcNy
Resource Development -
  • U.S. oil and gas industry told by Washington political consultant to exploit greed and anger, use dirty tricks, in efforts to drill in more places http://ow.ly/DCdvu
Forestry -
  • The 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree was cut Wednesday from the Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota http://ow.ly/DhrkV and will be sent on its way Sunday with a ceremonial "drink" from the Mississippi River's headwaters http://ow.ly/DhrDJ
Events - Information on all past and future events listed here each week can be viewed in the on-line calendar, located above and to the right (and here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • USEPA Webinar: Innovative Financing for Green Infrastructure; November 4, 1–2:30 PM EST http://ow.ly/DCnsC
  • Water Environment Federation Webinar: Potential Impacts of Waters of the U.S. Rulemaking on Stormwater Infrastructure, November 6; 3-5 PM ET http://ow.ly/DyOAd
  • Ohio Wetlands Summit, November 15-16, Columbus, Ohio http://ow.ly/Ds1yg
  • 2015 Ohio Stormwater Conference - Call for Abstracts, May 6-8, Kalahari Resort and Conference Center, Sandusky, Ohio http://ow.ly/DpqFs
  • Association of State Floodplain Managers 2015 Annual National Conference: Mitigation on My Mind, Atlanta, GA, May 31-June 5 http://ow.ly/DhXd3 (presentation proposal abstracts due October 31)
  • St. Croix River Association announces route for the 2015 Paddle Namekagon; June 13-19, 2015 http://ow.ly/DnYSl
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • Gulf Restoration Network's October 30 Gulf Waves e-newsletter http://ow.ly/DChLK
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency River Connections for October 2014 http://ow.ly/Dih0K
  • Winners of the National Environmental Education Foundation 2014 Algal Bloom Photo Contest http://ow.ly/Dp9Ut
  • The fall edition of the “Our Mississippi” magazine is now available http://ow.ly/Ds2Ec
  • Lower Mississippi River Dispatch, Oct 2 featuring events, job announcement, Frosty Beaver Moon, Legacies of the River http://ow.ly/DsDLu
  • Association of State Floodplain Managers' October "News and Views" http://ow.ly/DtBXQ
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's TUWaterWays e-newsletter for October 28 http://ow.ly/Dzyl6
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council's October 30 Watershed News http://ow.ly/DCocW
Other news-
  • Young artists' views of the Mississippi River http://ow.ly/DC3qH 
    Painting by 5th grader Joey Jacobson
  • House plans vote on bill to prevent new EPA regulations, unless all supporting scientific data are publicly available http://ow.ly/Dz1yP
  • EPA adds 23 chemicals, including BPA, to list of chemicals that will be scrutinized for possible regulation http://ow.ly/Dsz3g
  • Two Wisconsin DNR Mississippi River program natural resource positions currently open  http://ow.ly/DwaoI
  • Plaquemines Parish leaders discuss possibility of Ebola virus threat posed by commercial Mississippi River ship traffic http://ow.ly/Dzapt
Politics and People-
  • The most competitive U.S. Senate races in the Mississippi River Basin, based on the most recent polling averages http://ow.ly/DsIpX
  • Louisiana's U.S. Senate race expected to go to December runoff between incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) http://ow.ly/DpdM8
  • Here's how the SEC's December 6 championship football game might determine the balance of political power in the U.S. Senate http://ow.ly/DpiTc
  • Joni Ernst is the GOP's Senate nominee in Iowa: one of two states never to have sent a woman to Congress or elected a female governor ow.ly/Dwlfu
  • Center for Responsive Politics analysis finds that the 2014 midterm election is going to be the most expensive in history http://ow.ly/DhjCe
  • Roll Call: "Who are some of the hardest working men and women in Washington, D.C.? Congress, apparently." http://ow.ly/Dtmyc
  • Wesleyan Media Project: Spending for over 2.2 million political ad airings this election cycle tops $1 billion; Iowa ranks second nationally in number of Senate ads http://bit.ly/1p4E86p
  • Analysis of the Twitter accounts members of Congress (partisanly) follow http://ow.ly/DCwAq 
  • A guide to possible recounts and their rules in the tossup Mississippi River Basin state and district midterm elections http://ow.ly/DCA2V
Your Moment of Zen -
Rainfall

What We Learned This Week - "Money, So They Say"

new Iowa large livestock operation, clean water rule went into effect with the support of farm groups.  The 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree was cut Wednesday from the Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota  and will be sent on its way on Sunday with a "drink" from the Mississippi River's headwaters.  Activists want more Upper Mississippi River dam operations closed to slow the upstream movement of Asian carp. Joni Ernst is the GOP's Senate nominee in Iowa: one of two states never to have sent a woman to Congress or elected a female governor.  Louisiana has sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the state's $3 billion cost of repairing Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet damaged wetlands.  The Louisiana U.S. Senate race is almost certain to go to a December 6 runoff election between incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R).  If it does, here's how an SEC championship football game on that day could determine the balance of political power in the U.S. Senate. Coming in at a total contributions' price tag of around $4 billion, the 2014 U.S. midterm election is going to be the most expensive in history.  Spending for over 2.2 million political ad airings this election cycle has topped $1 billion. That money is paying for the elected to make their way to the nation's capital, and be counted among "some of the hardest working men and women in Washington, D.C."  Also making it's way to the Capitol Hill as the 2014 Christmas tree, but at a much lower cost, is a white spruce cut from the the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota. The USDA and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation plan to provide $40 million for Gulf of Mexico coastal restoration on private lands.  And last but not least, it's a great time to be white and male in Washington, DC.

Friday, October 24, 2014

What We Learned This Week - "We're Not in Kansas Any More"

The U.S. Agriculture and Interior departments are partnering to measure farmland conservation impacts on water quality. The U.S. EPA approved most of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' proposed new and revised Water Quality Standards. The EPA's proposed clean water rule passed a crucial test, when it received the approval of the agency’s Science Advisory Board.  Republican senators and EPA sparred over the intent and scope of that rule. The North American drought of 1934 that epitomized that decade's "Dust Bowl" was the driest and most widespread of the last millennium.  In general, the drier the U.S. state, the higher its household water use, the driest states' populations are growing the quickest, and little relationship exists between water scarcity and price. In the "it's a small world" news category, some of the road salt running into Ohio streams this winter will have originated in Morocco.  This year is on pace to be hottest ever, after September global temperatures exceeded past marks.  The U.S. EPA found that there is little to no benefit to using neonicotinoid pesticides (linked to bee declines) to treat soybeans. Green infrastructure is better than gray in responding to the more frequent storms, sea-level rise, and other results of climate change.  The redbelly snake may not be found in Kansas much longer: having long drawn the ire of developers, the snake is to be taken off Kansas' threatened species list.  Also not in Kansas: the striking sunflower field image that Kansas Senator Pat Roberts used on every website page and in his press releases.  Scientists and voodoo practitioners partnered at New Orleans' Anba Dlo festival to address water challenges.  Anba Dlo translates in a Haitian dialect as "beneath the waters," which describes parts of New Orleans in the aftermath of 2005's Hurricane Katrina.  But it's no longer your mother's (pre-Katrina) New Orleans. It's also not the traditional, rural Iowa we once knew and loved.    President Obama took advantage of Illinois' first day of early voting, and cast his ballot in Chicago. However, many other Democratic voters are tuning out the U.S. midterms.  And last but not least, IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, WEDNESDAY WAS INTERNATIONAL CAPSLOCK DAY (yes, it's been a slow news week).

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Most of the Water News - None of the Spin~

Midterm Elections
The nationwide midterm elections are just eleven days away, and for the political junkies among us (or simply the gluttons for
2014 U.S. Senate Elections
punishment), the National Journal's handy interactive map summarizes each of the midterm gubernatorial and congressional races by state.  It also includes links to candidate biographical, polling, financial and social media information.  Here, for example, are the electoral data for Iowa:

Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week  

Water Quality -
Proposed Federal Clean Water Act Regulations
  • EPA scientific review board backs underpinnings of Clean Water Act jurisdictional proposed rule; letter: http://ow.ly/DeJKR (story here: http://ow.ly/DeLec)
  • Republican senators and EPA spar over agency’s proposed Waters of the United States rule http://ow.ly/DgZLi
  • GOP Senate Agriculture Committee members ask Obama Administration to immediately withdraw agriculture Clean Water Act Interpretive Rule http://ow.ly/Dh0L2

Other Water Quality News

  • EPA Region 7 issues decision letter on Missouri’s proposed new and revised Water Quality Standards, approving most; release: http://ow.ly/DgT8h and letter: http://ow.ly/DgTst
  • Announced at Hypoxia Task Force meeting: Agriculture, Interior Departments partnering to measure conservation impacts on water quality http://ow.ly/D9KT7
  • Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance seeks partners to help in its nutrient runoff reduction efforts http://ow.ly/D9Mzj
  • Summit to address ways of keeping harmful algae blooms out of the Cincinnati water supply http://ow.ly/D20Mb
  • Report: phosphorus causing harmful algal blooms in Sauk River Chain of Lakes should be cut by up to 54 percent http://ow.ly/D24oG
  • EPA preliminarily determines that strontium should be regulated in drinking water http://ow.ly/D5t0s
  • University of Kentucky study: salamander populations lower, less diverse in streams impacted by mountaintop-removal coal mining http://ow.ly/DdGfK
  • USDA to provide over $352 million in loans and grants to upgrade rural water and wastewater systems nationwide http://ow.ly/DedmO
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • EPA invites communities to apply for technical assistance to implement smart growth development approaches, including flood resilience http://ow.ly/DgWo7
  • Brookings Institution: In Times of Drought: Nine Economic Facts about Water in the United States http://ow.ly/D5NNQ
  • In general, the drier the U.S. state, the higher the household water use, and the driest states are now growing the quickest http://ow.ly/D1xMX
  • Iowa Flood Center expands sensor network in Iowa River watershed http://ow.ly/D9Lz2
  • Mississippi tries to renew water-rights battle with Memphis, Tennessee http://ow.ly/D5uIR; Supreme Court asks solicitor general to weigh in http://ow.ly/D5uZO
  • Lawsuit against Army Corps of Engineers for Missouri River flooding grows to six states; adds 230 new plaintiffs http://ow.ly/D9SSX
Agriculture -
  • Diverse coalition releases vision statement for cover crops and soil health http://ow.ly/CW14g
  • Report: Global agricultural productivity isn’t increasing fast enough to meet the growing
    demand in the coming decades http://ow.ly/CUdMR
  • U.S. farmers are cutting back on spreading fertilizer this autumn in response to a drop in crop prices http://ow.ly/CUdoL
  • Well-timed drought relief for farmers could benefit corn and wheat growers in Kansas, Colorado, and Iowa http://ow.ly/D9qf9
  • Land Sale of the Week: $10,900/acre for 157-acre southeastern Iowa corn field http://ow.ly/D1A8k
  • US EPA finds little to no benefit to using neonicotinoid pesticides (linked to bee declines) to keep soybeans free of insects http://ow.ly/D1ISK
  • Agricultural companies race to diversify beyond synthetic chemical pesticides, amid growing regulatory, consumer scrutiny http://ow.ly/D9Blf
  • Farmer, environmental coalition files lawsuit seeking to overturn USEPA approval granted for Dow herbicide http://ow.ly/DdIhs
  • To ease transportation crunch, Missouri to allow 10% heavier than normal truckloads of grains on non-Interstate highways for next 60 days http://ow.ly/Dh1Gf
Climate and Weather -
  • Report: green infrastructure is better response to more frequent storms, sea-level rise, other
    National drought update
    (click to enlarge)
    effects of climate change http://ow.ly/D9yZv
  • USDA launches web site to provide climate information to stakeholders http://ow.ly/DdDQj
  • NOAA: world on course for 2014 to be hottest year ever, after September temperatures were highest ever recorded http://ow.ly/D5l2s
  • US weekly drought update: areas of north, central Minnesota abnormally dry; other Midwest areas status quo; slight changes in Plains http://ow.ly/wmTdv
  • NASA: North American drought of 1934 was the driest and most widespread of the last millennium http://ow.ly/CVQtv
Redbelly snake
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Two years after the last Asian carp removal effort, it appears the carp may be eradicated from Hennepin and Hopper Lakes http://ow.ly/DgSaz
  • Redbelly snake - an animal that has drawn the ire of developers - will be taken off Kansas' threatened species list http://ow.ly/CW02z
  • Emerald ash borer may be moving on to other tree species beside ash http://ow.ly/DdL98
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration begins $20 million initiative to bring massive numbers of wild pigs under control (a problem in the South and Midwest) http://ow.ly/Dea5A
In the Cities -
  • New Orleans is starting to find its footing almost a decade after Hurricane Katrina, but it's a different identity http://ow.ly/D5rXP
  • City of Wichita to hold public forum on water plan to upgrade system; protect against a severe drought http://ow.ly/D9S54 (Arkansas River)
In the States-
  • Pennsylvania lawmakers approve bill to remove regulatory requirement for forest buffer between development, streams http://ow.ly/CVZw0
Gulf Coastal Region-
  • Gulf Restoration Network files lawsuit over project receiving restoration funding related to 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill http://ow.ly/DgV3E
  • Supreme Court declines appeal from Louisiana parishes over BP 2010 Deepwater Horizon environmental damage suits http://ow.ly/D5vC8
  • BP senior vice president op-ed: "No, BP Didn't Ruin the Gulf" http://ow.ly/D9Njv
  • Turtle Island Restoration Network asks Gov. Jindal to protect endangered sea turtles in Louisiana waters http://ow.ly/D9Pcs
Resource Development -
  • Chemical maker objects to fracking after “near-catastrophic” incident possibly linked to geologic conditions beneath Ohio River http://ow.ly/DdJTc
  • Researchers have identified a new method to trace leaks and spills of fracking fluids in the environment http://ow.ly/D1BWo
  • Ohio Environmental Council: state Supreme Court ruling on strip mining in state lands is a" bad ruling, for state lands" http://ow.ly/D5wHA
Events - Information on all past and future events listed here each week can be viewed in the on-line calendar, located above and to the right (and here as a stand-alone calendar) 
  • USEPA Watershed Academy Webcast on Climate Resilience; Oct. 29 from 1-3 pm EDT ow.ly/De27i and ow.ly/De27j
  • US EPA webcast on new research about cyanobacteria, nutrients and lakes, Oct 30, 1 PM ET ow.ly/DeA5s
  • Next Upper Mississippi River quarterly meetings of UMRBA and UMRR-EMP CC November 17-19, St. Paul, Minnesota; details: http://ow.ly/D9AiC
  • St. Croix River Association Aquatic Invasive Species Workshop, Grantsburg, WI, December 5 http://ow.ly/CWjP8
  • Mark your calendars: U.S. Water Alliance's 2015 One Water Leadership Summit in San Francisco August 25 - 28 http://ow.ly/DeBnh
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • U.S. Global Change Research Program October e-newsletter http://ow.ly/CVSE1
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's October 22 TUWaterWays e-newsletter http://ow.ly/DdGLq (PDF file)
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council's Watershed News for October 23 http://ow.ly/DgWVd -  including news of a novel channel migration easement program being offered to landowners
Other news-
  • White House CEQ acting chief: Landscape-level conservation is a priority http://ow.ly/DeKnN
  • Interior Secretary Jewell pushes for "strategic vision" landscape-level conservation at Large Landscape Conservation event http://ow.ly/DgVQe
  • Winners of  the Mississippi Minute Film Festival - "One River, One Minute, Your Vision" - announced http://ow.ly/D9TsQ
  • Winners of the St. Croix River Association's 2014 Photo Contest announced http://ow.ly/D9UJD
  • Scientists and voodoo practitioners partner at New Orleans Anba Dlo festival to address challenges of dealing with water http://ow.ly/D1SM4
  • Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District (Indiana) seeks Watershed Coordinator for Whitewater River Initiative http://ow.ly/D5xxQ
  • Cleanup continues one year after crude oil pipeline rupture in northwestern North Dakota wheat field http://ow.ly/D7AX5
Politics and People-
  • With Rep. Lucas (R-OK) ending a six-year term as Agriculture Committee chair, Rep. Conaway (Texas) expected to be replacement http://ow.ly/Dh2Fa
  • The Hill ranked all 50 states on a red to blue political scale - Kansas and Mississippi are among the top five "reddest" and Minnesota is second-most blue http://ow.ly/DgY6j
  • Republicans would target EPA power plant, ozone, water rules if Senate changes hands http://ow.ly/D9VV0
  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has sent out a preview of the House agenda for next year http://ow.ly/Dhd2x
  • New York Times: With farms fading and urban might rising, political power shifts in Iowa  http://ow.ly/D5yV4
  • Valerie Naylor, longtime superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, will retire at the end of the month http://ow.ly/D5tCT
  • US EPA deputy chief of staff Arvin Ganesan is leaving the agency http://ow.ly/DdEDy
  • Senate Republican Leader wants to get must-pass legislation completed during lame-duck session, so GOP can start fresh in 2015 in the majority http://ow.ly/D1yVU
  • Poll: Democratic voters are tuning out the U.S. midterms http://ow.ly/D1Vk5
  • Flood control, recreation are hot topics in campaigns for five Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District board seats http://ow.ly/D22LX
Your Moment of Zen - 
Bison

Friday, October 17, 2014

What We Learned This Week - "Some Like It Hot"

Iowa's new clean water rule has drawn complaints from citizen activists for not going far enough in protecting state waters from pollution at large-scale livestock facilities.  Drugs flushed into the environment may be a significant factor in wildlife decline. The Illinois River town of Havana, Illinois has more Asian carp than anywhere else in the world.  Nearly four decades ago a Food and Drug Administration consultant was right on the farm antibiotic overuse issue, though Congress told him to back off.  Farmers are now able to plant new types of corn and soybeans that are genetically engineered to tolerate Roundup and 2,4-D herbicides approved by the U.S. EPA this week for use in the Midwest.  The Natural Resources Defense Council asked a federal court to review the U.S. EPA approval.  The USDA announced efforts to assist farmers in addressing the increase in weeds growing resistant to herbicides such as Roundup and 2,4-D.  The Earth is on a hot streak thanks to its human inhabitants, having just experienced the warmest six-month stretch ever recorded and the hottest summer in over century of record-keeping.  Pentagon leaders believe that the trend poses an immediate threat to national security; however, others don't seem particularly concerned.  The U.S. Treasury Department cleared the way for Gulf of Mexico states and local governments to receive coastal restoration money. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and a group representing small businesses called upon the Obama Administration to withdraw a proposed rule clarifying which waters fall under Clean Water Act jurisdiction. And last but not least, fish in one in four U.S. streams contain methylmercury at levels above U.S. EPA's human health protection criterion (including streams in Pennsylvania and near small businesses).

Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News

~Virtual Newspaper for an Aquatic World~
Hello From Moline's Riverfront
Greetings from what eventually turned into a sunny Moline, Illinois, along the banks of the Mississippi River, where River advocates, scientists, policy-makers and many others gathered during the week for two important, back-to-back River-related events: the Mississippi River Network's annual meeting, and the Mississippi River Conference.  The Mississippi River Network meeting saw two packed days of thinking, talking, sharing, laughing and recreating, as Network members mapped a course for the organization and the River over the next years (and decades).  The Conference, on Thursday and Friday, was co-sponsored by the Network, River Action and the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.  It kicked off on Thursday with an informative plenary presentation by Matt Rota of the Gulf Restoration Network on Gulf of Mexico hypoxia, its connection to upstream pollution, and what can be done to reverse problematic historic trends. Thursday also included a lunchtime pictorial and musical journey down the Mississippi hosted by Dean Klinkenberg, otherwise known as the "Mississippi Valley Traveler." You can find out more about the Conference content at its web site.  The week started drearily enough but is closing with the sun shining; mirroring in the end, perhaps, the reenergized states of those facilitating, contributing to and attending the two Riverbank happenings.

USGS: Fish in One in Four U.S. Streams Contain Methylmercury at Levels Above Health Criterion
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report this week (entitled "Mercury in the Nation’s Streams—Levels, Trends, and Implications") that summarizes stream studies conducted by USGS since the late 1990s, and also draws on scientific literature and datasets from a variety of other sources.  The report assesses U.S. streams in what the agency calls a "comprehensive, multimedia" manner, and provides insights about the importance of watershed characteristics relative to mercury inputs to those streams.  The four major findings in the report include: (1) methylmercury concentrations in fish exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's criterion for the protection of human health in about one in four streams; (2) wetlands increase the amount of inorganic mercury converted to methylmercury (the form that bioaccumulates in fish); (3) existing mercury monitoring programs lack the design elements and data to link methylmercury levels to mercury sources; and (4) mercury emission reduction strategies need to consider global mercury sources in addition to domestic sources.  Click here to see the USGS report summary and overview, and to link to the report, itself. 


Noteworthy @UpperMiss Twitter Postings for the Week

Water Quality -
  • Op-ed: "Opposition to proposed EPA rule is surprising" http://ow.ly/CK69P
  • Editorial: Let EPA seek cleaner water ow.ly/CSQyn
  • Small businesses group accuses the US EPA of a ‘massive power grab’ to extend its authority over small bodies of water http://ow.ly/CQzaa
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection calls on US EPA to withdraw the proposed rule redefining "waters of the U.S." http://ow.ly/CQzyU
  • USGS: Fish in one in four U.S. streams contain methylmercury levels above U.S. EPA's human health protection criterion ow.ly/CQBRd
  • Driller spills 42,000-gallon of brine into tributary of a Missouri River reservoir http://ow.ly/CIGtW
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency seeks comments on Mississippi River-St. Cloud Watershed water quality report http://ow.ly/CIJGj
  • This year's Mississippi River Conference addresses Dead Zone cleanup http://ow.ly/CJ1ex
Water Resource Management (Floodplains, Dams, Navigation, Wetlands, Flooding, Supplies, etc.) -
  • Supreme Court Justices vexed by Kansas - Nebraska water dispute case; ruling expected next June http://ow.ly/CMNNz
  • Regulations do nothing to address the main driver of U.S. wanton consumption of water: its low price http://ow.ly/CQArT
  • EPA awards $15,000 to University of Tulsa in Oklahoma for an innovative, wireless-based water conservation project http://ow.ly/CQBkb
Agriculture -
  • U.S. farmers are cutting back on spreading fertilizer this autumn in response to a drop in crop prices http://ow.ly/CUdoL
  • Report: Global agricultural productivity isn’t increasing fast enough to meet the growing demand in the coming decades http://ow.ly/CUdMR
  • Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich: Iowa is perfect place to start new conversation about moving U.S. agriculture away from influence of large businesses http://ow.ly/CMTQa
  • U.S. EPA approves new Roundup/2,4-D herbicide formulation for use in six Midwestern states ow.ly/CQynl (see below)
  • The Environmental Working Group is “deeply disappointed” in the USEPA Roundup/2,4-D herbicide formulation approval ow.ly/CQyCl
  • Natural Resources Defense Council asks federal court to review U.S. EPA herbicide approval decision ow.ly/CSseU
  • The USDA has announced efforts to assist farmers in addressing the increase of herbicide resistant weeds http://ow.ly/CQT55
  • Reflection on USDA crop forecast reports: Time to Cut Back on Corn? http://ow.ly/CINPi
  • Farmland prices in Kansas rose an average of 17.1 percent per acre in 2014 http://ow.ly/CIKV9
  • Nagging question: Was Stanford University biology professor right on farm antibiotic overuse nearly four decades ago? http://ow.ly/CIPK7
  • Whole Foods Market begins ratings program to give consumers more environmental, justice information about produce, flowers http://ow.ly/CMRwz
Climate and Weather -
  • US weekly drought update: large improvements in drought and dryness on the heels of rain
    Click to enlarge
    over much of region http://ow.ly/wmTdv
  • Pentagon report asserts decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security http://ow.ly/CIQGJ
  • NASA: Earth Just Experienced the Warmest Six-Month Stretch Ever Recorded http://ow.ly/CJ5RX
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: summer of 2014 was hottest ever recorded in over century of record-keeping http://ow.ly/CMVGK
Biodiversity, Wildlife and Invasives -
  • Studies: Drugs flushed into the environment could be cause of wildlife decline http://ow.ly/CIER7
  • Feral hogs are the latest foe being taken on by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office
    Northern Long-Eared Bat
    (Louisiana) http://ow.ly/CIO1S
  • Havana, Illinois, on the Illinois River, "has more Asian carp than any place else on Earth" http://ow.ly/CMMJt
  • Delegation to China studied Yangtze and Mississippi rivers' issues, including the Asian carp present in both http://ow.ly/CMNpq
  • South Dakota GOP Congressional members urge Fish and Wildlife Service to withdraw its proposed listing of the northern long-eared bat as endangered http://ow.ly/CMS9O
In the Cities -
  • EPA to provide $67,000 for Technical Assistance to Springfield, Missouri for integrated planning of stormwater and wastewater projects http://ow.ly/CzCon
  • EPA Region 7 settles with city of Raymore, Missouri, to resolve Clean Water Act municipal stormwater violations http://ow.ly/CzC9L
In the States-
  • Iowa's new clean water rule draws complaints from citizen activists for not going far enough to protect waters at large-scale livestock facilities http://ow.ly/CMUi5
  • Accidentally released court filing reveals how company secretly funded NGO to advance favorable Wisconsin mining bill http://ow.ly/CJcWC
Coastal Louisiana -
  • Louisiana public oyster-harvesting area delayed from opening "until further notice" due to low oyster numbers http://ow.ly/CQUZz
  • U.S. Treasury clears way for Gulf states, local governments to get first Restore Act money http://ow.ly/CSux7
  • Louisiana hopes to receive between $1 and $4.9 billion for coastal restoration, related programs from federal Restore Act http://ow.ly/CSu9U
Resource Development -
  • First large ethanol plants to produce biofuel from nonfood sources like corn cobs are starting operations in Midwest http://ow.ly/CIQk3
  • After the Keystone XL pipeline’s rise to the top of D.C.’s energy agenda, the oil industry has moved on http://ow.ly/CMKbH
  • 4,000 barrels of oil spill from Louisiana pipeline http://ow.ly/CQVSF
Events - Information on all past and future events listed here each week can be viewed in the on-line calendar, located above and to the right (and here as a stand-alone calendar)
  • Stanford University event streaming live: New Directions for U.S. Water Policy, October 20, 12:00 p.m. ET http://ow.ly/CQX9R
  • Briefing: Agricultural Runoff and Water Quality: Nutrient Loading Impacts and Management Strategies; 3pm ET, October 21, Room 385, Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC http://ow.ly/CMOzX
  • EPA Green Infrastructure webinar series continues on November 4 (Innovative Financing) and December 2 (Localized Flood Management) http://ow.ly/CMKFF
  • EPA Webinar: Creating a Green Infrastructure Plan to Transform Your Community, November 18, 3 PM ET http://ow.ly/CML9Y
  • Green Lands Blue Waters 2014 Conference: Bioenergy and Sustainable Agriculture, November 19-20, Decatur, Illinois http://ow.ly/CIEgR
e-Newsletters, Publications, Journals, Multimedia  -
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Waterfront Bulletin for October 2014 http://ow.ly/CIHoe
  • Lower Mississippi River Dispatch, No 260, Sunday, Oct 12: Character Education on the Mississippi River http://ow.ly/CILB8
  • Montana Watershed Coordination Council's October 9 http://ow.ly/CIQYF and 16 http://ow.ly/CSJ5v Watershed News 
  • Green Lands Blue Waters update highlighting Continuous Living Cover on Mississippi River Basin agricultural land http://ow.ly/CQCKh
  • Resources for the Future "Resources" issue 187 http://ow.ly/CQDgM
  • Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's TUWaterWays e-newsletter for October 15 http://ow.ly/CQYeJ
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Watershed Network News - Oct. 15, 2014 http://ow.ly/CQYLg
  • Gulf Restoration Network's October 16 issue of "Gulf Waves" http://ow.ly/CSOme
Other news-
  • EPA announces Request for Proposals for Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant http://ow.ly/CQTUc
  • Open Space Council for the St. Louis region receives $25,000 EPA grant for Lower Meramec Watershed stewardship, education ow.ly/CSINN
  • Position announcement: Associate / Assistant Professor in Environmental and Natural Resource Policy, Ohio State University: ow.ly/CSQ5O
Politics and People-
  • Iowa Libertarian U.S. Senate nominee Doug Butzier died Monday when his plane crashed near Dubuque Regional Airport http://ow.ly/CQUoW
  • Whether the Democrats or Republicans win control of U.S. Senate in November, the parties will continue tearing themselves apart from the inside http://ow.ly/CJe17
  • Senate Democrats throwing in the funding "towel" in their attempt to oust incumbent Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) http://ow.ly/CMQPO
  • Over 151,000 Iowans already have cast their ballots ahead of the November 4 midterm elections http://ow.ly/CQwYz
Your Moment of Zen -
40,000-plus year-old cave art in a rural area on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi.  Recently discovered, these represent some the earliest cave paintings produced by humans.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hello From Moline's Riverfront

Hello from (now) sunny Moline, Illinois, along the banks of the Mississippi River, where River advocates, scientists, policy-makers and others have been gathering all this week for two back-to-back River-related events: the Mississippi River Network's annual meeting, and the Mississippi River Conference.  The Mississippi River Network meeting saw two packed days of thinking, talking, sharing, laughing and recreating, as Network members mapped a course for the organization over the next years (and decades!). The Conference was co-sponsored by the Network, River Action and the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.  It kicked off on Thursday with an informative opening plenary presentation by Matt Rota of the Gulf Restoration Network on the Gulf Dead Zone, its connection to upstream pollution activities, and what can be done to reverse problematic past trends.  Thursday also included a lunchtime pictorial and musical journey down the Mississippi hosted by Dean Klinkenberg, the "Mississippi Valley Traveler."  You can find out more about the Conference content at its web site.  The week started drearily enough but is closing with the sun shining; mirroring at the end, perhaps, the hope-filled and energized dispositions of those facilitating, contributing to and attending the two happenings along the River.